Monday, August 27, 2012
Country of origin:
Year of creation:
Horror (80's Inspired)
Grotesque Tobias: Bass
Mutated Martin: Drums
Revolting Rogga: Vocals, Guitars
See also: Bloodgut, Bone Gnawer, Demiurg, Megascavenger, Paganizer, Putrevore, Ribspreader, Swarming, The 11th Hour, The Grotesquery, ex-Carve, ex-Foreboding, ex-Terminal Grip, ex-Those Who Bring the Torture, ex-Banished from Inferno, ex-Deranged, ex-Sinners Burn
(Yes, he was/is in all of those bands.)
If you could, describe the process in making this album. What was the toughest part of that process? (Besides trying to recite incantations from the Necronomicon, with the other members of the band attempting to fend off the legions of Dagon.)
Well with Revolting there inst a though part really, the stuff just comes to us. I guess its because we've never really played much melodic music before, so now when we have fun and throw in melodies and catchy choruses it just comes together by itself almost. Its like its summoned by Dagon, Dagon needs some catchy rotten oldschool death metal to come back in reign I guess haha.
How did the name of the band come about?
Its all the work of Billy at razorback Records actually. he had the idea for the name and the concept, and then I wrote the music and did the vocals, and it all came together as Revolting. I cant speak for Billy, but I think the name is pure excellence, it really described the music. Its revolting for sure, revoltingly catchy!
What bands/albums inspired you on this particular album and what are you currently listening to right now?
Revolting has gone more and more towards more melody in the choruses, and then heavier parts throughout the songs which also have become longer. So I don't know really what stuff could be said to have been used as a model for this album. I think we just wanted to make it just like the last album, but better in all ways possible. And I think we managed to do that too. Right now I'm listening a lot to the new Blood Mortized and Puteraeon albums, really great stuff. I'm also just discovering Baroness, awesome band, I love so many different types of music and not just death metal. And listening to other stuff makes me get fresh ideas for Revolting. Actually, and I didn't think Id ever say this, but one song on the new album is actually very much based on some borrowing from a Sum 41 songs haha!
Are there any great obscure horror films that you might recommend? Some stuff that we might not have heard of here in the states?
Well there are always the classics, nad thats what i love. I also try to dig up old stuff I hvent checked out through the year aswell as hunt for new good horror movies. Hmmm, some stuff I could recommend? Well not everyone might have come across The Burning, though its really up there and as good as stuff like Friday the 13th or The Fog. As for more utter classics, Im sure everyone knows everything from Fulci, but if you havent checked The Beyond, do it. Its one of the best movies ever made.
Knowing that you're a fan of horror like myself, and I'm sure there's nothing out there on screen that really frightens you; but have you actually seen a film so grotesque, hideous, and revolting, that it actually got under your skin?
I only like classic horror, I'm no fan of cannibal stuff, nor the newer stuff that tried to be as gross and disturbing as possible. For me horror movies are either the 80s stuff like The Thing or Evil Dead or the Fulci or Argento stuff. For me Fulci stuff is truly creepy and horrific, in that awesome way. I have no interest at all in movie like Guinea Pig or whatever stuff people like because its very graphic and disturbing. I guess I'm just a kid really, wanting to be taken in by an excellent story written in a horror sort of context.
I see from this album and the last album, that you're a big fan of horror composers. What horror film composers are your personal favorite, and which ones have influenced you the most?
Actually that list is mainly done by Dez, who does the lyrics. That guy is a horror freak, in all possible way. Compared to him I don't know shit haha. For me, as I grew up with it, the music of John Carpenter is and will always be the ultimate horror music. Then again, Fabio Frizzi has probably done the eeriest spookiest music there is.
I've noticed that this new disc is much more focused on brutality and less on the melody that you used on In Grisly Rapture. Is that what you were trying to achieve this time around?
You think so? I agree that I tried to write more heavy parts, but I also tried to make the choruses more catchy than ever. I might not have succeeded then haha. But its like that, what i think and what people then hear are often two different things haha.
You've already released one incredible disc last year, and you're about to release another one this year. Most bands usually wait a year before releasing a new record. If this keeps up, could we also see a new Revolting album in 2013?
I hope so. I have already 3 new finished songs, and if you ask me all three of them are the best stuff Ive done so far. Ive also recorded a song and an instrumental for a split 7" with German band Revel in Flesh which will be out later this year. So anyways, I think and at least hope there will be a new Revolting album for 2013, i have loads of ideas that Id love to record for it.
How do you see the current state of death metal?
I don't follow the scene much, at least i don't listen to much new stuff, but from stuff I read in mags and on the net it seems the scene is bigger than ever. this ultra oldschool 2everything needs to sound like Nihilist" thing is rather huge, and also there seems to be more and more young bands trying to write very fresh and innovative new death metal. So it seems the scene is alive and well.
I know that you also play in Paganizer, Ribspreader, Demiurg, Bonegnawer, The Grotesquery, and others. What can you tell us about the possibility of new releases for these bands?
New Paganizer will be out in April next year, new The Grotesquery was released not long ago and that band will probably not do anything new for a few years, just as Ribspreader. Bone Gnawer has some news coming soon, and Demiurg have all the songs written and partly recorded, but if a new album happens is up to other members than me really. But there's the possibility that it'll be a new one out next year anyways.
I've also heard about a clean vocal non-metal project. Is that still under way? If so, what can you tell us about it?
There are a bunch of songs recorded, we've had some technical problems though. So maybe some stuff needs to be re-recorded. If its sorted there's just mix and master, and some bass recordings left to do. We have no label, and we just did it for fun though. So i don't know if it'll ever be released or not. One of these days it might be uploaded somewhere though. Time will tell.
With so many projects taking up your time these days, what do you do with your free time?
I drink beer. And hang out with my wife and our dog, and by next year probably also with my offspring
What do you think about sites like bandcamp, that let users "name their own price" on albums? Do you think this is the future, especially for lesser known bands?
I haven't checked out Bandcamp actually, just come across some song there a few times Ive listened to. But yeah the idea seems ok enough, people will download it for free somewhere else anyways. Any money at all a band can make is always good, these days its almost impossible, especially if you're not a more known band that plays live all the time.
Have you heard about the so-called "zombie attacks" here in the states? If there was an actual zombie apocalypse, what would you do?
Yes Ive heard something about that, weird stuff indeed. I'm actually reading the book World War Z right now, so I'm hoping to learn some stuff from that haha. If not, Ill have to order the other book by the same guy, The Zombie Survival Guide. I'm thinking that will at least get me through a few extra days or months compared to if I haven't read it when the plague/virus/chemical spill strikes in a few years.
Finally, if an apocalyptic scenario occurred; like a solar flare that knocked out all of the planet's electricity for months, for example - what would you do?
I guess I would have to learn to play acoustic guitar, and sing haha. Fuck that would be hard work haha!
Thanks for your answers, and for making another great death metal record.
Thanx for the interview! Very enjoyable indeed!
Revolting - Hymns Of Ghastly Horror (PR2012) - Sweden's Revolting is back at it once again, with another offering of horror and gore, the way that only they know how. Alright, we all know that Rogga's the mastermind behind all of this - but let's be sure to give proper respect to Martin on the drums, and Tobias on the bass. These guys a killer job keeping the foundations of the songs held up, while Rogga plays the shit out of the guitar and provides the unearthly incantations.
If you liked the band's last album, there's really no reason why you wouldn't like this one. As mentioned in the interview, Rogga said that he wanted to make this one better than the last album, (even though there were some truly killer riffs on that one) and increase the amount of melody. But as much as I'd like to believe that it's more melodic, I feel that it sounds much more brutal than the last one. Regardless, that might still be a good thing for some of you who thought that the last disc didn't have enough thunder.
Well, this one does. It sounds more like a battering ram, and perhaps that's due to the increased production value. These guys don't have a whole lot of money, but they enjoy making music just for the hell of it; and it's really fucking great that they actually can (through the magic of FDA-Redkotz, promotion and the internet) share their music with the whole fucking world. There's a lot of shitty bands out there who lack the chops to make good death metal, and there's too many deathcore bands who have no fucking clue as to what death metal is supposed to sound like.
My point? Check out the new Whitechapel album. Go on and listen through it. Then go and play this disc shortly afterwards. Notice a difference? One band attempts to make things overly brutal, while the other one actually has catchy melodies, vocals that don't sound like fucking cardboard, (Rogga's a killer vocalist,a nd this is coming from a man who also does his fair share of screaming, growling, scowling, and all that shit in between) and drums that actually do more than the same old thing. While one band might have better production value, the other has more skill and gives a fuck less. Not saying that Whitechapel's latest was a total wash, but their instrumentals pale in comparison to this disc's instrumental, "The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be 3:39" one of my personal favorite horror themed instrumentals. The sound clips really help to enhance that feeling.
I guess that means I'm going to start talking about the songs now, then? Well, just one fucking second. I've still got to talk about one man in particular who is really felt on this disc. It's Martin on the drums - he absolutely fucking slaughters them on this disc, and if you can't hear him on here, then you're either fucking deaf or from another dimension.
However, the guitars sometimes fade out because the drums are bashing so loud, and that sort of kills the melody in parts of this disc. I also feel that the vocals sometime overpower the leads. The leads are just too light on the disc, and I can barely hear them sometimes; which is kind of a bummer. But that doesn't mean that this is a bad disc, because it's not. It's just as good as anything else they've put out, just much louder and more drum-heavy.
If you fucking like death metal and you fucking like horror, you'll like this fucking disc. Tracks like, "Their Thoughts Can Kill 3:57, Ravenous Alien Spawn 3:36, The Black Queen 4:17, The Hatchet Murders 4:37 and album closer, Prey To Katahdin 4:27" (as well as the instrumental I named earlier) are definitely not to be missed.
But I'm not going to lie to you, this is definitely worth checking out for fans of old school death metal, like myself. I fucking love this disc - but not quite as much as their last one. Still, with another disc coming in 2013, I'll get to hear some more great horror death metal. Because that's what these guys do best, and we should be thankful for it.
Now I just gotta wait for the new Paganizer...
Highlights: Their Thoughts Can Kill, Ravenous Alien Spawn, The Black Queen, The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be, The Hatchet Murders, Prey To Katahdin (9 tracks, 35:00)
Cosmic Funeral - Godless War To Eternity EP (BAND REQUEST 2012) - One day I opened my inbox to find a wonderful link to this disc, by some guys making black metal from out of all places... Ankara, Turkey.
What? Turkish black metal? Are you serious?
But I give everyone their fair shot, and a proper listen before I make my deliberation. So I grabbed this EP and immediately began to listen to it. Cosmic Funeral is a five man symphonic black metal band, and in all honesty; they've got serious promise. Now, don't judge them on the little intro piece, it's not amazing. It's the music we want to hear.
The disc really begins with "Doomsday 3:58" which is a completely blistering way to open the album, complete with some interesting atmospheric interludes. The band's frontman, Murat is a truly formidable beast, bringing the full sprit of black metal aggression ten thousand-fold into his scowls. When this guy screams, it sounds like he is literally pissed. But that's what you want in this sort of music. You want aggression, and he's a perfect package of sheer hatred.
But that's not to mean that the rest of the album isn't just a bunch of blast beast and riffs. While those certainly exist, and in full force; as Onur is a beast behind the kit - there are also some great orchestral passages that we can thank Ali for. This guy definitely has been studying his Emperor and Cradle, because this is only some of the best orchestration that I've heard in black metal music. It's not an expensive keyboard, but his skills make a very professional attempt.
The four main songs on this disc total in at about 18:00, but it's definitely black metal that's worth listening to. The quality is great, the instruments audible, the vocals fierce, and among the best I've heard from the genre, and the melodies used in these songs (the title track, Godless War To Eternity 5:06 especially) are definitely catchy. The band also uses some sound clips on this title track that add to the feeling of war, as well as some great atmospheres that sound like a sort of war march.
Though some of the songs don't have the same sort of quality as the others, and this sounds like a mix of different material in the band's lifecycle, the effort is conveyed well enough. These guys have what it takes to be a worthy symphonic black metal band. A lot of synth black tends to turn people off, but it's bands like this one and others that have since turned me onto the genre.
Despite all the synths, this has the black metal nature at heart. It's full of wrath and malice, just as you would expect the music to be.
A band with a great deal of promise, well worth checking out.
Highlights: Doomsday, Negligence Of Centuries, Godless War To Eternity, Serenade To Fallen (5 Tracks, 20:00)
Waylander - Kindred Spirits (PR2012) - Ireland's folk metal beast, Waylander have had their fair share of troubles in trying to find the perfect lineup for the band. As such, they've gone through an insurmountable number of musicians, and may not even resemble the same band that you knew on Century Media records, for which they released two albums.
As a matter of fact, the band already did a staggering amount of touring for their third album, and finally started working on this disc in 2011. Since the third one came out in 2008, it's been four years since the band's had a new album and I still remember when their last one came out. It was a much different time then, and it's most certainly a much different time now.
Nonetheless, the band's sound has not changed. They still sound in everyway like a blackened folk metal act, and this disc is more metal than ever before. You'll still hear your flutes and traditional instruments, but you're also going to hear the pounding of the drums and the thrashing of the guitars. The band's current vocalist has a great sort of bark that sounds both harsh and ancient, like the sort of thing I would expect for a deep ritual in which man's most primal shouts erupt.
Being such, this album is still very rooted in Celtic belief, and I would certainly consider it a very ritualistic offering to Celtic deities, of that there is little doubt. But despite all of this, you're going to hear some awesomely catchy tracks like the opener "Echoes Of The Sidhe 6:11" , and epics like "Erdath 7:30" which contains a ballad portion, a thrash portion, and something akin to slow death/doom. Yes, this is certainly one of the most extreme folk metal discs that I've heard in a very long time.
Every song on this disc has it's own tempo, so they are easily separated and don't end up sounding the same. But they've all got that same Celtic spirit due to the guitar melodies and flutes which really help to strengthen the nature of the album.
I will definitely liken this disc to the blackest Primordial and Cruachan. (But without the female vocalist) Yes, it's that heavy. There are pure black metal parts of this disc that sound impeccable, there is black/thrash here that is some of the best I've heard in a while, and even if you don't like flutes - it's going to be very hard not to at least appreciate the sheer attention to detail that the band have put into this album. This wasn't just a bunch of thrown together songs, this is a well structured monster of a disc that I could really consider timeless in the annals of Celtic folk metal.
It's really that good, and much more than I would've ever thought. As a matter of fact, I'm going to make this disc my personal favorite folk metal disc of the year. I don't hear much folk metal, but that's because I haven't heard anything really great from it in quite a number of years... but each and every track on this disc is truly marvelous, a sight to behold.
As for the production, I think it's perfect. It reminds me of only the greatest slightly raw and primitive sounding folk metal discs, like the current Cruachan and Primordial. You will be able to hear everything, but still get that raw sense that you just can't get from the over-produced stuff. This kind of music needs to be raw at least a bit, to keep that animalistic nature intact.
Folk fans must grab this disc, I consider it an absolute must. Even though there is a short little instrumental (which I thought was good, but some may not feel the same) called "Grave Of Giants 2:16" that breaks up the heaviness for a few minutes, the band gets right back into the swing of things with the next song.
This disc is full of musical surprises, I was literally flabbergasted from beginning to end. Despite the fact that my MP3 player plays almost every track out of order on my digital albums, (it plays them alphabetically) track order didn't matter. Each and every track amazed me, and that's rare. If it's not catchy, it was brilliant. If it wasn't brilliant, it was perfectly primal.
Waylander are not a band to simply pass by, and if you've overlooked them; now is a good chance to check them out, since there's a slight metal drought period before the September/October floods.
I guarantee that you will find something of merit on this album, and this is coming from a man who really used to listen to a lot of folk metal. Forget that Eluveitie shit, and go listen to some real folk metal!
Highlights: The Whole Disc (9 Tracks, 54:00)
Zonaria - Arrival Of The Red Sun (PR2012) - This five piece, which consists of four Swedes and apparently a ghost, (my promo material tells me that this band is a five-piece, but there are only four members in the two band photos that I have) are definitely one of the best Swedish death metal bands that I've heard in a long time... but maybe that's because they sound a hell of a lot like one of the best bands in the history of the genre, Hypocrisy.
Trust me, you'll notice the similarities instantly; almost thinking that the guys decided to capitalize off the sound of Hypocrisy. These guys have as much in common with Hypocrisy as Hate have in common with Behemoth. Yes, so we've established that they're a sound-alike.
But are they just as good? Well, yes. If you were looking for a disc to hold you off until the next Hypocrisy album, this is going to be a damned good placeholder. My friend and I are having a little bit of a non-monetary bet as to whether or not this disc will sound better or worse than the forthcoming Hypocrisy (2013).
Everything you could expect from Hypocrisy, you can expect here. The thundering drums, the unruly guitars and the scathing vocals. The vocals are very high in the mix, but that's a good thing, as the vocals on this disc do matter, and they're a big part of the disc. Just the same as Hypocrisy did.
Yeah, I'm not fooling anyone by saying that this is Hypocrisy II. But damn it, folks - not just anyone can fucking be those guys. You can get a bunch of guys together and say you're gonna sound like Iron Maiden, but if you can't capture that same spirit, you're just a knock-off. This is more like a great tribute, perhaps the usurpers to take the throne after Hypocrisy calls it quits and everyone weeps.
The melodies are just as good as anything from Hypocrisy, and you'll get some great guitar solos, that added atmosphere that makes things sound epic, and the songs just come off with a sort of power. Is there a bad song on this disc? I really can't be sure. I really consider this one better than some stuff I've heard from Hypocrisy - not everything on Virus killed, but just about every song on this disc killed.
Obviously, fans of Hypocrisy who want to hear another album from them but just can't wait, should pick this up. Especially if their new disc for some reason, pulls a Morbid Angel or Dimmu Borgir. Because it could happen, and just in case it does; you'll have the Hypocrisy that could've been.
Definitely worth checking out for fans of Hypocrisy and other Swedish death metal bands in the same vein as Hypocrisy. At least these guys do it right and have a lot to offer. I'm giving this an 8/10, because maybe next time there might be some more originality, but damn; I really needed to hear some new Hypocrisy. These guys filled the void. Hear that, Peter?
Highlights: Everything sounds just like Hypocrisy. I like Hypocrisy, therefore I like everything on the disc. (10 Tracks, 40:00)
Obscenity - Atrophied In Anguish (PR2012) - These German dudes have been at it for 23 years now, and I don't expect them to slow down anytime soon. This slab of death metal is among some of the best I've heard this year, and that's saying something. Sascha blasts on the kit, Jeff (From Tampa, FL) uses the most "unholy" of growls, (kind of what Cryptopsy should have done - review to come in week 62) and Hendrik and Christoph definitely provide some good, dark leads to make the music as deadly as possible.
This disc is a fucking beast. But not just any beast, I consider it like a Manticore, Chimera, Minotaur and fucking Cerberus all rolled into one. This is that quintessential disc that you play when you want someone to hear what death metal is, like when you look it up in the dictionary, this is what you'll find. This is that brutal, melodic, and searing disc that you'll find just echoing the spirit of great death metal with each and every track. Whether it's "All You Can Kill 3:32", "From Heroic To Depraved 3:33", or "Diary Of A Scapegoat 3:23" you can always expect the same thing.
But in this case, that's a good thing. These guys didn't go crazy with xylophones or clean vocals or female moans. This is 100% fucking death metal, and these words should be emblazoned on a sticker that adorns the disc, just so the listener will know that they are getting a true death metal disc, not some deathcore or over technical intelligent piece. This doesn't require brain cells, it requires brains, like the musical equivalent of a zombie having risen from it's grave. But let's also go ahead and give it an axe. A great big, battleaxe.
Yeah, that's my representation of the album.
Even though you wouldn't expect it, there is riff variety on the disc and not all of the songs sound exactly the same. But they're all still the same style of death metal, so don't fret and think that I've led you astray. But don't expect ridiculous guitar antics, because this isn't a guitar album; it's a death metal album.
You might feel that you've already heard this sort of thing before, even though it does mix brutality with slight bits of unconventionality and some technicality. I won't argue with you that's it's any different then what you've already heard before, but I will recommend that you definitely check this disc out for a great representation of what can be achieved with the Cannibal Corpse formula, and what Cannibal Corpse even failed to achieve with Torture.
Yes, this is better than the new Cannibal Corpse. I recommend it to fans of real death metal, everywhere.
Highlights: All (10 Tracks, 37:00)
Suture - Skeletal Vortex (PR2012) - These dudes from Louisiana have been through nine kinds of hell, literally. First, Shawn Broussard left the band during the recording of this band in order to form his own band, and then he lost his life in a motorcycle accident just a month later. A few months before this disc was released, Jayson Ramsey (Vocals, Drums) decided to leave the band in order to pursue his love of Arts at the Art Institute Of Colorado.
The band was left dormant for many years, until the year 2012. Perhaps these guys believed that it really was going to be the end the of the world, and felt that they needed to get at least one more slab of death metal out before the shit went down. Nonetheless, the band re-recorded 2005's Skeletal Vortex and also remixed it. Their next mission is to re-record Carnivorous Urge To Kill, the band's original debut album.
But I don't have that disc to review, I've got Skeletal Vortex. So you'll just have to wait.
Skeletal Vortex, besides being an awesome album title; is a great and interesting slab of technical, progressive (and slightly experimental) brutal death metal. It is composed of 10 songs, all of various lengths with the closer track, "Chaossuary" coming close to 11:00 of music (and some silence.)
First of all, it's very interesting and unique to me that the drummer does both the vocals and manages to terrorize the kit while he's doing those vocals. I'd like to see these guys live, because I've never heard of a drummer also doing vocals at the same time, and figure that it might be an interesting experience. They're not very far from where I'm from, (the next state over, in fact - these guys are from Louisiana) so I might just get that chance.
This album is pummeling, it's not a happy sounding disc, and there's no real beautiful melodies or anything of that nature. This is very much death metal, and it's definitely technical - but more focused on sheer brutality than anything else. Normally bands who focus on brutality more than anything else have a tendency to rub me the wrong way, but these guys manage to do everything so well, that I find myself certainly intrigued.
The drum work on this album is spectacular, and if anything else, you can certainly tell that this is a drummer's band. The technical riffs that Jason plays only help to fuel the beating that's being dolled out on the drums. Bass duties are held by Bruno, and he definitely adds the meat where needed.
This is a bludgeoning album, something you could play while watching a gore film in the background; yet it is also well thought out and meticulously calculated. Every note and every tap of the drum seems in sync. There are about a dozen tempo changes and sometimes it veers into abstract and unconventional territory. I've also noticed that the disc seems to work as a whole, and there really aren't tracks that are better or worse than others.
But this might be a downfall for some, because it is very much the same formula throughout. If you really love technical death metal, these guys bring out a very good plate of the stuff. But it's not the best nor the worst that I've heard from the genre. There is a lot of potential in this band, and I'm glad that they got back together.
This disc has a lot to offer for fans of both brutal and technical death metal It's definitely worth a listen at least. I especially enjoyed the eerie melody that ends the album...
(10 Tracks, 45:00)
Mortal Infinity - District Destruction (PR2012) - Mortal Infinity are a German five-piece that doesn't pull any punches with their sound. You can definitely hear their influences in the music too. These guys are all wearing band shirts in their photos with these bands: Exodus, Sodom, Testament, Motorhead, and Iced Earth.
I definitely hear these influences in their music, but most of all what I'm hearing is Exodus. Marc has a hell of a Bark, and I'd certainly consider it one of the best parts of the band. It almost reminds me of Exodus's old frontman, but just a little more grimy. Which is a good thing.
The drumming is held down by Mathias who definitely knows his thrash chops, and every song has a great solo, thanks to Sebastian and Thomas. These two each share lead and rhythm duties bringing about some great melodies, but still maintain the spirit of thrash. The songs are definitely structured and there's quite a few riff changes on the album. They didn't exactly make a straightforward thrash album, but they did make a thrash album.
Sometimes death metal growls come in and things start to pound on the kit - this goes from thrash to death/thrash in seconds. But that's a good thing, because one gets tired of the same two formulas of each. The bass thrashes left and right, the whole recording is full of venom and malice - thrash metal doesn't get much heavier than this (while still staying thrash metal.)
Sure, Mortal Infinity didn't make the best thrash album that you'll ever hear, but they certainly made a good one. These guys definitely have skill, talent and the drive to create a good thrash record, and that's what counts. With many attempts at corporate thrash, by the media, it's good to see that there are still bands like these guys who know how to make worthwhile thrash, and do.
Every track on this album is recommended, as each one of them offers something different. You might have your favorites, but you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't think that over half of these damned tracks weren't some of the best thrash you've heard in a while, at least. Now I know that Destruction is set to release a new one this year, but until then you should give this album a try. There's 38:00 of great thrash here that keeps on giving throughout each and every track. Though some might compare it to the new Exodus, that in itself should be taken as a compliment. The production quality however, is much rawer than the latest Exodus disc and most certainly the latest Anthrax. But I feel that many of you will like that thinner quality.
I've heard much worse from thrash this year, but I have yet to hear anything better than this one. (As far as I remember.) Not even Testament could do it for me this year. If you're still looking for a fucking thrashgasm, these guys will certainly help you with that. Again, it's not the best thrash you'll ever hear, but it definitely combines the old school thrash with some modern techniques. There's even the classic background shouts!
What else can I say? It's thrash.
(9 Tracks, 40:00)
Gorephilia - Embodiment Of Death (PR2012) - Thinking this was gonna be another one of those slam death metal bands, I wasn't so sure about it. But as soon as I listened to the disc, all of that changed. I found myself heavily impressed by these death metal stalwarts, and found myself continuing to come back to the album.
The disc is brutal death metal, just the way you'd expect it to sound. The man behind the kit's a behemoth, the guitarists are spitting out only the best of brutality and the frontman's got the growl of a stone golem who's been trapped in the abyss for centuries. There's a couple of solos pulled off on the disc as well, and they're very much in the traditional fashion of death metal solos.
Just like most of the death metal I've reviewed this week, this is completely free of lighthearted moments. As a matter of fact, there are parts of the disc that contain slow, brooding structures that add the hideousness of the whole experience. This is the kind of death metal that makes you think of the very abyss of searing evil, and with track names like, "Exist To Suffer 5:17, Saints Without Souls 4:44, Pantheon In Flames 4:32 and closer "Vision Of Hell 6:42" is the perfect music for pain and suffering.
The entire disc has a morbidly melancholy feel, one that elicits desolation and despair. But that's what we want from our death metal. Hence that's why it's called death metal. Even some of the solos just sound downright vile. For an album titled Embodiment Of Death, this is exactly what you should expect. Gorephilia have a talent in making things sound truly fucking evil, and I've yet to hear many bands that really convey this sort of darkness in their music, rather than in just the cookie-cutter lyrics of most death metal.
I've heard a lot of death metal, and it's really tough to find something that really leaves a mark like these guys do. I definitely recommend this album to all fans of only the blackest, darkest, and most fucking brutal death metal there is. While you will hear some melodies, they aren't fucking pretty. So don't fear that this incredibly diabolic experience will be shattered by clean vocals, and light melodies. If want those, check out the new Faceless disc.
But as for this foul creature, it's most certainly the embodiment of death. Looking for the sounds of hell? Look no further.
Highlights: All (8 Tracks, 37:00)
Eye Of Solitude - Sui Cadere (PR2012) -The frontman of this band, Daniel Neagoe is also in several other bands. In particular, he's the vocalist for Unfathomable Reunion and the frontman for Colossus and The Departure. So this English gent is no stranger to metal, by any means.
This latest project is a very depressing death/doom band by the name of Eyes Of Solitude. But for those unaware, this is not the band's debut album; it is their sophomore effort, gladly taken under the wing of Kaotoxin Records. According to the press release, it is a kind of symphonic funeral doom - but I'm hearing more death metal vocals than anything else, and I doubt that I'll hear much else, as you see this album was very difficult for me to get into and I'm not even sure if I was completely able to finish it.
For the most part though, you will get the kind of atmosphere that you'd get from bands like Saturnus, Swallow The Sun, early My Dying Bride, October Tide, early Anathema, and many others.
The melodies on the disc are one of it's strong points, and we've got to thank Indee Rehal-Sagoo for those, as the guy really does have a sort of "shredding quality" to them. Daniel reaches down into the very depths of his throat to expel the most dredging bellows that funeral doom can offer, and these coupled with the varied and hypnotic sounds and atmospheres offered on the disc are certainly going to delight (or maybe in this case, depress) quite a few fans of the genre.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it to save my life. I love doom metal, and funeral doom, but perhaps this disc was far too slow and droning for my tastes. While I respect the band's interesting use of atmospheres and symphonics, it was very hard to hear much of the atmosphere on this disc. I'm sure there will be those of you who consider this to be the greatest doom album since The Mourning Never Came, but as for me - I'll stick with that one, and most songs from Rapture, Daylight Dies and November's Doom.
If you're into slow doom metal with lots of atmosphere, light symphonics and impressive leads, then definitely check this album out. But as much as I wanted to like this disc, I just found myself bored by the whole thing. As far as I'm concerned, there's better doom out there. You see, it's very hard for me to get into metal that's too slow - but there are a plethora of bands I like who do perform slower, more melancholy metal. Perhaps it's something in my brainwaves...
But if it sounds good to you, check it out. Don't let me hold you back.
(10 Tracks, 73:00)
The Faceless - Autotheism (2012) - From the beginning, this band has already gotten tons of comparisons to bands like Between The Buried and Me and Last Chance To Reason. Those are both deathcore bands, but with shivering teeth, I say that they are both "good deathcore" bands. Yes, the potential exists for deathcore to be good. Take these guys for example.
The first time I heard about the Faceless, it was because they were playing in the vehicle of one of the members of Fear The Aftermath; who had been giving me a ride back to my place of residence at the time. Normally deathcore does little for me, but these guys actually sparked up my interest. But this was at the time of their 2008 release, Planetary Duality (which I've also done a review for, just after this one - you're welcome) and the band has matured greatly since then.
As a matter of fact, Autotheism is a different beast altogether, and I'm not even sure if you would be right in calling it a beast. Let's think of it more as some very talented, psychotic clown murderer of sorts; maybe like the movie version of Stephen King's IT.
The disc blazes as you would expect it to, but it's also laden with clean vocals, prog jam sessions, guitar jizzery and female vocal duets (Emacipate 7:20). You'll also hear saxophone and demented circus music, while the singer belts out "God is dead!"
This album is certainly technical, but it's just as technical as it is progressive. The band took a little from Arcturus, Opeth, Ihsahn, Devin Townsend and Nietzsche as they worked meticulously on this interesting concept release. While I believe that "Create 3:44" is probably one of the most boring and radio friendly songs that the band has ever written, (the vocals even sound like they've got a sort of southern drawl) all of the other tracks seem to make up for it.
The first three songs are parts of a trilogy called "Autotheist Movement" and together they make up 17:00 of the album. Then after that, they give a shout out to Devin Townsend with the track "Accelerated Evolution 4:39." (Accelerated Evolution was the Devin Townsend Band's 2005 release, and one of my personal favorites.) Not only that, the frontman definitely tries to sound almost equal to Devin Townsend, and so much that some people on youtube are calling this a "Deconstruction knock-off."
Even if it is stealing, there's no doubt that they've stolen from the best. Almost every track on the disc not only shines, but manages to sound much different from the others. This is really splendid shit, and I know that BTBAM's new one is set to also come out this year, so there's definitely going to be some competition for them this time around.
Decibel is calling "The Eidolon Reality 3:46" a prog metal masterpiece, but I'm more apt to call it a prog-death masterpiece, (since there's a lot of death here, whether you want to call it core or actual death.) and the slower doom influenced "Ten Billion Years 5:54" has a gravel and prog sense to it that will make people question why they exactly called these guys "core" in the first place.
Not to mention the solos. Oh yes, the fucking solos on this one are immense, absolutely astounding. These are the things that dreams are made of. If one is to die and ascend into another world, the music there has better be as good as the fucking solos on this record. The drumming is also well calculated, as the man behind the kit does a great job keeping the entire thing epic - and it is. It is truly fucking epic. This is definitely up for one of the year's best albums, despite the slow opener.
Yes, even one slow opener doesn't manage to tarnish this record, with a great instrumental "Hail Science 0:53" and it's sister track, "Hymn Of Sanity 1:34." The instrumental contains some great atmosphere from the drummer, and some samples from Mr. Science himself, Steven Hawking.
The disc closes with "In Solitude 6:27" which is really just a little more icing to the already iced cake - it really wouldn't have mattered if it were there or not, as the band's already gone above, beyond, between, and through the call of duty. But I will say that the clean and death metal duet on that track certainly does add some uniqueness, as well as some of these wonderfully spacey riffs, and solos that could've been performed on a neutron star.
Sometimes it actually sounds like this album was actually recorded in space. But I doubt that, unless they're hiding something...
If you want a truly memorable release that you'll keep coming back to, for several years or more, then check... no. Don't just check this album out, make it a part of your own personal album. Buy it just to show people that this album was made. Play it for your friends and neighbors, and may they also play it for their friends and neighbors, and yea; we shall all bow to the throne of the faceless autotheist.
The disc is only 40:00 long, but they've completed their task in 30:00 of that. That task being to one-up Planetary Duality, but not by making it heavier, as PD did that job well enough - they made their sound much broader, and expanded their horizons.
Definitely well played, gentlemen. You've made a masterpiece. Now take it on the road, preferably to my neck of the woods!
Highlights: All but the first track, "Create." (9 Tracks, 40:00)
The Faceless - Planetary Duality (2008) - Now that brings us back to the band's earlier disc. This album shows us an inkling of what was to become, but is still worth hearing for those of you who wanted more tech-death and didn't find it on the new disc.
The quality of the disc is really just as good as the last one, and you'll still hear your Cynic influence and your tech death explosions, but moreso than on the last disc. There also aren't as much clean vocals. This disc is a whole nine minutes shorter than the new one, but it definitely has just as much of a punch. While there are breakdowns to break up the tech death that overtakes most of this album (and slight moments of thrash and prog) these breakdowns sometimes also have guitar solos during them.
If a clean vocal is used here, it was put through a voice changer and sounds robotic, or alien if you will. There's even an instrumental "Shape Shifters 0:43" on this disc that is just as good as "Hail Science" in the fact that it presents an eerie but interesting atmosphere, which explodes right into "Coldly Calculated Design 3:40."
I would not expect the same thing as Autotheism here, because this is clearly a different kind of beast, but unlike Autotheism being a clown, this is certainly still a beast. It's still got wonderful guitar solos that sound just as good as the ones on Autothiesm, but you're not going to hear them quite as frequent. This is definitely more on the brutal side of things, so be ready for that.
Though it's not like they aren't experimenting. There's a little bit of piano on "Xenochrist 5:01" and some definite prog moments that you wouldn't expect from too many other bands of this type. I just wish the other vocals hadn't been synthesized through a voice changer, because it's tough to hear them and it doesn't work all that well.
There's also two very odd songs on the disc, and I'm wondering what their purpose is. These songs look like something I'd find on a good old' "Satan Death Metal" record, as they're called "Sons Of Belial 4:46" and "Legions Of The Serpent 4:27." Not only that, but the latter song is slower paced with a traditional style "gravel" growl and there's a bloodcurtling scream on the background vocals. Of course, there's also some clean vocals and prog that might kill this deathfest for you, so sorry about that. This does sound like a tribute to death metal by something that might see itself as more evolved?
As for the former track, it begins with tech and prog leading up into acoustic. But for two seconds before the death growls come in and the riffs switch from classical inspiration to death metal inspiration. Then there's this part with weird circus music and piano that breaks in, and leaves back into metal just as soon as it came.
The disc ends with the title track, which has been split into two parts. From the sample, it deals with malicious aliens. The first part is an interesting instrumental "Hideous Revelation 1:34", and that goes right into the second part, "A Prophecy's Fruition." It's one of the only other songs with some clean vocals. You can tell from these tracks that they were definitely going to do more clean singing, and that's what birthed the band's current album.
All in all, it's good record. Is it a great one? Well, there's a lot of things on this disc that seem to go throughout the whole of it. It really seems like deathcore with a few frills, and that's what I'd have called it back then. Obviously, the band has moved away from this, but here they were concerned with nothing but playing this stuff. It's definitely got it's hits and misses, and I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. But that's just me, because I'm sure there's tech-death heads that think this is one of the best albums out for the genre.
I'm also sure that there's people who hate Autotheism and love this stuff. But that's fucking okay- to each his own, and all that. Though as for me, I'll definitely consider it a solid 8.
Check it out if you're curious, or want to hear something still in the same vein, but much heavier than Autotheism.
Highlights: Shape Shifters, Xenochrist, Sons Of Belial, Legions Of The Serpent, A Hideous Revelation, A Prophecy's Fruition (9 Tracks, 31:00)
Grave - Endless Procession Of Souls (2012) - Oh, Grave. How the mighty have fallen into obscurity. Once they were one of the forefathers of Swedish death metal, and now they are churning out less then respectable "death metal by the numbers."
You people have no idea how much I anticipated this. I said, to myself, "There's a new Grave coming out. I'm going to have to grab that one, it's going to be good." Well, I was wrong, in the same way that I was wrong with the latest album from Testament.
At it's main core, it's still death metal. The band didn't pull a Cryptopsy and start creating metalcore, nor did they make an industrial death metal massacre like Morbid Angel did. The only real problem with this album, is that it sounds like 100% run of the mill death metal that we've all heard before, time and time again. All of the death metal albums that I have reviewed before this one, are much better than this one. The Faceless isn't even considered to be death metal, but they've got these guys beaten.
Don't get me wrong, there are a hand full of good riffs, and I do like the closer "Epos 7:44" quite a bit. But everything really sounds the same throughout. The riffs barely change tone and it all just sounds like one long re-gurgitation of the same song. The vocals are decent, but they could be much better too. That Gorephilia disc I reviewed had much better vocals than this one, which sounds like an angry old man. Which is probably who's on the vocals.
By the way, there's only goddamned solos on the entire disc. Yes, two goddamned solos. Now some bands can get away with this, but it just seems that they were lazy enough with this release as it was. It's literally like they pushed a button on a riff machine and tried to see how many different combinations of the same riffs they could create to fill up a 45:00 album. As for drumming, well... it's as good as any other death metal drumming I guess. But the guy's no beast, he just plays by the numbers. Just like everything else.
Yeah, I'm pissed alright. Unleashed pulled this bullshit in 2010, and then in 2012 they got the record straight and made a worthy death metal disc. These guys should have gotten that same memo, especially considering how much I respected them. At least "Epos" was thought though and it seems to be the only real track of merit on this disc. But that still isn't saying much.
If you want cookie-cutter death metal with a lame growl and the same combinations of riffs that lead up to an only "better than mediocre" lengthy and multi-structured closer, then go grab this disc.
Or better yet, don't waste your money. What a disappointment.
(10 Tracks, 45:00)
Korpiklanni - Manala/Underworld (2012 Dual Language Edition) - Korpiklaani's at it again, and those of you who stuck by me in the days when I was only on NWAMETAL know that I've pretty much covered their material in it's many incarnations of folk. But this disc is actually quite different. Don't be alarmed, because it's still folk metal - but it's not quite as joyous as usual and includes some hints of death metal, doom and thrash that we haven't seen and heard from this band since I believe their third disc, when they started playing around a little with their music.
Since there are two versions of this disc, (One in English and one in Finnish) I'll have to point out which version of the track is superior. Of course, this is all matter of opinion, so you might like it better in the native, or just in English.
The disc begins with "Kunnia/Honor 3:25" and I like both versions of the track, but surprisingly this folky thrasher sounds just as good in English as it does in Finnish. It's trademark is a strong chorus and nice chant. "Tuonelan Tuvilla/Huts Of The Underworld 3:10" is also a darker track, but still has the folk you'd expect. Though there is an English version, the accent is so thick that this doesn't matter. "Rauta/The Steel 3:06" is decent, but it's just really weak. They tried to experiment with it, but that flopped and made a rather boring track.
"Ruumiinmultaa/Soil Of The Corpse 3:37" is a little more groovy and folkier, but it has some harsh vocals on it, which I didn't expect. "Petoeläimen Kuola/Predator's Saliva 3:15" is actually a very thrashy track and it plays around with death metal. There are even some growls on the track. The English vocals sound like they came from a different vocalist. IMHO, that guy should've done the whole English version of this disc, because I can actually understand him.
"Synkkä/Dismal 5:25" is a sorrowful ballad. The English version is just as thick as the original, so it doesn't matter what version you listen to. This has a lot of sad violin and pagan drum, so expect that. "Ievan Polkka/Ieva's Polka 3:08" is definitely a polka metal track, no doubt about that. Not much else to say here. Next we have "Husky-Sledge 1:49" which is just an instrumental. It gets a little bluesy on the violin near the end though, didn't expect that. "Dolorous 3:05" is next, it's a full length song, but another instrumental. Weird how they followed up an instrumental with another, much longer instrumental.
It's almost over, folks. "Uni/Dream 3:49" comes in with it's folk thrash. Again, both versions contain a thick accent, so it doesn't matter which version you listen to. It's decent, but nothing new. The English disc ends with "Off To The Hunt 5:35", which is "Metsälle 5:40" in the original Finnish. The track starts out with a calm instrumental and then sounds like a traditional song of the hunt.
Oddly enough, the original comes with a song not found on the English version. But this song (with a translation I'm currently lost on) is a doom track. Yes, it's something altogether different from the band and already makes the original version of the album superior.
This track is called, "Sumussa Hämärän Aamun 6:19" and it might be a cover, because those riffs don't sound like theirs. It's much darker than most of the material these guys do, but still has some victorious moments. I think it's one of the best songs the band has done, also do to the fact that it has such a heavy to light factor and strong chorus.
So that's it, folks. Korpiklaani's new album is full of Odin-fueled songs to the hunt, and possibly Odin's trip to the underworld. Because he can do that, after all. The disc is full of hits and misses, but folk fans will find much to like here, despite the extremely thick accent of the vocalist. Again, the gentleman who performed on "Predator's Saliva" should have done the entire English album, even though the English version of "Kunnia" (Honor) fucking kills. This is probably my favorite song off the disc, reminding me heavily of their 2007 album, Tervaskanto.
It's thrashier, sure - but it's still folk and polka-laden. These guys make a few nods to heavier music, but mostly stick to folk. However, it might be the heaviest that this band will get and I'm sure that there will be fans of folk that like it. Some songs here are just awful, but others are great. Though I don't have many highlights, there are some songs on here that weren't exactly terrible, but I wouldn't call them highlights either. They were just so/so. Just like the disc.
Highlights: Kunnia/Honor, Tuonelan Tuvilla/At The Huts Of The Underworld, Petoeläimen Kuola/Predator's Saliva, Dolorous, Sumussa Hämärän Aamun (12 Tracks (FIN) 46:00, 11 Tracks (ENG) 40:00)
Om - Advaitic Songs (2012) - This disc automatically starts out with something that's definitely not like metal, and the best way that I can describe this opener, "Addis 5:32" is by comparing it heavily to the Dead Can Dance that I reviewed last week. One could say with firm certainty that the band decided that they would simply rip-off DCD and enjoy every bit of it. But this is a good rip-off, as awful as that might sound; and let's be honest - Om isn't the first and won't be the last band to rip them off. DCD paved trails with their music and still manage to influence bands that are light years away from their multifaceted version of darkwave.
The band does return back to it's style of stoner/doom with the next track, "State Of Non-Return 6:05" even bringing back the meaty guitars. The dark croon is spoken in a ritualistic fashion, bringing to mind ancient rituals in dusty old temples. Not to mention the use of violins to further enhance the atmosphere and the band's overall musical palette.
"Gethsemane 10:25" comes next, sounding like a sort of atmospheric rock fronted by the most well known singer of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters. "Sinai 10:19" comes right in after that, in all of it's esoteric instrumental glory. This might be an album for meditation at times, as the music tends to quite and focus the mind.
The final track is "Haqq Al-Yinn 11:24" which certainly reminds me of darkwave more than anything else. This is the kind of music that pagan/ritualistic bands play, and the lyrics themselves seem in the same vein. This music is not just music, it's definite ritual, through and through. Magick of some various sort is being worked on this disc, that I can tell - but I have yet to dig through the album and figure out what kind of incantations these are.
I don't sense anything overly harmful, and for the most part the messages come forth in the music ten-thousandfold. If you're just hearing music on this disc, I encourage you to open up your eyes and realize that this is much more than just a musical album.
As I've said, it's a ritual. But as to what, I have no idea. Unlike Toby Driver's last disc which I found to be somewhat unnerving in the energy sense, (remember that sounds are waves of energy and can affect and alter brainwave and energy patterns within one's self) this disc I found to be relaxing, calm and overly powerful. True desire and intention were let loose for 43:00 and if you are willing and open to these rituals of a positive energy space, then I do recommend that you check out this disc.
It's not for everyone, but I'm certain that there will be those who seek to delve further into it's words and symbols. Be very careful with this, for the occult is not a play-thing; it is an educator and an opener of the thin veil of mundane illusion.
Of course, getting high as a kite and putting this one could also be beneficial and calming to one's spirit. The atmospheres here are unparalleled for astral travel, I'd reckon.
One last thing. This isn't a metal album per se; so those looking for heavier doom influence will want to look elsewhere. It's a great release, but nothing that a metal fan would wholly enjoy, due to the lack of real metal.
Yet this album is heavy in a very other sense. You'll know when you hear it.
(5 Tracks, 43:00)
8/10 (In regards to metal)
10/10 (In regards to ritualistic atmosphere)
Icarus Witch - Rise (2012) - At first, I was not sure what to think of this new album by power metal veterans, Icarus Witch. But as I kept listening to it, I found many comparisons to bands like Avantasia, Brainstorm, Dream Evil, Edguy, Firewind, Tad Morose, Evergrey, Helloween and Nocturnal Rites among others.
The melodies are very predictable, the drumming isn't furious and there's not a lot of thrash to this power. But there are several memorable choruses and some really great solos on this one. Songs like "The End 4:35", "Coming Of The Storm 3:10", "Tragedy 5:32" and "Pray 2:56" remind just why it is that I still like power metal. These guys are certainly one of the best in the genre right now, crafting the same kind of catchy material that their forefathers did, and it gets stuck in my head just the same.
It isn't a perfect album though, as some of the songs are just a little weak for me. "Nothing Is Forever 4:10" is a forgettable ballad, and the only merit on "In The Dark 4:28" are the leads. It's not that great of a song otherwise. The last song "Last Call For Living 3:19" reminds me a little of Priest, but doesn't hit quite as hard as they would have done it. There's also an instrumental called "Asylum Harbor 0:31" which is really a throwaway track that opens up "Coming Of The Storm. This could have just been added to the track instead of showcasing it as a separate track.
The prog experimentation on this disc definitely helps it to stand out among the pack, but I don't know how much that will matter. There have already been a lot of good power metal releases this year, and I think that this one might get buried underneath them. But if you are actually one of those people who is still looking for power metal amongst all of the extreme bands that we've got nowadays; you should find something to suit your palette here. At least for a while.
Great power metal that I'd recommend to fans of the genre. Not as heavy as you might like, but it's definitely catchy and well produced. The metal equivalent of pop, but still worth checking out.
Highlights: The End, (We Are) The New Revolution, Coming Of The Storm, Tragedy, Say When, Break The Cycle, Pray (12 Tracks, 45:00)
Unsane - Wreck (2012) - I wasn't quite sure how this jazzy sludgecore was going to sound at first, but I'm glad that I decided to check it out. The band is definitely heavy, sounding at times like a Primus on Steroids. The vocalist has a very fierce spoken vocal that envelops into a scream.
The disc is very dirty, it's the kind of thing that's been covered in grease and grime because it's been sitting in the tar of a leftover oil spill for many years, so you'd have to imagine that the music sounds rather oil-black and filthy. But that doesn't mean that this disc lacks in it's rock and roll style guitar solos, because it's definitely got some great shredding moments.
You're also going to hear some great melodies too, even though you might not expect it. The disc has a very raw sense about it, even though it's produced much better than you'd expect a disc of this nature to be. This raw sense helps to really bring a sense of realism to the album; in other words, this is music that you can really FEEL.
Again, this is definitely due to the vocalist. His emotion on the mic is unparalleled and I have no idea what they'd sound like without him there. It really feels like Unsane is his vehicle for getting out frustration, and sometimes that can be more therapeutic for a person than talking to some half-wit therapist.
Every song carries the same vibe, but is altogether different from the others. This is a good thing, because the disc is cohesive, but not all of the songs are the same. One could say, "well the vocal style never changes" and you'd be right, but I don't know if I'd like to hear this guy just sing or speak, no matter what the rest of the band is doing.
This is 41:00 of punk-fueled anger set to the background of melodic post metal, with thrashy sludge. If you're looking for something other than this, you'll have to look elsewhere. The band certainly does a great job with each and every one of these tracks, and I recommend this one to all fans of dirty, grimy music.
It's sick, it's rotten, it's absolute garbage. But it's great fucking garbage. This is the kind of music you can play to the background image of child prostitution, deserted homes that banks cashed in on, global devastation, bloody, gory, sickly warfare between nations for oil, just the same oil as this album manifests.
Pure grime, real feeling. Doesn't get much more dirty than this. I don't think they'll top it, and I furthermore don't think that they care to.
(10 Tracks, 41:00)
Disaffected - Rebirth (2012) - Now, here's something you don't hear everyday. Disaffected makes some rather bizarre death metal, consisting of a thousand different time signatures and tempos. They also experiment, at times sounding like ten different bands, yet they are still able to keep their sound. I can't honestly tell you much about this album, and that's because I've only heard it once.
Yes, you probably have to listen to this thing two, three, four, five or twenty different times to really absorb the material. But I just don't have enough time to do that as a reviewer. The intro to the disc "Mankwala 1:49" makes it sound like some sort of darkwave ritual album; but as soon as the death metal starts playing, you'll then come to the realization that it's not.
The band doesn't play brutal death metal, I would liken it to an extremely tech/progressive/experimental death effort with hints of goth and there's even a female vocal sometimes. The songs are quite long, especially in the beginning, where most of them stretch closer to 10:00, then the normal radio single (which is only 3:30).
If you scroll through these songs, you find that each time you scroll, there's something different going on. That can either be a good or bad thing, depending on the person. While I like the idea of this extreme avantgarde, it can get just a little overbearing and it's tough to focus on when you're listening to it during the day to day work basis. Perhaps this is supposed to be listened to in a dark and silent room for the 66:00 of it's length. I'm not sure.
But it's not as badly cramped as it could've been. Trust me, as there are no flutes, wood blocks, or little metal triangles going "ping!" But you can tell that this is the kind of band that might actually decide to one day do that. "It is not good enough, we must have little metal triangles going ping!"
Joking aside, these guys really made one heck of a disc. I could've have done it, and you probably couldn't have either. The drum work is fantastic, the guitars love their prog, and the vocalist is somewhere between black and death metal. I also like the fact that the bring in the gothic organs and sometimes use the robot voice sample. It sounds much better than the Faceless did when they used it on Planetary Duality, but that's because these guys have a higher production value.
The band also excels in creating interesting and otherworldly atmospheres. Sometimes the vocals will even take a deep croon and really add to the gloom and despair. Yes, there are a myriad of things going on, like it's all some sort of big play - but it's done right. All of the tinkering done on this album helps to enhance the mood.
it's definitely death metal for intelligent people, and not just people who listen to technical stuff and think they're smart. You might need to be even more bright to understand this darkness. But let me tell you that it is certainly worth it. This is a dark album, it is a dreary disc - there are no happy melodies. But there are some great solos and the guy shreds his ass off on them. It's really hard not to recommend "Dreaming III (A Nightmare) 9:07" as it just sounds like the unnamed standout of the album. I'll also have to recommend "Hypnotic Prophecy 8:04" because that song also showcases a lot of this band's elements.
I consider these guys almost like an evolved Graveworm, in way. Whether you want to believe it or not, I just hear so many elements of goth here, but evolved and made into what they should sound like in 2012, this dystopic future world that we live in. One interesting thing about this album, is it's ear candy. You're going to hear a tidbit of something unique in each and every song, something that is unlike what you heard on the previous one.
Now how many bands actually do that these days?
Though the overall technical riffing might get on your nerves after a while, it's the little Egyptian influence of "The Rebirth Of... 6:12" that help to break up the monotony. One more thing. This guy should never speak, as he sounds like he's talking through his nose - like the super nerd that the guy probably is. A good example of this is the first part of "1460 Steps To Divine 4:57."
Nope, that's not a voice changer. The guy thought he could get by with it. But let me tell you something, with the sheer amount of talent that this band has, I'll have to overlook it. Not to mention the nice little lounge at the end of the album. What a great way to end such a bleak thing, really.
Of course, for their next album, (if you gentlemen in Disaffected are actually reading this review) they should find a way to try to mix these elements of happiness together with the elements of despair, in a way creating the human condition, the constant duality of pleasure and pain.
Nevertheless, if you're looking for something unique; definitely check out this album. Because that's what it is... some form of experimental death/goth/electronic/avant-garde/prog/technical and whatever else you can find. Pick up this metal scavenger hunt today!
Highlights: Everything but "Miracle Dance 2:09" (boring piano interlude) and "Evilution Within 7:05" (just a little weaker than the rest) (11 Tracks, 66:00)
Philm - Harmonic (2012) - This odd experimental side project from Dave Lombardo of Slayer, is for the most part, very experimental. Some tracks are atmospheric, some sound a little jazzy, some are just little instrumentals, and then some sound like the sort of heavy that one would discern from hard rock, or modern metal like the Deftones. There's even a few songs that remind me a little of a punkier Killing Joke.
I'm not sure who the vocalist is, but he certainly has quite a scream on him, one that he's not afraid to belt out through some of the songs. The guy has a distinctively British punk sound, and immediately makes this leaps and bounds from Slayer. Add the menagerie of atmospheric passages and prog, and you're walking right out the door of thrash metal.
But don't turn away from this just yet, because there are still some moments when this thrashes - and being a drummer's band; the drums are showcased heavily and perform well above the standards that you would expect this album to live up to, this being the legendary Dave Lombardo.
At many times, one gets the feeling that this is the kind of disc where anything went, and that is both a good and bad thing. It's good, because so many different sides are shown on this album, and it's apt to change it's tune in mere matter of seconds. But there are occasional parts of the disc where one must scratch their head and wonder what was going on. For a very experimental hard rock disc with tinges of metal at it's core, I'm sure that it's not going to appeal to most fans of the heavy hitting thrash that Slayer does.
But that's not to say that it's terrible. It's certainly unique and marketable in an industry where clones and copycats seem to make up a great majority of signed bands. Of course, one can also come to the conclusion of "fuck you, they ripped off Killing Joke on most of this album!" and that's definitely true in some aspects.
The base riffs and melodies are a little simplistic at times, but well structured and wonderfully unstable. For instance, "Way Down 5:43" with it's progressive and slightly jazzy vibe, (reminding me of Pink Floyd in some areas) comes right after a song that sounds more like a tribute to Deftones, "Area 3:52." Then the band just throws in an atmospheric instrumental that happens to have not only the title track, "Harmonic 3:13" but some impressive melodies and trippy landscapes that lead right up into the 70's prog of another instrumental called "Exuberance 7:25." Later on throughout the track, you'll hear a screaming guitar solo - probably something right out of Slayer, but with proggy drums in the background. And all of this happens smack dab in the middle of the album.
Yes, it's that kind of record. Get ready to get under the influence of herbs before checking this one out. They might enhance the experience for you. LSD would probably also be a good choice, as some of these songs sound like drug trips. Yet you should also be aware that the Killing Joke influence will come straight back at you in a hurry, so don't think that this is a chill out album.
Therein lies the disc's fatal flaw. This sounds like two albums mixed together. You've got the high energy tracks mixed in with the chilled out instrumentals, and it almost ruins the mood. In a way, it gives the disc a sort of sporadic ADD - but it can be unnerving to ruin the mood of such a great atmosphere like "Exuberance" with the much heavier, scream-laden "Sex Amp 5:06" and "Held In Light 3:30."
Then after you get finished with the second round of heaviness, the light prog comes back with "Killion 3:35" and that flows into "Mezzanine 3:22" which goes into the heaviness again (but no longer scream-laden) with "Mild 4:20" which is exactly that, ending with an unexpected atmosphere that changes the whole vibe of the song completely. The disc ends on a heavy note, with "Meditation 4:11" a song that should've been the last track on this modern era Killing Joke tribute.
I'm sorry that I had to explain this disc, but there's really no other way to do it. This is a multi-faceted creature, something that goes from heavy to light and from day to night without a moments notice. It's the very image of sporadity, so don't be upset if you find that the music just can't stay in one spot.
Fans of Dave Lombardo's drumming will find much to like here, surprisingly. The man's skills are showcased beautifully - as is his previously unknown love for Killing Joke. This is actually worth a shot, and at most it's a change from the genres we're used to - death, thrash, black, and doom. Check it out, but certainly TRY before you BUY.
Highlights: Vitriolize, Area, Way Down, Harmonic, Exuberance, Amoniac, Dome, Killion, Mezzanine (15 Tracks, 62:00)
Sleeping Peonies - Slowly Disappearing EP (2012) - This 19:00 EP from black metal shoegaze group Sleeping Peonies is different, but it's not that great either. Sure, what he does with the guitars is alright, but I'm sensing some very bad drum programming, and I can't hear the damned vocals at all. I wanted to like this disc, but I'm afraid that clean guitar melodies can't save it for me.
There is a little merit in the opener, "A Timid Eyelash Flutter 2:02", "Slowly Disappearing 2:51", and "Blowing Out Candles 1:34" showing that the guy does have some talent and perhaps he'll get better over time - this is a good idea and I hope that he'll further develop it; but he needs more practice to fine-tune his skills. I'm sure the mastermind behind Neurotech didn't just wakeup one morning and become good at what he does, but with time, he created several great pieces of music.
This is a work in progress. I'm not sure if the guy's selling it or what, but if you're interested, I'm sure that simple search could help you find it.
Highlights: A Timid Eyelash Flutter, Slowly Disappearing, Blowing Out Candles (6 Tracks, 19:00)
Torture Killer - I Chose Death EP (2012) - Torture Killer wasn't really a band that I dug into until Chris Barnes jumped on a few of their albums. But a few was all that he did, and after those two discs had passed, the band found another vocalist.
This three track EP showcases some great death metal though, very much in the old school horror/death metal nature of the Revolting album (Rogga, you might want to check this out!) I reviewed, among other bands of that ilk.
Just like on the material with Chris Barnes, Torture Killer is still set on being a groove/death band with horror themed melodies. Take the first track for example, "All Will End In Terror 4:30." It's very much in the style of groove death, with a gravelly vocalist that unleashes a few bloodcurdling screams, and features some definite horror themed melodies.
Then we've got "Succumb To Dark 4:15" which marries the groove with a little bit of brutality and speed. Then there's some prog interjections which this band is also somewhat known for. But don't call them prog death, this is more of an act to break the monotony and it works before bringing the hammer right back down.
Finally, we have the eerie title track, "I Chose Death 5:47" which sounds like the stuff of nightmares and reminds me why I like death metal so much in the first place. Those opening riffs alone tell me that death metal is still going strong in 2012. Almost twenty years later, and the genre is still bringing horror, groove, and brutality just as hard and fierce as it was in the early 90's.
Even though this disc is only 14:00 long, it's worth listening to. All of these songs are good songs. They've all got potential, and with material this fucking good coming out of the Torture Killer camp; I'm definitely ready for another full length from these guys. Nothing is wrong with this EP, other that the fact that it's just an EP.
Quit fucking teasing me and release a full length album already.
Highlights: All (3 Tracks, 14:00)
Attika 7 - Blood Of My Enemies (2012) - Don't let the title fool you, guys. This isn't even one tenth of an industrial metal band. It's just a project from former Biohazard frontman, Evan Seinfeld. It also features Static-X bassist, Tony Campos. I have no fucking clue what Revolver is saying about industrial on this disc, because I'm not hearing any. Maybe a few atmospheres and stuff, some effects if you'll listen close - but for the most part, this is like hard rock/modern metal. You can pick it up with the new Fozzy and get the same feeling out of both of them. This is the kind of stuff for people who like heavy music, but not metal.
It's very catchy radio-friendly groove-metal and I'm sure that there are people out there who will accept it. But I think that true metal fans and fans of Biohazard might scratch their heads on this one. Yes, there's some solos on the disc, but this is about as re-tread modern metal/hard rock as you can get. Most of the riffs are merely variations, the drumming is pretty boring, but I guess that some people might find this the perfect music to play during a round of Call Of Duty or Battlefield or World Of Tanks or something. It's actually the kind of music I would expect to see playing in the intro to one of those games. (Not Linkin Park, which got used for the new Medal of Honor, I believe.)
This is about as heavy as Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Godsmack, and many others in that vein. I could mention and pull out certain tracks, but why? The only thing I found that didn't sound just like everything else is, "The Hard Cold Truth 1:23" a spoken word piece that is worth checking out.
But everything else is just kinda by the numbers. You could play this on the radio and people would like it on modern rock stations. It's very watered down, but I know it's going to sell, because it's so fucking catchy.
It'll also get used in WWE. Yeah. Just has that kind of vibe. Listen to this shit and tell me I'm wrong, folks. One of these tracks is going to be either a wrestler entrance or a theme to an event.
Not awful, but nothing at all new. Would you believe me if I told you that the new album from Chris Jericho's band, Fozzy has more to offer than this? Well, it's true. And he's a wrestler. Which makes this album sound even worse.
(13 Tracks, 48:00)
Fozzy - Sin & Bones (2012) - Don't even give me any shit about this one. I was just as surprised as you would be. Yes, this is Chris Jericho's band. Yes, I said that their last disc was horrible. Yes, they've had yet to do anything even remotely metal. But I definitely found myself a little intrigued by some of the material on here.
No, it's not because they decided to use a few more riffs and some more drum technique here and there. No, it's not because I thought the duet between him and the chick was beautiful on album opener, "Spider In My Mouth 4:47" or I thought it was cool that they used a breakdown in that song, because that's "totally metal."
Nope, it's not because I thought "Sandpaper (Feat. M. Shadows) 3:13" is a great song because M. Shadows is so hot and has a great voice. What the fuck do I look like, some kind of goddamned giddy heavy metal girl or something?
And then you say, "Well, if not for the super sexiness of M. Shadows; what else could you possibly like about this album?"
Alright, then what if I told you about "Blood Happens 4:07" which is an interesting song with some stolen Dethklok riffs and light growls. It also has an interesting solo and it's much heavier than anything on their last album. So there's one thing.
It's definitely not "Inside My Head 4:02" because that song is boring radio rock, despite the so/so solo. However, "Sin and Bones 3:36" has some good riffs and a decent chorus. it's catchy as fuck, I won't even lie. The solo there is also good. It was worth naming the disc after this track, because it's a definite standout. Yes, it's the metal equivalent to pop, but damn it, it's fucking catchy!
"A Passed Life 6:55" is a softer song, but it's got some structure. I didn't expect anything like this, reminds me a little of Maiden in some areas. Also contains some prog melodies I didn't expect. It's a sign of maturation if nothing else.
I could do without "She's My Addiction 3:22" which is a country rock love song thing? What the fuck? Then there's the slower paced "Shrine Forever 5:45" with riffs that steal right from the playbook of Zakk Wylde. It's not a bad song, and it's got some definite structure and shows signs of musical maturation quite like "A Passed Life."
But one of my favorite songs on this disc is the Ozzy influenced, "Dark Passenger 4:23." It's catchy and I do like the lyrics. His voice does reach for Ozzy's tone and he hits it a few times. There's a little breakdown piece, so "oh yeah, it's metal." But I will say that there's a hell of a solo on this track. There's definitely a pretty damn decent axe-man in the band, if he were allowed to play for more than a minute. Make that more than 30 seconds...
But wait? What's this at the end? Apparently, there's a 11:34 minute epic called "Storm The Beaches." It's about WWII. A couple of decent riffs, the song kicks into gear well, reminding me a little bit of bands like Brainstorm, but with a less seasoned vocalist. Believe it or not, there's actually a real guitar solo on this track, some interesting atmospheres and effects, along with some good melodies. This is probably the best song that Fozzy has ever released in their career, and they should be proud of it. This is more layered and structured than the usual radio rock fans of this band would ever get the privilege to hear.
Believe it. There's an a second full solo on this song, and plenty of riff transitions. Yes. This song actually makes me think that Fozzy has potential. I guess I'm going to have to start climbing up a very tall and steep mountain, so that I can jump right off in disbelief of the world. But yes, this is probably the best song that Chris Jericho has ever done with a band, and I can't even believe that this is a song on their album.
I think metal fans are going to be in for an unexpected treat when they hear this disc, as much as I was. Especially with this album's incredible closer. Yes, I said incredible closer. That's not in parenthesis to sound sarcastic. It's up to you if you want to buy it, Jericho's already a billion dollar "wrestling superhero" but I definitely recommend that you all listen to "Storm The Beaches." Perhaps this is a sign of what's to come?
...And probably of the coming apocalypse as well.
Highlights: Sin And Bones, A Passed Life, Shine Forever, Dark Passenger, Storm The Beaches (10 Tracks, 51:00)
Neurotech - Unconditional (Feat. Tanja Ravjen) - I'm glad this new single is free, because it makes me want to claw my eyes out. This is what happens when you become popular and start trying to sell out. At first, it's a great electronic piece with a slight EBM vocal, and a scowl. Then we've got this chick singing the chorus. Yeah, it'll be popular in goth clubs and all that - but please don't make the second EP or next release like this. There's enough groups already doing this.
It's alright, but I don't like it as much as the stuff he does by himself. It's catchy, but it's nothing of merit. Could this be the end of the Neurotech I knew?
(1 Track, 3:47)
La Coka Nostra - Masters Of The Dark Arts (2012) - I'm not real familiar with these guys, but Vinne Paz guests on their disc and the lyrics have a death/horrorcore tint to them. Oh, Ill Bill's in this group too.
The disc opens with "My Universe Ft. Vinnie Paz 4:00" which is a good way to open up the disc. But most of the songs on this disc really aren't that memorable. "Creed Of The Greedier 3:43" is satirical track about being greedy like the elite, and "The Story Goes On 3:34" has a good beat to back it up, like they chopped the music they use for epic movie trailers, I think it's a group called Nine Steps From Hell. Which is a weird name for a group that makes all the music for Hollywood trailers.
"Snow Beach Feat. Thirstin Howl III 4:01" loops a guitar riff as a beat, and it does work well for the song. It shows that the band does like and uses metal as an influence in their music, of course this guy's accent is so thick that I can hardly hear his damn rhymes. "The Eyes Of Santa Muerte feat. Sick Jacksen 4:31" has a Latin feel to it and there is some guitar influence. The rhymes are definitely good, and Sick Jacksen sounds fucking great.
"Murder World 2:45" of course, is going to be good - has a very Jedi Mind Tricks kind of beat, got to like the fucking chorus here, talking about murdering someone again in the afterlife. Then Ill Bill just goes right into the verse right after the fucking chorus as if it wasn't even there. The guy's always had a good flow, even since his debut. "Coka Kings feat. Vinnie Paz 3:48" has a good beat using an chopped organ, but the chorus was also chopped up, and that fucks up the chorus to me. Of course, Vinnie's on this one and he manages to save the track.
Of course, there's "Malverde Market 3:11" which incorporates a funeral hymn into the beat and features real samples from newscasts about the Malverde massacre, something that I didn't even know what going on. Pretty sick shit they're talking about here. The disc closes with the title track, which starts out with an epic intro and doesn't fail to deliver. It's short, but ends out the album, and there's even a few anti-illuminati lyrics here. Not too shabby, guys.
All in all, it's a solid album. There's plenty of hits and misses - but if you get anything out of a record with these guys, get the fucking messages. Yeah, they talk about killing folks, but there's a lot of purposeful tongue and cheek shit that you have to read between the lines to understand. These discs are more about rhymes, and they definitely have some great ones on here. At any rate, it's much better than the World Star Illuminati mind control slave bitches (c)rap that you'll hear on the radio. While you're checking out that shit, do yourself a favor and google search "MK Ultra." You're welcome.
My Universe, Creed Of The Greedier, Electronic Funeral, The Story Goes On, Snow Beach, The Eyes Of Santa Muerte, Murder World, Coka Kings, Malverde Market, Masters Of The Dark Arts (14 Tracks, 50:00)
Insane Clown Posse - The Mighty Death Pop (2012 4 Disc Box Set) - Those infamous wicked clowns from Detroit are at it again, despite the fact that this music is now considered by the FBI to be "gang music." Wow. Incredible how that happened. They didn't even start the horrorcore genre, (it was Esham back in the 80's) but they were the one group who's music started a gang, called the Juggalos. Which this is incredibly funny, because it shows how stupid our government and people in general are. The term, "Juggalo" actually refers to the second track off the band's first release, 1990's Carnival Of Carnage. The name of that track? "The Juggler."
See? There's nothing mysterious about that. It's just a name for the fans, and now big brother thinks it's a gang. In the words of Dave Mustaine, "If there's a new way, I'll be the first in line - but it better work this time." Indeed. These knuckleheads and this system are flawed, most obviously. If this keeps up, corpse-painted black metal fans are next on the list.
Now, as for the albums. Yes, in a very bad marketing ploy; the band decided to make three different color backgrounds for this seventh (Yes, they already did six, but need for money means that a new hand had to come out. I do not see this hand ever finishing though.) Joker's card. Each color comes with a different bonus disc. While that's nothing new, the band decided that instead of a bonus DVD, they would instead throw three standalone music albums along with this album: a covers disc, an hour long sexual rap, and a disc with b-sides and better mixes of the tracks already on the card.
The Mighty Death Pop has a very serious message in nature, speaking out to the youtube generation. In a world of break.com and other such "fail" websites, people are going above and beyond to injure and kill themselves. The "pop" represents the pop of a balloon as a metaphor to a shortened life. The group is basically telling people not to do stupid shit that will get them killed. But the disc is a clusterfuck of ideas, and some of them are executed quite poorly.
The introduction for the Joker is weak, "The Mighty Death Pop 2:48" and though we'd expect "Night Of The Chainsaw 3:12" to redeem it, it doesn't. I have no fucking clue what was going through these two men's minds when they decided to rap in this fashion. It does not sound psychotic, it sounds silly. This could have been rapped normally, and would have been much better. "Chris Benoit 3:23" is supposed to sound psychotic, like the devil has him under control, but the song is executed poorly. There's nothing about this that even warrants a single.
"The Blasta 4:07" is actually decent, due to the fact that it reminds me of "Mr Johnson's Head" from their earlier releases, and has a satisfying end rhyme. "Kickin Kickin 3:38" is probably one of the worst songs that this band has ever done in the history of their career. Nothing redeems this track. "Bazooka Joey 3:20" is about a soldier who carries a bazooka, and is negligent in battle (as so many soldiers of war are) killing himself with the "pop" of the balloon. "Shooting Stars 2:05" is short, but one of the best ICP songs that I've ever heard. It talks about how we seem to worship the stars, and while they do horrible things (like Chris Brown beating the shit out of Rhianna) they get off with just a mere slap on the wrist. This song is about taking justice into our own hands. Hopefully, nobody will take it too seriously though. I'd hate for ICP to get into more shit, because a Juggalo shot Chris Brown or something. But people these days don't think.
"Juggalo Juice 3:04" is the band's first song for Faygo. It is a type of cheap soda that is sold where I live, so I have had it before. It's not bad, but certainly not healthy. It's an upbeat track, certainly good enough for a single. "Hate Her To Death 4:51" is a little psychotic, but it actually works far better than the chainsaw flop. This is the kind of controversial material that we'd expect from the band. "Skreem 4:40" is a song about sex, featuring Tech N9ne and Hopsin. Tech delivers, but Hopsin does not. The song itself is very boring, just a regular old sex song. But it's odd how it comes right after the song about wanting to kill a woman. "Ghetto Rainbows 3:46" is a good track, definitely worthy of a single, although it has a sort of meme-quality that the band warranted due to their weird use of singing profanity. "What the fuck could this be, up in the sky? There is a rainbow..." You get the idea.
"When I'm Clownin 2:24" is a bullshit song that doesn't have any place on the disc. Might as well be filler. "Dog Catchers 1:46" is a diss to some other guy. Bands just do this to piss people off. Necro did it with Ugly Kid Joe. Who gives a fuck? Aren't we all grown adults by now? "Daisies 3:42" works, it has a eerie sort of vocal tone and style that reminds me of only the best ICP material. "Where's God 3:41" also works, as it's a well done song with some thought provoking lyrics.
The disc ends with "Forever 5:04" talking about if one can resist the urge to kill one's self, they'll go onto to Shangri-La (Heaven.) Wow. Our society is pretty fucked up, if people cannot resist the urge to kill themselves. There's also a weird outro where a pilot goes mad and crashes a plane, followed by bullshit outtakes that could've been left off.
That's the seventh joker's card, ladies and gentlemen. It at least resembles a Joker's card. I can say that much. Bang Pow Boom was far better, but this disc has some interesting experiments. It's downfall, is that it was too experimental.
Now on to the other three discs.
A black background, will get you the Freaky Tales CD, which is literally a 60 minute track with Violent J rapping about each and every woman that he's ever fucked, and the one's he's passed on. Though he says it's true, I cannot for sure say that I believe all of these women were that crazy, and that he would admit to shooting one of their heads off. Don't call something real, if you're going to also say that you murdered a few of these broads.
Regardless, the material is clearly some of his best, and it doesn't get boring despite the fact that it is the same lyrical style for an entire hour. Then there is a moment of silence, and some outtakes. Again, these were not needed. But it's not bad to have them here, because some of them are a little comical, and I don't take this disc too seriously.
But he talks about wanting to fuck a Disney channel star on one of these tracks, and says he's a "dirty old man" because of it. Again, why would you admit these things? I used to have respect for the group, but that respect is dwindling. This guy's thirty something years old, has a wife and children. He shouldn't be singing about wanting to fuck a girl that's probably the age of his own daughter.
A red background, will get you the Covered, Smothered, and Chunked CD. This contains nothing but covers, and is just about an hour long. (54:00 counting 6:13 of outtakes.) Basically, the band took cover songs, changed the lyrics, made some songs that had no profanity, full of it - and destroyed others in the process. The first track, "Prelude 3:20" is one of the best, where ICP and much of the underground talk about how timeless their music is and why it has sold so well throughout the years, compared to other rappers. Their gimmick and philosophy has proved lucrative, I will certainly give them that.
Next comes "Jump Around 3:21" which is decent enough, but nothing great. Then Tears For Fears gets completely stomped, with "Shout Ft.Blaze 4:51." While it doesn't have the rock edge that Disturbed brought to it, the band did the best at keeping the original music style of the song. Lyrically though, it's a train wreck and Violent J and Shaggy shouldn't be singing this song. But they do. Yes, they sing it. Hence why this disc is free. "Aint No Future In Yo Frontin 3:49" is way before my time, but it wasn't a bad track, with some very old school 80's beats. To tell you the truth, I'm not going to track by track this - because I've never heard of several of these songs.
However, they covered Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and made it a 3:34 song about being indestructible, no matter what people say. "Hold Still ft. Downtown Brown 2:22" is the punkiest that this disc ever gets, and "State Of Shock 4:27" is an awful 80's rock cover that will shock most Juggalos. Also, "Love For Dem Gangsters 4:19" is not going to help them to remove their name from the FBI's gang list.
Finally, the group's best cover comes at the end of the disc, entitled "Guess My Religion 6:25." This is a song worth paying for, in all actuality. It's either Madrox or Monoxide doing the clean vocal chorus on this one, and those guys actually can fucking sing, so it works there. The song is about hypocrisy in the church, and is covered profanely, but definitely real. This is probably one of the truest songs that ICP has ever done, and it really showcases that their faith in God isn't blind faith in mainstream religion. Many people were shocked to find out that the carnival was God on the sixth card. At the end of this disc, there are 6:13 of outtakes.
Finally, if you bought the white background, then you bought the ideal version of the album. Why? Because you get the album the way it should have been. But let me defend myself to the Juggalos who might be reading this, because I have been a fan of this group and many other hatchet-wielding fiends on the label for a countless number of years. (But nothing can touch that first Dark Lotus disc with Marz, not ABK.)
First of all, these are the Mike E. Clark mixes that the band promised would be on the real disc from the get-go. I have no fucking clue who mixed the rest of the tracks, but Mike E. Clark brought the thunder on these, while the rest were pretty boring. But not only that, these mixes were star studded, even the b-sides, some of them so good that they could have been singles and replaced the b-sides on the actual disc.
The "Chris Benoit (Kumas Scrub Remix) 5:44" features the legendary Ice Cube and Scarface. They both kill on their verses, and the overall mix is a hundred times better than the original. It actually sounds crazier and more psychotic. Next, comes that song I thought was a b-side "When I'm Clownin" but it's another Kumas remix with Kreayshawn and it's 3:25. Again, the mix is better and the vocals just sound much clearer. There's even some guitar and drums.
The first b-side follows, and it should have replaced "Kickin Kickin." It's called "Lost in The Music 4:28" and I am completely wondering why this track was not put on the album. It definitely communicated the concept of the current Joker card, and was something that I feel was worth being on the real thing. Swollen Members also make an appearance on this track, the mix is good, and the chorus works. "Up Ya Ass 1:32" is kind of like a fucked up nursery rhyme. It's not that great, and I'm glad it was a b-side.
Next, we've got the R&B mix of "Ghetto Rainbows." It features Color Me Badd and some R&B soul with a better mix. The chorus is really good, and the whole thing fixes the experiment of the older version. Then we have "Birfday Party 4:13" which is annoying as fuck, and it doesn't do much more than that for me. "Scrubstitute Teachers 3:09" is great, reminds me of their older material and it also features Twiztid and Willie D.
"Playin In The Woods 3:31" is another great track, it could've replaced one of the filler tracks on the other disc. Violent J's lyrics are great, just like his old shit. The chorus is weak though. Next, we've got the rock influenced "Pass It To The Sky 4:08" which needs to be a single and should have been on the fucking album, right at the very end, or right before "Forever" at least. Not only that, one of the guys in KMK died and this should go out as a tribute to him. It's about smoking weed with the dead, and would sell several copies as a standalone downloadable single. I've got friends that will definitely play this one quite a few times.
"Shugston Brooks 4:43" is an odd song that I didn't really get. The lyrics are really well done, and it is a story based track. Perhaps it falls in with the theme of the main disc, and the "pop" of the death balloon. Next, a new version of "Night Of The Chainsaw" follows. This is the Judge Strange Remix and it's 3:52, featuring Three 6 Mafia. Of course, Three 6 deliver. Much more than ICP, sadly. The mix isn't much different, but the extra verses matter.
The final track is an extended version of "Forever" with all three of The Geto Boys, which according to ICP was very difficult to do, at least to get all three of them together for that track. I'd definitely wonder why they decided to leave this one off the original, despite all the trouble it took to get all three of The Geto Boys. The disc ends just like the main disc ended, with a death pop.
So that's it. All four discs, totaling in at close to 4 hours. Yeah, 4 hours of music. If you want all this music, you can get this box set for 37.00 USD. That's really not bad, considering you would have to buy all three versions of the card to get the extra discs otherwise. That would cost quite a bit, I'd imagine.
Overall, the first disc needed as I said, the remixes to replace the originals, especially due to the other rappers - that'd have been a big selling point: "ICP with many other legends on a new Joker's card!" But they decided not to do that for some odd reason, especially since people seem to go crazy when they find tracks with six or seven different guest rappers on them, even if they're fan mixes. "Lost In The Woods, Scrubstitute Teachers, Playin In The Woods, Pass It To the Sky" and maybe even "Shugston Brooks" could've replaced tracks like "Kickin Kickin" and "Bazooka Joey." The main disc is only 63:00 and could have had room for more. The "Prelude" should have been on the album with a different name, as it represents the band's timelessness among other underground rappers; and the cover of "Guess My Religion" could have come after "Where's God?"
The only disc that should have been an extra, is the 60:00 Freaky Tales, because that works and it's a great free gift for buying the album. Everything else should have been plopped on the web for free download, or a set price. A few of those covers aren't even worth a dime folks, and that's the honest truth. I've heard all of the band's b-sides, and they've had some real great ones over the years. These aren't those kind of b-sides. Perhaps that's why the covers disc also says "chunked" as in scrapped.
Overall, it's not a complete waste and it is still a Joker's card. ICP fans should find something to like here, and non ICP fans will find much to hate and mock. Business as usual. This card is not better than any of the others, except maybe Carnival, because that stuff was a little rough - (But I don't really consider that a card, because it's more like an introduction.) but it's much better than you think it is. Don't judge it by "Chris Benoit" because there are much better and more interesting tracks on here. The magic is not gone yet, but it is fading. Even though they aim for six new cards, I don't see it happening.
Also, this is apparently the group's last physical release; which means that future material will all be digital.
Highlights: Intro, The Blasta, Shooting Stars, Juggalo Juice, Hate Her To Death, Ghetto Rainbows, Dog Catchers, Daisies, Where's God, Forever, Chris Benoit (Remix), When I'm Clownin (Remix), Lost In The Music, Ghetto Rainbows (Remix), Scrubstitute Teachers, Playin In The Woods, Pass It To The Sky, Night Of The Chainsaw (Remix), Prelude, Guess My Religion, Freaky Tales
(4 Albums, 47 Tracks, 3.9 Hours)
The Mighty Death Pop
Covered, Smothered, and Chunked
The Extra Pop Emporium
25/40 = 7/10
Final score: 7/10