The Trials of February 23, 2017

Honorable Mention

Dimmu Borgir Give an Epic Tease to their Upcoming Album

Dimmu Borgir is one of the Titans and innovators of the symphonic black metal sub genre. They are also one of the names most people think of when it comes to associating Norway and black metal. Anyway, after a long 8-year hiatus since Abrahadabra, they have returned with a two-track EP titled Interdimensional Summit with Nuclear Blast Records.

Plain and simple, “Interdimensional Summit” sounded epic and symphonic as Dimmu knows how. It starts off with some keys that sound reminiscent of the sounds of an old scary movie. It also features a chorus with some effects to compliment the song. It also featured a pretty sweet solo from Thomas “Glader” Orre. This EP finishes with a live version of “Puritania” which originally comes from their 2001 Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia.

The Klown was totally stoked to hear this brand-new gem. Much like you, the Klown is anticipating the release of their latest LP Eonian due later in the year. If you haven’t heard it check it out on Nuclear Blast’s Youtube channel. If you are a collector of vinyl or fancy yourself a huge Dimmu fan, you can get your copy right here.

The temporary look of symphonic black metal

Destroyer 666 Release a Wild Teaser

When you think of Down Under and metal, few names pop up. AC/DC is usually the go-to for most. On the Aussie hierarchy, however, Destroyer 666 is also a recognizable name when it comes to metal. Although this release is not a brand-new LP, the innovators of Australian black metal have returned with an EP to keep you entertained. The contemporary release is titled Call of the Wild and it was released through Season Of Mist.

The brand-new call to arms commences with “Violence is Golden” which starts strong and aggressive with R.C. and K.K. Warslut’s power guitar riffs which then meets up with Per “Perra” Karlsson’s drumming. This combination will remind listeners of the heavy thrash, black metal sounds that they are known for much like Venom. “Stone by Stone” follows the track  and takes more of a speed metal approach while “Call of the Wild” mixes both speed and thrash. The track also features an awesome, wailing guitar solo from R.C.

The album finishes with “Trialed by Fire.” It was lengthy but also a bit of a throwback to the days when Bathory added some folk to their brand of black metal. This EP was pretty good and does a good job  matching sounds from other known bands that also are a part of the same early black metal family tree. All the Klown can say is that he can’t wait till the next album is released. The Klown threw out plenty of names to convince you, and if you need more convincing check them out in the label’s Bandcamp for a convincing nudge.

5 out of 6 Prepare to Destroy your Heathen Ears!

Black Metal from Down, Down Under

Schwarzer Engel Teases No More

The name Schwarzer Engel should come to you as of no surprise if you kept up with us. After all, last year in December, the lone wolf known as Dave Jason released the EP Sinnflut in anticipation of the new album the Klown is about to talk about. Flash forward to now and the LP has now come to fruition. The latest studio album from this industrial mainstay is titled Kult der Krähe and it was released through Massacre Records.

“Krähen an die Macht” kicks off the album with some brooding but immediately picks up strongly. Jason gets a bit tender with the “Gott ist im Regen” which also contained some resonating keys which added ambiance to the song. The track is then followed by “Sinnflut” and “Futter für die See” which the Klown won’t bother going over because they were both featured in the EP prior to this album’s release. “Mein glühend Herz” and “Ein kurzer Augenblick” were a bit slow but felt sentimental and features resonating keyboard solos.

Schwarzer Engel revisits the gothic industrial metal sounds it is known for with “Meerflucht” and also featured string samples, sound bites and brief guitar solo. The same can also be said about “Unheil” minus the guitar solo and sound bites. “Requiem” takes the Gothic tone a bit further which made for a brooding but soothing song. It is worth noting that you can listen to the predominantly piano version of  “Requiem” in the  EP as well.

The contemporary ends with “Wenn mein Herz Zerbricht.” The song was a ballad which featured a men choir chorus which would resonate perfectly with a church and had a keyboard solo. This album was pretty good and felt rather sentimental. If you love goth, darkwave and/or industrial metal especially of the German variety, the Klown recommends it. If you need further convincing Spotify or take the plunge here.

5 out of 6 Currently Indoctrinating Potential Followers

The Cult of the Black Birds Await!

Megaherz Newest Soars Across

When people think of Megaherz they most likely think mispronunciations and the measure of electricity. Sometimes too much can cause an electrical fire. You wanna know what else is on fire? A Komet which the German quintet known as Megaherz has released via Napalm Records.

Crappy jokes aside (the Klown was never a comedic clown), this latest album has this collective reminding you that the Neue Deutsche Harte brand isn’t just a monopoly controlled by Rammstein and Oomph! The album starts off with some industrial in the form of “Vorhang auf.” The song starts off with Christian “X-Ti” Bystron’s programming and heavy guitar riffs which are accompanied by Tobias Derer’s drumming, and Alexander “Lex” Wohnhaas‘s  vocals.

The collective tones it down with the ballads “Scherben bringen Glück,” “Von Oben,” “Tieferausch” and “Heldengrab.” “Von Oben” had more of a tender approach than “Scherben…” and utilized the sounds of the piano while maintainig the hard rock element. The collective even managed to make a song for the clown president in the form of “Horrorclown.” While keeping the Neue Deutsch Harte sounds, they incorporate Trump’s sound bites from his speeches. Wens Weninger’s  bass opens “Schwarz oder Weiss” which becomes a catchy industrial metal song.

They continue with industrial metal with “Nicht in meinem Namen” and “Trau Dich.” The album finishes with “Nicht Genug” which contained a pretty bitching solo from Bystron and some keys that enhanced the song a bit. This album was pretty good especially if you don’t mind German lyrics. Aside from the earlier names that were already mentioned, the Klown recommends this album for fans of Gothminister and Schwarzer Engel. You can check the album out in Napalm’s Bandcamp if you need some convincing.

6 out 6 Armageddon Never Sounded Better

Bringing a Full Charge of Industrial

Thy Antichrist Unleash It’s Second Coming

The Klown’s interest piqued when this band popped up on the Ugh Metal radar. Why? The reasons being that this happens to be another black metal band from the land of parsas, arepas and coffee. On the same day of this contemporary’s release, the Colombian collective known as Thy Antichrist joined symphonic death metal titans, Septicflesh and Swedish black metal powerhouse, Dark Funeral at the Brick By Brick. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the Klown shall talk about the band’s sophomore album Wrath of the Beast which was released through Napalm Records.

The album kicks off this breakthrough with some flamenco style acoustic guitar strings to open “Desolation.” The song then transitions to some heavy and fast-paced black metal that gets accompanied by Andres “Antichrist 666” Vargas’s harsh screaming vocals. The song is followed by the awesome and the new metal anthem “Metal to the Bone,” which was really fast-paced and have you enjoying the erratic drumming from Chris “Orricuss” Stropoli and the riffs from Robert “Abyssvs” Coronado. The same can be said about the album’s current hit and the Klown’s other  favorite song “The Great Beast,” which contained narrative sound bites mixed in.

“A World Burn to Ashes” and “No Place Like Hell” not only sounded robust but also had an array of guitar action such as  electric and more acoustic. The album finishes with “The Last Breath” which was a soothing acoustic guitar outro with a chorus. This album was a great follow up and really met the hype especially if you fancy black metal. The Klown recommends this album if you are a fan of Nile, Behemoth, Deicide and Dark Fortress. You can check this album in your streaming service of choice or take the Klown’s word and get it through Napalm’s Bandcamp.

6 out of 6 The Soundtrack of the Second Coming

The Wrath of the Beast and the Second Coming of the Dark Master’s Child

Necrophobic Returns!

The underrated Swedish black metal band known as Necrophobic have returned at long last. Those who have kept up with this quintet’s discographic journey would be the first ones telling the Klown that it’s been five years since the release of Womb of Lilithu. That’s right kids, this band has been away for that long. Now the trve collective has released their eighth installment Mark Of The Necrogram through Century Media Records.

This album begins strong with their title track which starts off with some fast-paced guitars and thunderous drumming from Joakim Sterner. Necrophobic keep it going with “Odium Caecum” which also had a pretty awesome solo. The Klown took a liking to the “Tsar Bomba” because aside from being an awesome track, the lyrical content was superb and kind of inspirational. This song also had a sweet and kind of psychedelic guitar solo.

The band slows down a bit with “Requiem for a Dying Sun” which also contained an awesome solo, was pretty heavy, and reminded the Klown of a Watain song. They immediately pick up the pace with the Klown’s other favorite song, “Crown of Thorns” and “From the Great Above to the Great Below.” The latter is one of  the only song to not feature a solo. The final track of the album, “Undergången,” was a slow and brooding instrumental that was soothing. The Klown can only say that this album was great and, most importantly, recommends this album for those who love Swedish black metal. You can check this out on Spotify or take the plunge here.

6 out of 6 The Soundtrack that Brings Back the Dead

Bow to the Kingdom of the Dead

Tengger Cavalry Unleash its Last Crusade

Tengger Cavalry should be familiar to you whether or not you follow Ugh Metal. After all, they’ve graced our page multiple times… sort of. Despite that, it is a real bummer that their saga would end the way it did. But before the prolific Nature Ganganbaigal officially put up his cavalry’s reins, he made sure to give us one more journey for the books. The latest is titled Cian Bi and it was released through Napalm Records.

The album begins with “And Darkness Continues” as a morin khuur instrumental intro track which serves as a great catalyst for “Cian Bi (Fight Your Darkness).” “Cian Bi” begins with some heavy galloping bass drumming from Zaki Ali and features an array of instruments from the morin khuur, jaw harp and the topshur blended with some really heavy guitar riffs. The same can be said about “Ride into Grave and Glory (War Horse II)” and “The Old War.” The Cavalry would do something similar with “Our Ancestors” but replace the jaw harp with some wind instrument. Ganganbaigal not only features more vocal ranges from his throat singing and clean baritone vocals, but also mixes his voice with some auto-tune.

“Strength” will certainly give you that because it was one of the roughest tracks in the whole album. The song also showcases a sets of instruments such as the jaw harp, Ali’s fast-paced drumming, some piano, some strings, and the sounds of the shamisen. If you need a motivator for your morning runs, the Klown definitely recommends the fast and heavy paced instrumental “Chasing My Horse” which also contains more awesome wailing guitar solo, wind and strings instruments with traditional Mongolian throat singing. “Electric Shaman” take a page from industrial and used samples to  incorporate the sounds of folk and metal for a unique type of instrumental.

“Redefine” lives up to its title and was one of the Klown’s favorite tracks which featured some distorted guitar play to accompany Ganganbaigal’s throat singing. The vocalist also treats us to a ballad which doesn’t drift away from the folk and metal sounds. The album finishes with “Sitting In Circles” which was a minute long and filled with soft instrumentals.

This album was great and the band applied more dynamism to an already dynamic band. Although the Klown, among many, are bummed out that the Cavalry has called it quits but he’s glad that they have done so on a very high note. As always you can check out on Spotify, Apple Music or take the plunge in Bandcamp.

6 out of 6, The Ride May Be Over but the Conquest Shall Live On!

The Last Ride? Let’s Hope Not!

Pissed Regardless Unleash The ‘Birds’

Matthew Gerkin of Pissed Regardless was more fierce than Hitchcock’s Birds!

What better way to jump back on the concert saddle than going to a hardcore punk show because we are totally hardcore too! Don’t even try to dispute that, our Gam Gam said so and she don’t mess around! But this article is not an ode to us but an ode to the lineup of local bands near and not so near that added a much needed dosage of grit and sweat to our Friday night. We all joined local punkers Pissed Regardless at the Soda Bar on Feb.9 to celebrate the release of their latest EP Feed The Birds. Before these fierce five got up on that stage, an array of badass bands tore a new one on that stage.

We dove head first into the hardcore grooves of Surface Report which also happened to be their first time playing at the Soda Bar. The quartet performed mostly from their 2017 album Stand By… and let me just say  we all did anything but stand by! These hardcore mofos laid out the first track “One At A Time” which has calculated and paced riffs a la Gojira, yes that damn great! If you are craving the eclecticism of Dillinger Escape Plan, “Quid Pro Quo” will hit the spot. If you’re not feeling any of those bands, no problem because these hardcore gents had more of their own unique brand. 

This may have been Surface Report’s first time at the Soda Bar but they sure knew what they were doing 😉

Surface Report may have started things out with those two killer songs, but once we hit mid set, the quartet enlisted their unpredictable “Lackey” and “Constellations” among others. The karate kids in the venue were bouncing around with enthusiasm recharging their strength but bid their time to bust out their moves. By the time Surface Report wrapped up their set with “Sidelines,” we were shook with a riveting energy and hunger for more. If you wannabe shook too, dive deep and check out their bandcamp here! 

The Soda Bar was rumbling for more of that hardcore stuff, stuff more hardcore than a soda and Mentos cocktail, Burn Infinite sedated our shakes with their grit and started with the explosive duo “Boiling Point” and “InVein.” The quartet showed SD how they throw down with the unmerciful “Wrath Of The Gods,” stirring the karate kids in the venue and churned our know what I mean, ya nasty bois and gurls! Taylor Stevens’ thick vocals fueled the rage and intensity of each track they belted out to the masses.

Taylor Stevens of Burn Infinite was not afraid to get up on our grill! That’s what the kids are saying right?

If you think that’s all I have to say about Burn Infinite, well think again! These guys were not done there and had one more final wave of face melting goodness to dish out because it wouldn’t be a hardcore show if they hadn’t. Stevens even joined the pit while as they capped off their set with the vicious “En Fury” and cast their swift and final “Judgement.” If you haven’t seen these guys, well damn you are missing out my friend because you don’t mess with Burn Infinite! Because not only will they light the fire under your ass but they will most likely melt it too. Time to separate the mice from the (wo)men, check out their Bandcamp if ya gots the guts!

National City natives, Nerve Control, revived the ember Burn Infinite left behind and doused it with more raw and hardcore kerosene when they took over the stage. These guys unloaded an unprecedented energy that will make you wet yourself with sweat and other bodily fluids your body decides to secrete.  Needless to say Nerve Control gave everyone a major nerve to stir that pit up! The band continued to send us on an ultimate overdrive with their passionate performance and their intense tracks.  

Nerve Control’s Elton losing his nerve.

Vocalist Elton would hunch over and conceal his face while he gathered all the energy around him before unleashing it in to a sonic boom! Nerve Control broke the time and space continuum and next thing we knew, it was their time to go. That’s right, and just like that they were dunso! Man… Nerve Control will not leave you blue balling but they will leave you wanting more, and because more is better, see what I mean and check out their Bandcamp here.

Keeping the theme of short fuses alive and well were Short Temper and I mean the band, I’m not talking about the Ugh Metal staff’s issues. The quartet suckered punched us with “Dug Your Grave” from their split with fellow badasses Forged and kept it going with “I Don’t Need” before jumping right into “Cut Off.” The crowd was more flared up than that California reaper pepper you are definitely not going to eat!

Short Temper brought more grit and glory to this Friday night.

Short Temper was raging so damn hard, they had minor technical difficulties. While they were trying to get the problem fixed, bassist Devlin told a nice little hippo joke which I will totally adopt if I remember it and pass it off as my own. Once they were up and running and gave us a set we will never forget, the band teased the crowd with their last song “Secrets (Slapshots)” by starting off this badass song with Disturbed’s David Draiman’s signature “ouchie” cry, you know that “Uh-ah-ah-ah-ah!” Those stinkers! Ok tough guys and gals you think you can handle Short Temper?! Well check out their Bandcamp here if you dare! Short Temper kept the frenzy going till we were  all…

Pissed Regardless… Oh I mean the killer band, not us! Because our happy asses were having a great time! These locals wasted no time and went in for the kill and were ready to feed us their latest EP, Feed The Birds. The quintet started with their classic “Not So Swift” which is off of their 2013 debut self titled EP. Pissed Regardless immediately sprinkled a new song “No Reprieve” to follow it and it’s so damn great and empowering it’ll make you “drop dead!” *raises fists*     

We were far from pissed when Pissed Regardless took over the stage.

Now this special release party wouldn’t be completely okay or alright if Pissed Regardless didn’t unleash the vicious flock on us and “Feed The Birds.”  These exuberant dudes kept the flock going with the ultra frisky “Empty” and the irresistible “Lipstick On A Pig.” PR’s flamin’ hot set didn’t stop there! They continued their badassery streak by adding more classics into their set such as our beloved “Shit Sack” and “Taking It Easy” ‘cause it was Friday night man!

If you were looking for a quiet walk in the metaphorical park on this Friday night, you came to the right place because Pissed Regardless and their hardcore squad delivered a release show you will  never forget! Oh wait that doesn’t make much sense does it? Well I know what I said! And there was lots o’ good booze and merch too! Which I think tops a quiet stroll in the park because did I mention it was a Friday night?! It was a great way to start our year and left us feeling far from pissed. If you wanna get a feeling of how brutal these Birds were, then check out what the Klown thought of this EP here and get your copy here!

Pissed Regardless spared no one from their ravenous beaks and tunes… ok they don’t have beaks… that we know of…

The Trials of February 9, 2018

Honorable Mention

Rotting Christ Tease Congregation with The Call

It has been a while since Rotting Christ has been mentioned in this site. Come to think of it, the Klown’s sibling named their album, Rituals, the best album in 2016. If you don’t believe that, you can check that clusterfuck out and see for yourself. Anyway, the Greek titans have returned with a bit of noise this year in the form of a tease. Their current EP, The Call, has come out through Peaceville Records on vinyl. Y’know the label most famous for carrying Darkthrone records since they signed them?

So why has the Klown put this release on an honorable mention? The answer is that their current release only contains one original song and a live version of an already established song. The original which happens to be titled “The Call” sounded awesome. The song had sounds similar to that of the previous album, Rituals, from guitar and vocalization from Sakis Tolis to the awesome bass work and drumming from Vagelis Karzis and Themis Tolis, respectively. The track also has a slow but awesome guitar solo.

The final song comes from their 1993 release, The Mighty Contract, “The Sign of Evil Existence.” The cool thing about this live version is that it contains two very prolific singers lending their voices. Those voices are Varathron’s Stefan Necroabyssious and Behemoth’s Adam “Nergal” Darski. Other than that, nothing truly stands out as much. All the Klown can say is that he can’t wait until March for the new one! If you fancy yourself a true Rotting Christ fan or just want to add one more to your vinyl collection, you can get that baby here.

Issuing The Call for the Heretics

Visigoth Return with its Second Conquest

Quickly! Without thinking, name a metal from Utah that’s not Chelsea Grin. If the answer was Visigoth, congrats you read the subheader. The Salt Lake quintet have comeback with its sophomore album Conqueror’s Oath through Metal Blade Records. This tribe still manage to bring back the power to their style of metal.

The album begins with “Steel and Silver” which opened with a killer solo and which are then accompanied by frontman’s, Jake Rogers, baritone vocals. Rogers’s vocals would then be accompanied by a manly chorus making it sound epic. “Warrior Queen” features the collective performing a throwback to the classic heavy metal sounds like that of classic Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. They pick up the pace altogether with “Outlive Them All” and feature power metal sounds similar to Blind Guardian but faster.

“Hammerforged” featured more of the classic heavy metal sounds and includes the rest of the band accompanying Rogers with a melodic and very masculine chorus. “Traitor’s Gate” starts off rather slow for a little over a minute and immediately pick up. “Blades in the Night” features some real speed and will get your blood flowing. The album caps off with “The Conqueror’s Oath” which made for a pretty good closer and finished how it began.

The Klown enjoyed the album. It had the collective really show off and highlight a throwback with a touch of modern power metal influences. If you haven’t heard of Visigoth before, then the Klown would recommend it for those who love the sounds of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as well as power metal. Lastly, you can check it out in Bandcamp to judge for yourself and acquire.

5 out of 6 Vowing to Conquer Your Ears on Track at a Time

Conquering One Ear at a Time

Therion Release its Unholiest Contemporary to Date

Therion is the one band name that gets tossed around when the topic of symphonic death metal gets mentioned. The Swedish collective has been going strong for 30 years already and has no signs of stopping soon. But Klown, how can you be sure of that? Asked none of you. Well, if you didn’t read the title, they got a new one out titled Beloved Antichrist through Nuclear Blast Records.

Before the Klown continues on about this album he will say that he won’t attempt to talk about this latest release too much. Why? You actually may be wondering, this time? This current compilation is not only 3 discs but it is also 3 hours’ worth of music and 46 tracks long. That’s quite a doozy, am I right lads and lassies? This recent release also happens to be a rock opera. Therion’s concept and inspiration take a different turn than most metal albums because it is inspired by the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov’s Tale of the Antichrist.

For those who’ve never read or heard of this tale, you’re either not very pious or haven’t dabbled in to philosophy in your scholarly career yet. The short summary that the Klown will give you is that the story is about unity among a common enemy/oppressor despite creed and regions. This album also features an array of guest musicians portraying characters from the narrative. Musicians like Chrysalys’s Chiara Malvestiti takes the role of Johanna, Erik Rosenius as Satan, Samuel Jarrick as Pope Peter II, Plague Of Stars’ Melissa Ferlaak and The Experiment No. Q’s Linnéa Vikström as a congresswoman.

The Klown will say this about this 3-disc compilation: the album was beautifully composed. The instrumental behind the album set the tone well and make you feel the moment. The vocals, unless you are not a fan of opera-style singing, felt right, well placed and didn’t feel too exaggerated or over the top. The choir featured on the album did a great job setting a tone and accompanying the stand-alone vocals from the characters when needed.  If you’re attention span isn’t longer than you’d want it to be or don’t appreciate operas, then the Klown wouldn’t recommend this for you. Lastly, you can check this piece out on Spotify or take the plunge here.

5 out of 6 Will Tame and Civilize the Beast Incarnate

The Face of the Unholy Opera

Harm’s Way Latest Show What Chicago Hardcore is All About

The Chi-Town quintet known as Harm’s Way has returned after a three-year hiatus. The Klown has had the pleasure of seeing this quintet perform a while back. In fact, admittedly, the Klown thought that frontman James Pligge was John Cena’s tattooed doppelgänger but that may be a story for another time. The point is the Klown can vouch for these guy’s brand of hardcore. The group’s latest album is Posthuman and it was released through Metal Blade Records.

This inhuman album starts with “Human Carrying Capacity” strongly. The heavy guitar opening makes this track sound powerful but once Pligge lets out his vocals, you know the band ain’t messing around. Lest the Klown forget the complimentary bass and drumming from Chris Mills. They follow up the same way but with more drumming power with “Last Man,” “Sink” and “Unreality.” “Temptation” was an intermission type of song which started out slow and with droning, wailing guitars and Pligge’s faded, vibrating vocals.

“Becoming the Machine” and “Dissect Me” not only picks up speed but also gives you some aggressive hardcore punk that will cause you to break out a circle pit of your own. “The Gift” has the group venturing into a some industrial which was rather unexpected but good. The album finishes how it began, with “Dead Space” but with extra vocals in the mix to really drive it home. The Klown has seen some hype on this band’s latest release and after hearing it, he can say that the hype was met. If you want to check this album out before you buy it, check it out in Metal Blade’s Bandcamp to further convince yourself.

6 out of 6 No Harm Done

No Harm Done while Hearing or Making this Album

Pissed Regardless Make One For The Birds

Oh… snap, look who’s making a return to your favorite site [citation needed]. For local San Diegans who dabble in the local scene Pissed Regardless is a very familiar name when it comes to hardcore. In fact, as the Klown mentioned before this isn’t Pissed Regardless’s first Ugh Metal appearance, check that shiz out whenever you can. Anyway, if you’ve had the pleasure to check this quintet out, good news they have released a new EP titled Feed The Birds with Creator-Destructor Records.

The album begins with “Empty” which starts off with some slow, heavy riffed guitars and immediately picks up the pace with Tim’s drumming and Matt Gerken’s harsh vocals. They continue their hardcore fest with “Feed The Birds” and “Lipstick on a Pig” and really have a steady, fast, and heavy pace with Tim. The group features a hardcore anthem “No Reprieve” which feature some speed, Gerken spewing some powerful vocals that had a pretty good flow to it, and a chorus that accompanies Gerkin’s vocals adding significance to the song.

The EP finished the feast with a good advice against the impending zombie apocalypse, “Trust No Pulse.” That track ended much rougher and with a heavy hardcore overtone. The Klown had the pleasure of seeing this group perform the day of the release and here these tracks live. If you haven’t quite dived in, the Klown would recommend this album for fans of Evergreen Terrace, Hatebreed, US Bastards and Norma Jean. Lastly, if you need a nudge check it out in the label’s Bandcamp and get in the same place.

6 out of 6 Hitchcock Has Nothing on This

Much bigger than breadcrumbs


The Trials of February 2, 2017

Honorable Mention

Tribulation Come Back from Down Below

The Klown swears that we’re trying to get our shit together as best as we can. However, it’s hard to with last weeks pick since Ugh Metal has a crippling independent release and band fetish. This little number slipped from the overwhelming excitement. But now the Klown shall speak of this brand-new installment from Sweden’s own Tribulation. On that note, the quartet released their third installment Down Below via Century Media Records on January 26.

The contemporary begins with “The Lament” which starts off rather slow and picks up right before the minute. The track also contains a pretty awesome but mellow solo. The quartet taps into their prog side with “Nightbound,” “Lady Death” and “Subterranea” just to mention a few. “Purgatorio” is an instrumental intermission which was not only soothing but served as a great intro  to “Cries of the Underworld.” “Cries…” also featured some piano action to go along with their prog, black metal sounds.

“Lacrimosa,” much like the previous track,  features classical strings and finishes with some ambient piano sounds. “The World” goes all out with the prog influence and sounds reminiscent to that of Rush if Geddy Lee decided to sport some growling vocals, intermittently in the song. “Here Be The Dragons” has the song featuring an ensemble of both piano and classical strings and also incorporates the glockenspiel for some added measure.

The album closes with “Come, Become, To Be.”This album was pretty interesting and a good release. The album was well-rounded and featured an array of instruments to complement their sounds. The Klown would recommend this album for fans of Enslaved, Black Anvil and Morphesia. If you’re trve but like to mellow out, this album is definitely recommended. Check this album out on Spotify and get it here.

5 out of 6 This Album Has Surfaced from Below

Straight Outta Sweden’s Underground!

W.A.S.P. Release their Sweet Sixteen

The name W.A.S.P. should be a familiar one. Especially when Glam comes to mind. The Klown remembers them because of an incident that happened to comedian Brian Posehn in his teenage years while approaching W.A.S.P.’s face Blackie Lawless. The short version of the joke is that he told a teenage Posehn to “grow some tits” when he approached Lawless with admiration. Anyway, the band famous for “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” has released a new one for its expanding discography titled ReIdolized (The Soundtrack to the Crimson Idol) via Napalm Records.

The album begins with “The Titanic Overture” which was rather tender and Lawless sports soft clean vocals. The album then picks up the pace with “The Invisible Boy.” “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)” was melodic and emphasizes a throwback sound and concept. “The Gypsy Meets the Boy” is one for the ladies and the softies which, as you may have guessed, was a ballad with a bit of oomph.

Lawless gives us heartfelt power ballads such as “Hold On To My Heart,”  “The Peace,” and “Miss You” which had an introductory track titled “Michael’s Song.” W.A.S.P picks up the pace and shows off some power metal influence with “Doctor Rockter” like that of Grave Digger. “I Am One” has the collective sporting sounds that simulate a live concert in case you ever wondered how they sound live, and features a soundbite of two British males speaking in cockney.

The album finishes with the longest track of the album “The Great Misconception of Me” which was another power ballad. This album was rather sentimental and very mature. This album is for the fans of W.A.S.P. and peeps that are really into ballads. If you fancy yourself a fan, you can check it out on Spotify or go to the label’s Bandcamp.

4 out of 6, Still Dunno What the Acronym Means

30 Years Later and Still Trying to Figure Out What the Acronym Stands For

Genocide Pact Release a New Order

Can you name another band that came from Washington D.C. that’s not Darkest Hour? If you name anything but Genocide Pact then you are more knowledgeable than the Klown in that regard. The trio known as Genocide Pact have now released their sophomore album Order of Torment through Relapse Records. Unlike Darkest Hour, this trio takes a step further and give you a full dose of death metal.

The contemporary begins strongly with “Conquered and Disposed” with some brutal and heavy riffs, and growls from Tim Mullaney. Bassist Michael Nolan and drummer Connor Donegan compliment this track with their respective heavy but groovy bass riffs and fast-paced drumming. The song would immediately transition smoothly to “Decimation Grid” and “Spawn of Suffering” which contained a lot of hardcore influences accompanying the trio’s brand of death metal.

“Pain Reprisal” was much like the previous tracks but melodic by comparison and had a long but awesome solo which closed the song perfectly. “Ascendancy Absolved” continues Mullaney’s mastery of the ax from beginning to end. The album concludes with “Blood Rejection” which ended the way it began but somewhat slower. There’s not much else that the Klown can say about this album other than it was pretty good to listen to, and definitely worth your ears if you fancy yourself a huge death metal fan. Check it out the in the band’s Bandcamp for further convincing.

5 out of 6 No Pact Necessary to Listen

Adding More Death to Death Metal

Bomber Release their Explosive Debut

The Klown has done it again… this time. He has fulfilled the salacious kink of Ugh Metal in the form of an independent act. Of course, the Klown is happy to briefly fill you in on this group. Hailing from the land of Brie cheese, baguettes, and wine is the quartet that is known as Bomber. Although the band was found in 2013,  they are picking up steam with their thrash metal/crossover, and as we all know the journey to the first album isn’t usually immediate. With that said, the French quartet has now released their first album titled Sommation.

The inaugural record starts off slow but then becomes explosive with “Bombarded.” At first, the skinsman Romain Ircio opens the track with some slow drumming and cymbals clashing accompanied by intermittent guitar riffs in the first minute. After the first minute, the band lets loose some good ol’ fashioned thrash metal reminiscent to that of the Bay Area variety. The track features a great solo with Jürgen Wattiez showing off some vocals that closely resemble James Hetfield (as if the Klown needs to say where he’s from).

They continue their bombardment with “Damn Negative” and adds some speed into the mix. “Demolition” and “League for Cancer” would feature Hugo Belval’s deluxe bass play as a solo. The collective really picks up the pace with some speed thrash metal once “Pride of the Burglars” begins which is filled with awesome drumming, great riffs, and some killer solos.

The album finishes with “Assembled to Thrash” which continues this band’s thrash masterpiece. As you can tell the Klown enjoyed this album very much and was surprised. Lend these guys your ears especially if you fancy yourself a fan of thrash like the legendary Metallica, Testament, Slayer and Stormtroopers Of Death. Check it out on Bomber’s Bandcamp if you need a proper nudge.

6 out of 6 Guaranteed to Blow Your Ear Drums

En Français Vous les Porcs Ignorants

Saxon Surges with A New Album

The name doesn’t need an introduction at all. Seriously, the band is an underrated legend when it comes to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Nevertheless, the quintet known as Saxon have returned and have awarded the masses with a new one. After all, that is what legends do am I right lads and lassies? The contemporary is titled Thunderbolt and was released through Silver Lining Records.

The latest starts rather epically with the introductory track “Olympus Rising” and then transitions to “Thunderbolt.” The latter brings back the sounds of NWOBHM in full force and reminds you why Saxon is legendary. “The Secret of the Flight” was one of the Klown’s favorites in this album. The song was fast paced and featured guitar solos from both from Paul Quinn and Paul Scarratt.

The band gets epic and shows off some power metal inspiration and gothic undertones with “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz). The Brits continued with more of the power metal style with “They Played Rock and Roll” which sounded like a throwback to that of Helloween. The Klown’s other favorite also happened to feature the Viking king of Amon Amarth known as Johan Hegg. Hegg lends his powerful growling vocals for the track “Predator.” The collective ride the Viking high and pay homage to their heritage with “Sons of Odin” which was a song that was infused with Scorpions style of metal. The track was a perfect anthem that will prepare you for the fruitful afterlife in Valhalla.

Saxon goes in for the kill with the awesome and fast-paced “Sniper.” They one-up the power metal influence with “A Wizard’s Tale” and really go all out with the guitar riffs and solos. Saxon manages to show off some thrash metal similar to that of Overkill and made a really awesome surprise which has dual guitar solos from Quinn and Scarratt, and powerful drumming from Nigel Glockler. The band finishes this electric release with a song for the unsung heroes of our beloved concerts in the form of “Roadie’s Song.”

The bonus round for those who got the vinyl version received a raw version of “Nosferatu.” As you may have figured out by now the Klown really enjoyed this album. In fact, he almost talked about the entire album. If you are a fan of the NWOBHM, power metal or just a fan of Saxon it is a must-have. Lastly, check it out on Spotify or just take the Klown’s word for it and get it here.

6 out of 6 Over 40 Years of Conquest and Still Going Strong

Still Shocking the Heavy Metal Genre from Valhalla

The Trials of Jan. 27, 2018

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

The Trials of January 19, 2018

Honorable Mention

Bleeding Gods Deliver on their Debut’s Follow Up

The Dutch collective known as Bleeding Gods have, in short time, managed to make a name for themselves. Since Nuclear Blast snagged them last year, their current album was highly anticipated. Although the Klown dropped the ball in informing his sibling about this album, he shall talk about their current release Dodekathlon which came out on January 12.

This album inaugurates with “Bloodguilt” which was a great opener for this concept. This song features some death metal and some thrash metal, and a killer solo. It is then followed by “Multiple Decapitation” which sounded epic and had a narration sample. “Beloved by Artemis” was a great song and features a long but awesome guitar solo.

“From Feast to Beast” has the group taking a page from Hour Of Penance and added some keyboard overtures to make the song borderline symphonic. “Birds of Hate” and “Seeds of Distrust” gave a full dose of death metal with Daan Klemann showcasing his powerful kicks. The Klown can say the same about “Hera Orchard” with the bonus of guest musician of Mayan’s vocalist George Oosthoek lending his growls into the mix.

The album finishes its tribute of god-like proportions with “Hound of Hell” which sounded like something that was leftover or came from Behemoth’s The Satanist album. This album had a lot of hype and it absolutely delivered. This album was a great release to continue the new year. If you haven’t heard this group before, then the Klown would recommend them to you if you are a fan of Hour Of Penance, Behemoth and Mayan. Lastly, you can check it out on Spotify or get the album here.

6 out of 6 Death Metal Fit for a God!

An Album of God-like Proportions

January 19, 2018

Anvil Pounded and Forged a New One for the Year

Assuming you have never seen that documentary built on this Canadian collective, Anvil is one of the greatest bands that you have never heard of. According to the likes of Scott Ian and other metal greats that were featured in the documentary, they were pioneers of our beloved genre. With that said, Canada’s open secret has released Pounding the Pavement through Steamhammer Records.

The album begins with the “Bitch In A Box” which was rather slow but definitely highlights a lot of the classic heavy metal sounds. It immediately picks up with “Ego” and gives you a nice dose of speed metal the way the legendary Motorhead used to. Others like this were also “Doing What I Want,” “Smash Your Face,” “Rock That Shit” and “Black Smoke” just to name a few.

The Canadians also treat us to a few thrash instrumentals with “Pounding The Pavement.” They slow down once again with “Nanook of the North” and “World of Tomorrow.” The Klown will note, for the latter, Anvil seemed to have tapped into their stoner/sludge metal side and featured an awesome solo from Steve “Lips” Kudlow.

The band ends with some speed metal courtesy of “Warming Up.” These gents also include a bonus track titled “Don’t Tell Me” which presents some hard rock element into the mix. For those who are fans of Anvil, you will be wanting this album. For those who want to but are skeptical, the Klown would recommend it for fans Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Enforcer. You can check the album out on Spotify or take the plunge here.

4 out of 6, Still Pounding Away

Putting the Heavy in Metal for a Long Time

Arkona Make a Return for the Year

One of the most prolific bands to ever come from the land of borscht and vodka has returned after a 4-year hiatus. If you have no idea who the Klown is talking about or guessed its the band Putin It Together then he’ll just have to say, “no, you, goofy clown shoe.” It’s Arkona! They are literally the most recognizable metal band to ever come out of the Eurasian subcontinent. On that note, the Russian folk metal quintet has issued their eighth installment titled Khram through Napalm Records.

The contemporary commences with “Mantra (Intro)” which features Nytt Land’s Anatoliy Pakhalenko doing a harsh spoken word narrative before transitioning to “Shtorm.” The track was not only a great follow up to the intro but it also featured everything a great folk metal song tends to have such as wind instruments, heavy guitar and drumming.

The Klown really took a liking to “Tzeluya Zhizn’” because it tapped into their black metal side and gave a brooding and somewhat aggressive take to their usual M.O. This song felt like an homage to Bathory during their pagan, black metal phase. It is worth noting that it is also the longest track of the whole album, clocking in at 17 minutes and 11 seconds and had some classic strings.

The track is then followed by the second longest track of the album, “Rubionok Bez Imeni.” This song is nearly 12 minutes long and takes a mellow, prog metal approach. “V Pogonye Za Beloy Tenyu” features some synths and overture to give the song a melancholic touch. “V ladonyakh bogov” features some piano composition which complements the song and adds some dramatic overtones.

The album finishes  the way it began but much shorter with “Mantra (outro).” The Klown was surprised with this album and its versatility. It offers a little bit of everything while maintaining its folk metal influence. The album is a must have for a fan of the folk metal genre. Lastly, you can check out this album in the band’s Bandcamp if you found yourself convinced.

5 out of 6, Siberia Never Sounded So Good

Russia’s Greatest Export… aside from Vodka and Stroganoff

Black Label Society Dish Out a New Set of Hits

BLS is a group that the Klown feels like he needs not introduce. After all, Zakk f’n Wylde is a legend in his own right. When he’s not dishing out music for his own prolific group, he’s off touring with his Black Sabbath cover band Zakk Sabbath or off shredding with Ozzy Osbourne. This time the Klown shall talk about the 10th installment Grimmest Hits which was released through Entertainment One Records.

The album starts off with “Trampled Down Below” which immediately reignites memories of the Stronger Than Death and The Blessed Hellride fame. Wylde takes us back to some old school hard rock with “All That Shined Once” and starts off with some soft clean vocals which become the driving force for the entire song.

Wylde then makes you have the feels with “The Only Words” and “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away.” “The Only Words” feels like an homage to Southern-style rock ballad and features Wylde playing the organ and doing a cool guitar solo which completely compliments the song’s tender demeanor. “The Day…” was mostly a standard, yet soulful ballad which can really make you sentimental like a ballad is supposed to.

“Room Of Nightmares” has Wylde picking up the pace once more right after the previous track and gives you a bit of a pep. BLS return to their brand of heavy metal sounds with “A Love Unreal” which had some heavy guitar strums and Jeff Fabb’s crashing cymbals as a foundation for the song. The album finishes rather appropriately with “Nothing Left to Say” which leaves you, the listener, with a satisfactory sensation after listening.

This was a pretty good album and highlights Wylde’s legendary status as well as his vast musicianship. Although nothing else stood out it was still a good album to hear, especially if you’ve been anticipating some new Black Label Society. The album also seems to cater to a more mature and musically opened audience. The Klown absolutely recommends this album if you are a fan or love the work to that of Fireball Ministry, ZZ Top and Lynard Skynard. As always you can get your copy of this album here.

5 out of 6, Always Bet on Black

BLS… nuff said

Terror Universal Debut Their LP

What do you get when you combine Ill Niño and Soulfly? If your answer was something other than Terror Universal then the Klown doesn’t know what to tell you. The Mushroomhead looking group known as Terror Universal has been making the rounds and some noise for some time and released their first EP, Reign of Terror, about 3 years back. Now, the trio has released their first studio album Make Them Bleed through Minus Head Records, and have unleashed their brand of horror metal to the masses.

The album kicks off with “Passage of Pain” which feature the sounds of groove metal. The Klown really took a liking to “Welcome To Hell” and “Make Them Bleed” because … remember the Mushroomhead comparison? The Terror took another page from their book and busted out some industrial influences on that song and combined it  with groove. The group continued said influence with “Spine” which also featured Disturbed’s vox/bassist John Moyer. As cliche and predictable as this may sound, Slipknot fans will rejoice because Terror Universal crossover to Knot territory with “Through The Mirror.”

The guest musicians don’t just stop with “Spine,” another name that has lingered in the Ugh Metal site since it’s maiden voyage makes a triumphant return. The Klown is talking about vox/bassist Tony Campos. The bassist lends his vocals to “Dead On Arrival” which was not only a pretty good song but was really catchy to sing along to. “Into Darkness” features the band’s tender side but still bolster some aggression.

The album finishes with “Piece by Piece” which made for a great closer. It was melodic and it had some strong industrial influences. This album was a fantastic start for the collective and is sure to pick up some steam and exposure later on in the year. If you’ve never heard of Terror Universal or have not been properly exposed to Terror Universal to them then the Klown shall repeat the references. If you are a fan of Mushroomhead, Slipknot, Avatar and Fear Factory you’ll like them. If you need more convincing you can check it out on the label’s Bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Fear Not, Tis a Great Start

Meet the New Monsters of Metal!

The Trials of Jan. 12, 2018

White Wizzard Races In To 2018 With ‘Infernal Overdrive’

White Wizzard raced past all the bumps in their road and delivered their first album in 5 years. The American heavy metallers put the pedal to the metal and dished out Infernal Overdrive which was released through M-Theory Audio.  A fun fact about this album is that it welcomes back their original front man Wyatt Anderson.

White Wizzard bring back their fusion of American Heavy Metal and power metal and it’s still so damn delectable! They waste no time to kick start our engines especially after they unleash the title track “Infernal Overdrive.” This joy ride will possibly rip the fabric of time. Because this quintet knows you are itching to raise some hell, they give us the bad ass tunes “Critical Mass,” “Storm The Shores,” and “Voyage of the Wolf Raiders” which will surely please the speed demons in us.

These rockers also show off their softer side with “Pretty May” and take us on a journey in “Chasing Dragons” which the J-Ohster must admit is her favorite track of this album. Ask and you shall receive is the motto of this album! White Wizzard pulled through and delivered a solid album that’s driven with hell fire and metal! You will want to add this album to your next adventure, and impress your road trip buddies. Get you album here ya speed demons!

5 Out 6, Demon speedin’!

We See The Glory Of The ‘Dragonhead’

Leaves Eyes sailed into 2018 with a new album and with their new vocalist, Elina Siirala, taking the reins. Though Siirala has graced stages super near (at the Brick By Brick in 2016) and far, the songstress and the rest of the band make her presence official in their latest Sign of the Dragonhead which was released via AFM Records. Will Kween Elina conquer the hearts of their diehard fans? The J-Ohster will take a bag of lemons to avoid scurvy and board the Dragonhead.

“Sign of the Dragonhead,” “Fires in the North” and “Riders of the Wind” will pump up the brave army aboard this vessel with these epic and hopeful battle hymns. Siirala never fails to deliver her symphonic alto notes, and co-vocalist/founder Alexander Krull gives us that guttural growling goodness in “Fires…” and the title track. Craving more of these two!? Me too! And guess what? Krull and Siirala deliver more of their signature duos in the mighty “Jomsborg” and “Waves of Euphoria” which I gotta admit I couldn’t get enough of.

Listeners will be singing along to the catchy track “Across the Sea” and “Like A Mountain” with a wide-eyed sense of wonder. The J-Ohster may not be an avid Leaves Eyes listener but she was wondering how this new full length would sound like without Liv Kristine. This new chapter with Siirala was great and even though I miss Kristine’s wispy and angelic voice, Siirala knows how to reel you in with her alto soprano pipes, and took up the mantle superbly. Listen to the whole album on Spotify and board this glorious vessel here.

6 out 6, All aboard!

Pack Your Bags To ‘Avatar Country’

Many of my fellow ‘Mericans may still be hellbent on fleeing to Canada but not me man. The J-Ohster (new year same me!) has her heart set on crossing the border to Avatar Country. OOH! Nevermind, the Avatar border came to us! The Klown’s compadre, Johannes Eckerstörm, and the rest of his eccentric comrades released Avatar Country via Entertainment One U.S. Once the royal trumpets from the grand intro of “Glory To Our King” filled the J-Ohster’s weary ear drums, it was obvious the J-Ohster was no longer in her cozy shitshack.

Avatar continued to be the best welcoming committee and greeted us with the cheery and infectious “The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country” which has a lot of the Western elements we fell in love with in “Black Water” AND features a snippet of lounge jazz right before the sweet breakdown. After that we were given a crash course on our new sovereign in “Legend of the King.” This ode’s epicness was fanned by guitarists Jonas Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström because they bust out some sweet power metal riffs. For those that missed Eckerstörm’s growling, it makes a comeback in this album.

Be sure to listen carefully to the important update on the King’s health in “The King Speaks,” constipations no joke! The carefreeness dissipates with “King After King,” which is one of yours truly’s favorite tracks. This legend concludes with two great instrumental tracks, the first one will make you reflect on your journey and wonder what will happen to the king, while the second and final one will empower you and show you that Avatar Country will be just fine.

Avatar Country is a reformed album with ambition as opposed to Feather And Flesh which was an amazing wild card that just wanted to party. But when that wild party is over, this album is a nice little buffer. Listen to the album on Spotify and book your trip… I mean get your copy here. And check out our first brush with Avatar last year here!

5 Out 6, Long live the king!

Corrosion of Conformity Show Off Their Stonery ‘Crown’

The coolest stoner metallers of the scene are back with their 10th studio album No Crown No Cross via Nuclear Blast Records. That’s right Corrosion of Conformity debut their latest under the Nuclear Blast banner and just ‘cause they’re stoner metal doesn’t mean they won’t produce explosive songs teeming with heaviness. Or will they?

The album starts with the rabid “The Luddite” which is a track that will gallop in with a steady but heavy pace, this track will slither in to your brain. If you want more of that slower and steadier jam then give in to the suave “Little Man” but if you want your blood to boil then blast “Cast the First Stone,” “E.L.M.” and “Wolf Named Crow.” “Forgive Me” and “Nothing Left To Say” will be begging us for forgiveness the only way badass rockers can. We will probably take them back because we can’t get enough of the “Old Disaster” and the song too! Why wouldn’t you take them back after these songs?

Corrosion of Conformity stuck to their stoner metal influences in this album as opposed to their 2014 release IX in which they added some of their punk roots. Even though I love it when they throw in their punky roots into the mix, this stoner metal album was a good follow up. Listen to the entire album on Spotify and get your copy here.

5 Out 6, And the crown goes to C.O.C….tee hee!

Presented By Jenny Oh and Chuggo the Klown