Friday, July 13, 2012
Week 14 (Backtracking)
Diabolical - Ars Vitae (2011) - Diabolical has probably been around for a while now, but I’ve just recently gotten into them. I think I might scour the back catalog, like I’ve done with Divine Empire. Another band that didn’t seem to get much notoriety, Diabolical is a progressive death metal band in the style of early arch enemy, except that the riffs and solos are very proggy. The vocal approach is also more along the terms of black metal, but that does not make this a black metal band.
As I said before, the progressive notions of this band are more than apparent, and at sometimes can be a tad grating. This very odd release, which showcases four new tracks, an eight song (and outro makes 9) concert of good enough quality, and four demo or scrapped tracks.
I can’t help but wonder what the packaged edition of this might entail, possibly the oversized booklet and bonus DVD of the show, which would be nice, since I thought the show was pretty damned good. I would’ve just rather seen it, and not heard it.
So, while not really a new release - it’s still got a nice show and some interesting extra tracks. If you like the band, you’ll probably be buying this. But, if you’ve never heard of them, this is probably not the best place to start. It’s a good little live album with some other crap thrown onto it. The music though, is not crap - it just can get rather pretentious.
OVERALL: LIVE DISC WITH SOME EXTRAS. FANS ONLY.
Score: 3/5 (Not a legitimate release)
Clandestine Blaze - Falling Monuments (2011) - A one man side project of Deathspell Omega, this guy pretty much said “Fuck You” to all of the bands that have been doing the sort of black metal on this disc. He was basically also saying, “this is what kvlt black metal is supposed to be.” on each track, which all differ - but have the same basic overtone of classic raw black metal. There’s been so many bands, oh so many fucking bands that have tread the same goddamned paths and made the same ridiculous albums that were made in the 96 era over and over again, but this one actually is the whole thing done right.
This is black metal the way it was, and only the way a mastermind of Deathspell can do it. If you like black metal at all, get this disc. It’s 42 minutes of some of the best classic black metal that I’ve heard in a very long time.
Basically, it’s classic black metal…The Deathspell Omega way. With lots of melody, and a little more progression (not to be confused with progressive) than what I’ve heard from many of these other French upstarts. Leave it to the kings, boys and girls. You’ve been all given your cease and desist orders.
OVERALL: IF YOU LIKE BLACK METAL AT ALL, GET THIS ALBUM.
Gris - Neurasthenie (2008) - This on the other hand, isn’t my favorite kind of black metal. While melodic, it is ridiculously raw, and very hard to hear, except when the band goes into short instrumental interludes. It’s referred to as suicidal black metal, in the fact that it’s so glum, but if I can’t properly hear it - then why would I even try to kill myself with it? If I were to do such a thing, which would be nonsensically foolish. Suicidal Black Metal! HAH! Where do they get these terms, anyway? Has somebody got a hat of genre titles, and when they hear something new, they just pull one out and say “Oh, this is…”Suicidal” Black Metal this time.”
To tell you the truth, it just sounds like slow and raw black metal with good melody and a recording that sounds just a little lower in volume than it should be. I shouldn’t have to turn my volume up to a hundred to hear the album the way it should sound at say…40.
Most of the vocals don’t even sound like vocals. They sound like “ahhs” and “ughhhs”. While there are some words on the album, the vocalist, “Icare” definitely likes to make those noises in addition. It is only a two man band, so I guess you have to give some props to Icare for being able to do drums, piano, and vocals - not to mention that Neptune does both lead and bass. I mean, it’s a good effort - just wish that I could’ve heard it better.
50 minutes of this, as I’m convinced that I’d rather hear the new Drudkh, anything by Wolves Of The Throne Room, and most definitely the new “A Forest Of Stars.” it’s just a little basic for me, personally.
OVERALL: HARD TO HEAR TWO MAN BLACK METAL BAND, WITH VERY DREARY MELODIES, AND A LOT OF VOCAL AHHH’S AND UGH’S IN ADDITION TO THE LYRICS. THE MELODIES ARE GOOD, AND THE PIANO WORK IS GREAT, BUT IT JUST DOESN’T HAVE THE KIND OF PRODUCTION FOR IT TO BE NOTICED BY ANYONE BUT UNDERGROUND FUNERAL METAL PEOPLE.
Hectic Patterns - Random (2008) - Hectic is a rather interesting “Meshuggic” band, in the fact that they have combined one of their more obvious influences, with the style of brutal death metal and deathcore. Also, an added bonus is that the band offers a great deal or spontaneity.
It’s nothing amazing, unless you’re really into technical and sporadic death metal. If you are one of these kinds of people, you will fucking love this album. I thought some of it was just something I’ve heard already too many times prior, and it began to drone on me, until about the end of the album, where songs got interesting. I suppose it just has like many other albums out there: A Slow Middle Section.
This is really not too much to complain about though, because what is done well on this album is done with a great deal of quality and finesse. I don’t think that I could play like that, if I could actually play a few riffs. So obviously, these Frenchmen are very well skilled. It is not a Gojira clone, but is something all it’s own. I recommend it to fans of technical death, but that genre is not my favorite, so I’m sure that there are even more sporadic bands than this when it comes to time signatures.
Still, it wasn’t bad. Worth a spin at least.
OVERALL: SPORADIC, SPONTANEOUS, AND SOMEWHAT STABLE TECHNICAL DEATH METAL. BETTER THAN I EXPECTED, BUT I STILL EXPECTED A LITTLE MORE WELL…SOMETHING. IT JUST FELT TOO PLAIN IN A FEW AREAS. I ALSO MUST ADMIT I’M MORE OF A CLASSIC DM, AND MELODIC DM KINDA GUY. STILL, CHECK IT OUT.
STILL NOT AS GOOD AS SOL ASUNDER, IMHO.
Helrunar - Sol (2011) - I’ve never heard of this German black metal band before now, and with this epic 92 minute 2 disc release, I should have more than enough material to decide whether or not this was a good release, which was worth all of the work required to make 2 discs of black metal, or whether it was just a big fucking waste of time and money.
Fortunately, I can say with all honesty, that Helrunar is a great black metal band. The high quality production makes things sound much better than some other releases of the same black metal merit. The kind of black metal they play is more based along early Enslaved with a few “more interesting” riffs. It’s not psychedelic or anything, and the weirder and more proggy riffing doesn’t kick in until the second disc.
The first disc entitled “Sol I - Der Dorn Im Nebel” (All of the songs and lyrics are in German) and it basically starts off with a spoken word intro admist an atmosphere. This builds into the second track “Kollapsar”, which sets the mood for what I call “a slow black metal album” with very good riffs. The band can certainly play, and you need to hear them, whether you can understand the lyrics, and the concept of this album (which even I have no idea what it is, because I don’t speak German, and know only a few common words of it)
For the most part, the songs on this album are long. Not very long, but longer than the average American single by far. Some of them contain atmospherics, middle eastern acoustics, and well crafted black metal. It’s not the best black metal I’ve ever heard, but it’s certainly good.
Disc 2 “Sol II - Zweige Der Erinnerung” is the weirder album. It does feature faster and much heavier, thrash inspired playing. The vocals rarely thrash along, and are at some points spoken. This is what killed the final track on the first disc for me, and while I understand that there is a concept here, maybe even a story - I wished that the vocalist would literally just shut his damned mouth and let the band play. I don’t like when people talk over promos, and I don’t like when vocalists talk over musical tracks. Feels like a waste of music to me, when it’s not meant to be instrumental, or a song at all. You can’t really play anything like that as a standalone. It’s just a skipper, so why even bother?
The concept…Oh, right.
On this second disc, I think the band went a little more out of their way, adding a great deal more elements to the mix. There’s a nice “snarling” type of vocal at the beginning of “Moorganger” that I really like, as well as the riffing which is great, amidst the acoustics.
There’s a great deal that I can say about this disc, and that’s a good thing. It is arguably the better disc of the two, as it’s more experimental than the other. It’s one of those discs that you just need to listen to yourself to experience. Much more acoustics on this one though. Most of the slow black metal is on the first disc.
The bottom line with this collection is that you should check it out, whether you know the band well, or have never heard them. If you’ve got the money, or the bandwidth, check them out. Yes, it’s in German - but don’t let that stop you from enjoying great black metal. After all, how many Norwegian black metal bands are there that have recorded in their native? Plenty. Even Dimmu has plenty of Norwegian tracks, so don’t let the language deter you. If you do, you’ll never get to hear some great bands.
I’m not for that “Speak English Or Die” thing. Black Metal originated in Norway, so if they want to speak in English, it’s their thing - if they want to speak in Norwegian, Swedish, German, Russian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, French, or whatever - the music will still be there.
This is some great fucking black metal. (Especially that end dual guitar solo on 2nd album closer “Sol“, which is literally 6 minutes and 30 seconds long. I think it might be the longest solo I’ve ever heard in my life! They should have just called the track “Sol-o.”
OVERALL: IMPECCABLE GERMAN BLACK METAL. CHECK IT OUT, EVEN IF IT’S IN GERMAN. A VERY IMPRESSIVE TWO DISC CONCEPT ALBUM. YOU ALSO NEED TO CHECK OUT THAT DAMN NEAR 7 MINUTE SOLO.
Score: 666/5 (An epic release!)
Keith Merrow - Awaken The Stone King (2011) - This great instrumental progressive metal album is just perfect for dubbing vocals over, or using in my little MUGEN fighting game program for stage music. As for the album itself, it’s really not that amazing, but it’s got good production.
It sounds pretty much like any other prog metal instrumental album that I’ve heard. There’s heavy parts, and then there’s real light breaks. I guess it’s worth a listen for instrumentalists, but when I listen to this kind of stuff it’s second nature for me to form a vocal structure around it.
It’s not better than Loomis’s album though.
OVERALL: DECENT INSTRUMENTAL PROG METAL. HEAVY PARTS AND LIGHTS, GOOD FOR MANY THINGS OTHER THAN LISTENING TO. YOU’LL PROBABLY SEE SOME TRACKS FROM THIS COME UP ONLINE WITH MY VOX ON THEM, FOR FREE D/LOAD OF COURSE, I DON’T NEED TO BE PAID ANYTHING FOR JUST EXPRESSING MY ANGER ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS.
Score: 4/5 (Good as any other. But not Gru, or Animals. (Which you will NEVER see me dub over.)
Mitochondrion & Gyibaaw - Rituals Of Transcendence/Liimk Halaayt (2011) - Mitochondrion does the same thing here as they’ve done on their new album, which was released this month. It’s the same mix of brutal death metal and post/trance elements, but I do not think that these things go well together - it’s just too damned fast. How can you trance out and get an adrenaline rush at the same time? That sort of thing would kill a person, I think.
Gyibaaw is an interesting black metal band, with a rather interesting style. Despite the raw recording, the music uses some flamenco and other odd elements that aren’t native to black metal. The folk edge, but not “folk metal” style of this band, is what makes it unique and worth a damn.
Overall, the three tracks from Gyibaaw are great, while the others, including “Trials” which was already on the album, and the 45 second waste of fucking time “Totality” show little more to like about Mitochondrion - who I just plain don’t much for. All in all, the tracks range about 3 song length tracks (Gyibaaw is only 3 tracks) per band.
It’s worth a buy if you like this kind of stuff, but I don’t really care for Mitochondrion, at least not yet. They need to surprise me with something more than a Cannibal Corpse meets Neurosis deal.
OVERALL: MITO FANS WILL GET THIS. THEY’VE PROBABLY ALREADY GOT A FANBASE WHO THINKS I AM AN IDIOT. WELL, SO BE IT, THEN. I AGREE TO DISAGREE ON THE MATTER. ON THE OTHER HAND, FANS OF GYIBAAW WILL ENJOY THIS OUTING, EVEN IF THEY’VE NEVER HEARD GYIBAAW BEFORE.
Score: 3/5 (Half of it was good.)
Sui Cadere - Threne (2009) - This Canadian black/doom metal band (or suicidal black metal, if it do you fine) is quite a fucking riot. They’ve really got something great here, and it doesn’t take a few listens to hear it. They’ve got melodies, and they’ve got great riffs. Also, somebody really must’ve shit in that vocalist’s corn flakes, because he is really wailing his ass off.
A bit too long, I was wondering when it would end. It’s a great showcase of a band with good talent, but I feel that it might just be too much at one time. There’s only so much of their screaming madman that I can take and still be sane, and not wanting to off myself.
It is a bad thing however, when an album is a 54:00, and feels like 80:00. This could be due to the fact that a great deal of the songs are over the six minute mark. I am quite sure that some people will greatly enjoy this album, but not everyone will be included int hat very minute category.
OVERALL: GREAT BLACK/DOOM (SUICIDAL BLACK) METAL, BUT JUST ABOUT LONG ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO CHOP YOUR OWN HEAD OFF. GREAT MELODIES THROUGH AND THROUGH, AND STILL IS A VERY SATISFYING LISTEN. IT ALMOST FELT LIKE WINNING A MARATHON. THE EXPERIENCE WAS INDEED GREAT, BUT YOU WERE ALSO GLAD THAT IT WAS OVER.
Superior Enlightenment - The Great Obscurantism (2009) - This amazing Canadian black metal band is going to kick your fucking ass. It’s a little bit death metal, a great deal of thrash, very few industrial parts, and on one of the songs there’s a bit of a core vocal approach.
Yes, they can play. Not much for solos on here, but everything else is really great - including the drum work, the overall guitar work, and the whole atmosphere of it. They experiment a few times, but it’s not how you would think. Definitely a lot of double bass, but it all sounds really good right here. I think this band has got some amazing talent, with all the tightness and technicalities, and I think this band needs to be heard by more people than just the few in Canada that like them, because they’re fucking great.
Some albums, it just doesn’t take a few songs to get in - and this is one of those albums. Each one of them is so different, like a different deranged child, and each one is beautiful in it’s own fucked up black metal way. Just the fact that every song has such a great flow makes this one listenable for almost any occasion. You’re going to be blown away by how great this one really is. I’d be a fucking idiot not to give this mix of brutal death metal, black metal, technicality, tightness, thrash, core, (almost blackcore sometimes vocally) and with some industrial here and there - and a drummer who’s got the stamina of a fucking horse…a perfect fucking score.
OVERALL: A REFRESHINGLY MIND BLOWING MIX OF BLACK AND DEATH, AND WHATEVER ELSE THEY WANT TO USE, THESE GUYS SHOULD BE WAY MORE KNOWN THEN THEY ARE. I HAVEN’T HEARD BLACK SOUNDING THIS GOOD IN A WHILE. I WONDER IF THEY CAN PULL THIS TECHNICAL DEATHY BLACKY THRASHY SHIT OFF LIVE?
GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS ONE.
Falkenbach - Tiurida (2011) - I guess this what Odin himself jams to up in Valhalla. Falkenbach really sounds great here, with an very nice sing along quality of hymns and Bathory inspired pieces. Quorthon helped to bring this genre about, and quite possibly he’s there at the table listening to this album as we speak. Of course there, they would have some sort of interesting magic where sounds could be projected at full quality without being digital - or one would expect.
The album is very good, with excellent melodies, and some very memorable Viking metal. It’s not very, very, high quality; but it’s definitely enjoyable. Even if you’ve heard riffs and chanting like this before, Falkenbach can still do a very good job of it. The black metal in this is done as you would expect. Everything is anthemic, and it’s a good 44 mins of great Viking metal. Have no idea what Amon Amarth is doing this year with Surtur Rising, but this one is certainly good nonetheless.
There’s not a whole great deal of originality when it comes to folk metal. You either like it, and enjoy hearing new folk metal, or you don’t like it at all. Don’t expect avant-garde anything here. It’s just really good Viking folk/black metal.
OVERALL: GREAT VIKING FOLK/BLACK METAL. OBVIOUSLY WON’T APPEAL TO EVERYONE, BUT TO THOSE WHO LIKE THIS SORT OF THING, IT VERY MUCH WILL. FALKENBACH PROVE WHY THEY ARE STILL AROUND IN 2011, DOING THE SAME MUSIC THEY DID IN THE 2000 ERA.
I’LL MAKE IT EASIER - YOU LIKE FALKENBACH? HERE’S 44 MINUTES OF NEW STUFF.
YOU LIKE FOLK METAL AND VIKING METAL? YEAH - YOU’D BETTER GET THIS, THEN.
Score: 4/5 (Good)
Valborg - Crown of Sorrow (2010) - Thirty five minutes of both interesting and WTF moments are laden within this album’s 8 tracks. I honestly have no idea what to classify them, except for experimental and progressive and Irish doom. There is a great deal of that ISA era Enslaved, current era Nachtmystium picking and rhythm style. The songs range from heavy, to transitive, to dreary, and beyond.
This is a band that won’t be for everyone, honestly. They have a decent production value, and they are interesting - but I feel that they might be too interesting for some people, for the lack of a better word.
Most of the songs are shorter than on many metal releases, with most of them being under 5 minutes, and only one of them being 11:20, which would be the track “I Am Space.”
Is it black metal? Maybe. Is it death metal? Could be. What about doom? Very possible. Sludge? That’s also not out of the question.
Whatever it is, it sounds very horrifying, terror inducing in some instances. Some of the melodies are interesting, when they’re not weird or trippy. I really can’t place these guys, no matter how hard I try. Most of the songs carry the same riff structure, except when they don’t. I understand that I’m not making much sense, and neither might this album make any sense.
Although, everything is stitched together well enough that it still works and flows in the 35 minutes that you’ll be hearing it in.
I do have to mention “I Am Space”, because it sounds like Judas Priest mixed with death metal. Some people might laugh it off, but I think it’s intriguing. Some sludge and post metal elements also get thrown into the mix.
The final track “St. Patrick’s Day” is a great doomy closer, that ends with a holler, and some rapid drum bashing.
The bottom line here is that we’ve got a very interesting band, that seems capable of doing something innovative. Yes, you heard the word “innovative.” If you are looking for something that will make you lift your head up out of the waters of redundancy metal these days, this band might be that band to help pull you out. These days there’s a lot of kids wanting to sound like anyone other than themselves, and it’s good that there are some I believe, Irish gentlemen who either got drunk enough to mix everything together, or they just really wanted to think out of the box, as most in their country do. For a country that has given us Primordial, Cruachan, Mael Mordha, Gaesa, and some of the best damned doom in the world, Valborg is here to say “Hey, you need to give us a try as well. We’re just as good as those other good Irish bands!”
OVERALL: CAPABLE IRISH EXPERIMENTAL METAL. IT IS INNOVATIVE, AND VERY INTERESTING. COULD BE TOO MUCH FOR SOME, BUT FOR FANS OF THAT IRISH METAL DOOM SOUND, YOU HAVE GOT TO FUCKING HEAR THIS.
Vapnatak - Pravo Reshat (2010) - This NSBM band, which I do no subscribe to the Neo-Socialist agenda, which I have no idea what socialism, or neo socialism is - but I’m sure someone will inform me of the subject, or at least give me some site in which I can find out what the hell it is. I’ve just heard it’s not morally sane. (It is no longer necessary to inform me of this, as I’ve found it out. Read farther down.)
Regardless, this band of whom all the tracks are in Russian, as well as the lyrics - are actually really kick ass thrashy black metal. I could give a damn less what the music is about, but it sounds heavy as hell, and they seem to be a real rambunctious bunch of crazy Russians. Track by track is all around smash your face in black thrash, and that works for me. I don’t want to be labeled a socialist for liking these guys, even though I honestly have no idea what that is.
Of course, I’m going to check the definition of the word and it’s agenda out for myself. Doesn’t it mean like all white, or something? I’m not quite sure. (As I said, read farther down.)
I guess I can’t recommend this band, because even though they’re good - people might look down on one for listening to them. What a shame. Should have sang about hotdogs and baseball, I guess.
Alright, after getting the definition for NSBM, I firmly state that I do not support the whole Neo-Nazi agenda, and now realizing that socialism itself might not be that much of a bad thing, (except for the fact that such a system can be easily manipulated, dominated, and controlled) this neo-socialism; or representative of the Nazi party, and those who are still reliant on the color of one’s earthen born pigmentation to state their societal powers which were mythically handed down by an imagined deity and called “Jarl’s kin”, is absolutely ludicrous, and tantamount to madness.
So… good metal, gentlemen. I just wish it wasn’t about your skin color, and racial oppression.
OVERALL: NSBM Black metal band is actually quite good. Great angry, thrashy black metal. I guess it’s not worth it to recommend them to people in this country because of their agenda. I suppose if someone made an Islamic extremist album with pro-terrorist, anti-American stuff, I might not like it too much, either.
Score: 4/5 (But I didn’t tell you to listen to it.)
Wormfood - Posthume (2011) - What is sad and French? This band, that at first sounds like Type O Negative, except with a French singer who sounds nothing like, or tries to sound nothing like Peter Steele did. Sometimes they have their thrashy moments, but don’t stray from trying to sound as dreary and depressing as they can. Not to mention that they heavily experiment, and may have been under some strong drugs during the recording of this one. It’s one of a kind, folks. One of a fucking kind.
All of the lyrics are in French, so unless you have a very good understanding of the language, then you won’t understand it.
Of course, music speaks through all language, and even though the seemingly formulaic gloom metal style, there are really great things to behold on this album. It has a great deal of surprise moments, which you won’t expect, and will greatly enjoy. Don’t miss out on it just because it’s in French. This is one hell of an album. It’s done in a very refreshing style that didn’t seem possible for this genre, but I knew that it existed. I’m not talking HIM here, I’m talking about something more original. (even though I like a few of their albums)
It might be rough for some, due to the language - but it’s still something being done with a different approach. A little doom, a little gloom, a little black, and a lot of experimentation make this album one of those albums that you need to check out if you’re into this genre of metal. Some of us like depressing shit, and this doesn’t disappoint. It even goes into complete fucking weirdness at times, and can be quite literally a mind-fuck.
The use of strong mind altering substances and this album would not be recommended.
OVERALL: LISTEN TO THIS ONE IN A VERY DARK PLACE, PERFERABLY NOT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF STRONG DRUGS. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, THE KIND OF DRUGS THAT THEY WERE ON DURING THE CREATION OF THIS ALBUM!
Score: 666/5 (Very Original)