KnuckleTracks #108

KnuckleTracks #108

1) SOILWORK – ‘Sworn To A Great Divide’ 3:33; from Sworn To A Great Divide (Nuclear Blast)
Sweden’s Soilwork are eminently regarded on the neo-thrash scene, having issued an impressive array of genre-defining albums in a short amount of time. Sworn To A Great Divide finds the legendary Speed and his cohorts in spitting form, slamming their constructs with the musicality of seasoned pros. or

2) VESANIA – ‘Narrenschyff (edit)’ 3:59; from Distractive Killusions (Napalm)
The immense God The Lux album from 2005 now sees a successor as Poland’s Vesania prove their class, their mettle and their artful brutality with this textured and regal album for their tenth anniversary. Vader and Behemoth now have a blackened death machine worthy of their ranks., or

3) NONPOINT – ‘March Of War’ 3:52; from Vengeance (Bieler Bros./Koch)
Beloved modern metal pioneers Nonpoint return with a bracing new album combining technicality and anthemic hooks with sharp acuity. March Of War captures the band’s controlled chaos and is a forceful calling card for an album that is destined to be toured and slammed heavily. or

4) PRIMORDIAL – ‘Failures Burden (edit)’ 5:02; from To The Nameless Dead (Metal Blade)
Ireland’s post-black metal masters Primordial have created a landmark record welling up with doom and folk and malevolent pride. Progressively through the catalogue defying description, this beloved band are now well ensconced within the ranks of the best metal has to offer right now. Opeth-strong., or

5) PENETRATION – ‘Eaten By Wolves’ 3:35; from Victory Or Death (Penetration)
War-ravaged death metal is the order of the day on this convincing dirty bomb! Savage death meets the mid-‘80s grind of Venom and Warfare all over this battleground. Molten production and drinking man’s metal execution completes the evil deed – this crushes. Contact: 22086 Fitchette Rd., Lafargeville NY 13656, 315-658-2072, or

6) BURNED IN EFFIGY – ‘Break The Light’ 4:17; from Burned In Effigy (Burned In Effigy)
These guys should be signed right now – there are so many thoroughly hooky yet solidly heavy ideas here, a star quality record could be whipped into shape using these basics. Major talent here, and vocally, lots of passion, dimension… this is exciting, classy, accessible metal like Metallica before they broke. Contact: 6 Surron Place, Groton CT 06340, 860-710-2143,, or

7) SVARTSOT – ‘Gravollet (edit)’ 3:58; from Ravnenes Saga (Napalm)
Produced by Tyr’s Jacob Hansen, Ravnenes Saga is a thrilling and purifying journey through traditional Scandinavian folk metal terrain, where age-old instrumentation blends forcefully with epic metal motion. Astonishing how quickly these Danes have ascended to the uppoer echelons – 2008 will be their year., or

8) EXODUS – ‘Riot Act’ 3:39; from The Atrocity Exhibition (Nuclear Blast)
‘Riot Act’ is a taught, tight, manic thrasher that should turn pits into a bloody mess. Grounded in tradition but versatile and full of gut-punching novel metal ideas, Gary Holt proves himself the Bay Area legend he most definitely is. or

9) AGNOSTIC FRONT – ‘Warriors’ 2:08; from Warriors (Nuclear Blast)
The undisputed godfathers of New York hardcore are back with a crushing, percussive, metal-mad record that doesn’t forsake the band’s urban hardcore roots. Riffs are everywhere on Warriors, as are persuasive calls to arms, as Agnostic tell their hard tale at full volume and with full impact. or

10) THE AGONY SCENE – ‘Barnburner’ 3:05; from Get Damned (Century Media)
Tulsa, Oklahoma’s peerless best have returned with a follow-up to their incendiary hardcore-ish debut that is sharper, more metallic, thrashier and sure to get pits bloodied and unbowed as ’08 lurches into view. Lead throat Mike Williams leads the roaring charge with lyrics that are some of the most disturbing on the bleak scene. or

11) ARTEP – ‘Eruption’ 6:43; from Fires Of Mortal Deception (Artep)
Blistering, raw black metal from BC, Artep combine lo-fi auditory madness with epic structure and hellish vocals to create a symphony of sin. Artep herself is a multi-instrumentalist from Europe, handling guitar and bass and vocals, supported by Lord Goatesque on drums and vocals – a unique configuration with hellbound effect achieved! Contact: 5138 Sidley St., Burnaby BC V5J 1T5,, or

12) DREAM QUEST – ‘The Fuse That Burned Too Fast’ 5:34; from Centralia (Dream Quest)
Having played with Sonata Arctica, Dragonforce, Paul Di’Anno and Stratovarius, this band has the speedy power metal chops to impress. But their key ace is that the Centralia album is truly one of a kind – the five tracks combine for a different plot line depending on how they are shuffled. Exponential synergy meets pure metal science. Contact: 633 Nairn Ave., Winnipeg MB R2L 0X4, 204-669-6931,, or

13) SEBASTIAN BACH – ‘(Love Is) A Bitchslap’ 3:06; from Angel Down (Merovingian/EMI)
Baz makes his long-awaited return with a record of roaring rock celebrating the finer things in life. Headbanger ‘til deth, Baz enlists a crack band of hooligans to make this thing pound ‘em back. ‘Bitchslap’ is a good indication of how vital Baz is gonna prove to be in ’08. or

14) THE HIXON – ‘Serpents And Flesh’ 3:21; from Truth Has Been Burned (The Hixon)
Six year veterans The Hixon have always been up for playing charitable events and raising money for good causes, but that’s just one generous side to the story – the other is the heaping dose of grinding, hardcore-tinged wattage the band cranks out, traditional metal riffs everywhere, a raucous booze-fueled time to be had by all. Contact: 1903 Woodhollow Dr., Marlton NJ 08053, 609-707-5908,,, or

15) SINAMORE – ‘Silence So Loud (edit)’ 3:58; from Seven Sins A Second (Napalm)
Creating a darker, “more metal album indicative of the last tracks that made it onto A New Day,” Sinamore have created a catchy yet depressive metal proposal that picks up where fellow Finns Sentenced left off. The result is a gorgeous and grey masterpiece for the ages., or

16) SIESMIC VOID – ‘Who’s To Blame’ 3:56; from Siesmic Void (Siesmic Void)
Siesmic Void’s trippy, groovy organic metal is a soothing balm in these metalcore times. But there’s a lot of doom in here too, along with pained, passionate vocals and creative ideas that recall the grunge days. California was the testing ground for wildly out there metal beginning in the late ‘80s, and now Siesmic Void are revisiting killer electrocuted wattage gone wayward. Contact: 3748 Midvale Ave., #12, Los Angeles CA 90034, 310-923-0696, or

17) SUICIDE SILENCE – ‘Unanswered’ 2:15; from The Cleansing (Century Media)
Label communications call this “one of the most scathing metal debuts in years,” and that’s a pretty accurate description of this Riverside, California band’s blasting deathcore onslaught. Three years in the making, The Cleansing, produced by John Travis (Static X), is recommended as an industrial-strength paint stripper. or

18) BEREAVEMENT – ‘Eye Of The Storm’ 4:30; from The Advent Of Loss (Bereavement)
Bereavement are a genre-bending band (formed from the ashes of Enamored) that sculpts swirling progressive black metal constructs. Expert playing and versatile vocal styles are countered by a canny, specific amount of grit and edge to create an emotionally moving display of technical blackness. Contact: 45 Hillmond St., Bethlehem PA 18018,, 610-504-6419, or