Nightbringer: Terra Damnata (Seasons Of Mist)
With Scandinavian Black Metal firmly cementing their foundations, the fifth album from Colorado black metallers Nightbringer is very likely to raise the band’s profile amongst fans of the genre. The influences are clear with elements of Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Dark Funeral and Behemoth evident throughout. Yet the band maintain a clear identity, with their orchestral and symphonic elements adventurous and fresh. Band members VJS, Ophis, Naas Alcameth, ar Ra'd al-Iblis, Menthor, Norgaath have followed up from 2014’s Ego Dominus Tuus with an opus that is haunting, intimidating and yet also compelling.
Tracks such as Misrule and Midnight’s Crown burst with atmosphere and crushingly heavy black metal guitar work. The usual battering ram of blast beats maintains the intensity throughout with the level of technical performance quite astonishing at times. You won’t win prizes for guessing the themes that course through the album but it fits together quite superbly. If you only listen to one black metal track this year make it Let Silence Be His Sacred Name, which is just incredible. If you don’t like your metal invoking spirits and demons as well as ripping the flesh of your frame then this may not be for you. That’s your problem though as this album quite simply crushes all. Amazing, breath taking, inspiring. 9/10
Corroded: Defcon Zero (Despotz Records)
Swedes Corroded return with album number 3, five years after the release of sophomore release Exit To Transfer. Whilst the band is not well known over here, their profile in their home country was raised substantially by the TV show Survivors, which used their track Time And Again as its theme. The band comprise biker, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jens Westin, lead guitarist Tomas Andersson, bassist Bjarne Elvsgård and drummer Per Soläng. Defcon Zero is crammed full of heavy riffs, scintillating guitar work and an overriding melody which gives all their songs more appeal than might otherwise be expected.
Think Godsmack, Shinedown and Disturbed and you’ve just about got the sound to a tee. Whilst at times it’s a little generic but the crushingly heavy power of tracks like Retract and Disconnect combined with its Alter Bridge style harmonies, the thumping battery of Vessels Of Hate and the Soil stomp of Burn It Down are all absolute anthems. Album closer Rust And Nail has a Baroness feel about the opening before it morphs into a fitting closing track. If you like your metal clean and honest then this album is a must. 8/10
Death Of Kings: Kneel Before None (Boris Records)
Thrashing their way out of Atlanta, Georgia, Death Of Kings’ debut album (which follows a couple of EPs) Kneel Before None is a primitive, full on punch in the face which takes no prisoners. Their influences range from Priest to Death and everything in between and you know what, it’s fucking A. Opener Shadow Of The Reaper begins the proceedings nicely with maximum thrash bastard before the more measured stomp of Sojurn follows up with a low blow. The pain continues with the Slayer like Regicidal, which oozes malevolence and evil.
The band are tight and extremely loyal to thrash blueprint which I say is correct. No pissing about, just blast at the speed of sound. Amos Rifkin’s pounding drumming and the slicing cut of Matt Kilpatrick’s axe work are the undoubted highlights and if I had one minor complaint it’s the underproduction of Matt Matson’s devilish vocals which are so guttural that at times they are hidden by the onslaught. My moan apart, this is storming stuff with 38 minutes of hell’s fire. Play outside at your peril. The outbuildings may not withstand it. 7/10