Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Week 40 (Backtracking)
Cynic - Carbon Based Anatomy (2011 EP) - Honestly, I don't care for this. It's hardly a metal album and doesn't really have any point being posted with other metal albums. It has some guitars, sure - but that DOESN'T make it metal. As much as some of us don't want to believe, Cynic isn't ever going back to their death metal days. They seem to like tribal chants, odd rhythms and extremely whiny vocals.
There's some good prog and experimental sections on the disc, as what you would expect from their last album. But to be brutally honest, I cannot stand the vocals anymore. Cynic doesn't do death metal anymore, they do prog rock and we'll just all have to get over it. Unfortunately, there's not even enough musical material here for the fans. The only songs in which the band plays are "Carbon Based Anatomy", "Box up My Bones" and "Elves Beam Out." This last track features a great deal of guitar awesomeness, but it's only minute in overall enjoyment value.
This is only 23:00 of music and if this sells for anymore then ten dollars, I'm through with Cynic. Stop fucking around and make a new album. They might have been legends for like I dunno... one album, but after that - we get this light rock prog stuff with squeaky vocals. That a metal disc does not make. At least the new Morbid Angel was heavy. This is almost a coaster in my opinion. (23:00)
Agrypnie - Asche (2011 EP) - For those of you who don't already know, Agrypnie is an awesome Avant-Garde/Progressive black metal band. I reviewed their older albums a while back, so check that out if you haven't done so already. This new EP boasts 47:00 of music, which is much longer than your average EP. Almost every song on this disc is quite good and not a throwaway.
The band still speaks their native German though, but I hope that's not too much to turn you off. Also, the shouting approach that the band has always used makes it's way into this EP. But besides all of that, the disc actually holds some interesting ideas. The band gets a great deal more melodic and acoustic with some of the songs on this disc, and there's even a completely instrumental electronic track called "1.10#06+0.35" which isn't half bad if you like dark electronic music.
The band also comes on fairly strong with such powerful songs as EP opener "Gnosis" and "Erwachen." The third track, "Augenblick" is a little sub-par for the band, but does manage to get the job done in a rather gloomy way. "Kosmos [Omega]" ends out the disc technically with a large atmospheric piece, and then there's the bonus instrumental demo of "Augenblick" which I liked more than the original. The ideas in the instrumental were much more fleshed out and the final version makes me think that the band unnecessarily held back.
Nonetheless, if you liked Agrypnie before; they haven't changed much on this disc. At least check out "Gnosis." This is the band at their best, with incredible melody. (47:00)
Tsjuder - Legion Helvete (2011) - Plenty of black metal in these reviews as always. I guess I'm trying to annoy some of you who think that a man who doesn't understand such juvenile terms as necro and kvlt, should be reviewing black metal albums. Well, I don't rightly care what you think as I've gotten older and give less of a damn about the opinions of others.
Now, Tsjuder is definitely what you would consider a traditional black metal band. There are no bells and whistles here, just early Bathory inspired thrash/black that's uncompromising. If you're looking for any funky atmospheric parts, you'd better just skip this review altogether. This band is one hundred percent on making their black metal sound as old-school as possible.
Despite eight songs and 38:00 of music, the band is able to deliver on their promise. Songs like "Daudir" pummel you in the beginning, but also have a thrashy groove to them. Tempo changes are not uncommon here and are completely necessary to matter in the world of metal these days.
The quality of the album is not one of extremely well production and sounds a little raw in some areas, but I think it's perfect. This doesn't need to sound any better than it does. I think it would kill the music with better production value, plus everything is discernable from the great drumming to the very common black riffs.
Let me just put it this way. This band is 100% a love letter to those Bathory albums we remember from the 80's. It's black/thrash the way it used to be, and if you don't get it after the other 7 songs, then the band has a 10:14 thrasher called "Vart Helvete" that they would love to drill the point into your feeble skull with.
No boring slow stuff here, just thrash, thrash, and more thrash... oh, and black metal. The way it used to be. A recommend. (38:00)
Alarum - Natural Causes - If you take thrash-era Trivium and add Animals as Leaders style melodies and a hell of a lot of technicality, (insert favorite technical band here) you'll get this band. Which is alright, because they excel just as well as Animals and any technical band you picked. But the band still has that rough sense of bad thrash vocal, like Trivium. Personally, I think putting vocals on this album was the worst thing that they could've ever done, as it definitely takes away from their sound.
Here is a band with definite promise and ability, but the vocalist seems detrimental to the act - they don't need him. I believe it's this simple factor in which the band fails, because as soon as he starts to sing bad thrash, I start not to care. So many people think that they can just get by with bad vocals, but don't realize that the listener's ears are fragile and some more than others. This guy needs to try a new approach entirely. He's holding this entire band back.
Regardless of all this, you should certainly check out the band as they have a lot to offer. Minus the crappy vocals. (41:00)
Dissolution - Dirt Skies (2011) - Now here's a death metal band that I definitely care about. Dissolution is an American death metal band that features great drumming, good riffs and a mix of black and death vocals. Seriously, this is good stuff. The overall structure of the songs and their skinsman alone makes this worth checking out.
The songs are very catchy, but in the way that you want them to be. This band kind of reminds me of Watch Them Die, but with lower production value and without the core influence. Also, this band knows how to crank out a few good solos every now and then. I found myself digging just about every track on the disc, especially "Years Of Pain" and closer "Forgotten Fiend." I'm sorry, but I've heard a lot of death metal this year, and some of it from great bands, but none of that has been able to hold a candle to the package here.
In my book, this is how death metal should sound. There's a little of but of Cynic influence in the melodies here which certainly makes things a little proggy, but don't worry, the band still knows how to bring on the crunch and the death that we'd expect from death metal. All in all, you'd be an absolute idiot to pass this one by. It also got a good review on Metal Storm, which is surprising because those stuck up bastards don't seem to be able to give anything a good review these days. They might have given it an 8, but I would give it a 10 myself, because when I'm looking for memorable death metal, these gentlemen give me exactly what I'm looking for and you can't go wrong with that.
I'm also listening to their older disc right now (Dying, Dead, Undead (2007) and I'm hearing a little bit of lower production, but once again - impeccable death metal and I love every fucking bit of it.
I must also mention that the covers for Alice In Chains, "Dirt Skies" and Bobaflex's "Disinclined Savior" are done extremely well. I think this band could do pop in death metal and I'd love it. Let's just hope they don't (Already enough of that going on right now.) (50:00)
EDIT: When I was still a teenager, I was greatly into metal video game covers. (I still am, sort of.) I wasn't actually sure at first, but I didn't think that this was the same band that did what many VG-metallers consider the best Castlevania "Bloody Tears" cover ever. I remember having an early version of the track "Cursed Bloodline" and some other track (which isn't on the 07 album because it was awful) and getting them from the Overclocked Remix website. My amazement peaked upon listening to this 07 release and actually finding that this is in fact the same fucking band, and that they hadn't just done a one off and jumped off the face of the earth. Now you might not care about this, but I definitely do, as this is the heaviest Castlevania cover in the history of video game covers and it inspired me early to want to create a project that does extremely heavy video game music covers in the same vein. I always loved the band, but wondered what in the fuck happened to them. Listening to this stuff made my day.
So once again, check this shit out. The Grim Lord commands you!
Also Check out "Dying. Dead. Undead." (2007) It is just as good as this album. This band has yet to make a bad album, let alone a bad song! If a review is requested for this disc, I'll do it.
Enslaved - Thorn (2011 EP) - What is there to really say about another EP from Enslaved, this time with only two tracks? Sure, "Disintegrator" and "Striker" are decent tracks focusing more on the black metal side of the band's earlier years, (and one has some hefty flute action) but one can't help but think that these two tracks could have been included on the band's last album, at least on some sort of bonus disc. Granted, this material does sound much different from the band's current proggy nature.
Perhaps the next album will follow in this vein with a return to their black metal roots. It doesn't matter whether they do go back to the frozen north or not though, because people still seem to worship these guys. Just read the reviews for their albums (this one included) on metal archives and you'll see what I mean. It's a great deal of ass kissing.
Well, if you're one of THOSE people, you'll probably also think that these two songs are literal symphonies to your ears. But I on the other hand, think that I've heard far better. Also, this is only 10:46 of music. If this isn't selling for 2 or 3.00, it's just not worth it. You'd be better putting your hand in a trash compactor than to pay 10.00 for this 2 track EP. You'd literally be paying almost a dollar a minute.
Seriously, download this. Everyone knows Enslaved doesn't need the money, especially with that Scion deal. There are better albums worth spending your hard earned money on than this one. They should have put these two tracks on a new album instead of releasing them as one little EP. It's like buying one beer bottle out of a six pack. (Yes, I prefer bottles.) (10:56)
2/5 (The music isn't bad, but the idea was.)
Krisiun - The New Execution (2011) - First, I'm going to start out with how much I've always hated this extremely bland Spanish death metal act. Their last album was completely cut and paste, brutal death metal. This disc however, is probably one of my personal favorite discs of the year. Why is that, exactly?
Because for once in the band's career, they've made something that actually isn't extremely bland death metal. This disc sees the band switching tempos more than you can count, adding a grandiose amount of structural integrity that they just didn't care to show in their last twenty thousand albums. Some might complain that the disc is much slower, more groovier, and less about the speed. But I think that the band is really taking a worthwhile risk with this album and the music itself will show.
The disc is peppered with some of the best death metal drumming I've heard in a very long time. It's not just a bunch of double bass, the drummer is actually quite methodical and his beats are quite varied. The first track, "The Will To Potency" may have a somewhat obvious core/breakdown reference, but it seems to work well enough and makes me want to unleash a headbang every time I hear the drummer thunder that beat. I also caught myself playing a lot of air guitar while listening to this, being that the riffs are catchy enough but slightly unconventional in a few areas, which means that the band is experimenting.
The guitar solos are fierce and frantic, delivering us with those heavy metal heyday style solos that we might expect from Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, early Morbid Angel, and other such bands around that heyday period. They have that rock and roll quality to them and it works. I haven't enjoyed an album this much in a while. It was great while exercising and I feel I got a great workout while listening to it, as I was jamming the entire way through this disc that's just one minute over an hour long. True, one can hear the Behemoth influence in these tracks too, but it's probably better to say that Krisiun influenced Behemoth.
There is one track that I do not care for however, and that track is the oddly placed Espanol only "Extincao Em Massa" (Extinction In Mass.) It hearkens back to the old days of the band with an emphasis on speed and a much more gravelly vocal than what is used on the rest of this disc. I personally didn't care for it, however some of you might think it's the only good track on the disc. In that case, I am glad that I am NOT some of you.
The band also pulls off some epics, like "The Sword Of Orion 7:59" and the closer "Shadows Of Betrayal 8:38." These tracks are both as the name implies, quite epic and worth checking out. The disc ends in probably the best way, with guitars flying and solos all over the fucking place. This is how metal is made. I wouldn't be surprised if this triumphs over the new Vader album, because I think it's much better, even though I did also like the Vader disc quite a bit myself.
Definitely worth the cash. (61:00)
666 (Despite that one track, this is still one of my favorite discs of the year.)
Leviathan - True Traitor, True Whorror (2011) - I asked myself "what the fuck?" as I listened through the majority of this album. You can tell that Leviathan is really trying to go above and beyond the call of black metal drugged out weirdness, but I think it's a very diffused album and very tough to get into.
The disc stays slow and sometimes even sludgy, offering some good guitar melodies here and there. The drumming is decent enough as well. It certainly keeps up the beat with this mind-melding concoction that the band has created. Sometimes effects are used and so is a very low tone of vocal (like Blut Aus Nord or Aborym, for example.)
The vocals on the disc are atrocious. The guy sounds like he's singing through his intestinal tract and I do believe that he didn't just put his mouth to the microphone but damn near swallowed it, and I'm hearing the guy's vocal chords
reverberate, or the noises from his stomach and intestines. If I could ask the man anything, it would be the simple of question of "Just what in the living hell are you singing about?" I'm serious. I've heard umpteen million black metal vocalists and I can actually make out the lyrics quite well, but this guy has me stumped. I'm honestly not sure if there are any lyrics at all, or if he's just making bloody noises.
However, there was a track I enjoyed a little more than the others, "Every Orifice Yearning Her Price 7:10" (Not to mention the track title, which in itself is brilliant.) because of the use of some Egyptian riffs that certainly don't appear anywhere else on this disc.
It is a disc where the band literally threw in anything that fit. I believe I heard what sounded like a fellow hammering on an anvil, and the band says "that works, we'll put it on the disc." It's very much a menagerie of sounds and strange intestinal noises. In trying to sound demonic, the band to me has come off as a little comical. But I do applaud their ability to try to do something that is really out there. If you're a fan of this absolutely bizarre sort of black metal, this disc is for you. It's probably best to be "medicated" on your journey throughout this one, as these eight tracks can be quite long and quite enervating. (47:00)
4/5 (Definitely different. But nothing really new.)
Arckanum - Helvitismykr (2011) - Arckanum is a Norwegian melodic black metal band fronted by just one guy. A picture came with the album's folder and it was just of a guy dressed in a cloak with a mask and a modified type of axe. The music however, is quite good. I'm not sure how the guy did this disc, if he programmed the drums or has a kit, or some other means of percussion (it's tough to tell these days) but the drumming certainly sounds decent enough.
But what really makes a damn to me on this disc is the guitar melodies that he uses. Some of these melodies are so damned good, that I wished I'd written them myself. As a matter of fact, as a musician I would strive for the same sort of melodies as what is displayed here. They are very strong melodies which have a lasting effect, especially on songs like "Or Djupum, Nifldreki, and "Svart ok ?ursligr." (The question mark is there because my computer cannot read whatever character was used for that title.)
The songs actually feature quite a bit of structure, and almost on every one of them there seems to be a grand finale section right towards the end. Apparently, he wanted to drill these songs into your brain. Well, it worked. The quality on the disc is as raw as you'd like it too. It's not too raw, but just raw enough to sound traditional in the realms of black metal. He could've used better production, but I am glad that he didn't.
There's an instrumental called "In Svarta" which is decent enough, and some violin work on "Svart ok ?ursligr." The album ends with "Sisoltinn and Outro" which might appear long at 13:05, if you don't count that the outro is nothing but useless static. Still makes me wonder why people do that kind of shit. "Oh yeah, let's just put static at the end of the disc." What is achieved by this? It's a waste of time and space.
Despite my griping, this is actually a very good black metal disc, as I enjoyed the melodies heavily. When you want to hear melodic black metal, you want to hear it done right. This gives you what you ask for, so I would definitely recommend it. (49:00)
5/5 (What? Just because there's some static at the end, it doesn't kill the disc for me. You just turn the thing off or stop the track from playing.)
Ghoul - Transmission Zero (2011) - Ghoul, or should I say "Gwar 2.0" is an American masked band that mixes death/thrash with some rock, punk, and surfer music. The lyrics are comical and the band is in the same parody nature as Gwar. They even play damn near the same music. The only difference is that the vocals are much more extreme and tolerable here, than on Gwar releases.
Though there are some good solos and decent enough riffs, along with some experimenting with surfer music on the title track, I can't help but think of this disc as mediocre. It's nothing more than novelty, really. Sure, there's some death metal tracks like "The Destructor" but it's still just run of the mill death metal and thrash. I don't care if Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed are behind those masks, the performance isn't that stellar or interesting.
However, it is an enjoyable listen if you like parody metal. I do, so I thought some of it was rather comical. The track with the most potential is their 8:17 monster (most of the tracks are very short) "Morning Of The Mezmetron" which seems to combine all the best of Gwar with these guys. Both lyrically and Musically, it's plagiarism. It sort of reminded me a bit of Gwar's "We Kill Everything." Still, I liked the track, so go figure.
Honestly, these guys just need to tour with Gwar, so that they can have some great battle or something. I've heard the stage shows are excellent for Gwar, so I'd like to see these two bands battling it out on the same stage. Of course it might be funnier to see Lordi get the hell beat out of them by both groups. But that will never happen.
If you like Gwar, or death thrash with a very old school and parody sense, go get this disc. There's also an insane 3 LP version of the album if you really want to go old school. Sadly, the group's single "Metallicus Ex Mortis" sounds nothing like the rest of the disc. The rest of the disc is a lot heavier. But with a single like that, these guys are going further and further away for being known for their music and are going closer to being known for their comedy. To each their own, though. (39:00)
Animetal USA (2011) - As most of you know, I'm an anime fan. Animetal is just what it sounds like. It's classic anime themes being done in traditional heavy metal. But just before you think that this is some fad, keep in mind that Animetal is nothing new, at least in Japan and has been metalicizing your favorite anime theme songs (from the 70's up till now) since the early 90's.
If you choose to dig, (and I highly recommend running a torrent or filestubing this stuff) the Animetal Marathon albums (and Lady Animetal) are worth hearing as the band powers through about 45 songs or so as heavy as they can in some aspects. (Listen to "Amazon Da Da Da" and you'll hear death metal influence) I also recommend picking up Animetal Best, because their old singer is a fucking beast and I've never seen someone power through songs the way he does. I thought he was going to have a fucking heart attack, with as much enthusiasm and damn near screaming that he does. The music was also more thrashy then.
But this is now, and Animetal USA is different in just a few aspects. They have a new singer (I believe) and the band is much more into performing what appears to be power metal renditions, but there is still plenty of thrash and musicality here. Also, all of the lyrics from the original songs have been translated by the band into English.
I need to list exactly what themes have been done. Trust me, if you've ever watched anime at all, some of these should be QUITE familiar.
1.Uchuu Senkan Yamato (No idea)
2. Gatchaman No Uta (Gatchaman)
3. Mazinger Medley (Mazinger Series)
4. Makafushigi Adventure (Dragonball Original (Not Z)
5. Zankoku Na Tenshi No Thesis (Thesis Of A Cruel Angel... The fucking theme from Evangelion that I've been bitching about!)
6. Ai Wo Torimodose (No idea)
7. Ganbare Dokaben (No idea)
8. Pegasus Fantasy (Seint Seya - Eng. Ronin Warriors)
9. Ike Tigermask (No idea)
10. Kinnikiuman Go Fight! (Kinnikiuman, I guess)
11. Yuke, Yuke, Hyuuma. (No idea)
For the most part, this is probably the best power metal disc I've heard all year. I just haven't seen too many of them come out yet that were strictly power metal. Unless we count Iced Earth, but that's power/thrash. Anyway, this disc is right up there. The musicianship is great, the guitar solos are flying all over the place and the vocalist is really fucking good, and has some definite pipes on him. He can sing a good melody and can definitely reach the high notes.
Damn, I'm impressed with the ability of this band. The music does get quite thrashy at times, but it's not about that. Even themes I've never heard before just translate so well into metal. The Gatchaman theme, Mazinger Medley, and Saint Seya theme are just fucking awesome as done by this band, even if you didn't know they were covers. I've played the Saint Seya theme probably about a dozen times, just because it's done so well. Unfortunately, I still prefer the original Evangelion theme to the metal version, even though it was a great to hear the guitar renditions of such a great theme. This is not a shitty album by all means, and fans of traditional power metal will be impressed.
There's also one more complaint I have here, and it's minute. Even though I liked to actually hear some of my favorite anime songs in metal and translated, the translations don't always match up well with the music. (Listen to the Dragonball theme for example.) But when they do, it's badass. When they don't, you just kind of smile through it. (Yeah, they fucked that one up.)
I'm wondering if there is a Japanese version of this, because I'd like to hear a metal version of Eva in it's traditional language. It just came off better that way. I'll be hunting for one, rest assured. I'm planning on downloading all the marathon discs anyway, because I don't have the couple thousand yen it would take to import them. I'm sure there's a version of it on there, and maybe "Forces" from Berserk, but I doubt it. Or, "We Gotta Power" From Dragonball Z. (Japanese) Perhaps even, "Hikari No Will Power" (Trunks theme Japanese, loved it when I was a teenager.)
Still, definitely check this one out. I was very impressed with some of these.
Who Is He? Who is He? Who Is He? Go Gatchaman! (42:00)
4/5 (I can't wait to hear their next one. Japanese bands are different than American ones, so maybe it'll come out next month! (Crosses fingers.)
The Rotted - Ad Nauseaum (2011) - For those of you who haven't heard The Rotted before, they are a UK death metal band that seems to take a cue from thrash and classic British punk. You can certainly hear the punk influence in most of these songs, albeit there are some faster numbers which sound more like extreme or brutal death metal. The album's title track "Just Add Nauseum" is a good example of this injection of brutality.
While most of the songs are quite short, many of them only in the 2:30 - 3:00 range, the disc ends with two much larger tracks at the 5:00 mark. "The Hammer Of Witches" is probably the better of these, since the song seems much different than anything else on the disc, but the almost instrumental closer (with some random barks from the vocalist) "Put Me Out Of Your Misery" also carries with it a chilling and much more doom influenced sound that might appeal more to your tastes.
While not a Baskin Robbin's album, this disc is still quite a mixed bag. However, that might be a good thing, as every song on it doesn't sound the same. These Brits definitely have what it takes to perform worthwhile death metal that echoes the footsteps of bands like the Clash, and won't turn off the British death metal fans of today, who probably believe that punk is a thing of the past. One just needs to simply listen to the music, and you'll find the influences within.
Definitely worth checking out. A great disc from beginning to end. There's also a nice cover of "Motorbastards." Which seems fitting, as Motorhead obviously also influenced this impressive death metal act. (38:00)
Mithras - Time Never Lasts (2011 EP) - This technical death metal band really shows some potential on this short 27:00 EP. There are two in studio tracks, "Time Never Lasts" and "Inside The Godmind", and there are three Live tracks, "Tomb Of Kings", "Wrath Of God", and "Beyond The Eyes Of Man" to close it out.
For the most part, this band really seems to know just what they're doing. The drums are pummeling, the guitars are doing all sorts of weird things, and there's some damn good melodies every now and then that you just wouldn't expect from a band of this nature. That continues into the live tracks, which are just a tad fuzzy on the musical side of things. Despite the fact that their lead vocalist has more of an orcish growl (sounds just like the growler in Battlelore) than an actual death metal vocal, the band certainly has some skill and uniqueness that makes them worth caring about.
I recommend this album as a starter to the band, if you've never heard them before. They may not be the best on vocals, but their musicality is unparalleled. Definitely worth a listen. Just keep in mind that it's only 27:00 worth of music, and I'm starting to wonder why bands release EP's at all. It just seems a little lazy to me. I'd rather have a full album rather than just a handful of songs. (27:00)
My Dying Bride - The Barghest O' Whitby (2011 EP) - Is it just me, or is the artwork on this thing really low budget? The album booklet looks like it didn't take a lot of work to design at all. Even the band pic sort of looks like it was done in the early 90's. Aaron looks sort of funny in his portrait, I'm sure it would be quite a humorous site to see him growling. He just doesn't look like the man you would expect to do the vocals. He also did all of the artwork for the album.
To tell you the truth (and this is going to make fans very happy) this sounds like EARLY My Dying Bride. You know what albums I'm referring to, right? Stuff like "Turn Loose The Swans" and earlier. It's just doom/death with clean vocals. I believe this disc is probably the one the band needed to do, as their current style was getting too fucking old.
Yes, fans of EARLY My Dying Bride will probably ejaculate with glee upon listening to this one, as I haven't heard the band this fucking heavy in years... and I do mean years. The drums thunder, the riffs are quite morose and heavy, and the whole thing just feels much darker. I need to add that they hired a studio drummer, but the guy is great. Seeing as this is a 27:04 track, (Yes, I did say that this whole disc is just one 27:04 track) it's quite impressive and gets pretty damned heavy at times. Much heavier than you'd think.
I'm quite impressed that the band can go back to their roots so easily. The raw production value of this disc really seems to drill this point home, and I'm so glad that this disc DOESN'T have an over the fucking top production value. If you like My Dying Bride at all, this disc certainly shows them the way that you've known them. Nothing new, but a certain return to form is imminent.
I can actually recommend this. It's worth the money. (27:04)
Vallenfyre - A Fragile King (2011) - Besides the epic name, Vallenfyre is a new project featuring members of Paradise Lost. But this music is a great deal different from what Paradise Lost does, at least in their current iteration. Yes, Vallenfyre has more in common with doom/death bands like November's Doom, but still differentiates themselves from the kind of doom/death that we've come to expect in this day and age. It might be better to call this "death metal with slight doom influence and melody."
The band certainly has a great package here, being that the songs don't share the same tempo, and there's everything from the slower introduction track of "All Will Suffer" to the much more brutal death metal notions of "Ravenous Whore." This band does all the best to combine death metal with the slightly more morose style of doom, something that the band used to do perfectly back in the early 90's when they were called Paradise Lost.
No, this doesn't feature Nick Holmes on vocals, so it's not just another iteration of Paradise Lost. This is a standalone project, even though it's in the same vein. To put why you should grab this album into words, I would simply tell you that it sounds like Paradise Lost's "Gothic" album, but much heavier than that. There are also no clean vocals. Not a one.
The disc also contains some rather heavy drumming and the odd bit of melody once in a while from the Paradise Lost guitarist, which makes the album sound much different from death metal in a sense, but I also feel that it's sort of haphazard; that it doesn't necessarily belong in the package. The occasional (and I do mean occasional) solo is here as well, giving things a little more form. If anything else, this band is a definite competitor to acts like November's Doom, Swallow The Sun, and Insomnium (even though that disc will be a tough one to beat this year.)
Worth while if you haven't gotten enough death/doom already this year. Certainly not a bad album as a whole, and worth picking up. (41:55)
4.5/5 (The band is still a little rusty, but I think potential is definitely here.)
Electro Quarterstaff - Aykroyd (2011) - This is the same sort of sporadic, all over the place crap that some people think is talent. It's akin to throwing paint on the wall, or shit, or something of that nature. "What a wonderful piece of abstract art." says the man who looks at a piece of feces in the toilet.
I'm sorry, folks. I just really don't get this "Behold The Arctopus use a million time signatures and play your guitars in any sort of tune because it's intelligent music" crap. Now Animals As Leaders actually has some melody. This is just technical death metal with enough experimentation in it to barely even be considered music. Every song sounds the same way, and every track on the disc bored me.
There are no vocals and the songs have silly names like "Stroganoff", "Japanese Upside Down Cake" and "Unholy Gravy." It's the same sort of crap that people use to name mindless instrumentals. I also have a feeling that the band might have had the munchies while coming up with the track titles.
If you like your instrumental tech garbage all over the fucking place, then go get this. I don't know whether it's good or bad, it just is. To me, it was a solid disc. I am definitely the wrong reviewer for this kind of shit, because I can't tell you whether or not the instruments should be more out of tune than they already are.
There's certainly fluoride in the water, folks. (41:00)
Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument (2011) - This band decided that they didn't want the confusion of genres and labels on their music. That must be why this band literally decided to just do everything... and black metal. Even though it's hard to tell.
This band reminded me quite a bit of Aborym, but a hell of a lot more experimental. What do you mean, more experimental than Aborym? Yes, I am telling the truth here. This stuff is OUT there. The band mixes atmospheres with avant-garde, industrial, and even just plain old black metal tracks, like "Loupton Tuntematon." But even that track has some weird riffing going on in areas.
The album is decidedly a little raw in the production sense, and I'm not sure if this is because it's rare Finnish black metal and they don't have a lot of money, or they just wanted it to sound like that. Regardless, every track on this disc is a new and different experience. Expect to hear things that you haven't heard before, and to go places that you've never been. One of my personal favorites on the disc is the 8:57 "Andromeda" which contains some really great melody compared to the rest of the disc.
Once again, every track has it's own atmosphere and not one is like the other. This band is certainly doing something right, because reviews for this one have been really good. I believe the band worked their asses off to create something much different than we've heard before, especially in this age of experimental black metal filled with acid induced atmospheres.
While not as clear as it could be, this is still a worthy disc to check out. Especially if you're into this kind of weird metal. As a matter of fact, you'll be fucking thanking me after this one. I wish I knew about these guys sooner, or I would have reviewed their earlier discs. I may go ahead and do that in a week or so, because this is the kind of music that you just can't (and shouldn't) ignore. (66:00)
666 (Almost legendary.)
Andromeda - Manifest Tyranny (2011) - I've always liked Andromeda, but they seem to be the black sheep of the power/prog scene. I thought their last disc, 2008's "The Immunity Zone" was one of the best prog-metal albums of 2008, if not the best album of that year. I've never heard a mix of electronics and prog like they did on that disc. But sadly, others don't seem to agree. It seems I'm one of the only people who still like this band. As a matter of fact, let me know if there's anyone else on this board that likes this fucking band, besides myself.
Despite the lower production value, (probably because they didn't sell enough albums with their 2008 masterpiece) this album picks up where the last one left off, but features even more experimenting than their last one. Songs like "Asylum 7:01" certainly challenge the listener, as they incorporate more electronic elements than one might expect. Also, there's some soft ballads. One of them, "Survival Of The Richest 6:01" is great, but the other, "Go Back To Sleep 7:41" is probably the worst song in the history of band's career and I hate it with a passion.
Still, "Chosen By God 4:35" is a strong, but mostly voice-over piece that seems to spread it's message of corporate greed and the approach of the NWO quite well. "Lies R Us 5:15" is a more straight-forward prog-metal song that recalls the band's heyday, and the closer "Antidote 7:02" is a great and heavy way to close out the disc. It also has a very powerful message. The whole damn disc is loaded with this message, and I feel that it really marks the times for us as a race.
Obama's voice clips are also played with a little bit, but the band is trying to show how war is not the answer, and how Europe has become a bureaucracy that's a sure threat to democracy. There's several other messages on the disc, but I'm sure you get it.
As for musicality, it's what you can expect from the band. There are is plenty of prog here to enjoy, and it's all very well done. The band has not shown any signs of wear and tear here, and despite that one awful ballad; this is certainly some of their best work. I think that fans might appreciate this varied style a bit more than on their last release. Overall, a great album with a good message. I wasn't expecting something this good, in all actuality- so I'm surprised they came through, even though some songs are more challenging to get into than others. (63:52)
Appearance Of Nothing - All Gods Are Gone (2011) - Yet another prog metal band, and this one shows some definite promise. Appearance has been around for a while, but this is my first album from them. The band mixes many things together, in a do not fucking care sort of way. But it's this that makes the disc truly progressive, and not the same old crap. Death metal vocals are also used on the disc, so it's not as light as some prog metal can be.
The songs vary by track, and even then the tracks themselves vary so much that you sometimes can't even tell if you're listening to another track or not. The band definitely goes above and beyond with the prog, and on those special sections that we've all expected from prog metal, the passages can be a more than just a little exciting.
Sometimes the lyrics can be lacking, however; especially on songs like "...I Said Silence 7:29" which are truly terrible. I never thought I would hear the words "I want to kick your ass" in prog metal. Also, there's the straight-up no frills techno portions on "The Call Of Eve 5:15" and even some acoustic stuff just thrown into songs for no good reason.
The bad thing about this album, is that some of the songs are just too bloody long. When it gets to the point that you're not even sure you're listening to the same song, the song should've already ended. But this is not the case, as even though some of these songs are much shorter than others, they can all seem to last for hours. You just wind up saying to yourself, "How much more shit are they going to put into this song?"
All in all, there's a plethora of ideas here; but too many of them are used all at the same time. Still, if you haven't heard these guys before; it's a rather different sort of prog than I was used to, and I was sort of glad to hear it. Definitely worth taking a chance on, but try before you buy. (48:00)
Grayceon - All We Destroy (2011) - Grayceon and Giant Squid almost sound the same, except for slight differences. Both bands are sludge, and both bands experiment. The only real difference here, is that the vocals are female and there's some screaming. But the violinist is the same for both bands, as is the style. One could say that if you buy the new Giant Squid, you should also get the new Grayceon, as it's literally like another GS disc, or vice-versa.
Even though this disc came out in February of this year, I'd never heard of the band until I looked up the connections in Giant Squid and wondered if this stuff would be just as good. Lyrically, not so much. The lyrics seem very lazy and repetitive, but the music of the band follows along with he same sort of ethnic and violin fueled approach of Giant Squid. But this band is heavier and features as I've stated, more pissed off woman than the other band.
There are some happy songs though, like "Once A Shadow 7:37" which I hated at first, until right near the end of the track, where it got quite interesting. You see, it's not what this band does vocally that is appealing. It's what the band can do musically, and on songs like "We Can 17:15" the band certainly puts all of that time to good use, making proggy soundscapes that prove to be very effective.
The opener, "Dreamer Deceived 6:36" starts out quite heavy and frantic, but "Shellmounds 9:08" seems to be much better. The lyrics actually seem to be metaphors for war (and some not so much) and you can tell that when the last track, "War's Over 7:23" declares "that the war is over, it is time to rest your bones." of course this could be a chilling satire, but the song itself sounds rather melancholy.
Probably not the band's best, but certainly not too bad. I'd certainly like to dig into some of their earlier albums, but I feel that I'm more a fan of Giant Squid. Songs like "Panthalassa" cannot be touched. This album was much longer than the new GS, and only half as good.
I also don't think we'll be getting a new album from her (vocalist/violinist) for a while, because according to the current GS photo, she's got a bun in the oven. (52:00)