Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 62 (September 10th, 2012)


Ad Patres - Scorn Aesthetics (PR2012) - This is the debut album from Alsvid, drummer and founder of the legendary French black metal band, Seth and members of the bands Enthroned, <CODE>, Withdrawn, Fornication, and IOST. The attempt of the band wasn't to make a tribute to death metal, but to make something new and fresh for the scene. It was recorded in Gorod's own Bud Studio, so the production is done relatively well on it.

And that's all I get from the Kaotoxin promo sheet. I love how Kaotoxin always has a little reviewer guy to talk the bands up, but I strongly doubt that he'd be allowed to say that he didn't like the album! But of course, that'd be bad promotion.

This is a good death metal disc, but it's not necessarily near as good as the guy hypes it up. The opener, "The Lock 2:53" is a little weak, but slightly catchy, and I don't think things start really getting good until the second track, "Scars of Compromise 3:57." There is a great deal of structure on that song and many ideas are thrown into less than four minutes of music. Definitely promising.

The drumming on this one is interesting and very complex, the guy knows to do much more than just blast beats the whole time, but there are some blasts in it for good measure. The riffs are apt to change at any given time, and with that change, the entire nature of the song. This disc does have some good melodies and some worthy solos too. The vocals switch between guttural barks and venomous screams, the same thing you've heard before. But if he started singing in a high pitch tone or something, I think I'd laugh and that wouldn't be good for the music.

Every track has it's own persona, but keeps the pace of the album which definitely represents the current sound of death metal. I don't think fans of the old school approach would necessarily care for it, but I think it does have serious potential with fans of the current death metal style. There are a few songs lacking in quality for me, and I do have to say that I've heard better from the genre this year. But for black metal guys doing death metal, this is pretty damned good.

The disc is recommended for fans of Suffocation, Hate Eternal, and Severe Torture according to the promo sheet; so if you like those bands, seriously check it out. I'm sure they'll amass tons of fans with this interesting take on death metal, by black metal musicians.

Highlights: Scars Of Compromise, To The Fathers, In Vivo, Emphasize Nihility
(10 Tracks, 32:00)



Unconsecrated - Awakening In The Cemetery Grave (PR2012) - Unconsecrated is an Spanish death metal band, that plays death metal in a Swedish style, similar to Revolting, early Unleashed, Entombed, Dismember exc. This disc is a collection of all the band's recorded material, and that is why it is almost unending. As I listened to this album on my mp3 player, I noticed that songs would just keep playing and playing, with very little variety or uniqueness.

The band definitely showcases their best material at the forefront, singing about the undead, the devil, and general murder. But the material seems to suffer the further along the band went, meaning that their current material is much stronger than the early stuff.

The first part of the album is the Slave To The Grave EP. It's great material, that really sounds promising. It shows that the band can play worthy old school death metal, and I'd certainly like to hear more from them in the future. The intro was interesting, the three metal tracks were all great, and the ending instrumental was a perfect way to end the album. I can see why this sold so well, as it's formidable death metal.

The next part of the album is the band's second demo, Dark Awakening. It's definitely a step in the right direction, but not as strong as the band's current EP. There are some absolutely horrid attempts at atmosphere on this disc, I wish that they scrapped those altogether.

Then finally we have the band's earliest material, their Unconsecrated Cemetery demo. This demo is decent, it's just nothing great. There's included a cover of Unleashed's "Dead Forever 3:00" at the very end of the disc, but it's also kind of mediocre.

The bottom line is this. The band definitely has talent now, and I kind of feel that in the past when things were still coming together, the band had a lot of work to do and was more or less just making carbon copy emulations of their favorite bands, rather than trying to branch out and try a couple of new ideas on the EP. Bands like this are a dime a dozen, especially in Sweden. This album is nothing that you haven't heard before, and after 71 minutes of hearing much of the same material, you'll wish that they just took the best cuts, re-recorded them, and threw them on.

Not a whole lot of variety on this one, but they can play Swedish death metal with the best of the Swedes. No big time melodies, but definitely old school brutal. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then go pick it up. But it really started to get on my nerves after hearing the same song structures for over an hour. After I was done listening to this one, I felt that I'd heard enough of this band to last a decade. They can play death metal, and they do some good things here and there, so it's not completely mediocre. But it's damned close.

Much of the songs sound the same, and there's so many of them that I really can't just call out the tracks that really called to me. But to tell you the truth, nothing really grabbed my attention and it all sounded like cookie-cutter Swe-death. I'd tell you to save your money and grab the new Revolting or Blood Mortized instead, but if you just have to have it - well, it's there.

Nevertheless, I'll certainly give their next disc a go. Perhaps it'll be more realized than these demos and the EP.

Highlights: EP and Dark Awakening (Tracks 1-11. The disc should have ended after that. 42:00 of music would have been fine.)

(18 Tracks, 71:00)



Inferion - Aborted By The Sun EP (PR2012) - This is death metal from an Army Special Forces soldier by the name of Nick Reyes. It's an EP that was lost for years and recently found in an old tough box along with some other discs. The DVD contained all the mixes and masters for the album, recorded in 2003 under the band name, Farewell My Angel. He re-recorded much of this lost EP while training in Fort Bragg, GA.

Those who might be familiar with the band's black metal release The Desolate, might be taken aback by this, but it was supposed to be released in 2003 after the release of Inferion's Firewar. The original mixes and masters were on a hard drive that caught fire, but I guess the guy burned them to a DVD and threw them in a tough box and forgot about it until now.

Anyway, the thing's been re-recorded and here's the verdict:

Well, let's hope that Reyes doesn't kill me for this, with all of his training, I'm quite sure he could - but the disc isn't all that special, really. It's full of rage, anger and probably echoes the horrors of battle unlike I'll hopefully never get to see in my lifetime. Other than that though, it offers little that I haven't already heard years ago.

The disc itself is only 14 minutes long. Yes, you heard me right. This disc is only 14 minutes of music, and in 14 minutes, there really isn't much that one can showcase. Add to that the fact that the first track, "Kill The Angel 1:28" is exactly as it says, a 1:28 intro piece, and you've only got 13 minutes of music.

The vocals are extremely fierce, and the riffs are that of melodic death metal, similar to Kataklysm's In Shadows And Dust which came out around the same time. As a matter of fact, it's almost safe to say that the riffs on "Aborted By The Sun 2:17" sound like they were ripped completely from that album. The whole disc has a Heaven Shall Burn-esque feel to it, but despite what's good on this disc, I'd rather listen to 2004's Antigone than this. "Imagine Me Geometry 2:50 is a great cut though, definitely setting itself apart from the rest of the songs by adding some well needed structure... before it goes into a weak breakdown. Then we return to "The God Machine 2:26" back with that In Shadows and Dust riffing, but I think the riffs are played a little too fast on this one. But I understand that this guy didn't have much time, as he's fighting in a war and has more fucking balls than I ever will for doing that. The disc ends with "My Hydrogen Bomb 3:11" which I can barely hear. Yes, folks - this was most certainly recorded as quickly as possible in a military base, it sounds every bit like it was. The quality of this thing is somewhere between produced riffs and demo vocals. It sounds like the guy is screaming in a room where the echoes are reverberating off the walls.

This album is so short, that I'm listening to it again as I do this review and it will be probably be over by the time I've got to the scoring portion of my reviews.

And yep, that's it. Definitely mimics the hell out of HSB and Kataklysm during their early 2000's. It's literally "thrown together" but if you've got to have an Inferion fix, then check this one out. I'd personally tell you to wait for the band's next release, if there will be one; this guy is in Special Forces now, so he probably won't have time to do much metal, I'd imagine - seeing as how he's putting his life on the line an doing all sorts of covert ops that most people only live out vicariously in video games.

I'm gonna have to be harsh here, though. I guess I'll have to give it a 3. I mean, it is listenable and the riffs are good in areas, but the vocals are hard to hear and when the songs end they just click off without really an ending riff or fadeout. The last track just clicks off and that's it.

The only way I'd give it a worse score is if the riffs were bad, and they aren't. There's some good throwback here. But I think I can listen to old Kataklysm and HSB and others playing the same type of metal now and back in the day, and get a much better feeling.

For the diehard fan only.

Highlights: Imagine Me Geometry (6 Tracks, 14:00)



Morbid Execution - Vulgar Darkness (PR2012) - I didn't get any promo material with this one, so I'll have to check the review in Decibel for some info on the album.

(Checks magazine...)

All right. These guys are a Polish two piece doing a very raw and thrashy type of black metal. Trust me, this is more like Venom than Emperor. Mr. Bomber and Uncle Morbid (more known for being in Throneum) know how to play this shit just as raw and gritty as they possibly can, just like the review says - I'll agree with that. There's definitely some Sabbathy riffs here and there. But this ain't doom, it's certainly black metal at it's very origins. I'm talking about the 80's shit that people didn't take seriously until the 90's, when all the corpse paint came into play.

It's actually the kind of black metal that's got enough of a stoner/sludge vibe to it, that you can actually smoke a bowl while listening to it. It's not the kind of thing that's gonna piss you off or enlighten you to the universe or any fucking thing like that. But it certainly does put the "black" into Sabbath, in a way that they wouldn't have even thought of, back then.

Originally, these guys did a shitload of EP's and splits, so this is their first full length. It's not mighty by any means, but 28 minutes of metal is better than none at all, so deal with it. The dude also says that it sounds like a live recording and that the quality is pretty low-fi. I don't necessarily hear that here, as I've heard much rawer shit (and made much rawer shit) so I know what it sounds like to have to make out the sounds of the drums, guitars and vocals because you're recording a whole band with a shitty laptop, or a voice recorder. (Yes, I fucking did it.)

If you want shit that sounds fucking grimy and matches the album cover, (another point I'll agree with dude on) this is what you're going to get. It's raw, it's completely devoid of any real creativity. and it's black metal at it's very caveman days. There's also some nods to Sabbath. Apparently, it's gonna appeal to fans of something called "crust" and guess that doesn't have anything to do with pie. So if you're into crust that doesn't have a fucking thing to do with pastry, then go pick this dirty filthy shit up. You'll love every minute of it.

(7 Tracks, 28:00)

6/10 (Yeah, I gave it one higher than Decibel. It's better than just mediocre, but it isn't amazing. Of course, some people will dig the fuck out of it.)


Silencer - The Great Bear (PR2012) - These Colorado thrashers took me by surprise for sure, and I don't think anyone was ready for them, or one of the oddest concept records not just in metal, but in music in general. I'd assume it was the byproduct of smoking too much ganja and watching history channel documentaries all day long. But what else is there to do in Denver?

"Lyrically, we rewind back to space race era Soviet Russia, and we chose to take a fictional turn towards what would have happened if the Russians chose to one-up the American's moon landing by going somewhere further. We tell the story from the Russian perspective, and try to capture the mentality of a union that could mobilize their entire population to achieve a goal, and also from the perspective of a member of this mission. This sort of story almost wrote itself, and its mood lent us to write some more straightforward yet very heavy tracks. It's definitely more thematic than prior releases, but aims to get to the point and tell a large story fairly efficiently." - From The Press Release.

The band might have thrashed on their first two records, but this new disc claims to go back to the roots of heavy metal and is in the vein of records like Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime (an album I could never get into, true story) and Rush's 2112 (which I didn't think was all that great either, and will be attempting a re-listen).

Anyway, what came out of this wasn't thrash. There's certainly thrash portions here, but what I'm hearing more of on this than anything else, is sludge. Lots and lots of progressive sludge with thrashy elements. Even the vocals sound sludgy. This is really about the furthest thing from a thrash record, and it's full of grease and grit and grime. Just like the disc I reviewed before it. Except there's no black metal, this is literally prog with melodic elements and a dirty croon.

But here's the thing. Despite the fact that the little interludes are useless, I don't think there's a bad song on this album. The band really has a great control of things, mixing that prog together perfectly with all of the rock, thrash and sludge elements. The solos on this are straight rock and roll, but they work when used. This band isn't apt to use a monster solo every song, and nor do I expect them to.

Even little instrumentals like Star City Pt. II are fucking fantastic. Simplistic, but it works and that is a good riff. Of course, that one sets the stage for one of the album's much longer and darker tracks, "Orders/Noble Sacrifice 4:34." which is not without it's fair share of wonderful prog moments. This is most certainly a grittier version of Operation Mindcrime, and I can hear the influences from that album here. But I like this disc so much more. Then after that, you've got this great instrumental right after it, called "Roar 2:47" and that really turns the latter part of the disc into a great metal sandwich.

I honestly have no idea about the band's other discs, but this one is fantastic and I certainly recommend it to fans of prog metal, thrash metal, sludge metal, post metal and even traditional heavy metal. There's a little bit of all these elements in this album, and despite it's slightly raw production - I think a higher quality would've killed the sense of raw sludge that the band hopefully was going for, because they've made the sludgiest prog disc I've ever heard.

And it's fucking good, too. Just be sure to expect a lot of Russian stuff here, because it's oddly enough, there. Russian voice-overs, Russian marches, the whole nine yards. But you can skip all that stuff and just listen to the music. Even then, there's still some Russian stuff here and there. It is a Russian story concept after all. Who says that history isn't exciting?

Yeah, I admit that it could've been a little longer, and there shouldn't have been so many interludes; but for what it's worth, it's certainly solid.

Highlights: Great Bear, Insignia, Star City Pts 1 & 2, Orders/Noble Sacrifice, The Roar, Light (11 Tracks, 30:00)



Shadows In The Crypt - Cryptic Communications (PR2012) - Here are four guys from Philly who don't make hardcore. Yes, much in the vein of Krallice; (who I've also got reviewed here, coincidentally) they make some very intriguing and interesting black metal. Now don't go by the imagery of the band, because they just look silly in the black metal get-up. Instead, go by the music, because that's where these guys actually count.

I don't even know who's doing what on the album, as my promo information only consisted of band photos, the logo, the front and back album art, and the lyrics. The lyrics are actually pretty well done, I'll say - of course it's the same old Satanic black metal lyrics that we've heard many times before.

First of all, this is a black metal band that incorporates a lot of solos in addition to the blasts, demonic dual vocals and the surprising amount of structure. I also must add that everything on this disc is done incredibly well. The songs have definite form and do not sound at all like any of the others. The drumwork on here is superb, I really like the fact that there's a method to the music. There's even some clean vocals on the disc at parts, and they do work well within the music.

Though the production is raw, these songs keep you hooked and keep you interested. When the drummer's got real talent and can keep things interesting, you know you've got something truly worthwhile. The riffs are definite black metal, but aren't afraid to include groove. You see, they mix the groove with what would be termed as traditional kvlt black metal, along with those screamingly shredding solos. Trust me, these guys aren't afraid to throw some dual guitar jizz into the mix, and I like every goddamned bit of it.

The songs on this album are so good that you can't even just pick out a few of them as a highlight. I never thought that black metal would ever shred as much as this band makes it shred, and if that's a turnoff for you, I'm sorry. But this is just the sort of kick that the traditional stuff needs every once in a good while.

The bad thing about this disc, is that it's really fucking good in all actuality; and these guys need to be heard. But I fear for their imagery that many people will laugh them off. Perhaps it's time to take off the corpse paint and try something new?

Whatever you think of the image, just know that this is probably one of the best black metal acts that I've heard in a long time. Now I know that I am an over-user of such terminology, so I will clarify and say that in the terms of traditional black metal, these gentlemen are superb. They're all great musicians, aged musicians certainly; but they've got a lot more to offer here in 43 minutes than I've heard from some of the major goatlords recently. I sincerely hope that this review will help to bring these guys some attention, some kind of promotion - I mean, this shit is seriously good.

These Cryptic Communications are, if anything else... seriously fucking metal.

Highlights: The whole disc. (9 Tracks, 43:00)



Drag The Dead - Drag The Dead (PR2012) - All right. First of all, don't go completely apeshit that the founding member of the legendary experimental death metal group Timeghoul, Antonio Andre (the band's drummer) is involved with this band. It was formed in 2009 and is a collective of the "some of the most brutal death metal musicians the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area has cultivated in years."

This isn't anything like Timeghoul. Instead, it's some very deathy grindcore with some of the most depraved lyrics and topics. But Andre's drumming is still pretty fucking good on the disc regardless. The quality's a little raw, but you get the fucking gist of this. Goreheads will love the shit out of it, and at 14 tracks and 43 minutes, you're definitely getting your money's worth here.

Now, there are some brief moments of weirdness on the disc, but something completely normal from a founding member of Timeghoul. "Necrology 1:39" is a great interlude for the disc, with a spoken word piece about the death of nothing, and it's got a nice wind effect and hypnotic sense. That will go right into a little ditty about zombies called, "When They Walk Again 3:48."

Then you've got "Serial Deity To The Aborted 2:45" which sounds like it either came from a movie or the confessions of a real life serial killer. Whatever the case, it's just words alone and it's pretty fucking brutal.

We've also got the absolutely horrendous account of Lisa Ann Montgomery. I don't want to believe that it's real, what exactly the fuck happened to her - but it's this kind of real life brutality that makes this album a cut above the rest. Ever tried to be brutal without playing metal? Never thought words and stories themselves could be just as rough as the metal contents of a disc like this? Well, think again. because this shit almost made me vomit. Usually, I can handle most shit, but when I hear an account like this, I'm fucking gobsmacked.

With song titles like "The Stabbing 3:22", "Sledgehammer To The Cunt 3:29", "Shit Fucked And Forgotten 3:41" and "Semen Spilled Upon The Flesh Of The Dead 2:58" you know exactly what you're getting here. No song is longer than 4:00, so if you have a short attention span, that'll be great. But the drummer does utilize some more tricks on the kit than you'd expect, so don't just expect pummeling double bass for the entire fucking disc. There's a lot of that, mind you - but as like most of this disc; there's a lot of things you won't expect.

All in all, it's pretty decent. I'm not a huge fan of gore death, and some of this shit is too sick and depraved for me; but if you like it, go buy it.

(14 Tracks, 43:00)



Coven - Worship New Gods (1987 Reissue PR2012) - It took several tries for me to get into this disc. But it is taken from the very first ever CD release of this vinyl only disc. This Coven is an American band from Detroit, MI and not the Jinx Dawson Coven. In fact, they had to change their name to Coven 13, due to the name similarities. The PR info also has it right when they describe the band as being a mix of Candlemass/Black Sabbath doom-laden heavy metal, mixed with the black metal charm of Celtic Frost/Mercyful Fate.

But the disc fails to deliver in this charm. I personally think that most of the album sounds too mediocre, not really delivering anything new. Plus, the frontman's vocals do begin to grate on my nerves. The band plays well enough, I'll give them that. It definitely has that 1980's metal vibe that I would expect from Mercyful Fate, (I just heard for the first time, 1984's Don't Break The Oath in it's entirety today) and it's got some great structure in places. But it doesn't necessarily come off as being the best doom metal/ancient black hybrid I've ever heard. I just know that's there's some other guys out there who must do, or must have already done this same style much better.

But it's not an awful album. If you like classic heavy metal, or are a serious collector of rare gems, this 1987 disc has been reissued by out good friends at Shadow kingdom, (Thank the Metal Gods for these guys) and it comes with a lot of amazing band photos. I say again, that this is the disc's FIRST EVER CD PRINTING, so if you're truly nostalgic, you'd better jump on this.

Some of the songs are more tuned to doom "Wicked Day 6:14" and others, "Riddle Of Steel 4:17, Ruler 3:17" are more towards ancient blackened thrash. The disc itself is as I've said, decent - the remastering was done well, and I can hear everything clearly. But there is still that muddiness that you really have to have with old raw music. But that's really what makes it good, the fact that it didn't have all the high production and what not. These guys had to do the best with what they had - and with no internet, you just have to hope that you can promote your band well enough with shows and flyers.

If you're one of those young metalheads that spends all day downloading music and really doesn't know much about the old blood, (first, I recommend you get your ass on your little torrent site and type in Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Venom, and Celtic Frost for starters) I recommend that you go check out this disc, just so that you can get a feel for how metal was played back in the day.

For you older heads that looked at my last paragraph and then put your hand over your face, you do have to understand that there really are young metalheads out there who have never heard of Venom, but they blast Black Veil Brides (and whatever the hell else these kids are listening to these days) like they're the epitome of metal. As if it gets no better.

But I hold open the threshold of metal's past, and will gladly continue to review and promote these ancient bands!

Highlights: The fact that it's an extremely rare album, and it's the first ever CD pressing. (9 Tracks 39:00)



Altar Of Oblivion - Grand Gesture Of Defiance (PR2012) - Now I assume that you took that last review as an incentive to go check out some old shit. Just remember that some of these old guys still gotta eat. But if you didn't go check out some old shit by torrents or youtube, then you've either already heard it, or don't care much about your history. In which case, you probably won't be supporting these wonderful gentlemen, who are Denmark's own, Altar Of Oblivion. The PR sheet compares them to Candlemass, but that's just a piece of the intricately complex puzzle that comprises this amazing group of musicians.

Now this is not a reissue of an old classic, as the band was formed in 2005. But not surprisingly, the disc sounds just like an old classic. We all may have boohooed about Candlemass's untimely departure, but perhaps these guys can help to alleviate our sorrow. For the time being, at least.

First of all, the doom this band plays is catchy and melodic. The band's frontman is a wonder to hear, if you'll just give him a chance. At first you might have trouble warming up to him, but let's not deny that this guy's got the chords where it counts. He can do both low croons and some very high pitch that sort of reminds me of Blind Guardian/Demons & Wizards vocalist, Hansi Kursch.

As for the rest of the band, the drumming pounds well in the mix, and the riffs are absolutely thundering. This is doom done right, through and through. The solos on this disc are also fantastic, each and every one of them standing out on the relatively short time that this disc holds. Yes, it's only 34 minutes of music, but that time is consumed by 6 very long and brilliantly catchy songs.

Come on. You can't honestly tell me that "The Graveyard Of Broken Dreams 6:11" isn't a catchy as hell track with some brilliant melodies, or that the chorus from "Sentenced In Absentia 6:00" doesn't get stuck in your head. Because it does.

I agree, some of the lower tone vocals could be better, but when he really soars on the mic, you're going to feel it. This guy really makes the band, so if you're actually reading this, thanks for being in the band and really killing it on this disc. Then you've got that badass solo right after that awesome vocal display. Yes, I'm still talking about "Sentenced In Absentia." The disc has got to be worth a damn, if I'm still blubbering about it.

There's also a soothing, yet eerie instrumental called "The Smoke Filled Room 2:16." Some might feel it's a skipper, but I thought it was done well enough. I would've loved to hear another great doom track in it's place, though.

The closer of the disc, "Final Perfection 5:54" is also worth hearing, as it really feels like the denouement of the album, where it all culminates. It starts out slow, but has some of the most powerful vocal performances and features a sort of grandiose atmosphere, like you'd hear on an epic film soundtrack.

All in all, this is 34 minutes of great music. Despite everything I said about torrenting music, this one's actually worth your money. These guys worked their asses off to make some incredible doom metal that's going to be memorable for years to come. I definitely recommend you buy this disc, or even better; buy this disc and then send these guys a great big bag of money. They really deserve it.

Highlights: Everything (6 tracks, 34:00)



Night Terrain - American Dream (PR2012) - These post-metal guys out of Albuquerque, New Mexico create a sound that is equal parts space rock, doom metal, and stoner rock. It's an all instrumental band comprised on three members who use their music and soundclips to do the talking, as to having a vocalist. It works surprisingly well and will keep you not only interested in the music, but also in the topics that comprise it.

The music is loud, it's pummeling, and it's unpredictable. It's just what you want from a post-metal experience, and you'll be sure to get it. This is also a band made up of experienced and well-seasoned musicians. James used to play in Gnossurrus, Noceros (and many more) Dave (Guitars) has done everything from industrial to black metal to post rock, and Joe (Drums) was once a drummer, then a vocalist, and now a drummer yet again. He is more or less the founding member of the band (here termed "project") and also has a noise project called Sonicaust.

The disc is produced to the point in which it matters. It's not overly polished, and there's still a good bit of fuzz from the amps. The bass is extremely meaty, you'll hear it for miles; and the drums come from the main man who obviously kept his skills on the kit sharp, even while he was doing vocals. The guitarist loves to get in there and play a solo, but it gets to the point where it's commonplace for each and every song.

The disc's aesthetics are based on an "if it's not broke, then don't fix it" notion; meaning simply that the band really does seem to meander through the same old variations of the post metal genre. Sometimes it's lighter, more acoustic, or just a more melodic vibe in general; but every song contains a rather heavy bass-driven section, despite if it's using sound clips or not. Some tracks do, and some don't.

There's really no use in pointing out specific tracks, because I don't hear much on the disc in difference other than the addition of sound clips. These, as I've said; do help to affirmate the music, and they do it in ways that the songs couldn't do on their own.

It's not the best, nor is it the worst post-metal album that you will ever hear. But those needing an instrumental fix of Neurosis/Pelican/Minsk/Cult Of Luna exc. style post-metal, will find what they are looking for here. Don't knock it until you've tried it. It brings in some earthy atmospheres, and leaves you with some thoughts to ponder.

Always good to do some thinking, as that's what your brain was made for. it's even better to hear intelligent music that helps you to calm your mind and absorb the messages. Brainwashing? Nah. It's more like enlightening through sound. But if you folks want to be brainwashed, then just watch a recap of the 2012 MTV VMA's. Or for that matter, listen to any of the artists (coughs... products) being displayed on that stage. They want your mind, as Orwell rolls in his grave.

But you're here because you don't actually listen to any of that music. So put on some Night Terrain, and then sit down, inhale some herbal medicine and get your think on, my friend.

EDIT: To make a slight correction, the closer, "Distant Echoes 6:55" is the only track to feature a vocalist. I have no clue who it is, but the vocals are clean and decent enough. The song itself is also unlike the rest of the disc, in the fact that it's a light acoustic for the better half of the track, finally enveloping into a much heavier track towards the end.

(10 Tracks, 62:00)



Solace And Stable - The Systematic Erosion Of Integrity (PR2012) - Finishing up the promos for this disc, we finally have the progressive metal band Solace And Stable. This four piece from Kansas City, MO isn't quite what you'd expect from progressive metal though, as they mix prog together with metalcore along the lines that the kids are currently digging right now. There's also that over the fucking top technicality that you would expect from this kind of band.

I'm certain that these guys will develop popularity quite soon and might be soon signed to the same sort of label that their peers have shared, (the band has played with such bands as Living Sacrifice, Shai Halud, War Of Ages, Oceano, and Stick To Your Guns) so I'm sure that this might be the only promo I get from these guys, as they're bound to blow up in a few weeks of this release.

But in all actuality, despite Sam's metalcore vocals and David's metalcore/prog guitars, not to mention Josiah's bass riffs for the breakdowns; the band actually has some talent. But while the melodies are good, they stifle easily and Bill does pound the drums well enough, but I can't help but think that I've heard this whole thing before, just without so many bells and whistles.

Old heads, I'm telling you right now - you want to bypass this like the plague. This is definitely material for the new school of metalheads, and what you think is just a bunch of random noise, they're going to more than likely hear things in here that you never will. Respect that, because you were the same way with your music back in the day.

It's a good project though, I won't knock it. Metalcore hasn't been this melodic in a while, and if not for so much strength in the melody department, and in the solos, this album probably wouldn't have done so well for me. I probably would've given it a low score. However, the songs don't change tempo and despite what the melodies do for this album, it's always nothing more than a hardcore series of grunts throughout each and every song.

What is a reviewer to do with something like this? In terms of variation, it's about as interesting as blank paper. Every song sounds exactly like the one that came before it, sans the change-up of melodies. Where's the highs? The lows? The acoustics? The atmospheres? The anything?

I'm lost. This is the definition of cardboard metalcore/prog. I don't recommend it, but that doesn't mean that people won't eat it up. Considering the crew the band has played with, I'm sure it'll be up there as one of the most interesting modern bands on the planet. But I dunno. I'll wait for the new Sylosis. Those guys haven't disappointed me yet.

(12 Tracks, 45:00)



Krallice - Years Past Matter (2012) - I have no idea what Krallice was thinking with their last release, and the EP didn't help much either. I was befuddled to say the very least. But upon looking at the cosmic artwork of the band's current disc, and then previewing one of the tracks on Youtube, well... I kind of changed my tune.

"Finally!" I said. They did it. They returned to form.

Seriously, anyone who liked the band's first two releases (as epic and amazing as they were) should certainly like this one. I think the band's doing everything themselves these days, but it's definitely paying off because this album is digital and physical. Whatever your poison, pick and enjoy this wonderful breath of fresh air.

The disc is oddly void of actual track names, rather the tracks go from "IIIIIIII 8:19" all the way to the wonderful closer (hold on, I have to count the marks) "IIIIIIIIIIII 16:41". Yes, these are literally the track titles. Apparently, they wanted to do something different and new with them. But personally, it's just confusing.

The first track features death metal growls, but the style is the same. The second track goes back to the black metal vocals (finally) and no matter what the band is doing, this album shows that they are at their physical peak and are crafting some of the best and most professional sounding black metal that they've done in years. If you know how Krallice sounds, you know how they're going to be. This band is all about atmosphere, and that's what this disc is all about. It's one big atmosphere.

Though this is taken to be one large track, it is quite varied and there are several instances of structural changes throughout these tracks, almost a hundred in each. This band literally went above and beyond to create the most versatile progressive black metal album that they could make. Most of the time it's atmosphere, but that's because most of the time it's just music. But get used to that. Because that's what Krallice is and what they have always been.

Now the fifth track on the disc is only 1:46 but that is because it's a rather simplistic drone piece that goes into some drum frills and some odd riffs that make an altogether cosmic sound.

As I said, the culmination is in the closer, a damn near 17:00 juggernaut of music that must be heard to be believed. To think that the band had enough time to create and record this entire thing is remarkable, it really is a feat of the metal genre, and proves that Krallice are truly a step above the rest in making black metal music, or should we say; redefining black metal music. This really does sound like a cosmic symphony of sorts, one might imagine the band playing this in space, perhaps trying to communicate with other interdimensional or extraterrestrial beings through whatever encoded messages could be hidden within the notes of these songs. Perhaps it is steeped in occult ritual, no one can be sure, as I know not the lyrics, or even the song titles.

One could wax poetic and say that the marks stand for some sort of occult ritual used to contact other beings, or they could just say that the band was lazy and couldn't think up any good titles for these tracks. Whatever the case, this is yet another great Krallice album, and a definite makeup for whatever the fuck that they wanted to call an EP last year. 2010's Diotima wasn't bad of course, but that EP was simply unforgivable.

I'm just glad that they got their heads out of their asses and gave me some real music this time. Go grab this disc along with the new Nachtmystium and enjoy the bounty of this era's version of black metal. If this review isn't good enough, then make your own decision by listening to the album. It speaks volumes over what I can say here.

Highlights: The Whole Disc (6 Tracks, 60:00



Katatonia - Dead End Kings (2012) - Let's be straight. I didn't like Katatonia's last album Night Is The New Day, even though apparently everyone else did. I just didn't feel that the songs were catchy enough and everything was much too heavy. While I do like the band to be heavy, there was too much thunder on the disk and not enough substance.

Here, the formula is different. It's more along the lines of The Great Cold Distance. That disc wasn't perfect either, but it did have some memorable songs like "My Twin" and "Deliberation" among others. But as sullen and melancholy as that disc was, this album is the same; but even moreso - it's completely devoid of any happiness. Though there are beautiful melodies, it's all very haunting and chilling music that may elicit emotions of sadness and depression in even the strongest willed of minds. As a matter of fact, this album might be the one you'd want to kill yourself to.

While that's very harsh and I strongly condemn any act of suicide, if you were really fed up with it all and needed to music to bring you down as far as you possibly could go, this disc will do it. It was tough to review this one for me, as I can get a little bit emotional and I had to stop working for just a moment because this shit was depressing the fuck out of me.

That track in particular was the haunting, "Undo You 4:55" and it was the last one I had to listen to in reviewing the album, so I just stood there and let it play. After it was over I switched over to the new Loudness album (which I'll have reviewed next time.)

Oddly enough, the songs that start out this album aren't quite as good as the tracks further in. "The One You're Looking For Is Not Here 3:52" is dark prog rock at the most, but it also includes a female vocalist who does the backup vocals for the track. it's not until you get into the middle of the album that things pick up speed and the heaviness starts to come in, with "Hypnone 4:06" which comes complete with a guitar solo. Then you have "This Racing Heart 4:05" which starts out very slow and boring until the latter part of the song, when it gets good. But then it fades out just as quickly.

Of course, then we'll have the heavy single "Buildings 3:28." That's followed by the prog rock "Leech 4:23" which has some great moments on it, but it's not perfect.

Then we have "Ambitions 5:06." This is a very strong song, as it's a song about all those who have had ambitions, dreams, goals, and they've all been shattered. As the lyrics said, "this is for the ones who never made it." It's very fucking cold, frightening even; that people have failed, despite no matter hard they've worked. It's especially frightening to myself, thinking that I could one day very well be a man in his late fifties who's concocted forty or so novels that never went anywhere. I am quite sure I'm not the only man who's ever done a project with great intentions and found that it has failed in the eyes of the masses, time and again. "See my ambitions fade out..."

Very frightening stuff. Perhaps it is the most frightening of all things to realize that our dreams won't all come true, our aspirations can become unrealized; we can become broken, beaten and defeated individuals. Yet we dredge on.

Getting back to the album, "Undo You 4:55" digs deeper with it's claws, purging the life from your bones. But other than that, it's a very melancholy soft rock song. "Lethean 4:39" comes in afterwards, definitely one of the band's best songs, right in the same territory as "Hypnone", "Ambitions", or "Buildings." After that, comes the strong "First Prayer 4:27" which would have made a better single than "Buildings." It has a very strong chorus and is easily relatable with the rest of the band's work.

The disc ends out with "Dead Letters 4:49" another strong song, and probably the heaviest on the disc. It's rather odd that they'd end the disc this way with this prog-metal piece that sometimes even sounds spacey.

Personally, I don't know who's job it was to organize these songs, but they did a horrible fucking job. Somebody slap that guy. "The Parting" is a horrible way to start the album. What an awful opener. Then you throw light songs in there with heavy songs, for what? Why is "Dead Letters" at the end? Furthermore, why are three heavy tracks at the end of the disc?

The band should have placed the lighter more melancholy tracks at the bottom, while putting the heavier tracks at the top. Opening with "Ambitions" would have been great, and closing with "Undo You" would've been perfect. "Dead Letters" should have been thrown in the middle somewhere, "Leech" right before the weaker songs like "The One You're Looking For Is Not Here." and "Buildings", "First Prayer" and "Hypnone" should be relatively close to the bottom. Give the Katatonia fan the heavier stuff first, the stuff that's like the last album; and then slowly work them into the proggier stuff. The reviews would altogether be different.

But let's not beat around the bush, this was an experimental album for the band, and I believe that Anders wrote some of these songs on a classic acoustic before playing them with the full band. (Check the interview in the latest issue of Decibel for more info on this.) Regardless, what we've got here is something different - not exactly good, nor bad; but still Katatonia.

The question is, what's their tenth record going to be like? What more can they do or say? Is it going to be a melancholy prog rock explosion, or a death metal doom-fest? No one can be for sure, but this album definitely combines the band's most accessible material with some of their most inaccessible material, leaving the listener completely confused. I know I am.

Highlights: Hypnone, Buildings, Ambitions, Lethean, First Prayer, Dead Letters (11 Tracks, 48:00)



Khonsu - Anomalia (2012) - Khonsu is a new band out of Trondheim Norway, they were originally going to go by the name Merah, but there was a terrorist with that name, so they decided to go by Khonsu, an Egyptian falcon-headed god. The band is composed of two members, S. Gronbech who handles all the instruments that you'll hear here, (and there's a lot) and Thebon (who's also a Gronbech, as this is a project by two brothers, quite like Solefald) whom you might remember from such bands as Hellish Outcast, Powdr, Twinsoul, and ex-Sublinitum. Yet he is most well known for being in Keep Of Kalessin, where he also handles vocal duties.

These two men are a powerhouse of music, and one must assume that extreme metal and handling multiple musical implements comes naturally to the Nordic people. The disc does not disappoint either, as electronics, black metal, keyboards, atmospheres and acoustic riffs all come into play. Though this is just two men, it sometimes sounds like it could very well be four or five.

I daresay that fans of Keep Of Kalessin would certainly enjoy this music, as it has the same kind of vibe in places. It's definitely just as experimental as KoK was, but it's less folky and plays around with effects and electronics a bit more. The songs are all of a good length, the shortest being the youtube single "The Malady 5:29" and the longest being Va Shia (Into The Spectral Sphere) 14:01."

"In Otherness 9:12" begins the disc with electronic effects that eventually go into a familiar style of black metal, which then incorporates a great deal of keyboard. But the keys that Gronbech plays are fantastic and really sound much different then what you'd hear with symphonic black metal. I couldn't call this synth black metal either, because it's just not a proper classification. Though there are some heavy atmospheres in the second track, "The Host 7:46" it's not bursting out the seams with synths.

Also in "The Host" you'll hear some use of a voice-changer that makes Thebon's vocals sound robotic. But don't think that he doesn't use his trademark harsh vocals, and some nice clean vocals during an unexpected acoustic portion. But this is what we want from this type of metal, not something we saw or heard coming a mile away. There's too much of that. Surely you could make comparisons, but the songs do have vast differences from each other. They don't all sound the fucking same. Later in the album, even larger differentiations are made. But I'll get to those in a minute.

My personal favorite cut off the disc is "Darker Days Coming 6:26" which does have that KoK sort of vibe, maybe even a little bit Opeth's prog. The song actually begins with an interesting whispered vocal and heavy atmosphere. That whisper envelops into a scream, and the instruments thunder as the vocals switch into a clean approach, which shortly after turns from straight acoustic to an acoustic metal fusion with a slightly dirty/slightly clean vocal approach that sounds much like the KoK material. Then from there, we've got some extremely radiant clean vocals. Then after another line of harshness, comes one of the disc's only solos, but it's great. Yes, it continues throughout the chorus, but I don't mind. We're left with a moment of silent atmospheres before the drums and riffs pound us once again, and then switch to prog. Things slow down while the vocals go back to the whisper and scream with heaviness portion. Finally, a voice changer robotically announces the last few lines of the song. (You guys might hate having a song explained piece by piece, but I love doing these.)

"Inhuman States 9:23" just comes right in thrashing, and it's definitely the heaviest track on the disc. If you're not crazy about too much prog and atmospheric stuff, this will probably be your song. Oh yeah, there's a death metal approach here. Does that still make this black metal? Anyway, this song is a guaranteed pummeler - so if you want to get your faced progressively smashed in, this is the one you want to play. Yes, there's a voice-clip that I can't understand, some atmospheres that come in later and even some piano, but all of these things go on while the riffs are still thick and right before the harsh vocals come in. After they leave, you get to bang your head again.

I hope to fuck they play this one live. It would be a great opener for the set. Oddly enough, the drums are blazing and the vocalist just decides he wants to speak in as low a tone as possible while the atmospheres play just a little cheesy. Again, I wish I could hear the sound clip. Hey, this end atmospheric reminds me of some of my shit. Cool. Then I hear it turn into an electronic piece... A thrasher that turns electronic? Yeah, only here. But fuck it - it's great. Then the piano plays us out, as it sounds like the damn thing is being played underwater as the last key hits.

"So Cold 6:02" begins with a sound clip that I can actually hear, but it's rock nature makes it weak. Yes, there's pieces of black metal and a good little melodic solo a quarter of the way in, but it's just the sort of thing that I would consider to be almost filler. It attempts to pick up strength halfway in, but that doesn't save it. It just doesn't thrash as hard as it should and sounds unfinished, in all actuality. They could've left it off and I would've given a fuck less. Second solo during acoustic part plays, very rock style - nu metal thrash comes in, what the fuck were they thinking here? Alright, this chugga portion is much better, then the vocals come back. Still very weak with the lightest thrash one can possibly get away with. Oh yeah, here come back the acoustics. But the clean vocals sound nasally now. Nothing will save this disaster! That's strike one, gentlemen.

Next we have the single, "The Malady 5:29." Whatever possessed these guys to choose this song to represent the album is beyond me. It's more electronic than anything else and might alienate a good chunk of the metal community. If this is all you've heard from the band, then please go check out the metal tracks here, because this is NOT an electronic album. But this song is. As much as I like electronics, I'm not really getting into this song, it just sounds kind of hokey. There's no doubt this thing is experimental, but these are the failed experimentations, the children with the extra arms and legs that you throw out because your formula was off. Alright, so the clean vocals are good in the latter portion, but whatever electronic metal they expected to do here is amateur at best. And why is there some kind of siren blaring in the background? What a horrible single.

Finally, we have "Va Shia (Into The Spectral Sphere) 14:01." It's not exactly my favorite song, I think it was drawn out much too far. But that's just me. The song starts out with some acoustics, atmospheres that sound like Gregorian monk chants in the background and some unusually vivacious keys. A wind blows and brings in the metal riffs. The come the drums. Yes, this is a metal song after all. Despite the two horrible tracks that came right before it, this song brings us back to the awesomeness of the first four tracks. Then you've got the same vivacious keys playing during the black metal, and a slight progressive portion at which the keys take up another style during a sound clip. Of course, that gets back to the fierce vocals, some of the fiercest on the whole album.

Holy shit, then we have some sort of chants. I'm not sure what they mean, but it's obviously some sort of spiritual significance right before the black metal blazes back in with extremely harsh scowls. Then the drums blast while a deep croon and death metal growl switch spots. Yes, the guitar is also doing some nice things, I haven't forgotten about the shredding in the background. But it's the little proggy melodies thereafter that I enjoy more. After all that, we're given a break period in which some effects and sound clips play amidst a droning riff. Then we've got some Megaman style synths that go into acoustics that combine with the metal riffs. After a little more of the harsh vocals, the clean comes back in. Can somebody tell the guy to only sing like this during the clean on the next album? We don't need to hear your nasal passages! The drums are gonna blast one more time as the death metal comes back into place, but not for long as the acoustics and electric play once again, albeit much slower. Then we have the clean vocals come back in. They keys play a little more as the whole thing fades out. This is the very definition of a metal epic...

So Khonsu redeemed themselves with this last track. But if you want to hear my opinion, I think that the label pressured them to add those two "much shorter songs" for promotion purposes. Well, I'm promoting the band myself guys - and I think that those two songs are both filler that ought to have been scrapped. With them, you've got 58 minutes of music, but without them you've got a good solid 42:00 of great songs that you won't have to hit "skip" on, because all five of them are great. Sometimes you have to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Because of this feeble error, I have to give a band that I would've otherwise given a full 10 rating, something more like an 8. Knowing that those two songs are on there and there's nothing that I can do about it, is frustrating. Even if you buy this thing from I-Tunes, just delete these two tracks. They ought to make it where you can opt out of them altogether. I feel as if I've been presented with a great banquet on one side of the table, but all manner of plated feces fills the other side. I mean, the first side of the table is filled with pompous, steaming cuisine - but I won't even dare touch the latter side of the table, because it stinks to high heaven.

That's how I'll best explain this album. A great meal, with a side of shit. Definitely some memorable tracks, but keep in mind what you're also getting...

Highlights: In Otherness, The Host, Darker Days Coming, Inhuman States, Va Shia (7 Tracks 58:00)



Sylencer - A Lethal Dose Of Truth (2012 W/ Bonus Tracks) - This Sylencer is also a thrash band, but they're nothing like the band I reviewed earlier in the set. This band is an American thrash supergroup that has everyone and their mother guesting on it. I will say that the guitar playing on the disc is good, but you know - that's really all this disc is. If you want to hear great guitar playing and solo after solo after solo after solo after solo after solo after solo, then this is what you're getting. The vocalist I think is from Trivium, but his vocals absolutely suck. How much Hetfield emulation do you need to pull off on one album?

Yeah, you're gonna get 57 minutes of this guy trying to sound like James Hetfield. These guys want to be Metallica so bad that it's ridiculous, but they're mixing the clean vocals of the verse and chorus in the style of the Black album, and the background is trying to attempt to pull off that "classic Metallica thrash" but the drums sound like they're double bass from Dragonforce and the guitars are just shredding all over the place. You can see how this band is trying to get credit for going incessantly over the top, and I will not lie that some of these solos are fantastic, but I could give a fuck less about anything else on the main twelve tracks of this disc, because everything else is pretty lame and nothing more than a retread.

The disc is supposed to be rebellious, against the system and all that shit - but there's a nice big symbol of the Illuminati on the front cover, just staring at you. They're saying, "we're watching you buy this album, we want you to be rebellious and shit, so that we can fucking break you later." It's pretty fucking creepy, because the eye doesn't even seem to go with the image. It's like the label just stuck it on there. "Check this out, guitar kids!" Seriously, this shit is creeping into metal music now and that's rubbing me the wrong way. It's all these popular metal bands that push it - and all these guys on this disc are pretty much popular dudes. I mean, Brendan Small of Dethklok is guesting on this, and you know how all the guitar hero kids went right to Dethklok.

However, the band does manage to fit an epic in their list, and it's called "Rise & Die 10:08." But even it is filled with the same schlock that fills the disc. If the band wasn't trying to be the black album with ten thousand solos, then maybe I would give a shit, but other than the ridiculously good shredding on this disc, the whole thing is as much of a gimmick as I thought it would be.

There's only two bonus tracks on here that I like, and the first one is the Rammstein cover of "Asche Zu Asche 3:55." Yes, they tried to mimic Till's German vocals perfectly, it almost sounds just like him. This version of this song (originally from the band's first release 1995's Herzeleid) has an extra portion of shredding in it that actually benefits this 22 year old classic. (Man, I feel so fucking old right now.)

The second one is a track that features the old vocalist of Zimmer's Hole and it's good to finally hear something from this guy after all these fucking years. His comedy humor and this song about his dick is just as funny as most of the material on the only Zimmer's Hole album there ever was. But it was a good album. The name of the track is called "Get It Up 4:19" and you should get the idea of the song immediately. Gene's also on drums (for just this song) and Brendan Small plays the guitar (for just this song as well.)

There's 75 minutes of material on this disc, and I have no fucking clue if this is the real thing, the bonus disc, or whatever. But this band has pretty much made themselves the Dethklok of thrash. Yeah, that sums it up perfectly. A shitty vocalist, great guitar work, and a good drummer make up the same formula as Dethklok. But they also make up Sylencer.

Guitar Hero anyone? Maybe later? Ok.

On second thought... No thanks. Just, no thanks.

Highlights: Asche Zu Asche, Get It Up, All of the guitar solos. (16 Tracks, 75:00)



Ensiferum - Forgotten Heroes (Limited Edition 2012) - Well, I don't have much to say about this one, because there's not much more to say other than the fact that they tried to make everything as bombastic as humanly possible. The band tried to be Folkearth, Therion and every other folk metal band other than the folk metal band that they were. Chalk this up with the band's last forgettable album, and I'd say that Ensiferum is a worn and rusted metal act that needs to go back to the forge.

Yes, the single, "In My Sword I Trust 5:20" is easily one of the most grand and overly epic songs I've ever heard regarding the act of bearing a sword, (as the band's name roughly translates to "to bear iron") and it warranted the band much enthusiasm from fans. People starting saying "Oh, this is gonna be epic!"

Unfortunately, it was a much different kind of epic, then they thought. This epic refers to the act of overblowing things far out of proportion and then dropping the metal completely for a few songs. The intro "Symbols 1:51" starts out like a movie soundtrack, and the track after the single "Unsung Heroes 5:55" not only includes clean vocals, but a whole male and female operatic vocal session, as well as some oddly creepy organs, acoustics and synths, flutes and the whole nine yards. It's as if someone is trying to compose a play, or a Nightwish album.

Then we have the acoustic folk-metal with clean vocals overpowering, "Burning Leaves 6:03." I think I would've liked it better if Borknagar did it. It's definitely taking from their style a bit. The harsh vocals are also a bit one-sided, and if not for all the extra singers and other instruments on this album, (besides the band's of course) those vocals couldn't have saved this track. But yes, there's also a solo.

Umm... If you don't like female folk music, don't even listen to "Celestial Bond 4:15." I do know some chicks and dudes that would dig it, has a very pagan spirit feel, I like it myself; but this isn't the kind of material that we should expect from an Enisferum album. There's no metal here at all. There's also no male vocals. It's just a woman singing in an ethereal voice along with some folk music.

Knowing this, the band comes full force with "Retribution Will Be Mine 4:27" where they get thrashy and return with the force we'd expect from them. Even though clean vocals are featured on this one, and the choirs, this is still one of the heaviest songs on the disc. The keyboard/guitar solo isn't bad either.

"Star Queen (Celestial Bond Part II) 5:55" is a good folk metal track with clean vocals. It reminds me a little of the stuff Bathory did. But it's no Hammerheart. "Pohjola 6:05" comes next, and it brings back the thrash of the band, adding some victory flair to the tune. There are some interesting things being done on this track, but in the middle it's mostly an instrumental with some foreign spoken vocals, right before the choir comes in and ends it out... oh, there's a little acoustic thing after that, just to blow it out even more.

"Last Breath 4:30" is a folk track in the vein of Celestial Bond, but the male vocals are quite as good as the female ones earlier in the disc. The playing is good, it's quite an epic track - too epic perhaps, as the movie soundtrack stuff comes in towards the end. Again, like you'd hear on a Nightwish album.

But just in case you didn't think that the band wasn't bombastic, overblown, or over the top enough, we've got the album's closer. It's a 17 minute track called "Passion, Proof, Power 17:01" and it starts out with some nature sounds and didgeridoos, but it's got everything from metal to acting to female vocals to whatever else they thought they could fit on this one. It is a great track, being the fact that it includes a little bit of everything, even some proggy keyboard solos and some definite Therion steals. It's pretty damned epic, in every sense of the word.

I think that this also might be the band's last release, as there's really nothing left to say after this one. I think they've really covered every last thing in folk metal with this disc. It's like they tried to be Folkearth without the forty people.


Bonus Track

There's an awesome bonus track on this disc. It's actually so good that it slaughters everything else on this disc. It's a cover of the Latin tune "Bamboleo 3:45" by The Gypsy Kings. Why is this tune so good? Well, it starts out as pummeling death metal with blast beats, and then goes into a clean vocal chorus with traditional style Latin horns and flamenco guitar. By the way, the death metal vocals continue throughout the rest of the song and the band pummels the fuck out of the drums at the end.

This is one of the best metal covers I've heard in my entire life. Fuck the album. Go check out this song.

Highlights: In My Sword I Trust, Retribution Shall Be Mine, Star Queen, Passion Proof power, BAMBOLEO (LTD. 11 Tracks 65:00 ORG. 10 Tracks, 61:00)



Mgla - With Hearts Toward None (2012) - I've never heard of these guys before, but a friend assured me that because of the memorable riffs; this band is the best black metal act of the year thus far. Sounds intriguing enough, so I decided to try it out. The band's name is actually pronounced "Mig-wah" not "Mig-lah" like you might think. But it's also the Finnish word for fog.

The band did not entitle any of their songs, (as apparently most black metal bands are doing these days, either out of laziness or some esoteric fashion) so they just remain from I-VII. While I certainly think that the band is a solid black metal band, I don't necessarily hear anything completely amazing or unique. However, they do manage to incorporate some heady structures in their music, and as long as "II 4:34" doesn't sound like "I 5:07" I'm perfectly fine. There are too many black metal bands (Funeral Mist's Salvation, for example) that like to make just about every song sounds just as the next. I'm trying to stay away from black metal in which that happens.

Yet again, I do like the fact that this is a bare-bones black metal band, and is a great refresher from the heavily experimental act that I just got finished reviewing. The drums pound, but they aren't overbearing. The guitars show awesomely impressive melody, quite in the vein of Krallice most certainly; but much less cosmic. One might expect this sort of thing to have been recorded in total darkness, as it elicits a bleak atmosphere throughout each and every song. The vocals are performed in a scowl, yet there are some yells on the disc in that vein of Primordial and I love that sort of raw energy and power that you can get from a man who's actually serious about whatever it is that he might be singing about.

Honestly, I have no idea what the lyrics are about - but I sense that they elicit a sort of extreme rage towards the whole of humanity. Though this is black metal, I find it's presentation to be like that of a darker sort of punk music, but that in itself is a good thing, as the great thing about punk was it's sense of rebellion, which is what this album pushes at the forefront. Fans of melodic black metal will enjoy this, but it is not by any means (as you can guess) the happy melodic black metal of such bands like Alcest.

These gentlemen have a lot of talent and promise. I'm quite sure that they perform as well on this album as they do live on the stage, and I can derive that assuredness from this disc. You may not think of it as much at first, but I think to stifle my previous opinion of the band as being "not amazing or unique." While they certainly are unique and aren't doing barrel rolls above and beyond the competition, they certainly seem to be able to hold their own in creating bleak and memorable melodies backed by a great sense of malice. I definitely feel that this album is perfect for the genuine black metal listener.

I'm really torn as to what to rate this record as, I truly feel that it is a strong black metal record, certainly solid, but far better than a mere 8. I would call it a nine, because a ten would entail the band having to do something amazing, but one could then call the band's sheer amount of effort and focus as being something worthy of perfection. There is not one song on the disc I wouldn't recommend to the fan of true black metal, and this very much contains the spirit of the frozen Nordic lands, even though it was recorded in the swampy Fjords of Finland. This truly proves that black metal itself is a spirit, perhaps that of both human malice and the lust for curiosity. I find it's energies to be truly primal, animalistic in origin, a true connector between ourselves and nature which is an extremely cruel construct; capable of crippling entire civilizations in a matter of seconds.

It is here that the worst facets of nature are unleashed, the torrential storms and destructive gusts of wind which threaten to demolish entire cities, or perhaps one might more say; cities of thinking. Entire ideas, and civilizations of those ideas. Yes, that is what black metal is - and this disc with it's wide variety of unique drum patterns, grim guitar melodies and enraged scowls that sound like a madman's animalistic cries of frustration, clearly outline the nature and heritage of the music.

Go buy this album, if you a fan of true black metal. Yes, I will agree that the production might not be quite as low-fi as you would like - but I feel that the disc is well balanced in production, and I would not change it had I been given the chance.

Definitely not a disc to miss this year, especially for the black metal hordes.

Highlights: I-VII (7 Tracks, 43:00)



Germ - Wish (2012) - I don't know much about this black metal/post-rock/trance band, other than the fact that it's a solo project by Tim Yatras, a man who also currently composes music for K-Pop and J-Pop music. But he's not Japanese or Korean, and he's actually an Austrailian. He has also been in several bands, so if you want to know more, you'll have to check out his wiki page.

Though the disc certainly has potential, calling this black metal is a stretch. In The Metal Observer, the guy seemed to be praising it, saying that it was different from anything else out there. But calling this black metal because of a few scowls in places does not work. Plus, this guy's scowl is far lacking from the one I've just heard in Mgla, for example. Yes, his composing is great with "An Overdose On Cosmic Galaxy 10:26" the opener, and longest track on the disc. But clean vocals overpower this disc and give it sort of an avant-garde style sense if not anything else. Tinges of black metal do appear, but his scowls sound much too feminine to really work well with the music, making it sound like he's imitating a Banshee. Also, the clean really does border on pop music - not surprisingly. There are guitar solos on the record, and they definitely sound the sort you'd hear in j-rock, but they work.

The disc is made of nine tracks, but four of those are shot interludes, being "Oxygen 1:08", "Gravity 1:45", "Infinity 2:05" and "Wish 1:40." These are nice, but some of them completely fail to do anything other than sound like they don't belong with the rest of the songs. The ridiculously long titled, "Flowers Bloom and Flowers Fall, But I'm Still Waiting For the Spring 5:05" is fantastically composed, but when I'm hearing what seriously sounds like a woman moaning in the background, it kills it. If I want to hear a woman moaning, I'll have sex with one, not listen to a black metal album where a man attempts a scowl. He can email me if he wants, and I'll gladly put some scowls (with some actual lyrics attached to those scowls, rather than just female moaning) on his next release, completely free of charge. You hear me, Tim? If you're tired of sounding like a woman in ecstasy, I'll gladly help you out in the vocal department. I love doing scowls on cosmic music of this nature and have years of experience.

The most black metal of all the songs on the disc is "Your Smile Mirrors The Sun 6:01." there you'll actually hear the blasts of the kit amidst some atmospheric effects. It sounds majestic, but I keep thinking that it's some orgy up in Olympus and every time a woman reaches her limit, I hear a scream of ecstasy. Then I like to think that somebody picks up the mic and starts singing, when a woman starts moaning once again in the background. As much as I liked Cradle's early material with it's Banshee screams, at least there were lyrics. However, this song does have a solo that works well enough, again I'd compare to the cosmic nature of Krallice.

This thing is so overly bombastic that I'm not sure how many of you will actually check it out. Don't expect techno explosion, or black metal industrial rage. This is very beautiful sounding, J-Pop and K-Pop influenced black avant-garde metal from Australia. Apparently he's on a label, but this shit is so obscure you'll have to pay out of your ass for import costs more than likely. But if you've got to have it, I'm sure you'll get it somehow.

The most I can really give this is the score of decency. The music is well composed, but the vocals go nowhere except when the clean come in, despite the fact that they can be somewhat poppy. Regardless, I've been trying to review this one for a while now and I just got around to it. This guy's making a ton of money composing songs for the bloated J-Pop and K-Pop market. There's no telling how many popular Anime have themes composed by this guy. I'm sure he makes nothing less than a killing. But if you want to support his work, then go ahead and grab this disc.

Either way, at least check it out. You might find something in it that I didn't hear. Or perhaps you like the banshee vocals that remind me of a woman screaming in ecstasy. Hmm... perhaps this record has certain "other" purposes? The only way to know, is to listen to it.

It's not like you have anything else to do right now.

Highlights: An Overdose On Cosmic Galaxy, Flowers Bloom and Fall..., Infinity, Your Smile Mirrors The Sun (9 Tracks, 42:00)



The Levitation Hex - The Levitation Hex (2012) - This project from ex-members of Alchemist is a psychedelic progressive death metal and thrash project that has more than just a lot of promise. The vocals remind me much of the frontman from now-defunct band Eyes Of Fire, except that I think the music on this disc is even far better than the material that they released.

The band has some definite dirt and grime to their prog, so this isn't the kind of prog for someone who likes their prog to sound crisp and clean. In truth, the album really borders on sludge, and reminds me of a thrashy progressive sludge band. But I've heard little of that genre, and it's good to hear something new and refreshing. Oddly enough, I even think that fans of metalcore or hardcore might really dig this album.

There's really something for everyone here, in the fact that this is what you call genuine "different" metal. There's a lot of bands out there trying to genre-blend, but what these guys are doing is incredible. Unless the gritty hardcore approach to vocals isn't your thing, I don't see what one couldn't find intriguing about this disc. The guitars are playing all sorts of weird riffs, despite the Pro-Pain/Biohazard/Crowbar style vocal delivery, and the drums are definitely carrying the music along at a great pace.

There are low moments in the album, some definite atmospheres, some use of clean vocal and even some electronics. They really wanted to branch out and make a kitchen sink disc, but it all works in the right sort of cohesive fashion. It is an album of change and there's no telling what you're going to hear. Take "Internal Chatter 5:06" or "Breaking Point 6:25" for example, where things take a slow turn and let loose the raw vocal emotion, without the grit. At times I was almost reminded a little of Roger Waters in the vocal delivery, until he started up the gritty vocals again, that is.

There's no getting around the gritty vocals on this disc, and there are really no tracks that stick out to me as being better or worse than any of the others. If you listen to this thing on shuffle or in order, you'll still be left with the same feeling of "it's just a big interesting chunk of music." In fact, don't even look at it as separate songs. Just imagine it all as just one big piece of music with many different variations and ideas. That's what I got from the overall listen of the disc.

The playing is fantastic though, and I certainly consider this one of my top discs in this particular genre. I'll even put it above the Unsane disc that I reviewed last week. This kind of material is just bustling with creativity, and despite the fact that the sludgy raw emotion of Unsane was good, these guys are just far more exciting to listen to. Tell you what. Just grab the Unsane disc and this one. Listen to them both, you can't go wrong with either.

These guys have crafted a masterpiece. Can't go wrong with this material in any fashion. If you choose to listen to the disc from star to finish, the songs get even more interesting towards the end of the disc. But again, those songs at the end are just as good at the ones in the beginning, or even in the middle for that matter.

Give these guys a chance, and some cash. This is the result of hard work and careful crafting, not thrown together slop. Put some variety in your muck, folks!

Highlights: Works well as a whole in any order. (9 Tracks, 47:00)

10/10 (A grimy evolution.)


Dreamscar - What Will Become Of Us (2012) - I saw these guys on AXS's Vegas Rocks Magazine Awards. It was an uncut awards show showcasing the best in rock and metal music from bands in the Vegas area. The band performed "Zombie Whore" live, and I thought that the performance of the vocalist was ample enough to warrant the band a review.

After grabbing the band's disc for just that purpose and listening through it, I was expecting the nu-metal and modern metal influence, but I also caught some death metal influence and some interesting experimentation that I didn't expect. I really want to liken these guys so much to Mudvayne in their earliest years, before they had gotten too popular and I suspect that eventually fame will hit these guys (as it has already) and the next disc will probably sound more like a common modern metal disc.

I'm not doing a full song by song on this, but I will briefly talk about some of the decent and horrible tracks. The opener "Pushed Away 3:51" combines the sort of screamy death influenced hard rock style (maybe it's metal in some regards) with the vocalist's sort of whine that erupted out of nu-metal. Yes, the whine isn't my thing - but some might also think that the clean Linkin Park style choruses are extremely lame. Still, one can say with all authority that these pretty boy choruses are mixed in with some of the heaviest filth that Linkin Park would never even dream of incorporating. Gotta do more then one little fucking scream, Chester!

Then we have the studio version of the song they played live, "Zombie Whore 3:28" which does have a sort of horror influenced intro riff. It's very single length, but who the fuck is going to play a song like this one the radio? Definitely built for it, but it won't go through. Thankfully, "See Your Fear 4:21" comes in with middle eastern vibes, (I didn't see that one coming.) and does have some actual growling mixed in with the screaming. Yes, there's those pretty boy choruses - but there's a portion in this song where a distinct melodic death metal influence comes in, complete with a truly worthy solo. It's after the electronic interlude.

There's a song with a chick on it, "Not Listening Anymore 4:30." Let's go on ahead and skip that one. Oh yeah, that one's got some weird dubstep effects done with the vocals. Dear god, that's awful! That's got to be like hipster metal or something.

Alright, here's something good. Actually, it's great. There's a song called "Overture 2:30" in the middle, where some classically influenced guitar battles with some great drum ideas. There's also a good deal of shredding and it shows that there IS a talented axeman in this band. I hope to hear more great things from him. Then we have "What Will Become Of Us 4:53" starts out with some good keyboard work, goes into melodic riffs and then we have a scream. But how about the rest of the song? I like the use of effects here, but this one's pretty lame except for the solo. Again, that guy's a killer guitar player.

"If You Were Real 4:03" not so great, other than that badass guitar solo. Plays with clean vocals and is at the forefront of being a love song. "Where She Belongs 3:36" is another one I'll pass, especially since... Goddamn, why is everyone doing dubstep metal these days! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

"Open Your Eyes 3:40" is next, and while it does mix well with the electronics; it's still pretty damned mediocre (even though I didn't expect an electronic metal track.) The disc's closer is "Let Me Be 4:54" and it mixes the middle-eastern melodies with electronics, metal and some decent vocals, (if he just wouldn't whine. Maybe if I send him an email and tell him not to whine on the next album, it might do better.) as the harsh vocals are good and the clean (non whine) vocals are good. There's also a formidable solo at the end of the disc and it's actually one of those long ones that really stand out on the disc. Come on, the clean vocals aren't bad on this track. I can deal with these (again, if he didn't whine during harsh vocals.)

Though this is not the greatest piece of music that I've heard in all of my life, these guys won an award for "Best New Band" and I guess that means that several people liked and voted for them. They certainly have potential in both the underground and sadly, the mainstream area - and I wouldn't recommend that you buy this record, because it has some incredibly awful tracks. But I'm sure this will appeal to women (not all, but many of the ones that I've met were into metal like this, rather than Napalm Death or Cannibal Corpse, exc.) and it might make a good gift. Regardless, if you're in her car, or she's driving your car, you'll probably wind up hearing this eventually. If not this album, then subsequent albums in the future.

But let me tell you guys something, men of the world; (and I humbly respect that there are women here that hate this shit, and for that I respect you) and that's that this isn't near as bad as some of the emo/boyband shit that we had years ago. That was awful, and I think I'd rather listen to the Backstreet Boys themselves then to listen to some of those whiny little brats that used to dress up like punk rock women. I'm sure some of that still goes on, but at least there is METAL to be found on this album. So yes, it does exist.

Be thankful, she could be playing Carly Ray Jepsen or Adele. Earplugs are indeed a gift from man, to himself.

Highlights: Pushed Away, See Your Fear, Overture, Let Me Be
(11 Tracks, 43:00)



Rob Zombie - Mondo Sex Head (2012 Deluxe Edition) - Well, Mr. Zombie. Just can't give us enough fucking remix albums now, can you?

Well, while Rob is putting the vocals on his forthcoming album, he decided to release this. First a four track EP, and then an 18 track LP Deluxe Edition. Or maybe the EP originally has 4 tracks and the deluxe edition has 14 extra tracks.

But why would he do that?

Oh yeah. He wants money. But I can't blame him. Economy's fucked, so we all do. You know that Rob is a big fan of stocks right? Yeah, you could be gambling away Grandma's life savings to him and his wife. But you liked that first Halloween movie, right? And House of 1000 Corpses? So what's your retirement then, huh? You'll probably die of some horrible apocalyptic event before then anyway.

Anyway, despite the Illuminati symbols that you want to derive from the original cat's head EP cover image, (the deluxe has a naked woman on the front showing her rump) this is a decent electronic remix disc, if not a bit (coughs) dub-steppy. Yeah. There's some dub-step influence. But Rob didn't mix these, a bunch of other people did. Why? Because they do the work and he doesn't have to. Does the money even go to the mixers?

Fuck if I know. Nevertheless, you're going to hear several different versions of electronics on this disc, some more beneficial for a club. Some of these tracks are great, while others are just decent. Oddly, the J-Devil(Johnathan Davis of Korn) mix of "Thunder Kiss '65 3:49" isn't full of fucking dubstep. The "Living Dead Girl" remix by Photek (7:00) that's included on the original standalone EP is not that great in all honesty, with electronics overtaking and the vocals being awfully faint. The odd acoustic and electronic mix of "Let It All Bleed Out" by Document One (4:40) starts out good enough, until the dubstep comes in and ruins it all.

Ki: Theory however, actually made a decent remix of what I think is one of this guy's worst singles, "Foxy, Foxy." It's definitely made for a gentleman's club, and the guitar influence works well with the electronics and the lighter touch on the vocals which I wouldn't mind seeing used in a burlesque sort of thing.

I have no idea what Big Black Delta thought they were doing to "More Human Than Human" a song, I didn't like much to begin with. The electronics are good, but this doesn't even sound like the song. However, it's not all that bad. I definitely like the "Dragula +++ Remix 4:31" and whoever the hell +++ is, but they've definitely got some great compositional skills and managed to turn a song that's normally so fierce, into a unique electronic dance anthem. Then we have the Ki: Theory remix of "Pussy Liquor (3:20)" a song originally made for the House Of 1,000 Corpses movie. Sometimes the music matches up well enough, there's a portion in the middle of the track that really incorporates the garage band sound of the original.

Now even though people have told me that this "Lords Of Salem" remix by Das Kapital is dubstep, I don't hear it. I'm just hearing regular electronic effects mixed with guitar. I also like the fact that they isolated the guitar on the track, as well as the chorus. You also hear those electronics in the background mixed well with the guitars. These ideas would never work well together if these guys hadn't mixed them together. There's a portion where you think you're gonna hear dubstep, but it doesn't go into dubstep, rather it does some interesting things with the guitar and electronics, really drawing a lot of attention to the thunder of the bass. Then you have the extra guitar influence in the middle of the song that didn't exist in the original. Then you have another portion where you expect dubstep, but it once again brings the bass at the forefront. I really think these dudes are talented, and I've listened to myriads of electronic music before there was even a such thing as dubstep. I'll suffice it to say that this track is not anything more than the same sort of electronic music they've done in clubs for years, not the kind of music that sounds like a computer losing it's mind.

"Never Gonna Stop" was remixed by Drumcorps, and these guys are great at mixing the electronics and keeping the original metal sense of the song together. This song sounds like it was chopped around with extra effects, but it does work for the track. But "Superbeast 4:21" was given a shitty treatment by Kraddy. He had the right idea, but used some rather ancient electronic effects. He actually took a song that worked so well because of it's speed, and made it a little slower and punchy. Yes, he did some things with the guitar that I like, but other than that, I'm not impressed. A remix of a track I've never even fucking heard before, "Devil's Hole Girls 4:11" was done by a man called Tobia Enhus. I don't know who he is, so if you do, then great. However, this guy knows his stuff, adding some violin and electronics to a song where I guess it wasn't used beforehand. It's definitely good, but I can't really use the original to compare, because I've never fucking heard it.

Next we have "Burn" which is a mix that the Bloody Beatroots did (3:02.) It's also on the original EP as track 3. It's the "motherfucker remix" as it hits heavy bass towards the "motherfucker" that repeats over as a sort of chorus. It's actually a very good mix and it's catchy. Next we have a "Mars Needs Women" remix by Griffin Boice (3:22). it isn't that great. Then we have a "Thunderkiss 65" remix by TOBACCO (2:54). It starts out with some kind of acoustic western twang, but the electronics aren't so great, very club-style. Plus, someone needs to tell the guy mixing it not to scream "1960!" into the mic.

Now we have (and I'm almost done folks) a "Never Gonna Stop" remix by Drumcorps (2:11) and this one speeds the song up and then chops it all to hell. I do like the fact that the song sounds thrashier sped up like it was, but to do the second part of the chorus they had to keep things slow or it wouldn't work.

Next, we've got an interesting Latin mix of "Pussy Liquor." This is by Tobias Enhus and is considered to be "Explicit 4:52." I hate to say it, but this remix might be even better than the original. Plus, these are real Latin instruments here. I mean, this is that kind of Tarantino western stuff. It keeps the original style of the song (the drumming) but the Latin horns are an awesome addition. This is the best song on the disc, and it should have been on the EP. They even add some extra "wah-wah" on the guitar for this track. Definitely a standout.

Alright, second to last track now. This is the Destructo remix of "Thunder Kiss '65." It's also on the original EP as the final track (4). While decent enough, it's really expectable, not offering much more than we'd expect from a regular old "techno remix."

The disc ends with this massive three song "Full Metal Machine Mix" of "More Human Than Human", "Living Dead Girl" and "Burn." Together they all total in at 8:14. Sadly, these are probably not much better than the remixes that were already made of these. (Super Sexy Swingin' Sounds and American Made Music To Strip By did these better) As a matter of fact, I think that these are the original remixes...

Hold on. Yeah, they are. What he did, is take these three tracks and really throw them all together. But More Human Than Human has more room than the other tracks, which you hear just about at the end of the disc. Damn you, Rob Zombie! I guess this mix is alright, but it's not the best thing I've ever heard. Hmm... I wonder what video game will use this track, or any of the others? Maybe they've already put one of them in Madden 2013 football... What a way to make money, sir.

The only thing different about the EP and the Deluxe Edition of the remix disc is that there's a song on the EP called "Dragula (Adam Freeland & Evil Nine Remix) 6:16". I know these effects are from FL Studio, but I've always considered them kind of fucking cheap for my tastes. Oh, yeah. Those are definitely from FL. Don't tell me they're selling this. I do like what effects they add at the latter half of the song, and I guess the chip music and light effects do help to make this song unique - but it's still too cheap for my tastes. Nonetheless, I'm sure it was a lot of fun to create.

At the end of it all, I think that this remix album spanning his entire legacy is all a bit much. I heard less dubstep influence then I thought I was gonna hear, and I'm glad for that. Apparently though, not all dubstep sounds like an exploding computer, so some of this might be dubstep. But even if that's the case, people have been listening to that style of music long before a man decided to put a mask on and coin a genre because he was broke and willing to sell his soul and his livelihood for music. Before groups like LMFAO who actually don't have any real talent, and who actually don't do any of their own mixing, (You kidding me? They have people in the studio that make that stuff, all those guys have to do is come in and sing.) thought that they'd mix electronics and pop music together... correction, Universal thought it was marketable. It's not about what's good, it's about what sells.

This album could have been full of exploding computer garbage, but I'm hearing some great electronica from some great composers on some of the songs on this album. I still want to know where terms like hipster, dubstep and whatever else they'll come up with in the next few weeks, months, or years, (always have to keep trends up) come from, and what 12 year old I'm supposed to castrate for starting it up. After all the internet spawns everything, and it's usually some kids that start that spawning.

Let me tell you something. I'm an electronics aficionado. I've got plenty of trance, techno, house, EBM and all sorts of other types of electronic music on my comp and sometimes on my MP3 player. I have never heard anything like this exploding computer sound before, and it's furthermore a disgrace to all the good electronic music that there ever was. I don't consider it an evolution of the genre, I consider it a step backwards. When one can do nothing more than to mix heavy bass and effects together in a hodge-podge, then the melody is lost.

Tell me something. What's the last melody that you can remember from dub-step music? Music devoid of melody is not music, and Beethoven coined the term years ago. Yet he was deaf. If the deaf can hear melodies and music, then why can't the living? I'm not telling you dubstep DJ's to quit making your music, but just to re-evaluate it. Have we really done all we can do with electronic music, that we must resort to this? I would definitely go up to that Mousehead fellow (Deadmou5e) when his mask is off, confront him offstage and challenge him to define proper melody. I've seen the guy without his mask, it's just a prop more or less. But if I ever were to run into these artists, I am afraid that I will hear the same thing over and over...

"The label told us what to do. I want to do different stuff, but the label won't let me. I'm under contract to make this type of music."

To any independent labels reading this, this isn't about you guys. It's about the major corporations that control what we watch, listen to, read, and even the type of games that we play, and clothes that we wear, and what we brush our teeth with, not to mention what we eat. This is the stuff that's not only disheartening, it's also scary. To any DJ's thinking about creating dubstep because it's popular music, just realize that your are only following their trends, put forth for you to follow. Deviate from the trends and make your own brand of music.

No matter what you do, make it your own.

Highlights: Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16
(DX: 18 Tracks, 79:00, EP: 4 Tracks, 20:00)



Scum Of The Earth - The Devil Made Me Do It (2012) - Oddly enough, Mike Riggs and what's left of Scum Of The Earth (John Tempesta said fuck it, long ago) decided to throw something together at the last minute in order to save what was of their reputation. Their reputation for being the other "Rob Zombie." Now the band's first album was filled with more hits than misses, and 2007's Sleaze freak was slightly better - but now the band is completely and utterly fucked.

I'm not even going to welcome the idea of going song by song with these, because they are all horrible. As much as I like electronic metal, there's more electronics than metal on this album and the Rob Zombie influence doesn't help this album one bit. Most of the songs sound like unfinished ideas and are so damned short that you won't even miss them. About one of the only good songs on the disc is "The Devil Made Me Do It III 2:59." But that's only because it's catchy. Other than that, this and everything else is very simplistic.

Imagine Rob Zombie's American Made Music To Strip By remix album, but instead of remixes, imagine each and every one of these tracks as a remix of songs that don't exist in any other format. It's a remix disc for songs that don't fucking exist, and probably never will. But not only that, the latter half of the album, starting with "Pray 3:44" incorporates dubstep.

Actually, to make your gasp even longer and anger-fuelled; we might as well call this latter half of the album, dubstep metal. Yes. That's what it is - the best description I have for this fucking tragedy. A Decibel reviewer actually described the album as being "fun and enjoyable." But I question just what kind of drugs he was on during that review, because Revolver - A magazine I seldom ever TRUST for reviews - actually called the album out as horrible and gave it a 5/10.

But perhaps since ads for this album were splattered all over the magazine thanks to Goomba Music, this review in Decibel was most likely not genuine. The man did ask why he thinks that people should care what Decibel thinks of such industrial hard rock in compare to actual metal, but then he proceeds to praise it. But this disc is not worthy of praise.

If you need evermore reason why this should be cast down to the pits of the Metal Abyss, take the disc's closer. It's called "Funeral March 2:58" and is a dubstep influenced hard rock version of the classic funeral march. Yes, THE CLASSIC FUNERAL MARCH - dun, duh dun dun - duh duh duh dun duh duh dun" That funeral march.

How, and furthermore... WHY, would you ever fuck up the funeral march? What possessed you, Mr. Riggs to commit such an atrocity? It would have been so easy to just go in there and do a metal version of the march, maybe even instrumental. But dupstep? Are you serious?

This whole fucking thing is unforgivable, and it's the worst fucking album I've heard all year. Even slam-death bands are better than this shit.

Adding dubstep to metal is like if someone cooked your favorite meal and then took a MASSIVE SHIT right on top of it. Speaking of shit, I actually had to run to the bathroom while listening to this on my MP3 Player, as I was working. But instead of letting the bowels flow while still listening to music, (as I sometimes do) I heard the dubstep and immediately turned off my MP3 Player. It wasn't even worth shitting to.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is music that's not even worth taking a shit to. That's how bad it is. It's not even worth torrenting. Don't even download this record, as it's literally not even worth the time! Just stay as far away from it as you can!

If you've got to have it, get it along with Rob Zombie's remix album, which I just reviewed. I'm sure you'll fucking love them both. But as for me, I say PASS in bold shitty letters. (To this one, though. Some of the Rob Zombie remixes are excellent. I need to be clear about that.)

Highlights: The Devil Made Me Do It III (10 Tracks, 31:00)

1/10 (A contender for WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR.)


The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania (2012) - First of all, there are actual metal riffs on this album. No, it's not loaded with the sort of heavy material that the band's Zeitgeist album was; but it's certainly got an unexpected share of metal tunes among the pop rock tracks and prog tracks that also appear here. They even pull out a little bit of Tool influence with the metallic openers, "Quasar 4:55" and "Panopticon 3:52." I don't care how much you hate Billy Corgan's vocals, the band does play some interesting prog metal on this disc, at least in the areas where prog metal is played.

Yes, it's a hodgepodge of music and I'm quite sure that not everything here will appeal to everybody; but I'm certain that there's at least a few tracks here for the metal fan, as well as the electronic fan, or the fan of art-rock. Speaking of art rock, "The Celestials 3:57" definitely gives us that feeling, as does "Violet Rays 4:19", and "My Love Is Winter 3:31." these songs are just sandwiched in right after the metal tracks on the album, or the metal influenced tracks on the disc anyway.

There are also some electronic tracks on here, like "One Diamond, One Heart 3:50" and the closer "Wildflower 4:44" even though that has a nice guitar portion at the end of the track. But no matter what it's doing, the disc is filled with prog and art rock, so expect it. I do think that fans of the band's traditional work will still like this stuff, but they have certainly moved on from the grunge style. I would certainly recommend it to the fan of intelligent, forward thinking art rock, perhaps even what people term to be "hipsters" but don't let that horrible trend name, discourage you from checking out this disc, because none of those names will be relevant if a solar flare knocked out all of the planet's electricity for weeks or even months. Then the only term that would be relevant in regards to people, would be "meat."

Nevertheless, the title track "Oceania 9:06" must be heard in it's entirety, as some interesting things are certainly going on during it, like the prog rock guitar solos, which are prevalent throughout the whole album. This disc brings a certain level of structure and craftsmanship to the band that I find appealing and rather cosmic. The disc really does seem spatial, perhaps you can listen to along with the new Krallice.

Just remember, there are some metal riffs on this album, and some very intricate solos. I'll also recommend the track "The Chimera 4:16" to metal fans, as it once again boosts up the heaviness.

I really like this disc, and I think it's a step in the band's evolution that was certainly going to happen. I caught a live show of their's on AXS, and it was a fantastic 2007 show in which the band had been showing their proggy and art rock side. Grunge fans, just face it. The band's moved on.

Definitely a rock album to check out this year. I think you all should at least give it a chance. Much better than I expected. But you might want to prepare for a few love songs, and some esoteric lyrics.

(13 Tracks 60:00)


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