- Published on Monday, 06 August 2012 11:37
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 380
Striker – Armed to the Teeth
Striker are a Canadian speed/power metal band from Alberta, and “Armed to the Teeth is their second album. These guys play an 80s style of metal that brings to mind the first White Wizzard album. It reminds me of White Wizzard because both bands play an early style of speed metal that evolved just before and during the initial stages of the thrash movement. Bands were playing music that was heavier than traditional heavy metal, but without the harder vocal styles of thrash (and eventually death and black metal) that would come along a few years later. The songs got faster but the vocals were still very melodic and often high pitched. This has always been one of the most interesting periods of metal for me since I was living through it at the time. Once thrash came along most bands adapted to the times and that brief period of metal ended.
“Armed to the Teeth” is a great example of this style and I am enjoying the album very much. Not only are the songs really good, but the production sounds great too. I do not think any of the albums in this style from the 80s had a production sound this nice. They could go with a dated production to make the songs more “authentic”, but why do that if you do not have to. I like how this album sounds.
This album was certainly a surprise for me; I was not sure what I would be getting from a band called Striker (I was guessing retro thrash) so this turned out to be a cool discovery. Check these guys out. Here is the track “Let It Burn.”
Nechochwen – OtO
Move over Viking and Pagan Folk metal, Nechochwen is here to bring the Native American Folk Metal. Hailing from West Virginia, Nechochwen plays folk and metal music inspired by Native American heritage. “OtO” is their third release and, rather than being an LP it is considered a double EP. The reason for this being that the first side/EP represents an organic, acoustic sound, while the other side/EP brings an aggressive metal assault. This is meant to mirror the two sides within us all. “One is at peace with our surroundings and the other attempts to conquer them.”
Given there are six songs, I would have expected a balance of three acoustic songs and three heavy songs, but only two of the tracks contain elements which would be called metal. A third track does contain some electric guitar, but it still remains fairly mellow.
“OtO” is interesting to me on several levels. For many years I have been interested in Native American culture and the royal screwing they received at the hands of us white folk. I will leave it at that rather than go into a long-winded rant about all that is wrong with U.S./Native American relations. Let’s just say I have a great respect for the Native American people and their culture.
From a musical standpoint “OtO” interests me because I have not heard anything quite like it before. Sure, I have heard plenty of folk metal, and I have heard metal songs about Native American themes (can I get a hell yeah for Testament’s brand new “Native Blood”) but I do not recall anything quite like this album. Given that there are only really two heavy songs out of six, the listener should be prepared to just relax and enjoy the folk elements of the first four tracks. The heavier elements are pretty cool, but I think the acoustic elements provide the most meat and flavor on this album.
Here is one of the tracks that contains metal as well as folk elements. This is “He Ya Ho Na.”
Blood Mortized – The Key to a Black Heart
Just in case you were getting sleepy from all the non-extreme metal, here is some death metal to wake you up, from Swedish band Blood Mortized from their second album, “The Key to a Black Heart.”
I feel like a broken record saying this, but Blood Mortized suffers from the same problem as countless other death metal bands – if they were the first death metal band you had ever heard you might be pretty blown away by their music. But since this not our first rodeo…while the songs and production on “The Key to a Black Heart” are pretty good, they do not do much to make the band stand out from the hordes of other bands playing death metal. What these guys need next time around is something - a songwriter, an emotion, a gimmick even, that pushes things to the next level and sets them ahead of the rest of the pack and makes us take notice.
Here is the video for “Unleashing the Hounds.”
Dark Elite – Enter the Void
Dark Elite is a band from…well…I am not sure where they are from. I received a download link for this EP in an email from someone called T.Honkanen and a link to a website. The website talks about the music a little but gives no indication of who, what or where this music originates. They make mention of Finnish magazines and websites, so maybe this is Finnish too. This is where providing the bio sheet I request on the submissions page comes in real handy. I might have just ignored this submission but the music is actually not bad. But just think…this could have been the paragraph where I talked about the band, instead of the paragraph where I confess my ignorance about who provided these songs. I could have written back for further info, but I should not have to drag this info out of someone wishing to be featured on the site. Note to self for the future.
The five songs that comprise “Enter the Void” are an atmospheric black metal that rather than dealing with religious material prefer to stick with topics based in reality. That is the one little tidbit I picked up from the bands website. It is a decent listen and the production sound is pretty good too.
Here is the track “Sic Itur Ad Astra.”