Saturday, March 9, 2013
Week 74 (March 09, 2013)
Monobrow - Bennington Triangle Blues (2013 Band Request) - Monobrow is a blast from the past, in all respects. These guys make the very sounds that you'd expect to hear while exponentially high on LSD at a 70's hippie camp-out. The band is purely instrumental, but doesn't in any way get boring and I really do insist that the best place to play these guys is when you're passing around the bong with your buddies. The only thing missing here is some tripped out multi-colored soundscapes. There is definitely a strong sense of classic doom here, but mixed in with lysergic riffs and stoner drumming which makes the whole album a literal soundscape.
As far as the whole experience of it, I'd consider it uncanny. When these guys solo, they solo hard. When these guys change direction, they do it frequently; leading you into all sorts of undiscovered territory if you're really high and tripping through your own phantasmal subconscious. This album is like a drug itself, I really don't think you need to be high to experience it's effects like with the Zulik album I spotlighted earlier, and that is really a testament to the power of music on the human mind and the harmful effects that one can receive through the current brainwashing effects of party-pop music. When one is exposed for several hours to the same mish-mash of songs on the radio of one's workplace "an attempt at building employee morale" (nonetheless, I suspect brainwashing) their mind becomes crowded with these "cancers" I would call them, cancers that need to be flushed out and I would highly suggest clearing your mind with Monobrow for that.
Sometimes all that the mind needs a good trip, a good cleansing (you wouldn't believe the effects of fluoridation on the pineal by the way) to get rid of all the harmful manifestations absorbed in through the ears by mindless muzakal (yes, I just turned that into an adjective) garbage. Not to be confused with the term, music which you'll find described here in Monobrow. At any rate, it's a damned good trip and I highly recommend taking this instrumental trip, especially if you like bands such as High On Fire or The Sword. These guys really do have a lot to offer and this full-length assures me that they're a band to watch out for.
Definitely some of the best instrumental stoner/doom that I've ever fucking heard. Bravo, gentlemen!
Highlights: The entire journey is a highlight. (8 Tracks, 55:00)
Lago - Tyranny (Demo 2012 Band Request) - Lago is an old school death metal band from Arizona that pride themselves on brutality and the traditional spirit of death metal. You can hear many influences here including Nile, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, The Monolith Deathcult, Suffocation, Vader and many more. Though this demo only offers two tracks and the full album will feature more, what I've heard here is plenty to wet your palette for the full album to come later this year. Oddly enough, I'm hearing a few black metal riffs in the package the seem to sit well in turn with the machine gun drumming. But that could possibly be the black to death influence that Behemoth used upon their transformation and was inspiration to Lago's sound. The band's frontman offers the gravel that you expect and there are also occasional shrieks that feel welcome in these tracks. Nothing here seems over-played or boring and I think they've got a surefire shot to create some buzz when the full release drops.
Though not the most unique act I've ever heard in the death metal genre, Lago aren't trying to be. There's no clean vocals or synths or keys - it's just 100% death metal of the highest caliber and I'd certainly recommend it to death metal heads everywhere. But don't fucking take my word for it. The demo is streaming right here:
Now when I say demo, you might expect rough and hard to hear music and that's not what you're getting here. These tracks were produced well enough as on any other death metal release I've heard and it doesn't sound like they were recorded in some guy's garage. Definitely check out some great death metal from these guys, as a good part of their state probably thinks that they're going to hell. But if so many metal musicians are supposedly headed there, it must not be that bad of a place after all. Lago prove that they've got some merit to add to the current death metal scene and this release showcases that effort. Definitely listenable, but I need more than two tracks to go on. Hopefully I'll have a review of the full album soon.
(2 Tracks, 8:00)
Extirpation - Reverse The Reality (PR2013) - This black/thrash band from Italy has one of the most interesting intros I've heard on an album and that's because it's actually Goblin's "Suspiria" taken from the Dario Argento film of the same name. I also state that this song is the very precursor to black metal, (or at least the scowl approach) considering that it was written in the 70's, long before King Diamond started Mercyful Fate and Venom decided to add elements of darker punk to thrash, first coining the phrase "Black Metal" on their sophomore debut. At first I got excited and thought that finally a band decided to cover this song in a heavier format (and not the Daemonia version) until it switched over to the black thrash metal of the band's nature, almost making the intro seem out of place as it didn't even match the style of the record from that point on.
At any rate, the other thirty-six minutes of the album offer some great black metal infused thrash complete with the scowl vocal approach that you'd expect, and an overall style that sounds like it was recorded back in the 80's or early 90's but with added clarity. According to the press info, this band (composed of memebrs of Terror Saw) is worth checking out for fans of Sarcofago, Sepultura, Buldozer and Necrodeath. But what about Bathory? Surely I'm hearing a little bit of that early Bathory style on this record and it's welcomed. I'd also recommend this to fans of Venom - it's blackened thrash, quite simply and if you liked the first couple of Venom albums, I don't see why you wouldn't like this one.
The songs lengths on this disc vary completely, with the opener "The Door Of Madness 5:46" being one of the longer numbers but definitely utilizing it's time to add slight structural changes and instrumental portions that keep the track fresh. Shorter numbers like "Claustrophobia 2:57" and "Dawn Of Ignorance 3:06" rely on much quicker thrashy punches, and seem to deliver with the latter's portion of background shouts and the former's slight drum theatrics. Background shouts can also be heard on the disc's title track, "Reverse The Reality 6:35" which adds a very unique to the style portion of light atmosphere that might have a few thrashers scratching their heads, but to me it shows a sense of experimentation which I always welcome. But not only that, there's a slight prog portion that follows this and then resumes the thrash. "The Memory 6:46" is a slightly slower track on the disc that almost sounds like a blackened prog then a blackened thrash, but it works and shows the potential of this band. After all, they could have made this a blackened thrash album with very few differentiations and I'm glad that they didn't. To add to the differentiation, there is "SL 3:11" which consists of a mild atmosphere created by the bass that allows slight riffs to accentuate it and produce an sense of ominousity.
Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time hearing some of the solos in the mix and complained that if I were in the studio, I would have told Eros to turn his amp up to the level of Daras' PA - since Daras is heard more than any other member in the band. On a couple of these tracks, Eros always seems like he's playing the solos in the background somewhere and I don't like that. I've heard this one both on my earbuds and on my laptop speakers and can attest to the same problem. Other than that, the production is fine. Perhaps I'm just nitpicking, but the opener track "The Door Of Madness" seems to be the worst about this.
Extirpation are a blackened thrash act of a different, more experimental kind. Even Daras' bass seems to have more black/prog sensibilities to it than just thrash riffs. I guess I could recall Cynic as to the tone's exact nature. As a matter of fact, the progressive era Death might also link up to this band's style a bit. There are a cavalcade of influences here and I'm sure you'll be able to pick them out when the album drops shortly, along with it's equally unique album cover. Yes, even the cover isn't quite what you expect. This is an old school sound with a new school approach that is well worth hearing. However, I wish they did more experimenting on the album as a whole and not just with a few of it's tracks.
Highlights: Intro, The Door Of Madness, Reverse The Reality, The Memory, SL (9 Tracks, 37:00)
Oceans Of Slumber - Aetherial (PR2013) - To describe this band properly, I think I'd need to discharge about ten paragraphs. But I don't think I'm going to do that to you with this debut album from this Texan five-piece that contains the drummer of grind act Insect Warfare, a jazz guitarist and other individuals who have come together to form this unique sound. I'm sorry folks, but I'm just going to have to go song by song on this one to be able to explain it. So maybe it will be ten paragraphs after all.
The first track is called "God In Skin 5:13" which for the most part sounds like a type of melodic post metal complete with the sort of grunts expected for the genre coupled with strong melodies and powerful clean vocals. "Coffins Like Kites 7:33" begins with a solo and continues with the same post-metal sensibilities of the opener. Death metal growls come into the mix later on, backed by scowls adding a certain depth to the track amidst the several thousand structural changes that occur in the track, each of them seeming warranted, including the brief slow down portion which leads into a sort of etheric piece that sees the vocals coupled with the effect of a watercolor painting. This goes into the thunder of post metal and plays with death metal at it's most extreme before going full-force into a prog solo. Yes, this is how music is made, kiddies - please observe. The post metal sense of the song comes back, and throws some groove into the mix recalling Pantera with more playful drums and then there's a slight death metal growl and a scowl and one last grunt before it ends.
"Memoriam 5:36" comes in with stellar riffs and a southern clean approach, that would fit on the radio for hard rock. A female joins the mix, but it sounds like she's enveloped into a cloud as the acoustics come in and bring a very tasteful sense as it's all ripped away with post metal grunts laden thrash complete with background scowls. A solo melody breaks through this madness for a second before it goes into a sort of black thrash with death metal vocals now being the standpoint. The clean comes back, reminiscent of Dillinger Escape Plan as the guitarist breaks through with that solo he wanted to have at the beginning, while the vocals come back in as radio quality as would be acceptable. but I wouldn't mind hearing this on the radio.
"Remedy 4:55" started off with a sort of hardcore/post metal grunt fury and then went right in, yes right in - to light prog. Then it went right back into fury with scowls being highlighted as the prog gets laid on quite heavy and the clean comes back. An acoustic joins in the background as things get a little chunkier before they envelop into progressive death metal with gravel. There's a slight instrumental groove as the post metal style comes back accented by the still proggy nature and then a scowl appears for a short while as a post metal grunt comes back into the fold. Playful experimentation follows as it sounds like the band is now moving slowly down a waterfall as the post-metal takes over as the drums and guitar wind down for an atmospheric. That's when the solo guy says, "Alright, it's my turn." and he does his job well there, along with that drummer. You sure that guy's big into grind? I've been hearing a lot of prog drumming from him. Clean comes back as the solo continues. Dillinger might need to quit after these guys release their disc. A prog portion ends the track out.
The more melodic "Only A Corpse 5:50" and this one stuck out for me on the first listen. It starts light and goes into thunderous post metal. The clean comes in and it's really quite good as the light comes in and after a slight low toned statement (think Phil Anselmo) the clean comes in powerfully and highlights the strong melody giving me a feeling of Tool when Maynard's hit a strong portion of a song. The post vocals come back as the same style continues. Prog comes back into the mix as the light vocals come back and continue what is truly a rather beautiful piece. This track is another radio worthy piece. Then that's when the death metal growl is heard in the background of the prog. Solo comes in and it's what we'd expect for the song and much longer than any of the previous solos. It goes into light atmosphere and clean vocal that continues with prog riffs and prog drumming - scowl comes in here - there's a slight effect and then the song fades out.
From the start of "Aetherial 8:01" the album's title track, you already might think that you're listening to another band. But that's because it comes in with pummeling death metal. There's still melody, but yeah - this is death metal. Until it makes an abrupt change into a light atmosphere and clean vocal. The band picks up as the clean verse comes in amidst thundering drumming and death/clean interchange as the toms create a tribal effect between the guitars making this certainly the kind of song you'd expect - there's a slight extreme portion in between every prog break - until the prog break continues for much longer and goes into a strong Neurosis influence that goes into blast beats. The song calms down as light atmospheres an ethereal clean comes in to highlight them. Death metal revs up again and it's definite death metal. Yes, you can headbang here. Do so. Then the music gets a little sludgier as the extremities continue making a killer fucking song. The prog comes back, lightening things up as the solo guy comes back and does a terrific job that coupled with everything else, would make a listener's head spin off. The drums have their fun for a moment as some spatial effects are heard. Things get heavier again with the Neurosis approach and some more guitar solo work that ends out the track.
"Primordial 6:46" which starts out with post metal (insert scowl) and finally envelops into full on black metal in it's base sense - yes, this is the only song that does that - goes into a light atmospheric and then back into post metal. Groove kicks in a bit as the post metal continues and then there's a slight bit of gravel as the guitar melodies come in wake up another clean and the beast returns with a growl, clean and scowl. A bit of western influence comes in as the prog drum work comes back and goes into another atmosphere. The clean comes back ala post metal. Insert another scowl. Post metal influence, then another scowl. Drums seem to go crazy at this point as the drums thunder amidst a long scowl and short solo that leads into a foreboding atmospheric piece which seems to end out the track.
"Blackest Cloud 6:54" apparently invokes King Crimson and I can very well hear it. I also hear a vocal style that reminds me a bit of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden.) A slight prog atmosphere flows as the vocals lighten to go with the prog sense of this track. It sounds very uninviting however, not the calming sort of prog and that eventually flows into a heavier portion that really highlights the slight uneasiness I felt about the track. Black metal scowls come in and lead to something more akin to hardcore/post metal vocals. Clean vocals are heard as death metal growls come in leading right into a prog atmosphere that plays with the guitar. Now things start to sound middle eastern oddly enough, but I welcome the Melechesh drum style and riffs. That's really fucking great, guys. There's also a solo here that highlights the middle eastern parts. Listen closely and you'll hear a few notes of the "Star Spangled Banner" which leads me to believe this track is about war in the middle east. The song returns back to it's King Crimson sense with it's powerful chorus. Damn. Definitely one of my favorite tracks.
The disc's final track is the epic "Great Divide 9:29" which you can already tell is going to be a tour-de-force. So like most tour-de-force's, it starts out light. The chorus portion is first as the song goes into a big post metal feast filled with different vocal styles. The clean comes in as the track thunders - a light pause - a instrumental highlight - then a light atmospheric and clean vocal. Acoustics come in as the song reaches it's chorus portion and really hammers hard on that. After that chorus, you get some real firepower amidst tinkering that works well. Then we've got a powerful post metal portion that comes in with buzzsaw bass lines. That goes into some prog melody as the chorus comes back and leads into a beautiful prog portion that leads into some acoustics. Light riff there as a verse comes back in with the guitars back at full-force. This is the heavy melodic part of the track which leads right back into the chorus. Then we get a solo portion, sounds very otherworldly, but fucking amazing nonetheless. This the real solo showcase here. Best solo on the disc by far. Then you'll hear a scowl portion highlighted by some technicality. Groove comes back in as the clean vocals come in highlighted by the melody. The song ends off on a slow atmospheric, but I'll admit that I would've loved to hear that chorus one more time. With that being said, this is the end of the album.
If you've made it this far, I fucking commend you. Describing this thing is work in of itself, as it's literally some of the most sporadic metal I've heard since Sculptured. It definitely has for the most part a feel of post metal and would like to see them highlight more of the other styles on future albums. Which I certainly hope there will be. This is a band who has more than just a little potential and I think that every metalhead should give them a try, just to hear something that's incredibly fucking different. I'm wondering if that Adrien Begrand guy got a copy of this one and is now posting "check this out" on his twitter feed, only to listen to it again with a clear head and say "this band lacks an identity."
And again, I don't feel that way. This is the future of music - experimentation. There's no use in making the same kind of music as others, and in the end we can all be accused of plagiarism at some point as there are so many fucking bands out there who borrow from this and that. But we could say the same for writers, directors and even game designers. Oceans Of Slumber is what heavy metal music should sound like in 2013, being a cacophony of sounds and styles that all seem to meld together into an awesome and unforgettable trip.
Definitely get your hands on this one. Sorry about the ten paragraphs, by the way.
(9 Tracks 60:00)
Necrocurse - Grip Of The Dead (PR2013) - Necrocurse is a death metal band which one can quickly draw many comparisons, such as Morbid Angel and Grave. Whether it be the opener "Necrocurse 3:51" (which would be the band's namesake) or the clever "The Devil Cobra 4:01" (which makes me think of a fiery red serpent with horns) these guys lay on the vile as thick as I lay on the peanut butter when I'm making sandwiches. Nice and chunky and evil. Nevertheless, I don't think that one member in this band actually follows and worships the dark one and even if they did, this music wouldn't reflect their beliefs. It's nothing more than an old school tribute and that's fine with me. These guys know exactly how to play death metal the old fashioned way and do so with as much spite and fire as you would expect it to sound at it's unholiest. The vocal style of the approach is closer related to the scowls of black metal and that does help it to give some form, rather than all of this being done in standard gravel.
With tracks titles like "Death Metal Rebels 3:47", "Morbid Maniacs 3:40" and "Coffin Breakers 3:15" these guys definitely aren't trying to go for anything profound and succeed in their approach of meaty drums, raucous guitars and an overall sense of dread with some moments of extreme thrash. I guess I could also compare them to The Crown at their earliest (Hell Is Here, Deathrace King) but a little more vile in the sense that the approach is more horrific then the balls-out stuff that The Crown have done. Nevertheless, Necrocurse bring us the very best of death metal's past and come in fully swinging with the best of it's solos, riffs, drum work and scowls that come from the very fucking abyss. Add to that album closer, "Infernal Rebellion 4:50" which starts out on one of my favorite riffs of all time and features a couple of classic high pitch vocals in the vein of King Diamond. This is old school death metal at it's most preserved.
There's not a single thing wrong with this album, other than the fact that you haven't listened to it yet.
(11 Tracks, 41:00)
Goatcraft - All For Naught (PR2013) - Upon getting this promo, I must admit that I was rather smitten with the cover. Sure, it looked just as dark and dreadful as any other black metal cover, but for some odd reason it just didn't seem that harmful. There's a goat on the front of it, appearing to be just "chillin" as it were, overlooking a full moon. I got so enamored with this cover, that I decided that I would actually speak to this goat.
So I asked the goat, "What are you doing on that hill?" and the goat replied; "Nothing, brah. Just chillin."
Confused at this response, I sat there dumbfounded as the goat said, "I'll bet you think I'm on the cover of a rough, raw black metal album. Right, brah?"
And I replied, "Yeah. That's how it would appear."
Then the goat replied, "Well, I bet you'd shit yourself if you found out that I wasn't on the cover of a black metal album, brah."
"And what do you mean by this?" I asked.
"It's classical, brah. Baroque period. You remember Castlevania, brah? That's what it sounds like."
So without a word further, I pressed play on the album to hear just that - the kind of ominous music I would expect to play in Dracula's castle, if I were really in there - not the rock/metal infused classical stuff that played in the games. This is in all actuality, an album of dark classical music; and I'm going to be digging up buried treasure with my comparisons, but I could easily compare it to the 1997 Xytras side project of Samael, right before they hit their new era.
Truly, there's nothing wrong with this though - I'd love to have a copy of it, it's something that comes around once every blue moon, to be honest. Few people actually have the gumption to do something like this, which is essentially black metal stripped down to it's most primitive and root element - classical music. It is true that the devil himself was said to have come and visited famous composers in their sleep and teach them various compositions as they themselves had claimed; so it's only right that this sounds as grim as humanly possible. Probably about as grim as this tower, really. But at any rate, this is by far some of the best classical I've heard in a long time. I really enjoy the darker approach of classical music, like Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" for example, being one of my favorite compositions in the history of classical music. It is true that the same level of darkness is echoed here, in such songs as "Infinite Death 7:52", "Isolation Ripens 7:52" and "Goats Will Riot 3:08" for example.
To say that this album is not for the metalhead, would be an insult - some of you have no idea where the darkness and thunder of black metal or heavy metal in general even came from and have dismissed the entire genre of classical due to popular, happy compositions. But let me tell you that some utterly vile pieces lie in the world of classical music, pieces that will shake you to the very core with fright and wonder - and that is what Lonegoat has been able to do here.
Every once in a while, there's that one guy that shows up and does something altogether different - the man who decides to put little rocks on a piece of meat, when everyone else just ate it plain. These small rocks turned out to be salt crystals and others also found them to be good. Then a man decided to ground peppercorns and he also sprinkled them on a piece of meat and found it delicious. Years later, we've got people sailing all over the fucking ocean looking for more of these spices and killing any tribes that got in their way.
Now I'm not saying that some monarch is going to start requesting dark classical music and people will go flying around the world looking for it, abducting any composers they may find - but in a world where everyone else wants to play black metal, Lonegoat decides that he wants to be that one guy who plays dark classical music with the spirit of black metal intact. As a matter of fact, I am certain that Ihsahn or Mortiis would enjoy this work as would Gaahl or Silenoz, perhaps even Galder and most certainly ICS Vortex. This is the symphonic part of black metal without the metal, and let me tell you something... it's fantastic. I'd be an idiot to give this anything less than perfection.
And for all those naysayer's who are upset because there are no guitars, drums or even vocals on the disc, I'll just tell you this. It doesn't need them. If it did, it would be just like any other symphonic black metal album. True, there are slight atmospheric interludes; but this is for the most part a wonderful masterwork of neoclassical piano work that will sound great in any dungeon.
It is wonderful music to play when the moon is high in the night and a fog can be seen, still creeping through the air...
Highlights: All (12 Tracks, 46:00)
A Transylvanian Funeral - Gorgos Goetia (PR2013) - Sleepwalker is back, and this time he's shed the skin of melodies that I previously enjoyed. Why, I don't know exactly; but "Moonchild 7:17" is still here and I will again say that the track is a masterpiece. According to my PR info, Sleepwalker handles everything and he does so with a live kit, live guitars and minimal production value; as well as the scowls of course. The disc is actually 74 minutes of black metal mayhem (two more than indicated in the PR info) and offers many different sides to Sleepwalker's work.
However, some of these songs were definitely recorded at different time periods and you can tell from the production value on some of them. The opener, "Cold Blood And Darkness 3:39" actually sounds much higher in production value than the tracks released on the EP like "The Supreme Rite Of Transformation 5:35." But that's really no big deal, since everything is done to the best of his ability and nothing on here really sounds like a filler track. It's definitely a black metal disc of the rawest, but still listenable quality and I enjoyed every track on it; but I still didn't find anything better than "Moonchild."
As far as Sleepwalker's talent goes, he definitely does utilize the kit well enough and the riffs are full of just as much seething venom as they need to be. If this is a rite to a Gorgon, he's certainly done her justice as I imagine that the Medusa might fancy this album in her chamber, surrounded by all of the brave warriors of whom she's turned to stone. This is certainly American black metal at it's most pure and should even get the kvltists who think that the only good black metal is Norwegian black metal, to change their tune - albeit slightly.
Not everything on here sounds the same, for one thing - "Fear 6:25" has a sort of melodic black style to it, where as the eight minute epic of "Mars Exiled In Capricorn 8:05" features more thrash, thunder and overall spite. Then we've got "Percival In Black Armour 8:07" which is not only a clever title, it's also a rather clever track that features some more wonderful words from The Great Beast 666. Don't quote me on this, but I believe it is an excerpt from Crowley's "The Pentagram." What? You didn't know that Crowley made an album? Yes, it was made on old wax and it's amazing that we still have his words preserved; considering that music could not be well recorded back in his day.
I especially like "Hymn To A Gorgon 7:32" which is much slower in nature, but has a great deal of emotion in it, that makes it worth checking out. Sleepwalker belts out these scowls with such fury and passion that it certainly must mean something to him, as it switches to a thrasher where the instruments continue the passage.
I did say that I was curious as to what a full album would sound like from A Transylvanian Funeral, and I got my wish. Though there isn't as much melody as I hoped, it is there to balance out the punchy drums and furious riffs that this extremely long ritual encompasses. If you're a fan of black metal in it's truest sense and don't mind a bit of melody in addition to the raw thrashy nature of the genre; I would certainly recommend picking this disc up for 6.66 from Forbidden Records, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Rhapsody and other online retailers when it is available on March 20th, 2013. Since it's damn near everywhere, you've got no reason not to check it out!
Highlights: Burning Astral Hunger, The Supreme Rite Of Transmutation, Fear, Moonchild, Night Hags, Percival In Black Armour, Hymn To A Gorgon
(12 Tracks, 74:00)
Expurgate - Dementia Tremens (PR2013) - The debut album from these Colorado brutal death metallers had better satiate you, because they're now on hiatus. The first time I listened to this album, I was sitting in my living room early in the morning blasting this disc while eating a bowl of Cheerios. True story. So as I lowered spoon to bowl and from bowl to mouth, I heard what sounded like rather generic death metal to be honest. I'm just going to say it. I didn't like this album, because it's just not my thing. I love death metal, but I don't like it when the vocalist doesn't actually encapsulate a word in the vocal effect and what I'm hearing is essentially the sound of a demon from Doom. If I gave one of the demons from that game (the gray ones with the horns that run around the maps) the microphone and allowed it to grunt and grumble, I would get the same effect. If you like your death metal to sound like there's a literal monster on the end of the microphone, this might be for you. There's also what sounds like the appearance of the brown imps (sounds just like them) on the microphone.
As far as the music itself goes, the riffs are kind of bland but the drum work is certainly up to par. If you like bands like Disgorge, Digested Flesh, Dysentery and other bands of that genre, you'll like this. I just don't think it's the best brutal death album I've ever heard and the vocals are so off the wall that it doesn't even make sense to me. But if this sounds like your idea of a good time, then you'll probably like it. There's no piggie squeal here, but the sound of demons and imps on the same microphone to me comes off as comical. Occasionally, you will hear some actual death metal gravel mixed in - let's call this the voice of the undead space marine.
The disc is only a little over twenty minutes long, but being that the display of the vocals are so unreal, (this guy should voice monsters for games) it's definitely worth checking out; even though I'll admit that the asking price for the disc is a bit much.
(9 Tracks, 23:00)
The Modern Age Slavery - Requiem For Us All (PR2013) - Half an hour of brutality that hits hard and takes absolutely no prisoners, is how I an best describe the sophomore album from Italian brutal death metallers, The Modern Age Slavery. Track by track, this disc hits hard with each and every song and hits it's pint very clear. The New World Order is coming and we must fight to take this generation back from those bastards. One thing I need to point out that hits this home and I'm not sure if the cover artist designed this to be subliminal to only those who are "awake" but the tentacled monster in the background of the cover is literally in the shape of the pyramid and eye combo that our "friends" in the <(o)> use. This shit's coming upon us, so you'd better heed these words.
Requiem For Us All comes packaged with tracks like "Obedience 3:18", "Ivory Cage 4:10" and "Icon Of A Dead World 4:42" that offer plenty of technicality, brutality and overall fury. This album is certainly full of piss and vinegar and then some. There's some djent influence and core influence to be found, but at the forefront is the frustration of men enraged. If a world where your every action is tracked and your every thought monitored sounds like a good idea, then ignore these words and have fun in the cage. But as these gentlemen are trying to tell you - things are about to get much worse. And they do so with some of the most uncompromising and dread-laden death metal that you'll probably hear this year, that is; if you still have your own mind before 2014.
At any rate, I definitely recommend that you check out this half an hour display of complete devastation. Only the heaviest of metal is here and while laden with some modern influences that you might not like so much, they do what they do well enough. Take it as a bullhorn of a sign. A brutal fucking sign that things are about to get rough. As rough as this fucking album.
Blast this shit as loud as possible.
(10 Tracks, 34:00)
Krypts - Unending Degradation (PR2013) - These Finns have done something pretty spectacular here and in the realms of death metal; that must mean that the disc is going to be chock full of awesomeness.... which it is. Krypts take absolutely no fucking prisoners with this beast of an album that features such classics as "Open The Crypt" with it's absolutely pummeling bass lines, concrete vocals and thundering drums. Yes, this is how death metal should sound. This album made quite a good atmosphere piece while cleaning one of the most brutal rooms in the house - the bathroom. While I was cleaning the muck from the sink and the toilet, this album helped provide me with that extra adrenaline dose I needed to keep scrubbing the hell out of the bathtub. Tracks filled with both doom and ferocity like "Dormancy Of The Ancients 7:42" which sounds anything but dormant and the best evil march I've heard in my fucking life - "Inhale 4:00" remind me why it is that I even like death metal in the first place. If you've ever seen a film or played a game where something evil marches in some way or another, this is the background music for that march. When I play this song, I literally think of fear and dread, total devastation and chaos. It's that fucking wonderful. Instead of inhale, it could have been called "Death March" or "March of Venom" but other than that, it's perfect. This is "evil" with a capital "E."
Then we've got the black smoke that rises because they haven't chosen a new Pope yet. Whoops, wrong blog. But yes, songs like "The Black Smoke 3:25" and brutal death basher "Day Of Reckoning 4:41" remind me once again, what it is that I love about death metal. I'm actually hearing a lot of Vader influence in "Day Of Reckoning" along with a short solo that definitely found it's way in there along with other sporadity in the track that just seems to work.
For the most part, Krypts combines the very best of dreadful, foreboding doom metal with the unrelenting viciousness of death metal. It's an unholy combination that certainly works on all levels. I loved every single track on this disc and recommend it to fans of bands like Desolate Shrine, but will add that this disc pummels much more than their latest one did. It's dreadful, that's for sure - but it also packs a fucking punch.
Highlights: Open The Crypt, Dormancy Of The Ancients, Inhale..., The Black Smoke, Day Of Reckoning, Beneath The Archaic (8 Tracks, 39:00)
Lifeless - Godconstruct (PR2013) - The sophomore album from German death metallers Lifeless is now upon us and crushing, it most certainly is. The album might start out with the calm chanting of monks, but when "Godconstruct 5:32" rolls in, it makes me think that the fury of the oncoming wave of death was too great for the monks and they are now no longer with us, unless you count the ashes. "Towards Damnation 3:46" is a by the numbers basher which features a classic solo and does it's job well enough, until "Moribund 4:27" comes in and shakes things up a little bit. This one probably features the solo that you expected from "Towards Damnation."
"Blood For The Gods 5:47" starts off a little slower, but with some slight folk influence and features a torrential downpour of drum savagery. The next song is actually quite interesting and unexpected, especially for an album that has dealt with death metal mainstays. Yes, like The Modern Age Slavery; this track is also about the coming NWO and begins with George Bush (the first one, not "dubya") infamous quote referencing "the new world order." This is definitely one of the album's best tracks, being a definite basher and featuring a great solo along with a lot of fury. These guys seem to be rather upset about the oncoming threat of the microchips and enslavement (Whoops! Did I say that out loud?) and I can't say that I fucking blame them. The next track goes in line with it, featuring an excerpt from Nietzche.
When the metal returns, we are one again bashed over the fucking head with the next track, "Seething With Rage 5:31" that begins with a slightly long intro and then envelops into the monster you'd expect. "Sworn To Death 4:01" however does little for me, other than the solo. The power comes back with "Reconquering The Soul 4:08" which is about taking your life back from those who control it.
"Blindead 5:18" features some slight atmosphere and the use of an almost middle eastern effect (I really like the guitars here) but I have no idea what the keyboard part that comes after is supposed to be and it throws me off track. Couldn't that have just been a riff? Finally, "Perdition Of The Whore 3:46" bludgeons you one last time, with everything that you would want from the end of an album - the finale; if you will. The track pummels more than anything else here has and it's got a great melody in between the pummeling, almost like a man who's holding you by the head and drowning you in a bucket of water, but lifting your head up every few minutes to get some air before you get dunked back into the bucket. There's also a tremendous fucking solo and powerful reprise to the track, ending out a very strong death metal album... with piano.
Eh? Go figure.
Regardless, the new album from Lifeless is well worth checking out for death metal fans worldwide. The band brought a great deal to the table and for the most part, it delivers. There are some oddities and tracks that don't offer as much substance as others - but it's definitely solid melodic death metal with an emphasis on the death and not so much on the melody. You'll get a beating here, for sure. Hell, you might even like it.
Highlights: Godconstruct, Moribund, The Truth Concealed, Seething With Rage Reconquering The Soul, Perdition Of The Whore (12 Tracks, 49:00)
Suffocation - Pinnacle Of Bedlam (2013) - Suffocation is back and it's about damned time. Their last album was released in 2009 and that was four years ago, folks. Yeah, I'm rubbing it in - you're getting OLD. So while you think about geriatrics and death metal, I'll just let you know that these old dudes (and they call themselves that) really blew it out of the water this time. Pinnacle is truly a fucking pinnacle of death metal this year, it's without a doubt one of the best death metal albums of 2013 and shouldn't be matched for a while, at least. The disc comes out pummeling - no bullshit intros, no spoken word vocals, just 100% fucking death metal. They definitely turned up the technicality this time, but it's been turned to insane amounts - "Eminent Wrath 3:40" opens on one of the craziest, choppiest solos that I've ever heard.
Even though "Sullen Days 4:57" starts off a little acoustic, the track heats up and thunders through into something fucking unmentionable and ultimately electrifying. Listen to the drumming at the beginning of "Pinnacle Of Bedlam 3:43" folks. Just the drumming there. That is the kind of effort that I'm talking about. But if that's not enough for you, listen to the fucking solo here. I have nothing more to say other than expletives when hearing work this deep.
As good as this album sounds, it literally sounds like it took six years to make. Though the disc is short, I would rather hear thirty eight minutes of complete perfection; then an fucking hour of half and half. No, this is goddamned perfect. I'm not even going to continue lining this album out for you. There's no use in it. If what I've said isn't good enough, then you're clearly just not fucking interested in this masterwork. These days, there are a lot of clones out there. But Suffocation proves that the originals do it the best.
One of the best death metal releases of the human era. Get your hands on it today. If you were on the fence, now is the time to jump over and cross into the promised fucking land.
I repeat myself: "Pinnacle is truly a pinnacle of death metal."
Highlights: You're still reading? Go get this album already! (10 tracks, 38:00)
Wednesday 13 - The Dixie Dead (2013) - The full length album from Wednesday 13 is just as I've said in my review for the EP last week. It's more along the lines of heavy rock than it is punk. And when I say heavy rock, I literally mean a scrunch of hard rock and heavy metal. Think Rob Zombie and Dope mixed with Motley Crue and you've got it. The first track "Blood Sucker 4:07" certainly does have that whole party metal theme to it and features a good enough riff melody. "Get Your Grave On 4:10" is a stickler for early Rob Zombie, but without the strong vocal tone that he could have better provided to the track. Think Hellbilly Deluxe with vocals that don't match.
"Curse The Living 4:28" is a groove thrash track in the vein of Exodus or Testament, but Wednesday is the wrong vocalist for this. "Too Fast For Blood 3:48" sounds like a heavier Crue, but it doesn't work anyway. I like "Hail Ming 3:44" with it's march-like quality, but again - it's the wrong vocalist for a track like this. "The Dixie Dead 3:32" is just southern rock laden metal that I'd expect on the credits to a b grade horror movie. "Ghost Stories" is as I said, very much in the vein of the acoustic "Curse Of Me" from the EP. It's actually a good song and should warrant a few plays - he's done a decent job with the melody and does seem to be the right vocalist for this track. Although, I can think of better.
The Misfits come out in "Fuck You (In Memory Of.) 4:31" which I could direct to a certain person. Quite a few, actually. Not sure what the fuck is going on with "Carol Anne... They're Here 3:40" but the chorus is plenty strong and it's listenable. The last track is "Hands Of The Ripper 3:05" which is decent enough, but nothing special. Of course, there's an outro and it's an atmospheric which is also decent enough.
But that sums up the whole album. Well, maybe it doesn't. True, there are listenable songs on this one; but I just don't know what Wednesday was trying to do. Very little punk and grabs for every other style of music but what his voice was suited for make for an odd sounding release.
No thanks. I'll just listen to "Rambo" from the EP.
Highlights: Blood Sucker, Curse The Living, Ghost Stories, Fuck You (In Memory Of.), Carol Anne... They're Here (13 Tracks, 45:00)
KMFDM - Kunst (2013) - Damn. What the hell happened? Honestly, what the fuck happened to the ultra heavy beat? After Blitz in 2009, everything just seemed to go downhill. Granted, this new release is better than 2011's WTF, but there are quite a few tracks here that go nowhere. But before we get to those, let's talk about what they do right. The album begins with the title track "Kunst" which is German for "art." At any rate, the song is just about the massive 29 year legacy of KMFDM and uses the fake title "Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode" in the song - even though the band's name translates to No Pity For The Majority. After that, the album's best track, "Ave Maria 5:06" begins in the retro style and truly symbolizes exactly what the very meaning of industrial is, with it's mix of classic synths and groove rock riffs and Lucia's angelic, but rough vocals. "Quake" is one of the heaviest tracks here, but it's still quite electronic influenced. The chorus however, really kills and makes me think of classic KMFDM. But that is the purpose of this album.
Forgive me, I'm mistaken. The next track on the disc, "Hello 4:25" comes out thrashing. But it mixes light electro-pop and thrash together in a way that I've never heard before. Lucia sings lightly for most of the track, but when the thrash comes in, she screams like a fucking banshee. Damn, how I've missed this!
Unfortunately, "Next Big Thing 4:41", "Pussy Riot 4:10" and "Pseudocide 3:36" failed to keep my attention, even though I love the vocal approach to "Next big Thing" and wish it could've been more. It was just a little off for me. Lucia actually fails a little bit in her approach of "Pussy Riot" and it doesn't come out as good as it could, but I do like her clean approach on the track. Maybe it'll come in time - I dunno. I just think the vocals are a little obnoxious for it. "Pseudocide 3:36" has a good riff style, mixing some thrash in - but I hate the chorus. Just a little weak.
"Animal Out 5:06" is another one of those tracks that might come to me in time. I'm sure that if I listened to this album like I used to listen to albums (the same one, over and over) eventually It'll grow on me. Lucia's vocals sound good, the electronics are strong and the riffs sound classic - it really sounds like 90's KMFDM and some people are going to fucking love that. Maybe I'll give this another star. Got to give it something for that end effect. That's the band at their best.
"The Mess You Made 6:05" is a longer track with a little more atmosphere than the band has previously had. The song is certainly a dance-rock track and it's got it's use of guitar (and solo) so I think that it's another grower. Sometimes, KMFDM is like that though. You don't just soak up their music. It's the opposite of pop muzak that is made to be easily chewed. KMFDM takes a while to absorb and that's a good thing.
The very last song on this disc kind of struck me as intriguing however. If you've studied MK Ultra, the song seems like it could be about the effects of MK Ultra mind control. It has that duality nature and a strange hypnotic sense to it, especially when he says "you need to comprehend, who's in control" which sounds like a master and puppet relationship. I think that KMFDM want fans and listeners to dig into this one further. It's also the first time they've mentioned a subject like this. But people are waking up and this is a great thought to leave someone with. The song itself is called "I <3 Not 4:32" which is pretty damned bizarre to begin with and the fact that he says "I heart you, I heart you not" is just a little peculiar. An interesting observation from a band who's taught me to look deeper into things and discover the true nature of the powers that we put into control.
KMFDM has returned to their roots. It's not an easy disc to get into, but if you set it aside for a while and come back to it, it'll eventually grow on you. Again, look further into that last track. I want to think it's about the concept of God, but those lyrics don't seem to fully calcify that idea.
Highlights: Kunst, Ave Maria, Quake, Hello, Animal Out, The Mess You Made, I <3 Not
Subterranean Masquerade - Home EP (2013) - Don't cry. It's only twelve minutes from a band that we've wanted to hear a new recording from for years now. I'm sure there will be a full release at some point, and from the sound of "Home" it will be worth it. "Home 5:40" isn't very long, but it's use of middle eastern elements, operatic and death metal vocals as well as saxophones and other odd and uncanny styles prove it to be a very strong track that's just as strong as anything else that the band has done. Yet I definitely sense some November's Doom influence put into this band more now then ever. November's Doom fans can actually check this band out now (but you idiots, you should have in the first place!)
The next track is "Beyond The Pale 6:25" and it's not as great. Well, it does sound like it was recorded back in the 70's and doesn't feature any death metal influence. Perhaps it is a cover? I will have to check that and make the appropriate edit. It does feature the same middle eastern instrumentations though and is definitely prog.
So we've got two songs here. One of them is definitely death metal influenced and the other is definitely weird prog. Yep. This is Subterranean Masquerade. I have no worries about the new album now. It'll sound just as it should.
(2 Tracks, 12:00)
8/10 (At least hear "Home." You can probably stream it somewhere, if nothing else.)