I guess the big news of late would be Slayer announcing their supposed live career halt. It’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, now we need Metallica to follow suit, PRONTO! Progressive luminaries Cynic made a pleasant return recently with a track showing off some really cool, intricate songwriting and beautiful guitar technicality from Paul Masvidal. I actually thought this band was done. Guess not. Hope there’s more material in the works. And… Def Leppard’s entire back catalogue is now available digitally so… I guess I could click something of theirs… or not. Finally, does anyone really know if Tool are in the studio or not? It remains a worldwide mystery, maybe Rob Flynn has an opinion. Now. New albums!

Anvil – Pounding The Pavement

Everything moves forward but Anvil stays the same. An appropriate slogan if there ever was one. The Canucks have influenced tons of bands, including many of the thrash bands that started out in the early/mid eighties. All of their peers speak out positively about their persistence and commitment to metal music. The band’s “career” is an interesting one, I recommend watching “The Story Of Anvil” for a better insight on the band’s hardships and learning curves (or lack thereof at times).

Four decades of pounding the pavement. It’s a life-affirming title which the unsung metal purists have chosen for their umpteenth album. Lifelong partners, Rob Reiner and Steve “Lips” Kudlow serve yet another round of pure metal music. There’s the teutonic Accept groove of opener “Bitch In The Box” or if you need speed, there’s the double bass dominated lead single “Ego”, which has an old school Helloween sounding chorus. There’s the polar bear themed, mid tempo stomper “Nanook Of The North” and catchy rockers like “Rock That Shit” and “Warming Up”. There’s really nothing wrong with this album, it’s a fun ride. Let’s not complicate thing here. And don’t take my word for it, check out the band as they review their own album on Banger TV in the clip below.



Arkona – Khram

I’ve reviewed several Russian bands in my time, most of them being very good, but it’s not a place I venture often. I’m not trying to avoid Russian bands deliberately, the country just isn’t integrated well enough into the daily grind of social media feeds and Spotify playlists. It’s an isolated scene so to speak with some potent underground mentality I guess.

Arkona’s new album turned out darker than I had expected, and here I was ready for “throw me a beer, let’s chant something and ride forth into battle” folk metal. This album is extremely multi-facetted both vocally and musically. The tracks are lengthy and ambitious, and yet they effortlessly marry traditional extreme metal sounds with mythological/pagan lyrical themes, bagpipes, flutes and modern keyboard sounds. The standout reoccuring percussive elements in the seventeen minute “Tseluya zhizn” is mesmerizing and a prime example of the aforementioned layered sound.

The vocals are also a true highlight. The berserk sounding howls of front woman and chief songwriter Masha Scream compliment the tempestuous atmospheres. I really like the diversity in the vocals as well, there are several styled put to use here, an example being the background shouting and harmonized singing in the track “Rebionok bez imeni”. This is a great album to immerse yourself in, although if you’re a “millennial”, you’ll probably manage to sit through one and a half track!



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