KnuckleTracks #107

KnuckleTracks #107

1) HIMSA – ‘Big Timber’ 4:00; from Summon In Thunder (Century Media)
Seattle’s Himsa continue to sidestep trend and write modern thrash metal that grooves and crushes the bottom end without the hyper screamo tendencies of their weak competitors. Huge Euro-inflected riffs support the premise that this is a regal band above., or

2) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – ‘What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse’ 3:50; from Nocturnal (Metal Blade)
Ferocious, pure of post-metalcore essence, and executed without mercy, Nocturnal is the new benchmark for balance between songwriting perfection and blistering modern metal note densities. Black Dahlia, Unearth, As I Lay Dying… Metal Blade’s got the trinity at the top. or

3) EXODUS – ‘Riot Act’ 3:37; from The Atrocity Exhibition (Nuclear Blast)
Holt and his thrash originators are back with another veteran spread of mayhem. Molten riffs collide with searing leads, as Exodus fulfill their destiny at the front edge of the genre. One of the top five or six bands that invented and defined the new extreme back in the early ‘80s – come see the masters at work nearly 25 years later. or

4) PRIMAL FEAR – ‘Sign Of Fear’ 4:48; from New Religion (Frontiers)
Mat ‘n’ Ralf return fully at the top of their power metal game, with a collection of crisp an’ crunchy anthems sure to warm the cockles of any purist looking for Priestly tradition with a rocket up the behind. Scheepers is the most multi-dimensional and arresting of his long career – a milestone is at hand. or

5) THE VISION BLEAK – ‘By Our Brotherhood With Seth (edit)’ 3:58; from The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey (Napalm)
Thrashier and more carnal than past material, The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey finds this well regarded German metal duo cranking up their guitar-charged roots, offering less of the symphonic, and exuding the confidence and skill of a band now celebrating their seventh year of existence. Cover art plush and provocative as well. or

6) CELESTIAL DAWN – ‘Disorder’ 5:20; from Disorder (Celestial Dawn)
Montreal’s got the toughest competition in metal, but Celestial Dawn have eminently distinguished themselves through a singular doomy power metal sound that evokes images of Eidolon, Nevermore and Manowar, the superlative vocals of Bruno in metal-mad collision with slicing axes and prog-tinged rhythms creating a symphony of old school sonics. Contact: 99 Dieppe St., Deux-Montagnes QC J7R 3L3, 450-280-9622, or

7) OTEP – ‘Confrontation’ 3:15; from The Ascension (Koch)
LA’s Otep have inked a worldwide revenue-sharing deal with Koch, the perfect vehicle to get the band’s fiery, grinding modern metal to the masses. Led by front-woman Otep Shamaya, Otep are considered one of the most inspired and inspiring live bands on the planet. Their new album is produced by Dave Fortman. or

8) AFTER FOREVER – ‘Equally Destructive’ 3:31; from After Forever (Nuclear Blast)
Supreme Gothic Dutch metalists return with fangs bared on their new, self-titled, grinding yet melodic album, featuring, as always, the tangy vocal attack of Floor Jansen in front of towering grooves confidently executed. This is the band’s first record for Nuclear Blast, and it looks like After Forever are going to make it count. or

9) MAGISTER DIXIT – ‘…an eternity of pain and suffering’ 5:23; from My anger is an eternal field of demonized mercenaries (Mankind’s Demise)
Searing Quebec black metal unit Magister Dixit uphold the greatest tenets of original Norse blackness, infusing their blasts with a technical sophistication that rubs shoulders with the top echelon of Quebec’s esteemed extreme metal scene. Contact: 2770 St-Narcisse #1, Beauport PQ G1E 6V8,, or

10) RIDE THE SKY – ‘New Protection’ 3:22; from New Protection (Nuclear Blast)
German contingent Ride The Sky quite simply can appeal to any fans of quality European metal, from AOR to hard power to melodic thrash. The magic is in the experience of these players (approx. eight recording bands between them), along with the album’s sparkling production values and deft arrangements. Straight up traditional metal delivered with class. or

11) LIZZY BORDEN – ‘Appointment With Death’ 3:49; from Appointment With Death (Metal Blade)
Our irrepressible Lizzy is back and courting his traditional horror metal legions with speedy, precise roots metal that carries within its exhilaration, the band’s trademark vocal and guitar melodies amidst technicality and flash – all in service of anthemic song. A strong title track from a collection worthy of this band’s long legacy. or

12) WOLFPACK UNLEASHED – ‘Religion Of Control (edit)’ 3:59; from Anthems Of Resistance (Napalm)
Austria’s Wolfpack Unleashed have roots back to ’95, but formed in ’05 under this banner, becoming that nation’s premiere traditional thrash band, cranking a perfect fulcrum between Megadeth-derived melody and the supreme muscle-bound US thrash of Testament and Overkill. Riffs afire, grooves accelerated, pedigree undenied. or

13) MENA BRINNO – ‘The Lone Green Valley’ 3:15; from Icy Muse (Dark Balance)
Billed as America’s answer to Within Temptation and Nightwish, Mena Brinno (translation: Moon Fever) create swirling, exotic nether zones of pure gothic pageantry, topped by the opera-trained pipes of Katy Decker. Guitarist Marius Kozlowski originally hails from Poland and is an esteemed veteran of that scene with many records to his name. Contact: 4825 Linebaugh Ave., Tampa FL 33617, 813-298-7125, or

14) WILLOW WISP – ‘The Anatomist’ 4:53; from Enmity (Quadrivium Records)
“Dark experimental avantgarde blasphemy,” says the label; “eccentric/experimental cinematic metal,” counters the band. Both are swimmingly on the money, as Willow Wisp maneuver exotically around extreme explorations of epic bleakness. One hour of provocative, always surprising coldness awaits. Contact: POB 9352, N. Hollywood, CA 91609-1352, 818-377-4571,, or

15) HOT BUTTERED ANAL – ‘True Love’ 2:10; from Please Kill Me (Hot Buttered Anal)
This Rhode Island band plays hopped up punk metal, but recorded and played cleanly… all the better for anthems like ‘Daddy’s Banana Boat’, ‘Flaming Robots’, ‘Freedom For The Lobsters’ and ‘Drunk Punk’ to shine in all their lyruck glory. Contact: 84 Old Snake Hill Rd., Chepachet, RI 02814, or

16) LOITS – ‘Suudelda Neidu’ 4:13; from Must Album (Nailboard)
Two full-lengths, three EPs, many videos and compilation tracks… this mesmerizing Estonian extreme metal band has fully 11 years distinction on the scene, creating an artistic and oddly militaristic metal that curdles the thought centres. Native tongue lyrics add an ethereal Finntroll-ish quality, but the band’s swirling, gothic, vaguely deathy riffing knows no boundaries. Contact:,, or

17) DIVINE HERESY – ‘Savior Self’ 3:17; from Bleed The Fifth (Century Media)
Fear Factory’s legendary Dino Cazares serves up a huge platter of his celebrated razor-sharp riffs, his drummer Tim Yeung matching Dino’s inhuman note densities with alacrity. This is machine gun thrash a superlative step above, anchored in tradition, infused with melody, yet still impossibly fast. or

18) SOILWORK – ‘Exile’ 3:48; from Sworn To A Great Divide (Nuclear Blast)
Speed is back, with his crack band of fair and balanced thrashtastics demonstrating once again how to write extreme metal anthems that stick in the memory circuits. Ebb and flow, sequencing, versatility, textures… one wouldn’t expect anything less from Sweden’s well-regarded top dogs. or

19) HOT BUTTERED ANAL – ‘Please Kill Me’ 1:54; from Please Kill Me (Hot Buttered Anal)
Bob Cocks and Co. deliver the harrowing title track to their 15 track goofball metal opus, a record which doesn’t so much have a track listing, but “Nutritional Facts.” Fully 20 years in various thrash acts have prepared this band for the obvious lack of commercial success they are enthusiastically courting! Contact: 84 Old Snake Hill Rd., Chepachet, RI 02814, or