Serpent Lord: Towards The Damned (Alcyone Music Records)
Formed in January 2016 in Thessaloniki Serpent Lord are a metal band whose songs "talk about rituals, about magic and religions, about demons, so we try to create the appropriate atmosphere on our shows" so it's occult influences bullet belt wearing classic metal which sees them taking a more theatrical route on their stage shows using "two big banners with seals from Archangels, a table with skulls, candles, books about magic and a Testament and they put candles all around the stage. Also, they have two people dressed as monks near the banners" so they have the stage conjuring of Demon or Venom but musically they sound a lot like the classic heavy metal acts and the early thrash proponents albeit filtered through a modern sheen.
Bringing some layers of acoustic guitars in on Nephilim but the Evvio Oitovo Iman takes its cues from the grooviest Rotting Christ sound, Sodom And Gomorrah takes more acoustics for one of the albums shortest songs almost like a classical interlude into the chugging Serpent, The Lord. Musically strong and vocally better than a lot of bands that hail from Greece doing this kind of metal, Towards The Damned is a great debut album that has had a lot of time to gestate the record and they have managed to create music that sounds like the early Iced Earth and as it ends with Seed Of Divine you do find yourself reaching for the play button again for another shot of proper heavy metal. 7/10
Godsleep: Coming Of Age (The Lab Records)
Athens based stoner metal band Godsleep have returned with their second album after their 2015 debut album, Thousand Sons Of Sleep. In that intervening years they have replaced previous singer Kostas with Amie Makris who does a brilliant job behind the mic her voice reverberates over the repeating heaviness of first track Ex-Nowhere Man, she's got a vocal similar to that of Royal Thunder's Mlny Parsonz, Blood Ceremony's Alia O'Brien or Lucifer's Joanna Sadonis, it's more soulful and raw than a lot of female vocalists but perfect for the droning, distorted, heavy riffing.
Johnny who pulls out the Sabbath licks meaning that Dennis (drums) and Fed (bass) can bring the huge thick grooves to tracks such as N.O.U which has a thundering rhythm and some grunge-like drawling vocals, it's Puku Doom that gives a melodic break ready for Basic (The Fundamentals Of Craving) to bring some psychedelic trimmings with a ceaseless building riff that bursts into the final chorus. Coming Of Age is a record that opens up as it progresses moving into more space rock realms expanding on the heavy riffage for more mind melting noises as the track length increases. Great stoner metal from the Helles, crank it up. 8/10
Theo: Through My Eyes (Self Released)
Big fat riffs kick off this second album by the eponymous Theo who plys his trade as the guitarist for Greek melodic death metal act Descending. This is not melodic death metal at all, here he tries his hand at more alternative genres such as stoner metal and alt metal, the creeping grooves of The Truth Is Grey introduces the swampy vocals of Thanasis making his tracks have the groovy sound of Alice In Chains, however his is not the only man behind the mic Dead Inside and the title track features Alex Wamp who has the Americanized roar of Ryan McCombs in his Soil prime.
Noir lends his vocals to the creeping No More Sound and punky In Limbo and Fotis Tampas sounds a lot like Corey Taylor when he's in Stone Sour. All of the songs here have been matched to the vocalists meaning that there is a lot of different sounds on this record but most come from the American style of heavy metal. It's Thanasis who I have affinity with though as his vocals are the most adaptable and his songs are really the best here, other than that though the album is pretty standard modern metal, good to try something different but there's a lot more out there that's better. 6/10
Scorcher: System Of Time (Steel Gallery Records)
Coming at you from Serres in Northern Greece holding their swords high and covered in armour Scorcher are power metal band who are now on their third album and they sound a bloody lot like Swedish act Steelwing as the songs whizz by with furious dual guitar riffs, galloping basslines and powerful vocals. I'd also compare them to White Wizzard as they started out as a one man project by guitarist/vocalist Vangelis Tekas which has now filled out by Chris Tekas on bass, these two men have embraced the denim and leather mentality of that 80's metal sound. System Of Time has a lot of great hooks running through it with power metal, speed metal and NWOBHM all present and correct, they've even got a progressive streak on the epic In The End which is the penultimate song on the album. Nothing ground-breaking here but enough NWOBHM-like riffs to get you through a cold winter's evening, if you like a bit of the old-school metal then this will get some rotation. 7/10