KnuckleTracks #32

As you can see, power metal continues to expand and thrive (check out the sheen of Iron Savior and the retro grit of Gun Barrel), while deathly thrash confounds and blurs into black more each day at an alarming pace. Meanwhile there?s buzz band Candiria taking mathcore way out into genre-splicing dream zones. Fact is, there?s enough creativity out there to slay a thousand nu-metal bands. Your sermon begins now?

1) GOD FORBID ? ?Go Your Own Way? 3:35; from Determination (Century Media)

Probably the most highly original pure metal band you?ll hear all year, God Forbid hail from New Jersey and confound all preconceptions of how metal?s genres may or may not fit together. A bit Swedish, a bit mathcore, a bit Bay Area and a bit hardcore, Determination is an aural escape that is unparalleled in the realm of debut albums. Should be big very, very quickly.

2) CADAVER INC ? ?Rupture? 3:21; from Discipline (Earache)

Quite appropriate that Cadaver Inc have toured with Morbid Angel and Zyklon, this pain-inspiring album being a vibrating chafing collection of death beyond the next few evolutions, Zyklon-ic and Limbonic with intense creative agitation, blazing riffs and even a bit of mathcore in terms of percussion surprises. Shoot ?em up post-black metal with brains.

3) EPOCH OF UNLIGHT ? ?The Last To Fall? 4:17; from Caught In The Unlight! (The End)

Garnering stellar reviews throughout the metal community, Epoch Of Unlight have created their own melodic brand of challenging death thrash. Driven by otherworldly rhythms, progressive death metal guitar lines and Swedish thrash vocals, this band serve as a vortex of all that is intensely creative in the underground realm. Contact

4) GOD DETHRONED ? ?The Crown For The Morbid? 3:37; from Ravenous (Metal Blade)

Billed as the fasted God Dethroned album yet, Ravenous is as technical as it is sturdy of song. The band?s insidiously hooky guitar melodies are intact, but the songs are a firestorm of headbanging hell, in large part due to Angel Corpse?s drummer Tony Laureano performing on the album (now hired by Nile). Everything you?ve come to expect from these high-minded deathsters, including crushing production.

5) ADAGIO ? ?Second Sight? 6:07; from Sanctus Ignis (Limb Music Products/SPV)

Probably the most well-written and fantastically dramatic European power metal you?ll hear all year, Adagio are blessed with great vocals, high register production values, speed, precision but also a tantalizing touch of prog and even gothic metal when it comes to the melodies. Like dark, dark Yngwie or even darker Dio.

6) THE REIGN OF TERROR ? ?Save Me? 5:03; from Sacred Ground (Limb Music Products/SPV)

The third electrified opus for this band finds stellar power metal stars Joe Stump (a virtuoso of the highest order) and Michael Vescera (one of the finest voices in the genre) teaming up for a collection of killer constructs dripping with class and screeching with recorded electrocution. Raising the bar for those with guitars.

7) IRON FIRE ? ?Into The Abyss? 4:18; from On The Edge (Noise)

This Danish power metal act easily rises above the standard power game with songs that vary radically in speed and construction. As well, vocalist Martin Steene sounds like Vince Neil, quite a shocker for a band in this field, and the band?s guitar sound is rumbling, low and ragingly metallic. It all adds up to perfection with a punch.

8) L.A. GUNS ? ?Man In The Moon? 4:41; from Man In The Moon (Spitfire)

L.A. Guns are probably the one band who came out of the ?80s scene with their heads held high and reputations intact. Back with essentially the original line-up and a punchy yet warm collection of bluesy metal tracks, the band skillfully demonstrates their command of all of rock history. Possibly their best, at minimum tied for first with Vicious Circle and Cocked & Loaded.

9) SEA OF GREEN ? ?Annihilation? 3:44; from Time To Fly (The Music Cartel)

Toronto stoner rock sensations Sea Of Green come from Canuck doom royalty, so it?s no surprise their Nick Blagona-produced debut has been impressing forthrightly critics from Hit Parader to Metal Hammer to Spin, who have recently deemed them a buzz band to watch. Psychedelic yet crisp, and always mindful of song. Contact:

10) LUCYFIRE ? ?The Pain Song? 4:30; from This Dollar Saved My Life At Whitehorse (Limb Music Products/SPV)

The much-anticipated solo project from Tiamat mastermind Johan Edlund has arrived and its name is Lucyfire. Featuring the man?s typically sardonic vocals, elegant keyboard washes and gothic industrial grooves, the album is an instantly catchy combination of heavy chording and futuro-pop psychedelics.

11) WITHIN TEARS ? ?In Mourning? 6:55; from Moments Of Life Chapter 1 (Mournful Music)

Brooklyn, NY?s Within Tears describe their unique atmospheric brew as a cross between Final Cut-era Pink Floyd and My Dying Bride. Add a dose of the most doomful death to that and you?ve gotten into this band?s highly creative mindspace. As well, check out the wicked Candlemass cover. Contact: 46 Canton Ct., Brooklyn NY 11229 or or their site at

12) JUST CAUSE ? ?Fingers? 2:17; from Finger It Out (BSR Recordings)

Boiling roiling next-wave-death from B.C., Just Cause springs from the mind of Punchdrunk?s Patrick Beaudoin whose madman metal is fueled by the legendary velocities of Gene Hoglan on drums, with band fan and metal genius Devin Townsend valiantly strapping the band down sonically. Contact POB 43, 199 W. Hastings St., Vancouver BC V6B 1H4 or

13) DIES IRAE ? ?Zohak? 3:39; from Immolated (Metal Blade)

A fierce blast of carnal death metal recorded deftly in that space between precise and chaotic, Immolated is the Satyricon-toned masterwerk of some of Poland?s most formidable death merchants, including members of the legendary Vader. Overflowing with fresh-kill death metal ideas and pounded with full range production, this might make you forget the majesty of Krisiun for awhile.

14) SUSPERIA ? ?Journey Into Black? 3:50; from Predominance (Nuclear Blast)

A snarling vicious black metal supergroup here, Susperia features Old Man?s Child and Dimmu Borgir members creating a crackling white modern black metal proposal somewhere between the visionary evil of Zyklon and the death thrash of Soilwork. A classic, caustic blueprint for hard-as-nails lifestyles.

15) CANDIRIA ? ?Signs Of Discontent? 3:00; from 300 Percent Density (Century Media)

There?s good reason mags like Rolling Stone and Spin have taken notice of these mathcore princes. Perhaps it?s their ability to confound and perplex like Zappa, Fishbone and Puya, combined with their Dillinger Escape Plan new age grind. In any event, Candiria is top magicland priority for Century Media. Intelligence, intensity, art.

16) GUN BARREL ? ?Only A Passenger? 3:07; from Power-Dive (Limb Music Products/SPV)

Grab a dark ale and sidle up to the bar because Gun Barrel are taking power metal and running it through the muck until we all get back to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Like a cross between Saxon, Tank and Dirty Deeds, this is one band that brings the rock ?n? roll mayhem back to traditional metal.

17) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY ? ?Like A Bird? 4:36; from Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live + 5 (Spitfire)

Zakk is the man as far as crushing guitar work goes, and this massive collection of master blasters proves his might in a live environment. But there are five very surprising bonus studio tracks, including a mellow, psychedelic version of Sabbath?s ?Snowblind?. Two looks at a loud, loud man with many plans, including work with Ozzy on his next solo album.