Fleshgod Apocalypse Picks Your Poison (Nuclear Blast Records, May 24, 2019)

May just kept getting better for us. Well… for the Klown at least because another one of his favorites returned with their highly anticipated fifth album, Veleno. Although two unexpected departures happened about two years ago, Francesco Paoli traded his tubs for a 6-string and a return to the vocals since the band’s 2009 debut LP, Oracles

The album starts out really strong with “Fury” and sounded like something that came from King. It is then preceded by the album’s current hits “Carnivorous Lamb” and “Sugar.” The Klown enjoyed “Carnivorous Lamb,” the track starts off somewhat melodic with sounds reminiscent to that of bagpipes and transitions to some fast-paced death metal that is infused with Veronica Bordacchin’s iconic operatic vocals. This song’s chorus line, however,  is solely dominated by bassist/vox Paolo Rossi and Francesco Ferrini classical piano. 

“Monnalisa” tones down and has “The Praying Mantis’ Strategy” serve as its intro for a brilliant one-two combo. “Monnalisa” made the Klown smile even more when he heard the bitchin’ guitar solo from Paoli which was accompanied by Bordacchini’s vocals. One of the Klown absolute favorites was “Absinthe”and not just because it’s a drink but also because it was well balanced. It was technical and erratic but also had room for its iconic piano score and manages to smoothly incorporate Bordacchini and Rossi’s vocals to the chorus. “Absinthe” finishes up with a guitar solo and picks up the tempo for a grand finale. 

“Pissing on the Score” was a great song that begins with Ferrini’s exquisite opening which catalysis an immediate breakdown. Bordachinni takes the lead with her mezzo-soprano vocals in a duet “The Day We’ll Be Gone,” her voice even dominated Paoli’s screaming vocals. Seeing as how Rammstein was a topic of conversation in the previous review, the Italian collective paid homage to them by closing out with a cover of “Reise, Reise” which they made their own. As you can all see, the Klown really loved this album and could basically go on and on. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so you’ll get Oracles, King and Agony combined in one.

6 out of 6, “I Forge the Soundtrack of Your Decay”

Death Angel Issue the Soundtrack of Demise (Nuclear Blast Records, May 31, 2019)

What else can the Klown say about one of the OGs of the Bay Area Thrash scene that he hasn’t said before? The Klown can only surmise this record to one word,  “unwavering” because he can’t really think of an actual adjective, adverb or verb to best describe Humanicide. The quintet’s latest release picks up even more than the previous The Evil Divide. It’s not a bad thing but it does showcase an evolution of sorts that Death Angel has demonstrated since their comeback in 2004. Unlike the previous album, this current installment doesn’t let up. What does the Klown mean? Good news to those who hate ballads, there are none in this album. Hooray?

The album opens with the title track and features Rob Cavestany’s wailing guitar and Damien Sisson’s bass before it’s accompanied with Mark Osegueda’s unforgettable vocals. “Divine Defector” not only picks up more speed but also adds more aggression to the mix. The style carries and settles down a tad with “Aggressor” and picks right up again with “I Came For Blood.” After a span of 18 years, rhythm guitarist Ted Aguilar finally gets a song of his own called “Alive & Screaming,” and after hearing that track, the Klown is hoping that Aguilar gets more input. Yes, it was an awesome song. The album closes with “The Days I Walked Away” which was not only slow but felt like a fitting end. The Klown definitely recommends you check out the album especially if you fancy yerselves thrashers.

6 out of 6 “Tell You What is I Need. Brace Yourself, You Won’t Believe.”

Darkthrone Gives Us the Sounds Old as Gold (Peaceville Records, May 31, 2019)

Over two years ago, the Klown had the good graces of reviewing Arctic Thunder. It. Was. Beautiful. Sure, “Thundra Leech” was overshadowed by the Metallica single that same August day but the Klown digresses and so did most, if not all, of the trves. Either way, we were the winners since it came out a month before Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. This year, Darkthrone overwhelmed the Klown’s ears and whatever remnants of his heart are left. This May kicked major ass and to sign off on it, Darkthrone’s latest Old Star, joined the fray.

The best way to describe this album’s concept: old is new. From the moment “I Muffle Your Inner Choir” begins it takes you back to the early ’90s where it all began in Norway. Which was then followed by the band’s current single “The Hardship of the Scots,” which incorporates some doom elements to the mix which can be said about the majority of the album. The album gains momentum again with “Duke of Gloat” and wraps up with “The Key is Inside the Wall.” Plain and simple, it was a great album. This record gave both old and new listeners a newfound sense of appreciation and respect for Darkthrone. They continue to pioneer the misunderstood and chaotic black metal subgenre.

6 out of 6 “Click your Shit Boots Together. We are Not in Hell Anymore