ALBUM REVIEW: Kittie – Fire


2024 may very well be remembered as the year of comebacks in Modern Metal! So many bands have returned from retirement or hiatus, and few bring the fire, with the proverbial smoke of hype. One eagerly-awaited return band is Kittie, which started its comet-like return at fests such as Sick New World (interview here) and Blue Ridge Rock Fest (RIP)! The band returns with Fire – their first new album in thirteen years and first for Sumerian Records, who scored a coup signing the veteran band. Continue reading


PODCAST: Glacially Musical #171 – Slayer: “Seasons In The Abyss” or Crucial Album Number 5


Time for episode 666 of our @Slayer series! Nik and Keefy of @GhostCultMag wax ans wane about “Seasons In The Abyss” – a stone-cold classic!Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Exhorder – Defectum Omnium


After returning from hiatus with the rather good comeback album Mourn The Southern Skies in 2019, New Orleans Thrash Metal legends Exhorder are at it again with new album Defectum Omnium (Nuclear Blast Records) – thankfully not making us wait another twenty-seven years. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Evile – The Unknown


 

Perhaps the noticeable increase in crossover thrash coming out this year is intended to fill the void left by bands like  Power Trip and Slayer. Rather than jump on this bandwagon, British thrashers Evile are slowing things down on The Unknown (Napalm Records) to focus on songwriting.  

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ALBUM REVIEW: Incite – Wake Up Dead


Formed in 2004 by Richie Cavalera, the stepson of former Sepultura frontman, Max Cavalera, Arizona groove thrashers Incite have undergone several changes in personnel during their eighteen-year existence but their edge has not been dulled even slightly. Wake Up Dead (Atomic Fire Records), the band’s sixth full-length studio album, is another seething mass of riffs and rage that sees the return of bassist Christopher “EL” Elsten and drummer Lennon Lopez while also welcoming guitarist Eli Santana to the fold.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa


Back in 2018, armed with debut album (Napalm Records) and a reputation for blistering live performances, teenagers Alien Weaponry arrived on the scene with a bang. Fusing groove metal with influences derived from their own Māori culture, the band possess a highly individual sound, but one that in some quarters has also appeared to earn them the disappointingly reductive nickname of “The New Zealand Sepultura”.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Body Count – Carnivore


You gotta face the facts, you will never be as cool as Ice-T. Never. He came from the streets of Los Angeles to become an iconic figure of Hip-Hop, movies and television, and Metal music. For some people, it seems like there is no mountain they can’t climb, and Ice is one of those guys. Sure, he could chill and sit back on the Law and Order: SVU Special Victims Unit money, and all those royalties. In actuality, he has been working harder than ever on music the last decade-plus, specifically for his groundbreaking band Body Count. All the evidence you need is on their new album, Carnivore. (Century Media). Continue reading


Metallica’s “And Justice For All” Turns 30!


Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of Metallica’s And Justice For All (August 25th for some lucky folks in Europe). It was technically amazing, featured great songwriting, and immediately divided the fans. Sure every Metallica album has been an intentional departure from the last (see also David Bowie, Madonna, Deftones), but this album definitely jarred the fanbase when it first dropped. Sure we’ve heard over and over about the lack of bass or the inaudible bass, the “let’s see you play this!” long songs of over the top technicality, and the rushed solos Kirk Hammett recorded. Still, it’s an incredible, mostly heavy document of the band in one sense at a peak they have yet to return to creatively. Let’s take a quick look back at And Justice For All…Continue reading


Coal Chamber – Rivals


coal chamber rivals album cover

Thirteen years is a long time. And lots of things have happened in the time frame since Coal Chamber’s last album, 2002s Dark Days. Let’s see what’s different. Physical copies of albums don’t sell all that well. Boy bands gave way to something even more horrifying in Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. Rock Band and Guitar Hero were an odd fad. EDM unfortunately exploded onto the mainstream.

Oh and Nu-Metal was swapped out as the popular sub-genre by Metalcore and/or the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Even Coal Chamber’s frontman Dez Fafara switched scenes and released six consistently solid albums with Devildriver.

So the question becomes what can Coal Chamber, Nu-Metal pioneers that suffered a fiery first death, offer this brave new world of extreme metal? In new album Rivals (Napalm Records) just maybe their strongest and most focused release ever.

Lead single ‘I.O.U. Nothing’ sets an aggressive and confident tone that permeates the following 38 minutes. And confidence is the right word here as Coal Chamber sound like a new band as opposed to one trying recapture its former glory. It’s all mid-tempo crunch from there on out with über-producer Mark Lewis providing a clean, but menacing mix. It’s public knowledge that their 2003 onstage demise was dramatic and highly amplified by substance abuse, but time does really seem to heal all wounds here. Dez and Co. have taken years of successful and momentum gaining reunion tours and channeled it on Rivals. For the faithful, ‘Suffer in Silence’ and ‘The Bridges you Burn’ are straight Nu-Metal rippers from when the genre had teeth instead of gimmicks. But there is musical progression as well, ‘Another Nail in the Coffin’ and the title track are more in sync with Devildriver’s punishing groove than channeling the 90s.

Not every blow connects, ‘Light in the Shadows’ and ‘Empty Handed’ feel more like afterthoughts or songs that couldn’t quite crack it on Dark Days. But the important take away in Rivals is the energy and level of commitment. Especially from a band that didn’t need to release a new record and continue touring. Drummer Mikey ‘Bug’ Cox and guitarist Miguel Rascon had been toying in other musical ventures for years and we all know what Fafara has been up to. They didn’t need to, but the great news is that they wanted to.

coal chamber band 2015

Rivals is a solid recording even if you didn’t take Coal Chamber or the sub-genre they had been associated with seriously. And in defense of Nu-Metal, for how many kids (myself included) was that a gateway drug to other bands? Maybe I wouldn’t have eventually learned of Relapse Records if I didn’t start with Korn and Mushroomhead first. Maybe there’s a great column waiting to be written on the importance of Nu-Metal, but that’s for another time.

So if not for the strong music, respect Rivals and Coal Chamber for being available to a new generation of young and hungry metalheads.

8/10

HANSEL LOPEZ


King Hitter – King Hitter


king hitter ep 2015

If there is ever a time I get to go on a great road trip (outside of Maryland Deathfest this year) I will be certainly cranking albums like King Hitter’s self titled debut EP. For those not familiar, King Hitter consists of Karl Agell on vocals (Corrosion of Conformity/COC BLIND/Leadfoot), Scott Little on guitar (Leadfoot), Mike Brown also on guitar (Cutterhead), Jon Chambliss sitting behind the set (S.L.A.M.), and Chuck Manning keeping up the low end on bass (S.L.A.M.). Overall, I liked the groovy, southern personality this group brings on their first EP. Karl’s vocals may not be the harsh vocals the heavy metal culture is accustomed to nowadays, but I find them to be fitting. Even if this EP only has five tracks on it, each one has its own feel and vibe which kept me interested throughout.

The first track, properly entitled ‘King Hitter’, is a great sample of what these guys have to offer. A great southern, bluesy feel while still keeping it groovy. Karl’s vocal hooks are also very catchy and listener’s will catch themselves head banging for sure. ‘Drone Again’ and ‘Feel No Pain’ increase the ante by getting a little heavier on the guitars and, at times, had sections of instrumentals that sounded like a punk rock band. ‘Suicide (is the Retirement Plan)’ wins the award for most clever song title of the month by a landslide as we hit the second half of the album. However, even if this EP is coming to an end, King Hitter does not wind down at all. Arguably one of the heaviest guitar riffs on the album comes in the verse of this song. Lastly, we have the most appropriate song title to end any album, ‘The End.’ The mood of this song swings more than pendulum which I though adds to the insanity of all endings really. Halfway through the track we get the most bluesy guitar solo I may have ever heard from a heavy metal band.

Overall I did enjoy this EP and I look forward to see what else King Hitter has to offer. For fans of bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Down, and even Volbeat, I feel you should check these guys out. Even if none of the aforementioned bands interest you, check out King Hitter.

 

7.0/10

TIM LEDIN