KnuckleTracks #76

1) GOD FORBID - 'Better Days' 3:54; from Gone Forever (Century Media)
God Forbid are certainly one of the more exciting and successful bands leading the American thrash charge. Their intelligent, socially conscious lyrics and metal and metalcore instincts have served them well on what has been a deliberate and steady rise to the top. or

2) ASTERIUS - 'Frozen Zodiac' 4:23; from A Moment Of Singularity (Cruz Del Sur)
Highly technical, assuredly creative, and meticulous of execution, Germany's Asterius propose a new synthesis between gothic metal and black metal. They are, perhaps the golden rule to which the likes of Old Man's Child and Borknagar aspire, the future of progressive, the crunching actualization of the genre pushed beyond. Contact:,,, or

3) CANNAE - 'Symmetry Of Fear' 3:38; from Horror (Prosthetic)
Metalcore with an engaging, almost seductive emphasis on metal, Cannae could very likely mark the next hardened wave past the successes shown by Shadows Fall, God Forbid and Darkest Hour. Fact is, this is a heads-down headbang of an album that strikes the pleasure centres of today's extreme-steeped metalhead. A brilliant and canny example of pacing and placings. Contact:,, or

4) NECRONOMICON - 'Through The Door Of Time' 3:56; from The Sacred Medicines (Skyscraper)
Incredibly, this is no less than the best album of their career, Quebec legends Necronomicom creating a layered, cogent yet disruptive death metal that explores the pioneering edge of the form, the band delving into prog and blackness with equal aplomb, always with utmost hi-fidelity. or or

5) DAN LORENZO - 'Cassius King' 2:26; from the forthcoming debut (unsigned)
Hades and Non-Fiction legend Dan Lorenzo makes his solo debut on what is a short, shocking stomper of grooving heavy metal attitude. Those famous guitar tones are very much on board and molten, but the surprise is that Lorenzo belts out lead vocals as well. Bass - Jimmie Schulman; drums - John Milmes Contact: or

7) DESTRUCTION - 'Desecrators Of The New Age' 3:42; from Metal Discharge (Nuclear Blast)
One sturdy poll of Germany's thrash trinity, Destruction are now onto what is incredibly their third album after reunion. And it is a crackling fire and brimstone piece of thrash magic indeed. Come here who electrocuted the "power" in power trio. or

7) STRATOVARIUS - 'I Walk To My Own Song' 5:03; from Elements Part 2 (Nuclear Blast)
The second half of the two-part Stratovarius suite is at hand and surprise... it rocks harder and faster. But no matter where these Finns go, their massive fanbase follows. Pure pomp metal pageantry of the utmost quality. or

8) EIDOLON - 'Twisted Morality' 5:09; from Apostles Of Defiance (Skyscraper/Metal Blade)
Now featuring the shocking yet concrete-solid vocal prowess of Pat Mulock, Eidolon have produced their most elegant yet powerful symphony of power madness yet. Seriously heavy, steadfast in its darkness, yet classical and classicist of might, Apostles Of Defiance is a masterful display of virtuoso heavy metal. Contact, or

9) FALCONER - 'Ravenhair' 5:03; from The Sceptre Of Deception (Metal Blade)
Impressing at BW&BK's Six Pack festival, Falconer have entered the hearts of the power metal faithful as a band bursting with personality as well as a certain comfort with bombast. The strong will rise above. or

10) CHRIS CATENA - 'Hey Man (Freedom Calls)' 3:25; from Freak Out! (IMR/Frontiers)
Italian vocal virtuoso Chris Catena has gathered some of the biggest names in melodic rock for an album of slinky yet strong hard rock along the lines of your greatest Glenn Hughes dreamwerks (Hughes duets with Chris on here, as well, of course!). Stunning, joyous, torridly funky. Contact: IMR, Via Montecassiano 157, 17 00156 Rome - Italy or ph. 0039 06 4115308, or (forthcoming)

11) VADER - 'As The Fallen Rise' 2:11; from Blood (Metal Blade)
Using their now famous procedure of whetting appetites with an EPO release, Vader have unleashed a 27 minute (hey, that's Reign In Blood territory!) seven track scorcher called Blood, which caps off with a blistered cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Angel Of Death'! The rest... well, it proves why Vader are in the world's top five of death metal., or

12) LEGION - 'Those Beyond' 3:24; from Unseen To Creation (Listenable)
Quite possibly the most shockingly extreme cross between black metal and mechanized death, Unseen To Creation finds Legion venomous, crisp, daunting yet mesmerizingly old school. Performances rip, and the whole is a sickening sum of the parts. or or

13) IMPALED NAZARENE - 'Armageddon Death Squad' 2:55, from All That You Fear (Osmose/The End)
Finland's most incendiary metal legends Impaled Nazarene have unleashed their masterpiece, a record that seethes with the band's revolutionary flair. Mika has struck. Let the goats quiver in fear. or or

14) STAMPIN' GROUND - 'Bear The Scars' 3:10; from A New Darkness Upon Us (Century Media)
UK's highly regarded blood-boiling metalcore mavens Stampin' Ground have a newly constituted line-up, hot from impressive dates with Sepultura, ready to let their nine hard-fought years of metal crossover experience emanate. The new one's produced by Andy Sneap and the sonic results are skull-frying. or

15) BIG IRON - 'The Breakdown Is Coming' 3:59; from Falling Down (Neoblast)
Confident in big rock grooves that fuse Nola southern, Pantera and hardcore, Big Iron have carved a second album of masterful, crushingly produced hybrid metal that belies the band's roots back to the late '80s Dallas/Ft. Worth underground. Contact: CP 210, Succursale C, Montreal PQ H2L 4K1, (450) 433-5024,, or

16) THE END - 'The Scent Of Elegance' 3:13; from the forthcoming album Within Dividia (Relapse)
Canada's The End merge spiraling guitars, baffling rhythms and paranoid electronic ambience, the combination exploding in a frenzy of turgid strangulations and hypnotizing time signatures. With the release of Within Dividia,
The End are sure to take the math-metal crown home to Canada! or

17) BEYOND THE FLESH - 'Rise Above The Weak' 3:23; from What The Mind Perceives (Beyond The Flesh)
Beyond The Flesh rose to an exalted #4 position in Aaron Small's brutally tough Top Ten Brave Underground demos/indies of all of '03. Suffice to say, this is a band with a future... biting guitar tones, seething energy, well-placed shards of melody, manic yet precise drumming, it's all here. Contact: 35 Bittern Lane, Bayville, NJ 08721 USA or or

18) THE AMENTA - 'Mictlan' 5:04; from Mictlan (The Amenta)
Stunning black metal sparkling with power, production and prescience, The Amenta have crafted a three track EP that positively kills the competition. Perhaps its their roots far away from metal centres (Australia), but never before have the rules been broken so effortlessly musically. #5 on Brave Underground's Tops of '03. Contact: POB 59 Baulkham Hills NSW 1755 Australia, or

19) WHEATSTONE BRIDGE - 'Application 3.1' 4:01; from Wheatstone Bridge Demo CD (Wheatstone Bridge)
North Carolina's Wheatstone Bridge are a bracing and pure incarnation of something hard to evoke these days: the spirit of true and pure prog rock from the '70s. In total, the sound is shockingly isolated, fresh, very personable and always surprising and sensually homespun. Contact: Ernest Planck, RT 1 Box 177C, Salunda, NC 28773 or 828 749-3821 or