KnuckleTracks #101

1) BORN FROM PAIN – ‘Crusader’ 3:47; from War (Metal Blade)
With one of the most explosive guitar sounds of the year, War positively erupts with brutal, blood-boiling grooves, the perfect platform for the combative, hardcore, uncompromising vocals of Che Snelting. But the strength of the album is in its elegant variety of proud and pure hardcore and metal velocities and note densities, not to mention mournful melody doled out in micropsopic but memorable doses. , or

2) MARTYR - ‘Havoc’ 3:34; from Feeding The Abscess (Galy)
Quebec progressive death titans Martyr prove why they can crank the theoretical math like home buds Cryptopsy rattled by Dillinger Escape Plan. Mensa metal all the way, Feeding The Abscess finds Martyr putting on a frantic clinic of monstrous proportions. Contact: 514-769-6137,, or

3) KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘My Curse’ 4:06; from As Daylight Dies (Roadrunner)
Destined to end ’06 on a metalhead sales bang, As Daylight Dies is the much anticipated latest sledge of cutting edge metal by the undisputed kings of metalcore. But Killswitch are developing rapidly, adding complexity and a proud sense of pan-metal greatness to their already convoluted composite. The fight with Lamb Of God for hard rock supremacy continues… or

4) YEAR OF DESOLATION – ‘The Economy Of Excess’ 3:52; from the forthcoming debut (Prosthetic)
Indianapolis metal purists Year Of Desolation thrash with a cogent and beholden understanding to the old school but with the expert chops and precision of the new. No fey singing for these guys – it’s straight ahead thrashing and hollering, their slamming and rhythmic riffing sure to win over the most studied of metal skeptics. or or

5) TEXTURES – ‘Regenesis’ 4:57; from Drawing Circles (Listenable)
Doing formidable things with the idea of progressive death, Textures turn in a maelstrom of expertly detailed anthems for the high-minded and metal-fatigued. Drawing Circles is an avalanche of surprises, each more exotic than the last, this Dutch sextet in full control of what it means to be metal at the cutting edge. Contact:,,, or

6) MESHUGGAH – ‘Rational Gaze’ 5:26; from Nothing (Re-Issue) (Nuclear Blast)
Nuclear Blast celebrate Meshuggah’s incredible contribution to a certainly exploratory form of progressive death with the re-release of the band’s galvanizing Nothing album. Creative and capable enough to go toe to toe with Tool in stadiums, Meshuggah are one of the shining intellectual cornerstones of the Nuclear Blast stable. or

7) NEFASTUS DIES – ‘Hate Vector’ 5:15; from Urban Cancer (Deep Send)
Insane heaviness and craft beyond compare distinguish this hard to classify act. Imagine searing black metal in collision with progressive death and vocals well to an angry extreme and you’ll get close to where this supremely classy act of symphonic sickness resides. Signing is imminent. Contact: 1221, Rue Breux, Chambly QC Canada J3L 2Y2,,, or

8) SMASH THE BRAIN – ‘My Cry Echoes’ 3:58; from Construction Of Despair (Spiritual Beast)
Celebrating ten years on the scene, Japan’s Smash The Brain issue their third full-length of classy, hi-fidelity melodic death metal. Superlative riffs push this band a cut above, with a lack of clutter helping make these songs into memorable yet extreme anthems. Contact:, or

9) VERBAL DECEPTION – ‘Voyage’ 3:54; from Aurum Aetus Piraticus (Scarab Productions)
Long-awaited, and now it’s here! These unique pirate rockers from Calgary have come up with a plush, progressive, rhythm maelstrom of voyager metal in a class of its own. What’s more, the band have included narration in their gorgeous booklet, along with lyrics and a bonus treasure map. Contact: Suite 22, 2526 Battleford Ave. SW, Calgary AB Canada T3E 7J4,, 403-240-7850, or

10) MUSPELLHEIM – ‘Wreckage’ 4:51; from Violent By Design (Muspellheim)
Vancouver’s Muspellheim is a searing blackened death act made up of seasoned pros from the Vancouver and Eastern European metal scene, members having transplanted themselves from there to form this heroic act of utmost discipline. Muspellheim beat out 75 other bands to win the Long & McQuade metalfest, and it’s no surprise given the band’s skull-frying live presence. Contact:,, or

11) ANONYMUS - ‘Suffer The Consequences’ 3:30; from Chapter Chaos Begins (Galy)
Long considered one of the most explosive flat-out metal bands on the highly skilled Quebec scene, Anonymous make a major play for stardom with their most stadium-blasted record yet. Crushing production, memorable riffs, slamming thrash… this is going to be a big record for this band. Contact: 514-769-6137 or,, or

12) BELPHEGOR – ‘Hell’s Ambassador’ 4:24; from Pestapokalyse VI (Nuclear Blast)
Certain bands build potent mystique by thriving under the radar, and such is the case for this caustic, hateful death metal institution. Belphegor’s blackness poisons the well, until each vicious assault cripples the auditory centres. This is true and relentless dark metal at its most dangerous. or

13) I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN – ‘Sharks In Your Mouth’ 4:04; from Music For The Recently Deceased (Metal Blade)
Currently Australia’s most wicked melodic death/metalcore band, I Killed The Prom Queen have recently signed on with Metal Blade for an assault on the Americas! The band’s sound is epic, rhythmic, yet still combative and respectful of riffs rooted in traditional Swedish death. Expert musicianship completes the circle. or

14) SCORNGRAIN – ‘The Code’ 4:25; from 0,05% (Dynamic Arts)
Finnish cyber-thrash warriors Scorngrain return with their second album, and it’s a vicious guitar-smothered assault that takes place – without giving up the sharp edges that have made this band quick to emerge and even quicker to strike. A Finnish penchant for stirring melodies permeates despite the detailed first rate metal locking down each track. Contact: , or

15) REVEREND KILL – ‘Chain Reaction’ 3:25; from Reverend Kill (MercyKill)
This ambitious but brand new Calgary band stands out from the pack due to their lack of boundaries and composite lack of specific genre placement. The riffing is tough, precise, and the rhythms visceral. Already recording their second album with ex-Into Eternity guitarist Rob Doherty, Reverend Kill looks to explode on the scene fast. Contact: Don Stenhouse, 19 Erin Woods Blvd. SE, Calgary AB T2B 2X2, or

16) POINT BLANK – ‘Visiting Hours’ 4:55; from By A Thread (Rift)
Local New York metal kings Point Blank have now followed up their Cast The First Stone debut from ’03 with a second crushing, old school thrashing, chugging record of expert appointment. Massive guitars propel each pit-ready track while harsh vocals plowing rhythms add to the band’s immense sound. Contact: PO Box 217, Oakdale NY 11769, 631-225-5711,, or

17) SEASONS OF SORROW – ‘Penance In Black’ 5:51; from The Awakening (Seasons Of Sorrow)
West coast epic rockers Seasons Of Sorrow have created a three track voyage of an EP that is at times doomy, gothic, progressive, and chugging like the cream of Iced Earth explorations. A variety of vocal presentations (plus violin!) augment the band’s brave trip into plush yet dark fantasy metal. Contact: Adrian Miles, 104 – 2523 Wark St., Victoria BC V8T 4G7 or or