MAGAZINE - KNUCKLETRACKS

KnuckleTracks #103

KnuckleTracks #103

1) SIX FEET UNDER – ‘Doomsday’ 3:50; from Commandment (Metal Blade)
Groove-tall, bud-lovin’ death metal legends Six Feet Under are back to save extreme music from uselessness. Chris Barnes is in fine inhuman and guttural form, and his merry band of mischief-makers has brought molten riffs and expert production appointments to this proud and pummeling (and highly anticipated) new sledge of might. www.sfu420.com or www.metalblade.com

2) NAGLFAR ‘Into The Black’ 4:32; from Harvest (Century Media)
Swedish black metal legends Naglfar have for years now operated cold and alone at the top of the purist black metal game. While others go for tricks and trendiness, this trenchant, wrenching act of attrition, persevere, creating forbidden worlds with skill, forethought and grim, cynical philosophies. www.naglfar.net or www.centurymedia.com

3) MENDEED – ‘The Dead Live By Love’ 4:27; from The Dead Live By Love (Nuclear Blast)
This much talked about Scottish act have found a way to infuse strident classic metal textures into their arresting mix of metalcore and Scandinavian moves. The execution is top-notch, and depth at the vocal position makes for a complex, substantial modern metal rock ride. www.mendeed.co.uk

4) BATTLELORE – ‘House Of Heroes’ 3:26; from Evernight (Napalm)
Plush, epic, dramatic, and highly crafted, Evernight is this elegant gothic/fantasy metal band’s fourth album, and it is a masterpiece of hard and soft voicing in support of brooding doom. Huge guitars, classic-toned keyboards, and a gorgeous and bold drum sound support the band’s superlative songs. www.battlelore.net or www.napalmrecords.com

5) GRIMSKUNK – ‘Divide And Conquer’ 5:04; from Fires Under The Road (Indica)
Quebec alternative metal legends Grimskunk return metallic and triumphant with a clean-burning album of Faith No More/Spock’s Beard-heady creativity harnessed by class metal producer GGGarth Richardson. It’s no surprise these guys do huge business in their home province – it’s time the rest of the world got it. Contact: 4579, boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T 1R2, 514-289-9390, ext. 221, ganael@indicarecords.com or www.indica-records.com or www.grimskunk.com

6) NONPOINT – ‘Bullet With A Name’ 3:26; from To The Pain (Bieler Bros./Koch)
Nonpoint have long been one of the high quality pioneers of modern metal, and on To The Pain, a certain and pronounced star quality emerges, based around the incredibly hooky yet complex vocal melodies and rhythms of front presence Elias. Gorgeous artwork, scintillating production… Nonpoint definitely makes a point. www.nonpoint.com, www.bielerbros.com or www.kochcan.com

7) DOMINICI – ‘The Calling (edit)’ 4:58; from O3 A Trilogy – Part 2 (InsideOut)
Fans the world over are thrilled to see legendary Dream Theater vocalist Charlie Dominici back, for a huge, vaulted progressive metal feast Charlie himself calls the follow-up to the one Dream Theater album he was on, the debut, When Dream And Day Unite. His powers are legion, his band purposeful, his legacy, now secured. www.dominici.com or www.insideoutmusic.com

8) MORS PRINCIPIUM EST – ‘Sinners Defeat’ 5:26; from Liberation = Termination (Listenable/Koch)
Mors Principium Est operate at the sharp front edge of technical thrash, combining a Gothenburg work ethic with futuristic electronics, the end result being a thrilling landscape of extreme metal creativity. Liberation = Termination finds the band fiercely independent in both thought and deed – a masterwork from a band considered one of the frontrunners in this demanding field. www.morsprincipiumest.com or www.listenable.net

9 INTENSE – ‘Anger Of The Ancients’ 4:14; from As Our Army Grows (Napalm)
This cutting and slashing UK band cited Iced Earth and Nevermore as influences. Those are hard acts to follow, but Intense have the tough, doomy, ‘80s-purist end of power metal locked down in a state of fast-picked, double bass drum perfection. Record #2, and already this band is on track for rapid epic metal ascendance. www.intense-uk.com or www.napalmrecords.com

10) PSYOPUS – ‘2’ 4:00; from Our Puzzling Encounters Considered (Metal Blade)
Rochester’s Psyopus class themselves (in a school of friggin’ ONE) as mathcore extremists. Understatement of the snowy upstate New York year, as this is likely no less than the most complicated album, prog rock, prog metal, or mathcore, ever made. Our Puzzling Encounters Considered should be made into a textbook. www.psyopus.com or www.metalblade.com

11) KARNIVOOL – ‘Themata’ 5:40; from Themata (Bieler Bros./Koch)
Australia’s Karnivool are slated as one of the big breakout acts of 2007, their vaulted debut being a mix of the modern metal of Tool and System Of A Down with metalcore leanings, all delivered with a soulful, replenishing freshness that has critics the world over taking notice. www.karnivool.com, www.bielerbros.com or www.kochcan.com

12) WICKED LITTLE DOLLS – ‘Trash Doll’ 3:18; from Wicked Little Dolls (Carnygoat)
Ancient guitarist Luci and babydoll vocalist Scareifina hook up for a rocking NYC good time of an glam album, like the very best Kiss songs fronted by a vengeful 13-year-old schoolgirl. And the punk edge all over this thing… man, this is 1977 UK/CBGB punk, not the warmed over new stuff. A crunchy, chewy bit of retro hard rock mania. Contact: 11753 Mossy Creek Ln., Reston VA 20191, 908-962-6902, carnygoat@yahoo.com, www.carnygoat.com or www.myspace.com/carneygoat

13) ARCH ENEMY – ‘Bury Me An Angel’ 3:40; from Black Earth (Regain)
Michael Amott and Arch Enemy are unarguably one of the premiere metal bands of the ‘00s, so it is fitting that the band’s blistering, pioneering, melodic death debut Black Earth should see such elegant reissue. Includes huge digipak packaging, three bonus tracks (including a Maiden cover) and the video to ‘Bury Me An Angel’. www.archenemy.net or www.regainrecords.com

14) ECHOES OF ETERNITY – ‘The Forgotten Goddess’ 4:47; from The Forgotten Goddess (Nuclear Blast)
LA’s Echoes Of Eternity put a unique twist to the female vocal metal game, coming up with a quick, precise power metal attack o’er which ultra-clean vocals add ethereal shade and dimension. Not since Sinergy has this sort of alloy hit the memory circuits with this much chemistry. www.echoesofeternity.net or www.nuclearblastusa.com

15) SIRENIA – ‘The Other Side’ 3:55; from Nine Destinies And A Downfall (Nuclear Blast)
This exciting post-Tristania band for Morten Veland takes a fresh, clean approach to gothic metal, combining irresistible hooks with super-hi-fidelity production while striving for Therion-like classicist creativity. In the wake of Nightwish and Evanescence, Sirenia should be huge – there’s just too much sturdy songwriting here for fans not to take notice. www.sirenia.no or www.nuclearblastusa.com

16) SHEVALREQ – ‘The Fountain Of Loathing’ 4:46; from Tournament At Constantinople (Hekaloth)
Hekaloth Records (Canadian imprint, Canadian artists) is quickly becoming the most talked about label of the infinitely bizarre. Shevalreq intensify the stunned reactions, creating a fusion of black metal (and mainly vocals at that!) with world music created by guitar synthesizer. Lyrics? Based on a 15th Century poem. Contact: POB 48115, Bentall Centre, 595 Burrard St., Vancouver BC, V7X 1N8 or www.hekaloth.com For distro: Scratch Records, 604-687-6355 or www.scratchrecords.com

17) LES EKOCHES – ‘D’La Viande Ce Murs’ 3:36; from Les Ekorches (Indica)
This incendiary, highly evolved Montreal metal supergroup – featuring B.A.R.F., Ghoulunatics, Voivod and Maruka members – has created a progressive and flavourful metal experiment using electrified cellos and the French language to stunning effect. Esteemed producer Glenn Robinson has used his genius to turn the thing metal, the end result being crazed and wonderful. Contact: 4579, boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T 1R2, 514-289-9390, ext. 221, ganael@indicarecords.com or www.indica-records.com

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