SOS Metal Reviews: Necrophobic "Death to All," Sworn Enemy, Delain, Unholy, and more…

Amazon NecrophobicNECROPHOBIC

DEATH TO ALL

With song titles like “For Those Who Stayed Satanic” and “Celebration of the Goat,” it’s pretty evident what to expect from Necrophobic’s no-frills eight-track audio sacrifice to Satan Death To All. Blistering black metal a la Dissection exalting Beelzebub is precisely what’s on tap from this veteran Swedish squad, complete with a garden variety permutation of dastardly vocal rasps, abrasive dynamic shifts, belligerent blast beats, and tremolo-picked demonic guitars propelling the entire offering (“La Santisima Muerte”). Supercharged with a sinister spirit brazen with an apocalyptic attitude holding tight at the core, chalk up another dark mark in the black book of blasphemy for Necrophobic, as this band continues to spread its message of disdain while providing a fitting soundtrack behind it all. www.regainrecords.com –Mike SOS

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SWORN ENEMY

TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION

After sticking it out for over a decade, NYC hardcore metal troupe Sworn Enemy return in top form with a ripping thrash-heavy monster of an album that pulls no punches entitled Total World Domination. Again choosing to work with Tim Lambesis, this quintet’s relentless assault on the ears is bolstered as always by Sal Lococo’s gargantuan vocals yet this time twin guitar work that digs deep from the Exodus and Destruction songbooks accompanies the pummeling to mercilessly take you down and out for the count (“On the Outside”). Imagine the intensity of Municipal Waste without the frivolity colliding with the clobbering tactics of Madball and Earth Crisis and you’ve got the template for this NYHC-bred unit’s latest barnburner, as choice cuts such as “Still Hating”, “Ready to Fight” and “Run for Shelter” provide the adrenaline necessary to demolish everything in the way throughout the course of the day and showcase that this band proudly holds onto its roots with an unwavering aggressive as ever mindset leading their charge. www.centurymedia.com –Mike SOS

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MILE MARKER ZERO

MILE MARKER ZERO

Connecticut progressive metal mavens Mile Marker Zero display a unique smattering of familiar influences on their eponymous 10-track affair. While footprints from acts like Queensryche, A Perfect Cirtcle, Dream Theater, and Fates Warning are scattered throughout the album, this quintet manage to forge their own sound from the same rich prog launch pad thanks to exhilarating musicianship and tantalizing composition twists within a shadowy atmosphere sandwiched somewhere between Opeth and Porcupine Tree (“Passive”). Showcasing the capacity to both wail away on a dime as well as show restraint (especially on the vocals) when needed (“Crimson Red”), this group of classically trained musicians make the most of their pedigree by portraying an impressive array of delicate melodies and ethereal dramatics without losing basic hard rock insight, taking songs like “Peril Aerial” to new and exciting places without falling prey to usual prog rock excessive pomp and superfluous trappings. www.milemarkerzero.com –Mike SOS


Amazon DelainDELAIN

APRIL RAIN

Female fronted symphonic metal fans have a new band to love and their name is Delain. This Dutch quintet’s sophomore effort entitled April Rain contains the standard heavy guitar and angelic vocal combination (“Go Away”) throughout its entire 12-track duration, giving similar bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation (whose ex-keyboardist Martun Westerholt formed Delain) a run for their money. Embracing the recognizable sounds from the aforementioned while bolstering their take with guest vocals by Nightwish bassist Marco Hietala (“Control the Storm”) and some compelling cello work (“On the Other Side”), Delain finds the fine balance between mainstream pop music melodies and progressive metal tendencies (“Start Swimming”) with solid production values, catchy songwriting and a slew of sugary choruses at their command to create this larger than life Goth metal experience. www.thelasersedge.com –Mike SOS

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THE ANTIKAROSHI

CRUSHED NEOCONS

Crushed Neocons is an eclectic nine-track presentation by German trio The Antikaroshi that straddles the line between post-hardcore and post-rock with oodles of jazzy edges. Jaded guitars drenched in delay (“Cruiserwait”), mighty bass rumblings and adroit percussive work converge to form hypnotic rhythms with a pervasive free-from jam sensibility flowing in and out of the rollicking jolts and rest stops on cuts like “Fistful” and “Contradiction”. An abstract non-singer stream of consciousness vocal delivery and a general flair for the off-kilter assist unorthodox arrangements like “Baskerville” and “Pes” to contort into weird and wondrous soundscapes that borrow as much from the DC hardcore scene standouts as they do forward thinking bands that go above and beyond constraints of the norm a la Refused and Sunny Day Real Estate. Championing an angular and hard to pin down yet easy to sink into style, this exercise in experimental rock may prove to be too far-reaching for some, but for those who enjoy a space shuttle mission to the Moon should heed this prime opportunity to get on The Antikaroshi’s rocket ride. www.southern.net –Mike SOS

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Amazon Elwood EmissionELWOOD EMISSION

ODE TO THE EGO

NYC’s Elwood Emission is Lucy Kalantari’s one-woman electronic project jam-packed with soul-bearing crooning to a harsh industrial rock soundtrack. The callous vocal and disorted ukuleles that start off “The Invitation”, develop an unsettling sensation furthered by the cross between Alanis Morrisette and Shiny Toy Guns influenced vocals and angst-ridden subject matter (“Despicable”) displayed. Ode To The Ego also throws in snippets of Tori Amos-like catharsis (“Divine”) into the mix, giving this six-track sojourn into Kalantari’s darker side a fair share of lush yet eerie attributes that ambitiously push tracks like the scintillatingly sultry “Run” from the shadowy recesses to the spotlight. www.afewlittlenotes.com –Mike SOS

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ALEXISONFIRE

OLD CROWS/YOUNG CARDINALS

Canadian punk hardcore band Alexisonfire has grown considerably from their humble screamo upbringing judging by their latest 11-track release Old Crows/Young Cardinals. Perpetually altering their sound with every release, this album’s switches may prove the most daunting, as the unit’s unique three-tiered vocal delivery has been radically tinkered with, nearly dropping all the squad’s trademark high-pitched wails for a more common yet genuine (and way less grating) earthier punk rasp. While songs like “No Rest” and “Heading for the Sun” get a discernibly gruffer makeover across the board, Alexisonfire builds intensity with the acumen of a unit who has been around the block a few times with the excellently placed keyboards on “The Northern” delving into considerably more brooding states of mind than previously visited. Alexisonfire seem to have comfortably outgrown their former selves in some aspects, even going so far as to proclaim the change in song on “Old Crows”, a maneuver that undoubtedly insures losing diehards in droves. But for those who choose to stick around, thisToronto troupe’s escalating sense of self and collected post-punk output reminiscent of bands like Thrice solidifies this disc by celebrating the exploring new avenues without pandering to the pressures of commercial success. www.vagrant.com –Mike SOS

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UNHOLY

NEW LIFE BEHIND CLOSED EYES

Syracuse, NY quintet Unholy are no strangers to the scene, as this group features members of Another Victim, Santa Sangre, and Path of Resistance, not to mention hail from one of the hotbeds of ‘90s metallic hardcore. And even though obvious and unmistakable traces of hometown influences All Out War and Earth Crisis are very detectable everywhere across this unit’s brutal chugfest , Unholy savagely spreads its wings to implement sinister spoonfuls of Swedish and American thrash metal elixir to their seething hardcore skeleton, a move that gives this squad a ferocious quality that while far from original, portrays all the necessary bone-crushing nuances to render a pleasingly pummeling experience non-withstanding(“The Followers”, “The Blinding Light”). Adorned with scathing guitars solos and a simple yet effective approach that rarely drags despite the telegraphed compositions, if you could imagine the merger of Terror, Bury Your Dead, Entombed and Machine Head, then you can envision the rock-solid onslaught brought on from this bruising bunch’s 10-track discharge, perfect for those that demand more from their mosh metal. www.prosetheticrecords.com –Mike SOS

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Amazon Emery in shallowEMERY

IN SHALLOW SEAS WE SAIL

Christian rock quintet Emery returns with a bang, rediscovering their former selves with a renewed sense of purposed on their fourth full-length In Shallow Seas We Sail. Fine-tuning their screamo tendencies with an increased sense of incense (“Cutthroat Collapse”) and a streamlined melodic edge (“Dear Death Part 2”), this outfit’s latest 13-track endeavor beefs up Emery’s output in nearly every category. From solid twin-vocal interplay (“Inside Our Skin”) and torrid rhythmic undercurrents (“In Shallow Seas We Sail”) to unabashed heaviness (“Butcher’s Mouth”) and a penchant for hooky yet refined choruses, this squad’s delectable dichotomy of fragility and ferocity fits snugly between Dredg and Thrice, placing Emery in the upper echelon of the new breed of alternative punk while finding its biggest influence from within. www.toothandnail.com –Mike SOS

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WRENCH

WRENCH

Brooklyn, NY quartet Wrench tear through speakers with the finesse of an old school Bay Ridge brawler, showcasing an abrasive amalgamation of the sheer sonic furies of Carnivore, Madball, and Pro-Pain on their six-track release. Subtle as a blunt object to the skull yet bouncy enough to keep the head bobbing, Wrench comes equipped with a vicious vocal bark reminiscent of Helmet at their most caustic, a gutwrenching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea bottom end that rattles fillings and a procession of slamming Biohazard-esque grooves all working as one to hammer this crew’s brawny bullet points home. This recharged veteran unit’s creates a viscous wall of 90s crossover metal perfect for throwing a fist in the air or throwing down in the pit to. www.wrenchnyc.com –Mike SOS

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