Your Weekly Metal Playlist 08.22.19

By August 22, 2019 metal reviews

Wills Dissolve – The Heavens Are Not On Fire…
I’d rather hear a million bands take a shot at doing something different than one more old school death metal revival band, even if the band doesn’t stick the landing. Wills Dissolve is a swirling, proggy, resconstrucetion of death metal, black metal, and yes, prog, that lands on the heavier and dramatic side of things. It veers somewhat close to the kind of sound expansion Enslaved and Opeth went through but without sacrificing the “umpfh.” It might not get there all the time but damn it’s good to hear somebody trying.
Critical Defiance – Misconception
It’s rare that a new thrash album piques my interest. Aside from my go-to bands and the standby stalwarts, thrash as a genre doesn’t seem to really change much, which is fine, but it tends to get a bit boring. Whereas OSDM is having its great renaissance, thrash has always kind of reveled in its hayday sound and Critical Defiance are no exception. However, I do have a soft spot for the rougher, straight for the throat, insane riffing and soloing thrash that is all about melody and speed. LIke Hellripper, our more recently Vulture and Inculter. Critical Defiance can play the fuck out of some thrash, and that’s where I like my thrash to be.
Off with Their Heads – Be Good
I saw these guys open for Bad Religion some years ago and missed most of their set but swore to check them out later, which I actually did, and fell completely addicted to their then current album Home and I’ve been jamming that thing into the ground for fucking years until today when out of the blue I discovered that they were releasing a new album and I was just absolutely ecstatic. OWTH plays a more emotional, personal story driven, middle class style of pop punk. I consider them part of the micro niche of bands like this that is also home to Nothington, Red City Radio, and Hot Water Music but Off with Their heads ads a bit of cynical, self deprecating humor and poetic vulgarity into the mix which puts them at the top for me. Not to mention how just insanely catchy every single one of their songs are. Best pop punk album of the year so far.
Dialith – Extinction Six
I have a very low tolerance for the symphonic power metal stuff where Nightwish and Epica dwell and Dialith veer dangerously close to crossing that line. The vocalist could easily be pulling duty in Nightwish and her voice is insanely commanding and beautiful and does come very close to the operatic stuff. Good thing the band is more rooted in the heavier side of power metal and power metal riffing. Don’t be fooled though, it’s very close to the symphonic stuff and the symphonic orchestrations are very prominent but I feel it just gets in under the line of full blown dramatic nonsense. Your mileage may vary and in any other year I may have passed on this but with the stellar year power metal is having I’m looking at all power metal with bigger eyes.
Pijn and Conjurer – Curse These Metal Hands
Now this, this right here, is sheer beauty. Combining the hardened, sludge pounding of Conjurer with the post (everything) melancholy of Pijn, these two bands have crafted one of the most uniquely mesmerizing and beautiful metal albums of the year. I love the creative energy of this and the desire to not just do a split release but really collaborate and find a way to make both their sounds work as something new. Simply breathtaking.
Frank Turner – No Man’s Land 
Frank has been meandering a bit with his last couple albums and his songwriting was seeming to lose some of it’s enthusiasm and creativity in favor of trying to get more pop friendly but now with his new album’s focus on historical women frees him up to really focus on the storytelling aspect of his song writing which is what I think made him so captivating in the first place. And that it does. All the emotion and clever phrasing back with his hyper emotional production is on full display and I think Frank has found his footing again. Finally.

Concrete Winds – Primitive Force
I guess Vorum broke up or something and from the ashes rose Concrete Winds, which is a brutally violent assault of black and death metal with a nasty crusty layer of filth. Almost goes into war metal territory but for those of us that like the intensity of war metal but still like some fucking structure and melody, Concrete Winds is just for us. Fucking insanely intense and mesmerizing.
Twilight Force – Dawn of the Dragonstar
Peak power metal year may have eclipsed with the new Twilight Force, that is literally, all things power metal. It’s the most power metal-y thing this year, perhaps surpassing Avantasia. It’s 100% grand, epic, full on majesty, triumphant pomposity, and full on glory. And the tip of the power metal cheese ball insanity of brilliance is getting not-even-close-to-metal musician Hanna Turi to do a piano ballad cover of a song off their first album. Pure genius.

Exorcisme – Visceral Lifestyles 
Nasty as shit punked up black n’ roll noisy, raucous fun. Nuff said.
Freedom Call – M.E.T.A.L. 
I don’t know what Freedom Call thinks M.E.T.A.L stands for, and I don’t care because from what is on display here it sounds like it means super sugary and cheeseball-rific, glorious, theatrical power metal because that’s exactly what Freedom Call is and what they do. If that’s not something you can get behind, better look elsewhere but here’s, again, another awesome power metal album to add to the heaping pile of triumph that is the genre in 2019.

Isole – Dystopia
Damn, it’s about time some Epic Doom showed up and fucking crushed. This is my first encounter with this band and their epic scope mixed with triumphant era Candlemass style doom and modern heavy, speedier moments is fucking brain-bashingly rad. The duel harsh and clean vocals and style remind me a lot of current darling Khemmis but Isole predate them so not sure where that influence is coming from but for a frame of reference that’s what I got. Regardless, Isole is fucking killing it on this album and as much as I’m trying to bring the end of summer, this type of music helps that.
Majestica – Above the Sky
There’s some history here with this band and main dude being in Sabaton and Majestica being the continuation of another band and blah blah blah I don’t care. What I do care is that Above the Sky is over-indulgent, Euro power metal cheese at it’s drippiest. Keyboards, solos, ridiculous vocals, the whole thing. And if you need further proof there’s a keyboard heavy cover of the theme song from the movie Spaceballs. Choke it down and love the cheesy goofiness.

Sacred Reich – Awakening
I’m not a huge follower of Sacred Reich but I’m always down for some classic american thrash. Much to my surprise, the new album is an awesome mix of said classic American thrash and classic American power metal, which adds a fun level and pomposity and sheer metal power that isn’t typically inherent in thrash. Not going to change the world but god damn if it isn’t fun as hell.
Ivory Tower – Stronger
I’m in the throws of a school girl crush on all things 2019 power metal but despite my infatuation power metal unrelentingly keeps producing killer album after album this year. And it’s not like power metal has changed any, it’s just doing its thing, and continuing to do it awesomely almost in complete disregard for anything else. Scene drama, politics, chest thumping, power metal just blindingly passes all that shit by and makes majestic songs with soaring ambitions and transcendent power. Ivory Tower is fully in that bubble and while they tend to veer towards the progressive side of things, these Germans are full on power metal. And if you know anything about anything you know how fucking rad the Germans are at power metal. So put that in your fucking horn and chug it. Power Metal 4 Life.