Singer Randy Blythe says this album, as reflected in its title, is about coming to terms with becoming a certain age and realizing that a whole lot of time has been spent partying. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing spiritually is up to only Blythe to determine but fans of Lamb of God are pretty much guaranteed to call it good musically. In fact, damn good. LOG have been honing their chops for a long time now and they're at the top of the hill; few bands can match the band's queasy brand of hell rock as displayed here in "Straight for the Sun" or their furious speed metal a la "Desolation" or even the stripped-down, acoustic guitar-led instrumental of barely controlled ominous-ness, "Barbarosa."
Invisible Empire is the second release from Riotgod, the New Jersey-based outfit built around drummer Bob Pantella and bassist Jim Baglino, otherwise known as the rhythm section for Monster Magnet. With singer Mark Sunshine on board the quartet is quite versatile in their chosen field of hard rock/stoner rock; "Breed" is stoney like old Uriah Heep yet "Fool" is straight out of the grunge era. There are even hints of prog on tunes like "Slow Death" where Sunshine sounds like a hard rockin' Freddie Mercury.
Mockery of the Fanatic
Forget about the Big Four---here's the Big Two. It's hard to believe that Temblad, made up of the duo of singer/guitarist Lorenzo Kemp and drummer Marlon Matthew make all the noise that they do; only two guys but playing with the fury of the young Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica all rolled into one. These guys pound away like their lives depend on it. This four-song sampler is full of pure, raw energy that hasn't been heard since the early days of thrash.
This band has a serious case of Dio-love going on; clearly there will never be another Ronnie James Dio but that doesn't mean there won't be lots of rockers coming along that sound like him. And that's what you have in Astral Doors; a Dio-esque vocalist in Nils Patrik Johansson and songs written and arranged in the style of Dio's most popular work. Don't hold the similarities against the band though; this is good stuff. Go ahead and open your Astral Doors.
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