MAGAZINE - KNUCKLETRACKS

KnuckleTracks #82

1) MASTODON - Blood & Thunder 3:47; from Leviathan (Relapse)
Much anticipated, Mastodon's new album will turn some heads with its musicality and crushing metal knowledge, the band fusing chops and hooks into a record that breathes possibility for extreme music's prospects. Quickly vaulting to the top of Relapse's priority list, Mastodon should rule in '04/'05. www.mastodonrocks.com or www.relapse.com

2) ANCIENT - 'Fuel The Flames' 4:46; from Night Visit (Metal Blade)
Norwegian black metal veterans ancient have discovered the holy grail of black metal cruxes, positioning their sound firmly in old school mystique with riffs and arrangements that borrow only sparingly from new school complexities. The result is a frightening and authentic shock of grimness. www.ancientband.com or www.metalblade.com

3) BORKNAGAR - 'Future Reminiscence' 5:26; from Epic (Century Media)
Borknagar have quietly, elusively found themselves standing at the pantheon of futuristic, visionary, progressive black metal, the legendary team of Oystein G. Brun and Vintersorg creating vaulted, swirling, panoramic blackness of an almost scientific vibe. Epic is just that: epic and ambitious at the level of heroic. www.borknagar.com or www.centurymedia.com

4) CARNAL FORGE - 'The Strength Of Misery' 3:25; from Aren't You Dead Yet? (Century Media)
Carnal Forge are the anchor of the melodic Scandinavian death metal movement, the band reminding the metal masses of the values that made the genre so magical in the early '00's and late '90s. The band's latest is a mighty slab of well-produced thrashing madness sure to tip a few beers. www.carnalforge.com or www.centurymedia.com

5) EXCITER - 'Pounding Metal' 3:39; from New Testament (Osmose/The End)
Ottawa's thrash legends Exciter have re-recorded their classics with the scorching new lineup, and the results are head-exploding, especially given the band's red-lined production choices. Relentlessly metal and expectedly cohesive, this is old school speed done up right. www.osmoseproductions.com or www.theendrecords.com or email 4-exciter-@sympatico.ca

6) INCAPACITY - 'Winged With Fire' 3:55; from 9th Order Extinct (Metal Blade)
Sweden's Incapacity are without a doubt the crowning example of a band fusing old school Swedish death with technical death from America as well as top level thrash. The result is an explosion of extremity topped with a palpable sheen of sophistication. www.metalblade.com

7) AYREON - 'Loser (Star One Version)' 3:31; from The Human Equation (InsideOut Music America)
Arjen Lucasen has pulled out all the stops and created what is possibly the grandest, most ambitious multi-star concept project in existence, The Human Equation bristling with virtuosic performances both musical and vocal, plus a rich storyline that reveals meaning listen upon listen. www.ayreon.com, info@insideoutmusic.com or www.insideoutmusic.com

8) CORNERSTONE - Once Upon Our Yesterdays 5:58; from Once Upon Our Yesterdays (Escapi)
Vibrant, sumptuous, progressive but quick to the fore with bucketfuls of songs, Cornerstone's latest is a timeless collection of songs that bows to no current traditional metal trends. Instead, the star power of its creators (Dougie White and Steen Morgensen) emanates from these Rainbow and Schenker-like gems. www.cornerstonemusic.dk or www.escapi.com

9) THERION - 'Blood Of Kingu' 5:43; from Lemuria/Siruis B (Nuclear Blast)
Therion is back with an expansive TWO full-length albums, 100 minutes of music addressing with craft and heady creative acumen the band's groundbreaking marriage between the heaven of classicist opera and the hell of heavy metal. Huge riffs, crystal clear sounds... this is a clinic from one of the greats. www.megatherion.com or www.nuclearblastusa.com

10) BLOODSHOTEYE - 'F.U.B.A.R' 4:58; from Without Any Remorse (Galy)
Yes indeed, those ultra-brutal vocals are girl-origin'ed, from an Ontario band that plays a mesmerizing, loose, atmospheric, sludgy form of metalcore that is as groovy as it is unique. What's more, D. Randall Blythe appears courtesy of Lamb of God and Epic Records. Contact: www.bloodshoteye.com, www.galyrecords.com, galy@galyrecords.com, 514-769-6137, 5100 De Verdun, POB 28544, Verdun QC, Canada H4G 3L7.

11) PRIMAL FEAR - 'Metal Is Forever' 4:46; from Devil's Ground (Nuclear Blast)
Easily one of the most memorable metal anthems of the '00s, 'Metal Is Forever' kicks off the latest Primal Fear album in pounding fashion. Fresh from their triumphant showing at BW&BK's 6-Pack 2 festival, Primal Fear, have proven themselves the kings of all things power metal. www.primalfear.de or www.nuclearblastusa.com

12) DREAM EVIL - 'The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians)' 5:25; from The Book Of Heavy Metal (Century Media)
Gus G. and his pack of veteran metal wolves have come up with another power metal-transcending collection of grinding metal anthems. Passion to the fore, Dream Evil also triumph through huge axe tones, slamming mid-paced grooves and molten production. Come hear why Dream Evil are one of the most talked about bands in the genre. www.dreamevil.se or www.centurymedia.com

13) THRESHOLD - 'Pressure' 5:13; from Subsurface (InsideOut Music America)
UK's most important progressive metal band, Threshold have captivated European audiences for years with their dazzling musicianship and hard-hitting, highly memorably vocal and instrumental melodies. Perfectly melding powerful guitars and keyboards, Threshold have created a timeless sound that grows more sophisticated yet understated with each release. www.thresh.net or info@thresh.net or info@insideoutmusic.com or www.insideoutmusic.com

14) GREENHAVEN - 'Southbound' 5:08; from Southbound Demo (Humble Recordings)
Fronted by ex-Windigo belter Matt Strangwayes, Greenhaven have been called Phoenix's Best Band by that city's New Times. Their sound is a beer-swilling cross between stoner rock and redneck rock, and the rhythmic fire inherent in the band's mind-expanding live shows is locally legendary. Contact: www.nonemoregreen.com or POB 37, Tempe AZ 85280-0037

15) MALEVOLENT CREATION - 'Preemptive Strike' 4:07; from Warkult (Nuclear Blast)
Florida's grandfathers of pure and scathing death metal are back with a record that is a maelstrom of complex yet old school riffing, brought garishly to life by production values that are thick yet lucid. Warkult is a daunting politically charged album fired in the crucible of death mastery. www.malevolentcreation.cjb.net or www.nuclearblastusa.com

16) 36 CRAZYFISTS - 'Bloodwork' 3:19; 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 riffs, topped with a vocal display that is as versatile as it is truly memorable. www.36crazyfists.com or www.roadrunnerrecords.com

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