CD review: “Trapped In Chaos” by Dust Bolt

Dust Bolt expands its horizons on the band’s fourth album, Trapped In Chaos. There is greater depth to the songs, while the band retains its signature thrash sound.

Album opener “The Fourth” transitions between aggressive, blistering drums spliced with slower, grooving riffs. Frontman and guitarist Lenny Bruce’s vocals are a bit tepid, however it does not take away from the track.

“Dead Inside” the initial single commences with a crushing, plodding riffs and machine like drums, before speeding up after the first minute of the song. Guitarists Bruce and Flo Dehn play some colossal riffs while drummer Nico Rayman maintains a heavy groove with some impressive double bass.

A warped psychedelic riff opens “Rhythm To The Madness” before the band accelerates in to thrash mode. The track’s midsection slams like a caged animal before the tempo speeds up at the song’s conclusion. The tracks “Shed My Skin” and “Killing Time” are straight up thrash numbers with a pinch of hardcore that get the head banding. The latter has a couple of ripping guitar leads that reaffirm this band are not a one trick pony.

“Another Day In Hell” is the third single off Trapped and has a dark atmosphere punctuated with haunting clean guitars and a slow beat. This is certain to become a fan favorite and shows the band’s growth as songwriters. Album closer “Who I Am” ends things on an aggressive note with a sped up galloping riff that transitions to a slower bottom heavy groove that fades in to noise.

Trapped In Chaos is Dust Bolt’s experimental record, which will draw detractors because the band plays softer, slower tracks. There are some thrashing tracks on here, but the slower, acoustic parts provide depth the songs and a contrast to the faster songs. This is expected as the band does not want to release the same record over and again. However, there is the concern that Dust Bolt would all but abandon its thrash roots in favor of short, mainstream songs. Fortunately the band does not do that here. The vocals are a bit shaky and at times the band seems a little reluctant to move too far. However, this record may be the turning point for Dust Bolt as it melds its sound in to something more cohesive. Slayer did it with Seasons In The Abyss as it combined the best elements of South Of Heaven and Reign in Blood. It seems Dust Bolt wants to do the same thing.

Trapped In Chaos is a nice dose of thrash metal to ring in 2019. It is a mix of old and new that should satisfy most of the band’s fans. This is not the band’s Turbo album, but some fans may be let down by the softer tracks on the album. Still, bands progress and Dust Bolt want to add more panache to its music. This is good, or else the band would be trapped.

Check out the Dust Bolt’s official website for more information.

CD Review: “The Sacrament Of Sin” by Powerwolf

German gothic power metal quintet Powerwolf offers its seventh release titled The Sacrament Of Sin. The album is a dark, yet accessible as it blends gothic, power metal and symphonic metal to strong effect. Album opener “Fire & Forgive” is a galloping number with a bombastic chorus and shredding guitar lead. “Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend” is a straight forward rocker that will appease gothic girls the world over. The saccharine nature of the song borders on comedy, but does not take away from the album. Things take a dour turn on “Killers With The Cross” which sounds inspired by 1960s Hammer vampire films. The stomping drums are instep with the dynamic riffs by guitarists Matthew and Charles Greywolf. This is not a generic track as there are several interweaving leads during the song’s midsection. “Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone” is a sorrowful ballad with lush piano and powerful vocals by front man Atilla Dorn. The Greywolf Brothers again offer stellar guitar leads that underline the track’s melancholy tone. “Nightside of Siberia” fierce riffing recalls viking metal stalwarts Amon Amarth. However, this is not a blatant ripoff, but a slight homage. The baroque guitar work and pounding bass drums make this one of the standout tracks on Sacrament.

The Sacrament of Sin is an accessible metal record with an extreme edge. Powerwolf adopts the epic bombast of power metal sans the pretentiousness of the aforementioned genre. No song on this album even approaches the 5 minute mark nor are there elongated guitar leads or drum solos. The musicianship is strong and the record is rife with shout-along choruses. Producer Jens Bogren does a great job of capturing the Greywolf Brother’s guitar chops and Dorn’s vocals.

In numerology, the number seven means completion. Well, here is hoping Powerwolf do not hang it up anytime soon. The Sacrament Of Sin is a strong record that should satisfy fans of power and symphonic metal. This sacrament ensues headbanging.

For news and tour info, check out the band’s website at www.powerwolf.net

CD Review: “Ascension Gate” by Dawn of Disease

German death metal quintet Dawn of Disease unleash its fourth album Ascension Gate only a year after its predecessor, Worship The Grave. Ascension is an amalgam of melodicism, brutal blast beats and melancholic doom riffs. The Swedish metal influence is apparent on “Perimortal” the album’s initial single. The sharp, baroque guitar riffs chop through the speakers like sabers while drummer Matthias Blasse pummels his kit with few moments to rest. “Leprous Thoughts” is a relentless thrasher with grinding riffs and pulverizing blast beats. The harmonious guitar solo contrasts perfectly with the brutal drumming and riffs on this track. “Ascension Gate” recalls Tales From A Thousand Lakes era Amorphis with its death meets doom metal sound. Tomasz Wisniewski’s guttural vocals match the haunting mood on this track, painting a picture of a gloomy night in the German countryside. A highlight is the eerie guitar line played before the track’s middle section. “Akephalos” is another crushing song that with buzzsaw guitars that could cut through a tank. The bombastic drumming only heightens the chaotic nature on this track.

Ascension Gate is an album pieced from several sub-genres. One cannot lump this record into the melodic death metal bin as there is too much going on during the album’s 50 minute duration. It is equal parts haute, classical bombast while also gloomy and downcast. Still, the band melds everything quite well and the record is not disjointed. The production is slightly muddled which detracts from the musicianship in some spots. However, it sounds superb when the band plays slow, heavy riffs. The percussion is loud and clear allowing the listener to hear all the rhythm changes and drum fills.

Dawn of Disease show its Scandinavian peers that German death metal is no joke on Ascension Gate. This record is both technical and pugnacious without overstaying its welcome. Fans of melodic death metal and even brutal death should enjoy this release. It does not have the finesse of Arch Enemy or Children of Bodom but it is certainly crushing. Dawn of Disease is poised to ascend to the heights of the metal realm with this record.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/DawnOfDisease/