And there’s a slew of heavy stuff casting a dark shadow over spring.
Ghold’s uncompromising brand of doom and sludge sets the tone and we rate a powerful debut from Treedeon.
We deliver our verdict on Dødheimsgard (pictured) and run the rule over Moonspell’s latest.
To Kill A King return and there’s an all-star tribute to the late Randy Rhoads.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Black Metal
There’s avant-garde black metal and then there’s Dødheimsgard, who see to inhabit a cosmic realm where the laws of physics don’t apply.
Their first full length in eight years doesn’t disappoint, with abrasive tremolo picking and blast beats dissolving into flights of fancy, quirky prog meanderings and sax driven diversions. Tracks like Aphelion Void and God Protocol Axiom simply have to be heard to be believed.
And charging back into the fray is original vocalist Aldrahn, whose demented wails and yelps are the perfect accompaniment to the Norwegian act’s disorientating excursions. This band have never exactly played it safe, but they have well and truly thrown out the rule book with A Umbra Omega… and it’s certainly not a record for BM purists (not that we ever expected it to be).
Proudly original, utterly uncompromising, technically outstanding, Dødheimsgard have made a comeback album which shouts ‘we’re back’ from the rooftops. And they won’t care what anyone thinks of it either. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Bizarre Behaviour
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Doom/Sludge Metal
The gentle intro to opener Saw The Falling lulls you into a false sense of security, for two minutes in, you’re dragged straight into a sludgy mire – courtesy of a titanic, rumbling bass sound and pulverising percussion. For a two piece, these Londoners make one hell of a racket, filling their second album with howled incantations and enough low end to have all but the most hardened doom-heads running to the hills.
What’s intriguing about Ghold is their ability to crack out some infectious grooves and snappy time changes – and even introduce some incense burning psych to proceedings – on tracks like Partaken Incarnate, when plenty of acts in their scene would choose a lazier approach. This isn’t a band who simply rely on monotonous riffing and snail’s pace rhythms to get their point across.
Ok, messrs Antony and Wilson can be a touch too lumbering at times (Odic Force, for instance), but on the whole, their murky musical vision bears fruit. Play loud. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Ghold Plated
Snarling, raucous noise rock is what Treedeon throw up on their first album, but it’s noise rock with plenty of Melvins-esque moments chucked in to keep things interesting – and fantastically heavy.
At their best (the spit and sludge anthem Blankapitation, the raging, vicious closer Terracide) the Berliners are a formidable proposition. A shame, then, that Lowest Level Reincarnation kicks off with the turgid Love Turns Liquid, as its unimaginative riffs and weak vocals don’t do the band any justice.
However, once you’ve got through that song’s eight and half minutes, you can indulge yourself with head splintering aural assaults like Satan’s Need and Extinction… and when co-vocalist Yvonne Ducksworth takes the mic, the trio are all the better for her contribution.
Something for Sub Pop acolytes, NOLA scenesters and New York noiseniks alike then, Lowest Level Reincarnation is, for the most part, a fine debut. RH
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Berlin Maul
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Gothic Metal
More gothic than melodic death, if you like your metal with a gazillion growls, multiple grunts and no hint of pop sensibility then Extinct may not be for you. Twenty years after debut Wolfheart announced the Portuguese crew as ones to watch this could be the band’s most accessible record yet.
Breathe (Until We Are No More) has more than a hint of vintage Depeche Mode – mixed with a pounding Rammstein-lite rhythm – running through its immersive core.
And standout track Mudusalem manages to marry classic rock with Eastern flavours to create a quite beautiful soundscape – complemented by a subtle female voice over.
There are heavier moments but Extinct is all about aural subtlety than bludgeoning brute force. And all the better for it. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Spell Test
Genre: Alt Rock
At the end of 2014, To Kill A King give us a hint of what was to come with the release of a five track EP Exit Perused By A Bear. Whilst this early offering was filled with promise and potential, nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.
Second album syndrome is an age old problem but this London based five piece have blown the theory right out of the water with a diversified, polished number filled with bluesy melody.
Using a range of instruments, everyone has a strong part to play. From guitars to keys and drums to synths everything is laid down so tightly that Ralph Pellymounter’s infectious vocals are given the perfect platform to draw in the audience.
With an overall upbeat feel, tracks like School Yard Rumours, Love Is Not Control and Friends utilise an easy listening approach on an album that offers plenty to digest. An excellent collection from start to finish. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 The King Is Dead, All Hail The King
Genre: Classic Rock/Hard Rock
The title of this intriguing compilation is true to an extent. The music of Rhoads has long since served to guarantee the immortality of the man but is this the ultimate tribute? Perhaps not.
It’s well intentioned with 11 strong covers spanning the guitar hero’s short yet influential career. However, there is no hint of Ozzy Osbourne – the man who shot Rhoads to fame in the late 1970s – and as such this release lacks a killer punch.
Journeyman vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens has been charged with undertaking the majority of the vocal duties – only briefly ceding to System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian on Crazy Train, Testament’s Chuck Billy on Mr Crowley and Rhoads’ brother Kelle on Back To The Coast. Owens does a decent job but he’s no metal A-lister.
But do the vocals really matter? Isn’t this all about the guitar? Guests Tom Morello, Alex Laiho, Doug Aldrich, Bruce Kulick, George Lynch, Dweezil Zappa, Joel Hoekstra, Brad Gillis and Gus G suggest it is as they combine to thrilling effect to breathe new life into Rhoads’ finest work.
The Ultimate Tribute? Not quite. But deserved recognition nevertheless. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Rhoads Test