Summoning - Minas Morgul  [♫]
In 2006, I didn't really get into their "Oath Bound". Too unfocused, too forgettable to me at the time. However I stumbled upon their 1995 release recently, and it turns out that this, their second release, this hour of atmospheric black metal, is pure greatness. These guys from Austria who have always worshipped Tolkien's work in their recordings deliver a perfect mixture of gritty, simple, slow black metal and towering, majestic ambience that will waft through your mind. The one thing that is a bit offsetting at first are the few MIDI-ish parts that appear throughout the album, but once you appreciate those, this might be one of the best black metal records I've heard in ages. Brilliant and dramatically underrated.
Conquering Dystopia - Conquering Dystopia  [♫]
Jeff Loomis, in my eyes the greatest shred guitarist in the world, the amazing Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, Keith Merrow (Guitar) and Alex Rüdinger Drums) of The Faceless. Any questions? Yes, it does sound a bit like Jeff Loomis' solo albums, but that's not a bad thing at all if you don't mind 50+ minutes of instrumental tech metal masturbation. Either the polished production lets Webster's bass appear too much into the background, or you're just too distracted by the uber guitar mastery that takes center stage. However, within the naturally occurring boundaries, there is enough variation to keep you engaged. This record is as good as this kind of music gets and lives up to the big names behind it.
Enabler - All Hail The Void  [♫]
It takes you 43 seconds until you realize this is actually a grind-/hardcore record. These guys from Milwaukee aren't as acidic as Pig Destroyer or as raw as Insect Warfare, more like Cursed if they knew what they were doing. This is the first thing I've heard from them, which might be because they were only founded in 2009, but I'm still surprised they aren't more popular yet. "All Hail the Void" is a fun, short, kickass smack to the face that plays as hard as it can, yet finds a few moments to breathe to prevent the songs from becoming a homogeneous blur and thus delivers some pretty decent songs along the way. The shouting is just a bit too core-ish for me, but overall I was very positively surprised. Recommend it!
Juno Reactor - Gods And Monsters  [♫]
I used to shuffle through a bunch of Juno Rector stuff and this was the album that stuck most with me. Overall, this mixes up the huge variety of styles Juno Reactor is capable of putting to use very eloquently, but it is at its best when the songs sit on a basis of mean-ass psytrance electro-stuff. Juno Reactor has managed to move from late 90s music to postmodern material that transcends moods and styles with ease. A surprisingly big part is trip hop, intermixed with acoustic instruments and tamed electro-orchestral sounds. These songs are "cooler" in the way that they are more laid back than earlier material. None of this is rave music, because it doesn't have to be. Not consistently, but generally a splendid album.
Mantar - Death by Burning  [♫]
The self-produced debut by this two-piece band from Hamburg actually made me wonder if I should go see them live. To quote their sparse web presence: "MANTAR manages to sound heavier than most five piece bands you may know, in spite of the fact that no bass guitar was used on this record. Just drums and guitar set for destruction. Forget about Rock 'n Roll. This will hurt. Flogging beats and blackened melodies meet feedback orgies and doom mayhem. Early Melvins, Motorhead, Darkthrone." I would have added High on Fire as well. I usually don't quote marketing stuff but this sums it up pretty well : "Death by Burning" is such a flawless, heavyass, and most importantly FUN record, it's a pure joy. Get it now!
Triptykon - Melana Chasmata  [♫]
Tom G. Warrior has been doing the goth-ish doom thing since Into the Pandemonium on and off, but focused on it exclusively with Monotheist and Triptykon. Long gone are the days of juvenile Hellhammer. Melana Chasmata, Post-Frost album number two, goes down that same road. There is more variety on this than there was on "Eparistera Daimones", which means that the quality of the songs is a rollercoaster ride. At its best, this album is a ultra-heavy badass riff-driven enraged goliath. At its worst, it becomes unbearable goth rock kitsch. The record is too new for me to finally have decided what to think of it. If you'd only listen to a third of the songs, you'd think it was the best thing since "To Mega Therion".
Palms - Palms : It's like ISIS worst album was mashed up with Deftones. Disappointing.
Slaughter Lord - Thrash 'til Death : You can tell how fucking great this album is by the title.
Lurker of Chalice - Lurker of Chalice : On par with Wrest's Leviathan records, which means its good.
Extinction Of Mankind - Northern Scum : Solid crust punk for genre fans.