Nightlord: Reborn In Darkness (Evil EyE Records)
Nightlord come from that wave of British thrash bands that took on the American big boys in the late 90's as they morphed into more mainstream commodities bands such as Onslaught, Lawnmower Death, Xentrix, Acid Reign and Nightlord retained that all important spirit of the underground that thrash needs to really put across it's point. The band lasted for one Demo and an EP before splitting in 1993, but as is the circular nature of these things they returned in 2010 right as a new breed of British thrash was in full swing. In that time there have been tours along with the band organising Titanfest but new music has not been forth coming, fortunately they now have a full length album which is technically their debut full length.
So what is Reborn In Darkness actually like to listen to after all this time? Well the style is summed up by Very Metal Art's modern but retro artwork of chained Golem in the titular darkness, this record is a retro as it gets in 2017. Proper, snarling old school thrash, volatile riffs and a pounding rhythm section that get your head banging for all your worth, the record was produced by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson, Exodus, Helloween, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy) who used analogue equipment to make this record sound as if it has come straight out 1990, Nightlord have got everything you'd want from a thrash band they can do chunky grooves (Last Rise Of Our Dying Sun), crunching doom on Ghosts From The Machine and pit inducing madness on Butcher's Bill. Reborn In Darkness is Nightborn returning to the metal scene with a statement of intent, British thrash has always been the underdog but that's the way we like it! Get in the pit! 7/10
Devil Electric: S/T (Kozmik Artifactz)
Do we need another occult loving, female fronted, doom band? Well if you follow Australian band Devil Electric then you'd answer yes as this is exactly what they are. When I reviewed the bands previous four track EP I said they had promise and this promised has developed into real talent, they have managed to bring a blues rock undercurrent to the classic Sabbathian (it's a word) riffs. The songs brood and swagger with a cocksure confidence as Pierina O'Brien conducts the ceremony with her banshee-like wail as the big riffs of Christos Athanasias (guitar) and Tom Hulse (bass) crash through on Acidic Fire, Lady Velvet as Mark Van De Beek is the anchor for everything.
Hulse brings the low end noise to the knuckle dragging heaviness of the instrumental Monolith which is followed by the albums doomiest song The Dove & The Serpent (which originally appeared on the EP). The debut from Devil Electric is a moody, mysterious record with huge doom riffs throughout, there are a wealth of occult doom bands at the moment but this Aussie mob bring a flair that will see them shashy out from the crowd. 7/10
Subservience: Forest Of The Impaled (Black Bow Records)
Well shave my head and call me Ross Kemp, Subservience get it, they understand how death metal is supposed to be done. Complicated instrumentals, throat shredding roars, a drummer with footwork faster than Usain Bolt, it's all here and it comes at you like a swarm of angry bees from the very first second, the songs twist with a progression that is never overwhelming, time signatures change but the pure skull crushing fury is retained.
Make no mistake though this isn't 'core or djent or anything else that many believe have diluted death metal it's about as old school as you can get the band site Death, Cannibal Corpse and Carcass as influences and you can hear all those hear as well as big fat helping of British death legends Bolt Thrower whom Subservience owe a massive debt to, with the Coventry band the clear frontrunner in the influence stakes for this West Sussex mob.
Forest Of The Impaled is loud, brash with a underlying groove and a technical ferocity that never detracts from the main bulk of the song, the production is just raw enough and the songs while all similar do have enough individuality so as not to make the record boring. If you can think of nothing better than windmilling in a pit full of your own ilk than Subservience maybe the soundtrack to your next whiplash. 8/10
EZoo: Feeding The Beast
Dario Mollo has teamed up with some of the best, but in many respects underrated vocalists in rock and metal, he's probably most known for his Cage project with Tony Martin (the third best singer in Black Sabbath), Glen Hughes in Voodoo Hill and most recently his Crossbones project with Carl Sentance (Nazarath/Persian Risk), this time it's the man who perfected the Hawaiian shirt look while fronting a rock band, Graham Bonnet. Unfortunately it's Graham Bonnett at his worst, his vocals are cracked and out of tune which means tracks such as You Are Your Wallet is hard to listen to.
Mollo is a more than capable guitarist relying heavily as always on his neo-classical style of playing, but these projects are always made by the vocalists and in this case Graham wakes up, puts on his shoes and blows it big time. His vocals are even terrible on songs he actually sang, this album features 3 Rainbow covers, one a lighter shitter version of Since You've Gone, one is an appalling rendition of Eyes Of The World and also as a bonus track All Night Long where Bonnet sounds like an impersonator badly doing bad karaoke. Unless you are Bonnet or Mollo completest then avoid and if you are then you should still avoid it as you're clearly barking mad. 2/10