Two legendary albums in the same week? Yeah, it's been a good month for metal. Yes, there's only 12 this week, but that's because I've been recording an album. I hope you'll check it out, as it was a very strenuous ordeal.
Sigh - In Somniphobia (2012) - Make no mistake about it. We were hit with a whopper of a solar storm a few weeks ago. All of the power grids however, seem to be fine. But scientists claim that the magnetosphere may be getting damaged, and that would make it easier for the sun to come along unexpectedly with another of it's solar outbursts, and fry every piece of electronic equipment on this planet. That's why you need to experience this one, while you still can.
In Somniphobia is beyond words, folks. This is a much heavier and darker version of the band's classic "Imaginary Soniscape" and dare I say that it's even a bit weirder than that album was. But overall, it's more focused. Imaginary Soniscape was good, but there were some weird things that just killed the music. We don't have that here. It's more of a meld between that album and one of the band's blackest and most metal discs, "Hangman's Hymn."
I have got to go track by track here, because every fucking track offers something unique, original, and at times... utterly mind-blowing.
The disc starts out with "Purgatorium 4:48" which is a great neoclassical driven piece. It's catchy, and the riffs are very melodic. It's a perfect way to start the album.
Then one of my personal favorite Sigh tracks follows, "The Transfiguration Fear 4:51" which sounds to me like 8-Bit Megaman Music (which may be intentional) translated into metal. It also has some choir effects in it. Yeah, listening to this once again - this is definitely the Megaman mix. The guitars are shredding this one, and then the claps come in and there's an eerie sound in the background. A groove section come sin, and the synths go crazy. Then the saxophone comes in... damn, I love this. Then the fucking guitar comes in and shreds old school! This track also features some female vocals on the chorus, but it's good to hear Dr. Mikannibal sing a few bars. The you've got claps and eerie whistles and the whole nine yards... damn, it's over? What? No!
The disc officially opens with "Opening Theme: Lucid Nightmare 1:58" in which a dreary music is played while the one and only Metatron (Meads Of Asphodel) reads some interesting poetry in his irate Englishman/demonic growl. Just another reason I'm buying this one.
"Somniphobia 7:34" opens this concept piece oddly, with Arabian rhythms and chanting. It also contains what sounds like circus music, and the vocals sound like they're coming from a deranged and psychotic individual. But that's not the good part. The synths on this one are great at about the 2:00 mark. Then things start to get rather epic shortly after a bit of laughter. That leads right into a hefty solo. Then all the sudden there's some choir vocal and some computer beeping. This song has more layers than I can actually point out, and it's like a new adventure every time you hear it. Then the synths come back in and it sounds like they're in space, and then I heard briefly a saxophone. Then things calm back down again. There seems to be a plethora of sounds going on here. After everything loses it's mind, things slow down a minute and I hear the sound of a heart monitor. Then it sounds like someone has dropped a wrench. There is some talking in the background, and the changing of television channels. You'll hear a myriad of things after that. No, I'm not describing all of them to you.
"L’excommunication a Minuit 5:38" starts out sounding like battle music for a JRPG. Tell me that it doesn't. The synths are in the background really making things sound quite light-hearted in some aspects. There's a sax solo and then an interesting riff after that. I also hear apes. Yes, I hear apes. This whole track sounds like some kind of weird jam session. Here comes some middle eastern influence, and gaggling of geese? Then we've got some odd percussion amongst the synths. I'd lose my mind trying to decipher all of this! What the fuck? It sounds like sped up vocals in a static soup. The there's laughter and the pouring of tea, or is that bubbling water? Yeah, GET HIGH and play this. TRUST ME. This is like a trip without drugs, you might not even need to get high first.
"Amnesia 8:10" is next, and fuck I love this song. I love this song so much, I want to marry it. It's like Satanic love music, with the saxophones and all. Dr. Mikannibal actually sings on this one. It's rare, because she usually doesn't sing and growls. You know she's pretty fucking smart, right? As in works for the US Govt. smart? Yeah, it makes me nervous. She works for the govt. in a band that made an album like this. Not to mention that she sings in the nude and sometimes soaks herself in blood.
Oh hell, there goes the sax. Damn, that's sexy... I mean, saxy. I think I would totally fall for a chick who played the saxophone real well. A hot chick who played the saxophone real well. Ah, hell - can't have both, right? Hot chick probably would have a shitty personality. It's not always like that, but that's the draw with life, eh? By the way, love the crunch on this one. That crunch really makes this song. An awesome solo comes in about 75% through the song. All of the solos on this album are good, every one of them. There's some nice piano work now, a female vocal sample and some electronics that go into a fuzz. Then things get really Ulver-ish. Except, I think I hear bagpipes. There's more bizarre shit here than I've ever heard on one album, period.
Now for the single, "Far Beneath The In-Between 7:10" The song sounds like circus music, but I feel the best way to experience this track is to watch the video. If you can take it, that is. It's one of my favorite videos ever, even though it's simplistic. There aren't too many videos I can say to someone, "If you watch this, you might have a seizure." The song snakes around in a very hypnotizing fashion, and there's a world instrument portion during the chorus that really works well, and they even add some nice piano playing to it the second time around. Yet another great track from Sigh. What? It's not over yet? Who's scratching their nails against the chalkboard, who's playing that saxophone solo? Why does it sound like they're in another dimension now? Whew, hell. I think the entire band was on LSD during the conception of this. The music stopped and now there's a wind type sound effect, and a clock that ticks and an alarm that goes off into a piano piece. This must be the music they play in the odder areas of the astral plane.
"Amongst The Phantoms 9:31" has one of my favorite song opening effects ever. I love that weird phantom effect they've got here. That sounds like batman, but then it sounds like the Metatron on vocals... but it is! Then I hear some Megaman riffs, then it sounds like black metal. Here come the horns. Certainly sounds like batman. Then we've got our solo. It's badass, because they all are. This duet between these two gentlemen is like wet dream for me, folks. I not only want this album in my collection, I want it emblazoned in gold and placed upon my shelf. Then they use the sound of the phantoms and translate it into a flute, then translate it into a guitar. Love that fucking riff, I just love it to fucking hell. Definitely some French music inspiration here. Then there's another great riff that comes in, I fucking love that one too. Definitely got a Castlevania feel here. I like it. Here comes the choir. Then the song sort of ends and goes into a series of sound effects like the channels are being changed and changed and changed again. I hear bell and birds and piano now. Not anymore I don't. Then I hear bells and television static. Now I just hear bells and some children singing in the background. This is starting to be a game in itself. How many odd sounds can you find in the latest Sigh album? There's some beeping and the bells are still ringing. Now they've stopped.
"Ending Theme: Continuum 1:42" sounds like something I've heard in a game before. It should be familiar to you too. Castlevania ring any bells? Now the static interrupts it. There's some odd percussion effects and weird noise.
"Fall To The Thrall 5:17" is my only gripe on this damn near fucking great album. Doesn't sound like it needs to be here. It sounds like "we love Venom" and not Sigh at their best. They use a robotic voice muffler in one part of it, There's a Megaman melody in parts and then there's a piano section. Alright, so things did change a bit. But not long. That riff is very Venom. Alright, now there's a good riff. Perhaps this song DOES need to be on here after all. 3:04 I think is where it starts. Yeah, that's such a badass riff. Then the piano comes back in. Now there's an electric effect, like a vortex. Then the solo for the song comes in, and of course it's good, albeit short. The Megaman melody plays us out as this is the chorus riff.
"Equale 8:00" is the album's odd closer. The synths start up and then I'm hearing tropical music. That can't be right, someone must've switched the effects. Now I'm hearing some good clean Megaman melody. The way these guys approach black metal has always turned me on my head. It's also inspired me. Then there's a piano piece that plays despite a dual vocal. Good melodies come back about 3:20, but then the vocals come back in amongst neoclassical music, which leads into a badass solo that brings in some violins. The last vocal is said, as some light piano is played. Now some very ominous music plays. There are some words spoken and then the disc ends.
Overall, I'm very impressed with this disc. It's probably the best think Sigh has ever given mankind, even though some people really seem to like Imaginary Soniscapes and Dead Dreams. But this disc is certainly just as good, if not better. Everything in the world that can be put on an album is put on to this one, albeit production isn't as high of quality as one would like. But musicality speaks for itself and this is one killer disc. I've never heard anything like it, not even Imaginary Soniscapes. This is one hell of an album, and it's certainly legendary. I will remember this one for many years to come and I doubt that they'll top it.
This is the very pinnacle of their career. Buy it and support them. I'm going to, just as soon as I get paid, and you can bet on that. I can't wait to read the lyrics and look at the book.
Highlights: The Entire Disc. (11 Tracks, 64:00)
Indian - Guiltless (2011 BY REQUEST) - I was told, as you might have seen that listening to this album might change my pick for the year's best Sludge album, which I said had come from a Russian collective that really kicked my ass. But this band really does seem to make me open my eyes, just on the sheer epicness of the first few riffs on the album.
The disc opens with "No Grace 6:39" and it's a good indication of what to expect from this album. each track is filled with nothing more than slow, but brutal and uncompromising sludge, with an equally uncompromising vocalist. The songs very in length, each of them really offering the same style with very little tempo change and the same ferocity, and that is my one beef with this disc. Many people don't like sludge music because it's rather boring in some ways, the fact there's no real melody and structure seems to put people off. Of course, this is not my opinion, as I am a fan of sludge and am about to record a sludgy track for my upcoming album, "Black Therapy" in just a few minutes.
But with this album, I felt that the band was all about presence, and not too much about form. The songs were strong, surely; but I don't feel they had quite enough in them to really catch the attention of someone who wasn't into sludge that much. But I definitely thought that the songs were enjoyable as a whole, definitely good for lifting weights, as heavy music of this sort seems to be.
There is one song in particular where the band uses some static interference, "The End Of Truth 5:28" slowly changing things up a bit (although I didn't care for it), and of course; "Supplicants 2:26" which is a small instrumental acoustic piece that doesn't even sound like it came from the same band. I rather enjoyed it, however.
The disc's closer is a mammoth, and I think it's one of the heaviest and hard hitting tour-de-force's that I've ever heard from the sludge genre. The band pulls out all the stops on the whopping, 9:03 track, "Benality" and by the end of it, you've either gotten a good workout, or the stress that was once on your mind, is now gone. Believe me, this guy will scream all the cares right out of you, with his monolithic voice. If there's anything I can say here as a vocalist myself; I truly respect this man's vocals and believe that he is what really makes this album what it is.
If you like monumental sludge with a vocalist that embodies the Lovecraftian terms of "great and terrible beast" or perhaps we should say L. Frank Baum, but whatever; I'm still talking about the same thing. Go pick this one up, if you haven't already. I was certainly impressed, but it won't appeal to everyone obviously.
Highlights: No Grace, The Fate Before Fate, Guiltless, Guilty, Supplicants, Benality (7 Tracks, 40:00)
Cannibal Corpse - Torture (2012) - If you were by chance expecting the new Cannibal Corpse to be some sort of industrial polka album, well... I've got some bad news for you. That's because it's death metal, just as you should expect. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about the disc as a whole.
Speaking of whole, you might as well listen to this sucker as a whole, considering that there isn't really much differentiation in the songs. But some, like "Followed Home Then Killed 3:36" start out with a pretty epic intro, and follow suite with a solid track. There seems to be more drum play and a little more bells and whistles with the album, but you should also expect this, considering that the band has done the same style of death metal for damn near thirty years now. Nothing super technical, but definite structure that merges well with the brutality, giving you and album that thumps hard and heavy, but doesn't get boring easily either.
I do think that the band has definitely matured a lot in the past few years, and this album is great representation of that maturity. While I did particularly like the band's last album "Evisceration Plague" much better, I do find some of these songs to be decent and solid enough for any death metal fan to enjoy. These days, I'm more of a Nile sort of person, and their last one really blew me away. I've also got to mention that Orthodox album I reviewed last year. Those albums are really something, and compared to that sort of level, this is nothing more than a worthless piece of plastic.
But that does not mean that this is a bad album. On the contrary, it's probably going to be a well received listen for most fans of the band. I'm a fan, and I like what I've heard. The guitars scream, the drums blaze, the vocals are as brutal as they should be, and there's no songs about killing trolls in World Of Warcraft folks, I promise. Corpsegrinder kept his hobbies (dare I say obessions?) out of this one.
The bottom line is this. If you're looking for proof that classic death metal can still stand up against some of the tech-death stuff we've got out these days, Cannibal Corpse prove that it damn sure fucking can. You'll headbang your head off and swear that it's the 90's death metal peak all over again.
As for the songs on this disc, I can definitely compare them to other songs they've done before. But you can do that all day long with their discography. Oh, this one sounds like "Hatchet To The Head!" So what if it does? If you don't tell, I won't. If you like death metal with revolting lyrics and as brutal as it should be, I would definitely tell you to purchase this one... but honestly, it's only solid. I would give it a better score, but I can't honestly see this band doing much more that hasn't already been done. I certainly see this "student has become the master" terminology effective with most of the bands these days, who have been influenced by CC and others, but have branched out into something much more intricate.
You know what to expect here. Just buy it and give old George some money so that he can buy that collector's case for his Frost sword. I'm not joking about any of this, btw. Supposedly it lights up and all that stuff. But he really wants it, so help the guy out. Also, you know that WOW isn't cheap. It's a pay to play, and he's got plenty more characters to make. Your money will most certainly help.
Alright, I'm through making jokes here. Great album for the fans, nonetheless. The band show no signs of slowing down, or age. Not a disappointment, just not anything new. But that's probably alright with you.
Highlights: Sarcophagic Frenzy, Scourge Of Iron, Encased In Concrete, Followed Home Then Killed, The Strangulation Chair, Caged... Contorted, Crucifier Avenged, Torn Through (Personal Preference) (12 Tracks 43:00)
Soulfly - Enslaved (2012) - Soulfly killed us all with their last disc, "Omen." It was certainly a return to form from the band, making people who didn't give a shit, begin to. Here they are with their new album, "Enslaved" and I'm still hearing good things from them. Apparently the Nu-Metal trends that bore the band at it's earliest are now left in the dust. I also can see that Max's Christianic leanings are coming back in the lyrics. I hear "THE FINAL WAR! ANTICHRIST AND JESUS!" shouted over and over and then it's an ominous sound. This is what we're greeted to on the first song, "World Scum 5:19" after the intro. That song also features the vocalist of ( ) and I don't think his vocals on it are very good.
"Intervention 3:55" actually sounds like a thrasher, until it gets slow and sludgy. Didn't expect that one. "Gladiator 4:58" thrashes in, but adds some middle eastern strings upon it's slow, which again speeds up and beats us over the head with a solo. The song ends with some chants of "HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! GLADIATOR!" among an epic melody, which is simple, but one of my favorite on the disc.
"Legions 4:18" starts up with soldiers marching, but something's a little wrong here. Perhaps it's my rip, but I can barely hear the melodies in the background of this one. There's come excellent melody on this one though, I would've liked to hear it better. I'm telling you right now, the guy currently playing the leads for this band is making this fucking band right now. He's killer, riff after riff.
"American Steel 4:14" comes in next, just as thrashy as this album has been, (It's getting a little repetitive, Max...) but then it slows down and gets a slow groove about it. Even so, the guitar riffs don't really help this one that much. There's even some effects and foreign strings, but it's all got too much of a core breakdown feeling for me and I don't like it that much. Then Max's vocals sound all staticy and I know that this is something that's supposed to happen, but I'm not getting it. There's a lot of experimenting in that one, but it didn't work for me.
"Redemption Of Man By God 5:15" comes up next, starting up with one of those grand intros. Then it goes right into thrash. I mean, Sepultura thrash. This is the one with Dez on vocals, but it doesn't help the track for him to be on it. Alright, 3:10. Important because the song mutates here. It now sounds slower, more melodic with some mid eastern riff influence and televangelist sound bites. This is all just a big outro, really.
"Treachery 5:49" comes in with a little more groove thrash, but envelops into full blown heaviness. Despite some interesting stuff in parts, this song still sounds a little stiff. Alright, now the guy's just going to play with the guitar and play these loopy riffs to spite me. Then he goes into another middle eastern sounding riff. Damn, this must be the theme, but honestly, these damned middle eastern riffs are getting fucking old. Alright, that goes into a fantastic fucking solo and I'm completely flabbergasted. Only good part of this song, really.
"Plata O Plomo 4:52" is in Brazilian and features Brazilian instruments in it, as well as d-tune bass that made his older albums like Soulfly well received. But I don't think this one's that great of a track, it reminds me of Max's song about futbol, except that it has a good solo and I think someone gets called a bitch and the devil. There's a guest vocalist here also, and he's also growling in Brazilian. Yep, that's the sound of the pistol from Doom being shot. Nope, not digging this one. He can't even use the sound of real gunfire? Anyway, the song ends in a very Latin fashion with the whole nine-yards - acoustic guitars and all that caballero stuff.
"Chains 7:18" is the longest song on the disc and it's got a very sludgy feel to it in the beginning, which goes into a groove. Here comes our solo, and it's a dual solo but short. Then Max goes back into vocal and the drummer plays with the kick pedals. Solo comes back in. Honestly, you'd think this one would be badass and epic, because it's long - but I think that's all it is. It's just long. The song gets heavy and gets thrashy, drummer goes back to the kicks again, then the whole thing slows down... yep, breakdown. Works though. I hear some bells and piano now. Yeah, that's part of the outro. Not much here, really.
The closer "Revengeance 5:42" is decent, but honestly I'm not too impressed. There's some good riffs in the beginning, and some groove. Is there another vocalist there? That guy fucking sucks. Who the fuck are these other vocalists? Get them back in their own band. Really? This is the end? It can't be. This is bullshit! I'm glad I didn't pay for this.
To conclude, I'm just going to say quite bluntly that Soulfly was not able to one up their efforts with last year's Omen. There's good songs, but the proof is right here in the pudding. I knew that the band was going to exhaust themselves out after putting out such a great disc as Omen, and it seems that they just can't make another one. The vocal guests don't help the album either, they hinder it. How fucking awful. There's experimentation, and they try to change things up a bit, but we didn't really need that. This is the hill from which they'll continue to plummet.
Problem is, the media's gonna hype this shit as the best metal album ever (like Machine Head's Locust) and people are going to lick it up. True, there's good songs, but only one of them is really amazing, except for that one solo I mentioned. Oh, how the mighty have fallen... again. This time, it might be best to close up shop, or try again in another two years. Fuck, I really wanted to like this one!
Highlights: World Scum, Gladiator, Legions, Treachery (11 Tracks, 53:00)
Thunderkraft - Totentanz (The Dance Of The Dead) (PR 2012) - I requested this one from PR, because it seemed interesting enough. As soon as I received it, I knew that I had to jam it immediately. Thunderkraft is a Russian band that incorporates death metal, folk, and industrial elements into a mixture that results in a very unique style of metal.
The opener "A Time Will Come 7:48" was just the sort of epic, triumphant track that I would want to hook me into a disc, and not only did it hook me, but it really did sort of mesmerize me into some rather intricate and structured riffs, melodies and other such bits of ear candy that I would soon find out were all over this disc. The more electronic influenced "Mass Defect 4:18" comes in with effects and folky flute playing in the same song. Clearly this is band determined to form their own sound, quite like Ram-Zet and others. Trust me, there's a little bit of everything on this disc.
The next track is the album's title track "Totentanz 5:07," and it certainly lives up to it's name delivering everything that the band can muster, including a nice and speedy guitar solo. The next track, "Death Won't Separate Us 5:08" features also just a little bit of everything, with it's ballady start, beautiful clean solos, and an injection of folk and heaviness, including a vocal that sort of reminds of black metal about 75% of the way through the song. Then electronic effects end it out. After this one, "The Future World 5:30" comes in thrashing like death metal. Sometimes I will admit that the different vocal styles (how many fucking vocalists are in this band?) sound like a battle for presence, with one guy screaming and one guy hollering and one guy just talking. Of course, the whole disc is in Russian, so be prepared for that... a lot of screaming, growling, hollering and yelling and talking in Russian.
"A Crumpled Story 6:18" comes in next, and the drums thunder along with some symphs that make it sound both brutal and folky at the same time. The song also features plenty of chug and a guy hammering on an anvil, which always sounds good. Then there's this techno beat part, a saxophone that sounds like it's caught in an ethereal wind, and some creepy strings that sound like from an old horror movie. Yeah, it's that kind of album. Easily one of my favorite tracks on this album. "Where The Dream Flows As Moisture From Eyelashes 3:01" is next, and though it's chuggy, it's also weird. It feels like a 1950's alien movie. This band really has their way with the music, and I'm going to use a separate paragraph to explain the overall musicianship of the disc as soon as I've finished the song by song.
The next song, "Towards A New Dawn 4:16" starts outs with a long atmosphere, but that's probably because it's an instrumental. There's folk, and there's the whirring that sounds like you're in the astral plane. You can also hear some interesting effects in the background amidst the whirring and folk instrumentations. Maybe this is the kind of music you listen to when you're dead? But I'd imagine that one would "feel" music after death, since one wouldn't have ears. Alright, so there's some vocals towards the far latter end of this one. We didn't need them, but the song does pick up a little. Probably not as much as the vocalist would want it to, considering he's hollering. However, the choir in the background really works and then you've got the thunderclap and triumphant victory music that sounds like brave heroes on their return back from an epic battle that threatened to ravage the kingdom.
The last song on this disc, "The Creator Of Life 8:40" is the longest, and it balances effects and strong folk influences well together. There are some heavy sections in this one even though it sounds like thirty thousand things are going on (like most of the tracks on this album.) 2:58 sees a good guitar solo, because we needed one, damn it. Honestly, there's a bit of everything on this track. But I've already said that about fifty times throughout this album.
To end, this is not just kitchen sink metal. This is the entire kitchen metal. I'm serious, everything seems to be going on at once, yet it has structure and works well perfectly. The band are masters at their craft and are able to provide some heavy riffs, great drumming, and some hellish technicality and structure in these songs. These songs are full of massive tempo changes and you really have no idea what the hell you're going to hear next. Not just with each song, but with each part of each song. Really, it's that epic, folks! This is so far one of my top picks for experimental album of the year.
This is also one of those kind of albums that you can single out certain pieces that you liked, and you will. There's literally two or three albums worth of ideas on this disc, and I'm quite pleased to have been given the chance to hear it and promote it to you. You folks should know by now that I like weird, interesting, and different music than some of you, but those who are like me and have got to hear the strange shit, definitely need to pick this one up. Go get it with Sigh and smoke a lot of pot before you listen to these two in a row. There's no telling what kind of trip you'll have.
My only gripe, and this is a small one; is that the vocals might not be for everyone, since they are mostly a very overused holler that might get on your nerves after awhile. But the music is so stellar on the disc that this is merely minor.
Highlights: Each and every song on this masterpiece is a fucking highlight. Hell, each and every part of certain songs on this disc are highlights by themselves! Go do yourself a favor and go get this one already! (9 Tracks, 50:00)
777 (Oh, yeah? Well if you don't agree, then you try making something as layered as this, and make it all work cohesively together without sounding like a fucking mess!)
Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression (2012) - This is my first Psycroptic album, so don't be too rough about it. But I decided to grab this one on a whim, just so I can check out what all the fuss about this band was. Apparently, this disc went well under the radar though, and I guess I can understand why. It's not necessarily a timeless piece, but it is enjoyable.
The disc probably sounds in the same fashion that this band has always sounded, with tight technicality, bits of melody and a vocalist who seems to be more suited for deathcore, not death metal. Nonetheless, the disc does offer some good moments of technicality, but does meander along at the same pace. There are slight parts of these songs that briefly change tempo, but then everything sort of flies around.
This disc I could compare to a bird, actually. In flight it flutters, but when it perches, the wings stop moving. However, you'd have to imagine this bird to be a very energetic one, because it seldom stops to perch.
If you're a fan of several thousand other technical death metal bands, this will certainly be for you, but I heard far better tech from last year's Illogicist album. It's brutal, it's all over the place, there's tiny bits of melody and it's definitely worth checking out, but I don't think it's going to blow any minds. I will have to add that despite what i said about the tone of the vocalist, the power and sheer emotion of his vocals on this disc is easily it's best feature. The man is able to deliver these vocals straight on, and with an unbridled fury that you just can't mimic easily.
I quite enjoyed this disc and would consider it a great technical death metal album, but I wouldn't consider it awesome or amazing. But once again, the guy on vocals kills it, and it's definitely worth checking out to hear his killer performance on the mic. But the rest of the band does a good job too. There's nothing really noteworthy to bitch about on this one, and if you're a fan of Psycroptic and were disappointed by this, then I've got to hear their older material, because this one sounded pretty damned good to me.
Highlights: Euphorinasia, The Throne Of Kings, Become The Cult, From Scribe To Ashes, Deprivation (9 Tracks, 40:00)
Abominable Putridity - The Anomalies Of Artificial Origin (2012) - I'm going to make this simple. These guys suck. I've already deleted them off my HD weeks ago after listening to them and playing EDF online on PS3. I'd say that the music went well with the game, but the game isn't very good, and neither was the music. The band is a death metal band, but that's about it. It's true that to make a very brutal and basic record, not much effort is required. But to mix the brutality with something of interest, well that takes talent and these gentlemen clearly have none.
While two songs on the disc were decent, "Remnants Of The Tortured 4:00" and "Letting Them Fall 3:33" I didn't hear much going on with the guitars, the drummer was doing the same sort of heavy blasting that you'd expect from an album of this nature, and the piggy squeals got on my nerves. I think it's vocals like that which make me believe that man is slowly devolving. I just honestly couldn't listen to this crap but once. Especially knowing that there is a plethora of other great metal bands out there of which I might actually enjoy.
If you're looking for someone to say "well it's brutal and heavy" that's about all I can tell you, too. But there are 18 million bands that sound just as brutal and heavy with bits of tech. But guess what? I actually give a shit about those bands. These guys... not so much.
Highlights: Remnants Of The Tortured, Letting Them Fall (10 Tracks, 30 or 40:00)
Galneryus - Kizuna EP (2012) - I rarely have anything good to say about an EP, but from Japanese power metal masters, Galneryus; that's a different thing altogether. But this isn't because I'm a big fan of the band, (especially after being blown away by their 2011 release, "Phoenix") but it's because the amount of material and the quality of material that you are getting here is all worth the price. First of all, this disc contains six tracks, each of them ranging from five and a half to about eight whole minutes of music, minus the closer, which is the shortest track, being only five minutes.
"Kizuna 5:21" which is marked by just two Kanji characters on the release; definitely carries the magic of Phoenix behind it. It's not as thrashy, but kills on absolutely every other level. The vocals soar, the guitars and symphs do barrel rolls over each other, and the end result is a simply epic song that you can listen to over and over again and experience a sort of positive energy that most metal bands just don't offer these days.
"終わりなき、この詩 (New Version) 7:45" is a new version of an old track that I can't seem to find, or remember. But I will say that the track is wonderful, carrying with it one hell of middle section that you've just got to hear for yourself. This is just really great, light-hearted power metal.
"Across The Rainbow 7:55" which is a new version of "Whisper In The Red Sky" from the band's 2005 release, "Advance To The Fall" is also simply remarkable, being that the guy just kills on it vocals, and whoever the heck is playing guitar on here, well... to say the guy's great is an understatement. Be prepared to hear some absolutely face-melting solos on this disc.
"Time After Time 5:42" is a bit of a ballad, but it's actually a good ballad. It gets a little heavier towards the latter portion, but what really kills it for me is the sheer guitar work on this one. Light rock ballad style solos that just go into a straight shred later on towards the end of the track. Don't forget about the vocals and the catchy as hell choruses that pervade this track and the rest of the album.
"Winning The Honor 8:37" is the album's real gem, being that it combines a medieval fanfare that's right enough to accompany any fantasy anime, and it has everything else that we should expect from Galneryus. Everything is at it's musical peak here, and I'm surprised that an EP from these guys would actually turn out so good, as they've had bad luck with some of them.
"Departure 4:58 (English Version)" is exactly what it says, but most of the album has been in English anyway, with bits of Japanese strewn in. It works well to the band's advantage. However, the extremely hooky chorus and great playing as well as symph effects really help to put a lasting earworm in you. But at least it's something you won't feel so bad about having stuck in your head.
Now I know that some of you think that power metal is cheesy, corny and even fake. But I don't think there's anything wrong with metal love songs, especially if they're being done right. Japan has always incorporated love into their music, and they seem to have a different culture than we do over here when it comes to matters of the heart. So dare I say it, but I actually found this release to be rather heartwarming.
But most of all, if you can't wait for the new Dragonforce album, (which I have currently no desire to hear, but will probably have to review anyway) this is a good holder for it. Galneryus really have a hell of a sound, and if you haven't heard them before; you need to hear them folks. This is power metal at it's current best. Not to mention that this disc clocks in at 40:00, which is damn near album length for some bands.
Highlights: I couldn't name just a few, I really liked all of them. Even the less powerful songs have overall great playing and some amazing middle sections that really make them a treat for the ears. (6 Tracks, 40:00)
Corrosion Of Conformity - Corrosion Of Conformity (2012) - Yes, this is my first COC album. I never really got much into this style of Southern rock meets doom metal until here recently, and I have to say that this disc isn't too bad at all. It really reminds me of Candlemass with southern rock influence, and if that's what Pepper Keenan and crew were going for, well they've nailed it.
I've read that the thing is all over the place and doesn't seem to fully conceal, but I like the fact that the band is trying to break the old mold of doom and added a little prog into their music. It's not enough to kill your drinking buzz, but it's there and you'll just have to deal with it. Later on towards the end of the album though, much of the prog influence gets pushed back for what sometimes sounds like a completely different disc altogether. The prog really starts to end at about the beginning of "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here 4:04" which sheds it's skin and becomes a new song entirely.
After this metamorphosis, the band seems to go towards more of heavy metal/southern rock with very little doom influence and no prog at all. "What You Despise Is What You've Become 3:44" actually reminds me a bit of BLS, and "Rat City 2:23" is just a short southern heavy metal track. "Time Of Trials 3:40" ends out the disc and while it brings back some prog, there's not a whole hell of a lot of meat to it.
The first six songs on the disc are pretty strong, no matter which way you spin it. They certainly stand well enough on their own, but I'm not crazy about the rest of the album. It's like they took a break and just threw some stuff together at the end. I'm not saying they're bad, they just don't sound like they came from the same band I heard in the beginning. Reviews have been mixed, but some people really don't see to care either way. If you didn't like the band before, you probably won't like them now. They weren't looking to innovate, just like Cannibal Corpse; and you should automatically accept that.
I'm sure most of you already have this disc somehow or another; and wouldn't care what I have to say about it. But I've still got to review it anyway. If you're a fan, pick it up. Worth a listen at least.
Canyon Man 5:01 -This track is actually really good, and very proggy. It was probbaby thought to be to proggy for the album, so they left it off. But I think it should've been on the disc.
The Same Way 2:12 - As for this one, I can take it or leave it. It's just a short southern metal track like "Rat City."
Highlights: Psychic Vampire, River Of Stone, El Lamento De Las Cabras, Your Tomorrow, The Doom, Weaving Spiders Not Welcome Here, What You Despise Is What You've Become, Canyon Man (Bonus) (13 Tracks, 49:00)
Dawn Of Ashes - Farewell To The Flesh EP (2012) - Finally, they fixed this shit. I wasn't exactly crazy about their last disc, because they added too much deathcore into their black metal, and now we have it far blacker and a definite scowl from the vocalist (and expert electronic musician.) Also I like that the man finally realized that he's been doing electronic albums for years prior, and that he actually CAN add his electronic experience into this metal music and it can work. So it's good to hear those electronic influences.
This EP is only 35:00 long, but it's a sign of good things to come from the band. Apparently, they just fucked up their first release and the black metal notions are coming back. Damn, I wish I still had those early demos, because they fucking rocked. I can certainly say that bass-wise, there's a lot of Fear Factory influence and there's the whole symphonic evil choir thing going on. But that's just in the first song, the EP's title track, which is 6:28, and the longest track on this EP.
The disc only contains four songs that aren't remixes of "Carnal Consummation In Empty Space" (there's three of those) which have been remixed into various lengths. There's also a mix of "Transformation Into Fictional Mutation 6:11" by K. Bathory, which I'm assuming is the new image/name of their frontman. It sounds like his work. Oh, and there's a mix of "Seething the Flesh in the River ov Phlegethon 3:44." Remember, Dawn Of Ashes was pure dark electronic and released three albums in that vein before guitars were even thought about being brought in later down the road.
I can say that I honestly like this mix of TIFM, but it won't be everybody's thing. However, they've done a great job with this foreshadow and I hope it elicits one hell of an electronic black metal fusion from a guy that really has the experience to do it RIGHT. Not saying that it hasn't been done right before, but this guy knows his chops.
I'm going to take down these Carnal remixes in one paragraph. Let's see if I can do it. The first mix is the "Falling Skies 4:33" and it's pretty damned good. There's some guitar, low in the mix screaming, and some dubstep things that I'll allow. (I feel like I'm the ref on Celebrity Deathmatch here. I'll allow it!) It ain't very metal, but it is black electronic which you all know by now I like to do. I lvoe it, you hate it; let's move on. Second mix is called "Die Sektor Mix 5:20" and I'm wondering if it had something to do with Mortal Kombat, because only the character Sektor has that spelling, I believe. This one has a lot of static in the beginning, definitely reminds me of their old shit; trying to make the eeriest electronic music they can. Their front man had a field day with this. I'm loving this shit. Good fucking music, I'd imagine. Next one's called the "To Mega Therion Mix" and I'm also loving it. It's got some double bass hits in places, but the beats work well with it, as does the vocal effects in the background. I also want the voice changing software that their vocalist has. It makes it so you don't have to work quite as hard on the vocals and strain your throat... hehehe... the wonders of technology. Maybe Adobe can do that shit. Regardless, these three remixes are epic.
Last remix is "Seething the Flesh in the River ov Phlegethon 3:44" which was one of the band's earliest songs (loved the demo, but then they destroyed it on the album) and this dubstep mix isn't helping the song. I just don't like the electronics here. Doesn't work well with it. Oh well, that's how it is with electronics, folks. You do good and you fuck up sometimes. It's a pain in the ass.
Got an original now, "Torture Device Pt.2 4:10" and technically, this is the last track on the disc. Definitely more metal in this one, but more electronic influence than on the last album... yes, this is how you do a black metal/electronic track. They've done what I tried to do. But I think my shit was heavier and more erratic, even though I didn't have a real guitar. But they're not using real drums either. This track really has it's hits and misses, but is kind of a b-side really. Damn, got me all fired up in the beginning for nothing.
The closer is a 1:02 instrumental with the name, "Blood-Shed With The Third Eye" and it sounds like horror movie stuff, really. Yeah, they could've left that one off.
In closing, I'm going to say this right now. If you don't like electronics, skip this review. This is more of a dark electronic album than a black metal/deathcore disc. I loved it, but you might despise it. Some of these tracks I'll load up on my Mp3 player and inject into my ears every time I need a good dose of dark electronic music. Grendel's started to slouch here lately and now he even sings, WTF? So these guys will have to fill the void. I don't know what the next DOA album will be, but I'm sure it's going to be worth waiting for, perhaps even worth buying. Fans of the band's last disc will be like OMG WTF, but then they'll realize that DOA was an electronic band first, ( a one man show, actually) and decided to do a straight metal album in 2010. But that's not where the band's (front man's) heart is at, I can tell. If they fall into obscurity, I'll still be a fan after the electronic influence makes the next release bomb because these deathcore kids don't understand that electronic music has been around well before dubstep, and it was good and still can be. Kill the dubstep plague!
Highlights (For electronic fan) : Transformation remix, all three Carnal remixes. Those are fucking killer. Dupstep one's not so great, but the other two more than make up for it. (8 Tracks, 35:00)
Electronic Perspective: 4/5
Metal Perspective : 1.5/5
Observe the two and please adjust your scanners accordingly.
Desecravity - Implicit Obedience (2012) - Desecravity is just the kind of high precision Japanese technical death metal that would expect from the country that brought us the ninja. This band is by far one of the most tight and technical bands that I've ever heard. They certainly approach tech death differently then most, but still manage to keep things uncompromisingly brutal. There are no real tempo changes and no soft ballads to be had here, just amazing showcases of technical skill from their drummer and guitarist/s. The vocals are nothing special, but they're really just there for show, as the real power of this band lies in the music itself.
If you're into technical death metal and want something that's going to make you say "holy shit" then this is the album. Yes, I'm aware that the new Gorod is out, but I'm only on Desecravity right now. Give me a break, I've been busy recording. Regardless, this is some absolutely sick technical death metal that speaks for itself. It only gets better as you go on.
Highlights: It all sounds about the same, but the precision and drum acrobatics make this whole thing worth checking out. (9 Tracks, 32:00)
Knives Out - Black Mass Hysteria (2012) - While this sophomore disc from the new project of the ex-front man of Dog fashion Disco (who I've never cared for) was decent, I probably would've enjoyed it more if I was back in high school. There are definite battles between metal and hard rock here, especially when you've got a heavy and blasphemous opener like "Hide In The Sky 3:34." But the band then gets into the more progressive side of things with "Hysteria 4:16" which i liked, but it reminded me so much of the Nu Metal that I used to listen to as a teen. The band really overuses that heavy vocal, radio vocal approach and I can see this band getting one or more of these to play on the radio. The choruses are very catchy and the music sounds basic enough for people to enjoy. Yes, there is definite progressive influence in the riffs, but it doesn't help that the music seems to want to be popular, and it probably already is by now.
"Surrounded By Demons 4:06" and the vile nature of "Blood Everywhere 3:32" seem like decent songs, but don't hold up to the first two tracks. After I've gotten this far, I then realize that I've only got 21:00 left of play time on this thing and am glad that I didn't spend my money on it. I also feel like I've somewhat matured past this style of hard rock influenced metal, or at least the way these guys do it.
It is true that the band uses elements of Djent, but their fierce vocals sound like something I'd get from Five Finger Death Punch, and then we have the usual style of vocals from hard rock that wants to be much fiercer. Some of the songs offer more of a hardcore approach, like "Pink On the Inside 3:56" and the clean vocals on "Eat Your Heart Out 4:57" begin to remind me of the Deftones. Also, the band doesn't actually play quite as basic as I thought. Some of these songs actually have quite a few layers and bells and whistles. It's like an FFDP that thought more about their music.
Oddly enough, I would've thought that "Swollen Mistress 4:19" would've been on their first album, since I remember hearing it debut on Liquid Metal while the band was being interviewed years ago. This version of the song doesn't sound as good as the one I heard on Liquid Metal those years ago. I blame the mix, which really does make or break some songs.
"Robot Babylon 3:41" is a pretty good track too, especially on the metal side of things. One thing I do like about this band is their use of vocal filters, which can really make them sound fiercer, it also helps that the main vocalist has a very depressive low croon which he uses and it sounds rather psychotic. The last track, "The First Time I Discovered A Body 4:14" is kind of weak though.
Overall, I think the band has some potential, but I don't care for the lyrical content, especially since it's being targeted towards the youth. Slipknot never went hardcore with female abuse and murder in their lyrics (and if they did, it wasn't in every fucking song) and even though this shit is nothing compared to death metal, it's being targeted to a younger crowd that might have not grown up with death metal. It could give the young male listener a bad connotation towards women. Remember that teens haven't reached full brain development yet. There's a bleeding woman on the front cover, which means that they won't be able to sell it at Wal-Mart, but that doesn't mean anything these days. Almost every song on this disc is about the murder and abuse of women, so I'm not entirely crazy about it.
Even though I've wrote some stuff like this myself, I'm not targeting young teens with my music. That's how I feel from a moral standpoint. Again, I know death metal is full of this shit, but these are kids and some of them are just getting into metal. Music can influence how one behaves, it has done it to me in some aspects. Domestic violence is no party, so hopefully they'll fucking calm down with the lyrics next time. This stuff is too radio friendly for lyrics like these. It could send a bad message. But then again, that's less people to have to worry about, I guess.
Besides lyrical content, they've got something to offer the world of modern metal and will join the ranks of other popular metal bands with this disc. If you like FFDP, you'll like these guys, but they also add some more melodic, proggy and djent stuff that you wouldn't expect from that other band. Especially some of the higher male vocal melodies, ala Chino Moreno. It's definitely worth checking out. However, it's on the short side and should've been an EP.
Highlights: Hide In The Sky, Hysteria, Eat Your Heart Out, Pink On The Inside, Swollen Mistress, Robot Babylon (9 Tracks, 36 Minutes)
(Album Cover Not Applicable)
The Beyond - The Beyond (Free Demo 2010) - There isn't really much to say about this demo from black metal band, The Beyond. This thing is dated 2010, so they might not even be together anymore. Regardless of that, the band has/had a blackish punk sound that still keeps a raw feel, but with a much clearer production than most. The drums aren't as audible as the scowling vocals or the guitar riffs, but they manage to keep the band's punk nature intact.
This disc only has four original songs that each seem to keep the same tempo and mood, but the disc's gem would have to be "Frostbitepanzerfuck 4:51" with it's addition of a good solo. The disc also has a cover of Darkthrone's "Under A Funeral Moon 4:49" but I can't really tell you if it's better, worse, or on par with the original. Again, not much to say here; but it's free from the band if you can still find it.
Highlights: Frostbitepanzerfuck (5 Tracks, 19:00)