Let me go on a limb here. Seven Parallels is arguably one of the most dynamic and exploitative progressive metal albums the genre has to offer in 2016. On this studio debut, guitarist Christian San Agustin pushes boundaries of the genre. The audible expedition that embodies Bilo 3.0 is an ironic one indeed. Redefining standard and quite possibly ruining all other music in my life, Seven Parallels is a journey that even the most conservative listener could find some value in.

From start to finish there is a concentration and tonal framework interwoven with keen use of formal elements that grip the edges of abstract. A human element emerges within and is presented as profound lyrical phrasing, world-class performances, and skin-tight originality.

Seven Parallels is an album that is much more then the sum of its parts. It is a voyage of sonic character that redefines modern progressive metal.

Rating: 4.5/5

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I've been a fan of Protest the Hero for the better part of 10 years now, first discovering them on Myspace and quickly adding them to my top 8. Well a lot has changed since those days and yet Protest the Hero still has a place in that top 8. Their latest release 'Pacific Myth' dropped a couple of days ago and I must say, It is a technical masterpiece.

I can't even write about this release, its just too damn good. Give it a listen right now.

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Living in Canada, the politics of my southern neighbors never raises much thought in my mind. This recent election though, it has the whole world talking and from what I hear, not a whole lot of that talk is good.

Robb Flynn from Machine Head wrote a song expressing his thoughts on the outcome, just one man and his guitar. 'Bastards', a wonderful folk tune that conveys some strong ideas and judging by a lot of the comments it is receiving, it may not of been a good idea to upload. Check it out below.

What Riftwalker have pulled together on "Green & Black" is an impressive collection of riffs and rhythms evident on the opening “B.H.O.”, a groove that’s about five minutes of technical perfection and, to borrow a word from a bygone era of metal scribing, brutality.

No doubt the outfit — guitarist/vocalist Miles Morrison, bassist/vocalist Spencer Atkinson and drummer/vocalist Zan Petrovic — had honed these numbers to fine point on the stage and in the rehearsal room before tracking as there’s nothing left to chance here. The album sequence is as relentless and unforgiving as that heard on the likes of Slayer’s "Reign in Blood" and the At the Gates classic "Slaughter of the Soul" and the playing and writing is commensurate with those releases as well. What’s also remarkable, though, is how well Riftwalker managed to shake up the game of playing the genre and not the music.

The trio appears to have been as influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as the Gothenburg sound or any of the myriad technical masters that were popping up like medical waste in North America about a decade back. It’s not just refreshing, even now, but necessary for the survival of any music to have new life breathed into it and that’s precisely what this trio has done.

Enthusiasm for this release and the group’s ability to deliver uncompromising music that doesn’t wear out its welcome upon repeated listens will eventually lead to Riftwalker’s signing with a good label what will also mean breaking out from Canada.

"Green & Black" is available now from Bandcamp.

Wiesbaden’s Unprocessed returned with an EP titled Perception, their second release after the 2014’s full-length debut album In Concretion

Perception is a slow burner, sounding good on its first listen but unfolding into its full potential on the second or third play. Launching with Praludium – an epic introduction with an atmospheric tone – Unprocessed immediately introduce their duality: combining chugging technical metal with dark, prophetic vocals one moment and angst ridden growls the next. This dichotomy of sound continues as the swirling opening of Ocean of Silence leads into a song that captures the band’s more melodic side before Life. A Prologue of Death throws the listener into an ethereal verse with soaring chorus in the way of Katatonia

As the EP continues echoes of other tech icons, including Devin Townsend, Meshuggah and TesseracT, surface but the band balance this range of influences with skill to create a sound that is all their own. The music is technical but not clinical with songs constructed out of riffs, solos and breakdowns that are more than just fancy guitar work and confusing time signatures. There are a good handful of catchy hooks with heart too, especially towards the latter half of the release with Desert by the Sea. This track leads into the closing Perspective, which feels like a great tune to close Perception

Unprocessed is a band who are forming a legacy and this is the album that will start them on their journey.

Perception is available now from Bandcamp.

With some heightened post-punk and indie rock, Given Free Rein aim to make headway with their debut record “In-Ear Trip.” Every band with a debut record has a chance to show why they should become the next talked about artist of their genre and with this record it will definitely garner some attention in their field.

If you look at the genre of post-punk from its broad perspective, is that its a subgenre, which you get those strong influences in this album from top to bottom. Opener “Magnetic Fields” invokes a lot of the trippy style elements from prog rock/psychedelic rock as well, especially with the vocals. Whilst the vocalist sounds somewhat bored of his own lyrical content, the songs on this record work really well with that vocal style. That point is exemplified with “Love Pigs” as the verses go on a faster/harder route which lets you hear their energetic tones within singing.

Whilst nearly all the tracks are relatively short, it really helps with their style of post-punk feeling due to how other-worldly their instrumentation is. The first few tracks follow the same music structure but as it progresses, their chances to experiment and produce something to please your senses are higher. The slow tempos intertwined with the bombastic distortion on the guitars are something enjoyable and even add to the melodies that are given their own time to shine. “Vein of Light” does this in spades being the longest song on the record.

For their debut record, Given Free Rein has come out swinging and whilst it might not be the cult classic that will always be with certain bands, they’ve set themselves a bar to reach for their next musical endeavour. It might not be the A* you come across, but the record still brings something to enjoy.

"In-Ear Trip" is available from Bandcamp.

I Am The Sun are an aggressive stoner metal band from Brazil. Their latest release 'Death Water' brings us 10 tracks of non stop, hard rocking, stoner tinged metal. The band has a sound and style influenced by the likes of 'Corrosion of Conformity', 'Red Fang', and 'Down'. With elements of those three great bands, and with their own personal touch, 'Death Water' becomes an impressive album that will be enjoyed by all fans of the genre. Give it a listen below!

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Poltergeist are a technical thrash metal band from Switzerland which had critical acclaim 20 years ago, now they are back with an extremely technical and melodic album 'Back to Haunt'.

Having played with industry heavyweights such as Kreator, Sodom, Tankard and many more, Poltergeist are finally back to showcase their skills. This album is so technically sound and hits hard in all the right places, Poltergeist should be standing proud on the same podium as the above mentioned bands. Check out 'Back to the Haunt' below.

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Italian Progressive Death Metal newcomers, Astral Path, delivered a debut "Ashes Dancer." Where listening to this might have you perusing your music collection afterwards for more of the same. The album itself is a satisfying and worthwhile addition to any playlist. Submit to the awesome and let these youngers’ killing fields slay your senses.

Fans of the tried and tested Gothenburg sound will find familiar themes to their liking, executed with finesse, while ripping your own speaker cabs a new hole. "Ashes Dancer" is definitely no flower show. Contained within this carefully planned victory bed is a clamor of exotic screams and rumbling drumwork, placed within carnivorous riffage. All of these factors groove within thunderous foundations that lure you deeper with every hook as the album progresses.

The journey through "Ashes Dancer" is saturated with unholy light that makes monstrous solos and cacophonous riffs appear to further seduce those dangerous enough to approach its ominous perimeter. Uncompromising and intense Astral Path promise a dark and intangible odyssey through their song titles, making good on pledge with the entrancingly moribund peaks that excite the imagination while their gallant stride captures your body and entices you to windmill.

Download "Ashes Dancer" here.

Bearhunter from Los Angeles, California bring us five tales of horror inspired doom metal. Being a fan of horror and metal, this is a winning combination and Bearhunter proceed to crush it on each track. Give it a listen below.

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