Light This City are back. The Californian band are still ploughing the melodeath-with-girl-screaming format, with Laura Nichol bringing the Gossow in exuberant fashion. You either like this stuff or you don’t, so it’s no surprise there’s no middle ground or room for manoeuvre taste wise on this new record.

Me? I’m just about on the side of the lovers, if only because the guitar playing is so damn good throughout. Ryan Hansen and Steve Hoffman make a great axe team, complementing each other superbly over a series of thundering riff assaults – riffs you’ll be able to whistle along to, mind – and peeling off memorable solo after memorable solo as if their lives depended on it.

The best two songs come at the start – Reality in Disarray starts with the sort of restrained acoustic guitar intro that was de rigeur in the world of thrash in the late eighties and then kicks off big time, with following track A Grotesque Reflection being one of the best tracks you’ll hear all year, basically backing this great start up to the hilt.

The rest isn’t as good, but that doesn’t make it bad. Extinguished benefits from a slightly more restrained vocal, as does The Wake of My Will, which once again features some superbly melodic guitar work – but the band wisely never allow anything to grow stagnant, with the ten tracks on offer weighing in at just over thirty two minutes. Closing track Wildheart is another goodie, with a short but brilliant solo and some dramatic structuring that’ll have power metal fans sniffing the air with interest.

There are more bands populating this area of metal than there were when last we heard from Light This City, and they’ll need to work hard to make an impression. However there is enough evidence on show on Terminal Bloom to suggest they have what it takes to survive and flourish. Let’s hope so!

Terminal Bloom is out now.