Metal is on the menu this week with one of the big beasts finally dropping their long-awaited return.
Black Sabbath are back after a very long wait with 13, their first release of new material for many a moon. It sees three of original members back together for one more (last?) go in the studio. There was all sorts of drama before and during the recording of this release. That might explain why there is a fair few fillers tracks on here, probably only enough decent ones for an EP rather than a full album. The sound is very much an older one for the band, similar to their ’70s output. “God is Dead” was the first single from the album and is clearly the standout track on here. It is a classic Ozzy-fronted Sabbath track and can stand up with their best. “Zeitgeist” sounds almost Hawkwind-like in its tripped out space-rock vibe. I confess that this album did not “blow me away” at first and it took quite a few listens for me to appreciate it. Unlike Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio’s Heaven & Hell, this is more a grower than a “blow you away at first listen” type of album. Never mind my cynicism, it is selling like hotcakes (number 1 in the UK), and that is great for heavy metal.
De Profundis are a British band who are offering up The Emptiness Within. This is what they call progressive black metal. I would add that is very melodic too and, despite the cookie monster vocals, the songs are quite intriguing. One thing that his band have over some of this type is they are not afraid to throw in melodic mellowness to break things up. “Delirium” is a far better song because of the melodic break in the middle. There is even a hint to their early history with touches of goth metal thrown in for good measure, sometimes in the same song. I don’t know for sure but this lot seem to be heading towards pulling an Opeth and morphing into dark prog. This album is certainly a grower that requires the right mood to get into. Once you do, it opens up and draws you in.
Huntress are set to release Starbound Beast to follow their less than well-received debut. To say the reviews of the first album were brutal is an understatement. Alas the main complaints will not be much changed by this release. Jill Janus still can’t sing (or rather doesn’t on here) very well but her vocals are mercifully pretty low down in the mix. There are times when her singing is melodic and you realise she actually has a decent voice but still she insists on screaming and wailing like a banshee. While this is a bit of an improvement over their debut, and the band are certainly tighter, that ain’t saying much. Much of the trouble with this band’s output is that the songs aren’t really anything special. Loads of potential being wasted here, I hope they morph into what they could and should be on the next album.
Lacrimas Profundere are back with their album Antiadore and boy, are the tracks on here catchy. LP used to be more into their doom early on in their career but have since morphed into something much more enthralling. Their music these days is not a far stretch from H.I.M. in its love-music, gothic glory. LP tracks are a bit heavier and closer to metal than the aforementioned band but there is certainly a similarity in sound. This is especially the case on the ballad-like track “Still in Need”, which just oozes class and charisma. If you like your gothic metal/rock that is both accessible and deep, then you might just want to check this album out. It is quite the release.
Sodom are back with the Epitome of Torture and it is just what you expect from this bunch. This is straight-ahead thrash metal that has never grown up or tried to get clever. They take great glee in torturing the ears of the weak and unwilling. The production on this release is clean and very pure. It all sounds great and the songs are up to snuff. “My Final Bullet”, the opening track, should find a place in the heart of thrashers everywhere. It sounds modern and melodic, yet retains all the angst you would expect from a good thrash track. And the rest of the album continues to live up to your expectations of this lot.
Victorius have released The Awakening and this is codpiece power metal as you might expect from the name. No, that is not a criticism by any means. There is very much a strong Iron Maiden fetish going here and the band wear their influences on their sleeves. That said the title track is quite good. While this band probably don’t add anything new to the genre, they certainly have produced a solid release and know what they want from their output. A band to watch for sure, especially if they up the ante songwriting wise. The power metal stakes are pretty high these days and it takes quite a bit to make an impact.
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