KnuckleTracks #28

Last one of these loud nuggets for the year, designed maliciously to swallow up those sugar plums dancing in your head as you dive into your Metal Christmas. So listen up good, study these bands and then go buy a few for presents. Granny will love Carnal Forge and Entombed. Seriously, it's better than a pacemaker. And so we send you off. Please note: BW&BK skip January (recovery month) and we'll be back at you in February.

1) NEVERMORE - 'Inside Four Walls' 4:30; from Dead Heart In A Dead World (Century Media)

Still blazing an esteemed, white-hot trail, both live and in the print pages of your fave metal rags, Nevermore are being talked about as the metal breakthrough band of the next couple of years. It's long overdue, for we all know there has to be new Metallica's for the scene to thrive. Warrel and his wrecking crew should be that band.

2) ENTOMBED - 'Say It In Slugs' 4:46; from Uprising (Sanctuary/Metal-Is)

Firing back on all eights, Entombed assume their rightful place at the nozzle end of flamethrower rock, cranking a fierce blast of spontaneous metal mayhem that reaches back to the classic vibes of Wolverine Blues and To Ride. Celebrated live dates with Iron Maiden have taken the band to a whole new level, stunned fans getting to see the extreme dirt rock majesty of rock's royal underground up front and way too close.

3) MOB RULES - 'Eyes Of All Young' 3:54; from Temple Of Two Suns (Limb Music Products)

Germany's Mob Rules have proven a rock critic's dream with their particularly vengeful and electricity-packed power metal. The debut lofted high on many best of lists, and now the band are set to stun with a new record of crunchy chops, metaller-than-thou vocals and songs that stick to the ribs like a fortified dark ale. Contact: or

4) RED RIGHT HAND - 'Hate' 3:40; from the forthcoming album (Screaming Ferret Wreckords)

Traditional speed metal with more power and brains and groove than most, Red Right Hand recall the days of prime Megadeth with a slightly more commercial edge, although the growly vocals of Chris Kozdra contain a malevolent edge that pushes the band toward underground integrity. Straight-up metal for discerning metal fans. Contact: PO Box 56, Hillsboro, NH 03244 or 603-770-0648 or or

5) RHAPSODY - 'Dawn Of Victory' 4:47; from Dawn Of Victory (Limb Music Products)

Easily the most talked about power metal band, Italy's Rhapsody have taken the genre to new heights of symphonic elegance. But Dawn Of Victory marks a more violent phase to the band's legendary ongoing saga, so the music is quicker and heavier. Pure Turilli magic is at hand, Rhapsody adding layer upon layer of classical metal mayhem until Dawn Of Victory overflows with passion. Contact: or

6) SHADOW KEEP - 'Dark Tower' 4:40; from Corruption Within (Limb Music Products)

With Rogue M.'s stellar vocal work (think Jacob's Dream or Crimson Glory), this rare power metal entry from the U.K., is set to impress those who like power in their power metal.. With their grand sweeping statements, their machine-gun riffery, and their sizzling production values, Shadow Keep just might remind you of the very best of the NWOBHM. Contact: or

7) TYPE O NEGATIVE - '12 Black Rainbows' 5:10; from The Least Worst Of (Roadrunner)

Released in splendid green and black digi-pak only, The Least Worst Of is a Type O fan's dream, chock full of rarities, remixes, brand new songs, edits, the hits of course, and even a cover of 'Black Sabbath' with new lyrics! In addition, you get lyrics to the new tracks as well as full explanatory credits. A classy bit of depression rock to be sure.

8) MORTICIAN - 'Martin (The Vampire)' 1:48; from Domain Of Death (Relapse)

About as heavy a death vocal that is possible on this plane and below, Mortician vibrate and rumble through the mic, as much as they sing, said unholy tone arriving buried beneath the perfect grind of the death-advanced guitar assault, itself chewed up by the gasping, drowning, slashing bass and drums. For death way beyond anything you've heard, check in with the Mortician. A scar is born.

9) CARNAL FORGE - 'I Smell Like Death (Son Of A Bastard)' 2:59;
from Firedemon (Century Media)

If anyone can knock back to the punk pure attitude of proper death metal that the Swedish seem to have lost, it's these native sons. Carnal Forge can do the melodic thing, but they usually choose not to, thrashing like hard old Entombed, beyond into the realm of Gardenian and Shadow's Fall and Soilwork. It ain't pretty but it's family.

10) IMMOLATION - 'Fall From A High Place' 4:37; from Close To A World Below (Metal Blade)

Both vicious in their black metal views, and true wizards at their instruments, Immolation are primed to set the world on fire with their latest, brightest and most shocking collection of nearly incomprehensible death metal compositions. Challenging yes, but the clarity of the band's presentation leaves nothing to the imagination. While Morbid Angel and Nile get all the praise, Immolation quietly smile and wait their turn.

11) HATEWORK - 'Hung' 3:40; from This Is A Holocaust Waiting To Wake Itself (Meathook)

Twisted and bizarre, shocking to those trapped in conventional mentalities, Hatework is a promising American band whose original style relies on a hardcore framework with death metal and grindcore elements. Brutal gorecore straight from the slums of Detroit. Contact: Hatework Headquarters, P.O. Box 603, Wyandotte, MI 48192 or

12) DISTRUST - 'Don't Wait For Dawn' 6:17; from No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished (Screaming Ferret Wreckords)

"Hail! Victory and violence!" has been Distrust's immortal battle cry since forming the band in 1995, grinding out of the New Hampshire scene with a hybrid of hardcore and death metal that bashes heads with frequent surprises and lyrical incitement to every form of painful strife known to man. Raw, fast, heavy, expertly plotted, conceived and hatched. Contact: PO Box 56, Hillsboro, NH 03244 or 603-770-0648 or or

13) SUICIDE CONTEST - 'Forbidden Land Of The Troglodyte' 2:23; from Hammer Of The Tards (Screaming Ferret Wreckords)

Perhaps the most unique thing you'll hear all year, Suicide Contest are like a cross between Mentors, Gwar and bruising bashing death metal, perhaps with a bit of NYC hardcore thrown in just to confound. But above all, this band knows how to make beer-goggled underground metal, fronted by a vocalist who might spew at any moment. Beware! Contact: PO Box 56, Hillsboro, NH 03244 or 603-770-0648 or or

14) RUMSFIELD - 'This Fix (Runaway)' 4:53; from Violent Mood Swings (Mad Bollocks)

Trust a Canadian band to sit back, soak in all the good and bad from the future of metal and then unleash the results in a torrent of fury palpable on record, explosive and over the top when witnessed live. Such is the domain of Ontario's Rumsfield, three nu-metallers with a hypnotic, guitar heavy sound beat black and blue by a rhythm section that kills California rock dead. Contact: 27 - 1300 King St. E, Oshawa ON L1H 8J4 or 905-725-4058 or

15) ORATORY - 'Metal Messenger' 4:21; from Illusion Dimensions (Limb Music Products)

Billing themselves as neo-classical melodic power metal, this Portuguese band have struck gold with their elegant dovetailing of male and female vocals. Add to that the band's uncompromisingly classical tones and their judicious use of keyboards, and you've got a band that can challenge Rhapsody for the top power slot. Contact: or

16) VANISHING POINT - 'Never Walk Away' 8:19; from Tangled In Dream (Limb Music Products)

Impressing the throngs at Wacken 2000, this Australian prog metal act now unleashes their second album, Tangled In Dream immediately capturing the imagination with its seamless melding of power metal to more adventurous virtuoso realms. Picture Vanden Plas and Maiden in battle with Fates Warning and you're halfway into this unique band's world. Contact: or