Trial – Feed the Fire (Metal Blade)
Considering just how uninspired their 2017 record Motherless was, this new batch of music by heavy metal outfit Trial should be considered a downright incredible comeback. Feed the Fire takes the Swedish quintet on a ride through a cornucopia of different heavy metal substyles, equally capable of touching upon Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, 1980s power metal, contemporary thrash, prog, and epic heavy metal.
This stylistic fusion is fortunately coupled with impressive songwriting, which makes each of the songs feel comfortable borrowing from the genre’s heritage while also providing a fresh take on the familiar tropes. Add to that the stunning twin guitar work of Alexander Ellström and Andreas Johnsson and the magnificent, spotlight-stealing performance of new vocalist Arthur W. Andersson—his singing range covers everything from the fragile romanticism of Crimson Glory’s Midnight to the energetic rasps of Helloween’s Michael Kiske—and you get a nearly impeccable hour of glorious heavy metal. – Antonio Poscic
Various Artists – MILIM KASHOT VOL. 4 (Independent)
Ron Ben-Tovim’s Machine Music returns with the fourth volume of their Milim Kashot series of compilations. Like the previous three installments, the compilation features carefully curated picks and exclusive contributions from bands across the metal spectrum, from the folk-tinged raw black metal of Baazlvaat to Papangu’s avant/psych/prog metal. With the focus shifting to lesser-known but outstanding bands in the latest iteration, this collection of songs also functions as a great sampler and source of new music. Finally, as before, all proceeds are directed to a worthy cause, this time benefitting an anonymous struggling artist whom Machine Music call “one of the most important metal musicians working today”. – Antonio Poscic
White Hills – The Revenge of Heads on Fire (Heads on Fire Industries)
It was back in 2007 when prolific, genre-morphing duo White Hills unleashed their third record, Heads On Fire. This work in many ways defined White Hills, presenting their fuzzy, all-encompassing psychedelia, with the epic 21-minute long opus “Don’t Be Afraid” standing out. Its hypnotic melodies and the descent to a minimal ambient interlude, only to return in full force to its true psychedelic self, are awe-inspiring. So, Heads On Fire now gets the revisit treatment with White Hills packaging the record with re-mixed versions of the original tracks, while including a few hidden gems from that time.
Garage rock vibes and awkward fuzziness are front and center, defined in the opener “Instrumental Head” and the likes of “Speed Toilet”. The psychedelic element is protruding here, taking on a slight stoner touch at times. “Oceans of Sound” features that mentality, the groove, and pacing calling upon the spirit of the very early days of Monster Magnet. While this desert scenery is majestic, and it reaches a pivotal state with “Is This the Road”, White Hills look outwards.
The krautrock sense grants a cosmic quality to the psychedelic tinges of “Radiate”, making the second half of “Visions of the Past Present and Future” and “Silent Violence” take a towering form. Still, this otherworldly sense does augment the spiritual aspects of tracks like “Inoke Tudo” and “VTDS”, but there is a more primal self just waiting. The punk awakening first starts with the introduction of “Visions of the Past Present and Future”, but it is fully formed with closer “Eternity” setting the scenery ablaze with its energy.
On one hand, The Revenge of Heads on Fire points to a work of sweet nostalgia. However, the extent to which this record has been remodified and the amount of new material found here make it stand out in its own right. – Spyros Stasis
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