Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Assorted genres

Main categories

Metal State often receives ten invitations a day to review new albums. In physical terms, it would be impossible for a whole battalion of writers to do full reviews of so much new music. In practical terms, we don’t want to overwhelm our readers with so many posts that few would have or make the time to read them all. How then to do some justice to the many outstandingly good submissions we take in each day?

One way to help the best bands reach a wider audience is to compile digests of new albums, and that’s what I’m starting to do here. The graphic shows what type of ground I’ll be covering in the next few weeks, months and the rest of my life. After that, I’ll do mixed digests of different flavours of metal and other music as soon as possible after it arrives at our dungeon. For now, I’ve sorted my best albums received so far this year into main categories. You can see them in the graphic on the left. I’ll tick off each category as I add posts.

I’ve listened to all of the selected albums enough times to evaluate and rate them. I can’t cover everything. Instead, every album in my digests will have to be worth at least 4 out 5 on our rating system, where 4 is “excellent” and 5 is “even better than Khanye West thinks he is.”

To get the series started, enjoy this mixed set of mini-reviews. They cover a range of genres that we tend to follow less frequently on Metal State. They’re sorted alphabetically by the name of the band.

 

Chelsea WolfeChelsea Wolfe – Abyss

Genre: Folk Darkwave
Release date: 7 August 2015
Label: Sargent House
Tracks: 11
Length: 56 minutes
Location: California, USA
Personnel: Chelsea Wolfe (guitar & vocals), Ben Chisholm (bass, keys & programming), Dylan Fujioka (drums), Aurielle Zeitler (guitar)
Previous studio albums: The Grime and the Glow (2010), Apokalypsis (2011), Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs (2012), Pain Is Beauty (2013)

Darkwave may not be the best-known type of music to most metalheads. It grew from a union of 1980s punk rock and New Wave, which means it didn’t stem directly from metal. However, Chelsea Wolfe’s unique and captivating approach adds huge depths of drone, doom, art rock and folk rock to the very heavy, sombre music that engulfs you. Chelsea Wolfe herself is an extraordinary vocalist, silkily switching her voice from gentle and ethereal to almost thunderous.

Mammal’s rating: 4 out of 5

Visit Chelsea Wolfe on Facebook.

 

Coal ChamberCoal Chamber – Rivals

Genre: Nu metal
Release date: 19 May 2015
Label: Napalm records
Tracks: 14
Length: 46 minutes
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Personnel: Dez Fafara (vocals), Meegs Rascon (guitar), Mike Cox (drums), Nadja Peulen (bass)
Previous studio albums: Coal Chamber (1997), Chamber Music (1999), Dark Days (2002)

It’s been 13 years since Coal Chamber’s last album. They played great music back then, and the challenge was to meet their own stratospheric standards on their new release. They were more than up for the mission. “Rivals” is a greatly pleasing and varied set of powerhouse songs with plenty of melody, great riffs and pulsating beat. Going by this album, fans would be justifiably disappointed if the band didn’t plan another album for release fairly soon. Don’t take another decade, hey, guys?

Mammal’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Visit Coal Chamber on Facebook.

 

KamchatkaKamchatka – Long Road Made of Gold

Genre: Retro blues rock
Release date: 22 May 2015
Label: Despotz Records
Tracks: 10
Length: 42 minutes
Location: Sweden
Personnel: Per Wiberg (bass & vocals), Tobias Strandvik (drums), Thomas “Juneor” Andersson (guitar & vocals)
Previous studio albums: Kamchatka (2005), Volume II (2007), Volume III (2009), Bury Your Roots (2011), The Search Goes On (2014)

If this album had been released in 1970 I would have rushed out to buy it. Kamchatka have delivered another album of blues rock heavily flavoured with the classic rock sound and vocal style of that era. Don’t be misled, though, this no mere retrospective tribute to those classic bands. Kamchatka add a thoroughly modern touch to their music. This album should appeal to other ancients like me who dig the heavy rock of our youth, but it should be equally appealing to much younger fans of 21st century hard rock. This is an album for all ages!

Mammal’s rating: 4 out of 5

Visit Kamchatka’s website.

 

Red Sun RisingRed Sun Rising – Polyester Zeal

Genre: Alternative rock
Release date: 7 August 2015
Label: Razor & Tie
Tracks: 11
Length: 44 minutes
Location: Akron, Ohio, USA
Personnel: Mike Protich (vocals, guitar), Ryan Williams (guitar), Tyler Valendza (guitar), Ricky Miller (bass, vocals), Pat Gerasia (drums)
Previous studio albums: This is their debut album

For me, this is far and away the grandest alternative rock album of the year so far. It has everything I want in music – super vocals, instrumentalists of the highest caliber, excellent arrangements, and, most of all, a selection of extraordinarily beautiful and moving songs. Prog metal and melodic metal fans in particular need to hear Red Sun Rising. It’s currently one of my most-played albums.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Red Sun Rising on Facebook.

 

Sassy KraimspriSassy Kraimspri – Cock Fight

Genre: Punk rock
Release date: 2015
Label: Lady Luck Records
Tracks: 9
Length: 28 minutes
Location: Norway
Personnel: Ida (vocals, guitars), Dick (lead guitars, backing vocals), Linda (bass, backing vocals), Thore/Steinar/Tash (drums)
Previous studio albums: Dirty White Lies (2007), The Pussy Magnet (EP, 2011)

What a lot of good fun this is! With nine songs packed into 28 minutes, each track is a quick blast and a lasting pleasure. This is old-style punk rock, the sort of music that used to top the alternative hit parades in the ’80s and ’90s. Quality always beats quantity in music, and Sassy Kraimspri offer the level of quality that makes this EP worth more than a hell of a lot of hour-long albums. I love the vocals; Ida has a really sexy voice that also oozes eff-you in the nicest way.

Mammal’s rating: 4 out of 5

Visit Sassy Kraimspri  on Facebook.

 

TanzwutTanzwut – Freitag Der 13.

Genre: Folk industrial metal
Release date: 13 February 2015
Label: AFM records
Tracks: 13
Length: 50 minutes
Location: Germany
Personnel: Teufel (vocals, bagpipes), Der Zwilling (bass, bagpipes), Jackbird (drums, keyboards, percussion), Thrymr  (folk instruments, bagpipes), Shumon (keyboards, percussion), Martin Ukrasvan (guitar, backing vocals, bagpipes), Ardor (folk instruments, bagpipes)
Previous studio albums: Tanzwut (1999), Labyrinth der Sinne (2000), Ihr Wolltet Spass (2004), Schattenreiter (2006), Morus et Diabulus (2011), Weiße Nächte (2011), Höllenfahrt (2013), Eselsmesse (2014)

These amazing Germans don’t bother too much about tags. They call their music “alternative” and leave it at that. What we have here is something like a combination of the best of Rammstein and the Seaforth Highlanders pipe band. My description, “folk industrial metal”, is self-contradictory since woodlands and iron foundries aren’t a common combination, but the description fits. So does a top rating for the sheer entertainment and the thumping, feel-good music put together by Tanzwut.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Tanzwut on Facebook.

 

TristanaTristana – Virtual Crime

Genre: Alternative metal
Release date: 31 March 2015
Label: Bakerteam Records
Tracks: 11
Length: 56 minutes
Location: Slovakia
Personnel: Peter Wilsen (vocals), Laco Krabac (bass), Dusan Homer (guitar), Andrea Almasi (keyboards), Roman Elevo Lasso (drums)
Previous studio albums: Back to the Future (2003), Zircon Street (2010)

Alter Bridge have been my favourite alternative metal band for a few years. Tristana belongs on the same top shelf in this genre. The fire of Slavic passion flows through the album. I’m really impressed by the slick use of clean and dark vocals to add contrast and heaviness to the compositions. The keyboards add an orchestral element and enhance the emotion behind the songs. All round, this is a richly flavoured album by a classy band that definitely deserves more exposure.

Mammal’s rating: 4 out of 5

Visit Tristana on Facebook.

 

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About ChristopherMammal

I've made it to Mammal. I still hope to be classified as Human one day. Meanwhile I have evolved enough to recognise different types of music as well as the shrieks of certain vervet monkeys who are known for their scurrilous behaviour in the proximity of unguarded bananas.

Posted on July 15, 2015, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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