Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Week 41 (Backtracking)
Venom - Fallen Angels (2011) - Well, the band that put the "black" in black metal (cough, cough - Bathory - cough, cough) is back with a disc that sounds the furthest thing from it. In my opinion, Venom has always been about as black metal as Rob Zombie has been death metal. So in other words, I don't believe this band was ever black metal, but they may have helped to pioneer it with their version of very dark thrash.
The disc is quite long actually, split into 16 different tracks, each of them different from the other, but they all seem to contain the same rockability that this band has embraced for so long, which makes it a very rockin' dark thrash metal with some classic heavy metal influence. Surprisingly, I found the disc to be quite enjoyable and think that some of the material presented here is on par with their early work.
Songs like "Nemesis" take us back to those early thrash days, and songs like "Pedal To The Medal" make me think of a slightly darker, meaner Motorhead. There's also "Sin" which contains an excellent instrumental portion, and "Death By The Name" and it's outro piece "Lest We Forget" seem to work well enough, but I don't think that the instrumental piece was needed at all on the disc. It just sounds like it's in the wrong place. It's a very depressing little ditty that seems to kill the thrash / rockin mood of the disc. Also, there's "Punk's Not Dead" a song I wouldn't expect to hear from them. But it does work, surprisingly.
However, the title track, "Fallen Angels 7:05" really surprised me. It shows these guys still have some steam left in them and the song reminds me of the their older material a bit. Let's just put it this way. Despite the disc being packed to the literal brim with a kitchen sink full of Venom, most of the material on this disc is surprisingly good. Of course, most of it we've heard before as other songs with the same style.
There are three songs near the end that veer away from the satanic style of lyrics that the band was known for, and that includes the "Valley Of The Kings" which is yet another song about the Valley Of The Kings, and "Annunaki Legacy" which proves that Venom also digs the History channel show, "Ancient Aliens." The final track on the disc is a doom influenced track called "Blackened Blues." It's more in the vein of current Celtic Fr... I mean, Triptykon; except a little bit trippier actually. Anything went on this album, but it was an experiment worth taking and it's not a bad heavy metal/thrash album. It's not the best album of the year, but it's definitely solid. I feel my score here is well warranted. (66:00)
Esoteric - Paragon Of Dissonance (2011) - About the time it released, this album from Esoteric (who's been doing doom/death since 92' apparently) was number one on Metalstorm.net's "Top 10 albums of 2011." I usually check this frequently, as it's usually heavily voted on in the metal community. (Note: Stay away from Top 10 according to charts, as Megadeth's 13 and Metallica's Lulu (YES! SADLY!) rank in the number one and two spots. Proof that brainwashed people will listen to anything if it is marketed right.)
Regardless of the hype about this album, I thought that it was good, despite the fact that it's an hour and thirty minutes of music. The might as well have included a album tying silent film to go with it, as it is the same length as a current film, box office or not.
I actually enjoyed parts of this disc, especially where the guitarist played, because all that he knew was melody. But I found that it had some fascinating lighter portions and even some very nice atmospheric pieces. I mean, with seven songs that trump even Opeth's lengthier epics, you've got to have some sort of atmosphere or you'll bore people to death. The drums do what they can and sometimes even a bit more than just keep a slow morbid pace with the music.
Do not expect one fast song on this disc, as everything is slow and mellow and of course, heavy. As I said again; every note that the guitarist of this band played was brilliant. The man solos and plays wonderful melody throughout the entire disc. Some of it's so good that it leaves the vocalist in the dust. Problem is, I can't understand a word of this disc, and wish that I could; because he just seems so fucking passionate about what he's singing about here and the songs are so goddamned long, that this must mean something to him.
Of course, titles like "Abandonment, Loss Of Will, Cipher, Non-Being, Aberration, Disconsolate and album closer, "A Torrent Of Ills" certainly point out the fact that this album is not filled with the most jolliest of lyrics. While most of the songs I only liked mere parts of, there are two that I found quite striking - "Non-Being 15:30" and "Disconsolate 15:33" particularly towards the end, where I could really feel that the band's power was being fully channeled. The dénouement of that track is probably one of my favorite doom/death moments of the year. So I can see why this album was at one time regarded the best of 2011.
It's certainly a monumental task to get through it all, but it goes down easier than Lulu did. Yes, I actually got through that one unscathed, I think... (picks up head and screws it back on body) But it is a rather enjoyable experience, despite how damn sorrowful it can be. It's sort of like a mixed message, a play with emotions. There are some very beautiful light melodies and atmospheres, laden with crunchy riffs and a feeling of hopelessness as well.
A metaphor for the world perhaps? There is both beauty and sorrow? Maybe I'm just thinking too much into this one. But trust me, you may find yourself doing the same thing. This is probably the longest recording of the year, by far. As I said, if you get this one, make some time to listen to it. But I suggest not to take it in all at once, as that can be daunting.
Still, definitely one of the better psychedelic/atmospheric doom/death albums of the year. But then again, it might be the only one.
(Disc 1 - 45:00) (Disc 2 - 44:00)
4/5 (Great, but just too fucking long.)
Vektor - Outer Isolation (2011) - Though I got this album a while ago, I have checked Metalstorm.net recently, and have discovered that it has found it's way into the top of the chart on Best Metal Albums Of 2011. So, I figured I would go ahead and see why people think that this progressive thrash metal band's release is so good, and why you should or shouldn't spend you money on it.
Well, for starters - this band would best considered an progressive/highly technical/death metal influenced thrash band. Many could call it the next wave of thrash, and so far from "Cosmic Cortex 10:22" the album opener, that begins with an awesome instrumental intro; I'm about ready to consider this the best damned thrash album I'm heard all year. Yes, read that again.
This is what thrash metal is all about. It would make Destruction proud. As much as I liked that Detonation album further down on this list, I would be an absolute idiot not to consider this fucking masterpiece one the most interesting discs I've heard all year.
I mean, how should I describe this band? The drums are killer, the guitar riffs are amazing, some of it even mind-blowing, and I'm not even supposed to be reviewing this one right now. But it's just that great. The vocals are blood curtling, almost black metal in a sense, I guess you could compare them to Skeletonwitch, but Skeletonwitch might as well pack up their shit, now that this has come out. Those guys could work their asses off and never come up with something this great.
Some of the songs are slower paced with some prog influence, but regardless of all that, the instruments really speak on this disc. This is a disc where you can really feel the power of the band, reminding me of the greatness of bands like Death in their prime. Oh yes, there is definitely Death influence here. Sometimes the vocals do remind me of Chuck a great deal.
I'm sure you're saying "All this prog/experimental/technical crap is great, but does the band actually do decent thrash?" Well, from what I'm hearing, yes. The thrash portions of this disc are very hard and very fierce. But the added guitar geekiness of this album certainly makes the formula sound even better. In fact, I can't even keep up. I'm serious folks, the goddamned guitars on this disc are making my head spin. This band sounds like it's made of five or six guitarists, so whoever these guys are - give them some goddamned medals because they can seriously play more than I've heard in a while.
Damn. That was just two songs. I'm going to have a heart attack before I finish this one. Even though this disc is only 51 minutes, you won't care. As a matter of fact, I think most metal listeners will cream their pants upon listening to this one, because even I can't explain this shit. It's just good. A whole lot of variation, great vocals, and some damn good drumming. If these guys are only teenagers, I'm going to bow to our new alien masters.
Fans of Death, I highly recommend this band to you. You'll cry and think that Death has been reincarnated as a thrash band. It's really that goddamned good. If you listen to one album this year, I'd have to recommend this one. The songs have so much goddamned structure, that 5 minute tracks feel like they've been playing for hours. This is the universe's gift to metal. I'm digging the living fuck out of this.
You know what? I haven't even finished listening to this entire disc yet. But I am 100% positively sure that the rest of this disc doesn't suck. Even if it did, The four songs I've currently heard are fucking incredible. This band could have released just one track and it would have sufficed. Be grateful that this a full album.
We are seriously not worthy. Bow to Vektor. (51:00)
777 (Who are these inhuman beings?)
Blut Aus Nord - 777 The Desanctification (2011) - Ah, Blut Aus Nord. Giving us the other part of your 777 saga? Well thank you, very much. I did feel that the disc was starting to get good as it ended. What's this? The disc starts right where the last one left off? Maybe I should re-listen to them both as a whole then.
Since I haven't got time for that, I'll just lay this one out for you all. The disc is much more industrial than I've heard the band in quite a while. They're fooling around with effects in the vein of bands like Aborym and DHG. The riffs are quite simplistic however, and so are the simulated drum loops. At least this first track, the aptly named, "Epitome VII" which is something I'd expect to hear in a futuristic FPS. Trust me, this is the kind of thing I'd expect to hear playing in the background of a new Doom game, for sure. But is it entertaining? Yes.
This all still sounds like one big experiment, but the disc features more guitars and guitar layering than the last one. It starts out rather simplistic, but gains variation and form further on in the listen. This must be the main meat of the project, or it's the second appetizer and the real meat of the project will be delivered to us in 2012.
Nonetheless, there are some new ideas on the disc, like the use of clean vocals (they remind me a little of Enslaved) and a female vocal chant on the second to the last Epitome (Epitome XII.) I was also happy to see that the band used more melodies on this disc than in the last one, and some of them are quite good. There is also an ethnic sound on some of the songs in this album. Remember, this is just one big experiment.
While only six songs, some of them seem to work well together, but the first Epitome and the epitome that follows DO NOT flow into each other one single bit. However, the album still maintains it's industrial "The Work Which Transforms God" style approach, but with a few slight alterations and new ideas. Some might say that disc is either better or worse than that one, but I definitely like it better, as TWWTG was difficult for me to get into.
This disc is certainly not very long, as one might expect; and I gather that repeated listening could either give one a better appreciation or a greater dislike for the album. Nevertheless, it's still very Blut Aus Nord, but nothing like Memoria I or II. So you'll just have to get over it and give it a try. While not mind-blowing, it's a step up from the previous album. Of course, Blut Aus Nord seems to be having too much fun with their electronics - and that might push some people away. (43:00)
Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg (2011) - Thy Catafalque is quite simply, the future of avantgarde metal. Never since the days of Arcturus and Ram-Zet have I heard avantgarde done so well, and so different from other avantgarde bands out there. No, you won't understand a lick of the lyrics, or even the titles of the songs (unless you know Russian) but that will not stop you from listening. The band meanders through many different styles on this album, with tracks like the opener, "Fekete mezők 9:20" being both very crunchy and very beautiful, with soaring vocal lines. This is a band that incorporates folk music into their formula, and it works greatly.
They also fool around with electronics, but you don't hear them as much as you would think, as they are more in the background, giving the songs a great structure. The band doesn't really use a harsh vocal approach, but the music is heavy enough in areas, and it doesn't really call for it. But later Arcturus also swayed from heavy vocals, particularly on their final disc with Vortex in 2005.
"Kő koppan 4:38" is another track that is much different from the rest of this album. It focuses on very light melody and symphonics, but features a great vocal melody.
This band is also known for making one or two very long tracks, and on this disc, it just happens that "Vashegyek 14:09" is one of those longer tracks, even though this song is quite shorter than some of their near 20 minute epics on earlier albums. Again, Vashegyek is much different from the other tracks, as it features female vocals, and then features male clean singing, after that, it gets very heavy and has a killer melody that I just didn't notice the first time.
As for overall musicality, these guys are fantastic. There are great guitar melodies and as I've already stated, and plenty of structure and differentiation in the songs. There aren't so many harsh vocals, but they do exist on the album, and double bass does come in in places, so this disc definitely cuts a fine line between many genres, and that is what makes it avantgarde.
Compared to many of the earlier discs in this band's career, Rengeteg is the best production quality that they've ever had. That's why you should go out and search for this one. I am telling you, people who don't know about Thy Catafalque will want to know about them. So spread the word to all fans of avantgarde, because not too many people know about these guys because they are Russian, I suppose.
Listener, if you like avantgarde metal at all - I highly, highly, highly, recommend that you check this band out. This is not overhype, they might become your next favorite band in a matter of minutes, because they're just that fucking good. There are plenty of ideas explored in this album, and my review couldn't cover them all if I wanted to. This is the true sense of avantgarde metal, and it will be listed on my Best of 2011 as "Best Avantgarde Metal Album" hands down. Giant Squid was nice, but this is incredible. Absolutely amazing metal, with impeccable musicality. Get off your fucking asses and grab this one! (59:00)
777 (The next thing in avantgarde, hands down. Listen to "Vashegyek" in full (or 8:14 - 14:09) and tell me that you don't like these guys! Also check out "Minden test fű 5:11" for a dose of black metal at the end of the disc.)
Burzum - From The Depths Of Darkness (2011 comp. with re-recorded material that is incredibly un-kvlt.) - The first thing about this disc that I noticed, is that all of these tracks now have English titles. Whoops, I suppose it's no longer traditional Norwegian black metal anymore. The disc contains 8 songs of various lengths, and three introduction pieces. Why? I don't know. Go ask him.
Personally, I like the idea of the songs being re-recorded. I'll also add that they still sound as raw as they would have originally sounded, but with a peak in quality. So yes, you can actually hear them. This was something I always hated about black metal, the fact that you could never hear the earlier bands.
For me, this is the first time hearing many of these tracks. What can I say? I'm impressed. The only discs I have from Burzum are Filosofem and Hildsjalf. But Hildsjalf isn't a metal album, so it doesn't count. Of course, now I've also got Fallen and Belus which I both enjoy. I don't think there's been a song so far I haven't enjoyed from this guy, so it doesn't surprise me that this earlier material also sounds good with a "facelift" so to speak. Oh... um... some of the lyrics are also in English. There's even a nice little solo part in "Ea, Lord Of The Depths 5:23" I'm sure Cthulhu would be pleased. The introduction piece to that song "Sassu Wunnu 5:23" is a necessity, so I can see why it was added.
"Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown 7:48" is a great opener for the disc however, reminding me of Burzum's now much more melodic sense. It's still heavy, but carries with it quite a bit of melody.
"Spell Of Destruction 6:47" really gives me the feel of what early Norwegian black metal sounded like. I just feel that the song itself has a very aged quality. There are just some parts in that song that I seldom hear from Black Metal these days. Also, some of the riffs are kind of spooky - which you don't really hear anymore either. It really gives the song a definitive flavor. Trust me, I just don't hear that many spooky riffs anymore. Perhaps I've been listening to too much metal, but I just don't hear anything that really evokes a sense of eeriness quite like this one.
"A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit 11:30" is the longest track on the disc, and seems to also evoke a sense of "fear" if you will. The song itself actually sounds in the vein that Sabbath were looking for when they wanted to become a very dark sort of band. As for Sabbath influence, you'd be an idiot if you can't hear it in the crunchier portions of this song. I hear PLENTY of Sabbath in this one. I guess that makes Sabbath partly responsible for black metal as well, which I could figure since while one can argue until the end of time, it pretty much all goes back to Sabbath. (Going past that point would lead you to Hendrix of course then you could keep going and we'd eventually be back to the first man who ever strummed a guitar.) Of course, getting past the crunchiness - there's also a sense of atmosphere (which you really need to have if you're going to do a song this long.)
While "My Journey To The Stars 7:51" might sound like a great name for a children's book, it's also a pretty awesome song. Again, the melodies really help to bring this one out, one thing I've always liked about this guy's music. His ears definitely knew what melody was, unlike a lot of these other black metal guys that think just heavy and dark is the way to go. I especially like that riff at 4:56. Another thing about this track, is it seems happier than the rest, perhaps folkier in portions. Then it gets thrashy at the end... certainly a mammoth of a song.
"Call Of The Siren" introduces "Key To The Gate 5:14" which just sounds awesome to me, no matter how you put it. I've always liked the occult based lyrics, even if based in myths like some of the more Lovecraftian stuff on this disc. This track is quite erratic, very crazy and has some punk vibe to it. Then the proggy stuff comes in. I can see how this kind of material sparked a prog black metal revolution in the mid to late 2000's which has remained strong today. Of course, the melodies are also very strong and I've greatly enjoyed this fucking track.
At times, I think Burzum should've titled this album "Black Metal 101" because it really is a guidepost as to what could be accomplished with black metal. I hear so many different ideas, yet they all seem to fuse together in a sort of melody that is even hard to physically wrap my head around. Things like this shouldn't work together, but they do. Black metal bands just starting out could learn a thing or two from these tracks.
"Turn The Sign Of The Microcosm 9:50" also has a weird sensibility, from double bass it goes to a much more pounding style, which changes the overall style of the song in some areas. I don't hear too many bands doing that today. Of course, I do think that the song is just a little too long and don't understand the atmospheric that is being attempted. Alright, now I can start to sense that melody come back into the mix a little. Burzum is trying for a very trippy, drone-like feel on this one. Right near the end, the drums came back, which is a little odd; considering that you don't expect them to tap out with the end of the song. This one leaves me a bit puzzled.
The final track on the disc is "Channeling The Power Of Minds Into A New God 4:56" which is brilliant in title, personally. As for the song itself, I'm hearing a very sort of drone-like sense from the band which continued on obviously with albums like Filosofem, which I'd hope would get a remaster or re-record as it is hard to hear, but I definitely enjoy the disc and have listened to it quite a few times. However, this one leaves me a little cold. There's very little musicality to this track, anyone could've made it. But I'm not crazy about drone in the first place.
Burzum definitely shows why people should still care about them, playing these tracks just as well as they always have. I quite enjoyed this disc and would highly recommend it even though I didn't care for the closer. It's an absolute must buy, because these new recordings are much cleaner and you really get to absorb these ancient tracks just a little better. (62:00)
Iron Savior - The Landing (2011 Ltd. Edition Digipack) - The last time I checked, this was #2 on Metalstorm.net's best of 2011 list, and it seems to be well deserving as it's some of the best power/heavy metal that I've heard in a very long time. While many bands these days fail to really improve on the formula of power metal, other than adding more technicality (Dragonforce) and more prog and symphs, (several other bands) here comes a band whose debut it thunderous and true to what power metal actually is. Taking a page from legends Manowar and adding plenty of Blind Guardian moments to the mix, (sometimes their vocalist even echoes Hansi Kursch) this band have created a wonderful power metal experience that you shouldn't soon forget.
The strengths of this band lie in their skills, there's no questioning that. The guitar playing is fast and ferocious, except when it's slower and more melodic. The band juggle two styles on this album, one being more akin to Blind Guardian power/thrash and the other sounding like a more anthemic Hammerfall or Manowar. Both styles are done exceptionally well, and the solos on this disc are fantastic. These are the kind of solos that'll make you want to bust out your air guitar skills and follow along, because they're just that great. Even in terms of riffs, this band seems to know just what they're doing, by mixing the old school right in with the new.
The vocals on this album were an acquired taste at first. but once I had acquired them, I definitely enjoyed the album and couldn't see how another vocalist could do just as good of a job as this one does. As I said, he can be a little screechy in the thrashier parts of the album, but it definitely reminded me of Hansi quite a bit, and it's a good thing that some power metallers haven't forgotten their elders.
The production quality of the disc is not sparklingly clear, but you can definitely discern all of the grandeur within. The disc wasn't meant to sound pristine, and was meant to echo the rawer production of some of the older power metal bands in their heyday. The effect was greatly achieved.
Of all eleven tracks on this disc, I enjoyed eight of them. Which isn't bad, because that means that I liked an entire 40 minutes of this disc, which is saying much more than most. Of best power metal albums for 2011, it's surprisingly a tough one as we've got Charred Walls Of The Damned, Iced Earth, this album, Brainstorm and Pagan's Mind for starters. But this is certainly not an album you'd want to miss this year, which has been extremely good to power metal in all of it's subgenres.
Bonus Tracks: The bonus tracks on this album rarely differ from each other. "Coming Home 5:04" is sort of a lackluster B-Side, but "Atlantis Falling 4:35" has certainly more merit. But there's nothing really special on either of these tracks, and none of them seem to be as good as any of the tracks on the original album. However, "Atlantis Falling 4:35" is very close. I would still stick with the regular, unless the digipack isn't too much more money.
Give this one a shot, for sure. It's well worth hearing. (49:00 Original) (58:00 Digipack)
Nightwish - Imaginaerum (2011) - Nightwish is back with their seventh album, "Imaginaerum." This one is a little more special than the others, because a feature film goes in tune with it. Yes, this is the soundtrack to a feature film by the same name. Go IMDB it. The band is doing the music for this film, and what I at first thought was a kid's film, and thought that this might be "children's metal" was definitely changed by the 13:00 epic, "Song of Myself" which has an endnote that most religious people would condemn greatly and would forbid their children to see it. Apparently, Markos and crew have given up Christianity entirely.
"Why do we still carry a device of torture around our necks? Oh, how rotten your pre-apocalypse is. All you Bible-black fools living off a nightmare ground. I see all those empty cradles and wonder if man will ever change. I too, wish to be a decent man-boy, but all I am is smoke and mirrors. Still I've given everything, may I be deserving, and there forever remains the change from G to E Minor."
The album at first, opens with an intro that sounds like a Finnish lullaby. Then the first major track of the album, "Storytime 5:22" hits. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album, and the new vocalist definitely shows that she's got staying power on this one. I can't wait to hear it open the film. (Of course, I'm going to d/load an import copy. I doubt this is hitting US Shores.)
"Ghost River 5:28" follows, with the same style as "Storytime" which borrows greatly from the "Once" album. (plenty of thrash and orchestration) Except Markos even goes to the realms of trying to perform a harsher sort of vocal. It's actually a pretty heavy track and very dark in tone.
"Slow, Love, Slow 5:50" is another one of those jazzy 1950's detective show sort of tracks, definitely reminds of the burlesque dancers that sing on stage. (Do they still have that? I'd love to go see a show like that, personally.)
"I Want My Tears Back 5:07" returns with the thrash, but tries to be a bit of a single and doesn't really work for me. The orchestration in it is really good though, and I guess it's catchy enough. Something made me give it five stars, so I'll just have to listen to it again, I suppose.
"Scaretale 7:32" is also very heavy (they really put on the thrash in this album) and it actually features the female vocalist doing some weird vocals that are supposed to sound eerie. This is what made me think that this might be a children's film. The operatic style of vocal really gets laid on thick here, it's very much like a play (as is most of this disc.)
"Arabesque 2:57" is nothing more than an enjoyable Arabian instrumental. It's quite good though. "Turn Loose The Mermaids 4:20" is decent enough, but doesn't really get good until the start hammering you over the head with the catchy chorus. It's not a very heavy track though.
"Rest Calm 7:02" is one of the only two songs on this disc that has a guitar solo. It's slightly heavier than the last two songs, but really didn't phase me. I liked the orchestration, but the solo gets muddied out by it. It's a decent song, but I would've liked to hear more of that guitar solo.
"The Crow, The Owl, And The Dove 4:10" might wind up a single with a video, even though most of the tracks here are thrashers and this one is easily marketable on the radio. The lyrics of the song are very good, an inspiring folk song. But I like the lyrics of the song better than the actual song itself. Still, not bad.
"Last Ride Of The Day 4:32" is the other song on the disc with a solo. it is a thrasher in the same style as the tracks on "Once." It's good enough, catchy as "Storytime" and has a decent lyrical theme about life being a magical adventure full of mystery.
"Song Of Myself 13:37" is an overblown track with plenty of actors from the movie speaking in it, and from their vocal performances, I'm going to have to see this, because they seem to be great actors. The plot also sounds very good. The song itself though, is decent enough, but it only makes you want to see the film if you have not. I couldn't really get the lyrics, but a lot of poetry is being spouted in this one. Most of it is remarkable poetry though. Markos was always good with his words.
The final track on the disc is the self titled orchestration piece which is featured in the movie of the same name, "Imaginaerum." It's more or less an overture of all the other songs on this disc, just completely orchestral. Again, I'd like to see this film.
Imaginaerum is definitely a thrashier disc than we've heard from the band in a while, but it also has it's own charm and uniqueness from the things that they have done in the past. The new vocalist has been put through the ringer here, and I no longer mind her. I'm definitely impressed and hope to see the film and to get this thing in better quality (192 ain't cutting it.)
I also noticed that this disc was produced by Nuclear Blast (Warner) which I'm not sure if that means that NB is owned by Warner, or in association with Warner pictures. If that's the case, this film will definitely be hitting American shores soon enough.
Even if you don't see the film, this is one of the band's best albums in a very long time. I've heard everything this band has had to offer (or damn near it) and I'm quite impressed here as I wasn't much with the last one.
Definitely worth a listen for fans of orchestral opera metal. (74:00)
Farsot - Insects (2011) - Farsot has definitely taken a page from Enslaved and Nachtmystium this time around, making a very prog infested album that's in both parts equally heavy and equally light. There are crushing portions in this slower-paced black metal album, but plenty of progressive riffs and melodies as well as what sounds like surfer rhythms and some psychedelia on tracks like "Withdrawal 8:33" which makes perfect sense, due to the title.
There is also the interesting (but not very black metal) instrumental "7 3:46" which literally sounds like something out of a 50's era detective film, and might have found a home in L.A. Noire and people would've never known the track was done by a black metal band.
The majority of the songs on this disc, like the opener "Flakes Of Rust 7:49", and the tracks "Empyrean", "Perdition", "Adamantine Chains", and "Withdrawal" are all within the 6-10:00 mark, (With Empyrean being the longest track on the disc at 9:57) and the only short songs on this disc are the instrumentals "7" and "Somnolent 4:38." But these lengthy songs shouldn't deter listeners, for this is the sound of prog done right. If you enjoyed any of the last couple of Enslaved albums from Isa (2004) onward, you should certainly give this a listen. You will find it to be less forgiving on clean vocals, (there aren't any, aside from the low tone vocal that the vocalist uses - you'll know what I'm talking about when you hear it) but just as keen on melody and structure as Enslaved would be. As much as fans kiss their asses, I'm quite sure that Farsot is now not far behind. I also will state that I could understand the vocals on this one. At least in some places. The vocalist uses the traditional scowl as well, so there's nothing funny about this one (other than the low tone, which I didn't seem to mind.)
All in all, Farsot has put together a well produced, and well crafted black metal album that's not just another album amongst the sea of metal we've had this year (and last, and last, and last...exc.) It's an absolute must listen for any fans of progressive black metal that don't mind their music being a little slower, but without all the clean vocals, and with some added weirdness. After listening to the whole album, I couldn't find a thing wrong with it, and would have to give it a pretty good score.
Go buy this one if you've got the money folks, you shouldn't regret it. (55:00)
Klabautamann - The Old Chamber (2011) - In 2009, Klabautamann put out an excellent album, regarded one of the best of that year. Solstafir also did the same, but sadly their new one won't get the same glory. Klabautamann this time seem to be telling a story, as every track seems to be stages of a character's journey. (I like the story based concepts personally, so I'd like to read the lyrics)
The album cover also is quite intriguing, as it reminds me a little bit of an American McGee's Alice sort of atmosphere. If I was buying by cover art alone, I would've surely bought this disc. But enough about the concept and art.
The disc is certainly progressive black metal, but doesn't have as much of the atmospheric beauty that the last disc had. The band comes on much heavier and fiercer on this disc and some fans might appreciate that, while other might not. The march-style drumming on the disc also livens things up, giving it a more militaristic quality. The riffs are still great, and still very dark and evil at the same time. Eerie melodies counteract with blackened riffs just fine, while the drums help to give the foundation. Then the prog comes in, and just like Farsot; the band slays with such great prog riffs and melodies. If you picked up Farsot already, you might want to pick this one up with it. The two discs almost go seamless together and would make a great holiday gift for any fan of progressive black metal.
Compared to their earlier effort though, lightning did not strike twice. This album only manages to halfway reach the level of beauty on their last disc, however we know that black metal isn't all about beauty, it's about bleak rhythms and overall darkness. These were captured well on the disc, but unfortunately lump the band in with many other "regular old black metal bands" rather than really being something that branches out.
Instrumental "The Old Chamber 3:10" is an interesting stripped down folk-piece, and there's an interesting melody on "Gloom 4:52" as well as several interesting melodies and good proggy riffs throughout. "The Maze 3:51" also contains some nice melodies between vocal lines. You get the sense that the band definitely wanted to be heavier this time around, but in doing so they have sacrificed a little of the charm that made them unique in 2009.
The Old Chamber is certainly not a bad album. It's quite far from terrible, but it doesn't encroach on the territory that Farsot covered with their latest release which literally came out of the blue, and might be one of the year's biggest surprises. But if you're looking for something of a desert platter to your Farsot dinner, a little Klabautamann won't hurt. (47:00)
Gorath - Apokalypsis (Unveiling The Age That Is Not To Come) (2011) - Before I even say anything about this review, I'm going to point out the elephant in the room. Yes, the oversized, snarling black metal elephant. Why couldn't this band have simply called their album "Unveiling The Age That Is Not To Come?" Must there be two titles? Can you not make up your fucking minds, gentlemen? People are just going to refer to your album as "Apokalypsis" regardless, because it's less fucking words to say, obviously. I highly doubt that I'll meet a man who says "Have you heard the new Gorath album, Apokalypsis unveiling the age that is not to come?" I'd fucking hate that guy.
Now onto the music. Thankfully, Gorath is able to mix a raw black metal with prog quite seemlessly and in an interesting enough fashion. The opener, "Before The Throne Of The Demiurge 9:31" actually has an atmosphere that made me feel like I was in the presence of some false god. The band uses more than just your standard-fare synth atmospheres and it all works extremely well for the disc. The acoustics and the sound effects definitely help to bring this one along. Not to mention that the band has a very keen grip on melody and what I would call a true "progressive nature" rather than just going all over the place. It's actually well structured.
Here, it's not so much about the music or the lyrics, it's more about the feeling that you get from listening to something both so brutal and so mellow that changes at the drop of a hat. This is the way I used to feel about Primordial's older albums (and yes, the new stuff is still great.)
Though there are only truly five songs on this disc, "Wrath of God 1:32" and "Whore Of Babylon 2:53" are decent enough, the first being a short atmospheric that you barely even notice, but the other one is a dark acoustic that works well enough in the album.
Gorath is a band that truly throws in whatever they think is best, whenever they think is best. The epic, "Beasts From The Earth and Sea 13:03" actually contains about two or three minutes of music-less monk chanting. It's not the kind of chanting that they just ripped from some film either. This is real monk chanting amidst a sort of vortex-like effect which is rather faint, but hearable. If I must say, the monk chanting is pretty good. In terms of monk chanting.
Whatever the case, this band definitely tried to be the more experimental of the bunch and threw in many things which work and don't work so much. But they seem more interested in creating their atmospheres than they do about anything else on this disc. This is one of those discs, like Leviathan's latest - where just about anything goes. (But it does retain musical structure, as I mentioned earlier.) If you are one of those people who are more into a good atmosphere than a good black metal album, you might find what you like here.
Of course, I don't want to spoil your dreams of a perfect dark atmosphere; but there is some black metal on here as well. Nevertheless, it's a good mix of two worlds. It should be the midnight snack that goes right after the Klabautamann you had earlier. (48:00)
NunFuckRitual - In Bondage To The Serpent (2011) - Certainly not a great way to start your morning, NFR is probably the most depressing and darkest black metal this side of the frozen north. It's full of slow and melancholy riffs, shrieking, screaming and hollering in an almost sludgy sort of way, and the most depressing feeling that you could ever get from a black metal band as of this year.
I was actually in a good mood when I listened to this, and I thought it was just rather too dark and dreary and let it continue playing throughout. There are a few interesting melodies, and some good psychedelic effects here though. Even though they brought along Atilla (Mayhem) and Ravn along for one of the tracks, possibly the album's best, "Komodo Dragon, Mother Queen 6:55."
Also of note, Dan Lilker (from NY) plays bass on this album. Everybody seems to have recorded in different areas, but it all ended up on the same disc and doesn't sound too distant. The disc spans six tracks, all of them being between six and nine minutes each. I thought the disc was alright, albeit a little depressing; but the song that I really hated on this album was the closer, which just happens to be the title track. That song is nothing more than stripped down depression, and it just made me say, "Get on with it already!"
If you like depressing black metal like this, you should enjoy the album. But for me, it was alright I guess. I've heard far better this week, however. (44:00)
Disturbed - The Lost Children (2011) - Before you even ask, I'm just going to reiterate that Disturbed was my personal gateway drug into metal, and despite that I listen to bands that would be considered much more metal these days; I still have a very soft spot for the band, and some of these songs especially. You see, these songs are the B-Sides and unreleased tracks, and some of them are my favorite hard rock songs of all time.
The disc opens with "Hell" a song that was first released on the band's myspace in 2005. This song was so powerful, that I wished it could've gotten more recognition. It had the power to become a single and have a video dedicated to it, in itself. It was just that fucking good, and I from time to time still play it, because I think it's one of the best songs in the band's career. It has been released as a single for the B-Side album though, (which is strange) and represents the band at their best.
"A Welcome Burden" was originally recorded for the Dracula 2000 soundtrack, a long with a few other hard rock bands in their prime (Static X, Powerman 5000) and it shows the band with their heaviness of The Sickness, but edging more into the melodic side of Believe. It's a decent song, but was never my favorite. "This Moment" was on the Transformers 2 soundtrack (or was it the first one?) and never really gelled with me, but I suppose that some people liked it. "Old Friend" I have never heard before, but the lyrics sounded interesting, as did the musicality of the song. I was kind of surprised by this one. "Monster" was one of my favorite B-Sides from "Ten Thousand Fists" an album which contained too much damn filler for me, despite that "Deify" the singles, and the title track were quite good. Also, I do like the cover of "Land Of Confusion" as well as the McFarlane video.
"Run" was fairly decent, nothing special. Just like the bonus track from their newest album, "Leave It Alone." The next track, "Two Worlds" is another B-side from TTF, but it's just not that great. "Sickened" however is a good track, even though it's a bit more romantic in lyrical style, it's like a love song. "Mine" I've never heard before, and while I like the concept (Disturbed actually writing an anti-war song after TTF for once) it just didn't gel with me. I felt the same way with "Parasite."
The only Believe B-side "Dehumanized" and I have a very long history. I remember hearing this one on the "Music As A Weapon II" disc as a live version. I could not believe how powerful the lyrics to this song were as well as the melodies. The song is about a troubled soul that bargains with a deity. "If I offer you my soul, will you carry me away? I cannot be the only one to be dehumanized again."
Most of you know I've been through shit in my life, and while I was going through hell as a teenager, I used to play this one on repeat all of the time. Domestic abuse is nothing to laugh at, and it's tough to talk about. This song actually got me through some tough times, despite it's suicidal nature. Hence this is why the song probably never made it big.
Regardless of all this, I wondered if there was an actual studio rendition of this song, and I found one several years later and played the fuck out of it. Fast forward to 2011, I listened to the thing last night, but with a different sense towards the lyrics. The world is a very crummy place, and it would be wonderful to be taken away from the pain and misery of life, but it is also part of life that we must suffer, hence the first rule of Buddhism. "Life Is Suffering."
The next track on the disc, is what some would consider to be Disturbed's last track as a band, "3" which is about the West Memphis Three. The song lyrics are very powerful and I'm sure that those men could resonate with them. I think it's a very good song, and it represents the case, which any money to the sale of this track helped to go towards the freeing of the 3, which lo and behold; happened just a few months after this song released. We all know how bittersweet it was due to conditions of their freedom, but at least they are free.
Two covers follow. Faith No More's "Midlife Crisis" was never my favorite song from the band, and DIsturbed did make the cover a little more bassier - but other than that, it's just not that good. It wasn't good to begin with, anyway. The next cover ends the disc. It's just a cover of the more rocking side of Priest, "Living After Midnight" even though the intro to the song is the intro to "Painkiller." I was wondering if Draiman could actually take on that one, because that song's a fucking beast. But no, it goes into "Living After Midnight" and it just doesn't sound that good. I guess Draiman just couldn't do "Painkiller."
Well, the disc has a few good tracks, some of them very special to me, like "Hell" and "Dehumanized" most of all, but other than that - this is only worth buying if you want to hear two of the best song's in the band's career. The rest aren't that good, really.
Of course, there is a song missing and I know why. The band also did the theme for the wrestler "Stone Cold Steve Austin" (who used to be Stunning Steve Austin back in the day.) The track was called "Glass Shatters" and the WWE probably bought it, so they couldn't get it to put on this disc. It is a very good track and probably the best version of the Wrestler's theme. It was recorded a little bit after The Sickness era, when the band was still a little heavy.
Also, and yes - this isn't some kind of rumor; but the band did do one more extremely rare cover. It was only done live, and on their tour with Pantera. Before I even knew who Pantera was (believe me, this was YEARS ago) I managed to snag this from some filesharing client (I don't even remember what it was) and couldn't believe how well the band covered Pantera's "Walk."
If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have even known who in the hell Pantera was, and probably wouldn't have picked up that Pantera "Reinventing The Steel" album from the pawn shop years ago. Then of course, I heard "Vulgar Display Of Power" and everything else.
For those of you who hated reading all of this, I'll just let you know that Disturbed is, and will always be my favorite Hard Rock band. The band is calling it quits, (They say "hiatus" but I doubt they'll come back together.) and they're leaving us with this. So that's all she wrote. You won't have Disturbed to pick on anymore, because that ship has sailed.
One thing about the band is that people who do listen to much heavier music still seem to really enjoy the band's music, even though others still make fun of the beat-boxing in a few of the songs. You'll find that only a few songs on here have that "beat-box" approach, as David wanted to get away from that style as much as possible after people kept walking up to him on the street to ask if he could do that wa-ka-ka-kow" thing. You'd get tired of it too.
Still, this isn't a great album by any means. It's only got a few great songs on it, everything else is mediocre. Just download it, as it's really not worth the money for some of these tracks, especially since they are all available elsewhere. (60:00)
The Burden Remains - Downfall of Man (2011) - The Burden Remains is a progressive thrash band that sounds like a mix between current core/thrash bands like Trivium and Nevermore. Yes, it does work. But before I get into that, I thought I might let you know that this band photo in the digipack for this disc quite surprised me. These kids have got to be maybe about 15-16 years old. They look REALLY YOUNG, and it's surprising how well the music actually sounds on this disc.
The band definitely knows how to mix thrash and prog in a way that doesn't mush thing altogether. The vocalist is still very green, but I hear a young Warrel Dane in parts, and I must certainly say that he's got potential. There's also a growler in the band that comes off a little deathcore sometimes, but I'll let it slide. Of course, the band uses a few breakdowns, but they back it up with some good guitar solos and some really great prog work. Their 8:11 epic, "Out Of Fire/Into The Flames" is brimming with gusto, and if the band is capable of things like this, the sky is certainly the limit here. I'm not saying these kids could create something to rival "Politics Of Ecstasy" but there's certainly a possibility they could mature into something of note.
The production quality of this disc is quite good, because they're on the same Australian label that also houses Tool-worshipping death/prog masters Chaos Divine, "Firestarter Distribution." That being said, this disc doesn't show much until into the latter portion, although their released track on the myspace, "Prophecy Of Decay" actually shows some Nevermore worship, and was what I heard first before I decided to grab this one.
If you like these kids, go ahead and give them your support. I suppose I'd rather have my young ones playing metal instead of some teen-glossed pop music, anyway. Better yet, buy your teens a copy of this one, show em what kind of music teenagers can make that isn't wannabe metal or glorified hard rock. It's probably like 10 or 12 bucks. The lyrics are also intriguing. (49:00)
Antediluvian - Through The Cervix Of Hawaah (2011) - Antediluvian mixes sludge and brutal death metal together, and gives it a little bit of an experimental edge. The material is definitely brutal, with a somewhat muddy production that seems to fir the music. People who love brutal death metal will enjoy this one and all of it's brutality, but as I am a fan of melody, I'm not hearing much here.
Personally, if not for the slight tinges into experimental music, this would be run of the mill brutal death metal. The song titles and ideas are all steeped in lore and arcane magick, which differ greatly from the slasher themed death metal that we would have expected from the genre. Still, it's not the best album I've ever heard. Nonetheless, I will say that it's a solid disc for brutal death metal fans who want aren't afraid to have a wrench thrown in the gears every once in a while, as the sludge slows the music down a bit, and as I said - there is some other weird shit going on in this disc, particularly at the beginning of the last track, "Erect Reflection (Abyss Of Organic Matter) 6:47" that sounds like an eagle being strangled to death.
While being short and all over the place in areas, this is still worth checking out. Just not my cup of tea, particularly. (36:00)
Devil - Time To Repent (2011) - Devil is a rock outfit, definitely influenced by doom metal and comparable to Sabbath or Candlemass, but with much more of a rock and roll edge. The vocals I don't particular care for, but they are much better than other vocalists I've heard.
Where this band really excels though, is in their music. There's a lot of jam portions in the music, and some great grooves and melodies that will sound pleasing to most of all, the older heads and people who just like rock music as straightforward as it used to be. (not all the pop glam that rock bands get these days) The production is quite low, it almost sounds like a high quality garage production, if that makes any sense. But I am 100% sure that it was made to sound that way.
Most of the songs on here don't do much, like "Blood Boiling 4:19","Break The Curse 3:18", "Death Of A Sorcerer 4:53) but they don't last long either like, "Open Casket 2:40" but the band really seems to have struck my attention with the title track, being 6:00 of doomy greatness. It's also quite catchy too, which is what you really want in this kind of music. "Crazy Woman 2:34" really does this for me, reminding me of the rocky side of Sabbath. ("Fairies Wear Boots" - for example) I also didn't think that "At The Blacksmith's 4:02" was a bad song either. As for the album's closer, "Howling (At The World) 5:11" it's decent at best, nothing amazing.
The disc really carries a 70's vibe, and I personally don't think it's that bad. Have I heard better? Yes, but this isn't bad. If you've got some spare cash and don't want to listen to the more poppier version of this, "Wolfmother" than you should pick this one up. It's a short disc though, about 35:00 long. But did you expect it to be long?
Just don't expect this disc to be the best doom album you've ever heard, because then you'll be sorrowfully disappointed. It probably wouldn't hurt to smoke something along with it. (35:00)
Elitist - Earth (2011 EP) - Oh, please. Don't tell me that this is more deathcore with odd time signatures. Thanks, Meshuggah. It's your fault ten million bands have adapted this style. This guy sounds like he's pissed off about something, perhaps his rent went up. The disc sounded good enough with the intro track, "Pulse 1:36" but if not for all the time signatures and slight experimental shit, this would be boring.
However, the band does seem to have some melodic capabilities, this I have noticed. There's even some Decapitated influence here, I guess as well. But it's still nothing overall amazing. I've heard the same thing twenty million times, but I still go on the boards and people shit over this stuff. It doesn't make any sense to me. But I guess that people just really like this kind of shit.
Go figure. Oh, there's 3 instrumental versions of these tracks that follow the original 12 minutes of the EP. All in all, it's still rather short, and I'd rather listen to something like Tesseract or Animals as Leaders, or Gru. But you've could've guessed that. But I will say that the band has some potential, and they could definitely go somewhere. It's just up to you whether or not you want to spend the money for these three songs. It's only a 23:00 EP.
But like Born Of Osiris, there is something definitely here. (23:00)
MELT - Emissions Of Hypocrisy (2011) - Melt is a Canadian industrial/thrash band very similar to Ministry. In fact, you will hear plenty of Ministry influence in the band, as the formula was copied and pasted by the musician, as I think this is a one man project from Sebastian Komor.
I'll put it this way, if you like the heavier, thrashier side of Ministry (as opposed to "Filth Pig" and "Dark Side Of The Spoon" experimentation) you're going to love this. Not only does it have the same rebellious air about it, but the whole disc just reminds me how much I like heavy/industrial music to begin with. The songs are for the most part explicit, and in your face. This is knock your teeth in metal, for the most part. Sebastian's voice is a little more youthful that Al's, but he shows just as much aggression, and has the skills to make this Canada's own brand of Ministry.
There are a few songs (a handful) that differ away from the rest, like "Worm", "Killswitch", "In Your Head" and the closer, "Digital Truth" which is nothing more than an instrumental. These songs add some depth to the album, but kill the thrashier vibe of the disc. I suppose you can say it would've been awful if every song was thrash/industrial, so I was glad that the disc doesn't follow the same pattern throughout.
Indeed, things do get groovier on certain tracks, and much less heavy. But that's not to say that tracks like "The World Is On Fire", "Destroy","Full Of (Sh)It", "Where Is Your God","Everything Is Dead", and "Crush" aren't ready and waiting to crack your skull open with a metal bat. There's also some heavy tendencies in "Sleepwalker" even though it starts out a bit slower.
Even though sometimes this switches from hard rock to metal, it keeps both genres in check, delivering plenty of great industrial/thrash to keep us busy until the new Ministry album, "Relapse" comes out in March. I knew it was coming, after all. The state of the world is now even worse than when the Bush trilogy was written. I expect great things and good messages to come out of that one.
But there is plenty of message to this disc as well. Most of the songs take the same "don't be consumed by your entertainment/media devices, don't listen to the government exc. exc." but the last track is a short speech by, I believe Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on the censorship of the internet, something that he calls "reverse intelligence." I mightily agree, sir.
All in all, great material that highly takes a note or fifteen thousand of them rather; from Ministry. But, it does try in places to verge from the style. This has a lot of potential and is worth a buy, but you'd have to import it I guess, unless it's free. I have no idea, so go check for yourself. Some of these one man projects are usually handouts anyway.
Still, worth a listen for fans of thrash/industrial metal. (44:00)
4/5 (Would've gotten higher if there was one decent solo on the disc. That's something I'll have to wait to hear from Ministry.)
t perfect, it's damn near close and well worth getting a hold of. If you like metal at all, I'd recommend it. This has to be some of the best death/thrash I've heard in a very long time. Not even that last album from Exodus can hold a candle to some of the shit that is going on here. Hell, this is going to really cut a few throats... but I think some of the material here might even be better than some of the songs on "Heartwork."
Definitely check this one out, you won't regret it. (34:00)
Jeffrey Nothing - The New Psychedalia (2011) - The frontman of Mushroomhead (and founding member) has decided to take a break from the band for a while (even though their last album was better than I've heard in a very long time despite the production) to release a solo album of his own. Of course, it might be better to hear him on a disc without all of the rapping (that the band didn't always do, listen to some of the earlier discs.) True fans of Mushroomhead might remember "Flattened" a song that was much more low key than some of the band's heavier numbers, and "The New Cult King" which is one of my favorite songs, still today. These tracks were different, especially during the time, when Mudvayne was still well known for "Dig" and before they picked up the alien get-ups, and Disturbed was known for "Stupify." Not to mention that everybody and their mother were playing System Of A Down's "Chop Suey."
If I had a dollar for every time that song played on the radio in my youth...
But what I'm trying to say here, is that this sort of material was still rather experimental for the market, and the label must've pressured the band into 13's different, but more marketable sound. Regardless, now that Nothing is on a much more rebellious underground label (Subnoize) that usually hosts rap and artists like Hed P.E. (who I am actually very fond of. I reviewed Truth Rising in 2010, but took it off before it was posted on the boards due to it's controversy of being posted in a metal review thread) who seem to be able to say whatever the fuck they want, (Listen to the bonus disc that comes with Truth Rising for a 30 min. discussion about Jahred's "Truth Movement." The man's actually quite intelligent, and surprisingly well read, even though this doesn't come off in the music. He also can communicate well with the youth, being able to speak "their own language.") so I'm quite sure that the disc will be both eye opening and very interesting.
The disc is still a little raw, like the Mushroomhead disc was, but there are definite touches of electronics and other such weirdness that you'd expect from him. The vocals are very high in the mix, which I could understand because this is a solo debut, but it's a little arrogant. There are a few songs that I could do without on this disc though, like, "Mnemerator" which could have been left off entirely. Little thought if any, went into this 2:39 ditty. I guess that's one of the benefits of an underground label. You can put whatever the hell you want on a disc.
Most of the songs on this disc are really hit or miss. The acoustic that gets a little hard rock influenced title track is decent enough, certainly one of the better tracks on this disc. But it isn't Nothing's best work by a long shot. If anything, it sounds like he's burned out. "Enough" is another track that's decent enough, but it contains a guest rapper from the subnoize label, so that might deter you from listening to it.
However, "Burial" and "Time" are both very strong, doom-influenced hard rock tracks, and they are definitely worth listening to. "Deathbed Masquerade" is also a good track, with both a female vocalist and a growler that reminds me of the growler from Mushroomhead. He might guest on this track. It's certainly one of the heavier and more interesting songs on the disc. The same can be said with "Wormwood" the longest track on the disc at 6:35. Which the songs from Burial - Wormwood are all much longer than anything else on the disc and seem to work well as a whole. These tracks could have been thrown on an EP along with "Psychedalia", and it would've been a better release to the public.
There just seems to be some experimenting and filler that doesn't need to be on here. It just doesn't have a purpose other than to literally "fill the disc." Even the 4:00 "Goodbye" isn't nearly as strong as the Burial - Wormwood tracks. The album's opener "Dear Departed" doesn't work at all, especially for an opener. The intro is awful and the song is a musical skeleton. It's more or less an idea, not a fully fledged track.
There's an instrumental called "Darkseed" which is actually rather good, even though it's a computer composed dark circus music style instrumental. I wonder if it was inspired by the PC game, Darkseed? It certainly sounds that way, and that one was a very unique game for it's time. (We need a remake!)
"Devil" sounds like bunch of crap. It's electronic music with a female vocalist and it's very profane for the sheer fact of being profane. It doesn't even have anything to do with the rest of the album. If that was some kind of bonus track, I could've done without it. The song's almost a b-side. It has no purpose on the disc.
The disc ends with "Shut Up!" a four second sound effect of a guy saying "shut up, shut up." Then the disc ends.
Well, so many things wrong here. In order to fully enjoy this disc, you must do the following:
First download the disc. It shouldn't be hard with filestube. Then delete all of the tracks except for "Goodbye" and "Psychodalia" and from "Burial" - "Darkseed."
Rearrange the disc so that it flows, like so:
1. Goodbye 4:09
2. Burial 5:36
3. Time 5:36
4. Deathbed Masquerade 4:52
5. Psychodalia 6:42
6. Darkseed 3:33
7. Wormwood 4:52
And viola! You've got a standard 36:00 EP. This is probably what the disc composed of before the label rejected it and said that it needed more rap, or something. I personally would've been more than happy if it was released in this fashion as an EP. All of these songs feature great ideas, plus it flows with an intro that starts at "Goodbye" and ends with the music box playing it's last note on "Wormwood." The perfect way to close an album. I took out all the bullshit tracks and tracks that don't go with the album, and now we've disc a worthy of the man's name.
If the disc was released in the fashion that I had proposed, I would've given this a 4/5 or higher, being that it well represents the man, and the image he wanted to portray with the disc. But there are too many skins and skeletons and overall fuck-offs on the disc which will make the man lose what credit he still has.
There are strong tracks, I've re-arranged them and recommend that fans of Mushroomhead listen to only this tracks and in this order. You'll feel a great appreciation from what would've been fine as an EP. Sometimes, you don't have to put out an LP, especially when you've just got ideas floating around.
Despite the fact that there are several strong tracks on this disc, I cannot give it a strong score, because it was muddled down by as I've said, "skins, skeletons and fuck-offs." It's like if somebody tried to put robots and ninjas and pot smoking monkeys into the background of the Mona Lisa. It might be funny, but it sure as hell isn't art. That's why I tried to keep my ideas to a minimum on my first solo album with Ebon Etheric. There doesn't need to be a lot of songs if the ideas are well thought out. (Of course I'd love to go back and redo so much of that album.)
If you're a fan, you'll like the strong tracks here. But you'll be put off by some of the bullshit as I was. It's good to see that he's still got strong work, it's just been cluttered with junk. (57:00 that should've only been 36:00)
Ourobiguous - Lord Of The Mountains (2011 EP) - One again, the king of musical slop has offered unto us ungrateful metal bastards, a heaping helping of shit. It's a good thing he doesn't want money for this, as I'm not even sure it's music. It just sounds like a man who can't play the bass and a bunch of weird effects and bad drum machine programming. Yet again...
What in the living hell is this? I don't even think people who think that throwing feces on the wall is a type of art would consider this music. I think I'd have to be as completely drugged up as this individual is to be able to understand this crap. Whoever the lord of the mountains is, I'm sure that he's hollering from atop mighty peaks, the same bloody thing : PLEASE TURN THAT BULLSHIT OFF!
"Within The Temples (9:50)" is the same thing that you would expect from our shit-tastic friend here. It's a bunch of noise that doesn't make any odd sense! It sounds like a bunch of people got together and just starting playing whatever the hell they wanted to all at the same time. It's utter chaos in the purest form, and is only recommended for those who wish to have a headache quick, fast, and in a hurry. Oh I'm so fucking glad that's over with.
Oh my... no fucking way. There is no way I'm going to put myself through another 15 goddamned minutes of this. "Lord Of The Mountains (15:36)" is too fucking long, and contains the worst impersonation of black metal I've ever heard. Is this band truly serious, or is this a parody? This sounds like a bunch of people who just thought that they could get together and make black metal by making a lot of noise and screaming. Please, somebody shoot this fellow. I'm begging you. Don't they cut off people's hands in countries by which such great offenses are committed? I feel like the boy king on Game Of Thrones:
"Will it be your hands or your tongue?"
Except that I would relieve this fellow of both of them. His singing is awful and his fucking playing is atrocious. Whoever programmed that drum machine needs to be shot in the foot, and someone needs to smash that thing all to hell. This is a grave atrocity among music, and if this ever becomes the next thing after dub-step, I will be certainly ready for the oncoming apocalypse. Hell, I'll welcome it with open arms! Come on Destruction! This world is shit now, so do what you will!
There's no rhythm, rhyme or reason here. There's nothing but incoherent bullshit that makes no sense. Thank you once again, Ourobiguous for setting the bar on the worst metal project ever conceived by man. It gets no worse than this, ladies and gentlemen. As I have established earlier, this is the fucking bar. To make music any worse than this, you'd have to go to extreme lengths. Though I think the sounds of an actual defecation might be more pleasing to the ear than this. At least I'd feel better afterwards.
Again, avoid like the plague. An atrocity not just to metal, but to music as a whole. The worst musical recording I've ever heard. (25:00)
Edward Kim - Billboard Death Metal (2011 FREE ALBUM FROM YOUTUBE PAGE) - Billboard Death Metal is a youtube band that seems to take off from where the Ten Masked Men left off. They probably don't even realize it, but that's exactly what they are doing. The band has continued to do every song in death metal that scores at the top of the billboard music charts. Obviously, since the stuff is copyrighted, their music is offered free via their youtube page in a nice zip file that I believe gets updated every so often. Well, I downloaded that zip file and thought I'd see whether or not these guys were actually decent metal musicians or trend-followers who'll learn any simple chords and weak growls to get views.
The disc so far is only 29:00 long, which means it's practically an EP. The band has surprisingly good production, and the drummer sounds like he's got some good hits every now and then, unless it's a program. I definitely can feel the Ten Masked influence here, and the simple melody works well enough in the songs. As a matter of fact, this has too much TMM influence, and it even features the multi background vocals that TMM used.
Personally, being a fan of TMM, I'm quite impressed what's going on here. They even pull off some good solos. Not bad for free metal. The band also keeps in the spirit of death metal, using dark rhythms in the songs, that even TMM didn't use. By the way, there are a few breakdowns in the songs, but even they don't seem to rely on them as much as bands used to.
The songs being covered are:
Rude Boy - Rhianna
Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
Telephone - Lady Gaga
Tik Tok - Ke$ha
Baby - Justin Bieber
Nothin' On You - B.o.B.
OMG - Usher
Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
But I'm sure they'll update with more songs as they get them done. While these guys seem to be more than capable musicians with some good riffs and melodies, this is all just for fun. Don't expect it to be amazing, but it's far better than I expected. Yes, I could definitely jam to this.
By the way, that "Can't be Tamed" has some impressive melody and one hell of a solo at the end. The only thing I hate about this is that the band cuts the tracks off in the middle of the really good solos. I hate bands that do that, famous or not. It makes me want to see a live concert of the group, just so I can hear the whole fucking song. This has pissed me off about metal since day one!
A recommend. (29:00)
Score not applicable, as this is not a standard album. It's a zip folder that gets updated.