KnuckleTracks #105

KnuckleTracks #105

1) SYMPHONY X – ‘Serpent’s Kiss’ 5:03; from Paradise Lost (InsideOut)
America’s best progressive metal band is back with an album that has fans unanimously singing its praises. Why? Well, Michael Romeo wanted to make “a metal record” and he emphatically has, turning in heart-racing riff after riff, sending forth his ridiculously talented band in the service of expertly technical power metal classics for miles. or

2) JOB FOR A COWBOY – ‘Reduced To Mere Filth’ 2:58; from Genesis (Metal Blade)
Glendale, Arizona’s Job For A Cowboy have created a feisty progressive death masterpiece full of catchy passages despite blurry note densities. The key is in the twinned advantage of the band’s repeated onslaught of hooks and the crush yet pinging clarity of the record’s production values. Huge hype for these guys, and it’s justified. or or

3) KORPIKLAANI – ‘Let’s Drink’ 2:45; from Tervaskanto (Napalm)
Move over Finntroll, because nobody brings the beers like Korpiklaani, this cherished band mixing Finnish folk and fine, fine thrash with tales of the ale that are sure to make bartenders smile the world over. Hard to top Tales Along This Road, but looks like these droll trolls have done it! or

4) 3 INCHES OF BLOOD – ‘The Goatrider’s Horde’ 4:18; from Fire Up The Blades (Roadrunner)
The long-awaited new firebrand from Canada’s thrash titans 3 Inches Of Blood has arrived and it’s a quick, catchy, carnivorous beast to behold. No one turns a phrase like Cam, and no one shakes the foundation of classic thrash’s essence like these beloved warriors. or

5) NILE – ‘Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor From Attacks From He Who Is In The Water’ 2:58; from Ithyphallic (Nuclear Blast)
The legendary Nile is back to re-claim their throne as kings of death metal, their US sub-crown already acquired and defended without question. Their Neil Kernon-produced new album ventures somewhat from usual Egypto-themes, and the result is skull-frying. or

6) NOCTURNAL RITES – ‘Never Again’ 3:19; from The 8th Sin (Century Media)
Sweden’s Nocturnal Rites provide a rarified authentic power metal experience that is so distinct and timeless, they are rarely mentioned among the clump of bands that garner all the press. Instead, they’ve quietly built an imposing eight album catalogue that is constantly cited by musicians of stature as some of the best under-rated music going. or

7) MALEVOLENT CREATION – ‘Deliver My Enemy’ 5:25; from Doomsday (Nuclear Blast)
The US death legends are back with a crushing and topical album reasserting their roots-honoured prowess as one of the most powerful of the genre’s hallowed pioneers. All frequencies set to stun, Phil and Kyle and their Florida wrecking crew are back and blaspheming. or

8) CIRCUS DIABLO – ‘Loaded’ 3:13; from Circus Diablo (Koch)
Circus Diablo is a highly anticipated supergroup of guys based in L.A., featuring members of The Cult, Fuel, The Almighty and Camp Freddy. They are the first signing to Koch’s new metal division and should serve the label handily, given their raucous, super-charged, hook-laden rock anthems. Ozzfest and headline dates through the summer. or

9) SCARVE – ‘Endangered’ 4:03; from The Undercurrent (Listenable)
Scarve are French death metal ambassadors that have created some of the most rhythmic, punchy, technically high-minded extreme music ever, through a distinguished career reaching back 14 years. Once again, Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, SYL, Soilwork) has captured the band in their full, demanding, mensa-mad glory. or

10) VISIONS OF ATLANTIS – ‘At The Back Of Beyond’ 3:26; from Trinity (Napalm)
Austria’s Visions Of Atlantis have turned in a plush symphonic metal album that celebrates the band’s excellent dual male/female vocal skills amidst daring keyboard work and shiny, locked down production values. Effortlessly enjoyable, this is a prog power feast for the ages.

11) BLINDED BY FAITH – ‘Weapons Of Mass Distraction’ 5:04; from Weapons Of Mass Distraction (Galy)
Majesty, extremity, an avalanche of professional and progressive sounds… this is the growing legacy of Quebec’s fine Blinded By Faith, possibly the most substantive extreme metal experience on the planet. Witness the band’s vaulted near symphonic skills as they tour Canada through July and August., or

12) BLASPHEMOUS CREATION – ‘Black Winter’ 3:53; from Black Winter (Blasphemous Creation)
Reno, Nevada’s Blasphemous Creation reverently worship at the altar of authentic old school death, adding a visceral blackened thrash to their fierce, chaotic, frenzied onslaught. Carnal, deliberately lo-fi and expertly evocative of early Kreator, Bathory, Death, Voivod and Destruction, Fleshgrinder and crew bring back the brutality. Isaac Wilson, 634 S Center St., Reno NV 89501, 775-786-7863, or

13) ANKLA – ‘Intro/Sinking’ 5:37; from Steep Trails (Bieler Bros.)
Post-Puya Puerto Rican madmen Ankla have created a virulent, extreme metal strain that feeds on influences from their homeland and spits them out in death, hardcore and post-Pantera form. Massive production by Bob Marlette and Sid Riggs completes the diabolical mass., or

14) PARADISE LOST – ‘The Enemy’ 3:39; from In Requiem (Century Media)
UK’s legendary doom pioneers return with a dark heavy album that is somewhat back to the roots, but also a bit more immediate and varied than their oppressive gloom tones of old. Once touted as the next Metallica, Paradise Lost surely have the writing and arrangement skills still, to be huge contenders in the metal sweepstakes. or

15) SYNASTRY – ‘Pallets Of My World’ 3:45; from the forthcoming Blind Eyes Bleed (Synastry)
Montreal’s Synastry can claim a certain and arresting originality, sounding oddly modern of death domain, a bit industrial but impressively through organic toolings. The band’s three track demo is a promising and percussive taster for the forthcoming full-length that is sure to push them up the hard-fought Quebec pack worthy of being signed. Contact: 5152 De Chambord, Laval QC, H7W 4R8,, or

16) SONATA ARCTICA – ‘Paid In Full’ 4:24; from Unia (Nuclear Blast)
Sonata Arctica have risen through the ranks to become one of the most passionately appreciated bands in the power metal scene, due to the connectivity of their emotional songs with their growing throngs. Unia is stirring up controversy, but once connections have been made, it’s become all too clear that this is a classic band on the march toward a certain level of immortality. or

17) SONIC SYNDICATE – ‘Denied’ 3:52; from Only Inhuman (Nuclear Blast)
Sonic Syndicate were the winners of Nuclear Blast’s raucous “get signed by us” contest and it’s easy to see why, given the band’s hugely catchy take on fast-paced, easy action melodic thrash. There’s a sophistication beyond the band’s years embedded in these arrangements… it all bodes well for a future of moshpits and mayhem. or

18) ADYTUM – ‘Trial Of Arcane’ 4:18; from Echoes Of Refuge (Northern Storm)
Canada’s Adytum is a new and intensely creative progressive metal act whose strength is their memorable traditional, almost chugging thrash riffery, which is then inundated by various black and folk metal characteristics. It’s a heady mix, and it is an entirely new approach, save for a bit of a touchstone in early Opeth. Contact: 1390 Forest Glade Rd., Oakville ON L6H 2G3,,, or