By Bob Nalbandian

New Era Pt 2: War Of The Gods
Magna Carta

Magna Carta records are definitely giving InsideOut/SPV a run for their money these days when it comes to progressive power-metal. Throughout 2007 the label has released some astounding prog-metal masterpieces, one of which is the latest CD from Italian band Derdian. The band started out in '98 as a thrash-metal cover band and soon after branched out by writing original melodic power-metal songs and released their debut album Revenge in 2001. On New Era Pt 2: War Of The Gods, the band's fourth effort, Derdian display a speedy brand of neo-classical melodic power-metal that leans more toward symphonic-metal neighbors Rhapsody rather than the likes of Dragonforce (who they've been commonly compared to). Great musicianship throughout highlighted by the crafty dueling guitar work of Henry Pistolese and Dario Radaelli and classical-influenced keyboard textures from Marco Garau. For fans of European-style neo-classical metal bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Blind Guardian, Derdian will surely fill your needs.

The Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A
Nuclear Blast

It's really cool to see so many of the classic Bay Area thrash metal bands of the early '80s still going strong today. Just over the last couple years we've seen Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, and even Laaz Rocket either on tour and/or releasing a stellar new record. But without question the best new release from any new thrash band, as far as I'm concerned, is the latest CD from Exodus. Not only is Exodus one of the undisputed forefathers of thrash, they've proven upon succession that they are one of the very few bands that have truly stuck to their guns when it comes to delivering uncompromising, in-your-face thrash metal. The Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A takes off where Fabulous Disaster and Bonded By Blood left off. The intro "Call To Arms" leads into the riffrageous "Riot Act" which sets the pace for the bloodgeon-madness to come. New vocalist Rob Dukes fits right in and sounds much more confident and seasoned than he did on the previous Exodus album, Shovel Headed Kill Machine. Original drummer Tom Hunting has also returned to the lineup and sounds as amazing as ever. His neck-breaking drum beats compliments founding guitarist Gary Holt's extraordinary riffing perfectly. After listening to the first couple tracks it obvious how crucial Tom is in retaining the true Exodus sound. And Gary's riffs are truly remarkable. It's sincerely mind-boggling how this man can continue to write such inspiringly fresh yet strikingly vicious guitar riffs after 25 years!

My favorite tracks include; "Children Of A Worthless God," the title track and "Bedlam 1-2-3" (and I also thoroughly enjoyed the hidden track, a hilarious hillbilly jamboree-version of "Bonded By Blood" for those who think I don't listen to the entire CD before reviewing). Andy Sneap did a phenomenal job production-wise. The guitar tone is ferocious as hell and the riffs absolutely bone-crushing. The sound is crisp but not overly polished still retaining a thick, raw sound. And this album is just as brazenly thought-provoking lyrically as it is musically. Exodus is thrash-metal! This CD is a must for any true metal-head.

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 15 Page 7