THE ELECTRIC AGE
If you are a fan of most of the big name metal bands and have been for 20+ years as so many of us have been, then you have really lived through ebbs and flows in their careers. For most of them, they are simply not as good as they once were. Sure, we still like what they do and support it, but let’s be honest about it. We do so out of respect for the past brilliance, and not because today’s stuff is of the same caliber. Pick a band – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament – some have put out strong releases, but can you say that their career in the last 15 years has been as strong as the first 10-15? Probably not. In my eyes, only one band of that ilk can say they are as strong, and I would argue they are stronger. That band is Overkill. While every album hasn’t been a home run (IMMORTALIS was kind of lacking), it’s pretty hard to argue that albums like FROM THE UNDERGROUND AND BELOW, IRONBOUND and NECROSHINE aren’t as strong or stronger than the classics like TAKING OVER or UNDER THE INFLUENCE.
THE FATAL FEAST
There are some bands that put out releases and you really, really know exactly what you can expect before ever playing a single note of one of their songs. Municipal Waste are one of those bands. Like all of their previous work, their Slayer meets early Anthrax approach to thrash hits you in the face with short blasts of aggression that leave you worn out after a full listen. Their lyrical outpouring pretty much stays the course as well; a litany of songs about horror, gore, and…well, sickness. These guys clearly don’t take themselves overly seriously, as is evidenced by songs like “Covered In Sick – The Barfer”.
It’s kind of odd really how time has worked with Max Cavalera. Back when Soulfly came out, the best quality of the band was that it took Max’s music fully into directions he wanted to explore bout really couldn’t with Sepultura. For many people, they will say quite a different thing, but hear me out. Far too many people criticized Soulfly for NOT sounding like Sepultura’s ARISE or CHAOS A.D., even though that really was never the intention. Somewhat predictably though, the years that have gone by has seen Cavalera progress (or regress depending on your stance) more and more toward the classic Sepultura sound. The last two albums, OMEN and DARK AGES, could easily have been mistaken for Sepultura reunion albums. The same can be said about Cavalera’s project with his brother, Cavalera Conspiracy. The same can now be said about ENSLAVED.
THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION
Not being the biggest fan of death metal hybrid bands of any kind, let alone bands that try to fuse black metal and goth together, I didn't have a whole lot of great expectations for THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION by long time Florida metallers Wykked Wytch. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to listening to it. To be even more honest, the only reason I decided to listen to this was because of the lineage of the past members of the band. This band has seen some great musicians come through it - especially on drums where both Kevin Talley and Richard Christy have chaired the kit at some point. Imagine my surprise when this release turned out to be pretty much an unstoppable brutality train.
Lamb Of God
Being honest here, a lot of people didn't like WRATH a whole lot, although I didn't fully understand why. Sure they ventured a touch from the tried and true, but ultimately it sounded pretty close to what Lamb Of God has generally sounded like. If anything, it may have been too close to being a sequel to SACRAMENT, but certainly wasn't an album that caused this band to need of a "comeback". That said, Lamb Of God have delivered what some will call a comeback, and what others will call the great next step from the band.