by: Chris Rigney
Paradise Lost "Tragic Idol" (Century Media)
Renowned doom metallers Paradise Lost are back with another chapter in their melancholy collection. Very cool band who's been around for a long time. If you're into bands like My Dying Bride and Anathema, then these guys are for you.
Kill Devil Hill S/T (SPV/Steamhammer)
This band rocks!! The new self-titled album by Kill Devil Hill is definitely a keeper. Ex-Pantera bassist Rex Brown and ex-Black Sabbath drummer Vinnie Apice joined forces on this album to create a heavy, southern rock/metal influenced album that kicks some @$$. Vocalist Dewey Bragg could almost be the second coming of Layne Staley. Ultimately, this album sounds like a cross between Facelift-era Alice in Chains and Wiseblood-era Corrosion of Conformity, which is pretty awesome. More or less a no frills album, it's pretty straightforward without any bells and whistles so to speak. However, it rocks hard and the opening track "War Machine" is a great song.
Luca Turilli's Rhapsody "Ascending to Infinity" (Nuclear Blast)
Rhapsody (recently renamed as Luca Turilli's Rhapsody which I believe is still distinct from the band Rhapsody of Fire) just released an album that attempts to run the gamut of a variety of fantasy themes. For those not familiar, Luca Turilli is somewhat of a superstar in the power metal genre, and he can't seem to resist writing songs about fantasy themes and adventures (e.g. "The Ancient Forest of Elves" among others). Ultimately, this album is pretty much a lightweight and does not contain any real heaviness to comment on (although seeing them live could be a different matter), but for those fantasy power metal fans out there I'm sure this will still please your ears. Admittedly, the over-the-top nature of the fantasy elements seems more like a parody of the genre than a genuine effort, but credit is due to Luca Turilli for sticking to his passion. Entertaining power metal for fans of the genre.
Meshuggah "Koloss" (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah comes back with another juggernaut of an album. This time around the album contains a pretty wide variety of songs reminiscent of different periods in their career. Neck snapping time signatures and mind-blowing technically still define this band as one of the greatest and intelligent metal acts out there. "Do Not Look Down" could be a hidden track from their Nothing album, and "The Hurt That Finds You First" is one of the thrashiest songs they've released in a long time similar to tracks from Contradictions Collapse or maybe Chaosphere. These guess are still innovators within the math/technical/djent genre that they pioneered to begin with. Often imitated but never duplicated, Meshuggah remain a force to be reckoned with.
Eluveitie "Helvetios" (Nuclear Blast)
This band still remains as one of the most prominent artists in the pagan metal scene these days alongside acts like Turisas, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, and Finntroll. Very heavy acoustic and folk aspects still permeate their music, and they do a good job of blending heavy songwriting with their folk elements. This is a concept album that chronicles the Gaulish war from the perspective of the Helvetios tribe that existed back during that time of European conflict. Very well done with a large variety of songs and great songwriting. Recommended for those folks interesting in checking out this neat subgenre.