by: Chris Rigney
Eskimo Callboy – Crystals - (Spinefarm)
This is easily one of the most amusing (and one of my recent favorite) releases. They combine a kind of post-hardcore ala iwrestleabearonce with pop music to create a kind of mish-mash of styles that comes across more humorous than probably intended. They even insert N'Sync lyrics into one song. Definitely worth checking them out for an unusual mix of pop and metal. Unfortunately, the lyrics are also full of swears, so abide by the marked OPI carefully.
Downfall of Gaia - Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay - (Metal Blade)
While their previous effort was an emphasis on post-rock infused with sludgy, doom-laden riffs and black metal style vocals, this sophomore release contains similar post-rock doom with explosions of crusty, black metal goodness and tortured, screamed vocals. Very apocalyptic and dark, but it makes for a pretty great listen. Recommended.
Nekrogoblikon - Heavy Meta - (Razor & Tie)
Everyone's favorite tongue 'n cheek, goblin-themed metal band is back with a full length offering this time. These guys have a kind of party-metal mixed with melo-death that is both entertaining and headspin worthy. This album in particular plays up the self-knowing meta aspects as implied in the title. "Snax & Violence" and "Full Body Xplosion" are great tracks.
Skinless - Only The Ruthless Remain - (Relapse)
Founding member and vocalist Sherwood Webber rejoined the band on this album since his departure after the disc "From Sacrifice to Survival." This record combines some of the wall of sound approach from their prior release with their early, brutal death approach. Even though this album is only seven tracks, it's a great listen. Sherwood's voice isn't as dynamic as Jason Keyser off the previous album, but it still fits the music really well.
Origin - Omnipresent - (Nuclear Blast)
Speaking of Jason Keyser, he left Skinless to join Kansas native brutal tech-death metallers Origin. Origin have continuously remained a preeminent name in the death metal scene as one of the fastest extreme acts with some technical virtuosity. Jason's vocal delivery is slower and less intense, generally, but his range is much wider and dynamic. The overall sound is a step away from Origin's core sound, but it's nonetheless relentless and heavy as hell. The track "Redistribution of Filth" sounds like it should be a punk cover (which seems out of place on an Origin record), while other tracks like "Unattainable Zero" and "The Indiscriminate" really show some versatility.