Planes Mistaken For Stars Mercy (Abacus)
Mercy showcases a band that has matured into their definite sound, but it’s a sound that is undeniably a conglomerate of hundred influences and emotions slithering into one amorphous shape. PMFS are like a long shot of a thousand random lost airwaves churning into coherence, equal parts The Melvins, Jesus Lizard and maybe even a tad of Pink Floyd. The rock and roll aspect is the most predominant, with bursts that fly across the board yet coherently flow. Honestly, there isn’t a bad track on this record and I curse myself for not giving them a whirl sooner.
Blind Guardian A Twist In The Myth (Nuclear Blast )
Everything Blind Guardian has become known for explodes in a highly polished, soaring assault. Those huge Stratovarius guitar tones, fancy stringsmanship and operatic base excel magnificently. If only they could get away with touring alongside a full symphony to avoid the occasionally cheesy keyboard sound. Blind Guardian are the power metal equivalent of MC Hammer freaking out on coke and dancing around in those baggy parachute pants. That's right, motherfucker, you can't touch this. No you can't.
Cellador Enter Deception (Metal Blade)
The second I popped this in I was pretty sure they hailed from Sweden, perhaps Germany. Twenty-year-old young'uns from Omaha, Neb., don't play like this. And if they actually try to, they certainly are never this advanced. Yet this is exactly the jaw-dropper of this case. These guitar leads and solos are out of hand, the duel guitar work is just a few notches below Dragonforce. And the vocals hit these insane pitches that carry on like ultimate sonic banshee shrieks. Perhaps Cellador is a glimpse of the future. Not until every 13-year-old in America raises the claw like this will I feel satisfied.