KnuckleTracks #100

1) AMON AMARTH – ‘Cry Of The Blackbirds’ 3:49; from With Oden On Our Side (Metal Blade)
Amon Amarth have clawed their way into the hearts of metal fans the world over with their inspiring and incendiary Viking metal shows. And they’ve always brought the songs, crackling melody woven throughout the highly European death of it all, until a mead-heavy headbang is had by all in the golden hall. or

2) INTO ETERNITY – ‘Severe Emotional Distress’ 3:54; from The Scattering Of Ashes (Century Media)
With their daunting vocal army, Canada’s Into Eternity have shocked and awed crowds all over an exhaustive tour history. Record after record from these guys impresses with complex thrash mechanics and The Scattering Of Ashes is their biggest panic attack ever, a fierce display of speed and chops and singing prowess down a number of thorny tangents. or

3) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – ‘Concrete Jungle’ 3:24; from Shot To Hell (Roadrunner)
Zakk’s back with his most electric production yet, trying some new things, but jes’ generally tearing it up, alternating shred mechanics with easy drinkin’ crooning. Look for this to be the man’s biggest album, ‘cos there’s a pronounced gelling of his band going on here. or

4) WOLF – ‘I Will Kill Again’ 4:58; from The Black Flame (Prosthetic)
The world’s favourite post-NWOBHM champions are back with another charming record of spooky twin-lead alchemy, this time, with Mercyful Fate seemingly on their mischievous minds - or something Swedish from 1985, which makes for a stirring Euro-centric rock ‘n’ metal display, full of groove, soaring vocals, and guitars doing battle atop timeless metal frameworks. or

5) BLIND GUARDIAN – ‘This Will Never End’ 5:07; from A Twist In The Myth (Nuclear Blast)
Hansi and his band of merry metal makers find themselves at the top of today’s European hard rock mountain. Blind Guardian’s distinct and charming sound remains a joy to behold, and the band’s latest bristles with that positive excitement we’ve all grown to love. or

6) ANGTORIA – ‘God Has A Plan For Us All’ 4:33; from God Has A Plan For Us All (Listenable)
Sara Jezebel Deva has been a pioneer in the field of operatic female black metal vocals, and now she hits big with a band she calls epic metal, essentially, proggy, classical, gothic but uptempo. Further intrigue and distinction comes with her regular, non-operatic singing, in which she proves herself versatile, a star. or

7) MY DYING BRIDE – ‘To Remain Tombless’ 6:08; from A Line Of Deathless Kings (Peaceville/Navarre)
Aaron and his brooding English legends return with another record of courageous, pioneering doom, doom of an ilk that My Dying Bride almost single-handedly invented, only to be complimented with replicas in the decade plus since. or

8) TYR – ‘Wings Of Time (edit)’ 3:59; from Ragnarok (Napalm)
Tyr is the world’s first metal band from the Faroe Islands, and their truly authentic Viking metal is a thrilling ride up the fjords, steel clashing under thunderheads, folklore mixed with epic metal, a mix of ancient tongue and English. The band’s progressive riffs and flawless production cap off a scintillating heritage experience not to be missed. or

9) DIECAST – ‘Fade Away’ 4:11; from Internal Revolution (Century Media)
Diecast have said they proudly take on the mantle of New Wave Of American Metal, and with Internal revolution, they prove themselves worthy veterans, and in some ways, pioneers of the form, having originally forged this sound back when few others could wrap their heads around it. But it’s a brave album that emerges, a record from the heart, labels be damned, pounding, jack-hammered anthems to the fore. or

10) GOATWHORE – ‘Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult’ 3:29; from A Haunting Curse (Metal Blade)
Sammy made his mark through Acid Bath, Ben, through Soilent Green, and now a track record of venomous pure blackened death has been forged through Goatwhore. Blasting fast, singular of intent, A Haunting Curse is a masterpiece of pure violent extremity. or

11) LYZANXIA – ‘Wise Counselor’ 4:11; from Unsu (Listenable)
If there’s one band that can be called grand and epic, while accomplishing that feat squarely at the jagged edge of the extreme, it is French thrash professors Lyzanxia. Unsu is surely the band’s crowning glory of many magic metal moments, its technicality, its patina of industrial, and above all, its passion-filled thrash anthems sure to impress those with a discerning ear through 2006 and into ’07. or or

12) HAMMERFALL – ‘The Fire Burns Forever’ 3:22; from Threshold (Nuclear Blast)
Sweden’s Hammerfall have systematically won over metal purists with their unflagging dedication to metal above all. Threshold continues the band’s fortunate run of rock-solid, melody-fueled power metal records, while offering hue and dimension – most notably with respect to vocal arrangement – in comparison to touchstones from the back catalogue. or

13) THE HAUNTED – ‘The Medication’ 3:12; from The Dead Eye (Century Media)
No question, Peter Dolving and crew have turned in a fearless record that is going to have the faithful talking for years. Controversy doesn’t begin to describe the effect this daunting, exo-thrash album is going to have on the metal world. Fresh, bizarre structures, super-smart arrangements and riffing, a number of singing styles, and… every song title starts with “The”! or

14) OPERATION WINTER MIST – ‘For Valour’ 2:22; from (Die Todesrune Records)
Operation Winter Mist’s 2005 debut Imperial Grand Strategy placed this canny, chaotic blackened death act as a cult band to watch, having garnered excellent press the world over, and having sold out its CD and vinyl runs. Currently the guys have five tracks written for their hotly anticipated follow-up, and judging from the boldly but effortlessly rhythmic ‘For Valour’, it’s gonna rule. Contact: Chris Roy, 6725 Huntsbay Rd. NW, Calgary, AB, T2K 4R2, or

15) SARPEDON – ‘To Some A Child’ 4:04; from Demo 2006 (Sarpedon)
Sporting interesting rhythmic counterpoint and a flair for a certain drama wrapped in power metal, this intriguing Norwegian act is garnering enthusiastic response for their three track demo. Soul-replenishing lyrics cap the regal display. A band to watch! Contact: Torgeir P. Krokfjord, Parkveien 19, N-0350 Oslo, Norway,,, or

16) JED – ‘Nothing’ 5:16; from Synesthesia (Jed)
Ten year Seattle veterans Jed have forged over the years an atmospheric, daring sound that updates guitar-choked grunge with the geometrics of A Perfect Circle or Tool. Layers of axe wanderings weave throughout this varied and dynamic album, with provocative lyrics filling the spaces until a bold, groove-rich impression is achieved. Contact: 1155 N. State St., Ste 527, Bellingham WA 98225, 360-752-9829, ext. 102,,, or

17) DREAM EVIL – ‘United’ 3:33; from United (Century Media)
For razor-sharp riffs wrapped around brisk, nimble power metal heart-stoppers, look no further than Dream Evil’s excellent new record, United. Fredrik Nordstrom and Mark Black put on an electric display that will warm the cockles of any Marshall stack purist – consider yourself crushed by traditional metal mayhem. or

18) DRACONIAN – ‘She Dies (edit)’ 3:59; from The Burning Halo (Napalm)
Draconian’s particularly egregious and mournful style of traditional doom leans deathly through gruff vocals, and gothic through stabbing keys and effects. Recalling the glory days of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, this is powerful stuff, arranged for maximum old school effect, played with pain, delivered with heavy heart. or

CORRECTION: BW&BK printed an incorrect phone number for Quebec band Dread in the KnuckleTracks #99 booklet. The correct number for Benoit (and the kick-ass band he is publicizing – see review in #99’s Brave Underground!) is 416-824-5564. Dread’s other contact info is: for booking, Greg, at 514-378-2887 and with coming soon.