Honorable Mention:

‘California Blood Vol.1’ Shows People Why You Don’t Mess With Cali!

Look what other album snuck past us! The J-Ohster was too damn under the influence of this compilation showcasing our Cali bands that she forgot to mention it! We don’t normally talk about compilations but, local label Riffs Or GTFO, released their first compilation album called California Blood Vol.1 and holy shite mate! Talking about this album was a must and did I mention it is the first of its kind? Just in case you missed the memo. I can only imagine how the rest of this series will snowball into a bloody great time.

The compilation includes some bands we have had the pleasure of see in live and in Technicolor such as the badasses in Raise The Guns, Monarch, and Void Vator. Fans of Bay Area rickers Realms of Vision and Sac Town rockers SkullGunner will rejoice because these guys will debut songs in this compilations featured in their upcoming albums!

This first installment showcases a whole array of bands that were brewed in our Golden State, and is the answer to your restless craving because I know you were scavenging for some new bands to indulge on. It is never a dull moment with this album and you can devour this compilation and get it here. And be sure to like Riffs or GTFO on Facebook because you never know what other goods they’ll bust out! You’re welcome 😉

‘Catharsis’ Suffers An Identity Crisis

Machine Head may have fired us San Diegans, but talking about our apparent ex-employer we were never aware of, was a must. Rob Flynn may talk big but we know he loves San Diego long time, he sure did on August last year when he joined us at the Rancid and Dropkick Murphys show which you can read here. But enough about self advert and more on Machine Head! The quartet released their ninth studio album titled Catharsis via Nuclear Blast Records and it seems to be teeming with all sorts of feelings because Catharsis…get it?! …Everyone’s a critic.

For a moment, I thought Machine Head had a nice little surprise for Slipknot fans with “Volatile,” “Catharsis,” and “Psychotic” among a few other tracks, because they sounded like a slew of Slipknot tracks. Boy, Flynn is out to test fans to see how well they know MH. “Kaleidoscope,” “Behind A Mask” and “Bastards” has a nice sentimentality to them because who says metal heads don’t have feelings? “Heavy Lies The Crown” aims to emphasize the burden of this weight and it achieves that nicely. The track has a slow and somewhat theatrical buildup to it and sticks throughout the song making this song very enjoyable and different from the rest. If you want something slower and bleaker and want to have a surprise self-pity party “Eulogy” would be the one for you!

Kudos to Machine Head for experimenting, however, they don’t sound like themselves. This experiment sounds very much like a formula that’s been heard before. In this particular album, they sound like they maybe need a hug in their identity crisis or something…talk to us dammit! But alas, we must not push them and we must give them their space. If you were hoping for another fast paced album like Bloodstone & Diamonds, this album will tell you “I can’t be who you want me to be!” before it runs away, locks itself in a room and binges on Slipknot. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here.

2 out 6, Give them some space before taking them to HR if they wanna fire you again*

*Apply that rule if you’re from San Diego.

Orphaned Land Reign In Latest

Get ready to ditch your lovable shit shack and get ready to go in to a different and spiritual realm with Orphaned Land’s latest album Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs which was released via Century Media Records. “The Cave” will fill you with a sense of wonder and will pump you up with whatever our journey will throw at us. Rise up with “We Do Not Resist” which is not your typical anthem. Vocalist Kobi Fahri will consume you with his growls in “Only the Dead Have Seen the End Of War.”

The tracks “All Knowing Eye” and “Yedidi” burrows its way into your brain and heart, and will plunge you in to euphoria. In “All Knowing Eye” Fahri’s beautiful and melodic vocals complement the mesmerizing instrumentals from the ensemble and will make you wish it was longer than 4:30 minutes! In the track “Yedidi,” the front man creates a soothing and hypnotic spell by manipulating his melodious voice in to the traditional Middle Eastern style vocals.

Speaking of vocalists who sing beautifully and make it epic AF, the single and track “Like Orpheus” is a massive treat because it features Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch. This album was a wonder in and of itself and has the power to keep your ears, nose and mind buried in this epic adventure. Listen to the whole album on Spotify and get your copy here.

6 out of 6, Wonderful

Adavänt Does Not Back Down In Latest

The American Vikings known as Adavänt took a break from conquering the unforgiving terrain of Arizona and independently released their third full length album The Unyielding. Because the sextet is aware of how we’re in desperate need of extra oomph to start the work week, they give us that kick we need to for any heated battle with the “Gallows End.”

“Overgaard” is a fun track because it doesn’t just include more fierce growls from vocalist/bassist Nathan “The Ravenous” Page and Charlotte “The Alluring” Doherty’s alto soprano pipes, but it also has a contagious and upbeat little break down from Justin “The Fierce” Sherwood and Ryan “The Dreaded” Gero and their mighty axes.

Another track that will have your happy ass drinking, moshing, and having a great time is the track “Stumbling Hunstman.” This song also shines the spotlight on keyboardist Andy “The Cunning” Marcantel. The light is distributed equally in this album and in the track “The Landeer,” Doherty tugs at our heartstrings while drummer Jake “The Thunderous” Steffa matches our heartbeat.

This album was enjoyable… oh never mind there I go hitting that “play” button AGAIN. Let me start over, this album was very enjoyable and it’s only a matter of time till we see this band of savages pillage a venue near you. Listen to their other goods, and this album, and get your copy at their Bandcamp.

4 out of 6, Savage!

Project Pitchfork Chugs Along With ‘Akkretion’ 

Industrial legends Project Pitchfork are still growing strong nearly three decades after they first made Germany dance! The quartet is determined to keep their momentum going with their 17th studio album Akkretion released via Trisol Music Group GmbH. A fun fact about Akkretion is that it is chapter #1 from their planned trilogy.

“The Collision” will infect you with the dancing bug once you hear the first beat of that mixing board and bass. Peter Spilles’s unique vocals not only compliment this dancy anthem but his powerful lyrics work a type of magic. “Ascension” will “lift you up from human tragedy” and so will the bonus track “Tree of Life,” which is an amazing track. “Crossfire” pays a heartfelt and ambient homage to our momma as in Mother Nature duh! Cuz she’s the bee’s knees. This particular track shines not just because of the beautiful lyrics but also because the quartet diminish their tempo and gives way to a subtle theatrical influence. The dramatic style is emphasized by the calculated array of keys from Jürgen Jansen  and Dirk Scheuber.

This album is a little different and moved along a little slower than their previous releases. Though Akkretion has a few songs that stood out to me, this is only chapter 1 of this trilogy. Project Pitchfork might unleash more climactic and infectious songs on their next two chapters. Check out the whole album here and get your copy here.

3 Out 6, Akkretion can become a giant some day

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