Anthrax – For All Kings

January 3, 2017 in Reviews

anthrax-for-all-kings-2016AnthraxFor All Kings (2016)

Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

For All Kings is Anthrax’s newest studio release, and it is very similar to predecessor Worship Music. This album is very diverse, melodic, and modern. Let me explain what that actually means. From melodic alternative rock anthems to mean thrash metal stompers with a solid dose of punk spirit both musically and lyrically, this album summarizes almost everything the band has tried out in its career, but also adds fresh enthusiasm and consistently high quality song writing. This may also be the band’s most accessible album to date. New guitarist Jonathan Donais really shines here, and adds a modern and catchy approach to the thrash metal legend. I must also point out Joey Belladonna’s energizing and surprisingly youthful-sounding vocal performance. He has always been my favourite singer of this band, and his gifted vocals distinguish Anthrax from other genre acts who have charismatic but ultimately less technically talented performers. The Native American frontman delivers what I think is his best career performance so far on this output. For All Kings can be called modern because the production is precise, but not polished. Some songs on this album have traditional heavy and thrash metal sounds that should please the more conservative fans of the band, but those who liked the band’s more experimental phase during the nineties might also find a few interesting passages here and there, though this is only a subcategory on this record. On the whole, this album offers a great deal of catchy, short, and conventional alternative rock and metal that I could see getting mainstream radio airplay if the band were considered more popular. For All Kings would actually be a very appropriate album for younger audiences to discover the world of metal music.

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Babymetal – Metal Resistance

December 14, 2016 in Reviews

babymetal-metal-resistance-2016BabymetalMetal Resistance (2016)

Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

Many people expected Babymetal to be a short-lived hype band, a gimmicky one-album wonder, an overrated and vapid product of contemporary social media activities. All these naysayers are definitely proven wrong with Metal Resistance. The band is still alive and kicking and hasn’t split up or changed line-up, as has been the case for many other idol groups. Babymetal has toured the biggest and most renowned festivals around the world, and has a more massive media presence these days than ever before. Three Japanese teenage girls and their solid backing band continue to revolutionize an entire genre (and the music business in general) by breaking down stylistic boundaries in an open-minded, juvenile, and energizing way. Babymetal has even pioneered an entirely new genre called kawaii metal, which has seen bands such as Band-Maid, Deathrabbits, Fruitpochette, Ladybaby, Tokyo Rockets, and others rise to fame in their home country over the past few years. In general, the band has also had an emancipatory impact on the awareness of female rock groups in its country. Despite the concurrence, Babymetal is still the undisputed leader of this movement, and so far the only band with a significant international market. The band’s second full length output, Metal Resistance, underlines the band’s massive status as role model for its genre. Even though fans of the band’s first release will definitely find all the band’s classic trademarks, this second album isn’t a safe copy of the first, but pushes the exciting evolution of kawaii metal even further. While the eclectic, energizing, and entertaining predecessor had a carefree, chaotic, and juvenile spirit, with many hit and miss experiments that were all over the place, the second strike shows a perfectly balanced mixture between that youthful attitude and a more homogeneous, mature, and skilled artistic approach.

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Heaven’s Cry – Outcast

November 22, 2016 in Reviews

opeth-sorceress-2016Heaven’s CryOutcast (2016)

Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

Since Heaven’s Cry’s comeback five years ago, the band’s sound has progressively become more complex, heavy, and intellectual. While the first two records included ten or eleven catchy, compact, and melodic tracks with a total running time around fifty minutes, the third album featured even shorter compositions, but with more sophisticated songwriting that sometimes sounded too complicated for the group’s own good. This new release goes one step further. While it still has a running time of over fifty minutes, Outcast only features seven tracks, including one tune of more than fourteen minutes, subdivided into four parts. Even though the songs are the most complex the band has ever written, the group manages to build these tracks around some catchy vocal lines, memorable guitar harmonies, and powerful riffs, making the album easier to digest than the previous output.

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