Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times (2011) - Amorphis has released another album, big deal. I’m serious. It’s the same thing, melodic folk metal with death metal tidbits, singing and some female dueting this time around. It’s not a bad album, but it’s nothing new. If you like their clean vocal work, you’ll like this disc. There’s even some good death metal moments on it. But as for everything else, it’s just the same.
Sure, there’s some heavy parts on this album, and sure there’s some great piano playing and beautiful melodies on this disc, but it’s still Amorphis’s same style of ice cream they’ve been putting out for years and years and years and years. I’m wondering how much longer they are going to keep copying themselves. Does it even matter that every album sounds almost the same? Does anyone care? Is everyone just trapped in the beautiful melodies? Regardless, this is a MUST for Amorphis fans, because they definitely did their same old sound very well, take “Song of The Sage” for example.
Yes, it’s a good album. It’s full of great riffs and melodies, and the vocals aren’t too bad. As I said, it is deathy in parts - but don’t go thinking this is Amorphis’s return to death metal, because that isn’t coming back. But there are plenty of great things to like this time around, even if you’ve heard them all before. (58:00 w/bonus track)
Bonus Track: Heart’s Song - It’s a really nice folky ballad with some good flute playing. Definitely worth checking out.
5/5 (I don’t hate it, the musicality is there. It just sounds like everything else they’ve done.)
Charnier - Humanicide (2011) - This French death metal band’s debut started out a little weak in the beginning, but with a little experimentation, and a little more fleshing out of the music towards the middle of the disc, it’s actually worth checking out.
While not amazing, there are a few tracks like “Du Sang Por Yog Sothoth” (The Song For Yog Sothoth”, “Ithaqua” (Which uses some nice vocal effects) and the sheer amount of effort put into “Le Seigner Des Abysses” which seems to shine better than the rest.
In the beginning, the album sounds rather basic with little emphasis on originality. But as it reaches the mid-point, things start to sound a little better. I even found myself liking a few of these songs and not casting the whole album off as just a decent album. Yet it’s still very ironic, because even with the good tracks on this disk, it’s still just a little over decent for these French death metallers. Better luck next album, guys. (41:00)
Devin Townsend - Ghost (2011) - Devin Townsend has certainly put out something much different with this album. It’s possibly his most beautiful and light oriented album yet. I have no earthly idea what the album’s concept is, but it’s certainly a nice relaxation piece, complete with many soothing atmospheres which comprise most of the disc.
There’s even some country influence on songs like “Blackberry” and plenty of sounds of the ocean on this one. I’ve got a relaxation disc, called “Oceans, Dreams, and Time” and this disc reminds me heavily of it. There are also female vocals used on the disc. This is not what you would consider a metal album, by any stroke of the imagination, but it is an interesting work nonetheless. The work sounds very ethereal throughout each and every song, and seems to encompass very spiritual overtones.
Those who don’t believe in spirituality and the like probably want to avoid this, because it’s got nothing but spirit. On the other hand, it’s a very relaxing metaphysical piece that those who believe in a higher sense of being will definitely appreciate. I cannot give this an obscene score, because it’s not really anything ridiculously interesting like his last album, “Deconstruction” and it’s more or less an after dinner mint. Ghost 2 is also supposed to appear later on, but I expect it to be just atmospheres and nothing more. Devin’s next slice of meat will be offered in 2012, with the release of Z2 (Z Squared) the sequel to Ziltoid, most likely. (73:00)
Hammerfall - Infected (2011) - Hey, Hammerfall! Haven’t heard from you guys since 2009. So what’s new? Zombies, huh? Well, it’d better be as good as that last album. I played “Legion” ten and twenty times in 09 while walking the streets looking for work.
Unfortunately, Hammerfall has fallen short with this album. It’s just under the radar for them, and will be greatly overshadowed this year by other power metal bands. The Hammer has definitely fallen, and this is the sound of a band that just sounds drained. There’s very little here to interest besides the crazy guitar solos and use of effects in some of the songs. Even “ I Refuse” starts out well enough, but it won’t be played at too many of the band’s concerts due to the fact that there is nothing going on in the chorus. It’s like their vocalist wanted to write some good lyrics for that song, but they came out like shit instead, and he should have trashed them.
Even the opener “Patient Zero” fails to bring about my attention, and the ballad “Show Me A Sign” is unforgivably bad. I’m starting to wonder if the band has just completely run it’s course, and if “Show Me A Sign” is the band trying to get divine inspiration on whether or not they should continue. I mean, how many more Hammerfall albums do we need? It’s just really bad. “Bang Your Head” , “The Outlaw”, “One More Time”, and “Dia De Los Muertos” may be the only good songs on this disc, with everything being decent at best. Hammerfall has done so much better, and frankly they’ve given us enough as a band. What more can you guys do? It’s going to get the point where it’s the band copying themselves. Sadly, it’s already starting to sound that way. (51:00)
Pagan’s Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy (2011) - Pagan’s Mind have not disappointed me since 2005, with the release of “Enigmatic Calling.” Yet here in 2011, I find that I am still in wonder at the display of raw musical prowess the band has demonstrated on this possible prog metal album of the year.
Pagan’s Mind opens with a short little piece that’s nothing major, but when “Eyes Of Fire” comes in with crunching guitars and thrash sensibilities, you can tell from the get go, that this will be a heavier album with still the same light melodic vocals that we’d expect from the band. I never though in a hundred years that the next song, “Intermission” or even the song after “Into The Aftermath” or even the song after that, and after that, would be as good as the opener or better. But they are. The band’s use of great guitar and keyboard playing really make this album stand out - and without the soaring pipes from their longtime vocalist, this album would not be as great as it is.
If you’re fan of Pagan’s Mind, or prog metal in general, this is an absolute must. If you’re a fan of power metal at all, you need to pick this up to, because there is something for every fan of these two respective genres. Harsh vocals even come in on the 8:32 track, “Revelations To The End.” This is certainly a heavier record, but not without it’s share of ballads which are few, but offer great things, like the ending guitar solo on “Never Walk Alone.” Classic stuff I would’ve expected from Dream Theater, definitely. Well, maybe in DT’s glory days.
Regardless, Pagan’s Mind’s “Heavenly Ecstasy” is a must have album for metalheads this year. If you are even open to a classic metal style with elements of the new, I highly, highly, recommend this album. It’s damn near canonical, and possibly one of the very best metal records of this year. (66:00)
666 (I can give this nothing less. You must hear this.)
Gallhammer - The End (2011 EXTENDED REVIEW) - This being my first Galhammer album, I’d have to say that I’m not extremely impressed. I normally love Japanese metal bands because they are so damned unique, and you probably might notice in the gamut of my reviews, I’ve done quite a few of them.
While the band has some very crunchy and doomy riffs and somewhat of a black/metal death metal feel vocally, there is one thing in the middle of this album that kills it for me, just completely fucking makes me start laughing, and being a major anime fan - It brought up this image personally:
Galhammer is an all female band, and in anime there are sometimes little creatures, demons, chibi (usually refers to small or “cute” things) that surround a character like a pet. I could imagine an anime version of a video for the song “Sober” (which really drives this point home) with the main vocalist drawn like some vampire/goth/black metal whatever (I mean they did DMC and that’s the closest anime has come to metal) sort of character, and she is growling screaming exc., and all of a sudden there’s this little cutesy thing singing j-pop vocals in the back, and you can barely hear it, cause it has a smaller microphone.
I don’t know the reasoning behind this idea of having barely hearable j-pop vocals in the background of doomy/deathy/black metal but it only makes me laugh all the more. The only tracks I found fulfilling were the tracks devoid of this, like the opener, and the closer. The closing track, “108=7, T-NA” is probably the best track on the album for odd usage of horns and good usage of metal. The opener, “The End” is also great as it really sounds dark and brooding, a way that most would expect this band to sound.
While I am not entirely sure if the band has always used this tough to hear cutesy j-pop vocal in the background of all this very raw dark and evil sounding shit, it’s going to make it hard for me to want to check out anything else from these girls because I find myself doing far too much laughing. Yes, I do like some J-Pop. No, I don’t like the cutesy in the background of 4 of the 7 tracks on this album…yep, that means these cutesy vocals are in most of it. Perhaps it really is “The End” for Galhammer. Oh well, I’d rather listen to Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation. A great female Japanese grindcore band whose members all look like cutesy Japanese girls in schoolgirl outfits, but sound like a horde of rampaging demons. Good stuff, and I usually don’t like much grindcore. I’d love to see them live. (45:00)
Instead of this - Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation - S/T (2008) and any new albums from them, if there are any.
Omega Lithium - Kinetik (2011) - Here is a rather interesting group that tries to mix the heavy industrial sound of bands very similar to Rammstein, with the soft female vocal approach of Lacuna Coil. Surprisingly, the formula works, and this album could give Lacuna Coil a run for their money. The female vocalist also has that foreign accent, and has just as beautiful as a voice as Christina. But what sets them apart is that the music is actually much heavier and the electronics are used really well. Let’s also not forget that the songs are catchy as hell.
I’m going to say it this way, this band is going to blow up in the states given the right promotion. They have the possibility to be a very big act, and women would go gaga over them. I’m sure some men would too. The fact that the band actually tries to make the songs sound different also helps, and the fact that the damn lyrics aren’t always about love is also a good thing. “I Am God” and “Cut Forget” are two songs completely unrelated to relationships, and are about war. “I Am God” also features a harsh backup vocal, something Lacuna hasn’t used since “Comalies.”
Needless to say, this isn’t going to be everybody’s thing, and that’s fine. I enjoyed it, and I know others who will also. It’s heavier than Lacuna for sure, and actually features some halfway decent solos, so it’s much more metal than Lacuna has been recently. If you’re a fan of this stuff, it’s a must pickup. But they’ve also a 2009 release that I haven’t heard much of yet, and so far the quality seems to suffer and it won’t be really noticed until it’s eventually remastered.
Again, if you’re expecting death metal, and don’t like electronics or female vocals, you might not want to go anywhere near this. If you want something a little more deathlier with the female vocals, I would definitely recommend Italy’s new export, Deadend In Venice (Yes, I’ve reviewed them, and the “short list” will be released soon.) (41:00)
5/5 (Can’t knock it, it’s good.)
Pain - You Only Live Twice (2 Disc Special Edition 2011) - Pain, you’re such a pain. I don’t know what to say about these guys anymore. This album is a little heavier then their last one, but it doesn’t offer too much. For once in a long time though, there are some harsh vocals used “Feed The Demons” and even an ACDC tribute “Dirty Woman” which is probably one of my favorite songs on the disc.
If you’ve heard Pain’s last album, don’t go into this one thinking you’re in for anything extremely different, because you’re not. The clean vocals and choruses are still there, as well as the use of electronics, and metal tinkerings. The album’s roughly short, and it’s closer “Season Of The Reaper” is a great way to end the thing out. But, if you’ve got the special humpty dumpty bullshit box edition of the album with too much environment destroying packaging you’ll get another disc. Here’s what’s on that disc.
Crawling Through Bitterness (Unreleased) - This is actually a good song. I don’t know when it was recorded, but it’s certainly better than a few of the lackluster tracks on the album.
The next 4 tracks are “The Great Pretender”, “Dirty Woman”, “You Only Live Twice”, and “Leave Me Alone.” They’ve all been mixed by Club DJ’s, and they’re now going to be more for dancing then head banging. I’m serious, all the metal’s been stripped from these songs in favor of rave party stuff. Well, the final track does contain some guitar in it.
Eleanor Rigby - Live 2009 - Beatles Cover, of course. An electronic metal Beatles cover. It’s not that bad actually, and yes I’m a fan of The Beatles. Especially “Magical Mystery Tour.” I’d like to hear a studio version of this. Why it wasn’t on the album, I’ll never know.
Follow Me - Live 2009 , I Don’t Care - Live 2009, Bitch - Live 2009 - The quality on these tracks is alright, but it’s always hard to get electronics and metal to sound good at the same time live. I’ve no idea how Rammstein does it. These tracks sound as good as you’d expect a PA to record directly to whatever the hell they used to record these tracks.
Enough fun, Peter. Hurry up with that new Hypocrisy album. (75:00 W/Bonus Disc, 40:00 Without)
A Storm Of Light - As The Valley Of Death Becomes Us, Our Memories Fade (2011) - This Neurosis side project’s sophomore album is a pretty interesting piece of music. While I haven’t heard their first, (but I’ve got it) other reviews have said that the last album was very generic, and this one is something that doesn’t sound very generic. The opener, “Missing” is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album, due to the shred factor, but there aren’t many other songs on the album where guitars are used that ferociously other than “Destroyer” I suppose, which is just a great song altogether.
The disc is interesting because it has the Neurosis sound, but with a much cleaner vocal. It’s almost like a more mainstream and easier to digest Neurosis album, but this is not a bad thing, because this band hasn’t dumbed down their style at all. It’s still got plenty of layers, and isn’t completely dominated by sludge. There’s some female vocals in parts of the album (but isn’t there in everything nowadays?) and there’s plenty of interesting experiments on the disc, such as “Black Wolves”, “Death’s Head”, and “Wasteland” the album’s long closer at 10:50.
Most of the tracks are over the five minute mark, and there’s still plenty of sludge here, but the vocals aren’t near as gritty as you would like. As I said, this is much different from Neurosis, even though musically it might not sound as such. The songs are also much shorter than most of Neurosis’s epics. But fans of the genre, Neurosis, and other side projects from said band should surely enjoy this one as well. It’s a little different, and very interesting. You might even think it’s the best post metal / sludge album you’ve heard this year. It comes very close, I’ll tell you that.
Dope Stars Inc. - Ultrawired (2011) - I’m betting these guys are finish, because the vocals sound that way. Tough to get around, but good in parts. This is extremely electronic metal/hard rock that’s probably not for everyone, but electronic fans should enjoy their use of all electronic effects known to man, including keyboard effects and gaming chips.
Each song takes on it’s own role, and some of them are heavy with lyrics ranging from various topics. Not for everyone, but the electronic metal folks (industrial heads like myself) should definitely give it a spin. Not perfect, but still better than the new KMFDM, sadly. (52:49)
Falconer - Armod (2011) - The last Falconer album did little to impress me, but this album sees the band in a much better, and heavier light. While still not as good as their debut or sophomore release, this is the best thing they’ve released in a while. Except there’s a small catch. All of the songs are now in the band’s native language, and the bonus tracks are four English translations of some of the best tracks on the album.
Don’t be fooled, I’ve listened to both versions of the four, and they’re quite good either way. I still don’t care for “O, Silent Solitude” because it’s just a rather boring ballad. Songs like “Black Widow” and “Grimborg” are some of the best, and other songs like “Dimmornas Drottning” are also quite good, even though there’s no translation available for that track.
“Eklundapolskan” is a great folky instrumental on the disc, and I’ll mention that plenty of folk instruments are used on this disc and if you haven’t heard Falconer in a very long while, this should only be unusual to you. Since Northwind (2007) they’ve gotten far more folky, and the stories presented in the tales are very interesting and catchy. I got the lyrics to some of them stuck in my head very fast. Fans of folk music and metal are urged to purchase this album, as it literally sounds like a great deal of effort was made in making it. The longest song on the album “Herr Peder Och Hans Syster” actually includes some female vocals as well, of course.
All in all, it’s a great folk-metal masterpiece that you should definitely add to your collection. (70:00)
Saxon - Call To Arms (2011) - Saxon has released yet another full length album, and it sounds just as good as the last one. The band hasn’t changed their style any, it sounds just as good as it always has. Fans of the band new and old should enjoy this album, as it’s heavy metal at it’s finest. I came in to the band late, finding their “Unleash The Beast” (1998) album for 3.00 at an odd DVD rental place that we used to have until they went out of business while I was still in high school. Believe it or not, I am still determined to do a cover of “Ministry Of Fools” in black metal or in some other sort of metal band, as I’ve always felt a heavier version of that classic could be done right, and it’s the very best kick to the face of brainwashing western religion that I’ve heard apart from Exodus’s “Shroud Of Urine.”
The album has it’s moments, but is really nothing fantastic. If you’ve liked the band before, you certainly won’t hate them now. The songs are still mainly based in hard rock, almost ACDC-ish like on many of the tracks from 2009’s “Into The Labyrinth.” Yet there are still great moments on the album, like “Mists Of Avalon” which is just as good 09’s “Valley Of The Kings” (some would say the two go together) and the title track, “Call To Arms” which is another great song. I tell you what though, they really didn’t need the orchestral version of “Call To Arms” as the orchestra really sort of kills it. I think it’s too much personally, and could’ve been left out. Of course, this track is posted at the end of the album, so it’s more or less just a bonus.
At times I think that the Saxon front man tries a little too much to get the presence of Halford, and that’s to be expected, seeing as this band is NWOBHM, (There you go wrongnote85) but it’s done right, and should please fans of the band greatly. Not essential, and not nearly as good as their last album, or even the 98 one, which I really enjoyed and still do to this day. Worth a listen though, I mean they are heavy metal legends, and it’s the least that you can do. (43:00)
Sepultura - Kairos (2011) - Well, let’s mark one up for Sepultura. This is the best album they’ve released since Max was in the band, but it’s still not saying much. Yes, the guitar solos are wild and the songs have much more structure, but the vocals are still as awful, and the band just doesn’t sound that amazing.
If you’re hoping for a comeback album, this should suffice - but I’ve never been partial to post Max Sepultura. The band still sounds like they are missing something. Still, this is the best I’ve heard from the band in several years, and I do mean, SEVERAL years. So definitely check it out. The days of Dante and whatever the hell A-Lex was are over. At least, we can hope.
There’s also a non bonus track cover of Ministry’s “Just One Fix” which is actually done justice on this album. Quite surprising, indeed. Always loved that song. That and “Psalm 69” and about a good deal of others from Ministry. They’ve certainly left us with one hell of a catalog. Who’d have thought that industrial metal pioneers would come from Texas? (44:00)
Kartikeya - Mahayuga(2011) - Kartikeya is an odd, but incredible band. They are a Hindu death metal act with extreme elements of Indian music, and lyrics based in the Hindu faith. Let’s also mention the most peculiar fact about this band: They’re Russian.
I’m not quite sure how Russians embraced the Hindu faith and Indian culture, but it is all put to great use here as there is a lot of structure and technicality in these songs, albeit the Indian chants and music as well in the interludes, song intros and song outros. There are even some short atmospheric pieces here an there.
The album is an astounding 71 minutes of music, and it’s safe to say that none of it gets too tiring or boring after awhile. The band has really made a perfect bland of technical death metal and Indian music perfectly, and there are even some mindblowing solos and some interesting riffs that you’ve got to hear for yourself. Clean vocal choruses also make an appearance in songs like “Neverborn”, which is actually nowhere near the 3:00 radio poppy thing you’re expecting. This is after all, death metal; and you don’t need me to confirm it.
As heavy as this album is, it’s not completely overbearing and offers plenty of light portions and is just an overall good mix of music. Not going to be for everyone, because some people aren’t into Indian music and chants which are used on the album. The music isn’t all just blistering metal, except when it is. The lyrics are also very positive, so don’t expect anything of standard death metal fare. The album ends with a 4 part “Maha Yuga” epic, which ends ultimately with a large 14:10 piece. Altogether the epic is 26:00 long, just by itself. Add that to 45 more minutes of music, and you’ve got yourself a hell of an album. Definitely worth checking out, especially because it’s much different then what’s out there.
The band also has other albums, so I would suggest checking them out and supporting the band if you enjoy this very unique type of metal. (71:00)
Wolverine - Communication Lost (2011) - I think Wolverine made this album upon really enjoying the latest Opeth album, “Watershed.” This is the most sell-out bullshit I’ve ever heard from the band, and it’s the first full album I’ve heard from them. Just like “Watershed” there are a few good songs, but everything else is filler and could be easily edited for the radio. Some of this stuff is as tasteless as Nickelback, and that’s awful.
The bad thing about this band, is that these songs are so catchy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t wind up fully media blasted, and maybe even performing on the stage of American Idol. I’ve listened to a great deal of prog metal and prog rock bands, and honestly - this just isn’t going to cut it. There’s about five good tracks on the disc, and the true opener (track 2, not the intro) and title track are arguably the most authentic and mind-blowing tracks, and everything else seems to just be pop filler crap.
Seriously, some of these ballads could have been written by me on the toilet. These guys are obviously just trying to sell records now. Songs like “Embrace” and “What Remains” are complete toilet paper. Sure, there are some killer tracks on this disc, but you have to get through so much pop influenced bullshit to get to them.
If anything, the guitar solos are really good, and when the band really believes in a song, they do it justice. However, I think the bills are getting higher for the band, and it’s time to sell out and make some money. I suppose the economy is really that fucking bad. I’m going to go backwards and hear some other albums, I think I missed the peak album. I’d rather hear these guys at their best, than at their worst.
Communication lost indeed. (70:00)
Mechina - Conquerer (2011) - I reviewed a 2005 album from these guys and found it rather dull. Surprise, surprise. This fucking album is just as dull. Not only is it a damn near rip-off of Fear Factory boiling out with plagiarism, it offers nothing really that interesting. It’s just industrial death metal with some female chants and new age music interlude pieces. In the first couple songs they try to do the whole clean vocal heavy vocal Fear Factory thing, even coming close to stealing Burton C. Bell’s clean vocal tone (the guy tries his damndest to sound just like Bell) and the next couple songs, while devoid of the clean vocal thievery; just sound like uninspired orchestral death metal.
Yeah, so this times it’s not so much a steal of the industrial sound, so maybe it’s not industrial death metal at all, but even with the orchestral death metal they’ve displayed on this album, they still decided that they’d steal Fear Factory’s fucking bass riffs.
Throw this shit in the garbage. There’s a much better band then this, and they came out with a new album last year. They’re called Fear Factory, and the album is called “Mechanize” and it’s badass. I say no more on these poseurs. (40:00 approx…I deleted it.)
1/5 (I like the chants and new age interludes. Damn the metal!)
Eloa Vadaath - A Bare Reminiscence Of Infected Wonderlands (2010 EXTENDED REVIEW) - This 53 minute epic from experimental death metallers EV is a very interesting slab of metal. The band mixes together their interesting brand of progressive gravelly death metal with things that Opeth hasn’t even mixed theirs with, at least not yet. There’s orchestras, female vocals (on some tracks), atmospheric effects, and plenty of interesting riffs, solos, and much more on this barely known masterpiece.
Haven’t heard of these guys? Well, don’t be surprised. This is their first musical offering, and it seems like it really took a lot of work for the band to actually get to where they are now, hence the “We finally made it!” from one of the band members on the thank you section of the booklet.
On this disc you can expect many great things, and a great deal of them you probably haven’t heard before. There’s no breakdowns or over the top technicality here, but there is a lot of progressive power and sheer beauty mixed in with this brutal onslaught that mixes together with all the other instruments to make something very uncanny. The drum work is great on the disc as well and the drummer Mirko Cirelli, definitely utilizes his talent to the fullest extent, as does the lead vocalist Marco Paltanin, who just sounds fucking great. I’ve hard plenty of gravelly growls, but that guy is really good. There’s also some male clean vocal, but it’s not that great. It still carries a melody though. The closer contains a female vocalist, Elena Rosolin who is good in her own right, and this same vocalist is used sparingly in a few of the other tracks mainly in the background.
This is the kind of album that you really need to listen to quite a few times, with a very good sound setup. The reason for this is due to the fact that I once listened to this album before, and felt I needed to hear it once more on my actual sound card (since I’ve gotten my fucking drivers back) to fully experience it. Before, the album sounded uneventful, but that’s because I couldn’t actually hear all of the other things that were going on, and there are quite many. Also, the first time around, you may not fully absorb the music, and the second and third time around, you may understand even more of just what this album has to offer. An absolute must for any fan of the progressive death metal genre, and possibly others will enjoy it too. I’ll also note the superb playing on the disc. Marco Paltanin is responsible for that, as he is also that owner of that wonderfully evil sounding growl. He also plays the tabla, and sitar. His brother Riccardo Paltanin handles the acoustic and electric violin, as well as the keyboard and vocal duties. Even the bass player, Nicolo Cavallaro does some vocal work on this disc. Everyone but the drummer has a part in the vocals on this disc. Interesting indeed. (53:00)
666 (An absolute must hear.)
Godslave - Into The Black (2011) - Godslave is basically thrash metal with black and death metal vocals. They have some rather good riffs in certain areas even though the disc starts out pretty weak. Yet there is some great guitar work in songs like “A Shot In The Dark” and “Scholar Eclipse.” Plenty of shredding and old school thrash on this disc, it just includes much heavier vocals than one would expect. Towards the end of the disc, it starts to get a little more humorous, with “Zombie Panic Holocaust.”
Definitely worth checking out, and I don’t feel I need three paragraphs to describe this one, it speaks for itself. (47:00)
In Solitude - The Word, The Flesh, The Devil (2011) - In Solitude reminds of a much deeper and darker Iron Maiden. Clearly inspired by NWOBHM and black metal as well, they try to combine the styles accurately, but I feel that this particular attempt isn’t very strong, and sometimes comes out very comical.
All of the album’s lyrics are based on Satanism and demon worship, and coming from a Halford-ish, maybe even Dickinson-ish (but coming off not near as good as either of the two) wail can sound very comical in this age of otherworld noises that bands can make nowadays where you might literally think there are demons present in the recording studio. Dare I say, it sounds very cartoony; and there’s not much here that I find great other than the band’s overall musicianship. If there were no vocals, or even more of the black metal scowls which are used so infrequently on this disc, I might’ve liked it, and not found it so boring.
There are however, just a few tracks that interested me on this recording and they are “Serpents Are Rising”, (the shakers are a nice touch) “To Her Darkness”, (Which I loved the lyrics, reminded me of Danzig a bit) and the epic closer, “On Burning Paths.” (Which is 13:44 long)
Certainly not the best album I’ve ever heard, because the vocals in songs like “Demons” (Probably the best example of how funny this can be) really did nothing more than make me thing these guys need to maybe write about something more interesting. “I sacrifice to demons, demons, demooons!” really made me want to just punch this guy out and say, “You’re kidding me right? That stuff is so 1980.”
Bottom line is this. It’s decent, if you like old school sound with a little tiny bit of black metal in it, you just MIGHT like this one. As for me, I’d rather listen to those bands that I know are badass at this stuff. Priest, Maiden, Saxon, and others. Those gentlemen are timeless, and people will forget about this in very little time. Save your money people, this one’s very mediocre. (57:00)
Light Bearer - Lapsus (2011) - If you even like Neurosis and Sludge metal at all, you owe it to yourself to check out this great record. Both heavy and very beautiful at the same time, this is the best Neurosis album I’ve heard since 2007. Yeah, you get the joke. But yes, it’s that good. I’ve listened to many bands in this style: Neurosis, Isis, Cult Of Luna, Minsk, Pelican, exc. and I can tell you that this is everything I want in a sludge metal / post metal album. But not so much for everyone else.
Sure, there are some greater post metal releases out there, take Solstafir for example, or some of the other bands I’ve reviewed last year. (forgive me if I can’t remember everyone, but if it helps, I remember at least that there were some very worthy post metal acts in 2010) But this band does a good enough job to get noticed by fans of the genre.
The band excels in their use of great riffs and melodies along with impeccable percussion and great atmospheres. The atmospheres are what this album is all about, and without them, it would not be as interesting. The album definitely has a concept, but you’ll just have to listen to the disc to find out just what that is. The songs on the disc are very long, with the closer “Lapsus” being 17:39.
It is definitely worth hearing, but I must say that there isn’t anything really new used on this disc and there’s really nothing that can separate Light Bearer from it’s peers. Perhaps sludge has become a very one-sided type of music these days, with very few bands looking to innovate, and those that do usually wind up becoming experimental and not sludge at all. While this is a definite must for fans of sludge and post metal, those looking for something new should look elsewhere. (59:00)
Machinae Supremacy - The Beat Of Our Decay (2011 EXTENDED REVIEW) - Alright, this disc is a retrospective from the SID Metal band that spans from 2006 - 2010 and includes some bonus tracks, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I had no idea who this band was until I heard about a “shoot em’ up” or “shmup” game called “Jets And Guns.” (2004 PC) and I noticed that the band was really good instrumentally, using some very badass melodic metal and electronics. The guitar work in the band was actually really fucking good, and of course I checked out the myspace for the band. Apparently, they’re still putting out albums and this retrospective is quite new, with the latest album having been released in 2010.
One thing I am going to say about this band, is that they aren’t for everyone. The vocalist for this band could possibly be considered one of the worst ever in metal. He sounds worse than Anders Frieden has on his 2004 - 2008 era In Flames albums. The vocals may remind you heavily of emo music or even HIM, but I’ve heard this band considered as “electronic power metal” even though they call themselves “SID Metal.” SID is supposedly the card used in the Commodore 64 gaming system, and they seem to put it to use very well.
As much as an emo basis as this band might receive, they don’t consider themselves to be emo and even use a lyric in the song “Persona” which is “that’s why you need those stupid emo songs.” (The song is about how one is supposed to fit in with the media stereotypes in the world which they’ve built) Their front man is easily able to belt nice choruses, and the band can really play their instruments. The guitar solos on the albums are insane, and just about every single fucking song has a solo.
But this isn’t death or black metal, it’s melodic power metal with emo-ish vocals that isn’t actually emo, and contains a lot of well produced electronics from the Commodore 64 chip. They also seem to base their lyrics around very nerdy topics like video games and anime, but there are also some very positive lyrics in the band which contain great messages. So of course, I’m a fan.
Let’s put it this way, they seem to be a little better than Avenged Sevenfold or other such bands, and they like to stay in the underground as much as possible, even offering special “Underground” editions of their 2006 album, “Redeemer.”
While I would love it if there were no vocals at all and just great playing, that doesn’t seem to be the case here, as most of the tracks on the disc show the band progressively getting better, and even the vocal approach of the vocalist begins to improve. I still think this band has a way to go, but they are certainly doing something that is at least innovative by using the Commmodore 64 chip and metal together in a non-bullshit way. (Listen to the riffs and solo work.)
Nevertheless, this is a hard sell because of the vocals. But you can get used to them, trust me. I looked for negative comments on their you tube videos, but couldn’t find any. Apparently people really like these guys. Plus they give away three of their albums for free online on their official website, in any format you could desire.
The link to that page is here: http://machinaesupremacy.com/music/
(You can also get the instrumental Jets And Guns OST, which I highly recommend)
One thing I hated about this disc though is the fact that only the radio edit version of “Rocket Dragon” was included here, and the whole fucking solo was cut. Why on Earth would you cut a fucking solo? I hope these guys aren’t starting to fuck off.
Through The Looking Glass - This is the opener, but I’m assuming it’s either a new song, or an album exclusive. It’s pretty good, but not great.
Paparazzi Feat 8. Bit Weapon (Lady Gaga Cover Previously Unreleased) - Personally, I like the version that Andrew did of this song for Youtube much better. Her vocals worked better with metal than his. Yes he changed all the lyrics to be about a girl, but it still doesn’t save this thing that shouldn’t have ever seen the light of day. You might die laughing hearing this. (75:00)