Album Of The Month – February 2020

Album Of The Month - February 2020

One month went by like we didn’t even noticed and here we are again for more 20 great albums that we stumbled upon during the last month. From hard rock to death and black metal, there’s something for all. So enjoy! And don’t forget to hear the playlist Sundays at 21:00 GMT, on SFTD Radio

20 - Re-Machined – “Wheels Of Time”

Pride & Joy Music

The good and ol’ rock n’ roll of best quality is the one that sounds dirty without any type of sophistication and that remains full of soul. This is what happens in this album that stands its ground without going over the limits defined by the genre. It’s one of those albums that we can start playing without any expectations and end up letting it go all the way while enjoying every single riffs and composition. This album is the maximum exponent of classic Heavy Rock with good melodies, huge solos (with a very heavy 70’s vibe) and yes, it’s a very strong album which I strongly recommend.

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

19 - Mindless Sinner – “Poltergeist”

Pure Steel Records

Mindless Sinner are a product of classic heavy metal hailing from Sweden, and with them comes “Poltergeist”, an album full of enormous and memorable  riffs and also very catchy choruses! It’s a very direct, galloping and full of great sounds where every solo sounds great in an indescribable way. “Poltergeist”, “Heavy Metal Mayhem”, “The Road to Nowhere” are the highlight here, however they are a hard one since this album is overall very well-balanced and puts the band’s name on the list of names that I’ll be looking out for in the future. Heavy Metal is alive and well, and with names like these the future is guaranteed!

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

18 - Justify Rebellion – “The Ends Justify The Means”

Mighty Music

The name of the new album of the danish heavy metal band Justify Rebellion reveals all that the band sets out to do – Rebellion is here to stay! It’s a record inspired in various genres of metal, heavy riffing, quick slos, drums and bass bringing chaos, with a lyrical focus on the darkest aspects of society and humanity in general, done in a intelligent way. Things get more serious when each track we move on and this record could have made history in the past. Bring it on!

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

17 - Pyogenesis – “A Silent Soul Screams Loud”

AFM Records

Well, this was one of those bands that I accompanied and stored their disks in my discography but, still currently, I admit to not have listened in a long time. I appreciated (and still do) the Pyogenesis’s sound (a band that in the near future will be in our country), however it ended up being forgotten in a very natural way. How big was my amazement when I found myself in front of this new piece and then a single click was enough to relive the old times of “Ignis Creatio”, “Sweet X-Rated Nothings” and also “Twinaleblood”…
Yes, once again I devoured these three albums. I know that there are more, however these were enough to look at this new work with other eyes and I can only say “Welcome” to Pogenesis, because, everything that you once were, still remains very present mixed with innovation in every album. Because, this is one of the few bands that I know that has the ability to play very different styles as melodic death metal, alternative metal and punk rock, throughout their career, aside from also being seen as one of the creators of goth metal at the beginning of the 90’s, even though their current style is deep rooted in songs with more profound and energetic rhythms and quick tempos. Great Disc!

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

16 - Vulcano – “Eye In Hell”

Mighty Music

The Brazilian black/thrash metal masters that went through Lusitanian shores last December are back with “Eye in Hell” which release date is set for the first trimester of 2020 by Mighty Music. “Eye in Hell” doesn’t let down. It’s an experience that, from the first to the last second, is made up of heavy, quick and furious sounds with excellent vocals and also epic and high speed solos thrown with an old school approach that is done masterfully. Vulcano know what they’re doing and where and how they want to go because they maintain themselves loyal to their principles and the fans are thankful for that. 2020 promises to be a year full of good releases and we are thankful for that.

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

15 - Deliverance – “Holocaust 26:1-46”

Deadlight Records

From the depths of France rises the black metal band, Deliverance. Formed in 2012, this quintet has until now release two pieces: the debut-EP “Doomsday, Please” and the album “CHRST”. However this review doesn’t concern those two… It only concerns their upcoming release “Holocaust 26:1-46”, a stupendous black metal-ish album composed of 6 powerful tracks. The reason why I call it “black metal-ish” is that, in itself, their sound is very singular and has some more influences as sludge, for example. I could try and guess the surrounding ideas in this album but, for one, there aren’t lyrics available and I also think that it should be the band explaining their own process and ideas behind an album (when the whole idea isn’t clear for a “reviewer”). Moving on to the more direct experience, this album is definitely something to be on the lookout for – I’m going to spoil this review already and say that I gave it a full score. Heaviness and impending sense of doom are the main two aspects that better characterize this album. With vocals more grounded on black metal but relatively moderate, the rest of instruments tend to follow a more varied path to greatness, going through sludge, as I’ve said previously, but also venturing into more slow-paced parts with elements one could imagine as being heavy, death or even others. The album also doesn’t remain frozen in time, through the different tracks you are offered a very varied experience, for example: the first track is moderate, the second one goes all out and the third starts with a distinct “sad and lonely” guitar. However, through most of the album, the band opts for deep impact, however not random “explosivety”. In other words, the band creates its own aura of destruction without that much chaos – once again, it’s always good to listen to a black metal band that values the ambient side of things. To wrap things up, yes, this album may not be to the taste of people who don’t often dwell on this side of the “metal spectrum”, however, it’s highly advised that you try it for yourself. For me it was a great experience, and I’m not that big of a fan when it comes to these styles.

10/10
Review by Matias Melim

14 - Berzerker Legion – “Obliterate the Weak”

Deadlight Records

If there was ever a time in which a band name made sense, the time is now. Berzerker Legion, a 5-men band of just death metal veterans (from bands such as Hypocrisy, Asphyx, Wombbath, Dark Funeral and Vader), was formed in 2016 with one objective: destroy!  ..metaphorically, through their epic styled death metal. Their debut-album, “Obliterate the Weak”, which will be released on the final days of January, is a “semi-nostalgical” album in which you dive in the world of epic warfare and blond-quenching rage. It’s hard putting into words the power demonstrated on this album; however I’ll try and do my best. Take a step-back from the harsh realities of modern warfare which are very well documented nowadays, and imagine yourself standing on a desolate battleground side-by-side with your most trusted companions while on the other side of the field there are enemies, the anti-mater for your mater. Now imagine the battle euphoria mixed with the desire for revenge and the craving to shed your enemy’s blood. That’s the watered down version of what “Obliterate the Weak” makes you feel, is basically every feeling you have ever had of rage in your life combined into a desire to overtake the whole world. It’s incredible how every element combines so perfectly, vocals (growling), guitars with the melodical side of war and the drums, which are, all in all, wardrums adapted to the death metal genre. And the bass, the inaudible sound, the spirit of death. Sincerely, of these more “tied to war/epic settings albums”, this was the best I’ve ever heard in a very long time. So I urge you to go listen to the already available tracks, and raise a little war for old-times’ sake.

10/10 
Review by Matias Melim

13 - Nightfear – “Apocalypse”

Fighter Records

Musically, Nightfear an amazing band! The style of Power Metal that they present in this album is something to keep us hooked from the first to the last second.  Another band that I’ll keep tabs on, and believe me that I’m lucky enough to get these chances to broaden my horizons in knowledge… and also my musical tastes. Most of the songs are characterized by their high speed and also high level of melodies while being bold enough in their composition and sounding furious with loud vocals and mad guitar solos taken magically out of the hats of the guitarists. It’s a shame that I can only give full score to an album of this quality.

10/10
Review by Miguel Correia

12 - H.E.A.T. – “H.E.A.T. II”

earMusic

What a great return! H.E.A.T. are back and in what a way! In an act of confidence, the band produces their own music. The powerful sound and classic rock is in fact a combination that really makes us believe that music is indeed immortal. “H.E.A.T. II” brings back their best moments of the 80’s, which we didn’t have the chance to experience, with both a modernized sound and modernized musical approach. It’s one of those albums that don’t have a single weak moment, from start to finish, which is something admirable in itself. It’s definitely an addiction which we won’t quit of so soon.

9/10
Review by Fernando Ferreira

11 - Izthmi – “The Arrows of Our Ways”

Within The Mind Records

Well, this is a somewhat different approach to black metal and I like it. Izthmi is a 5-member band from Washington that just released their debut album with the title of “The Arrow of Our Ways”. The approach that this band does regarding black metal is one more melodic than usual and with a significant touch of ambient sound; all this while still maintaining some of the aggression more usual in the genre, even though it’s a bit diluted. However, for those who might be concerned about this fact, rest easy because this is one positively special album. As I mentioned, this album assumes an atmospheric perspective of black metal, and as such it becomes an almost spiritual experience that mixes the intensity of black metal, the melody of heavy metal (or symphonic without classical instruments) and the calm aura of atmospheric styles. Overall, the album is very dynamic and avoids completely any type of repetition of sounds throughout while developing interesting riffs and combination of sounds that keep the listener hooked or in a semi-meditative state. In conclusion, this album throws care out of the window and the results definitely pays off, so despite labeling this album as black metal, melodic, atmosphere, etc., it’s basically impossible to ground it in any type of genre, however its quality is undeniable.

9/10
Review por Matias Melim

10 - Frayle – “1692”

Lay Bare Recordings

2020 is going very well, thank you very much. Frayle is a North-American duo composed of Sean Bilovecky (responsible for all the instrumentals) and Gwyn Strang (responsible for the astounding vocals) and this “1692” is their debut album. In fact, it’s a great album with an ambience that impresses us from the very first moment we hear it. Doom is, without a doubt, the style that predominates in this album, and it does so through its riffs and its pacing; overall, there’s a dense atmosphere that resembles the sensation of smoke coming out of the speakers and then on top of that, the voice of Gwyn that gives the sensation of being transported to a mystic dimension where we are taken without any chance of resisting it. Who would want to fight against it, anyways? It’s an amazing work right here.

9/10
Review by Fernando Ferreira

9 - Mavorim – “Axis Mundi”

Purity Through Fire

Mavarim is a german one-man black metal band that it will please, a lot, all the fans of the nineties sound. This record “Axis Mundi” (in latin, “the center of the world” or “pillar of the world”) makes its name justice, puting the band in the same level as classic ones in this genre, like Arcturus, Burzum, Watain, Ved Buens Ende, amont others. The record has thirteen tracks of an crushing and captivating sound, with some experimental touches (specially some ambient touches). A recomended album and band. Hail to Mavorim.


9/10
Review by Fernando Ferreira

8 - Leeched – “To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse”

Prosthetic Records

2020 is starting well with an album that’s not an easy listen. Not easy at all and that’s what we like about it. Leeched bring to their second work even more discomfort than that for which we were already expecting. A mixture of hardcore weight based on an approach in which “industrial” is the sharpest blade; these ten tracks are a serious challenge. “The Grey Tide” is, maybe, the first “Big” moment of the album (“The Hounds Jaw” serves as an appetizer to the rain of fists that is served to our faces). I’m going to be honest, it’s such a hard work to listen to that I don’t know how many times, after this short missive, I’m gonna take it; but if I want to be brutally beaten, it’s right here where I’m going to start.

9/10
Review By Fernando Ferreira

7 - We Sell The Dead – “Black Sleep”

earMusic

We Sell The Dead are back and with this second work it seems that they prove us that we aren’t standing in front of a band that is occupying it’s free time away from their main projects – after all, we are talking about a band that has in it members from In Flames and Spiritual Beggars. And proof of that? An all-powerful and higly-efficient album that it’s impossible to say that it’s “nothing more than a side-project”. “Black Sleep” summons the all mighty power of the likes of Deep Purple, Rainbow with Dio or even Dio by himself, with charismatic vocals (the amazing Apollo Papathanasio from Spiritual Beggars and Arturius) and with fantastic instrumentality. We’re still in February and already we are stuffed with good music, because this one right here is one of the albums of the year!

9/10
Review By Fernando Ferreira

6 - Thy Catafalque – “Naiv”

Season Of Mist

We were already wondering when our friend Tamás Kátai would once again attack with a new album. The reason being that us, being carriers of a vast world of music (despite it being majorly a heavy one), see ourselves in much of what Tamás does in his project Thy Catafalque that always presents something unexpected. Hence the expression: “Expect the Unexpected”. And it doesn’t disappoint. Thy Catafalque chooses this time something even more disperse that finds some type of union between certain arrangements that we’ll immediately recognize, leaning over more on the progressive metal side – notice that this term is only slightly indicative; a postal code that assumes vast contexts, too many of these to be certain about what will be found. To those that already follow Thy Catafalque’s career, this is a very welcome work, mainly to those that always wanted to find something heavier, because here there is plenty of that. Baffling and genius as expected.

9/10
Review By Fernando Ferreira

5 - Jordablod – “The Cabinet of Numinous Song”

Iron Bonehead Productions


Jordablod is a Swedish black metal band formed in 2015. Their background is comprised of an EP and a full-length album, however now, in 2020, they aim to add one more album to the family, “The Cabinet of Numinous Song”, which they aim to release towards the end of January, more precisely, on the 24th. As you probably know, working in the review business has its perks, like getting early access to these materials. And the perks are doubled when they are as good albums as this one. So, let’s proceed to the review at hand. This album is composed by 7 tracks and has a duration of around 42 minutes. Its sound is very unique in the way that it mixes the aggression of black metal and the more relaxed and ambient sound of other styles but mainly what seems to me to be the acoustic part of some semi-doom/stoner genre. In the whole, you get a very fulfilling experience when listening to this album besides it being an entertaining one. Regarding the black metal part, it’s positively organized while maintaining all the strength that’s expected from a black metal band, and even introducing some heavy and melodical riffs and solos tied to more epic styles. When talking about the other side of this band, the acoustic one, they really stand out as not being just another metal band. On these parts, Jordablood allow their listeners a bit of solace and introspection which really make the whole album more agile and easy to listen attentively. Overall, it was an extraordinary experience for me both due to me liking more complex styles of music (this album is full of layers for the listeners to analyze) and also because of its entertaining value (the album is filled with different rhythms, some of which make you undoubtedly headbang like there is no tomorrow).


9.2/10
Review By Matias Melim

4 - Kawir – “Αδράστεια/Adrasteia”

Iron Bonehead Productions

Back to Greece and to such particular and identifiable sounds. As said on a previous occasion: there are sounds so recognizable, that it’s scary. And these Kawir aren’t an exception. Founded in the beginning of the 90’s, Kawir are probably the most Greek band in the Greek Black/Heavy Metal scene. How so, do you ask? Sound wise, of course! Besides being recognizable as Greek, it’s a perfect example of what “Greek sound” is. “Thy Mighty Contract” it’s another perfect example of the same: Greek sound! I’m currently risking becoming redundant! Carry on!

Well, Kawir have, in “Αδράστεια/Adrasteia”, their 8th full length! A long and solid career, always loyal to their first sounds, that Black/Pagan Metal, with a very Mediterranean vibe! Not even the several changes in the line-up managed to mess up everything they achieved until now. The beginning of this work, with the amazing “Tydeus”, reminds us immediately of Bathory and their Viking/Pagan phase. In a way, and not meaning to be reducing, Kawir are an extension of said phase of Bathory – the melody of the guitars, essentially – to which they the added the ferocity of 2nd phase Black Metal! It might seem a bit weird – or even imprecise – but it mustn’t be seen as an insult or contempt for the band’s work!

For those that already follow this band, prepare yourselves for the continuation of the good work done until now, without a doubt you won’t feel cheated! It’s an album that flows, from track to track, with tremendous easiness. 6 tracks and 40 minutes of duration. Perfect! Efficient and direct! It’s worth mentioning the resource to Kanonaki, a typically Greek instrument. It’s impossible not to praise the path carved up unto this day by the mentor of the band, Therthonax that has maintained the boat above water, without ever flinching.

But beware, that this work isn’t just made of Folk… “Atalanti”, second track, releases itself from the shackles of Folk and ends up embracing an approach more focused on Melodic Black Metal, even though always with that feeling of Greek Black Metal. Is it possible for a band that has gone through so many changes in its lineup since 1993, to manage to nowadays, 2020, to keep being highly recognizable?! Without a doubt… “Danaides”, just like the track that it follows, is Black Metal as fuck! And, once again, the band manages to create a remarkable work!

Fans of Pagan/Black Metal, fans of the Greek scene, fans of the band, dive deep in the Mediterranean…

9/10
Review por Fernando Ferreira

3 - Depraved – “Raped Innocence”

M.U.S.I.C. Records

What brute force! It might seem dumb, but on current days we have exaggerated amounts of new music and sometimes it all seems the same, so much that it’s almost news when we receive an album of pure death/grind. “Raped Innocence” is the fourth album of the French band, Depraved that breaks the fast after six years, a considerable long time. But if you’re going to keep six years without releasing anything, it’s best that you release a bomb like this one to destroy us after that long. Death, grind and why not crust? It makes sense and this is one of the most furious works that we’ve heard already in 2020. A blast that’s urgent to hear – Word of WOM.

9.2/10 
Review por Fernando Ferreira

2 - Dyscordia – “Delete/Rewrite”

Road Mark Productions


We can’t avoid being surprised. When we’re tired and think that nothing else might catch our attention, something always appears to prove us wrong. In this case, the Belgians Dyscordia bring us their 3rd record “Delete/Rewrite” – one of the greater works in the field of progressive metal that we heard this year; Yes, I know that the year has just begun, but I can already point out how good a begging this is. Balance between melody, technique and the ability to create great songs are the most obvious qualities of these Belgians, that and also  the (clean) vocals that are amazing and of the authorship of Piet Overstijns – we don’t know if he is also responsible for the gutturals, but they’re also impeccable in their way. When talking about progressive metal, it’s usual to think over a lot of complicated things and to raise feelings of boredom for those of us who are not musicians; however this is not the case. These songs are thrilling and this album is really powerful.

9/10
Review por Fernando Ferreira

1 - Ironsword – “Servants of Steel”

Rastilho Records

Robert E. Howard was born in 1906, in Peaster, Texas; The creator of the literary genre Sword & Sorcery. From the creative mind of this Man was born a greater character – a character that on its own would end up becoming the face of a very specific line: Conan, The Barbarian. The writings of this Author, and many others like him, would turn into inspiration for a number of Heavy Metal Bands (Cirith Ungol and their homage to Elric de Melniboné on the cover of the album “Frost and Fire”, for example), and a Portuguese band wasn’t immune to it.

Ironsword are, to me, a representation of Epic Heavy Metal. The imagery, the lyrics, the graphical work, everything is a complete homage to the Barbarian and to the Universe created by Howard! That being said, the music doesn’t fall short of the words: fast and strong Heavy Metal with enormous vocals, epic choruses and solos fit to praise Crom! The vocalization of Tann is, once again, one of the strong points of “these” Ironsword, well present and marking the beat, as if wielding the Atlantean about to go to battle.

There is, as there always was, adoration about everything relating to Manilla Road, which expresses itself this time through the participation of Byron “Hellroadie” Patrick in two tracks (“Rogues in the House” and “Red Nails”). In a way, this is the closing of the cycle: the biggest musical influence of the band participating in one of its works! Both end up being two typical Ironsword songs.

Well, the whole album is typically Ironsword. The production is superb while allowing enjoyment in the best way possible over the little details. The bass work is above average and doesn’t just accompany the drums. On the contrary, it creates lines that sustain themselves independently! It’s Epic Heavy Metal, ladies and gentlemen! I’m kind of suspicious in talking, truth be said. I’ve followed this band for many years; reeled in by their themes, I ended up staying! Since 2015 there hadn’t been heard nothing from the Portuguese barbarians, but after the 3 blasts that compose the EP released towards the end of last year (“In the Coils of Set”) my curiosity peaked beyond the highest levels! I wasn’t disappointed. No! As I’ve said in the beginning: Ironsword sounding like Ironsword … what else could you ask?! Less years of waiting for more music, please.

9.9/10
Review por Daniel Pinheiro

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