Every week I write several brief reviews of the latest heavy music albums. This week’s reviews include releases from Aeges, Black Crown Initiate, Defeated Sanity, Dragonforce, Numenorean, Salem’s Pot and Scour. The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Aeges – Weightless (Another Century)
Genre: Hard Rock
The latest album from L.A. rockers Aeges (pronounced ages) is Weightless. This time around the band worked with veteran producer Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie). Cory Clark and Kemble Walters handle vocal and guitar duties, with the duo delivering catchy choruses and excellent riffs.
The songs blend modern rock with some retro stylings. Some are very accessible and radio-friendly, with others having more of an edge and swagger. There’s a little prog as well, giving them a different vibe that the usual hard rock outfit.
Black Crown Initiate – Selves We Cannot Forgive (eOne)
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Black Crown Initiate have upped the ante on their second full-length album Selves We Cannot Forgive, delivering both brutal death metal and complex prog.
Harsh vocalist James Dorton brings the aggressiveness and an ominous delivery, which is balanced by the melodic singing of guitarist Andy Thomas. The songs generally begin in a mellow and progressive fashion before the brutality kicks in and the ebbs and flows begin. They are able to seamlessly transition between the two disparate approaches.
Defeated Sanity – Disposal Of The Dead/Dharmata (Willowtip)
Genre: Death Metal
German’s Defeated Sanity have blended two disparate styles into one release on their latest effort Disposal Of The Dead/Dharmata. The first half of the album is brutal death metal with crushing riffs and gurgled vocals.
The Dharmata part of the album is progressive death metal that’s very experimental and avant-garde. They recruited Max Phelps (Exist, Cynic) to do vocals on that part of the album, differentiating it even more from the Disposal Of The Dead section. While showcasing the talent and versatility of Defeated Sanity, it also exposes brutal death metal to progressive fans who might not usually listen to that style, and vice-versa.
Dragonforce – Killer Elite (Spinefarm)
Genre: Power Metal
Dragonforce have been around for more than a decade, so the timing is right for them to release a compilation album. Killer Elite is jam-packed with two and a half hours of music, including both studio and live material. In addition to 2 CD edition, there’s also a deluxe version with a DVD that has all the band’s promo videos.
The 22 tracks cover Dragonforce’s entire career, kicking off with their biggest hit “Through The Fire And Flames.” You’ll hear early material such as the title track of their debut album Valley Of The Damned along with newer songs from their latest album, 2014’s Maximum Overload. It’s a wide-ranging collection that fans of the band will appreciate.
Numenorean – Home (Season Of Mist)
Genre: Post Black Metal
Home is the debut album from the Canadian band Numenorean, who hail from Calgary, Alberta. Even though there are only five songs, this is not an EP. Each track is a lengthy exploration of the post black metal landscape.
Slow and sparse acoustic sections give way to dense black metal before ebbing back into mellowness. “Thirst” is extreme and oppressive for most of the song, but most of the other tracks give equal weight to darkness and light. It’s an impressive debut with a lot of subtleties that become evident upon each additional listen.
Salem’s Pot – Pronounce This! (RidingEasy)
Genre: Doom/Stoner Metal
Start with a love of ’70s and ’80s horror movies and add some stoner metal and you have Salem’s Pot. Pronounce This! is the Swedish band’s second album, and they elect to remain anonymous, not even using stage names.
It’s a retro sounding album with plenty of thick, psychedelic riffs. “The Vampire Strikes Back” is the catchiest track on the album, while the nearly 13 minute instrumental “Coal Mind” ranges from ponderous doom to hazy space rock. They get downright twangy on the acoustic “So Gone, So Dead” before closing the proceedings with the dirge-like “Desire.” It’s an unusual and eclectic album that’s challenging but rewarding.
Scour – Scour (Housecore)
Genre: Black Metal
Scour are the extreme metal side project featuring Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down), John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer), Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation), Chase Fraser (ex-Decrepit Birth) and Jesse Schobel (Strong Intention).
Scour’s self-titled EP is six songs of brutality. Every track is compact and intense, clocking in at less than three minutes. In addition to his usual vocal style, Anselmo incorporates death metal growls and other extreme approaches. The songs are fairly straightforward black metal, but they pack a mighty wallop, and with the fan bases of all the members to appeal to, the EP should draw its share of attention.
Really looking forward to the Black Crown Initiate album. I loved their last album.