Lisbon’s Adamantine have landed with their second full length album after a five year gap from debut effort “Chaos Genesis”. Blending thrash and death metal while infusing songs with a heavy melodic element, “Heroes & Villains” finds the band capitalising on their style. Guitarist and vocalist Andre Bettencourt is behind the album’s lyrical content, which is deeply based on personal experiences.

The very symphonic introductory instrumental of “Lux In Tenebris” is like a big, dramatic score to one of the classic sandal flicks of yesteryear before the title track launches a blast beat propelled attack. Gravelly vocals push momentum forward and there’s plenty of technical guitar playfulness on display. Shades of Metallica come through mixed with a more contemporary feel that is not too dissimilar to bands like Sylosis where raw riffage combines with progressive noodlings. Several songs in though, the impression is that there won’t be too many deviances from this path and there is a formulaic tendency that’s starting to build.

Some Anthrax style chug emerges on “Remember Who You Are” with plenty of melody in the chorus which is also proving to be a trademark of many of these songs. The vocals are emotive but there’s a little bit of a sterile quality building with sometimes one dimensional drumming and the very clean, clinical lead guitar work. “Elegies Of War” is a far thrashier and aggressive piece proving to be one of the more potent tracks thus far partially due to less emphasis on the blast-beats which are used more sparingly. “Hydra” reflects a more mid-paced Soundgarden tone with cleaner vocals in parts and is one of the few directional changes. Introspective and sullen, it lyrically comes across as quite personal. The change of pace nicely sets up the two closing tracks which are some of the stronger songs. “Blood On My Hands” is a galloping, riff fest with plenty of tempo and neat little twists within the riffs that give it a different dynamic and more warmth and character. Closing track “Everything Ends” returns to the Sylosis sounding thrash blast that’s heavy on intricacy and is a strong way to finish off.

“Heroes & Villains” is a solid statement from a band that obviously has strong technical prowess and can draw on a well of personal experiences for inspiration. Should they keep pushing their own personal boundaries a greater depth will no doubt build to their sound and identity. Adamantine are worth keeping and ear out for.

(6/10 Johnny Zed)