[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Convent Guilt - Guns For Hire (Shadow Kingdom)
This Australian quartet brings back the sound of killer NWOBHM-era metal on their debut album. With a barrage of dueling guitars, ripping riffs and smooth vocals, Convent Guilt harkens back to the past and pulls it off quite well. The choruses are loaded with hooks, providing a fun reprieve from the normal death and doom albums that come out every week. Don’t expect anything ground- breaking on this release, but if you like that classic metal sound, you’ll dig this one.
The Crown - Death Is Not Dead (Century Media)
As stalwarts of the Melodic Death Metal scene, this Swedish quartet can be counted upon to release a solid album every time out and their 8th album ranks up there with anything in their discography. Thrashy riffs combine with death metal drumming and aggressive vocals to create the standard Gothenburg-esque melodeath sound, but this doesn’t come off as a retread of the style or its 90’s heyday. These guys pretty much do one thing and they do it very well.
Ghoulgotha - The Deathmass Cloak (Dark Descent)
The San Diego trio spews forth a stunning slab of Doom/Death on their debut full-length release. The album’s 10 tracks lean more towards the death side, but there are some slower moments and the whole affair has an overwhelming doom feel. The riffage is absolutely brutal throughout, with thrash parts melding seamlessly with haunting single-note parts. The vocals remain in the guttural range throughout, which is to be expected. Very solid debut release.
Thorr-Axe - Gates of Winter (N/A)
If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack to this frigid winter, look no further than Bloomfield, Indiana’s stoner/doom quartet. On their second album, the doomsters unleash a killer barrage of massive riffs, thundering drums and face-melting solos. I’m a sucker for crushing doom metal with wintry, Viking themes, so I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. These dudes delivered the best album of the week, by a long shot. Can’t wait to see them live.
Witchrider - Unmountable Stairs (Fuzzorama)
Signed to Truckfighter’s Fuzzorama label for the release of their debut album, this Austrian quartet delivers massive doses of QOTSA worship and, of course, fuzz. I haven’t been especially enamored with a lot of straight-up stoner rock releases lately, but this one delivers for the most part. While I’m not a fan of the obvious Josh Homme vocals, the fuzz is warm and the riffs are rocking. If these guys can expand on their formula and develop their own sound, they’re going to be a force.