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Reviews - S

SACRAMENTARY ABOLISHMENT - "THE DISTRACTING STONE"  

Catharisis Records  

Raw and fast black/death metal. The guitar solos give this a bit more taste and catchiness than expected. The sound can be very hectic at times and has a raw sound to it, thus giving the production a bit to be desired. Ultimately, this lacks production, and maybe a little originality.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SAMAEL - "PASSAGE"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Ahhhhh....SAMAEL..GODS!!! Four brilliant albums! This will easily be one of the best albums of the year. If you loved "Ceremony.." , then you will not be disappointed. The thing that scared me at first was the fact that the drumming was done by a machine. After listening to this release, I found that the use of a machine did not take away anything, but added to the SAMAEL sound in a very positive way. the song "Moonskin" is so dark and emotional and is one of the best songs I think SAMAEL has ever done. The piano segments adds so much to them. Also the line up, is new guitarist Kaos and the departure Rodolphe. If familiar with SAMAEL, then I am sure you are aware of the brilliant music this band has to offer. Anyone not familiar with this band, well check them out, you might be pleased.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SAMAEL - REIGN OF LIGHT  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Dance-beat driven, techno-fueled, with a goth/dark, evil munchkin, angry robot speaking in a low frequency volume, this album fits well with movies like The Matrix or Hellboy, especially when Neo is taking on agent Smith. When Neo and Trinity like to go to seedy clubs and find suckers who want to fight agents, that's probably when Samael music sounds the best. Space dancing and techno flipping all the way. Now, put on your leather pants and your eyeliner and dance like a maniac. Next week, I'll teach you how to do the macarena and the Texas two-step.  

www.samael.tv; www.samael.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SARGATANAS - "THE ENLIGHTMENT"  

Conquistador  

If you are familiar with Samael's, "Worship Him" or with the wonderful early 80's feel of Pentacle (big time Hellhammer-influenced death metal), then you might enjoy Sargatanas. Early Sodom/Sepultura type production is also part of this sound's foundation. The question is this: is this by accident, or un-purpose? We'll see in the coming period... I, for one, enjoy this type of stuff, because underneath the raw, unproduced production, there is, in every song, a real aspect of individuality to each song. As the simple guitar "solo" on song #5, "Ritual of the Advent" demonstrates, Eddie Van Halen is no influence here. The cover of Possessed's "Satan's Curse" is heavier on the bottom end than the original version. Overall, this is pretty raw death metal from Mexico. Beware though, it's not Emperor or Morbid Angel, more like children of Hellhammer.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SATAN'S GOD - "WICKED ARRIVAL"  

MUD BALL REC.  

Oh shit, he's / it's back. I reviewed his demo and now I have this release on MUD BALL REC. This is truly psychotic. I'm surprised I haven't shot my self yet. Truly something you should not listen to if you're depressed, pissed off, or in any other negative mood, for this will enhance it worse than alcohol! Here we have 6 "songs" or what I simply call, insanity. The "Black Zeppelin Dog" insanity is a "cover" of a LED ZEPPELIN song, truly warped. Man, this really isn't something I would personally spend money on, but yet I contradict my self by saying, everyone should have this! Why? Is the question I ask.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SATHANAS - "ARMIES OF CHARON"  

Conquistador Records  

Apparently these guys have been around since 1988, but have had incredibly poor luck with labels releasing their material. This being my first time hearing Sathanas, I can't compare against their past efforts, but what I heard here was very kool. If you like thrashy, blackened, old style metal, you can't go wrong with this disc. Listening to this makes me want to go out and fuck shit up in the name of metal. Join the armies of Charon today!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

SATYRICON - "NEMESIS DIVINA"  

MOONFOG  

This release is a pure exercise in testing the limits of how fast and brutal a band can be. Much like IMMORTALS "Battle In the North", this album takes previous elements of speed and pushes them to the thresh hold of capacity. This is actually one of the rawer black metal releases that you'll hear this year. Interestingly enough, this band is also diverse because you will hear more than just speed here. What you'll find is well-constructed songs that showcase the creativity that is possible in the realm of black metal. You will find some totally unexpected details here. For example song number four, "Du Som Hater Gud", has piano melody towards the second half of the song. What is weird about this? This song is of course totally full-speed chaos, yet there's this nice, classical piano melody in it. How many bands could pull off piano parts in their songs and actually make it work? If you like SATYRICON'S previous outputs, you will definitely enjoy this one too. Satyr, the vocalist, sounds as hateful as ever, while Frost, drummer, plays as fast as humanly possible. Songs such as, "Immortality Passion" and "The Dawn of A New Age", fulfill their promise to torture your ears until you want more. By the way, the guitar riffs should show once and for all that black metal is not just wearing corpse paint, but that it is actually a musical characteristic, i.e. learn to play this stuff before you call your band black metal!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SATYRICON - Now, Diabolical  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Such a concoction of simple, pounding heavy rock guitar, with basic, mid-paced drumming, led by scowled, frowning, tongue-lashing vocals creates songs repetitive, uncomplicated and effective songs. In all seriousness, this does sound more in line "Enter Sandman" or "Sad but True", from a darker, angrier angle. This black 'n' roll is easy to remember because there is practically no blasting in the album proper and no complexity in the guitar. No solos, just straight ahead riffs. It depends on the particular audience to decide whether the repetitive nature of the music is a problem. The more adamant about older, proper black metal, like The Shadowthrone or Nemesis Divina, will find more difficulties assimilating this, whereas the Volcano consumer should be comfortable.  

www.satyricon.no  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCAR SYMMETRY - SYMMETRIC IN DESIGN  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

This opens with "Chaosweaver," an example of the melodic aggression that this band is all about: solid gruff vocals and good clean singing. "2012: The Demise of the 5th Sun" follows: the simultaneous vocals sound great and the groove is excellent. Masterful guitar solos and drumming. "Dominion" is simpler, immediate and quite a bit more melodic, thrashier, metal ear candy. "Underneath the Surface" is mid-paced, heavier, with some screechier vocals, and then comes "Reborn," a speedier, up-beat number with probably the catchiest chorus line in the whole album. "Veil of Illusions" features a crunchier, pounding, mid-paced feel with a more extended solo, then "Obscure Alliance" brings a more circular, repeated riffing pattern, while "Hybrid Cult" has more varied, darker, more twisted vocal approach and the nice, clean chorus breaks up the growling. Come to think of it, this chorus is another good one. "Orchestrate the Infinite" has the most mellow, Opeth-like part, and the guitar riffing is probably the simplest, overall. The chorus is the song here. "Detach from the Outcome" is the most straight-up aggressive, mid-paced song. The clean singing is not a big factor here. In that sense it's odd, which is interesting because the next song; "Seeds of Rebellion", brings the speed back to a higher point, along with melody. "The Eleventh Sphere" closes: the gruff, black-ish and the clean vocals are in full force. The heavy riffing is sweetened with background synth and hooks, as is the whole album.  

Not too original, true, but the band, which is one of those Swedish bands with people from other groups (Carnal Forge, Unmoored, Theory in Practice, etc.), does very good work in this 48-minute, 12-song release.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.scarsymmetry.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCAR SYMMETRY - Pitch Black Progress  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

They are sedulous about outdoing Soilwork's "Natural Born Chaos": the growling can get very low, guttural at times, then screechy at others, though it does stay gruff in general; the clean singing sounds expertly done, even to the point of sounding poppy; plenty of solos and thrash and shredding; the drumming is creative and varied, speedy and mid-paced (but no blasting). The cynical will correctly notice a formula at work; however, the strength is the genuine good songwriting abilities, the talent and how they bring together the components. This is their second one. Their previous Symmetric in Design was very, very good, too.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.scarsymmetry.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCENTERIA - ART OF AGGRESSION  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Armed with big, fat, thrash, Slayeresque guitars, Scenteria sounds pretty cool. The sound is interesting because the Swedish, tuned-down guitars have a massive, fat feel to them. Yes, they are Swedish, duh. The vocals are growled, but do not stand out as a sore point, instead they mesh with the overall sound. The whole band is a big, massive rhythm section! In addition, I like this because the thrash does not sound boring, like most thrash. This is not lame thrash like Overkill or Flotsam and Jetsam or something mediocre like that. There's more: they have melody, but---and this is important---they keep the melodies subtle, which works really well because they add to the mood, as opposed to making you think that they want to add power metal to the mix. The album has gotten better with more listens, for sure. However, there's a limit to how better it gets. I have probably heard this more than ten times now and I feel like 1) that's enough for a while and 2) that it's good, but it's not truly great or awesome and 3) that I have hit a limit as to how excited I will get. That's ok, though. Every debut can't be "Kill'em All" or "Scream Bloody Gore", right?  

www.scenteria.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCHALIACH - "SONRISE"  

Pleitegeir Records  

If there is one thing I love about metal, it's melodic death metal with a different vibe. Here we have a band that seems to be highly influenced by Rotting Christ, musically. The same melody that Rotting C. has is definitely present in this band. They seem to have other influences as well though. On certain songs I tend to hear some My Dying Bride vocal approaches that flow right along with the growls that seem to fit just right. Anyone into melodic death metal should definitely check this release out.  

Mike Pforzheimer Str. 35 D-76327 Pfinztal - Norway  

 

 

 

CHUCK SCHULDINER - ZERO TOLERANCE  

KARMAGEDDON MEDIA  

This is a two-disc collection that compiles a few unreleased songs from Control Denied, but itís by far composed of a lot of old Death demo recordings. The Control Denied songs are instrumental and sound like demos. They are interesting to hear, but I donít feel like listening to them over and over again because they sound incomplete. Now, the rest of the cd number one and all of cd two is rough, badly recorded Death demos with bad, bad sound quality. How bad is the quality? Itís really bad, seriously. What is the purpose of releasing second and third generation, rough demo recordings like these when you can hear "Scream Bloody Gore", the album proper? Do not waste your money on this just because it has the name Chuck Schuldiner on it. If you are a serious Death/Control Denied/Chuck Schuldiner fan and you think this review might be exaggerating how bad the sound quality on these cds is, you should at least try to hear a couple of the demo songs before you waste your cash on this.  

www.karmageddonmedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SEA OF TRANQUILITY - "THE OMEGAN RUINS"  

Cursed Productions  

Sea of Tranquility seems to be a band that could be better. I say that because this is too pedestrian to stand out from the tens of thousands of other death metal bands out there. The sound is muffled, because the production is simply not that good. Anyway, maybe next time around, eh, boys?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SEASON - "NO CURE NO FEELING"  

Wild Rags  

Man, I just don't know about this one. Somewhat of a gothic type band, but one that is not so great. I think it's mainly the voice. I just didn't like this. If you're into gothic music, you might like this, as for me, I'll pass it like I pass my poop.  

Quikkee  

 

 

 

SENTENCED - "DOWN"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This is an album that makes you go Hmmm.... This is not the same SENTENCED that released "Shadows of the Past", "North From Here", "The Trooper", or even "Amok" ! New vocalist, same progressive music, but definitely not the same SENTENCED some of you might remember them by. I have to admit, I am not or never have been a SENTENCED fan, but I know who they are and know what they sounded like in the past. To all who like progressive and classic heavy metal with some really good solos, you might like this, well if your open minded enough to accept the fact that they changed beyond belief! Let us say they are going on a path like AMORPHIS. They should have changed there name in my opinion, like all the rest of the bands who change so drastically. Any ways, all old fans with a closed mind who hated "Amok" will truly hate this one! All new comers may like this release who have never heard there older material. As for me, I'm still not a fan.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SERAPH - "AWAKENED"  

WILDRAGS  

When I put this disc in and heard the violin in it, I thought it was going to be a great atmospheric death metal band, boy was I wrong. It's a cross between doom with I guess just older metal influence. Progressive metal I'll call it. The vocals reminded me of Mr. Wino (THE OBSESSED) a tad bit at times. The music is pretty cool and it's a weird mix with the violin. This is a band you'll either like, hate, or don't have an opinion about. My opinion? It's different.  

Mike  

 

 

 

SERMON - "FROM DEATH TO DEATH"  

Wild Rags  

This one is hard to figure out. His vocals remind me of someone, but I just can't figure out who, but they remind me of someone I know I've heard before. Old Mille P. (Kreator) does come to my mind though. The music is pretty melodic and has a good sound. I've never really heard any Russian bands, well, actually I have heard one other Russian band, but they didn't sound like this. This is basically a melodic death metal band that is actually worth checking out.  

Quikkee  

 

 

 

SEVEN FOOT SPLEEN - "ENTER THERAPY"  

MIA/Tee Pee  

Low-end gruff vocals with slow and heavy music. This is too under produced for my taste. This is in the vein of Supercoven, and the like. If you like this kind of stuff, and you don't mind the garage production, you might find this interesting.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SEVEN FOOT SPLEEN - "ENTER THERAPY"  

(Label?)  

I was reminded somewhat of Noothgrush and Winter while playing this disc, though SFS is not nearly as slow as either of those bands. Indeed, it is much faster in parts, verging on being punk-ish. What I really couldn't dig here were the vox--too thin, and "tinny" sounding, like a vomitous spree of unconvincing teenage angst. Musically, this is "not bad", but it's certainly nothing original. Avoid if you're the "Fancy feast" type....you know, if you only want the very best.  

Elis (meow mix)  

 

 

 

SEVERE TORTURE - BLOODLETTING  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Since the growlerís says "thank you" (in an evil, growled voice, too, because we wouldn't want anybody to know that they are not totally evil) after every song, I assume this is (supposedly) a live album. Well, ok, but that's difficult to tell from this recording because it's demo-like in quality. Severe Torture plays superguttural, gore metal, but they sound mediocre in this recording. You can't really hear the vocals and it's all chug on the guitars. The drums sound like cans. I guess if you love, love this band, youíll like this. Everybody else: donít waste your time.  

www.severetorture.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SHADOWCASTER - "TEMPTATION" / S/T "2 DIFFERENT CD"  

Wild Rags  

Give me an M! Monotonous! Give me a B! Boring! Give me an S! Shitty! What does this say? Stay away! This sucks. Oh wait, why? All this is, is a bunch of sound effects that put me in a sad mood, created by one individual. Chanting type vocals, sometimes even black metal. If you like Burzum's newer "music", then this might appeal to you. If you haven't noticed, I didn't like this much.  

Mike  

 

 

 

SHADOWS FALL - "OF ONE BLOOD"  

Century M.  

In fear of feeling like I'm jumping the band wagon, I like this band. They have a very good....,I guess idea. The music is fast, heavy, melodic and grinding, at times. There are threedifferent vocal styles; a low growl, an 80's metal type, and a hardcore style. I can't stand the hardcore style. If it's not Roger Miret, I don't care for it. This album is really, really, good. Tracks 1, 3, 6 and 9, are really good songs. However, track 4, a song titled; "The First Noble Truth", I have a problem with. Can you count how many In Flames riffs there are in that song? It's almost like it could be "Artifacts of the Black Rain" (pt.2)! Didn't they notice that? How can anyone miss it? It's right there! Listen to the first minute and a half of "Artifacts..", then listen to "First Noble Truth." Still, give the rest of the album a chance. This band is trying to do something new, and I can totally respect that. Recommended.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

SIEBENBURGEN - "DELICTUM"  

Napalm  

I'd never heard this band, nor had I heard of this band, until one fine day I opened my front door to find my little Mexican buddy standing on my porch with it in his hand. "Wanna review this one?" I looked at it, strange name, but there was a half naked chick on the front and back, so what the hell? I'm glad I did! There's not one song on here I didn't like. Ethereal black metal is what you have here. In the vein of Dissection, throw in a little 80's metal, some female vocals, keyboards, and you have Siebenburgen. Out of the giant pile (and I mean PILE) of piss that Mikey gives me to review, this one definitely stands at the forefront. Excellent production and musicianship. It would truly be travesty if this band doesn't get the recognition they deserve.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

SIEGE OF HATE - SUBVERSIVE BY NATURE  

CANDLELIGHT  

Well, kids, put away your keyboards, because this is grind. No guitar solos, no long songs or anything melodic. No, this is not catchy, sweet and radio-friendly, like Mortician or Cannibal Corpse. This is just a total blastfest, raging and screaming from beginning to end. These Brazilians are not technical or showy. In a live situation, about thirty minutes of this stuff will have you more than exhausted. The album is about that long, too. Talk about getting your aggression out. Here you go Napalm Death, Benumb, Nasum and Gadget fans. Frenzied, maniacal. Get your freak on.  

www.siegeofhate.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINGLE BULLET THEORY: BEHIND EYES OF HATRED  

CRASH MUSIC  

SBT combines stomping, chug-chug riffing and screamed vocals with clean singing. The music is more metal than hardcore, though still metalcore. You know, there are so many bands doing this style that you have to be great to stand out. This band is competent at their craft, but I can say that about dozens and dozens of other bands. Look, kiddo, if you just can't get enough of the metalcore stuff, then go right ahead.  

www.singlebullettheory.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINISTHRA - LAST OF THE STORIES OF LONG PAST GLORIES  

ARISE RECORDS  

Not exactly a happy bunch, this one. OK, well, some bands are melancholic, but this is more melancholic. The vocals are moody, a little desperate, crooning-centered and a bit dark. The moody vocals bring to mind music of all kinds that shares this type of mood, like The Smiths/Morrisey, The Cure, Danzig, Alice in Chains, Stillborn, Entwine, Sentenced, Fall of the Leafe, etc. You know, that kind of mood. However, this music is pretty mellow and it's not really all that metal, but more like guitar-ish rock, with lots of we-got-the-blues sort of feeling, not so much in the guitars, but definitely in the vocals. I hate to say it this way: they sound very Finnish; winter music. There are some keyboards, but not too much, mostly for background that gives way to the vocals and guitars. It's not good to generalize too much, but I do think fans of the Finnish melancholic sound will be interested. How good is this album? I think it succeeds musically, for sure. I listened to this only five or so times because, frankly, I find this too depressing (but that's exactly why some people listen to it, isn't it?). The music is not slow. It's moody and croony and grey and has plenty of upbeat moments, but the overall blue mood is, achieved through the vocals, is pretty pervasive overall. Good album, but not for fans of music that "rocks."  

www.sinisthra.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINNER - "THE SECOND DECADE"  

Nuclear Blast  

This is a "best of" release containing songs from the past. Sinner play traditional heavy metal, and they do it very well. This release contains fifteen songs which exemplify what Sinner's music is all about. Really, it's silly to describe this with words. Sinner is more traditional than Iced Earth or Nocturnal Rites, but it's all good. If you like heavy metal, real metal, you'll like this. Trust me, this is good, okay?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

THE SINS OF THY BELOVED - "PERPETUAL DESOLATION"  

Napalm Records  

Can you say melodic, atmospheric, majestic, and just plain awesome? This release definitely caught me by surprise, especially the Metallica cover. They cover; "The Thing That Should Not Be", and I must say that this cover is easily my favorite cover song I've ever heard anyone ever do. Hearing this song alone is worth purchasing this release. So what exactly does this band sound like? Well, let me tell you that this is definitely a band that will appeal to the "goth" crowd and to the more open-minded metal crowd. They have the usual death/black metal growls, that thankfully sound like no other, and on top of that, they ad some beautiful female vocals that compliment the overall sound/mood they seem to conjure with ease. But the instrument they utilize that really caught my attention was the violin. The way they utilize the violin, just ads a haunting classical feel to the overall sound. Well, all I have left to say is that if you're into My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, C.O.F., Godgory, or any other band along those lines, you will absolutely go loco for this release!  

Mike  

 

 

 

SKINLAB - "EYESORE"  

Century MEDIA  

Can someone please explain to me what the fuss is over this band? All I hear is a wanna be Tool that falls way short of the mark, with the run-of-the-mill screech owl yelling for vocals, and some hard core-ish fast parts thrown in. Yawn. Do bands like this think they can get away with ripping off another band just because the other band is "mainstream", and they think their fans won't listen to it? Give me a break! Do yourself a favor and pass this shit up!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

SKREW - "SHADOW OF DOUBT"  

METAL B.  

SKREW are a metal band, a band that plays mid-paced heavy pounding music, which is layered with a minimal aspect of industrial. I wanted to start this review that way because everyone seems to not get the idea that this is metal of the heaviest kind. "Shadow of Doubt" sports some of the heaviest riffs that are to be heard. "Generator", for example, has a rhythm to bring the walls down, as does the rest of the CD. Any way, so why do people refer to this as industrial? Because every song has some sort of subtle sampled sounds in the background, be it keyboard-y stuff or tech-no sublime sounds. SKREWS music is all the better for doing some sampling or experimenting. I don't know if the drums are real or not, the CD does not say, doesn't really matter though. One of the guitar players here is the ex-OVERKILL guitarist Bobby G. It is strange that he doesn't do any solos on this album. Definitely a cool release.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM - s/t  

SPITFIRE RECORDS  

If classic rock fans form bands today they sound like this. The vocalist for this project was the singer for Brother Cane. Other references are latter day Pearl Jam or Velvet Revolver, basically, bands that just play old school rock. This is performed well and at times the vocals recall Audioslave. It sounds pretty genuine, too.  

www.spitfirerecords.com  

www.slavetothesystem.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SLAYER - "UNDISPUTED ATTITUDE"  

AMERICAN R.  

This is a remake of a whole bunch of old hard core punk songs. This is the most "loose" that SLAYER has ever sounded. Most people listening to this have no idea about where the songs are coming from. Bands like TSOL, MINOR THREAT, STOOGES are unknown to the majority of SLAYER fans. It does not matter because, in my opinion SLAYER is making these songs better than they ever were. (Yeah.....right.) Musically, this is below SLAYERS standards. This is merely an album done for fun, so don't take it too seriously. O.K.? Good.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SLUMBER - FALLOUT  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

You can't fault Slumber for writing catchy songs. The songs have that big symphonic sound with a huge, ever-present melancholy element. The vocals, even though they are of the growled variety, are completely acceptable, as they are not screamed/shouted. The vocals sound like an additional instrument, they are not overriding the music. This is also not a slow album, since the songs are mid-paced, with plenty of melodic hooks. The whole atmosphere is somber, but happy-in-a-somber-kind-of-way. It's a cool type of depressive, catchy sound. Personally, I like this album. However, there are a couple of things that are kind of problematic: first, this type of music seems to be pretty inoffensive, harmless, which begs the question: does this band have any personality or character? Second, even though the melodies are good, it seems like are too derivative.  

www.slumber.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SOILWORK - STABBING THE DRAMA  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

I like to play Soilwork to the children in my neighborhood to see what they think. Here's the feedback! Billy: "It's too woud. Tuwn it off!" [Billy is cranky all the time.] Becky: "This is not as good as Sesame Stweet... Wendy: "This weminds me of In Fwames!...I like In Fwames!!..." Bobby: "What is this, Wauwicio?... It's wevy bad music!..." OK, so they weren't that helpful. I guess I have to say something here. This band has become masters at keeping fans happy. Everything on here is signature Soilwork: the songs do not throw you for any loops, just the Soilwork method of growl and sing, energy and melody, with a bit of that electronica in the background. And method it is because the melodies are catchy, almost poppy, and the harsher parts sound designed for the live setting. Of course, the fact they tour like a circus, only makes them even more aware of what works and what doesn't. A good follow-up to "Figure Number Five". On the other hand, if you feel that Soilwork has too much of a formula, then you'll be whining again (Yeah, like the band cares what those people think.).  

www.soilwork.org  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SONATA ARCTICA - RECKONING NIGHT  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Album number four finds the band once again delivering catchy, catchy power metal. Actually, it's surprising that singer/main songwriter Tony Kakko manages to write virtually all the songs and still make it pretty diverse and make it sound so easy. What is this guy putting in the music to make it so instant? Well, lots of hooks, an overall upbeat rhythm. Plus, the fact that he has a really good voice only helps, too. The one issue that is keeps coming up with power metal guitar work is the play-on riff and Sonata Arctica's speedy delivery uses it quite a bit, though this album seems to be less speed oriented. I really like all Sonata Arctica albums. I think this band is excellent. However, are they painting themselves into a corner here?  

www.sonataarctica.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SONATA ARCTICA - For The Sake of Revenge  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

This live cd/dvd sounds like an honest recording of a traditional heavy/power metal formation from Finland that has been gaining a larger audience with each release. The dvd is longer than the cd, which only has a portion of the entire set of the dvd recorded in Japan. The dvd's "extras" has nothing interesting, just the usual, discography, a boring "documentary," etc. The live performance is a professional one, while still acting a bit silly on stage, during the keyboard/guitar solos/tradeoffs, etc. The mid-tempo, slower songs sound like hard rock with sweet melodies. The speedy songs are more metal, but still with a pop sensibility. The group does well their mix of rockers and mid-paced songs. No point in listing the tracks they play in this early 2005 show. They're all good. The dvd has some 17 songs, the cd 13.  

www.sonataarctica.info  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SOULSKINNER: BREEDING THE GROTESQUE  

?  

The feel is old-school death metal. I don't know why, but I ended up liking this release more than I should. I think I was glad that a band is playing death metal without trying to sugarcoat it with out-of-place Iron Maiden melodies. Nothing too fancy, just brutality with some good tunes. Nothing great, but I liked it, anyway. ghiotellis@hotmail.com  

info@sleazyrider.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STAB! STAB! STAB! - HELL'S COMING WITH ME - DEMO  

(?) SELF-FINANCED (?)  

"With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good!" Or not. This recording seems to be some sort of death metal band who really aren't happy unless they mix it up with some rock & roll grooves that sound Zeppelin-inspired (or something). They also have bits and pieces of other things, like techno dance beats, etc., and a sense of "humor." Hardy har har. The lyrics are megalomaniacal: "My Murderous Throne." If you have a throne, then you are king, right? Well, what are these guys kings of? 7 Eleven? Target? Subway sandwiches? Then there's the song "Plaguebringer": pretty powerful, huh? "Plaguewielder" would have been better. Wait, Darkthrone already did that. Basically, all the lyrics have to do with hatred for the ex-girlfriend.  

Somebody needs a hug, huh? therapy? Maybe somebody is ugly.  

www.stabstabstab.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STAMPINí GROUND - A NEW DARKNESS UPON US  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Perfect for those into hardcore, like Hatebreed; songs like "Donít Need a Reason to Hate" and "Dead from the Neck up" are the kind of stuff that the MTV rock crowd likes. They sound "angry", you know, show me the money.  

www.stampinground.f9.co.uk  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

STEEL ATTACK: ENSLAVED  

ARISE RECORDS  

Power metal is the order of the day here. No keyboards, but plenty of semi-thrashy riffing. The speed is fast and semi-fast. The vocals are sung; sometimes the singing is a bit rough, sometimes more melodic, but still traditional power metal singing. Nothing particularly new, but they are a competent band and one that comes up with catchy songs. If you love to check out lesser-known power metal, then you should be pleased.  

www.arisemetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - "CITY"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Here we have the second release by this really intense band. I'm not really familiar with there previous album, "Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing", except for the two songs on the Identity Comp. CD that they were on. I really enjoyed these two songs but still have not bought the album. The songs vary and are kinda hard to explain. To me, influences range from GODFLESH to FEAR FACTORY, but do not get me wrong, S.Y.L. has a very unique and distinguishable sound, especially the vocals. Elements of metal and industrial are present. Synths and samples are used quite a bit as well. Another really cool thing, the drummer is non-other than the great kit beater, Gene Hoglan! It is cool to see this excellent drummer still playing. Anyone into some intense, diverse, and really cool music should check this out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - ALIEN  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Once again, Devin Townsend sounds like five guys screaming, why with the multiple vocals/layering and what not. The overall sound is aggro/scream with a quite of industrial/tech feel. No doubt, fans of this band should be screaming and moshing. The sound is fat, the beats heavy and chunky, stomp-stomp, chug-chug. OK, but musically, is there anything more profound than noisy thrash/chaos? The answer is no. Underneath the hardcore/chunky riffs, there is very little creativity because Fear Factory and Machine Head already did this a long time ago. This band is way overrated.  

www.strappingyounglad.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - The New Black  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

The psycho scream funny farm robot fry chicken master Devin Townsend delivers a lemon hot battery acid salt loony bin barrage of strange and comical metal-jazz-spazz-thrash. "U Suck" and "Wrong Side" are the most intense and catchy. "Antiproduct" is a lounge jazz metal number, sort of weird. "Monument" is layered with background studio sounds. "Hope" is another simple track backed up with more studio symphonics. "Far beyond Metal" is gang-shouted vocals, etc. Overall, Devin screams and sings, while the guitar is pretty simple, nothing complex and relies heavily on studio technology to sound bigger. More than anything, this is supposed to be fun, funny, simple, mosh-friendly, etc. Devin can release albums like this every month, which he seems to do anyway.  

www.strappingyounglad.com  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STUCK MOJO - "PIG WALK"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

From the first song, the title track, one all ready knows what type of sound S.MOJO specializes in: chunky, streetwise, hardcore-crossover, etc. Actually, their style shows them in the territory of BIOHAZARD, but STUCK M. needs no comparison to anyone. At times the vocalist sounds like he is rapping, but all the while the solid rhythm of the song is shredding. The main riffs sound similar to SACRED R., PANTERA, or BIOHAZARD, but with a more street vibe / bad attitude. Sometimes this band sounds like a metal band who takes influences from hardcore and rap. There is no guitar solo to be found here, correction; no metal guitar solo. This band is not about showing off how "musical" they are. S.M. is the "alternative to the alternative," but actually, if you're tired of boring rock music in general, you'll find something different here.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

STUCK MOJO -"RISING"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Stuck M. simply rock! Influences of metal, funk, etc... can all be heard, but the main theme is to rock the house. This is "hard", but not typical hard stuff, but this is not original either. The point is not to make this band out to be what they are not. They're good, hard rocking music that's catchy, funky, and driving. They experiment a little, but manage to keep everything in the realm of heavy music. If you're looking to rock out, check this out! WARNING: The last song is a rap song.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

STURMGEIST - MEISTER MEPHISTO  

SEASON OF MIST  

Dimmu Borgir playing Rammstein covers at a goths-only Oktoberfest extravaganza in the middle of the Black Forest on Mars. This involves Cornelius from the very strange Solefad. Well, when you are a weirdo, it really does not matter what you do because it will be bizarre. Solefad is electro-wacked-out music. Here, Corny comes up with electro-wacked-out black metal. (Most of) the songs are in German and with a title like Meister Mephisto this is supposed to be funny. This is dance-happy-but-in-a-goths-playing-angrily kind of a way. Funny guy, that Cornelius.  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SUPERCOVEN - "ELECTRIC WIZARD"  

Southern Lord Rec.  

Supercoven play really slow doom, that makes one feel like everything is in slow motion. Man, this is really slow, and guess what? It's not an accident, that's what this release is all about. If turtles played music, they would like Supercoven. Black Sabbath and The Obsessed play lightning speed compared to this. Ha! And you thought "Forest Of Equilibrium" was slow! The production on this puppy is very "garage". Doom fans, your new god's are calling you. Why, you never thought that Candlemass and Trouble would be called "pop doom", didja?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY - "BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCES"  

There aren't many bands in the "gothic" realm that I'm familiar with, but when it comes to Tina Root and company, I'm there. When I first popped this disc in, I was totally expecting a continuation from the previous album, and to a certain degree I was correct. The angelic, put-me-in-a-trance type vocals are definitely still here, and that of course was the first thing that I noticed and loved about this band. The excellent, original and dark moody feeling within the music is still here, but it has a different vibe from "Serpentine G.". The thing that this album has musically that the last one didn't have is the up-beat, somewhat pop/dance beat to it. But it's hard for me to use "pop" for a description because it isn't the typical "pop"sound many of us have heard on the radio. I don't know what other word I can use to describe it. All I know is if you like female vocals that will take you into a darker dimension and you're into a unique and darker side of music with a great feel to it, this is definitely for you.  

Cleopatra  

Mike  

 

 

 

SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY - "SERPINTINE GALLERY"  

Such dark beauty that will not leave my stereo. No, this is not metal, but who said I listened to just metal? This album is in the "Gothic" realm of things, and I don't mean vampires either. This album is so hypnotizing, the music, the feelings this band ables to achieve, but my favorite, Tina Root, the excellent vocalist. Ah, but not just her, Susan Wallace is awesome as well. "Bad Trash" and "Clown", are two of my favorites on this album, but the whole album is easily appreciated. Synths are a major role on this album, which adds to the mood very well. Anyone into some dark, atmospheric, excellent, moody music, well this is a real treat that anyone with a dark clowd above there own little sky can appreciate. A must have!  

CLEOPATRA  

MIKE 

shim