Abstracter - Tomb Of Feathers (PR2012) - No, I'm not feeling generous today and I'm not hyped on happy pills. But I'm about to give another album a perfect 10. Why? Because this bitch fucking rules. Abstracter are a crust band, and though I made fun of the genre a few weeks back, I definitely fucking love this stuff. At least this band. First off, I know nothing about these guys. I can barely even see them in the band photo. But there are four dudes here and those four dudes seriously kick ass.
This disc is only three tracks. But it's not an EP. It's a full 40 minutes, and that is filled with some of the best atmospheres I've heard this side of fucking Neurosis. Some of you might not really know it, but when I got into Neurosis, I dived into Isis, Minsk, Midian, Yob and Cult Of Luna. I definitely got my fill of post and crust, and that's what I'm hearing here.
The disc starts out with rain, and begins with some light vocals that erupt into dread-laden death metal growls. Back up that with the tormented guitars and the sheer malice of the package, and you've got a disc that you can play if you've had a bad day at the office. This literally sounds to me like some guys that are literally 100% sick of the bullshit in society, and even though I can't make out any of the lyrics here, I can feel the goddamned emotion on this one and that's what counts. "Walls That Breathe 11:16" opens the disc on a devastating note, and it sounds much better than some of the shit that claims to be much more depressing.
"To Vomit Crows 12:52" sounds the same way. Full of anger, rage and sound. This is the very emotion of anger put in musical form. I'm telling you, if you're pissed at all about anything, this is that disc that you smash plates to, or glasses. This disc is extremely therapeutic, I feel that every one of the screams on this thing is coming right from the very fucking soul of the vocalist. I'm telling you, this is a record that can be felt. But don't think that there isn't melody to back up this atmosphere, because it's there. The drummer also makes himself known as the vocals cease for a melodic lead, but not for long as they come back and so fucking fierce that you can taste the anger.
"Ash 16:45" is where we end, and as you can tell - this one's a whopper. It starts off rather melancholy, with some definite fuzz and grit (but that's how most of this disc is) but you'll still hear a melodic lead that builds the atmosphere There's also some static in the track, I'm not sure if that's the instruments themselves or something the band added in, but it works well for the atmosphere. This track is much slower, but even more morose. If you didn't know any better, you might thing these guys were playing doom/death from this track alone. The track does go through some changes, some drum play and ultimately a stage of emotion where the vocalist just loses his shit. I have no fucking clue what this guy's been through in his life, but you can hear the pain in those vocals. That's pure emotion, anyway you cut it. That's what sets this music apart from the processed crap on the radio, the TV, and oh yes... the internet. Because a Korean pop-star is supposed to make us forget that our entire world is slowly but surely, going down the shitter.
That's also where I'll end this review; stating mainly that this is a very dark kind of crust. As I said, I'd liken it to doom/death and be right in assuming so. So if you're looking for something that's not so morose, you won't find it here. But for those who are looking for a complete and utter shitstorm of rage, you'll find it here. It's pure, unadulterated anger and sadness - the wailings of a man, perhaps even a society; who has had enough.
(3 Tracks, 40:00)
Bane - The Acausal Fire (PR2012) - Bane (and not the guy that broke Batman's back) are a black/death band from the Czech Republic. They're a three-piece consisting of Brainslav who does the leads, rhythm & acoustic guitars as well as the vocals. The other guy (or mysterious entity, but I'm thinking that it's a dude) is called Occvltm Mallevs and he's the drummer. But it would be seriously badass if they really did have an non-human entity as their skinsman. Nokkturno is the bass player. The disc was mastered by "Butcher" (Avenger / Eyecult) who also guests along with Nocturnal (Shadowdream / Ancient Sorrow), & Patrik Carlsson (Anachronaeon / Eyecult).
But enough about all that. How does these guys sound? Well, definitely fucking capable. This is blasphemous black/death and you're getting what you pay for. But don't be surprised when you hear some melodies on this disc. They're great melodies though, and they help to drive the album. The vocals go from scowls to growls and everything in between. You can tell that Brainslav worshipped at the altar of Dissection in his riffs, and there's even a killer cover of Dissection's "Nights Blood 7:12" that does absolutely, positively, not suck.
The black does overpower the death in this mix, but it seeks to be more sinister, Satanic, and overly occultic material. It trounces with a vengeance, but doing so in the way that many who have heard Dissection are already well aware of. So it's not "quite" new, but it's certainly worth checking out. "The Truth Unleashed 4;38", "As Chaos Rises 4:27", "World Of Desolation 3:24" and bleak opener "The End Of Humanity 4:05" are all good songs, but one begins to feel as though the band is strictly adhering to one dimension, consisting of lots of blasts, standard-fare black metal guitar (but in the vein of early Dissection) and a dual vocal approach of both black and death most of the time.
For some odd reason, this promo sheet tells me that this band sounds like early Katatonia and Opeth. Hmm... I've heard both those bands in their earliest, and while I admit at slight hints of prog, melody and bleakness (it even has some short solos) I don't remember Opeth or Katatonia blasting up a storm. I don't even remember Dissection being that blast hungry. But I will say that the melodies do help to sweeten the deal just a little bit.
The intro piece and outro piece are okay, but honestly; who is actually enjoying intros/outros these days? It's just some orchestral march stuff that we've heard umpteen million times. They could've capped that stuff and we'd have been fine.
If by chance this Dissection laden throwback( with slightly more death metal influence on the vocals) appeals to you, then check it out. I'm personally more for Thulcandra, but these guys killed with their Nights Blood cover. I definitely recommend you at least check it out, but the rest of the album is well worth hearing too. While it's not the best thing you've ever heard, it's still decent enough and might fill the Dissection hole for a while.
But I would've loved more variety.
Highlights: The End Of Humanity, As Chaos Rises, The Truth Unleashed, Existence In Denial, Night's Blood (10 Tracks, 41:00)
Daemonicus - Deadwork (PR2012) - It's no secret that I'm a fan of Swedish melodeath, and this is just that. The band's composed of five guys whose names I can't pronounce and there are two guitarists in the band. Works for me. But while listening to this album, I didn't find it quite as catchy or as good as some other discs I've heard recently, (Evocation, Revolting, and Deserted Fear for example) and rather bland, to be perfectly honest.
For the most part, it all sounds a little muddy. Granted, I can hear the drums, the melodies, the vocals all fine - but there's just something off about these guys. I'm not really banging my head as hard as should, and I'm not really feeling this album at all. "The Grandeur Of Total Termination 3:37" should be a floor stomper, but it just feels, off - a little amateurish. But that goes for most of the disc. The riffs sound really muddy, not as powerful as they should or could; and I'm hearing too many of them that don't really seem to do anything at all for me.
The band might have been influenced by some deathcore, hence some breakdown portions in "We Feast On Your Flesh 4:10." I don't know about you, but I don't like breakdowns in my death metal. There's enough of it already here in the states. The vocals also sound like a little more like an imp, not a full-fledged demon. There's not even a handful of solos on this disc. I honestly think the American influences killed this for me. About the only thing I even really noticed on this disc was the very end of "As Extinction Came 4:47" as it's got an absolutely killer ending melody. If you guys were capable of this shit, then why did you only do it on one fucking track? For shame!
I personally didn't really care for this one folks, and it pains me to say so. As much as I love the genre, this one just didn't do it for me. But if you like your melodeath with more core influence, I would definitely recommend this disc to you.
As for me, I'd rather have it the old fashioned way.. with eerie melodies. One could make a pun out of the name "Deadwork" as it sounds, very um... well, dead. But this a sophomore slump, and bands do have them. Perhaps a third release will see more refined melody, less core, and more gore.
(10 Tracks, 43:00)
Erupted - In The Grip Of Chaos (PR2012) - Well, here we go from worse to worser. Yeah, I know there's no such word as "worser", and I should say "more worse" but fuck it, because this is definitely worser. Let me tell you folks, that it was a test of faith to make it through this entire album. But it doesn't surprise me, because these guys are young. Very young. I mean, like still in school young. Now I'm going to be the first person to say that a man so young shouldn't sound quite so gravely, but he does. To be brutally honest with you, I'm still trying to put the voice with the picture and I'm not hearing it. Wonder what's possessed that guy? Seriously, this guy sounds like a seven foot tall demon.
I guess that's good, and this does sound much better on my laptop than it did on my earbuds, so I guess I can give it a bit of a higher score than I was going to. Perhaps the drums do hit much harder than I thought they did - but I still can't hear those fucking solos. It's like everything else is so much louder that it blocks out whatever bit of melody that these two guitarists try to get in.
The drums certainly pound, and if you can't hear them; I've got some horrible news for you, and that is simply that you're fucking deaf. These drums pound so loud that I could hear nothing more than them when I was listening to this in my earbuds. Those and of course, Daniel Ocic Sundberg who's been possessed with a seven foot tall demon named Harold.
I definitely do want to give these guys credit, they're doing way more than I did at their ages. I was trying to get a band together around that time, and they've already got one and are on Abyss Records to boot. Perhaps this was the work of an occultic practice. These guys got together and decided to summon demons who possessed them and that's how they sound as demonic as they are, because they're all literally demons. But that's something that Lovecraft might have written down in his tablet, long before there was even such a thing as death metal.
It's not all so great though. "The Dark Mistress 4:44" still sucks and sounds like a demo. It was probably better on paper and no matter how fucking inhuman that Daniel sounds, little can make up for the time that he totally misses the mark on these vocals. You can be a great sounding vocalist, but if it sounds like your stumbling, you'd better take a fucking break. Listen to that line on the album before it goes to a light melody. It's in the track "Born of Hate 3:30." This sounds like a guy who's struggling with his chords. But that's probably because he's still a young dude.
Two demos come with this disc, "Hell Recreated 4:11" and "Faces Of Death 3:58" which sound good musically, but the vocalist still stumbles a little bit. I think these guys are still green and need some time to mature, and this disc proves it. These demos sound much better than the stuff on the actual recording and that's probably why they did so well.
Some people might talk these guys up as if they're the fucking next Hypocrisy, Grave, Unleashed, Kataklysm even... but I'm not hearing it. Not yet. I'm hearing glimpses, signs of promise - but not actual promise. But hopefully these dudes will keep at it and get better so that I can be talking about them in my 60's. If I'm still alive and can still fucking hear by then. That's only another 33 years away.
At any rate, it's pretty amazing to see guys so young sound like this. The high school prom in Vaxjo, Sweden is going to be fucking amazing this year. Check it out if you're interested in the next generation's take on death metal. I'm just pleased to sound that it still sounds the same, thus far. No dubstep yet...
Highlights: Salvation From Below, Blazing Fall Of Heaven, Hell Recreated, Faces Of Death (10 Tracks, 40:00)
The Fat Dukes Of Fuck - Honey From The Lips Of An Angel (PR2012) - I don't know much about the Fat Dukes Of Fuck, other than the fact that they're four crazy dudes from my country, America. So fuck yeah, to that. (Just kidding, as this country's obviously fucked.) Other than that, these guys have an odd way of mixing current era Dillinger Escape Plan with Clutch. That's really the best way that I can describe it.
Obviously, comedy plays a big role in their music, but they seem to have some talent that the cover image (which looks like a grown-up Honey Boo Boo in an angel costume, rubbing lotion all over herself) won't showcase. The band isn't afraid to throw prog rock and sludge riffs together, and I've heard some definite Clutch influence in both the music and vocals, not to mention the Dillinger-esque screams and tempo changes. I would be a fool to tell you that despite some of the hilarity in "Sorry About Your Dick 4:16" there's actually a decent solo and some prog influence that shows the band have more talent than what they're letting on.
If you're still not convinced, check out the riffs at the start of the next track, "Oral Agenda 4:28." That's good prog, I won't hesitate to say so. The vocals come in and mix just right, and I'm again reminded of Neil Fallon, but in the earlier days of Clutch. Personally, I think anyone who loved the first couple of discs from Clutch might really fucking love this stuff. The band might be comedic, but they can play, and the recording shows it.
To tell you the truth, these guys are competition for Clutch, they've got more going for them in terms of structure, but still carry the same sort of bluesy vibe. There's even a little bit of Primus influence, particularly in "I Killed A Small Child 3:38." I also need to point out the closer, "Honey From The Lips Of An Angel 7:28." This song uses an organ, and that organ oddly enough works well with the drudging bass riffs and beer-soaked wails that fill most of this disc.
While not everyone's bag, I found myself oddly getting down with the funk vibes made by The Fat Dukes Of Fuck. With material like this, they could make a household name for themselves, just like Clutch did with their blues metal fusion, way back when. Of course, I'm not really sure what to classify this as. Is it progressive sludge with hints of comedy? Or is it progressive stoner metal with hints of comedy? It really seems to hit on both levels of grime.
Sit back, smoke a bowl and listen to this disc. You'll probably love it more if you're high.
Highlights: All. Not one track here that I couldn't get into. Oddly enough... Perhaps it's the food, the water or the air.
(9 Tracks, 41:00)
Tsar Bomb - Neowarfare (PR2012) - Switching gears and going into the realms of death and destruction, comes forth the full length LP from Spanish black/death metallers, Tsar Bomb. This three piece has been through a few lineup changes, but now Ocram (Vox and drum programming), Ivan (Guitars and drum programming, and Lord Cabal (Bass and Backup Vox) are finally ready to devastate, and that they do on this release.
This disc originally took shape as the "Neowarfare EP" but the band apparently said, "fuck it, let's add more songs and make it a full album and then re-release it." Which certainly seems to have worked for them. According to the imagery of the promo sheet, these guys are obviously Satanic and enjoy talking about wanton "destruction through the most massive weapons as Lucifer looks on with sadistic glee."
Yet none of this may mean a thing to you, and I personally couldn't give one shit or the other whether it's about the devil or some other deity thoughtform. Regardless, this disk starts with the band's namesake, "Tsar Bomb 3:18" and that leads into blasts, blasts, blasts, and more blasts. The black metal melodies are very run of the mill too, but it manages to hold it's weight by staying strong and blistering throughout each and every track. This is the sort of disc that is heavy for heavy's sake. The band wanted the sound of destruction, chaos, carnage and terror and here is where they bring it to the forefront.
However, most of the songs end up sounding the same. This might not be a total loss for some of you, as it is a very aggressive, very pungent sort of album; probably just the thing you need to get all your anger and frustrations out, but I do believe that I've heard this all before and it was done better. The drums sound good for being programmed, (but someone set them to "blast, blast, blast and more fucking blast") and the vocals are both your usual scowl and a growl in portions. Of course, there's also that devilish duet like on the Bane album.
Don't get me wrong. Tsar Bomb is a force to be reckoned with in the black metal realm, and certainly will rip off your face with this album. But if you're looking for more than the sounds of absolute and total annihilation, you may want to look elsewhere. Because this is the metal of war itself, all of it's blood and pain and death and gore and hatred. Tsar Bomb came to eviscerate you in the name of their dark god, and with this album; they've made that purpose known. The band plans to tour internationally, so maybe you'll be able to catch their militant evil soon.
Sadly, I really couldn't find anything that stood out to me, but the disc is still solid and worth hearing. Check them out and remember to spread the destruction!
(9 Tracks, 39:00)
Munruthel - CREEDamage (PR2012) - Munruthel has been around for a long time. But sadly, this is the first time I've ever heard them. Fortunately, it also might be the first time that some of you have heard them, and you may wish to check them out. Vladislav "Munruthel" Redkin, has literally been in hudnreds of bands, and has taken part in the recording of more than 30 albums of different bands from ex-Soviet territories. Some of the bands he's been apart of are Nokturnal Mortum, Astrofaes, Lucifugum, Thunderkraft (who I reviewed earlier), Amber Solstice, Neverland and many more.
But his personal work has always been more pagan oriented (and two of three re-releases are out now, so go check them out - Oriana Tales, Epoch of Aquarius which has a bonus Bathory and DCD cover, proving once again that my Dead Can Dance review does have a place here) and symphonic. He was given the chance to do the music for an addon to the popular PC RPG game Gothic II: Dark Saga, and this was also released as a standalone Munruthel disc called "The Dark Saga - Original Soundtrack."
So this guy's done everything, even video game music. He was also featured on a Bathory tribute album with "The Lake" and re-released the proto Munruthel project, Silentium (as a split with Ar.) But that's enough about this man's legacy.
The disc is certainly the kind of thing you'd expect from a guy that composed the work of an RPG soundtrack. It's fantasy themed pagan metal with guitars, lots of atmospheres and a mix of clean vocals and scowls. It's also quite lengthy. This is a full hour of music, and it was tough for me to wrap my head around it the first time. But now that I'm listening to it again, (always as I review) I'm starting to absorb the music a bit better, because so much was going on at one time.
If you folk music, chanting, and pagan odes to the high gods; then you'll certainly love this album. Masha (of Arkona) is featured on the track "The Mown Dawns Lie On The Ground 5:21" and she sounds completely ethereal. It's also not out of character when the drums blast along to some of the best orchestration this side of Lord Of The Rings. But not only that, there are instrumentals on this disc that just sound amazing. Listen to "The Age Of Heroes 5:08." You can't tell me there's not a game that could've used that theme.
By the way, that cover of Bathory's "The Lake" also graciously appears on this disc and includes Wulfstan from the pagan band Forefather (which I've also previously reviewed.) It's a strikingly upbeat cover of the track that has enough mysticism and power that I'm sure Quorthon was down there in spirit during it's commencement. It really sounds like a mighty Viking hymn, and I'm sure that many of those who raise their swords to Odin will find it most intriguing.
I've also got to mention the Krada saga. It's three parts and essentially 16 minutes of music. It starts with the first portion "The Blood 7:51" which is a triumphant instrumental with definite metal influence. The second part, "The Surya 4:11" is a little more eerie, but quite sinister at times, like a theme to evil forces. Finally, we have "The Fire 4:17" which honestly sounds like something out of a Herculean epic.
Not all of the songs are exactly perfect in terms of vocal, but musically all of it works out rather well. I will stress that atmospheres and orchestration in a big part of this album, so if you don't like your discs to be bombast, then you may just want to skip out on this one. It does however have some heavy riffs, pounding drums and harsh vocals "Carpathians' Shield 6:18" in addition to the some of the more light-hearted moments.
In short, this album is really nothing more than a fantasy epic brought to life. It's perfect for late night excursions into dark dungeons wherein treasure lies. Certainly for the more "adventurous of us" I'm sure that Robert E. Howard's Conan would've listened to this sort of thing had he had headphones. Whatever they would've looked like in Sumeria.
For fans of Summoning, Bal Sagoth, Folkearth, Forefather, Viking era Bathory, and many others in that genre. Definitely not your average pagan metal album, and I'm sure that Odin smiled upon this one.
Highlights: CREEDamage, The Mown Dawns Lie On The Ground, The Age Of Heroes, The Lake, Carpathian's Shield, Krada I, II, & III
The Gardnerz - It All Fades (PR2012) - These Sweden doomsters don't exactly sound like the kind of doom that you might be expecting. As a matter of fact, they might be more in line with their death metal counterparts and that's certainly not a bad thing. But there are still certain moments of doom to round everything out, and you will still get your dull croons.
There are just six tracks on this 35:00 MCD, but the band certainly does offer some interesting material, particularly on their cover of Darkthrone's "Transilvanian Hunger" (Does anyone care that they've spelled the name of that disc wrong for years?) which will make most black metal kvltists foam at the fucking mouth. But why is that exactly?
Well, because the cover is done with only an acoustic guitar and some haunting female vocals. Sure, there are some of you who might like it, and I have to say that it is unique and done quite well; but I'm sure that there will also be a few people screaming, "Blasphemy! What the fuck is this? Who shit in my peanut butter?" There's no drums here, no scowls, no heavy riffs. It's just a few acoustic guitars and a female singer who doesn't appear on any of the other songs on this album.
Yet this song is not even a foreshadow for the rest of the disc, so let's talk about the other five tracks. You're definitely going to hear your doom with your deathy vocals "Melatonin 3:48", "A Horrible Disease 7:50" but don't cry when the band decides to pull out some classic rock melodies because they felt like it. This band also doesn't mind playing a ton of prog riffs, and I sure as hell am not complaining, because they meld well with the doom and shake things up a bit. The disc has some great solos too, it doesn't matter if they're acoustic or classic style guitar jizzery, it all works for me.
However, I could care less for the guy screaming along with the vocalist in "It All Fades 4:48", I personally think it's amateurish. Other than that, I think the band showcased a good side of themselves on this EP, but I wish that they had waited and gave us a full hour of music with the Darkthrone cover tacked on as bonus.
I'd have to recommend this to fans of death/doom worldwide, because the band shows that they've got a handle on their instruments, they don't care if they bend the rules a little; and they show an experimental prowess that we need more of in the metal genre today. That cover was unprecedented to me, and spoke volumes about the band's willingness to shake up black metal elitists around the world by seemingly blaspheming one of the genre's most prized bands.
While not the best death/doom I've heard, it's certainly worth checking out. I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a shot. Certainly unique and definitely bleak.
(6 Tracks, 35:00)
Void Moon - On The Blackest Of Nights (PR2012) - Void Moon are a very interesting doom metal band from Sweden in the style of Candlemass, as I'm noticing as a strong influence. My promo sheet really sheds some light on the description of this band, so I'll let you read it here:
"Void Moon draws inspiration and strength from the old gods of Black Sabbath and Candlemass empowered by torchbearers like Solitude Aeturnus and contemporary bands like Hammers of Misfortune and Grand Magus. The songs are written in the early doom vein and the lyrical themes surround Crowley’s teachings, death, philosophy and heathen rituals."
There, that should help you understand the band at it's foundationary level. But as for the disc itself, be ready to hear a lot of Candlemass worship. I'm not hearing much Grand Magus, Hammers, and of course Sabbath breathes through generally all doom, so of course they're a truly cited influence.
The production isn't anything like you've heard on Candlemass's final disc, so don't expect super high quality. But the production is certainly good enough that you can hear the drudging riffs, howling vocals, and a real drummer behind a real kit. Because that still does happen. Also, let's throw in the fact that this band's lead guitarist isn't a long haired metal dude. Rather she's a woman by the name of Erika Wallberg, and she definitely holds up just as well as any man could.
On The Blackest Of Nights is very much a doom album. There's no magical bells or whistles, but there are some great melodies that entwine with the powerful guitar thumps "Hammer Of Eden 5:05." There's also a sense of mystery in songs like "The Word and The Abyss 6:00." Another song I might mention is the slightly more upbeat and drum-happy "Through The Gateway 4:17." If for some reason, you thought the disc was too slow for you, this slightly thrashier piece (with hints of prog) might be just what you need. The disc also has two instrumental tracks, "Psychic Bleeding 1:16" and "The Burning Count 0:35." One of them is a mysterious acoustic, while the other is just some fiddling around that doesn't work. Give me more metal, and less of this please.
On my earbuds this disc sounded a little thin, but here on my laptop it sounds much fuller. So it really depends on how you're listening to the album, as to whether or not it sounds thin. As far as I can tell, the band is fully capable, with some great melodies, nice solos and a sense of mystery and dread. This is very close to Candlemass, but doesn't quite knock on their door. Nonetheless, it's one of many great doom metal releases that have come out this year and I'd recommend fans of doom to certainly give it a shot. But don't expect prog-jam sessions. Void Moon isn't that kind of band. They're more interested in mystification and glorifying Crowley's work. I could easily liken this album to the experience of exploring ancient catacombs at midnight.
If this sounds like something you'd be into, then by all means; give it a spin! A great record for the time of year, but it won't be released until November! But you can always play it around the next solstice...
Highlights: Hammer Of Eden, The Word And The Abyss, Cyclops, Among The Dying, Through The Gateway, The Mourning Son (9 Tracks, 40:00)
Torn The Fuck Apart - The Dissection Of Christ (PR2012) - This Kansas five piece makes the best kind of Kansan country that you've ever heard. That's because it's death metal, technical death metal. And that's the best kind of country there is. But this death isn't just technical, there's really a lot of different melodies, fiddlings and other such stuff that one might say is "incredibly incohesive, brainless, and aboriginal." Essentially, you could also call it "meathead metal."
But I can't do that. I'm hearing some definite talent and control of the instruments. Granted the music is overly brutal, (but what do you expect with a band name like that? Dubstep?) but it's also multi-layered and listenable. There are several sections where I'm reminded of some great bands like Watch Them Die, earlier The Faceless, but certainly bands like Deicide, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse and millions of others.
One of the guitarists is interested in playing thunderous riffs, while the other guy likes to do little technical things in the background. There are also some breakdowns in the music, but this is to be expected with modern death metal. As well as your voice clips in which everyone from Bill Maher to Samuel L. Jackson is used. But this is not bree-core, and you will hear "real death metal vocals" in addition to the tinkering and sometimes even light melodies. Yes, there are some of those on this album, as well as an unexpected instrumental in the nature of "Purgatorium 0:59" which sounds sullen and completely different. Some of you might bitch about this one stating, "where did the heavy stuff go?" But don't fret, because it will come back to slap you in the face with "Dead Religion 3:44."
I definitely recommend fans of death metal who don't mind the slight hints of technicality and fans of death metal who actually enjoy the technicality, to check out this band. The production's good, the disc will blow out your eardrums and you'll want to have the experience again and again, you rotten sadist, you!
it's death metal that's well worth hearing. I definitely recommend it, especially to those people who didn't like the new Cryptopsy as much as they'd hoped. Looking to hear more great things from these guys. The disc is brimming with potential.
Highlights: Our Serpent Savior, Purgatorium, Crucifixion infection, Angels Decayed In Dust (You'll probably find more.) (10 Tracks, 33:00)
Blut Aus Nord - 777 Cosmosophy (2012) - Well, the trilogy has finally come around full circle. Some of you probably hated it, wondered what the fuck these guys were doing and why weren't they playing black metal; and others probably thought it was the best thing that these guys have ever done. I'll personally admit that the trilogy as a whole had it's hits and it's misses, as does every "saga." Of course, I know that fact as I'm currently about to put a close on my own saga. But that is a topic for another time, and another blog.
Nonetheless, I've read most of the reviews for these discs already; and for the most part the band is being praised. I believe a reviewer from Decibel thought that this was the best of the trilogy, and considered it lighthearted. But I'm sorry, as I'm not hearing that.
While I will admit that "Epitome XIV 8:55" has some good melodies near the end, it doesn't help that bad clean vocals seem to overwhelm it. It's about 5:03 when I start actually liking this track, and that's bad news for the band, because that's all instrumental. Whatever the hell they were singing about, I could've cared the fuck less. It could've been the forumla for how to make a man a god, or perhaps even an immortal - but it was sung so badly, that I wouldn't have cared. These guys will be about 800 years old and wonder why nobody got the message. That's because you sang it so badly, that everyone got disheartened.
The next epitome "XV 6:14" is for the most part, a fucking joke. I'd have expected something like this from mid-era Ulver (but they'd have done much better) or Dodheimsgard, maybe even Diapsiquir. Seriously, can someone please tell me what in the fuck these guys are doing? Why is a man just speaking his native in a robotic overtone while Ulver rip-off music plays? Jesus, what in the holy hell is this mess? Finally, at the 3:00 mark, i start giving a shit about this song, as there are some great melodies. But just for a few minutes more, until the rotten static ends it out.
I know it. I'm tearing this thing apart, and that's because I can't believe that mass and reviewers that I trust are bowing before this like it's some kind of golden musical idol. But I'm descended from the mountain with the one commandment of metal in my hand (carried in my back pocket in only George Carlin fashion) and I've proclaimed, "THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNINSPIRED SCHLOCK!"
Fortunately, there's one epitome here that I actually like. It's "Epitome XVI 10:18." I liken it to Pink Floyd and Ulver, but it shares their best moments and has some wonderful melodies and ideas that should've been used on the other four fucking tracks! If there's anything here that's worth hearing, it's this one. I've also got to recommend "Epitome XVII 9:27" but only from 3:13 - 4:20. In my true and honest opinion, (and I even said this to myself while listening to the disc) they should have done variations of this melody for the entire length of the album. Those melodies were so fucking great, I wished that they'd went on for hours. As soon as the melody stopped, a silent tear was shed, a loud and raucous "fuck!" was uttered and several angels were slaughtered.
As soon as that godlike moment (when all felt as one and everything was perfect in all fashions) had ended, the song goes back to boring electronic inspired drone. A melody creeps back up near the end, but it fails to make even the slightest mark on that instance in which the gods trembled.
Finally, we've got the closer to the disc and it's "Epitome XVII 11:03." Besides the industrial backing, there's a nice little melody in the track. It plays all the way up until about 4:03. Then it continues until a fadeout around 7:30. They really love this fucking melody, but to hell with the other one! Sure, you'll play a great melody for 9:00 and only play a fantastic melody for 1:00. Maybe 1:30. But still, this is ridiculous! Then the stupid drone shit comes in, and that's it.
Yeah, folks. That's it. There's not a lot of good ideas on here. I'd have to give it a relatively good score for that awesome melody of cerebral wonderment, but everything else got in the way of that, so it won't get even an 8. I also don't understand the how the album title has anything to do with the album itself. This album sounds more like "More experimental shit that people like because The Work That Transforms God is a fan favorite" which is a mouthful of an album title.
Worst thing about it, is that this shit drones on for 45 minutes. These guys seem to love melody so much, so why can't they just mix it in with metal music, not industrial stuff? Memoria Vetusta III is begging for melodies like these and maybe with luck, we'll get them.
Highlights: The last three Epitome tracks are decent in areas. That's all I'll say. But then again, there's that one part of the album, where the world seemed brighter... right before it all went back to crap. (5 Tracks, 45:00)
Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012) - One! Two! Three! PRETENSION HO!
Yes, that's what I thought of this album. As you all know, I loved the band's last disc (and not the EP that was the clusterfuck that this disc further lengthened... why?) and this is nothing more but deathcore with a lot of bells and lot of whistles. There's so many bells and whistles on this disc that it goads you into thinking that the band's style has changed. But it hasn't, and there's the trick. One might say that they did Colors, and decided to make it the subject of the rest of their discography.
Reviewers say, "these guys are great, because they've covered every genre." But that's not how I feel about this incredibly pretentious schlock. Remember, that this is coming from a fan who's heard most; if not all of the band's albums, even into their earliest days. Yet now, I feel that BTBAM have become too damned popular, have gone too far in experimenting, and have deviated far from their original nature. It's like running so far out in the woods, that you can't find your way back.
First, let's break this album down into it's true nature. There aren't actually 11 songs here, just eight. All of the other tracks vary from 1 - 2:00 or so, and the main tracks are much meatier. The band likes to mix Dream Theater style prog with everything like on opener, "Astral Body 5:01" which sounds like Dream Theater would have it they were a metalcore band.
After that, the majority of melody ceases to deathcore mediocrity. Add in clean vocals, technicality, bells and whistles, and you've got the whole album. Most of the disc does seem to focus around tinkering, tinkering, tinkering, tinkering, and more tinkering. It's a fucking tinker-toy of an album, if I've ever heard one. Throw in about five short interludes (not counting the intro and outro) and you've got even more bells for your whistles.
"The Black Box 2:10" however, is a unique little piece that has the electronic synths playing best friends with the piano and Freddie Mercury vocal approach. What comes after that? Deathcore. Granted "Telos 9:45" does have some nice atmospheres and melodies right in the middle, but the deathcore comes back.
But then there's "Bloom 3:29" which stars a piano, electronic synths, and prog riffs as well as serious Mike Patton influence. Of course, "Bloom" melds right into the deathcore laden, "Melting City10:19." At first I loved this track, but now I'm wondering why.
It might be because I was mixing it up with the closer, "Silent Night Parliament 15:09." Yes, that's right. 15:09. The song is actually one of the only ones to feature a good and worthy solo, worthy of John Petrucci even; and definitely plays to the best of the DT that they copied from. One of the best moments of the disc is on this album. But then you throw that deathcore on there and I'm kind of confused.
After everything is said and done, I'm still trying to figure what in the hell it is exactly that these guys are even going on about. I hear some things about astral projection and that sort of thing, but I've studied metaphysics and have practiced the occult for years... and I'm not sure that they have. It almost sounds like they wanted to make this their Darkside Of The Moon, but they're no Pink Floyd; that's for sure.
While not a terrible disc by any means, I think that this disc is too bombastic for it's own good. It's also quite comparable to the shit that Periphery did. Why are these core bands copying each other? Isn't it breaking out that makes one different? That's why I still feel that The Faceless disc is better than the music offered here. At least, there's no whiny clean vocals on that one. But apparently that clean style is a drop off from the emo music scene which has graduated into metal. But did we want it to graduate? Because it most certainly did.
Nevertheless, BTBAM has given us even more, of the same. If you're looking for core with more, check out the Faceless. But if you like core with long and overblown songs, then check this one out.
I think I'd rather eat crow.
Highlights: Astral Body, The Black Box, Telos, Bloom, Silent Flight Parliament
(11 Tracks, 72:00) Yes, 72:00!
Down - Down IV Pt.1: The Purple EP (2012) - Since we're all familiar with Louisiana's Down, (which aren't too far from me) let's just talk about the fucking album. This time the band wanted to do a multiple EP approach to their music, rather than release a standalone. I don't know why really, maybe because they're as fucking broke as the rest of us here in the states and want to get their money's worth.
Nonetheless, this disc is actually on the heavier side for Down. If you were expecting something I dunno, more ballady; this isn't that kind of disc. It starts out with "Levitation 4:59" which really reminds me of Nola's heavier points, and it comes packed with a nice solo. "Witchtripper 3:49" brings back the stoner/sludge vibe and it doesn't do it lightly either. Anselmo isn't screaming, but he's using a clean vocal and dark croon in certain portions.
"Open Coffins 5:44" is definitely one of the longer tracks on the album, and reminds me of A Bustle In Your Hedgerow, but it still manages to keep the signature sound of the band. "The Curse 6:00" comes on strong, but just a little slower to build atmosphere and it also contains a solo. "This Work Is Timeless 3:43" actually reminds me a little of the last album, and the closer "Misfortune Teller 9:04" goes right back to the style of Nola, stopping for a minute or so and then returning with what sounds like a snippet of what the second EP will have. It's weird that they did it like that, but from the sound of the snippet EP II will be more ballad-laden.
If you're looking for a heavy sludge album that pulls no punches, then this disc is for you. Short, but sweet and you'll definitely listen to it more than once. This has the kick of the old material with the experimentation of the newer work. They might have called it Purple, but it's devoid of any of the proggy weirdness that you'd expect an album entitled "purple" to be.
This EP is an old southern bulldog, and he's ready to fucking pounce.
Highlights: Levitation, Witchtripper, Open Coffins, Misfortune Teller
(9 Tracks, 33:00)
Ash Borer - Cold Of Ages (2012) - This album from Californian atmospheric black metallers Ash Borer is literally as long as fuck. There's four tracks on the disc, and the shortest one is "Phantoms 11:31." So if the shortest track is over eleven minutes, we can only imagine what the other three might comprise of.
But don't fret. You're not being forced to sit down and listen to long agitating drone. This really is black metal, just a tad stripped down and mysterious, rather than brutally blatant. Synths are used on the album, so if that turns you away from it, I apologize. But these synths do help to create the atmosphere that the raw black metal portions can't fill in.
When I saw raw black metal, I do mean just that - blasting drums, cryptic rhythms and ghoul-like shrieks round out for the majority of the disc. However, what sounds raw is actually produced much better than you would have expected and there are brief drum lapses that allow the band time to build up an atmosphere, rather than the drummer just taking his umpteen dollar kit and bashing you over the head with it the whole time.
In the vein of Krallice, the band plays along the same lines of melody-laden atmospheres, but these are much darker. Yet I'm noticing striking resemblances in the two bands, regardless of the fact that they are literally on two opposite sides of the country. One could certainly say that Ash Borer is California's Krallice, because let's be truly fucking honest - they are. They sound virtually the same and play roundabout the same style in a nutshell. Other validations to my claim would be the fact that they also share in the pretension of crafting long ass songs. "Convict All Flesh 18:16" is almost twenty minutes in length, as you see here; and the other two songs are over fifteen minutes. This is a sixteen minute journey filled with synths, black metal the way the Nords did it and the Americans refined it, and lots of guitar melody and drum progressions to build atmosphere.
Because that's what this album was set up to accomplish, building a dark atmosphere that's probably good from everything to tabletop D&D, getting wasted, playing computer games, and maybe even fucking. It probably also sounds good while driving down the road past several fine religious establishments.
Sarcasm aside, streaming a few tracks on youtube will show you what to expect from the disc. Do you like atmospheric black metal? Do you like Krallice? If you don't, then you probably won't like this. Of course, Ash Borer is darker and less spacey than Krallice, and that's where the two bands differ.
I liked the disc, it certainly has it's way of being ominous; just like the dungeon that I'd expect it to play in.
(4 Tracks, 62:00)
Haarp - Husks (2012) - A sludge band who needs no introduction, Haarp sophomore effort sees the band gaining ground and refining their sludge a little better than the debut. The debut was decent enough, but I feel that these three tracks show the band maturing and melding together more cohesively than the first disc, which got very boring after the first couple of tracks.
"Deadman/Rabbit 17:38" is definitely sludge, but I'm hearing elements of funeral doom in the music, very melancholy riffs that break up the crunching bass riffs and meaty vocals. However, towards the end of the track, things get much heavier and the drums ablaze as the end approaches. It could very well be a theme to the end of the world as we know it.
"Bear 8:51" comes next, but it really follows the same sludge/doom style as the opener, and there's really nothing ultimately new or unique about the track. If the band were playing these two tracks side by side at a concert, you would have never even known that they had changed tracks.
"Fox 12:06" closes the album on a very depressing note, continuing what I would consider the anthem of our world's demise. It can be easily said that all of these tracks are certainly the same song, and each one of them must represent a certain part of the concept. I must certainly highlight the frontman's vocals, because he really brings the scream of a torture victim to life. Just like with Abstracter, this is the type of music that is made from raw emotion. It is the polar opposite of the whiny cry-baby music that we have been told is "emo." But I truly find works like this to be very emotional music, in the most poetic sense.
Remember that bands of the popular Emo genre was made to capitalize on wimps, people who will never develop the calloused skin that one must adorn to exist in this world, and will more than likely bring about their own ends with a well placed pistol below their chin.
But when a man can truly absorb the torrent of anger, sadness and depression that this music embodies and scream his fucking soul into it, make those lyrics reach down into your stomach and squeeze it until it fucking bleeds; then you've got a genuine work of art. Art is never pretty, I have said this countless times, and it always reflects the world we live in, just like this album. The disc is a definite soundtrack to the lowering of the bar, the dumbing down of human culture, the naivety of the human being and the steely grip of the corpratocracy. In these melodies I can hear the crying of the homeless, the bellowing of the workman who's been laid off, the depression of the teenagers who can no longer adapt to the sick world that we've created. Children don't need to be brought in a world such as this, and I refuse to have any of my own, with any woman.
Haarp's music echoes the frustration of our generation, the cesspool of filth that we've created, and the feelings of a world gone insane. I recommend this to people that only wish to feel, to vent their hidden frustrations, as we all now have them. Depression has run a mile high thanks to the ever increasing amount of stress put onto us from this new age of idiocy.
This album is a dirty, filthy mess. But it's also one of the best albums that the band has released, and I hope to hear more from them in the future. If there will even be a future...
(3 Tracks, 38:00)
Illdisposed - Sense The Darkness (2012) - Illdisposed's last album was somewhat of a disappointment, and it was also the first album that I ever heard from these guys. Now I'm not sure what kind of rip this album is, it might be a CD or it might be the web, but it's not important. As long as I can hear it, it's fine with me and everything seems to be discernible, so that's good enough for me.
Anyway, the last album was complete bullshit, and the band must've shit when they heard that the metal community at large though so too. But this new disc is back to the death metal style that as a friend told me; they were accustomed to from the beginning, and there isn't even a hint of electronics here. Instead, I'm hearing meaty guitars, gravel vocals and some good albeit short, solos. It's definitely influenced by melodeath, but is certainly more of a hodgepodge of core and melodic death metal.
The disc is brutal, blazingly brutal. It's got some groove elements and brings the band back into their natural state, which for many is a great relief. Although it's kind of funny that there's a song called "Never Compromise 3:52" on this disc, and that's exactly what they did. If they weren't going to compromise, they'd have stood by that shitty album and called it art. But they didn't and quickly got to work on this one.
Truly all the songs are great on this disc, the riffs are slightly progressive in the sense that they build structure and the band thumps along with most of the material, shit like "I Am Possessed 3:36" and "She's Undressed 4:20" probably contains that brutality you were looking for. If Between The Buried And Me mixed death metal like this with their proggy soundscapes, I might have liked their new disc much more. But since they still haven't learned how to make the kind of core-influenced death that these guys make; I'm still at odds with the album.
This album is all aspects, a comeback album. It's got a return to form of every aspect that this band must've been known for. And from the sounds of this one, I see why everyone had so much respect for these guys. There's not a single bad track on here, and I'd recommend the whole goddamned thing, honestly. It's the best of melodic death metal with a bit of core and groove, and it works. But I wish that the dude playing the solos could have made them a little longer. Would it have killed him? Or was he just being lazy?
Nevetheless, this is most definitely one of my favorite death metal discs of the year. I wasn't even going to go back and check this one out, because the last disc left such a bad taste in my mouth, kind of like Doritos thirty minutes after you've eaten them. But this disc comes like a steel fisted titan to my fucking face, and I'm enjoying every goddamned bit of it.
If you like death metal at all, how could you not like this disc? Somebody needs to go and kick the band's asses for not releasing this before.
We of the metal community do not want to hear your experimental electronic bullshit. There are enough bands already doing that. You are a death metal band and should be playing death metal. Don't you remember what happened to In Flames?
Highlights: All (11 Tracks, 45:00)
Evocation - Illusions Of Grandeur (2012) - This one's a terrible rip, but I'm considering on buying it, because it's one of the best melodic death metal albums that I've heard all year. And I mean, hands down. This disc might even be my pick for death metal album of the year. There's just something about it that really threw me over the fence.
From the very first song, "Illusions Of Grandeur 4:07" I'm reminded why in the hell it is that I love this genre of metal so damned much in the first place. Early Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy... exc. And that is what I'm getting here. But for the most part, there's a big Amon Amarth influence on most of the album.
However, the opener isn't the only good song on the disc; as "Well Of Despair 4:24", "Divide and Conquer 5:18", "Perception Of Reality 4:23" and if you haven't already noticed, I'm simply going down the line. It's because I haven't heard death metal in a long time that I can just turn off the lights, blast through my speakers and play air guitar to, while banging my head - because I totally fucking do these things and am not ashamed of them.
The vocals are as strong as Johan Hegg's in the first couple Amon Amarth discs, but they also sound as pungent as anything Peter's done in current Hypocrisy. The riffs take a queue from epics like Once Sent From The Golden Hall, (Divide And Conquer, Metus Odium) and for anyone who was wondering where the old drummer from Amaon Amarth went to, well I think these guys have him now. But I could be wrong. Still, this guy captures the style so well that I can't tell the difference.
As I've already said, this band draws a lot from Amon Amarth, but they manage to make it their own, rather than copy/pasting from a band's traditional style. Perhaps Amon Amarth have sort of lost their edge, but these guys apparently found it for them, so now all is right with the world.
Not surprisingly, "The Seven Faces Of God 4:51" features Amon Amarth frontman, Johan Hegg on vocals where of course, he delivers. But I have to say that this band's frontman can hold his own with Johan, beard and all. If you get the special edition of this album, you'll hear some bonus tracks and though I haven't heard them, I'm sure they'll be worth checking out as this whole album managed to capture some of the best melodies of my past and regurgitate them back for me.
Perhaps it's the nostalgia factor that makes me want to give these guys a ten, but I think I'm gonna hold off on that for reviewing sakes and give this disc just one digit below it. It's definitely a must have for fans of melodic death metal, especially Amon Amarth.
The essence of melodic death metal.
Highlights: All (10 Tracks, 41:00)
As I Lay Dying - Awakened (LTD. W/Bonus Tracks 2012) - While listening to this album, I hit the back of my head on a steel beam while unpacking boxes of clothes. I've been alright since, but it was already a good sign that this album must never be played again. Nonetheless, I must play it again; so I'll brace myself.
I liked the last two discs from As I Lay Dying, but I'm really sad to say tha these guys took it down a notch and made slightly upgraded metalcore. It's like a revalidation of their past, as if they've forgotten the music that they used to make. The riff progressions are a little better than the old days, the barks from Tim sound the same as we've heard before, and he also doesn't mind clean singing in the fashion of the band's sophomore release on Metal Blade.
Breakdowns? Yeah, we got them. And they sound just like 2004, just in case you might have forgotten what happened in popular metal of that year. But they also throw some solos into the mix, something that was uncommon for metalcore in those days. The disc is relatively short, and they probably had it ready to go in a month's time. The longest track on here is 4:37, and that's the closer "Tear Out My Eyes." Most of the tracks are four minutes and something, more or less.
Some of these tracks are ready for the radio, no doubt; ("My Only Home 4:05" and "Tear Out My Eyes 4:37") and some of them have radio friendly melodies despite the fact that they're still pretty heavy and have some upgrades. The album's comparable to Megaman in that fashion I'd guess. But comparing Megaman to metalcore, well that's just awful.
At any rate, this disc has a ton of melody. There's a lot of little riffs being played here and there, but even through all the heaviest of tinkering, the melodies still shine through like a demon/angel sort of standpoint. I think that metalcore fans are going to shit over this one, and it sounds like a return to form. While Tim shows that he can play guitar and the band carries more cohesion and skill with them this time around; this stuff does get really whiny towards the end and is quite marketable to impressionable teenagers. I also am not hearing anything that really drops my jaw, and truly didn't expect to.
But it's much better than the new Papa Roach disc. (That was a headache to sit through. Fuck those guys.)
Unwound 3:58 - I think it's a marketable track, really stupid of them to leave it off and it would've made them a lot of money as a video. It's got a sing-along chorus that I'm sure the kids would sing along to.
A Greater Foundation (Extended 3:58) - He wanted to make this a sing-along track too. Had Tim had his way, the whole disc would be filled with this sort of whiny metalcore choruses. The normal version was obviously changed, and we're thankful. But some little emo girl probably has her panties up in a bunch about it.
I'm sorry, Tim. But it didn't work for you this time. One of the Decibel reviewers gave this a 6/10 considering it "the most glowing 6 review that you'll ever read this year." But as for me, I'm giving it a six, as "slightly better than just mediocre."
Highlights: Cauterize, Resilience (13 Tracks, 50:00 LTD. 11 Tracks 42:00 ORG.)
Kriadiaz - Kriadiaz (2012) - What starts up with a little of acoustic in the beginning, soon becomes a plate of southern fried heaviness with Kriadiaz's debut self-titled debut. Though the disc has it's raw quality, this is the best stab I've heard at Pantera in a long time. "Bloodline 4:01" reminds me a hell of a lot of "Fucking Hostile" and it's complete with a definitely "Dime-Approved" solo.
But these guys don't just do Pantera, they redefine Pantera. Each and every track in here offers something different, but it's all just as dirty, gritty and sludgy as Pantera were at their heaviest. One could even say that this band filled in what might have been that next Pantera record that none of us ever got to hear because of an enraged football player. The solos are massive, making their presence widely known in the drumming that favors Vinnie, and the vocals which sound very close to, if not damn near the same as Phil Anselmo's bark.
Truth be told, there's not a bad track on this disc. Everything comes out hevay in way or another, but like The Great Southern Trendkill, the band is not afraid to experiment with their dirty southern thrash. For those who thought the new Down album was good, but not near as heavy as it should've been, these guys bring that heaviness ten-fold with tracks like "The Rebuilding 3:34", "Soul Chaser 4:02" and "Torching The Earth 3:53." But don't forget that those songs also come with a healthy dose of once again, "Dime- Approved" solos.
Somebody has got to get this one down to Phil or Vinnie. It's really that fucking good, and I think it would really bring back that sense of nostalgia that these guys had when they were playing this shit back in the day. If this some kind of goddamned Pantera tribute album, then it's the best that I've heard in fucking years. Make that, it's the best Pantera tribute album that I've ever heard in my life, or since ever hearing fucking Pantera.
The disc even ends on an instrumental that I could only assume was written as a tribute to Dime's memory. It's called "Stoner Funeral 4:36" and it might even bring a tear or two to your eye, when you listen to this one and remember how much of a pioneer he was, and what a great all around person he was.
But that's the kind of message that Kriadiaz want to make, and even though you can't fucking pronounce their name now, you're going to fight with yourself to get that name right when you're recommending them to other people. Because you will - yes, you will; be recommending them to other people.
The best Pantera album I've ever heard, since the real Pantera. An absolute must for the year. If you don't have this album, then you need to GET this album. Check them out on Shark Sausage Records. You'll be glad you did.
(14 Tracks, 48:00)
Velvet Acid Christ - Maldire (2012) - Velvet Acid Christ is no stranger to fans of industrial music, and this release sees him just as strong as ever. With added production value and increased malice, this guy is definitely one of the more vicious musicians in your electronic repertoire. If you're expecting some sort of dub-step nonsense or something you've heard on the radio; well then maybe you should keep reading this review.
The album begins with "Evoked" which sees him invoking dark electronic atmospheres and that trademark electronic scowl. But not only that, you'll also hear some sadistic croons, and a sense of black metal eeriness that only very few can capture. Electronic music is much more than hamsters, party music and expensive cars. It can also be unsettling and evil, evoking the same grim atmospheres as the most vile of metal. Don't kid yourself otherwise.
"Septic Rinse 5:05" might have an old school electronic beat and laser effects, but it also has some frightening melody and bone-chilling atmospheres that play with an acid effect and some soundclips which help to tell the morose message of the track. A keeper for sure.
"Bend The Sky 5:09" also slightly sounds eighties, but do you know who also did horrifying music around that time? The legendary Skinny Puppy. Of course, I don't think that all listeners will enjoy the gothic/darkwave approach of clean vocal on this track, but the melody sounds as a slightly more ethereal version of the Halloween theme. "Wasted 4:47" also has an 80's vibe, (which seems a theme here, but trust me - this is a good thing) but I don't think it's necessarily one of the best tracks, although some of you might like the clean approach.
"HyperCurse 4:41" also share's 80's beats but has a sort of effect that seems to emulate a guitar riff and it works. Some of you might say Mortal Kombat and I'll thank you for that, because for what it's worth; that film really did have some great electronic artists and got some people into electronic music. This track is instrumental except for some soundclips, but it would probably sound good in a club atmosphere. But not one of those trendy clubs. I mean one of those infamous clubs where men and women dress in leather and look for prey...
"Ominous Rattle 5:03" also has a dark vibe, but a good message. I especially like when he uses the term "sheeple" which is something that people who have woken up usually use to those who are still asleep and are being led by the machine, like sheep. The electronics flow well on this track, changing from many equally devious sets of loops. The vocal style here is comparable to Wumpscut. But the band itself is also comparable to Wumpscut. (But this album is much better than their new disc!)
"Maldire 5:42" Is an extremely dark electronic track, with a vicious affirmation:
"I'll cast a spell, I'll cut my flesh, I'll chant your name! I'll cast a curse!"
These are screamed over and over again, with a verse before each line. "So you think I'm pure, I'll cut my flesh!" for example. It's very deep, emotional and pretty fucking malicious. But it's a great fucking track, despite how miserable this guy sounds in this track, which is about a lover from the lyrics. Of course, I'm no stranger to this type of work, as I've done lyrics of this nature before relating to another human that one might think it is possible to enact cohabitation with.
"Inhale Blood 4;59" follows the same formula, but it has little to offer and doesn't differ or offer anything unique. "Christ Whore 4:54" is next, again with the 80's vibe and it's full of blasphemy that you can dance to. "Dream Curse 3:02" reminds a bit of the band's 2009 album (which is a must hear as it flirts with sorrow and lends to a darker clean vocal, likened to funeral doom. The track doens't have any beats, but has some weird electronic loops that lap over what sounds like a poem in a dull croon.
The final track here is "Mysteric 4:56" and seems a little more less horror themed and more likened to being "dancing depression." There are some good effects, but it's not the best song to end a disc on.
Overall, the disc is sort of a return to form from the last album, 2009's "The Art Of Breaking Apart" which was a really different album from him. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of his past work, present work and black metal. If you like Wumpscut, early Grendel or other groups in that vein, you'll also like this one. It's rather bleak, but you can dance to it.
A truly odd sort of paradox.
Highlights: Evoked, Septic Rinse, HyperCurse, Ominous Rattle, Maldire
(11 Tracks 53:00)
godMONSTER - Lucid State (2012 Bandcamp Name Your Own Price) - godMONSTER doesn't want much, but she does want you to listen to her work. If you can spare the time, Sindelle also does some work in an industrial project called Scream Machine but I haven't checked that out yet, and might next time. She literally uploaded this herself to Rockbox and they consider it an exclusive, so I checked it out. It's electronic music and she's trying to promote it, so I'll do the same. She only wants a dollar if you like this disc, so give her one or the equivalent in your currency, if you also find the work enjoyable. I tried to give her a dollar I think about 40 times, but apparently Paypal is a piece of shit that won't let my dollar go through. But I'll keep trying.
godMONSTER is an instrumental album that definitely has it's merits. The programming was done well, and the production is great. The first track "Lucid State 3:03" is decent enough, but I really like "Compos Mentis 3:35" especially after the first couple of minutes where the oriental effect is added to what sounds like would be good music for Sub Zero's ice filled stage in a new Mortal Kombat game, or perhaps even Glacius from KI (old favorite, I know.)
I also really "Unadorned 3:43" which also makes me think that I was in an "ice cave" of some sort, as I used to call them. But what the hell are you supposed to call a cave that's made of ice? Of course it also sounds like that frozen cavern might be on another planet and you can hear the teetering of robots as they communicate back and forth to each other on the frozen world.
"Slumber 4:26" also has a sort of old NES vibe to in areas, but it's also slightly clubby. "The Bridge 1:48" makes me think of a fighting game also. This Sindelle is awfully good at composing the electronic music that plays while you're attempting to whoop someone's ass in the snow!
But then we've got "Sleep 3:09" and "Lullaby 2:58" which are two much slower tracks, the closer "Lullaby" being the slowest. I personally think that this disc is very cold, but it's also very listenable. I'm pretty sure that fans of electronic music who also like game tunes might enjoy it, but I also feel that fans of electronic music in general will enjoy the disc. I will say that some more effects should have been used as much of it sounds the same, but it is composed well enough that I found myself really enjoying some of the tracks. She considers it dark, but I don't necessarily hear a dark vibe on the disc, rather I hear one that makes me feel like I'm on a frozen alien world.
But definitely check it out.
Highlights: Lucid State, Compos Mentis, Unadorned, The Bridge, Lullaby
(10 Tracks, 32:00)
Ghoul - Opus Eponymous (2010) - This might be an old one, but I thought it was worth checking out. I don't know if you've heard all the hubbub, bub - but these guys are apparently something really striking in the popular rock/metal scene. More or less, this Satanic prog band that dresses up in blasphemic clergy outfits, with their leader being Pop Emeritus or whatever, plays the same tired old game that Kiss and Slipknot played:
Ooh! What's behind the mask? Is it a monster? A beast? A robot?
Nope. It's just some dude. I see how you've got to have some ridiculous secrecy to your act guys, but lets be honest. Your skills are good enough that you don't need to hide behind those stupid outfits. Although I will admit that these guys go full-on hardcore with their act, via Gwar and bring the smoking censer and all that good stuff. But it's very tongue and cheek, as they make a lot of jokes. If these guys actually worship the horny fellow downstairs, then I'm sure he's laughing at himself right now and wondering why he's stuck with the idiots that the man upstairs rejected. Of course, in all actuality, I'd say that both of these groups are laden with their share of the town fool; so to speak.
As for the album, I'm quite impressed. The lyrics turn me off as they're incessantly overblown Satanism, which I'm sure that real Satanists would either cry or laugh themselves silly over. Hell, some may have even protested against it, claiming that it makes their religion look bad. But how much worse could it look? In all actuality, I'm reminded of classic Mercyful Fate and that's probably the same thing that Metallica thought when they heard them. There's nothing really "Satanic" about these guys, it's all just a show.
The disc is rather short (and they need to hurry up and release another one) only being just four minutes over half an hour. As for the tracks themselves, I would certainly consider them to be a mix of 70's prog rock and traditional doom metal. There are some moments when the band plays some thrash riffs, but they're not often. It really sticks to the prog/doom throughout and there's no problem with that. As for the vocalist, he's got a very angelic clean vocal - I'll be perfectly honest, and these guys play some amazing solos which are the best part of their act. So they don't just dress up as clergymen with no talent, as they can actually play their instruments.
Take "Ritual 4:28" for example. There's an absolutely stellar guitar solo on that one (as with most of the tracks on this album) and for some odd reason, they felt like fading the track out while it was still playing. So now I've got to find live footage of the band on youtube, just so I can hear the whole damned solo.
Most of the album follows a verse/chorus format and the choruses are usually very strong. But as I've said, these guys are fantastic and can call forth some real atmospheric majesty - they're much better than the current Metallica who's promoting them. They even got the spotlight on a few magazine covers as of late, but let's hope that they continue with this style. Quite honestly, there's not a single bad track on this album. It's chock full of the 70's occult-laden prog atmospheres, but it all sounds very modernized. I'm sure that one can draw influences from bands like Coven, Witchfinder General and others.
As you might also expect, there are most certainly keyboards. It wouldn't be 70's occult prog-rock without them. But for most people, especially older people; this is going to sound just like some of their favorite bands from the old days, Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, Rush, King Crimson, Camel, Pink Floyd, exc. Which in other words means that it's really good.
Perhaps the next record they do might be a concept album about Aleister Crowley. Somebody's got to do one, and I've yet to hear one. I kept thinking Cradle was going to do one, but they never did. But hopefully these guys have the talent to really channel their atmospheres into one of the world's most overblown and outlandish occultists. That would be the kind of Sophomore effort that would really help their image, rather than rinse-repeating with more Satanic lyrics. That well's close to dry as it is! The next disc also needs to have a ten minute long instrumental or two, since with "Genesis 4:03" they prove that they're capable of constructing some fantastic ones.
If you haven't checked out this album yet (it was released two years ago) and it sounds like something you'd be interested in, then give it a spin. Because this band is in secrecy, I have no idea who in the hell some of these people are. Metal Archives blew the vocalist's identity wide open though, but other than that; you'll just have to wait to see who in the hell is playing those riffs and solos. But I don't think he would've been well known, even if his name was revealed.
Highlights: All (Except the intro, skip it and go right into "Con Clavi Con Dio." Recording the intro was a waste of time) (9 Tracks, 34:00)