by: Chris Rigney
Kreator "Phantom Antichrist" (Nuclear Blast)
Potentially the best album of their career, this is an excellent thrash metal record that is taken to the extremely. The band really took the time to craft interesting compositions and complicated riffs to keep the music fresh and exciting. Very highly recommended.
Tenacious D "Rize of the Fenix" (Columbia)
This album revolves around Tenacious D overcoming hilarious personal obstacles and rising to fame after their not-so-impressive box office release "Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny." You get the kind of hilarity expected from these guys, and a number of tracks are excellent rock attacks to boot!
High on Fire "De Vermis Mysteriis" (E1)
This album encompasses everything great about High on Fire, and it's probably their heaviest album to date. Excellent combination of thrashy and doomy material. Their vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike commented that this is loosely a concept album about a deceased sibling of Jesus Christ who travels back through time body-to-body (Quantum Leap style) using a potion brewed out of black lotus. Very cool record and particularly good for their fans.
Gojira "L'Enfant Sauvage" (Roadrunner)
French metal moguls Gojira return with their follow up album to "The Way of All Flesh." The title loosely translates to "Wild Child," and vocalist Joe Duplantier commented that this album was a 'no bullsh*t' attempt to write an intense album that is both complicated and simple at the same time. Lyrically, it explores the meaning of Freedom and its relation to human beings. Awesome record and highly recommended for those interested in technical, progressive, heavy artists.
Firewind "Few Against Many" (Firewind/Dismanic)
Firewind follow up their previous album with another solid effort. Their music still contains too much 80s rock for my liking, but it's still palatable for fans of Symphony X, Rhapsody of Fire, and Sonata Arctica.
Goatwhore "Blood for the Master" (Metal Blade)
Goatwhore wrote their newest album in the same thrashier style as their prior effort "Carving Out the Eyes of God." This is a very intense record, and I think this band deserves a lot of credit for carving their own niche as a blackened thrash/death metal band.
Fear Factory "The Industrialist" (Candlelight/Lumberjack)
Fear Factory was reduced to only two members following their last album, so Rhys Fulber of Frontline Assembly fame came in to help reinvigorate their sound a bit. This time around, only vocalist Burton Bell and guitarist Dino Cezares contribute to this album. It is far more straight forward like their prior release "Mechanize" without the stop/start rhythms and other songwriting quirks that made their earlier material more memorable. However, this album is also more experimental (thanks to Mr. Fulber) with tracks like God Eater and Christploitation involving more electronic elements
Deicide "To Hell With God" (Century Media)
Deicide gives you more of the same this time around, but that isn't a bad thing ever since they refreshed their sound with their "Stench of Redemption" album two releases ago. Although this album is less memorable than the previous two, you're in for one helluva ride while listening.
Accept "Stalingrad" (Nuclear Blast)
Accept are back with another excellent release that harkens back to the earlier days of metal. Many aspects of this release remind me of what you'd get if bands like Overkill, Sodom and Kreator decided to be less thrash and more NWOBHM.
Cattle Decapitation "Monolith of Inhumanity" (Metal Blade)
These vegan metallers continue to impress with each subsequent album. Extremely fast and heavy grind that still throws in melodic parts and even incorporates sing-along portions (see the song "A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat"). They continue with their anti-human/pro-animal lyrical themes with songs the emphasize the brutality that would occur if we processed humans just like we do animals.
Ancient VVisdom "A Godlike Inferno" (Shinebox)
This album is a wonderful treat. It's effectively what you would get if you crossed Agalloch and Alice in Chains, which is to say a primarily acoustic band with dark, depressing lyrics (mostly about Satan) in a kind of folk atmosphere. Really interesting and good stuff.
Allegaeon "Formshifter" (Metal Blade)
Lastly we have Allegaeon's new epic death metal masterpiece. This is for fans of bands like Behemoth (recent stuff) and Keep of Kalessin. Very epic, fast, and heavy symphonic death metal. Not quite the same level of intensity as bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, but very impressive and enjoyable. A great release.