KnuckleTracks #41

1) SOILWORK - 'As We Speak' 3:42; from Natural Born Chaos (Nuclear Blast)
Easily the most talked about act from the next wave of Swedish Death, Soilwork have progressed with stunning force and fortitude, injecting stark melody into its complicated craft. Spurred on by producer Devin Townsend, the band have now created a frenzied masterpiece that challenges all extreme preconceptions. or

2) INSOMNIUM - 'Medeia' 4:21; from In The Halls Of Awaiting (Candlelight USA)
The coolest Finnish band since Amorphis, Insomnium sound like Sentenced crossed with the riff-ic melodies of Maiden, sent extreme by Scandinavian death thrash vocals and gritty production that is perfect for the band's complex sensibilities. Contact for more info.

3) DIMENSION ZERO - 'The Murder-Inn' 3:00; from Silent Night Fever (Century Media)
In Flames' Jesper Stromblad and various big band buddies comprise this thrash-fantastic supergroup of sorts, Dimension Zero lashing out with violent yet artfully-crafted tracks that ably demonstrate the band's collective metal experience and wisdom. Riffs to rival Arch Enemy.

4) CHINCHILLA - 'Nighttrain Of Death' 4:51; from The Last Millennium (Metal Blade)
German power lords Chinchilla have forged their legendary history into what is a power metal album apart, the band creating a unique sound that is live and boomy and retro, laced with keyboard washes but somehow raw and almost NWOBHM-ish. A captivating alloy. or

5) MUSHROOM RIVER BAND - 'Simsalabim' 2:23; from Simsalabim (MeteorCity)
The first one was the best stoner rock album in five years, and now that Spice has left Spiritual Beggars, his sights are set on Mushroom River's continued mastery of the post-stoner world. The eagerly awaited Simsalabim sparkles, grooves and crunches with fierce guitar mayhem on June 10. Contact or for more info.

6) ALABAMA THUNDER PUSSY - 'Motor-Ready' 4:21; from Staring At The Divine (Relapse)
One of the most highly regarded stoner rock bands on the scene, Alabama Thunder Pussy is primed for a break through, given their monstrous grooves and utmost fidelity of tone and performance. Staring At The Divine is a mature work that offers a wide variety of universal styles and is sure to result in great reviews and even better live shows. or

7) THE JELLY JAM - 'I Can't Help You' 3:00; from The Jelly Jam (InsideOut America)
Everybody's talking about The Jelly Jam, Ty Tabor's complex, funky and heavy vehicle (of many these days), one that has eclipsed even King's X as the true sound of King's X (!). Helping drive it on and up is Dream Theater's John Myung and Dregs percussion legend Rod Morgenstein. Contact or or

8) U.D.O. - 'Hard To Be Honest' 4:51; from Man And Machine (Breaker/SPV)
The German ambassadors for passionate traditional metal mania are back with another solid batch of Accept-able anthems. Guitars afire and production fidelity for miles, U.DO. has many formidable weapons, not the least of which is the consummate vocal howl of metal's favourite papa Udo Dirkschneider. Contact or or

9) SKINLAB - 'Slave The Way' 3:15; from reVoltingRoom (Century Media)
The long wait for new product from this highly creative band of pioneering metal searchers is over and the results are skull-frying. ReVoltingRoom lives up to all the hype, being modern, complicated yet immediate, harsh yet accessible. Come hear the masters of the new metal hardcore revolution. or

10) RAGE - 'Down' 5:24; from Unity (Steamhammer/SPV)
One Russian, one American and one German. This could only be the legendary intelligent thrash of Rage, who return for an album slated for release in a number of formats, including digi and vinyl, a fitting tribute to a band that has done so much for thoughtful, well-crafted extreme metal. They are back, and you should care. Contact or

11) TAPPING THE VEIN - 'Destroyed' 3:51; from The Damage (Nuclear Blast)
Philadelphia's Tapping The Vein might best described as a modern, techno-influenced version of The Gathering's dreamy gothic landscapes, Heather Thompson commanding the mic with a rich variety of vocal styles and influences, while the band weaves smart, sophisticated textures that never forget the value of well-placed power chords. or

12) PESSIMIST - 'Baptized In Blasphemy' 4:39; from Slaughtering The Faithful (Lost Disciple)
With Eric Rutan on board to produce, this longstanding death metal act continues to provoke and pummel. Highly technical and absolutely crushing, Pessimist maintain a cavalcade of circular riffery throughout, pushing the genre forward in terms of dexterity, while maintaining core death values. or or POB 340, Winthrop, MA 02152 for more info.

13) CANVAS SOLARIS - 'The Flesh Sequence' 5:41; from forthcoming debut (Canvas Solaris)
Georgia's Canvas Solaris have ex-Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner declaring them "the best unsigned metal band in the world at the moment." The sound is a heady combination of death and prog metal, high-minded and exploratory like Athiest and Spiral Architect. or

14) LAW OF THE PLAGUE - 'Moribund (Penetrate)' 3:48; from The First Infection Demo (Sinternational)
Angry, doomy old school death with more quake-generating groove than most is the order of the day when Virginia's Law Of The Plague crash through town, led by ex-Ordained guitarist Rob Soul. The full-length is just around the corner. Contact: POB 7701, Norfolk VA 23509 or or

15) MEDICATION - 'Inside' 4:39; from Medication (Locomotive)
Medication is the new buzz band featuring Logan Mader (ex-Soulfly, Machine Head) and Whit Crane (Life Of Agony, Ugly Kid Joe), and the sound is a pummeling low-blowing modern metal with a mosh ethic sure to bang heads. This 5 track EP is sure to become a collectible, while the debut full-length awaits release. Contact or or

16) STAR ONE - 'High Moon' 5:36; from Space Metal (InsideOut America)
A masterpiece beyond the realm of power or prog, truly into a highly unique symphonic space metal, Arjen Lucassen has gathered, as only he can, an army of progressive metal greats to pull off this timeless feat, one permeated by lush synthesizer tones rarely heard, and guitars afire, amidst atmosphere that is truly supernova. Contact or or

17) SUMMONING - 'Runes Of Power' 5:49; from Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (Napalm)
Majestic and ambient, forceful and panoramic, Summoning are back creating wide-angled worlds of blackened timeless symphonic folk, always based on the works of Tolkien, always imposing and uneasy. This is the band's sixth album, and awareness grows with each new offering. Contact or