Search Results for "Album Review"

Album Review: Veil Of Maya – “Matriarch”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, July 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM (PST)

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Matriarch is certainly a big statement for Veil Of Maya. New singer. Clean vocals. The amazing guitar-tistry of Mark Okubo. Like most of their records, there are moments of sheer brilliance that make it worth purchasing. Other sections however are kind of aimless or more textural than servicing the “song”. I remember Okubo once saying he didn’t like Jane’s Addiction in an interview, which bummed me out cuz they feature such great guitar skills but also can always deliver a solid song as well. Sometimes less is more.
Then again, with Veil of Maya you have room for many layers or approaches under one band name, parting the veils to keep searching for what it all means.

Without a doubt Veil seem re-energized, though I’d really rather hear them with less compressed sounding production. It’s just a tad too slick and not enough bass, though the guitar tones at times get fuckin’ glorious on the proggier, walky Okubo lines.

Vocals in Veil were always the weakest part. It happens a lot in newer tech or proggy or metalcore bands, vocals secondary to the complexity of arrangements in both depth and scope. Pop culture references abound in some of these bands or names from TV shows. Within The Ruins did a great job on their last record but it wasn’t so blatant. Though serviceable, Matriarch aims to focus on female power symobls and matriarchs in society but they should’ve pointed to Malala instead of, I dunno, fake movie and show characters.
Don’t get me wrong. These guys often really slay at times.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: The Devil Wears Prada – “Space” EP

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7:19 PM (PST)

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I love that The Devil Wears Prada always make me reasses intial impressions on repeat listens, at least since their early days. Prada have subtly tweaked their sound in ways fans have accepted more than, say, Job For A Cowboy with each release. It’s hard to pin how some bands can be succesful at this with fans while others aren’t as embraced.

I like that TDWP “never sounded quite like this” each time, while still retaining trademark elements, dissonance, screaming, some catchy
hooks for the new school emocore kids and weird textures. The Chariot was another band that managed to evolve really distinctively, whereas while the new JFAC proggier direction yielded some cool results, you’d be hard pressed to peg it as the band you knew even an album ago.

Prada meanwhile have been perfecting their approach with each release since Dead Throne. Their themed Zombie EP is a well loved “aww shit” classic to many of their fans, some of their heaviest yet well developed tunes. I like the idea of themed concept EPs a bit more than stringing a story through many albums ala Coheed, for example. I mean, it’s cool to follow a lengthy intertwined tale as in King Diamond’s Them and Conspiracy albums, but then you have the cases of Geoff Tate from Queensryche calling his post-Queensryche band Operation: Mindcrime or Metallica’s “Unforgiven pt. 15″…and that gets to be painfully desperate, grasping at the last straws of a once glorious concept. Prada have decided to put more substance in their albums both long and short, with consistently superior long players and EPs with short little punch to the gut/head concepts that are easy to participate in with enthusiasm for a bit before moving on to the next material.

Full review BELOW.

DVD Review: Black Veil Brides – “Alive And Burning”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 9:50 PM (PST)

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Alive and Burning is everything a Black Veil fan could want in a DVD
experience. Great audio, an extensive booklet and pro footage of BVB ripping
through a lengthy set in November of 2014 at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre. The
band have come a long way since vocalist Andy Biersack used to sleep in his
car. Right from the opener “Heart Of Fire”, you know why Avenged Sevenfold
need to watch their backs. This band right now could blow them off the stage,
and I’m not even an Avenged hater.

The hard working, hard rock tradition loving band that people either love or
hate threaten snobs who just don’t get where these dudes are coming from or
like the aesthetic, but in reality Black Veil are right up there with some of
the best 80’s bands. They are certainly light years better than a plethora of
compressed emo vocal bands all trying to grasp at pubescence with high pitched
vocals while also trying to sound tough and screamo-core or the distended anus
of most deathcore mouth fart vocals and floppy breakdowns these days.

Watching this DVD is exciting, fans are stoked, rock n roll is alive, the band
have sick gear and Andy is using his real, God given voice to kick ass. The
band have on stage fortitude and a killer energy exhange with fans many
numbskulls could learn from if they could stop automatically associating glam
or death rock with Mall metal trends. Personally I love when I see some
younger kid with a Heartogram or a Black Veil T Shirt, because it isn’t fake
music.

Click HERE for more.

EP Review: Castrator – “No Victim”

Posted by Joan on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2:26 PM (PST)

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“Tightly she holds the blade
With which the rapist will be raped .
Castration Of the rapist! Emasculation.”

Talk about a reply to any number of songs from Cannibal Corpse’s discography! Having discovered these ladies last year, right before their demo was released, I was ecstatic to finally hear Castrator‘s 4-track EP released in early May under the Horror Pain Gore Death Productions label. These five ladies hail from all over the map (Sweden, Colombia & Norway to name a few countries), marking this group as both ethnically diverse and fem-tastic! Shrouded in a bit of mystery, the ladies are credited as M.S. (vocals), M. Akesson (rhythm guitar), R. M. (bass), C. Perez (drums) and P. Serrano (lead and vocals). You might already be familiar with many of the ladies from their other bands, which with time, I’m sure you’ll all figure out.

It’s sort of a supergroup in the making. Castrator’s EP has brushed off the dust to reinvigorate traditional death metal, and, in fact, does so with a healthy dose of feminism. And for you males out there who shy away from the f-word – put simply, it’s about leveling the field.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Nekrogoblikon – “Heavy Meta”

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 12:22 PM (PST)

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“Ok, what the fuck is ‘Goblin Metal’?” I swear, I sat there asking myself this question for about 10 minutes when this first fell into my hands. Just sitting, staring at my phone, wondering what this meant, but drawing blanks. Seriously, I could almost see myself grabbing people and screaming in a gravely voice, similar to Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight movies, and asking “What is it!? What is it!? Tell Me! What is Goblin Metal!?”

If you’re reading this right now and feeling the same way, then stick around. I’m about to answer this question the very best I can. The band NEKROGOBLIKON would be the best (and perhaps only) place to start. They are by far one of the most original bands I’ve ever encountered, so I can’t even begin to compre them to anything else I’ve heard yet. They can best be described as a fun, melodic, comedic, black metal band with some 80s inspired riffs, epic keyboarding, and vocals about goblins, for goblins, and performed by goblins that really resemble creature cards in one of my Magic The Gathering decks.

Read more below.

Album Review: Faith No More – “Sol Invictus”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 5:43 PM (PST)

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Faith No More‘s Sol Invictus in far too easy cliffnotes shorthand would be a slice of The Real Thing with the general brevity of the songs (not the 2x vinyl album duration) of King For A Day, with plenty of unfamiliar yet familiar textures and pratfall avoiding moments of sheer joy and snark from camp “Rock Band” Patton and Co. Hearing Mike Bordin’s straight up, scarce frills yet so spot on percussion parts on the somewhat desert rock and Tomahawk-esque spaghetti western gangsta thriller “Cone Of Shame” is like putting on your favorite old coat that still is cooler than the new styles.

Was it worth the wait? Yes. I’m gonna say absolutely. This is a really great return to alternative nation.

The title track opens things up with the calm self control the band brought to the stage in Brooklyn a few years back opening with fucking “Midnight Cowboy” before just exploding with energy from there. Same digs here. “Sol Invictus” starts on a somber and slow, piano balladry note before we are thrust deep into “Superhero”, the band’s true comeback single. “LEADER OF MEN! GET BACK IN YOUR CAGE!!!” Man, that is the lyric of our times for the bank puppets we answer to who are all really still in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma.

“Superhero” and “Motherfucker” appealed to Real Thing and perhaps Album Of The Year-era fans strongly, both great singles. “Superhero” in particular just has so much of the classic FNM sound no one has ever imitated well. There are even a few “Take This Bottle” worthy moments here (if perhaps no “Midlife Crisis” – Angel Dust will always be their best record to me. It’s just a fucking masterpiece front to back. “Smaller and Smaller”, kids. HIGH water mark dopest song maybe ever, in my book).

I’ve got to say that “Sunny Side Up” is one of the best lyrics Patton has penned in years, continuing the homerun streak he has had with recent songs he’s been a part of like “Stone Letter” or Peeping Tom’s dope ass “Kill The Dj” and the score for The Solitude Of Prime Numbers (which had the coolest, leafy packaging I’ve seen in a long time).

There’s swing, stomp, sass, some PMA, some funk, scat alley cat yeowwls we know and love, beautiful piano parts (sans floppy fish) and plenty of gimpery to go around. Like Soundgarden’s King Animal or the forthcoming Failure disc, it defies critics who think the band are cash grabbing. There isn’t a song as sexy as “Stripsearch”, one of the last pre-break serious gems the band wrote which inspired some friends of mine to start a whole short lived band with the same name years ago…but I was slightly baked and exhausted in the bus station in NYC today listening to the NPR premiere of Sol Invictus in the headphones and just fucking found myself jamming the hell out and drumming in a pink t shirt not giving a fuck if people stared at me. What the hell ever. That’s a good sign.

Then I was looking at the picture of the two friendly cops on the wall by Gate 32 when Patton sang “Aint no grave gonna hold this body down”, and it made me feel something really deep and profound for the fabric of our society so at odds over hate and racism.

I’m not giving it a 4.5 out of comparisons to shittier bands but because it stands on its’ own merits. If that was the case it would have had a five (and probably should since once this site gave a five star rating to The Bunny, The Bear). But yeah, I really wanted someone to bring back the power of weird ass, ambitious rock for the radiation soaked masses. Oh wait, somebody has. Faith No More!!! Goodbye, Motherfucker(s)! You had it coming! #rainbowswillcurveforme 

Album Review: Svetlanas – Naked Horse Rider

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 7:39 AM (PST)

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Svetlanas were just banned in Russia, play punk that is borderline thrash metal and have one of the fiestiest and most confrontational front-women around, Olga. The new record was produced by Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves and Andy Carpenter and is on boutique DIY working class punk label Altercation Records. You should be drooling by now anyway but did I mention it also has arguably the best cover art of the year?

It is not because I am Estonian and we are stereotyped as hating Russians after years of the occupation by the USSR, though my grandpa was sent to Siberia under Stalin and I never met him. No, I am not a hypocrite and can say that American politics is a clusterfuck of hypocrites too, but that doesn’t make what Putin is doing right. Censorship,Pussy Riot’s incarceration, homophobic idiocy and brutal police state tactics undermine anything genuine Putin says, much like no one is fooled when we have inter-continental stare downs over missile base locations and try to act like the USA is the only one moral enough to have nukes. No one should fucking have nukes, unless horrible face rape aliens appear from the sky and we have to defend ourselves. Jesus! Drink some vodka and dance, everyone! All of our countries love vodka.

Anyway, from the no ripcord yanking high speed charge of the hysterical “I Must Break You” which should be in 50 Shades Darker (ahahaha), to the hysterical title of “Crimea River” that deals with the very real and sad topic of the Crimea conflict to “Sacrifice Your Orifice” and “Go Fuck You Self”, there is a lot of real meat here in the satire. I mean, the band fucking pretend to be KGB Agents, which makes it pretty damn funny they’ve been banned from Russia. Pick this up and thank me later. Snarling brilliance, no fucks given. #altercationrecords #svetlanas #KISSarmy #Putinwillbepouting #KGB #thrash #punkrock #thedwarves 

Album Review: Imperial Cult – “Rise Of Yalamber” EP

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 7:38 PM (PST)

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Opening with the sound of struggle and mass humanity, Imperial Cult from India soon shatter eardrums with a snaking yet rabid style of blackened death metal.

Recorded in Pentatonic Studio, Kalkata, the 4 song Rise of Yalamber EP is an engrossing charge into reality and beyond. Great performances from fat drums to twisting and turning guitars and a grim harsh vocal delivery is wed to some innovative arrangements, varied but all gnarly guitar sounds and a high repeat listenability factor.With influences from Behemoth to Daath in their bio, you can tell the band are performing a unique version of what they are going for.

The band paint a dark shadow of trials and the will to move through them on standout track “Pain Of Mortals”, a song which becomes almost opressive amidst additional thrash influences before pushing the listener nearly to the breaking point with blazing drums that then give way to an adept guitar solo over a rugged and unstoppable bridge. The song goes on to charge through subsequent movements with the inevitability of mortality. But some things live on after death and it is clear on this EP that this small band from India are making a bold declaration that they are alive and want to make a mark/tell their stories.

Check the album out HERE.

For more read on BELOW.

Album Review: Tribulation – “The Children Of The Night”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 10:44 AM (PST)

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Tribulation‘s The Children Of A Night is not a tribute to the Survivor song of the same name, but rather a sort of pure manifestation of the famous quote from Dracula. What sweet music they make, indeed! Gone are much of the death metal trappings of earlier records, with a gloriously bold leap (and perhaps a flappng of wings) into a blackened abyss of atmospheric and dark rock with harsh vocals. Imagine a much more shadowy Ghost drenched in blood and wine but with snarled vocals akin to black metal in approach. Some fans have criticized the direction, but I think it’s by far one of the most interesting records I’ve heard this year.

Like the Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson House Atreides prequel to Frank Herbert’s Dune novel, perhaps it is a bit more streamlined than earlier works but it is still quite powerful. Actually, in the case of Tribulation I feel like they’ve really surpassed their other stuff here. Old school thrash heads may shit on Sepultura’s masterful Roots, but it’s by far the most original record of the Brazilian metal band’s (with perhaps A-Lex being a close second). My point is that Roots is thus the one that is most talked about and debated. Originality counts more for most people and Tribulation have found a real sweet spot here of mixed styles. Plus in the “Strange Gateways Beckon” video the singer makes evil faces that remind me of Sebastian Bach meets Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, so that’s cool.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Gutter Instinct – “The Insurrection” Ep

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 7:46 PM (PST)

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If you like Swedish metal fast, roaring and unafraid to get dirty hands death grinding, Gutter Instinct are for you. The Insurrection EP is a 4 song tease of a brain smasher that heralds the start of a big push for this awesome band via Prosthetic Records. Things kick off with a sweep and air raid sounding hellish atmosphere before the full on attack begins.

Gutter Instinct have only been a band a few years but you’d never tell it from the concise little life burner of an EP here. You can imagine live decimation even if the band just got up and played these 4 songs. I honestly can’t even imagine a room withstanding many more than that in a Gutter Instinct live set.

This band does not mess around. They get down to unrelenting death metal but with a decent enough production that still leaves room for rawer sounds. It sounds just good enough to not have the recording quality distract from the evil.

Taking some of their earlier Cannibal influence and adding in some more grind and blackened moments pays off well. One such win is the apeshit soloing over a super fast drum blast that batters into a razor’s edge hard charging Napalm unison riff attack on “The Invisible Hand”, Gutter Instinct nearly derailing but they never do. In fact they make it seem easy, but still have feeling in the playing.

“We Hate You” is one of the more interesting arrangements in recent death metal, respectfully dissonant weirdness birthing buzzsaw snarl straight from tremelo hell into a fucking stomp a mudhole bridge that takes no prisoners. They never get as black or crusty as Mutilation Rites but rather lean more on the Portal or classic death metal influences more.

Any true death metal fan worth their salt who doesn’t mind some more blackened textures but with the emphasis still mainly on DEATH will love the heck out of this band.

Album Review: Ensiferum – “One Man Army”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 12:45 PM (PST)

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Ensiferum‘s One Man Army is a melodic folk metal fan’s delight if you don’t mind higher end production with still gritty sounding guitar. That said, there is still a raw and very real attack to the material. Think at times of a trace of
Slaughter Of The Soul sped up through symphonic Helsinki bombast and warcry screams mixed with folk metal. A thirst for history, warmetal and spirited endeavors will be quenched but an at times thin guitar sound but you’ll also experience a lot more variety in material and even genre as the record progresses through epic to speed to folky dreams.

“Axe Of Judgement” gets things off to a determined gallop after the intro mood setter “March Of War”. Ensiferum play a lot of their strengths right on “Axe…” with a short but lightning lead, seeming black metal influence and speed paired with epic metal touches. “Heathen Horde” is one of the best songs from the band yet and would surely appeal to fans of Hammerfall or Turisas, easilly. The mid section quiet “traditional” part of the song is glorious while the drums thunder beneath spoken shouts and a riff that’d make Estonia’s Metsatoll jealous. Man, I’d kill to see those two live. “Lady Of The Slain” by Tyr comes to mind asanother recent battle field epic that kindles the spark of heroism in the heart of the epic metal fan in a similar way.

Click HERE for the full review.

Album Review: Acid King – “Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere”

Posted by Joan on Friday, April 10, 2015 at 3:49 PM (PST)

 

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Heavy and atmospheric, stoner band Acid King return with their 2015 album, “Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere”. Fronted by San Francisco natives, Lori S. (vocals and guitar), along with bandmates, Joey Osbourne (drums) and Peter Lucas (bass), this trio delivers on slow groove and ambiance. Unlike their previous efforts, this album’s vocal stylings and guitar work play more on the doomy side of stoner, offering the listener a darker and more introspective tone than what might be expected from their earlier work on Acid King III. After a slow building and jamming Intro track, Acid King’s second track, Space Pictures, coalesces into a thick, unassuming, sludge-inspired sound, placing the band’s sound somewhere between King Woman meets Sleep meets Electric Wizard. Add to that, the driving doom of their sixth track, “Infinite Skies”, and you’ll feel like donning your biker jacket and going for a ride.

Click HERE for more of the review.

Album Review: Monolord – Vænir

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 9:35 AM (PST)

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Monolord‘s new record Vænir is the essence of good tone, landscapes of riff and monstous, heaving sonic swirl that will kick your ass. There’s loads of feel here, from the gut punching downstroke hits in “Cursing The One” to the perfectly restrained doom of classic rocker slowed down by deep oceans of smoke second track “We Will Burn”. This rocks like some slow stampede inevitable procession over a cliff that falls through the abyss to thunder to Earth again. It shakes the ground but somehow rise from the dust and keep marching, these songs are BIG.

Like fellow Swede doomers The Order of Israfel, the Monolord guys are really deft at shaping their doom obsessed Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind giant pudding/mashed potatoes mountain sculpture of Riffs into just the right amount of onslaught and chaos amidst controlled form. There’s a similar to Wovenhand/Conan really reverbed the fuck out vocal thing going on and the songs are generally in the not so atypically for the genre nowadays 8 minute + mark. Some absolutely crushing passages like the 5 minute mark of “We Will Burn”, which somehow is the heaviest three note thing you may have ever heard and will make High On Fire/Sleep fans pee.

PR says: Initially formed as a side project in 2013 out of the ashes of Swedish bands Marulk and Rotten Sound – comprising of guitar player and vocalist Thomas Jager, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Hakki – Monolord emerged as one of 2014’s heaviest, loudest and most loved new bands.

“Died A Million Times” is a guitar lovers wet dream of deep, no bullshit reverance. Fans of some of Southern Lord’s brilliant ASCEND stuff or recent Yob will likely super dig on this.

Monolord are early in their career in some ways but if their live show is as on point as their recordings, shit will be ill . Love to see a Lord Dying, Geezer, Monolord type package tour go down sometime once Lord Dying are done touring with mighty Crowbar (here’s putting out hopeful horns to the world). Big fan of the very Spirit Caravan-esque, well paced and doom as fuck drums on this baby. While some might argue this record is getting by on form, they nailed it to the doom cross, pissed on it and lit that gasoline on fire so I certainly can’t complain. Turn it up!

Pre-order HERE.

Album Review: Moonspell – “Extinct”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 11:38 AM (PST)

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The shadows part again and reveal a glimpse to the other side of mirrored realms, or perhaps the reflection of horrors we see is actually the truth? Portugal’s Moonspell  have proven through their career they are one of the most ambitious bands metal has EVER produced and their newest Extinct continues this. It’s deep reunion with their gothic tendencies but still full of anthemic black clouds of brooding riffs (such as the title track “Extinct”).

“Breathe in, breathe out. You’ve reached the top of the chain”. Opening cut “Breathe (Until We Are No More)” captures the striving yet destructive poles humankind’s pendulum swings between , set to a knife-edged hard rock soundtrack with symphonic gusto.

On this album, Guitarists Ricardo and Pedro deftly set up cunning and exciting momentum for poetic vocalist Fernando’s moody, low croon or the times he lets go and unleashes one of the heaviest and blackest screams in heavy metal. The keys, strings and as always the excellent drumming of Mike Gaspar really make this a very even listeing experience you can enjoy the whole way through. “Medusalem” is one of their more brilliant songs in years, really triumphant and practically sending imagery and pathos leaping from the speakers, especially during the otherworldly almost Moroccan sounding solo section, which is hard to even describe.

This is not their heaviest album by any means. Fans looking for those should check out Night Eternal or Memorial, which will rip your faces off though also contain more mist shrouded numbers as well. Extinct however is a very potent and somewhat different brew. “Funeral Bloom” is one of the best songs they’ve ever written, a big rock statement that floats way above genre limits to feel like they just made some death rock song to rival U2 for stadium grandeur (I wish).

Click HERE to read more.

Album Review: Enforcer – “From Beyond”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 9:52 AM (PST)

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Enforcer are back with a sturdy classic heavy metal by the books record. The debate is always raging if this style is mroe pure or if people are just retreading the past. Whatever you think, Enforcer have written a great metal record that could have come out in 1986. The band claim they don’t limit the type of music they write but this album is all clearly under the classic heavy metal sound genre. Ripping solos, soaring/shriekd vocals and mostly breakneck tempos to start up a thrashing intense time. “One With Fire” or any of the tracks really all have something to offer and could each be singles in their own right, though again this is for a certain type of fan with a retro bent. Hints of early Metallica and also nspired by eastern European metal bands from the late 80s and early 90s, such as CREDO, MAGNIT, POKOLGEP and KAT, this record is unabashed heavy metal pride. Proto-ballad “Below The Slumber” features a sick melodic, piercing vocal from very talented singer Olof Wikstrand. If it was the 80’s this dude would be a metal god, for sure. The arrangements are rewarding if traditional and you’ll be undeoubtedly banging your head or making a “this is cool” face, furrowing your brow and nodding along, tapping your foot to these “anti-existential” leaning songs as the dual guitars carry you along/aloft.

The recording is the perfect blend of old and new production for the Enforcer sound and, like Amulet’s recent record, is one of my favorite things about the release. The band seem to have known exactly what sound would suit their charging compositions best. “From Beyond”, the title track, has a very Maiden-esque or kind of old Horror movie soundtrack vibe, a wise choice for the “focus” track. The chorus/repeated phrase of the title and the guitars above the very Steve Harris bass attack of this number ensure it sticks in your head. Also a standout is the quite NWOBHM take no prisoners number “The Banshee” which just explodes out the gate with liquid fire leads and then kicks in with purpose to blow the doors off any venue. It’s got delicious high shrieks and fun lyrics, definitely my favorite track. While this album isn’t creating a new path for metal, it’s a great addition to any collection and sure to liven up any keg party. And if anything, the cover art just screams “cool back patch.” \m/