2016 Metal Newcomers Explored, Part IV: Grindmother, Sinsaenum, Sons of Balaur, Astral Path
Our annual staff awards were recently announced, but each year we delve into some of the newcomers a little more in-depth to help our readers discover new metal bands. Here are my top metal newcomer picks for 2016:
In 2015 Windsor, Ontario’s Corrupt Leaders unleashed a sick grindcore EP called "Grindmother", named for vocalist Rain Forest’s mom who provided guest vocals on the album. A video of the 67-year-old woman singing grindcore went viral, leading the Grindmother to record a single and later her debut album, with guitars provided by her son and Tyson Apex on drums. In true grindcore fashion, only one of the ten tracks breaks the two-minute mark and The Grindmother is screaming her heart out. If "Age Of Destruction" came out with no info about the band it would still deserve the attention it’s getting. It's a grindcore album and it is deadly serious.
Formed in 2016, Sinsaenum is a blackened death metal supergroup which features vocalists Sean Zatorsky (Daath) and Attila Csihar (Mayhem), guitarists Frédéric Leclercq (DragonForce) and Stéphane Buriez (Loudblast), bassist Heimoth (Seth), and drummer Joey Jordison (ex-Slipknot). The band released its debut album "Echoes of the Tortured" in July 2016. Even though everyone in the band comes from a very different metal background the debut sounds coherent and is not a mishmash of the founders' bands but rather its own thing. "Echoes Of The Tortured" is a blast to listen to, and its anti-Christian message seems fitting given those involved.
Sons of Balaur
Sons of Balaur are a true kult Black Metal band based in Oslo, Norway. Formed in March, 1992, the band were part of the original first wave of Norwegian Black Metal – a notorious inner circle of underground artists who took music to extremes it had never previously reached. The band are true followers of the Dark Arts, and their songs are as much spells to the black forces of the underworld as they are music. The band’s recordings have been kept closely guarded within a tight-knit community of like-minded servants of the night, and remained unreleased in any official form until now. Their new album is an invocation of the dark vampiric overlord of chaos and death: Balaur.
So much for the official biography of the band. In all truth, Sons of Balaur is a clearly fictitious band, based around the highly acclaimed graphic novel, "Realm of the Damned", and aiming to honour the second wave of black metal in Norway during the early 90's with its debut release "Tenebris Deos". Those seeking truly evil black metal, look no further.
Hailing from Milan, Italy progressive/technical death metal band Astral Path was formed in 2012 and has put out its full-length debut album "Ashes Dancer" back in July. The quintet comprised of Eugene Yu on vocals, Gabriele Papagni on lead guitar, Fabrizio Argentieri on rhythm guitar, Jasmine Ljuba on bass and Francesco La Porta on drums, cites Opeth, In Flames, Between The Buried And Me, The Ocean Collective as some of their influences. And they are not wrong.
An atmospheric intro "Journey" opens up the album, followed up with the early highlight "Blinded" with driving double kick and nice harmonies. The second half of the album feels stronger in terms of material. "Drag Me Down" is to me the strongest tune on here. It is very difficult to not make an At The Gates comparison especially in terms of the way the riffs are arranged and played and also Yu’s vocal work has a similar cadence to Tomas Lindberg.
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