After Blind Rage failed to impress back in 2014, the German masters are back very much alive and kicking with album number 15. just over 45 minutes of traditional Accept heavy metal, demonstrating that if it ain't broke you don't fix it. The Rise Of Chaos stomps from the opening thrashings of Die By The Sword, only pausing when final track Race To Extinction closes. It is heavy as hell, pacy and full of jagged riffs that cut deep. Check out the power of the title track, a total anthem, or the battery of new drummer Christopher Williams on No Regrets. Wolf Hoffman and Uwe Lulis, making his debut on record for the band, produce heads down no nonsense metal which cannot fail to warm the most metal of hearts.
I especially enjoyed the nostalgic look back to the older recording styles in Analog Man, an observation on society outlined in typical Accept style. "My cell phone is smarter than me" bemoans Mark Tornillo, with a Balls To The Wall riff permeating throughout. it's the fourth vocal outing for Mark Tornillo and the man excels himself with a quite magnificent performance. His gutter soaked growl has slotted so comfortably into the band that you'd rightly ask Udo who? It's simple and that is what makes Accept so brilliant. They do simple fantastically well. Produced by Andy Sneap, this is an album that defines pure heavy metal in 2017. An essential listen. 9/10
Paradise Lost: One Second [20th Anniversary Reissue] (Music For Nations)
Few bands have evolved their sound in such dramatic ways as Halifax’s doom merchants Paradise Lost. The 20th anniversary reissue of One Second allows a breather, time to reflect on just how technically good the band is, their continual metamorphosis always managing to retain the darkness. As the band prepares for the imminent release of Medusa, which promises more of the sombre death growling of 2015’s superb The Plague Within, the differences between album number six could not be more different.
One Second was another change of direction from the band, who had already moved slightly away from their gothic doom tinged metal for a more industrial and electronic style. 1995’s masterpiece Draconian Times received positive reaction, with the 20th anniversary shows in 2015 selling out. So, two years after Draconian Times, One Second received a much more lukewarm reaction. Full of electronica and synths, there appeared little to grab the death doom metal fanatic by the hair. However, with the benefit of hindsight, One Second is a fabulous album. From the opening lines “And for one second, I lost my head …” Nick Holmes clean and controlled vocals shine. The Numan-esque Mercy, with its dark atmospheric feel, is a superb rock/goth song with beautiful melody. The title track remains a blisteringly good song, whilst the stomp of Say Just Words remains a fan favourite to this day.
One Second, 20 years after its release, still sounds fresh. The boldness of tracks like Soul Courageous, a track that The Mission could quite easily slip into their set, and the haunting album closer Take Me Down, with its eerie synthesizer lines, still hold weight today. Blood Of Another provided a reminder of the gloomy melancholic which the band revelled in, which we loved them for then and which remains with them now. I find this album more enjoyable now than when it was first released, mainly as Draconian Times had proved to be such a solid release. Disappear wasn’t fantastic as a track, the sound of the drum machine unwelcome but overall One Second stands alongside the rest of the Paradise Lost catalogue with its head held proud. A worthwhile reminder of the confidence of one of the UK’s best metal bands of all time. Oh, and the extended edition gives you a welcome live show from Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 1998. 8/10
King Leviathan: Paen Heretica (Infernum Records)
Blackened thrash metal from Brighton? Yes indeed, and King Leviathan are not fucking around. Their debut album is a masterful mixture of occult, thrash and black metal which entwines the listener from the opening bars of Primative Baptism, and then assaults with an aural battery that is sadistic in intent but pleasurable all the same. Adam Sedgwick's mix of growling and clean vocals works surprisingly well, giving the tracks breadth and substance. The guitar work is brutal, Rob Kuhler's slicing lead work sharper than the master butcher's cleaver.
There's no respite from the pulverising drumming of Danny Yates and Sam Forrester's thunderous bass lines. With the imperious swagger of Behemoth and the all out energy of Sylosis, King Leviathan certainly have delivered one of the albums of the year. Check out Kingdom, a pure masterpiece which crushes all. This is a band that will make you shiver, scream and roar. Get this album. It's a monster. 9/10