Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week 81 (June 22, 2013)


I Killed Everyone - Necrospire (PR2013) - I Killed Everyone is certainly not the kind of music that I gel with, not entirely anyway. For the most part, it's just progressive technical deathcore. Very much in the same vein as another band I'll be reviewing shortly, The Black Dahlia Murder. The first time I listened to this album, it all sort of bled together. To be honest, I'm here scrolling through songs and trying to find one that stands out. Every track on the disc so far seems to feature the same thing: bashing drums, deathcore grunts with the occasional scream. You like breakdowns? They're here. Technicality and elements of djent? I mean, this music practically writes itself.

And here I am, at the end of the album. What did I learn? Nothing. Did I hear anything inspiring? No. Did I hear anything original? No. These guys practically paved over what bands of their type have already paved over since the sub-genre began. You've heard this before, but if you really like older Faceless and Black Dahlia Murder (again, which is who these guys remind me of) then you should check this one out. As for me, I'll stick with new Faceless and Rings Of Saturn.

(10 Tracks, 40:00)



New Keepers Of The Water Tower - The Cosmic Child (PR2013) - The third album from these Swedish prog-doomers, it is jokingly described as "Dark Side Of The Doom", an obvious reference to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon." And to be honest, that's definitely a good way to describe it. It starts out with the heavy hitter "The Great Leveller 6:11" which encompasses all the thunder you expect from doom metal, but adds mere twinklings of prog and opens the album up for transmutation later on. "Visions Of Death 9:25" continues with the heaviness, but begins to fully meld it in with the prog. "Pyre For The Red Sage 12:05" continues thumping up until the point where it opens wide enough for atmosphere. Near the end of the track, the heaviness comes back, but with increased clean and atmosphere. This works well when it flows into "Cosmosis 3:45" which comes right out of 70's prog rock heaven. Some might not what to know what to think about this one, but as for me; I say it's fantastic. Then "Lapse 12:32" appears and I think that it's a downright build upon of what was done in "Cosmosis" really metamorphosing the sound and leaving the lyrics to minimalism. There's also a really hefty shredding portion. After that moment of greatness, "The Cosmic Child 2:51" gently caresses the ears, sort of like an after dinner mint to the astral travel session of the song before. So Pink Floyd gone doom? Yeah, that about sums this one up and it's really a listening experience that you have to take in as a whole. It's a very good trip, and much better than the trips I've heard from Intronaut and The Ocean this year. Some people might get that "Crack The Skye" era Mastodon feel from the album too, but that's okay, because many of us will agree that Mastodon was quite successful with that era and will never be able to capitalize upon it, hence why it's taken so long for them to make another release.

But just like "Crack the Skye", "The Cosmic Child" is also a concept album; one that seems to flow magnificently and is not to be missed this year. Those of you who are interested in this album, you know who you are. I've just given you the green light, it's okay to put through your ears and you'll definitely appreciate the hard work that these guys have put in on this one. While I'm not sure how it stacks up against their other releases, I definitely enjoyed it.

Highlights: Visions Of Death, Pyre For The Red Sage, Cosmosis, Lapse, The Cosmic Child, (6 Tracks, 46:00)



Ocellus - Departure (PR2013) - You know, you can tell a lot from a band by who they represent in their band photo. Ocellus is made up of guys who proudly display their love for Meshuggah, Between The Buried And Me, We Came As Romans, Dragonforce and Skeletonwitch and I can hear that same sort of modern metal sensibilities here. Once again, I find myself sailing through the album in the hopes of finding a good riff melody or something that hasn't been done by bands who also proudly wear the same influences on their sleeves... or backs, in the case.

But to put it into perspective, Ocellus basically mixes core with melodic death metal riffs and definite core breakdowns. Though I admit I like some of the melodies in "Sleepless 4:45" I've already heard them when Heaven Shall Burn, or more importantly; At The Gates did them. "Epiphany 4:13" made me first think of Soilwork, but then there's the djent influence and that's already become highly saturated in the genre as of late. "Endeavors 4:11" is pretty good, but I'll admit that I haven't the faintest idea why a solo is being played and vocals are still going. I always thought that a solo was just that - solo.

I'll admit that even though Ocellus's cover and logo shows that "Real Men Wear Pink" they're definitely better core than I Killed Everyone and that guitarist actually has some good licks. Yes, it's the same formula adapted slightly for 2013 trends and should become immensely popular with scene kids. Unfortunately, I'm no longer in high school (even though I wish I still was, there are so many things I didn't know then that I know now, and I didn't have all these aches and pains and health issues) and I'm damn near 30, so I don't think this stuff effects me as it would for someone else. I've been there, done that.

But if you haven't, Ocellus really ain't that bad.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)



The Lumberjack Feedback - Hand Of Glory (PR2013) - The Lumberjack Feedback isn't just an interesting band, they've also got a moniker that rolls right off the tip of the tongue. So what feedback does the lumberjack have? The lumberjack who's okay, works all night and sleeps all day, except when he wears women's clothing... Alright, so that would be the wrong lumberjack. (The guy at Kaotoxin is gonna have a field day with this one.) At any rate, The Lumberjack Feedback is a six man instrumental doom project with two drummers and no vocalist. The disc is made up of two songs which equal about 17 minutes of music and showcase just a little of what these guys have to offer.

"A Whisper To The Thunder 8:59" makes me think of early Pelican at first and that's a good sign. That's who I usually gravitate to when I think of instrumental doom, and this song is right up there with that kind of material. Albeit the work is a bit more thunderous, more foreboding in the middle, leaving less to clean melody and more to... well, "Hell on Earth" as described in the PR info. To be honest, this makes me think that it would go well during the "Inferno" campaign on the original Doom. It just sort of matches the wanton death and chaos that accompanies hell itself. Then the amp fuzz comes in, but it doesn't sound like something that's just there, it's writhes with the bellow of fear and sounds like a clarion call for the next track.

"The Dreamcatcher 8:33" has much more of a primordial feel, perhaps more akin to the first level of Hell in Dante's tale which I believe was purgatory, a place where virtuous pagans dwelled and there was no torture, but no light either. I kinda say bah to that, because I expect bands like this to be playing in that realm. After you're dragged through the jungle; you're gonna hear the track start to thump a bit, and things really start to get unruly towards the end. Again, it makes me think of Doom. But not that it would go good during the game, but of the actual sound font used during the game. ID software must have been listening to some kind of metal, because you can clearly hear that in that ancient sound font and when I hear a band like this who actually captures that same feel twenty years later, it's fucking grand.

The bottom line is that The Lumberjack Feedback are great. They don't sound like a band who needs vocals. Sure, you could add some, but it'd kill the feel of the music. Instead, I'm thinking of killing imps and demons in one of the many layers of the hellish abyss created by ID all of those years ago. I'm actually curious as to whether or not this music will work while being played during the game. But only one way to find out...

Definitely give the Lumberjack Feedback a shot. One of my favorite instrumental groups in years. I can't wait to hear more.

(2 Tracks, 17:00)



Eshtadur - Stay Away From Evil And Get Close To Me (PR2013) - One could have a field day with the broken English that composes most of Eshtadur's lyrics, but I won't do that, because it's not polite despite how much I want to mention it. According to my genre tag, Eshtadur is an experimental black metal band, but if you mean melodic death metal with elements of core and black metal, that's more like it. You see, there isn't really anything about this band that screams black metal to me.

However, they do write some pretty mean melodic death metal albeit with a few core breakdowns, core melodies and occasional injections of piano. When "Beyond The Shadows 3:09" started up, I had to double take at "black metal" because this is clearly the farthest thing from black metal that could be labeled as black metal. Clearly the guitarist loves his Dark Tranquility as he loves to utilize their riffs and throw a couple of black metal licks in. But that doesn't make them black metal. The bassist loves the hell out of his core, and the drummer just does kind of whatever. But I will say that there's a solo man in here somewhere. He's not sparkling, but he's audible. I'll also mention that the frontman of the group doesn't scowl or growl or scream, he kind of yells in the vein of thrash, but not in the sense of thrash. The vocal tone reminds me of something maybe in thrash or perhaps even core music.

When "Abigor 2:49" comes in, I definitely start thinking of death/thrash... you know, until the core comes in. Whoa... I just realized something. That guitarist that I was telling you about, well he really loves that same riff. I mean, really loves it. He damn near uses it on every single song. "Son Of A Witch 3:30" sees the band getting a little heavier with the inclusion of an actual growl (which should be more prominent) and more of that Dimmu Borgir influence that these guys seem to love so much. Then the guitarist decides, "Well, you know what? What the fuck? I'll just play the same lead again." and he does until the solo comes in.

Oh my God. It's even at the end of the album. The same riff. Sure, there's the keyboard on "The Girl Who Hated A Priest 4:05" but if you give that guitarist time, see how fast he starts to play that At The Gates/Dark Tranquillity riff he likes so much. Then of course you've got your core breakdowns and such while the scream/growl vocal thing goes on backed by synths. After the last track, there's a bonus Spanish version of "Beyond The Shadows" and I will say that the lyrics work much better in that version.

I'm sorry, but I just can't take these guys seriously. At least not yet. Believe it or not, they actually played some rather large shows in their home country, but that guy needs to lay off the At The Gates/Dark Tranquility riff and the whole band needs to learn what black metal is. I'm normally never this harsh, but this just doesn't work for me at all.

(9 Tracks, 32:00)



FaithXtractor - The Great Shadow Infiltrator (PR2013) - FaithXtractor are a two piece who play a very traditional type of death metal with an album cover that makes me think of a video game. They're certainly good at what they do, but nothing called out to me for most of the disc. Sure, "The Six Knives Of Redshield 3:28" was a good exercise, but it's one that I've heard several times before. However, it's right at the end of "Third And Final 3:23" that things start to get interesting. Rightfully called the title track, "The Great Shadow Infiltrator 6:11" gives me a dose of brooding death, complete with eerie electronics and a nice guitar solo that helps to highlight this track as what should've been the band's focus. "Freedom Conditional 3:28" adds the groove elements and "With Cold Calculation 2:51" shows off some impressive drum work.

But other than that, FaithXtractor show that they've still got some work ahead of them. It's a decent disc filled with some great solos and some interesting ideas, but I think they just need to fine tune themselves a bit, maybe tackle some different approaches to the material. Something about when Revolting does it and when a band like this does it that make two opposite parallels. I'd like to think that a band like this would want to be as good as Rogga and company, but those are some tough shoes to fill.

"The Great Shadow Infiltrator" is death metal in a vein that you've heard before with just a few odd bells and whistles. I'd recommend plenty of releases over this one, but if you want to support two guys who are doing what they love, then go check them out. It won't hurt you.

Highlights: The Great Shadow Infiltrator, With Cold Calculation (11 Tracks, 41:00)



Graveyard Of Souls - Shadows Of Life (PR2013) - Graveyard Of Souls is a two man atmospheric doom/death metal project for fans of early Tiamat and Saturnus, among others. I'm also hearing some early Graveworm (you know, when they were still good) and Moonspell in places, so it's a good mixture. Atmospheric synths back ridiculously catchy melodies, as thick gravel makes up the gamut of vocal content. The drumming on the disc is quite bare though, at some points I barely even noticed it. But that's probably because I wasn't taking as much notice of it as I was the lead melodies. Something can certainly be said about the synth and leads on this album, as these two ingredients really bring out the flavor of this act. I can definitely say that tracks like "Shadows of Life 4:54" with it's catchy Tiamat influenced melodies (think "Judas Christ" era) and it's follow up "Dreaming Of Someday To Awake 6:05" definitely hit hard and deserve to be placed right at the front of the album, but will never forgive them for completely butchering the 80's classic "Mad World 5:00" as originally performed by Tears For Fears, but later perfected by Gary Jules (this is the version that most everyone knows and covers, as the Tears For Fears version pales in comparison; despite the fact that they actually wrote the song. Ironic, I know.)

As you know, I am quite fond of my 80's music, being an 80's child. Though the Gary Jules version is quite newer, I've got so much respect for the track that I've been dying to find a band to work with to cover the song myself in some sort of blackened/death hybrid, with an extreme focus on the depression factor laden in the lyrics. This is the same thing that Graveyard Of Souls tried to do, but it's just too damned slow. This is a song about general hatred and distaste for the entire fucking world. It needs more emotion and gusto than what's being played so minimally here. Plus, I can barely make out the lyrics, as two vocalists are blaring them at the same time. Yes, the riffs are right - but it's just not spiteful enough and this song needs a hell of a lot of piss and vinegar, as it's one of the strongest ballads about one's general hatred for mankind and existence that I've ever heard. This haphazard rendition has upset me greatly and it's the second time I've heard metal fail to do justice to the song (the other time was Evergreen Terrace and they fucked it up too) so it looks like I'll just have to do it myself, one of these days. IMHO, the song should literally resemble some sort of psychotic breakdown and that is territory that I can successfully emulate.

Horrible 80's renditions aside, the album still delivers with the unreal melody of "Follow Me 7:33" and the kick of "Dead Earth 5:15" which once again makes me think of early Tiamat. While there are definitely a couple of clunkers on here, Graveyard Of Souls definitely have promise in the doom/death genre and have been studying the art of tasteful melody well. It's not something that we often get from metal, a sort of oddity that stands out from the pack of doom/death releases. Perhaps it's the Tiamat influence in the riffs, or maybe even the way these guys work their magic with synths - but whichever way you roll it, Graveyard Of Souls is a band to watch. I'm sure that their next release will see the duo even more refined and able to deliver further greatness in the realms of melody, with hopefully no horrible 80's covers and a more focused vocal sense (because some of the vocals on these tracks sound like they're all over the place.)

Nevertheless, go check out Graveyard Of Souls for some promising atmospheric death/doom with loads of melody. They do their influences justice for the most part, and that's saying quite a bit compared to some acts.

Highlights: Shadows Of Life, Dreaming Of Some Day To Awake, Follow Me, Dead Earth (9 Tracks, 46:00)



Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (2 Disc Limited Edition 2013) - Well, Volbeat are back with another one and it even features the legendary King Diamond on "Room 24 5:07." But before I get into all that, let's start with the basics. "Outlaw Gentlemen..." is a western themed pop-metal disc that combines elements of metal with rock and hard rock. It's much different from Domnius, we all know that. But that's what we're left with folks, take it or leave it.

"Perl Hart 3:26" starts the disc with this shitty little ballad. There's a good solo, but the song itself sucks. Couple of good riff melodies. "The Nameless One 3:52" adds some Metallica and ACDC influence into a song that's mostly stoner metal like The Sword. There's a nice Middle-Eastern solo here which has no business in the content of the album, but it works. It's not that bad, really. "Dead But Rising 3:34" starts out like "Black" era Metallica until it starts to kinda thrash. Then you've got some kind of fucking melodic thrash with Hetfield wanna be "Nyagh's" at the end of the vocal lines. It's not so bad, but it can grow annoying. "Cape of Our Hero 3:49" is next, it's a ballad which still has those James Hetfield "Nyagh's" and sticks to soft rock. I think I heard it on the radio during a countdown so someone likes it.

As for "Room 24 5:07" it reminds me of Black Sabbath a little and not just the band name - but the song itself. (But that's okay because Sabbath did the same on their new album, but they're Sabbath so they can do that.) This is probably the best Volbeat song that I've ever heard, but to be honest I wish they would've just gotten rid of Poulsen and kept the King. The song is about sleep paralysis, something that Poulsen claims happened to him once. Apparently, King Diamond said that it could've been a spirit (I hear about this kind of shit on boards all the time) but explained to him that it was more than likely sleep paralysis. At any rate, this track is kind of the music that I'd expect Volbeat to play for the rest of their career, but that will never happen. He fucked that up when he dissolved Dominus.

So now we're back into the wild west, with "The Hangman's Body Count 5:15" which in all honesty is a well-structured piece. I don't even mind Poulsen's vocals so much here. There's a little bit of thrash here, but it's a little more rock and contains some more of that odd Middle Eastern guitar influence. The guitar solos scream on the track, so it's hard to say too much bad about it. "My Body 3:41" is jammy little radio rock song. Fuck it. "Lola Montez 4:27" is a rock ballad with great rock solos. Nothing more. It's catchy but you've heard it re-arranged 18 gazillion times, just not with all the guitar jizz. "Black Bart 4:48" is what happens when you combine minimal punk-inspired thrash and mix it with the theme from Gunsmoke. There's an excellent solo here though. Would it offend Poulsen if I asked him to just make a record with him playing guitar instead of singing? The guy can play (or someone in this fucking band can, in that case - give that guy a guitar album) and I'd rather not hear Poulsen open his mouth if he can help it. These fuckers start to shred later on in this track and I never knew they had it in them. Definitely a highlight. What? You think I'm gonna chunk it with those solos?

Then we've got "The Lonesome Rider 4:04" which starts out western and involves female vocals. Yeah, I know. You just want to skip it. "The Sinner Is You 4:15" comes off as quite catchy, it's sort of a melodic rock song with a cancerously catchy chorus. "Doc Holliday 5:45" is where the band starts their Metallica phase and Poulsen is no Hetfield. His voice can make thrash sound like it would suit small children. No thanks, I'll pass. "Our Loved Ones 4:50" is a sort of modern thrash ballad. Hell, just think "Black album" and you've got it. It's like mixing one of that disc's heavy tracks (like "Everywhere I Roam") with one of it's lighter tracks ( like "Nothing Else Matters.") There's a good solo there. But those were also on the "Black album." And that's it.


On the bonus disc, we'll find five tracks of material that people like to include separately, because they like money. All together, it's about 79 minutes of music which would fit on a disc by itself. What a waste of fucking plastic. At any rate, "Ecotone 3:47" a Metalli-thrash track with some actual balls starts the disc and makes me wonder why it was left off the original disc. Surely the Volbeat fan would've appreciated more Metalli-thrash on their fake thrash album. Then there's a "Lola Montez (Harp Version) 4:29" which just features a harp and harmonica instead of the guitars. After that, you've got the first of the live tracks, "7 Shots 5:13" which features an alternate vocal from Poulsen that would actually make me like Volbeat if he used it. You mean to tell me that you can sound like that but you'd rather sound like this evil Elvis shit? I guess whatever makes money, ya bastard. I guess that's why you're rich and I'm poor, because you sold out. "Evelyn 3:47" is the next live track and it's got use of death metal vocal so that works for me. This guy has a great gravel, why the fuck is he singing? Then there's a demo of the same track at the end of the disc ("Evelyn 3:28") Goddamn. You mean to tell me that Poulsen growls like this? Damn, I'm about to get some Dominus albums for sure. Why the fuck did Volbeat ever happen? Fuck, I wish I could sound like that.

Volbeat's "Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies" actually has some merit going for it, but I'm still really upset that he dissolved a great death metal act in the form of Dominus because he wasn't making money by making great music. The devil opens the door with cash for the idiots who'll sell their soul.

Highlights: The Nameless One, Room 24, The Hangman's Body Count, Black Bart, The Sinner Is You, Ecotone, 7 Shots (Live), Evelyn (2010 Demo) (19 Tracks, 79:00)



City Of Fire - Trial Through Fire (2013) - The side project of Fear Factory's Burton C. Bell, these guys really have come into form with their second release. I really didn't know what to expect from this one, but I have to say that this is some of the best rock influenced metal that I've heard in years, despite a few hiccups at the end.

"Deliver Me 4:40" warms things up right at the beginning with hard driving riffs and powerful vocals coming from Bell. The man just sounds energized, like he's been waiting to do this (and he needs the break from Fear Factory after their last hiccup) for a long time now. Melodies blaze right into the sky and Bell sounds like he's the fucking metatron at times, like his voice is being carried from the heavens. It's really hard not to like this one.

"Follow Mantis 4:16" continues with the thunder, which is good because this album literally matches it's album cover image. You see fire, you GET fire. I have no idea what the hell Bell's singing about, but it must have something to do with Thelema, since he ascribes to those ideals. He takes a more subtle approach to the vocals, but the band never let up in their doom-like thunder. This is an album where head banging might be necessary. I don't think the "Follow Mantis" reiteration is necessary though, it comes off as overkill.

"Bad Motivator 3:42" lightens things a bit, but envelops into an explosive chorus that adds to the trance-inducing riffs. Which I can say appear on many of the songs on this album. It is a very sort of warm, trippy ordeal; quite like being in a hypnotic state at the center of hell.

"Prometheus Unbound 4:47" continues with thick riffs and some sections where the leads want to explode and finally do in the form of a terrific guitar solo. I don't think Bell's vocal performance is that great here though. This more about the guitar than anything else and after hearing the track, you can't debate that.

"Olympus Mons 4:44" is one of the stronger tracks on the disc, continuing in much the same way as the others but with a much better vocal performance from Bell. This one is more attuned to his vocals and comes off quite pleasing.
"Oceanut 3:48" starts out like a light ballad, but erupts with fury and some awesome riff melodies. Some of this stuff sounds absolutely spatial at times. Definitely one of the stronger tracks on this album.

"Dichotomy Blues 4:43" features a great bit of djent reinforced by the guitar. Bell's vocals meld perfectly with the track, and everything seems to be in universal harmony here, even though the song is quite vicious in lyrical nature.

"Made Of Stars 3:57" is that part of the album when things take on a more tribal tone. It definitely has that whole hippie vibe and I think that it fits with the content of the rest of the album, as it's all had a trance-inducing aspect.

The last original song on the disc is "Steps To Redemption 4:09" and it's really not that great. Whatever he told you about this song, forget it. It starts out with a piano and even when the band kicks in, I just don't buy it. Hiccup!

The album ends with a cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence 4:05." I never would've expected it, but everyone's gotta cover that fucking song into ridiculousness. It came out several years ago, was great and then got dug up somehow and now everyone wants a piece of it (No matter what genre!) Burton C. Bell can't even do it, I mean the band's playing on a different level than he is. Despite how much that drummer wants to make this song heavy, I've heard it done heavier and better. Please, for the love of God; give this fucking song a break. Maybe I should leave a message on Depeche Mode's FB account asking them to formally request no more covers of the track... Jesus Christ, enough is enough!

City Of Fire's Trial Through Fire is a very warm, trance-inducing record that's certainly worth it for people who want to hear some rock that's worth a damn. Yes there's metal influence, but I wouldn't call it metal. With this album, I think that City Of Fire is making a foothold in the cult music category along with bands like The Cult and Killing Joke. Bands that also, more than likely inspired them. I definitely recommend, even though it has some hiccups. This album is much better than some of the crap I've heard from rock and hard rock lately. It ought to be embraced, but I think it'll be forgotten because I haven't heard a single fucking thing about this disc since it released. Pity on the next generation.

Highlights: Deliver Me, Follow Mantis, Prometheus Unbound, Olympus Mons, Oceanut, Dichotomy Blues, Made Of Stars (10 Tracks, 42:00)



Leprous - Coal (2013) - Leprous, if you don't already know is the rest of Ihsahn's band, who when not playing as Leprous; double as his solo project. As such you can expect them to be musically competent to a high edged degree. The music that they play is surprisingly not black metal, but rather a very experimental blend of progressive metal. Their frontman is a bit colorful however, sort of reminding me of Freddie Mercury-esque soundscapes. Some of you might not even care or understand what in the hell he's doing at the end of "Foe 5:15" but it's most certainly the sort of thing you might expect to hear in a grand stage opera. This continues into "Chronic 7:19" when the guy continues his Freddie Mercury worship, despite a few heavier riffs mixed and some djent because everyone knows that that's always fun (sarcasm.) The song escalates into a Devin Townsend level of grandeur and that comes with a few harsh vocals. The chorus is extremely potent and the song is a worthy of an album itself. It's a self contained piece, which is something you rarely hear these days.

"Coal 6:50" throws some electronics into the mix along with some Tool riffs. Towards the end of the song, I'm reminded heavily of Devin Townsend. "The Cloak 4:09" begins with a Tool riff, but that's when the Queen influence comes back into play. After going back through this song, I'll admit that it's just not for me and that's all I'll say. "The Valley 8:59" is ungodly catchy. As I was flipping through it, I caught that damn chorus again and remembered how fucking great it was. But seeing as the size of "The Valley" is quite large, it's about far more than the fucking chorus and that's where atmospheres and the frontman's vocal dynamics come into play. No, I'm kidding. This song is nothing more than just an over-inflated prog ballad. It could've killed on just the non-atmospheric portions and the chorus.

"Salt 4:30" is a song I think I can do with out, especially when "Victoria!" is shouted. Whew, can't get much more feminine than that. I'll be if I played this album in a room by myself and a bunch of religious conservatives walked in, I'd be getting the Biblical lecture of my life. "Echo 9:41" is next, leaving the clean melodies, drums and vocals to create an atmosphere (notice that when I say vocals, I am talking about harmonizing which goes on through most of this album.) The song is good, but it just drags on too long.

The last track on the disc is my personal favorite. That's because it's a real, honest to god, heavy progressive metal track. Ihsahn's also on this track, (I think, or is that an impression?) so there's a plus. Still the amount of djent is frightening. I do like the fact that this track uses a vast amount of harsh vocal tones and that they are erratic and unruly. Musically, it keeps the beauty; but vocally it's a beast. Perhaps this is what their other material sounded like?

Leprous's "Coal" IS NOT for everyone; but for EXTREMELY open minded people who don't mind Freddie Mercury vocal tones and elements that might come off quite feminine in nature, it's worth checking out. It's definitely not something for Joe Metalhead who likes his music rough and brutal. It's something that Joe Metalhead wouldn't tell his metal head friends that he listens to. But I will admit that there are some really great songs despite the fact that it's a bit "unique" and may appeal more to the rest of us, rather than the most of us. Of course, there's an extremely rude derogatory term that some would use to explain the nature of this music a bit better, but it's one that I feel is offensive to people of a certain wonderful community and I won't say it here. After all, despite what we may prefer in life; metal is for everyone. I have many LBGT friends and won't use that term to describe music.

But yes, it does linger on effeminacy. Which I've just been told by my dictionary is also an offensive term. Really? I never knew. I've always considered myself a bit effeminate in nature. But just a bit, I'm not to the point of getting mani/pedi, but I work with some really rough guys who do actually get the mani/pedi. No shit.

Of course, it's not my style to be politically correct.

EDIT: Just realized that these are the same guys who did Bilateral. That record got a 777, and this thing only gets a 7? Damn, way to move down the hill gentlemen. To be honest, this record doesn't even sound like it was from the same band who recorded Bilateral. I suspect that they were abducted by Aliens.

Highlights: Chronic, The Valley, Echo, Contaminate Me (8 Tracks, 55:00)



Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death (2013) - Tribulation put out a worthy death metal album a few years back, but this is something completely of another vein. Though it still says "Death Metal" as the genre tag, this is something much more than the "Death Metal" that they put out last time and it took so many turns that I wasn't even sure what it was anymore... but it was fucking wonderful and I'll expound upon that right now (GET THIS ALBUM) so here's the (GET THIS ALBUM) breakdown (GET THIS ALBUM) of the (GET THIS ALBUM) disc:

First off, why am I hearing a cleverly guised rendition of Megaman X3's "Blizzard Buffalo" theme in "Vagina Dentata 3:59." It's definitely there, I could spot those tones anywhere. They don't think that you'd notice them, but yeah - that's it. It's a good theme for a vagina with teeth anyway. "Wanderer In The Outer Darkness 7:09" is next, and from the vocals I almost thought I was listening to blackened death metal. Then the music sort of pit black metal against death/thrash. Which is a great combo. Black and thrash and death, can't go wrong there.... then disco. Because everyone in the club is getting down to this evil shit. And finally atmosphere for good luck.

"Spectres 6:13" reminds me of death metal with a share of black metal riffs and some punk stylings. Then there's this wonderful atmospheric piece which goes into an all out assault and then more fucking awesomeness which I won't even describe. The next track "(indecipherable) 2:32" is just acoustic guitar and piano mixed with some odd effects and yes, it works. "Suspiria 10:21" had me once again hoping that the band decided to cover a Goblin classic in a heavier construct, but alas my dreams were crushed and replaced with a thumper of a track that contains some prog and atmosphere for damn near it's entirety, and then ends on a heavy note with some droning atmosphere to fully close.

"Through The Velvet Black 7:18" is either black or death metal and I've come to the point where I don't care anymore. It's just fucking great, that's what it is. I mean, who wanted a disc with both black metal and death metal tracks on it and then some? I mean, it doesn't even matter whether or not I finish this album breakdown. It's fucking essential for every metal head on the face of the planet Earth... and those in other worlds/dimensions.

"Randa 6:54" starts out catchy and it continues catchy. I think it's black metal, but who cares? The prog, atmospheres and 70's keyboards even come into the mix along with a fantastic solo. Who are these guys and where did they come from? They're not from Earth. "When The Sky Is Black With Devils 6:52" starts out light, but damn, you've got to love those horror inspired riffs. Then the drums start pounding and the lyrics start pounding too. Some atmosphere follows and other hijinks. But why spoil the fun? "Spell 6:00" comes in next and it's definitely black metal. Some of the best black metal I've heard in a long fucking time. But then it turns into so much more than that. Like every song on this disc. "Ultra Silvam 4:18" is another great instrumental that doesn't disappoint either and actually gets a bit heavy.

Alright, so how does it all end? How do you end a fucking masterpiece like this one? Well, you do it with a fucking epic and there's nothing more grandiose than "Apparitions 13:25" which definitely seals the lid on this wonder of extreme metal majesty. This thumping death metal influenced track has what seems like solo after solo after solo and then begins to truly thunder towards it's end where it picks up steam and shows off more instrumentation from the band.

Tribulation's "The Formulas Of Death" is a masterpiece. It's the best album of the year already, hands down. I don't know who can one-up this, but if you're on this planet I'd certainly like to hear your work. A universal constant is that there's always something better and always something worse - somewhere out there in the reaches of space. But as for this planet, you'd better do right and GET THIS FUCKING ALBUM as soon as possible. This might wind up being an undiscovered gem and it needs promotion. I'm more than likely going to re-review this album for New Noise in a professional construct just so more people can hear about this. It's really a work of art in the most estranged sense and I recommend it to all fans of extreme metal.

Edit: Alright, the general consensus for this thing is about 80-85%. I think it's great, but the metal community at large think that it's a good disc, not a great one. They do agree that Tribulation have moved way over the hill of death metal. Apparently, some people don't like all the atmospheres, perhaps they use too many of them on each song. I noticed that myself, but did not mind personally. It was so refreshing that I greatly enjoyed it.

Highlights: All


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