Chad’s Heavy Music Reviews: Week of October 7, 2016

This week’s reviews include releases from Candiria, The Devil Wears Prada, Kyng, Oathbreaker, The Reticent, Saxon and Take Over And Destroy. The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Candiria - While They Were Sleeping
Metal Blade Records

Candiria – While They Were Sleeping (Metal Blade)

Genre: Alternative Metal

The long-running New York band Candiria have had a couple lineup changes since their last studio album back in 2009, with vocalist Carley Coma the lone remaining original member. Their latest effort While They Were Sleeping is a concept album about a failed musician who rises up against a New York City monarchy.

It’s an extremely eclectic album. Straightforward metal will ease up into jazzy prog before the intensity kicks back in. Coma even does some scat-singing on “Mereya.” There’s a radio friendly single or two along with complex and experimental tracks. It’s an album that will keep you on your toes with the constant shifts in style and intensity.

Rating: 3

The Devil Wears Prada - Transit Blues
Rise Records

The Devil Wears Prada – Transit Blues (Rise)

Genre: Metalcore

The Devil Wears Prada have been around for more than a decade now and established themselves as one of metalcore’s most successful bands. They have also had some lineup changes over the past few years. On their sixth album Transit Blues, Guiseppe Capolupo (Haste The Day) handled the drum duties.

Their songs have often been fueled by anger, and while that is the case on some of the tracks, they have widened their emotional palette to include things like separation that comes from traveling, signified in the album title. There’s plenty of intensity on the album, but TDWP are always able to insert melody and catchiness to make the songs memorable.

Rating: 3.5

Kyng - Breathe In The Water
Razor & Tie

Kyng – Breathe In The Water (Razor & Tie)

Genre: Heavy/Stoner Metal

The SoCal trio Kyng have plenty of commercial appeal, but their fuzzy stoner riffs give them a different sound than the typical rock radio band. Their third album Breathe In The Water delivers both heaviness and memorable songs.

The songs are mostly mid and up-tempo stompers, driven by thick riffs and a beefy production from Machine (Lamb Of God, Clutch). Power ballads like “Show Me Your Love” and “Hide From You” provide variety. Eddie Velez gives his best vocal performance to-date, showcasing a range of styles and emotions. The album also features guest appearances from Baroness’ Bryan Bickle and Rise Against’s Zach Blair.

Rating: 3.5

Oathbreaker - Rheia
Deathwish Inc.

Oathbreaker – Rheia (Deathwish)

Genre: Post Hardcore/Black Metal

The Belgian band Oathbreaker have made a quantum leap forward on Rheia, their third full-length release. It’s a roller coaster ride of intensities and emotion.

The album kicks off with the quiet and somber “10:56” before launching into the crushing “Second Son Of R” that goes back and forth between searing black metal and mellow sections, with Caro Tanghe alternating fierce screams and melodic singing. “Needles In Your Skin” has similar dynamics. Tracks like the acoustic “Stay Here/Accroche-Moi” and the ambient “I’m Sorry, This Is,” act as interludes. Expertly navigating the yin and yang of brutality and beauty, this is an extremely compelling album.

Rating: 4.5

The Reticent - On The Eve Of A Goodbye
Heaven & Hell Records

The Reticent – On The Eve Of A Goodbye (Heaven & Hell)

Genre: Progressive Metal

On The Eve Of A Goodbye is the fourth album from The Reticent, the (mostly) one-man project from Chris Hathcock. It’s an autobiographical concept album about the suicide of Hathcock’s childhood friend Eve.

Musically, it’s a diverse effort, ranging from spare acoustic sections to mellow rock to intense and complex prog. There are both growls and singing vocals that add even more variety. Lyrically, it’s an extremely emotional album as you’d expect from the subject matter, especially the heartbreaking “Funeral For A Firefly” that includes guest vocals from Amanda Caines. At 73 minutes it’s a lot to absorb, but you’ll find yourself engrossed in this deeply personal and moving album.

Rating: 4

Saxon - Let Me Feel Your Power
UDR Music

Saxon – Let Me Feel Your Power (UDR)

Genre: New Wave Of British Heavy Metal

After the studio album Battering Ram last year, the mighty Saxon have returned with the live set Let Me Feel Your Power that was recorded in Munich, Brighton and Chicago in late 2015 and early 2016. It’s available in a variety of configurations, including DVD/2CD, Blu-ray/2CD, digital download and vinyl.

Most of the main DVD features songs recorded in Munich, kicking off with the title track from Battering Ram. About half of that album is played along with songs from throughout Saxon’s career including “Backs To The Wall,” “Wheels Of Steel” and “Denim And Leather.” Nearly 40 years after their formation, the band still sounds great, especially charismatic frontman Biff Byford.

Rating: 4

Take Over And Destroy - Take Over And Destroy
Prosthetic Records

Take Over And Destroy – Take Over And Destroy (Prosthetic)

Genre: Heavy Metal

The self-titled third album from Arizona’s Take Over And Destroy is a difficult one to categorize, but an easy one to enjoy.

At times there’s a classic rock vibe with melodic singing, while some songs are blackened and stoner/doomy with harsh vocals. “Out Of Frame” is a somber track delivered in a gothic baritone with a lot of cinematic atmosphere and an ’80s vibe. That Joy Division influence crops up in a couple other songs as well, but so does rock and roll swagger and ominous metal. The album flies by in just over 40 minutes and about as many different styles.

Rating: 3.5

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