James LaBrie-Impermanent Resonance  ©2013 Inside Out Music
One thing I've learned about James LaBrie through the years is that this guy likes it heavy. If you have been listening to his solo stuff you will know what I mean. He also adds that finesse to his sound which fans might expect coming from the vocalist of a band like Dream Theater. The big difference is the second singer offering the screams. It's all balanced well with there being a lot to like on this album. The more melodic stuff is really good as usual. It's worth mentioning that the guitar work is exceptional again. If you are familiar with LaBrie's solo stuff, this one fits in nicely. Excellent!
Defy Tolerance-Stop the Bleeding  ©2012 Able Records
At first listen to this album, there was a familiarity to it. Definitely in a good way too. Upon listening to it multiple times I started feeling that in was it reminded me of another band I like, Flaw. Defy Tolerance is a modern heavy rock outfit that has a decent disciplined sound. A bit of flash in areas and a very consistent feel overall. I like the melodies throughout and feel the band have with this album, what they need to get some attention. Do check this album out and keep an eye on these guys as they could have an impact on the heavy music scene if they stick with it and keep doing the hard work.
Five Finger Death Punch-The Wrong Side of Heaven...  ©2013 Prospect Park
I'm a more recent fan of Five Finger Death Punch. The last 2 albums have been day one purchases for me. You must be doing something right when you have the Metal God Rob Halford guest on your album, which is exactly what he did with the track 'Lift Me Up'. The album is very typical of what the band does in terms of sound and intensity. A lot of this will translate very well to the live show. There is a special edition of the album available that has a second disc containing live material. If you are into more modern metal with a ton of attitude, this one is probably for you. 
Newsted-Heavy Metal Music  ©2013 Chophouse Records
It is great to see Jason Newsted return to the scene with his latest slab of metal music. I love the direction he has taken with this release. Good heavy stuff that had me reminiscing back to the old days of metal. Hints of Motorhead in places as well. 
​I think the element that most metal fans will probably like the most is that old school metal sound. Big riffing and a thunderous low end. Newsted handles vocals on the release and while not great at it, fits the bands sound in a superb way. It all just kind of gels and makes sense. At first listen I wasn't sure, but I am definitely a believer. Good and gritty stuff!Rating:
Pretty Maids-Motherland  ©2013 Frontiers Records
This album has been out for a short bit, but I didn't want to miss it from a review standpoint as I absolutely love this band. Been a big fan since the mid 80's and have faithfully followed ever since. 'Motherland' continues the bands trademark sound of heavy slams into melodic. You will be hard pressed to find another band that can do it this well and for this long in their career. It's a little political in places and has a very smooth delivery. Amongst the rockers is the melodic bliss of tracks like 'Bullet For You' and 'Sad to See You Suffer'. You definitely will come out of this album very satisfied!