KnuckleTracks #94

1) DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND – ‘Vampira (edit)’ 3:27; from Synchestra (InsideOut Music)
Our favourite strapping young lad returns with a gorgeous, soul-replenishing album layered for maximum gooey yum fun. But it’s still heavy, impressive, smothering and indicative of this man’s arcane sense of humour and creativity. In short, Dev definitely knows how to push the right buttons. or

2) DEMIRICOUS – ‘Vagrant Idol’ 3:36; from One (Metal Blade)
Indianapolis-based Demiricous are a new no-frills old school thrash act with just enough Lamb Of God technicality to warrant the buzz they’ve attracted. But it’s their combination of Slayer-esque gruffness with German thrash seriousness (plus a hint of death) that lends the band much weight. A big label priority for ’06 and beyond. or

3) EYES OF FIRE – ‘It All Dies Today’ 5:28; from Prisons (Century Media)
From the ashes of the revered Mindrot rose Eyes Of Fire, and the burning flame of that legendary band is very much at work on this band’s epic, Neurosis-wide metal collisions. Mastodon and Isis producer Matt Bayles has helped the band hone their vision into more manageable pieces and the result is one of the grander art metal works of the ‘00s. or

4) DIMMU BORGIR – ‘Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen’ 4:44; from Stormblast (Nuclear Blast)
Black metal’s supreme beings re-record a caustic old classic of theirs with frightening lessons learned and the results are stupendous, Stormblast taking on new heft as well as sonic precision. Two additional tracks are included. or

5) SINAMORE – ‘Sleeping Away’ 4:52; from A New Day (Napalm)
Described as “sad, bittersweet, biting, dark and melancholic,” Sinamore’s chugging gothic rock is similar to that of their Finnish compatriots Sentenced, only this is a cleaner, more dynamic presentation, Sinamore’s professionalism and conquest of craft sure to make them the next big name in frosty Metallica-esque Finn fare. or

6) NON HUMAN LEVEL – ‘Personal Hell’ 4:21; from Non Human Level (Listenable)
Non Human Level is the inspiringly kick-ass side-project of Darkane guitarist Christofer Malmstrom, who enlists a few other esteemed metal compatriots in construction of an album packed with technical songs (with vocals – these are thrash anthems!) and a bunch of surprise arrangements that will have you headbanging ‘til bloody. A Swedish death masterpiece with Tampa overtones. or

7) PHARAOH – ‘Up The Gates’ 5:18; from The Longest Night (Cruz Del Sur)
Aggressive US power metal act Pharaoh follow up their well-received After The Fire debut with more twin lead-strafd retro-thrashed power madness. Fronted by Control Denied’s Tim Aymar, Pharaoh also snagged Megadeth’s Chris Poland for a guest slot for this record built for headbanging hell. or

8) CHAIN COLLECTOR – ‘Neverwhere’ 5:03; from The Masquerade (Sound Riot)
Norway’s Chain Collector are an instantly charismatic melodic death supergroup capably helmed by members of Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation, Trail Of Tears, Dismal Euphony and In The Woods. The production is scintillating, the vocals various and rich, the songs gorgeously crafted for maximum violence. or

9) FAST CHESTER – ‘Forbidden Fruit’ 3:51; from Fast Chester (Fast Chester)
Cleveland’s Fast Chester are rock veterans you ain’t heard of, but the power of experience grinds from these grooves. Picture Trouble crossed with King’s X – basically solid gold but somewhat doom riffs for miles often mired in groovy, funky metal madness – and you’ve got close to this band’s swinging sound. Live, they’ve played with them all, and live, their singular rhythm-rocked style has killed bigger bands in their tracks. or

10) CATHEDRAL – ‘Tree Of Life & Death’ 4:35; from The Garden Of Unearthly Delights (Nuclear Blast)
Lee Dorrian has delivered waves and waves of stacked and ancient riffery o’er the years, to the point where it is really Cathedral, Trouble and Candlemass that sit perched as the undisputed heavyweight trinity of doom. Psychedelic chunks of granite heaviosity await those who dare enter Lee’s briar patch. or

11) SEVEN WITCHES – ‘GP Fix’ 3:38; from Amped (Candlelight USA)
Jack Frost and Seven Witches have been upholding the cause of pure American metal for years. Now he’s joined forces with Hades/Non-Fiction legend Alan Tecchio and the results are passion-filled and steeped in experience and love of hard music. Support the cause! or

12) WITT – ‘Ahhh!!!’ 3:50; from Bayreuth 3 (Dancing Ferret)
Joachim Witt has sold over two million records over a 30 year career and his new album is an all too clear indication where Rammstein’s chief inspiration lies. An impassioned plea against fascism, Bayreuth 3 is a varied, layered, intelligent, finely tuned collection of industrial metal sculptures. or

13) OVERLORDE – ‘Snow Giant’ 3:11; from Return Of The Snow Giant (Sonic Age)
US pure metal legends Overlorde have roots back 20 years, and in 2004, completed a triumphant renaissance with their Return Of The Snow Giant. Still garnering rave reviews the world over, the band’s incendiary live shows and stranglehold grasp of traditional metal has ensure continued upward trajectory. or or

14) FALKENBACH – ‘Heralder’ 5:12; from Heralding The Fireblade (Napalm)
Recording only sporadically since their 1989 birthing, Falkenbach have built a career steeped in the mystique of epic folk metal tinged enigmatically by blackness. This is their fourth, and the unearthly yet mesmerizingly organic magic continues. or

15) PRIESTESS – ‘Lay Down’ 3:05; from Hello Master (Indica)
Montreal’s Priestess are a hot buzz band coast to coast of Canada due to their slamming retro hard rock chops and songs that have little comparison save for those of that other killer Canuck band The Illuminati. Cross Mountain with Fireball Ministry and you’re sort of in this band’s smashing seductive stonesphere. Contact: 4579, St-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada H2T 1R2, 514-289-9390,, or

16) ENSOPH – ‘Condemned (In The Penal Colony)’ 3:59; from Project X-Katon (Cruz Del Sur)
Italy’s Ensoph have crowned their nine years in existence thus far with one of the big philosophical albums of the year. But excepting the band’s exotic lyrical bent, the discerning listener can find unfathomable depth in Ensoph’s futuristic musical textures and arrangements beyond the norm. or or

17) CAVEAT – ‘The One’ 5:40; from Caveat (Scarab Productions)
Calgary’s Caveat are leading up to the much anticipated follow-up to ‘04’s The Biggest Secret with an EP that displays an astonishing depth and variety of metal exploration. The band’s sound defies description, but expect something akin to rhythm-steeped progressive thrash, bands like Mordred, Death Angel and Atheist coming to mind. This is out there, but strangely logical, arrangements and vocal range legion, brain metal your breakfast. Contact: Suite 22, 2526 Battleford Ave. SW, Calgary AB Canada T3E 7J4,, 403-240-7850, or