Heavy Music HQ Reviews: Week of June 10, 2022

This week’s Heavy Music HQ reviews include releases from Adamantis, Berator, Besieged, Deathwhite, Foot, Future Palace, Kardashev, Kreator, Nekkromanic, Seventh Wonder, Venus 5, Volus and Yatra.

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Cruz Del Sur Music

Adamantis – The Daemon’s Strain (Cruz Del Sur)

Massachusetts power metal collective Adamantis return with The Daemon’s Strain, a four track EP to follow up their self-released 2020 full length Far Flung Realm. Seeing as this EP is likely to be their first major exposure, know that this band is primed to make a name for themselves with the traditional American power metal style of the first three tracks, but closing out an EP with a 12-minute epic is a strong statement for a band just getting their foothold in the metal game.

From the opening chants of “Storm the Walls” to the soaring vocals of “Thundermark,” Adamantis have all the hallmarks that make bands like classic Jag Panzer, Manowar and more recently Judicator stand out. “The Daemon’s Strain (House Carpenter)” showcases their songwriting ability with aplomb, making returns to this recording rewarding every single time. Keep an ear out for Adamantis.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

Dark Descent Records

Berator – Elysian Inferno (Dark Descent)

Elysian Inferno is blackened death metal untouched by studio shortcuts or a false blasphemous air. Berator’s mission appears to be keeping an old-school vision to their music. This EP was tracked live, save for some bass and guitar parts added in after, and this method gives an authenticity to their sound. When those divebomb guitar solos fly from the sky on “Dead Rats,” it may make a listener duck out of instinct.

It’s fitting that Elysian Inferno would begin with over a minute of guitar feedback and noise on opener “Sultans Of Incest.” The group keeps the EP seamless between tracks, as if it’s a torturous journey through multiple floors of Hell itself. A few years after their 2018 demo
R​.​A​.​I​.​D​.​S., Berator have put forth an unholy release that should find favor with black and death metal fans.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Unspeakable Axe Records

Besieged – Violence Beyond All Reason (Unspeakable Axe)

Violence Beyond All Reason is Besieged’s first album in about 12 years, which has further irritated their already unstable thrash/death metal sound. The band trims their songs down further than ever, with this album having seven songs stuffed into about 26 minutes. That’s not a lot of space, and they don’t hesitate in snapping off consecutive head slammers.

The early catalogue of bands like Sepultura and Kreator appear to be just some of the groups Besieged used as inspiration when working on these songs, as Violence Beyond All Reason has the gleeful abrasiveness of those thrashers. Even at such a short length, the album is so relentless that it may take a few play throughs to take in all that Besieged are doing with their second full-length release.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Season Of Mist

Deathwhite – Grey Everlasting (Season Of Mist)

The Pittsburgh doom/gothic metal band Deathwhite began writing their third album Grey Everlasting. And while they used the same band and production personnel as 2020’s Grave Image, it’s not a carbon copy of that record.

The trio’s melancholy gothic/doom approach with emotional vocals is intact. This time around, though, the arrangements bring more keyboard orchestrations to the forefront. It adds more depth without neglecting the riffs and melodies at the heart of the songs. Deathwhite move at a slow to moderate pace on most tracks, but things like a burst of extremity during the intro of “White Sleep” add variety. Grey Everlasting is a morose but engaging album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Copper Feast Records

Foot – You Are Weightless (Copper Feast)

Australia has plenty of desert, so it’s no surprise they also spawn desert rockers like Melbourne’s Foot. You Are Weightless is their fourth album of the past six years. Paul Holden continues to be the band’s mastermind on this easy-rocking outing. Think of a laid-back, slightly alternative blend of Queens Of The Stone Age and Alice In Chains.

The concept sounds pretty cool, but the mid-tempo songs border on forgettable. You Are Weightless comes off a bit like a few pals jamming out some songs at home in the back yard around a firepit. Although it takes way too long to rev up, “I’ll Be Just Fine” is the best song here, with some cool riffing and a compelling arrangement, but beyond that not much will stick with the listener.

Rating: 2.5
(Mike Huck)

Arising Empire Records

Future Palace – Run (Arising Empire)

Run is German metalcore trio Future Palace’s second album. Lyrically and emotionally the album focuses on the aftermath of a toxic relationship. The genre tag might scare some off, but stop and listen; Maria (no last name given) delivers a stunning vocal performance on Run, from her nasty harsh screams to her charismatic cleans.

Fans of the genre will find a lot to love on Run. Musically this is slick stuff, well arranged and produced, with every song ready for its shot at SiriusXM glory. No boundaries are pushed, but that’s hardly the point here. Eliminate a couple of duds (“Flames” is a hard pass) and we’re left with a compelling up-tempo album loaded with huge choruses and satisfying breakdowns – and Maria’s vocals pushing this beyond the mundane.

Rating: 3.5
(Mike Huck)

Metal Blade Records

Kardashev – Liminal Rite (Metal Blade)

Kardashev have described their music as “deathgaze,” death metal given a shoegaze makeover, which makes sense when one listens to an album like Liminal Rite. The group has come a long way from the straightforward deathcore of their first few releases. They are now unafraid to use melodic vocals, push into the ambience front or go into double-digit territory with their song lengths.

Vocalist Mark Garrett gets to show off his dynamic range on Liminal Rite, passionately singing, screaming, and grunting, even going so far as to layer them into striking harmonies. Kardashev haven’t abandoned their ruthless side, being able to incorporate it into an unhurried pace on songs like “A Vagabond’s Lament” and “Beyond The Passage Of Embers.” These two close the album with a spectacular creative statement that signifies the legitimacy of the band’s “deathgaze” style.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Nuclear Blast

Kreator – Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast)

German thrash titans Kreator show no sign of mellowing or slowing down nearly 30 years into their career. Their 15th studio album Hate Über Alles comes five years after Gods Of Violence,, though they have released EPs, splits, several live albums and a couple compilations in that time frame. It’s the first Kreator studio album for bassist Frederic Leclercq (Sinsaenum, ex-DragonForce).

Hate Über Alles begins with a brief spaghetti western influenced instrumental before the thrash kicks in. Galloping riffs and potent drums from Ventor drive the songs. This batch of tunes is excellent, with a lot of variety, first-class musicianship and a high catchiness factor. Petrozza’s biting vocals give the songs even more edge. There’s not a weak track in the bunch, with some of the highlights being the title track, the mid-paced “Crush The Tyrants” and the anthemic “Conquer And Destroy.”  The biggest curveball is “Midnight Sun,” featuring a guest appearance from German pop singer Sofia Portanet, whose ethereal vocals give the heavy song a different vibe. The album closes with the six plus minute “Dying Planet,” a bit more expansive and dramatic than the typical Kreator song. It’s a strong ending to another quality album from one of thrash’s best bands.

Rating: 4.5
(Chad Bowar)

Gates Of Hell Records

Nekkromaniac – Plague Eater (Gates Of Hell)

Nekkromaniac look to the initial days of black metal, when thrash metal was taken to a new extreme, on their debut album Plague Eater. It’s not until closer “Tyrant’s Command” where the band gets anywhere close to sounding like contemporary black metal with its blast beating antics, though they still make room for a slamming riff progression midway in that thrash fans will love.

The group takes from the best of both sides with Plague Eater, consistently moving tempos around so no song sticks in the same place too long. “Napalm Funeral” adds cleaner sounding guitars in its intro akin to Slayer’s “Spill The Blood,” but that’s as far as the album goes with experimenting. The purposeful lack of solos gives the riffs more credence, letting out a merciless message of evil without having to resort to any tricks.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Frontiers Music

Seventh Wonder – The Testament (Frontiers)

After an eight year gap between The Great Escape and 2018’s Tiara, the Swedish progressive metal band Seventh Wonder are issuing The Testament after only about a 3 and a half year span.

While there are longer and proggier songs later on the album, The Testament opens with “Warriors, a relatively straightforward and exceptionally catchy track. Other songs such as “The Light” and “The Red River” keep those memorable melodies while utilizing extended instrumental sections and other progressive tropes. The instrumental “Reflections” showcases band’s musicianship. On The Testament, Seventh Wonder minimize the self-indulgence and maximize the hooks, making for an album that’s both instantly engaging and has a lot of subtleties that emerge after multiple listens.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Frontiers Music

Venus 5 – Venus 5 (Frontiers)

Venus 5 are a new band put together by Frontiers Music, utilizing five different female vocalists, a couple of which are in other Frontiers bands. Among the songwriters for their self-titled debut album are former Amaranthe and current Cyrha vocalist Jake E. and Within Temptation guitarist Stefan Helleblad.

The songs on Venus 5 are pop metal with slick production and some modern industrial flourishes. They are melodic and catchy, combining uptempo radio-ready tracks along with ballads such as “Nothing But A Heartache.” The vocalists are good, but there’s not a lot of differentiation in their styles. There are several excellent songs on the album, but a band created like this will take a while to build chemistry. The whole isn’t greater than the sum of its parts yet, but with time that could happen.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Vargheist Records

Volus – Thrown To The Abyss (Vargheist)

Volus’ lust for mayhem remains on their second album Thrown To The Abyss, though the dense noise of their previous releases has been smoothed out without diminishing its immense power. Volus is the project of musician Justin Volus, who takes death/black and adds war metal and avant-garde features for something that’s sonically hard to pinpoint. Songs like “Chronoblast Paradox” and “Temporal Pathways” almost head into grindcore with their frantic movements.

That’s contrasted by the discordant instrumentation on “Immortal Ninth Tribunal” and “Ascendance Incinerated,” though it’s the percussion on the former and the guitars on the latter where that is the case. At only 27 or so minutes, Thrown To The Abyss is just the right length for Volus to confuse a listener without it becoming so excruciating.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Prosthetic Records

Yatra – Born Into Chaos (Prosthetic)

The Maryland band Yatra have been prolific during their short existence. Born Into Chaos is their fourth album since 2019, and their debut for Prosthetic Records.

The trio’s sound has evolved on this record. Sludge/doom was the prominent style on their previous albums, but this time around old school death metal is their genre of choice. They incorporate double bass and blastbeats into the drumming, with the tempos brisk and the intensity at a high level. It’s not 100 percent death metal, as Yatra still infuse some blackened sludge into the proceedings from time to time. Fans of their early albums might not be happy with the new direction, but Yatra will attract plenty of attention from death metal aficionados.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

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