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Tuesday 12 September 2023

Reviews: Myrath, Domkraft, Lowdrive, Promethium (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Myrath - Karma (earMusic)

Having carved a niche as one of the leaders of the 'Oriental Metal' scene, Myrath are now on their sixth album and Karma takes them further down the progressive/power meets melodic rock route they have been evolving into over the last few albums. 

Comparisons have been made to bands such as Orphaned Land on their first two albums but I'd say now Myrath are more akin to Kamelot, Evergrey and Symphony X, their last couple of releases still retaining the native rhythms of Tunisia, on Candles Cry, but increasing the kind of music that has them go down a storm at ProgPower festival, they headlined this year's US addition. Karma is packed with virtuoso performances from guitarist Malek Ben Arbia, the switches between choppy riffing and solos is easy, bassist Anis Jouini who fills any gaps with nodding and drummer Morgan Berthert, who plays all over the kit even on the simplest offering. 

The instrumental trio, combine to balance the multiple elements of Myrath's sound, as well as getting to showcase this own abilities. But it's not all style over substance as these performances are put into hooky compositions that allow Zaher Zorgati to use that excellent vocal range on huge choruses and the giving some stink to the funky The Wheel Of Time. The cinematic quality brought by Kévin Codfert's keyboards, he proves himself to be invaluable with the piano and swelling strings on the upbeat progger Into The Light, but really is the defacto fifth-Beatle on Karma

With Let It Go and Words Are Failing, Myrath display with their melodic rock chops, but with high levels of techincality and some horns too. Myrath continue to be a band who are laying their claim to be the continuation of the legacy established by the bands I mentioned earlier, doing it with their traditional influences (Child Of Prophecy) makes Karma a rewarding listen for prog/power friends. 9/10 

Domkraft - Sonic Moons (Magnetic Eye Records)

Ground control to Major Tom, forget the protein pills and spark up that bong ready for anothe cosmic adventure with Nordic spacemen Domkraft. Driving the fuzz up to maximum overdrive Domkraft, bring you through the wormhole of both psych, sludge and doom reverbed to hell on track such as Stellar Winds where the focus is sharpened to still swell into towering doom epics but also knuckle down into a concentrated space rock attack.

Similarly to labelmates Slomatics along with Monolord and Kal-El, they rely on rattling your bones with the psych drenched appeal of Monster Magnet and Hawkwind, on the lumbering Magnetism which hooks on hypnotic repetition. Bassist Martin Wegeland, anchoring the song with low end fuzz and his anguished vocals shouts. Drummer Anders Dahlgren a sledgehammer with precision on Slowburner and fury on the bludgeoning Downpour and Black Moon Rising which takes them back to the sludge beginnings Martin Widholm's phased, distorted guitars evoking Matt Pike.

Domkraft bring more intergalactic noises from the dark abyss of space, tune in and let them show you their space odyssey. 8/10 

Lowdrive - Rise (Jet Glow Records)

Back in 2018 Lowdrive appeared out of the Sheffield scene. Featuring former members of Goat Leaf and Warrior Soul, their riff.oacked debut Roller straddled heavy metal and hard rock dropping in some sleazy stoner riffs too, just so you'll reaching for your trucker cap and plaid jacket. That was back in 2018, but in 2023 they return with its follow up Rise but the song remians the same, dirty hard rock riffs which are plucked from influences such as Orange Goblin, Viking Skull and Monster Magnet in a track such as Chemical Child.

Filthy distorted guitars and bouncy grooves come on the title track and Into The Light, snarled beer swilling vocals barking out the party choruses. Music designed to be played live, as often as possible, as loud as possible, there's a defined blues base to tracks such as All Seeing Eye, Lowdrive keeping one foot in the blues even in their heaviest movements. They can have swing with ballsy strutters such as Supergravity, while Shield Wall drives along with woozy psych bass, slow burning into a smoke filled head nodder, the hailing of the leaf continuing on Dope Priest.

A long time coming but a loud return from Lowdrive who continue to worship the riff but also can kick your ass with a chorus to lose your voice too. Grab a beer and turn it up. 8/10

Promethium - Bleeding The Ghost (Self Released)

Promethium's fifth album has been a few years in the making, originally beginning in 2020 the pandemic and line up changes have delayed it, but with a new drummer, a new singer and another guitar player, Bleeding The Ghost is now here and starts a new chapter for the band. Promethium's sound blends thrash/groove with melodic tendencies building from the instrumental opening GOAT, the classic metal riffs of the title track gets things going with pace. 

The new singer's voice brings that raspiness of Fury's Julian Jenkins, and musically Promethium play a similar kind of music to those Fury EP's before they brought in the hard rock edge they have now. Considering the singer hasn't got a background in metal music but he fits perfectly in this band. The classic metal sound continues on the bass driven swinging of Priest, as Murder She Wrote and Healing Your Sin bring the thrashier sound. 

Promethium are an experienced band, and I'll be honest I'd heard bits of their earlier stuff but Bleeding The Ghost impressed me with the melodic metal that reminds me a lot of Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack, Disturbed and even Trivium, the focus on clean vocals over harsh ones meaning they can do tracks like ballad Manhattan or the string laden My Fate. Classic, thrash and groove metal brought together well on Bleeding The Ghost. 8/10

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