Category: CD Reviews

Sacred Reich – ‘Awakening’ (Metal Blade)

2019 is gradually turning into the year of comebacks for almost-famous thrash bands. We’ve already had the fantastically fun ‘Bury The Pain’ from Xentrix and there’s the first record in 28 years from Acid Reign due in September. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited though is ‘Awakening,’ the long-overdue fifth album by Sacred Reich.

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TripleMurder – ‘Pre-Meditated’ (Self-Released)

John B’s biggest problem with this EP is quite simply that it is far too short. As far as he is concerned, what we have here is a brutal album oozing with passion. Each song has a really nice evolution that keeps each song fresh and never falling into overbearing repetition. There is also a variety of styles shown off here that is great to hear. In the press information that they sent me with the album, they said that they did not want to be stuck into a specific subgenre but instead wanted to show off the musical taste of all the members of the band. This was a good call and really shows in the final product.

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Killswitch Engage – ‘Atonement’ (Music For Nations)

Massachusetts quintet and modern metal giants Killswitch Engage return with their eighth studio album. Having taken to arena venues last year in support of Iron Maiden, the band showed everyone that they are still very much a relevant metal force. Packing out their setlist with career spanning highlights and having former vocalist Howard Jones as a guest, they had something for everyone. Since 2017 the band have been trading ideas and developing songs before recording over a period of months which saw Jesse Leach undergo vocal surgery for scar tissue on vocal cords. The culmination of all the work is eleven brand new tracks that feature the band unifying to deliver their trademark sound.

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Sons Of Apollo – ‘Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (InsideOut)

DJ Astrocreep starts this review of Sons Of Apollo’s first live album with an admission – he made the mistake of only listening to the audio of this a few times, prior to watching a playthrough of the DVD. This is most definitely a mistake, as the extra context and camaraderie between the band members that you see from the live recording make a big difference. Now, the big lad normally hates live albums, but having taken in the Manchester leg of the same tour live, he was aware of just how good these guys were, so the chance to relive that memory, along with some added extras, made me journey into somewhat unfamiliar territory.

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Destroy Planets! – ‘Mass X Gravity’ (Self-Released)

With the final notes of last weekend’s Bloodstock festival still ringing in the ears of many fans, it cannot be denied that one of the event’s major selling points is its support of rising young bands. Well, if an act personifies the meaning of “new blood” it is Manchester’s aptly named Destroy Planets!, who only formed at the beginning of this year and already have wasted no time in releasing what ÜR’s chief pack mule Monk has to admit is one of the most hugely impressive debut EPs he has heard in a very long time.

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The Survival Code – ‘Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill’ (Good Deeds Music)

Following the ongoing trend for two-piece bands who make a big noise, London duo The Survival Code could be perceived as being a miserable pair of hallions. After all, their last album, last year’s ‘Hopelessness Of People’ didn’t exactly have the most joyous of titles – and this follow up EP follows an equally morbid path in terms of providing an initial impression. Which is a real shame, and evidence that you should never judge a book (or a CD) by its cover, as this is actually quite a cheery little offering, and an extremely pleasant listen to boot.

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Death By Fungi – ‘Die In Bombay’ (Self-Released)

Over the past half a decade or so, the Indian sub-continent has established itself as something of a hotbed for emerging talent, with a plethora of new bands coming to our attention on a virtually daily basis. Most of them populate the extreme end of the metal spectrum, and latest emergent, the wonderfully named Death By Fungi, are no exception, as their speciality lies at the more brutal end of the hardcore punk spectrum.

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The Soap Girls – ‘Elephant In The Room’ (Self-Released)

It seems that the release of the double album will never fail to be a bold move.  For anyone familiar with The Soap Girls, they’ll recognize it as a known characteristic of the South African duo’s previous artistic expression.  In their quest for female empowerment, sisters Mie and Millie have become infamous for their boundary-pushing live performances; challenging tired perceptions of “girls in a band” in a way that visually intersects a theatrical, almost burlesque take on punk rock with a confident realization of eroticism.  Of course, they’ve accrued their fair share of detractors – but shouldn’t all good punk music piss a few people off? 

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Slade – ‘Feel the Noize: The Singlez Box’ (BMG)

How good were Slade? For Jim Rowland, they were one of the true greats of British rock of the Seventies and early 80’s. They were also hugely influential, whether it be the American big hair stadium bands (just ask KISS and Motley Crüe), the original wave of Britsh punk, the NWOBHM, right through to the recent wave of ‘bovver rock’ bands, spearheaded by the wonderful Giuda. Like contemporaries Sweet, they’re probably still best remembered as a singles band, but also like Sweet, they did produce a string of excellent hard rock albums too.

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Russian Circles – ‘Blood Year’ (Sargent House)

Off to a dangerously middle-class wine tasting night and need some fresh music to impress the other guests with? You could do a lot worse than familiarising yourself with ‘Blood Year,’ the latest release from math-rock titans Russian Circles. Their seventh full-length sees them firing on all cylinders, even if it does clock in at a surprisingly compact forty-minute run time. It’s progressive, uncompromising and highly involving, Charles from the marketing department will be mightily impressed if you casually discuss its merits over a glass of Chateau Desmirail.

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