And every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK.
Today we review and rate the latest offerings from Max Cavalera’s Soulfly and the mighty Epica (pictured).
Plus we cast a critical eye over new releases courtesy of Cannibal Corpse, Stephen Forte and Coldworker.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Thrash Metal
There is something beautifully brutal about this latest offering from the phenomenally talented Max Cavalera. Never prone to penning soothing elevator music, Enslaved nevertheless sees the former Sepultura frontman go all out for sonic armageddon on some of his heaviest offerings to date.
The Slayer-esque fury underpinning American Steel cuts to the bone with abrasive vocals welded onto a thumping bass line likely to leave the neighbours scurrying for cover. The pulsating halfway point of a relentlessly powerful record, this tune alone proves that Soulfly have put some serious thought into topping 2010’s critically acclaimed Omen.
Lead track World Scum set message boards buzzing some time ago with its obvious wow factor but immerse yourself in Enslaved and it’s quickly obvious that thrash metal highlights abound. Treachery is an epic slice of classic Cavalera and Revengeance relies on a ‘made in Maiden’ intro to set the scene for another rib rattling romp.
Soulfly have always been capable of crafting superior metal records but 15 years down the line and mad Max appears to be hitting his creative peak. Enslaved is testimony to a musician at the forefront of his genre and in no mood to allow constant line-up changes and irritating references to his former band detract from the here and now. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Heart And Soul
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Death Metal
One of the most prolific and consistent acts of death metal’s old guard are back with another slice of blood-drenched extremity.
Torture, the 12th album from Cannibal Corpse, is all you’d expect from the Florida-based band: heads-down, bone-crunching grooves, catchy-as-hell riffs and horror flick song titles (The Strangulation Chair anyone?).
The quintet have long excelled at executing their memorable, tar-thick DM blasts with stunning technical prowess and itís business as usual here. Opener Demented Aggression lives up to its name, with an addictive, Slayerised hook anchoring the track, while Scourge Of Iron pounds away with a menacing, down tempo chug and Torn Through is a vicious, raging blast.
Twenty four years in the game, these grizzled veterans are simply a class act and with Torture, they deliver a Cannibal lecture to DM’s new school. There’s plenty of life in the old corpse yet. Richard Holmes
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Gore-some
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Such is the ethereal quality of lead singer Simone Simons’ vocal style that it’s impossible to understand why Mark Jansen feels the need to punctuate many of Epica’s finest moments with grunts and screams more suited to a bunch of death metal amateurs.
Perhaps it’s some kind of skewed reaction to finding his band lumped in with every other female-fronted symphonic/gothic metal act on the planet or maybe he just enjoys growling all over music inherently suited to melody.
Requiem For The Indifferent allows both Simons and Jansen the opportunity to shine but it is the latter’s rhythm guitar, rather than his suspect growling, that impresses most. And if the contrast between vocal styles often jars then there’s little doubt Epica deliver some of the most uplifting metal on the symphonic scene.
Monopoly On Truth and the title track are simply stunning but then this is a band high on confidence and riding the crest of a creative wave. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Epicalling
Genre: Neo-classical Metal
Missing Yngwie Malmsteen at his flamboyant best? Forgotten what it takes to really push the boundaries of rapid-fire guitar wizardry? Scared Satch has thrown in his lot with Chickenfoot for good? Stephane Forte has arrived to fill the gap, kill those fears and put the fun back into fret-melting.
The Adagio guitarist is on fine form as he races through The Shadows Compendium like a musician possessed – showcasing an incredible talent and lacking any hint of modesty. Forte knows he’s good – bordering on the brilliant – and this is his way of telling the world.
The blues-meets-Far East flavour of Spiritual Bliss is the obvious highlight as the pace occasionally slows to show a different side to a musician for whom speed can appear to be everything.
To shred or not to shred? That is the question facing Forte on an album that is both technically flawless and frequently soulless. From the text book, rather than from the heart. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Stephantastic
Genre: Death Metal
Boasting all the ingredients of a death metal recipe for impending doom – Swedish origin, an evil growler of a vocalist and nasty riffs to slit your wrists to – Coldworker’s cauldron of bubbling angst should quench the thirst of long-haired, hell-bound head bangers everywhere.
But there’s something missing once The Doomsayer’s Call is carefully dissected and analysed in detail. Sure it’s rich in the emotion and depravation synonymous with the genre’s most subversive acts but Coldworker can’t seem to settle on a trademark sound to suit their pure malevolence.
Flesh World and Murderous are more where you’d hope and expect the band to be moving forward: both tunes are more focused and more effective as a result. Yet for the most part the frankly fearsome Joel Fornbrant and his buddies can’t contain a tendency to move too far, too fast, too often.
The Doomsayer’s Call is a more than decent slice of traditional death metal. Rich in potential, its successor could blow the opposition out of the water. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Call To Arms