No. 14

August 01, 2014

Overkill - White Devil Armory (Nuclear Blast) ....

Overkill's latest release White Devil Armory may not become anyone's favorite album anytime soon, but even it's lesser moments outshine the songs from their last release The Electric Age. White Devil Armory is a fast paced album which shows a band still trying to give fans as much whiplash as they did in their glory days. "Armorist" has a stiff and predictable chorus that is more than compensated for by its energetic momentum. "Bitter Pill" is a six minute epic that gets catchier and catchier as it moves from verse to bridge to chorus. It's a busy tune that has a multitude of good riffs and parts showcasing their songwriting chops, but the breakdown and solo in the middle cause the song to lose its luster. Guitarist Dave Linsk lays down some truly blistering solo work on "Where There's Smoke" and "It's All Yours". Overall the album will probably feed the appetite of their fans but fails to be more than mediocre at best.

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Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails (Unique Leader) ....

Last year Fallujah released their EP titled Nomadic, which caught my attention. The band has taken what they did on that EP and expanded it in every way with songs which are more memorable, melodic, and heavier. The recording production on this album is exceptional and most noteworthy. The San Francisco band has been on the edge of breaking for the past several years and their latest effort may finally give them the praise they deserve. "Starlit Path" is the perfect introduction acting as an overture for the journey ahead. The gentle intro leads you in then explodes with pure brutality. "The Night Reveals" and the title-track "The Flesh Prevails are the best examples of the twists between melody and heaviness. "Allure" is one of the best songs on this album and one cannot ignore "Alone with You" with the guest female vocals of Roniit on this inspiring piece of electronic elegance.

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Grave Digger - Return of the Ripper (Napalm) ....

Considering this is Grave Digger's 17th album in 30 years, Return of the Reaper sounds surprisingly fresh. There's nothing remotely original about the band's music, but it stays true to its classic power metal roots. Return of the Reaper isn't all 80's worshiping speed metal. "Hell Funeral," "Season of the Witch," and "Death Smiles At All Of Us" showcase the band's power metal side, and even the hard-charging retro pieces have their epic feel. Songs like "Tattoed Rider," "Road Rage Killer," and "Satan's Host" combine galloping guitars with gravely vocals to produce the kind of music that's perfect for soaring down the highway on a motorcycle. This is the most energetic Grave Digger has sounded in a long time, and proves the longevity of the band.

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