KnuckleTracks #72

1) MORS PRINCIPIUM EST - 'Eternity's Child' 3:43; from Inhumanity (Listenable)
Slot these plucky Finns with Omnium Gatherum as the favourite new buzz band around the Brave Words offices. Melodic thrash jacked with the spirit of youth, Inhumanity is one of the greatest debuts of the last decade, bar none. Contact or or

2) ARCH ENEMY - 'Leader Of The Rats' 4:20; from Anthems Of Rebellion (Century Media)
The doors are gonna burst wide open for Michael, Angela and their seething death crew, given the tall, cool grooves, the headbanging melodies and the technical brilliance of Anthems Of Rebellion. Come see why Arch Enemy have become a Swedish death fan's best friend. or

3) AS I LAY DYING - 'Collision' 3:11; from Frail Words Collapse (Metal Blade)
Fierce, individualistic, defiant... these are all apt descriptives for As I Lay Dying's Americanized Swedish death sound, one that includes seductive trouncings of hardcore, all with an engagingly industrialized recording and frightfully emotional vocals. or

4) CHIMAIRA - 'Cleansation' 4:07; from The Impossibility Of Reason (Roadrunner)
Pure 100% trend-free metal is what Cleveland's Chaimaira call themselves, and no one would argue given the frantic, slamming past-hardcore, post-Pantera grooves. This is possibly the heaviest album put out by Roadrunner in the '00s. Come get punchdrunk. or

5) CAGE - 'Kill The Devil' 5:17; from Darker Than Black (Fugitive)
San Diego's Cage have pretty much single-handedly swung the power metal pendulum stateside, then right the hell over to the left coast. Sean Peck will fry your mind with his vocal clarions and the power, vision and heft behind him make Euro rock look like ballerina metal. or or

6) MYSTIC PROPHECY - 'Calling From Hell' 4:31; from Regressus (Nuclear Blast)
Debut record Vengeance caught the power metal world by surprise with its emotional depth, a wellspring that emanated from the soaring yet aggressive vocals of R.D. Liapakis. But the guitars slashed and pounded neck and neck with R.D., and now, on the anticipated Regressus, that crunch is even more impressive. or

7) THIRD VOICE - 'End Of The Circle' 5:26; from Moments Like These (Third Voice)
This Pittsburgh duo have created a fresh hybrid between prog metal and AOR that completely turns over one's conceptions on how to arrange music, how to structure a song. The result is strident, innovative music forged from traditional tools, executed with perfection and versatility. Contact POB 97841, Pittsburgh PA 15227 or or

8) CRADLE TO GRAVE - 'Crown Of Snakes' 3:01; from Lifespan Sessions 2003 (Cradle To Grave)
Hard to pin this one, except to note its infectious headbanging quality, Cradle To Grave creating solid songs somewhere between Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual, and other forms of Anselmo-bred metal madness. A great job of raw, hurtin' alcoholic mosh metal. Contact 1338 Stevens St., White Rock BC V4B 4Y1, 604-783-5393, 604-928-2055,, or

9) TRANSPORT LEAGUE - 'Slack/Wrist/Smack' 4:08; from Grand Amputation (Crash)
Sweden's Transport League are definitely not doing the expected. Beginning as a B-Thong break off, they've moved through stoner rock and Clutch to the razor-sharp riffs and rhythms of this fresh futuristic sound. It's entirely possible they, or what they spawn, may be the next big thing. or

10) BEYOND THE FLESH - ' Prophecies Of The Dead' 5:20; from What The Mind Perceives (Beyond The Flesh)
Currently unsigned and looking for a label, Beyond The Flesh shouldn't have to wait long, given their ruthlessly professional chops and production acumen. The sound is technical death with an uncommon amount of atmosphere, not to mention ability to groove neck-bracingly at a number of speeds. Recommended without reservation. Contact 35 Bittern Lane, Bayville NJ 09721, 732-269-5855 or or

11) EXHUMED - 'The Matter Of Splatter' 3:43; from Anatomy Is Destiny (Relapse)
Thrash, death, mathcore, hardcore, gorecore... Exhumed's visceral fusion of all types of extreme metal has never sounded better, Neil Kernon capturing the band in its edgy, frantic splendor on a record that constant throws up searing metal of a futuristic bent. Contact

12) EXTOL - 'Paradigms' 3:41; from Synergy (Century Media)
This one will floor you, Norway's Extol offering a third album that is a whirlwind of Schuldiner-derived oddity. Add to that a prog element, blackness, Swedish thrash, even Vintersorg-styled melodies, and you have a new arbiter of extreme taste. or

13) ANDREW W. BORDINI - 'The Cross' 6:31; from Earthcubed (A.W.B. Productions)
Hard to describe but thoroughly enveloping, Bordini's Earthcubed is a lush, progressive-minded exploration, fronted distinctly by the female vocals of Kristin Lamb. At times it feels like expensive AOR, but the main force is the daunting layering and Yngwie-esque prog metal madness. Now expanded to a six-piece band and ready to tour. Contact 717 Monroe Ave., Saint Charles IL 60174 or or

14) SECRET SPHERE - 'Runaway Train' 4:24; from Scent Of Human Desire (Nuclear Blast)
This critically acclaimed pan-European act apply a vast classical and classic metal knowledge to their spirited power prog tracks. Now onto their third album, Secret Sphere seeth with an energy that is massaged into their plush production values. A unique sound, to be sure. or

15) SPINESHANK - 'Violent Mood Swings' 3:30; from Self-Destructive Pattern (Roadrunner)
Spineshank have garnered a reputation as one of the most potent and plausible purveyors of metalized hardcore. With two near classic records to their name, Slam #3 tightens the melodies and locks down the rhythms to the point of assured continued ascendance. or

16) TYPE O NEGATIVE - 'I Don't Wanna Be Me' 5:08; from Life Is Killing Me (Roadrunner)
Back after a period of uncommon personal strife, Pete Steele and his morticians have created a long glorious treatise on all things Type O and fried to a crisp. The variety is dizzying, yet the ashen core remains charmingly bedsore. or

17) EYES OF FIRE - 'Disintegrate' 4:05; from Disintegrate EP (Century Media)
Creating a profound noise terrorism is nothing new for the principals behind this Mindrot offshoot band. Napalm, Nailbomb, Today Is The Day, Soilent Green, Ministry, Morgion, Dillinger, Anathema... all form of thinking man's extreme coalesce here and the collision is legion. or