First up this month, we have Strongwater, who are Norwegian heavy, and rather interesting. While easy to predict that Strongwater plays your typical brand of Scandinavian heavy metal, nothing could be further from the truth the band plays a unique brand American Southern Rock, with a Nordic twist! The amalgamated sounds that come from Strongwater here are intriguing to say the least; songs such as The Feather of a Firebird provide galloping, well-dramatised riffs, like an indomitable blaze. It's therefore not surprising that the band has been chosen to provide a soundtrack to The Secret World, a forthcoming Xbox 360 game. I have been told in good confidence that Strongwater is working with engineer, Rune Stavnesli, who has in the past worked with bands such as Necrophagist. There is nothing overwhelmingly negative to say about Strongwater, who function well as a band. Vocalist, Dahle, cackles and growls his way through the well-executed singing demands, and guitarists Nordnes and Winsrygg provide some of the best riffs and solos I have ever heard from an unsigned band; the rhythm section is also in check, and, like any band that plays technical metal, the expertise shown by Eidem (drums) and Utgard (bass) is fearsome in its metronomic dynamism.
|UG Opinion: Strongwater is one of the most innovating bands to be featured in this column, and the band can only be lauded for fusing the grit of Southern Rock with the intensity and prodigious skill of Scandinavian metal.|
From Cape Town, South Africa, A Walk With the Wicked, a band with as good an attitude to press relations as it has to its Cannibal Corpse-influenced music. On a musical note, Architects of Sadism is a pinch harmonic-laden feast of brutal guitars and guffawing grunts and growls. The live videos provided on the page are high in quality, and give the viewer an excellent perception of what to expect at A Walk With the Wicked gig. Musically, A Walk With the Wicked stand out as a band that enables the listener to directly link the band's music to the members' influences. It's not sweet and subtle, and the delivery, though as brutally executed as one desires in this genre, is not sophisticated. That's exactly what you want from this genre of music, and while Cannibal Corpse-inspired lyrics are never going to win Nobel Prizes for literature, the band's press relations are much more intelligence-based. The band is magnificently well-organized, providing reviewers not only with a finely presented biography, but also a recent press kit, describing the band's forthcoming EP, set to be mixed and mastered by David Castillo, in Sweden. The band has headlined a number of metal festivals in their home country of South Africa, travelling from city to city to play gig after gig. The band can also boast endorsements from TRX Cymbals and Brian Fanner Original Custom Guitars. Architects of Sadism', the band's debut EP, is scheduled for a January 2011 release.
|UG Opinion: This is one of the most professional bands to be featured on UG, and A Walk With the Wicked deserves all the plaudits they receive.|
Exemption, from New York, is a band with which Ultimate-Guitar.com has some familiarity. Featured nearly three years ago, Exemption has released a lot of new material since The Rabbit Hole (reviewed here) in April, 2007. Exemption plays their own stimulating range of progressive rock, influence perhaps by Tool, Pantera, and Johnny Cash. There is also quite an accentuated groove to the band's music, and this is even more pronounced on the band's latest release, Public Cemetery Party (October 2010). The latest release is like the Muse that the United States hasn't yet produced. Most notable on songs such as White Animal and Mutating Skulls, Exemption has added English suave to their eclectic musical mix that should serve the band well. The industrialised metal-dominated sound of The Rabbit Hole has been post-modernised since 2007, and this exciting three-piece should work harder than ever to capitalise on their precocious talents to secure some more serious airtime. Tom, Nick, and Lee deserve your support, and I certainly wouldn't be featuring the band for a second time, were Public Cemetery Party not so scrupulously presented and performed.
|UG Opinion: Exemption is one of the bands that I still consider to be a gem of this column. I still listen to The Rabbit Hole, and I'm only too glad to hear more accessible tunes from this three-piece, whose guitaristNick Leeremains one of my favourite musicians of recent times.|