Category Archives: Album Review

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! 

The Trials of April 21

Note: So… once again the world has gone mad, specifically in Paris. The Klown hopes that all his peeps in Paris are doing okay. Let us spread some love and metal and not hate.

Disorder Bring Out Its Third

So… are you still on a Hispanic metal high after the Brujeria’s last album? Well, you are in luck! The death metal band from El Salvador known as Disorder can fill that void with Fuego Negro which came out through Morbid Skull Records. Right from the beginning “Carroñeros de Justicia” gives you some thrash similar to that of Slayer but angrier and harsher on the vocals and in Español! “Bajo El Yugo De La Ignorancia,”“333” and “Tiempos Violentos” has the band, especially front man Jorge “MQ” Montesino, tap into the spirit of Death and will make you feel like you’re blasting lost Death tracks that were re-sung in Spanish. The last track of the album “Fuego Negro” sounded more like if Obituary had collaborated with Schuldiner. This album was the tits and it will definitely be worth getting your ears on this.

6 out of 6, Schuldiner Is Proud!

Night Demon Shines In Its Sophomore Release

The Californian trio known as Night Demon has returned with its latest release Darkness Remains through Steamhammer Records. The Klown rather enjoyed this album for the band’s ability to bring back a vintage sound parallel to the pioneering sounds of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. “Welcome to the Night” was a good starter and a great example as well as “Dawn Rider” to support the Klown’s claim. The Klown took a liking to “Maiden Hell” and “Stranger in the Room” because it reminded him of the underrated 80’s band Tesla during their Mechanical Resonance and The Great Radio Controversy fame. Both songs were not only harmonic but also feature guitar solos from Armand Anthony which were reminiscent to that of Tesla’s Frank Hannon’s guitar solos.

“Black Widow” was also a good track and features some sounds of the Glam rock scene but not of the sleazy variety but more like Ratt and Skid Row. “On Your Own” was not only a pretty catchy tune but seemed like a lost montage for an 80’s flick. “Darkness Remains” is the power ballad for the softies and the ladies, and features front man/bassist Jarvis Leatherby singing in auto tune but not as annoying or overdone like other artists tend to do. Lastly, the trio covers an all time stadium favorite, Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” as much as the Klown enjoyed the track he still enjoys the original far more. Don’t get the Klown wrong, it just seemed impossible for the Klown not to envision the legendary Freddy Mercury helming this song. The Klown definitely recommends this album for those who are feeling nostalgic or want a new take on a classic sound.

5 out of 6, Walk On Down Memory Lane

Artificial Brain Bring the Technical into their Newest Album

The New Yorker sextet known as Artificial Brain has released their sophomore album Infrared Horizon through Profound Lore Records. The group starts out very strong with “Floating in Delirium.” However, the band really defines the technical with “Synthesized Instinct” with really powerful guitar riffs, drumming, and sounds similar to an out of tune guitar setting the tone for some pretty unique creativeness. “Infrared Horizon” also has something similar to the latter as far as experimental guitar playing goes, making it a good track.

“Anchored To The Inlayed Arc” and “Vacant Explorer” were pretty awesome and had the Klown wondering how Immolation would have sounded like if they took up technical death metal? The answer to that nonexistent question was adding one more guitarist to the quartet as an added measure. “Graveyard of Lightless Planets” not only sounds like something from a horror Sci-Fi medium but adds some prog undertones and mixed it with death metal making it a cool and interesting song. The Klown didn’t know what to expect from this album to begin with. After all, some technical death metal (now in days) has expanded and have some EDM influences incorporated. This album was pretty bitchin’ and you can check it out on label’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, AI Has a Soundtrack Now!

Ghost Bath Release a Celestial Piece

The Chinese North Dakotan quintet known as Ghost Bath have surfaced with their third album Starmourner through Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Unlike most black metal bands, this quintet not only is instrumental but also atmospheric. The album commences with the soothing, classical piano introduction “Astral” and smoothly transitions to “Seraphic,” which ironically has that ending credits feel for a horror flick with a feel good ending. “Seraphic” also featured faint ghostly wails and screams to remind you of the ghost part from Ghost Bath and would be among a handful of songs that would feature those types of vocals.

Although the band is classified as depressive black metal, “Celestial” throw a 180 to the depressive banner by expressing joy, even though this track includes faint ghostly wails, screams and choking. Towards the end of the track, the song returned to a rather melancholic state with a distorted piano and an atmospheric electronic sound.

“Angelic” lived up to its name and is rather soft on these ears which can be best described as some friendly and atmospheric music. “Luminescence” and “Elysian” felt more like doom than black metal which was rather nice and gave the Klown an inspirational feeling. “Thrones” and “Principalities” give you some true black metal sounds similar to that of Black Anvil’s. Lastly, “Ode” closes the album like it began by giving you some piano. Unlike “Astral,” “Ode” incorporates a variety of instruments including some house drums, synthesizers and chimes, before creating a gentle ending with some xylophones and classical strings.

6 out of 6, It’s to Die For!

The Trials of April 14

The Dead Rabbitts Release in Time for Easter

The Phoenician trio known as The Dead Rabbitts has released their sophomore album This Emptiness through Tragic Hero Records. If you enjoy Escape The Fate, you’re in luck especially if you were searching for new material! “Burn It Down” starts off with metalcore of the ETF style and features an array of Craig Mabbitt’s vocals go from harmonic and clean to aggressive and screaming. “Fighting for My Life” gets a bit more melodic and features a bit of synthesizers and electronic sounds, making the song borderline DJent.

The following track, which the Klown thinks was about him even though they misspelled his name, “The Freak, The Creep, The Clown” was very harmonic and melodic and adds some more electronic sounds in the mix. “This Emptiness” has Mabbitt show off his clean vocals quite a bit, which impressed the Klown, but relax! Mabbitt does have some harsh screaming vocals towards the breakdowns. “D.O.Y.A.” seemed like it was intended to be a ballad and starts out with some piano and heavy clean vocals but switches to harsh screaming vocals after a heavy breakdown. The same could be said about “Suspicious” with the biggest difference being that Mabbitt’s vocal remained clean and no breakdown.

The Klown will admit that he rather enjoyed “Adrenaline” quite bit and really feature a sweet guitar solo by Bobby Whitaker. But alas, the Klown didn’t feel this album. The band was all over the place by wanting to experiment with electronic based music while trying to remain metal.

2 out of 6, Too Many Easter Eggs

Hellripper Has A Bright Debut

The one man Scottish black speed piece known as Hellripper has graced the public with his debut Coagulating Darkness through the Barbarian Wrath label. Let the Klown say that “Bastard of Hades” immediately had this drunken sack of heavy consumption invested on this album and headbanging pretty hard (causing him to bop his head on his pc monitor). “Anneliese” not only was a great follow up to the “Bastard…” but also featured a really killer solo from James McBain. “Demdike (In League with the Devil)” was a great track and was more black-thrash like Witchery and Venom much like “Within the Everlasting Hellfire.”

“From Hell,” although it was more speed metal, it sounded like a collab between Motorhead and Witchery’s frontman Angus Norder. “Conduit Closing” and “Coagulating Darkness” were not only awesome but it sends the listener into some speed metal bliss… with harsh black metal vocals. Friends, this album is definitely worth your undivided attention. Speaking of which, you can check out this bad boy on Hellripper’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Hell Just Became as Bright as Heaven 

Shores Of Null Deliver Sophomore Album

The Italian quintet known as Shores Of Null have released their latest album Black Drapes for Tomorrow via Candlelight Records. The album begins with the intro “Tributary Waters,” which smoothly transitions into the blackened doom song “Donau.” Which the Klown can say felt like a cross between Old Man’s Child and Swallow The Sun. “Tides Against Us” was a really good doom song of praise and features guest vocalist Carmelo Orlando of Novembre. The Klown could say the same about “The Kolyma Route” especially with the addition of a baritone church like choir chorus.

“House Of Cries” and “Black Drapes for Tomorrow” were also good doom tracks that featured backing vocalist/guitarist Raffaele Colace’s growls to add a bit of oomph with front man Davide Straccione’s harmonic and clean vocals. “Carry On, My Tiny Hope” aside from it being the Klown’s life story, it was awesome and had an array of harmonic backing vocals, the growl, some sweet guitar solos and did worked together very well. “We Ain’t Ashes” has Straccione take a complete back seat and allows Colace growl away for vocal duties. This album was freaking awesome and happened to make a fan of the Klown. If you love doom or “easy listening” type of metal with harmony and melody than this would be an album for you!

6 out of 6, To The Shores Of Null We Go!

Varg Release an EP for Clamoring Fans

The German wolfpack known as Varg have managed to impress their faithful with their current EP Götterdämmerung which came out through Napalm Records. There are only four songs but this EP is much to talk about. “Götterdämmerung” ignites this EP with some speedy riffs from beginning to end, but settles down a bit in the middle with their chorus and add a touch of epicness right before the breakdown which can be heard in ”Hel” too. “Breissreflex” features some heavy Gothenburg death metal influence like that of Arch Enemy, the guitar solos are reminiscent to that of Michael Amott’s signature solos. “Knochenpfed,” although rather slow by comparison, felt more black metal much like Dark Funeral but also felt more like a sung narrative especially for those that speak Deutsch. The only problem the Klown had with this album was that it left him asking for more!

6 out of 6, Will Leave You Howling with Joy!

Honorable Mention:

Valkyrium Commence Their Reign

If Valkyrium doesn’t sound too familiar, don’t worry the Klown will fill in the gaps for you. These up and comers from the city of angels released their debut studio album on Feb.8 titled Reign Til Runa, independently. Although the Klown doesn’t normally rate late albums, this time he will primarily as a mea culpa to frontwoman/ guitarist Nikki Kegan ( whom the Ugh Metal team had the pleasure of meeting for some serious black metal fun at The Merrow, so stay tuned!).

Valkyrium starts off with “Son Of Odin,” which the Klown has to say sounded like a lost demo track from Russian power metal band Arkona (with Masha Arkhipova sporting operatic alto vocals instead of alto-soprano). “Valkyrium” and “Hero” take a black metal approach and has lead guitarist/backup vocalist William Cota’s growls take the lead, accompanied by bassist/backing vocalist Jenny Rose and Kegan’s harmonic vocals for a much needed womanly touch.“Reign Til Runa” will get you prepared for battle by dishing out some raw epic power metal and has both Kegan and Rose sharing vocal duties.

“Take The Chalice” took the Klown by surprise because the song begins slowly like a ballad accompanied by Kegan’s angelic vocals, and transition to demonic growling accompanied with pagan metal sounds. For the ladies and the soft hearted, “Meet Me in the Maze” is this band’s ballad in case you were wondering. Although the album is still raw, it’s still a great start. You will definitely enjoy this album if you’re into Arkona, Epica, Helsott and Within Temptation.

5 out of 6, The Valkyries Will Ascend Along this Debut!

The Trials of April 7

Note: It seems that the world is getting crazier and crazier by the days. As in the crazies are out and about and trying to kill our mellow. On that note, our deepest condolences and our thoughts are with our Swedish, Syrian and Egyptian peeps and anyone who has family in those places.

Bear Has Released Its Most Accurate Album

The Belgian quartet known as Bear has come out with its third installment titled III through Basick Records. How appropriate, right? This current installment has the band busting out the DJent style. The band kicks off their album pretty strongly with “Blackpool,” which the Klown can describe like a Norma Jean track with more chorus and edge. The band takes their sound down a notch in the track “Mask,” and sounds like a combo of Prong and The Dillinger Escape Plan. “Knives Are Easy” was a pretty good track to listen to which tuned made an ambient turn towards the middle feeling like an experimental version of Ministry.

Going back to the D.E.P comparison, “The Oath” had the Klown thinking that he was listening to a very edgy sounding D.E.P song. “Constrict.Construct” had a lot more punk-like influences and a harmonious chorus. The Klown is glad that this album wasn’t all over the place and remained rather consistent like some other DJent groups that he’s listened to. This album is a treat for those who enjoy the DJent brand of metal that is sprouting.

4 /6, Still Doesn’t Answer If They Shit in the Woods

Wear Your Wounds Has Debuted

If you love the hardcore icon Jacob Bannon, or his label Deathwish Inc, then this album is no surprise to you. For those who don’t know, the vocalist of Converge has now released his solo project Wear Your Wounds’ first album titled WYW. The Klown didn’t know what to expect he just knows that Bannon was going to be experimental in this side project and incorporate his piano skills. Bannon kicks off his brainchild with “Wear Your Wounds,” which sounded more like an ambient doom song with Bannon on auto tune. The piano in this track was a nice touch and gave it a nice harmonic and meaningful touch.

“Giving Up” was very harmonic, experimental and inspirational. “Iron Rose” starts off like a soothing but climactic revelation, morphs into a melancholic lullaby, and ambushes you with a sudden clash of drumming, cymbals and is topped with a sweet wailing guitar. Going back to the soundtrack type of song, “Hard Road to Heaven” definitely fits the bill for an ending involving a sense of relief or an accomplishment while “Best Cry of Your Life” ditches the piano away and brings us some good ol’ fashioned industrial similar to that of NIN. “Shine” brings back the piano and auto tune, whereas “Heavy Blood” sounded more like a song Warner Brothers should have looked into for their superhero flicks.

Lastly, “Goodbye Old Friend” was not only an appropriate ending but also felt like an ending credit track that highlights a sacrifice. This album was pretty good as far as experimental go because not a lot of artists can pull it off. After listening to this album, the Klown wouldn’t be surprised if Bannon were to one day take the same path as Trent Reznor and starts composing music for movies.

6 /6, Wounds Are In Fashion, Brenda! 

Deez Nuts Will Indulge You with Their Latest

For those who voted in the Presidential race, the name sounds familiar for all the humorous reasons. In fact that’s who the Klown originally voted for till the first clown president won and was sworn in! But alas, it’s not the same Deez Nuts. In fact dee nuts that the Klown will be talking about is the hardcore band from Down Under. The last time the Klown ever heard of doze nuts was when they were here in San Diego as an opener for Hatebreed in 2012. If you ever see them live, they are a treat.

And now onto their latest release Binge & Purgatory which came out through Century Media Records. Unlike the first time the Klown indulged on Deez Nuts (teehee), they seem to have taken a much serious approach. Their secondary track, “Purgatory” immediately shoots off testosterone the way most hardcore bands do. “Commas & Zeroes” is also pumped but contains a chorus and borderline rapping from vocalist JJ Peters, which the Klown definitely dug! “Discord” almost felt like a hardcore anthem and briefly features Sean Kennedy slapping the bass like it owes it money!

If you want to hear a “true” hardcore song, the band will treat you to “Lesson Learned” which starts angry and stays ansgry all the way to the chorus lines. “For What It’s Worth” and “Remedy” bust out some hardcore punk elements. This album felt like a pretty good comeback for the boys from Down Under. If you love hardcore than you will love this, no funning!

6 /6,  Deez Nuts Should be Anya Ears! 

*Uh oh! Jenny Oh will put in her 2 cents….Bye bye life savings 

Prepare to Obsess Over The Obsessed

Doom legends are back with their first full length album since 1994! Whoa. After several compilations and live albums, The Obsessed make a strong comeback with their latest titled Sacred through Relapse Records and HALLELUJAH we believe! The Obsessed return full force with a fresher sound full vigor and full blown rock n’ roll!

The doom metallers unload their well paced tempo and riffs with “Sodden Jackal” and is cushioned by “Punk Crusher” which has a nice little build up and turns into a cool song you’re gonna wanna blast while you hit the road on your tric. The catchy as hell and current single “Sacred,” will make the devil do a sexy little dance and shake what its creator gave him!

“Razor Wire” will cut deep into your skulls and will set up shop in your brain, you WILL be humming this chorus. For the alumni of the school of Hard Knocks, “It’s Only Money” is the song for you, but if you want less sing-y and more play-y (?) vocalist/guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Reid Raley and Brain Costantino’s drumming chops got you covered in the sweet ass jamming sesh in “Cold Blood.”  “Stranger Things” may not have Eleven making a guest appearance but it certainly gets so deep, you’ll see the upside down along with “My Daughter My Sons,” one of yours truly’s favorite tracks.

I can go over and dissect all 12 tracks from Sacred but hearing is believing! The Obsessed may have taken a 20+ break from the recording studio but it seems to have done them some good, not that they weren’t before. This album oozes cool and will create excitement to see what these gentlemen will do next.

6/6, AMEN!

The Trials of March 31

Demon Hunter Released An Enlightened Eighth

The Seattleite quintet known as Demon Hunter has returned with Outlive through Solid State Records. “Trying Times” builds up enough hype making it a suitable intro and complimentary transition to “Jesus Wept.” “Jesus Wept” was simply a good metalcore song to listen to and really shows off Tim “Yogi” Watts mastery of the drums along Patrick Judge’s killer guitar solo. “Cold Winter Song” caught the Klown off guard a bit because the opening riffs of the song sounded similar to that of Arch Enemy’s legendary sound but transition to smooth metalcore song.

“Cold As Blood” gives you a touch of aggression and eases up with the chorus while “One Less” stands as the “true” metal song of the album because the group has a dominantly aggressive approach. “Slight The Odds” features some classic strings throughout the song making it more melodic and add some speedy drumming and heavy-speedy riffs for a touch of aggression in middle. The deluxe edition of the album features two extra tracks “A Fear I Used To Know” and “Savage.” This was not a bad album to check out and it was quite good. No matter what your feelings are on Christian metal or Christianity, the Klown guarantees you that you will not be converted upon listening and it’s not preachy.

4 out of 6, Jesus Approves

Mastodon Royally Return After 3 Years

The Klown believes that Mastodon made an appearance in Ugh Metal back in late January regarding the same album he’s about to review. With that said, the Georgian quartet has released their 7th studio album, Emperor of Sand through Reprise Records. Unlike your run of the mill prog metal bands, Mastodon usually represents an aggressive version of prog. On that note, “Sultan’s Curse” kicks you off with their style of prog. The Klown was surprised with “Show Yourself” because the band does a 180 from their usual M.O. and sound similar to Queens of the Stone Age in terms of sounds but not vocals. In fact, the Klown was rather impressed by Brent Hinds and Brann Dailor’s pipes because they were a lot smoother than he thought.

By the time “Roots Remain” (“Eons” if you happen to acquire the vinyl version) commences the band kind of returns to the sounds they are known for with the addition of some clean vocals, Hinds’ killer guitar solo and pianos toward the end. “Word to the Wise” really has the band return to their signature sounds, vocals and two awesome guitar solos from Hinds. “Andromeda” and “Scorpion Breath” were awesome tracks and feature the band’s usual M.O. in terms of their brand of prog: aggressive and melodic with some chorus and minimal clean vocals. “Jaguar God” close out the album with a soothing and harmonic touch, Mastodon style.

5 out of 6, Sand Castle Not Included 

Bodycount Want Blood with Their Latest

The Klown was a little giddy like a schoolgirl when he heard that Bodycount was making a new album. The highly anticipated Bloodlust has come out through Century Media Records and the Klown was not at all disappointed. “Civil War” gave this rap metal masterpiece a powerful start, and served as a powerful statement with the feeling of today’s political climate and was enhanced by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine powerful guitar riffs. “The Ski Mask Way” and “This Is Why We Ride” reintroduces the 90’s fusion of gangsta rap and metal the way Ice-T did with the first Bodycount album of “Cop Killa” fame. “All Love is Lost” features the Brazilian metal god, Max Cavalera, lending his powerful vocals to accompany Ice-T’s legendary rhymes to make a really powerful track.

This album also treats us to a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood/Postmortem” and, as if it wasn’t impressive enough, Ice-T manages to make it a bit more aggressive and has bassist Vincent Price take over on vocal duties towards the end. Another awesome treat was hearing Lamb Of God’s prolific frontman, D. Randall Blythe in “Walk With Me…” (which really sounded more like Ice-T was featured in a Lamb Of God track) either way, just the thought of that had the Klown on a metal high! Lest the Klown forget about “No Lives Matter” and “Black Hoodie,” they were awesome and served as a cold hard slap of reality on how we as people could dilute real issues in order to disguise our apathy towards other human beings. This album was not only awesome but it also justified the hype and attention it received! The Klown highly recommends you get your ears on this album.

6 out of 6, Ice-T Still Dishes Out the Cold Hard Truth 

Warbringer Brings Forth Some Thrash Metal Happiness

The thrash quintet known as Warbringer have graced us a brand new installment titled Woe to the Vanquished through Napalm Records. Let the Klown say that if you seen these gents live or if you have heard their stuff before, you will not be disappointed. “Silhouettes” has a good start but “Woe to the Vanquished” was a better follow up and immediately gives you some thrash metal bliss. The Klown loved their new timeless classic, “Remain Violent” because not only was it thrash-tastic but it was an anthem which also features John Kevill’s vocals matching the instruments’ intensity. The Klown could say the same about “Shellfire” when it comes to intensity and also features a killer guitar solo.

“Descending Blade” was awesome and pays homage to the Bay Area thrash scene and sounds like a lost Exodus song if it featured an aggressive sounding Mark Osegueda of Death Angel fame. The Klown wouldn’t be surprised if “Divinity of Flesh” were to become the new single in the near future because it’s good in the sense of speed, rhythm and it’s catchy as hell. Lastly, the band joins Metallica in the 11-plus minute club with “When the Guns Fell Silent” which gives you a toned down yet aggressive melancholic thrash song. This was a really good album and serves as a great breakthrough, the Klown believes that this album will serve as a catalyst to enhance the band’s profile.

6 out of 6, There’s a War Coming and They Got the Big Guns 

Jasta Writes A New Chapter in His Metal Saga

What do Hatebreed, Kingdom of Sorrow, Connecticut and MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball circa 2003-2007 have in common? Read the title! It seems that Jamey Jasta never ceases to amaze the hardcore faithful. Jasta released his sophomore solo album The Lost Chapters through Martyr Records, right before Hatebreed’s The Concrete Confessional’s 1st anniversary. “This Is Your Life” kicks off the album and brings the noise to get you invested in the album. Speaking of Hatebreed, “Back to What Matters” and “Deadly Business” felt like rehashes or leftovers from the last Hatebreed album… not meant to be a bad thing, the Klown enjoyed them.

“Parasitic” features Jasta dishing out a furious but melodic dose of hardcore much like “Until We Bleed Again” with the contrast of the song being harmonious by comparison. Jasta collaborates with ex-Killswitch Engaged and current Devil You Know frontman, Howard Jones as backup vocalist for “Chasing Demons” to make a rather melodic song. Lastly, Jasta covers Black Sabbath’s “Buried Alive,” it wasn’t bad but the Klown just didn’t know what to expect. The cover sounded rather belligerent but melodic than the original. Finally, on 1 April, Jasta didn’t mess about and released the album through his bandcamp.

5 out of 6, No Hate, No Sorrow but You’ll Still Have a Ball