USA

Sweet Cobra – Mercy

Mercy is a brave step forward for Sweet Cobra; it’s the sound of a band evolving from the damn-and-blast hardcore of its origins, and progressing into something more powerful in the dynamism that this newfound maturity brings with it. An incredible album.

Kamelot – Poetry for the Poisoned

It’s a real testament to the song-writing ability and musicianship of a band when they can have superstar guests on their album but don’t really need them. Poetry for the Poisoned features such notables as Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid (Soilwork), Simone Simons (Epica), Jon Oliva (Jon Oliva’s Pain, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra) and hotshot guitar player Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy) but all of the songs would have done just as well without the famous help.

Aborted/ Augury/ System Divide/ Horde of Worms @ Sneaky Dee’s, Toronto ON, August 28th 2010

“Only in death metal can you seriously announce that the next song is about the secret shadow-dwellers who live underground, have the room nod along seriously and then play a blisteringly brilliant song without a hint of irony. It’s damn fun to play mind-bogglingly intricate, complex music and still assert that the subject matter is inspired by psychic vampires. It is excellent, serious music delivered with charm, humour and monsters — there is nothing not to love.”

Natalie Zed reviews the August 28th Toronto performance by ABORTED, AUGURY and SYSTEM DIVIDE at Sneaky Dee’s. Live photos by Adam Wills.

Zed – The Invitation

A self-proclaimed “stoner metal” band from San Jose California, the quartet Zed has some of the elements you would expect: fuzz pedals, slow-rolling breakdowns, heavy bottom-end. They also have a crisp, commercial sheen that you could file under modern rock.

Roareth – Acts I-VI

Although they aren’t too creative with the written word—all songs are entitled Acts I through VI, and the band name itself is cringe-worthy—Seattle’s Roareth does have something to offer musically with this, their debut album. Take Zoroaster circa Dog Magic, sprinkle in a few non-distorted slow passages a la Neurosis, and a handful of Cisneros bass grooves, and you’ve got a solid 45 minutes of slow-moving sludge.

Death Angel – Relentless Retribution

The production and mix are crystal clear but there is a condensed and compressed feel to the overall sound. Killing Season had one of the best productions I’d heard in many years, organic and vibrant, and I think Relentless Retribution would have benefited from that same production. As would any record for that matter.

Hero Destroyed – Throes

The band sound like a mix of Burnt By the Sun and, in a way, Blessings the Hogs (but not as unfocused as BTH). Contained within the riffs are elements of thrash and hardcore but it’s a great blend, like nabob coffee or that guy on the donkey coffee. If you like modern metal with adrenaline fueled rage and with a little of intelligence thrown in, feel free to pour a cup