Missed Reviews: Killswitch Engage; Bullet For My Valentine; Ghost Brigade; Toxic Holocaust; Skeletonwitch; Cradle of Filth

If I had it my way I would by every album I want with the money that grows on this tree outside.  But, since the world doesn’t work like that some potential album purchases get pushed to the wayside until a time arises when the wallet fairy says it’s time to buy.  In some cases, like with Ghost Brigade, I never knew they existed.  So, thanks to people like you, readers, fellow bloggers, and my Metal State cohorts, I get introduced to all kinds of bands, hence Ghost Brigade.  This segment is something I never did before, but I thought it would be cool to catch up on a few things I never got around to or freshly introduced to.  If you are like me, I hope you find something you like.  Enjoy!

Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent (2013)

Killswitch Engage is a band that was never really on my radar, but I could count on them for some pretty cool songs off each album; not to mention one cover I am really fond of.  In fact, by the time I heard of the band I didn’t even realize they were on a second vocalist in Howard Jones.  So, when I heard Jesse Leach was returning to the band I barely noticed there was ever much of a difference from the old to the most recent of their albums at the time.  When news of the latest album broke, I figured I would get around to it…well, that time is now.

I have to say my generalized opinion has changed a bit from my previous position.  I rather enjoy the new work.  I still only hear barely a difference in vocal style from Jones back to Leach, but music I find more attractive than past endeavors from Killswitch camp.  I felt most of their songs were a bit choppy whereas the Disarm the Descent has a smoother cadence and flow. Overall, a little bummed I didn’t grab it upon release, but I am happy to have it now and have given it several pleasurable spins.

Bullet For My Valentine – Temper Temper (2013)

I rather enjoy the works of these Welsh boys.  They are thrashy and rhythmic, riff-heavy and can string together a nice nice beat which is something I gravitate to.  I thought Fever (2010) was pushing the band a little too too close to poppy/hard rock, but I still liked the album.  I guess when you have wildly accessible ballads in Hearts Burst Into Fire and Tears Don’t Fall, it’s easy to see where the band’s direction might might lead to.  When I heard the song Riot of Temper Temper I was not not impressed and opted to hold out thinking the album would push them further in a direction away from the thrashy elements I grew accustomed to.  Well, I was pretty much right right, Temper Temper comes off as too simple for a band I know have the ability to be much much heavier.

In the end end there are some solos and cool riffs, but the album is not as good good as I wanted it it to be.  They sure do like to focus their lyrical content to ugly ugly relationship bullshit which is getting gotten tired tired.  This doesn’t mean I will pass on future albums, but I will not jump to buy it unless I hear a kick ass single unlike Riot which was a bad bad choice.

Ghost Brigade – Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)

Well, I feel like I have been living under a rock!  I was recently introduced to Ghost Brigade and to put it mildly, this is fucking brilliant!  If I had heard this back in 2011, it would have surely placed very high on my end-of-year list.  At least I got to absorb this melodic, doomy genius before the release of their forthcoming album, IV – One with the Storm. It won’t be too long before their entire discography is in my back pocket…literally.

From the captivating lead song In The Woods to the headbanging, growly Traces of Liberty, this album lacks nothing.  They alternate from cleans to growls seamlessly.  I mean, when you hear something like In The Woods for the first time you can’t imagine a song like Clawmaster following it and tearing your soul apart and then Chamber following doused in emotion with its haunting cleans.  What a talented vocalist.  Seriously can’t stop listening to this album.  If you are into melodic, death, progressive, doom or all of the above crawl out from under the rock like I did and hear this.  It.  Must.  Be.  Heard.  Now!

Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Consciousness (2013)

It’s a little death, a little thrash, a little hardcore, and a lot ton of fun.  It’s raw and uncompromising with short, violent songs with the appeal of old-school Big Four albums such as Kill ‘Em All and Killing Is My Business…And Business is Good.  Mix that in with a little DRI influence and that sums up Toxic Holocaust nicely.  There is nothing flowery going on here to attract that random fan that can hang onto a beat and pretend to be cool.  I didn’t have a chance to review the album, but it did make my honorable mentions list of 2013.

Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed (2013)

Five albums into their career and this album was my first taste.  Much like Toxic Holocaust, the raw thrash appeal is in full force.  They tend to mix things up a bit more, but through and through they are energetic and tight.  Overall, a very consistent album laced with brutality; I really have nothing to complain about.  A very solid album.

Cradle of Filth – The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012)

You know what’s sad is that I bought this album and then never listened to it.  I went to download it and I guess the good thing about iTunes is that it told me I had already downloaded the album.  Then, I looked in my library and there it was.  Is that a sign I have too much music?  Nah, never!  So, I gave it the (figurative) spin and to my surprise, it’s a step up in brutal aggression from Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa (2010) and Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder (2008).  Both of those albums had some good things going for them, but in terms of a more return to roots style, Manticore boasts a little more orchestration and a consistent level of ferocity.  Where Thunder and Venus has some very near radio-friendly songs, The Manticore and Other Horrors maintains a cadence reminiscent of Midian (2000) and Damnation and a Day (2003).  Dani Filth can still squeal, squawk, and growl though at a lesser intensity than when he was much younger, he is still able to put the filth in the cradle.  Paul Allender’s guitar work seems to be expanding; unfortunately he is no longer in filth camp.  This was his last album.  Overall, it was a surprise.   I am kicking myself for forgetting I had it.

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About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on September 30, 2014, in Album Reviews, Retrospectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Glad your digging on Ghost Brigade. I adore that band, especially Until Fear No Longer Defines Us. No such thing as too late, the important part is you now have them in your back pocket 😉
    Also, Skeletonwitch is freaking amazing as well. I dig Toxic Holocaust as well, though they tend to get a little samey over the duration of an entire record.

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