In This Moment Release the Mother of their albums (March 27, 2020; Roadrunner Records)
Maria Brink has to be one of the most prolific frontwomen in the game today. Since her debut, she has made strides and has captivated metal faithful enough to keep their eyes on her for over a decade. The same can be said of her band, In This Moment. The last time we talked about an ITM album was three years ago, this year Brink and company released Mother and offered something similar to the previous album and then some.
For one, the album features Joe Cotela of Ded in the dark duet, “Hunting Grounds,” and this time we are treated to three cover songs. First, Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” gets a bass heavy, electronic, and dark toned makeover. ITM adds a dramatic flare to Queen’s stadium favorite “We Will Rock You.” The cover also features Lzzy Hale and Taylor Momsen of Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless, respectively as additional backup and trading vocal duties. The album closes by covering Mazzy Star’s “Into Dust,” which does it justice and turned the original acoustic guitar version into a dramatic and keyboard heavy performance adding a dramatic flare the song didn’t know it craved.
The album was a good follow up to the previous and reintroduces songs to a new generation. The Klown’s only chief complaint is that some songs just seemed unnecessarily long in favor of the dramatic pauses which felt like it was dragging a song longer than it needed to be. Listen and judge for yourselves on your streaming service of choice or get the album here if you fancy yourself a big ITM fan.
4.75 out of 6, “Mother forgive us for our sins, for we know not what we do. Mother, I am right outside your door. Mother, I am screaming no more”
Me And That Man Gives Us New, Old Shit (March 27, 2020; Napalm Records)
Me And That Man should not require a long intro. After all, anything Nergal does is immediately public. But the short history of MATM is this, years back Nergal got the Blues itch and released its debut three years ago enticing metalheads to gain an interest in the underrated great granddaddy of the metal genre. It also introduced John Porter, an English music legend, to the legion of metalheads. When Porter left the band, questions arose and peeps presumed MATM was done which was far from true. New Man, New Songs, Same Shit VOL 1 came to us in late spring and gave us a new twist.
When “Run with The Devil” was released as the first hit, the Klown did a double take because he thought he was listening to the wrong song. He later realized that this time around the album took a Blues-Rock approach and with many guest vocalists at the helm such as Niklas Kvarforth of Shining, Corey Taylor and Brendan Hinds of Mastodon just to name a few. The Klown’s favorite songs, “By the River” featuring Ihsahn and “You Will Be Mine” with Trivium’s Matt Heafy who showed off his clean vocals, were ,in my opinion, the sole Blues songs. “Męstwo” also was a Blues song but had no guests. The Klown also enjoyed the Bluegrass influenced “Deep Down South” featuring Lucifer’s Johanna Sadonis and Nicke Andersson.
The album threw the Klown off but he enjoyed it, but sadly, not as much as he did its debut. The album was still very enjoyable, but the Klown felt that the plethora of guest musicians, and choosing a rock sound took away the focus as to why MATM was a success in the first place. Check it out and judge for yourselves here or just get it because you are a good fan.
4.5 out of 6 “But heavens brought all hell to earth. ‘Cause this is how it goes. I found her with another man. And, goddamn, shot them both”
Idolos Rerelease Instant Classic (March 29, 2020; Wolfmond Productions)
This up-and-comer in the black metal world is an interesting one. Idolos‘ current album, Ahi Cab, was originally released in January through another label. Months later, the band not only joined forces with Wolfmond but they also re-released Ahi Cab EP. “What’s the difference?” you may be asking yourself. The Klown’s glad you didn’t ask out loud, you’ll just have to read through!
Although the band is identified as atmospheric black metal, “The Deeds Above” will make you think otherwise, it was fast and aggressive. The following song, “The Summoners” would be about the same but changes their tempo a bit. “The Maiden and The Tree” on the other hand would meet up to the standard of atmospheric black metal. “Blue Blooded Beings,” was atmospheric as it was raw and exclusively featured on the new release.
So the differences between this EP and the original release is that this one includes an extra song, and a new cover art. The Klown enjoyed this album and thinks that anyone who fancies Wolves in the Throne Room, Alcest and Blut Aus Nord would get a kick outta this album. Check them out either through a stream service or through their Bandcamp here.
6 out of 6, “We, the lords Pus Demon and Jaundice Demon. Our dominion is to swell people up until pus oozes from the skin of their legs, and the skin of their faces becomes yellow with jaundice.”
Testament Create a New Titan for their Arsenal (April 3, 2020; Nuclear Blast)
Testament gave us a scare when Chuck Billy when he caught the ‘Rona but much like our genre, you can’t get rid of Billy that easily. Before any of this mess happened, Titans of Creation had been done and ready for release. Much like most of Testament’s previous albums, it didn’t disappoint. Testament covers a vast range of topics such as The Heaven’s Gate cult in “Children of the Next Level,” fears about a major war in “WWIII,” serial killer Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez in “City of Angels,” and even ancient Babylonian history with “Ishtar’s Gate” and “Code Hammurabi.” If it doesn’t seem like too much stood out to the Klown it is because the Klown doesn’t have the proper wording for it.
Does the album have killer solos and guitar shredding from Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson? Hell yes! Does Steve DiGiorgio bust out his groovy and heavy bass strumming? Of course! Does it have a speedy and thunderous drumming set the way Gene Hoglan knows how? Ch’yeah, it does! Is the album another testament to Testament’s Bay Area Thrash pioneer? You bet your ass it does! Check out this album in a streaming service of your preference or get the album here because you also love the Klown’s shill.
6 out of 6 “San Diego mass suicide. Who holds the key to open Heaven’s Gate? And take ’em to the next level”
The Black Dahlia Murder Infest our ears once more (April 17, 2020; Metal Blade)
Nearly 20 years ago, five dudes from Michigan popped outta nowhere called themselves The Black Dahlia Murder, and blew each and every metalhead’s mind away with their debut Unhallowed. It was kind of new at the time and certainly different. Then two years after that, their piece de resistance titled Miasma popped up and solidified their legitimacy in the metal world. Although the five-piece hasn’t reached the same critical responses since, it is criminal to overlook the fact that they’ve been very consistent and Verminous is no exception to that either. Their latest installment takes you aside and reminds you why Metal Blade didn’t hesitate to sign them in the first place.
The album starts with the title track which kicks off with speedy double kicks from Andy Cassidy and features Brandon Ellis’ solos and backing vox work. “Godlessly” really picks up the speed for the album. The majority of the album was not only consistent but was really heavy and dark. The group doesn’t miss a beat and Trevor Strnad still has the same rough growling vocals that give the songs and the band recognizable signature sounds. Definitely worth listening to. This album may in fact be a comeback for the group. Dispute or unconvinced? Listen to it and decide or just get the album here because you are, indeed, a good fan.
5 out of 6,“Welcome unto this wretched underworld, Where we the primordial slime we live and breed”
Inclaustro and Veins Release a split, we didn’t know we craved (April 20, 2020; Independent)
Here, at Ugh Metal, one of our favorite things to type out and spread the word on is when independent musicians release material. Why? It’s simple, they are the biggest surprise you didn’t know you wanted to know about. Sometimes they are up to par with the greatest and professionally produced studio albums of established bands. Inclaustro and Veins both come from the Central American nation of Nicaragua and give us black metal that we didn’t know thrived over there.
The split EP titled Efigies de Inquina: Un Analisis Detallado Del Comportamiento Humano features and, presumptuously, represents the rising underground black metal scene of a country that is known to be politically leftist but really conservative. The album begins with Alfredo “Cuervo” Castillo’s Veins with a soundbite of the Columbine shooting distress call and then immediately dives into “Episodio 3- Descenso” which the Klown was immediately reminded of Mgla, Uada and Batushka… before the slap fight. Two songs after, Elias “E-Vil” Villegas’ Inclaustro takes over and bursts out of the seam with “Rastros” and immediately reminds the Klown of an earlier Mayhem and Watain. Veins and Inclaustro each made an exclusive track for this split titled “Efigies de Inquina” and “Noctambulant” respectively. “Efigies…” was an instrumental piece while “Nocambulant” which sounded as if a Carpathian Forest track and Thy Antichrist had a baby.
This album caught the eye of the Klown and had him hooked. If anything it has had the Klown keeping an eye out for both. Until then, if the Klown’s choices of bands to compare are your favorite, give them a listen to and maybe purchase it while you’re at it, only at Bandcamp here.
6 out of 6, One 6 away from pure awesomeness
Katatonia Unearth their Twelfth Album (April 24, 2020; Peaceville Records)
In nearly 20 years, the Swedish collective known as Katatonia underwent some musical evolution… early on anyway. Much like their compatriots, Opeth, they traded growls and jowls for clean vocals and soothing sounds. Nothing wrong with that, artistic evolution can be a fickle and mysterious thing. Just like Opeth, Prog seemed to be Katatonia’s calling as well. City Burials, continues to prove that and still showcases sweet guitar solos and some dark undertones.
The opening track, “Heart Set to Divide” starts off really slow but builds up to some Prog bliss. It’s then followed up by “Behind the Blood” which picks up some speed and mixes Jonas Renske’s vocals with some autotune. “Lacquer” slows things down again but understandably so considering that it is the album’s first ballad, “Lachesis” and “Untrodden” would be the second and third ballads of the album. The album ends with a tribute in the form of “Fighters” for the feisty and the determined. The Klown liked the album but didn’t love it. The Klown felt it was too slow for his tastes but still enjoyed Renske’s vocal work and the instrumentals that accompany it. Listen and dispute the Klown’s words or buy it here to stick it to the Klown.
5 out of 6 “We never stop. If we said that, we’ll back it up for sure”
Trivium Revives from a Hiatus (April 24, 2020; Roadrunner Records)
The Klown spoke about Matt Heafy, and the way he laid his vocals to sing the Blues. It. Was. Beautiful. Heafy is back to his prolific band after a long hiatus as far as Trivium’s discography is concerned. Critically speaking, fans and casual listeners alike had been quick to point out the band’s “fall from grace.” Playing devil’s advocate, it’s hard not to argue that statement considering the immediate success and acclaim they experienced with their first four albums. However, What Dead Men Say will have anyone who made that statement eat their words, those who were urging Heafy and company to go back to old Trivium, practically get their wish with this album.
This latest installment begins with “IX” which was an intro with a guitar solo that builds up continuously and kicks off with a guitar which quick;y morphs into two, then some bass from the band’s longtime bassist Paolo Gregoletto till drummer Alex Bent takes over and transitions to “What The Dead Men Say” with his kit serving as the catalyst. From there, Trivium opened a time capsule that most of the fanbase had yearned for. The Klown honestly thought, for the most part, that he was hearing songs from The Crusade, The Ascendancy and Shogun. This album definitely spells a comeback for the Floridian quartet. You can listen first or believe the Klown, and add to your collection by clicking here.
6 out of 6 “I’m calling out to you, can you hear me? Numb and disconnected, just beyond your sight”