Powerflo -- Powerflo
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Powerflo — Powerflo

★☆☆☆ The album opens up with the lyric, “…This is our time/the dawn of a new era.”  But the debut from this “supergroup” (featuring Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei, Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog, Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers, and Downset’s Roy Lozano) is in no way new.  In fact, it’s hard to not be cynical about this effort, which is a shame because there are interesting moments strewn about throughout this otherwise pervasive cacophony.

Goatwhore -- Vengeful Ascension
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Goatwhore — Vengeful Ascension

★★★☆ Just as nasty as you’d expect from Goatwhore (think somewhere between Belphegor, Entombed, and Morbid Angel)… but damn is this groovy and tasty and interesting. Never have these guys sounded as self-assured and rollicking. The second half of the album is even more special than the first, so stay for the whole thing.

Nickelback -- Feed the Machine
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Nickelback — Feed the Machine

★★☆☆ I was going to say that this isn’t half bad, but that’s the problem: it’s exactly half bad. The riffs are tasty and groovy (if forgettable), and speak to Chad Kroeger’s metal tendencies. But his vocals and lyrics are just so schmaltzy. And then there are the unforgivably saccharin intentional hits; “Song On Fire,” “After The Rain,” and their ilk constitute the kind of music I’d hear while driving quickly through some place I wouldn’t want to linger.

Dying Fetus -- Wrong One to Fuck With
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Dying Fetus — Wrong One to Fuck With

★★☆☆ Blisteringly technical technodeath that verges on the ridiculously inhuman. It’s fun to listen to the band’s perambulations, although I defy anyone (outside the band themselves) to hum a single riff from memory. But good lord, fellas, this is a long and busy album. I appreciate the price-performance of these 54 minutes, but it’s too much!

The Monolith Deathcult -- Versus
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The Monolith Deathcult — Versus

★★★☆ This is a delightfully sillier, deathier combination of Slipknot and Front Line Assembly, with a dash of Amon Amarth’s pomp dialed up to the extreme. While long-time TMD fans won’t be surprised by this, the band are showing sounds of even greater experimentation, largely around motifs you wouldn’t expect from a metal band… but also in the occasional sparseness (a word that I don’t think I’ve ever used in the context of this band before).

Suffocation -- ...Of the Dark Light
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Suffocation — …Of the Dark Light

★★★☆ Classic technodeath from a veteran group of the form. On this, the band’s eighth album, Suffocation are tighter and more lethal than ever. They waste no time in unleashing the tempest in the front half of the album, and the punishment is meted out liberally. So what if it all just blurs together into a spasmodic assault that you won’t easily remember afterward; it’s still an impressive (and mercifully terse) metal experience.

Iced Earth -- Incorruptible
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Iced Earth — Incorruptible

★★☆☆ This is a welcome step-up from IE’s previous album “Plagues Of Babylon.” No huge surprises here, although it is nice to see the band eschewing their concept-album fetish, opting instead of a traditional collection of thematically disparate tunes. By and large, what you’ve got here is smooth sailing aboard the S.S.

Vallenfyre -- Fear Those Who Fear Him
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Vallenfyre — Fear Those Who Fear Him

★★★☆ The latest from Gregor Mackintosh’s grindy sludgey deathrock side project is a fun, energetic, slab of evil: nasty, unvarnished, ponderous, and gloriously dark. The album goes from rockin’ to dirgelike and back again with entertaining aplomb. Also, it does not at all sound like it’s only 38 minutes. If you can say that, and not be bored, you must be listening to something good.