Iced Earth: A band whose name brings up a great deal of praise and nostalgia within the metal community. The group’s signature sound has led to the release of a number of classic albums since storming on the scene in 1990 with their self-titled debut and renowned follow-up Night of the Stormrider a year later. They have gone through a number of vital line-up changes since then, but have always come out strong until recent years. Despite mixed reception to the prior two albums featuring new vocalist Stu Block, the group continues to carry on, evident with their latest offering Incorruptible, their thirteenth studio full-length. But is it a return to the aggressive early days as the lead single “Seven Headed Whore” alludes to, or is that tease simply a mask on the face of the deceiver?
Clouds Taste Satanic, one of doom metal’s best hidden secrets, is a four-piece hailing from New York City, New York. Originally formed in 2013, the group has since unleashed two surprisingly different sounding full-lengths since inception, both of which meeting with plenty of critical and fan approval. Roughly one year after Your Doom Has Come dropped in 2015, which followed 2014’s To Sleep Beyond the Earth debut, we now face their third creation tited Dawn of the Satanic Age. Is it a successful new outing or change in direction? If not, does it continue to expand on their most recent effort?
When it comes to metal from Lithuania, there really aren’t a lot of options due to the size of the country itself. If you happen to search Metal-Archives, you will only get one-hundred and sixty-eight returns, only eighty-three of which are currently active at the time of writing this article. One of those few bands alive and kicking is the post-black metal four-piece Au-Dessus, which is French for “above”. Consisting of current and former members of Pergalė, Paralytic, and Exile into Suffery, the group formed in 2014 and only lost drummer Džiugas a year later, who was replaced with Šarūnas Bedulis shortly after. Little time was wasted before catching the eye of Witching Hour Productions to release their self-titled debut five-song EP. But does this introductory piece really stand as something worth taking note of, or is it something far less spectacular?
Singapore’s Assault formed back in 2006, but has been fairly silent as far as studio time goes. In fact, their debut recording was The Exceptions of the Rebellions back in 2011 roughly five years later. This was followed by another five years without anything new until this year with the brand new outing The Fallen Reich through Transcending Obscurity Records. But does this six song effort finally put the band’s name out into the crowd beyond their home country, or is it something a little too late to matter?
Before the guessing game begins, this is the Ruin from Phelan, California, and not the one from Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Maine, or in the number of various countries across the globe. What once was a three-piece now stands as a duo featuring the only remaining founding member Mihail Jason Satan on vocals and guitars, as well as a drummer named David who is also involved with Aeternum and Oscuros. And don’t worry if you never heard of this Ruin before. 1991 saw the Sickening Ruin demo, and silence until the 2015 demo Spread Plague Hell, followed by some splits and a compilation into this year. Drown in Blood marks the debut full-length, but has the wait been worth it, or has the idle time done the group in somewhat?
Helsótt (“Fatal Illness” in Old Norse) is a folk/thrash metal group hailing from Menifee, California. The group came together in 2010, features ex-Shroud of Bereavement‘s Steph Robinson on keyboards and additional female vocals, as well as all original members save for lead guitarist David Watson who joined in 2013 to replace Tristan Nightingale. While the band has been active for a good while, there hasn’t been much in the line of studio output. 2012 saw the release of their first EP Fólkvangr, and the debut full-length Woven in 2014. For 2017, they are issuing a new five song EP titled The Healer, which is being handled by M-Theory Music. But does this American act deliver with this effort, or does it fail to capture the pagan spirit in which it is birthed from?