Putting it bluntly, Pineal aren’t exactly shy with regard to their core influences on this release. Although their recording budget occasionally shows a few limitations, this London-based trio really love Alice In Chains. Their stock riffs are never a straight up reconstruction of the AIC sound, though, since most of the heavier elements are more of a doom-rock persuasion, much slower in pace than AIC at their most sludgy…and certainly much heavier in many respects. Any Alice In Chains homages are due to Daniel Murney‘s vocal style which – in more than a few places – really taps into Layne Staley’s trademark spooked out, nasal croon.
Abaddon Incarnate’s fifth album ‘Pessimist’ is a monster. Their first release for Candlelight Records (home to Corrosion of Conformity and cult thrashers Pestilence) leaves no doubt as to the band’s intentions of being the fastest and most brutal band in Ireland. A split second after hitting the play button their musical assault begins and the title track churns away at full pelt. Drummer Johnny King (a member of the band since 2007) hammers at his bass pedals with the manner of a man in possession of extra limbs, while simultaneously hammering at his snares in a lightning speed attack, occasionally resulting in sounds clearly inspired by one-time Suffocation drummer Mike Smith. The other half of Abaddon’s rhythm section, bassist Steve Finnerty plays equally hard, his instrument grinding at top speed, not so much bringing an anchoring bottom end – an important part of extreme metal (see early Carcass) – but more adding a layer of buzz-saw noise throughout. The twin guitars of Steve Maher and Bill Whelan, meanwhile shred furiously, their shrill tones cutting through everything daring to stand in their way.
As far as metal-based subgenres are concerned, folk metal is often overlooked. While Skyclad are often viewed as that particular niche’s favourite sons (they have arguably been the most commercially successful), dozens of other bands have worked hard to make a place for themselves within the scene. Sheffield’s Northern Oak built a cult following after releasing their debut EP in 2008, eventually gaining critical acclaim from Terrorizer Magazine for their subsequently released albums. After releasing their second full-length album ‘Monuments’ in 2010, the band appeared at the Bloodstock Festival and concentrated on live work. Breaking a four year studio silence, ‘Of Roots and Flesh’ (recorded with Electric Wizard producer Chris Fielding and again self-released) is a very accomplished work, its dozen tracks creating a sprawling musical landscape; often dense, but always with just enough atmosphere to ensure nothing ever feels too overwhelming.
After the release of three studio albums and a live record, by 1988 US shock-rockers W.A.S.P. had gained a loyal fan-base. However, thanks to their potentially objectionable songs and frontman Blackie Lawless’s larger-than-life attitude, the band had even more detractors. Since their stage show featured raw meat, torture racks and naked women and their albums were filled with more profanity and sexist material than most bands had dared to commit to plastic by that point on the time line of hard rock history, they made life-long enemies with Tipper Gore and her self-righteous band of moral guardians in the US.
Having been slowly building a name for themselves via a couple of independent releases and live shows, it is with ‘No Gods, No Masters Vol 1.’ Northern Irish metal band Sinocence really come into their own. You will have heard their many classic metal and alternative metal influences previously, but this band pull those influences together in a fashion that still makes their chosen sub-genre sound sharp and invigorating.