Trivium – Shogun (2008)
Trivium followed up their thunderous breakthrough Ascendancy with The Crusade, a divisive record to say the least. Gone were the growling vocals and occasional breakdown and the band embraced a more classic thrash influenced sound. But when Shogun came around they eschewed that slightly limited approached and adopted a more grandiose, and far more modern metal style. The result was simply one of marvel and their strongest and wholly engrossing effort from the fevered stomp opener “Kirisute Gomen” through to the sprawling eleven minute title track.
Standout Track: Shogun
Fear Factory – Archetype (2004)
Assess the circumstances, Fear Factory sans Dino Cazares; the man who penned the riffs that made the Fear Factory name. Bassist-cum-guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers has his work cut for him. Archetype was a far cry from a groundbreaking or essential album. But it was solid, focussed and heaving with remarkable tunes – “Cyberwaste”, “Archetype”, “Human Shields”. The band proved their worth with fine riffs regardless, as well as the strong vocal delivery from Burton C. Bell. Many fans will argue that Archetype was a fluke as Transgression, its follow up and only album since, was dire. But take nothing away from this under appreciated gem.
Standout Track: Archetype
Jesus Christ, was this an unexpected triumph! Straying from the more metal and much heavier leanings of his day job in Nevermore, Warrel Dane’s debut solo effort Praises To The War Machine is an astonishing alt. metal record. Any fears that Dane would be make carbon copy of Nevermore were quickly extinguished on opener “When We Pray”. He was here to deliver something different, and he did just that. Recruited for the project were Peter Wichers, Matt Wicklund and Dirk Verbeuren, who satisfied us with a ridiculously tight execution. Guest appearances also saw Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis, death metal vet. James Murphy and Chris Broderick. Production wise Praises was possibly the cleanest (but not over-polished) album of the year. In summation – listen to this album.
Standout Track: Equilibrium
The Nu Millennium. Yes, nu metal had reached its commercial peak at the turn of the century and Linkin Park led this nu/rap metal charge alongside Limp Bizkit. But regardless of the constant hatred thrown in LP’s way, think back to when that album came out. If you were in your early teens then you probably played the shit out of it, on repeat. Hybrid Theory has tunes a plenty. Listen to the choruses because chances are, even if you hate them, that they’ve become lodged in your head at some point. I was 10 when this album hit me, I loved it and of course everything they’ve done after is utter tripe but Hybrid Theory will always have a cheesy place in my heart.
Standout Track: Pushing Me Away
Take A Look In The Mirror came at an odd time. Its predecessor Untouchables divided fans greatly. Here, they back pedalled slightly and attempted to re-create the frenzied aggression of their early years. “Right Now” is this album’s opener, is it aggressive? By fuck it is. The whole album is unremitting and just plain pissed off, undoubtedly caused by the tirade of bullshit hurled in their direction prior to its conception. TALITM is an unjustly underrated gem. While it doesn’t have the same fury of Korn or Life Is Peachy it’s swelling with unruly ferocity and violent design. It’s the last album to feature Brian “Head” Welch before he went gaga for Jesus and also, the last Korn record include Jonathan Davis’ emotionally driven roar. Dig it out.
Standout Track: Counting On Me