Well, here we are, our 50th issue and the celebrations have begun. You?ll note some cool extra reflections throughout the issue, but here in Knuckle land, it?s a regular looksee at the spate of stuff blocking arteries this spring. Metal surely ain?t dead, even if there?s a recession looming, judging by the goodies coming down the pipes as we ramp up to a deadly summer.
1) NAPALM DEATH - ?Thanks For Nothing? 2:44; from Enemy Of The Music Business (Spitfire)
Already killing ?em overseas, Napalm Death?s latest has been heralded as their best album yet, the undisputed kings of grindcore finding ways to stay innovative while picking the best from their old character traits. Groove, production, chaos, riffs, blastbeats... it?s all here with a poisoned arrow shot at those who have ripped the band off in the past.
2) KATATONIA - ?Chrome? 5:11; from Last Fair Deal Gone Down (Peaceville/PHD)
The buzz has been palpable for the return of Sweden?s Opethian co-conspirators Katatonia and their deep, dark progressive wizardry forged the cold zones of northern frost metal. Indeed, Opeth mainman Mikael Akerfeldt thinks these guys should be the biggest metal band on the planet. Genius praising genius. One of the records of the year to be sure.
3) MEGADETH - ?Motopsycho? 3:06; from The World Needs A Hero (EMI/Sanctuary)
Mega-Dave and his chops-mad groove metallers are back with an album that just might possibly put Megadeth back in the big leagues, rocking hard, riffing expertly and basically snarling it up with the metal comeback of the year. The headbanging community is abuzz. Dave delivers!
4) SAVATAGE - ?Drive? 3:17; from Poets And Madmen (Nuclear Blast)
The long wait is over, the Sava-crew finally delivering their long-awaited opus which finds original frontman Jon Oliva singing all the parts on a concept album similar in vibe to Streets. Meticulous and grand as always, Savatage have turned a Paul O?Neill tale into a symphony of peaks and valleys, metal countered with prog touches, a milestone album from one of the originals.
5) DESTINY?S END - ?Transition? 4:50; from Transition (Metal Blade)
This second album for ex-Helstar legend James Rivera and his American power metal crew finds the band widening its scope and monstering to the top of the genre with consummate vocal skill, expert detailing and a collection of songs that will surprise many. Top-notch traditional.
6) MARDUK - ?Death Sex Ejaculation? 5:08; from La Grande Danse Macabre (Century Media)
Swedish death legends Marduk are probably the weightiest stone of the genre not originating from America. Now they are back with their as-always unique blurring of death with black metal, flanked with a lyrical presentation that is a flamethrower blasting all things cheery. Self-produced at Abyss, with Tommy and Peter looking on approvingly.
7) VOMITORY - ?Beneath The Soil? 4:54; from Revelation Nausea (Metal Blade)
Hellish and expertly pan-seared, Revelation Nausea is a relentless and power-packed offering from these high quality Swedes, recorded at the esteemed Berno Studios. Tight, breakneck, but with a hint of old school thrash, Revelation nausea just might be better than their well-received Redemption album.
8) SISTHEMA - ?Hydro? 5:02; from The Fourth Continuity (Noise)
Vaulting into mathematic thrash consciousness with their second album is Italy?s Sisthema, a band of chops wizards who sound like Pantera crossed with Dillinger Escape Plan with a little Lamb Of God thrown in. The other obvious touchstone is Meshuggah, but down an early Fear Factory pathway. Whatever it is, these cybernetic riffs are the future of guitar rock.
9) CATASTROPHIC - ?You Must Bleed? 3:29; from The Cleansing (Metal Blade)
Obituary?s Trevor Peres is without question one of the bone-grinding grandfathers of death metal, so when he puts together a new band, people take notice. Catastrophic is the result, and like Obituary, Peres has infused the proceedings with old school groove, a bit of thrash, a tantalizing taste of hardcore, and much blood-splattered sickness.
10) LEVL - ?Demoness? 4:55; from Controlled By Time (Punctured)
Screaming out of Victoria is a new act that has expertly taken the grinding guitars and vocals from death metal and hardcore and infused them with a catchiness that can only be likened to old school Metallica or oddly, White Zombie. Hard to explain, but it?s a whole new subgenre unto itself. Produced by Jeff Waters, who also who also guests on this track. Contact 110-174 Wilson Street, Victoria, BC V9A 7N7 or 250-360-9424 or www.puncturedrecords.com
11) LACUNA COIL - ?When A Dead Man Walks? 5:52; from Unleashed Memories (Century Media)
Look no further than Italy?s Lacuna Coil for the most intelligent interweaving of female and male vocals you?ll ever hear, all set to a forward-thinking gothic doom vibe layered with fresh sounds dutifully captured by producer extraordinaire Waldemar Sorychta. Amazing hooks, amazing sonic decisions.
12) TIM DONAHUE - ?Time To Run? 4:23; from Into The Light (Frontiers)
Tim Donahue is the world?s most famous fretless guitar player. A westerner living in Japan for the last 15 years, his reputation has been built mostly through instrumental jazz. This elegant progressive melodic rock album teams him with Hurricane?s Kelly Hansen for a smooth but electric album with odd Van Halen overtones, blessed with the melodies of Enuff Znuff and Extreme. Contact: 39-081 2399340 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or www.frontiers.it
13) ELEKTRIK MISTRESS - ?Rock Star? 3:29; from Elektrik Mistress (Echo Relations)
Toronto stoner rock sensations Elektrik Mistress have an illustrious past on the scene, first as Kuthe and Peacemaker into a band confident in their melodic sludge. But even if the songs hit like a fat ham, the sonics are stellar, the album being produced analog at Morin Heights, produced and mixed by Terry Brown of Rush fame. Essential for fans of top-notch Fu Manchu or QOTSA. Contact: 8171 Yonge St. #337, Thornhill, ON L3T 2C6 or 905-764-9886 or www.elektrikmistress.00band.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
14) GORGUTS - ?Elusive Treasures? 6:18; from From Wisdom To Hate (Olympic)
Quebec?s fearless exploratory death merchants return with a concept album that crushes in its manic wizardry, its percussive pathways and its philosophical look at man?s interaction with unspecified old gods. As usual, Gorguts have amassed an album that reworks one?s conception of death metal limitations, flying outward with complex arrangements anchored by the earthy grind production of Pierre Remillard. Contact: 1658 N. Milwaukee Ave., #245 Chicago IL 60647 or 773-235-2621 or email@example.com or www.olympicrecordings.com
15) DESTROYER 666 - ?Phoenix Rising? 3:55; from Phoenix Rising (Renegade)
One of the more panoramic and accomplished of the Australian black metal contingent, Destroyer 666 follow up their well-regarded Unchain The Wolves with an album that is epic, blast-beated, meticulously detailed but appealingly old school in approach. As tall and looming as Bathory but capable of competing with Emperor. Contact: PO Box 29364 Philadelphia, PA 19125 or ColossusEnt@aol.com
16) DOG FASHION DISCO - ?9 To 5 At The Morgue? 4:44; from Anarchists Of Good Taste (Spitfire)
A big priority back at the label, Dog Fashion Disco are pointing past the Mudvaynes and Alien Ant Farms of the world into a nu-rock zone that is a crazy carnival of Coal Chambered Faith No More with a futuro-twist. Folks from Nothingface and System Of A Down have already plugged ?em far and wide. Come see why.