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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Reviews: Hatebreed, Beholder, Immortal Guardian

Hatebreed: The Divinity Of Purpose (Nuclear Blast)

Described by frontman Jamey Jasta as "all pit, no shit" the sixth Hatebreed album had to live up to this proclamation. Happily the Connecticut ragers duly oblige with twelve tracks of explosive, aggressive and incendiary crossover metal made for live mosh pits. Thrash mixed with hardcore punk and metalcore are the order of the day with every track featuring some nitro fuelled riffage and skull smashing drums. The album is evenly split between the quicker more punk/thrash tracks like Indivisible as well as some head banging down-tuned metalcore anthems like Honor (sic) Never Dies. All of the tracks are brutal and devastating with most of the lyrical content being up lifting and anti-authoritarian like Own Your World which has a fist in the air chorus and some razorblade riffage with lots of bouncy breaks ala FFDP. You always feel that Hatebreed release albums to have more songs to pay live and with this release they have added some frenetic neck breakers like The Language which will incite circle pits galore as well as some tracks with heavy breakdowns which will cause jumping en masse. Every track is accented by the unmistakeable roar of Jamey Jasta who has to be a shoe-in for most intimidating frontman and with the crisp modern production Hatebreed have created another album of relentless uncompromising metal. 7/10

Beholder: The Order Of Chaos (Razorline Records)

Yet another flyer of the British Metal flag return with their second album, following on from their 2009 debut Beholder have become so much more mature and refined on this second album. Gone are the songs about Spartans and in comes the politcal and social lyricism and a much more aggressive aural assault. Things kick off with the pulverising Pantera-like of riffage of Black Flag which is a tirade against the greed of governments and is a bit of a change from the trad/power metal of their debut. The pace picks up on Profit Of The Lie which has a modern thrash assault of LOG but without Randy Blythe's roar before Here I Stand brings back the classic metal roots but with lashings of attitude. The entire album is a modern thrash assault with shredding riffage and some big low slung grooves. The guitars of Scott Taylor and Martyn Blackwell peel off razor sharp riffs and tight explosive solos, the rhythm section of Si Felding and Chris Bentley pummel and pulverise and all of this metallic noise is topped by the aggressive croon of Simon Hall who is one of the best vocalists on the British metal circuit with a voice similar to Exhorder's Kyle Thomas (a band they have much in common with) as well as the melodic croon that brings to mind Iced Earth's Matt Barlow. This is a great album that shows how Beholder have grown as songwriters and found their own sound by merging classic metal with modern American thrash metal and some progressive songwriting all of which comes together to deliver some high-quality aggressive British metal. For evidence of their songwriting credentials see Killing Machine and the fantastic Liar which will destroy in the live arena with its shout along chorus. The maturity can also be seen in the slower songs like Morphine Serenity which have power as well as gravitas. Beholder have definatly got both the chops and the songwriting prowess to become a much bigger musical force with this excellent album combined with their great live show will win people over then they will just ascend up the ladder on their own terms! 8/10

Immortal Guardian: Super Metal (Self/Released)

Hailing from San Antonio Texas, Immortal Guardian are a band that play the same kind of extreme Power Metal that British mentalists Dragonforce do but with more progressive touches. The band is the brainchild of guitarist/keyboardist Gabriel Guardian who has the uncanny knack of playing both simultaneously and is aided in the six string department by Jyro Alejo and this double team brings the speed riffage and ludicrous solos to this E.P. The bass and drums too run at a rate of knots although the drums do sound slightly light and tinny however this maybe because of the independent production but it does not detract from the technical display Cody Gilliland gives. The band have a good vocalist in Wesley McCool (now replaced) who ranges from soaring clean vocals and guttural roars. If you are fan of extremely well played, technical metal then you will love Immortal Guardian as they do everything Dragonforce do but without the overt silliness of the Brits, fans of air guitar will lap this up, others may see just rampant fret wankery. 7/10

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