Borders - Bloom Season (Arising Empire)
Having come from the generation brought up on rap metal, a band like Borders takes me back to the time of wide jeans, wallet chains and backwards caps. But since that time "rap metal" has evolved into something else with many of the metalcore bands adopting the hip hop and grime style as much as they do alt and hardcore.
Bands such as Hacktivist, The Five Hundred, Cane Hill and even Enter Shikari all have flown the flag for this hybrid sound and Borders look to add their name on the list of bands who epitomise the genre. Featuring guest spots from Elijah Witt of Cane Hill on heavy Godless and Dropout Kings on NWWM, this second album again blurs the genres together for a groove-laden, crushing record with rapid fire rap/grime vocals and metalcore growls.
With lyrics about mental health, abuse, grief, and the current state of the world, Bloom Season is in your face from the ferocious Fade To Black, the djenty Suffer as I Get High has an electronic twinge as it builds into the cathartic metalcore chorus, the EDM continues on Gaslight. Bent on taking the heavy music world by storm, Bloom Season is Borders kicking down the door and taking what they are owed. 8/10
Leatherwolf - Kill The Hunted (Rock Of Angels Records)
After writing an album immensely personal Leatherwolf drummer/founder Dean Roberts was left without a singer so he reached out to Keith Adamiak to join the band along with bassist Barry Sparks (Brice Snyder live) and the patented triple axe attack of Rob Math, Luke Man and Wayne Findlay.
I say patented as Leatherwolf were doing the triple axe attack long before Maiden did it, the depth of the guitar playing shown on Medusa where the trio all get a shot at showing off, the same can be said on The Henchman. Leatherwolf sound as if they are revitalised on what is their first album since 2007. The vocals of Keith are perfect for the classic metal sound of this American metal institution, he snarls on the title track but then croons on Only The Wicked.
Findlay and Sparks bring their experience with Michael Schenker Group to make sure that there's a focus on great songwriting and not just showing off with the guitar playing. Though there is a lot of that Joel Hoekstra bringing more axe slinging on The Henchman, mixed by Randy Burns who produced their debut EP and mastered by Tom Baker, Kill The Hunted brings back the name Leatherwolf to an audience that may not be familiar with them. 7/10
Eye Of Doom - The Sapient (Self Released)
Is there such thing as Astral Doom? Well if there is then Eye Of Doom sum up the description with their new release, 47 minutes of fuzzy progressive stoner doom, it crawls out of a black hole the same way as bands such as Electric Wizard, Sleep, and Dr Colossus (without the Simpsons lyrics) do as waves of psychedelia are folded over the slumbering heavy grooves. They are a noisy trio that are baptised by fuzz, as space rock and desert rock collide on Return To Descension, but with reverbed Ozzy vocals and plenty of Sabbath worshiping riff.
They still come from a sound inspired by the Godfathers of doom but things don't stay there though as the title track and Eyes Of Doom Pt. 2 bring the woozy style of Hawkwind to let the ship lift off. soar into untold realms. They land at the end of the universe as the riffs reverberate into the vast emptiness of the vacuum of space. The Sapient is one of the best doom albums I've heard this year, I can't go into too much detail about it as it's a riff driven trip into worlds as yet undiscovered, set the controls to the heart of the sun and turn up the volume. 9/10
Mad Symphony - Blood 2 Dust (Self Released)
M'colleague recommended that these guys should get a review from us here at MoM Towers and being a lover of new music I dutifully pressed play on this Canadian bands second release. Now I was told that there was a lot of Rush in their sound, however the title track has the funk rock sound of Extreme playing with Def Leppard, not that there's anything wrong with that but it's not Rush. Things get a bit more proggy on I Can't Remember Your Name especially in the keys where there's sounds of Signals-era Rush but those backing vocals and sultry guitar is very Sheffield 1982 rather than Canada of the same year.
I'd call Mad Symphony a melodic rock band, carrying that swagger of the Sunset Strip with the theatrics of Alice Cooper on Reality Check as Judgement Day is Bon Jovi when he forgets he's from New Jersey and plays Southern rock, I also hear some Motley Crue too. The melodic rock/AOR sound overriding anything else right up until Truth In Shadows the last song here.
Now I'm never one to cause a fuss but unfortunately my colleague is dead wrong, there are few links to Canada's favourite trio on Blood 2 Dust, I'd say they have more in common with their second favourite trio Triumph, slick, melodic rock with big choruses and bluesy beginnings. 7/10