KnuckleTracks #104

1) DEVIN TOWNSEND – ‘Ziltoid Attaxx!’ 3:42; from Ziltoid The Omniscent (Inside Out)
Dastardly Devin is back with another sublime, ebullient metal oddity, this one being a sci-fi concept album of gooey yet accessible proportions. The metal crunches but the new agey proggy stuff is there as well, with ironically mechanistic yet warm production making this acid trip dreamy and accessible. , or

2) DIMMU BORGIR – ‘The Serpentine Offering’ 5:09; from In Sorte Diaboli (Nuclear Blast)
The grand masters of resplendent and power-infused black metal Dimmu Borgir are back with a hugely dramatic concept album of biblical proportions. In Sorte Diaboli is massive of arrangement yet carnal of lyrical disposition, its fangs bared for maximum thrashing effect. or

3) SANCTITY – ‘Beneath The Machine’ 3:19; from Road To Bloodshed (Roadrunner)
Asheville NC anthemic thrashers Sanctity have friends in big places, Trivium’s Matt Heafy helping them get their deal, and Dave Mustaine personally asking them to join Gigantour. No surprise, given the band’s ruthlessly focused and novel song skills, the band taking a number of audacious chances - all within a hard, metalcore-thrashing framework - and coming up with 12 variously lit jewels in the rough. or

4) MARDUK – ‘Limbs Of Worship’ 4:24; from Rom 5:12 (Regain/Koch)
The grand Swedish masters are back with a blackened yet deliciously progressive album that matches head for severed head their own classics as well as recent, more exploratory records from Satyricon, Mayhem and Immortal. Searing blast against the mournful, Rom 5:12 is an emotionally harrowing study in contrasts.

5) JOB FOR A COWBOY – ‘Embedded’ 3:35; from Genesis (Metal Blade)
Glendale, Arizona’s Job For A Cowboy are ready to launch their much talked about debut, which brings to fruition the promise of the band’s explosive live act and crazy, encyclopedic metal knowledge. A bit death, a bit hardcore, a bit superlative and smart like Mastodon, JFAC is going to be generating the wildest pits of the summer. or or

6) VINTERSORG – ‘Dopt I En Jokelsjo (Edit)’ 3:55; from Solens Rotter (Napalm)
Vintersorg has been crucial in pushing forward with integrity progressive black metal, of course, to the point where progressive Nordic folk is more of an apt description of what this intellectual giant does. The new album incorporates a bewildering coterie of instrumentation, but it’s surprisingly hard-hitting as well. The result is an embracement of the roots of the band, bolstered by the maturity of all those great records achieved., or

7) DEW-SCENTED – ‘That’s Why I Despise You’ 3:08; from Incinerate (Nuclear Blast)
German thrash merchants Dew-Scented have built a well respected catalogue of solid gold traditional German speed madness, successfully bridging the roots with hints of Swedish death and metalcore. Incinerate puts on display the band’s daunting sophistication coupled with razor-sharp recording acumen. A clinic is served., or

8) ROBOT LORDS OF TOKYO – ‘Off To War’ 3:21; from Robot Lords Of Tokyo (RLOT Music Ltd.)
The Robot Lords are encyclopedic old school metal fans and their dedication and acquired skill can be heard all over this classic metal funfest – UFO, Crue and mighty Motorhead covers included! Booze at the ready, these blue collar metalheads of a bar room-busting nature have the goods to remind you of what’s real. Contact: 7396 Sand Spurrey Ct., Westerville OH 43082,,, 614-891-3576 or

9) DARK TRANQUILLITY – ‘Focus Shift’ 3:36; from Fiction (Century Media)
Dark Tranquillity are unquestionably the reigning lords of melodic Swedish death. Album after album has delivered class with integrity, craftsmanship with exciting speed and vocals of no compromise. Perennial touring as of late has helped the band’s cause, their legions growing, commercial breakthrough just around the corner… or

10) THRESHOLD – ‘Slipstream’ 4:55; from Dead Reckoning (Nuclear Blast)
Welling up from an esteemed prog metal past, UK ambassadors Threshold have evolved into one of the most captivating traditional – even “epic” – metal bands on the planet. Dead Reckoning is going to turn a lot of heads, and is indeed one of the most gleefully headbangable albums in years on the power/prog/roots metal front. or

11) 7TH REIGN – ‘Defied’ 5:40; from 7th Reign (7th Reign)
Consummate power metal vocalist Brian Soulard plied the pipes for Eidolon and now he’s back with a passionate, sombre, meticulously proto-powered new band, also bringing along another Eidolon member Adrian Robichaud for the dark ride. Fans of the Drovers’ great band will find an equally professional and dramatic collection of gothic greats right here. Sure to be signed in short order. Contact: 1213 Amsterdam Crt., Sarnia ON N7S 3V7, 519-337-0969,, or

12) SERENITY – ‘Reduced to Nothingness (Edit)’ 3:59; from Words Untold & Dreams Unlived (Napalm)
Serenity is a dynamic and power-packed progressive metal feast leaning heavily and craftily into pure metal. The band is Austrian, the album was recorded in Austria and Germany, the mastering in Finland, while the orchestration was done in the Czech Republic and the artwork in Greece!,, or

13) WYKKED WYTCH – ‘Awakened’ 5:11; from Memories Of A Dying Whore (Wykked Wytch)
Florida’s Wykked Wytch are already a serious touring entity, having plundered Europe with the likes of Deicide, Six Feet Under, Dark Funeral, Nile and Dying Fetus. This track is from their forthcoming full-length, and shows a band with a superlative black/death vocal and no shortage of blackened, gothic, genre-crushing (and Dimmu ‘n’ Cradle-slaying!) ideas. Contact: PO Box 814611, Hollywood FL 33081, or or

14) DESPISED ICON – ‘In The Arms Of Perdition’ 4:26; from The Ills Of Modern Man (Century Media)
Montreal’s Despised Icon follow up ‘05’s The Healing Process with a combative, compact bit of explosive science called The Ills Of Modern Man. Indeed, the new one is back to the roots of death and blast beats, while structures belie a maturity that should see these guys as key marquee band support act through ’07. or

15) AUTUMN – ‘My New Time’ 3:47; from My New Time (Metal Blade)
Autumn have gone through significant changes, arriving here with their grooviest, most accessible album yet. The end result is a band that will quickly rise to the top of the female-fronted metal pack. A dozen years of experience has prompted the crafting of anthem after anthem, making My New Time a record sequenced for high upon high. or

16) FINNTROLL – ‘Korpens Saga’ 3:26; from Ur Jordens Djup (Century Media)
Finland’s beloved “metal humppa” band Finntroll turn in a darker, more serious and nightmarish bit of folked-up metal this time around. This fifth from the band features a new front man in Vreth and simultaneously a will toward ambitious arrangement and a wider panorama toward state of the art synthesis of folk tradition into intensified riffings. or

17) IN THE MOMENT – ‘Prayers’ 3:46; from Beautiful Tragedy (Century Media)
This southern California band has created a debut that instantly has the potential to be a career-establishing conrnerstone. Beautiful Tragedy hinges upon a complex metalcore strength of song as well as the dynamic vocals of Maria Brink, who is in possession of a rich singing voice as well as the best female death vocal currently on terror-filled tap. or

18) GLUTTONY – ‘Marius Engages The Teutons’ 3:55; from Collapse Of The Roman Republic: Liber Primus (Hekaloth)
The Hekaloth stable of mysterious avant-garde black metal institutions is one of the most controversial and talked about phenoms on this magazine’s web discussion board, and Gluttony is sure to raise temperatures yet again. This one is self-described as “death jazz,” again novel use of guitar synths creating the ethereal and arcane “ensemble” sounds. Contact: Scratch Recordings & Distributions, 726 Richards St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 3A4 Canada, 604-687-6355, retail@scratch, or