Massacre Records

Hatriot – From Days Unto Darkness Review

Hatriot – From Days Unto Darkness Review

“Like father, like son, they say. Hatriot was the side project of Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus fame and his sons Cody, who handled bass duties, and Nick, who manned the kit. Their 2013 debut Heroes of Origin was a rip-roaring dose of classic thrash, and though 2014s Dawn of the New Centurion felt like a drop off, it was still a respectable slice of speed. The band’s been silent since then, but From Days Unto Darkness sees the Souza clan return sans dad, with Cody picking up vocal duties.” Thrash is thicker than blood.

Brocelian – Guardians of Brocéliande Review

Brocelian – Guardians of Brocéliande Review

“Say what you will about Nightwishcore, but most of the bands following this insipid template have at least one thing going for them: a gifted, technically proficient woman on the mic. Regardless of instrumental quality, or absence thereof, the quasi-operatic skills of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) or Floor Jansen (Nightwish) cannot be denied. So what happens when such a band fails to follow through on this trend and flunks not only fails the songwriting and instrumental departments, but can’t even compensate with high quality vocals? My, that would be truly disastrous wouldn’t it?” Nightmiss.

Stormhammer – Seven Seals Review

Stormhammer – Seven Seals Review

“There’re seven things in this world I cherish, seven people I don’t hate, and seven albums I’ll love to the grave. OK, the seven ‘things’ are only one, the seven ‘people’ are only two, and the seven albums I plan to die with are none of your fucking business. ‘Seven’ is a lucky number for dumbasses in Hollywood movies. But, for me, seven is a convenient middle-ground to questions from my boss, family, and ‘friends.’ ‘How much longer is this gonna take?!’ Seven minutes. ‘Christmas is starting! How far away are you?’ Seven days. ‘How old is Abigail?’ Seven. Wait! Nine?! Fuck. You get what I mean. Regardless of how idiotic a lucky number can be, ‘seven’ might be, indeed, a lucky number for Germany’s Stormhammer.” Lucky number Stormhammer.

Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review

Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review

“A while ago, I was walking about and found myself in want of a quick, cheap, easy snack. I knew I was close to a McDonald’s, and that a greasy, delicious McDouble was under two bucks; perfect. Yet when I reached the restaurant, something was weird: it was called “McCafe” and designed to look trendy, modern, and friendly to Starbucks-sipping screenplay scribblers. I used to be rather good at guessing an album’s genre based on the cover, but trips to the record store have proven confusing nowadays for the more extreme variants of metal.” Destroying for fun.

Damnation’s Hammer – Unseen Planets, Deadly Spheres Review

Damnation’s Hammer – Unseen Planets, Deadly Spheres Review

“As per the usual and against all wisdom, I judged an album by its artwork. I liked the high detail monochrome planet-scape. I liked the logo. I liked the name of the album. And just like that, all requirements for entry into TheKenWord’s listening queue lined up in perfect syzygy. Anyway, here I am with Damnation’s Hammer and their sophomore record, Unseen Planets, Deadly Spheres, knowing absolutely nothing about the band or their sound other than that they call the UK home and that their label tags them “heavy metal.” What do I discover? This is far more complex than just “heavy metal.” Yet, it’s all so simple. Let me explain.” Crouching planet, hidden sphere.

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

“When it comes to power metal, I’m really not difficult to please. My expectations for a good example of the genre are no more elevated than the baseline that Helloween established over three decades ago; the material needs to be fun, energetic, and hooky, and if a band can pull this off, I ask for little else. I don’t think there’s a power metal act out there that fails to identify this recipe for success, yet so very few of them manage to capitalize. The style is plagued by countless bands rehashing watered down pop melodies against toothless power chords, seemingly unable to perceive that they utterly lack the charisma that elevated their influences. Thornbridge sees these pretenders, and says ‘we can do better.'” Though, with a name like Theatrical Masterpiece, there is a sense that they might be setting expectations a tad high.

Gloryful – Cult of Sedna Review

Gloryful – Cult of Sedna Review

“Back in 2016, Gloryful, a “true metal/heavy metal” act from Germany, released End of the Night, a record that capably demonstrated that heavy metal without energy isn’t really heavy metal. That record, while far from gripping, did display hints of promise here and there, suggestions that with a renewed focus, the band could put out something really engaging. Over two years later, Gloryful returns with Cult of Sedna, their fourth full-length, and the question looms: that energy, that “aspect above and beyond” that was absent last time. Is it back? Is it here?” Glory whole.

Lemuria – The Hysterical Hunt Review

Lemuria – The Hysterical Hunt Review

“It would probably surprise nobody to learn that my background as a metalhead began with symphonic metal. Somehow (read: through a series of ill-advised sessions of reckless YouTube binges) I discovered it during the early days of high school. Symphonic metal enlivened me and became my gateway into this marvelous metalverse. Today I return to that hallowed ground upon which my transformation manifested. Waiting there for me is Lemuria—a symphonic black metal band from Belgium, est. 1999—with their third epic The Hysterical Hunt.” Night hunt at the opera.

Frozen Land – Frozen Land Review

Frozen Land – Frozen Land Review

“Imagine, if you will: I, some nameless n00b, sitting around the house. The doorbell rings—the mailman arrives! I open the door; he is clearly shaken. Through his tremors of disconcertment, I gather that an extremely angry metal man ordered him to deliver a certain package to one Nameless N00b_12. I don’t know how he got my address. I don’t care either. I snatch at the package and stare in awe. Frozen Land? An eponymous debut? An angry Viking on the cover? A band that wants to ‘bring back the 90’s golden age of Finnish power metal?’ A song called ‘Orgy of Enlightenment?’ I tremble with joy, for there is only one plausible explanation—Angry Metal Guy wants to be my friend.” No he doesn’t.

Methedras – The Ventriloquist Review

Methedras – The Ventriloquist Review

“In my younger years, extreme metal baffled me. My untrained ears were often unable to follow the complex riffs and fast tempos, making it impossible to assess music quality. To me, it was all simply fast, scary, and incomprehensible. I remember scouring metal forums for hours to learn which albums were the “classics,” only to listen to them and question why they were considered as such. If this is a “good” extreme metal album, I would wonder, what does a “bad” one sound like? In this regard, I almost wish The Ventriloquist had existed back then. Because it would have provided the perfect answer to that question.” Bad lip reading.