Due to the fact things have been hectic, to say the least, at my end over the last few weeks, I have acquired a larger than usual backlog of reviews. So, instead of skipping some that I would usually like to cover, I am going to do a mini-review round-up, so to speak, of some new releases and a couple of recent releases. Anyway, there’s a nice mix covered, so read on my filthy friends. Jude.
Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls (2014)
Well well, I was under the impression that the mighty Priest had called it a day. The Epitaph tour was supposed to be their last, yet they have just announced a tour (which rocks as I have never seen them live) and have crept up, seemingly out of nowhere, with a new full length; Redeemer of Souls.
First off, Redeemer is too long. This is an album that could quite easily have been shorn of three or four tunes and, considering there’s a version released with an extra disc, I can only assuming that Priest, without KK Downing for the first time, are cleaning out the closet.
All that being said, there are some absolutely barnstorming tunes contained herein; just not enough of them. There’s a lot of plodding filler, and Rob Halford’s voice seems to be on the wane in places. Overall though, songs like Halls of Valhalla, March of the Damned and Beginning of the End (read between the lines on this one) make this worth checking out. Not a classic, but it’ll grow on you…maybe.
Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails (2014)
Some bands have a definite hype surrounding them, when a new release is on the horizon. Some of these bands don’t really warrant it at all, but then there are those that really, really do; Fallujah is one of those bands that do, and some.
The Flesh Prevails follows on from the 2011 full length, The Harvest Wombs, and 2013’s Nomadic EP, and lifts Fallujah up into the stratosphere. This is an album that you’ll want absolutely no distractions whilst you absorb its beauty. Atmospheric Death Metal, you say? Hell yes and it works to perfections. It’s incredibly rare to hear an album that is death metal that stirs the emotions quite like this.
There are untold layers that can be stripped away throughout the entire running time of this album, and I get the feeling it’s one of those gems that keep offering up something new to the listener on each new spin. So yes, some bands deserve the hype. Fallujah don’t really need the hype; just listen to The Flesh Prevails and prepare to be embroiled in its majesty.
Ovaryrot – Deform (2013)
Deform is not my first visit to Ovaryrot’s demented world of experimental grind/death/noise/fuckmaggeddon. So, even though I had a vague idea of what to expect, in terms of style (maybe), nothing really prepares you for the sonic assault that unravels over the course of the 19 songs contained.
Musically Ovaryrot deliver ugly grind and death, fused in with some crazy electronic tomfoolery, and really punish the listener with their unrelenting delivery. Deform is the soundtrack to a serial killer’s darkest fantasy come to life; it’s violent, chaotic and utterly demented.
Deform certainly isn’t going to be the type of album you listen to all of the time, due to its sheer intensity, but when the mood takes you, when you’re in that dark place you like to visit, slap this bitch on and get ready to take on the world. Personally, I think it’s a beautiful monster, one that you take time to get to know. Once you are fully acquainted, you’ll become firm friends, like Henry and Otis….
For information on how to grab this tape, or their other releases, hit them up on Facebook.
Sabaton – Heroes (2014)
Despite having been around for a few years now, with several albums under their belt, Heroes was my introduction to the war-themed Swedish power metallers, Sabaton. I have since picked up a few of their albums, as yes I bloody love this album.
I did not know that it was their first studio album with a new band line-up and I knew nothing of their previous releases, so I went in with no expectations. The bombast, the glory, the utter magnificence of Heroes is something I thoroughly enjoyed. Fuck that, I think it’s a bloody great album. Yes, I have had time to compare it with other albums, such as 2012’s Carolus Rex, and even though the cheese is ladled on fairly thick in places I don’t think there’s a weak song to be found.
I’ll just leave it with you that this is probably the most played album I have at the moment, and I don’t see its charm wearing off anytime soon.
Grave Digger – Return of the Reaper (2014)
The German stalwarts of the 80’s and beyond, Grave Digger are back!! Goddamn they are, and with Return of the Reaper they have released the album that Judas Priest would have loved to have recorded, instead of the mediocre Redeemer of Souls.
This is classic heavy metal, delivered with huge choruses, hooks aplenty and a thundering juggernaut of momentum to it. Even when the lyrics take a turn for the dodgy, there’s something about spiders somewhere on here, you just won’t care one iota. You’re not going to listen to this album hoping for the reinvention of the wheel, and if you are you are going to be disappointed. Reaper harkens back to the glory days of the 80’s, yet still sounds totally fresh and exciting.
Sure, it’s got more cheese than Wisconsin, but who rightly gives a fuck? Maybe it’s me being the old bastard that I am, or maybe it’s me being sick of some bands trying to damned hard to be clever (and failing), but I can’t but help loving this album.
Return of the Reaper is the sort of metal album that fans of good old heavy metal will love. It does border on thrash and power metal in places, yet for the most part it is just metal, plain and simple; delivered with aplomb.
I’ve no idea, without checking, exactly how old the band members are, but they have to be way older than me (at least those original members) and sound like they are having an absolute blast with it! All hail the Grave Digger!!