Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 79 (May 20th, 2013)

Note: I'm doing away with my "massive song description" style reviews. If I do an SxS, it won't break down every single song, as I've done with Soilwork and Persefone's latest albums. If there are any of you (fans, labels, press, bands exc.) who did like my text-heavy song description reviews, please let me know in the comments section!

-The Fallen Alchemist

Hybrid - Angst (PR2013) - According to my PR, Hybrid are a group of experimental metallers from Spain and was mixed at Sadman Studios (The same place where the new Wormed was mixed) and mastered by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan). The PR compares the release to their countrymen in Wormed and I certainly see slight similarities in the fact that the music certainly contains over the top brutality with elements of core and prog along with odd melodic structures that see the band in an entirely stripped down phase and remind me of a video game soundtrack.

Sporadic is certainly the name of the game here, but you'd have to imagine these guys to be a mix of TOOH, current era Cryptopsy and Dillinger but with some more balls. The drums do a hell of a lot of blasting, the frontman does a great deal of incoherent screaming and the guitar work on the piece is quite shifty, to say the least. The best way that I could describe this album in non-musical terms would be to open a bag of those thirty flavor jellybeans and to eat all of them at once, making a weird mix of flavors in your mouth. This is the same feel that you will get from your ears on tracks like the opener "Flesh Fusion Threshold 4:44" and "Self-Implosion 4:02" just to name a few. Hybrid are exactly that, and ANGST is exactly what it pertains to. The album seems like unbridled rage with moments of cool down that come out of fucking nowhere and envelop back into ear-shattering brutality in less than a second.

Saxophones come into play on "Cuando El Destino Nos Alcance 3:50" which is the album's only instrumental, but it melds a nice mix of prog and heaviness that comes off tastefully melodic. Clean vocals are used on "Self-Implosion 4:02" as well, which I find quite pleasing to the ear. Hypnotic synths are used on the atmospheric "Angst-Ridden Inertia 5:24" but so are many other nuances which fill the entire disc with an unparalleled uniqueness. The album ends out on a sludgy note called "Doomed To Failure 6:09" which ends on a folk atmosphere. But this is just a brief description of Angst. It's really the sort of album that takes a while a get into because it is so off the collar from other acts. Also, the fact that I'm comparing this material to TOOH should say something, as few bands can actually compete with their level of uniqueness and originality. Yes, the core portions exist on this album - but if you can just leave your expectations at the door for a moment and listen to the atmosphere, you might find yourself really enjoying this odd mix of metal which I could certainly describe as the musical polar opposite to Wormed. It's not for everyone, but I will certainly recommend it to those looking for something more "out there" than some bands offer these days.

These guys certainly have plenty of potential and we really do need more bands in the metal genre willing to take these kinds of risks. Some of you might not like the idea of this "metal soup" but I think it's breath of fresh air.

Highlights: All (34:00)



Eternal Rest - Prophetic (PR2013) - Before I listened to this album, I listened to a digital promo of the reissued Beyond Creation album, The Aura. (I thought it was a new record, but I was certainly wrong about that) This album came directly next on that playlist and for a second, I thought I was still listening to Beyond Creation, which will give you an example of what I'm talking about here. These guys are from Australia and are considered "a mix of Immolation, Psycroptic and Martyr with a heavy dose of asskickery."

I'll also throw in that they're a bit more vicious than Beyond Creation. There's just something a little more threatening about these guys and that comes through in the music. I'm definitely sensing the brutal death metal element here on tracks like "Infernal Reign 3:44" and "Onset Of Destruction 2:31" but you'll find that in the entire album, though packaged in with little bits of melodic flair and some structural progression/technicality, whatever you want to call it. Whereas Beyond Creation was certainly tapping into Beethoven, these guys were tapping into something a bit more evil and I seem to like that just as much. "Prophetic 5:05" however, will have your standard fare Middle-eastern acoustics and a bit of Nile worship just to differ things up. The Middle-eastern influence on the riff melodies definitely seems to go well with the album's theme and keeps the disc from becoming stale. There's even a couple of good solos mixed in for good measure.

Eternal Rest mixes a much more blistering element of death metal packed with infernal riffs and feral vocals into something that also includes enough technicality to satiate the technicality heads out there. You know who you are. Other than Middle-eastern acoustic licks, there is little on this album in the way of calming moods and that's probably what you don't fucking want to hear anyway. I mean, far be it from me that you thought a band with the name Eternal Rest might actually want to put you to sleep; but thankfully that's not the case here and there's no reason that I can come up with that would prevent you from checking out this release. It's a strong debut that carries everything with it that I wanted from death metal. The production's good, but it's not sparkling, nor does it need to be. These guys aren't here to wash your windows, they're here to play death metal and that's what they did for about a half an hour.

If that's what you wanted to hear, then pick up this Eternal Rest debut disc and hopefully you'll find some great death metal in it. These guys took technical death metal and gave it some balls, which makes me glad to have been able to promote them. Both of these Deepsend Records albums were great and I'm thankful for the opportunity to promote music that I myself would find interesting.

No bullshit, no paid opinions - just the fucking TRUTH. That's what I like to offer here. If you don't like that, then check out some other site where I'm sure they tell you that shit's ice cream. But I'm sure as hell not grabbing a spoon. And for the record, I've heard a lot of shit that's been described as ice cream lately.

Highlights: Acts Of The Unspoken, Manifestation, Prophetic, Onset Of Destruction, Remnants (9 Tracks, 31:00)



Trials - In The Shadow Of Swords (PR2013) - Soilwork anyone? That's the first impression I get from these "muscular tech-thrashers" known as Trials. I don't know how muscular they actually are, one of the guys in the band photo looks like he can probably bench press me a hundred times over - but other than that; they don't seem to be all that buff. Perhaps "muscular" was meant as the type of sound, but I'm actually hearing a myriad of different styles being utilized here. My personal favorite track on the album remains "Believers In Black 5:20" with it's black metal meets death/thrash and technicality notions that got me banging my head furiously. Unfortunately, nothing on the disc seems to come across quite as heavy as that particular track.

Lighter numbers like "With Only Sorrow Now 7:04" and "Upon This Day 7:03" seem to take over much of the rest of the disc, even though they are nuanced with moments of definite heaviness. Trials certainly have a good sense of melody and song structure, borrowing a bit from as much of Mudvayne as Pantera (Upon This Day) and adding to that a bit of Meshuggah and Gojira (Ancestors 6:05) plus the same sense of melo-death like current Soilwork (Conjoined 4:59) for good measure.

Strangely, the songs on this album are quite lengthy. They contain radio ready choruses that stations like Sirius XM would smile in glee over, but they also contain plenty of exquisite musical showcases in addition to drum pummeling, melody barrages and a frontman who knows his way around deathcore and clean singing in the kind of fashion that certainly sells to the current metal scene these days, whether that be a good or bad thing. For the labels that be watching this here blog; I will say that the music that Trials have made on this disc is highly marketable music that would fit in quite well with current trends, but it also contains enough meat (maybe that's what was meant by muscular) to appeal to people who like their music not quite so simplistic.

However, in my personal opinion; any label who passes these guys up (yes, I'm talking to you majors) is completely foolish. I guarantee that when these guys hit Liquid Metal radio even with a few songs (try playing the album closer "Embracing Nothing 7:09" and see how many damn people request that the next day) people are going to lose their shit. These four from Chicago are good enough to be jamming on the Revolver Golden Gods stage that Dillinger jammed on just a few weeks ago and I'm quite sure that in a few months and with the right marketing, these guys will be the next big thing. I have an ear for marketable talent. I know what sounds good in the underground, yet I also am aware of what will sell to the masses. These guys have enough metal to appeal to people who want the heavy shit, they've got enough clean vocal choruses (and pleasing tone in said choruses) to appeal to those people who just like to sing the choruses and to convince hard rock folks that there is some metal they can stand. There's also enough core here for the scene kids, or whatever you want to call them.

Trials is, in all actuality; the kind of band that makes dollar signs appear in the eyes of big label execs and may entail them future fame and the fortune that comes with such fame. People who like everything from Killswitch Engage to Soilwork, Pantera and even current Mudvayne or Hellyeah should find something to like here. The high quality production value will also help their chances of finding a label, which I do imagine that quite many of the big guys will be chomping at the bit to get a contract with these guys upon hearing this release. Even if they don't actually make it onto a major label, it would be foolhardy for these guys to be passed up; especially with what I've heard here.

Definitely the next big thing and I wish them the best of luck.

Bonus Track

Jawbreaker 3:26 - This song comes off as a more Trivium-esque take on the classic Judas Priest track, and may appeal more to the current scene who isn't very familiar with Priest. The track is played about as well as KSE's version of Holy Diver, which I'll admit that I do like.

Highlights: Believers In Black, With Only Sorrow Now, Upon This Day, Ancestor, Embracing Nothing (10 Tracks, 57:00)



Imprecation - Satanae Tenebris Infinita (PR2013) - After being a recluse for many years (despite several demos and an EP as well as a legacy of death metal that goes back to 91) the first proper full-length album from Imprecation is upon us and should very well appeal to those who like their death metal as raw and old-school as humanly possible. Make no mistake, this is dirty death metal filled with glorious demonic hymns that hearken back to Deicide and Dying Fetus with a little bit of Immolation mixed in for good measure. It's definitely forty minutes of death in it's most ominous construct with songs like "From Beyond The Fiery Temples 5:01" which starts out with a sinister sense of evil, and "The Coils Of Eden 4:43" which contains triumphant Satanic marches that make the album appear to be a black mass ritual of the highest order.

Make no mistake, this is about as raw and evil as it gets; with blazing guitar solos and unruly drums that back the gravel mouthed frontman's hymns of blasphemy and praise to the man downstairs. This is the kind of stuff that churches burn and people pray over because they're convinced that it really might be Lucifer's own music and represents his influence of corruption on mankind. If that sounds good to you, then I guarantee that you will eat this big bowl of "Satan soup" up like it's nobody's business. It's also the kind of material that you might play to the cult of the Westborough Baptist Church at full blast with concert size speakers.

Musically, we can break this down as a very doom-laden death romp with some definite nods to Morbid Angel and Deicide (hearing a lot of Deicide here) so you should already know what to expect here. Imprecation pull no punches, there are no clean vocals to be found and I've heard no technicality or prog. This is exactly the kind of album that the band would have made in the 90's and it reeks of that era which will certainly jar awake the slumbering old school death heads who seemed to have lost most of their appreciation for metal in the wake of this age of core.

No matter how one might break down this album, it's certainly a self-explanatory exercise in blasphemy and classic death metal that sounds like it could've been recently excised from a burial mound somewhere in Texas. The only thing that I don't like about this album is the light outro piece "Carrion Winds Of Golgotha 2:02" which most people are going to listen to just one time. It truly seems unnecessary. Nevertheless, if you don't like Jesus, then this is certainly the album you've been waiting for.

Get your fix for blasphemy and check out this classic slab of Satanic death today!

(9 Tracks, 41:00)



Lantern - Below (PR2013) - This Finnish Black/Death band is surprisingly much in the same vein as Imprecation, but with some slight differences. Though the recording is just as raw in quality, the band itself certainly doesn't have the same feel as far as evil eminence but it does carry along with it plenty of groove and melody as well as some classic guitar solos. Lantern seem to be more reliant on just playing death metal in the same way as all of their influences, rather than going with all the doom and gloom of other bands in their genre.

But if there's anything that I'll say about these guys, it's that Cruciatus (ex-Cacodaemon) or the other guy (PR doesn't give me his name) is one hell of a fucking guitarist. I didn't get it the first time that I listened to the album while organizing over-sized flat screen televisions in a stock room during a thunderstorm, but this second time is allowing me to hear these fucking riffs and solo melodies and just how much they stand out on the album. Apparently, this band is just two dudes; but two dudes is sometimes all you need to form a good band - let alone a great one.

The element of horror is apparent on tracks like "Demons In My Room 4:41" yet that solo just comes out of nowhere and it kills when it does. But what if I told you that you'll hear solo work that's just as good (even stand alone melodies) on tracks like "Entrenching Presences 7:39"? It's almost eight minutes long for a reason. Though I don't care for the vocals on some of the tracks, I began to tune to throat out entirely for the riffs. It's very, very hard to deny exactly how talented of a guitar player this guy is. Then of course, there's "Below 1:43" which captures the atmosphere of evil quite perfectly. Perhaps I had these guys quite wrong in the beginning, as they're just as evil as Imprecation. "Below" is literally the soundtrack to hell in all regards and is followed up by the blistering torrent of mayhem covered on "From The Ruins 9:21."

I have no fucking clue what's going on in Finland, but I'm convinced that a gate to the underworld may have opened up somewhere in that country. Here lately, the Finns have been bringing me some of the creepiest and most horrifying shit that I've heard in years and I've loved every single bit of it. Maybe bands like Lordi becoming so goddamned popular pissed a lot of guys off and they decided that it was time to bring some evil back into the metal genre.

If you're looking for sinister hymns of darkness, but with an emphasis on guitar glory, then you're definitely going to find it here. Lantern have a lot to offer with this album and I think that it was a good decision by Dark Descent to release both of these records around the same time. Fans of Imprecation should like Lantern and fans of Lantern should like Imprecation. They're merely two sides of a rather baleful coin, which should appeal to all of those people out there who like the most evil of music - the way that death metal used to sound.

Definitely worth checking this album out too.

(9 Tracks, 38:00)



Potential Threat SF - Civilization Under Threat (PR2013) - Let's consider Old School Metal Records another savior of classic metal the way that we remember it and this new album from Bay Area thrashers (Yes, I said Bay Area thrashers) Potential Threat certainly proves that they're doing a great job. To be honest, this album is fucking incredible. I didn't think much of it at first, but when I listened to the whole thing, I noticed some really fantastic fucking playing. The solos that these guys rip are also fucking amazing and you won't expect the level of musicality that these guys actually possess until you actually hear it with your own two ears. There are certain "Jesus Christ!" moments when that's pretty much all you can say when after you've hear these guys shred and wonder why they never got as big as some of the bands they've played with.

Little info about these guys that I feel I need to add here: "Originally formed as a five piece in 1986, they have shared the stage with everyone from Testament to
Slayer to CroMags to Nuclear Assault, and just recently returned from touring with Death Angel."

That should say it all right there. These guys have been playing since 86' and have shared the stage with household names in thrash like Testament, Nuclear Assault and Death Angel. But why haven't you heard them? I dunno. Blame the metal media. At any rate, here's the layout:

The disc opens up with an intro, it's not important. "Destroy And Dominate 6:46" comes in next, really not showcasing much until the fucking solo. I didn't expect much until that solo came in. But it was "The Threat Of Things To Come 5:56" where it really started to hit. Oddly enough, the album reminded me of a better retro-thrash era Trivium and that's in part to the young pipes of their current vocalist/guitarist, Mike Noble. "Stick To Your Guns 6:39" keeps the party going, and slams down hard accompanied by some absolutely impressive guitar solos. "In For The Kill 5:22" relies heavily on it's sing-along chorus; but that's something I've always loved in metal and I'm always glad to hear songs that you can shout along to. "Edge Of Insanity 6:40" brings along some modern metal influence that might turn off a couple of listeners, but it really doesn't come off as all that bad; and if you're going to make a modern thrash sound - this is the right way to do it. Plus, it keeps the solos and jam structures that we've always loved about the genre intact. But oddly enough, there's a light portion on this one that comes off a little questionable. It does however show more tricks from the band and doesn't last too long, so you can get back to banging your head.

For some reason though, I don't like "Beneath The Surface 5:22" even though I'll admit that the solo on the track is quite good and worth checking out, despite the fact that the rest of the track just doesn't hit quite as hard. "Behold The End 9:06" doesn't start out very well, with the acoustic to electric in lieu of Metallica; but if you get through the other stuff, you'll find a punk inspired thrasher that's guaranteed to get your head banging and maybe even wear out your air guitar in the process. "Written In Blood 7:09" has the same air of "In For The Kill 7:09" that makes you want to shout to it also, but it's nothing all that special. The disc ends out on "Rise Of The Apocalypse 5:14" where the band illustrates the end of the world as best as they can - with no BS thrash.

Potential Threat SF (Do they have to use the SF?) prove that they've still got it after all these years, but I'm not real crazy about their current vocalist. He sounds like a young guy who would fit a hardcore or punk act much more than this thrash band. He does let loose some great things every now and again, but things seem a little off key and I think they should find someone with a more matured voice and more bite. The vocal element is paramount to the band and I think that many of you will also notice that Mike's vocals just aren't quite up to par on this release. Some of these vocal lines just don't work - either they're too loud or just don't follow the melodies properly (and I know quite a bit about this, because when I'm recording for tracks, I want to make sure that the line matches the vocals and if it doesn't, I'll rewrite the fucking line completely - sometimes, even when I'm a second off, I'll get upset about it. There are still a few recordings that I am not happy with, even though others are.) I also would've liked the release to have a bit less polish. I understand that they're going for a more modern sound, but thrash needs a little dirt and I'm not hearing any here.

Still, there are some really fucking great leads here and powerful drumwork to match. When all these guys get down to it, they're a downright instrumental powerhouse of heavy metal that must be heard to be believed. But I wish I'd heard more of that on this album, instead of so much influence on the vocals. Slight instances of guitar experimentation are also used to create more structure to the act, which might turn some fans off; but is necessary and hopefully even further evolved on subsequent albums.

All this in mind, Potential Threat SF is worth checking out. It doesn't re-invent the wheel, but it does manage to do some really great things in it's hour of playing time. Also, there's no "super-cool bonus tracks and musical DLC" nonsense. So that's a great thing.

Go grab this one.

Highlights: The Threat Of Things To Come, Stick To Your Guns, Edge Of Insanity, Rise Of The Apocalypse (10 Tracks, 58:00)



Darkall Slaves - Abysses Of Seclusion Single (PR2013) - This brutal death metal band is made up of members from Unsu, Amputated Repugnance and Visceral Carnage. They're from Germany (or whereabouts) and pretty some pretty mean shit. There's just two songs here, the first being "Mindless Damnation 3:46" which comes across with garbage mouthed gravel backed by machine-gun drumming and riffs melodies that keep the pace. But it's never been about riff melodies when it comes to the brutal shit - it's all about the thunder of those drums and the grotesqueries coming from the frontman's mouth and that's what these guys deliver.

The main treat on this disc is "Abysses Of Seclusion 4:50" which is one hundred percent an audio journey into the not only the throat of Markus, but if you listen close enough, you might even hear the acid erupting in his stomach. Back this brutal trek into the human body with the punishing assault of drum and bass that goes on here and you've got a surefire winner in the "brutal fucking shit" category. I've never been a big fan of these kind of bands, but I'll say that the whole thing's got a good groove to it and the vocals act as their own instrument, which seems to add to the punishment that your eardrums will be facing when exposed to this volatility.

Let's also throw into the mix that Kyle from the band Gorgasm said "This is some good shit! Great job!" which may affect your decision on whether or not to check this one out. I've never been an aficionado of death that's this brutal, but it sounds like it's pretty goddamned relentless and that's probably what you're looking for in your brutal death metal.

(3 Tracks (1 is an Intro) 9:00)



Vhol - Vhol (2013) - Well, what can we say about Vhol? First of all, Vhol is composed of four musicians, one from Ludicra (split-up) one from Yob, one from Hammers (Of Misfortune) and one from Agalloch. Originally the guitarist from Ludicra, John Cobbett and Agalloch's Aesop Dekker wanted to start the band with the intention of revisiting Ludicra's sound (which I wish had been done) but with the added influence of Mike Scheidt (Yob) and Sigrid Sheie (Hammers/Amber Asylum) now we've got an odd black metal/doom/experimental gothic hybrid. With some black n' roll influence too, no less. Surprisingly, the odd formula manages to work, in more ways than one.

"The Wall 6:39" sounds like something from I until atmospheres come into place and Sigrid starts singing along with the black metal scowls in a very odd fashion that might make some black metal purists cringe. Is this how we're saving the metal genre? the track ends out with some prog riffs that just kind of end unfinished.

"Insane With Faith" has more of a melodic/black metal notion with elements of thrash until a portion comes in with a vocal style that reminds me a dark thrash and some high pitch nods to King Diamond too. This one's actually got some solos and they're worthwhile. Close to the end, there's this awesome riff melody that the end the track with.

"Plastic Shaman 5:47" starts out like punk with black metal melodies. Eventually, it welcomes some harsh vocals and then lightens for Sigrid's lines. It's kind of weak in areas, but there's another great riff melody used right near the end. This one ought to remind you a bit of Hammers though.

"Grace 6:01" starts out well (really like the drumming when this starts out, good to see someone who can hit the cymbals) sounding like a jumpy, punky black metal. Dekker absolute kills on the drums here, so check out this performance for yourself!

"Illuminate 7:44" begins like black metal but still has that punk feel from Mike's vocals. Sigrid comes in every now and again. There's a light portion in the song where things get a little more ritualistic with Sigrid really hammering it home. The track ends with a very interesting solo.

"Arising 6:13" sounds like classic metal, think Mercyful Fate. Mike even uses the high pitch vocal approach behind the onslaught of Dekker's drums. Cobbett's riffs here sound really 80's, the whole track sounds like one big tribute to classic metal. There's an odd prog section, but anything goes in this band, so expect the unexpected. I've got to point out that this portion of the song is fucking amazing. So check that out too.

"Songs Set To Await Forever 8:25" sounds like a melodic atmosphere, but with blazing drum and Sigrid vocal approach to back the scowls (oh, they came back?) There's a slight atmosphere with nothing and then you're going to hear some of the weirdest shit ever, when little light melodies play overtop of the drum assault. There's a slight atmosphere that goes into doom influence now and that ends out with a ritualistic drum backed by another awesome solo. Then the album just kind of ends.

Vhol is an album that you sort of have to describe. Just as it says, leave your expectations at the door. I'm not sure if the band will ever release another disc and that's just fine with me. I don't think that Vhol is necessarily a major band, just a project between four interested musicians who want to experiment and create originality in an otherwise bland scene. Also, Vhol represents everything that we know of metal before core, before Youtube and before image became so damned important in music. There's no question that most people will consider this album to be one of the best of the year, if not THE BEST of 2013. It came out of nowhere and delivered immensely. So much ground was covered, in so little time. Vhol is not only the sound of the past, it's also very much a tribute to artistry and musicianship. I don't think that any stable headed musician would have a harsh word for it, it's the epitome of what one should strive for in any artistic effort - uniqueness. Why do something that someone else already has?

This is why Vhol is definitely worth checking out. It's an album that delivers in spades and a necessity for all metalheads, worldwide.

Highlights: All (No one has ever done anything like this before!) (7 Tracks, 46:00)



The Ocean - Pelagial (2013 2 Disc Limited Edition) - For me, Pelagial is one of the biggest disappointments of the year. But why, exactly? Because I read the reviews as a more lighter, atmospheric take on the band's style, something more in the vein of Heliocentric; which is still my favorite album from the band to date. But instead, all I get is yet another dose of slightly atmospheric sludge metal with nods to Panopticon era Isis. Where exactly are the sounds of the water that I was supposed to hear? The band said that they were implementing sounds of the water, in an actual oceanic type experience. I'm not getting that here. Yes, it's heavy, but you've heard it before - and that's the problem.

Heliocentric came out and I'll never EVER forget "Firmament." Wow, what a fucking song. Then I got one of my good friends interested in the band and he agreed that the Heliocentric record was great. We both eagerly awaited Anthropocentric, even though we heard the band's previous sludge work and thought it was decent enough, perhaps this marked a new direction and whatnot; but that wasn't the case. Anthropocentric came out and it was sludge. Decent sludge, worthwhile sludge - but still sludge. I'm wasn't really hearing anything that I haven't heard from sludgy post-metal that Neurosis and friends haven't already done.

Pelagial is composed of seven layers, the intro is "Epipelagic 1:12" and does feature the sound of water, sure enough as it does piano and some light drum tapping, synths and excetra. If they made an entire record of this, it could lull me right to sleep. The next layer we hit is "Mesopelagic: Into The Uncanny 5:56" which makes you think that maybe the band is going to toy around with the work on Heliocentric again. It definitely takes a turn into heavy melodic prog and features some soft clean vocals, eventually seeking the heavier territory that covers the majority of this album. Yes, I know it's metal - but I wish they hadn't done something so "normal" even focusing on core elements that are all too prevalent in the metal scene today.

With the start of the Bathyalpelagic layer (12:00 roughly) the band plays a type of radio-friendly prog rock sprinkled with portions of sludge heaviness. This is about the most pop-metal turn for the disc, but still includes some tasteful melodies and worthwhile clean singing (still nothing as good as on Heliocentric, however.) I'd compare it roughly to Dillinger with bits of Isis and prog rock band A. Next we come into the Abyssopelagic layer (8:00 roughly) where things get a bit heavier but fill with light melodies. It's the band becoming more commercially viable, that's for sure. Then we'll hit the Hadopelagic layer (10:00 roughly) which begins with melodic drone (And I get to hear some more water, thanks!) and then a nine minute track called "Let Them Believe 9:18" which does welcome more clean vocals and even some nods to bands like Tool. It's definitely prog metal with hints of sludge that actually comes off quite well.

The Demersal Layer is composed of one track "Cognitive Dissonance 9:05" but the only thing that I like about it are the end melodies that have a sort of hypnotic vibe to them. The Benthic layer is also composed of just one song "The Origin Of Our Wishes 5:55"which is the sludgiest that the band gets here. It thumps and thunders along in ways that we've all heard before, ending out the album with amp fuzz and static that closes in the most mundane of fashions. It's almost like the band's sick joke of telling you, "Okay, we're done here. You finally got the ocean record."

The problem with this record isn't a common one, but it's one I that need to address. Listen to the new Cult Of Luna and Intronaut albums for THE SAME FUCKING THING. Take or leave it, it's just another drop in the bucket to me.

Bonus Disc: Instrumental Version Of The Album

Though I heard the instrumental version of the disc was mixed differently, I don't notice any subtle differences. I have not heard the entire piece in it's instrumental form and normally don't do such anyway. This is something you'll get only with the limited edition version of the album, but as we all know - nothing is limited on the internet. At any rate, I wouldn't grab this instrumental version unless you really liked the first album. It's really nothing to write home about.

Highlights: Boundless Vasts, Omen Of The Deep, Let Them Believe (The Hadopelagic layer) (11 Tracks, 53:00)



Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) (2013) - Keeping in line with my prog metal list, Intronaut is next up with their djenty, proggy and atmospheric stuff. These guys utilize djent like it was one of the best things ever given to man and even though their frontman actually did vocal duties for Jens (Meshuggah) while he was sick, that doesn't mean that he has to put that same Meshuggah-influenced djent into his own band.

"Killing Birds With Stones 8:02" is basically a mix of djent riffs, clean vocals and acoustic melody lines with touches of prog. That's it. "Time Signatures..." I mean, "The Welding" is next and I'm already sick of it. Though I like the latter half of the track where the djent subsides (and that nice little tech-solo thing they've got going here - is that actually a solo or just a melody line? It's hard for me to tell) and moves into something more like Mastodon. This part of the track, I dig. I'd definitely give them major points for whatever the fuck that tech-solo-melody thing is, because it worked. "Steps 5:43" starts out light and airy, but damned if it doesn't just go right into Meshuggah with clean vocals. I wonder what these guys would be doing now, if Meshuggah was able to copyright their djent and time signatures. I think a petition should be started for that, forcing musicians to think of other things or they'll have to pay a five-hundred million dollar fine. The song does get lighter and some unique atmospheres are made (albeit stuff we've heard before from bands like Neurosis and Isis exc.) eventually ending out the track. This djent trend is being milked to the point of insanity, and it is not a healthy sign for the state of metal.

"A Sight For Sore Eyes 5:30" just uses a whole bunch of time signatures and clean vocals along with melodies that sound like they came from A Perfect Circle or Tool, maybe Alice In Chains grunge. I'll admit I like the song, but I've heard this before. "Milk Leg 6:46" is the single, and damned if it doesn't sound like everything else. I like the acoustic melodies, but do you guys really have any other tricks up your sleeves than fucking djent riffs? "Harmonicon 6:31" shows how much the band likes Tool and they do an incredible light-hearted melodic rock (this isn't a metal track) song that's well worth being on the radio as the Tool replacement. Face it, these guys are just going to keep fucking around and saying "oh, well make another album" and some bands are just like "fuck it, let's make the next Tool record ourselves." The starting riffs of "Eventual 6:44" combined with the drumming reminds of the first few notes in the theme to the original Golden Axe. But this is where these guys shine. Until the goddamned djent comes in. If you skip through a bit, eventually the djent riffs stop and some good atmosphere comes into play. Skip too far and the djent comes back. But I do like the melodies incorporated here.

"Blood From A Stone 3:05" is a light atmospheric piece with melodic riff melodies. When the vocals stop, it shows itself as a good atmospheric piece. Despite the continued use of djent, "The Way Down 8:57" is a good mix of Tool and Meshuggah that works out right. I think it's probably the best track on the album and the band has enough room to really showcase all their tricks. There's an incredible solo here, I've not heard anything like it before - that's pretty fucking inventive. The rest of the disc is probably meant to played backwards for special messages or something, it's one of those deals where there's no music but the sounds of some kind of record or tape which ends with an unnecessary high pitch yell, but that's probably a shout out to traditional metal like Judas Priest.

Intronaut wants to be Tool now. It's obvious. They want to be the Tool for this age. With this record, they have that in their grasp. The next record needs only to be a smidgen more commercially viable before people and magazines consider them "the next Tool." The riffs, the melodies, the structures - this is all Tool. But of course, they use djent which Tool only incorporated on their last album. These guys are skilled in this djent trend and this album itself is a major money-maker. Some of these tracks aren't even metal. There's nothing metal about them, not at all. Melodic technical prog rock with slight elements of metal in the form of djent riffs (is that even metal?) is what Intronaut are now.

I do remember the early years of the band, when they were innovative and actually a good bit of metal mixed with elements of core and such, but this new disc sees them removed from all that. I liked the band's last disc much more than this obvious attempt at whole-heartedly selling out. The boys in Intronaut are now ready to make money. "Let's throw together an album laid in the same occult/metaphysical lyrical style as Tool, even though we don't actually know a fucking thing about the occult or metaphysics! I know! I know! We'll just get all of our information from the internet."

Damn, I hate this fucking generation. Even so, the album's solid enough and the atmospheres are quite good if you can get around the djent. Check it out if you want, but chances are that you've already got this thing and have worn it out.

Highlights: The Welding, A Sight For Sore Eyes, Harmonicon, The Way Down (9 Tracks, 57:00)



Anciients - Heart Of Oak (2013 Deluxe Edition) - Our last prog metal album combines itself with elements of black metal, which is quite refreshing in the fact that it's not just strictly progressive black metal. It's more like progressive/black metal. Though the concept behind most of the lyrics is kind of depressing because "fuck cancer!" and it's about the frontman's mother battling the manmade population control method (Just wait until Monsanto gets their shit into the markets folks! You'd better just grow your own fucking food) which like anyone else, has the man quite angered and expectedly. I've seen two people in my life taken by that shit.

At any rate, this is a real prog-album in any sense of the word. I'm hearing real progressive song structures that go all of the way back to the genre's classic era (please tell me that you don't need references for that, just think of it as prog before djent) and that makes me happy. "Raise The Sun 6:33" makes me think a little bit of Enslaved, but if they weren't so black and "Overthrone 6:38" kind of sounds like Enslaved mixed with Crack The Skye era Mastodon. "Falling In Line 8:20" gives you a healthy dose of Enslaved influenced black-prog with some sludge right there at the end. So far, this is the heaviest track on the record. "The Longest River 9:16" takes a break from that for a few minutes and then warms up again to bring us back to the same style as "Overthrone" complete with some Motorhead riffs and some black metal scowls. "One Foot In The Light 1:06" is an unneccesary instrumental that 99.9% of people will skip. Why do bands do these things? It's just a fucking waste of studio time and money. Why give me a little crappy instrumental that I don't even notice? If I want to listen to acoustic melodies I can just find some from a group that does just that. No one ever does anything unique with these acoustic melodies, I guarantee that I could take all the acoustic melody interludes that I can think of and throw them all on one disc and YOU WOULDN'T EVEN BE ABLE TO TELL THAT EACH TRACK WAS DONE BY A DIFFERENT BAND. So again, useless fodder.

"Giants 7:31" returns me to the music and sounds rather triumphant in the beginning, playing some more Mastodon influence and eventually erupting a powerful solo that highlights the whole track. I mean, why even have vocals? Just let the guitarist shred the whole track and I'd be fine. As far as the black metal influence goes, it's nothing I haven't heard in the first couple of tracks. If they don't step their game up on the next album and really drive in the black metal, they might as well just stop utilizing it altogether. And lo and behold, I get black metal riffs on "Faith And Oath 6:08." This, gentlemen; is how you do it. But do scowls come right in and really give me the feel of black metal? I mean, why wouldn't they right? Nope. It goes right into Mastodon influence. What I'm getting from this is mostly a mix of clean (Mastodon) vocal with slight growls and some sludge influence. That's the main vocal style for this band. Just use the same terms (black, sludge, melodic) and add prog and you've got Anciients. While I was typing all of that, a guitar solo crept in, but left as soon as I caught it. Nope, I don't need to hear the fuzz of your amps at then end of the track either guys, that shit's deafening. "Flood And Fire 7:17" is mostly clean prog metal with a portion of black metal influence. It's got a nice solo and is passable.

"For Lisa 7:17" ends the abum, this is for the guy's mother who's in the hospital battling that manmade fucker. Surprisingly, it's an instrumental nod to the 60's era of prog rock complete with keyboards and it should sit well with any prog rock enthusiast. It's just a good track to sit down and listen to, especially when you're getting high - which THC is said to kill cancer cells, hence the government's fight against legalizing it. I can tell you for a fact that I know a woman who battled the manmade disease herself and would not have survived as long as she had if not for cannabis. It kept her appetite strong as well, which kept her eating and therefore surviving. Of course, there's no telling how long those cells were in her body and how long they were repressed before her body's immune system became too old to fight it any longer. She was up there in age, but I've no doubt that the medicine prolonged her life for as long as it did. Of course, people still have the "hippie" image of cannabis users and this is not applicable to everyone. It serves as a mood relaxer (which is something I need) and no one has ever actually died from the use of it, as with the case of cigarettes/cigars and alcohol which are both legal in this country and are both poisonous. Carl Sagan was said to be an avid smoker as I've said before and science considers him to be rather astute. There are few who haven't heard of "Carl Sagan's Cosmos." Furthermore, I'm sure that there are other men throughout history who were said to have partaken in the use of cannabis, yet there are many sources on the internet who may find that famous thinkers throughout the ages have used the medicine. At any rate, while smoking (or drinking - some prefer to drink the plant in a tea which is less harmful on the lungs) cannabis, this might actually be the kind of music that sits well with the act.

Bonus Tracks

Humanist 7:23 - Is actually a good track. Definitely the Crack The Skye influence, but with some black metal and atmospheric portions as well. This could've been on the album, people would've really liked it.

Built To Die 6:03 - Starts out rather heavy, gets light and then goes into an atmospheric which has a nice end to it, even though the lyrics of the song are extremely sobering. "Goodbye friends, hello death." is repeated, growled and screamed for a while before some prog ends it out.

Again, musical DLC which I hate.

At any rate, the frontman of the band is fucking roofer. Have you ever done roofing before? I've done it once and I fucking hated it. You're on top of a roof putting shingles up in the hot sun. Yeah, you can fall right the fuck off and break your legs if you're not careful, and the fact that the shingles are slippery and haven't changed design or material in ages doesn't help. The same shit that they used to shingle houses twenty years ago is the same shit that they use to shingle houses today. Imagine this guy's lot - you've got to shingle in the freezing cold, the burning heat and sometimes when it's pouring down rain. My stepfather was a carpenter, I know all about this shit. It sucks. But the money's good. At any rate, this guy's putting shingles on roofs when he's not jamming with these guys. Keep that in mind.

Out of the three (The Ocean, Intronaut, Anciients), I would definitely recommend this one. While not perfect, it's better than the djent and sludge influenced stuff that we get too much of these days. Yeah, even though these guys seem to copypasta Mastodon, it's a good style that mixes unusually well with black metal elements. But you can't call them black metal, because they're not.

Highlights: Raise The Sun, Overthrone, Falling In Line, For Lisa, Humanist, Built To Die (11 Tracks, 73:00)



Immolation - Kingdom Of Conspiracy (2013) - Now that the prog metal assault is over, it's time for an assault of a different kind - particularly the assault of an all too familiar death metal act by the moniker of Immolation. Obviously, the band's last album Majesty And Decay was fucking great; and the Scion EP was worth checking out too. That fucker's free by the way, so go grab it. Obviously, this album is based on the global conspiracy to create a new world order, which is of course something I believe in. The Illusionati is a just a front for the men behind the curtain, a fake conspiracy to take out eyes off what is really going on. I'm actually taking care to listen to the vocals on this one, just to see how the band is addressing the concept. Surprisingly, I can hear the vocals quite audibly (there are some moments when things get really gravel-mouthed) but for the most part, I can sort of follow along, because I do care about the lyrics to this one especially ever since I saw the album cover and title.

As far as the album is concerned, Immolation has created yet another disc of death metal with some technical moments and a slow but carnivorous pace. This disc doesn't rip your face off, but it does has it's moments of groove that might make you bob your head a bit. Also, calling this "brutal death metal" might be a little bit of a stretch. Compared to some of the more medical procedure groups out there, this is relatively tame in nature. But it creates an extremely brooding atmosphere that matches the same mechanic construct of the society in which the band is warning us about. You can expect all of the same death metal mainstays in each and every song, but nothing really comes out to me here and I didn't expect it to. Some albums you can go track by track with, but this one just sounds like a big chunk of solid death metal, with me mainly noticing the drums, guitars and vocals as well as the thunder which pervades most of these songs. Again, it's not a fast-paced album and to some it might all sound roundabout the same with the in regards to atmosphere, but that's sort of what you want from these guys. That's really a cop-out, but other than mentioning slight changes in technicality here and there, I'm not really hearing anything that comes out that much. Yeah, it's a good album but it doesn't break any new ground.

Immolation didn't make a disc to break new ground however, they made another death metal album that's just as good as anything else and if you don't like it, that's fine. Some bands out there just like to make what they like to make. Why fix what isn't broken? I'd hate for them to start adding clean vocals or core riffs or djent. The technicality doesn't even really bother me, it works well with their brooding sound. If you want a more detailed description, then go somewhere else. You'll get the same rating regardless, as it's a solid death metal album that should sit well with Immolation fans. Some people are going to fucking love it and others are going to think it's alright. It's just as good as anything else they've done. People will buy it, but maybe they'll actually listen to the lyrics here... you know, before it's too late. Most of us are under "The Great Sleep 5:21" right now and haven't really woken up to the bullshit that we're all being suckered into.

What is that? "So caught up in the meaningless, that we fail to see what's real" Boy, I hope that some corporate fucker isn't writing these lyrics. I really hope that the frontman or someone in this band actually wrote these lyrics because they were actually worried about the prospect of a society asleep to the brain-washing and mind control as well as chemicals that control our lives in this day and age. Of course, this album is just another interpretation of shit that I've been writing for years now. I think this was written back in 2010, but the band (Unholy Sacrifice) was on it's last legs and it never got put to music:

“Shackled and Chained”

Your America is pure, your America is true
It is the home of the brave
Forever mindless slaves

Constitution ripped away, a man who speaks his mind should have hell to pay
Fossilized sunlight has shaped and made this land
Yet the greed and power gained from it will bring mankind to it’s end

C: You are all shackled and chained
Forever mindless, you have yourselves to blame
You are all shackled and chained
Bow to your Christ, draped in the American flag..."

Keep in mind that I've never had a problem with Christianity or religion for that matter, just the fact that one belief in particular trumps all others in this country, which is never a good thing. If something has gotten so popular that everyone embraces it as the truth, something is inherently wrong with society. I tied religion with politics and conspiracy, because obviously they go hand in hand. Further reinforcement of this is Glen Beck's new channel, (Yes, I wrote a song for him, but you'll never see it because of it's content) Blaze which seems to tie Government tyranny in with conservative (and Libertarians, really? You actually expect me to buy that shit, Glen?) Christian idealism. This is fucking dangerous. The channel itself, mind you. One thing that you don't do with a bunch of religious zealots who are ready to raise the pitchfork, is to fire them up even more. But again, there is a bigger picture behind Glen Beck, his owners and the corporation that bought his channel. Perhaps this is what Immolation were trying to address. Even these people are still under "The Great Sleep."

It's more than just a death metal album, folks. Soak the lyrics in and cross-reference them with the sources on the internet. Then find debunks for those and debunk them again. Eventually, you'll come to your own decision on what you want to believe as is human nature. But if you don't know about this shit already and have been listening to metal for ten or twenty years, then you've been under a rock.

Immolation have done it again with Kingdom Of Conspiracy which can be taken as another hit to the shins of Christianity, but has much to do with something much more important than the "Jesus Sucks!" metal that they and most bands are known for. While nothing earth-shattering, it's a hell of a disc and should be well accepted by metalheads everywhere. Some will call it one of the best death metal albums of 2013, but I still think that the new Suffocation and Monolith Deathcult discs were better.

Highlights: Listen to the words of The Great Sleep (10 Tracks, 40:00)



Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent (2013 Special Edition) - Jesse Leach is back, Howard's gone. Apparently the fans had a fit and I could give two shits less in any case, because Killswitch hasn't yet disappointed me and I don't expect them to now. It's djent-free metalcore at it's finest, one of the purveyors of the genre doing what they do best. Unfortunately, that's all it is.

My first problem with this disc is that it's pretty low-brow and nothing more than a getting-back-into-gear album. It's just 12 tracks, at forty minutes. Didn't take long to write, didn't take long to record. It's just a band getting back into the swing of things and adjusting to a new vocalist. There's not a track on the disc that reaches into five minutes. Everything is relatively short and easy to work into setlists and of course, radio-play. Most of these tracks just kind of bled in, but I do like the opener "The Hell In Me 2:57" and "Always 4:33" which even though Revolver used it to mourn the dead, I think it's more about Jesus Christ (obviously the lyrics have returned to their Christian nature now the Leach is back in the band) than anything else and his promise to never leave his followers. Just in scrolling through each track I've noticed that the disc is faster, maybe a bit more "grr" on the backing vocals, and it's fiercer than the band's last effort. There are still some great melodies to be found here, which the band is always known for - but there's nothing depressing (like to be found on the band's last album) and it all seems to come off supercharged.

Somebody's going to break this down riff by riff, but it's not necessary. It's a metalcore disc made the way that metalcore used to sound, but with a few modern nuances. I still like Alive Or Just Breathing More, but this is right up there with that disc. What's missing are the love songs that Howard was known for, but we've got a lot of asskickery here and it's like an adrenaline shot that was able to get this slumbering beast rolling again. It's short and it's sweet, so to speak. You'll listen to it for a while, then every so often like most pieces of music. Again, most of the songs seem to bleed together, except for the opener (probably because it was the opener) and "Always" because it was a ballad. It's just a bunch of heavy and solid songs with a few extra bells in whistles in each one. I firmly agree with the 7 that it has gotten by most reviewers.

Bonus Tracks

Roadrunner DLC entails two tracks that wouldn't have made a difference had they been on the album or not, and two live tracks which show Jesse Leach doing one of his and one of Howard's songs. The Japanese got an extra live version of "The End Of Heartache" which I really wanted to hear, with Jesse on vocals. Somebody needs to upload that to YouTube if they haven't already done so.

You'll get "Blood Stains 3:21", "Slave To The Machine 3:07", "Numbered Days (Live) 3:45" and "My Curse (Live) 3:54" The version of "My Curse" is pulled off rather nicely, but it sounds like Dave Brockie (Gwar) is onstage with them in his Oderus costume as I'm hearing some lines that sound like he might have guested on the track and they're kind of laughing about it. Which it is kind of funny, since it's one of the heaviest love songs I've heard.

And that's all she wrote for this one. If you like Killswitch, it's a good return to form. There's no sappy love songs (even though I admit that "Turn To You" was a good pop rock song from the II album) except for one about Jesus and the rest of them are straight metalcore bashers with all the trimmings that you'd expect. It's like enhanced generic. You've heard it before, but you haven't heard in a while and it's got better production value and a few more surprises than the band would've had years ago.

But yes, there's nothing new about this album. Still, go pick it up if you want to hear Jesse front Killswitch. But I personally wouldn't buy this one. There's just not enough here for me to care about more than once. Plus, all sixteen tracks of this album fill up less than an hour's worth of music.

Highlights: The Hell In Me, Always (16 Tracks, 54:00)



HIM - Tears On Tape (2013 Metal Hammer Fanpack Edition Nonsense) - Whatever the fuck you want to call this, it's the new HIM album. Yes, there some HIM albums I really like (Razorblade Romance, Love Metal, Dark Light, Venus Doom) but then there was that horrible-I-can't-even-remember-what-the-hell-the-name-of-it-was-it-was-so-goddamned-terrible record that got released in 2011. Oh, I hated that disc. I hated it with a passion. But now Vallo says, "This one's gonna be heavier." So I get to thinking that it'll be more like Venus Doom or Love Metal, right? Wrong.

Tears On Tape is the band's atmospheric album. Yeah, you heard me. Most of the shit on this album is about making a romantic atmosphere with a little black lipstick and nail polish added into the mix. The new Lacrimas Profundere was much more interesting. At least there were some metal riffs and harsh vocals in areas, not to mention good ballads. Listening to this album makes me wish that I'd given Antiadore a better score.

Tears On Tape might as well be the soundtrack to Twilight. Any of them. The only song I liked on this many layered disc was an atmospheric interlude called "Trapped In Autumn 1:19" and there's another one called "Lucifer's Chorale 1:19" where the band tries drone. "Love Without Tears 3:37" is another Crowley reference to a book of several letters, entitled Magic Without Tears and goes in line with (I remembered the name of that album) Love In Theory And Practice, an obvious connection to Magic In Theory And Practice. While it is not known if Ville Vallo actually utilizes (or did, he's married now I think) the aspect of the scarlet woman, he certainly didn't have to resort to the ones that Crowley himself did, as in his younger years I'm quite sure that women were throwing their panties and bras at the guy. But now he's a bit older and that charm has kind of worn off. I can see a fifty-something year old Ville on stage in front of all those women who are now grown up with their own daughters, just like what goes on at a Motley Crue, Whitsnake, Warrant, or Posion show (Hair metal is coming back from the dead, folks!) singing these same songs.

Hey, wait? What the hell is this at the end of the album? A thirty minute EP thing is included on the disc with Ville Vallo re-recording the HIM classics, "Buried Alive By Love", "The Kiss Of Dawn", "When Love And Death Embrace", "Join Me", "The Funeral Of Hearts", "Heartkiller" and finally, "Wings Of A Butterfly." The only difference is that these songs aren't done in the normal gothic croon. He just sings them in a normal tone that sounds un-doctored and very raw. It's like what you get from a live show, but it's not live. Yes, he damn near flubs every single one of these. But I will admit that some of them sound musically better than the originals. There also isn't the gloss that you would hear in the originals. If you want to hear how bad of a singer that Ville actually is, listen to these. Even though I'll admit that I still like that riff melody on "Wings Of A Butterfly."

I liked a couple of the songs from Tears On Tape, so that makes it much better than Love In Theory And Practice. But it's still sounds like a band who is just about musically done. Ville, it's time to throw in that towel, bud. You've written some of the best love metal songs in years, but there's really nothing else that you can say. You're repeating yourself and obviously getting older, so find another route for your creativity. You've got tons of money, go buy a boat and sail the world. Write a book (God forbid) or make a film (God forbid again.) Then again, how about just getting a boat and sailing off to some island somewhere.

Highlights: Unleash The Red, Trapped In Autumn, Wings Of A Butterfly (Re-recorded) (20 Tracks, 72:00)



Hate - Solarflesh (2013 Limited Edition) - Yeah, this has been out for a while. Sorry about that. It's Polish blackened death metal like Behemoth, and just like their last album Erebus, it still sounds like Behemoth. Such is "Watchful Eye Ov Doom 3:20" and it's follow-up "Eternal Might 6:07" which also sounds like blackened death metal extremely similar to Behemoth. Damn, this is pretty ridiculous. Behemoth and Hate could play the same show and no one would be able to tell when the bands switched out.

"Alchemy Ov Blood 4:37" - Behemoth. "Timeless Kingdom 5:31" - Good shit, but still Behemoth. What about "Festival Of Slaves 4:33?"

Well, I dunno... does it start out with pagan chants and go into blasting drums that carry death metal riffs? Yep, sounds like Behemoth.

Alright, here's one that might be different. "Sadness Will Last Forever 7:05" starts out with a long atmosphere and sounds more like Morbid Angel than Behemoth. That's at least one relief. "Solarflesh 5:35" starts out with some Egyptian melodies, ala Behemoth and Nile and then it sounds like Behemoth again. But I do like the instrumental portions of this song quite a bit. That riff melody and the keyboard thing is quite interesting. "Endless Purity 5:42" is another refresher that doesn't sound so much like Behemoth, it seems to follow more of the Morbid Angel school of thought, which is fine. The disc ends with "Mesmerized 4:51" which is backed by soaring female vocal chants.

And that's it. Hate has made it known that they're nothing more than another Behemoth. Every track on this album sounds like something Behemoth would've done so Behemoth doesn't even have to come out with a new album this year, because Hate already made it for them! Of course, Nergal's been busy getting his book out there. I know how that is (but he probably had no trouble, whereas I'm having heaps of it) and understand completely. But if they're not Behemoth, they're Morbid Angel. The band has absolutely no identity of their own and it worries me. I mean, do we really need a Behemoth backup band for when Behemoth can't make a new album?

Bonus Tracks

Hatchammer 4:07 - It's just a slow but heavy, atmospheric track.

Venom 4:15 & Fall Ov All Icons (5:10) - These two tracks are electronic/atmospheric pieces. If Hate wants to sound like anything besides Behemoth they should utilize this style more, instead of making it a bonus. Obviously, these were recorded and considered but the band pussied out and that's why they're here. They should have been on the album as proof to people that this band is capable of more than sounding like Behemoth and Morbid Angel. There are no vocals here, but there could be. It's really a shame that nothing more was done with these. Hate should re-evaluate themselves after this album and mix this electronic edge in with their blackened death metal. Why don't bands ever do this kind of shit? We play it too fucking safe these days. Everyone's afraid of losing a fan-base. I could've sworn that people made music because they fucking enjoyed it, because they loved to do it. Not because of the money. But maybe if that wasn't the case, this album would've sounded so much like Behemoth. I was nice with Erebus, but twice? I can't fucking do this anymore.

You know what? Hate is ridiculous. The imagery, the lyrics, the sound - it's ALL fucking Behemoth. Fuck these guys and fuck this shit. Even if I liked some of these songs, it's only because they reminded me of good Behemoth songs. Not one damned riff isn't a riff that Behemoth wouldn't use. I can understand sounding a little bit like one of your favorite bands, getting a little influence - but what the fuck is this? How much are you going to sound like an established act?

Fuck it, I'm done here. Get the album or don't, it doesn't matter to me. This is absolute bullshit.

Highlights: Alchemy Ov Blood, Timeless Kingdom, Sadness Will Last Forever, Solarflesh, Endless Purity (12 Tracks, 61:00)



Wumpscut - Madman Szpital (2013 3 Disc Special Limited Edition Box) - Wumpscut is back already, and it's obvious that the band doesn't play shows, because it's only been like three or four months since the group's last disc, Women And Satan First; which was decent. The band is back to EBM which might be a relief to some people and it just comes off much better than the last disc. A catchy melody follows "Der Liebe Gott Sieht Alles 3:07" with the vocalist using a mix of English and German as he does with most of the disc. "Todd Essen Lebe Auf" also has some wonderful 80's throwback electronics which sound right at home on this album.

"Madman Szpital 5:42" has a much different feel than the rest of the album. It has a sort of electronic-lounger nature with an odd set of lyrics and some robotic vocals that take care of the "Madman Szpital" part of the song. It's quite good. "The Duke Of Death 4:16" starts out with a fuzzed "Yeah, baby" in female vocals and then follows a sort of uncomfortable electronic melody that doesn't make it one of the best songs on the disc, but makes it sound like trademark Wumpscut. "We Are Immortal 3:40" again sees the vocals and electronics in perfect harmony. "Ich Bin Der Tod 4:16" returns us once again to the tried and true 80's style of EBM which just sounds great. I mean, with this kind of music all that I can really tell you is that the beats are good and melodies work well with them. "Gabi Grausam 3:59" is also good in areas, but it's a bit slower and not necessarily the best track here. "Moshe Tokoloshe 3:59" comes next but it's nothing special. "Du Neger 3:51" will probably live to be one of my favorite electronic tracks of all time. I'm still trying to figure out what he means by "You my negro, you my negro " and "Black hands, black feet, black mind." The last track is the organ-laden "Vegan Witch 4:46" it invokes a sad, but also quite inorganic feel that has a bit or tribal nature. Something about "pray for the witch that passed away, she was vegan" Alright. Kind of confused. That's how you're ending the album? Alright, go figure. But when his says his V's, they sound like W's so it sounds like "Wegan" instead of Vegan. So it's a song about a vegan pagan or a wegan pagan. Whatever.

The box comes with two discs and one download of extra remixes called the XXL Download. Everyone knows that the best part of a Wumpscut album isn't what Wumpscut does, it's what the remixers do. Now, there is no earthly way in hell that I will go through every one of these 22 remixed tracks, simply telling you to check them all out because some are very big hits and others are decent. The only thing I didn't like was the "Madman Szpital (Airforge Remix) 3:44" for some odd reason that I only gave it two stars. The only other thing is that one of these mixers used dubstep and I actually didn't mind the use of it on this track, it worked with the track. Plus, they have a good sense of electronics, so it didn't sound like some kid playing with dubstep, rather it was a seasoned electronic musician who knew what he was doing. Curious? Check it out.

The cool thing about these are that when these remixers mix the tracks, they turn them into something completely new and in most cases they don't even resemble the songs, giving you completely new electronic music in most cases. Which is awesome, I might add.

Madman Szpital is probably Wumpscut's best album in years. It's worth checking out for all fans of electronic/EBM worldwide. This is the way it's fucking done, folks. It hasn't sounded like this for years and it's good to hear it being done with a nod to the 80's, which is when some of the best electronic music known to man was crafted. It's also a kick in the teeth to the current pop-electro shit. I highly recommend this and of course, it's companion albums. I liked the XXL download disc much more than the physical remix album though.

Electronic music isn't fucking dead yet!

Highlights: Der Liebe Gott Sieht Alles, Tod Essen Leben Auf, Madman Szpital, We Are Immortal, Ich Bin Der Tod, Du Neger

8/10 (Disc by itself)

10/10 (With remixes. You're getting 112 minutes of extra music that often times doesn't even sound like just a remix, it's rather a re-imagining and some of these are fucking brilliant. Don't call bullshit on me for this decision.)


Neurotech - Triumph Single 3:52 (2013) - Taken from the third album, this is definitely a return to form. Wulf decided that he did want to add some heavier elements to his electronic/rock/metal mix and seems to be taking it into Devin Townsend realms. It sounds very airy and a bit heavenly but certainly Devin Townsend influenced in terms of scope. (Not surprisingly, Devin also did a song called "Triumph" on Synchestra.) The vocals on the track have been put through a ton of electronic filters and sound good along with the piano-laden airy sense of the track that also contains guitar influence.

So do I like it? Yeah. It'll do, Wulf. I'd like to hear more from this next disc and I think you're onto something here.


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