KnuckleTracks #92

1) CRYPTOPSY – ‘The Pestilence That Walketh In Darkness (Psalm 91 : 5-8)’ 3:26; from Once Was Not (Century Media)
Quebec’s Cryptopsy return with the visionary death metal album of the year, Once Was Not lashing out with the surreal nightmarescapes of the legendary Lord Worm, o’ertop a complex and cutting edge attack that is steadfast and logical of song as well. or

2) PATHS OF POSSESSION – ‘The Second Coming’ 3:23; from Promises In Blood (Metal Blade)
Florida’s Paths Of Possession features none other than Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher adding his traditional death bite to a potent mix of songs that combine Swedish death, Bay Area thrash and… Six Feet Under! That is to say, this is a groovier, more earthy rock ride than that of the Corpse. Production by the esteemed Erik Rutan ices the blood-drenched wedding cake. or

3) THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD – ‘Two Inches From A Main Artery’ 5:27; from Bloodlust (Prosthetic)
Through The Eyes Of The Dead is the hotly anticipated new signing for one of metal’s fastest growing and most revered new labels, Prosthetic Records, tastemakers of the new extreme. Whirling technicality, warm, crushing production values, and metal riffs shot through with the traditional… this is a blend both potent and palatable. or

4) EXODUS – ‘Going Going Gone’ 4:59; from Shovel Headed Kill Machine (Nuclear Blast)
Exodus are of course the unheralded geniuses of the Bay Area thrash movement – long story, but Exodus helped Metallica in many ways to the fame they quickly garnered. In any event, the masters are back, fully thrashing with their patented anchored weight, hi-fidelity and veteran virtuosity. The lineup’s a l’il changed, but the thrash remains their dastardly domain. or

5) HIGH ON FIRE – ‘Cometh Down Hessian’ 5:14; from Blessed Black Wings (Relapse)
High On Fire have been reverently called by critics the world over as a top-flight doom infused with the attitude of Motorhead. Perhaps it is the band’s uncommon noisemaking skill and kill factor that has caused the band to crossover into non-metal regions – and all this, despite the flame-throwing danger and dirt of their incendiary sound. or

6) OPETH – ‘Beneath The Mire’ 7:57; from Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner)
Mikael Akerfeldt and his dauntless prog metal explorers have turned in the perfect Opeth record, one which fuses the divergent high class elements of Deliverance and Damnation into a headphone-firing feast for the ears. Opeth are no less than the Led Zeppelin of the new millennium. or

7) THE DUSKFALL – ‘Shoot It In’ 3:21; from Lifetime Supply Of Guilt (Nuclear Blast)
The Duskfall have now turned in their third record, and this Swedish quartet have found a compact, combative, very fast sort of European death metal utterly lacking in compromise, save for the high fidelity of their production and class of execution. The band’s two previous releases, Frailty and Source are considered cult classics – come see why. or

8) SECRETS SHE KEPT – ‘Damnation Black’ 4:02; from Requiems To Midnight, Woe (Morbid Souls)
As a follow-up to this Florida black metal band’s much-lauded 2002 demo, the seven track, 38 minute Requiems album is an evil cathedral of black metal madness, incorporating doom influences but mostly anchoring itself to classic old school black metal speed, not to mention blood-curdling vocals and lyrics of deathly intelligence. Contact: 302 SE 8th. Ave., Williston FL 32696, 352-220-7974, or

9) PRIMAL FEAR – ‘The Immortal Ones’ 4:18; from Seven Seals (Nuclear Blast)
German power metal titans Primal Fear have turned in a brave new record packed full of exquisite detailing, vocalist Ralf Scheepers also going to the wall, wrenching your heart out with a bloodied but unbowed performance that almost killed him in the studio. As well, with Mike Fraser mixing in Vancouver, this is Primal Fear’s finest hour. or

10) OVERLOADED – ‘Hellfire’ 3:16; from Hellfire (Overloaded)
This Detroit band’s first single ‘Feeling Overloaded’ is all over Detroit radio, and it’s not hard to see why, Overloaded sounding like a grinding traditional heavy metal band with a bit of Skid Row but a huge amount of slamming bottom end. Add to that the leonine, power-packed vocals of Erik Kluiber, and you’ve got a band that should be out backing up Velvet Revolver and Audioslave, like NOW. Contact: 11324, beech Daly Rd., Redford MI 48239, 248-425-0104, or

11) HELLFUELED – ‘Midnight Lady’ 4:24; from Volume One (Nuclear Blast)
Sweden’s Hellfueled are an explosive mix of styles heretofore unknown in metal – Picture Black Label Society crossed with Pantera and the heaviest of hair metals, fronted by Ozzy and you’re happily headbanging with Hellfueled. Produced white hot by Fredrik Nordstrom for maximum metal impact. or

12) FIREBALL MINISTRY – ‘Sundown’ 4:27; from Their Rock Is Not Our Rock (Liquor And Poker)
L.A.’s Fireball Ministry have been called the #1 metal band you need to know now” by Guitar World, their sleazy, laid-back AC/DC-styled riffs and cavernous rhythm sound and section instantly causing heads to bob and beers to drain. Thickly, warmly produced by Nick Raskulinecz, Their Rock is a grinding retro rocker weirdly dark but always smoothly drinkable. or

13) KILLERS OF MODERN AGONY – ‘Crushing Down’ 4:36; from the forthcoming album (K.O.M.A.)
Currently working on their third CD, Missouri’s K.O.M.A. call themselves, amusingly, “An Original Death Dealing Metal Band” and their fresh approach can be heard on this thumping, hooky yet grinding track. Melodies are obtuse, genre pigeon-holing impossible, and the grooves potent and palpable. Catch ‘em live – they’ve knocked ‘em dead all over the eastern states. Contact: 1622 Rudelle, Florissant, MO 63031 or

14) A LOWER DEEP – ‘A Grief Observed’ 6:09; from Trinity (Raven Flight)
Combine the mathematical genius of Opeth with an earthy, uneasy sense of doom, and you’ve got yourself in an inescapable tangle with Alabama’s seductive A Lower Deep. Trinity is the band’s third release, and the experience shines through these exotic dark metal journeys. Contact: POB 26116, Birmingham, AL 35260, or

15) BESEECH – ‘Innerlane’ 4:05; from Sunless Days (Napalm)
Six months in the making, Sunless Days is a masterful symphony of male and feamel voices, groovy goth, Gothenberg tones and Anathema-like creativity. The fully animated video of ‘Innerlane’ demonstrates that this band is looking to a bright future as leaders in the artistic metal realm. or or

16) SEKSHUN.8. – ‘Toymaker’ 4:37; from Sekshun.8. demo (Sekshun.8.)
Out of the blue, Sekshun.8. had received a call from none other than Bob Ezrin, who expressed interest in producing the band. That has fallen through, but there’s no questioning the passion and modern metal sturdiness and smarts of this Virginia band’s arrestingly percussive sound. Contact: 7 Damon Ct., Portsmouth, VA 23701, 757-465-0425, or