I write this column from the road in Montana, on my epic cross-country journey to help Save the Valley and let people know about the situation. Needless to say daily drives of 5 hour+ makes for quite a bit of time to review the latest releases. This is a pick of some of the harder releases.
Defiance: The Prophecy
This is classic thrash from a band that broke up for 15 years and are keen to return to their past. This return of the past days of thrash is quite welcome for many a metal-head. The new wave of American thrash has some great advocates, but many still drift towards metal-core or come across as wannabes aping their heroes. Thrash also-rans are as bad as any other type of also ran.
Defiance on the other hand clearly have waited until they had something to say and have returned with a powerful set of thrashtastic metal. Kudos to Candlelight for signing this the great bunch of thrashers. They are not trying to reshape the genre just do what they do well. At this they excel and its great to hear old school thrash done so well.
Whether the title track or any of the rest on this release, if you like your classic thrash you will enjoy this release. The eleven tracks trod the ground that made the genre so likeable and attracted fans. This band’s fans bugged them to reform and have been duly rewarded. Help me welcome back a band who do what they do with aplomb.
Insomnium: Across the Dark
This is some heavy metal without the pretensions. One listen will not surprise anyone that they hail from Sweden. Like many of their counterparts they are not the slightest bit averse to adding keyboards when necessary. There is a metal prog tinge to some of the music, with screamo-ish singing over the top. There is a clear taste of modern metal about, but it all comes together in a such a nice package its hard not to like it.
Its no surprise this is the band’s fourth album as it shows maturity and a level of confidence that is found in bands with some time under their belts. The band certainly have no fear of tossing in what works while knowing what does not. Its full of doom and melancholy, but with a good dose of melody thrown in to avoid a dirge like sound.
There is enough here to satisfy goth fans, metal heads and even progressive metal fans. It’s a well rounded album which manages to hit all the right notes consistently track after a track. I am sorry to have to stop listening this CD and move on. Definitely a band to check out for those who like their metal with clever twists.
Secrets of the Moon: Priviledivm
A band beset by departures and all the related drama of “creative differences” splitting a band this is a long time coming. A bit of a re-invention this album seems Secrets of the Moon very much focusing themselves on a precise form of metal that at times reminds the listener of “Justice for All” era Metallica. While the vocals are a bit death or doom metal, there is a serious post-thrash metal feeling to it.
There is none of the black or death metal posturing about on this release. Its far more an album of straight ahead heavy metal, with emphasis on the heavier side of the genre. The doom elements are not suffocating and just add an interesting texture to the entire endeavour. I quite like this release for the focused nature of everything. The use of precision drumming is quite interesting as well, giving the sense of falling.