Perzonal War: Inside The New Time Chaoz (Metalville) (2016)
Germany's Perzonal War have been playing classy power/thrash since 1996, flying slightly under the radar for all these years they have released eight albums of chunky, thrash metal with melodic influences, more American in sound than the Big 3 of german thrash Perzonal War have more in common with Testament, Forbidden and Overkill than Kreator.
The slightly convoluted album title is actually the titles of their first two records together, this is because their ninth record takes songs from their first two records Inside and Newtimechaos and re-records them with the band's current line-up with only original members being Martin Buchwalter on drums and Metti Zimmer on vocals on guitar, they are aided by the more recent additions of Andreas Ballnus on guitars and Björn Kluth on bass.
The first five songs on this record belong to Inside and the last six to newtimechaos with The Inside starting the album strong with great thrash riffs and insistent drumming. This is classic thrash sounding metal with big stomping breakdowns on D.O.P, great clean leads throughout (just listen to New Time Bitch for a taster) and Metti's voice having a definite Hetfield ring to it.
It's a real eye opener that some of the best thrash metal to come this year has come from Perzonal War especially because some of these songs are nearly 20 years old, proper thrash metal as it should be, I know at least two Hutchings' that will lap this up. 8/10
Freerock Saints: Blue Pearl Union (Grooveyard Records) (2016)
American label Grooveyard Records comes up trumps again with yet another Greek blues rock band in Freerock Saints, unlike Super Vintage who were the most recent band I reviewed from this label Freerock Saints have a more traditional blues approach, throwing in hip shaking funk on Roll With The Wind and Take It while focussing on the vocals of Areti Valavanopoulou rather than the more guitar orientated sound of Super Vintage.
It's a good plan because her vocals are excellent having the soul and emotion of Elin Larsson (Blues Pills) and the grit and sheer power of Colleen Rennison (No Sinner) she is the key element of this record taking songs to the next level of their evolution although the rest of the band don't just leave her too it.
This is mainly because the rest of the Freerock Saints are also members of Super Vintage with Stavros Papadopoulos giving yet another stellar guitar performance (Shot Down In Flames) as well as producing and writing the songs bringing in Lazaros Simitsis from SV on drums and Dinos Maltezos on the bass for a solid foundation for both Stavros and Areti to work their magic.
The middle of the record slows the pace with solo filled ballad Blue Pearl and the country flavoured Still Bleeding but it rocks back up again with All I Need and Never Lost My Faith which sashays with an attitude. Blue Pearl Union is a strong debut from yet another blues rock band from Greece, this seems to be a trend recently and I suggest you follow it if you love soulful Black Crowes-like rock n roll. 8/10
Thunderwar: Black Storm (Witching Hour Productions) (2016)
The people of Poland know their death metal, this is a fact, with huge acts such as Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated and Hate there aren't many countries who can be given the same level of recognition for their impact on the death metal scene except for possibly Sweden, it's the sheer brutality of these death metal legends mentioned that mean any band that comes from Poland playing death metal shouldn't be taken lightly.
So relative newcomers Thunderwar should be greeted with open arms if you like full throttle riffage, blastbeats galore and guttural vocals but this album has more than that there are creeping nuanced parts, big sweeping atmospheric changes and a lot of craftsmanship being put in to give Thunderwar their own identity, separating them from their more famous countrymen. Could you call this epic death metal? I'd say so as there are enough grandiose elements to make it leap out of your speakers as something more than just straightforward death metal ear murdering, although that still happens on the frankly head smashing New Age Prophecy.
At just 8 songs and 43 minutes it's a perfectly admirable debut record, they have enough of their own identity to separate them from their countrymen, the production lets it down a little but there is enough here to attract those looking for another Polish death metal fix. 7/10