Recommended Underground Titles - Part III
In this new edition of N.W.O.U.H.M. Recommended Underground Titles I've made the decision to keep the number of titles at five: four full-lengths and one EP. In an effort to further exemplify heavy metal's current state-of-affairs, I choose five titles distinctively different from one another, crossing over boundaries, but still maintaining heavy metal as the common denominator. Please support the bands. Turn it up!
4 BAJO ZERO
6/25/2019 (originally 2018)
The hard rockers 4 BAJO ZERO formed in Valencia in 2013. The outfit released the debut album, "Antihéroe" in 2015. Their newer, sophomore effort, "Abominable", originally released at the end of 2018, freely negotiates between hard rock and melodic heavy metal. The band's current formation, fronted by vocalist Rebeca Montón, includes: Gonzalo Lorente (guitar), Iñaki Genís (drums) and Andreas Siegl (bass). The new album offers ten solid tracks, showcasing the band's great songwriting skills and spot-on, mature performances. The dynamic instrumentals are perfect match to Rebeca's incredible vocals. Entirely intoned in band's native Spanish. The album's cover depicts a mercenary overlooking Valencia's (band's hometown) Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, in a post apocalyptic, deeply frozen scenario (Day After Tomorrow). How cool is that! Rock duro de calidad en español!
Antioch IV: Land of No Kings
Formed in the late 2013, the Canadian heavy metallers, ANTIOCH independently released their third full-length album to date, "Antioch IV: Land of No Kings", earlier this month. Maintaining unchanged affinities since inception, the band's sound is rooted in the classic/traditional heavy metal of 1975 to 1985. The new album was recorded in a trio formation: bassist Jordan Rhyno, guitarist Alex Dupuis (no longer part of the band), and Nick Allaire on drums and lead vocals duties. Plethora of riffs, solid rhythm section and extended range vocals make for a very enjoyable listening. The album's CD edition contains four bonus covers, besides the nine original tracks. Your eyes don't deceive you: that is a four headed black unicorn on the album's cover.
HESS, the brainchild of singer Melani Hess, became active in 2010 in Rosario, Argentina. The band released their debut studio album, "Hagalaz", in 2014 to good response from rock/metal fans and critics alike. After a couple of lineup changes, the band's core, Melani Hess and guitarist Ariel Schefer, recruited new blood for the recording and (independent) release of their sophomore effort, "Harpokrates". Melani's soprano range vocals and the philosophical/historical lyrical theme add a proper dramatic effect to the well written melodies, venturing outside the album's heavy metal core, with slight epic and even doom influences. Majority of tracks are sang in English, with the exception of "Heroes", which is in Spanish. Splendid guitar solos. Great, well crafted album from the South American band.
LORDS OF THE TRIDENT
Shadows from the Past (European Edition)
7/26/2019 (originally 2018)
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Released one year ago, in the summer of 2018, "Shadows of the Past" marked Wisconsin natives LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, active since 2008, fourth studio album at that time. (The band released an all acoustic album, titled "Pull the Plug", earlier this year.) Aligned with the rest of the band's well received catalog, the newer album borderlines epic and power metal via its sound and thematic. The modern sounding effort excels with its polished production and remarkable arrangements. Clean, full-range, operatic at time, vocals offering great fitting to the, by now familiar lyrical fantasy/adventure, sometime witty, themes. An album that is sure to please fans in the heavy, epic and power metal camps.
What Lies Within EP
Hailing from Manchester, UK, the heavy metallers STORMRIDER wasted no time to release their second EP since the band's formation in 2017. Roughly six months after the release of their debut EP, "Heavy Metal Machine", the band recorded the five tracks that became "What lies Within". The music on this most recent EP freely crosses the boundaries between heavy metal, power, speed and even thrash, while rooted in N.W.O.B.H.M. Benefiting from quality songwriting and execution, along side the slightly Gothic influenced clean vocals, make for a captivating listening. Contains also a great dose of galloping riffs and rhythms. Looking forward to a full-length release from the Manchester lads in the near future.
© 2019 by Emil Chiru