Turmion Katilot: Global Warning (Nuclear Blast) [Liam True]
The only exposure I've had to Industrial Metal is mainly Ministry, Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails. But I wouldn’t land these in the same genre as those bands. Think of Turmion Katilot as Crossfaith meets Heaven Shall Burn, intertwining the Electronicore elements of Crossfaith and the destructive vocals of MC Raaka Pee (Yeah, stupid stage name I know). With the album entirely sing in their mother tongue of Finnish, it’s hard to get into the vibe of the album, but the musical side is absolutely great. With riffs aplenty, high energy electronic vibes and enough breakdowns to rival Metalcore, it’s a great sounding album with the production being phenomenal as nothing is too overpowering to the point of it being indistinguishable. The only issue on my end, personally, is the singing. Granted they’re from Finland, but it’s entirely in Finnish, which for me is a big turn off. Yeah, they can sing how they want, and I respect that, but it’s hard for me to get into it and make head or tails while it sounds like I'm having a curse set upon me. All in all, though, it’s a very decent record, and if you’re into high energy Industrial Metal, give it a listen. 6/10
Funeral Leech: Death Meditation (Carbonized Records) [Matt Bladen]
New. York. Death. Metal. four words that will excite any fan of the heavier end of the metal spectrum. Funeral Leech encompass all that is great about death metal while adding the knuckle dragging sound of doom. With just 6 tracks on the record Death Meditation is 44 minutes of utter devastation from the storm effects of the crushing first number Downpour to the epic finale I Am The Cosmos, Death Meditation is some of the most uncompromisingly heavy music I've heard for a long while. A single cymbal crash moves into the pacier Statues which is driven by blistering kicks and grunting vocals, which come from the same guy (yes folks singing drummer!) before slowing again with huge grooves. The Burden Of Flesh and Lament bring back the towering doom riffs, the latter especially crawls out of the depths at the beginning dragging behind it the souls of the deceased, it's an ungodly noise for a trio! The bass and guitars down tuned grinding your ear bones into dust on tracks such as Morbid Transcendence. Brutal stuff from the outset Death Meditation is a record that needs full volume to enjoy properly. 7/10
Angel Vengeance: Angel Vengeance (Downfall Records) [Paul Hutchings]
Melodic power metal from Thailand. Well Angel Vengeance are more of a Helloween tribute, such is their closeness to the German legends. But I love Helloween so that’s okay with me! The Thai four-piece are tight as a duck’s arse and in vocalist Stout they have a singer who can hold a note or two. He hits the high pitches with ease and has a range that covers everything that comes at him. Having formed in 2017, their debut release should appeal to those who like over the top power metal. Stout also plays the bass, in a Steve Harris furious style, and this frees up the two guitarists Chen and Tuzz who can shred for fun. Their Maiden-esque duel attack soars on tracks such as Open Your Eyes and the centrepiece Karmageddon (Curse Of Evil) which flies along at breakneck speed. With Chen and Tuzz citing Malmsteen, Gilbert and Van Halen amongst their influences, it’s no wonder that there is screaming axe work from start to finish.
Stout’s driving bass links tightly with drummer Nomkhon who is a machine behind the kit. Whilst there isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before, Angel Vengeance clearly had fun making this album. It’s well produced, and most importantly superbly played. They can mix it up a bit too, and whilst it’s power metal from start to finish, the quartet can bring the thunder as well, with songs like Burn The Night adding some extra heavy to proceedings. Clearly Angel Vengeance like their Maiden too as the title song’s start reeks of the Irons, circa 1994 but at about 300 mph faster. It’s Ride The Sky all the way home from here on in, charging towards the end of a quite brilliantly entertaining album. 8/10
Victoria K: Essentia (Rockshots Records) [Simon Black]
Victoria K hails from Melbourne Australia, and is a gothic influenced Symphonic Metal singer / songwriter about who I can find very little information. She’s brought out a couple of singles over the last couple of years (versions of most of which find their way onto here), but this is her first full length album, and it’s very much in the well-trodden grooves laid down by Within Temptation and Evanescence. She has a strong, haunting voice and this album also invokes early Nightwish, but her band are not yet in the same league when it comes to technical musicianship - with the possible exception of the quite blistering drum-work. The main criticism I have is that like Evanescence the tone of the album is fairly fixed and although the tracks are all fine each and of themselves, you miss the change of tone and pace that many other Symphonic acts have.
A number of tracks include Sheri Vengeance delivering a more extreme metal vocal layer, and these tracks generally stick their heads above the parapet by being more distinctive and, more importantly, effective from having the glaring contrast of the two vocal styles. The music avoids being sickly and overly melodic – it’s dark, it’s moody, and it has a nice deep metal undertone counterpointed by that haunting voice, but the guitars and the keyboards often verge dangerously into the background and blur together. I suspect the mix is to blame here, rather than the recordings or the writing, given that a couple of the tracks sounds like they were recorded in different sessions but overall this feels like an act emerging from a solo effort and still finding its feet as a fully fledged band. Nonetheless, one to watch. 6/10