Trivium: The Sin And The Sentence (Roadrunner)
After their rather lacklustre last album, the Floridians blast back with a monster of a release which improves with every listen. Technically superb, at times brutally heavy, this is an album that should put the band back to the front of the heavy metal queue. It’s quite amazing that the band have been around for nearly 20 years, although it was 2003 before their debut Ember To Inferno arrived. The Sin And The Sentence captures the sheer power that was present in sophomore release Ascendancy and 2008’s excellent Shogun. The title track has been out for some time and sets the scene neatly, drawing a real line in the sand whilst Betrayer is just stunning. Matt Heafy’s vocals are on top form, mixing clean vocals with the trademark gruff delivery which was absent on Silence In The Snow.
Support as always comes from guitarist Corey Beaulieu whose fretwork is once more impressive. New drummer Alex Bent makes his debut and does a damn fine job, with some blisteringly impressive fills. Trivium have always been excellent musicians and this album showcases their skill, mixing their metal core style on tracks like The Wretchedness Inside with more mainstream, melodic tracks such as Endless Night. There are some absolute beasts on this album as well. Check out the huge Sever The Hand and the seven minute The Revenchist for proof. In fact, the more I listen to this the more I enjoy it.
Eight albums in and with The Sin And The Sentence Trivium again demonstrate a dogged determination to deliver music which would have crushed many others. This is a spectacular album crammed full of the whole Trivium repertoire, and stands comfortably alongside the best of the band’s catalogue. 9/10
Ram: Rod (Metal Blade)
I was unfamiliar with Ram, a five-piece outfit from Gothenberg but this release, which is their fifth album has changed that. Bursting with classic old school heavy metal delivered with massive energy, Ram is a band you should have a listen to at your earliest opportunity. The band consists Oscar Carlquiston on vocals, Morgan Pettersson on drums, Harry Granroth and Martin Jonsson on guitars and Tobias Petterson on bass. Rod is split with four powerful tracks including the brilliant Gulag opening the release, before the second half is a six-track concept about Ramrod the Destroyer. Ram combine the energy of Primal Fear, Helloween with the metal goodness of Judas Priest, Hell and Iron Maiden to deliver a classic feel which is refreshingly new in feel. Galloping sections, crashing drums, duelling guitar harmonies and fantastic vocals all combine to an album which is enjoyable from start to finish. 8/10
In Defilade: Elude (Self Released)
The second release from In Defilade is just brutal. Ferocious death metal which leaves you gasping for air from the opening bars of Will To Survive. The band, who consist of ex-Nile guitarist Jon Versano, Subverseraph on bass and guitarist Shawn Bozarth, have one mission which is to flatten everything around. When you hear the term blackened death metal then think of these guys. The vocals are insane, howling and guttural, demonic and intimidating. Technical guitar work weaves through the tracks such as Guilty and Make Them Eat Glass whilst the blast beat drumming is constant. Unsurprisingly themes include apocalypse, anti-religion and demonic overtures. If you like your death metal as fast and heavy as possible, check this beast out. 7/10
Fifth Freedom: Heartbreak & Hellfire (Self Released)
Described as high octane, the latest album from Portland’s Fifth Freedom certainly has energy. The four-piece’s third album swaggers with a confidence of a band finding their stride. Bluesy rock and roll which is unashamedly American in sound. Opener Battle Cry kicks and stomps in a similar Southern groove to Black Stone Cherry and their kin. Full of hooks and harmonies, the vocals of Alan Jones are exactly what Planet Rock would lose their shit about, in a similar vein to the hype that Stone Broken currently receive. After a while it does begin to sound like the same album, polished, exceptionally competent but a little dull. Midnight Rain strays into GNR territory whilst Man Without A Skin is pure Alter Bridge. Arena rock for sure, but just a little repetitive. Just occasionally I want new music to really impress me with its originality. This isn’t it. However, if you like these types of bands then this will be another to add to the list as it certainly isn’t bad. 6/10