UNTIME – Fall

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/untimeband I will be the first to admit that I have never previously crossed paths with the Tønsberg-based outfit known as Untime, but this catchy and easily digestible little 4-track EP of theirs is an enjoyable offering that serves up plenty of earth-shattering riffs, big and juicy grooves, and a punchy…

BOWMEN – Mission IV

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/bowmenband/ The German hard rockers known as Bowmen are back with their third full-length album and one that sees them marrying varying influences from 60s blues rock, 70s hard rock, early 90s grunge, and even a bit of alt. rock to good effect. Rooted in the sounds of old yet putting…

SMOKING SNAKES – Danger Zone

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/smokingsnakesofsweden/ Yes, this is just what I was in the mood for today – a raunchy and fiery blast of sleaze metal with a raw edge and a lively atmosphere to it. Swedish delinquents Smoking Snakes recently released this eleven-track debut offering of theirs via Frontiers and it ticks a lot…

COBRAKILL – Serpent’s Kiss

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/cobrakillrocks/ The German heavy metal/hard rock outfit known as Cobrakill unleashed their sophomore effort a couple of months ago via Frontiers and this 12-track slice of fiery fun is filled with adrenaline-fueled riffs, gang vocals, and a bad-ass attitude. There is no shortage of vigor and quality to this 80s-inspired blast…

JACK RUSSELL/TRACII GUNS – Medusa

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4HBC3DZwjOaVS5TQEt7fwB Medusa turned out to be a rather uplifting and enjoyable listening experience to these ears – more so than many of the other Frontiers projects conceived by the label – due to the style and tone of the record having a cool, groovy, and seventies-ish hard rock vibe to it.…

DURBIN – Screaming Steel

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/DurbinRock/ I quite enjoyed the pounding heavy metal exercise by the talented singer James Durbin that was The Beast Awakens, which came out in 2021. Rooted as it was in classic eighties-flavored metal inspired by the likes of Accept, Judas Priest, DIO, Jag Panzer, and NWOBHM in general, it provided lots…

PRAGATA – Rise of the New Empire (Demo 2024)

RELEASE YEAR: 2024BAND URL: https://pragata.bandcamp.com/album/rise-of-the-new-empire-demo-2024 Released in early February via Bandcamp and sporting a brilliant and perfectly evocative album artwork, this 4-track slice of harsh and hypnotic black metal by the US horde known as Pragata is catchy as hell and rather well-arranged. Its gloriously lo-fi sound and the unpolished nature of the song material…

DARRYL W. BULLOCK – Queer Blues: The Hidden Figures of Early Blues Music

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://omnibuspress.com/products/queer-blues-the-hidden-figures-of-early-blues-music-published-6th-july-2023?_pos=1&_sid=c7511005c&_ss=r The immensely talented author Darryl W. Bullock composed one of the best books of 2021 in the shape of Velvet Mafia, and its follow-up titled Pride, Pop and Politics (2022) was yet another thought-provoking and illuminating study of the LGBQT community in relation to British music history, culture, and society…

BRUJERIA – Esto Es Brujeria

RELEASE YEAR: 2023 BAND URL: https://www.brujeria.com/ The Californian grindcore death metal groove act Brujeria (Spanish: witchcraft), which performs their vocals exclusively in Spanish, was formed by John David “Juan Brujo” Lepe, Patrick “Adam Bomb” “Fantasma” Hoed, William David Gould “Güero Sin Fe” Junior (Faith No More) Eric Reed “Jello Biafra” “Hozicón Jr.” Boucher and (until…

MORBID SACRIFICE – Ceremonial Blood Worship

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://godzovwarproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ceremonial-blood-worship What we have here is filthy and rotten death metal from Italy courtesy of the ugly quartet known as Morbid Sacrifice, and this short and pulverizing record of theirs is undoubtedly one of the catchiest outputs that I have come across lately. Efficiency is clearly something that these guys are…

NATTMANN – Et Jordsmonn Av Døde

RELEASE YEAR: 2024  BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/nattmannofficial The Norwegian black metal duo Nattmann e-mailed us a digital copy of their latest release, namely the 4-track EP sporting the evocative moniker Et Jordsmonn Av Døde, and let me start out by saying that I am grateful to these skilled dudes for doing so. This is a convincing and…

ERSTWHILE – Ancient Steel

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://erstwhilebm.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-steel I became aware of this melancholy black metal duo not that long ago thanks to the brilliant and ever-reliable Regimental Records who released the Steeling of a Soul album by Erstwhile on CD. This 3-track EP is hauntingly effective and drenched in an impressively solemn atmosphere that is underlined and…

HUGO’S VOYAGE – Inception

RELEASE YEAR: 2023BAND URL: https://www.voyageband.com/home With a core line-up consisting of superb musicians and a knack for crafting a pleasing and richly textured AOR tune, this is a pretty enjoyable musical affair and one that bodes very well for the future should Hugo and his skilled bandmates decide to continue down this cool musical path.…

CARE OF NIGHT – Reconnected

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/careofnight/ The third record by the awesome melodic rockers from Sweden known as Care of Night is just the thing if 80s-flavored AOR gets you high. Everything here is easy to digest and instantly appealing, the production is pristine and oozes professionalism, and the number of hooks and catchy vocal melodies…

TARJA – Dark Christmas

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://tarjaturunen.com/new-release-dark-christmas/ The beautifully packaged Dark Christmas by Finnish sensation Tarja Turunen is undoubtedly one of the more interesting winter/Christmas-themed outputs that I have ever heard or come across thanks to its rather creative arrangements and great ideas. In addition, the way in which everyone involved in the endeavor has colored the…

VITALINES – Wheels Within Wheels

RELEASE YEAR: 2023BAND URL: https://youtu.be/dRCYtDQB36s?si=qH43DNocKPNUSdsW Now this melodic debut LP by the duo sporting the moniker Vitalines is an interesting one. With Robbie LaBlanc on vocals and Tommy Denander on guitars, bass, and keyboards, it is hardly as if the band lack pedigree, and when things work on the album, which they do most of…

NITRATE – Feel the Heat

RELEASE YEAR: 2024  BAND URL: https://www.facebook.com/Nitrateofficial/ With their fourth album these cool British rockers have well and firmly established their credentials as one of the more exciting AOR/melodic rock groups out there. Exploding right out of the gate by means of the hook-laden title track, these chaps definitely mean business and sound more confident and focused…

DIMMU BORGIR – Inspiratio Profanus

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://www.dimmu-borgir.com/ Well-known Norwegian symphonic black metallers Dimmu Borgir came upon the idea of recording and releasing an album consisting entirely of covers, which immediately piqued my interest simply because the idea of these guys doing something like that seemed like a fun thing to listen to. Clocking in at roughly 32…

DATAROCK – Media Consumption Pyramid

RELEASE YEAR: 2023  BAND URL: https://www.datarockmusic.com/ Norwegian synthpop/new wave/indie rock eccentrics Datarock are back with a lovely new slice of memorable music that is bound to make you dance and think at the same time. With its infectious sense of enthusiasm and energy not to mention its quirky lyrics and pristine-sounding production, Media Consumption Pyramid shows…

VEIN – Blood Oaths

RELEASE YEAR: 2023BAND URL: https://godzovwarproductions.bandcamp.com/album/blood-oaths The American black metal combo known as Vein specializes in raw, claustrophobic, and downright oppressive music of the most loathsome and sinister kind. These twisted fucks manage to weave a thick and nasty atmosphere together by means of simple yet efficiently dark riffs, sick effects, and demented vocals, and the…

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