Friday, July 13, 2012

Week 31 (Backtracking)

Apocalypse Command - Damnation Scythes Of Invincible Command (2011) - This American black/death band is alright enough, this effort seem to showcase that they can play fast paced blackened death metal with the best of them and pull off some good solos, but it seems that’s about all they can do.

For those of you who like your black/death as generic and early Morbid Angel influenced as possible, this might be for you. But just because I said it was fast paced and slightly Morbid Angel influenced isn’t necessarily a good thing in this case. The band uses all these elements as generically as possible, and offers little that we haven’t heard before and probably much better.

It’s still a solid album, nothing really wrong with it other than the fact of it all sounding quite the same. You should already know what to expect here. (45:00)


Balance Interrupted - Era II: Desert Of Ashes (2011) - Ah, now here’s something interesting. This band mixes technical black metal with slight electronics and effects, which means that it’s not necessarily electronic black metal, but they use bits and pieces here and there, which seems to spruce their already interesting technical style, up a bit.

While not a very long album, it certainly gets the job done. The band definitely has well enough structured material to keep it from sounding much too classic and boring, yet they never seem to lose that classic sound and go off over the hill, like other black metal bands that want to be “different” and wind up playing something that isn’t even black metal.

Songs like “Nine Octagonal Stars” and “Construction Of The First Unit” are definitely made better with the help of some rather creepy electronics and some nice vocal effects. Sometimes it works, and other times it sounds a little shoddy, but let’s give these guys the benefit of the doubt that they are actually doing something that not everyone else is - at least at the moment, anyway. (37:00)


Cannabis Corpse - Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise (2011) - Now we have Cannabis Corpse. I’ve only heard their first album before this one, and enjoyed pot themed takes on classic Cannibal Corpse songs. Yet this album offers original material with pot themed takes on the titles of other classic death metal songs. It might make you think that “Dead By Bong” is actually a parody cover of Deicide’s “Evil Dead” (which is being remade and scripted by Diablo Cody, no joke - go look it up) inspired “Dead By Dawn”, but you’re actually hearing something completely original.

So, as this IS an original album; here’s how it fares:

This disc is good for the most part, as the band plays classic and very safe old school death metal. It sounds just as good as it did in the old days, and offers the same sort of platter you’d get with many of the bands that this band is mocking (at least song title wise.) I don’t hear anything on this disc that would lead me to believe this to be a cover album. Nothing here sounds at all like the songs and there could be copyright reasons behind that or whatever else. Honestly, it’s a very short disc with little to offer that again; we haven’t already heard before. (If I had a nickel every time I said that…)

Again, it’s expectable from the first to last track. Old school death metal, plain and simple. At least it’s done right, though. (36:00)


Canobliss - Man Is The Enemy (2011) - Alright, this band is a little hard to classify, as they seem to mingle along the lines of thrash metal, Latin music and hard rock in the vein of Linkin Park or Breaking Benjamin, exc.

If there was any truth to this notion, it would be that this band would encompass what the latter mainstream bands would sound like if they had a little more metal enfused in them and didn’t stick to such basic playing all the time. I swear, most of these hard rock bands think they can write a whole damn song on just one fucking riff.

Also, the latin percussions in some songs make things interesting, but yes - this is still very mainstream-ish. It does have some good solos and bits of promise here, and there - it’s even catchy, but it’s not the brand of metal you’re used to, and most metalheads would probably chunk it, or give it to someone into hard rock as a gateway drug.

Still, it’s not a bad release considering I’ve heard much worse on the radio…back when I still listened to the radio. Now it’s ALL garbage. (49:00)


Choronzon - Fiat Nox (2011) - Alright, this gentleman single handedly produced his own electronic black metal album. But the thing is, it gets rather odd and very boring after a while. Quite like my works, in Ebon Etheric - once is enough with this one. Look, I’ll admit it. That stuff ain’t great, and this isn’t much better. Yes, he has a guitar on this album and I think the drums are programmed and there’s some scowling and awful singing throughout. Some of the tracks are really weird and kind of interesting, but I think I could only find 4 tracks on the disc of merit. Everything else is just kind of weak or goes on for far too long.

The experimenting adds a nice touch, and the production value isn’t too bad, but with a man who pens himself like an author, perhaps he should be writing books. Not the worst dish of metal I’ve ever eaten, but not too great either…it’s got an awful irony taste, rather befitting of metal. I do believe that it would be better listened to than eaten, but nonetheless this disc just didn’t gel with me the way that I hoped it would. There are far better industrial/electronic black metal bands out there. If you want something really unique and other there, but not near as fucking droll, check out Cuntworm. (61:00)

Dark Castle - Surrender To All Life Beyond Form (2011) - Dark Castle’s second album seems to start out very sludgy and then goes very pagan, if you will - there’s a big ordeal called “spirit ritual” which features a whole lot of chants and spoken word stuff ala a band called Rhea’s Obsession (now Defunct)

Being that it’s a female on the vocals, I almost expected it; as women are generally thought to be more religious/spiritual than men. Still this is a definite change from their old style, and besides this whole chant at the campfire stuff, there’s a lot of metal here, a very sludgy, grimy, dirty feeling like you’re running around naked in mud, or part of some naked mud orgy. So there’s definitely a lot of sludge on this disc. The title track (and opener) is definitely going to cement the taste of this band for you. Just don’t blame me when you forgot that you were supposed to listen to the thing while skyclad, and in the middle of the woods.

Worth a listen, and definitely enjoyable nonetheless. (33:53)


Dewey - Self Titled (2011) - Now here’s something you don’t hear every day. This debut album from French post/black/death metal fusion band Dewey is something I’ve been wanting to hear for a fucking while now, I just didn’t realize it until I actually heard the thing. The band really comes on strong, but are not afraid to experiment and use plenty of very melodic soft sections in the music to balance out their extreme heaviness. Every song sounds really interesting, and nothing’s too out of place or too basic. It’s definitely different, and that’s why I decided to give it a listen. If you need any more reason to check it out, listen to one of the tracks and see what that does for you. While entirely happy with this disc, I can’t wait to hear what they’ll do next. (38:44 )


Diapsiquir - A.N.T.I. (2011) - Holy hell, what the fuck is this? Remember when I reviewed the old release from these guys a while back and told you how fucked up it was? Well, this one is even more fucked up, and it got so bad that I NEVER WANT TO HEAR THIS PIECE OF SHIT EVER AGAIN.

You heard me right. I gave it my all, suffered through every condemned fucking track, and I’m left with both a bad taste in my mouth and an imprint on my brain of what this awful thing did to me. I heard French rapping, some club beats used in current dance-hop, and several other things I only challenge you to bear. There’s even a song called “Avant” which is literally the band making fun of the genre.
Listen to it, even though it’s in French, you can fucking tell that this band is not serious one bit. Most of this sounds like a thrown together mess that somebody mixed while they were masturbating.

I dare you, absolutely dare you to get through this shit alive. I was actually getting ill from it after a while, (and losing badly in Magic 2012 for PC, because in all my years of playing, I’ve never played against opponents that were THAT fucking good and got THAT fucking lucky on the easiest difficulty) and I was just waiting for it to end. It started out very interesting, even unique - but then you’ll start to notice that it’s got shit splattered all over each and very track.

This is going down as one of the worst human pieces of music that I’ve ever heard in my entire fucking life. That transcends all genres, folks. I can think of pop albums I’d rather hear than this one. Give me the Backstreet Boys or even the Spice Girls from back in the day over this, I’ll even listen to Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Remember TWO from Rob Halford? (Yeah, found it at a pawn shop one day, case and all) I’d rather listen to “My Ceiling’s Low” 80 times in one sitting, then listen to “Avant” one more fucking time.

This is absolute garbage, and even the worst American made crap, is nowhere near as horrendous as whatever the fuck this is supposed to be. Just because there are guitars doesn’t make it good. Anybody can make music these days, apparently. I’m apt to believe this whole fucking album was a joke. There’s also a long speech in French right before the outro, but I’ve no idea what wisdom this album may be based in, because I don’t understand French. I gave it a one, because there are parts I can stand; but there are parts of pop music I can stand as well. (58:00)


Disma - Towards The Megalith (2011) - Disma sounded good in the beginning, but this new album just seems to bloody slow and boring if you ask me. I love death metal as much as the next guy, but there’s really only a few songs worth merit on this disc, and they really aren’t that great except for the fact that they can be very dark and brooding, but just like so many other bands, Disma decided to make almost all of the songs as slow and evil as possible. Some of you make like slow hard, and evil - and there are some faster death metal parts that really remind of “insert generic dm band here” but other than that, I wasn’t too pleased with them.

If you do however find that this very slow and brooding death metal with some speedy moments is just what works for you, help support this American band in any way you can. Just because I’m not crazy about something, doesn’t mean you should just cast it off, and there has been a positive response to this album by several other metal fans. It just didn’t gel with me, once again. But I will still admit that I liked “Chasm Of Oceanus” quite a bit. Everything else was good enough, but not mind-blowing.

Still, give them a chance. You might find that you like them. I’ll go ahead and give it a B. (45:58)


Euphoreon - Self Titled (2011) - Euphoreon at first reminded me of Bodom, but then that changed to Ensiferum, and then that changed into something that shows promise but still has a way to go. The band plays epic melodic extreme metal, death or black, however you flavor it, it’s not that bad. There were some very promising melodies found without the album, and the vocalist reminds me of…well, myself quite a bit actually. This is probably how I would sound if I were to do epic melodic whatever metal, and I don’t actually want to do that, so there.

Some of the melodies actually reminded me of Bal-Sagoth and that’s rare, since few bands can touch their melodies. Though I didn’t think the album was amazing, I thought it was interesting. There were a few good things here, and it will be a worthy try for fans of Ensiferum, Children Of Bodom, and several others in this genre that I can’t think of, yeah, I guess Wintersun too perhaps; but I think Wintersun is far better. (45:00)


Bohema - Endless Greatness (2011) - I didn’t expect much at first from Georgian death metal, but Bohema is really something great, and I’m going to keep my eye on them. The band plays a very interesting type of progressive/technical death metal which has some great drumming (especially in the little intro piece for “Ordered Chaos”) and great solo work, but the riffs are sort of mainstay for technical death metal like this. Yes, there’s a little prog here and there, but not much as there is technicality.

I must also add that the kind of technicality on this disc is refreshing. It’s not just a bunch of guys trying to play as fast and complex as possible. There is actually some fucking structure to the music this time around. The vocals are sung in the normal gravel style as well. But as I said before, just the way that the songs are structured make this one worth hearing. The song “Moochagir” also adds to the uniqueness, being that it’s a 3:54 Egyptian/middle eastern instrumental that is done impeccably well for Georgians.

“Polar Nights” works well as an album closer in the fact that it also ends with a very well produced Egyptian/middle eastern piece. Technical death metal with some prog and Egyptian instrumentals is what these guys are, but the music is actually good enough to handle and not near as generic as it may appear to you in words. Sometimes I wish that your eyes could become your ears, and these words could be as music, rather than just letters, and you could really hear what each and every band I review sounds like. These gentlemen blew away my expectations, and I highly recommend them, as in the instance of I’d rather listen to this than the new Decapitated. Different strokes for different folks, ladies and gentlemen. (37:00)


Gigan - Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes (2011) - This is the first Gigan album I’ve heard, remembering in the past that their albums were for me, very hard to find online. I’ve always wanted to hear Gigan, as I heard that some members of Agalloch and Sculptured had a hand in it’s music. For those that don’t know, I’ve got a deep love for both bands and consider them among my favorite American metal bands.

(I’ve listened to Embodiment thousands of times. That album just doesn’t get old for me.)

Gigan however, is a different type of bird altogether. The band makes a sort of alien-like, sci-fi inspired sort of technical death metal unlike what I’ve heard before. The riffs sounds really inhuman, some of them resembling everything from computer noises to sounds I’ve heard in sci-fi films. The band also uses a sort of robot vocoder effect that actually works well in their music, but would sound quite hokey in anyone else’s.

But my major point of enjoyment for this album, and the band in particular is the fact that it’s extremely out there in terms of rationality, and has a style that I just haven’t heard before. Technical death metal these days has been over the hill and back several times, and I’ve heard many bands claiming to be unique, but remind me of so many other established bands. Gigan however, is unique. So with that being said, I believe this album is worth a purchase if you’re looking for something new and don’t mind sci-fi inspired music and robot vocoder effects. If it’s too much for you, you really should open your mind just a little and give it a shot.

The disc is quite long and interesting, but not completely perfect. Unless you think it is, but I however didn’t find it to be amazing, just really different and a breath of fresh air. It was staggering enough, but not something I’d play all of the time. Of course, you may feel different. Regardless, this is probably Gigan’s weirdest album to date. (Of course I wouldn’t know, seeing as how their albums used to be so fucking hard to find online. Maybe now, I can start with their first one and work my way back up to this one.) (45:00)


Maveth - Breath Of An Abomination (2011) - Erroneously labeled black metal, this death metal band with some technical elements offers very few interesting and unique things. There were a few riffs that I enjoyed, and maybe some other things sprinkled along the way, but it’s just very solid and very plain death metal with some hints of technicality here and there. Give it shot, even though it’s rather short because you might enjoy it if you’re looking for something solid and different than the old albums you’ve been playing for days now. It’s not different in sound, but it’s got to be different than the other death metal albums you’ve been playing - due to the fact that you haven’t heard it yet.

It’s alright, I guess. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (37:00)


Necros Christos - Doom Of The Occult (2011) - Necros Christos is a doom black/death metal band that seems to be very tied up on occult doom metal. For some reason, and perhaps it started as early as Candlemass, or perhaps even Sabbath; doom metal has been heavily influenced with occult lyrics. This band is no exception, presenting not only 11 musical tracks of various metal style, but also adding in nine “temples” and five “gates.”

To most black metal fans, this occult metal stuff is pretty mainstay; but the band makes things interesting by mixing together the Egyptian interludes in the “gates” and the pipe organ interludes in “temples” to make something that sounds completely not of this world.

The metal itself is well made, sticking well into the lines of doom; but traversing many darker flavors of the genre, like black and death metal. Fans of this style of metal should have no problems, but remember that this isn’t Candlemass, and there isn’t any clean singing to speak of. The band also delights in using Egyptian riffs and melodies, as two of the gates on this disc are full length Egyptian interludes that sound very authentic and quite captivating.

If you get rid of the temples and the shorter gates, you’ll have 11 solid tracks of metal, but I sense that the album is meant to be listened to as a whole, and a definite effort was put into this very Egyptian style blackened and deathened doom metal. Although I was told it would be very weird, my expectations were shot because I didn’t hear anything really all that weird. But what I did hear was a large sum of promising metal, which I would encourage fans of doom/black/and death metal to experience. And yes… some of the songs are a little long. (72:00)


Oaks Of Bethel - I am The Bridge (2011) - Oaks Of Bethel is a one man project by some guy named Sonny Rollins. It sounds like atmospheric / post metal if it was infused with static and lots of electronic whirring. There’s really not much here besides a guitar and some computer effects, but this one long track is something someone thought they’d give to the people, because if he’s selling this, I wouldn’t buy it.

It’s a 30 minute instrumental that might be good in the right place, and on the right substance, but it’s less metal and more noise. There’s no vocals and barely any emotion - it just sounds rather cold, dark, and empty. If you enjoy lifeless music such as this, go for it. But I saw nothing fantastic in this piece. Not even the 13:00 mark, where the guitar melody finally kicked in was enough to save it. If you’re the bridge, then I’m the inspector who’s here to tell you that your bridge suffers from weak supports, shoddy construction, and there doesn’t seem to be many drivers that would wish to take it.

London bridge is falling down, falling down… exactly.


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