Please keep in mind that hard rock discs are judged in terms of hard rock, and metal discs are judged in terms of metal. If a hard rock album gets a 3 and a metal album gets a 2.5 and you think that the metal album is better than the hard rock album, then it probably is. However, there are better hard rock discs than the disc that got the 3, and better metal discs than the disc that got the 2.5.
Keep in mind that not all review sets will contain hard rock discs, but bands seem to change their styles all the time. Kittie for example used to be hard rock, but they've graduated into metal. We'll see how long that lasts.
Woods Of Ypres - V Grey Skies and Electric Light (2012) - Well, now that David's dead; the messages and atmospheres on this disc sound even more chilling. There's even a song called finality, where David is singing about his feelings for a lost love from beyond the grave. Many of the songs on here about to be the simple fact - Death is FINAL and it is the destroyer of dreams, just like in "Alternative Ending." "When I asked for a second chance, life said no."
Indeed, it did.
This is some of the most depressing music that Woods has ever recorded, with a sound being far removed from black metal; and now sounding much more like doom or funeral doom with very slight black metal influence. I do mean, very slight. It doesn't even sound like the same band. The band does sound like they were going closer to a more marketable sound this time around, and many of the songs are much catchier than the band has been in the past.
What's more is the album's uncomfortable repeating of "no life after death" and this is used quite vehemently on the disc, and is uttered most heavily on "Death Is Not An Exit" Gold declares, "It is a flick of the off switch." Despite what I and many of you believe, none of us has died yet; so none of can be assured of anything in the next world, assuming there is one. I still find it extremely odd that Gold dies shortly after this album was made, and wonder if there was something else going through his mind; given the tone of the lyrics here. It sounds like a man who knew he was about to die.
The disc is very somber, just like Woods IV; but this is less heavy and more depressing. The croon is used much more than the scream, and the sung choruses still appear on tracks like the opener, "Career Suicide." The melodies on this disc are wonderful, even though they are just as dark and morbid as the rest of this disc. Everything is quite somber, as you might expect.
As usual with Gold's lyrics, I've found some wisdom in the song "Traveling Alone" and it's closing statement; "I've found no evidence of God, in men from the west."
Just as well as "Adora Vivos" which declares that we shouldn't honor the dead, and we should honor the living. "We are here to be adored." I take this to mean that life is finite, and we should adore every second of it. Especially if there is no other world beyond this one. But I personally don't believe that idea, and science is beginning to back this claim, especially astral projection. Still, I take it to mean more of a "seize the day" sort of message. It also seems to suggest as in the last album, Gold's belief in the divinity of man. "Mortal men are living Gods, more real than any god ever was."
RIP David Gold and Woods Of Ypres, for not only giving us years of great music, but for giving us much to think about for many years to come. I will never forget such wisdom in the songs, "Through Chaos and Solitude I Came", "Mistakes Artists Make", "Dirty Window Of Opportunity", "Wet Leather", "Natural Technology", "Move On!" and most of all, "Mirror Reflection and The Hammer Reinvention." That song alone has spoken volumes in my life.
I was writing my first novel while listening to Woods IV almost religiously, so I suppose I have David to thank for the inspiration. I do hope he found the peace he always wanted, and enjoys the finality he so seemed to desire. By the way, I'm writing this review on Christmas day.
Enjoy the solos and fantastic doom while you can, because there will be no more of it. While not as good as Woods IV, it's the best doom metal I've heard in a while and I would certainly recommend it to fans of Woods, but not black metal fans. For this final time, David and crew did not make a black metal album.
The most chilling part of this almost 60:00 disc, is the last two tracks on it:
Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) Pt. I & 2
With those lyrics, I will end this review:
"To mourn the end is to say goodbye
Not To yearn for that which we will never have again
We cry for our life together - because we know it will end
And we try to understand, how we could ever love again
Save your tears, at the end of our time...
We’ve cried enough in our lives, / at the end of our time, just kiss my ashes goodbye
We miss them so much now that they are gone
Took them for granted for living, so long
We read their words again, and we listen to them again
as we start to understand, what they were trying to say, all along
Ohhhh, save your tears,
At the end of our time, kiss my ashes goodbye.
Whoa! Kiss my ashes goodbye.
Curse all those who were so vain
who felt entitled to hold a place on the earth as a grave for their remains
but no monument for me, please... I am not one of them
I didn’t need it in life, I won’t need it in death
Whoa, just kiss my ashes goodbye
Whoa, when I die...kiss my ashes goodbye
When words become irrelevant,
and you start to feel as though ...you’ve been misled
Keep me out of sight, leave me out of mind...
when the thought no longer serves you / when I no longer serve you, just let the memories die (...and move on)
Whoa, kiss my ashes goodbye
Whoa, when I die...kiss my ashes goodbye
Once again, words from a man who seemed to know that his own death was drawing near... (55:00)
Metallica - Beyond Magnetic EP (2011) - Just as you would expect, the greedy cash grabbers who already released a demo version of their last album called "Demo Magnetic" as well as 2 live EP's I didn't bother with, and that awful Lulu album, has but one more release to give us this year.
This EP features the four songs that didn't make it on Death Magnetic back in 2008. It could've been offered along with the original release, but I guess that's not how a businessman works. For those of you who thought that Metallica was in the business of making music, it should be noted that they are really in the music of making business. Being that it's only 29:00 of music, and four songs; it's not going to be something you'd buy unless you're a major fan.
"Hate Train 6:58" starts out the album in the light thrash style, but then has some light melody that goes heavy once again and features some definite guitar theatrics. It sounds like a definite garage sound, but is actually good enough to have been on the album and would replace that shitty "sailing the seas of cheese or gold, or whatever." I hated that one.
"Just A Bullet Away 7:10" actually starts out a little triumphant, and has a worthy intro. It's certainly proggy at times and definitely interesting enough to have been on the album replacing another one of the crappy songs on the disc. It's got a groove and jazz style to it that I'm definitely digging. Yes, the prog here does work. Maybe if this one was stuffed on the album, people would've gave a little more of a shit about the disc.
Alright, the song changes into a melodic instrumental at about 4:00. Then it gets thrashier about the 5:00 mark, returning back to the chug, but with an added solo. This is actually a really good song, folks. Definitely has potential, but fuck the lyrics.
"Hell and Back 6:57" starts out acoustic, but gets a little heavier. Then the acoustics come back in and the vocals come in. So far, not so great. very Load-style stuff. Easy chorus and lots of groove. Melodic vocals come back in and I'm starting to think this one might be rather boring. Yeah, more of that loady jazz and a cheap chorus. It just sounds like a bar song. 4:00 mark, the song gets crunchy. A little prog injection added than some more crunch. Here comes the solo. It's decent. Solo continues out throughout the chorus. Definitely could've been on the black album, load or re/load. But has a tiny bit of potential.
"Rebel Of Babylon 8:02" starts out a little acoustic too, but this is the last song on the disc, so it had better be full of all kinds of shit. Song gets a little thrashy (but still rather slow controlled thrash) now the thrash is getting heavier, slightly proggy. Definitely fast as old-era Metallica during vocal lines and chorus.
That's until it slows down and gets a little load style slow thrash. Speed increases and vocals come back in. Rinse and repeat. I'm sure you can guess what happens next?
4:00 mark starts a slow groove, then the riffs change a bit more, some odd soloing comes into place and then the melody comes in with the solo. Sounds very rock style. A spacey style solo comes in about 5:30. Then it sounds like they're just going to go all out as things gear up for of all things a slow thrash portion. The vocals come in and the music speeds up again. I actually sort of like this one, and the lyrics aren't too bad either.
Say what you want, it does have it's thrash portions. The drumming is good, and some of this should've been on the album. I actually liked some of the songs on "Death Magnetic" and in particular, "That Was Just Your Life" and "Judas Kiss."
I really think that "Just A Bullet Away" is probably one of the best songs I've heard from the band in a very long time. I was amazed at the band actually playing around with prog as much as they did on that particular track. Why this was left off, I have no idea.
It is, what it is. It's 30:00 of extra Metallica that is for the most part heavy and interesting. Honestly folks, it's not that bad. Of course, somewhere in my head I'm starting to think that this might be new material that the band is labeling as "old" and testing whether or not it's good enough for their 2012 actual release. (As opposed to all of the other bullshit that's been coming out from them recently.)
To buy, or not to buy... That is indeed the question. (29:00)
Black Label Society - Glorious Christmas Songs That Will Make Your Black Label Heart Feel Good EP (2011) - Alright, BLS. This is enough. You've already released one of your best albums in years, and then you've followed it up with some acoustic bullshit. Then there's this...
It's three Christmas songs to go along with their rendition of "The First Noel" on the last album. Yes, these are light shredders - you might actually like them; but I hope they aren't being sold for too much money. This is eight minutes of music. Yes, that is it. It's eight minutes of light acoustic with guitar shredding versions of "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "O Little Town Of Bethlehem", and "It's A Wonderful World." (Which is technically not a Christmas song, but oh well.)
These are very tame, something the whole family can enjoy. I'm quite serious. You can all sit around the fireplace and someone can play this as you eat your figgy pudding and all that stuff. Of course, I don't think anyone eats figgy pudding anymore. Regardless, these are great commercial tracks. You might hear them in elevators and through department store/mall speakers for many years to come.
It might be the only time that your grandma and grandpa could actually listen to BLS, but I do believe that little things as I'm hearing of late may cement the band's eventual demise. Wylde doesn't seem to care about metal as of late, and seems to like tearing it up to acoustics. Perhaps it's time to quit.
Also, "The First Noel" would've worked better on this disc, as it was Christmas songs. "It's A Wonderful World" should've been put on the crappy acoustic disc. (8:00)
Gorgoroth - Under The Sign of Hell 2011 (2011) - This 26:00 blast from the past sounds good enough so far. The quality has improved much, so I guess that's why they wanted to re-do this disc. As far as the lyrical content, I could care less. But the vocals are done well and the music certainly sounds good enough. Just like Burzum's compilation, it's clear.
It's also probably clearer than any Gorgoroth disc has ever been. I hope that's not a nail to the heart for some of you, but this has some production value (but still sounds black and raw, alright?)
Did I mention it's 26:00? Yeah, that's it. Some of you might be like, "Fuck it, this is so unkvlt." but I don't care. It sounds better and I can hear it, so I'm all for it. There are some great melodies on the disc, definitely has that folk influence which is found in most early Norwegian black metal.
Unfortunately, the disc doesn't offer a whole hell of a lot that I haven't already heard. It might have been good back in the day, but there's nothing really timeless about this one. Aside from the folk influence, there's nothing about any of these songs that really strike me as brilliant. However, it's much better than their last album, which was far too gritty and boring.
The only disc I've ever cared for from this band was the prog influenced 2004 disc, which actually had some interesting ideas. However, this one is flat and offers very little in the short amount of play time. Though I liked a few tracks on the disc and found it much clearer; it's nothing more than solid as a whole.
Big time fans will buy it anyway, but it's up to you whether or not you purchase this remastered classic from black metal's past. (26:00)
Paganizer - Into The Catacombs (2011) - Paganizer didn't disappoint last time with 2009's "Scandanavian War Machine" and I didn't expect them to disappoint me with this one either. The disc bolsters 13 tracks as opposed to the 16 tracks of the last album, and seems to be of a rawer quality. But that's hardly a problem. This disc offers everything that I love in a death metal album and more, and being that it's just been released; I have just enough time to add it into my top albums of the year list.
The drums are pummeling, the riffs dark and thrashy, and the groove on the disc is unparalleled. For fans of Bloodbath and Unleashed, this is going to be right up your alley. Most death metal these days is technical, and I'm glad to hear a band that's just worried about jamming out and playing good old-school death metal.
There's a few solos when used, and some of the great melodies that you would expect from the thrashy groovy death metal of this genre. The vocals are just as bloodcurdlingly gravel as you should expect, and the whole package just wants you to bang your fucking head. This is what death metal is to me personally, not so much brutal death like Cannibal Corpse. Many bands try to emulate this Swedish sound, and no one yet has been able to do it as well as these guys have.
But it's definitely brutal, and I'm glad that it even came out. I have absolutely not one qualm with this disc. I listened to it in it's entirety while playing Borderlands on the PC, and it fit the mood perfectly. If you're looking for great death metal to play while trying to get headshots, this will definitely work. It's 43 minutes of absolutely killer death metal that doesn't follow any sort of gimmicks or trends, and the band plays it the way that I've always personally liked the genre.
This isn't going to be for everyone, but I think it should be. Not everything needs to be over the top, and if you're looking for that; well I'm sure you'll find plenty of releases like that this year, and the next. But if you want some genuine, no frills death metal; you can't go wrong with Paganizer. I could listen to this album on repeat for hours, but everyone's different.
Definitely worth a listen in my book. It will certainly kick your ass. (43:00)
Vile - Metamorphosis (2011) - Christmas has come definitely early this year, as I have been graced with another great death metal disc this year. Vile is much more technical and tighter than Paganizer, plus they also have a sense of incredible melody that makes this disc an uncanny listen from beginning to end.
The quality isn't as pristine as you would expect, but these guys show that they can still make one hell of an album regardless. The drumming is absolutely killer, the riffs divine and the vocals just prove that like the disc's "As One" this band is a 100% testament to the chemistry that is required to form a reputable sound.
Track by track on this disc flow beautifully, and it doesn't matter whether the band decides to speed up a little or slow down into a doomier pace, the sound doesn't suffer from it. Songs like "The Revealing 3:49" offer even a light acoustic piece, ala Opeth. Sometimes, there's even a rather tasteful melodic solo just to show some class to what comes off as sheer melodic brutality for the most part of this disc.
There is definitely some technicality here, but not as much as you would expect. This band is more about flowing everything together, and less about making a scientific experiment. The vocals are gravelly, but there's also a screamer who does the back-ups and they sometimes blend together. It works well enough.
Every solo on this disc is great, and damn near every riff. The guitarist/s? they've got is/are? absolutely great and absolutely blows my mind with a sense of fantastic musicianship that I feel, even the most stubborn guitarist could respect. Pound for pound, this is almost legendary work. It started off rather interesting, and ended on the same note with a nice 2:50 minute outro piece called "Redemption."
The songs on this disc are quite short however; the longest one only being 4:55. But that's definitely not something that should sway you from picking up this one. It's a damned fine melodic death metal disc, with plenty to offer; and it doesn't need a full hour to do it.
Despite the short track length and the needless intermission piece, "I Am Become Death 2:05" which features a line that I've heard already on enough albums, (even on the last Linkin Park, jeez... how many times are we going to use, "I Am Become Death... The Destroyer Of Worlds?") this is definitely worth checking out. But since one skippable (and technically non musical) intermission piece can easily be skipped, I won't count it in my review.
Vile has made one hell of a metal disc in the best way that they could. Support them and check this one out. You won't be sorry, and if for some odd reason you are... then I seriously do not know what to tell you. Great metal through and through, who could ask for more this holiday? (38:00)
Mortal Sin - Psychology Of Death (2011) - I'm not sure how new or how old this band is, but they're pretty fucking good at any rate. It's thrash metal with hints of prog and some core; but the guitar work is really top-notch. The solos on this album are solos, and the riffs on this disc aren't always the same riffs we've come to expect from thrash metal these days.
The singer isn't a growler or a screamer, or anything of that vein. This guy is pretty much bare bones thrash vocal and you should already know what to expect here. The band definitely has taken influence from bands like Overkill and Destruction to name just a few.
However, this band manages to catch my attention with just about every song on the disc, and there are no bullshit intermissions. It's just forty minutes of straightforward (but not always as straightforward as you might expect) thrash metal. The lyrics range from everything from war to anti-religion to hating work and wishing that one could be, "Down In The Pit 4:11" which is probably the band's catchiest song and most likely a single for this album.
There wasn't one thing I hated about this disc, due to the fact that it quenched all my needs in a good thrash record. It's just as essential as the last Overkill album, but not near as flashy. The disc also seems kind of low in the volume levels, but the volume is all the way up and my kbps is 320; so that's as loud as it gets, I suppose.
It's much better than anything Metallica's put out since load/reload, though. Definitely worth checking out for you thrashers. (41:00)
Leprous - Bilateral (2011) - Every once in a while a band comes around that really attempts to put the weird world of avant-metal on it's fucking head. Last time it was Thy Catafalque, but this time I've got a band for you, called Leprous. These guys seem to know exactly what it takes to battle the others out there trying to make a name for themselves by being different.
Leprous contains elements of death metal, avant clean vocal, and definite prog rock influence. (Let's not say Opeth every time, okay?) Sometimes the vocals are very light and pleasing to the ear, "Restless 3:30" but then you add the death metal scream in the background and the almost polka rhythm on the drums during the chorus and you've got something quite awful weird.
The second track is also of note, "Forced Entry 10:20" as it really does hone in the mixing Meshuggah time sigs (and yes, I do mean Meshuggah, it's almost a blatant rip off of their style) but it's added with clean vocals and other such things that even Meshuggah would've scratched their head at.
I also notice something that reminds me slightly of Symphony X. Don't ask me what this is, but for some odd reason this band reminds me of Symphony X in some aspects. Perhaps it's the riffing in certain non time signature areas.
I must mention that this band does whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want. There's a big fucking mushroom on the album cover and I have no earthly idea why. But I am quite sure that prog aficionados and Opeth heads will like this disc quite a bit, especially for songs like "Mb. Indifferentia 6:33" that damn near rip off the band's lighter songs.
For those of you who didn't like the Opeth album of 2011, perhaps this one will perk you right up. This is probably the proggy/melodic but still heavy turn that Opeth should've done this year. (Although I did like the new disc as prog album, not as a metal album. I thought it was great in that aspect and stand by my score.)
Lastly, with all of this ripping off and mutating; I'm not sure what to say about this disc. It's a worthy avant disc, and it certainly offers a little bit of everything. The band must've seen how many styles they could rip-off and change into something else. Maybe this experiment will go undiscovered or uncared about for years. Who knows. Maybe this will spark in popularity when we least expect it.
But I doubt it. This is one 58:00 disc that sounds much longer, but offers plenty for the whole gamut of metalheads. It's not an album, it's an experiment. I think it paid off quite well too. Most of you will go through this and be begging for more. Others will think it's trash. But that's the beauty of an experiment. Some love it, some loathe it.
Definitely, absolutely, and certainly worth a listen. I could've described all the tracks here, but that would spoil the surprise of this unique band that likes to play with other people's ideas, in the same way as my writing.
Damn, now that's refreshing. (58:00)
777 (Haven't heard a band like this before that fucked with everyone else's ideas and really worked to made them their own. This makes the act legendary.)
Mors Subita - Human Waste Compression (2011) - These Finnish technical melodeathers are pretty much what you would get if you mixed Meshuggic time signatures with the melodies and dual vocal styles in melodic death metal (the growler/screamer style.)
But before you decide, "Oh this is going to be fucking lame." I need to tell you that these 11 songs actually have some great metal to offer. The riffs are definitely good, and the music is certainly as brutal as you'd expect. The songs are also quite catchy and melodic. Just from the opener, "The Sermon 4:05" you can tell that you're in for some rather crushing stuff.
Also I might let you know that their lead guitarist is quite the shredder, quite the shredder indeed. Not only are these songs brutal, but they're also filled with some amazing guitar solos. This guys shreds his ass off throughout this whole disc, and I'd highly recommend it. The guitar is really the backbone in metal, and without good riffs, you've got nothing. (Unless your drummer's a beast.)
I will tell you this, there is plenty to like on this disc. It thrashes and sings with brutality and great melody. I fucking love it, so I hope you'll go ahead and grab a copy of this one as soon as possible. Definitely worth checking out.
If you don't like this disc and you like melodeath, I want to know what planet you're from. This shit is the very definition of the term. (48:00)
Illogicist - The Unconsciousness Of Living (2011) - In an age of many imitators, I've actually heard another tech death band that gets it. This extremely over the fucking top technical death metal band combines the best of proggy Death, Athiest and Cynic, to make one hell of a release. But the same Cynic influenced riffs I noticed on the Bellicist record, I also noticed on here.
First of all, this shit made my head spin. It's tough for me to listen to, because I feel like I'm getting a little ill from the weird patterns. The band goes ten different ways at once, playing like some kind of spontaneity machine. The bass chugs along, and sometimes plays a thrashy riff, but this is indeed pretty technical shit.
The drums are well calculated, the riffs are heavily calculated, and the feeling of the disc is just overall one of brutal precision. The tempos like to change quite a bit, giving you either a headache or an endorphin rush. I certainly notice plenty of Death here, plenty of Atheist, plenty of Cynic, and some definite thrashy moments, but technical thrash stuff that doesn't stay itself. I know I've mentioned this once, but I'll say it again.
This disc is all over the place musically, but it all manages to stay together. There's a hell of a lot going on here and you'll have to listen to it more than once. I am quite sure if this disc was marketed to the right people, it would be flying off the fucking shelves right now. The production is definitely good, and the vocals are a definite scream in the style of Carcass, for example.
Though 44 minutes long, it sounds a hell of a lot longer, because there's about 80 different riffs used in each song, and plenty of tempo changes. I've never heard these guys before, and I'm blown away. Get your hands on this one techies, this is like finding gold. (44:00)
Rammstein - Made In Germany (2011 Compilation, Special Edition) - Rammstein is definitely going for a cash grab with this one, offering a 65:00 disc of their "greatest hits" and an 80:00 disc of their "best remixes." If you get the limited edition steel box version, it also comes with a 245 page booklet and three DVD's featuring all of the band's videos completely uncensored and has a making of for each video. I have no fucking idea how much that costs.
But I did grab the special edition that contains just the greatest hits and the remixes disc. Being a fan of the band since Herzeleid, I am surprised to see a few tracks left out of this compilation, especially when there was more room on the disc. The tracks have all been remastered though, so perhaps that's a good thing. Though I found nothing wrong with the originals.
The disc contains :
Du Riechs So Gut (which I've never liked)
Mein Herz Brennt, (surprisingly)
Mutter (also surprisingly, as I think this is the band's worst and most boring song) Pussy (which I would hardly consider one of their best tracks)
The disc also contains a new song from the band's upcoming album entitled, "Mein Land." But that song sounds like it might be coming from the band's swansong, as it sounds very bland compared to their previous work.
Of course, "Reise, Reise, Do You Want To See The Bed In Flames, Marry Me, Rammstein, Feuer Frei, Asche Zu Asche, Spiel, Rein Rous, Mann Gegen Mann, Tier, Sehnsucht, Hallelujah, Stein Um Stein, Leibe Ist Fur Alle Da, Stripped, Das Model" and so many others have been neglected. This should have been a two disc best of, considering the band's got 17 years worth of work.
Of course, if said booklet actually offered the English translations for some of these songs, it would be worth more than gold in my opinion. I've already read most of them time and again from Herzeleid.com, and their ability of satire is absolutely uncanny, no band has ever been able to offer a greater amount of satire as I've seen in their lyrics (and videos if you look closely.)
Of course, the band has covered more than songs of loneliness; as songs like "Amerika" are actually about the corrupt Americanization of the world, but even the video and song disguise well until Till sings "This is not a love song, I do not speak my mother tongue, no this is not a love song!"
The band has had wide opinions about the states, and it's quite obvious they don't care for them. The band has actually stated that they "just don't like touring the states" for a myriad of reasons.
Another song that really got me, was "Hallelujah" which is about a priest who molests young boys in a church. "He never had a wife" the lyrics proclaim, "so he must love his neighbor" while a choir boy sings "Hallelujah" in the background. I believe this track was shamelessly put on the Resident Evil 1 movie soundtrack and no one bothered to ask what it was about.
That's just another thing that I've always loved about this band. These songs tell stories, ladies and gentlemen. There are some songs here that have made me literally get teary eyed, because they are quite sad when looking at the translations. There's one in particular on Mutter about a dead child that got to me. I think it was "Music Box."
To end the lyrical discussion, I'll mention "Stein Um Stein" a song about a man who built a structure to trap and suffocate his wife, stone by stone. It's rather devious. For a band that named themselves after a plane crash, it's not surprising the nature of these lyrics. But as I said, there should have been two discs to this "greatest hits" collection.
The remixes disc offers remixes by Faith No More, Clawfinger, Junkie XL, Laibach, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and more. "Stripped" and "Feuer Frei" end up on this disc, but the remixes are nothing close to the originals, even with Johan Edlund (Tiamat) doing the remix for "Stripped." No, I'm not going to review a remix disc.
Overall, this compilation doesn't live up quite to expectations, being the fact that it should've been longer and included a second disc of remastered tracks, instead of remixes which few will actually care about. If you've already got these albums, there's no need to get these re-masters. However, if you're new to Rammstein, this is a great place to start, as it does contain a few of the band's heavy hitters (but most of their singles) and surprisingly "Mein Herz Brennt" which opens the "Mutter" album. Of course, picking up all of their albums starting at Herzeleid (or downloading them, whatever works) is another great idea.
Alternatively you can see them on their live tour in the US, which I am surprised that they are even doing, because as I've said; the band doesn't like to tour the states. It surprises me greatly that this tour is even going to happen.
We have these gentlemen to thank for being one of the fathers (among many) of German industrial metal. While this isn't quite what I feel shows the full ability of the band, it's not bad to have. Buy the standard edition of this, it's cheaper and the remixes are kind of a waste of money.
(Disc 1: 65:00) (Disc 2 (Remixes) : 80:00)
4/5 (By the way, some of the tracks I've listed are the English translations. This is because I don't have the tracks named in my folders where I've ripped the discs, so I'm using English rather than German, which I don't know that well. But I am learning a little bit of German through listening to these songs and translating song titles.)
Eisbrecher - Eiskalt (2011 Compilation, Standard Edition) - Just like Rammstein, German industrial metal band Eisbrecher (It's translated exactly as you pronounce it - Icebreaker) also have decided to release a collection of their best tracks. You should pick up this disc along with the standard edition of Rammstein's "Made In Germany." It would make a great gift for any fan of German industrial if they don't already have it.
Many would say that Eisbrecher is a Rammstein copycat, but that is false. There is a certain romanticism to the music of Eisbrecher, and it also incorporates a more melodic, less rough style that mixes in with the heavy guitars.
The band is able to mix dance tracks like "Scwarze Witwe" and heavier tracks "Bose Madchen" with extremely great sing-able choruses, even if you don't know German. Though I don't think I have everything from Eisbrecher, I was surprised to see some good tracks here.
This disc contains:
Kann Denn Liebe Sunde Sein?
This Is Deutsch
Willkommen Im Nichts
Kinder Der Nacht
Segne Deinen Schmerz
Unlike Rammstein, Eisbrecher actually included their namesake track, and quite a few others that weren't necessarily singles. As I said, I'm missing a 2008 disc that came between Antikorper (2006) and Eiszeit (2010). By the way, the "Ohne Dich" is different from Rammstein's "Ohne Dich." It's a commonly used phrase by the way as it translates to something widely used in our pop songs... "Without You."
As I said, Eisbrecher is more towards sing-along choruses and less towards the dirty style that Rammstein uses, but it does have it's heavy portions and is just as good as Rammstein. If you've no fucking idea who Eisbrecher is, then pick this disc up, as it really will give you a sense. But remember that this isn't extreme metal, it's kind of light dancy stuff, but definitely has a background chug. I enjoy it myself, but not everyone will.
There's also a remix disc, but I just got the standard version as I was lazy.
Fans of electronic music, dance music, metal and hard rock will enjoy this album. Even those who like Depeche Mode (Yes, I'm a big fan - especially of their non love song disc, "Construction Time Again.") will find this a great listening experience.
But if you're looking for heavier music, this isn't where you want to go. But there's a whole 2011 backlog, and if you can't find heavy shit to listen to these days, it's your own damned fault. (67:00 Disc 1)
Korn - The Path To Totality (Special Edition 2011) - First of all, I just want to say one thing. This is Revolver magazine's best album of 2011, with Machine Head trailing right behind with "Locust." Megadeth and Evanescence are below that and past Seether and some other crap you'll actually find that Mastodon and Children Of Bodom got 11 and 12 spots. Chimaira got the 14 spot, and Iced Earth got the 17th spot. Born Of Osiris got the 18th spot, and Opeth got number 19.
Korn over Opeth? Really? Over Iced Earth? Come on... You're Kidding.
Alright. If this album is better than the new Iced Earth disc, I've got to see why. Let's put on the rose colored glasses and imagine that this is a great disc. First of all the disc is rather short, being only 44:00 long with the two special edition tracks. Take those out and you've got an EP length of 37:00.
This is also not technically a rock or metal album. It's a electronic album with slight rock influence. Surprisingly, Jonathan Davis's vocals aren't that bad and he's less whiny than on the band's last disc. He even proves that he's got the pipes for death metal at the end of tracks like "Chaos Lives In Everything." But if he did make a legitimate death metal album, would anyone actually listen to it?
Most of the songs are extremely short, but all follow the radio pattern of 2 to 3 and a half minutes. Of course, the growling here certainly does effect this disc. It's never going to be death metal, but I'm surprised to hear growling and electronics. However, being a fan of the band still (as I'm open to many different types of music) I do find that I like the free single, "Narcissistic Cannibal" because it has a powerful chorus, quite like many of the songs on my personal favorite Korn album, "Untouchables."
Another song I find on here is a song dissing the illuminati, called "Illuminati" Many people believe that the Illuminati/NWO controls the music industry and that their artists usually sing their praises (Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Jay-Z, and many, many, more.) However, this song is quite different. My question is, would Davis really battle against those who pay him, even if they are some sort of "infection" and "house of shame" and "eaters of our souls" and "parasites" as he's said?
Another thing he mentions is "This disease your promote." which I am wondering if this is actually geared towards those who promote the illuminati?
Ex: One eye photos (people covering one eye with their hand) monarch butterfly, checkerboard floors, baphomet symbol, (found a pic of it on Kanye West's shirt. Wow, thought the guy was all about Jesus.) doll imagery, there's lots of this stuff in the media. Look it up. Google "Vigilant Citizen" but don't read the comments. Some of those people are nuts. Literally, religious nuts.
For the most part, the disc continues with many of the same ideas. Against the media and all that good stuff.
Apparently this a metal meets dub-step album? I didn't know that. It just sounds like electronic music to me. There's some good melodies here and there but the drumming is really basic loops. It's better than I thought, but definitely NOT the album of the year. However, I could do without this "Shut the fuck up, get up!" stuff. It's a little teen angsty for me.
As for the whole of this disc, the world's into dub-step or whatever the illuminati wants them to be into these days, so it's just another trend with hits and misses. If you think that a world trend like this would ever embrace metal again, well that's already happened once and many of us would rather forget about it. It was called 80's hair metal and it isn't going to ever die, I guess.
Fuels The Comedy - Rapping with a decent chorus. Johnathan Davis wants you to kick the shit out of him.
Tension - This track is really no better, but there's some growling in it and other weird animal sounds.
Yep, I'm done here. You probably won't buy it anyway. (44:00)
Chevelle - Hats Off To The Bull (2011) - Chevelle and I have had a love/hate relationship. I didn't actually get into them until the Tool influence of "This Type Of Thinking" and "Sci-fi Crimes" which I both really liked quite a bit. Now the band says they are going back to the sound that resembles their self-produced first album, "Fuels The Senses." But before that, I used to make fun of one of their songs big time. I made a masturbation parody of it actually. It was funny how the lyrics matched up.
Even here, you can hear the Tool-rock influence, definitely reminding me a little bit of some of the riffs on Undertow. Although their single, "Face To The Floor" isn't very strong and consists of the same two or three fucking riffs. The song that follows, "Same Old Trip" isn't much better and is also very simple. Maybe the third song will be better.
"Ruse" comes in just a little proggier and I seem to like it. At least there's a little more effort here. Certainly a strong chorus and good backing melody. This is probably the best song on the album. It's also the longest at 4:39, which isn't very long. "The Meddler" doesn't exactly go right into the chorus, like your standard radio rock song. Not a bad song, but a little simple. Good melodies towards the latter portion. There's still some artistic sense left in these guys after all. Definitely a great ending to this one, some decent guitar work.
"Pi'ata" is a bit of filler, not much going on at first until the guitars actually pull off a solo. It's one of those solos that continues into the chorus but fades out fast. Bah! That's not a solo, boys! "Envy" comes in afterwards starting off a little slow and acoustic. It sounds much different from anything they've done in the past, a little proggy but not heavy at all, not even by hard rock standards. The song finally does get heavier about the 2:45 mark. Then the song goes back into dark acoustics.
The title track has some electronic influence and is much heavier than the band has been in a while, containing a scream to start the chorus which comes in automatically. There's a wannabe solo here, but of course it's slow. The song is very catchy, or the chorus is, rather. "Arise" just up and began with a melodic chorus, it's not necessarily my favorite song but it's quite melodic. "Revenge" sounds alright, but the chorus takes it over. Say a few words, then throw the chorus in, rinse and repeat. Chorus is very strong though, very catchy and melodic.
"Prima Donna" is an acoustic number. The effects kind of help to give at atmosphere, but it's not that great. "Clones" is actually pretty decent combining heavier riffs and acoustics together good enough. Of course, there's a solo on this one, which is also short. This song also sounds quite raw, so maybe it's a bonus track.
The album closer, or second bonus track is "Indifference" which is a 2:09 short acoustic.
Well, this album wasn't perfect but the lyrics and ideas were in the right place. The band did take part in the Occupy movements which I do support, (you do know that the media both off and online has been paid to smear this stuff, right?) and I think it's the best idea we've had in years as a population. It's more than obvious that the rich wish to eat the poor, and that needs to be turned around, like in Lemmy's "Eat The Rich."
It's a decent hard rock album, but not as good as my two favorite discs; which I've already talked about at the beginning of the review. It'll be good if you're a fan of their melodies, but don't expect too much prog here. Instead, expect some simplistic hard rock with "slight" prog influence. (44:00)
Heresiarch - Hammer Of Intransigence (2011) - Not going to beat around the bush here, folks. This is only 22:00 of death metal. Take away the intro at 1:02, and you've got 20:59 seconds of death metal. That's not a whole lot of bang for your buck, so this shit had better be awesome.
So far, the disc doesn't have that much to offer that's outside of the normal brutal death metal box. If you've heard any death metal band, you've probably heard this before. Except sometimes there's a high pitch yell in places. Sometimes the music is much slower, but it's the same effect of death metal that you've heard many times before.
Songs like "iconoclast 2:43" help to give death metal a bad name. It's nothing more than a bunch of noise. There's really not much going on but a bunch of guys just playing as fast as they can and trying to sound as evil as possible. This is the kind of stuff that people find and mash-up with farm animals because they think it's funny, and it is. This is very simplistic stuff that only the drummer is actually pulling his weight on. No interesting riffs or solos even.
Alright, well there's one just now. But it doesn't sound that great and it was short as hell. As for the vocals on here, I would love to have that job. Especially the guy who is just screaming for no apparent reason. There are no lyrics coming out of his mouth during songs like, "Thunorrad 3:16." The growler does offer some lyrics, but all the screamer does is scream. Sometimes he'll utter a word or two, but that guy had it easy. Assuming this sells any copies, it's a quick way to make money.
Now that I'm almost finished with the album, I'm convinced just how much of a huge waste of time this was. Bands like Insision manage to wipe the floor with this. Hell, Nile or even Scarab have got more to offer than this. The only thing I found good about the disc was the cover art and inlay, which is awesome artwork worthy of my walls; (especially that inlay) but the music itself is just bland and boring as fuck. If one of the band members did the artwork, they need to clearly do that, instead of make music.
This is like a sandwich with no filling. It's just two slices of bread. While the final track on the album is slower, and packs more of a doomy punch, it still sounds very juvenile to just scream for no apparent reason whenever you feel like. If you don't have any lyrics for a song, leave it instrumental. If you're that pissed off that you just feel you need to scream incoherently in a song for no apparent reason, drink some tea or something. I've heard four incessant screams before the music even started. Then it just gets generic brutal death, but then goes slow again. I'm describing this track, because it has hints of decency.
Again, this album is about as bland as white paint. Anybody could've made it. The solos are cut and paste, the riffs are so fucking old and unoriginal and the whole thing sounds like something that's been done before. It feels like a meathead metal album for those death metal sheep who will buy an album just because it's loud, fast and heavy. I guess it's a good stress reliever, but it didn't work for me. I find myself getting even more agitated by this crap.
Pass on this one. 20:00 of bland crap. Go get yourself a can of Chinese paint instead. I hear that all the children love it. (22:00)
Midnight - Satanic Royalty (2011) - Midnight is a blackened speed metal band, offering only 30:00 of fast speed metal with a very raw touch. Actually, it sounds a little black and roll. Actually, it sounds like a lot of black and roll. Let's just call it 30 mins of black and roll.
The band has a raw, punky vibe and reminds me a whole hell of a lot of Motorhead. The solos aren't as powerful as anything on "Overkill" but this is still a pretty good piece of work. It's not amazing, but it's certainly a good time if you're looking for a trip back in time with a little black metal sprinkled on top of it.
Every track on this sounds roundabout the same, they all offer the same style and the same aggressive punk-like nature, especially on the vocals which seem to be a blacker sort of punk holler. The whole thing sounds like it was hell of a good jam for the band, and if that's what you're in the mood for; that's what you're going to get.
Again, don't expect a miracle band that makes early Motorhead sound pale. This is nothing more than a good time with a much darker style and lyrics. It's thrashy, punky, and certainly old school. The quality is just perfect for the disc, which would've sucked if it was well produced.
Worth checking out, but it's not going to change your life. (30:00)
3/5 (What can I say? It's solid, nothing more.)
Mpire Of Evil - Creatures Of The Black EP (2011) - Here's another trip back into the past. I can already tell you that it's probably not going to be on the top of your wish list for albums, but it's not entirely bad. Mpire Of Evil is another black and roll band, except these guys are only covering other popular songs from the era.
Okay, I take that back. There are two original tracks on this disc, and four covers. The disc layout is:
1. Exciter (If you don't know who does this track, I more than pity you.)
2.Motorhead (Gee... I wonder who that's by?)
3. Reptile (Original)
4. God Of Thunder (I think Iced Earth did a good job with this Kiss cover, personally.)
5. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be (I've never heard the original, not that big into ACDC.)
6. Creatures Of The Black (Original)
Running Time: 27:00 (approx.)
The disc sounds pretty raw, only the vocals are clear. The instruments actually sound quite muddy, but that's to be expected. So far, the band doesn't really sound that much like black metal anything. They just sound like thrash metal, and a cover band at that.
"Reptile 4:48" is one of their originals, and it starts out rather "radio heavy" then it gets to pummeling. I'm actually sort of digging this one. Definitely a Testament influence here. It sounds like a sort of deathier thrash metal, sort of like Testament did during what I call "their golden period." It's a pretty good song, but maybe it will appear on the band's full album. (It may be best to wait.) The drums really seem to be the best part of this one. There's a hell of a skinsman in this band. Riffs don't seem to be that interesting at first, but do lead into some nice rhythms and a good solo. Don't turn your head though, or you'll miss it. It's a good song that drills in the point of "Reptile!" as it is hollered over and over.
I have to alter my analysis just a bit, and change my notion that this band was "black and roll." They are obviously some sort of death and roll band, and it is readily apparent from the original track on this disc. Although the covers contain little to suggest them being death metal at all. (Again, you may just want to wait for the band's actual album to release.)
The next two covers are decent enough, so there's not much to say about them.
The next original song, the self-titled "Creatures Of The Black 5:15" sounds definitely in the death/thrash vein of testament, but without as much of the death metal chug. The song however does thump. Personally, "Reptile" was much better.
To tell you the truth, this isn't worth your money. Skip it and listen to the originals on the band's myspace. There are a myriad of better albums out there right now. (27:00)
Necrodeath - Idiosyncrasy (2011) - Necrodeath is a death/thrash band that uses some experimentation in their eight song epic. It's seven parts of one song, apparently. But my only problem with the disc is that it doesn't seem like seven parts of one song. It sounds like four or five different songs, really.
The disc starts out with a dog's growl and continues into something that certainly sounds like thrash. It's certainly a heavy disc, that actually sounds quite black. There's even some voice changer effects that help to make the music sound even more devious. The melodies on the disc are very good, but the vocals don't always do the trick. Sometimes they are mix of standard thrash vocal and something more demonic sounding.
The band is actually quite skilled, as the guitar work is great, with some nice melodies, and the drums are able to change tempo at the drop of a hat, really giving this music much more than one dimension. The vocals are hit or miss, but they are good sometimes. There are much worse vocalists than this guy, and most of you won't have problems with him.
The third part of this song is where things get interesting, as acoustic melodies accompany erratic guitar melodies and then a demonic vocal comes in chanting in Latin. Yeah, these guys are all about Satanic imagery. The toms are also used a bit on this third part, which is much different from the first two. The fourth part follows this a little, but it has a much heavier end.
Part five is much thrashier, but the fact that this band changes so many tempos and "plays with thrash" so to speak; makes this disc worth checking out because of it's unconventionality. I also need to add that this disc is indeed made to be a whole. Parts do not end in the form of a song and seem to go right into others. Even though it might sound like seven different songs, you can't listen to just one track by itself because they seem to just cut off.
Part six is also quite heavy, just like the rest of this rather heavy and thrashy death/thrash disc. Fans of prog might also appreciate the death-like prog influences in the music.
The bottom line is that this is just one extremely long thrash epic. It's got many layers and can seem like many songs, but each track flows seamlessly into the next. The solos are also good on the disc, but that's not important. Seriously, it's not. This band really worked their asses off to make a seven track flowing epic that doesn't get boring, and is heavy and weird as hell; not to mention demonic in tone.
It's not going to be for everyone, but thrashers will love it. I found little to complain about here, because even though the vocals aren't perfect, they kill at times. I'm having a hard time giving this a score, but as far as I can tell, it's pretty damned flawless thrash. Still has nothing on Vektor though. (39:00)
Forgotten Horror - The Serpent Creation (2011) - These guys remind me of a much more black metal side of God Dethroned. The vocals definitely remind me of GD's frontman, and the music is definitely just as thrashy and heavy as GD were back in their early days. But now that they are no longer with us, this band may be attempting to take the reins, and I think they've done a damn fine job of it with this album.
The riffs are perfect, the drums pummeling, and the vocals are just how I personally like them. There's definitely plenty of black metal influence here and the melodies just kill at times. There's really not too much to say about this album, other than the fact that every song is as heavy as hell and great melodies, as I've just reiterated. It's definitely black/thrash done to my personal taste.
The drums really help to bring the foundation of this band, and the guitarists are certainly doing their job of providing that melody (once again, I've reiterated this.) Again, this kind of black/thrash is my cup of tea, reminding me of Naglfar and God Dethroned. Fans of those bands should not wait, but pick up this shit as it will blow your fucking head right off.
I'm not even going to lie, I didn't expect this album to be as good as it is. These guys came from out of nowhere and probably put out one of the best black/thrash discs I've heard in a long fucking time. This is right up there with Old Man's Child, Naglfar, and other black bands that like to thrash more than others. But as I said, (and one more time in case you didn't get it) this band kills with melodies. The solos are also very good when used.
The disc is only 35:00, but there are plenty of worse ways to spend a half hour. Most of the eight tracks are around four minutes long, and some are just a minute longer than others.
This is blatantly good black/thrash. If you don't believe me, and if for some odd goddamned reason you think that I'm just over-hyping this stuff, please by all means check this out on the band's official music page. It reminds me of some of my favorite black metal bands, and the style that I would personally lean towards had I a fucking musical program that was half-way decent.
I should've reviewed this one sooner, as this shit kills. I have no complaints, and personally wonder what anyone could find wrong with this disc. It has great guitar melodies and solos, extremely good drumming, and killer vocals 100% of the time. Well worth a buy. If I had a car, I'd play the fuck out of this one in it. (35:00)
Fleshpress - Neznámý Název (Acid Mouth Strangulation) (2011) - Experimental Russian doomsters Fleshpress have put out a three track, 36:00 disc of very dark weirdness and uncomfortable softer melodies which allude to frantic heaviness and erratic screaming.
"Glass Trails 11:00" starts out very atmospheric in nature, making you think that the band might not be a heavy band at all. Going almost 5:00 in, we still don't notice much more than what sounds like post-metal riffing and trippy sound effects. At the 6:30 mark, things start to warm up for a much heavier portion of the song, although the riffs sound very prog-influenced, very much like Tool. At 7:20, we hear the first scream, and get that the singer is some young screamo kid who really has no sense of melody, but likes to scream his ass off. It's the kind of erratic angry teenage angst stuff that I would've hated if it wasn't being paired with such interesting riffs and weird ideas like this band uses. A few minutes later, the song fades out and leaves us with a long effect that goes right into...
"Copper Eye 5:47" that almost sounds a bit black metal, but then goes into a very sludgy sort of style amidst erratic screaming. I can't understand the vocalist, and probably couldn't even if it was in English. At about 2:00 or so, things start to slow down and get quiet as an uncomfortable acoustic is played. The thumps come in around 3:30, and things seem very slow and doomy throughout the rest of the song. Doom fans should definitely give this band a try, despite the screamo factor from the vocalist. The song ends rather thrashy and then the amps squeal a bit.
"Oblivion Persistent 19:14" is an extremely long track, but sadly it doesn't use all of it's time wisely. The music doesn't start until a minute in, and a repeated riff is used after a break, over and over creating some sort of atmosphere. About 2:28 seconds in, the music gets heavier, but remains slow. The screamer comes into place and does what he does best. The vocals stop and the band continues their opening riff pattern, adding one new idea to it. At about 6:00 (amidst some amp fuzz) the song fades out and goes back into a slight atmospheric moment with lights riffs and some electronic whistling and other various effects. This continues through various stages all the way up until the 17:04 mark, where things begin to get very heavy. Then the vocals come in screaming, as usual. The drums thunder out the last couple of notes , and then everything goes crazy until the song ends and the amp fuzz remains for a few seconds. Then our journey is over.
Despite this being a 36:00 disc, it's a must for fans of doom, experimental metal, post-metal and sludge. It's got plenty of good ideas musically and the screams actually work well enough with the music. These aren't high pitched yells either, they are more like erratic hollers, some guy just being pissed off and shouting hysterically. It might remind some of you of the earlier days of Isis, and the harder side of Neurosis. Though the music is slow, it speeds up at times and creates a very uncomfortable atmosphere which often times leads right back into chaos. It's definitely worth checking out, but I wouldn't recommend it for a drug trip. (36:00)