by: Chris Rigney
Russian Circles "Memorial" [Sargent House]
These post-rock instrumentalists from Chicago return with another great offering with a hint of shoegaze. The new album is both haunting and heavy, which both fit with the album title. Although they aren't as heavy as other instrumental acts like Blotted Science, Spastic Ink, or Electro Quarterstaff, I'm starting to really get into this band. Fans of bands like Cloudkicker, Explosions in the Sky, and Pelican should really enjoy this band. Excellent new release.
Protest The Hero "Volition" [Razor & Tie]
This metal band returns with another gallant offering. This release is not as technically dynamic as prior albums, but it's worth giving a listen if you enjoy highly technical metal with strong influnces from power metal and high energy 80s metal acts. Other influences range from At The Drive-In to Every Time I Die, but you'll have to listen for yourself to get these guys. A fun, new album.
Red Fang "Whales and Leeches" [Relapse]
Red Fang's new album is another great rock & roll/stoner metal release for fans of similar acts like Black Tusk, Doomriders, Earthless, and The Sword. They try to really blend some genres this time by incorporating more influences from punk and grunge leanings, but they still maintain their emphasis on riffs over technical prowess with the ever present 70s vibe. Great stuff.
iwrestledabearonce "Late For Nothing" [Century Media]
This post-hardcore, experimental metal act has been known for their spastic songwriting and energetic delivery based on their prior releases. This is for fans of The Number Twelve Looks Like You and Psyopus, to better give you an idea of their sound. However, this new album Late For Nothing is by far their most accessible disc in their catalogue, and the album itself is one giant rollercoaster ride of influences such as electronic music and jazz that makes great use of the gruff male and clean female vocals. This is extremely, highly recommended for those more adventurous listeners out there.
Hail of Bullets "III: The Rommel Chronicles" [Metal Blade]
This time around, Hail of Bullets has released a concept album about the rise and fall of the German field marshal Erwin Rommel, who was widely renowned as a brilliant military strategist of WWII. For their third outing, the band continues to combine some of the best elements of bands like Bolt Thrower and the less melodic aspects of Carcass. The music is more aggressive and faster overall, and the 'war metal' theme is prominent throughout. Very highly recommended for fans of Bolt Thrower who are looking for something a little more fresh.
Rivers of Nihil "The Conscious Seed of Light" [Metal Blade]
This is the debut album from new death metal act Rivers of Nihil. They are very reminiscent of recent releases by Behemoth and Allegaeon without the synth backgrounds and a much more raw production. An interview with the band explained that this is the first of a four album series that will explore themes concerned with seasons, and this first album of the series begins with Spring. Highly talented, aggressive, and very technical, this debut is a real treat for extreme metal fans.