Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 75 (March 24th, 2013)


Deathcult - The Test Of Time (PR2013) - Deathcult is an old school death metal band that caught my attention from the very first listen. There's a bit of black metal influence in here too, but for the most part I would certainly consider this to be a fantastic take on old school death metal, just as morbid as it should be. The disc gallops in with "The Forms Of Things Unknown 3:46" which is a great way to get acquainted with the band, and continues on with the groove/thrash of "The Test Of Time 5:15", and "Born To Lose 4:38" which strikes me as an odd topic from the rest of the lyrics, as it's about professional wrestlers and how they destroy their bodies with steroids (which I don't mind so much in IFBB) and by beating up each other in the ring. I'm also going to have to point out "Hail The Antichrist 5:30" and there's a reason why this is important. As of March 23rd, people panicked because Obama was going to roll out the RFID chips as part of Obamacare and some say that would make him the antichrist. Well, just before hearing that I listened to this song and read the lyrics, which include "soon you will learn of his omnipotence - soon you will learn why he was chosen" and when I put those words on our current president, I have to say that it makes me want to go downstairs and personally tell the devil that his choice for antichrist sucks. Really, that's him? That's the Mabus? That sucks. But then I look at the world and see how much things just all around suck and see people getting fucked over and it makes sense. Even the antichrist was a fucking disappointment.

Thankfully, this album sure as hell isn't. This blackened death hybrid goes down smooth and burns the stomach like a strong shot of whiskey. People have said this and that about it, but to hell with them. I like it. I think people check out my reviews here because they aren't as "professional" and just feature my true thoughts on a disc, without having to reference 80 million other bands in comparison. It's black, it's thrash, it's death and it's got a gritty production that makes all of these tracks sound great during virtually any task. Washing the dishes? Taking the kids to the sitter? Driving grandma to the supermarket? This is 35 minutes of music that will make the time fly by. Working in a construction area? The other gentlemen will whistle with glee in just a few minutes after this album is inserted into the company boombox.

I see a lot of reviewers out there who seem to be "disheartened" and pretty much consider reviewing discs a chore. But as a person that loves listening to music for the sake of music, even when he's not reviewing music - I feel incredibly privileged to be able to hear new albums all of the time from bands across the globe. I always get a surge of excitement when new materials are sent to my inbox, especially when I like the bands. Deathcult are just another one of those bands that I've heavily enjoyed (and I've listened to this one more than once) so if you're a reviewer and you're getting tired of hearing music that you like, because it sounds too much like other bands that you like; you should probably quit reviewing music. Sure I've heard this thing before from bands like Midnight, but I like it - so fuck you. I think that says it pretty much.

If you like black/death thrash that's catchy and pulls no punches, check out Deathcult. You'll be glad you did.

Highlights: All (8 Tracks, 35:00)



Freedom's Reign - Freedom's Reign (PR2013) - Freedom's Reign play a version of classic heavy metal influenced by bands that I probably can't recall, but I'm certainly hearing elements of stoner doom and classic rock, backed with clean vocals that sound pleasing enough to the ear. The production on the album is also pretty strong, I'm able to discern the instruments well and it seems to match the nature of the recording. I believe that one of the major highlights for me on this one was the opener, "Ritual 4:58" but the others seemed to have faded into the dust. These guys really incorporated one hell of a jam session on that one, the kind of prog-jam that can take you up in the sky with it's majesty.

Hmm... That's odd. The next track on this one sounds like a completely different band. Yes, "Shadows Of A Doubt 4:43" sounds more like a power/thrash band but I will say that the chorus is very strong, quite catchy and there's some nice elements utilized in the song as well as an awesome guitar solo. That's two for two thus far. "Brother 3:57" continues along the same lines, but it's got some melody portions and a different riff structure that separates it from the latter track. "Believe 3:53" has the same sort of thrash (odd that they start with stoner/doom and now seem to playing some Brainstorm or Chinchilla style power/thrash.) These two are the only low points so far, however. But they're not really "that low."

That's when "Up From Down 5:36" picks back up with the doom influences and I'm glad to hear them, because they come back with a real winner of a track. When I'm reminded of good Sabbath, something is being done right here. That chorus is done so well that I'm actually reminded of Ozzy and I've always loved his vocal work in Sabbath. "To Be 4:32" actually sounds like a little bit of grunge/hard rock but I like the vocal approach here. Hold on a second... this song is quite familiar to me. If I'm not mistaken, it's a Nirvana cover. Hence the grunge. Even though I like the original, (Arkansas radio played it quite a bit in my younger years and probably still does) I think this is a strong metal cover of a grunge classic.

"No Excuses 5:49" comes in next, sounding like a hard rock meets thrash. But I like it. It's a strong track that's got a powerfully catchy chorus. "Long Way 6:10" is also a powerful track - a bit rocky, but damn. You'd be an idiot to deny that chorus. Yeah, this is one I could see myself playing quite a bit. Just one of those songs that really sticks with you. Finally, we've got "Looking Around 7:13" which is the longest track on the album and sounds a bit ominous. But again, I really like it. There's definitely the Sabbath touch here too, but it works. I think I could recommend this album to anyone who's into rock and metal really. Not much on the extreme, but they're not that kind of band and I'm more than happy with the package presented here.

I know next to nothing about these guys, other than the fact that I really like them and wouldn't mind hearing more from them, so I hope that they can continue making great music. I urge fans of rock, power/thrash and doom to check these guys out, because they really have a lot to offer with this one. I could talk more about the disc, but I'd rather let your ears do the talking for me.

Highlights: Ritual, Shadows Of A Doubt, Up From Down, To Be, No Excuses, Long Way, Looking Away (9 Tracks, 46:00)



Logic Of Denial - Atonement (PR2013) - These Italian death metallers unfortunately put out a sophomore release that was so bland and by the numbers that I felt myself becoming more bored by the minute. Yes, they cite Nile, Behemoth and Hate Eternal as comparisons and while I do certainly hear those bands, the group seems to go about 900 bpm and doesn't slow down for even one second, making almost all of the tracks sound like one big mess of unchained brutality. It hits hard, fast and heavy but does little more. I've also wondered why the band wrote such short tracks. Most of them are about the length of an American pop tune, which seem to insult my intelligence as a fan of music that I would consider more along the lines of classical thunder than musical junk food.

The drums bash and bash and bash some more, the riffs are heavy as hell (if you can hear them over the drums that bash and bash and bash some more) and the vocals are your normal gravel. About the only thing I heard on this disc were the drums and a handful of melodies. I wanted to hear more from this band, but they just didn't have anything else to offer me other than the only standout track, the closer "Despondency 4:42." It had a bit of an Egyptian flair to the melody and the drums sounded just right, not blasting all over the fucking place. Which makes me wonder, "why in the hell is this on the end?" Even the vocal approach is different, and I would have liked the whole disc if it was filled with the magnificence of this closer.

It's almost as if I'm hearing two bands. That's how different this closer track is. Well, given the choice I'd much rather prefer Band B instead of Band A. Band A put me to sleep and Band B woke me up. If this is what they're going for on their third opus, I'll definitely be throwing that one some high marks. This is what I want to hear from my death metal. Not just a bunch of blasting. Nearly anyone can put that kind of band together. But when you take the time to write the riff melodies and show people that you can fucking play the guitar, that's when they'll take notice. I did.

But time will tell the future of this disc. I'm going to give it an extra .5 for the closer track, but I would certainly consider it a mediocre album. It's brutal, but the finale leaves me expecting so much more from these guys. But I still that think the new Suffocation (Pinnacle Of Bedlam) and Wormed album (Exodromos) have spoiled me a bit as far as brutality goes. Still, worth checking out if you want a quick beating with a melodic end.

Highlights: Despondency (11 Tracks, 41:00)



Ara - The Blessed Sleep (PR2013) - Four piece technical death metal band Ara doesn't offer much with their debut The Blessed Sleep at only 21 minutes of music, but they definitely have more going for them in term of structure and form than the act I previously reviewed, Logic Of Denial. Adam Bunjy's sludge vocal and classic gore growls go in tune with the weirdness of the guitars (which my PR info is not clear about) who are either played by Jerry Hauppa or Erik Stenglein - but whoever is playing these unconventional riffs, they certainly are a fan of early Cynic and Atheist. Ten million tempo changes a minute can also be found on this album with varying vocal antics and drums that seem to travel just as much as every other instrument. If straight-forward is more your bag, then check out the Logic Of Denial; but I like shit to sound as weird as possible most of the time (believe me, some of the shit I've been listening to lately is quite bizarre) and these guys seem to excel in both weirdness and bashing me over the goddamned head. I'll also mention that there are some guitar solos on this one and they're of reasonable length managing to work well with the cacophony of sounds that one will experience with this sludge-influenced brand of technical . death. However it does seem to be all over the place and some might not get it, as to be expected. Nevertheless, this weirdness is coupled with bludgeoning brutality and is sure to rip your head off.

Again, it's not a long release but I'd still recommend that fans of technical death metal pick up this oddity. I really think the use of sludge vocals adds something new to the pot, along with the melodies that just whip about at every turn. Perhaps this is the soundtrack to madness in a way, a trip through the most deranged parts of the psyche of a mass murderer or a some other sort of psychopath. But that's for you to decide...

(5 Tracks, 21:00)



Slaughterday - Cosmic Horror (PR2013) - Released only on tape, this two man death metal demo released something right out of Lovecraftian myth that will certainly get your head banging, but it's also got the right amount of grim atmosphere that follows in line with the subject material. This is a 19 minute tape folks, so don't expect the world. But it's still worth checking out. "Abyss Of Nameless Fear 4:19" comes in fierce and throws in a nice solo. It's definitely the kind of stuff I'd recommend to fans of Grave, Unleashed, Bloodbath, early Hypocrisy, Vader, Entombed, Deicide - you know, the whole gamut of classic death. "Cosmic Horror 3:57" comes in with a great solo and some fine drum work that erupts into another fine death metal track. "Crawling In Secrecy 5:21" comes in next, proving to me that these guys can do know wrong and this is a great fucking demo. Please, SIGN THESE GUYS! I WANT TO FUCKING HEAR MORE OF THIS!

Now that that's out of the way, I'll talk about the last track "Cult Of The Dreaming Dead 5:56" which is slower that the others at first, but I like the grueling dread pouring from it. When it erupts, it erupts with the same ferocity and the vocals just hit right on the mark, with the guitar melodies dead on. Definitely reminds me of Revolting and those guys are fucking great, so that's a good thing.

Whoops. There's a small error on my part and I'll remedy it real quick:

The track order is as such:

Side A

Abyss Of Nameless Fear - 4:19
Cult Of Dreaming Dead - 5:56

Side B

Crawling In Secrecy - 5:21
Cosmic Horror - 3:57

For those of you who remember tapes. I do, so I guess I'm old. But what the hell. Regardless of what order these tracks are in, this demo kills. It's nothing new, but it doesn't need to be. It'd the kind of classic death metal I like and it's good enough to promote to people who also like that kind of classic death metal before all the technicality and such. (Even though there are of course bands in that realm I like too.) I have no idea when and how this will be released, but since it's on tape you'll just have to do some digging and dust off your tape player. Hopefully these guys will be signed, so that I can as emphasized in the all caps, "hear more of this shit."

(4 Tracks, 19:00)



Wandersword - Waiting For War (PR2013) - Well, I've got some Viking metal straight from Russia that is aimed at fans of bands like Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Amorphis, Children Of Bodom, Wintersun, Hypocrisy and Finntroll. Coming in at just one minute under forty, the disc certainly gives us the sort of folk/melodic death metal experience we would expect from this kind of metal. The riffs come off with great wonder, I'm especially enjoying them right at the opener "The Valiant Viking 5:33" and can hear the Ensiferum breathing in the rhythms. The drums do a decent enough job, but I'll admit that I'd like to hear them a little better in the mix. The guitars are also sort of in the background on this one, with the vocals being too overbearing in the master. I'm turning my volume up just to test this for myself.

Though the mix is unbalanced, I would be a fool to tell you that these melodies are something to just throw away, because they aren't. Whether it be the leads, the orchestrations, the synths or the acoustics, this thing is bursting at the seams with great melody throughout each and every one of these tracks. "Peaceful Guard 3:57" marks a good display of that, yet I also found much heavier material in "Strange Ship's Tail 3:55" which comes off in the vein of Swedish death metal like At The Gates. There's also the deathcore-influenced "Masters Of The World 5:53" and the oddness of "Northern Gates 4:41" which sounds like black metal in some portions, djent in others and then is filled with lots of light atmosphere. What a weird but interesting concoction. The disc is topped off with "Russia 4:15" which is a bit of a fantastical death/.thrasher in that it mixes beautiful synths with blasting drums, making me now add the fact that the drummer I once heard in the background has now become more apparent later in the album.

Waiting For War is certainly comprised of a large mix of styles and I'm glad that not every song sounded like "The Valiant Viking 5:33" because I really thought that was what I was in for with this one. Not that the song is bad, but re-treading the same ground can grow on one's nerves. Rather I am treated to many different facets of the band on this album, proving to me that they've got much more to offer than even this forty minute piece displays and perhaps we'll hear it in the future. There are some songs where Andrey's Anikin's vocal inflection doesn't work for me, but others when it very much does. I would certainly say that his scowls are much better than his growls. I've been doing harsh vocals since 2005, so I would assume I know a bit about them. Yet clean are also heard in various parts of this record and for the most part, I've had no problem with them. Musically, it's a fine piece of work and I'd recommend it to fans of those bands and then some. Again, some might not understand or get the Russian approach to Viking metal that is displayed here, but I can't deny the musicianship and the musicianship is there.

However, the band also recorded an EP in 2008 with an Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" and being the pop metal nut that I am, I will be hunting that bastard down. (I still play the living heck out of Any Given Day's "Diamonds" cover - it sounds like it would if KSE did it with an added solo.)

But I digress, as this is not about me - it's about the wonder of Wandersword. The album will release on the 16th of April and will be available here in the US as well as worldwide, so definitely go check it out if you want to hear several different shades of Viking metal that isn't by any means grey and is full of fire and bludgeoning fury as much as it is melody and atmosphere. It's the music of true artists who have their own interpretations for each and every song. I have to respect that and I hope that you will too.

Highlights: The Valiant Viking, Strange Ship's Tail, Peaceful Guard, Northern Gates (9 Tracks, 39:00)



Dead Awaken - Where Hope Turns Dripping Red (PR2013) - Dead Awaken are a three-piece death metal band with a great deal to offer, in all actuality. When I first heard "Carnivore 3:12" I didn't expect much, but when I got to "Deutsches Afrika Corpse 3:59" and heard that intro piece, I was pretty fucking stunned. The drums are absolutely killer there, the riffs pounding, and the gravel right in you fucking face. That's a death metal song folks, there are no substitutes. Then when I got to the slower brood of "Rocket Symphony 5:16" and the death/groove nature of "Mudhell 3:35" I was convinced that Dead Awaken is a band I want to keep my eye on. There are always those bands that come out of nowhere, who nobody would really give a shit about because they didn't ever think to give them a shot, but in reality they're one of the best death metal bands you've never fucking heard.

When a band's got a good drummer, you can tell - and I really fucking like this guy's playing on the kit. He really makes the band what it is, and I'm just goddamned amazed. As far lyrics go, they can start reading off names and phone numbers and I'd fucking like it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to "man, I had a shitty day at work. I need a band that'll make me want to fucking bang my head and unwind." And that's just it. I want to go into the fridge, pull out a cold one, pop off the top on that sucker and bang my head a bit. There's many bands you can do that to, but these guys are just fucking made for it.

As far as influences go - Cannibal, Immolation, Dying Fetus, Suffocation exc. I mean, you can hear it in the music. I'm hearing a lot of Cannibal just in "Venom Of The Population 5:46" and sure I've heard that shit before, but it sounds good; so why knock it? Plus, I'll say it again - this guy REALLY KILLS on the kit.

Though it might be a couple minutes over thirty, it's something you can go back and listen to repeatedly. It's good drinking music and it's good for driving - but not both, you fucking nutcase! I'm not really sure which PR label told me to check these guys out, but thank fuck that they did. I'm more than happy to promote death metal that I'll sit down and enjoy on my own time.

Highlights: Deutsches Afrika Corpse, Rocket Symphony, Mudhell, Manic Destructive, Envy The Dead, Venom Of The Population, State Of Corrosion (9 Tracks, 34:00)



Birth AD - I Blame You (PR2013) - If you remember my old review for this album when the band were unsigned, but they are now on Dark Descent/Unspeakable Axe Records.

Since absolutely nothing has changed in regards to this new release (and I have personally verified that) I will do a Grim Tower first and repost my original review for this album in order to properly cover it:

A product of crossover thrash from Candlelight Records artists, Averse Sefira. It was also produced by thrash guru Alex Perialas who is responsible for producing albums from Testament, Overkill, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and others. It also features guest appearances from Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ (How the hell did that happen?) and Bill Taylor of Immolation. Now that I've got all that out of the way, I'll talk about the album. The disc is exactly as you'd expect for something like this, with pummeling drums, thrash riffs and punk vocals. Though I liked the lyrical content of the album, and thought that it was good musically, I guess I didn't care for the vocals and that turned me off the entire album. I know that punk is generally performed like this, but I want someone to sound a little more menacing (like the old Gallows vocalist) and less like a comedy. But then again, we can go back to 90's era GWAR and that's got almost the same vibe. Perhaps I just prefer Brockie's sick humor to what this guy's trying to do, and it just doesn't sell to me. Which is entirely alright, as I don't expect to like everything that's thrown at me. However, I do think that this band has potential and if they've been selling as well as they have before, then there's no reason why they should be signed to a label and promoted. This thrash/punk could start another metal revolution in the same way that retro-thrash occurred, but this is certainly not a rehash of anything, and it certainly has some meat. I've never cared for short songs really, it makes me think of a song one time I heard on a radio show where some fellow made a metal song called "I don't want to go to work" and that was the entire fucking song. He yelled, "I don't want to go to work" about three or four times and that was it. I'm getting that feeling here especially with "Failed State 1:20" (Try adding some more lyrics, guys?) but at any rate, I do agree with most of the lyrical material here like in "Short Bus 2:06", "I Blame You 2:04", "Kill Everybody 3:43", "No Jobs 1:49", definitely "Equal Opportunity 1:34" and "Popular War 2:34" which I was listening to while on the john. The song compared war to football and I thought it genius. So it's not terrible, but I couldn't listen to it five or six times in mad ecstasy.

But for fans of punk and thrash, this is definitely worth checking out. It's much better than the fake thrash of Lazarus A.D.

(18 Tracks, 37:00)



Heaving Earth - Redemption Ablaze (2013 Free EP) - Yes, this is free. So what are you waiting for? But for those of you who are still here, this two track EP from death metallers Heaving Earth is just as you'd expect. It gets right to the point, offering death metal with punishing melodies, bashing drums and demonic vocals. The disc contains two tracks, "I Am Nothing 5:52" and "Into The Depths Of Abomination 6:03." Those who've read my review of the band's last album, Diabolic Prophecies (2010) already should know by now that I was quite impressed by them and I would certainly say that I still am.

"I Am Nothing" is a thundering beast of a track, filled with slight bits of technicality and grime, it's definitely got an eerie sense about it and the latter melodies of the track pepper the performance just a bit as it envelops into a small solo. The chorus seems to be the strong point here and they reiterate the chorus quite a bit, finally leading out into an unexpected groove. "Into The Depths Of Abomination" is altogether different, with some uneasy leads and a crushing brutality that seems to emanate throughout the entire track up until the solo portion when the gallops come in and the vocals fall in line, getting rather grimy to go along with the slower but no less unwelcoming tempo of the track. It's a good show and a great sample of what these gentlemen will bring to us in the future.

I definitely think that in the world of metal music, the musicianship is coming up. I see that trend continuing, because the above-ground music is so terrible as of late, that people become absolutely enamored with anything in the underground and seek to become better and better at performing it themselves. I do think that we're about to enter a new golden age of metal music, as the genre continues to get pushed back underground where it once thrived and created several scenes that we are all familiar with today. But you will not find this gold in acts like the Black Veil Brides or whoever the hell this is on the cover of my Outburn magazine (Motionless In White) you will find it in bands like Heaving Earth and Chaos Inception. Both of these on Lavadome Recordings, which I have to say - puts out some good shit.

Though the album is only 11 minutes long, it's definitely a good sampler for what the band has to offer and I daresay that it looks to be even better than the Diabolic Prophecies disc, which I believe I gave a 666 rating to earlier in my reviewing stint. Here's some other info I'll mention for this one:

Band's FB page:

"Redemption Ablaze" EP-CD version comes free with any order made at Lavadome store. Until the supplies last. (While supplies last)

You can also get the EP on split tape with Aussie death metal band Altars - - from Nihilistic Holocaust.

So there you have it. Two tracks of great death metal that come free with any Lavadome purchase. I wouldn't recommend this shit if I didn't like it folks and that's the fucking honest truth. These guys kicked ass in 2010, they're still kicking ass today. They'll probably kick ass tomorrow.

Just go get the disc already. It's on the house!

(Two Tracks, 11:00)



Anthrax - Anthems EP (2013) - You know what? I'm indifferent here. I mean, did anyone really want this? More or less, it's just a holdover until the next Anthrax album that's actually going to be written for Joey Belladonna. And you know that metalheads fucking want that one. I'm not saying it's gonna be fucking Among The Living, but I'm hoping they'll come back with something that really stands out more than Worship Music which I was not fond of. Especially with the opener "Earth Is On Hell" which made no logical sense.

But as for this record, it's got six cover tracks from Rush, ACDC, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, Journey and Boston. Bands that are hardly metal and more along the lines of classic rock. I think they did the Rush cover of "Anthem 4:38" well enough and "TNT 3:37" sounds good, but I still prefer the original ACDC and Six Feet Under versions. Boston's "Smokin' 4:20" however really did something for me, so I'll mention that one too. But to be honest, it wouldn't have mattered whether or not Joey or John (Bush) was on the vocal end, because the performances come off just about the same.

As for originals, there are two versions of "Crawl 5:00." If it was part of the original disc, I deleted it because I didn't care for it (as with most of that album) but the version that I've heard on this album sounds much different and I'd actually recommend it. If this is a new song offering, it's sure as hell no Among The Living and I will say with all certainty that John would've killed this goddamned song, it was almost written as something I'd expect to hear on White Noise, Vol. 8, or We've Come For You All which even though a lot of people didn't like, I have to say that I really did. Thought there's a little man in me that years to hear John on this fucking track, Joey does a good enough job on it to suffice. The extra version of the track at the end of the disc includes orchestration and still manages to succeed. I think it's a killer track at any rate and it sounds like the new Anthrax is shaping up to be a good disc.

Since it's not known whether or not we're getting a new Anthrax release this year, (but we are getting a new Slayer even though Lombardo got the boot!) this one will have to hold you over until it arrives. it's a good way to get the classics out to the youth who wouldn't normally hear them on toxic radio. You hear me kids? Listen to your daddy's music - it's what people made when mainstream music was still good and worth a shit.

If this helps some kid to discover Journey or Rush or even ACDC (for the love of God I'm getting old!) I'm all for it, Anthrax. I'm gonna be honest, I didn't know much about Sabbath until Iced Earth's Tribute To The Gods but am ever thankful for that one as it helped me to discover these classics. Hopefully, lightning strikes twice. I do think the album cover is kind of questionable though. The whole "devil horns" upside down pentagram seems kind of funny coming from guys who are for the most part, proud Jews. I remember VH1's "Metal and Matzo" special years ago. But if you consider it just a "symbol of metal" then I guess that's okay.

Get it or don't, I don't care. But not recommended in all actuality. Crawl's good however, so just listen to that track on youtube.

Highlights: Anthem, Smokin, Crawl, Crawl (Remix) (8 Tracks, 33:44)



Adrenaline Mob - Coverta EP (2013) - So what in the hell is this? It's another thrown together band composed of people that had nowhere to go after their bands departed, like the guitarist of Evanescence and the bassist from Disturbed (You know, that guy they used for like two albums and didn't consider to be a real member of the band.) And guess what else? This is ANOTHER EP of covers released around the same time as Anthrax's EP. There are also eight tracks here and it's the same length as the Anthrax EP.

Except that this album is composed of eight covers, not just six. Also, "Stand Up And Shout 3:35" and "The Mob Rules 3:18" are covered here bringing more Metal to this album of no-names than what Anthrax released. I mean, it's not a great leap; there's still plenty of rock covers on here - they do a good job with Heart's "Barracuda 4:13" (but I've always liked the riff melodies on "Magic Man" myself more) but only manage to do decent covers of "Break On Through 3:01", and "The Lemon Song 6:49." They also did a great job of "Romeo Delight 5:08" but as for the closer "Mob Rules 3:18" I'm still more partial to the Sabbath version. Even though I've heard some of these tracks before, I couldn't tell you the original artists and don't have that info in front of me right now.

The songs are played with more of a thrash quality, the guitar melodies are strong and the solos electrifying. While I don't remember who the vocalist is, he's killer on the mic and did Dio perfectly, seeming to be able to hold his own on damn near all of these tracks. It's tough to say, but I think that musically, this one's a lot heavier than Anthrax's straight forward cover job on "Anthems."

I recommend that you check this one out. Despite that these are all throwaways, they all got together and put out some decent fucking music. It'll actually make a good cover EP purchase to buy along with Anthems. If you out them both together, you've got almost a full cover album of songs that were influential to rock and metal music with new interpretations.

Highlights: Stand Up And Shout, Romeo Delight, Barracuda, The Mob Rules (8 Tracks, 34:00)



Amaranthe - The Nexus (Deluxe Edition 2013) - I don't like to promote crap. I'll say it again. I don't like to promote watered down false metal like the kind you'll find from Amaranthe. From looking at the cover, it seems awfully colorful, kind of like the kind of material that might sit in Hot Topic along with Black Veil Brides, Butcher Babies, Periphery and Motionless In White. Oddly enough, neither Revolver nor Decibel has covered this disc, but I'm expecting a review to show up in my next issue of Outburn. At any rate, this is 100% watered down electronic/symphonic pop metal that sounds like Soilwork got into a fight with Evanescence and took a cue from the barrage of Russian electro-metal acts like Xe-None and some of the others that might feature guest appearances from Nookie of The Sl0t. I could also compare it to Deadlock, but without even fifteen percent of their ambition. The disc starts up warmly enough with "Afterlife 3:15" making me assume that this might not be so bad, but then there's "Invincible 3:11" which plays along the same route and sooner than later all of the songs seem to emanate the same raucous nonsense of female vocal choruses amidst "yeah we have harsh vocals so we're metal" weak growls and the same old boring Swe-death riffs with amplified melody that makes the whole damned package seem to be nothing more than "cute."

You heard me. The Nexus is a "cute metal" album. Perhaps that's what we should call this watered down metal genre, maybe even "candy metal" because it reminds me of bubblegum pop and candy canes. Even when you look at the album cover, it just all seems so goddamned sweet and puts off just as much sour as a piece of warhead candy. The longest song on this is 4:01 and it's tantamount to musical brainwash, there's even a nice little triangle in the background; letting you know who's responsible for this mess (if you can't see an agenda being pushed here, you're blind - it's now become so fucking blatantly obvious.) Fucking Illuminati bastards and their candy metal. Well, I was always told that too much sugar can rot your teeth and this is like eating a whole bag of Halloween candy the day after you get it. Sure, there are some worthwhile solos but even the best solo in the fucking world cannot save this album from mediocrity.

There will be fans of this music sure - I know people that will eat this up and want more. It's also a good gateway drug for your girlfriend that can't believe that Pepsi might actually use her lyrics in the next Carly Rae Jepsen musical massacre. Listening to this album makes me think that Kim Jong Un dropping a nice big nuclear turd on this planet might do a whole lot of good. This is exactly the kind of material I advise you all to stay away from and with good reason. If you're listening to this, you might as well be listening to whatever brainwashing garbage is on the radio right now. You might as well be "rocking the club like it's dynamite."

Fuck that song and fuck that group. Whoever it is. I don't even know, but I know the song because it spread like cancer - just like this. It's fucking musical diabetes and I don't recommend any human being even get close to this trash. You know what? I haven't reviewed the new Lordi album yet, but having listened to it and not having cared all that much for it - I recommend that you go listen to that album instead of this. At least those guys know they're a joke. These people think they're serious.

The thing is - this entire fucking album was processed. None of this has any spark of originality and even though there are two bonus tracks, these acoustics don't make things any better. This is a standard twelve track album with a standard forty minutes of music, each one coming in at around three or four minutes. It's as fucking cardboard as you can possibly get. Instead of calling it "alternative metal", they should call it "pop metal." Because that's what it is.

Don't give me crap and call it metal. Especially when I see that nice big fucking triangle and the A in the center making an eye at the top. If this is the kind of crap the Illuminati promote than maybe it's time to start my own super secret society... I'll call it, T.P.W.A.G.A.F.A.A.M. or "The People Who Actually Give A Fuck About Artistic Media."

Highlights: That's a joke, right? (14 Tracks, 48:00)

2/10 (Because of an attempt at melodeath structure and some memorable solos of reasonable length, still very cookie-cutter.)


Finntroll - Blodsvept (EP 2013) - Alright, What the hell is this? Yeah, I know that there's a release of the actual album on GetMetal and every other site of that nature, but I happened by this earlier in the month and figured I'd check it out. First of all, the band were idiots to name this EP the same title as their new LP and confuse the living hell out of me. Secondly, the band proves here that they're never going to one up Nattfodd. It just isn't going to fucking happen.

For those of you who haven't heard of these Finnish "hummpa metal" titans, they mix Finish folk with black metal elements and used to sing about how much they wanted to kill Jesus and destroy churches. The translated lyrics say that much - but now they have decided to "calm down" in a sense and sing more about Odin and friends the same way that damn near every other pagan band does on this planet.

"Blodsvept 4:31" sounds like you'd expect it to, with a mix of folk and black thrash. There's also some acoustic. The next track is "När Jättar Marschera 4:09" and plays along a little different path. I really like the folk and symphonic parts in this one and it reminds me that there's still a bit of hope left in these guys to make something really great. Of course, I'll put that to the test when I get the album. Included on the album are two live tracks. One is "Nattfodd 4:58" from the band's Wacken show back in 2006. Then there is the classic "Det Iskalla Trollblodet 5:01" which both come off as well as live songs can, I guess. It just feels good to hear "Nattfodd" again.

As a rare exclusive, there is a cover of the Pet Shop Boys "Can You Forgive Her 4:22" and to be honest, it's quite good. They put their own take on the track and it's interesting to hear these guys sing in English. I personally think it's one of the best songs that the band has ever done (but question what happened in the first verse of the song.)

The last track on the disc is absolute junk. It's the title track from the band's RIvfader demo, which used to be available in it's entirety on the band's website before they got famous, (or whatever you want to call it) but it still may be available. I don't know, haven't been on that site in many years. At any rate, this version of the song is ripped right off the fucking demo with no mastering and I've heard Rivfader a thousand times before back in my "hardcore pagan" days. It sounds just the same as it always did. Hearing something this fucking old with no mastering really makes you think how far we've come with technology these days.

It's just a small EP teaser for an album that's already out. Well, at least online. You probably aren't going to listen to it anyway. So this was a complete waste of time.

(6 Tracks, 27:00)



Saxon - Sacrifice (2013) - For me, I don't think it's going to get any better than "Mists Of Avalon, Valley Of The Kings" or "Ministry Of Fools." I love all of these songs to death and hope to one day do a proper death metal cover of "Ministry Of Fools." It's actually a life goal, believe it or not. Regardless of all that, Saxon's newest release (and I believe their twentieth) shows the band just as strong as they were back in the early days, with classics like "Made In Belfast 4:34", "Waking The Steel 4:24" and the closest they'll come to they mythology tracks, "Guardians Of The Tomb 4:34." There's even an ode to the road here, in the NASCAR friendly "Warriors Of The Road 3:34."

I only sensed one fuck up on the album, in the form of "Night Of The Wolf 4:20." I just don't think the song was very strong and wanted to like it more than I did. Saxon is one of my favorite traditional heavy metal bands of all time, ever since finding that Unleash The Beast (1997) album in what doubled as a both a DVD rental and pawn shop of sorts and seeing as the lyrical content dealt with lycanthropy, I thought they'd nail it. So that was a disappointment. Oddly enough, the album ends with "Standing In A Queue 3:36" which is a traditional rocker about standing in a fucking queue. They literally wrote a song about having to stand in a fucking queue. That's like me writing a song about having to wait in a doctor's office.

Despite the fact that this is one of Saxon's shorter albums, it's surprisingly strong and there's little filler. After twenty years, they prove that they can still do it and that says a lot. Apparently, there's a second disc that comes with the deluxe or limited version of this album and it includes some acoustics and re-recordings of old tracks. But I don't have that one, so you'll have to check it out yourself. As far as I'm concerned, the first disc is worth checking out just by itself.

...And these guys always make world history fun.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)

More To Come Later In The Week!

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