Friday, July 13, 2012
Week 12 (Backtracking)
Ade - Prooemium Sanguine (2009) - Ade sounds like a mix between Behemoth and Melechesh, with death metal vocals and middle eastern riffs, as well as standard fare death metal riffs. It’s in the middle eastern melodies and short instrumentals that this band shines, although not brightly as I would’ve hoped. I could easily say that any album from Behemoth or Melechesh would be a better affair than this middle of the road mix.
Utterly disappointed, but not completely let down either. It’s got hits and misses, but nothing as striking as either of the two bands that they seem to be attempting to mix together. Still, it’s worth a spin if you’re interested.
OVERALL:A MEDIOCRE MIX OF BEHEMOTH AND MELECHESH, WITH A FEW FRILLS HERE AND THERE. IT’S WORTH A SPIN, BUT LITTLE ELSE. ALSO, IT’S A VERY SHORT ALBUM (34:00), SO I DON’T FEEL THERE WAS ENOUGH MATERIAL HERE TO FULLY CAPTURE THE SOUND OF THIS BAND.
Amogh Symphony - Abolishing The Obsolete System (2009) - This mostly instrumental 33 minute album showcases what seems to be impressive technical death metal mixed with prog, acoustics, electronics, and more. There are only vocals featured on one track, and they are thoroughfare - but work well with the song.
This is the kind of album that doesn’t need vocals, from the kind of band that doesn’t need vocalists. This album speaks for itself, being an experimental masterpiece. Recommended for fans of Animals As Leaders.
OVERALL: 33 MINUTES OF GREAT MUSIC. ONE SONG HAS VOCALS, BUT THE ALBUM CAN STAND WITHOUT THEM. LOTS OF BRILLIANCE HERE, SO CHECK IT OUT.
Among The Departed - Demo (2009) - I thought this was awful boring deathcore, so I gave it the boot. It was only two songs, so it really gets no full review.
Assimilated Mind Phase - Omega (2010) - This is a 28:00 one track album, or EP - since it is about EP length, which contains no vocals, and is just more or less a big prog metal orgy. While it’s certainly interesting, and I suppose that fans of this stuff will really quite enjoy this one, it’s not for everyone - but that should go without saying.
In the 28 minutes that you listen to this track, you’ll experience Meshuggic riffs which sound like they were ripped from Meshuggah themselves, (I guess they don’t have a copyright on their sound) and some atmospheric work, as well as some soft acoustic parts and a little bit of electronics here and there, but mostly static. It’s quite straightforward really, and good only if you need a quick fix of new prog metal.
OVERALL: SHORT, SWEET, AND TO THE FUCKING POINT. IT’S A PROGGY MESHUGGAH INSPIRED JAM SESSION MORE OR LESS, WITH NO FRILLS ATTACHED.
Score: 3/5 (Still a bit mediocre in the fact that I’ve heard this sort of thing before, and done much better.)
Chronic Decay - Justify Your Existence (1993 - Re-release 2010) - This album reminds me of the early Sepultura years, with most of it sounding like “Beneath The Remains” , and maybe a little Chaos A.D. in some areas. But, let’s not go too far with that statement, as in all honesty, people that want to listen to this one just because it reminds them of older Sepultura need to go back and just listen to older Sepultura.
Many of us have albums we never listen to anymore, and then find ourselves looking for more music that sounds like those albums we never listen to anymore. It’s kind of ironic in a way, really. Surely we’re not burnt out on metal so soon, I hope. It’s called breathing new life into old albums.
But, if you have listened to Sepultura your fill, and you want something very similar, then listen to this one. Personally though, I find Chaos A.D. works fine with me.
OVERALL: SOUNDS LIKE OLD SEPULTURA, BUT NOT AS GOOD. BETTER TO JUST GO BACK AND LISTEN TO OLD SEPULTURA.
Score: 2/5 For a damn near blatant rip-off of “Beneath The Remains” era Sepultura.
Crypticus - The Rise Of Infestation EP (2010) - Crypticus sounds like the new face of American death metal. I am very pleased by what these four tracks have to offer, and what’s even better, is that the band is slated to release a full album in 2011 from Razorback Recordings. No relation to the football team though, since this album was created by two gentlemen from Colorado. Patrick Bruss is the Vocalist, Guitarist, and Bassist. Brynjar Helgeton is just the drummer, but the guy’s got a great beard to his credit. I wonder if he’s a member of the national beard wearer’s association.
Anyway, the vocals on this album are dark and blood-curdling, and remind me of Akerfeldt’s Bloodbath work on “Resurrection Through Carnage.” Which is a very good thing. I’ll say this, his vocals are the best kind of death metal vocals in my opinion. The guy can also play the hell out of the guitar, and the little bits of symphonics work in just the right places that they use them.
The production on this EP is pristine. Everything is very clear, and I’d hardly expect it. I mean, this is one seriously badass EP. It’s only 4 songs though, with a Runemagick cover for “Enter The Realm Of Death.” I have not heard the original version of this song either, but I’d have to say that this is a great song by itself.
Even though short, grab it. I was very impressed.
OVERALL: 4 GREAT DEATH METAL SONGS WITH GOOD PRODUCTION. SOUNDS LIKE SECOND ALBUM BLOODBATH/GRAVE STYLE DEATH METAL, AND THE VOCALS ARE KILLER. CAN’T WAIT FOR “THE NEXUS OF DEATH (2011).”
Dead Eyed Sleeper - Through Forests Of Nonentities (2009) - This progressive death metal band with a black metal album name, (so it threw me off quite a bit) has released a surefire win with this album, which contains great melodies, crushing vocals, a little bit of electronics, and all the progressive styles of Opeth, and countless others who sound like them.
You should by now get the picture of what this sounds like, although they do mix a little bit of core, and do interesting things with the dreaded “breakdown” areas that so many bands seem so fond of nowadays. I don’t get it, myself.
Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, I still found this album to be a welcome surprise, and one of the favorites of this particular review set. The quality is very good, and I really don’t know why this one went like so many other good albums in this metal mess we’ve been accumulating in recent years…went unnoticed.
This could be possibly because of the Opeth factor, which I think that while many bands continue to write in this style, when used well, it can be a great listening experience. Don’t write this one off, because It’s actually quite good. I wonder if these guys are still together?
OVERALL:SOLID PROG. DEATH METAL, WITH GREAT MELODIES. SOMETIMES A LITTLE DOOM/DEATH, BUT FOR THE MOST PART, A VERY GOOD LISTENING EXPERIENCE. WORTH A SPIN.
Dead Shape Figure - The Grand Karoshi (2008) - Throw away thrash core with very little going for it. I’ve heard this done better, by a thousand other bands. There are some good riffs here and there, but nothing amazing. It’s brutal though.
Dead Shape Figure - The Disease Of St. Vitus (2010) - This release on the other hand, is a completely different story. The band’s sound did a complete 360, and is now a melodic death metal / thrash band with clean vocals and some classic riffs in a few areas. This works well for the band, because if you listen to both albums side by side, (which I did) you’ll finally hear some goddamned meat to go with those potatoes that they gave us in 2008.
The clean vocals grew on me. I’ll admit it. I couldn’t get into them at first, but after a while, they really sunk in. This is partly due to the fact that they are used quite frequently. This added together with great melodies, including those classic metal homage riffs in a few places works just well enough to be worth a listen. I’ve never heard of these guys in my life until just a week ago, and I see potential. They could have easily put out another boring old thrash core album, but “variety is the spice of metal.”
Towards the end of the experience, I have some slight issues. The last couple tracks on the album don’t inspire much, and the clean vocals in their native didn’t work for me. There just seemed to be something missing, especially with that last 3:00 track, which is something that could’ve been on Karoshi in a heartbeat. The Crown does it better.
I will say that it’s certainly different, but not original. It’s definitely some meat, but a rather small piece. The whole thing feels like a B-Cup breast, when it could’ve been a C or even a D. There’s always 2012, gentlemen. You’ve got plenty of potential here, so don’t fuck it up.
OVERALL: REALLY GOOD MIX OF MELODIC DEATH METAL, WITH A GOOD BIT OF THRASH. CLEAN VOCALS WILL GROW ON YOU, (UNLESS THEY DON’T.) AND YOU SHOULD ENJOY IT UP UNTIL ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE TRACKS WHICH FEEL LACKING… LIKE A B CUP BREAST. STILL, PLENTY OF POTENTIAL, AND WORTH A SPIN.
Score: 4/5 (Good.)
Deus Invictus - Staged In Awaiting (2010) - Well, here we have a very good Christian Progressive Death Metal (Or is it Life Metal?) band, from what sounds like, here in the U.S. of A. Think of it as Opeth for Jesus. I’m serious!
Yes, it’s good. It’s a great album with wonderful progressive melodies, skull crushing riffs and vocals, and a whole hell of a lot of prog and technicality. There’s some vocoder work in order to make some of the vocals sound more “satanic” and such, since it seems to be a preachy one about “You better get ready because a 2,000 year old messianic figure is soon to approach and save a certain number of people.”
I’m not really going to answer that one, because I have my own theories on the subject, and could go on for quite a while about the messianic figures and what they represent to humankind. I’d rather not get into the rest of this, because I’d rather not begin to berate metaphysical and ET talk on the subject. (I’m a big believer in the Ancient Alien Theory, which I‘m sure will be proven eventually.)
As for the album, it is 65:00 of great metal. This is one that is right up there with early Extol. Sure, the production isn’t amazing, and sometimes the clean vocals have a bit of a drawl, but these guys have some definite skills, and hard work was put into this recording. I recommend it to people of all faiths, or no faiths, and most certainly fans of progressive death metal, as it’s another 2010 surprise that I did not expect.
Trust me, you won’t believe this until you hear it. There’s MAJOR potential for these guys, and I hope that they might get some recognition for their work. It sounds like a Christian Opeth, but a Good Christian Opeth…however ironic that sounds.
OVERALL: GOOD CHRISTIAN PROG. DEATH METAL. BETTER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK, SO GIVE IT A TRY. LOTS OF GOOD RIFFS AND MELODIES TO BE FOUND WITHIN. LYRICS ARE PREACHY, BUT SO ARE MANY OF CHRISTIAN ALBUMS THESE DAYS. WORTH A SPIN, DEFINITELY.
Divine Empire - Method Of Execution (2005) - Divine Empire has been around for several years. Of course, I could say that I just found out about them, but that would be incorrect, because I did have a Metal MP3 Disc which was part of a sampler, and contains a shitload of bands past and present. I forget the name of the sampler, but I will say that almost everything I’ve heard from these guys is great.
The mix of black metal and death metal together just works so fucking well, along with the other things that they do. Why in the hell aren’t these guys more well known among the metal community? Especially in the states? I mean, don’t we help out our own?
Yeah, I forgot where I was. Sorry.
Regardless, I think that this album, among many others is an absolute must, because it just has that feel of a band that knows what the fuck they’re doing. They’re legends in their own right, and have been doing this stuff since the days when I didn’t even know what metal was.
While there are just a few tracks on here that seem like filler, there are so many other tracks that balance it out just enough. The solos here aren’t very long, but they’re there.
You know, I really don’t need to say anything more about these guys. If you don’t know who they are, don’t start out with this one. Start with the first one, and work your way up. If you missed out on this one - go get it. Plus, the Italian rhythms were a first for me. Never heard Italian rhythms and metal go together before. So there’s that.
OVERALL: DEATH METAL LEGENDS 2005 ALBUM, JUST AS GOOD AS ANY OF THEIR OTHER ALBUMS. GREAT SHIT THAT I WISH I LISTENED TO SOONER.
Score: 4.5/5 (Some filler)
Embedded - Beyond The Flesh (2009) - When I first listened to this one, I was absolutely horrified by the damned pig squeal vocals in the first song. Although, as the album went on I found it to be pretty decent. The band plays well, and the riffs are hooky enough for any death metal head to easily pick up.
There’s no sugarcoating what this is, it’s a death metal album through and through. Sometimes it’s low, and other times it’s brutal. It’s tried and true formula that’s been copied dozens of times. So of course, it still works here.
If you’re looking for something new, look elsewhere. This album is still a bit basic for my tastes. I will say there’s a bit of technicality and even a little prog in this album’s “non death metal lyrics” lyrical approach.
In the end, I’m sure there’s people that liked it in 2009, and it’s still a good release, just nothing amazing. It also contains a cover of Malevolent Creation’s “Living In Fear.”
OVERALL: DEATH METAL WITH SOME TECHNICALITY, AND SOME PROG. EVEN THOUGH IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WOULD BE ABOUT DEATH AND MURDER, IT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE. STILL, NOTHING I HAVEN’T ALREADY HEARD.
Gru - Cosmogenesis (2010) - Gru is the sound of the fucking universe, pure and simple. If you enjoy bands like Pelican, Animals As Leaders, and other well known bands in this gigantic genre of “Instru-METAL” as I’ve called it - you will enjoy this band as well.
I’ll be honest about this one. It’s breathtaking. What is captured in the short length of this album, (33:00) is absolutely mesmerizing, and a great way to spend half and hour. These songs are so great, that I wouldn’t mind hearing them again and again. I really enjoyed Animals As Leaders, but this one synced with me just a little more.
You just close your eyes, and imagine the metallic sound of the universe - planets soaring past you at the speed of light, the blazing heat of stars and suns that one could only imagine, but never see…yet one can feel it all, wrapped in this beautiful package of incredible sound.
It’s that good.
OVERALL: THE METALLIC SOUND OF THE UNIVERSE. A BREATHTAKING LISTEN FOR ANYONE. ONE TRACK IS ALL IT TAKES TO BE HOOKED.
Score: 6/5 (BRILLIANT!)
Heaving Earth - Diabolical Prophecies (2010) - This is a very solid and interesting enough death metal album from a band who named themselves from the intro track of Morbid Angel’s “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh” album. It also recalls the sound of that album. The vocals are as gravely as they should be, and the playing is overall fantastic. While nothing that will blow your mind completely, it’s still a rather enjoyable listen.
The quality of the album isn’t very loud though, and I had to crank my volume up to a hundred just to get it at a listenable level. It’s great music to exercise to, as I’ve been using it and other releases for that purpose.
OVERALL: SOLID DEATH METAL, WITH GREAT PLAYING. WORTH A SPIN, AND YOU MIGHT REALLY ENJOY IT. JUST BE SURE TO CRANK IT.
Myrkskog - Deathmachine (2000) - Well, this is interesting. Myrkskog seems to be one of the only bands that I’ve heard mix something I usually don’t care much for, (technicality) and something I’ve always been a huge fan of, (black metal) in a way that is most pleasing to my ears.
To their merit, Myrkskog is not necessarily a full blown black metal band. There’s still a bit of death metal vocals and riffs, but it’s so blackened that it works well enough for me. What you’re going to get with this one is a technical black metal style that sounds phenomenal, and well produced enough to have gone farther into the scene. I am not sure whether or not this band is still around, but with this release, they should be.
Slightly in the vein of Dimmu’s “Death Cult Armageddon”, except more tolerable - this album is something I would have to call brilliant, brutal, and fierce. The melodies are as black as one should expect, and the vocals are some of the very greatest in black metal. If this sounds like it would be something you would enjoy, I suggest by all means checking it out, because it kills. Even though it was made 10 years ago, it still holds up very well, even in 2011.
Honestly, I have no idea why these gentlemen and their music have escaped my mind and ears for so long. I wished I’d known about a release like this one sooner. This just goes to show that there are still great and mostly undiscovered albums to be found out there in the mass of musical data we have amassed as a population.
OVERALL: A RARE GEM OF BLACKENED TECHNICALITY THAT FUCKING KILLS, SLAYS, AND CONQUERS. THERE IS SO MUCH GREATNESS ON THIS ALBUM THAT YOU MIGHT NOT REALIZE IT. DEFINITELY WORTH A SPIN. DON’T PASS UP HISTORY!
Pyrexia - Sermon Of Mockery (1993) - There’s not much to say here. It was interesting in a few areas, but I still felt that it was rather bland death metal. There were some more interesting things on the unnamed tracks, which sounded like they were from a demo. Still, I think that there’s much better death metal out there than this.
Don’t waste your time.
Sinister - Legacy of Ashes (2010) - With this latest album, Sinister proves why they’ve been around for years and Pyrexia hasn’t. Even though I am new to this band, I see that they’ve been out since at least the early 90’s.
What we have here is a crushing and also very proggy release, which blends the brutality of say a Grave album, with a little bit of Atheist-esque riffing. “Into The Blind World” and “Anatomy Of A Catastrophe” is a good example of this, and all in all, this is a great album that you need not pass up. It was released rather late in the year, but it’s still worth a couple spins, and maybe more.
I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of metal on this album, and it’s a good way to spend 37 minutes. As I’ve stated before, this disc is laden with great and interesting riffs and solos, which make this more than just another death metal album. The drum work is pretty straight, also... Did I mention the proggy overtones? Yeah, they make the whole thing A LOT more interesting. I also really like the intro track, and I have to make note of this, because as I always say: “It’s rare, when I even give a shit about an intro.”
This is a band that needs more attention, especially now. A fucking amazing album like this, and few people will actually hear it. It’s a damned shame.
Overall: 37 MINUTES OF GREAT DEATH METAL, WITH SOME PROGGY OVERTONES. SNAKED AROUND MY MIND LIKE THE NEW ATHEIST. I LIKE THAT FEELING, AND HOPEFULLY YOU WILL TOO. YOU’D BE AN IDIOT TO PASS THIS UP.
Universum - Motuus Machina (2010) - “Scar Symmetry - Mortuus Machina” would have been a better title for this album. It’s style is 100% the same as Scar Symmetry, down to the proggy riffs, the amazing solos, Alvestam’s growls and clean vocals…all that good stuff. The only major difference is that it sounds like Bjorn Strid or some sound-alike is dueling on vocals with him, and it’s a much heavier affair than you’d expect.
The bottom line is this: It IS Scar Symmetry with Christian Alvestam, they just changed the name. Fans of that band, (like me) and Soilwork, will love this album. There is not one bad song on it. It’s heavy, it’s melodic, the riffs and solos are incredible, and everything fucking kills from track to track.
If you’re a fan of progressive technical melodic death metal at all, you need to go get this fucking album. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. This is best thing Alvestam’s put out in a while. I’m also going to add the fact that this album is VERY HEAVY, compared to some of his other works (and I’m talking Unmoored as well.)
I don’t think I need to say anything more about this album. Just go get it, because you know you’re going to wind-up hearing it somewhere eventually.
OVERALL: SCAR SYMMETRY DUELING WITH SOILWORK. DO I EVEN NEED TO TELL YOU ANYTHING ELSE? ALVESTAM IS ON VOCALS, AND SOME GUY THAT REMINDS ME OF STRID, IF IT’S NOT STRID HIMSELF. IT’S VERY FUCKING HEAVY AND STILL PROGGY-BEAUTIFUL TOO. IT’S STILL “METAPHYSICAL METAL” AS WAS COINED BY SCAR SYMMETRY.
NOW, EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO LOOK UP THOSE LYRICS.
Zuul - Out Of Time (2010) - The guy hawking this album said that it was better than the new maiden, and other classic metal bands new releases this year. But personally, it reminds me a bit of Slough Feg, and that ground was tread by Slough Feg - but not before it was tread by those metal greats which are too numerous to name.
The quality of the album is raw, and sounds like a slightly “punk” iron maiden. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not anything that could be considered legendary. As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
I mean, it’s not a bad album. There’s good melodies, in a style that I’ve heard before. The vocals are alright, but not perfect. It’s decent enough to enjoy, and could grow on you, but it just isn’t as good as it was hyped up to be. The new maiden wasn’t great, but it was a good deal better than this one. There are however a few good tracks, like “Executioner” and “Warhammer.”
It’s worth a spin and all, but don’t go getting up your hopes for this one. I do however think that old heads might really enjoy this. It reminds one of metal’s old days, when production wasn’t everything, and just making a good album was all it was about. It’s just not that good, partly because I’ve heard it before. Kind of like I said… “a punky Iron Maiden.”
Okay, so I’ll admit it. Some of the solos on this thing are insane. So there’s that.
OVERALL: RAW, SLIGHTLY PUNKED IRON MAIDEN, WITH A SIDE OF FRIES PLEASE. IT FEELS LIKE I’VE EATEN THIS MEAL BEFORE, AND IT TASTED BETTER LAST TIME TOO. STILL, NOT BAD.
Score: 4/5 (Good.)