KnuckleTracks #75

1) THE CROWN - 'Cold Is The Grave' 4:07; from Possessed 13 (Metal Blade)
Sweden's favourite speed metal madmen are back with a flesh-tearing record of scintillating thrash sonics. It's been a shocking rise for this band, and with Johan Lindstrand back in the fray, the circle is complete. or

2) HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - 'A Room And A Riddle' 5:12; from The August Engine (Cruz Del Sur)
Highly unique, capable, and fraught with a complicated history, this mystery band are like a cross between Voivod and Iron Maiden with exotic, truly unpredictable shock blasts from prog metal thrown in. An incredible universe of sound, a provocative amalgamation of fantastical elements. Contact: or or or

3) BYZANTINE - 'Stoning Judas' 4:36; from Byzantine Demo (Prosthetic)
Here's a way in advance shout out (album's out in Feb. '04) for the hot new signing for blowing up label Prosthetic Records. That tag alone is an assurance of quality, but the in-your-face directness of this band's leaden hard modern metal upholds the family's flame. Contact: or

4) TORTURE - 'Slay Ride (Major Master Version' 7:02; from Storm Alert +2 (Root Of All Evil)
The legendary Torture have come up with a Christmas epic to shred and butcher the likes of Trans Siberian Orchestra. The thrash season is upon us so sink your Claus into this one. The eagerly awaited re-recording of the band's classic will contain two bonus tracks, and is produced by Neil Kernon. Contact: Tom Hicks, 500 El Camino Real #30, Burlingame, CA 94010 or or

5) ANDREAS LANTZ '2040' 4:09; from Exometal (Andrea Lantz)
Man oh man, we here at Brave Words have no idea what to make of this. Andreas Lantz seems to be after a kind of marching music/folk/polka metal hybrid o'er which he spits lyrics of futuristic political collapse and other exotica. Exometal contains four tracks, and seriously they're all kind of like '2040'. We're baffled. Contact: Artgatan 34, S-271 54 Ystad, Sweden, or

6) DIMENSION ZERO - 'Blood On The Streets' 3:10; from This Is Hell (Century Media)
Dimension Zero are the quietly revered thrash act that most notably, serves as a thrashy side project for Jesper Stromblad from In Flames. Their sound is as professional and bullshit-free as one would expect, and the songs are cogent examples of all that is right and worthy and lightning fast about Swedish thrash. No compromise, no fat. or

7) BURNT BY THE SUN - 'Forlani' 2:41; from The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good (Relapse)
New Jersey's Burnt By The Sun are touted as part of the top bracket with respect to intellectual, mathmetized hardcore. In essence, they are the post-Brutal Truth keeper of that flame, perhaps the best at combining all the genre's daunting elements into a package that moves with tacit confidence. Contact: or

8) BLOOD STAIN CHILD - 'Be In For Killing Myself' 3:56; from Mystic Your Heart (M&I Company)
A whirlwind of leading edge arrangement and virtuosic playing envelop the listener right from the opening strains of this Dimmu Borgir-quality, COB-like collection of progressive black metal blister tracks. This is album two for Japan's leading purveyor and the world shall instantly take notice. Contact: 1-44-8 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0063 or or or

9) SKID ROW - 'New Generation' 3:18; from Thickskin (Skid Row/Fusion)
Ludicrously long-awaited but resoundingly here now, multi-platinum bad boys Skid Row are back with their searing new album Thickskin, and their Bach-slaying new vocalist Johnny Solinger. Welcome to the new jungle... Contact: or

10) FIREBALL MINISTRY - 'Flatline' 3:31; from The Second Great Awakening (Nuclear Blast)
Big MTV-level buzz goin' for these seductive stoner rockers, Fireball Ministry creating plain-speaking, immediate, crushing and powerful songs topped elegantly by the clear-headed vocals of Rev. James A. Rota. or

11) UNEXPECT - 'Novae' 5:59; from We, Invaders (Galy)
Aptly named, Unexpect weave hypnotic yet edgy and fast tapestries of hi-gloss blackness with operatic female vocals, innovatively used violins, and heart-stopping dynamics. And incredibly, the riffs and the percussion barrages uphold the band's mathematical precision. Sheer evil genius. Contact: or or 514-769-6137 or 5100 De Verdun, POB 28544, Verdun QC Canada H4G 3L7.

12) LIVA - 'Hostias' 3:45; from Requiem (Stoke/Outside)
This Quebec band marries metal to classical like you've never heard before. Shocking in its textures and dripping with mystique, Requiem is an enigma from the song titles, through the graphics, the myriad vocals, the passion-filled riffs, down through the visceral, vibrant production. Contact C.P. 24066, Sherbrooke PQ Canada J1H 6J4 or or

13) YOUTHQUAKE - 'The Eternal War' 3:06; from Evolution Of New Oriental Metal (M&I Company)
Japan's Youthquake have capped 13 years in the industry to date with their fifth album. And the tough-as-nails alloy of slamming grooves, twin leads and no-mercy production has made the band an imposing presence on the extreme Japanese scene. Contact: 1-44-8 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0063 or or

14) NARCISSUS - 'Pride / Politics' 3:48; from Crave And Collapse (Abacus)
Cleveland's Narcissus have discovered the most impactful melodies - both vocal and riff-mad - to apply to a jagged, wondrous, near escapist hardcore maelstrom. The end result is a sound that envelopes the listener with thought-provoking innovation. Contact: or or

15) DEW-SCENTED - 'Acts Of Rage' 4:00; from Impact (Nuclear Blast)
Quickly and mercilessly rising in the ranks of thrash (think Germany's answer to The Crown, or the bastard children of Destruction!), Dew-Scented - the name is an Edgar Allan Poe reference - are the real deal: rock-solid, fast, technical, and dirty as hell. or

16) HELL PROMISE - 'Slaughter The Heartless' 2:41; from Slaughter The Heartless EP (Hell Promise)
'Slaughter The Heartless' places Hell Promise within the ranks of fellow hometowners Nevermore, both bands bringing intelligent, extreme, note-dense metal to the masses. Hell Promise should be signed immediately, given their melodic, thrashy, dauntingly expert hardcore. Contact: 15914 44th Ave. W., #M207, Lynwood WA 98037 or or

17) KILL 2 THIS - 'The Universe In A Nutshell' 3:00; from mass.(down.)-sin.(drone.) (Loudspeaker/Candlelight)
Now onto their fourth album (and third with producer Andy Sneap), Manchester's Kill 2 This have created an unparalleled metal hybrid, something entirely new really, their sound bridging gothic rock, industrial, progressive black metal, a bit of nu, a bit of death (Suburbanality) and the straight grooves of Paradise Lost. Contact: or

18) BURST - 'Sculpt The Lives' 3:16; from Prey On Life (Relapse)
Sweden's Burst have replenished the soul of hardcore with obtuse melodies and dreamy acoustic passages. Add to that hypnotic tom work, straight-forward hardcore fairly often, and clear, crisp, purposeful production, and you have what is a gorgeous collection of sounds, sights and songs. Contact: or or