BONESHAKER       Boneshaker
Autoproduction (release: April 2nd, 2007)

Born from various Punk, Rock and Heavy Metal acts, French BONESHAKER is actually the gathering of this kind of guys who love Rock 'n Roll and perfectly prove it. So let's have fun with four songs of their own and three covers.
And it starts fast without warm-up with Ride Me In Hell, on which singer Chris' tone immediately reminds of Bon Scott's voice and, as they have begun their career playing AC/DC stuff (like millions of bands)... well... but everything is wilder here. It's beyond doubt, their lively Hard Rock has an effect and if you don't believe me, ask the overjoyed girl you can hear on In And Out (but maybe it's not the only reason why).
And what about the covers ? Well... interesting choices with Shot Down In Flames, Sin City and High Voltage, taken from... AC/DC and... Bon Scott's period indeed ! Close your eyes and you've got it !
Last important thing: their fourth own song is called We Love It Wild, so do I !...Laurent

OMNIUM GATHERUM       Stuck Here On Snakes Way
Candlelight Records (release: April 2nd, 2007)

Many Nordic acts have been able to evolve in an excellent way, after having started like everyone in a hard-line Death Metal. In this field, Finnish OMNIUM GATHERUM already have a good lead over the competition 'cause their music is beyond basic melodic Death Metal. The change of vocalist and record company, as on each of their three albums by the way, doesn't seem to decrease the quality of the song-writing, where different styles are combined but with the whole staying coherent perfectly. The great musicians mastery express itself with Heavy Metal pieces on Bastard-O, "psychedelic" keyboards sometimes, out of standard riffs on Spiritual or the very atmospheric Just Signs. But take care, power is here indeed and most of the songs stir as they should. OMNIUM GATHERUM really stands out from the crowd and if they carry on that way, we shall soon say it's top-class.Laurent

PANTHEON I       The Wanderer And His Shadow
Candlelight Records (release: April 2nd, 2007)

Even though The Wanderer And His Shadow starts as typical Black Metal, we quickly realize (after 57 seconds) that we deal with something serious here. Yeah, the presence of a violin and a cello is quite uncommon in this kind of band and thus we get really melancholic moments on Where Angels Burn or My Curse. But the other tracks will also satisfy every fan of instrumental techniques at the service of epic songs, as on the leading track or Folk parts (Coming To An End). But don't worry: you will also have your dose of brutality all along this enthralling work, which go all out by the way on the last song. Well, it must be genetic, even if Norwegian acts generally got into the habit of releasing marvels for a short time like this successful PANTHEON I's second album, beyond all doubt.Laurent

POISON THE WELL       Versions
Ferret Music (release: April 2nd, 2007)

Take care: we're out of usual spheres with POISON THE WELL because if these Americans moved to Sweden to record this album, that doesn't mean they play melodic Death Metal (not all, even so !). They offer us some complex music because the songs are extremely varied, going from "ambient" Rock on Slow Good Morning or Riverside (with brass) to typical Garage Rock guitar sounds on Naive Monarch, still keeping a latent aggressiveness, even on the slowest parts. Born from a "noisy" scene which tends to renew in United States, here is a quality band indeed, which deserves to dwell on it to assimilate its music, and it will only be after several successive listenings. The true Metal maniacs should be disappointed but they must be eclectic from time to time !...Laurent

MASS HYSTERIA       Une somme de details
At(h)ome (release: April 10th, 2007)

After a couple of rather Pop-Rock orientated albums, French MASS HYSTERIA returns with a "back to the roots" bomb. And there are no more "exotic" experiments as on Contraddiction (1999); everything is straight, heavy and anti-Establishment here. Every track hits the jackpot, louder than ever, with gloomy but also optimistic lyrics which drill your brain. Nothing to throw away indeed. Still in shock with this really great breaker and following the heaviest song Une joie kamikaze, the quiet last track (Briller pour toi) is a tribute to Micka, bass player of French Rock band DOLLY, who died in a car crash in May 2005. Manu Monet, DOLLY's female vocalist (who also participated in APOCALYPTICA's self-titled album the same year), joins Mouss for a touching duet.
As when they created a sensation ten years ago with their first effort (Le bien être et la paix), energy is still present, minus the surprise. And for people who are not convinced yet, they should acclaim them on stage, in a hot and festive show, trust me. And then… tu respectes !...Laurent

MITHRAS       Behind The Shadow Lie Madness
Candlelight Records (release: April 16th, 2007)

Don't look for basic riffs here because MITHRAS' music is complex indeed, but not unapproachable as with some other bands (and we are not courageous to name them). Four years after their former opus, this English duet, at the root, still offer us original Death Metal where the omnipresent solos, worthy of any self-respecting guitar-hero, wonderfully integrate this so particular concept. It's an invitation to a journey in the depths of a very strange universe which is made to you here, so do not miss the opportunity…Laurent

SHINING       V - Halmstad
Osmose Productions (release: April 16th, 2007)

The good stuff with SHINING is their numbered albums so we immediately know where we are. V - Halmstad is the fifth opus and we can say that Kvarforth, twisted-minded founder of this project, doesn't really feel better. We knew his depressive and suicidal inclinations, which are perfectly transcribed in his music, and it's still a bad-being all along this new desperate work, moderated by flights of epic Black Metal.
If you want to take part in this traumatizing experience, take precautions. You have been warned…Laurent

AFTER FOREVER       After Forever
Nuclear Blast (release: April 20th, 2007)

Floor Jansen's flights of lyricism are more restrained, less demonstrative and much more mastered than in the past, with a little bit more aggressive singing sometimes, helped by some magnificent musical arrangements. A few guests to report, including Doro on Who I Am (if it's a riddle, it was easy, we have immediately found the answer thanks to the lovely accent of our favourite Teutonic girl). Not even a weak song to throw away in this album, AFTER FOREVER is in the big league now.
Simply majestic.Laurent

DARK TRANQUILLITY       Fiction
Century Media (release: April 23rd, 2007)

Question (but there's nothing to win): who are pioneers in their musical genre and have been influencing so many bands all over the world, betrayed by this so typical Swedish school's style ? Answer: DARK TRANQUILLITY (I know you've first read the title of this review !). So, they have the right to subtly update their music at this stage of their career, while using stuff from the past too, such as piano or clear voice on Misery's Crown. And Fiction ends with some female singing on The Mundane And The Magic, featuring THEATRE OF TRAGEDY's Nell Sigland. It's a varied album then but not a complete revolution, so nobody will complain...Laurent

SIX FEET UNDER       Commandment
Metal Blade Records (release: April 23rd, 2007)

Friends of poetry and good taste, good evening ! Yeah, with such titles as Zombie Executioner, Bled To Death or Resurrection Of The Rotten, we are immediately in the swing of things with Chris Barnes remaining true to his gore inspirations and once again as a producer, having done a pretty better job than on 13, released in 2005. Unfortunately, the musical side hasn't evolved very much but SIX FEET UNDER's typical groove will irresistibly make you stomp, as usually, all along this Commandment.Laurent

THE LADDER       Sacred
Escape Music (release: April 23rd, 2007)

Excellent English A.O.R. album with three musicians coming from mythical group FM, including Steve Overland on vocals. This record is intended for FOREIGNER fans.Jean-Luc

DIMMU BORGIR       In Sorte Diaboli
Nuclear Blast (release: April 27th, 2007)

Purists, understand the "true Black Metal" fans, will still make a great fuss but DIMMU BORGIR has been playing in Premier League for a long time now. And considering the elaborated and varied songs on this new record, you couldn't think about restricting the band to the Black Metal scene only.
Purists, understand the "true Black Metal" fans, will make a much greater fuss !...Laurent

MAZE OF TORMENT       Hidden Cruelty
Black Lodge (release: April 27th, 2007)

Consciously or not, any musician is inevitably influenced by what he will listen from "colleagues". But there, MAZE OF TORMENT seems to dedicate a particular cult to masters SLAYER. Obviously, there is worse as a reference but then, either Hidden Cruelty is an unconcealed tribute or a complete plagiarism ! And to convince yourself, listen to the first chords of Dead Run. So, doesn't it remind you anything ?...Laurent

SERENITY       Words Untold & Dreams Unlived
Massacre Records (release: April 30th, 2007)

Germany's SERENITY is a five-piece act that sails the seas of Progressive Metal. Initially created in 2001, the band went through several changes and finally found musical balance about three years later.
So I did say "Germany", didn't I ? Well, even though it starts with some kind of Egyptian tune like you might think you're listening to the soundtrack of "the return of the mummies from hell" or something, Worlds Untold… actually sounds like Nordic Prog' Metal. OK, you get some Power Metal tinges here and there (Engraved Within, Dead Man Walking) and a discrete growl once in a while. OK, the orchestral parts in Circle Of My 2nd Life have some kind of an early ANGRA aftertaste. But…
Georg Neuhauser's voice and singing remind very much of SONATA ARCTICA's Tony Kakko, and the music itself, actually… well, this album is just another brick in the wall of European Prog' Metal. It sounds good, the musicians and vocalist are right in place, but you spend more than 45 minutes waiting for something to happen and there's strictly no surprise.
First album, right: now you guys have to prove that you can also swim on top of the wave, lest you might get drowned in the ocean of "correct" Prog' Metal bands.David