Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 66 Part II (November 12th, 2012)


Nominon - The Cleansing (PR2012) - Nominon might as well have been around longer then some of you have been alive. Their very first demo dates back to 1993, and they've even opened up for legends Dissection and Dismember back in 1996. So these guys have had a long fucking time to perfect the Swedish death sound that they've again unleashed with their twenty-seventh offering, (according to the official release list) simply entitled, "The Cleansing." Now "The Cleansing" is just as you would expect from Swedish death metal stalwarts such as these - it's raw, brutal and drenched with the same gore that makes up Grave, Unleashed, early Hypocrisy, early Dark Tranquility, and others in that vein. While it's nothing ultimately new, what is done here is a certain solid effort that should appeal to most death metal fans. There's no core breakdowns, technicality or anything that you find in death metal these days. However, you will hear crunchy riffs, gore-splattered vocals, and drum work that you would expect for death metal of this nature. It's a very straight-forward approach and it's one that works. I had a very tough time picking out standout tracks on here, but that's due to the fact that everything on this disc fucking slaughtered. But where's death metal without solos? And these guys have delivered in that aspect too. Again, there's nothing on here that I thought was weak, and "Son Of Doom 5:00" and closer "Infernal Rites 5:07" are exceptionally strong.

Swedish death metal... for me, it NEVER gets old. This is just one of those records, and I highly recommend you check out this pummeler. Imagine the disc as a giant fucking hammer to your skull, and you've got it.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)



Defiant - Era Of Submission (PR2012) - Defiant are some young dudes from Croatia, but man can they play some traditional melodic death metal. Sure, it's still kinda rough around the edges, but there's definite "bloody heart" here, as the flyer proclaims. I mean, some of these dudes look really young; but they certainly sound like they've been playing for years and that's a good thing. There are worthwhile leads and great solos on the disc, suitable drumming and deep throated vocals with an occasional bout of scowls. Just about all of the tracks on the disc are in the range of three minutes, with some of them of branching toward four, but never reaching over it. "Creed Of Anansi 3:40", "Ishtar's Womb 3:08" and "Ruins 3:04" are some of the stronger tracks on the disc, and all three of these are coupled right next to each other. But I'll also have to mention "Seven Of Nine 3:55" which also showcases the band's talents. There are bits of technicality in this romp, so just expect it. It's not Necrophagist or Psycroptic by any means, but it's still there in places. Considering the ages of these guys, it's not hard to say that it's an influence.

But I really like the In Flames cover of "Beyond Space 3:39" which you'll only find on the limited edition. The band was able to do this classic song justice, and it's definitely worth grabbing a copy of the album with this track on it. These guys are young, so I'm sure that they have many more interesting things to show us on future albums. Hopefully, the follow up to this one will be worth the wait.

Highlights: Ishtar's Womb, Ruins, Seven Of Nine, Beyond Space (Bonus) (10 Tracks, 33:00)



Mephorash - Chalice Of Thagirion (PR2012) - Swedish black metal (yes, I said black metal - not everyone is doing Swe-death over there) band Mephorash sounds exactly like you'd expect black metal to sound. The band pic is just three dudes in black robes, but I'm not even sure if they're dudes. There could be women, hideous mutations, or even actual demons behind those robes; even though logic wants to sway my devious imagination away from such foolishness. The disc consists of thrashing double bass, eerie melodies and uneasy atmospherics that are fronted by the kind of antichristian scowl that we'd expect from a black metal frontman in addition to other equally devious effects. Ors delivers a great performance on this album, and I'm quite sure that fans of true black metal will find his vocals quite captivating and diabolic. Though there is only one vocalist named, several vocals appeal on tracks like "Corpus Christi 5:57" and an unholy form of chanting is sometimes used to add to the ritualistic atmosphere of the music. I could go on explaining this one, but it would all be for naught. I'll just tell you this - whether you buy this album as a disc, or download it digitally from, you're getting a black metal album. For most of you, that's all that matters. But for some of you, you need more reinforcement and that's alright. It's what I'm here for. There are no keyboards on this album, no symphonics, no female vocals, no rock solos... it's all eerie melodies, thrash and hymns to various "lesser gods" and occult themes adorned in black ritual.

There's really no reason why you shouldn't like this disc. It screams black metal, and it does it with the darkest sense of depravity. It's the textbook definition of the genre.

(11 Tracks, 56:00)



Tiamat - The Scarred People (Ltd. Edition 2012) - Again, I find myself on a completely different page with a Decibel writer. This happens often, and I do expect those guys and gals to be a little more than just half-assed with their reviews, which is usually the first section I gravitate towards upon getting any metal zine. Chris Dick in particular reviewed the new Tiamat disc as being something in the vein of "Wildhoney." But as I remember, that disc was quite heavy and had some harsh vocal influence. He also went on to state that the band could not figure out how to follow up "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber" and meandered along for years. But that record and "Cold Seed" really aren't anywhere near as good as this gentleman is saying. "Skeleton Skeletron" wasn't perfect, but "Prey" captured the more gothic aspects of the band brilliantly. It's that album that really got me into the band, as I checked out the other discs from there with "Wildhoney" and "Amanethes" being my personal favorite albums among the gamut of releases. I still remember that wonderful 2008 disc, where I wound up playing "Temple Of The Crescent Moon", "Lucium" and several other tracks hundreds of times. The disc was an absolute marvel. A friend and I agreed that it was definitely one of the best of their career. After that one, I didn't really care if Tiamat made another album or not. As far as I was concerned, that was a successful attempt at re-peaking, as I've called it.

Fast forward four years later, and here we are yet again with The Scarred People, adorning a cover that looks very OTO and Illuminati referenced. (But I kind of expected that. However, I do believe that it is a metaphorical representation of Lucifer.) This disc is a virtual 180 from the heaviness of "Amanethes", but I suppose that opener "The Scarred People 6:38" is a good transition into the new material. That new material being a sort of darker gothic rock. "Winter Dawn 4:13" does this well with a strong chorus, but it's got a dreamy vibe that sort of ends the song out on an odd note. Then directly after that one comes the odd "384 4:25." This song is something definitely interesting, as it has a very bleak and fearful sense to it. Words don't really explain it, as it sounds like a Faustian bargain with the riffs being downright apocalyptic.

But I've broken the paragraph again to highlight one simple fact. The disc changes in nature after that powerfully dark track, and it picks up some lighter influences and introduces the start of many rock-style guitar solos. Apparently they've got a new guitarist by the name of Roger Ojerson, and he really changes the nature of the band quite a bit. His major highlight is the instrumental, "Before Another Wilbury Dies 1:39" which highlights the 70's era shred-fest that comes right after the extremely boring nature of "The Sun Also Rises 5:06." So for those of you expecting to bang your head at all, well - you're fucked this time around. But I really feel that Tiamat and Johan Edlund are showing their age. As I said, there are some certain 70's moments on this disc, like "Messinian Letter 4:20" which still has me scratching my head. What were they thinking with that one? That's a hippie song if I've ever heard one.

Thankfully, we've got "Love Terrorists 5:42" which brings back the magic of the band's goth-natured work. Which is another thing that has me curious. Chris Dick said that he didn't like the latter work, but much of the work on this album sounds like that work, just without the added guitar solo. Now surely you aren't going to sit down with a straight face and tell me that some of that old material would've only appealed to you if there had been a few frantic solos, are you? Because that would be foolish. Ideas like "Tiznit 3:03" also don't do much for this disc, and "Thunder & Lightning 4:33" is dreadfully boring, only the guitar solo manages to save what comes off as a pretty weak rock ballad.

The bonus track "Born To Die 4:42 (Lana Del Ray Cover)" sounds more like the electronic work of "Skeleton Skeletron" and at first, it's quite weak - but I will admit that when you give this one a chance to warm up, it's got a very strong chorus. Even so, I've heard much better from Tiamat and this only sounds like a cast-off from that album. The disc's closer "Red Of The Morning Sun 4:21" takes forever to actually warm up, but it does get a little better towards the end. It also features electronics, but I have no idea what the song is about. I'm guessing it's a song about saving humanity.

The last song on the disc (before two live tracks) is the weird bonus track "Paradise 5:28 (Bruce Springsteen Cover.)" and this one is very odd. Johan doesn't use his normal dark tone of vocal on this one, so it sounds a little nasally. I guess that's why he took it off. But some people might like it, as it has a strong folk-like quality to it. I don't think everyone will like it, but there's definite emotion in the vocals. It's got a very "stripped down" quality that really takes off the whole "dark gothic" nature of the band, and brings it down to an intimate and more human level. The little bits of guitar melody (and end solo) that play alongside the acoustic guitar really help to make the song somewhat of an awkward standout. A live version of both "Divided 4:45" and Cain "5:17" are featured at the very end of this album.

If you want my full and honest opinion, I do not completely recommend this album. At least not to everyone. There will certainly be people who don't like it. Calling it metal is a stretch, and it's definitely more along the lines of gothic rock. Those of you expecting heavier material will be sorely disappointed. Even I couldn't have foreseen this change in the band's nature, but it is certainly a maturation. Not only that, but if you want me to be completely and painfully honest - I see this album as a bit of a Swansong. Maybe not the band's final release; but something very close to that. We might get another live show DVD/Blu-Ray and/or CD, and perhaps one final disc before a collection of rarities/demos.

But you know what? I'm okay with that. Tiamat has given me years of great music. Songs that I will remember for the very rest of my life. They are one of the only bands I've ever heard that has given music to Crowley's "The Pentagram." There's a reason I bought "The Church Of Tiamat DVD" and it's because those songs still resonate with me to this day. I still get "Vote For Love" stuck in my head, and I still get "Cain" stuck in my head, as well as "Wings Of Heaven." I could go on like a blabbering idiot about how great some of these fucking songs are, but I'll leave it up to you to check out this band's body of work.

Highlights: The Scarred People, Winter Dawn, Radiant Star, Before Another Wilbury Dies, Love Terrorists, Born To Die (Bonus), Paradise (Bonus), Cain (Live Bonus) (15 Tracks, 67:00)



Kamelot - Silverthorn (2012) - Kamelot now has a new vocalist, replacing the band's old frontman of thirteen years Roy Kahn with Seventh Wonder's Tommy Karevik. But the thing is, you'd never notice. Well, some of you will - but there's barely a difference. He definitely plays to Kahn's style and if you didn't know that Kahn was gone, you wouldn't have even noticed the change. The disc has a great big story attached to it, and I'm not even quite sure what it is; so if you care, then buy it. I'm only worried about the music - and what I'm hearing is very adventurous thrash, laden with keyboards. There are some really good guitar and keyboard solos on the disc as well, but it's very verse/chorus throughout the whole thing. Does that mean that it's not interesting?

No. It's certainly catchy and interesting, but even with the black metal influenced rasps of Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz on "Ashes to Ashes 3:58", it's still nothing new for the band. But maybe that's a good thing. "Poetry For The Poisoned" was not a good turn, and it helped the band to go back to what they knew. Songs like "Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) 4:39", "Torn 3:51", "Veritas 4:34", and title track "Silverthorn 4:51" really show that the band still has some power. Sadly, the album's nearly nine minute epic "Prodigal Son 8:52" is far too long and accomplishes little more than some good ballad solos. Also, the closer "Continuum 4:17" is an absolute joke, being that it's about a minute long before the 45 second break that separates the first part of the outro from the second part of the outro. Yes, they really did that.

This album is quite solid, and it does have several memorable songs. However, I will have to give it a solid score, because of some haphazard mistakes and overblown ideas. (We really didn't need "Continuum" at all, guys. Just count how many people skipped that track.) By the way, there's an even more overblown version of this disc that contains a few extra tracks and instrumental versions of tracks on the album. But I didn't think it was necessary.

For Kamelot fans, this is a great rejuvenation. But for the rest of us, yeah - we've heard it before. Still not as good as "The Black Halo" and most of the albums prior.

Highlights: Sacrimony (Angel Of Rebirth), Ashes To Ashes, Torn, Veritas, Silverthorn, Solitaire (12 Tracks, 56:00)



Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas (2012) - Some people liked "Passion" but I didn't think it was all that great. There just wasn't enough structure on the disc and it literally sounded like just a bunch of angry emotions being let out with everything in the musical division kicked up to high gear. At least on "Vanitas" there is actually some musical structure in spite of the chaotic nature of the band. Opener "The Blood-Dimmed Tide 3:20" actually has some deeper croons in addition to the screams, and "Forging Towards The Sunset 3:46" and "To Spite The Face 4:03" each have a chorus, and clean vocals are used. The melodies on "To Spite The Face" are also quite good, and the groove elements mix in nicely. This is certainly one of the disc's standout tracks and would make a great single. "Todos Somos Humanos 4:14" is as you would guess, completely in a different language and starts out with electronics. It also features a brief stint of electronic drumming in addition to the black and death metal elements. "In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas 4:32" has some great melodies which round out the insanity and clean vocal chorus that is barely audible here. Definitely melodic death metal influence on this one - just another thing I like about this band... and what's that? A solo. Yes, grindcore can have fucking solos, and good ones too.

Djent is played with on "You Can't Save Me, So Stop Fucking Trying 3:02" as well as some electronic effects and guitar melodies. These guys almost verge on deathcore at some points of this album, but it really doesn't matter what they're doing, because it all seems to work from a musical standpoint. The shortest track on the disc, "Make Glorious The Embrace Of Saturn 2:42" actually sounds like melodic black metal for the most part, yet even more psychotic - and I'm sure that the vocalist felt much better after recording it. "Feeding The Beast 4:59" rages in next, with erratic screaming and grim melodies. One of them sounds a little "Castlevania" in some instances, but it works well to the band's strengths and further establishes them as something of an oddity in the metal scene - and oddity, that for some fucking reason, just works. This really is a monster of a disc at just 37 minutes of playtime, and I'm not talking about some burly looking beast; I'm thinking more of something along the much slimier Lovecraftian level. One of the band's early previews for the album, "Of Fire And Fucking Pigs 3:01" has a sense of djent, some monk-like chanting and a distorted solo. I really have to wonder where it was exactly, that the band was trying to go. The disc ends out with the eerie black metal melodies that adorn "A Metaphor For The Dead 4:19." This track starts out incredibly black metal, but then deathcore and groove open up a lightly belted out chorus that sounds like Pavarotti. Then we're treated to a wonderful solo. Yes, this album ends out with a beautiful fucking guitar solo.

There is so much meat to this album, that I have no fucking clue how they'll top it. According to how I've scored, this album seems to be higher on my list than my previous favorite "In The Constellation Of The Black Widow." Perhaps it was the melodies, the solos, the clean vocals - the sporadity of the whole package that really solidified it for me as the band's best work. But then again, I see that "Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here" has a perfect five star score from me for each and every track. Perhaps I must listen to that one again, and you should do the same if you haven't heard the disc, or haven't heard that particular one in a while. Then again, I see that "Passion" has me with a five star score for every song except for one. Perhaps I need to go back to that one and see what I found so fucking great about it. Nonetheless, six out of ten songs is by no means horrible and I've given bands much worse. The real surprise about this record is how the band can take something so chaotic like the erratic screaming of "Passion" and combine it with more melody, clean vocal, "real" (as in longer than radio-play) guitar solos and at the same time, mix it with all sorts of odd electronic effects. It's certainly something of a mad scientist's creation and should certainly be checked out by ALL fans of extreme metal music.

Definitely one of the year's best. Don't miss it, or you're a complete idiot.

Highlights: To Spite The Face, In Coelo Quies Tout Finis Ici Bas, You Can't Save Me So Stop Fucking Trying, Make Glorious The Embrace Of Saturn, Feeding The Beast, A Metaphor For The Dead (10 Tracks, 37:00)



Rage Nucleaire - Unrelenting Fucking Hatred (2012) - Lord Worm's next outing after dropping from death metal legends Cryptopsy after citing "musical differences" is this chaotic black metal band called Rage Nucleaire. Calling themselves industrial is a bit of a stretch, and calling themselves "black metal" is also a bit of a stretch, since as another reviewer poked, "it sounds like something not unlike Anaal Nathrakh." While I am getting the black metal melodies and drumming, Lord Worm's vocals just don't sound like black metal. Well, in a sense it does - but the very early raw stuff. Maybe that's what he was going for, since he seems apt to cause as much musical chaos as possible and saw black metal as the next step in devastation. However, this disc doesn't really sound as apocalyptic or insane as it wants to, and I'm getting that the scene isn't thrilled with it. Granted, the musicians can play - but despite everything else; I'm wondering if Lord Worm was really the right vocalist for this band. The guys are almost done with their second one, so perhaps that disc will further sell this idea to me. But the band with all of it's melody and effects, just doesn't seem as chaotic as it could be. Lord Worm seems like he fits something more bloodthirsty, and these guys seem to be more fitting of a vocalist with a grimmer edge. I really feel that this could've been a great black metal album without Lord Worm, as I just think that the musicians were really on two different pages and I'm really wondering why Lord Worm hasn't yet embraced the most chaotic music of all, which is fucking grindcore. There are also some effects used on his vocals which sort of make him sound like he's a malfunctioning robot or singing underwater. Not only that, but I feel that the music itself needs to be louder. Everything is just a little too low in the mix and static-laden, which doesn't do much for the recording as a whole. But my biggest problem with the disc, is that the vocals sound off-key and don't go with the tunes at all. The disc would've been better as an instrumental, as bad as that sounds; because this is just very hard to grow on me.

While I don't know how long this project will last, I just don't think that the gore approach of Lord Worm was really needed for what really would've sounded like a great black metal band with virtually any black metal scowler. As much as I want to like this, I just can't wrap my head around such an odd mix of sporadic gore vocals and fantastic melodic black metal. Can you? As cheeky as this might sound, I actually feel that I could've done a better job myself. Anyone who has heard my black metal work knows that I'm quite qualified for the job.

Arrogant? Perhaps. But I'm just wondering if I really could've saved this disc. Again, the band is fantastic - musically they kill, but I really would've liked to hear an actual black metal vocalist on the disc.

And why are there farm animal sounds on this album?

(10 Tracks, 50:00)



God Seed - I Begin (2012) - Gaahl and company have put out yet another black metal album, this one much different from the Ov Hell black/thrash with Shagrath on vocals. This new beast is definitely along the lines of one of my personal favorite (and hey, don't judge me) Gorgoroth albums,2006's "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam." That disc killed and killed again for me, and I'm glad to hear the same sort of prog-black approach being attempted yet again. Tracks like "Awake 4:43, This From The Past 5:18, and The Running Of Blood 4:19" remind me greatly of that album and make me wonder why Gorgoroth decided to keep making records after such a masterpiece. I'm literally happy as a fucking lark to hear that this guy has finally decided to go back and make the real follow-up to that album, and produce it under a brand new band moniker to boot. Because that's exactly what this proggy masterpiece sounds like. You might be surprised to hear some more subtle passages on this disc too, but they're just as equally diabolic. The German metal inspired "Alt Liv 4:08" and electronic laden (with clean vocal passages, no doubt) "Alandre Tre 4:56" are just two of these more subtle, but still satisfying moments. "Lit 5:17" won't vocally be your thing, but I have to admit that it sounds good from a musical perspective. But despite the oddities on this album, songs like "Hinstu Dagar 4:45" and "The Wound 4:44" are definitely black metal tunes, just evolved for the new age of black metal. I mean, say whatever the fuck you want folks - Ihsahn's doing artsy shit now, and this is Gaahl of fucking Gorgoroth playing around with prog and electronics. These are the pioneers of the genre. Obviously they got tired of the same old shtick and decided to update their sound. But I understand that maybe you didn't want an album like this to come from the frontman of Gorgoroth. But guess what? It did.

There's nothing you can do about it, and it's pretty goddamned interesting, I'll say. However, I'll insist that you skip the outro, "Bloodline 3:43" entirely, because it's electronic and atmospheric nature probably won't appeal to 75% of the metal community, especially fans of traditional black metal. But God Seed is far from traditional, and it's music like this that makes them standout among the rest of the pack.

While not everyone's cup of tea, I still invite you to check it out. It's pretty fucking great as far as I'm concerned.

Highlights: Awake, This From The Past, Alt Liv, From The Running Of Blood, Alandre Tre, Hinstu Dagar, The Wound (9 Tracks, 41:00)



Revocation - Teratogenesis EP (2012 Free From Scion) - I've been a little late in covering this little free Scion EP, but rest assured that I did listen to the damn thing. Revocation needs no introduction, as we're all aware of their highly technical deathcore. "The Grip Tightens" is a strong track, but it doesn't really seem to do anything for me. There's a solo sure, but it takes more than just a solo to get me interested when it comes to some bare leads. "Spurn The Outstretched Hand 4:07" has the right idea and the vocalist does reach a little further back into his throat and even pull of some scowls. It's much stronger than the first track, but not by a great deal. "Maniacally Unleashed 3:41" comes next and it's a bludgeoning track that attempts a few nice things in way of riffs, vocals and overall song structure. It's certainly one of the stronger tracks here and I'd recommend it. There are some really obscure things going on in places here, and they showcase a sign of some definite promise blossoming for the next release. "Teratogenesis 4:06" comes next and sounds like it came off of Lamb Of God and Pantera during a barroom brawl. But it then goes into some rather wooden deathcore which is only brightened by moments of fanatical drumwork. But do they really need a solo on every song? Plus the djent portion kind of kills this one for me. Not really necessary. The disc ends with the brutality of "Bound By Desire" but even though it goes into deathcore, there are some great riffs in the mid-section of the track and the solo is remarkable enough to actually care about. Not to mention that it's one of those extra-long solos that actually plays out the whole damn track. As a matter of fact, the damn thing is still playing when the album fades out! Not too shabby indeed.

Hey, it's free. There's some worthwhile music on this one, and it's free. So get your lazy ass over to the scion site and go get it. Or grab it legally from a torrent. Next on the Scion free promotional metal EP list is Corrosion Of Conformity and then maybe they'll do some more black metal. Hopefully. Hell, a Cradle EP would be nice. Meads? Sigh? Oh, the possibilities...

Highlights: Maniacally Unleashed, Bound By Desire (5 Tracks, 21:00)

7/10 (That's a high score, considering I've never liked the vocalist for this band.)


Sylosis - Monolith (2012) - (Sighs...) Yeah, I'm way behind on this one and I apologize. But that's not because it was a bad disc, it's just because there were bands of more importance that I had to post first. I've been a fan of Sylosis for years, and I knew from the very start of "Conclusion Of An Age" that they were something worth keeping my eye on. The first track on this new disc "Out From Below 6:58" gives us that melodic deathcore/thrash feeling that was found on most of the band's previous album, "Edge Of The Earth." But that album was recorded last year, so it doesn't count anymore... right?

Wrong. But anyway, back to this new album which becomes something of a transition for the band as it incorporates many slower and doom or post metal elements. From the very start of "Fear The World 5:20" you might think that you're hearing a completely different band. But this is just a shade of things to come as the thrash that you expect is delivered... but things are changing if you haven't noticed with the riff progression. "What Dwells Within 5:02" continues the post-metal transformation. It's now readily apparent that these guys are certainly trying to adopt a new genre under the post-deathcore/thrash category. But now I just feel altogether sheepish. I mean, here I am pulling up fucking categories from the clouds, it seems! But what else can I say? The 3:00 mark of "What Dwells Within" comes in with pure post metal, so what am I supposed to think? But it's not just a one song transformation either. Though things get a little faster on "Behind The Sun 5:01" but I seriously think I'm listening to a thrashier Neurosis in places with more melo-death influence. This isn't just a 180, it's the kind of change that occurs when you decide whether or not you should even continue this stuff with the same band moniker. Then "The River 5:33" comes in, with the start of a rushing river and some thrash that we'd expect. But around the middle portion of the song, the style of the song changes into something more ethereal in atmosphere and leads into a remarkable guitar melody that sounds like it was directly pulled from another dimension.

"Monolith 5:02" comes in with another mix of sludgy thrash and I don't expect this to change. Clearly that's what referenced by the band on their album cover, and it's a quite interesting change. However, I do feel that the frontman's vocals go better with this kind of music. It sounds more natural. "Paradox 6:08" also starts out as thrash and becomes something also, far different what it was when it began. This type of song evolution is something unprecedented in metal these days. face it folks, this barely happens anymore and it's good to see that someone hasn't forgotten that a thrash song can be turned into a sludge song or vise-versa. However, this is done on generally every song; despite that every time a solo or melody is played on the guitars, it's magical. "All is Not Well 4:30" thumps a little slower and has an Phil Anselmo vocal nature to it, despite the fact that it's much "prettier" sounding than anything Pantera would do. Still, it's hearken back to the older material. "Born Anew 3:48" is about the same. The disc ends with the 19:16 "Enshrined." But don't think that these guys actually played a song that fucking long, because they didn't. Despite the fact that the song trudges like the melodic deathcore thrash of the band's nature, it soon becomes a light piece with some definite sludge influence and even some acoustics. Again, this is a band playing to two strengths and succeeding in both of them. The song itself is just 4:55 long, so you're going to have to skip through silence (why even do bonus tracks anymore, guys?) until about the 15 minute mark. That's when the acoustic guitar starts strumming and some clean vocals lead into a slightly heavier portion that ultimately ends the album on a slightly majestic note.

Whatever the case, the disc is certainly unexpected; but definitely well received. I think this is a true sign of maturation and the best direction to turn in artistic evolution. They couldn't have just put out another "Edge Of Earth" or "Conclusion of An Age" as it would be another drop in the bucket. But this disc, is something far greater. It's a monument to the band and what they can do. Releasing this type of material in a year's time is something spectacular, as it usually takes several years to perfect something like this. I highly recommend that you listen to this one and consider it one of 2012's absolute best albums. But it's not core-free, so you'll have to deal with that.

Highlights: Out From Below, What Dwells Within, The River, Monolith, Paradox, Enshrined (just skip the excess) (11 Tracks, 72:00)



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