Ancestral: Master Of Fate (Iron Shield Records)
This release is just fabulous if you like a bit of European power metal. Hailing from Castelvetrano in Sicily, Master Of Fate is the band’s second long player following on from The Ancient Curse, released ten years ago. You’ve got to admire any band that can come back from such a gap. This is technically excellent power metal, with the duel guitars of Carmelo Scozzari and Alessandro Olivo particularly impressive.
As you’d expect it is 100mph from start to finish. Opener Back To Life is a magical Helloween infused trip, steaming and smokingly fast drumming supported by superb guitar work and some quality vocals from Jo Lombardo. Things get even better with the thrash stomp of Wind Of Egadi which is a real head banger. So what makes Ancestral different from a billion other power metal bands?
Put simply, this is exactly what is required of the genre but with a magnificently heavy curve which too often is absent. On The Route Of Death is a prime example of the ball crushing heaviness that underpins a blistering power metal assault. 50 minutes, ten tracks, totally impressive. Miss out at your peril. 9/10
Deivos: Endemic Divine (Selfmadegod Records)
Polish death metal is always pretty brutal and the fifth release from Deivos is no exception. If you like your metal hard, heavy and with sufficient aggression to split wood then these boys will float your boat. There is no subtlety here, just full out powerful death metal at its finest. The delightfully named Angelfuck (really?) takes care of the growling vocals whilst Tomas Kolcon and new man Jakun Tokaj slash and rip with some of the heaviest and dirtiest guitar this side of Behemoth.
With tracks such as Gods Of Death, Dust Of The Universe and the gut splitting opener Daimonion, Deivos leave nothing to chance sticking loyally to the death metal blue print. It’s solid and full force from start to finish. If you like some death metal, get your listening chops around Endemic Divine. You won’t be disappointed. 7/10
Dusius: Memory Of A Man (Extreme Metal Music)
Folk and Viking metal. Another genre with about a million bands, of differing styles and qualities. We know the leaders: Korpiklaani, Enisferum, Eluveitie, Turisas and Finntroll to name but five. (Tyr can fuck off for ever) Well, Parma, Italy has spawned Dusius, the best thing since sliced ham (sorry!). Memory Of A Man is their debut release, coming seven years after they first started making their own brand of Folk metal. It has all the ingredients necessary.
Accelerated drumming, shredding guitars, death growls and anthemic chanting and changes of pace which add to the atmosphere and of course, bagpipes, flutes and, yes, the hurdy gurdy. Check out One More Pain, a seven minute epic which ticks every box. The seven members of Dusius give it their all on every track but this one is special. Grab your drinking horns, form a circle and lose your shit. Fantastic stuff. 7/10