I'm using a 1-10 rating scale now at the top of each review to summarize things.
Aeon "Aeons Black" (Metal Blade)4/10
So this is Aeon, huh? A wanna be Cannibal Corpse band? Ok whatever Metal Blade...way to go Sweden!
Aranya (Self Released Promo)8/10
Northwest Pagan/Folk music. Since this is a comp, it's hard to tell if they lean more towards Metal or just folk. But it's roughly half/half here. If you are tired of typical silly Euro folk Metal, this is a very refreshing underground sound (and it's...American!) Reminds me of the way early Black Folk sounded when it was new and exciting. Highly recomended if you are a hippy Metalhead like myself. The singer is in Witch Mountain, who are on Profound Lore - so that may be easier to get and is along similar lines - perhaps a bit more doom laden.
Corrosion of Conformity "Eye for an Eye" (Candlelight)9/10
This is an album I have tried to get into over the years, but could never get past the shitty production. Now either I have just grown a new appreciation for punk or this re-master sound quite a bit better! I'm gonna assume this thing was cleaned up big time - because I can hear everything better and it's just really killer and raw sounding. I'm not sure why or how, but to me C.O.C. is one of the heaviest bands ever. And even in this early punk form, the chemistry and power is obvious. This is a complete filthy raw classic. Pretty hilarious cover of "green manalishi." 6 song ep tacked on the end is a really killer addition which shows the evolution of the band into a stronger/heavier groove. But still damned vicious.
general Lee "Raiders of the Evil Eye" (Play the Assassin)6/10
This is one of those apocalyptic post(?) hardcore noisy loud as fuck bands where the singers screams the whole time like the guy in Neurosis or Brutal Truth. I don't generally like this stuff because it is usually extremely one dimensional and self important. But, being this band is French, I think they bring a slighly more original and progressive approach - which is rare within this style as far as I have heard. Even though they seem to be trying to sound "American" there is for sure a bit of something which is their own and some nice dynamics to be found. Still, it swims in its' own artistic cliches a bit more than I like.
god Seed "I Begin" (Indie Recordings)6/10
I guess this is King and gaahl from gorgoroth. Pretty brutal modern Black Metal, which ends up sounding kind of "Deathened" to me. It's got a shade of the old Black Metal energy, but not enough to make it very above average to me. I think people just like this band because of WHO is in it, not so much for the music. Because let's face it, it is nothing specacular.
Hellbastard "Sond of Bitches EP" (Patac Records)8/10
UK crusty veterans. Yes indeed this is the origin of crust and not the trendy EXTREMELY mediocre and smug shite that pops up all over the damned place. I'm not the biggest "crusty fan" in the first place. In fact, I always said that Amoebix was just a bit "too punk" for me. But this fills the gap of Metal and rhythm guitars/drums where Amoebix type stuff fails. I imagine this band is great live, and I intend on checking em out next time they slither through town. Lots of attitude, grit, and a lack of pretense. Some vicious fucking guitars too. Even a few shreddy moments!
Kamikabe "Aberration of Man" (Unique Leader)5/10
Oh great, more technical death metal. Just what the world needs. So what scale of technical complexity would I place this? I suppose that is the question, because really that is the goal with these bands right? Ok sure, it's not bad. It's got some good riffs, drumming is not TOTALLY computerized sounding. But when the best compliment is "well at least it's not as bad as..." we're not really looking at a high rating. If you just can't get enough of the shit, knock yourself out.
Nidingr "greatest of Deceivers" (Indie Recordings)6/10
Well it's official folks - even Norway can churn out average blackened death now. Musically this has some interesting moments. Vocal wise - it is a nice change from what would be expected (a more straight forward Black or Death metal voice) Sounds more like Cronos or some punk rocker. Somewhat interesing and wierd at times. Kinda reminds me of Mayhem "grand declaration of war" which I never liked much, but never "hated" particularly.
Rocka Rollas "Conquer EP" (Stormspell)7/10
Pretty solid power metal. Nice thrashy riffs, vocals remind me of Running Wild - not so much Helloween. Songs have a nice variety and there is just enough grit to this that keeps it from sounding to "squeaky clean" which is a problem with much "power metal" these days. Very jolly at times, but not totally over the top. I would say if you like your power metal EVER so slightly understated, check this out. Or if you just like good power Metal and have not heard this - it is worth the time.