Adversarial - Scourge Of A World Ablaze EP (2011) - Well, I’m not sure if this is an EP or not, but it’s only 28 minutes, contains 4 songs and 2 covers. So yeah, it’s an EP in my book. Adversarial has some promising sounds here and there, but what I’m hearing mostly is a lot of really muddy blackened death metal with just a few atmospheric touches that make it less boring.
The band resorts to blasting ridiculously, and incomprehensible vocals that aren’t interesting enough on the lyrics side to even give a shit about what they are even singing about. The two covers on here are “The Light Devouring Darkness” from some band called Archgoat, and “ A Once Holy Throne” from a much more well known band, Incantation.
Takes those out, and there’s 22:00 of Adversarial here. About as much as would suffice a performance.
OVERALL: BLACKENED DEATH METAL WITH SOME ATMOSPHERES, BUT IT JUST SOUNDS FAR TOO RAW AND TOO BORING FOR THE MOST PART. THESE KIND OF BANDS ARE A DIME A DOZEN. THEY MAKE AMILLION ALBUMS AND ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF THEM. THIS LITTLE THING DOESN’T MAKE ME A FAN, THAT’S FOR SURE.
Deafheaven - Roads To Judah (2011) - To me, this post melodic black metal band sounds like the soundtrack to the sorrowful aftermath of a global collapse or major nuclear holocaust. I can imagine the band being a few of the only people left alive in the world, amidst the bodies of the dead, their corpses piled high enough to resemble landfills, with the music echoing through the corpses, as the lead vocalist screams at the top of his lungs in complete contempt for the entire human race.
It’s very depressing and transitive post metal, which also combines with black metal of the same very depressing and melodic variety. Their lead vocalist has a voice which just screams of sorrow, and it works well for them. The melodies on this album are as I’ve stated, very melodic and depressing. There is still however plenty of black metal to be had on this disc, and fans of both post metal and black metal should find this to be interesting, as long they aren’t on “happy pills.”
This disc contains only 4 tracks, which are between 7 and 13 minutes long each. It is a 38:00 piece in total, and is definitely worth listening to, as it perfectly mixes the genre of melodic black metal with a depressing sense, and the same type of depressing post metal together in a very bleak and beautiful package. I have already become a fan of this band and will definitely be keeping up with their releases.
I will mention that I don’t mind the machine gun drumming as much here, because there is so much else going on, and the drum work in general is just stellar, along with the melodies (very Krallice) and vocals. It’s damned brilliant.
OVERALL: THIS SOUNDTRACK TO THE AFTERMATH OF THE APOCALYPSE. MIXES DEPRESSING POST METAL, AND DEPRESSING MELODIC BLACK METAL TOGETHER EXTREMELY WELL. CONTAINS ENOUGH ELEMENTS OF EACH TO AMAZE LISTENERS. A BAND TO WATCH. PRODUCTION IS ALSO QUITE GOOD.
While Heaven Wept - Fear Of Infinity (2011) - If you like very melodic power metal, and some death and black metal influence in a handful of the songs, this band might help you with that. The first couple songs are very heavy, with “Hour Of Reprisal” making me think of black metal with power metal vocals. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last for long, and there’s too many ballads on this disc for me to get interested in it.
It seems to deal with a man’s love who had died, and meeting her again in the end, I believe. There’s also some song about how he feels crucified by the pain and what not. Yes, it’s a sad topic - but the prog and melodies can only do so much. Yes, the vocals are great, but hearing so much of these ballads really can wear one out. Granted it’s 7 tracks at 37:00, it still felt like it was missing something.
Maybe a couple heavier tracks would’ve upped the grade on this, and I’m sure prog/power band Symphony X will blow this out of the water with their upcoming album. But, it can’t hurt to check it out.
OVERALL: PROG/POWER WITH NEAT IDEAS, BUT TOO MANY BALLADS AND AN OVER-RELIANCE ON THE VOCALS. I CAN BARELY HEAR THE BAND BECAUSE THE SINGER WON’T SHUT UP FOR TWO SECONDS. I’VE HEARD FAR BETTER PROG/POWER THAN THIS, BUT “HOUR OF REPRISAL” AND A HANDFUL OF OTHER TRACKS ARE WORTH CHECKING OUT.
Tommermenn - Morgengry (2011) - Can’t find any good hard rock bands anymore? Tommermenn might work for you. Sure, everything is in their native Norwegian language, but the riffs and vocals remind me of good hard rock/heavy metal. It has the catchy choruses of Rammstein, and riffs that remind me of numerous hard rock bands of the day.
The vocalist is actually pretty good, but he’s not as good as you would hope. I do feel the vocals could grow on me with time though. People who are familiar with these guys know that this isn’t their first album by any means, but it’s certainly a good release. Even though it does have nineties catchy moments, there’s a few extra things that the band does that make it sound a little more interesting. This is an 11 track, 52:00 disc, so it’s about normal for those nineties bands and current hard rock/light metal bands. But, it’s catchy - and damn it, I’ve been bit by the bug. I used to listen to a lot of this kind of stuff back in my teenage years, so it’s like going back in a time machine, riff wise. Although, I still admit that I’m a big fan of Rammstein.
OVERALL: GOOD HARD ROCK/ LIGHT METAL THAT BRINGS BACK MEMORIES FROM THE NINETIES. EVEN IF THEY’RE IN A LANGUAGE YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND. FOR FANS OF RAMMSTEIN, SUBWAY TO SALLY, OTHERS IN THAT VEIN, AND NINETIES BANDS. I REALLY LIKE IT, BECAUSE IT’S CATCHY AS HELL, BUT YOU MIGHT NOT.
Score: 4/5 (Bad news is I’ll have this shit in my head for days now.)
The Human Abstract - Digital Veil (2011) - Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, I remember now. This sounds to the note exactly like older Between The Buried And Me. As a matter of fact, the growls on the record are the exact same tone and pitch as the growls in current and older BTBAM, which leads me to belive that this must be a side project from the band’s vocalist and some other members of the band that wanted to play a more “stripped-down and not so proggy and over the top” version of their other band.
If you like BTBAM, you will like this band just as much. They’re a damn near rip off, and I can’t quite call it plagiarism, but instead I call it plain ridiculous, due to the fact that this is nothing more than some band members from so called well known band, starting up another band that sounds damn near exact to the other band, because they pioneered the sound themselves. If for some reason, I am not correct in my theories, and this is a completely different band that has nothing at all to do with Between The Buried And Me, then they are 100% a complete and total rip-off down to the note.
The albums sounds as good as anything to come out of the BTBAM camp, technical progressive melodic death metal with clean vocals, death core growls, core elements, and piano pieces - but I’ve already heard this, no matter how good it sounds. Sure, people will buy it, and I guess it’s on a major label - but if it’s not plagiarism, it’s just sad. It’s kind of like if Shagrath formed a band that sounded to the note like Dimmu Borgir, and called it something else, because he felt that the band now has to live up to the standards of their shit-tastic masterpiece, “Abrahadabra.”
This kind of thing is absolutely uncalled for.
OVERALL: SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE BTBAM TO THE NOTE. IF YOU LIKE THEM, YOU’LL LIKE THIS BAND. I AM LED TO BELIEVE THAT THIS IS EITHER A SAD SIDE PROJECT, OR BLATANT RIP-OFF. WHATEVER THE CASE, IT’S A GOOD ALBUM, I’VE JUST HEARD IT BEFORE.
ME: 2.5/5 (I’VE HEARD THIS ALL BEFORE!)
TERMS OF MUSICIANSHIP: 5/5
Seth.ECT - Soulspeak (2011 FREE ALBUM) - First of all and most of all, I want to point out to you that this a 100% free album of pristine sound and recording. Yes, it is electronic/industrial middle eastern death metal with both a scowl and gravely vocal approach as well, not to mention impressive riffs, solos, drum work, and overall musicianship that I think everyone should hear, because the band is literally giving it to everyone.
The recording of this album took place between 2008-2010, with it’s release in 2011. This next bit of information comes with the digital booklet, and pay attention - you just might learn something:
“Godspeak’s cost was approximately $4000 + 9000 man-hours…”
“In today’s world thousands of people are starving to death everyday, people are killing people for oil and money, people are skinning living animals so that some people can look pretty, people are addicted to matter.”
“If we feel disturbed about these facts, we can either sit and be sad about them, or we can actually start doing something that can solve the problems. Yeah, certainly, trying to solve the problem would be more fun than just staring at it. We are giving this album for free not because we couldn’t find any record companies, but because we want to share it with you, and we wanted to stay out of the loop. The loop of this cruel buy-sell system.”
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
So what do you have to say about that?
Listen to this recording, and the musicianship of this thing. These guys are extremely talented, and this album has enough potential to be on a major label, definitely. The mix of electronics, death metal, great riffs and solos, in addition to middle eastern melodies and even some chants in parts, not to mention all the other cool shit that tech heads love about metal - it’s all more than enough to get these guys on a label. As I have said, this is an extremely high quality recording, and it’s being given away for free. This took 3 years and cost the band 4,000 dollars, and they expect NO FUCKING PROFIT.
Could you do this? Could any of you, and your bands actually record something of such a high quality, spend copious amounts of money, and then just give it away with full booklet for free? In the “thank you” section of the book, they even speak of people that have helped them to keep making this album, like a man who helped them from going bankrupt, and wanted nothing in return but to spread love, respect, and understanding, to people they reach. There are more, you’ll just have to read it. Even the frontman of Melechesh helped them out, regardless that he has very little free time.
This band is trying to say something and I feel it too, as I have always despised money, whether I’ve had it or not. There’s been times where I had a wallet full of it, and I spent it on bullshit that I didn’t need. Of course we all need to eat, but food itself is high, overpriced, and full of harmful preservative chemicals that are ruining our stomachs and intestines. Buying natural foods is even tougher now, as they cost even more than the cheap stuff. If companies cared about our health, they would make food without so many harmful chemicals and not from modified sources.
Truly, if anything can be said here, it’s the fact that we don’t need money to be a part of good art. This is a great album, with a lot of good ideas, especially if you like electronic influence and death metal. This is a sign of change in terms of release method, as more bands should adopt this idea. Money has crippled our society, corrupted our politicians and leaders, and for all you Christians and Buddhists out there, remember that Jesus hated it, and the Buddha didn’t need it. This world wouldn’t be so damned close to an ecological fallout if there wasn’t so many greedy companies literally reminding me of old Captain Planet episodes, and that’s fucking ridiculous. They don’t care if they ruin the whole thing, just as long as they make more money to live so fucking rich.
What I’m trying to say, is that this free album of great musicianship and ideas, deserves your ears and attention. All that work and money being given to you for free is something that should set a model for real art. If I had the resources, I would surely give away my novel for free to anyone that wanted it, and subsequent novels as well. Paying for things is something that should have died out a long time ago.
http://www.zeitgeistmovingforward.com/ (just one of many approaches to starting a new world)
Score: 5/5 (A model of release that we should all look up to.)
Protest The Hero - Scurrilous (2011) - Now on a completely different subject, I have Protest The Hero, which should be very familiar to fans of extreme progressive metal, which is the best way to categorize them. This disc is 44 minutes long, and that’s one minute more than Kezia.
Of course, the emo influence can be a bit much, but there’s no doubt that this progressive technical metal has a little more thrash influence than normal on this disc in places, and it’s a little faster. Although, some could say the same about Avenged Sevenfold, which are a good gateway drug, but not really metal. As for the prog on this disc, you’re really going to feel it this time. The second disc kind of ran away at parts, but this one manages to keep things on track, even offering some trippy little things for teens to idose on. Which is the funniest shit I’ve ever heard. Binaural music has been around for years.
The disc certainly jams, and I don’t use that term much - but it’s the best way to explain it. It would be even more interesting if there were no vocals at all. As a matter of fact, I’d enjoy this disc a ton more if it was devoid of vocals, since his whiny style seems to take away from the greatness of the band. Who cares about lyrics, just let the music do the talking. The bottom line here is that this disc is completely solid, and a good listen. The vocals don’t even get on my nerves that bad this time around. There’s just so much going on in the music department that I don’t care about the guy on the mic.
It’s definitely worth of your ears, that’s for sure. If there’s anyone that says this band isn’t talented, then let them throw the first fucking stone. You try picking some of the technical shit on this disc, and let’s see how that works for you. I’m not even gonna talk about the drum work, since that drummer has got just as much fucking skill to keep up with those riffs. I could name so many songs in which a sheer display of ridiculous musicianship is performed, and these guys are working their way towards becoming the next Dream Theater, whether you want to believe that or not. Sometimes, we just have to open our ears and accept the facts.
OVERALL: EXTREMELY SOLID EXTREME PROGRESSIVE METAL. PLENTY OF PROG AND TECH THAT WILL BLOW YOUR GODDAMNED MIND. WHO GIVES A FUCK WHAT THE GUY’S SINGING ABOUT, LISTEN TO THOSE FUCKING RIFFS! DEFINITELY WORTH THE EARS OF ANY PROG HEADS, AND I MEAN THIS AS A MUST! IT IS BETTER THAN YOU THINK.
Score: 5/5 (Incredible musicianship, damn near otherworldly in places.)
Illdisposed - There Is Light (But It’s Not For Me) (2011) - This attempt to mix what I'd call deathcore and electronics together is decent at best. The electronics work to make the thing a little more interesting, but I don't hear anything that just really blows my mind. Sure, there's your occasional good riff and melody, and even some interesting electronics and atmospheres, but that still only hides the fact that this is still mainly deathcore.
I mean, that hardcore influenced vocal ruins the whole thing for me. I feel like he's all in my face screaming in that Brooklyn nature, and even though there's the electronic factor, I can't really get into it. Here comes the breakdowns...and the electronics too, I guess. I know some people that would like this album. But I just don't know...plus they cut that solo off on "Our Words Betrayed" for no apparent reason. Is it too much for the kids to stop pumping their fists long enough to sit and enjoy a good solo?
I'm not going to pit the two against each other, but I think that the mix of death metal and electronics was better achieved on Seth.ECT's free album. So, I'm telling you that you might here better than this for free. I will admit that fans of the band may enjoy this album, and it's not terrible. There goes another solo on "The Taste Of You"....well, there went another solo. Was that even a minute? What the hell is with that? Oh, it's the chorus solo thing, I guess that works... Later on, the album has some much better points with "Black Sunday" and the closer "We" being good songs, not to mention the instrumental track "Reality To Fall"
I could also give them bonus points for deciding to name a song "Rape." Yeah, that's it. It's just called "Rape." Good concept on the song though.
OVERALL: A SOLID ELECTRONIC DEATH METAL ALBUM. HAS CORE INFLUENCE, BUT NOT THAT BAD. NOT AMAZING, BUT NOT AWFUL EITHER. THE BAND DOES SOME INTERESTING THINGS IN TERMS OF ATMOSPHERES, AND THERE ARE SOME GOOD SHORT SOLOS, AND VOCAL EXPERIMENTATIONS AS WELL. STILL WORTH A LISTEN.
The Global Warming Extravaganza - Debaucherous Adventure (2011)- This comedy/experimental death metal band sounds like a bunch of assholes that think they know everything, and want to make fun of everything. Atheists will love this stuff, since they make fun of spirituality, and religion in general. But they also make fun of other genres like pop-core and what not. The first song is called "Evolution" and is 18:52 seconds long trying to throw atheist messages in there and all that.
I personally don't call myself an atheist since I am a man that has an idea of the universe as a living system that all organisms exist as a part of and a definite afterworld for energies that have passed on from the physical flesh (the astral plane) where energies are refitted into other physical forms and continue to live on other worlds if they do decide so. I don't like the term God, so maybe I am somewhat atheist, but I don't like that term either, because I believe the universe is what you would call God, I guess.
Now, this album might offend some people, if not a lot of people. They make fun of Dime, folks. I mean these guys literally must be some of the most self-centered egotistical bastards, and I would probably end up getting into a fist fight with the whole fucking band, despite their talent. They just have a really petty way of thinking.
I hope they aren't planning on selling this thing, because I don't think it's going to sell, and they probably can't play in 95% of venues, due to the fact that they might really piss someone off. I'm okay with comedy and parody, but this might be going a little far. Granted, I know people that will enjoy this band, but this IS NOT for everyone. It's very VULGAR American comedy with some bad death metal portions entered in, and some good atmospherics. I don't see this shit getting too popular. If I want funny stuff, I'll listen to GWAR, not GWEX.
Furthermore, I will state that this type of apathetic American thinking is thinking that is clearly uninformed. Studies of quantum mechanics by much more intelligent Indian scientists will prove many of these things that these guys just don't want to hear. Yes, I would be the guy coming to all their shows with, "What about this? How can you deny the evidence of this? Look, I already get into big lengthy discussions with guys like this, and me and these guys would have one hell of a fucking debate as well. I believe much in science and spirituality working together as one, and there's more than enough evidence and cases to prove these things coincide on many levels, especially when discussing energy.
OVERALL: GWAR inspired Atheist American comedy with experimental metal that makes me fun of everything and includes some guests. I guess you're all curious about it, but I still think it's a little too offensive to me, even though I like to keep an open mind. I mean, other people have faiths and I'm not crazy about some of them, but I respect them, and got out of that whole "making fun of people's religions" stage, since it's really fucking immature, and these guys need to just grow up and play some metal.
NOTE: MORE COMEDY THAN METAL. BTW, THIS ALBUM WASN'T REVIEWED IN FULL. I HEARD ABOUT 3 TRACKS, MAYBE I'LL HEAR MORE LATER. I'VE GOT MUCH MORE "METAL" RELEASES TO REVIEW THAN THIS CRAP.
Score: 2.5/5 (For atmospheres and a few good jokes - but really not much metal.)
Sarke - Oldarhian (2011) - Sarke is black metal, it's just a little different than what you would expect. It's very old school, and the vocals are so clear that it's more like a clean growl than a scowl, very comparable to Celtic Frost and Tryptikon. The vocals are completely audible, and sometimes they are quite hilarious. I won't spoil the surprise, but the sheer bluntness of it had me a rolling with laughter.
They also took on a very punk/thrash sort of style for some of the songs. For the rest, they are VERY influenced by Sabbath style doom. If you like current Satyricon, you might also like this album, again due to what they are calling "modern black metal" without the scowl, except it sounds more old school like Venom, really. The lyrics yet again are comical at times, perhaps it's just the approach. I'd love to bust this album out at a party of some sort, just to see what the people say, and how soon they'll get to making fun of his vocals.
It's just that "growl" the guy's got, that makes me think of a grumpy old fellow. The whole "You damn kids get out of my yard, or I'll summon Satan and all of his minions to come after you!" sort of deal. The musicianship is pretty good on the disc, but it's a very slow and dark album for the most part. Imagine a very stripped down vocal style put to doom/thrash/punk style black metal, and you've got it. There's also some good, very classic styled solos on this disc.
OVERALL: OLD SCHOOL MEETS BLACK METAL IN A VERY CELTIC FROST APPROACH. NO SCOWLS, JUST SOUNDS LIKE A GRUMPY OLD GUY ON THE VOCALS. NOT SO BAD, BUT LYRIC CONTENT CAN BE KIND OF SILLY ON A FEW SONGS. MUSICIANSHIP IS GOOD FOR THE MOST PART. IT'S VERY SLOW, DARK BLACK METAL.OLDER HEADS MIGHT REALLY DIG THIS ONE.
Score: 4/5 (Good attempt at old school.)
Orthodox - Forever Not Yet (2011) - Orthodox is an absolutely phenomenal progressive technical death metal band. They're probably one of the best death metal acts I've heard in my entire life, and I think that the new Morbid Angel would have to be ridiculous in order to be something like this. The guitarist/s? here are the main point of the album, as they play several mind melting solos, one after the other in most cases.
The type of riffs used on this album are a little more than just unconventional. I've never even heard some of these riffs before. Some of this shit I didn't even know you could play on a guitar. Is that reason enough for you to check it out? Just try to play some of this shit, and let me know how you did. The whole goddamned band are musical prodigies, as far as I can tell - and there's only three of them.
This effort is an absolute mind fuck in every way, shape, and fucking form. If you think I'm just blowing smoke, listen to the fucking thing yourself. I don't think there's been a better and more talented prog tech death band than these guys to date, and I've heard several. Though I'm sure that you have your own two cents. They're not as technical as some bands that are out there, but are still exhilarating.
OVERALL: READ THE REVIEW UP TOP, AND GET THE ALBUM ANYWAY. IF YOU DON'T LIKE THIS DISC, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR BRAIN. THIS BAND IS A ABSOLUTE MUST, AND MAY BE ONE OF THE BEST DEATH METAL ALBUMS OF THE YEAR, IF NOT PAST 20 YEARS.
Colosseum - Chapter 3 Parasomnia (2011) - There's nothing more to say about this epic doom/death metal band that the simple fact that they're some of the most incredible and unique doom/death metal I've ever heard. I will be most certainly getting their first and second release, as this one has definitely made me a fan. Doom/death can be so droll and boring at times, but the fact that this band adds some orchestral elements, as well as some absolute beautiful and non depressing melodies, make this something that even the people who hate doom metal might be able to enjoy.
Yes, it's still very slow, but the atmospheres used in the guitar work and the use of some great clean vocals and the sheer epic-ness created by the use of the orchestrations make this band a great something to take notice of. This 180 from such dreary and depressive doom metal bands that are a multitude, makes this alone something to take notice of. It's an album that hits slow and hard, and leaves one with a very beautiful feeling all at the same time. In those terms it sounds like I might've gotten fucked by the album, but I was also quite surprised in more ways than one, so I guess we could call it something like "a rape for the willing." Of course, few women actually rape men - and that's something I wouldn't personally mind since I like women that are very forceful, aggressive...but that's another story completely.
The bottom line is, get this album. You need to fucking hear this one, because it stands out from the rest. Every minute is enjoyable, and at 63:00, 5 tracks, and the first one being 21:39 long, as well as the last 3 tracks being from 10-15 minutes each...there's a lot to dig into here. Absolutely essential doom metal.
OVERALL: ESSENTIAL DEATH/DOOM THAT DOES SOMETHING MORE THAN OTHER BANDS. THE ADDED ORCHESTRATIONS IN ADDITION TO MESMERIZING MELODIES AND SOME USE OF CLEAN VOCALS MAKE THIS AN INCREDIBLE RELEASE, THAT WILL LEAVE YOUR MOUTH WATERING FOR MORE.
Night Of Suicide - Desire (2011) - There's only one thing to say about this doom/death metal band. They're melodic, slow, and boring. If I had the choice between this and Colosseum, you can guess what I'm going to pick. At 4 tracks and 45 minutes, it's not as long, and doesn't seem to offer that much. The production is also kind of so/so compared to the great band above this review.
Will you like it? Well, if that's what you want to know - if you like ANY slow melodic doom/death act that has come out since the beginning of the doom/death genre, (and remember, slow doom/death as opposed to faster stuff like early Paradise Lost, (which possibly pioneered doom/death) Swallow The Sun, November's Doom, and others) you should like this as also. Even though some groove creeps up in the album at points, and some nice violin work, it's still not amazing.
I've heard this before, ladies and gentlemen...and chances are that you have as well.
SCORE: DECENT MELODIC DOOM/DEATH. FOUR TRACKS OVER THE TEN MINUTE MARK WITH GREAT MELODIES, ATMOPSHERES AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU'VE HEARD FROM SLOW DOOM/DEATH BANDS THE WORLD OVER. IT'S NOT BAD, I'VE JUST HEARD THIS ALL BEFORE.
Dark Buddha Rising - Abyssolute Transfinite (2011) - This is an odd album of sorts, consisting of two LPs. The 1st LP contains "Ashtakra I and II 30:48" while the second contains "Chonyidt 45 and Sol'Yata 41:23"
For the most part, this deep transitive music with black metal tendencies works very well. Some might say it's drone, and others could possibly hear some doom-laden portions which I'm sure exist. Yet, it still has the fierceness and sheer amount of "just plain darkness" that makes it also fit into the black metal category. Just don't call it either of these things, because it's not.
Who knows, someone might hear things from this album that I would've never believed. I can't discern some of the vocals, but whatever it is that is being discussed might be a little over my head, and I have a pretty big head to go over. (I usually go over most people's heads, myself)
If you're in the mood for something dark and transitive, this should hit the spot. A little sporadic at times, quite mantric at others - it's worth taking a gander into. I would also not recommend the use of heavier drugs while listening to this disc. It's a bit darker than one might expect. Don't blame me if you have a bad trip.
OVERALL: DARK, AND MANTRIC ALL AT THE SAME TIME, DARK BUDDHA RISING SEEMS TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF MUSIC THEY WANT TO PLAY, AND THE DO A SWELL JOB OF IT...PERHAPS TOO SWELL. I DON'T ADVOCATE THE LISTENING OF THIS ONE ON HEAVY DRUGS. IT'S LIKE SOME SORT OF NIGHTMARISH-ENLIGHTENMENT, FOR SURE - IF THAT EVEN MAKES ANY SENSE, THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE IT. IT IS ENLIGHTENMENT IN THE WAY YOU NEVER WANTED TO BE ENLIGHTENED.
Score: 5/5 (Worth multiple listens.)
Kali Yuga - Slaves To The Subliminal (2011) - Germany's Kali Yuga reminds me of a slew of bands. I hear early Amon Amarth, mid-era Kataklysm, and some definite Heaven Shall Burn in here as well. The HSB influence is well established, but since it mixes with the more technical and more deathy approach of mid-era Kataklysm "Shadows And Dust" and the "Serenity In Fire" eras, it balances everything out.
Kali Yuga are definitely a solid melodic death metal band with a punch. They're labeled as death/thrash, but I don't hear a lot of thrash influence. Instead, I hear a lot of groove and some core influence, WHICH IS NOT A BAD THING IN THIS CASE. Because the band doesn't rely on these as prime factors of the music, it's just another cog in the machine that makes up their sound.
The band features a decent vocalist, some rather good drumming, and guitarists who most certainly know what styles they wish to emulate. You can hear a lot of the three bands I've mentioned in the riffs of Kali Yuga, but there is still the occasional Indian/Middle Eastern melodies in just a few of the tracks on the disc. The quality of the album sounds just like those three bands I mentioned (Amon Amarth, Kataklysm, Heaven Shall Burn) sounded like in 2002-2004. It's got damn near the same recording style and production.
I daresay that these gentlemen made a tribute album.
But let's not say that are their talent was copied and pasted, because track by track on this album leaves me with a sense that this is a very strong debut from a capable band. Whether they will hold their own is yet to be determined. Right now, they're on a German label, but they have the ability to become metal "big-shots" in their own right, since their style is both very catchy and very "2000's" which will appeal to some of us slightly older metal heads that remember the 2000's era of metal.
OVERALL: MELODIC DEATH METAL WITH ELEMENTS OF HSB STYLE CORE TAHT ALSO INCORPORATES AMON AMARTH RIFFS AS WELL AS SOME FROM 2000'S ERA KATAKLYSM. THE MIX SOUNDS MUCH BETTER THAN YOU'D EVER EXPECT, AND IT MAKES THEM A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR THE SCENE. A FEW MIDDLE EASTERN RIFFS ARE ALSO USED, BUT THE BAND BRINGS A CERTAIN OLDER STYLE TO THE TABLE, AND THEN INNOVATES ON IT.
Liquid Graveyard - The Fifth Time I Died (2011) - Here's something that took me by complete surprise. Liquid Horizon is something of an oddity in progressive death metal, being the fact that some of the songs sound like they were written by Ihsahn, and other's sound like riffs taken right from Hevy Devy himself. Yeah, that's an odd mix, but I'll tell you what... It works.
"I Colossus", the opener track to the album, made me want to stand up and take notice. The riff that drives this song is one I wouldn't mind hearing again and again and again. It's just something of an unused prog era Emperor riff, damn near in the same composition. Other songs, like "Reflections" and "Beholder" really do remind me an absurd amount of Devin Townsend's slower stuff. This is such an odd album, that it's a must hear for the majority of metal fans. A great scream/growl mix is used in the songs, which still contain a great deal of brutality; yet there are also two female vocalists in this band that sometimes take on a few parts of a song, and there's one or two tracks in which they have full vocal duties.
One of the girl's sounds normal, while the other takes that blasted over the top "I'm in an opera" vocal that I get sick of hearing. Don't forget that this is NOT GOTH METAL, it's much closer related to black metal, even though it is labeled as progressive death metal. Every song on this record breathes it's own life, while retaining a unique sound that you've simply got to hear to believe. This band has my eyes wide open, and if they don't get well known from this disc, then there is no hope for unique and original metal.
OVERALL: DON'T JUST STAND THERE! GET THIS DISC ANY WAY THAT YOU CAN. IT'S AN ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE AND INTERESTING PROG/DEATH EXPERIENCE MIXING BLACK METALISH VOCALS WITH PROG DEATH METAL THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS MADE BY PROG ERA EMPEROR, AND MIXED WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND'S RIFFS ON THE LIGHTER SIDE OF THINGS. IT ALSO HAS FEMALE VOCALS WHICH ARE GOOD IN A FEW AREAS. GET THIS AMAZING DEBUT NOW!
Score: 5/5 (But real close to that triple 6 - opera vox rubbed me wrong in the few songs they were used in.)
Liquid Horizon - The Script Of Life (2011) - Well, I'm not familiar with Liquid Horizon, but I can see that they've been around for at least a few years if not more. The vocalist sounds familiar, but I cannot place him, as I've heard so many bands over the years. I'll have to check the metal archives. (Which I also occasionally do reviews for.)
Liquid Horizon came, saw, and conquered me with this album. Their blend of power thrash /prog really worked well enough for me to enjoy. Also, not being full of ballads helped. The vocals soar with an amazing splendor, the guitars crunch, and the sheer atmospheres created by the proggy portions of this band are something to definitely check out. It's also a very catchy album, perhaps too catchy - it reminds me of some of the best power metal albums.
There's some experimentation in this disc, like flamenco and some harsh vocals, as well as some electronic elements in one of the songs, plus there is a very drawn out epic song called "Crown Of Creation" which I recommend listening to as well, as it really captures the full force of this band. If you're still looking for a placeholder for the new Symphony X, or just wanting to hear something else that sounds really catchy - these gentlemen might be worth the investment.
Bonus Track: Up and Away (Live) - This is actually worth hearing, because it's a very heavy and powerful song that started out like a ballad. The quality on the track is also pristine. It sounds like DVD's should sound when they're released. I could barely tell that it was live. One of my favorite tracks on the disc, even though it's probably on the older Liquid Horizon release.
OVERALL: CATCHY AND POWERFUL POWER/PROG WITH CRUNCHY GUITARS, SOARING VOCALS, AND CHORUSES THAT WILL GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD. THE GUITAR AND KEYBOARD ACROBATICS ARE ALSO GREAT, AS IS THE BONUS TRACK, "UP AND AWAY (LIVE)." DEFINITELY WORTH CHECKING OUT. I MISSED OUT ON THESE GUYS SOMEHOW.
Mord A' Stigmata - Antimatter (2011) - This one's pretty odd in the fact that it started out like a death metal influenced black metal album, but then evolved into something different, with each song that passed. It was definitely a song by song mutation that ended in something completely different from the start. There's plenty of black metal here, and plenty of avantgarde experimental stuff towards the end.
The drummer carried the band from the beginning, but later on it was more about the vocals and the odd change in riffs and other such weirdness. There's still some very good drumming on this disc, and it's nice to hear a drummer who can do more than blast. All in all, the mix of black death and avantgarde is really bizarre, but it fucking works...I think.
You be the judge on this one...It's definitely different.
OVERALL: STARTS OUT LIKE BLACK/DEATH, GOES INTO AVANTGARDE. YEAH, I'M NOT KIDDING. WANT THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS? YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH THIS ONE. GREAT DRUM WORK, AND SOME GOOD RIFFING HERE AND THERE. GIVE IT A SHOT. SURE TO BE A CULT CLASSIC AMONG FANS.
Odd Dimension - Symmetrical (2011) - If there's one thing I can say about these guys, it's that they have major prog/power potential. There are some absolutely dazzling guitar theatrics in this album, as well as the keyboard work, which is just ridiculous. Even though the vocals suffer in some points, fans of power/prog should really enjoy these long and masterful pieces. There's not one song on the disc that's garbage, and every damn one of them shines as well as the next. If you're not digging the vocals, just give the music itself a listen, and you'll see that Odd Dimension has some incredible ability and has learned well from their influences.
OVERALL: THIS ENGROSSING POWER/PROG ALBUM IS WORTH A LISTEN FOR THE MUSIC ALONE. VOCALS MAY SUFFER, BUT THE PROOF OF THE BAND'S GENIUS COMES IN THER MUSICIANSHIP. DEFINITELY AN ACT TO KEEP WATCH ON, THESE GENTLEMEN HAVE MAJOR POTENTIAL.
Khaos Aeon - Exitus. (2011) - Khaos Aeon seem to be big fans of rawer black metal, and old school Dissection. I hear some of both in this album, but it still doesn't leave me with the same feelings that Dissection always did. I guess it's true that few can one up Jon Nodtveidt (RIP) and crew, but these guys are sure trying. Sadly, the effort seems to be a little more than moderate in comparison, but very solid in it's own right. There's even a cover of Dissection's "Frozen."
OVERALL: BLACK METAL IN THE VEIN OF EARLY DISSECTION, BUT DOESN'T QUITE FULLY CAPTURE THAT FEELING. DEFINITELY SOME ORIGINAL TINKERING ON THIS ONE, BUT SONGS LIKE "HA-LLAN HA-HIZON" DEFINITELY REMIND ME OF WHAT GREAT BLACK METAL IS. WORTH YOUR EARS.