Wearing Scars: A Thousand Words (Candyman)
Bands come and bands go but some burn very brightly and then just disappear without warning. Mutiny Within and Sacred Mother Tongue are two such instances, Mutiny Within's first album was released on Roadrunner Records and the band were tipped for big things mainly due to their mix of classic and modern metal coupled with British born singer Chris Clancy's superb vocals and wide range, similarly Sacred Mother Tongue found huge fame in Asia but never reached as lofty heights in the UK until the release of their second album. However both bands were victims of the system and disbanded Mutiny Within in 2011 and SMT in 2013 (shortly after the release of their sophomore album). This was very disappointing for me as I was a massive fan of both bands so when these splits left Clancy without and band and SMT without a singer. Cue a meeting of Clancy and SMT's guitar virtuoso Andy James and the beginnings of some song writing. This eventually led to the formation of Wearing Scars, an apt name due to the pairs torrid history with the music industry. Clancy and Andy James rounded up the SMT rhythm section of bassist Craig Daws and drummer Lee Newell as well as being joined by guitarist Daniel Woodyear, with the band now in place they set about recording their debut album.
A Thousand Words is that debut and it naturally is a mix between Sacred Mother Tongue and Mutiny Within, as the first track Become Numb starts out with James and Woodyear's guitars parrying before the super modern groove laden rhythms that SMT did so well kick you in the guts and bounce the song along as the chorus brings a more classic metal base and melodic anthemic choruses of Mutiny Within, James as always is on fire his guitar playing in places melts your mind with his fleet fingered solos and technical guitar licks although new boy Woodyear holds his own supplying six string magic to proceedings, the album is full of muscle mainly coming from the muscular rhythm section who drive tracks like the propulsive I Could Never Say, A Last Goodbye and Letters. However they are not adversed to a slower moment especially the over-wrought Heart In Your Hands which is a display of Chris Clancy's amazing vocals not reaching the the soaring ear piercing highs he did in Mutiny Within but he doesn't need to as his vocals now are more mature and equally as powerful relying more on the passionate delivery and wide natural vocal range than trying to show off with how high he can go. Heart In Your Hands is a proper ballad (as is Gone Forever and Wearing Scars) but the proceeding song Butterfly is a slower moment but one that echoes the chart bothering modern radio rock of Shinedown with a lighters aloft paen to lost love, this is one of the best tracks on an album that mixes light and shade perfectly meaning that those who love the technical excellence of the band, the heaviness of metallic passages and also huge chorus hooks that they have will all be catered for in spades. A Thousand Words is a superb album that perfectly takes the next logical step for these men, hopefully with this collection of songs they will finally get the recognition they deserve! 9/10
One Machine: The Final Cull (Scarlet)
One Machine is the brainchild of former Nevermore, Forbidden, Testament and Dragonlord guitarist Steve Smyth, The Final Cull is their second album and it follows hot on the heels of their debut with the same kind of modern sounding thrash metal that the first album did very well. Smyth's former bands were always ones to adapt their sound bringing in elements of death, black and extreme metal as well as heaps of classic metal for good measure, One Machine bring in all these elements and as Forewarning pummels you with a barrage of riffs you instantly get what One Machine are about from the first few seconds, Ne Motive Power too has a riff Dave Mustaine would kill for. However the band are not a one man band by any stretch of the imagination, Smyth has rounded up some seriously talented artists to accompany him. First mention has to go to former Mercenary singer Mikkel Sandager who has an expansive vocal range that encompasses between a guttural roar, a scream and some shrieking highs that Nevermore's Warrell Dane would be proud of.
Sandager moves between them effortlessly sometimes in the space of one song, like the title track which has the same kind of furious orchestral backed progressive black metal riffs that Smyth was part of in Eric Peterson's side project Dragonloard. Instrument wise Smyth has got Biomechanical six stringer Jamie Hunt as a guitar foil which means that much like Biomechanical the guitars rarely dip in speed of ferocity, both men riff for their lives but in the more progressive passages they can also add a deft touch to the songs, backing them in the engine room is Chaoswave sticks man Raphael Saini who is the one driving the frequent pace changes and the rampaging speed helped by Tomas Koeford's technical bass playing which shines on tracks like Screaming For Light and Born From This Hate. With all the pounding metal on this album it's when the band stretch themselves a bit that they really shine, the introspective Ashes In The Sky which has some shimmering classical guitars and The Grand Design which has an Eastern flavour. Yet another modern progressive thrash album from Smyth and One Machine, if you know of his other work then this will be an album to check out, preferably loudly. 8/10
Krysthla: A War Of Souls And Desires (PHD)
Violence now from Northamptonshire with Krysthla who were formed from the ashes of Gutworm and Deadeye, they play skull smashing heavy metal in the vein of American metal titans Lamb Of God with rapid guitar riffs supplied by Noel and Neil that rip and tear at you like a set of knives while the drums of Wayne fire like a chaingun battering you at every possible moment see Caged Earth for a true almost black metal style of furious percussion. The band are extreme metal at it's most extreme, not a clean vocal in sight as Adi screams, growls and roars on every track rallying the metal troops to his cause on tracks like Minority Of One, The Human Cipher and Praise Thee In Flesh as the band cause a cacophony of noise behind him. Carl's bass playing adds the groove to tracks like Luminosity and By Way Of Deception allowing the tracks and indeed the listener to catch their breath before the next barrage.
I mentioned Lamb Of God as being the most familar band to Krysthla stylistcally but this is not the modern era LOG these Brits focus on and deliver the same kind of violence and aggression that Randy and Co did in their Burn The Priest years, it's raw, primal and beats you around the head at every turn with the 8 tracks of extreme metal battery. Because of it's almost abusive nature the album it maybe in parts a little too much for most fair-weather metal fans, however if you are part of the hardcore that like their riffs coming in spades, their drums in-suppressible, the bass rumbling your bowels and the vocals snarling and barking at you at every opportunity then A War Of Souls And Desires may just be your new favourite album. It is an album of metal at it's most extreme that demands you get in the pit and destroy everything in your path!! 8/10