(Artwork by AFGM. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
So for the most part, I am pretty excited about this week's releases. There are a few names here I am very much looking forward to hearing such as Gus G, Symphony X, WCAR, and Lamb of God. Between that and the debut album from Awaken The Empire (and rounding out with a Death Angel DVD), it seems like a great mix of genres that I would be thoroughly enjoying throughout the week; in hopes you all enjoy as well.
So if you are looking for a preview of these tracks, then social media, or YouTube would be your best fit. If you are determined to purchase a copy, then be sure to do it from a local record store, online retailer, or trusted digital source. Cheers and enjoy discovering new music!
(Awaken The Empire - Aurora)
Aurora is an album with a lot of high points (the quick fire opening salvo, the epic and riff laden Heavy Is The Hand That Wears The Crown, the aforementioned Cross My Heart and the string laden Ashes) but ultimately doesn’t match the heights of its grand ambitions, at times trying to be too grand just for the sake of it and this doesn’t really come off. Awaken The Empire undoubtedly have it in them to make an amazing album but just fall short here and it will be extremely interesting to see what the band come up with next. -Toxic Online
(Gus G - Brand New Revolution)
Gus G is obviously a fantastically talented individual and he has cleverly pulled in the help of some equally talented musicians to make a solid rock/metal album that is jam packed full of guitar solos. It does feel that a little continuity is lost in the album through the different vocal styles of the many singers and there are a few tracks I found less interesting than others. Having said that, there are also a few exceptional tracks that I will be listening to for many years to come and even those less interesting ones all had a great solo to look forward to. All in all a very good album, just sitting a little below exceptional. -Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life
(Symphony X - Underworld)
All the ten songs (“Overture” is a climatic introduction for the album) are wonderful, but besides I told above for you to hear the entire album, you could start with the climatic, technical and heavy “Nevermore” (with Mike Romeo playing very good riffs, a wonderful solo, and with Russell using multiple tunes of his wonderful voice), the abrasive “Underworld” (again with Michael Romeo creating great moments with his 6 strings axe and great moments of Russell, but Michael Pinnella is showing a very good work on his keyboards as well), the introspective and beautiful ballad “Without You” (great chorus, fine clean and distorted guitars, and Michael Lepond and Jason are playing savagely, with technique and weight). On “Kiss of Fire”, great orchestrations and a fine work on bass guitar give the initial spark for a heavy and catching song, and another great chorus is presented. A heavy and worked tempo is presented on “Charon”, another excellent song, with vocals using and abusing of very good tunes and with that final touch perfectly done by bass guitar and keyboards. The long and elegant “Hell and Back” comes, full of great tempo changes, tons of very heavy and good technical moments, and a perfect and hooking chorus, with both Michael Romeo and Michael Lepond being simply splendid on this song. -Metal Temple
(Conquer Divide - Conquer Divide)
The songs that comprise Conquer Divide are solid musical works, however the beautiful vocal pairings (“Heavy Lies The Crown”) alongside melodic choruses and heavy leads (“Despicable You”)just feel dated. The technical skill and production quality make Conquer Divide a truly fine record, but a record without any remarkable innovation. Now that Conquer Divide have their feet planted in the music scene, though, they may have more room to branch out and create something spectacular next time around. -New Noise Magazine
(We Came As Romans - We Came As Romans)
(Lamb of God - VII: Sturm Und Drang)
And though Lamb of God use melody in a more profound way than they have in the past, the songs are all still as brutal as a back-alley gang beating. Drummer Chris Adler’s acrobatic beats are like a fusillade of kicks to the ribs, Mark Morton and Willie Adler’s crunching guitars and squealing fills are heavy as a mausoleum and their licks ensnare like giant fish hooks and Blythe’s vocals range from red-faced to demonic.
Any serious review of VII: Sturm und Drang would be incomplete without addressing “Overlord,” in which Lamb of God trumps Pantera’s lauded “Cemetery Gates” by delivering a haunted, bluesy power ballad (or as close as they’ll ever come to that). Those who listened carefully to the band’s last album, and remember “Insurrection” know Blythe can carry a tune, he just usually chooses not to. -Loudwire
(Death Angel - A Thrashumentary)
The first half of the documentary is by far the most compelling part. It covers the band’s early days, breakup and reunion. Along with Osegueda and Cavestany, many metal luminaries make an appearance in the documentary. Members of fellow Bay Area bands like Gary Holt (Exodus) and Chuck Billy (Testament) talk about Death Angel, as do numerous other musicians such as Scott Ian and Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Michael Amott (Arch Enemy), Jeff Walker (Carcass) and Chris Adler (Lamb of God).
The second half of the documentary that covers the current era of Death Angel and focuses heavily on the Relentless Retribution album and tour cycle has its moments, but isn’t as riveting as the first half. -About Entertainment