KnuckleTracks #91

1) GOD FORBID – ‘Chains Of Humanity’ 4:03; from IV: Constitution Of Treason (Century Media)
Embarking on a massive tour with The Haunted, Meshuggah and Mnemic, God Forbid will come armed with a ripping new album as well. Touted as one of the originators of the current metalcore movement, God Forbid are in fact the state of the art when it comes to flahs, finesse, progressive acumen and stadium-ready song skills – all rolled into a white hot ball of flame. or

2) CANNAE – ‘Rats, Snakes And Thieves’ 4:19; from Gold Becomes Sacrifice (Prosthetic)
Foremost among metalcore bands, due to their ruthless professionalism plus subtleties like smooth transitions, accessible production values, and grooving, flowing, yet formidable drum work, Cannae have a crushing metal symphony on their hands. Additionally, vocalist Adam Dulong has one of the most monumental roars on the scene. Catch them live and you’ll be a fan for life. or

3) BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – ‘I’m Charming’ 2:54; from Miasma (Metal Blade)
Black Dahlia Murder are no less than the hottest band in metal right now, and they’ve done it with zero compromise – in fact, it’s incredible that music this heavy, this fast and this technical, with vocals this shocking, could sell as briskly as Miasma has. It just goes to show, like Slayer and Slipknot in previous generations, that metal fans can take anything if it’s done well. Congrats all around. or or

4) OBITUARY – ‘Insane’ 3:20; from Frozen In Time (Roadrunner)
No question Obituary are one of the crowning forces in death metal history, and now they have returned, al doomy and old school and spewing from the vocal… this is a distinctly morose form of heaviness that only the chemistry of this band can produce. All hail the bosses of original grind. or

5) HYPOCRISY – ‘Scrutinized’ 4:24; from Virus (Nuclear Blast)
Shocked with new life due to the addition of Immortal drummer Horgh, Peter’s longstanding and legendary Swedish death machine is back and biting with lethal fury. Including the trudging, but mostly lashing out with speed, Virus is a testimony to the skills of one of the genre’s most prolific and talented warhorses. or

6) KING’S X – ‘Alone’ 2:56; from Ogre Tones (InsideOut Music)
King’s X are entirely of their own ecstatically ebullient genre, and now they’ve raised their impossibly high as a kite game by teaming up with massive smash producer Michael Wagener. The meeting of minds has resulted in a disciplined record full up with all the things that have made this Houston trio one of the most revered acts of the last 18 or so years. or

7) WETWORK – ‘Heavens Advocate’ 3:43; from Synod (Krankenhaus)
Combining mechanistic, cold, mathematical death metal permutations with fierce female vocals along the lines of Angela Gossow, Wetwork have struck a balance that allows effortless ebb and flow through this 39 minute symphony of blackness. The playing is superlative, but it is the merciless dourness of these alien riffs that captivates the discerning listener. Contact: 178 Front St. E, #202, Toronto, ON, Canada M5A 1E6, or

8) WATCH THEM DIE – ‘Bastard Son’ 3:05; from Bastard Son (Century Media)
Oakland’s Watch Them Die use their collective histories mercilessly, turning in a hardcore death metal hybrid that confounds critics and drives fans maniacal. Add a bit of Swedish death, fried production, twisted melody and veteran precision, and you’ve got potent post-metalcore that is beyond categorization. or

9) SCAR SYMMETRY - ‘Underneath The Surface’ 3:50; from Symmetric In Design (Nuclear Blast)
Heroic twin riffing, a mix between death and superlatively clean Opeth-like vocals, plus futuristic keyboards… Scar Symmetry have used this all to great advantage to turn in a progressive death debut that has the band seen as throne-usurpers to Soilwork. Featuring members from Carnal Forge, Theory In Practice, Centinex and Incapacity and Diabolical, Scar Symmetry has accomplished all this in a little more than one lone year as a working unit. Scary. or

10) METHODUST – ‘Lost’ 3:44; from The Numbing Victory – Demo 2005 (Methodust)
Five years and seven songs later, Methodust have their first four recorded, and purposely, the sound is caked in distortion, the band going for an old school vibe placed uniquely upon the nexus between black metal and thrash-based death metal. The demo can be purchased from the band’s website. New, crushing, brutal and palpably underground writing is now in the process. Contact: 1630 W. Covina Blvd., Sp. #94, San Dimas, CA, USA 91773, or

11) ATHEIST – ‘And The Physic Saw’ 4:42; from Questionable Presence (Relapse)
The legendary Atheist are the great puzzle piece to the progressiveness rifling through death and metalcore today. Relapse has therefore, very appropriately, embarked on a glorious reissue campaign, adding a mountain of rarities to the legacy of this pioneering extreme art rock act of the early ‘90s. or

12) SOILENT GREEN – ‘Leaves Of Three 3:27; from Confrontation (Relapse)
With much tragedy befalling the band, Soilent Green soldier on, pour the pain in and pour it on, turning in a gorgeously recorded and beautifully bookletted collection of intellectual sludge benchmarks. It’s an uncanny sort of progressive this band embodies, one tailor-made only for them, all effortless finesse and shocking twists and turns that work without their pain becoming yours. or

13) NAGLFAR – ‘A Swarm Of Plagues’ 4:47; from Pariah (Century Media)
While Cradle and Dimmu get the glory, Naglfar have been keeping the razor-mad cult of black metal alive, as much as one can be cult with such mercilessly advanced execution and veteran-steeped wealth of ideas. Naglfar’s track record is unassailable, and Pariah is as black as black can get. or

14) AFTERLIFE – ‘With A Look From The Outside’ 4:05; from From The Outside In E Minor (Afterlife)
Afterlife hail from Arkansas, and it is perhaps the isolation from the metal scene that has resulted in a swirling, progressive yet grimly dark 11-track album filled and fulfilled with drama. Rhythmic and rife with careening plot twists, From The Outside is also distinguished by passionate dual male/female vocal constructs. Contact: 2120 South L St., Fort Smith, AR 72901, (479) 561-6364, or

15) PORTAL – ‘Tempus Fugit’ 4:17; from Seepia (Profound Lore)
Originally issued in 2003, this terrifying death metal classic from Australia has now seen elegant, digipak reissue. No death metal record on earth sounds as horrifically submerged in maniac madness. Swirled, twisted, tortuously broken and then buried under layers of geometric filth, Seepia will reengineer your previously held conceptions of the term progressive. Contact: POB 12046, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5C 4R7, or

16) STREAM OF PASSION – ‘Deceiver’ 5:07; from Embrace The Storm (InsideOut Music)
Ayreon’s Arjen Lucassen teams up with Mexican diva Marcela Bovio for a stunning progressive tour de force that will have fans of top-flight, high fidelity classic atmospheric rock floored. Bovio is a gem of a find, her vocals and violin work blessing this masterpiece with angelic beauty and beyond. or

17) MY EMPTY ROOM – ‘Blind (edit)’ 5:46; from Grand Illusions (My Empty Room)
This Danish prog metal band now have out their second album in their six year existence, Grand Illusions sporting four tracks totaling 41 minutes. The sound is fresh, with ebullient melodies, intelligent lyrics and golden ‘70s touchstones, the three years since Unknown Guest definitely having been worth the wait. or or

18) SKULLSHIFTER – ‘I, Punishment’ 5:36; from Here In Hell (Skullshifter)
Focusing on the darkest, most primitive urges which are in constant turmoil within every one of us and lashing out with menacing metallic fury, Skullshifter expresses the anger, fear, and frustration we are forced to endure in order to function inside the civilized boundaries of society. Huge riffs, scorching leads and distinctive vocals roar forward on a thunderous wave of bass and percussion with enough force to lay waste anyone and everything in Skullshifter’s path. Contact: 199 Everett Road, Parsippany NJ 07054 USA, or