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  • Writer's pictureThe Metal Mayan

The Metal Mayan Mixtape, 08 May, 2024

Advanced copies courtesy of Freeman Promotions, Secret Service PR and Suspiria PR

Belushi Speed Ball - Stellkira (Independent)

"Welcome to the Heaviest Show On Earth - buy a ticket, die on the ride.

It's hard to imagine that Belushi Speed Ball was formed a little over a decade ago as just a studio project. Preparing to roll out their third album, Stellkira, the Kentucky thrashers have experienced a meteoric rise in popularity thanks to their wild stage antics, humorous lyrics, and top tier songwriting.

Though certainly worthy of a chuckle reading its name out loud, there is not much time to laugh as opening track "My Favorite Color Is Pizza" is sure to be a crowd favorite with its anthemic chorus, soaring guitar solo, and Anthrax, Toxic Holocaust and Nuclear Assault inspired instrumentation.

Clocking in at less than twenty five minutes in run time, there is very little breathing room between slamming numbers like "Eels and Escalators", "Griffith Did Literally Everything Wrong" and "The Hash Slinging Slasher", the latter a terrific homage to Spongebob Squarepants.

With a handful of shows planned for May, including an appearance at this year's Milwaukee Metal Fest, and an east coast run scheduled in June, it won't be long before the heaviest show on Earth demolishes venue across the U.S. paired with the launch of a adrenaline triggering album.

Jasta - And Jasta For All (Perseverance Media Group)

"Take your seats and grab your pencils and notebooks: the metal masterclass is in session."

With a career spanning over thirty years, few in the metal and hardcore world boast a career like Jamey Jasta. As the host of Headbangers Ball from 2003 to 2007, the driving force behind the resurrection of the Milwaukee Metal Fest, and of course the vocalist of Hatebreed and Kingdom of Sorrow, it's any wonder that he has time for anything more.

And yet, with a little help from an all-star cast, under his solo project Jasta, Jamey unleashes his most ambitious album to date: And Jasta For All. Though forging his career in the fires of slamming hardcore by way of Hatebreed, Jasta the band falls closer to the crossover genre where heavy hitting riffs and breakdowns from hardcore are met with circle pit inducing speed and searing solos take from the pages of thrash metal. Material Escalations Process Improvement Lead

With the words 'Here we go', the album kicks off with the uncompromising fury of "They See Us As Prey" Again citing the thrash influence, the album is packed with incredible guest appearance from legends of the genre. Take for example "Create The Now", which features the booming voice of Testament's Chuck Billy. Later in the album, another iconic voice appears on "Assimilation Agenda" as Steve Souza of Exodus takes up the mic.

Already joined by the ultra talented members of the Jasta band, Jamey calls in axmen Phil Demmel (ex-Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head), Scott Ian (Anthrax, Mr. Bungle) and Joey Concepcion (Arch Enemy) to max out the album's metal meter. Each one delivering adding their skills to the mix to create an impeccable melding of tones.

In short, And Jasta For All is one part clash of the titans and one part war of the worlds, all of which add up to the ultimate offering of gnashing metal, and a very strong candidate for anyone's 'Best of 2024' list.

Unleash the Archers - Phantoma (Napalm Records)

"Now loading: complete."

While power metal bands have long been associated with lyrics of epic battles, far away lands, or ancient lore, sometimes enchanting and fantastic tales can be found much closer to home. With high expectations as humankind pushes the boundaries of artificial intelligence and augmented reality, Vancouver, Canada's, Unleash the Archers present an opus that tells the story of the rise of sentient AI through their sixth album, Phantoma.

Beginning with "Human Era", the catchy melodies set the landscape as something akin to Earth, though not quite the same as the one that exist today. Then, with the synthesizer sequence of "Ph4NT0-mA", a unique spin on the name of the title track, the call of vocalist Brittney Slayes make it clear that this Earth belongs to the digital realm.

Continuing on this concept and dialing up the galloping riffs and double bass work, "Buried In Code" is a high speed drive down Interstate 404 with a hard turn onto Terabyte Drive. Perhaps playing on the idea of 'remembering the future', "Gods In Decay" conjures up 1980's vibes and bright colors, but set in a version of the decade with an additional thousand years of innovation.

Having started the writing process 2021, just before things such as semiconductors and widespread AI usage dominated news headlines, the years spent forging Phantoma have resulted in one of the best concept albums of recent years. The stellar hooks, crisp, clear recording tone, and Slayes' immense voice demand multiple replays.

Preparing for tours in Australia/New Zealand, a handful of European festivals, and a U.S. run supporting Powerwolf, 2024 is a busy year for Unleash the Archers, and an exciting one for their legions of fans.


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