Friday, July 13, 2012

The Short List (7-12-11) (Backtracking)


The Beast Of The Apocalypse - Henosis (2011) - The black metal band TBOTA is decent enough, with their riffs, drum work and atmospheres being heard at least clear enough that you can tell what they are. The band had plenty of money to do a higher quality recording, due to the look of the album packaging and whatnot; (check it out yourself, if you're curious) but they simply chose not to go in that direction. Instead, what we have here is something with a raw approach, especially on the vocals. The drum work in the bands seems to be the strong point, with the drummer really carrying the whole disc. A few interesting guitar tricks also make an appearance, if you'll listen closely.

The vocals on this disc sound like the sort of screams and grunts one might remember from early Cradle Of Filth, but this band also likes to throw in their love for "groovy black metal" in a few portions of the disc. Though they try to sound very evil, and succeed very well in some of the tracks, (it literally sounds like a creature from the netherworld got on vocals on the album closer "Yaldabaoth.") yet some of the tracks on this one just seem very basic, and too raw to consider TBOTA anything more than just another black metal band. A few good ideas, and nothing more.

Fans of extremely raw and "kvlt" black metal will dig this, but I on the other hand; think that it could've done with a better production, or the vocalist could've fucking spoken up a little on the mic. It doesn't sound chaotic when you choose to just incoherently scream and make all sorts of noises on the just sounds rather amateurish. There are tens of thousands of bands that sound just like this, and most likely tens of thousands of black metal bands that sound better. 38:00


Crucified Mortals - Crucified Mortals (2011) - This thrash band screams right out of the 80's. The band creates solid thrash metal, and they do it well. The quality is a little raw, but intended to be that way, and their vocalist can bark with the best of them. There is Slayer influence, but this is not Slayer by any means. This band seems to have some real talent, so take notice. Especially since they'll probably go unnoticed otherwise. 37:00.

5/5 (Great old school thrash)

Deadend In Venice - See You On The Ground (2011) - This melodic death metal band from Lacuna Coil's home country of Italy is very much in the vein of them, but I need to also add that it's a much heavier mixture of thrashy death metal with a vocalist that reminds me somewhat of legendary Carcass frontman, Jeff Walker. This isn't saying much, as his vocal style has been copied the world over by other screamers in death metal.

This album is heavy, but does feature plenty of female vocals. It's comparable to Deadlock's "Wolves", but is actually death metal and not core. The solos are pretty good as well, but nothing earth shattering. Sometimes the vocals aren't as spot on as one would like. You can tell that this guy doesn't have a great deal of experience behind the mic, as he loses his harsh vocal a few times mid scream/growl.

Oh, don't judge me on this - but I also really like the song fronted by only the female vocalist, "Dirty Little Princess." It's as good lyrically as it is vocally, and has lyrics similar to my old band's "The Plastic Queen." The band has some major staying power, and is worth it for fans of death metal, and stuff like Lacuna Coil, Leave's Eyes, and others - bands most metal heads would never admit to liking. But, guess what? I dig this stuff too. 32:00


Dining In Tuscany - 1556 (2011) - This post-grind band with a very odd, but unique concept offers more in the way of melodic brutal death metal with black metal elements, than actual grind. Melody is definitely there, and it's used to great extents. The band sort of reminds me of Anaal Nathrakh, and since their new album isn't quite out just yet; this disc will serve as an appetizer of sorts, until the disc does arrive. Although some might even say that this band sounds much better than Anaal Nathrakh ever could. 34:00


Drugs Of Faith - Corroded (2011) - Whether you want to call it extreme hardcore, or what I consider to be "extreme punk", Drugs Of Faith is old hat injected with new life. Punk hasn't sounded this good in ages. The mixing of double bass, thrash, and progressive notions together with some very unconventional riffing, make this album an enjoyable experience. While not very long, like most punk albums - it still packs a punch, and is way better than most of the emo-punk shit that will be released this year. Perhaps punk isn't dead, after all. Oh, by the way - there's no breakdowns here. 26:00


Hellbringer - Hellbringer EP (2011) - Sounding like a straight mix of Slayer and Manowar at their thrashiest, Hellbringer comes on very strong with a well produced debut EP. Expect grim vocals, thrash riffs, thrash solos, and the occasional "ow!" and you've got it. If you're looking for some decent thrash that doesn't sound too new or different, these gentlemen keep it old school. 32:00


Inkisitor - Dysevangelist (2011) - Osmose’s French import death metal band Inkisitor is really something. The band has a sound that is utterly demonic, and does well to mix their death metal style with elements of black metal. The riffs all sound very grim, especially during the slower portion of the songs.

There is some definite brutality on this disc, and even what sounds like a screaming session on the disc’s title track, so if you wanted to hear a man scream his bloody lungs out; well that track’s for you. The amount of sheer chaos in that one is something I haven’t quite heard before, so it stands out among the rest.

There’s not much more I feel I need to say about this band other than the fact that they are some of the most deliciously evil death metal that I’ve heard in a very long time. There’s a genuine sort of rage on this disc that can be emulated by other bands, yet the truth of the matter is that this anger is coming right from the heart. Someone is pissed about something, and they want you to know about it, as grim and brutal, and as demonically as they possibly fucking can. Definitely check out this little slice of hell. (38:00)


Megadriver - Metal For Gamers EP (2011 Free Album) - Even though you probably won't want it, the Brazilian vgmetal band Megadriver has released another album. As their entire discography is free from the band's website, you can find much more interesting instrumental releases from the band. What makes this one different is the addition of a vocalist, along with an added production value.

But not just any vocalist, mind you - quite possibly one of the worst men that I've ever heard pick up a mic. I've been a fan of video games since I could press a button, and I've loved the beep-boop shit, especially when it got translated over into rock/metal, but this 13 minutes of bad vocals in just about all places was a bit much to endure.

Yes, the quality is good, and the band sounds GREAT musically (they've never sounded better) - but I just can't get by the vocals. The guy tries so hard to sound like Rob Halford, and he's just not him. I mean, there's a guy that growls also in a few portions...why can't he just do ALL the vocals? 13:00


N.K.V.D. - Vlast (2011) - This Russian NSBM band mixes the industrial drum techniques of Ministry with their brand of very anthemic black metal. As this is Russian, don’t expect to understand any of the lyrics, if you can even discern the vocals at all. It sounds like chaos throughout the disc, very much in the vein of early Aborym, but it has the unfortunate fact of damn near being a different variation of the same song for 37 minutes.
Yes, it’s very brutal and relentless, I can hear that much. It just sounds like the same “Dark Russian March” for far too long, and there’s little creativity or staying power. In the end, it’s more or less a bunch of pro socialist anthems with industrial drumming and the same old riffs in every song. It’s mediocre and boring. (37:00)


Fleshgod Apocalypse - Mafia (2010 EP) - Even if this isn’t an EP, it’s definitely as short as one. But the band has plenty to offer even in these 23:00. Combining brutal death metal with excellent melodies and even some power metal style clean vocals is definitely something that approaches new ground. But still, the package seems to come up short in the end regardless of all the band tries to do, because we’ve heard it all before. The drummer pounds with every second, and this is a band who is still worried about being as technical and as fast as they possibly can be.

So even though this is a somewhat interesting piece of death metal, that’s about all it is. Even the At the Gates (Which I’ve never cared for) cover of “Blinded By Fear” is probably nowhere as good as the original. (Which I’ve probably already heard, I just never could get into ATG.) The last song on the disc, “Mafia” is nothing more than a little piano piece. Don’t waste your money on three songs, one cover, and a piano piece. It’s just not worth it. Download this if you want it. It’s a fucking sampler, and nothing more. (23:00)


Pandemic Genocide - Mighty Apocalypse (2011) - This satanic death metal band definitely has enough to give fans of the genre what they want, which is emphasis on the old school riffs with some good solos, machinegun (and sometimes technical) drumming, and songs with more than just one tempo. The intro for the album is quite unnecessary, but there is an acoustic intro to the title track, which works in the band’s favor, but may turn off those people who wanted a heavy album throughout.

The disc is very short, at 32 minutes, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough death metal here to enjoy. It’s a decently produced and well crafted effort, honoring well the old school death metal legends while still keeping things fresh enough for most metalheads to enjoy. (32:00)


Pantheon - Fuhrersland (2011) - This definite NSBM band is pretty much what you’d expect from the most controversial genre in metal music. If you still don’t know what NSBM is, google it. Anyway, this band showcases some good melody amidst the semi-raw production of the very short 24 minute piece.

If not for the melodies and folk influences in each of these songs, I would be rather bored of the disc real quickly. But being that the band offers something more than unbridled rage, I’m happy for it, regardless of whatever the hell the vocalist is screaming about on this album. One thing I honestly hate on this record is an oddity amongst all of metal, and I haven’t heard one album that is like this one before, in all the metal I’ve ever heard.

The band uses a march intro in the beginning of the disc - fine, big deal. But unlike any other metal I’ve ever heard, the band use the exact same intro in every single song on the disc. It just plays for a while, then fizzes out and goes to the next song. A bit pointless and repetitive, it’s better just to skip the first few seconds of every song to where the song actually starts. (24:00)


The Phantom Carriage - New Thing (2011) - What do you call the band that plays almost everything? Original. That’s exactly what you’re getting here, which might be one of 2011’s most unique and must have releases, despite the 30 minute play time. Almost every song on the disc is completely different, with influences ranging from black metal to death metal to hardcore to metalcore, to technical death metal, and even prog. There’s even some rather depressing melodies amidst this chaos. But then there’s the weirdness of songs such as the one with the French Title which is a 1:29 happy sounding instrumental that gets a little darker, and includes some machine gun sections in areas.

Seriously, this band certainly has some talent being able to mix all this shit together and not sound like a tub of horseshit. (which I have no idea how that would actually sound, but I doubt that it would make a noise at all) Automatically, songs like “The Monument On Hendrick’s Hill” will make some people just plain giddy with glee. Especially people who like prog and technicality and stuff like Converge, because there’s definitely Converge influence in the band.

But there is so much experimentation, it might be too much for people that like things simple, and don’t feel like challenging their brains. Also, there’s the hardcore influence, which some people won’t like. Let’s also don’t forget about the jazzy and bluesy “Black Rain Falls In Drops.” A hardcore tinkering of classic blues. Even though I don’t much like hardcore, even songs like this are mildly interesting. The album confused me at first, and from the beginning, I thought it was black metal, but then it changed to hardcore, and then extreme hardcore. (like Converge for example, which I think this band is much better than, btw)

For the most part, this is a mind-blower and a damn triple sixer for sure. There’s some very interesting things going on in this album, and maybe not so much vocally, but definitely musically. You’d be an idiot not to check it out. But I fear this band has too much talent, and may get picked up by a label who might like to modernize their sound. Let’s hope not…this sounds well produced enough. Their current label has done them well.

Definitely check out this rare metal experiment, which ends with a nice piano piece. But don’t they all these days? I bet I could take all the piano pieces from every metal album and make a full piano album out of them all. I’d like to see an album end with a flute, or maybe a banjo. What about some steel drums? (30:00)


Ramlord - Stench Of Fallacy (2011) - Demo’s the name of the game here, and while these gentlemen have a little to offer the world of black metal, it’s fucking ridiculous for the most part. There are some good riffs and the intro to the disc began as completely non metal and almost like prog rock. But then when the band started playing, it seemed to be a bunch of extremely low quality recordings and some voice clips.

The disc is 27 minutes and I wouldn’t buy it unless I really liked it. You can hear the instruments, but not really the vocals. Hasn’t anyone heard of mastering or editing software? This sounds like it was made in someone’s garage. I know, some of us like to be old school, but then it makes your whole act to be just shit. There’s a bunch of incoherent screaming and punk influence on this disc, but it’s not much I haven’t already heard, and nothing I’d fucking keep.

Even though they try to do something interesting, these are the kind of raw black metal albums that I dread listening to. This is the stuff that made me hate black metal in the beginning, but I found with better production and though, black metal can be quite enjoyable. Not so with this crap. Go download some fucking recording software and try again gentlemen, as it is 2011. I just screamed on a fucking mic for two hours or so, and last my vocals are audible with audition…hell, my vocals in FL STUDIO 9 sounded more coherent than this mess.

If this is what you mean by kvlt, you can count me the hell out. If I wanted to listed to crap, I would go to the bathroom and relive myself. At least I’d feel better after that. After listening to this, I just feel worse. (27:00)


Ribspreader - The Van Murders (2011) - Ribspreader is very well produced, and finely crafted death metal the way it ought to sound for sure. Despite the fact that the album is rather short, it is full of great death metal sounding as evil and as memorable as you’ve heard before, but with a more modern sound and some interesting guitar effects.

The mood of this album is meant to be grim and evil, and the riffs and melodies have a very slasher-esque sort of feel to them. All of the lyrics on the album are about you guessed it - murder, except for “Going To L.A.” which sounds like it could’ve been left off, as it’s only a rather decent instrumental at best and throws the whole mood of the album off. Still, the band has crafted some great classic death metal with plenty of groove, plenty of death, some good solos in a few places, and that gravelly vocal style that makes death metal death metal.

Definitely worth a listen, some of the best death metal I’ve heard in a little bit. (29:00)


Saprophyte - Decompose (2011) - Damn. This might be a short 24 minute 5 track disc, but it’s definitely worth hearing. It’s a well produced death metal/fusion album, and it it’s ridiculous. I have no idea who or how old these guys are, but they’ve got definite talent and skill. The riffs are good, and sometimes even amazing, and the solo to end the disc off is pretty spectacular. If this is just the first sampling of this band, I can’t wait to hear more, and possibly a much longer album next time.

But don’t take my word for it, check the disc out yourself. I’m sure they have some songs up on the myspace as well, there’s some definite influence from bands such as Cynic and Sculptured, which are absolutely tremendous bands I’d fight you over.

I recommend you support these guys if you like them, because they’ve got some sure talent. A band to watch, definitely. (24:00)


Shangren - Warriors Of Devastation (2011) - Now here’s a band with something new to the table, despite a little bit of non-serious portions on the disc. The band is clearly not a Chinese band, probably some Europeans or Americans that really wanted to try to mix black/death metal with oriental folk music. It’s a bit interesting, and some of the songs are rather good. There’s only six tracks on the album, but the first three tracks are considerably longer than the second three tracks, with the longest song on the album being “The Grand Unity” (7:54)

The band is actually not half bad, except that the music sounds overly raw, and the Chinese oriental pieces sound rather well produced. Clearly this is the work of someone with computer recordings of these instruments, and not the actual instruments being played. Regardless, the band is able to mix these two elements together rather well. That’s still not saying much. There’s some rather non-serious parts on the disc that make the band seem a joke, some “wah’s” and “ooh’s” on the vocals. Maybe this band is a joke, but they don’t sound like one and the cover looks kind of serious.

Regardless, it’s going to sound like a joke to most, because these guys are doing this stuff as some kind of ninja-metal thing, despite the actual catchiness and decent playing on a few of these songs. I especially enjoyed “The Battle Of Water and Fire” and would say it’s one of the better tracks on the disc. Right to the point.

Worth a try, but don’t expect greatness. (30:00)


Twilight - Awaiting The Sunrise (2011) - First of all, this has nothing to do with the books, or the crappy movie. Twilight (Rus) is a symphonic black/death metal band. To tell the truth, they remind me of early Graveworm, and that can’t be a bad thing, right?

Also, the lyrics are English. That’s a good thing - considering I’ve gotten rather good at understanding screams and growls. The melody seems to be a real big part of this band, and some of it sounds like it could be Bodom inspired, but to tell the truth, I am hearing a lot of early Graveworm here.

To put it short, these guys are an excellent mix of early Graveworm and Bodom that sounds a lot darker than you’d expect. The production value is decent, and when the female vocals are used, it’s quite good as well. I’d recommend it to fans of gothic black metal, or symphonic black/death for sure, because I’ve been a big fan of that particular style for years, and I am loving this. There’s also some rather heavy tracks on the disc, like the 2:24 “Hate.”

Definitely recommended for fans of early Graveworm and early Bodom. A good band that needs more attention. Possibly one of my favorite albums so far. I’ll have to give this one a few listens. If I even get a chance to do that. (I seldom do, and I’m already behind this month.)

From now on, when someone mentions Twilight, I’m going to think of this band. (32:00)


Void - Void (2011) - Well, this is the first Void album to feature vocalist Ben Lowe, who is now RIP. His vocals are amazing on the disc, and he’ll be greatly missed. This band, which seems to have just about shed all of their electronics in favor of more avant-garde/progressive black metal with a twist; has possibly put out one of the best albums I’ve heard in quite a while.

It’s just good. You can tell when an album sounds memorable, and contains certain memorable drum rhythms or guitar riffs, or an overall uniqueness and style that sort of pushes the boundary of the genre. This is the straw that broke normality’s back. I consider the sound rather uplifting in the sense that it actually shows signs of originality, albeit sporadity which seems to work in the band’s favor as well.

I’ve enjoyed every single track on the disc sans the instrumentals which are rather short and sweet to begin with. From the opener, “Alligator X-Ray” to such great tracks as “Cypher” or “Feral” there is plenty of experiential black metal with an avant-garde style that Arcturus only dreamed of. Whether or not Ben’s tragic departure will spell another new direction for this band is unknown, but in the 36 minutes that I am given, I am completely fucking spellbound by an album, that like the rest - I would want to listen to again. If you are looking for something new in Black Metal, here it is. I’ve been also told that their previous album, “Posthuman” is essential, if not canonical black metal, so go check that out as well. (36:00)


Volturyon - Coordinated Mutilation (2011) - There’s definite corpse worship on this album, and it’s quite easy to tell that from the first couple songs, let alone the entire disc. The production value is as good as you would expect it to be for this age, and the music contains both rather fast paced and rather groove oriented death metal songs with everything that Cannibal Corpse has already done and better.

Are Volturyon bad? Nope. I’ve just heard this stuff already, and I liked it better when it was called Cannibal Corpse and didn’t have that screaming metalcore guy in it. I’m sure these guys are enjoying themselves, and if you like old school death metal in the vein of Corpse with some of today’s metal mainstays, you’ll probably enjoy this disc.

There’s not a fucking thing wrong with it, other than the fact that I’ve already heard it before. (35:00)


Also Recommend: Cannibal Corpse, Entombed, Deicide, OLDER Morbid Angel (For the love of all that is metal!) Let’s hope you know who these bands are.

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