SINGLE DERBY: Eluveitie, Famous Last Words, Abandoned Will, Mouth Of The South

   Genre: Folk/Death Metal
   Label: Nuclear Blast

Eluveitie's previous album "Helvetios" was quite an enjoyable piece; Even though it could have been cut a bit shorter, its use of folk metal to touch upon both old-school and modern audiences was definitely clear. Now, the band has their sixth full-length "Origins" to be released later this summer, and the single "King" is the first one to go. It's surprisingly a bit bolder-sounding than before, and a good part of that likely comes from the production; It's thicker and a bit more atmospheric. This is a change for the better, as it makes the music have more power. Along with that, the vocals are as fierce as ever, the guitars boast potent riffs, the drums are nicely energized, and of course, the cultural instruments add more atmosphere and depth to the mix. Judging from this single, "Origin" may end up showing us that Eluveitie is still going strong.  [8]

2. FAMOUS LAST WORDS - Council of the Dead
   Genre: Post-Hardcore/Screamo
   Label: inVogue

Screamo band Famous Last Words almost scored a spot on my 2013 list of favorite records with their previous full-length "Two-Face Charade." Its technical layering, energy, and power made it a true stand-out in the wake of other post-hardcore and screamo releases. The same can be said for the group's recent single "Council of the Dead." Pretty much right from the get-go, the song blasts you with rapid-fire pacing and breathtaking melodies delivered by both the vigorous singing and guitar work. This is also helped by some orchestral effects being used in a way that underlines the theatrical sound that this single is clearly trying to aim for. With great speed, musicianship, and hooks that won't get out of your head that easily, this single does not disappoint. Here's hoping that this is a sign that a new album coming up sometime soon. [9]

   Genre: Melodic Metal/Metalcore
   Label: Unsigned

If you've kept up with my posts recently, you may know that I posted a review for the single "Helping Hand" by melodic hardcore project Abandoned Will, and thought it held up rather well. However, its newest single "Promise" is not only an improvement over its predecessor, but it is a great achievement in the metalcore craft. The vocals, though a slight monotonous, have a lot of energy put into them, the guitars lace both the melodic and heavy riffs with even more potency, and the drums sound very solid while having a bit of complexity to them. The mixing has also grown much more hearty and brings the aggression of the music out to some of its fullest, and it has a lot of atmosphere on top of that. It's very well-paced and written, and at the rate this band is going, it'll be quite exciting to see what it can dish out next. [8.5]

4. MOUTH OF THE SOUTH - Good Intentions
   Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore
   Label: Facedown

I haven't heard that much from Texan metalcore outfit Mouth Of The South's debut album "Transparency" except for the song "Uprooted," which was very energized and fun to listen to. Now comes along their new single "Good Intentions," taken from their upcoming sophomore full-length entitled "Struggle Well," and it has just as much vigor. The guitars dish out some chunky hardcore riffs and melodies, and the drums have just as much potency. The vocals have got a ton of aggression, both screamed and clean. The production, however, is the one major problem with this single; it sounds kind of muddy, and thus dulls the edge of this song rather than sharpen it. Nonetheless, the track has good dynamic on top of its bold musicianship, so I'm still looking forward to this band's future offering.  [7]