This week’s reviews include releases from Armory, Hibria, Metal Allegiance, Spirit Adrift, XII Boar and X-Method. The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Armory – World Peace…Cosmic War (High Roller)
Genre: Speed Metal
Sweden’s Armory are a fairly new band, but would have fit in perfectly back in the ’80s. Their debut album World Peace…Cosmic War mixes raw speed metal with elements of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
The uptempo songs emphasize their thrash influences, while the moderately paced tracks reveal a strong Iron Maiden influence, especially on guitar. The vocals from Konstapel P. are versatile, ranging from gruff thrash style barks to power metal falsetto. It’s a blast from the past blending American thrash and classic metal.
Hibria – XX (Test Your Metal)
Genre: Power/Speed Metal
The prolific Brazilian band Hibria are back with XX. After releasing four full-lengths and a live album in the past five years, their latest effort combines three studio tracks with four live songs.
The new songs are flawlessly produced power/speed metal with crunchy guitars, soaring choruses and a top-notch performance from vocalist Iuri Sanson. The live songs, recorded last year in their home country, span several different albums and are received very well by the crowd. Coming almost exactly a year after their last studio album, it’s a nice stopgap release.
Metal Allegiance – Fallen Heroes EP (Nuclear Blast)
Genre: Heavy Metal
After releasing their debut album last year, the supergroup Metal Allegiance, whose lineup includes bassists Mark Menghi (who is also the main songwriter) and David Ellefson (Megadeth), guitarist Alex Skonick (Testament) and drummer Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs), return with the EP Fallen Heroes.
The three song, 12 minute effort pays tribute to three music legends who recently passed away: Lemmy, David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Menghi, Skolnick and Portnoy provide the music, with guest vocalist Troy Sanders from Mastodon channeling Lemmy on the Motorhead track “Iron Fist.” Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda sings on Bowie’s “Suffragette City,” the best song on the EP, while Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz fronts the Eagles’ “Life In The Fast Lane.” It’s a well-done tribute, but it would have been even better if they would have added a Prince song to the EP.
Spirit Adrift – Chained To Oblivion (Prosthetic)
Genre: Doom Metal
One man black metal bands are common, but it’s not too often you find a one man doom project like Spirit Adrift. Chained To Oblivion is the creation of Nate Garrett (Take Over And Destroy, Gatecreeper).
The lengthy tracks include plenty of traditional doom with slow tempos and downtuned riffs, but Garrett injects other influences as well. You’ll hear stoner and psychedelic sections and a progressive interlude or two. The title track is a highlight, an 11 minute opus with ebbs and flows from traditional rock to heavy doom to mellow ambiance and some melodic vocals with a Tears For Fears vibe.
Genre: Sludge Metal
The British band XII Boar are back with their second full-length album Beyond The Valley Of The Triclops, which was produced by Chris Fielding (Electric Wizard, Winterfylleth).
Their debut was well-received, and this one is even better. They play uptempo sludge with thick riffs and a variety of vocal styles from Tommy Hardrocks ranging from a rough growl to melodic singing to extreme rasps. The songs are groovy and catchy with a lot of swagger. Tracks like the downtempo “Black and Blues” add some variety to the otherwise raucous proceedings.
X-Method – Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music (Pavement)
Genre: Thrash Metal
On their debut album Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music, Bay Area thrashers X-Method display a lot more complexity and depth than the album title suggests.
There’s plenty of thrash with lightning fast riffs along with mid-tempo groovy tracks and harsh, aggressive vocals. They also change things up with the melodic ballads “Waiting 4 The Rain” and “And I Know.” The shift between styles is jarring at times, but there’s no doubt there’s a lot more diversity than the typical thrash album, including the Spanish closing track “No Tey Vayas.”