Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Week 36 (Backtracking)
Iced Earth - Dystopia (2011 Special Edition) - Well, the day has finally come when Iced Earth has produced something that resembles the legacy of their thrashier albums. Now, this is NOT Stormrider, it's NOT Burnt Offerings, but it does have vocal reference to the band's self-titled debut.
What we've got here is a very chug heavy power/thrash album with terrific guitar work (some of Schaffer's best in a while) and extremely powerful vocals from the vocalist of Into Eternity, Stu Block. Surprisingly, Stu keeps the form that Barlow made so famous and it almost sounds like an emulation of the man. In fact the similarities are so uncanny, I can't tell that Barlow ever left!
Stu also uses his well known high pitch vocals a few times and it works very well. But his choruses sound exact to the way that Barlow would've sounded on them. As I said, I can't even tell the fucking difference. The band sounds more pristine here than they've sounded in a while, and you can feel how enthusiastic the band was when recording this material.
The vocals are POWERFUL. There is true emotion in these vocals, and you can feel every word in this album. This is because the album is based in reality. If you do believe in the illuminati and in human controlling/tracking microchips, and in information that you can get from sites like this, (http://vigilantcitizen.com/category/latestnews/) then you know what I'm talking about here. The album is basically about humans being controlled by this global world order that I'm sure you are all aware is rising. The lyrics are extremely easy to discern as well:
"Enter the nightmare, this future does implore,
Hijack your city state, a prison nothing more.
Rounded up like cattle, you're forced in to the trains,
Nothing that you've ever known will bring you so much pain.
If you try to resist me you'll find me inhumane,
But if you just submit you'll live your life a slave.
Your love, your servitude will medicate your pain,
With our technology, we'll always keep you safe.
Microchipped by darts, their thoughts are not their own,
All that's left of human kind is now in their control.
Planned out through centuries, patient and contrived,
Pray on man's naivety, gullible and blind.
If you try to resist me you'll find me inhumane,
But if you just submit you'll live your life a slave.
Your love, your servitude will medicate your pain,
With our technology, we'll always keep you safe.
The nightmare unfolds before my eyes
I will resist 'til the end of time
A spirit born free has to break these chains
We're lost, we must find our way.
We must find our way.
We'll find our way.
They say that you're a danger to everything that's pure,
There are too many of you, they're offering the cure.
Swift extermination if you refuse the game,
Arrested development, your vaccinated fate.
If you try to resist me you'll find me inhumane,
But if you just submit you'll live your life a slave.
Your love, your servitude will medicate your pain,
With our technology, we'll always keep you safe."
I apologize for adding lyrics here, but I'm not the only individual here that feels these things are just a few years away and that we must break away from these chains of slavery. They're coming folks, bet your ass on it. Anyway, the album follows this storyline but ends with a very uplifting note called "Tragedy and Triumph" which ends with humanity winning and showing that yes, we can defeat these cruel individuals who wants us to worship them as gods.
The disc is the most powerful Iced Earth album yet, with some incredible ballads (yes, I said incredible) like "Anguish Of Youth." Most of the album takes on a very ballad heavy chorus approach, but there are some definite thrashers here, like "Days Of Rage" and "Boiling Point."
Not surprisingly, there's some real rock injection in these songs and I mean some real classic rock injection, with some very classic rock worthy solos. Iced Earth has not forgotten where it was that they came from and you can hear it here. Fans of a very old school style of soloing (not all the technicality) will absolutely love these solo heavy songs, which reminds us how heavy metal USED to sound.
Of course, it's not a perfect disc as things could be tweaked in some areas; but I'm truly sure that IE fans will appreciate it nonetheless. If you liked Iced Earth in the days of Something Wicked era (like I did) you'll fucking love this one.
Anthem (String Mix) - Wow. I hope this doesn't cost extra. All it has is a different guitar part. Their "Mob Rules" cover won't be released until the digital album releases on I-Tunes.
Great job, gentlemen! You've reminded me why in the hell it was that I'm still an Iced Earth fan and still wear my "Something Wicked" tee. (59:40)
Charred Walls Of The Damned - Cold Winds On Timeless Days (2011) - The first album from Richard Christy's new project was kind of lackluster to me, and I only found it's single to be interesting, reminding me of the good days of Iced Earth. But here I find that I am astounded, if not amazed by the sheer amount of musicianship on this disc.
It's staggeringly good, with every song mixing together prog/thrash/power and even death metal tinges to not only make this sound like Iced Earth, but make it sound like something of a different beast, altogether. This is as far as I'm concerned, the very bar for Power/Thrash metal and will be respected as such for a good while. (or until the new Iced Earth comes out)
Tim's vocal performance is mesmerizing, the emotion in his voice flowing so well from those Halford-esque wails. I was a little teary eyed at the sheer brilliance of this disc. Even the ballads are worth listening to here, as the riffing and drumming on the disc is completely methodical in a way that you just wouldn't expect. The amount of prog here is unexpected, but a great surprise.
There's also an epic track called "Beast Outside My Window" which starts out rather ballady, but builds up. The guitars on this album are just insane and the disc is well worth the money. I believe that bands who make timeless music should be rewarded with a profit, and these guys definitely deserve your money. If you like the music and have the cash, this one is worth it. One of my favorite metal albums of 2011 hands down. This disc has plenty of replay value and I'd fucking love to hear it again. Timeless! Legendary! Incredible! (57:00)
Blotted Science - The Animation Of Entomology (2011 EP) - Well, it's that time again. Webster, Grossmann, and Jarzombek are giving us one hell of an instrumental metal album. But there's a catch.
Unlike 2008's "Machinations Of Dementia" full length album, this disc is only a 20:00 EP. But if it's anything like their last one, it shouldn't matter. The disc starts out rather heavy, but has some surprising bits of melody. The most important thing about this 20:00 of guitar jizz and wizardry is the fact that there are actually some rather light pieces on the disc. " A Sting Operation I-IV" actually contains plenty of soft moments, but still manages to incorporate some bass and machine gun drumming every once in a while.
It's certainly a good disc, but I wish that they would have waited and released a full disc. I would give it a 5/5, but it's just too short and I'm still hungry. (24:00)
Brainstorm - On The Spur Of The Moment (Ltd Edition 2011) - I've listened to this disc dozens of times already, and there's a definite reason for that. It's one of the most solid discs that this band has released since the days of "Soul Deception." Last year's album was completely awful, so I'd prefer not to even name it here; but 2008's "Downburst" was a step in the right direction. It is good that they decided to go along the same lines with this album and have released something that is both heavy and powerful.
The majority of the songs on this disc are high driven, even the more ballady tracks. Every tracks has plenty of thrash elements and some very catchy choruses. As we all know, Brainstorm is known for their great choruses, and that is showcased well here. There are also some very good guitar solos throughout the album, and the whole experience feels much better than the bullshit that I had to force myself to get into last time.
Songs like "In The Blink Of An Eye, Temple Of Stone, Dark Life, No Sinner - No Saint" and "A Life On Hold" are tracks that remind me why it is that I still like Brainstorm. Even though there was extremely slight electronic influence in "No Sinner - No Saint", it is still my favorite track on the disc. I definitely recommend this album to fans of the band's earlier work and the "Downburst" album.
This Pain Is Mine - It's a bit ballady and not their best work. Though the track contains a good guitar solo, there's not much else here.
The Heartless Spawn Of Seed - While marginally better than it's predecessor, this track still is a little lacking and that's perhaps why it was sacked. Still, it's a good song, but not a great one.
Definitely (another) step in the right direction. Hopefully they'll either quit after this, or not take another step back like they with their last album. (54:00 Ltd.) (45:00 Original)
Graveworm - Fragments Of Death (2011) - Graveworm, what in the hell has happened? I actually liked the last disc from this band a lot, especially "Forlorn Hope" which even people who hate that album seem to agree on. But sadly, "Fragments Of Death" couldn't be a better title for this disc. It literally sounds like a band well into it's swansong, running out of ideas and attempting to capture their past greatness. But they fail miserably.
For the most part, most of this disc is mediocre with the song "Anxiety" only being something of merit due to it's inclusion of female vocals that seem to work. Other than that though, the disc is full of half assed melodies, half assed playing, unmemorable drumming and nothing that makes it stand out one bit. I found the whole thing quite boring. It was a complete fucking waste of time.
Every track sounds exactly like the last, with the exception of the aforementioned "Anxiety" and the two tracks that follow, one being an interesting instrumental. The only other good song on this disc is the fucking bonus track, "Awake" which actually reminds me just a bit of the band's older days. But still, this is a bonus track and I feel sorry for the fucker who bought the disc without it.
I feel sorry for the fucker that bought this droll album in the first place. I am extremely disappointed, but relieved as well. Perhaps this is the sign that this long running Gothic black/death band needed to get them to retire. What is this now? Their tenth album? That's ten too many. Go back and listen to "Scourge Of Malice."
Alright, so there's one more track that's worth a damn here, and it's called "Old Forgotten Song." But it sounds more like "Old Forgotten Sound" which I wish that they hadn't forgotten. This is clearly the band's swansong. (52:00 w/ bonus track)
Hatesphere - The Great Bludgeoning (2011 BY REQUEST) - Well, I'll make this simple. I hate this band and I always have. But I haven't heard anything from them in years and was told to review this one. Fortunately, it's much easier to endure, because it's death / thrash / core now. The band has completely changed hands and doesn't sound one bit like they used to.
However, there's still quite a bit of structure to these songs even though the vocals are a mix between hardcore and thrash. I even heard some core hoots and hollers on the disc. "Venom" starts out with a very nice acoustic piece, which goes into a song with much more meat than anything that bands like Rootless has ever produced. Musically, the album is pretty good and the vocals are actually quite tolerable. The backup vocals are gravelly which seem to balance things out, and the melodies are definitely present on this disc. I even heard some southern rock influence.
Now that the third song has kicked in, I find that I'm not only still listening, but actually enjoying it. Sure it's not amazing, but there are several good areas in which the band tries to shake things up a bit. While the album is far from perfect, it shows that there's still some life in this band. But I do think they should stop stealing some of Dime's licks, unless it's in tribute.
There's an instrumental on here called "The Wail Of My Threnode" which is more like an interlude than anything else and it could have been left off. Also note that this disk is not just speedy thrash, and some of the songs are crunchy. The drum work on this disc can be pretty good at times and it really drives the music, so they're doing something right. O mean, I've yet to hear one guitar solo and this is much more mainstream than they've ever been, but I'd guess that it only goes downhill from here and it hasn't done so yet. Alright, so there's a guitar solo just now. Add those to the list then... however short they might be.
The disc is a short little album with some good moments and is worth listening to, I guess. I mean, it's not the best album the band's ever made. But I like it more than their other discs. However, hints of great musicality do well enough to break the mediocrity. Hatesphere is definitely working their way towards selling out. (36:00)
Immolation - Providence (2011 FREE EP FROM SCION) - As the name implies, this new Immolation is free from Scion. Yes, the car that also brought us a halfway decent Enslaved EP.
This is a rather short EP at 18:00, but it's not too bad. It's definitely well done death metal with some awesome solos and much better than what I've heard from many people that try to copy the band's style. I get why Immolation is such a popular band in the death metal scene. That's because they actually have talent.
Death metal fans would do well to get this, as it's FREE and it's five tracks of great death metal. Nothing mind-blowing, but enjoyable. Too bad you don't get a free car with it, because I could sure use one. (18:00)
Five Finger Death Punch - American Capitalist (2011) - Well, I don't expect this to go well. I'm going to listen to this one, but I don't expect to praise it as the best album of the year, that's for sure. Let's put this one in for laughs.
Well, whaddaya know? Every track on this disc is under 5:00. Actually, 4:38 rounds out the longest song on the disc, "Remember Everything.) Moody was so fucking good in Ghost Machine, but FFDP is the biggest example of mediacized metal that I've ever fucking seen. At least the solos are good, I can't talk down about them.
Also, "Coming Down" is a great rock ballad with double bass in the chorus. "Remember Everything" is an over the fucking top ballad that's going to be all over the radio and will have some really deep video to it. Probably of people who died in the war or something. "Oh, this is such a great song, I love this video" kind of bs from females.
Folks, this is getting tough. It's gone from decent metal to decent hard rock. I'm not even going to consider this one metal anymore. It's extremely poppy too. You can scream and whatever else, it's like the Backstreet Boys with guitars and a guy that screams. But I like some of these ballads. I will say that, and fuck you if you make fun of me. I know it's corporate shit, but I'm a human being and it's pretty catchy.
This isn't metal, folks. It's mainstream corporate garbage. Skip this with every bone in your body, regardless of what musicality is on the disc. This is "radio metal."(40:00)
Thulcandra - Under A Frozen Sun (2011) - Enter Thulcandra, one of the best bands I've ever heard. Forged with members of Obscura and highly influenced by Dissection, these gentlemen bring black metal to a whole new level. The disc is filled to the brim with fantastic drumming, death-curtling scowls and some of the most dark and beautiful melodies that I've ever come across.
If "In Blood and Fire, Black Flags Of Hate, Under A Frozen Sun, Aeon Of Darkness, and Garden Of Eden" don't get your attention, then nothing will. The band seems to be able to take these songs and really roll with them. The structure and melody combine well enough to make this disc one of the year's best. Now some of the songs don't necessarily leave as much of a mark as some of the much longer and epic ones, but that doesn't mean that they're total castoffs.
If you're a fan of Dissection and you miss their sound, Thulcandra has done the best job I think keeping Nodtveidt's sound alive. I think he'd be quite fucking surprised to hear how well these guys do music that he made famous. Or he'd be quite pissed, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, don't miss out on this one. (45:00)
Without God - Lambs To The Slaughter (2011) - These Ruski's really know how to make some great sludge metal. Every single song thumps with thunder and power. The vocals sound like the whisk...vodka soaked vocals of a mad Russian. The band mostly has songs around four or five minutes, but the first track, "They Rot (7:54)" and "Crossroads / Eat The Shit (12:04)" definitely offer a much larger course.
The band has definite structure, and the drums seem to perform rather well. This is very fine sludge metal, if I do say so myself. The solos are rocking as much as you would expect for some deep south stuff, and it's hard to even tell that this is Russian sludge. Of course there's a slight accent, but the vocals are in English.
I'm going to say it again, this is some great sludge metal and it's some of my favorite sludge metal of the year. It grooves with every song and offers everything that I could want in sludge metal, whether it be fast paced and thrashy, or slow and powerful. This band delivers.
The quality isn't always perfect, but it's meat to be a little raw, isn't it? I mean, it is sludge metal after all. I will also note that some of this is very dark sludge metal, as if you couldn't tell by the cover art. I thought it was death metal from looking at the cover and title, but it was much better than what I thought it was going to be, that's for sure. Definitely worth fucking checking out. I'm not sure if you have to pay for it or not, since the folder came with everything I'd need to make a cd package for the disc, and it didn't have a label. It just says:
(C) and (P) RAIG on behalf of the artists. (What does the (P) mean?)
EDIT: Album is not free and must be ordered for 11.00 from the website, http://www.raig.ru/
So I have no idea. But if you wanted to buy it, there's Russian import costs. But if anyone is interested, just google it and you'll be bale to find out whether or not you're making a five fingered discount or they are just giving it to you. I don't have any money anyway, so I'm not too worried about it. Anyway, I could listen to this thing for hours and not get bored of it. So check it out. (56:00)
Wizard Smoke - The Speed Of Smoke (2011) - Another one I'm not sure whether or not is free, since it came with the booklet in PDF form. That's usually a sign of a freely distributed album. Plus, there's no label.
EDIT: Yeah, it's free. Get your own here (HQ) : http://www.wizardsmoke.net/dl/hq/Wizard%20Smoke%20-%20The%20Speed%20of%20Smoke%20(2011).zip
This is also sludge, my friends. I've definitely reviewed my fair share of sludge these past couple weeks. But this sludge sounds like there is a black metal scowl being pasted all over it and I like it. If this is free, thanks guys. I like this. The clean vocals are deep, but sound very good as well. So you get a very good scowl/scream and a deep clean vocal that really fucking works well with the sludge. There's also some solos on the disc, as every metal album should have it's fair share of those.
"Dead Wood (6:56)" starts out the album with a great deal of thunder and has killer vocals as well as some standard fare riffing. There's also a very trippy guitar solo and an effect that comes in after the vocal lines in the second part of the song that just works. It sounds like the band is playing in space.
"Butcher (5:18)" is another thunderous song that isn't as trippy as the last one, but definitely has much more ferocity. This shows the band at their most brutal, but they still keep things at a slow pace, even though you're getting pummeled by the vocals.
"Weakling (8:06)" starts out lightly with an acoustic intro and some robotic vocals. But then the song gets much heavier and the scowls come into place. There's also a point where things start to get a little more electronic and interesting as the drums and guitar and effects pull together to form a hell of an effect for a few seconds before the vocals come back heavy again. The vocals on the disc really remind me of EyeHateGod a little bit.
"Growling (10:49)" actually contains some growling in it, believe it or not. It also contains some major atmosphere, if you'll listen. There's a lot of weird effects in this album that can have a sort of transitive effect on the brain. Some of you might think that's a good thing though.
"Panama II (8:13)" carries the same atmosphere as the rest of the tracks, but it has a good shred portion in the first couple minutes of the song. Of course, since this band is apt to use many different effects that seem to carry the transitive effect (I hear something that sounds like chanting and I started to take off during this review - shit that's some strong stuff (and I'm not even high. This music is making me take off!) Damn, I actually sort of feel the same kind of effect from this music as I can under the influence. Whew, I'm glad the effects quit there, or I was going to be writing the rest of this review in my astral body!
The album's closer "Witches Brew (6:18)" is actually nothing spectacular though. It's the same sort of sludge thunder that the band has been doing throughout most of the album, but the vocals are still quite fierce and there's a good melody here and there. There's also a pretty good trippy solo. I've got to hand it to their guitarist, he has a way of making the guitar solos just sound a little more twisted, but still manages to keep them nice and clean. There's some prog influence in this song right near the end of it, and it really helps to accentuate the mood and show that the band are capable of many things. These really are talented musicians and the fact that they may have just given their work away for free should make a strong statement that people can make music because they feel it's something they need to do. If you like it, just thank them for it.
But as I said, I don't know if it's free, so google it. But that would be my guess. Anyway, if this is a free album it's damned good one. I've never had a song do what "Panama II" did to me. Not for a long time. I thought i was just going to lift right out of my body. Damn.
So check it out if you like black metal, sludge, and don't mind the occasional and quite powerful use of trippy effects in the disc. The quality is just right for the music and it's one hell of an enjoyable album. Check these guys out, would you kindly? (45:00)
Wolfchant - Call Of The Black Wind (2011) - Here we've got some German Pagan metal. It sounded good enough when I heard a couple sample tracks, so I got it. The disc actually sounds really good. It's blackened Viking metal with plenty of melody and thrash. The black metal vocalist does a good job, and the clean vocalist sings on the choruses, but they sound more like Viking hymns and can be sung along to, which works well with me.
The music is fast and heavy. The drumming is spectacular and I love the use of horns and orchestration on this disc. It makes the whole thing sound both majestic and brutal, like a Viking raid and pillage on a town. The guitars are definitely performing well, and the solos are insane. I caught myself playing air guitar and air drums quite a few times during the listening of this album, not to mention frantic head banging. (all of this was going on while I was supposed to be editing, mind you)
The intro is a great orchestrated way to start the album, and "Stormwolves, Eremit, and Black Fire" are all great songs to begin the album with. Some of the other songs are good too, but these really resonated with me the most, especially the beginning drum beats on black fire. I was emulating them myself. "The Last Farewell" I almost dreaded at first, because I thought it would be a soft ballad, but I was wrong. It's actually a rather heavy ballad with a very strong chorus. Even the album's last track, which is it's longest at 8:57, "Call Of The Black Winds" is just as strong as the rest, if not more so. It's a great way to end a great Viking metal album with plenty of black metal moments, melody, crazy solo work, fantastic drumming, and choruses that I enjoyed singing along to.
I don't know what more I need to say. If you're into this kind of metal, go check this disc out. It's damned near essential Viking metal. (55:00)
Wolfp.a.c.k - I (2011) - These death metallers are good enough, sure. Songs like "When The Legions March, Annihilation, War, False Messiah" and the opener, "Wolfpack" are certainly well-crafted death metal songs with plenty of structure that you wouldn't expect.
But throughout the disc, the band gets a little lazy and starts adding more core and less death metal into the disc. It's still a pretty decent album and well worth checking out, due to the right ingredients being used in all of the right places. The riffs are catchy, the melodies are good (when used) and the drumming is good. The vocals are decent enough as well. It's war-like but not necessarily in your face. I am reminded of Blot Thrower a great deal by this band.
But if you're looking for something very new, I wouldn't recommend it. It's definitely something I've heard before, but I didn't mind hearing it here. The quality however is a little raw, but I could discern all of the instruments in the disc well enough. Still quite worthy death metal. (51:49)
Wooden Stake - Dungeon Prayers and Tombyard Serenades (2011) - This is an altogether different breed of doom metal. it's female fronted, black metal influenced and raw with a capital R. However, the disc carries with it some surprising structure and melody. The clean female vocals work well enough, and the scowls aren't bad either.
The melodies really drive this album and without them it would be rather fucking boring. But I can honestly say that this disc will not be for everyone, due to it's quality. It sounds like a rough demo with slightly better production, but that isn't saying much.
The music falls along the lines of doom and will much resonate with those who enjoy Sabbathian doom with highly satanic lyrics and females singing and using very strong vocal tones as if in the middle of sort of incantation. Nonetheless, I think it's worth a shot because it's a rather odd mix that just happens to work out. I haven't heard many females in doom, but these girls prove that you don't have to have to have balls to do it.
Not amazing, but it won't kill you either. (45:44)
Xe-NONE - Dancefloration (2011 FREE ALBUM) - XeNONE have always released their dance metal albums for free. Yes, you heard me right. These Russians mix metal and dance club music together. For the most part, it's as you expect. The male vocalist has a very rough harsh vocal tone, but it's awful and his English is horribly broken. Also, there's the female who sings way too fucking high and might get on your nerves quite fast.
There's also the song lyrics. Most of these songs deal with topics like wanting to see New York, VHS tapes, and much more bullshit that you'll make fun of. Yes, this is very well one of metal's worst bands and one of metal's worst albums. That's why the band offers it free. It will offer hours and hours of laughter.
But there's something else here. Something that took me by surprise. The final track of the album is actually sans dance music and it has some structure. The song sounds actually quite good and I was impressed. "Blood Fire Snow" is probably the best song in this band's entire career and it's because they dropped all the bullshit and made a real metal song, proving they actually have some talent after all.
But you have to get through all the dancy stuff first. Don't say I didn't warn you. Download this monstrosity here: http://xe-none.com/ You can also click "audio" in the bar and download all of their music for free, because that's how Russia works. (46:20)
1.5/5 (.5 for Blood Fire Snow)
Xternals - Fistful of Infinity (2011) - This electronic rock band is actually not half bad. The vocals remind a little of Anathema and the approach is very good for the most part. The electronics used in the band help their sound, but do not overtake the songs. Of course, this is not a very heavy band and would be considered more of a hard rock band; but they're very good.
Fans of electronics, soft spoken vocals and hard rock might really enjoy this disc. Even though it's a bit basic, it definitely reminds me of good electronic rock bands like early Stabbing Westward and that's a good thing in my book. These are the kind of guys that even though they've got a mainstream worthy sound, they'll never make it in the mainstream. They're a good band to listen to when you want a more relaxing hard rock sound. They're not trying to be anyone else but themselves and that's a good thing.
The band also has very powerful choruses with some slight screams, but I wouldn't care if they screamed or not. It's quite good hard rock, but might be a little simplistic to some. There is a song on this disc I don't much care for which is more electronic than the rest, called "Loud Speaking Ghost."
Still definitely worth checking out, especially to fans of Stabbing Westward, Pitchshifter, Prodigy, and others. (40:25)
Ygg - Ygg (2011) - From the realm of electronics we go right into the frozen Nordic forests of... Russia? No, that can't be right. Really? Yes, really. This is Russian Viking metal and it's quite good. The quality is slightly raw and the vocals are all in Russian, but other than that it's quite an interesting Viking metal album. The melodies are a big part of this disc, as well as the atmospheric portions, because this disc is quite long. Many of the songs are well over 10:00. But the length is not wasted on bullshit, and the band is able to showcase some uniqueness.
But I cannot stand the vocals. The vocalist sounds like a wailing ghost or something, or a man who tries to imitate a woman screaming. These vocals might really get on your nerves despite what the band is doing. However, the group certainly has talent, and if their singer was non-existent; I might enjoy these long atmospheric pieces a lot more.
Again, regardless of the vocals on this disc, there is some definitely worthy black metal here, with decent production. If you're a fan of melodic black metal and don't care a lot about vocals and lyrics, you might really find yourself enjoying this one. It carries a lot of potential, as the band experiments a little with these songs, even adding some electronic effects into the music, rather than orchestrations like other Viking metal bands.
The final track on the album is a very atmospheric piece that must be checked out if you like atmospheric black metal. I will not say the song's title, as it's quite long. At any rate, this is NOT a bad album; even if I don't like the vocals. The melodies, drumming, and atmospheres used by the band are perfect. So it's worth a try. (64:26)
Amebix - Sonic Mass (2011) - Amebix is nothing new by any means. According to metal archives, these Brits used to be a punk/crust band back in the day and put out several good releases in the 80's. But times have changed, and this is their first album since their 80's releases. The content of the album is also very different.
The band still uses a sound reminiscent of punk and crust, but still winds up sounding more like sludge/doom. It's also very experimental on tracks like "Visitation" which is just plain trippy no matter how you slice it.
The album starts out with "Days" a song that actually reminds me a hell of a lot of Tool. "The Messenger" and "God Of The Grain" are both amazing tracks, definitely in the vein of sludge and post metal. The latter track uses a sort of ancient Pagan ritualistic sort of drumming, while the other track reminds me of Neurosis a great deal.
"Sonic Mass" contains two parts and it seems to work well enough, but didn't hit me as hard as the tracks before that weird experimental piece "Visitation." The disc's last three tracks are all very good as well, in the same vein as everything but "Visitation" but don't necessarily hit me as hard, except for the single, (which is oddly the last song on this album) "Knights Of The Black Sun."
I must highly recommend this album to doom, sludge, and post metal fans because it contains the right mix of riffs, atmospheres and crust that you will be enjoying several times over. I can say for sure that this album has plenty of replay value and shouldn't get old quick.
Who says old dogs can't lean new tricks? (43:00)
Wayne Static - Pighammer (2011) - In the world of modern/nu metal, Static X was quite popular. Their last disc actually combined metal and industrial together in a way that I rather enjoyed. But it's no longer 2009, It's 2011. Now Static X is on hiatus and Wayne Static is attempting to make the same kind of music as a solo project.
The disc is surprisingly not half bad. But it's not half good either. It's a little mix in between the two, with some tracks being more experimental and more electronic than others which have more of a faster metal pace. The screaming as fast as he can still continues, but it is slowed down a bit on some tracks. There's even a track called "She" where he uses a softer vocal pitch. It works well enough.
For the most part, you already know what to expect. It's industrial metal with enough beats that you would probably consider it good workout music. I would do push ups to it, but my back is fucked, so I'm in a lot of pain. (I still attempt 30 push ups almost every day.)
The disc sounds more mature than previous efforts from Wayne's band, and it sounds like he had more room to do what he wanted on this disc. It's not very long, but it's certainly got some structure and groove throughout ten tracks. (The intro and final track aren't included as they are devoid of guitar groove.)
It's alright. You could be listening to better, but you could be listening to worse as well. (41:00)
Saturnalia Temple - Aion Of Drakon (2011) - This old school trippy doom metal project is fronted by a man who is a member of the Swedish magical order of the Dragon Rouge. If you're unsure who they are, google it. Anyway, the disc features LOTS of Sabbath worship, and a great deal of trippy effects, including some really odd playing.
The songs are very long as you might expect, leaving the band enough room to be able to create atmospheres and chant magical incantations to who knows what, with of course, Lucifer being referenced in the last song. Big deal, I say.
But regardless of the fact that you may not care about the lyrics, or the sometimes off vocal pitch, the riffs are extremely crunchy and the sound anf production of the disc make it sound like it was recorded back in the 70's with Paranoid. But this is nothing fast, not by any means. The entire disc is slow and heavy, with everything that old school doomers could ever fucking want in an album. There's also some great guitar solos on the disc. In fact, many of you might be saying that this is one your favorite doom albums of the year.
It's certainly one of the more trippier discs I've heard this year. A worthy release for those that love classic doom and LSD. In fact, a little hit of acid might make this album a lot more accessible. I'd consider it a requirement. (47:00)
4/5 (Some bad vocal pitch problems.)