Angra: ØMNI (earMusic)
Going back many many years when I was discovering heavy metal music and exploring its various subgenres I came across a band called Angra and a song called Angels Cry which just so happened to be my first exposure to power metal. Back to present day and Angra are absolutely one of my favourite bands from the genre and so it is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I get to review their latest and ninth album ØMNI. Angra are one of those bands who have been going a long time but seem to have always fallen just below the radar for many people which is such a shame as they are an extraordinary band. Hailing from Brazil they have been releasing albums since the early 90’s and have always had a sound which comprised power metal, progressive metal and symphonic metal with a Latin twist.
They stick to this formula throughout ØMNI with a mix of thunderous speedy power metal anthems such as Light Of Transcendence and War Horns and the more progressively leaning Magic Mirror and the epic closing duo of Silence Inside and Infinite Nothing which is a pure symphonic piece. The oddball off the album is Black Widow’s Web which has a more modern groove metal sound to it plus guest vocals from Brazilian pop singer Sandy and guest growls from Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz. It’s an interesting mix but a bit of a failed experiment. Since the release of previous album Secret Garden in 2015 guitarist Kiko Loureiro has jumped ship to join legendary thrashers Megadeth and has been replaced by Marcelo Barbosa but the rest of the band remains the same. Kiko still shows up as a guest to provide some guitars though.
Special mention has to go to vocalist Fabio Lione who is a legend in power metal and gives one his career best performances on this album. ØMNI is a fine album and although it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of past Angra albums such as Holy Land or Temple Of Shadows, I find it’s an improvement over previous album Secret Garden which I found slightly underwhelming. This is an album that both power metal and progressive metal fans will agree over. 8/10
Galvanizer: Sanguine Vigil (Everlasting Spew Records)
Sanguine Vigil is the debut album by Finnish death/grind filth merchants. Galvanizer have a sound rooted in old school death metal and grindcore from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and it is beautifully disgusting. There’s an abundance of influences throughout from Autopsy to Terrorizer all resulting in just over 30 minutes of putrid death/grind complete with the obligatory horror movie samples at the start of one or two songs. The songs generally average about 2-3 minutes in length which allows for multiple riffs and time changes from barrages of blastbeats to slower doomy moments.
The only song which deviates and is the shortest is the utterly filthy and chaotic Grind Till...You’re Dead! The only letdown on the album is the production which is overly muddy and murky affecting the guitar sound especially. With a better production these songs could sound even nastier. Still it doesn’t detract too much and at certain times the murky sound compliments the songs. If you are a fan of dirty old school death metal and grindcore then this album is one for you. 8/10
Necrodeath: The Age Of Dead Christ (Scarlet Records)
The Age Of Dead Christ is the eleventh album by Italian black metal legends Necrodeath. These guys are one of the pioneers of 1980’s black metal with their 1985 demo The Shining Pentagram and the two albums that followed Into The Macabre and Fragments Of Insanity these days seen as cult classics. With their new album The Age Of Dead Christ Necrodeath have promised a return to their classic sound or to quote drummer Peso "back to our black origins with thrashing brutality!" It’s always a slight concern when a band tries to resurrect their glory years but Necrodeath absolutely pull it off with an album that pays homage to their classic 80’s output but is an absolute ripping blackened thrash monster in its own right.
Chaos is unleashed from the moment the play button is hit with a barrage of blastbeats which heralds the start of opening song The Whore Of Salem. The songs on the album range from raging thrashers such as The Master Of Mayhem and The Crypt Of Nyarlathotep to more atmospheric songs such as The Triumph Of Pain and the title track which just drip with evil and malevolence. The band have also reworked a song from their debut album The Undead which is reborn as The Return Of The Undead and features guest vocals from A.C. Wild of Italian thrashers Bulldozer.
With a sound that is suitably raw but also with enough clarity throughout The Age Of Dead Christ is a fantastic throwback to the classic sound of Necrodeath but stands well on its own. The tracks are strong enough that it doesn’t sound like the band are regurgitating their old sound. This is a brilliant release that old school thrashers and black metal fans are going to lose their minds over. 9/10
Storm Upon The Masses: The Ones Who Came Back (Dolorem Records)
The Ones Who Came Back is the debut album by Belgian brutal death metal band Storm Upon The Masses and it is an incredibly strong debut album. This is an album for those who like their music HEAVY with a sound that mixes modern brutal death metal with elements of grindcore sounding like a cross between Aborted, Benighted and Hour Of Penance. You have riffs that rip and tear and drumming which could collapse buildings.
Throughout the 11 songs and the albums 37 minute duration there is virtually no let up at all. Songs such as Last Rites, Skullfucked and the title track are true lessons in violence and brutality. Some of the songs get a bit repetitive through the albums duration but no song outstays its welcome so it’s not a huge issue. The Ones Who Came Back is an impressive debut though it is slightly lacking in its own identity but I’m sure this is something that will come to the band as they write more material. 7/10