[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Dark Fortress - Venereal Dawn (Century Media)
The Bavarian six piece returns with their 7th album and first in 4 years. It's kind of hard to pigeonhole this album because it's super heavy and melodic, but it's not really melodic death metal. At times, Dark Fortress borrows heavily from Opeth, back when Opeth was still a metal band. These dudes basically run the gamut, from doom to thrash to death and back again, with acoustic passages thrown in for good measure. The melodic guitar leads are particularly impressive.
The Haunted - Exit Wounds (Century Media)
The Haunted seem to get a lot of grief simply because they're not At The Gates. I have to admit that I've always been more intrigued than impressed myself, but on their 8th album, this Gothenburg quintet unleashes a vicious riff fest the likes of which have rarely been rivaled this year. There's plenty of vitriol in the lyrics and each of the 14 tracks offers a different twist on The Haunted's brand of thrashy melodic death metal. Check out the final track, "Ghost in the Machine", for some of tastiest riffs ever to come out of Sweden.
YOB - Clearing the Path To Ascend (Neurot)
This Eugene, OR trio has been a pillar of the doom scene for over 10 years and for that entire time, I've unconscionably sat on the fence. Thus, I can't say whether this new album measures up to YOB standards, but it's certainly an impressive album by any other metric. From crushing doom to introspective interludes, the 4 tracks that make up this hour long album make for an incredible listening experience.I think it's time to finally check out the back catalog and any recommendations from readers would be greatly appreciated.