MAGAZINE - KNUCKLETRACKS

KnuckleTracks #78

1) GOD FORBID - 'AntiHero' 3:58; from Gone Forever (Century Media)
Considered by many to be one of a handful of metal saviors, God Forbid certainly have all the creative weapons to make the next five years theirs. Gone Forever features a daunting upratchet in songskill stakes, production, intricate leads, and arrangement acuity; it is a plush yet extreme pleasure to behold. www.godforbid.com or www.www.centurymedia.com

2) BYZANTINE - 'Hatfield' 5:50; from The Fundamental Component (Prosthetic)
Metalcore perhaps but man, the songs are the grooviest the genre has seen, Byzantine expertly mixing in thrash, melody and Pantera-esque monster riffs, resulting in heady heavy metal euphoria. Add in a canny sense of restraint and lush production, and you have a powerful proposition indeed. www.prostheticrecords.com

3) KATAKLYSM - 'As I Slither' 2:57; from Serenity In Fire (Nuclear Blast)
Methodically and with full force, Canada's Kataklysm are becoming the respected Slayer of thrash and death, the band the world looks to for dominance. Serenity In Fire upholds that peerless standard with performances that seem positively inhuman. www.kataklysm.net or www.nuclearblastusa.com

4) WIDOW - 'Witch Way' 4:28; from Midnight Strikes (Tribunal)
If you pine for a NWOBHM-ized and Maiden-mad time when men were men and metal was Metal Blade, then North Carolina's Widow play searing leads just for you. Seriously, this is metal pure and finely aged, performances bespeaking metal know-how fer miles. Fans of Crimson Glory, Mercyful Fate, Warlord and Silver Mountain will get it. All too well. Contact: 1001 Simmons St., New Bern, NC 28560, widow@burning-village.com, www.burning-village.com or www.tribunalrecords.com

5) ANDREW W. BORDONI'S EARTHCUBED - 'The Rising' 5:37; from The Dark And The Divine (www.andrewbordoni.com)
Hot on the heels of the well-regarded Earth3 album, axe virtuoso Andrew Bordoni offers up a mesmerizing, elegant, old school power gothic spread sent progressively skyward through the vocals of Kristin Lamb. The proof, the dimension, the prowess, is in the songs, which go many places, surprise and scope at each turn. Contact: andrewbordoni@earthlink.net or www.andrewbordoni.com or 717 Monroe Ave., Saint Charles IL 60174.

6) THERMIK - 'Higher Grounds' 3:31; from Thermik EP (Thermik/Local Dist.)
Featuring members of Morkeum and Gorguts, Thermik have created a five track EP that goes against the grain of Quebec's usual black and death. The sound is atmospheric, melodic, emotional, and a bit mathcore... yet there's no mistaking the passion in this band's memorable, organic song constructs. Contact: www.thermik.ca or info@thermik.ca or 819-843-3356 or 30 de L'Ontario, Sherbrooke QC, Canada J1J 3P7

7) AMARAN - 'Atropine' 4:24; from Pristine In Bondage (Listenable)
This esteemed Swedish act have followed up their well-received A World Depraved with a record that focuses the band's unique talents for ahem, listenable thrash topped with euphoric, ethereal yet directly confident female vocals. Top class all the way. www.amaran.net or contact@amaran.net or www.listenable.net

8) TVANGESTE - 'Under The Black Raven's Wings' 5:52; from FireStorm (Neoblast)
Tvangeste are known as "The Prussian Treasure" and have already performed with the Baltic Symphony Orchestra. Fans of Therion and Cradle Of Filth will appreciate the timeless, classical layers in this band's intellectualized black metal sound. www.tvangeste.com or Jerome@neoblast.com or www.neoblast.com

9) SCARS OF TOMORROW - 'Suffocating Words' 3:26; from Rope Tied To The Trigger (Victory)
Obliterating the front edge of metal core is Southern Californian tactical unit Scars Of Tomorrow. This band's use of heroic riffs and lurching pregnant pauses results in songs that push and shove deep into your memory circuits. www.scarsoftomorrow.com or www.victoryrecords.com

10) 36 CRAZYFISTS - 'The Heart And The Shape' 3:11; from A Snow Capped Romance (Roadrunner)
Produced by James Wisner, A Snow Capped Romance is the crushing, more positive and forward-thinking follow-up to the harrowing Bitterness The Star album of '02. Stadium rock riffs collide with hardcore and grind rifs, topped with a vocal display that is as versatile as it is truly memorable. www.36crazyfists.com or www.roadrunnerrecords.com

11) INTO ETERNITY - 'Spiraling Into Depression' 3:36; from Buried In Oblivion (Century Media)
Canada's Into Eternity have taken the reigns and placed themselves at the forefront of whatever the next thing is after US metalcore is over. It's that simple. If Lamb Of God is leading now, Into Eternity point to bright new possibilities if the Lambs and God Forbids slip up. Yes, it IS a competition. mail@centurymedia.com or www.intoeternity.com or www.centurymedia.com

12) ENSOPH - 'Jaldabaoth At The Spring Of Time' 3:42; from Opus Dementiae (Cruz Del Sur)
If you wish to peer into the crinkled crease of goth metal's future, then look no deeper than this insanely intellectually electronically textured Italian cabal. Folks like Arcturus, Kovenant and Vintersorg better watch their backs. This album's off the hook. www.ensoph.it or www.cruzdelsurmusic.com or info@cruzdelsurmusic.com

13) CRYSTAL EYES - 'Highland Revenge' 5:01; from Vengeance Descending (DMP Sweden/Heavy Fidelity)
Crystal Eyes have created a gutsy, bottom-heavy power metal sound with high fidelity all around, a sound indicative of Sweden's distinguished roots in '80s metal mastery. Onto album three in 12 years of existence, Crystal Eyes commandeer this ship confidently with the weight of experience. Contact: Lindormsgatan 27, 506 44 Boras, Sweden or tommy@dmpsweden.net or www.dmpsweden.net or www.heavyfidelity.com

14) WWIII - 'Walk With Me' 3:48; from When God Turned Away (Reality Entertainment)
The legendary Mandy Lion is back with the follow-up to the classic WWIII debut album from 1990 (yes, you heard right!). And the voice is still vicious, the metal still rumbling, the lyrics, still provocative and intelligent. In short, the man and his band have talent - this sounds like a major label issue. Contact info@reality-entertainment.com or www.reality-entertainment.com

15) HYPOCRISY - 'Eraser' 4:26; from The Arrival (Nuclear Blast)
There's no mistaking the classic Hypocrisy sound, and that is quite pleasurably prevalent all over The Arrival. Huge guitars, pounding grooves and Peter's tortured howl... it's all hear on a fan-pleaser of an album. Hail! www.hypocrisy.com or www.nuclearblastusa.com

16) RED TAPE ARMY - 'Stalingrad' 2:59; from Radioactivist (Roadrunner)
Explosive is the first word that comes to mind with this hard-charging punk rock metal wonder. Red Tape Army recall the excitement of Black Flag, the Sex Pistols, G 'NR and AFI all rolled into one electric blitz. Produced by Amir Derakh for maximum power chord heft. www.redtapearmy.com or www.roadrunnerrecords.com

17) KORUM - 'Reminder' 3:37; from No Dominion (Neoblast)
French noise terrorists Korum utilize a bewildering amalgamation of influences to come up with their exotic caveman-carved death sound. No Dominion follows up on '02's Son Of The Breed, and fans of Neurosis, Mindrot, Eyes Of Fire and anything challenging, should get this. www.korum.org, www.sekhmet-records.com, www.neoblast.com or info@neoblast.com

18) VICTIMIZER - 'The Convict' 3:57; from Victimizer (Victimizer)
Montana's Victimizer are a bunch of young guys who "put this demo together in about six days with no money or time." The raw metal verve betrays the spontaneity but there's no denying the killer vocals of Taylor Stein, or the band's propensity for over-the-top electrics. Contact: taylorstein@yahoo.com or 406-460-1072 or 231 Sheridan Ave., Shelby, MT 59474.

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