Trouble – The Distortion Field

By Avinash Mittur

The Distortion Field has been a long time coming for Trouble fans. The band will forever be one of the earliest pioneers of doom metal, and their best albums remain among the most unique and original in their genre. That being said, it’s been rather depressing keeping up with Trouble’s activities over the past fifteen years. After releasing the phenomenal Plastic Green Head in 1995, the band slowly faded into obscurity. An attempted reunion with their celebrated original lineup bore little fruit; the resulting album, Simple Mind Condition, proved to be a noble failure and singer Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff ‘Oly’ Olson left the band not too long after its release. Fast forward to 2013 and original guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell have found themselves armed with one hell of a new weapon. Former Exhorder and Floodgate singer Kyle Thomas mans the mic for The Distortion Field, and the results are startlingly solid. This is the album that Trouble fans have deserved for years and years, and a more than worthy addition to one of doom metal’s best catalogs.  Continue reading

White Wizzard – The Devils Cut

By Avinash Mittur

Few people would readily call Ozzy Osbourne a good singer. If there’s one thing that the Ozzman knows how to do well though, it’s find great guitarists out of nowhere. Now let’s turn to a far more talented (and far less batshit crazy) individual, White Wizzard’s Jon Leon. White Wizzard have had over fifteen members pass through their ranks; all of them exceptionally rule at their instruments. Seriously, Leon has managed to run into and scoop up absolutely amazing musicians again and again- ordinary bandleaders don’t strike musical gold fifteen times in a row. The latest three additions complete what might be White Wizzard’s most talented group of guys yet. If that isn’t some serious heavy metal black magic, I don’t know what is. The fruit of this new lineup’s labors, The Devils Cut, is White Wizzard’s most mature and cohesive record yet. Not only an astonishing display of this lineup’s talents, The Devils Cut is a plain badass slab of classic heavy metal from the very band that brought the style back to prominence. Continue reading

Queensrÿche – Self-Titled (2013)

By Avinash Mittur

The last few months have been a trying time for Queensrÿche fans. There are of course, two bands currently operating under the name: one led by world renowned singer Geoff Tate, and another armed with the new vocal powerhouse that is Todd La Torre. Last month, Tate released Frequency Unknown with his lineup of Queensrÿche; the version of Queensrÿche with La Torre on the mic, and original members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield in tow, are set to release an album of their own on June 25th. This self-titled album is a tough record to offer a fair critique on. It’s an album that attempts to appeal to several disparate audiences, and finds a mixed level of success as a result.  Continue reading

Judas Priest – Epitaph

By Avinash Mittur

Nearly two years ago, Judas Priest embarked on their farewell Epitaph tour. As we all know now though, things changed and the band has no intention of retiring any time soon. If the Epitaph tour was to have been their last, at least Priest would have gone out in a blaze of glory. The shows were the longest in the band’s history, and the performances only improved as the tour went on. For the two of us from Metal Assault who got to see the show, it was among the greatest we’ve ever seen. Judas Priest’s new DVD/Blu-Ray release, the aptly titled Epitaph, is a document of the band’s final show of the Epitaph tour at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, England. Epitaph is a wonderful keepsake for fans lucky enough to attend the tour, and an all-around great celebration of Judas Priest’s history.  Continue reading

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation

By Avinash Mittur

When the thrash revival (or “re-thrash” as I’ve seen it called as of late) was at its peak, the new bands seemed eager to jack the riffs, fashion and social priorities (i.e. ‘fuck the posers!’) of the Bay Area legends like Exodus and Testament, and march through the brutal musical territory carved out by the likes of Kreator and Sodom. The crossover thrash movement was something that not even new bands dared to return to though. Acts like D.R.I., Dr. Know, and Stormtroopers of Death seemed forever contained in their own time bubble, only having their legacy kept alive through live shows and having their logos slapped on patch jackets. Dallas, TX’s Power Trip are a truly special bunch of dudes then. Their debut record on Southern Lord Recordings, Manifest Decimation, is a confident and rabid burst of vintage crossover released in a time when no one seems to want to mess with that sound. It’s a promising entry into the metal world for this young band, and it’ll satisfy anyone who’s gotten bored with the sounds that the millions of thrash kiddies have played to death.

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Orchid – The Mouths of Madness

By Avinash Mittur

The Bay Area seems to just about have it all when it comes to quality modern heavy metal. Strangely enough though, with the exception of San Jose’s Sleep, classic stoner rock and doom metal seems to have evaded the local scenes. Luckily for us that can’t get enough of the Almighty Riff though, Orchid from San Francisco have been able to nicely fill that gap in recent years. With barely any promotion and very rare live performances, Orchid have been one of the Bay Area’s best kept secrets until now. That’s truly a shame, because I’ll be damned if Orchid aren’t one of the most likable and downright cool acts coming out of the weird little town of San Francisco right now. In the two years since their first full length, Capricorn, Orchid have been rapidly gaining a following, thanks to a pair of killer EPs released in the last year and a small number of near-legendary shows at home. The band’s new record, The Mouths of Madness, is better than any fan could have hoped for though. It’s a loving tribute to the classic heavy music of old and it’s one of the best rock and roll albums anyone will hear all summer. Continue reading