Aeonblack, The Time Will Come (MDD Records 2021)

German power metal band Aeonblack circle back around to deliver another dose of heavy music that is loud and speedy.

The origins of the band go back to the late 1980s when they were known as Groggy Elks, releasing one demo in 1999. With a name change in 2003, the group moved ahead with its brand of straight-forward metal, calibrated to a mid-quick tempo and taking a page from the book of bands like Judas Priest. Under the present moniker, there has been an EP in 2007 to go along with the Metal Bound long-player from 2015. The band for the new album is (according to the Metal Archives) Holger Berger (vocals), Ferdinand Panknin (guitar and bass), Peter Steinbach (drums), Michael Maunze (guitar, Keys, and bass).

The compositions are firmly rooted in an earlier day, and they are extremely solid and loyal to that era. They stretch some into newer forms while always keeping true to the starting point. The musicianship is top-notch and the band is firing on all cylinders. Berger’s voice does sound a bit like Rob Halford, and here again you can think of that as a starting point from which he reaches out in his own directions.

The songs are mostly in the four-to-five minute range, and are typically set at a driving gallop. The title track is a longer adventure, with the obligatory quieter elements to create a space for the sense of epic presentation, and there is even a short instrumental lead-on track to set it up. The riffs are steady and the lead work is crisp and reliable. The drumming has received more of a modern infusion than most of the other moving parts, and that helps the music glisten.

Songs like “Warrior’s Call” are roaring drag race, and “Nightwalker” has a more gothic feel to it. There are enough melodic passages to label the music that way, even going nearly full ballad at one point. Overall the music is more peppy than it is insurgent, but it is clearly a metal album. I liked it all the way through, and the album gets especially high marks for the drumming and lead guitar work. Recommended.

The Time Will Come is out now. Look it over at the Bandcamp page, or at the label’s website. You can get the back catalogue at the former, including the Groggy Elks demo from way back when.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://aeonblack1.bandcamp.com/album/the-time-will-come

Website, https://www.aeonblack.de/?lang=en

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AEONBLACK-140787565995220/

Label, https://mdd-shop.de/en/search/query?desc=on&sdesc=on&keywords=aeonblack

Aeonblack, The Time Will Come (MDD Records 2021)

Exarsis, Sentenced To Life (MDD Records 2020)

With their fifth album Sentenced To Life, Exarsis fulfills your need, your need for speed.

Greek band Exarsis has been flying the flag for Thrash and Speed Metal for ten years. Under Destruction was their first long-player in 2011, and since then they have been they have been lashing the shores with a new guitar tsunami every couple of years. The band is now Nick Tragakis (vocals), Chris Poulos (bass), Chris Tsitsis (guitars), and Panos Meletis (drums)

Sentenced To Life is perhaps a little more approachable to crossover fans than some of their earlier music with more emphasis on melody, but the speed is still there and it rolls you right over. They play an old school brand of Thrash, touched by the nearly forgotten style of Speed Metal. The result is a credible case for whiplash.

First up on the record is “Cen$ored,” an intro bit that starts with a crackling voiceover that is increasingly heavily bleeped and distorted on the way to the first wailing high-octane song, “Another Betrayal.” Tragakis gives us high register vocals matching up with the stunning speed of the guitar riffs and lead blasts that are so wilting your ears are a little behind on getting all the notes in.

The percussion is at pace as well, pummeling like a cavalry at full charge. You can really hear the intense drumming on songs like “The Truth Is No Defense” where it seems to defy physics. Every song has outstanding attributes and they all call out to be heard again. The ones I hit more than a couple times were “Mouthtied” for the amazing passage in the middle of the song and “Interplanetary Extermination” for its sheer blaze. Fantastic. Recommended.

Sentenced To Life could be flowing into your brain right now. It is available to buy from MDD Records through Bandcamp and you can listen on the usual variety of streaming services.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://exarsis.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/exarsis

MDD Records, https://mdd-records.de/

Exarsis, Sentenced To Life (MDD Records 2020)