Marvel Zeroes: Circus Of Karma (Self Released)
Thessaloniki rockers Marvel Heroes are an interesting prospect, their debut record Circus Of Karma is marketed as Alternative rock and yes there is an almost modern American post-grunge sound to but the band break free of barriers with an eclectic range of songs on this record, they started out as covers band and state their influences as QOTSA, RHCP, Muse, Pearl Jam, Faith No More and even Porcupine Tree! These influences explains the diversity of sounds on this record, one minute it's classic solo wielding hard rock, the next garage fuzziness Beast In Me, the RHCP is writ large on A Dream To Dream Upon and Walking On Your Knees which successfully merges classic rock with funk, there are even some electronic touches on Bridges To Burn.
This record has been built on solid gigging in their native country and has been in production since 2012, that time and experience has paid off as Circus Of Karma drew me in from the first chords, the tough rhythm section of Nick and Andy underpin the riffs of Vasilis and the synth of Chris Koim, this guitar/keys combo adds to Marvel Zeroes sonic individuality and the thick musical backing is perfect for Dimitris to show his great voice that shifts between deep crooning and roaring like the Macedonian Lion on the front cover. The band are politically charged with their lyrics especially on the powerful Human...Right? it's a great album from an interesting band that draw from numerous styles it's progressive in the sense of Muse with the music being complicated and layered but not detracting from the concise songwriting. Circus Of Karma impresses as a debut album, with the right radio play and support Marvel Zeroes could be a big hit. 8/10
Amken: Theater Of The Absurd (No Remorse Records)
Amken play blisteringly fast thrash metal that takes it's cues from the Teutonic thrash metal scene with Kreator, Destruction and Sodom the main influences wrapped up with the Californian crossover sound favoured by more recent bands such as Municipal Waste and Gamma Bomb. The musical backing moves from furiously fast to fist pumping stomps and breakdowns, the vocals are barked aided by gang vocals on D.A.P which twists and turns and leads into the doom intro of Obedient Dogs that picks up all the pace of a train rolling down a mountain with no breaks.
It's speedy proper thrash made for the live stage and as such rips and tears at it's recorded leash as much as possible the Athens four piece play like their lives depend on it, Theater Of The Absurd is a very strong debut album, the production zings, the performance is top notch and it all puts the band in a position to sound far beyond their years. With so many thrash metal albums out this year it may be hard to break through but Amken have a youthful exuberance that could see them achieve great things. 7/10
Chronosphere: Red N Roll (Punishment 18)
Unlike their Athens counterparts since their inception in 2012 Chronosphere have released three albums, Red N Roll is their third and latest, also unlike their compatriots the Athenian mob have a much heavier groove-laden start to their record but after this Demonized hastily gets things sprinting with the ferocity of Slayer and the melodic touches of Megadeth or Metallica. The vocals are cleaner on this record than Amken, Spyros' pipes working very well with the music, there are more pinched harmonics and a classic metal feel throughout especially on Picking Up My Pieces and Be The Best both of which display excellent bass playing from Kostas. Red N Roll is an album that shows how experience can affect a band, it's a professional sounding record building on the two before it and honed by touring. Chronosphere are once again another triumphant thrash metal act from the Hellas. 7/10