KnuckleTracks #106

KnuckleTracks #106

1) KING DIAMOND – ‘Is Anybody Here?’ 4:17; from Give Me Your Soul… Please (Metal Blade)
Legendary horror rocker King Diamond returns with his long-awaited new album, a classy, conceptual affair with baroque and gothic guitars a’ plenty creating classic metal riffery on which the goodly King places his incendiary variety of vocal styles. Torrid traditional metal from one of the genres treasures. HYPERLINK ""

2) BEHEMOTH – ‘Prometherion’ 3:03; from The Apostacy (Century Media)
Poland’s Behemoth have arguably become the greatest death metal band on the planet, fighting their way up the ranks to the point where they’ve got to be at least three records deep into full masterpiece terrain. Only Nile breathe the same rarified progressive extreme air, but with The Apostacy, it’s likely Nergal and his relentless and yearning comrades will lead the pack for years to come. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

3) HURTLOCKER – ‘I Am Napalm’ 3:53; from Embrace The Fall (Napalm)
Chicago’s thrashing old schoolers Hurtlocker have experienced a bunch of internal pain of late (including the death of their drummer), all of which is on display on Embrace The Fall, follow-up to their crushing Fear In A Handful Of Dust release. Virulent hardcore values housed in pummeling traditional thrash musicality. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

4) GROUND ZERO – ‘Frozen Christ’ 4:05; from the forthcoming Download Your Destruction (Ground Zero)
This is some heavily catchy, expertly recorded, percussively energetic traditional metal, Ground Zero sounding like a cross between Metallica and Trivium with an irresistible use of spaces and pregnant pauses that should have the band signed but quick. Rootsy, recognizable but somehow mesmerizingly unique – one of our top indie inclusions in years. Contact: 8109 Marlborough Ave., Parma OH 44129, 440-781-8702, HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

5) A I LAY DYING – ‘Within Destruction’ 3:56; from An Ocean Between Us (Metal Blade)
No metal band on the planet has as much forward momentum as As I Lay Dying right now. This band’s extreme metal purity of intent has endeared As I Lay Dying to hundreds of thousands hardened hearts and its eagerly awaited new record should galvanize the band’s monstrous fanbase into an army of metalcore might. HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK "" or

6) SAMAEL – ‘Solar Soul’ 3:46; from Solar Soul (Nuclear Blast)
Switzerland’s Samael have evolved through singular black metal and keyboard controversy to an esteemed place as a halting yet rich and alluring industrial consort, emphasis on guitars and hooky rhythms, songs intellectually mature beyond most metal norms. Solar Soul is getting effusive reviews and legendary status looms. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

7) DIVINITY – ‘Plasma’ 5:36; from Allegory (Divinity)
OK, with Autobody and Divinity leading the charge, Calgary is officially declared the new Quebec. Hard to believe this blazing modern metal slice of perfection isn’t signed to a metal major. Lamb Of God could learn a few things about song construction and choice chops from these action-packed neo thrash purveyors. A masterpiece. Contact: 3020 13th Ave. SW, Calgary AB T3C 0V2, 403-369-0365, HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK "" or

8) CANDLEMASS – ‘Emperor Of The Void’ 4:30; from King Of The Grey Islands (Nuclear Blast)
Sweden’s doom icons follow up their world-beating self-titled masterpiece comeback album with another monster of plaintive depression metal. Only this time there’s a new vocalist, Solitude Aeturnus’ Robert Lowe dishing the disaster on this loose concept album about… depression. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

9) MEHIDA – ‘Grace’ 4:12; from Blood & Water (Napalm)
Mehida is a new Finnish supergroup containing members from Therion, Am I Blood, Divinefire, Kotipelto, Candlemass and Sonata Arctica. The band’s sound is a plush yet energetic progressive metal with somber Finnish tones, vaulted by all manner of studio extravagance. Sure to be one of the most talked about new metal bands of the year. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

10) AUTOBODY – ‘Worms’ 3:17; from The Mean Length Of Daylight (T.R.A.C.E.)
Calgary’s Autobody have turned in what is one of the most impressive star quality records around these parts in years. This band is in possession of an entirely new sound, featuring frantic playing, unique textures, brains fer miles… I dunno, Primus meets Trivium? Faith No More meets Queensryche and Voivod? Whatever it is, it’s beautifully recorded, played and above all conceptualized. Brilliant. Contact: 636 18 Ave. NW, Calgary AB T2M 0T8,, HYPERLINK "" or

11) BROWN BRIGADE – ‘Aggravation Plantation’ 3:46; from Into The Mouth Of Badd(D)ness (Aquarius)
Dave “Brownsound” Baksh decided Sum 41 wasn’t fun anymore, so here he is with his new (and amusingly irreverent) metal band, Brown Brigade kicking up old school dust with fat “brown” production values and molten riffs laid out like a flaming red carpet. Plus you get a cover of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

12) THREE – ‘All That Remains’ 3:54; from The End Is Begun (Metal Blade)
Three are definitely one of the more exciting and creative new metal acts to arise in recent years, combining an alluring world music vibe with the prog metal of Tool, delivered roiling beneath clean and clarion vocals, topped with production values that are sympathetic to the band’s challenging acoustic touches. HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

13) WILL HAVEN – ‘Helena’ 2:31; from The Hierophant (Bieler Bros.)
Sacramento alternative metal warriors Will Haven shocked the world by announcing a hiatus after 2001’s Carpe Diem and the ensuing much-lauded live shows. But now they are back, with an incendiary, obtuse album of thinking man’s metal-steamed hardcore. Their continued dominance among the discerning is assured. HYPERLINK "" or

14) DARK MIRROR – ‘Nightmares’ 2:37; from Visions Of Pain (Dark Mirror)
Iowa’s Dark Mirror possess an uncanny and deep knowledge of traditional metal skills, putting them to molten yet detailed and hook-mad work on their doomy yet NWOBHM-fueled debut album Visions Of Pain. Fans of Widow, Slough Feg, Cellador and Bible Of The Devil would do well to check this fiery, accomplished act out. Contact: 5665 Greendale Road, Suite D, Johnston IA 50131, HYPERLINK "" or

15) DIVINE HERESY – ‘Bleed The Fifth’ 3:05; from Bleed The Fifth (Century Media)
Fear Factory’s legendary Dino Cazares has returned, teaming up with Tim Yeung from Hate Eternal and Vital Remains in creation of a blasting panorama of vicious, razor-edged death that is as technical as it is jarringly violent. HYPERLINK "" or

16) EPICA – ‘Never Enough’ 4:51; from The Divine Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast)
Called “heavier and more complex than people expected,” The Divine Conspiracy vaults Epica up the ranks of the tough symphonic, female vocal-led bands currently hot in Europe. The band’s sound is crystal clear yet earthy and pure of metal intent, making for a journey of silk vs. steel not easy to shake from the memory banks. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

17) AMORPHIS – ‘Silent Waters’ 4:52; from Silent Waters (Nuclear Blast)
Finland metal greats Amorphis have always explored paths less followed, yet over time, their sound has solidified toward a complex pastiche of doom, traditional metal, death, folk and prog that is singularly their own. Silent Waters marks territory like no other Amorphis album, confidently laying down all the band’s directives within a rock solid framework – it is all of Amorphis in one substantive package. HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""

18) BETRAYER – ‘Headed For Disaster’ 4:54; from the forthcoming full-length (Betrayer)
Stellar (Ripper-proud!) vocals, rock-solid writing, power metal acumen well beyond their years… Windsor’s Betrayer are like a cross between Icarus Witch and classic Last In Line-era Dio. This is a band going places, and it’s incredible they haven’t been signed yet. Contact: POB 27057, 7720 Tecumseh Rd. E., Windsor ON N8T 3N5, 519-791-5848, HYPERLINK "" or HYPERLINK ""