Duklaton - Saved By Fear (2010) - Duklaton is sludge band with gravelly vocals, some psychedelic atmospheres in places, and some pretty good riff work in a few areas as well. The drums really get to do a lot more work in sludge than in some other genres, because you just can’t really blast like you can with death or black metal. This works to the band’s advantage, with the drummer taking a very raw garage style sound on the kit. I will say that the band has some melodies that work for them in areas, and is a pretty capable sludge machine. The guitar solos sound very classic, and this helps their sound a hell of a lot.
The disc is 46:00 long, and while some might not like the “wall of sound” that sludge bands produce, I think it’s got a nice groove, personally. The only real thing that I have to call this band out on, is the instrumental title track, which seems to be a very country styled acoustic, that sounds like filler to me. There’s still a great 9:09 track that’s going to suit your sludge palette, and the band has promise for the most part. There’s just really nothing amazing in the album that sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Still, some of you are probably like, “Meh, it’s sludge. Might as well give it a shot.”
OVERALL: 46:00 OF GOOD SLUDGE, BUT DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH FROM THESE GUYS. THEY DO WHAT THEY KNOW, AND THEY DO IT WELL. THERE’S SOME CLASSIC SOLOS, GARAGE STYLE DRUM HITS, A GRAVELLY VOCAL STYLE…AND A WHOLE SOUTHERN FEEL TO THE MUSIC. IT’S ALL GOING TO DEPEND ON THE LISTENER FOR THIS ONE.
Empatic - Gods Of Thousand Souls (2011) - If your head doesn’t start banging to this, then it’s your own damn fault. Empatic craft a very powerful sounding death metal meets core style, that seems to showcase both genres perfectly. I usually fucking hate core for the most part, but this mix is rather refreshing. It reminds me of mid era Bloodbath or current Hypocrisy with a little bit of breakdowns and what not every so often. Of course, it sounds a little modern at times, and I think I’m getting tired of the whammy at the end of the riff Adam D. style playing.
At least the band showcases enough good riffs, and just a few nice melodies to keep this music strong enough to warrant your cash. The solo portions on the album are slim, and I feel they could’ve done more; but I suppose one can’t mosh to a solo, and this music seems more pit ready than anything else (sans a few melodies). The gravelly vocal and scream duo mix that gets overused sounds rather decent here, and adds that extra brutality to the music; but there’s still a lot of amateurism in the way of playing. The band has a budding ounce of talent if they are indeed a new band, but I am doubting that. But what I am hearing is a band that really, really, really, really wants to be super popular and sell a couple million albums. Songs like “So What?” are not going to help them any, either.
To conclude, I will just say that there are about ten thousand bands heavier and with much more warrant than these gentlemen. It’s a decent release, and some people might really like a few songs on it, but it’s very hit or miss. This won’t be a metal classic anytime soon. But, as I’ve said many times…It’s not the worse thing I’ve ever heard. “Dreamer”, ‘The Game”, ”Empatic”, “Enola Gay”, and the title track are still very solid tracks.
Give it a shot. If you don’t like it, delete it.
OVERALL: AROUND 45:00 (ERROR IN TRACK 6 : “Vs” ) OF GOOD DEATH METAL WITH CORE INFLUENCE IN A FEW AREAS. IMAGINE LEGENDARY SWE-DEATH METAL ACTS GRAVE, HYPOCRISY, OR BLOODBATH, WITH JUST A LITTLE MORE MAINSTREAM SOUND. NOT TERRIBLE, BUT NOT WORTH 20.00 EITHER.
Enochian Theory - Evolution Creatio Ex Nihilo (2010) - Great, I’ve been waiting to get to this one. It’s a progressive metal band from England, and it’s in the vein of Porcupine Tree. From the start of the album, I can definitely see the resemblance of the band to Porcupine Tree, but they don’t seem to be near as good. The vocalist has a very high, almost girlish pitch, but some say that that works well with the music, which goes from happier plucks, to much heavier progressive antics. There’s also some death metal moments.
This band seems to hang from Tool in some places, but the vocals just sound off. This gentlemen is not Maynard, and it just doesn’t sound right. I’ll also mention something else about them. A growl pops up in many of the songs. One or two growls, for no reason other than to sound a little heavier. You’ll notice it immediately, and say to yourself “What was that for?” They honestly don’t need to add an extra growl to be heavy. It just sounds rather campy.
The band does a great job musically, and you’ll be able to notice the great playing in both heavy and light styles, and the good use of orchestration. Sometimes the vocals even work well with the mix. This would be a great band if they could get a singer that might be able to capture their essence more. Or at least if the guy would stop trying so hard to sound like Maynard, because that is going to ruin such a great act as this.
Fans of Porcupine Tree, current Anathema, and probably about a hundred other bands might like this band. It does have some elements of doom as well, (in the vein of current Paradise Lost) and this band has probably done well in selling a few copies. I’m not saying that this album is bad, but I can see how it might grow on a person. It couldn’t hurt you to check it out, and chances are that someone you know has already bugged you about getting it.
OVERALL: ANOTHER DRUG FOR PROG FANS. THIS 48:00 OF PROG METAL WITH SOME ELEMENTS OF DEATH DOOM COTAINS GREAT PLAYING, BUT SEEMS TO SUFFER A BIT ON THE VOCALS IN A FEW AREAS, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THIS MAN WANTS TO EMULATE MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN IN A FEW INSTANCES. IT’S WORTH LISTENING TO, AND YOU MIGHT EVEN BUY IT AND ENJOY IT IMMENSELY, IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY.
3.5/5 (Vocals rubbed me wrong, alright!)
Escher’s Knot - Tessellations EP (2010) - Sounds like it would be great, but it’s not. If you like Meshuggah soundalikes with the same emotionless screaming, but this time much raspier and irritating, and then add a generic death metal growl to it with a lot of the same old playing, you’ll get this band. It’s really not as good as you might think, despite the good production and interesting packaging. It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and you shouldn’t do the same with an album. It’s just a 23:00 mundane EP.
The only two songs of warrant, that don’t have a bunch of incoherent screaming all over them are the first and last songs, which are the intro and outro, respectively. The band has a little bit of talent, in the fact that they add some peaceful pieces to the song, but they’re the same peaceable breakdowns we’ve heard in bands like Animals As Leaders, and countless others. I would’ve liked it, had there been no lyrics, no vocals, and no vocalists, and no vocal equipment. Instrumentally, this would’ve been a much better platter. Again, I feel I’ve eaten this before, and it doesn’t taste as good the second time around.
Try before you buy.
OVERALL: 23:00 OF ORDINARY TECHNICAL DEATH METAL. IF YOU LIKE MESHUGGAH, YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS BAND, BUT MORESO IF NOT FOR THE INCOHERENT SCREAMING. SURE, THEY CAN PLAY - BUT THIS STUFF WORKS TWO WAYS. PEOPLE COMPLAIN A LOT ABOUT BAD SINGERS, EVEN IF THE MUSIC IS GOOD, AND THIS IS THE CASE HERE. IT’S ALSO QUITE MONOTONOUS MUSCIALLY. (AT LEAST TO ME.)
Ethelyn - Devilicious (2011) - - Ethelyn on the other hand, is much more of a powerhouse than the Empatic, which I reviewed earlier. Etherlyn seems to be an old school melodic death metal act, that sounds a great deal like older Amon Amarth. They seem to be a very powerful act with blazing solos, a forceful vocal style that uses both the scowls and growls. The major strong points of this band are their melodies, which are very dreary and work well with the force being displayed along with them.
Ethelyn sounds like what a true death metal band should sound like, and songs like “New Aeon Utopia” prove that fact. The band comes on strong, and doesn’t need a lot of shimmer and polish. Sometimes needless clean vocals creep into the mix, but they don’t seem to be necessary for the band, and ruin the flow in a few of the songs on this disc.
For the most part, Ethelyn will be a refresher for those of you looking for some old school sounding melodic death metal in this age of crossbreeding. The old sound isn’t dead, it just requires a little more hunting.
OVERALL: 44:00 OF OLD SCHOOL SOUNDING MELODIC DEATH METAL IN THE VEIN OF THE EARLY AMON AMARTH. THE BAND’S USE OF DARK AND DREARY MELODIES STRENGTHENS THIS EFFORT GREATLY. IT ALMOST REMINDS ME OF EARLIER AMON AMARTH. CLEAN VOCALS RUIN SOME OF THE TRACKS, THE BAND DOESN’T NEED THEM. THIS BAND WILL HAVE A HARD TIME GOING ANYWHERE, UNLESS THEY CUT THOSE CLEAN VOCALS OUT COMPLETELY.
Heavenwood - Abyss Masterpiece (2011) - Finally, a gothic death metal band influenced by elements of opera, that isn’t full of female vocals. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a great number of years, because every time you listen to one of these epic goth/death metal albums, it always has some female on the vocals taking over everything.
Heavenwood mixes the choirs, the orchestras, and everything else with death metal. Do you need me to say it again? They mix it with actual death metal, and actual guitar solos too, ladies and gentlemen. I’m also going to throw in the fact that there are male clean vocals in the album as well, and for the most part the music is on a much slower, and darker tempo. It’s definitely influenced by doom metal in the vein of Swallow The Sun, Paradise Lost, and many others.
I recommend it to people who like depressing and heavy music with gothic elements. (choirs, orchestras and what-not) I also might mention that this is the first time I’ve heard a death/doom/goth metal mix before. Thankfully, this one is impeccable, and I’d be a fool to tell you not to check it out, especially if you are into this type of music. There are few albums I review that I really enjoy enough to get the songs stuck in my head. This one is one of those. Go check it out, please. I’m begging you!
Edit: Female vocals on: Track 6, “Leonor” (But awesome riffs there.)
OVERALL: 59:00 OF FANTASTIC GOTH/DEATH/DOOM MIX WITH CATCHY CHORUSES, GREAT USE OF DEATH METAL, (AND BALANCE WITH GOTH ELEMENTS) AND SOME REALLY BEAUTIFUL GUITAR SOLOS. FOR FANS OF DEATH AND DOOM FANS ALIKE…AS WELL AS PEOPLE THAT LIKE GOTH METAL. THIS IS A MUST LISTEN.
Myrath - Desert Call (2011) - The middle east might be in an uproar, but there is still metal coming out of it. This middle eastern band who also has a 2007 release (try to find it if you like this one) has been described as Symphony X if they converted to Islam. I can certainly see the resemblance. I’ll also point out that the vocals are in Arabic at some points, so good luck with translating them. Myrath has certainly a great deal of promise in this country, and it’s a shame I’ve just now heard of them. Fans of Symphony X might eat this stuff up, while keeping it quiet that this band is nothing more than a damned fine Symphony X clone with Arabic instrumentation. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I find it rather refreshing for the most part.
The disc is 65:00 long, and most of the tracks here are pretty long by themselves, just as you would expect with Symphony X. I mean, this band has such a Symphony X influence that it’s absolutely ridiculous. If you ever in a million years wanted an Arabian Symphony X, this is as good as it ever gets. But, just as Symphony X is an incredible progressive powerhouse, this band has all of the same things that you would expect from Symphony X. They even play in the same exact key as Symphony X. If you don’t think the new Symphony X just can’t come fast enough, go check this out. You might wind up liking a great deal.
By the way, the vocals on this album are actually pretty good. Not as good as who’s been singing for Symphony X here lately, but still quite good. Like I said, if you are a big fan of Symphony X, go check these guys out. They sound just like them except with interesting Arabic instrumentation. Could you imagine if these guys went on tour with Symphony X? It would be like getting the same band for twice the amount of time, with different songs in each set!
OVERALL: THIS IS 65:00 OF ARABIAN SYMPHONY X. DON’T BELIEVE ME? JUST LISTEN TO IT. HOLY SHIT, WHERE ARE COPYRIGHT LAWS WHEN YOU NEED THEM? REGARDLESS, THE BAND HAS MAJOR TALENT, EVEN IF THEY’VE STOLEN SOME OF IT. NOT JUST ANY BAND CAN MIMIC SYMPHONY X AFTER ALL. RECOMMENDED TO ALL FANS OF SYMPHONY X. (AND OTHER PROG-HEADS)
Score: 4/5 (Would be higher if they were just a little more original, but this is a good disc! You can‘t deny that! I wonder what an Arabic Maiden would sound like? What about an Arabic Opeth? Well, I think Orphaned Land captured that well, personally.)
Gates Of Ishtar - The Dawn Of The Flames - You’ll have to excuse me, as I know not the date of this melodic black metal album. If it is an older release, it would certainly seem that way. The recording is very low-fi, but filled with shrieking black metal vocals overtop some rather basic melodies.
But, it doesn’t seem to take much for the band to get their point across. It’s melodic black metal, yet still retains the black metal spirit that we all know and love. Other than the fact that you’ll have to turn up your volume a little to hear this stuff, you should rather enjoy it. This band is new to me, so I’m not sure if there are anymore albums from them or not. But this one is quite good, giving me exactly what I’d expect and nothing more. I like melodic black metal, and that’s what I’m getting here. I’ll also add that some melodies here sound like melo-death melodies as well.
There’s also some really good piano playing on the title track, among others.
OVERALL: STRAIGHTFORWARD MELODIC BLACK METAL. I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY GOOD, DESPITE THAT IT’S A LITTLE LOW. IF YOU LIKE MELODIC BLACK METAL, CHECK THIS ONE OUT. IT’S LIKE BLACK METAL, ONLY MELODIC! J
Heathendom - Nescience (2008) - Heathendom has some talent, but I’m going to throw the Candlemass card and lay it down right in front of you. You can stare at it a bit, and let me know if you feel the same way. Compared to the single (Full album review next week) from their latest album “The Symbolist”, this was too much doom for me in the vein of Candlemass. I felt that some of the songs were in parts boring, and in parts great.
The power metal flare reminds me of Iced Earth, and I liked that about the band; but I’m going to say that it’s not enough from keeping them out of the “Candlemass Clone” territory. Some of you might really have enjoyed this one, but as for me, I felt that I’ve heard far better from this genre. Although, I say with all certainty that the new track I’ve heard seems to be changing my opinion of the band, and I am almost thinking they might become the next Iced Earth, since Barlow’s departure and that Into Eternity guy’s vocal tones will ruin the whole sound of that band for me. I’d rather frontman of Blind Guardian have taken the vocals over, than him. I guess I only have the new Demons and Wizards to look forward to now…
Let’s hope this band’s next album is something more to my taste. But, I you enjoy doom in the vein of Candlemass, that is just as finely crafted as something they would release, with some almost Iced Earth-y style, and a LITTLE thrash to add to it - Then you might enjoy this album. Just remember, it is a power-doom album, and not a power-metal album.
OVERALL: PROMISING POWER DOOM METAL THAT FANS OF BOTH GENRES SHOULD ENJOY, BUT SEEMS TO DRONE IN PLACES. FANS OF CANDLEMASS SHOULD EAT THIS UP, BUT I’M NOT SO SURE ABOUT FANS OF POWER-THRASH, BECAUSE IT’S NOT HERE.
Impiety - Dominator (2008) - The only thing I can say about this album is that it is pretty much uneventful. There’s nothing on this Impiety release that interested me, sans some stuff at the end of the disc. It’s very short, and offers little enjoyment whatsoever. I am glad to see that the band has gotten better since this one, and hope that you’ll all pass it. People who enjoy this disk would have to be easily amused. It’s beyond boring.
OVERALL: EXTREMELY BORING BLACK THRASH. SURE, YOU MIGHT LIKE IT AT FIRST, BUT EVERY SONGS SOUNDS ABOUT THE SAME, AND PREVIOUS EFFORTS HAVE BEEN FAR BETTER. YOU COULD BE LISTENING TO BETTER ALBUMS THAN THIS.
KEN Mode - Venerable (2011) - This just about bored me to tears as well. It’s just hardcore influenced math-metal, with very little in the way of innovation. The guy just screams incoherently over a guitar that plays some very uninteresting technicality. There were two songs I liked on this disc though, and they were “Flight Of The Echo Hawk” which is a great instrumental piece, and the song immediately after it, “Never Was” which gave off a real post-metal feel in the vein of Neurosis and other such sound-alikes. (I hope to god I need not name them all.) After that, the disc goes back to boring and unincredible shit.
OVERALL: VERY UNINTERESTING HARDCORE INFLUENCED MATH-METAL, THAT I’VE HEARD A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE, AND MUCH BETTER. ONLY THEIR POST METAL DABBLING AND INSTRUMENTAL TRACK SAVES THEM, BUT NOT BY MUCH. NOT THE BEST TECHNICAL ALBUM YOU COULD BE LISTENING TO.
Little Dead Bertha - Angel and Pain (2010) - I’ll start by saying this: If you like gothic blackened death metal with choirs, keyboards, and orchestral instruments in any way shape or form, you will thank me for reviewing this album, because chances are…you’ve never heard of it.
Who are Little Dead Bertha exactly? The future of gothic metal, that’s who. This album is so insanely fucking brilliant, that my mind was literally blown, and I’m scraping the pieces off of my walls. You have to imagine older Tristania, or Theatre Of Tragedy (when Liv Kristine was still on vocals and they had death metal elements) but then kick it up a fucking notch. A high fucking notch, with tremendous melodies, impressive playing, and all out fucking brutality. The female vocals are only chants and such in the background, and this is not dominated by female vocals. I will reiterate that - This is a BLACKENED DEATH METAL album. You will bang your fucking head to this.
The symphonic parts work incredibly well with the metal elements of this album, and the keyboardist is very talented. As I said though, this is extremely keyboard-laden metal, with elements of baroque, and it kicks fucking ass. But, for those of you who HATE this kind of music, you should stay the fuck away, especially if you really hate keyboards in metal.
OVERALL: BRILLAINT KEYBOARD-LADEN BLACKENED DEATH METAL WITH GREAT MELODIES AND SYNTHS. THIS IS HIGH CLASS SHIT, AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE CLASSICAL OR BAROQUE MUSIC, YOU SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM THIS. AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, THIS BAND IS A LEGEND IN THE MAKING.
SepticFlesh - The Great Mass (2011) - Well, I’ve listened to this one twice already, and I’m still formed around the same opinion. There are mindblowing hits, and out of the park misses on this highly anticipated album from the legendary Septic Flesh. (Now called SepticFlesh)
Certain songs like “The Great Mass Of Death”, “Five-Pointed Star”, “Pyramid God” and others are just incredible, but still there are some others like “Apocalypse” and “Mad Architect” which aren’t really notable. As for “Rising” and the closer “Therianthropy”, there will be folks who cringe at these clean vocals. Yes, this man CANNOT sing. He can’t, he can’t, he can’t, he can’t, he damn bloody well fucking can’t! The melodies are so good though, that I really wish they could have hired a clean vocalist…just once! Therianthropy and Rising would be great tracks if the clean vocals were better, since they’re almost ballads.
Yes, there are still heavy moments on this album, but there’s a lot of melody this time, and not quite so much brutality. The album excels well in mixing the metal with the choirs, and the live orchestra. This really sounds quite epic, and some of these songs are stand-alone brilliant. While not being any sort of competition for Sumerian Daemons, it’s still a decent album, and fans of the band will enjoy the orchestral brutal death metal with choirs and such. It’s only the light stuff that’s the killer here. I want to like it, but I’m afraid I just cannot do it, to the vocals. I am hoping they will grow on me…but I am afraid that they will not.
OVERALL: A DECENT RELEASE FROM SEPTIC FLESH. SOME KILLER SONGS, AND SOME NOT SO KILLER. BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU’LL BE STUCK WITH THE BAD VOCALS ON THE BALLADS! STILL VERY EPIC, AND AMAZING AT TIMES. IT’S REALLY A JACK OF ALL TRADES (EVEN BAD ONES, APPARENTLY.)
Scar Symmetry - The Unseen Empire (2011) - Well, Scar Symmetry had me worried there for a second, when Christian left the abnd to form a band that sounds almost exactly damn near like the band he left. Funny how that sort of thing happens. Scar Symmetry now has two vocalists, and on this album it actually works. The playing on this disc is stellar, amazing, and brilliant, as are the solos and incredible melodies that I expected on the last album. This is the best I’ve heard from the band since Alvestam left it, and that’s a good thing, because it shows that he wasn’t the band, and just a really good vocalist.
The two hold their own perfectly, among such a great musical piece, which you’ll surely appreciate as much as their older Alvestam oriented releases. The first album was more or less the sound of the band coming together, and may go down as being their worst. This album though, is the sound of a band that has played enough to get things right, and really captures the greatness that Scar Symmetry once held. If you didn’t like the last one, give this one a shot. They did it right this time, and amazed the hell out of me.
The lyrics on this disc are very deep and deal with a certain secret society and what-not. I’ll not go into detail, so read them yourself. Regardless, they are interesting. Their drummer seems to be a very wise individual.
OVERALL: GTEAT ALBUM FROM SCAR SYMMETRY, BEST IN A WHILE. GO GET THIS IF YOU’RE A FAN, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. DEFINITELY WORTH MORE THAN A COUPLE SPINS.
Alpthraum - Eyes Of A Monument (2011) - Alpthraum is an alright symphonic melodic death metal band. Yeah, they’re just alright. Everything on this albums sounds like a good effort, but not enough to blow anyone’s mind. The vocals are not my favorite by any means, and they’re so low in the mix, you might make fun of them more than anything.
The melodies are decent, and the symphonic elements work well enough with the riffs. The riffs are pretty basic and sound like they were done with some really shoddy equipment. You might like a few things about this album, if you’re willing to try it, but for the most part you’re probably going to think…Yeah, this is just kind of…meh.
I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not going to do anything but sit in this guy’s closet, and stay as an internet download file from some band that no one’s ever heard of, and less will care more about after this album. As I said, good luck understanding the extremely low vocals which kill the decent music in places on this album.
OVERALL: A DECENT ALBUM FROM A SYMPHONIC MELODIC DEATH BAND THAT NO ONE’S EVER HEARD OF. GOOD ATMOSPHERES, BUT EVERYTHING ELSE SOUNDS FLAT. VOCALS KILL THIS ONE, AS DO VERY SIMPLE RIFFS. IT’S NOT THE BEST THING YOU COULD BE LISTENING TO.
What Mad Universe - A Cosmic Chapter With Gaia (2010) - Alright, here’s the scenario. I just got back from the bar, and I’m sloshed. I listened to some Pink Floyd while riding in the car beforehand, and I’m looking for something trippy now. Why? Because it’s almost 5 in the morning, and I’m fucking sloshed.
I start playing this album, and begin to rather enjoy this Instrumental Post-Metal band’s release. I’m not sure if it’s a debut or not, but it certainly sounds good enough to promote here. (since that’s a major part of the reason why I do reviews) Think of Pelican, but much more towards their older sound, a little faster, and not so light and pretty. There’s a few of your so called pretty moments of the universe, but the metal is heavy and loud, with a very transitive feel that you’ll enjoy more in some kind of an altered state.
Sometimes the band throws in other instruments to give the music a more worldly feel, and it works well to their advantage. Even the song with the Banjo, “Eris In The Sky” sort of works well for them. While this disc might contain very basic riffing and no technicality to be heard, it’s still a good release because of the atmospheres and experimentation used in it. Fans of instrumental metal won’t be shitting themselves over it, but it’s a good little listen. I don’t recommend buying it though. If it’s free, go get it from the band directly. It also works well as background music for whatever free indie stuff you might want to use it for.
OVERALL: DECENT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC, A LITTLE LIKE PELICAN, BUT MUCH FASTER AND LESS PRETTY. IT ALSO CONTAINS SOME TINKERING IN THE FORM OF THINGS LIKE A BANJO. YES, IT DOES WORK. I MIGHT THROW VOCALS ON ONE OF THE TRACKS LATER ON.
Imaginary Flying Machines - Princess Ghibli (2011) - This is a first for this planet, ladies and gentlemen. It is a mix of melodic death metal and heavy thrash metal with core elements and J-POP. Yes, this is a metal album. Whether you want to believe it or not, it’s definitely 100% metal. If you don’t believe me, then go download it yourself. I feel I can say that with confidence, since I am absolutely sure that no one on this board will actually pay the import costs for this one.
This album is a tribute to Studio Ghibili Anime, which isn’t necessarily my favorite, (I feel there are several hits and misses in their releases.) and I’ll go ahead and display the track list:
01 - Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) (feat. Disarmonia Mundi & Sophia Aslanidou)
02 - Kimi Wo Nosete (Castle In The Sky) (feat. Disarmonia Mundi & Yoko Hallelujah)3. Tales From Earthsea (Blood Stain Child and Yoko Hallelujah)
03 - Teru No Uta (Tales From Earthsea) (feat. Blood Stain Child & Ettore Rigotti)
04 - Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff) (feat. Destrage & Yoko Hallelujah)
05 - Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke) (feat. Living Corpse & Yoko Hallelujah)
06 - Country Road (Whisper Of The Heart) (feat. Disarmonia Mundi & Sophia Aslanidou)
07 - Itsumo Nandodemo (Spirited Away) (feat. Blood Stain Child & Claudio Ravinale)
08 - Arrietty's Song (Japanese version) (The Borrower Arrietty) (feat. Disarmonia Mundi & Sophia Aslanidou)
09 - Yasashisa Ni Tsutsumaretanara (Kiki's Delivery Service) (feat. Destrage & Yoko Hallelujah)
10 - Toki Niwa Mukashi No Hanashio (Porco Rosso) (feat. Disarmonia Mundi & Yoko Hallelujah)
11 - Sanpo (My Neighbor Totoro) (feat. Living Corpse & Yoko Hallelujah)
12 - Nausicaa Requiem (Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind) (feat. Neroargento & Yoko Hallelujah)
Immediately, the name DISARMONIA MUNDI should pop up to most of you, and then a big WTF is going to be displayed around your heads. Yes, this really is Disarmonia Mundi, and apparently they learned these songs in Japanese, because their pronunciation is great. Also, famous Japanese electronic melodic death metallers, Blood Stain Child should also be noticed. As for Destrage, they are kind of j-thrash meets core. Living Corpse is probably more along the lines of j-death core. (Suicide Silence screaming)
These songs contain clean vocals, and the clean vocals sound exactly like they would at the opening of almost every anime. Except when you put death metal in the back of it, and some growls, great playing, and nice solos - you get a weird and interesting mix. Disarmonia Mundi is great on this disk, and they really stand out among the rest. Blood Stain Child also does an excellent job, having no problem mixing their brand of metal with J-Pop vocals.
Destrage isn’t my favorite band by any means. They just don’t seem to be as good as some other bands on this disk, and as for Living Corpse, well…they’re just kind of decent I guess. But, you are getting death metal with GOOD J Pop vocals, not the Chibi crap. The male and female vocals used here actually sound pretty good. Even though it’s kind of happy metal, it’s still very fucking heavy. Believe me.
I will add that there is a cover of “Country Road” done in Japanese, and in death metal. I’m sure that if I could travel back in time and tell the man, “You know, in 2011 a band from Japan will cover your song in really heavy devil music, with Japanese lyrics.” he would probably go grab his shotgun and run me off of his property. But, it happened.
Finally, the album closer contains a rather talented instrumental band by the name of Neoargento. They do a very atmospheric melodic metal piece with some beautiful j pop vocals for the album closer.
OVERALL: J-POP AND DEATH METAL…NOT EVERYONE’S THING I’M SURE, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I HAVEN’T HIT THE CURIOSITY BUTTON IN MOST OF YOU. IF THIS IS AVAILABLE IN AMERICA, AND THE PROCEEDS GO TO HELPING JAPAN, THEN YOU SHOULD GET IT. TRULY SOLID DEATH METAL ON HERE, AND THE J-POP VOCALS ARE ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD! TRUST ME, I KNOW MUCH ABOUT THIS KIND OF STUFF.
I am hoping that maybe the band will release another album featuring themes from other such legendary animes, like the themes from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Record Of Lodoss War. Also, I wouldn’t mind hearing the music that plays after the credits “Forces” of Berserk. I can think of many more, but hope like hell Dragonball is NOT involved. But, seeing it’s popularity, it’s a possibility we’ll hear a death metal Dragonball Z eventually. Since Disarmonia Mundi is a Swedish band…that still leaves Opeth. I wonder how many people would willingly take their lives upon listening to Opeth doing an anime theme cover. It seems anything is possible these days. Maybe the world is ending, after all.
Score: 777/5 (Simply because there’s nothing else like this on the planet.)
Becoming The Archetype - Celestial Completion (2011) - Here is the first of three technical progressive experimental death metal and everything else releases that have come out this month. Becoming the Archetype has put out a very eclectic release, with each song being a different facet of the band’s personality. Some songs feature very interesting piano pieces, while “Invisible Creature” consists of Hindi music.
Clearly the band still has core elements, but I’ve heard far worse from core than this. If you don’t like core of any kind, you should stay away from this and check the other two albums out that follow it. They might be more to your tastes. I do not care much for core, but this is certainly tolerable. There’s even some horns used in the album, and that’s a little rare for this death/core/experimental band.
As you would expect, the entire album goes a million different ways before it’s end, and some of those ways are ones that you would not expect. I will not reveal these interesting turns to you, you’ll just have to listen. All in all, not a terrible album by any means. Even though the core is there, it’s still a very capable release, which is interesting in some areas.
OVERALL: A SOLID CHRISTIAN DEATH/CORE/EXPERIMENTAL RELEASE THAT SHOULD IMPRESS FANS OF THE GENRE, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS THE ALBUMS THAT FOLLOW THIS REVIEW.
Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax Hypersleep Dialogues EP (2011) - Between The Buried And Me shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone, and their style is certainly one that is ever evolving into something much more interesting with every release. I heavily enjoyed their last offering, and even though this is a short 30 minute EP of music, it has enough ideas for a full album. The three tracks are each unique, and offer several parts that fans of all types of metal can enjoy. There’s heavier deathlier portions, lots of prog, some Tool-ish tinkerings, and even some really soft stuff. Yeah, you might be saying “Well, that sounds like most of their albums”, and yeah, you’d be right. But there’s nothing wrong with that is it?
This disc is completely solid, and sometimes completely over the top. Opeth hasn’t even thrown as much into a one song as this band has. That should be saying something to some of you. Between The Buried And Me is probably one of the most artistic bands in the history of mankind, taking their paint on the wall sporadity to higher heights with each and every release.
So, is it 30:00 of music that is worth your money? Hell yes. As I said, and will reiterate, there is an album’s worth of ideas in this piece, and every song is perfect. I bet you know what I’m going to give it…but you should check it out yourself first. I can’t see why you’d be disappointed though, especially if you’re a fan of the band.
OVERALL: LISTEN TO IT YOURSELF, AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS 30:00 MASTERPIECE.
Score: 777/5 (FLAWLESS)
Last Chance To Reason - Level 2 (2011) - First of all, I’d like to say that this album is not only a standalone album, but COMES WITH a game by the same name which combines classic Contra and Metroid Style gameplay.
I also thought I might tell you to google “Mushroom Kingdom Fusion” which is an old school gamer’s wet dream. Even in beta, it’s absolutely astounding, and asks the question, “What if every game in the world had elements of Super Mario 3?” (Still in 0.4 Beta, but fully playable.) If you lose your job at the office playing this, don’t blame me. Or just go here: http://s4.zetaboards.com/mkfusion/topic/7923065/1/
Also check out http://download.cnet.com/Super-Mario-Bros-X/3000-7433_4-10962266.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody;4d, and download a copy of “Super Mario Brothers X” a fan-made combination of Super Mario 2,3, and World, with free downloadable episodes and Wii style Co-op. Yes, you can use your own game controllers for this. It is a must for fans of old-school Mario.
There is also a “Metroid 2 Remake” which looks amazing and is almost done.
But, If you can find it (since Sega yanked it off, due to it’s awesomeness, so go here: http://www.filestube.com/32cHn1egwFU2o5LzIkbIPE/SORRv5.html download both parts ) This Streets Of Rage Remake is also fucking amazing, and features everything you could ever want from the series, and yes - you can use your own controllers on that one too.
As for the album, I’d have to say that I’m completely awestruck. What an amazing band. The synths and electronics displayed with the metal are damned perfect, and the clean vocals are just the kind of thing that I would want to hear from a band of this nature. By the way, they are technical progressive metal band with portions of death metal, slightly in the vein of BTBAM, but not as sporadic.
As for the technicality on this album, it is unparalleled. There is not one filler song on this disc, and the game it was written for probably pales in comparison to the album. (I don’t know if that is true or not, but will be downloading it myself the day this review is up.)
If you’re a fan of extreme technicality (and a little Meshuggah influence put to good use) great synths, beautiful clean vocals, and some growls here and there - you’re bound to like this album. I highly recommend it, and Last Chance To Reason now has joined the list of personal favorite bands, and bands you need to know. This is an impeccable disc, and the ears will give you your review for this one. I don’t want to throw the “Next Gen Tool” out there, but these guys really seem to be going in that way.
Hell, someone has to carry on that Tool torch after Maynard and the guys have put out their next and more than likely final album this year. But we can certainly thank that band (and Danny Carey as much as anyone) and the many others who have influenced it, for influencing bands like this one and BTBAM and countless others. Whose names I can’t think of the name of but sure have the influence)
OVERALL: Impeccable album that comes with a free game with retro elements. How can you go wrong?
Score: 777/5 (MINDBLOWING)