KNuckleTracks #80

1) DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN - 'Panasonic Youth' 2:28; from Miss Machine (Relapse)
The kings of grind are back to show all the pretenders why there can only be one leader. Production, memorable songs, performance... it's all here on a panic-stricken record of palpitating proportions! or

2) DEATH ANGEL - 'Thicker Than Blood' 3:42; from The Art Of Dying (Nuclear Blast)
Arguably the Bay Area thrash band with the best reputation for quality and personality, Death Angel are back in fine form. All reviews for this album have been extremely positive, the band delivering an enthusiastic, economical, clean and fast record that will surprise many. or or

3) WOLF - 'Wolf's Blood' 3:54; from Evil Star (Prosthetic)
If Hammerfall saved the world through power metal, Wolf are here to save power metal from itself. Wolf rule, people love them, and Evil Star is even better than their Maiden-esque last. Why? The references to European old school traditional and the NWOBHM are assimilated more professionally, which works wonders given the start talent of this dead cool power trio. or or or

4) SUFFOCATION - 'Souls To Deny' 5:45; from Souls To Deny (Relapse)
The death legends responsible for the classic Effigy Of The Forgotten are back! Souls To Deny is a bracing blast of old school combined with all the fire of the new. What's more, the recording (self-produced, no less!) is the epitome of dry purebred power, allowing the band's high concept deathsterpieces to breathe rarified air indeed. or

5) DISILLUSION - 'Fall' 4:54; from Back To Times Of Splendor (Metal Blade)
Germany's Disillusion have discovered the missing sweet spot between progressive, thrash, death and black metal. Hard to put into words, but this highly recommended album is a new subgenre unto itself, and the execution of such an intellectually high-minded nexus is thankfully first rate. The album is much like this track, but with longer songs. Brilliant, simply brilliant. or

6) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - 'Crazy Or High' 3:34; from Hangover Music Vol. VI (Spitfire/Eagle Rock)
Zakk's back after the huge success of The Blessed Hellride with a little mood music to keep you alive the day after, that is, until late in the day, when you're ready for more shred. Come hear the sensitive side of Ozzy's right-hand ping-merchant... no doubt, you will come away impressed at the versatility of metal's favourite caveman. or

7) ENFORSAKEN - 'Tales Of Bitterness' 5:48; from The Forever Endeavor (Olympic)
No one looks to Chicago for grinding, passionate melodic thrash, but if they did, Enforsaken would be there banging numerous heads. In fact, adding a thick, no compromise death spin that could only come from the US, this white hot upstart has got their hands clutched around a lethal new weapon. or

8) KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - 'Rose Of Sharyn' 3:36; from The End Of Heartache (Roadrunner)
Even the bands are saying, man, if anybody can break metalcore to the next level, it is this band of perennial touring favourites. Quite simply, Killswitch Engage's sense of dynamic and love of pure metal riffery is superlative and imbued with star power. or

9) PANIC CELL - 'Damn Self Pity' 4:34; from Bitter Part Of Me (Panic Cell)
If anybody has taken the bull by the horns in combining crushing, percussive early '90s metal (Machine Head, Pantera) with the emotional passion of late '90s hard rock, it is this highly professional UK act. Each track on here offers something new, building a synergistic record of sheer headbanging pleasure. Sure to be signed soon! Contact 136 High St., Ramsgate, Kent, England CT11 9TY, or

10) ANVIL - 'Fuel For The Fire' 4:00; from Back To Basics (Galy/Screaming Ferret)
Back with a vengeance and some surprising new dimensions are Canadian thrash titans Anvil. No one is more dedicated to the timeless ideals of classic thrash than Lips, Robb and crew. Add fuel to the fire and check it out! Contact: For the label in Canada:, and 514-769-6137. For the label in the US:, and 603-770-0648.

11) RIVAL - 'Brink' 3:29; from State Of Mind (Metal Blade)
With roots back to 1990, Chicago's Rival have worn a long path of ascendance toward their present status as most exciting, exacting and intense pure power metal band in the Americas. With the unique vocal penetration of John Johnson, the band has a weapon that can compete with their merciless chops and speed. or

12) BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA - 'Ravishing Music' 5:45; from On Earth As It Is In Heaven (Babylon Mystery Orchestra)
They've been with us before, and certainly, this Alabama band remains an enigma. BMO is the brainchild of axe wizard Sidney Allen Johnson, and what the man hath wrought is strange indeed, an absolutely unique form of gothic metal with heady spiritual lyrics, low-crooning vocals, slow doomy metal and depressive acoustics. Contact: 610 Flowers St., Greenville AL 36037 or or

13) MORGION - 'The Mourner's Oak' 6:05; from Cloaked In Ages, Crowned In Earth (Dark Symphonies)
Morgion have skulked back to take their position of doomiest doom band on the planet. Talk about bleak, this stupendous release is also beautiful, the band arriving in funereal but surprisingly melodic and mellow mood, making those patented blood-gurgled guitars of theirs - when they enter and spread - that much more powerful. or or

14) SOUL LESS DIVINE - 'Summoning The Slaves Of Worship' 3:32; from Dishonourable Suffering (Soul Less Divine)
Together for over six years, this fearsome foursome has melded the finest elements the death genre has to offer to produce a metal album of imposing proportions. Autumn '04 will mark the band's next release from this veritable force of extreme metal. Contact: 6 Ranson Place, London, ON N6G 1V6 or or

15) BURNTHE8TRACK - 'Two Worlds Apart' 4:04; from The Ocean (Abacus)
Burnthe8track have honed their sound to a perfect blend of punk cred, metal riffs, prog grandiosity and an esteemed take on melodic alternative that recalls heavy REM or anthemic Fugazi. Whatever your take on these rock-saving enigmas, you can't question the inspiring value of the band's pioneering left-field approach to guitar rock. or

16) ELEPHANT - 'Storm Of Wrath' 4:00; from Obsidian Hell (Elephant)
Cranking an exotic, oddly punky form of speed/power/thrash/traditional/doom, North Carolina's Elephant are definitely a weird one, full of ideas, memorable pure metal riffs, mystery... it's like they exist outside of time. Tons of wild lyrics complete the package. Contact: 6323 Old Street, Nags Head, NC 27959 or or

17) UNHOLY GHOST - 'The Calling Of Sin' 3:47; from Torrential Reign (Olympic)
Risen from the ashes of Diabolic, this Tampa-based death machine supergroup just might be the most caustically brutal and brilliant band within the U.S. Death and blackness beyond, combine with seasoned blasted skills to create an extreme record with just a hint of various old schools to keep it from exploding entirely. or