New Music Mondays: Matchbox Twenty, Immortal and More!

A more relaxed but still awesome week for New Music Mondays this week. From black metal to country, we cover a bit of everything. Check it out!

Matchbox Twenty: Where the Light Goes

The US pop-rock megastars are back with their first album in over a decade. I was going to say the band achieved the most success in the back end of the 90s, but surprisingly, though their debut is still HUGE and certified diamond in the US alone, every album has charted pretty amazingly. What do you expect, after helping out on that Santana song?

In terms of the music itself, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a band in the genre after doing this nearly three decades later. It reminds me of Train or even Stereophonics, pop-inspired softer rock with plenty of big choruses, great hooks and minimal attention to much else. Some tracks even give off U2 or Phil Collins vibes at times, too. Tracks like ‘Wild Dogs’, ‘Warm Blood’ and the title track are all personal highlight tracks.

It’s a good album and a fantastic return after far too long between new music. Not a bad track on it, though it might have been nice to have been a bit faster or upbeat at times! 7.5/10

Immortal: War Against All

The legendary Black metal band return with their 10th album this last week. The wall of sound, blast beats and questionable mixing decisions that have become such a staple of the genre they helped define and are all very much present here from the offset. As with most black metal stuff, I feel like I’d have to see it live to truly ‘get’ it. Everyone in the band is clearly talented and there’s some sick riffs throughout. ‘Thunders of Darkness’ is a particular highlight, still. However, it doesn’t do much to interest me and seems a lot of the same stuff. 4.5/10

The Dirty Nil: Free Rein to Passions

The Canadian rock trio seem very hard to pin down in terms of genres. Most places are calling them hard rock or even Punk rock. However, the opening riff of the album on the utter phenomenal ‘Celebration’ is heavy as fuck and has enough pinch harmonics to make Zakk Wylde jizz his pants. It definitely gets a little more pop/punk through the album on tracks like ‘Nicer Guy’ or ‘Land of Clover’ (though there’s another sick bridge riff in the latter).

It reminds me of Neck Deep, My Chemical Romance and even Dinosaur Pile-up; somehow being a combination of all three. It’s a really great album without a bad track on it. All three previously mentioned tracka are big highlights, as is ‘Stupid Jobs’. The band definitely have a new fan in me! 8/10

AJJ: Disposable Everything

Punk/alt/folk rockers AJJ return with their eighth album. It starts on an absolute banger with ‘Strawberry (Probably)’ the album slows up a fair bit. Most of it is very chilled and folky, though surprisingly ‘I Hate Rock n’Roll’ is great, and ‘Death Machine’ is easily the best track on the album. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re into their particular brand of noise I feel like they are top notch. They are creative (if a little weird) with their lyric writing and the music behind it is well done. 7.5/10

Whythre: Impregnate My Hate

Owen: By all accounts Whythre have been a staple of the Seattle metal scene since 2016, and listening to their newest release it’s easy to see why. Impregnate my Hate is a 9-track heavy hitting album
with massive influences taken from both melodic death metal and thrash.

The title track takes the lead with thrash influences and the group have openly said this naturally occurred during the wiring of the song so they chose to lean into it to the benefit of the track. Throughout the album the band deliver heavy melodic riffs, some brutal vocals from frontman Adam Chambers, as well as some synth and orchestral backing to fill out their sound. Thematically the message of the album focuses on the missteps of modern society and where we are heading, something we can all relate too in the current climate. Chambers has attributed some inspiration of this theme to a 1980’s Sci-Fi series ‘V’. While he already had most of the lyrics penned, after a friend introduced him to the series he found some strong similarity in the themes he was exploring.

Standout tracks include the title track as well as the 4th song of the album, ‘Scorpions of Sinai’. From the intense opening to the fast mid sections through to its abrupt end, this track is a highlight of the bands
skill of blending synth melodies with their own death metal sound. 8/10

Melonie Cannon: A Tribute to Vern Gosdin

Pretty much the only country album I could find for this week. Gutting, I know! However, it’s a great album, so that pretty much makes up for it, right?

The 13-track album is filled with guest slots and collaborations, but the tracks that are just Melonie are just as good as the others! ‘Right in the Wrong Direction’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, a short, sweet, poweful number. However, anything is better with Cody Jinks, and ‘Set ‘Em Up, Joe’ is no exception. His voice is amazing and works perfectly alongside Melonie.

Overall it’s a good, chilled out country album. If you’re into the more relaxed, traditional, even easy-listening country stuff, you’ll love this! 7.5/10

Metal Church: Congregation of Annihilation

The thrash pioneers themselves put out their 13th album, and showed the world that they very much still have it. Following the horrific passing of long time vocalist and to a lot of people the face of the band, Mike Howe, it would have been easy to call it a day. However, having recruited Ross the Boss vocalist Marc Lopes, the pressure was on for Marc and the rest of the band. Previous album Damned if you Do was pretty well received upon its release, so would this release live up to that?

Incredible riffs, solid drums, insane solos and powerful, catchy vocals. What more could you possibly want? Marc does an incredible job on vocals, it fitting in perfectly with the bands sound. it’s 10-tracks and 45 minutes of awesomeness and it’s so hard to pick highlights. The opener and ‘Me the Nothing’ are my personal favourites, but it’s close. A statement that Metal Church will not be stopped, and honestly one of the top metal releases of the year so far. It’s so nice to hear! 8.5/10

Mesarthrim: Arrival

Owen: Anonymous Australian duo, Mesarthim, released their newest offering this week. The 8-track album, named Arrival, promises to take you on a journey through the cosmos utilising the bands unique sound. Black Metal underpins each track and the pair pull this off really well. It’s easy to forget you are only listening to two people as their sound is so

For me the real standout moments come when things slow down. The ambient electronic sounds that form the cosmological aspect of the album. It’s these moments that elevate the album and into a cinematic journey through the stars for the listener. Known for their less than conformist views on naming conventions, Arrival is split
into 7 parts. These parts vary greatly in duration but the transitions between tracks are natural as the tracks blend into each other. Track 8 however, titled ‘Type IV’, is a continuation of their 2016 epic ‘Type III’. Referencing the Kardashev scale, this closing track is a journey all of its own. The pair have done really well to make this final track work
in both the concept of this album and the work done back in 2016. It doesn’t feel out of place or just tacked on the end, which would have been an easy pitfall in less capable hands.

This is truly an experience to listen to, and one I would recommend to anyone. 8.5/10

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