Friday, July 13, 2012
Week 9 (Dec 14, 2010)
Acid Witch - Midnight Mass EP (2010) - I’ll have to admit that I didn’t realize this band was so fucking good. This, and the “Stoned” album will be the first two releases I’ve ever heard from the band, and while this is just a short EP, it’s worth listening to.
Unfortunately, this EP is not worth buying. Save your money, or download it. It’s only ten minutes long. These songs should have been added to “Stoned”, but why they weren’t I’ll never know. Regardless, some interesting experimentation and the wonderful combination of stoner/sludge with death metal is fucking great. I would go see these guys live, and get a shirt - and for those who don’t know, getting a band’s shirt is a big deal for me, because I only get the shirts of bands that I feel good enough supporting by wearing them on my own body.
Ridiculously, even though this is worth listening to, it’s not either. That’s because it’s so damned short, you won’t even realize it’s over. While I admit, I like the cover art, and love the intros, what else is there? Oh…there’s that…
OVERALL: SAVE MONEY, SKIP - TOO SHORT.
Score 1/5 (TOO SHORT!)
Acid Witch - Stoned (2010) - Now, for the real meat and potatoes here. At least this time, we get the show we got on “Midnight Mass”, except that it’s a full listenable, 40 minute album…which still begs the question, why not add the Midnight Mass songs to it? Hell, even if I was going to put this on my MP3 Player, I’d add the “Midnight Mass” tracks. They’re from the same sessions, damn it!
The music is the same as you’d expect, really sludgy, with great melodies, and explosive playing. Like I said, I’d see these fellows live and definitely purchase a shirt. The production is great enough on the album that everything can be fully discerned as well, and that is important, since some sludge bands want to sound so raw that you cannot even hear them. The melodies of this album are important, and it is a necessity that they be heard, and they are.
There are a few things going on here besides the melodies, a couple little sound effects and a couple other oddities, but what really makes this a metal album is the usage of clever riffs and interesting solos. The vocals tone is also very grim, but it sounds like the singer’s voice is amorphous, floating around or something like that.
Of course, I really like the intros to this one as well - which is odd because few intros I really like. I also like the clips and the interlude, which reminds me of an alternate theme for Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” which I’m not sure if anyone else heard that when they listened to “Whispers In The Dark” , but I did.
All in all, I’d have to recommend this one, because it’s different and it’s worth your money if you’re into death/sludge/ with some psychedelics here and there. I’ll also state that this band is called “DOOM/DEATH” But more towards Sabbath, then Swallow The Sun, for example. It sounds like sludge to me. It’s very hard to hear the difference sometimes.
Of course, while not actually have ever been in a satanic coven, I was at one time many years ago in a pagan coven, and had taken a drink of the blood wine, meaning that I drank the blood mixed in the wine of my coven partners. This is not something I’ll ever do again, and I’m lucky that none of them had any blood borne diseases.
I’ll also admit that I was a teenager around this time and obsessed with the occult. The reason I’ve added this story is because this album reminded me of those times of witchcraft and such. I daresay, I’ve left them behind for philosophy and generalized occult study, but there’s no need to elaborate anymore on that. We all did stupid things when we were younger, I just actually drank a little blood.
OVERALL: GREAT DOOM/DEATH/SLUDGE/PSYCHEDELIC ALBUM, LOVED THE INTROS AND CLIPS TOO. GREAT MELODIES PERVADE THROUGH IT, AND THERE ARE GOOD SOLOS AS WELL. A REAL KILLER ALBUM THAT YOU’VE GOT TO CHECK OUT.
ALSO TRY: THROWN
God Dethroned - Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross (2010) - Well, the saga continues with World War II, and “Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross”.
The album opens on a tasteful intro riff, with some Germans muttering about, and then the bludgeoning begins. If you liked Passiondale, you’ll like this one. They’re almost the exact same album, except for a few differences. While their both heavy albums, this one has better production, and killer solos. Other than that, it sounds just like God Dethroned’s brand of death metal. There’s very grim riffs, and very grim vocals, that only their vocalist could perform.
Most of the time, it feels like you’re in a battle. Though some tracks have a different feel, like “Through Byzantine Hemispheres” which sounds a little more groove oriented than the others, until it “falls in line” to the same style that the rest of the album follows. Which is a painfully easy style of death metal, which is brutal, but not very original. If not for the blazing solos, this wouldn’t be that great an album.
My personal favorite album from this band is hands down, “The Toxic Touch” - and ever since then, they haven’t gotten that originality back. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be heavy, and even though this is a 36 minute album, it’s going to make you bang your head, or play war footage to it. It’s heavy as hell, (How many times have I said that now? I just want to make sure that you know that this is a blistering album.) and it’s going to pound your face in, and the solos are going to surprise you.
It’s metal 100%. If you thought God dethroned was going to go emo, well…SHAME ON YOU! You shouldn’t think such things, but still…It’s a worthy album for 2010, with many killer solos “The Red Baron”, and there’s one on every song. Clean vocals are only used once on the title track, but they didn’t need to be used at all. This is just a pummeler through and through. If that’s what you want, God Dethroned will give it to you. It’s just short. So you’ll have to hit play again when it stops, or restart your play list.
OVERALL: GOOD DEATH METAL WITH CRAZY SOLOS. IT WANTS TO POUND YOUR FACE IN, AND YOU SHOULD LET IT. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BRUTAL AND TASTEFUL, HERE YOU GO.
YOU CAN THANK ME LATER.
Samael - Antigod EP (2010) - Since their new album doesn’t come out until February, (as of right now) this little thing will have to do. It’s just a meager six tracks at 26:03, but it’s better than nothing. Since it is six tracks of different styles (some live tracks and such), I’ll go track by track with it.
Antigod - This track sees Samael returning to their black metal roots, with an added orchestral tone. I also like that the vocals are scathing on this one. This is a good single, I think.
Into The Pentagram (2010) - The 2010 must suggest that this track is from their forthcoming album, and from what I’ve heard so far - it sounds like Samael is trying to go into the territory of their “Eternal” album, which is good news for some, especially me - who fucking hated their “Above” (2008) album. This track is very epic, and in the style that makes me think this new one could be a great 2011 album. We’ll see…
Reign Of Light (Live) - The difference here is that the vocals on this are much more towards a black metal scowl, and there’s some extra instruments used. The quality is okay, but not great.
Slavocracy (Live) - Slavocracy live, sounds like Slavocracy live. There’s really no other way to put it. The middle eastern sounds go through just as well on the stage as they do in the recording studio. It’s a great performance that sounds as good (maybe better) than the original recording. I’ve always though “Solar Soul” was the best track on the album, but the single was “Slavocracy”, and I’ll have to wait until a DVD so that I can hear one of my all time favorite Samael tracks (Solar Soul) live. I could see them live, but I don’t even think they play in America.
Antigod (Dark Night Remix) - From the beginning, I hear electronics and beats - so I’m sold. Yeah, what can I say - I’m the electro metal guy. I’ll already tell you that I like this version better because I like evil electronic music, but if you don’t, you won’t.
Ten Thousand Years - It’s just an instrumental outro. Sounds very dark and epic, but other than that, there’s nothing else going for it. It’s a good listen though. Goes great with Castlevania, I’ll bet. I can just see images of Dracula and Belmont now…
OVERALL: IT’S A NICE EP, BUT IT’S REALLY NOTHING SPECIAL. JUST WAIT FOR THE ALBUM TO COME OUT, AND DOWNLOAD THIS. TRUST ME, THE BAND WON’T LOSE SLEEP IF YOU GRAB THESE 6 TRACKS. SAMAEL’S MADE ALBUMS FOR YEARS, AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO, WHETHER YOU D/LOAD THEIR SHIT OR NOT.
Score: 2/5 (Lots Of Promise, Little More)
Sodom - In War And Pieces (2 CD Ltd. Edition) (2010) - Legendary thrashers Sodom are back with another thrash album, as if you thought they were going to come out with Reggae or something. Regardless, it’s a good album, I just feel that the vocals were mixed far too high, and I can barely hear the band over the vocals which are screaming (not like the old Sodom either, these are horribly sung) in my ear, and become annoying after awhile. There are good riffs and solos here also, but I feel that I’ve heard much better this year. Overkill, Exodus, and even Warbeast, were far better thrash than this album; which feels a bit mediocre, compared to what Sodom has done in the past.
The bonus CD is a full 46 minute concert from Wacken, which was originally performed in 2007. It’s track list is:
Blood On Your Lips, City Of God, Proselytism Real, Christ Passion, One Step Over The Line, Abuse, Sodomy And Lust, Ausgebombt, The Saw Is The Law, and Outbreak Of Evil, respectively.
Also released, is a Metal Hammer Exclusive called “Sodom - The Art Of Killing Poetry” and is a compilation album. I will review it later.
OVERALL: SOLID THRASH FROM SODOM, I GUESS…NOTHING INCREDIBLE, AND THE VOCALS GOT ON MY NERVES. WHY ARE THEY SO FUCKING HIGH? THERE’S A NICE CONCERT THAT COMES WITH IT THOUGH, MANY CLASSIC SONGS FEATURED. IT’S NOT BAD, JUST NOT AS GREAT AS MANY PEOPLE WERE HOPING. THE VOCALS SOUND BETTER, WHEN HE IS NOT SIGNING, BUT SCOWLING (ALA BLACK METAL).
THE LIVE DISC SOUNDS FAR BETTER, AND IS WORTH HEARING BY ITSELF.
Solefald - Norron Livskunst - First of all, if you don’t know who Solefald is, the grab “Neonism” and “In Harmonia Universali” right now. They’re the best avant-garde / black metal band that you’ve NEVER heard.
They had a few stinkers as of late, particularly their two Nordic saga albums. They tried to be heavy in the first - but failed, and on the second it was better, yet was missing something. I really wanted something that was experimental as their old releases, and this is indeed a Baskin Robbins album. Being such, I HAVE to do track by track. There’s no other way to describe this thing if I don’t.
1. Song Til Stormen - This song was the redeemer for me, it’s a very light oepner, sort of like the opener for “In Harmonia Iniversali”, except not as good. A female now joins the ranks, and I didn’t expect (nor want) to hear her. As far as I’m considered, Solefald is no more than the two brothers, and that’s it.
2. Hugferdi - Finally, they’ve succeeded in being both heavy, and retaining that avant-garde style. I didn’t think they could pull this one off, till I heard it for myself.
3. Tittentattenteski - This song is experimental beyond what should be acceptable. Regardless that the song isn’t as heavy as the last, the female vocalist is spazzing out into almost laughable (alright, so very laughable) territory. She sounds like she has completely lost her goddamn mind in this one. Yet there’s still a chorus type thing, where she sings soft.
4. Stridsljod / Blackabilly - This one sees Solefald going into slightly more comical territory. Could it be a satire? Some of these lyrics are funny, but being the kind of band Solefald is, the other language being used on this track could be serious lyrics. Perhaps he’s making fun of the English language, and how widely accepted it is.
5. Eukalyptusstreet - It starts out very jazzy with some sax, and very beautiful vocals and guitar melodies. Later, it gets heavier with some black metal vocals, and continues with the sax. This one is great though, one of the standouts easily. It’s also the longest track on the album, being 9:24 long.
6. Raudedauden - This one is another heavy one, with light breaks and both heavy and beautiful vocals. Listening to it is far more recommended. There’s also a solo, and I say that because there aren’t many on this album.
7. Vitets Vidd I Verdi - Now we have some electronics enter in, on a very epic track. The female vocals provide a great backing to the male clean vocals, but then the black metal vocals come in, and things just work well. There’s also a good bass line, and some nice keyboard stuff going on. Another standout track, on an album quite fucking full of them. It changes tempo into something else that works very well, and the overall vocal prowess on this one is great. Just when the girl screams, it’s a bit much.
8. Norron Livskunst - A heavy song, with very beautiful harmonies. The clean vocals provide another great backing. There’s also some jazzy picking in it, and some odd tuning used. Near the end, the song begins to slow down, and all the vocals become very low, until the thing has a great big buildup, that sounds really epic. I swear, somewhere in the song the vocals are actually singing the words “Epic Sounding”. I shit you not.
9. Waves Over Valhalla - This seems to have Enslaved influence, I can hear it. It’s a heavy song, but also has some very melodic harmonies. It’s also in English for the most part. It’s also got a very epic section, like most of the tracks on this beautiful fucking album. I also hear some operatic male singing, sort of like in a play at portions.
10. Til Heimen Yver Havet - This final song sounds a little somber in the beginning with it’s organ, but the melodic vocals are great, and the return of the other brother’s darker vocals are heard on this one, which sound better than they ever have.
The bottom line is that this is the best Solefald album in 10 years. The vocals sound the best that they ever have in the history of the fucking band, and I’d know, because I have all of their albums. The female vocals sometimes get weird, and sometimes so does a few other things, but such is a casualty of the mistress art, and her companion, experimentation. This is what true art sounds like, ladies and gentlemen - the sound of real honest to god music, and we’re losing that in the metal/emo/punk/death/black/cores and mainstream bores of this age. This album helped me to realize that.
It also helped me to realize one other thing…
There never has been and never will be, another band like Solefald.
OVERALL: RECOMMENED TO ANYONE WITH AN OPEN MIND. IF YOU HAVE ONE, YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS. BEST AVANT-GARDE METAL OF THE YEAR. IT MUST BE EXPERIENCED, AND YOU MUST HEAR IT. THESE GUYS NEED TO PLAY WITH ENSLAVED, FOR AN EPIC AS HELL FUCKING SHOW.
RECOMMENDED TO ENSLAVED AND BORKNAGAR FANS!
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LISTEN TO THIS FUCKING ALBUM!
Svart Crown - Witnessing The Fall (2010) - This progressive / blackened death metal band shows signs of promise. I do not know if this is their debut or not, but I think it at least warrants a listen or two. The vocals may sound a little deathcore, but the riffs and melodies are fueled with the blood of death and black metal surely.
Many of you might have noticed the “progressive” label here, and that describes some of the riff changes from time to time. A few interesting things are used on this album, and for the most part, it’s very dark and pummeling, while still sounding interesting enough for those of you who think that it’s far too easy to write death metal these days. It seems that anyone with a few mediocre riffs and a guy that can growl without wasting his breath can write a good death metal song. An example of this is my parody, “Demon Penis”. Those vocals were a prime example of just how easy people begin to think that making music is, because they get the notion that heavy music is good music.
If not for bands like Svart Crown and God Dethroned to show us in this almost always dull genre of blackened death metal, it takes more than just a few riffs and a demonic growl to make an album that’s worth of play. Deicide did not just throw fucking songs together, and you can even hear that on their debut. Nowadays, bands like Oceano, and others think it’s all about heavy music, and breakdowns. What have we become, but nothing more than pawns in a mass produced plastic media driven society, in a world that wishes to cut off our access to real information?
I will discuss this at a later time, but for now I suggest that you give Svart Crown a listen. They have a good bit of promise and their progressive blackened death metal is pretty solid.
OVERALL: SOLID PROGRESSIVE BLACKENED DEATH METAL. IT WON’T BE EVERYONE’S CUP OF TEA, BUT IT IS STILL A SPIN.