This is an enticing concept – Roadrunner Records have aligned themselves with Sony for the release of God Of War III on Playstation 3. Four of Roadrunner’s top bands, Dream Theater, Killswitch Engage, Opeth and Trivium along with newly signed acts Taking Dawn and Mutiny Within have all recorded a new track each for this EP and inclusion in the game.
First track is from modern metal giants, Killswitch Engage. After some meandering and somewhat ominous guitar work in its intro, ‘My Obsession’ is much in the vein of their recent self titled effort. It’s bustling with those inimitably hooky riffs and of course a tremendous vocal delivery from Howard Jones.
But Trivium’s ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ is an exciting affair, as the band have stated that it is indicative of the approach their new album will take. It also marks the recording debut of new drummer Nick Augusto who lends some more extremity to the dish from his background in various grindcore bands like Maruta. The track is ferociously heavy with crushing riffs, but still heaving with hooks especially in Matt Heafy’s towering clean chorus.
Dream Theater delivers a relentless seven minute instrumental in the form of ‘Raw Dog’. It’s fervent with the vehement intricacy we’ve come to expect from Dream Theater, with John Petrucci peeling off those majestic riffs with such ease – as always.
As for the young guns – Taking Dawn’s ‘This Is Madness’ initiates with some overwhelming Maiden-worship. Throughout, it’s clear that the guitarists can shred. But largely it’s below average as they play much to the Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu fan bases, particularly the latter.
Considering the nature of the God Of War series, Opeth’s contribution ‘Throat Of Winter’ is surprising. It’s a sombre, acoustic number, with a bare feel. But still, it is delicately and eerily beautiful
Finally, the other new signing, Mutiny Within, are not to be overlooked though. ‘The End’ is rife with Gothenburg loving riffs, laid over with some symphonic elements. There’s a heady dosage of their potential in this track. But, in the end, this EP has the big guns shining the brightest.