[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Crossed Fire - Life's A Gamble (Hellxis)
The Portuguese quintet dives right into some solid Crowbar/Down worship on their debut album. The Phil Anselmo influence is most apparent in the vocals, but overall it’s not just a rip-off album. Taking cues from the NOLA scene and putting a few European touches on it, this is a just a straightforward, no frills metal album.
Cruachan - Blood for the Blood God (Trollzorn)
The seventh release from this Irish 6-piece is a pretty standard Folk/Celtic Metal affair. These guys stick mainly to the tried-and-true folk melodies and while they aren’t breaking any new ground, they do everything quite well. This is an enjoyable listen and if you’re already into Folk Metal, it should be right up your alley.
Mesmur - Mesmur (Code666)
The North Carolina quartet serves up some punishing Funeral Doom on their debut album, with five tracks clocking in at just under an hour. The riffs are monstrous and frigid, reminiscent of Eastern European doom rather than the Appalachian strain. If you like your doom slow and heavy on the atmosphere, this is a good bet.
Stormcast - Frame of Mind (Pitch Black)
Another solid debut album this week, this one coming all the way from Cyprus. The 5-man Black Metal crew delivers some killer tracks full of melody and atmosphere, with fantastic riffage and vocals. It took these guys 7 years to crank out a full-length. Let's hope the next one comes much sooner.