Essential Heavy Rock & Metal Releases – Summer 2022!

1. Greg Puciato : Mirrorcell (Federal Prisoner)

Mirrorcell is the second solo album from Greg Puciato, who seems to have barely had time to stop and sleep since The Dillinger Escape Plan ended in 2017. He’s somehow found the time to release music with his 80s influenced Synth-Wave project The Black Queen, recorded a new album with the awesome Killer Be Killed, alongside Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Troy Sanders (Mastadon) and Ben Koller (Converge), and sang backing vocals on Jerry Cantrell’s 2021 solo album Brighten, while also joining his subsequent tour earlier this year.

His debut album Child Soldier : Creator Of God released in 2020 on his own Federal Prisoner label, was an eclectic mix that incorporated a little of everything we had heard from Puciato before, and with a relatively strong electronic influence. But this time around he manages to find a a far stronger and cohesive identity, creating a full on heavy Rock album bursting with mature and dark songs, which perfectly showcase his unique vocals and impressive guitar playing. And the influence of singing and touring with Cantrell certainly looms large, with shades of an Alice In Chains sound throughout which is never a bad thing.

2. // Conjurer : Pathós (Nuclear Blast)

Conjurer are one of the finest bands in the thriving underground UK metal scene right now, and if we’re judging them by their second album Pathós, then it’s easy to see why. This is a perfectly executed, darkly heavy album that has been exquisitely produced, and with an intricate complexity in the music that is difficult to pigeonhole into one style. There are elements of Death, Black and obscure Post-Metal, all rolled into one glorious journey of powerful and emotional music.

Pathòs is a real class act from start to finish and without a doubt will take Conjurer to the next level, as they show a real sophistication in their song writing. And following a successful summer festival season, the Rugby based four piece are hitting the road this autumn in support of the release, with a not to be missed club tour across the UK and Europe, with Church Road signees Tuskar, and the Bristol based Sugar Horse in support.

3. // Panzerfaust : The Suns Of Perdition Vol III : The Astral Drain (Eisenwald)

The Astral Drain is the sixth album from this unique Canadian Post-Black Metal band, and the third in their conceptual The Suns Of Perdition series. And this is no ordinary Black Metal album, with Panzerfaust keeping the tempo slow and the guitars tuned down to a distinctly sludgy level, combining to create a harrowing and deeply textured musical experience.

There are industrial elements throughout, and interludes of atmospheric soundscapes that glue the album together, while each track provides a heavy hypnotic journey into darkness. Lyrically The Astral Drain is based around mankind’s collective descent into madness, and musically this is an album of pure emotional and controlled monolithic chaos. Created for discerning connoisseurs of experimental extreme Metal.

4. // Russian Circles : Gnosis (Sargent House)

Russian Circles are one of the finest instrumental bands in the Post-Rock / Metal genre, featuring the extraordinary guitar work of Mike Sullivan and ex-Botch bassist Brian Cook (who also plays in Sumac). Gnosis their eight album, was largely written during the pandemic as Sullivan and Cook traded ideas remotely with drummer Dave Turncrantz, with the original idea of using the unplanned, extended period away from touring as an opportunity to record a stripped back and mellower record.

However something clearly changed their mindset along the way as Gnosis has turned out to be one of the heaviest record of their impressive career so far. The album is a collection of muddy melancholic music, that has been created by three musicians who cohesively work together perfectly. There are flashes of brilliance throughout showcasing subtle differences from track to track, and even a surprising Black Metal influence on Betrayal, that is going to sound great live.

5. // Grey Daze : The Phoenix (UMC / Concord Records)

In 2017 and shortly before his suicide, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington announced he was writing new music and would be reforming his original 90s band Grey Daze. The reunion was sadly stopped in its tracks, but after his passing his band mates (with the blessing of his family) continued to work on the music, and dived deep into the archives of their recordings some twenty years earlier, to create the 2020 release Amends.

The album was a critically acclaimed posthumous release which fans of Chester were pleased to have seen the light of day. Two years later Grey Daze have provided us with a companion piece in The Phoenix, which features ten further extraordinary heavy rock songs, with a real grunge vibe that unashamedly channels influence from the likes of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Providing us with a second haunting reminder of Chester Bennington’s beautifully strong vocal range, which rightly takes centre stage throughout the record.

6. // Sarattma : Escape Velocity (Nefarious Industries)

Escape Velocity is the impressive debut album from the devilishly quirky instrumental duo Sarattma, who include ex-Brian Jonestown Massacre drummer Sara Neidorf and Cleric guitarist Matt Hollenberg. They combine beautifully to create something uniquely off the wall, blending at times the furious poly-rhythms of Djent and Technical Progressive Metal, with an off the wall and Avantgarde Jazz influence.

The musicianship is impressive throughout with the likes of Steve Vai and Frank Zappa prevalent throughout the guitar work, while the percussion does one hell of a job keeping the music flowing through all sorts of different time signatures. But there is also a sublime heaviness that takes the music into intriguing territories of Post Metal and beyond. This might just be one of the most unique albums to be released this year, and it will be interesting to hear how the duo progress, and where they next take their sound from here.

7. // Ithaca : They Fear Us (Hassle Records)

Ithaca are another of the hottest current Metal bands in the UK right now, and their debut album The Language Of Injury released in 2019, was a furious relentless album of angry Post Hardcore. Their fiercely anticipated follow up They Fear Us expands on this style, taking the band into new territory with a greater emphasis on the cleaner side of singer Djamila Boden Azzouzs vocals, giving Ithaca a whole new identity in the process.

In places the music is certainly just as heavy on They Fear Us, and there are some fantastic riffs throughout not least on the title track itself. And when Azzouz is screaming she harnesses immense power, but her clean singing is used prominently throughout, and stylistically the combination of the two works perfectly. This record is the sign of a band who have matured and found a new sound that works, making them a little more accessible in the process, but also without compromising their underground Hardcore roots.

8. // Gozer : An Endless Static (Trepnation Recordings)

An Endless Static is the debut release from Sheffield based Gozer, who have not only brilliantly named themselves after the demon in Ghostbusters, but also purvey a highly skilled alluring blend of Sludge, Doom and Post-Metal, that is highly engaging and thought-provoking throughout.

The three-piece rose from the ashes of the disbanded ARCHELON and have been working away in the Uk’s underground scene for some years, and after signing with Trepnation Recordings have finally been given the opportunity to experiment with their music in the studio, releasing a debut album which really stands out from the crowd.

9. // Thoughtcrimes : Altered Pasts (Pure Noise Records)

Altered Pasts is the intriguing debut album from Thoughtcrimes, the band put together by ex Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Rymer with his longtime friend and guitarist Brian Sullivan. The two have jammed and written music together for years, with Rymer using the project as an outlet for his guitar playing. And with Dillinger ending it provided the opportunity for the collaboration to pick up some serious steam.

And the fruits of their labour is one hell of a debut, landing with a bump on Pure Noise Records and certainly channelling Dillinger-esq Mathcore vibes, alongside that of the likes of Post-Hardcore royalty Converge. But beyond the chaotic rhythms lies a further intelligence with the added experimentation of Electronica, Industrial atmospherics and haunting clean vocals sections, which all thrown into the melting pot together works surprisingly well.

10. // Soulfly : Totem (Nuclear Blast)

After a period of activity during the pandemic which included album releases with his Killer Be Killed and Go Ahead And Die projects, it’s fair to say the ex Sepultura legend Max Cavalera may have been busier than most over the last couple of years. And this summer following a successful tour in the US with Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares (filling in for the recently departed Marc Rizzo), Max releases album number eight with his iconic Soulfly.

Last years Go Ahead And Die record gave us a hint as to where Cavaleras recent musical headspace has been. The album was a pure unadulterated throwback to 80s Thrash, Speed and Death Metal, with Max paying homage to the bands he was listening to in the early days of his career. And really Totem pick right up where this left off and is a fine companion piece of sorts. It is the first time he’s made an old school Metal record like this with Soulfly, and subsequently it’s their finest work for sometime.

Words by – Abstrakt_Soul


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