Knuckletracks #87

1) STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - 'Love?' 5:43; from Alien (Century Media)
Alien is a fierce restatement of territory from Devin, Gene, Jed and Byron, and live, man... look out. Combining the thrash of SYL and the manic layering and speed of classics like City, Alien is a cathedral of terror-filled metal sounds, iced o'er top with all the wry life observations from Devin you've grown to crave. or

2) SIX FEET UNDER - 'The Art Of Headhunting' 3:32; from 13 (Metal Blade)
Chris Barnes and crew have knuckled down and delivered a roaring old school death metal feast here that is alternately among the band's fastest, heaviest, riffiest, most bass-ridden of the catalogue. And Barnes' voice is smoldering, ashen, diabolically bereft of light, captivating. An explosive headbang. or

3) JAMES LABRIE - 'Crucify' 6:01; from Elements Of Persuasion (InsideOut Music America)
Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie has created a monster of a third solo album, the singer-legend surrounding himself with top-flight players and sound-enablers on Elements Of Persuasion, his heaviest solo spread to date. Fans of Train Of Thought will find kinship in this album's relentless riffs and progressive madness. or

4) SOILWORK - 'Stabbing The Drama' 4:33; from Stabbing The Drama (Nuclear Blast)
Soilwork are the hardest-working, quickest-striking band on the melodic death metal circuit, winning over increasingly larger throngs of fans with their fearless incorporation of proggy, industrial and melodic elements into hard as nails musicianship. As well, Bjorn is proving himself a first-rate vocal technician, able to match wits with his superlative, creative band mates. or

5) SOULSCAR - 'Unmade' 4:01; from Victim Impact Statement (Galy)
Vancouver's Soulscar have for years been considered the underground's best kept secret. Now the metal community will get to hear what the buzz is all about, Andrew Staeling and Soulscar delivering an exquisite, highly unique form of melodic death that thrives on enigmatic intimacy and elliptically, more melody than usual.,, 514-769-6137, or

6) PAINMUSEUM - 'PainmuseuM (Metal For Life)' 4:36; from Metal For Life (C.M.M. Entertainment)
Halford technician Metal Mike Chlasciak has created the ultimate gritty, spitting nails metal album for those pure of heart and headbanging disposition. Inspiring in its heads-down, high octane metal perfection, PainmuseuM's debut is loud and proud, start to finish. Contact: C.M.M. Entertainment, LLC, P.O. Box 7331, No. Arlington, NJ 07031-7331 USA or or

7) CEPHALIC CARNAGE - 'Dying Will Be The Death Of Me'4:44; from Anomalies (Relapse)
Cephalic Carnage show up strong with their eagerly anticipated fourth full-length, set to give the Dillingers and Mastodons a run for their wallets. Fact is, this thing is a well-recorded, well-reasoned masterpiece of visionary metal worthy of the band's insane reputation so far. or

8) LIVE SHE CRIES - 'This Asylum' 3:33; from Neon Jungle (Live She Cries)
With an irresistible traditional classic metal sound that manages to avoid power metal, Canada's Live She Cries have a versatile, fresh sound on their hands. Add to that a seductively doomy voice in lead singer Spider, and you've got a band with dimension and soul. Contact: 2130 Lamprey Drive, Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada V3C 1K2,,, 604-736-6074, or

9) NAPALM DEATH - 'Silence Is Deafening' 3:50; from The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code (Century Media)
Grind grandmuthas Napalm Death have lashed back with another heart-pounding, technical maelstrom of an ass-thrasher, Barney and crew not forgetting their proud and defiant political positions in the process. The Code Is Red is the work of an angry band that is angrier than ever, and able to transform that anger into deeds. or

10) STEVE GAINES - 'I Create Your God' 4:52; from Anger As Art (Unsigned)
Steve Gaines - vocalist, guitarist, bassist. Abattoir, Bloodlust, Dreams Of Damnation, Pagan War Machine. Songwriter, producer, thrash metal pioneer. Now, for the first time, Steve Gaines steps out on his own as a solo artist. No backing band, no safety net, no one else to blame. All performances - Steve Gaines. Contact POB 5483, Pasadena CA 91117, or

11) ALL SHALL PERISH - 'Deconstruction' 2:50; from Hate, Malice, Revenge (Nuclear Blast)
Oakland CA's All Shall Perish are a furnace blast of fresh air, given their uncompromising old school death metal values. But it's their technical prowess - which carries over into this debut album's crushing production - that sets them apart. Don't look of New Wave Of American Heavy Metal crooning here - these guys are all grind, all the time. or

12) DESPISED ICON - 'Silver Plated Advocate' 3:59; from The Healing Process (Century Media)
This manic, panicked Canadian six-piece have found the golden mean between the complication of Dying Fetus, Nasum and DEP, and the guttural bottom end of traditional death. Perhaps it's the dry, heaving, heavy Cannibal-style production, but there's something very weighty about this band, despite the intellectual fireworks inherent in the execution. or

13) NIGHTRAGE - 'Being Nothing' 3:10; from Descent Into Chaos (Century Media)
Led by Dream Evil's Gus G. and At The Gates' Tomas Lindberg, melodic death metallers Nightrage took the metal world by storm with their debut Sweet Vengeance album. Descent Into Chas displays even greater depth and experience, the band creating a quick-paced maelstrom of melodic death purity that only the likes of, say, Dark Tranquillity could dare muster. or

14) BLEED THE SKY - 'Minion' 4:11; from Paradigm In Entropy (Nuclear Blast)
Orange County CA's Bleed The Sky are a new six-piece that sound like seasoned veterans of death metal and hardcore battles - both coasts American and Scandinavian as well. Their sound is hugely varied, their musicianship sterling, and their metal knowledge seemingly infinite. Some of the best riffs you'll her in '05 are right here. Lamb Of God - prepare to be slaughtered! or

15) BEHEMOTH - 'Conquer All' 3:29; from Demigod (Century Media)
Behemoth have rapidly become the most highly regarded metal band from Poland, the unflagging loyalty of Nergal and his terror tyrants to top drawer death metal methodically gathering a fanbase that is as steadfast as it is discerning. Demigod is the latest chapter of uncompromising sonic evil and blighted production aggression., or

16) RAZORHEART - 'Speeddemon' 3:26; from forthcoming CD (Razorheart)
As the band says, Razorheart is an "unsigned band raising the flag for true metal with powerful anthems, fast solos and charging riffs." That's all we at the office have for info - Email 'em and ask 'em more! Contact 616 W. Liberty, Mercedes TX 78570, 956-565-3514, or

17) ALTERE - 'I Just Don't Know...' 4:45; from Altere demo (Altere)
Without a doubt the most mysterious track we've ever received, this is apparently Pawel Goj's last musical release before he despondently quits the business after "years of trying" (and then we find out he's only 21!). What you get is an emotionally crippled, barely discernible atmospheric My Dying Bride dirge that would make even Aaron cry. Contact 120 Freeman St., Apt. 3F, Brooklyn NY 11222 or or