Category Archives: Album Review

The Trials of June 9

Foscor Will Enlighten You with Their Fifth

The Barcelonan trio known as Foscor has returned after three years with their latest album Les Irreal Vision through Season of Mist. For those unfamiliar with these Catalonian’s work, they present you a dose of progressive/avant garde black metal like Oathbreaker. “Instants” and “Altars”strongly supports the Klown’s description. The songs were beautifully sung by frontman/ bassist Fiar, the fast drum beat from studio drummer J.F. adds some intensity to really compliment the speed this group sought out. The Klown understood why this song was chosen to carry this album’s banner “Ciutat Tràgica”. The song was much like the previous song in terms of intensity but ambient. Fiar adds a bit of autotune to his vocals and guitarist/pianist Albert “A.M.” Martí adds some piano to beautifully cap off the song while adding meaning and intimacy.

“Encenalls de Mort” really has guitarists Falke and A.M. shine, especially with the ambient but soothing guitar solos. The group also shows some signs of Opeth with “Espectre Al Cau” by giving you fast paced prog but, in this case, Fiar features some growls in between to add some fierceness to the mix and some piano and accordion effects to give a calming end. “De Marges I Matinades” was rather intense and featured heavy cymbal clashing and Fiar flaunting some howling vocals in lieu of his clean ones. The album closes with “Les Irreal Vision” which is an appropriate ending for this ambient sounding album. It was soothing not just because of  the guitars’ atmospheric riffs but it also featured a lot less drumming. The Klown highly recommends this album for fans of Oathbreaker, Opeth and Dark Tranquility. You can also check out the album in the band’s bandcamp and judge for yourself.

5 out of 6, The Darkness Seems a bit Bright

“Come into the Foggy Darkness” Foscor said “We got Metal!”

Dawn Of Ashes Emerge with their Seventh

The dark quintet known as Dawn Of Ashes have risen like a phoenix and reemerge with their brand new release Daemonolatry Gnosis through Metropolis Records. They release their fury with “Gods of Antinomian Path” and will leave you with a lasting impression of things to come in the album. The song is a great starter especially if you really love the symphonic and dramatic overtones of Dimmu Borgir.  “Smash Thy Enemies” features the same dramatic effect the Klown mentions but incorporate some Industrial which happens to be their primary genre. The Klown, however, loved “Guardians” because the track sounded like if Septicflesh and Dimmu Borgir were planning to have a baby and Fleshgod Apocalypse was chosen to be the surrogate mother of this song.

“The Ritual” was not only a great introductory track but the overture with howling wind sound effects set the tone for an epic transition to “Augoeides.” “Augieides” was not only epic but it had major Industrial overtones combined with melodic black metal sounds making it a very strong track and reminded the Klown of Dark Fortress. “Sermon of the Horned God” features the band’s symphonic take on the album which had the Klown thinking that he may have listened to a lost Septicflesh track. The song had frontman/keyboardist Kristof Bathory’s powerful vocals resemble Septicflesh’s Spirou Antonious’s, and had a great melodic guitar solo from Ken Raum and features some electronic effects towards the end  efficiently closing the song.  “Magick for the New Aeon” not only was it well rounded with some Industrial and symphonic influences, it also featured Cradle of Filth’s keyboardist/vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft adding a woman’s touch. This was a great album to hear and pulled no punches. If you don’t believe the Klown, you can check out his exaggeration on the label’s bandcamp and hear it for yourselves.

6 out of 6, the Black Metal Phoenix has Soared Above

Reborn from the Ashes with Great Power

Rancid Releases a Fresh New Album

The legendary quartet formerly known as Operation Ivy has returned with their ninth studio album Trouble Maker through Hellcat/Epitaph Records. Much like most Rancid fans, the Klown too has been waiting for a new one since their 2014 release of Honor Is All We Know. The album starts fast and strong with the introductory track “Track Fast” and immediately transition with “Ghost of a Chance” which also kept up with the speed that “Track Fast” had started. The same can be said about “An Intimate Close Up of a Street Punk Trouble Maker.” “Telegraph Avenue” was a great song because it was melodic and complimented  legendary guitarist/vocalist Lars Friederickson and bassist/vocalist Matt Freeman’s chorus. Frontman/guitarist Tim Armstrong’s famous vocals kept the American punk spirit alive through a first person anecdote of a teenager going through changes of self and environmental due to political unrest.

“Where I’m Going” feature the Rancid signature mash of ska and punk. “Buddy” seemed like a memoriam with a message of not taking life for granted because of the short time we have. “Farewell Lola Blue” pays homage to WWII pilots, who went off to war young and reference the pin-up girl painted on the side of the planes. “Bovver Rock and Roll” gives a quick history lesson of a moment that is nearly unknown to most people: US invasion and bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. While “Make It Out Alive” revisits the Civil War and follows a veteran who fought in the Battle of the Wilderness, lost his leg, saw hell, and paid his respect to a late president Lincoln. The track features Friederickson, Freeman and Armstrong sharing vocal duties. “Beauty of the Pool Hall” features some rockabilly influence and it’s a love song for the unconventional since the setting and the girl aren’t traditional.

If you happen to get your hands on the deluxe edition of the album the band treats you to two extra songs “We Arrived On Time” and “Go On Rise Up.” The Klown enjoyed this album but not as much as the diehard fans and punkers. Don’t get the Klown wrong, if you are a huge punker or love Rancid this is definitely a must-have but if you happened to be a casual listener still stuck on “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho” you may not enjoy it as much. You can get this album here.

5 out of 6, You’ll Still Wanna Do Bad Things With It 

Punk has never been seen so fresh

Suffocation Bring their Eighth Into the Light

One of the godfathers of technical death metal are back with a vengeance after a four year hiatus . The quintet known as Suffocation have released …Of the Dark Light through Nuclear Blast Records and is ready to destroy your eardrums. The New Yorkers start really strong with “Clarity Through Deprivation” and features Frank Mullen’s signature growling vocals and a really cool guitar solo from Terrance Hobbs towards the end. “The Warmth Within the Dark,” “Some Things Should Be Left Alone” and “Caught Between Two Worlds” has the band featuring some brutal death metal with Mullen’s vocals shifting gears to more guttural, growling vocals and speeds up the tracks towards the end after a brief breakdown.

“Some Things…” also features bassist Derek Boyer setting the foundation for the song and strumming that bass like legendary bassists Alex Webster and Ross Dolan. “Return to the Abyss,” “The Violation” and “… Of the Dark Light” has the band getting technical with and features guitarist Charlie Errigo complementing Hobb’s solos making the songs strong in terms of foundation. Lastly, “Epitaph of the Credulous” had the best of both the brutal and technical style of death metal and featured a really awesome solo from Hobb and some superb heavy bass slapping from Bower. It is also worth noting that the song features the vocalist of The Merciless Concept, Kevin Muller as lending his screams as backup vocals. This was a pretty awesome comeback from the quintet and the Klown can’t wait to see these guys when they come to town with Morbid Angel. The Klown highly recommends this album for the dedicated death metal aficionado and fans of Suffocation. You can get your hands on this badass return here.

6 out of 6, Breathing Easy because the Wait Is Over

Fans can now breathe again because Suffocation is back

The Trials of June 2

Note: It seems that the Klown and Ugh Metal keep finding themselves in a state of déjà vu when it comes to moving forward in real life. The Klown can only offer his deepest condolences to anyone and everyone damaged in London and in Kabul, Afghanistan. For those unaware an attack in Kabul happened two days prior as of this article’s date. Metal or not, let’s unite under the arts and peace and attempt to unite and pull forward in the face of fear and terror.

Satan’s Dealer Have Blazed their First Stash

The Milwaukeean pushers known as Satan’s Dealer have released their debut album Dealer of the Gods independently. The duo, as if it wasn’t already apparent, produce some stoner metal with some humorous song titles. The album begins with “Don’t Fear the Reefer.” This is, to say the least, some typical stoner metal with frontman/guitarist Jim Powell vocals matching the overall tone and sounds of the song. “Jesus is My Copilot… And We’re Cruisin’ for Pussy” became one of the Klown’s favorites not only is it humorous but it was rather fast paced considering the fact that it was still a stoner metal song.

“I Sold It For Drugs” was also funny as hell and felt like the Klown was listening to an old school GWAR song when Oderus Urungus was young and starting out. Another personal favorite  is “Jesus Loves You… Everyone Else Thinks You’re an Asshole” was like the previous but with doom undertones and a little less humorous. “Nomad” and “Keepin’ It Nasty” will take you back to the days when Black Sabbath was fresh and began to carry the metal banner minus the legendary sounds of Geezer Butler and Ozzy’s legendary vocals. The Klown is usually not big on stoner/sludge metal but this was a good album to hear. The Klown highly recommends this album if you like humorous content with your metal and, especially, if you love stoner metal. You can check this album out in the band’s bandcamp.

5 out of 6 It’s Some Good Shit

satan's dealer

Tankard Lives to Produce Another Album

One of the big four of Teutonic thrash has returned with their 17th album One Foot in the Grave through Nuclear Blast Records. The quartet known as Tankard start this album off with “Pay to Pray” with the brand of thrash they helped create with Kreator, Destruction and Sodom in Germany and features a killer solo from Andreas Gutjhar which can also be said about “Don’t Bullshit Us!” “One Foot in the Grave” gives you some melodic thrash which sounds like an homage to an earlier version of another fellow German metallers Helloween. “Syrian Nightmare” really brings pure intensity and makes you realize why they are atop of a Teutonic thrash throne. The song also serves as a catalyst for “Northern Crown (Lament of the Undead King).”

Tankard revisits the Bay Area with “Lock’em Up!” and “The Evil that Men Display” in terms of sounds and influence. “Secret Order 1516” was nearly 8 minutes and bring pure thrash to the table and has a chorus line that sounds more like a battle cry and another solo from Getjhar. The song also begins and finishes with an orchestral overture of strings and a bit brass for a strong dramatic effect. The album finishes strongly and slightly how it began with “Sole Grinder” by not skimming on the thrash and ends with the sounds of the band members hollering like hooligans at a metal show. This album was pretty good especially if you love thrash metal or if you want to hear some new things from a pack of living legends. You can get this album here.

5 out of 6, Outta the Grave

tankardonefootcd

Flogging Molly Returns After a Long Absence

If you haven’t checked out Ugh Metal in the past, The Trials of March 17 was the first time this Celtic punk band was mentioned. Nevertheless, the Klown was incredibly stoked when the face/voice/guitarist Dave King returned with his sixth album Life is Good through Borstal Beat Records. Allow the Klown to let you peeps know that, for those who listened to the last album Speed of Darkness, this album is livelier and reminiscent to the Float album. For those who haven’t relished the Float album allow the Klown to tell you that the album is lively but mellow by comparison to their breakthrough Within A Mile From Home. With that said this album begins with the dark ballad track “There’s Nothing Left Pt. 1” as an introductory track but then switches to the upbeat “The Hand of John L. Sullivan.” “The Hand…” although it’s upbeat and faster than the prior, incorporates a male chorus and the sounds of the tin whistle, the fiddle and the banjo but slows down a bit during the middle and picks up the pace to end on a high note.

The Klown took a liking to “Welcome to Adamsville” because it was the first time the Klown has heard something different. The use of brass instrumentals made the song far more cheerful and colorful than the Klown expected. Do you need a boost of morale? Then “Reptiles (We Woke Up)” is your song! The Klown thinks this song would be perfect for a movie during a montage of things getting better while “Hope” is an ideal song when you need to listen when you’re in need of some optimism. “The Last Serenade (Fisherman and Sailors)” was a ballad that the Klown can picture being sung at a dive bar near the pier in honor of the sea dwelling professionals.

“The Guns of Jericho,”“Crushed (Hostile Nations)” and “The Bride Wore Black” go full Celt. While “The Guns…” features the accordion and is positive, “Crushed…” not only features the bagpipes, tin whistle and accordion but it was more punk and is a first person anecdote of living through a nation’s power struggle. This album was pretty tits and was worth the six year wait. The Klown will say this with the risk of sounding like a grandpa but this album is definitely going to be enjoyed by an older audience with the added benefit of the angsty preteens and teens who never got to chance to grow up with grunge.  You can get your copy of this album here.

6 out of 6, Life Is Indeed Good

flogging-molly-life-is-good-2017-billboard-embed

Tengger Cavalry Rides Again

The Mongolian metal horde known as Tengger Cavalry have returned to Ugh Metal and with a new album to kick off their recent venture as a signed band. The Cavalry has returned with Die on My Ride through M-Theory Audio Records. Unlike their last release Hymn of the Earth, the band takes a more of an orchestral and dramatic approach. “Snow” starts the album with the deep but soothing sounds of the cello like Apocalyptica which carry over on to “Die on My Ride.” The latter  and “Me Against Me” also features some piano, Nature Ganganbaigal’s throat singing in English and Asian folk theme. “Strike” features the same elements as the previous song but incorporate a melodic chorus that resembles  a ceremonial hymn, and features a cool but brief guitar solo from Ganganbaigal.

This Mongol horde proving that they have a soft side bust out a song for the ladies and the gentle men with their slow ballad “Ashley.” Unlike most ballads that metalheads are used to hearing, “Ashley” takes a page from pop music starting with Ganganbaigal’s clean baritone vocals combined with a bit of autotune. The song establishes intimacy by using the piano, acoustic guitar, electric drum and cello as the foundation of the song and still manages to incorporate the morin khuur and the igil to keep the folk motif going. “The Choice of My Mind” is another ballad that this album has to offer but unlike “Ashley,” “The Choice…” takes a simplistic approach by ditching the autotune and having a chorus, acoustic guitars, the morin khuur along with the cello, and a bit of cymbals for effect. “The Frontline” and “We Will Survive” feature the sounds most fans of the Cavalry are most acquainted with. This was a great album and it was an excellent way to celebrate their signing. If you don’t take the Klown’s word you can check out their bandcamp and hear for yourself!

6 out of 6, It was a Strong Charge!

tengger

Wednesday 13 Has Nothing to Commiserate For

When Ugh Metal reported that Wednesday 13 had officially joined the Nuclear Blast family, the Klown got a little giddy. The primary reason the Klown  was excited was because he didn’t know what to expect this time around from Joseph “Wednesday 13” Poole and his latest album, Condolences. For those who’ve never indulged in Wednesday 13 , the previous album Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague took the approach of UFOs and Cults, while their breakthrough The Dixie Dead was about zombies, relationships and horror movies such as Poltergeist. This time around, Wednesday 13 takes it a bit old school but edgier and darker.

A great example of that is “What The Night Brings” and “Cadaverous” which, after the introductory track, “Last Rites,” transition to a rougher and heavier version of “Watch Out for The Skies” in terms of sounds, specifically Roman Surman’s signature guitar riffs combined with the whammy pedal for the signature b-movie horror movie sound. “Good Riddance” takes an opposite approach in the grieving concept with expressing apathy instead of sympathy and takes a more metal approach. “Omen Amen” and “Cruel To You” revisits Poole’s other known project the Murderdolls in terms of cynicism and roughness. “Condolences” capitalize on the gloomy tones that Poole established by making the song a heavy and dark ballad, and features an awesome solo from Surman and Poole where he uses his low whispers his condolences in the track. The song also had a bit of piano trickled in until you realized that the song transitions to “Death Infinity” without you noticing, which was perfectly executed especially to cap off the album. If you’ve never heard Wednesday 13 before you may want to consider listening after you get your ears on this album. You can get a copy of this record right here.

6 out of 6, The Klown Feels Sorry for your Loss if Haven’t Checked Out Yet!

Wednesday-13-Condolences

The Trials of May 26

Emyn Muli Towers with Album Two

The Italian one man band known as Emyn Muli has returned with Elenion Ancalima through Northern Silence Productions. Saverio Giove’s project is not like any other black. How? Although the incorporation of the Lord of the Rings saga is not uncommon in the world of black metal (ie Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir chose his name from an orc general in the series), Giove takes it one step further. He takes his love of Tolkien and turns his fandom into some epic black metal bliss which also nearly sounds folk. “The Lay Of Númenorë” is a 14-plus minute song that could best highlight the Klown’s description of the album. When you hear it, it sounds like it belongs in LOTR’s The Two Towers soundtrack that was originally slated to be used during a climactic battle. “Ar-Pharazôn” starts off rather epically with some brass overture, a bit of marching percussion and some wind instruments which then transition to some old school black metal with Giove’s harsh vocals. “Far Umbar” goes medieval in terms of foundation for the song which not only makes it good but interesting especially if you fancy some old school Burzum.

Lastly, Giove finishes his epic tale with the soothing “Elenion Ancalima” which has an overture of strings accompanied by an angelic female choir as a background chorus and synthesizers, which would rival any New Age song. The Klown was rather impressed with this album because of the cinematic aspect and presence that it has. Despite that, it’s not the Klown’s full cup of tea mainly because of the lengths of the song. The Klown is a fan of LOTR but even he would get fidgety from watching the movies. Even with that said the Klown highly recommends it if you love black metal, are a huge Tolkienite, or if you want to feel inspired. You can check this album out Giove’s bandcamp and mute LOTR scenes while you sample the album!

4 out of 6, Peter Jackson fucked up!

Danzig Returns to ‘Crown’ His 11th Album

Glenn Danzig, the man most synonymous with the New Jersey Punk and Metal scene has returned with Black Laden Crown through Evilive Records/Nuclear Blast Records. “Black Laden Crown” starts the album rather slow with Danzig’s vocals of “Mother” fame and transitions smoothly to “Eyes Ripping Fire” where the track picks up the tempo and shows off Tommy Victory’s legendary guitar skills and solos near-identical to Prong. The Klown will admit that he took an immediately liking to “Devil on Hwy 9,” “Last Ride” and “Blackness Falls.” They reminded the Klown of the old school hard rock sounds during a time when metal was being declared dead in the mid-90s. “The Witching Hour” was a great track in general because it was a one-two punch combo courtesy of Danzig’s melancholic vocals, and rhythmic guitar combined with Victory’s awesome riffs.“Pull The Sun” closed the album just about the same way it began but with a long and awesome solo from Victory. This album also has quite a selection in drummers starting with current Danzig and former Type O Negative skinsman Johnny Kelly, Soilwork’s Dirk Verbeuren, Queen of the Stone Age’s Joey Castillo and Steel Prophet’s Karl Rosqvist. The Klown isn’t a big fan of Danzig but will admit that this album was pretty good especially if you’re riding hard on the nostalgia train. You can pick this album up here.

5 out of 6 Finally, Something Other than “Mother!”

In Reverence Have Propagated their Album

The Swedish death metal trio known as In Reverence has now arrived with their debut studio album The Selected Breed through Non Serviam Records. Right off the bat, the Klown had no idea what to expect since the band classifies itself as atmospheric. Nevertheless, the trio kicked off this debut strongly with “Jehiliah” which is somewhat atmospheric but immediately picks up speed right after the breakdown, giving you a dose of brutal death metal and features an awesome guitar solo from Pedram Shahiri. The Klown took an immediate liking to “Gods of Dehumanization,” “Prometheus” and “The Sixth Bloodletting.” The tracks were not only brutal but it had the Klown wondering, what if Cattle Decap added more brutality and had Travis Ryan adopt deep growling vocals? “The Selected Breed” had the Klown thinking of Ryan’s imaginary new style of vocals combined with a bit technical death metal. “Red Waves” was a really good song in general and had some atmospheric undertones, fast double bass pedaling from Oscar Krumlinde and some strong bass strumming from frontman/bassist Filip Danielsson. This was a great debut from the trio and the Klown would not be surprised if he begins to see In Reverence’s spark become a fire. You can check out this album in the label’s bandcamp to really experience what the Klown heard.

6 out of 6, The 1st batch of this ‘Breed’ is superior!

Dream Evil Has Returned After the 7 Year Itch

The Swedish power metal quintet known as Dream Evil are back after their long hiatus with their cleverly titled sixth album Six through Century Media Records. Allow the Klown to tell you, the group doesn’t miss a beat and start the album strongly with “Dream Evil.” The song features Niklas Isfeldt’s legendary vocals, Marcus Fristedt’s awesome solos and good chorus line. “Sin City” pays homage to this said place and to glam because of the catchy rhythm and the sleazy undertones. The band continued their string of shout outs and acknowledged old school legends such as Judas Priest and Ozzy in “Hellride” and “Six Hundred and 66,” while “44 Riders” was crisp with its beginning thanks to Fristedt opening with a catchy guitar sequence and Björn Nordström immediately complimenting it with his rhythmic guitar playing. The structure of the track continues to be strong and enhances the meaning and romanticism of biker life by adding revving motorcycle engine sounds.  The group finishes strongly with “We Are Forever” which felt like a song of praise for metal as a genre and all who support it. This was a good comeback from the quintet and the Klown hopes that it doesn’t take them another seven years before a new album is released. You can always get album here.

5 out of 6, Worth waiting for ‘Six’

Alestorm Embark on Their Fifth Voyage

The five seadogs known as Alestorm have returned after a three year hiatus with the release of their latest doubloon No Grave But The Sea through Napalm Records. “No Grave But The Sea,” “Bar ünd Imbiss” and “Man The Pumps” are not only the perfect anthems for your inner pirate but also emphasize their pirate theme. The Klown had the privilege of hearing “Mexico” live before the album came to fruition. The song commences with a brief but catchy 8-bit version of the song and then, as the song progressed, it begins to feel more like a drunken romp and a new theme song for Mexico’s bureau of tourism. “To the End of the World” has Alestorm revisiting the concept in “1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)” where the bugles, and battle cry- like choruses make a comeback. The fun doesn’t stop there because in this track, front man/keytarist Christopher Bowes vocals turn to harsh screams, and has an awesome guitar solo from Máté Bodor.

“Alestorm” was much like the Klown’s theme song “Drink” because the group revisits the sound and lyrical content but this time more metal than “Drink.” The Klown didn’t think he would have another favorite Alestorm song till he heard “Fucked with An Anchor.” I have two reasons, 1: the song is humorous as hell, 2: it is incredibly catchy, simple and 3: it sounds like something the band of pirates from Disneyland would sing as they quit their jobs. The quintet finishes this album with their version of a timeless pirate tale, “Treasure Island.” Not only does it sound metal with the clear folk influences but Bowes lyrical content is from the perspective of a bemused crew member of Long John Silver’s band selling the idea of the island to the rest of the crew. This album was awesome as hell and the Klown highly recommends you get your ears all over it, saavy? You can get this bad boy here.

6 out of 6, Sign this Scalawag Up, Capt. Bowes!

 

 Bonus Round!

Morphesia Treats Us to A Glimpse of Its Future

The name Morphesia should be somewhat familiar to you if you keep with us. If you don’t, the man known as Zombie Thirteen has in the past indulged Ugh Metal as an opening act at both the Brick By Brick and The Merrow. During that time span, Ugh Metal has also seen the artistic evolution of Thirteen. In anticipation to his upcoming album I Forever End, the man responsible for Morphesia has released a 3 track sample to ease some black metal qualms, and to entertain the masses with his new artistic direction. Thirteen has decided to ditch the desolate one and take it old school by going back to the Egyptian gods. The first track “Within” features Thirteen’s signature guitar riffs but with an ambient element while his vocals are still harsh he combines it with some auto tune to mimic an echoing effect.

“The Moon” takes a bit of a chill pill for black metal standards without necessarily dwelling into a full blown ambient tone. Lastly, the sample ends with “Forever” and finishes like it began with the difference being the guitar play towards the end. The vibrato on the guitar play makes it seem like the guitar is somewhat out of tune which sounds like a melancholic ending that leaves you wanting more. On that note, if you happen to be in Colton, CA be sure to check Morphesia out at The Hub on July 1st  where he may even have samples of this upcoming project. For now take, the Klown’s word for it because he can’t wait till this album is released later this year! Get pumped and check out his bandcamp.

The Trials of May 19

Note: ICYMI, it was Ugh Metal’s birthday… 2 days ago, as of this writing! Where are our presents!? The Klown demands many presents! But he will settle with a new keg filled with good beer and metal… not literal metal… and in the keg. On a serious note though, a wholehearted thank you for keeping up with us! If this is your first time checking us out or have recently kept up with us, a wholehearted thanks to you too.

On a very serious note, the Klown would also like to send out his condolences to the victims in the Manchester attacks on May 22. The Klown knows that words cannot describe what the survivors are going through or are feeling. Let’s unite through music and arts and flip the bird to those who threaten to kill our vibes.

 

Oceano Reveal Latest Album

The deathcore quartet known as Oceano has released its fifth album Revelation through Sumerian Records. The group starts off rather intense and feature a bit of ambient undertones with “Dark Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation.” “Illusions Unravel” features front man Adam Warren dishing an array of harsh and growling vocals for some added intensity. “Final Form” has Warren take a backseat for the rest of the shine bright with their instruments. “Human Harvest” features the intensity Oceano is known but experiment slightly by incorporating some electronic ambient sounds and some synths. “Revelation” closes the album with ambience courtesy of the synths which serve as a foundation to the track.

Unfortunately, nothing really sticks out in this album. The Klown felt like he was listening to a continuation of the previous album Ascendants. This album is not only made for the diehard Oceano fans but also of the Klown’s naysayers. You can also check this album out on the band’s bandcamp.

2 out of 6, Not much of a Revelation 

Loss Reaches For The Stars With ‘Horizonless’

The Nashville quartet known as Loss have released their sophomore album titled Horizonless through Profound Lore Records. “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” gives the expression “sorry for your loss” a sound and adds a voice to the anger stage of grief which is emphasized by the dark melodic blend of funeral doom that this group is known for. Aside from the tone Loss sets up with the guitar on the slow paced songs, front man/guitarist Mike Meacham shows off his groggy-like growling to enhance the moods with the help of the John Anderson’s heavy bass plucking to make this 10 minute-plus song rather strong.

“All Grows On Tears” really feels and sounds like it was made for a metalhead’s funeral. “Naught” was slow and heavy and felt like an ambient song that ends on a climatic note much like a scary movie if Meachem’s vocals were removed. On that note, Meachem’s interchanging deep growls with screaming vocals feel reminiscent to that of a mourner crying with rage. “The End Steps Forward,” although an intro, it features the band’s incorporation of a pipe organ and sets the tone for a wake and serves as a perfect catalyst to “Horizonless.” The titular song sets the mood for a very dark wake or Disney’s Haunted Mansion if they decided to really scares peeps and have them feel anguish.

The album finishes on “When Death Is All” which features Leviathan’s Jef “Wrest” Whitehead, Dark Castle’s Stevie Floyd and Solodolor’s Billy Anderson which makes you feel the way one would at a wake during the reunion portion of it. The song also closes on a doom metal note but of the atmospheric variety along with Meachem’s faded growling vocals. The Klown doesn’t always indulge in funeral doom metal but the Klown did quite enjoy this album. You can check this bad boy out in the label’s bandcamp.

5 out of 6, It’s to Die For

The Night Flight Orchestra Take Off Beyond the Stars with Latest

Björn “Speed” Strid, the voice of Soilwork, has managed to make his way back to Ugh Metal’s domain but this time with his side project The Night Flight Orchestra. The Orchestra has released their third album Amber Galactic through Nuclear Blast Records. If you’ve never heard of this side project allow the Klown to state that it was rather refreshing to hear a new side of Strid. This album starts off with “Midnight Flyer” to set the course back in time when rock was a bit funky fresh and upbeat and features a sweet guitar solo from David Andersson and an impressive keyboard solo from Sharlee D’Angelo. The Klown took an immediately liking to “Star of Rio” because not only did it follow the same formula as the previous song, but it was also harmonious. The track included bongos and tambourine to add more beat and rhythm and a backing chorus.

“Gemini” sounded like a recreation of Paul Engemman’s infamous “Scarface (Push It to the Limit)” song in the sense of it being iconic if it were used in a movie back in the 80’s or 70’s. Still itchin’ for a Boston, Grand Funk Railroad or a Molly Hatchet reunion? “Sad State of Affairs” is a good and crisp incarnation of those greats. “Jennie” and “Josephine” are not only songs for the ladies but feel like they belong in an 80’s movie love montage.  Love The Who’s “Eminence Front?” the track “Domino” does a great job mimicking that but also shows a clear influence on said song. The Klown could go on about this nostalgia train but he won’t because he’ll just end up talking about the entire album. Take his word for it! It is a great album especially if you grew up with the classics or if you enjoy the classics.

6 out of 6, It’s Out of this World!

DragonForce Continue to be Boundless with Latest

The British power metal powerhouse known as DragonForce has discharged their seventh album Reaching into Inifinity through the fires and flames (get it?!) and Metal Blade Records. Allow the Klown to state that he was rather impressed with this album. The band starts by dishing out their brand of power metal with “Ashes of the Dawn,” “March Madness” and “Land of Shattered Dreams.” However, by “Judgment Day” the sextet incorporate some electronic sounds and rhythm which have Herman Li and Sam Totman give you their signature one-two guitar solos. “Curse of Darkness” gives some speed and vigor to the already metal epic and just like the previous track, it features the signature Li and Totman guitar solos. “Silence” is the power ballad that DF dishes out for the epic fair ladies and the gents who put the gentle in gentlemen.

“WAR!” has frontman Marc Hudson on the angry side interchanging his clean power metal vocals to thrashy and almost resembles Kreator’s Miland “Mille” Petrozza. “The Edge of the World” is not only DragonForce’s longest song but it’s also mighty impressive in the way that it leaves the listener guessing. At first, the song starts rather slow and feels like a power metal narrative.

By the middle of the song, it not only slows down but it also features an intimate solo from Li which are accompanied by Totman’s rhythm. It then immediately picks up and features Hudson busting out harsh screams and an extreme metal approach, finishing the way the song began. Lastly, it is worth noting that if you went out to get the special edition of this album, you will be treated to two extra songs “Hatred and Revenge” and a cover of Death’s “Evil Dead.”

6 out of 6, This Album Knows No Limits

*Honorable Mention:

Jenny Oh will throw in her 2 cents! There goes her life savings.

The Nightstalker Will Show You A Beautiful Side of ‘Hell’

The side project of frontman/bassist of Belgian black metal band Sercati, Steve “Serpent” Fabry, celebrated the first day of 2017 a different way. Fabry released the fourth album for his solo project The Nightstalker titled A Journey In Hell via Wolfshade Records. The Nighstalker is not only the central character for the concept behind Sercati, but this album serves as a soundtrack to Fabry’s 2015 audio book about this character titled Le Journal Du Nightstalker (Nightstalker’s Journal). A Journey… is more melodic and ambient and fit for an epically gothic journey.

You will know you are the chosen one when you hear the first piano keys from “The Departure” slink out of your speakers and will make you feel the anguish the Nighstalker feels. The magickal journey continues with the dominantly acoustic “The Children of The Devil” which can lure you to the darkest corner of hell with the soothing melody. Once you’re there, The Nighstalker will slowly flash his fangs in “Like I Already Know This Foe,” the fusion between the electric and acoustic riffs, and organ pipe will remind goth rock fans of Czech goth rockers XIII. Století.

Just like most stories, this album entices you with a soft opening and builds up to the climactic battle with “The Plain of the Warriors” all the way through “The Library.” The last four tracks starting with “I Found Her” (I’m not crying, you’re crying…*sniff*) the story winds down with these tracks that will stir your black little heart and will prepare you for the next chapter. For those that enjoy a good and elaborate story laced with goth and ambient elements, this is for you. Check out the full album in Wolfshade Records’s Bandcamp and see how you feel about it and check out the short film about the mysterious Nightstalker right here.

 

The Trials of May 12

Opus Diaboli Unleash the Devil’s Work

The Uruguayan quartet known as Opus Diaboli have released their debut album Black Light of Destruction through Satanath Records. Allow the Klown to start by saying that these guys invoke the spirit of black metal in its humblest beginnings. “Ilmarinen” and “Hymn of Ragnarok” are a great example of that description. The track itself features sounds of Bathory when Tomas “Quorthon” Forsberg began to incorporate some folk like influences to his brand of black metal which is best heard in “Hymn of Ragnarok.” From there on, the album mostly features sounds near identical to that of an earlier Darkthrone, Mayhem and Emperor. Most prominently “Glory In Steel,” “Luciferian Black Light,” “In Flames” and the Disneyesque title of “Better to be a Mortal than a Crucified Whore.” One of the Klown’s favorites in this album happened to be “Rivers of Blood” not only did it bring some intensity in the form of drumming and some guitar riffs. Front man/ guitarist Lord Wolf Alexander sounded like a younger Atila Csihar of Mayhem if he had added more ghost-like screeching to his vocalization. For die hard black metal enthusiasts and if you fancy yourselves kvlt, the Klown definitely recommends this album. If you need some convincing, you can check their bandcamp to hear it for yourself.

5 out of 6, No Rituals or Sacrifices Necessary

Amentia Returns with Third Anticipated Album

Alex Goron, who is the bassist of Posthumous Blasphemer, has returned with his side project Amentia and a follow up to the 2015 Mind Degradation EP. The Belarusian quartet has released Scourge under Satanath Records and right from the beginning, Amentia shall take you on a brutal death metal ride with “Kill Me.” Valery Toothgrinder and Dmitry Zubov’s harsh and screaming vocals highlight the song’s brutality by accompanying one another, not disregarding Goron’s bass plucking talents which emphasize the foundation of the song, and guitarist Artyom Serdyuk’s killer guitar riffs. Although not identical to “Kill Me,” “Slow Decay” and “Sentence Executioner” give you a near pure dose of brutal death metal. “Anorexia” on the other hand is much like “Kill Me” but with Goron and Serdyuk really showcasing their talents emphasizing the technical brand. “Paranoia” caps off this latest release just like it began but more aggressive, heavier on the drums and on the technical aspect and features two awesome guitar solos courtesy of Serdyuk himself. The Klown highly recommends that you lend this album your ears especially if you fancy yourself a death metal aficionado. Fan of Artificial Brain, Kronos and Dying Fetus will love this. Lastly, you can check out this album on the band’s bandcamp and judge for yourself.

6 out of 6, This Album will Reward Your Death Metal Crave 

Pure Brings Forth its Fourth Release

The one man band called Pure has returned with their latest J’aurais dû (I Should Have) and has been distributed through Symbol of Domination Productions. The black metal Swiss army knife at the helm, Sergio “Ormenos” Moplat, treats your ears to raw black metal that can be synonymous to the sounds of the underground. “Anonyme et San Visage” (Anonymous and Faceless) treats you to such sounds but it’s also borderline ambient with the sounds the guitar riffs emanate. However, the song intended for the ladies “Je Tuerais le Monde pour ta Lumière” (I Would Kill the World for your Light) features a plethora of instruments and intensity which takes over a good chunk of the track towards the end. “The chunk” the Klown speaks of contains a slow paced, ambient electric guitar sounds with faint drumming before transitioning back to the same intensity featured in the beginning. “Le Silence Mortel” (The Deadly Silence), “Le Jour où Je Suis Mort” (The Day I Died) and “J’aurais dû” will make you nostalgic and set up the banner of raw black metal that this Swiss is representing. It was a pretty good album to listen to especially if you fancy yourself old school or a black metal faithful. Check this album on the label’s bandcamp.

5 out of 6, ‘Cuz You Old School!

Wormwitch ‘Strike’ With Their Debut

The Canadian black metal trio known as Wormwitch has released their debut studio album Strike Mortal Soil through Prosthetic Records. “Howling From the Grave,” “Relentless Death” and “Mantle of Ignorance” give you some black metal likened to the style of the known Swedish wolves in Watain in terms of intensity, instrumentals, composition and vocalization. “Even The Sun Will Die” tones it down a bit but gives an atmospheric, hymn-like song near identical to that of Black Anvil before becoming intense again towards the end. “Cerulean Abyss” and “… Smote His Ruin Upon the Mountainside” visit Norway in terms of guitars, vocals and composition to match the style to that of Taake’s. “Everlasting Lie” features more of a thrash influence and guitarist Colby Hink shred and performs an awesome solo. “So Below” wraps up this album and features some black metal similar to that of Poland’s own Mgla. This was a pretty sweet debut album from the trio and the Klown highly recommends it. As always you are more than welcomed to check it out for yourselves through the band’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Wormwitch Will Strike You!

Kobra and The Lotus Release the First Half of their Double Album

The Canadian quartet known as Kobra and The Lotus has been making quite some noise lately especially after their single “Gotham” was released in February. Now they have released their fourth album Prevail I under Napalm Records which was revealed to be part of a double concept album. The Klown must say that this album is well rounded. The album kicks off with “Gotham” and does a great job giving this album a strong hook to have you invested in this album, Kobra Paige’s voice does justice to this hard rock song. “TriggerPulse” was not only the first single of this album but also feature some Gothenburg metal influences synonymous with In Flames. The current single “You Don’t Know” kicks off with marching percussions but tones down with a bit of piano to accompany Paige’s angelic vocals before picking up tempo right before the breakdown to give you a hard rock song of praise. “Light Me Up” is a power ballad of the hard rock variety which features a bit of piano, a guitar solo by Jasio Kulakowski and the rest of the band serving as a backing chorus to Paige. On “Manifest Destiny,” “Victim” and “Hell on Earth” Paige treats the listener to some more power metal style of music. In “Check the Phyrg” Paige takes a backseat and allows her bandmates to shine in the limelight. This was a pretty great album and has yours truly anticipating part two.

6 out of 6, This Album has Prevailed

The Trials of May 5

Note: Feliz Cinco de Mayo, carnales! Although this is belated, in actuality, most Mexicans don’t really celebrate this. BUT that still doesn’t stop us from some drunken debauchery! You wanna feel traditionally Mexican and remain metal/punk? Play some Metalachi, Brujeria, Asesino, Mictlantecuhtli, Piñata Protest, Café Tacvba crack open unas heladas and call yourself a Mexican for a day! In the meantime, here are some albums to add to your drunken soundtrack!

Lucifer’s Dungeon Is Released at Last

The Russian black metal duo known as Lucifer’s Dungeon has released their studio debut album The Dark Army Raises through Grimm Distribution. The brainchild and front man Cain Black features an array of ambience and sounds of old school Norwegian black metal. More of the latter is featured with “Unconscious Faith,” “War,” “Burn Your Dogma” and “The Forest,” just to name a few. “The Dark Army Raises” presents the ambient black metal sound with vocals features some great guitar play from Black himself. If instrumentals are  your thing you are in luck friends, and you will love “The Last Day of Life,”  “III Lives of Dark Angel” and “The Secret” which sounded like something that came from an earlier Ghost Bath demo.

Lastly, Lucifer’s Dungeon dabbles in a style similar to that of Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger with the Fre“The Answer” and “Beyond Good and Evil.” It was a pretty good debut and will definitely ride on the nostalgic black metal train. The Klown recommends this album for die hard black metal enthusiasts and for those who fancy themselves kvlt. Finally you can check this out on the label’s bandcamp.

5 out of 6 Lock Up Has Never Sounded So Good.

Freiheit Liberates their Newest Album

If you know your German, the word literally means freedom. In a twist befitting an M. Night Shyamalan movie, this blackened death metal quartet is from Russia and has released their long awaited studio debut Безумие. Ненависть. Смерть (Madness. Hatred. Death) via Grimm Distributions. The album begin with the short but pretty strong and singing intro “C.C.C.K” which then transitions to “Волк” (Wolf) and had the Klown thinking he was listening to some earlier Carach Angren. Not to be outdone by “Мясорубка” (Meat Grinder) which sounded like a spry Dimmu Borgir if they had death metal and folk influences incorporated as well as rapid double bass drumming courtesy of Pavel Melnikov. However, Freiheit really bring you some fast death metal with “Корпус Смерти” (The Corpse of Death) and “Монумент” (Monument) which features Alexandr Merzliy’s smooth but harsh growling vocals. If you’re the type that’s big on brutal death metal “Технократия” (Technocracy) and “Свобода” (Freedom) are the tracks you’re definitely going to enjoy. Lastly, this album finishes really strong with some really fast paced death metal “Горящая земля” (Burning Earth). If you don’t mind hearing Russian vocals but enjoying the fast paced instrumentals then the Klown highly recommends this. You can also check ’em out through the Grimm Distribution’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, The New Sound of Freedom has Arrived

Full Of Hell Release Their Latest with Some Fanfare

The self proclaimed Martians known as Full Of Hell have made not one but two appearances in Ugh Metal. On that note, check out the articles in which they were featured after you done checking this out. Anyway they have returned with a fifth installment Trumpeting Ecstasy through Profound Lore Records. This album was a little different than what the Klown has heard in the past from this quartet. Full Of Hell first takes an ultraviolent approach with “Deluminate” and “Bound Sphinx” but they immediately revisit their brand of grindcore with “Branches of Yew” and “The Cosmic Vein.”

This album contains a handful of guest vocalists such as such Isis’s Aaron Turner, Andrew Nolan of Column of Heaven in “Ashen Mesh,” and  Canadian pop beauty Nicole Dollanganger in “Trumpeting Ecstasy” which became the Klown’s favorite track. “Trumpeting Ecstasy” has Dollanganger’s soothing and angelic voice beautifully mixed with Walker’s beastly growls, his mixing board and some autotune. Lastly, “At the Cauldron’s Bottom” feature Converge’s Nate Newton’s harsh vocals to make a really intense and doomy closer for the album. The best part of that song is the ending because of how the electronic ambient sounds from Walker is incorporated,  making it seem like a march to an epic battle leaving you satisfied after the album. You can check this latest album out through the label’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Will leave you in ecstasy

Nagaarum Continues to Bear Fruits of Experiments

The one man experimental black metal project known as Nagaarum has released his 14th studio album titled Homo Maleficus via Grimm Distributions. The Hungarian man known as T.G. Nagaarum starts off his new album with “A Befalazott” (The Walled) which can be described as very experimental and ambient doom metal with some black metal vocals. Despite that description, the song is more instrumentals which is not a bad thing before you misconstrue the Klown’s words.  “Az Elvhu” (The Principle) and “A Vassal Nevelt” (Raised with an Iron) pick up the pace and are rather intense considering that they’re somewhat slow paced and ambient. “Mens Dominium” and “Dolgunk Végeztével” (When We’re Done) offers experimental black metal with some electronic sounds and synths making the songs borderline Industrial. “Kolontár” was definitely the most befitting way to end the album. Why? Aside from the song being deliberately slow, it seemed rather appropriate to top off this album’s irregular direction and almost present a bit of normality to this piece. The Klown definitely recommends this album for those who are in true ambient and experimental black metal. Drop by their bandcamp as well.

5 out of 6, Damn Good

God Dethroned Latest is FIRE

The band most synonymous with the Dutch metal scene, God Dethroned has produced a new album after seven long years titled The World Ablaze through Metal Blade Records. The legendary quartet quickly start strong with “Annihilation Crusade” which is made stronger with that sweet guitar solo. In a twist of patriotism combined with cynicism “The World Ablaze” serves as a great and borderline sludgy song especially because of the heavy melody it and the meaningful lyrical content that front man/ guitarist Henri Sattler offers. “On the Wrong Side of the Wire” and “Close to Victory” features the melodic death metal that the band was known for. “Escape the Ice (The White Army)” features a bit of brutal death metal to the mix and also features another sweet guitar solo from Mike Ferguson.

“Breathing to Blood” was only awesome but had the Klown thinking that it was a lost Amon Amarth track, regardless of how is sounded for a brief moment it was just awesome in general with the intensity and speed that it carried. Looking for a song to head straight into battle? God Dethroned gots you covered with “Messina Ridge.” “The 11th Hour” was basically the perfect closer for this album because it was melodic and somewhat slow paced and leaves you clamoring for more. This album not only did well to commemorate the fallen soldiers and it’s more than in time for Memorial Day but it was a great comeback. The Klown definitely recommends this album especially if you are die hard God Dethroned fan. Don’t forget to get your copy now

6 out of 6, FIRE

The Trials of April 28

Helsott Release Their Cure for the Metal Head in Need

The name Helsott should be extremely familiar by now especially if you keep up with us. If this is your first time, however, the Klown shall indulge you just a tad but will highly encourage you to really check out their previous appearances. The pagan metal quartet from Menifee, CA has released their latest album The Healer EP through M-Theory Audio. Allow the Klown to state that it’s a bit refreshing hearing these songs once again. However, unlike the last times, the Klown is now hearing them as professionally recorded songs. Anyway, “The Healer” begins the EP epically with Dave Waltson playing some hard rock guitar riffs which build up and are mixed with some sounds of blustering bugles and features some powerful beast-like howls and growls from Eric Dow.

“Tavern’s Tale” is a song that not only sounds like something from a medieval tale but also takes you back and has you wondering if the song was originally Blind Guardian’s but only speedier, rougher and with harsher vocals. For those who are fans of the classics, Helsott covers Iron Butterfly’s “Unconscious Power.” Lastly, for the LARPers who need a song to make their battles heroic, “Epic Battle” is exactly what it sounds like, epic. The song has a bit of everything such as female operatic vocals, synths, Cooper Dustman’s drumming likened to that of a galloping horse and Dow’s growling with the occasional pauses to let it all soak in. Truth be told, if you truly love pagan metal and power metal, this is definitely something you really want to check out. As luck would have it, you can through Helsott’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, This EP Will Cure You

All That Remains Descend In To ‘Madness’

The quintet have released Madness through Razor & Tie Records. The Klown was surprised with the opening song “Safe House.” Why might you ask? Simply put, it sounded very metal. Phil Labonte shows off his harsh vocals, has some heavy and fast drumming by Jason Costa and features a sweet solo from Oli Herbert. “Madness,” “Nothing I Can Do” and “Halo” are the brand of metalcore that the band is primarily known for. However, for those who stopped listening after “Six” from the Guitar Hero 3 exposure, this time Labonte struts another kind of talent by including his piano skills onto these songs.

Assuming you want a similar song to that of “Six,” “Open Grave” and “Trust and Believe” settle that itch that you have. This album also features two ballads in the form of “Far From Home” and “Back To You.” Lastly, the band covers Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls.” The Klown hasn’t indulged in the original version but will admit that it did sound pretty good as a metalcore song. No matter what your feelings are on All That Remains, if you are really into metalcore or a super ear friendly rock then this is definitely something you might want to check. The Klown, however, would have appreciated this album had it been released 10 years earlier; he would have been all over it even though it’s not his shot of tequila.

3 out of 6, Not the Klown’s shot of tequila.

Ayreon Will Take You to A Night at the Opera

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s ambitious rock opera known as Ayreon has returned with a ninth installment titled The Source via Mascot Label Group. This album not only revisits their 2008 album 01011001 and plays with its Science Fiction theme, but it also serves as its prequel. Just like the previous albums, an array of metal musicians are featured giving us some harmonic prog metal euphoria. For those not familiar with “The Chronicle” it is about an advanced alien race known as the Forever, which were introduced in 0101101, and takes place in their home planet Y and they discovered the secret to *spoiler alert* longevity. The Forever plant their DNA on an asteroid that is on a collision course with planet Earth so that their line may live on in the new planet. The Source takes you back to the events, characters, the demise of their planet and the evolution of the Alphas A.K.A. humans.

Remember the Klown stating the array of metal musicians? The vocalists have roles in this opera such as Tommy Rodgers (Between the Buried and Me) who plays The Chemist, Tommy Karevik ( Kamelot) is the Opposition Leader, and Simone Simons (Epica) is the Counselor, Floor Jensen of Nightwish reprises her role as the Biologist and Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian as the Astronomer just to name a few. Lastly, this album also features guitarist Paul Gilbert of Racer X and former After Forever Joost van den Broek on the grand and electric piano. The Klown recommends this if you’re big on rock operas, Sci-Fi or Prog metal.

5 out of 6, To Infinity and Beyond!