Not a huge week, not that we’ll get many now as we head towards the holiday season, but there’s still plenty of new music to sink our teeth into. From rock to metal to country, let’s get into it!
Brantley Gilbert: So Help Me God
This was unfortunately quite a slow country album. I’m a big fan of Gilbert’s sludgy brand of country rock, but I found it hard to get into this. It was all rather slow and acoustic, which is fine, I love a good country ballad, but it’s not what I got into Brantley because of. Heck, in some turn of über double-irony, ‘The Worst Country Song of All Time’ is one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album, despite the lyrics. ‘Son of the Dirty South’ was an awesome song and finally what I was expecting, but I shouldn’t start to enjoy an album over halfway through it. However, afterwards it very quickly gets back to the slow tracks again. Again, I’m not opposed to slower country tracks, but when it’s a whole album of them nearly, it does tend to get boring. When Brantley is cutting back and having fun, it’s the most fun I have listening to the whole album. Definitely his worst album for me. 4.5/10
Chelsea Grin: Suffer in Hell
No prizes for guessing this album is heavy as balls. The first part of their afterlife-inspired double album is filled with crushing riffs and some of the most brutal screams in the industry today. However, it will be now impossible to not compare this band with Darko US. And, I have to admit, I prefer the Darko album. It’s nothing at all against Grin, their talent for playing and songwriting is off the charts on this album. It’s simply that it’s straight-up deathcore, like they’ve always done, while Darko brings a new, interesting edge to the sound. When the band go a bit more sinister and dark on tracks like ‘Deathbed Companion’, it definitely holds my interest more. However, when bands like Whitechapel, Lorna Shore and even Darko themselves have put out some of the best deathcore albums ever these last few years, it’s a high standard to live up to, and I’m not sure this one does.
I still really enjoyed the album and I do think it’ll continue to grow on me through the next month or so. However, for now I’m going to give it a 7.5/10
P.S. sorry P67, ‘Crystal Casket’ gets my bleh of the year. That one at the end is filthy, as is the riff and breakdown in the song. A real highlight track of the album!
He is Legend: ENDLESS HALLWAY
The illegitimate lovechild of Cane Hill and Alice in Chains. Somehow, that means the album sits in an odd void between the modern nu metal revival and the mid-naughties radio rock of Shinedown, Rev Theory and Burn Halo. I love every band and genre I’ve just named so, of course, I fucking love this.
I was not familiar with this hand at all before now and this album has immediately made me a fan and want to check out more of their back catalogue. The riffing is so heavy and chuggy, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Gojira album, but the clean, low vocals give it a fantastic radio edge. Tracks like ‘LIFELESS LEMONADE’, ‘HONEY FROM THE HIVE’ and the utterly amazing ‘CIRCUS CIRCUS’ (yes, they are another band that shout at you) are massive highlights on an album chocked to the brim of them. There’re even elements of Mike Patton or Mushroomhead on the latter track, alongside the usual Korn and Tetrarch.
If you haven’t checked this band or, more importantly, this album out yet, do it right now. There honestly isn’t a bad track on it. 9.5/10 holy crap, a new obsession of mine.
Epica: The Alchemy Project
Symphonic metal always works well with guests, and Epica may very well be at the top of the symphonic scene in recent years. After last year’s FANTASTIC Omega, the band return with an experimental side album featuring a guest on every track, hence the album title.
Safe to say it’s pretty amazing. Most of the guests are a little heavier than the band, such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid and God Dethroned. However, every single vocalist played off Simone Simons’ beautiful vocals perfectly. Simone’s soaring, operatic tones always mesh well with the heavy, chuggy instrumentation and Mark Jansen’s powerful lows and growls. However, when adding in even heavier artists and vocals on top, it somehow makes everything even more epic and enjoyable. It all combines together to form something truly enjoyable and special, and I hope this isn’t the last time we get one of these Alchemy Projects. Highlights include ‘Wake the World’ and ‘The Final Lullaby’ but honestly, any track off the album could have made that selection. 9/10
Enuff Z’nuff: Finer than Sin
Glam/Sleaze’s answer to Oasis are back with their first album in just a year. Having seen them a couple of times over the last few years, I really enjoy them live. However, I’ve never managed to get into them on track, and this album didn’t change that. It’s pretty much all at the same steady, subdued pace throughout that doesn’t appeal to me too much. It’s so massively produced and polished, drawing comparisons to Def Leppard’s Hysteria, that when talking about drug abuse and other dark topics it’s a very odd contrast. It all reminds me of Terrorvision but just less fun.
‘Lost and Out of Control’ or ‘Hurricane’ were probably highlights. It’s not a bad album by any means, I just found myself getting distracted and bored though it, outside of these two tracks. 6/10
Randy Houser: Note to Self
The first guy I discovered when I finally started to dip into country by myself. I do feel slightly hypocritical now, as this is on the slower end of country. However, this was so well written and there were some truly awesome tracks on it. From ‘Workin’ Man’ to ‘Out and Down’ to ‘Country Round Here Tonight’, there is plenty to love with this album. I’m struggling to even say much, if you like country music, no matter the style, you’ll love this. Heck, I’d recommend anyone listening to this to check it out, as I love this. 8.5/10, this was awesome.
The most power metal band to ever power metal, now. Warkings seem to be the butt of a lot of jokes in the dub-genre’s community, but honestly I really enjoyed this. However, that may have been more because of Morgana Le Fay’s impressive harsher vocals every few tracks, as they were definitely my favourite songs on the album. ‘Monsters’ is my favourite track on the album, but ‘Immortal’ and even ‘The Rite’ are close followers. While the latter doesn’t include Morgana, I do still think they should try and find a harsh vocalist going forward, because the contrast between the vocals added a new layer of fun and awesomeness to the tracks. You know exactly what to expect with Warkings, straight up power metal, ‘no nonsense’ or anything outside of that, and for that this album is definitely good. 7.5/10
Cassyette: Sad Girl Mixtape
2022’s answer to Avril Lavigne while also adding a bit of Billy Eillish to the rock scene… I do love Casseyette. This album blends the two previously named artists perfectly while adding an edge seen in Dorothy’s music. While generally the album gets a little boring by the midpoint for me, I can fully understand and appreciate the importance of her music. She is the perfect gateway for young people, especially women, to get into rock music. I’m personally curious to see the generation in a few years time having come up on this and see what it gets them into.
Plus, while most of it is rather pop and punkish, she still hits us with the likes of ‘Die Hate Cry’ out of nowhere, brutal, heavy and full of harsh vocals. It definitely caught me by surprise after the first few stellar pop-punk opening tracks. If you’re into pop-rock, or even metal given the last few tracks on the album, check this out, you won’t be disappointed. 8/10
We’ve already covered this awesome album. Check out the review and score here.
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