Devilskin: We Rise (Devilskin/Rhythm/DRM)
New Zealand based Devilskin play an accomplished style of post millennium heavy metal fuelled by huge slabs of riffs, powerful rhythms and a big old heap of groove, from the breakdown heavy opening track, the fantastically titled, Elvis Presley Circle Pit the band immediately impress with concrete riffs married to catchy as ebola hook. What the bands major strength is that they are able to turn their hand to a variety of different styles, this album weaves and moves between so many nods to so many genres the record is always engaging, but even though many may see this as a band not sure of their sound, this is far from the truth as their anthemic metallic rock music is brimming with confidence and melody lines to die for but it all has a sound that is most definitely the bands own. Start A Revolution would be at home on a Shinedown album with it's arena bothering chorus, while Never See The Light is a bass driven slide guitar flavoured slice of White Zombie-style hard rock which allows guitarist Nail to give his best Slash rundown solo, once again the band catch you off guard on Until You Bleed which is part Iron Maiden played by Five Finger Death Punch all galloping bass from Paul Martin and antagonistic violent lyrics.
Another jerk and we move straight into Fade which is a ballad of Aerosmith proportions replete with orchestral backing, a searing guitar solo and more emotion than the X Factor editions (in fact this song could be the soundtrack for one of the contestants montages). I've already mentioned how good the band are, their playing is superb, Nic Martin's drums hold everything together like super glue giving every song it's heart beat, but it's frontwoman Jennie Skulander who gives the songs their voice, she gives of the most unique, amazing vocal performances I've heard in a long time on We Rise, her resonant pipes are dark, sultry and alluring one minute; insistent, emotive and compelling the next before she unleashes mighty screams and roars that would send many of her contemporariness scurrying for cover, just give Violation a blast to see what I mean. It's the way she can adapt her vocal to any style that means that even with 14 tracks this album never gets boring or repetitive (although two of those tracks are intro/outros). I'd never heard of Devilskin before but I'm so glad I have now, this is the kind of thing that got my blood pumping when I first got into metal, bands that play well, can write a mean song but do it all with a true style and flair. A cracking album from the Kiwi's now get over to these shores asap!! 10/10
Mustasch: Testosterone (Gain Music)
I've always had a bit of an affinity with Gothenburg's prime purveyors of man-metal, in fact the title of this eighth album is very apt because Mustasch have always filled their music with as much chest beating, rip snorting, big riffing metal as possible, but be that as it may they also have a keen ear for melody that gives them radio staying power. I've always likened the band to Black Album period Metallica and once again Testosterone shows that the band can not only rock out but write a song too. Yara's Song starts things slowly building into an orchestral driven opener that lures you into a false sense of security which allows Breaking Up With Disaster to beat you around the head with a massive guitar hammer before they show their tender side on The Rider which sees frontman Ralf Gyllenhammar giving his all vocally his scratchy delivery shouted with gusto. Now I said about Mustasch always knowing what makes a good song well they branched out a little on this record with the trippy Dreamers moving them away from the massive guitars, while Be Like A Man has a Muse-like percussion and synth behind it that breaks down into a dirty electronic breakdown at the end. I will say though that with all the experimentation on this album they do seem to be stuck in neutral with most of the songs just going along at a mid pace rather than the mix of speedy thrashers, big strutting rockers and massive ballads, there just seems to be the middle two with a high number of slower songs on this record with only the title track and Breaking Up With Disaster picking up the pace. Now I love Mustasch I really do ever since Latest Version Of The Truth but Testosterone just seems to be playing it a bit safe, the bands trademark lyrical excellence stays but the songs are just a bit too safe, please guys next time a bit more oomph! 6/10
Alphastate: Out Of The Black (Self Released)
Greece does have an affinity with power metal and Alphastate are just the latest band to come roaring out of the Mediterranean with axes aflame and all guns blazing. Out Of The Black stylistically in the Judas Priest/Iced Earth bracket with thrashy riffs and crunching rhythms. Musically the band are good it's a simplistic but fun style of power metal that is quite generic but that really is kind of the point. The album really falls down vocally, their singer is dire, yes he has got the atypical European pronunciation, which I actually like, but he seems to be struggling to hit the notes as the majority fall flat. Three tracks into this album I realised that this was not going to get much better so that is where stopped, now if someone like me who is a dyed in the wool power metal fan can only take three songs then how do the band expect to get more notice. We don't ever get too critical here at the musipedia due to our love of music and also my own personal experience in the music industry, but Alphastate need to do something drastic if they want to carry on up the ladder in my opinion. 5/10