Certainly, Orphaned Land are now Israel’s biggest heavy metal band. When the five-piece released last album ‘The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR’ in 2010, it seemed like the band were entering an even bigger phase of their careers. If anything, the quintet’s fifth studio album gives us a sense that their popularity could inflate even more in the coming years. Orphaned Land maintain their important message of peace in ‘All Is One’ and convey it with a charismatic multicultural mash-up of beautiful folk instrumentation, concise melodic metal and a grandiose orchestral backing.
When Altar of Plagues emerged with first full-length album ‘White Tomb’ back in 2009, they were lazily touted as either ‘Ireland’s answer to Wolves In The Throne Room’ or oversimplified as ‘post-black metal’. Even when the band landed with second masterpiece ‘Mammal’ in 2011, the comparisons to the US band were still drawn out and the post-black tag stuck. In reality, there was little justification to do that. Altar of Plagues might have worked from a black metal framework and thrived from the ugly adversity of the style to bring their themes of urban oppression to life, but there was something else going on: the band were subtly shifting into further experimental textures upon that immortal second record.
When Askival mastermind Andy Marshall announced that the Scottish band was no more in 2009, the news was received with equal bewilderment and sadness amongst fans. The one-man project released first album ‘Eternity’ earlier that year, showing great potential and especially catching the ear of black metal fans who simply prefer an escape into the beautiful wilderness of a dark British woodland space. A promising project ceased to exist…
Acolyte have been sitting on ‘Alta’ for a few years now, waiting for the right record deal to materialise so they can unleash their follow-up to excellent 2011 EP ‘Leng’. The Manchester band signed to Mordgrimm earlier in the year and have finally released this long-awaited debut album. The five-piece have made a gigantic, colossal beast of a record with mega lashings of groove and weighty yet smooth progressive transitions; from bouts of bouncing rocky verses with massive hooks to barbaric, blackened stampedes, Acolyte do it all with equal intelligence and charisma throughout ‘Alta’.
Newcastle-based Rosaceae have offered a number of releases as free downloads over the last few years; one EP and three demos to be precise. Each time, the one-man black metal act – created by Liam McGeorge – has moved forward with some great musical developments and showed increasing potential. ‘Transcending Into The Cold’ is yet another free download from the talented North East musician, though this time it’s a much more substantial occasion because ‘Transcending Into The Cold’ is Rosaceae’s debut full-length album.
Wardruna took us on a profound spiritual journey back to ancient Norse lands with debut album ‘Runaljod – Gap Var Ginnunga’. The Norwegian music collective – comprised of former Gorgoroth members Kvitrafn and Gaahl and completed by Lindy Fay Hella and Hallvard Kveiveland – wanted to make something as pure as the roots of the Yggdrasil tree itself, and it has quite naturally led to the second part of the Runaljod trilogy they began in 2009.
Clutch can be considered a proud part of American rock history. As the four-piece enter their 23rd year together, they hit the precious milestone of album number ten with ‘Earth Rocker’ and prove that they’re still doing what they do, to an exceptional standard. But what exactly do Clutch do?