TOMBSTONE HIGHWAY: Ruralizer: CD

Southern rock from Italy with touches of stoner and doom metal, plus banjo…yes, banjo.

These guys put out some mighty tasty riffs on this album, chunky and thick guitar, heavy rolling bass guitar, pounding drums, very peppy and bouncy banjo, as if you could make it sound anything else but, and deep, raw vocals from HM Outlaw. Outlaw really lays down the sound of southern rock with his blues drenched vocal delivery, and the guitar work by Daniele Zoncheddu has that bluesy, swamp guitar sound found in southern rock. This is a pretty heavy album, make no mistake about it, they aren’t playing it light, they are throwing down the heavy beats on here and it comes out beautifully. They cover MOUNTAIN’s “Mississippi Queen” that is super hard and heavy, but retains what made the original good and builds on it and makes it into one thick sounding song with the heavy bass and the driving guitar as well as the gruff vocals.

There are a ton of guitar leads on here that will have you picking up your air guitar and go for broke learning the licks. One awesome album that will grab you from the moment you put it on.

https://www.facebook.com/Tombstone.Highway  https://www.facebook.com/agoniarecords  https://www.agoniarecords.com/

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ASHES YOU LEAVE: The Cure For Happiness: CD

This female fronted gothic/doom metal band from Croatia has been around since 1995 and have released their sixth album and first with Italian vocalist Giada Etro.

There are nine songs on this album and at times the songs remind me of the goth music from the 80s during the less metal parts. The production is pretty good with everything mixed really well; nothing is buried so you can hear the subtle things going on, like the keyboards the violin and the flute really well. The band is really tight and has a lot of talent, the guitar work by Berislav “Bero” Poje who also does the deep growling vocals and guitarist Matija Rempesichas a lot of flash, Marta Batinic on violin adds some atmosphere, Luka Petrovic on bass guitar gives depth and adds to the heaviness of the album and the drumming by Saša is handled really nicely. The female vocals by Etro are a bit operatic, but done with energy and power, which made them stand out from other female fronted goth metal messes. This band has a lot of talent, just listen to the slower paced songs and the talent that they have just jumps out at you.

I have never been a fan of this style of metal, too cheesy and the vocals are too operatic and wispy for me, but these guys are one band that I will actually play again and even listen to them with my wife who’s not a metal fan. I think that she and others would like a lot of this album.

https://www.facebook.com/ashesyouleave   http://www.ashesyouleave.org/  http://www.rockngrowl.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RockNGrowlPromotion

CPT. KRONOS: The Invocation EP: CD

This EP has a strong 1970s metal feel to it with touches of BLACK SABBATH, stoner rock and doom all mixed together to form a really cool EP.

There are some parts of this four song EP that are so slowed down and heavy that it just seems to drain you of your energy and then the band gets infused to rock out a little bit with that stolen energy. “A Criminal Mind” has a touch of blues to it, “State of Emptiness” has some nice distortion on it and the title track is a great heavy track. There are a ton of touches on this EP that will make you think that you’re listening to an actual album from the 1970s with the feel that this band infuses into their music. The good thing is that they take the good rock parts from that era and made this into an EP that will get you wanting more from them, it sure made me feel that way. This is one of those EPs that you need to get if you want to expand your music taste to include what sounds like will become a classic that people will be talking about.

The band is talented and have great vocals, some nice lead guitar, and the bass and drums have the heaviness that makes this so cool, but not so heavy that you can’t take it.

https://www.facebook.com/cptkronos   http://cptkronos.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/violentjourney   http://www.violentjourneyrecords.com/

ANTAGONIST ZERO: Doomed: CD

ANTAGONIST ZERO is a five-piece metal band from Porvoo, Finland, formed in 2010 whose members have been in bands such as ADASTRA, CAVUS, COPROLITH and LOST IN TEARS.

They call their music catatonic metal which includes elements from different types of metal genres, such as doom, death and black metal, but they also have some melody in that mix as well as some classic hard rock/metal in the guitar work and some of the vocals which are very melodic at times. You get the growling vocals of course, but the melodic vocals make it stand out. On their five song debut album, these five guys have done an interesting job of mixing things up, although the very long songs tend to drag a bit, there are nice atmospherics on this album and the band are really good players. If they trimmed a bit of the excesses in time, they would have been higher on my list, but they still will do a good job of scaring the normals in your neighborhood if you play this loud, which is the only way to play it in my opinion.

Not a perfect album, but a lot of promise from this Finnish five piece band. I will keep an ear out for more from them in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/antagonistzero   http://www.violentjourneyrecords.com/

STONE MAGNUM: Self-titled: LP

Formed in the fall of 2010, Michigan City, Indiana’s STONE MAGNUM has released their debut album of epic doom metal.

This carries on where the good BLACK SABBATH albums left off. These guys take from that template and have made an album that is heavy, plodding, but in a good sludgy way and added some faster parts and ran with it. The first song “Fallen Priest” has that SABBATH with OZZY fronting them sound and it rocks! This album is loaded with mid-paced doom, the guitar has some great leads, the drums and bass are nice and thick and the singer has a great growler of a voice on some songs and more melodic on others. The production is dense, but you can still hear the leads in the background on the heavier songs.

This is an album of some epic and heavy music, which has a classic sound and feel to it. This truly is a band that can play with some of the classic bands and hold its own.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stone-Magnum/182549458436679  http://stonemagnum.bandcamp.com/   http://www.stonemagnum.com/#!__bio   http://www.restinpeacerecords.us/