We are officially halfway through the year. But, with so many huge albums still left to come out, including just this week, there is still plenty of new music to go. With 11 new albums this week, let’s waste no time and get into them!
Shinedown: Planet Zero
A return to form for the Jacksonville natives, as Planet Zero is a very good album. I went in skeptical after their last two but the band below me away. Check out the full review and the score here.
Municipal Waste: Electrified Brain
One of the biggest bands still proudly waving the thrash banner on the periphery of the mainstream, Municipal Waste are onto their seventh studio album now. Said album is good. I feel like their fans know what to expect from the band now and they certainly do not disappoint. Tracks like ‘Demoralizer’, ‘Grave Dive’ and ‘Thermonuclear Protection’ are masterclasses in modern day thrash. In a day and age where everything is drawn out and full of highs and lows, it’s quite nice to have a band not take things too seriously and instead give us half an hour o punk-and-beer charged speed. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and Municipal Waste prove that they are pretty indestructible after two decades. 8.5/10
Blood Command: Praise Armageddonism
The vocals put me off this a bit at first. Whether it’s the high-pitched extreme metal/hardcore screams or the almost Hayley Williams-like cleans, they seem an odd choice over the instruments. However when the band get lighter is where they shine, in my opinion. When I started to get used to the vocals, tracks like ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Questionable Taste in Friends’ are great songs. The band draw together so many different influences, from punk to indie to metal, and fuse it together well. As an album it grew on me a fair bit as it went on and I’d happily listen to a lot of it again and again! 7/10
Fresh: Raise Hell
The band are another in a growing list of new bands to bring back an older, Pulp-like sound. Therefore, when I Googled them and their Wiki said they were pop punk, I was a tad let down. I suppose it is still pop punk, just a lot different to the usual style of it. However, after the first couple of tracks, I started to fall in love with this. Both ‘Babyface’ and ‘Going to Bed’ are amazing tracks, full of great, catchy lyrics, bouncy instrumentation and even some horns thrown in for good measure (y’all know I love a horn). Kathryn Woods has a beautiful voice that fits the rest of the band perfectly. It’s an amazing album to chill out to and it’s honestly one of my favourite lighter albums of this year, by quite a margin. I’mma have to see these guys live soon! 8/10
The dirty, groovy, sludge black metal personify everything great about the heavier metal scene today. Whether it’s the plodding sludginess, stripped-back, menacing clean guitar parts or the all out assault and speed and screams, this is a masterpiece. Just check out opening track ‘It Dwells’. It’s 7-minutes should tell you exactly what the band is about, and it’s glorious. It’s like they listened to early Opeth and said ‘we’ll raise’ and then added some Behemoth in just for good measure. And for this sort of quality to come from the bands just second album, I cannot wait to hear how they keep pushing themselves in the future. 8.5/10
Ivan Knight and the Imaginary Friends: 1958
And now for something completely different. A ‘punk rock’ album that seems ripped straight out of an 8-Bit, adventure NES game is certainly a novel concept, and is pulled off rather enjoyably by Ivan. It’s probably technically not rock, but it doesn’t fit into any other genre and is punk enough to be taken in by us, right? It’s a novelty, but it’s a fun one that is definitely worth a listen for the creativity and story alone. 6/10
Horizon Ignited: Towards the Dying Lands
the melodeath metallers joined forces with Nuclear Blast Records this time for the release of their sophomore album. The band do a fantastic job of combining the two styles, having thrashy riffs, crushing, heavy screams but then HUGE, catchy, hook-filled choruses. It’s hard to even pick a highlight as it’s all amazing, but the title track hits different than the others. Yes, it has more clean vocals than most of the other tacks, but it gives it more of a heavy metalcore feel to it that I LOVE. And it’s massively catchy and just feels epic. Also the cleaner ballad, ‘Aching Wings’, is fucking phenomenal. But again, all of the other tracks are also awesome. The clean reminds me a lot of David Drainman, and the melodies written for it are just as catchy as Disturbed ‘s stuff, too. The band definitely have a new fan in me, and I NEED to hear more of them, NOW. 9/10
Thirteen Goats: Servants of the Outer Dark
More melodeath, but unfortunately not quite the same quality as the previous band. It’s not bad by any stretch, but the vocals let it down just a tad. Multiple different vocal styles is always going to be hard to pull off and while they do a good job at fitting them all into the tracks, the lower growl/singing combo isn’t quite up to the same quality as the others. It sounds better when it’s just a full on growl. However, tracks like ‘Challenge the Executioner’ and ‘Sub-Being’ are a lot of fun and definite highlights. And a shout-out to the instrumentalists, especially the drummer, for being absolutely amazing players. A good album that got better throughout for me. 6.5/10
Then Comes Silence: Hunger
The Swedish gothic, post-punk band released a doom-drenched album based around positivity after the pandemic last week. It’s like a depressed version of the Fresh album from earlier in this article, a somehow even more gothic Pulp. The band are all good musicians and it’s a good album, but it did get old pretty quick for me. I enjoyed it but after the first 4-5 tracks I felt like I’d heard all it had to offer. After that it got a tad repetitive and boring. Not bad, but I won’t be going out of my way to listen to it again. 5.5/10
The Dear Hunter: Antimai
The prog rockers released their eighth studio album last Friday. While the opening track didn’t grab my attention, ‘Industry’ is funk-rock awesomeness. The horns again make it for me, adding to the catchiness of the vocals. Heck, the track even has a bass solo, what more could you want? It’s one of my favourite tracks of the year, hands down. Outside of odd parts of tracks like ‘Middle Class’ and ‘Tower’ I can take or leave the rest as it was a little slow for the sort of prog I like. However, it was still good and I’d happily have it on in the background or on a long car journey! 6/10
Ironhawk: Ritual of the Warpath
Last up this week is the Aussie thrash/punk-metal band’s debut LP. Musically it’s a lot of fun, but the production leaves a lot to be desired. It reminds me of a heavier Motorhead, and is a lot of fun. I just can’t quite get over the distant, reverb-heavy vocals. I want to see them live as I feel like I’d get a much better appreciation of them. Because of this, I can’t give them much more than 5/10
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