KnuckleTracks #98

1) VOIVOD – ‘X-Stream’ 4:58; from Katorz (The End)
Voivod’s Katorz is panoramic testimony to the genius of the sadly deceased Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, bridging the songfulness of the directly previous self-titled, with the sci-fi prog madness of Angel Rat and The Outer Limits. Come here what we’ve lost when Piggy left us all too soon. or

2) STRAPPING YOUNG LAD – ‘U Suck’ 2:40; from The New Black (Century Media)
Devin and his whitecapped madcaps thrash out with a wink and a blur on this masterful throwback to the City vibe. ‘U Suck’ roars beyond a stingy melody, with Dev’s self-deprecating humour cutting through the skullfry. The reviews are in and folks are diggin’ The New Black. or

3) ALL THAT REMAINS – ‘This Calling’ 3:41; from The Fall Of Ideals (Prosthetic)
All That Remains are spearheading a particularly frenetic and professional metalcore movement, consisting of exacting drum skills, searing production values and superlative riffs culled from years of listening to the metal greats. Judging from their inexorable rise, All That Remains are destined to be one of the high points of the summer concert season and beyond. or

4) BURN IN SILENCE – ‘Lines From An Epitaph’ 3:43; from Angel Maker (Prosthetic)
Massachusetts post-metal engineers Burn In Silence have honed for themselves a blinding and bright new sound, built of strident rhythms beneath a bed of metalcore riffs, wholly distinguished by symphonic keyboard washes that unify the panoramic presentation impressively. Wild creativity is at hand, with a jagged link back to early Relapsecore and Faith No More. or

5) WASTEFALL – ‘The Muzzle Affection’ 5:25; from Self Exile (Sensory/The Laser’s Edge)
Purveyors of professional, passionate power prog, these Greek veterans put on a display of edgy, complicated music that lifts the soul. Fans of Vanden Plas and Evergrey take note – this is a band brimming with fresh ideas and the skills to make them take flight. or

6) TWIN METHOD – ‘The Abrasive’ 3:06; from The Volume Of Self (Crash)
Twin Method are from Liverpool, England, but distinguish themselves by playing a heavily US-styled melodic modern metal, mixing roaring vocals with very hooky, melodic vocals. A patina of keyboards adds a chill-out touch, and a sophisticated, potential radio smash is born. or

7) CATARACT – ‘Tongues Spitting Hate’ 3:14; from Kingdom (Metal Blade)
Swiss metal madmen Cataract are garnering huge reviews for their relentless and top-notch Slayer-esque thrash. Crushing, gorgeously produced and percussive, Kingdom is a gorging feast of neck-snapping riffs, hoary vocals, and songs that kill metalcore dead. or

8) PHAZE 1 – ‘Stench Of Their Flesh’ 5:06; from Phaze 1 (Scarlet)
A hyperblasted future place of where intelligent thrash might preside, Phaze 1 is the masterwerk of Lyzanxia’s David and Franck Potvin, along with drummer Dirk Verbeuren of Scarve and Soilwork fame, who together have created a vaulted cathedral of thrash mathematics centred around a concept so frenetic, listeners might lose their mind in the minding. or or

9) GRAVE – ‘Burn’ 6:24; from As Rapture Comes (Century Media)
Seven stone sledges now for this top-tier instigator of original Swedish death, and the band is as blistering as ever, inventing sophisticated arrangements and riffs that are subsumed to the muck of hoary vocals and even nastier Sunlight-derived production tones. or

10) RAGE – ‘No Fear’ 5:32; from Speak Of The Dead (Nuclear Blast)
German thinking man’s thrash legends rage have of recent pioneered the use of classical instruments within a thrash context, and by all counts, they’ve triumphed. Still, when they delve into their distinctly progressive extreme metal mechanics, there are few that can touch these masters. or

11) SCAR SYMMETRY – ‘The Illusionist’ 4:32; from Pitch Black Progress (Nuclear Blast)
Melodic death metal’s most elegant and genre-busting act, Scar Symmetry ignore metalcore for a sound that is Swedish melodic death but also progressive, US death-like, Strapping at the edges, and plushly hooky at the heart. Come hear veterans writing at the front edge of headbanged enjoyability. or

12) THE HUMAN ABSTRACT – ‘Crossing The Rubicon’ 5:06; from Nocturne (Hopeless/Koch)
Los Angeles mensa metal mathcore explorers The Human Abstract have issued a headbanging ultimatum that is beyond today’s trends, into a technical netherzone that will have Dillinger fans salivating at the song maturity of these upstarts, despite the bravery and note density. Produced by Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, Through The Eyes Of The Dead). or

13) JONIN – ‘Nothing More’ 4:49; from 3 Song Sampler Disc (Jonin)
With a name derived from “leaders of elite warrior clans,” Jonin are certainly frontrunners in the metal wars, this Raleigh NC band burning up the south (and evidently, much of the internet – check out the competitive placements), with a polished metal sound similar to Into Eternity, but packed tightly for explosive impact. Contact: William Thomas Clark, 3035A Kings Court, Raleigh NC 27606,, or

14) CELLADOR ‘Leaving All Behind’ 3:14; from Enter Deception (Metal Blade)
Described as extreme power metal, this Midwest American act is blazing a trail with speed, precision, post-NWOBHM melodic riffing, and vocals out of Michael Gremio that are powerful and beyond Dickinson-esque. It all makes for a thrilling, white-knuckled power metal rock ride, something lacking in America right now, and bravely taken up by this young but hugely skilled band. or

15) BLACK STONE CHERRY – ‘Rain Wizard’ 3:24; from Black Stone Cherry (Roadrunner)
Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry grind out a mesmerizing synthesis of stoner and southern rocks, or, in other words, classic heavy metal with rich, deep roots. Explosive, groovy, recorded like a freight train, this is a record that provides trajectory from Molly Hatchet, Black Crowes and COC. Fans of Wolfmother and Artimus Pyledriver, take note. or

16) KILLER SIXGUN – ‘Highway Of Love’ 4:33; from Killer Sixgun (Killer Six Gun)
Greece’s version of a Satriani or Vai, Lakis Ragazas has played with legendary bands, logged over 1000 concerts, and has won placements and scholarships in the Atlanta Institute Of Music and at Berklee. Killer Sixgun is an eight track offering (in elegant digi) demonstrating Lakis’ versatility yet earthiness. ‘Highway Of Love’ features Greek metal luminary John Jeff Touch on vocals. Contact: 29 Agiou Nikolaou Str., Thessaloniki 55132 Greece, or

17) STRAPPING YOUNG LAD – ‘Wrong Side’ 3:35; from The New Black (Century Media)
More of a traditional thrasher, ‘Wrong Side’ finds Strapping knuckling down to a challenging arch-rocker in their recent style, even though jazzy ironic shifts in time and space cajole the listener to enter the band’s kaleidoscopic world and submit. or