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  • Writer's pictureThe Metal Mayan

The Metal Mayan Mixtape - 01 July, 2024

200 Stab Wounds - Manual Manic Procedures (Metal Blade Records)

"On the slab tonight: the most lethal contender for death metal album of the year."

Dark Funeral, Cattle Decapitation, Obituary, Dying Fetus - these are just a few of the legendary bands that 200 Stab Wounds have already shared the stage with in their five year career. With a fanbase growing from show to show, the Ohio quartet is now set to take the death metal world by storm with their sophomore release, Manual Manic Procedures.

Capturing nearly ever element of death metal and stitching it together into a hideous abomination, in the best of ways, there is something for all fans of the genre. Opener "Hands of Eternity" greets listeners with a build up ala Death before the razor sharp Bolt Thrower grooves take over. Throwing in a bit of death grind, old school soldiers worshipping at the shrine of General Surgery will adore the gore of "Gross Abuse" and the title track.

With traditional ingredients at its core, a few select spices include the Decrepit Birth influenced "Defiled Gestation" and the Morbid Angel guitar stylings of "Ride the Flatline". Ultimately, the album is masterpiece of brutality that is also captivating - a prime example of 'all killer, no filler', with a bit of extra emphasis on the 'killer' part.

Kicking off their headlining North American run in mid- August that runs to the end of September, there is no stopping this tour-de-force as they rise to the top of the death metal militia.

Devolution - Deceiver, Believer (Close Encounter Records)

"A explosive concoction of melody, brutality, groove and grind."

With the combined forces of metal veterans Jon Howard (Threat Signal) and Christian Olde Wolbers (Vio-lence, ex-Fear Factory) on vocals and bass respectively, the metalcore-industrial powerhouse that is Devolution was poised to deliver nothing short of an incredible release.

Together with drummer Eric Tysor and guitarist Nate Beberdick, the architects of the band with a collaborative history dating back some twenty years, Devolution has done this and more with Deceiver, Believer. Over the album's ten tracks, the quartet wields soaring vocals, infectious grooves and massive instrumentation. Tracks such as "Ancient Sky" and "The Voiceless" are essential listening for fans of Soilwork, while "Unbreakable" cranks up the breakdowns for the heavy hitters in the crowd.

An excellent modern metal opus crafted by one of the most skilled of team, expect this album to shine brightly among the releases of 2024!

The Exies - Closure EP (Independent)

"A long awaited storm of anthemic hard rock hitters."

If your touring resume boasts runs with the likes of Buckcherry, Sum 41 and the almighty Mötley Crüe, chances are, your band is comprised of hard rock master craftsmen. Such is the case with The Exies, who even after a nearly sixteen year long gap since their last release, have come back swinging on their EP, Closure.

As the first new offering since their last album, A Modern Way of Living With the Truth, released in 2007, "Spirits High" is a wall of high decibel, stadium shaking might. Though certainly toasting to the sounds of the 2000s, the song is perfectly suited to today's stylings and is a shining testament to the future of The Exies with a tip of the hat to their past.

Conjuring Velvet Revolver vibes, "The Hill" is yet another stellar cut among an already packed album, while opener "For What It's Worth" demands multiple playthroughs and will surely have fans new and old singing the words in concert.

At just six songs and coming in at a little over 20 minutes, Closure is a refreshing blast of ice cold hard rock, coming in just as the heat of summer sets in. While hopes for the latest from The Exies were no doubt very high, the band smashes expectations as they write the next chapter of their 27 year long career.

Neaera - All Is Dust (Metal Blade Records)

"A megaton hammer of melodic metalcore."

Leave it to German engineering to take an existing, popular version of something and continuously improve upon it. So it is with Münster's metalcore masters, Neaera and their eighth album, All Is Dust. Celebrating their twentieth anniversary this year, the band's latest opus is packed to the brim with one slugger after another.

Between Neaera and fellow countrymen Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban, the German approach to the sub-genre known around the world is one that features saturated distorted amps, gut punching bass and kick drums, and spine chilling vocals, delivered here by Benjamin Hilleke. With the circle pit instigating opener, "Antidote to Faith", and riot inciting "Pacifier", no quarter or mercy is given from the word go.

While metalcore has always been the crossroads between hardcore and melodic death metal, Neaera draw more so from the latter as heard on the At the Gates esque "Edifier". The album even taps some of the later era, melodic grind of Carcass on "Dividers".

With four years and a pandemic since their last release, Neaera has had plenty of time to weave together an immense album with plenty of immense tracks fans will demand to hear live.

Oni - Control, (Ironshore Records)

"A new single forged in fury and striking with passion and precision."

While most bands would take the time after an album's release to tour, or at the very least let the new material sink in, Jake Oni has been hard at work. Still hot on the heels of last year's album, The Silver Line, Jake's project, ONI, is already back at it with a brand new single: "Control".

Co-written by Josh Gilbert (Spiritbox, ex-As I Lay Dying), the song is a reflection of the narrator's struggles both inside and outside. The result is a booming number with Oni's clear, exquisite voice shining like a wildfire while the instrumentals surround it like a raging storm.

Longtime fans of ONI know of the artist's appreciation for anime, which here has been used to create a visually stunning music video for "Control". Literally illustrating the points made throughout the song, the battle to conquer one's own demons is backed by polyrhythms and delicate synthesizer.

Hitting the road in North America this August, opening for Crown the Empire, all eyes should be on ONI as the name grows bigger and bigger throughout the metal world. If "Control" is a taste of what is to come, expect huge things this year and next.

Seven Spires - A Fortress Called Home (Frontiers Music)

"The symphonic metal release the entire metal world has been anticipating."

Between their European tour with Skálmöld, which led into their run with Kamelot in March (which you can read up on here), and their upcoming trip to Japan with Lords of the Trident, 2024 has been busy for Seven Spires to say the least. Yet, as the second half of the year begins, the Boston based symphonic metal trio is pleased to release A Fortress Called Home, their fourth album and the latest in a line of 10 out of 10 wonders.

Having premiered "Almosttown" and "Architect of Creation" live on stage this spring, the time has come at last for the much anticipated studio versions of both. The former showcases vocalist Adrienne Cowan's solemn siren voice, and also name drops the album's title, while the latter demonstrates Cowan's fury as she hits impossible high notes in tandem with ferocious roars.

Treading closer to Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride territory with "Where Sorrows Bear My Name", the shake up to the typical symphonic metal formula is paired with another unique number, "Love's Souvenir", which features Temperance frontwoman Kristin Starkey adding her operatic voice to the mix.

With both Cowan and guitarist Jack Kosto calling the Berklee College of Music their alma matter, and bassist Peter de Reyna also being immensely talented, it's no wonder that every song comes together in harmony, or in some case deliberate disharmony, leaving an impact every time.

Having filled out most of remaining months, keep an eye on the calendar for 2025 and the potential album release tour to come.

Advance copies courtesy of Adrenaline PR, Cosa Nostra PR, Earsplit PR, Freeman Promotions and Secret Service PR



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