This will be the last update for a while, as I'm moving. I have had to update from a work computer in the past, so if I have to do it like that until I get an actual internet connection, then I will. Hope to have internet ASAP, but packing up and moving to another location (this one closer to town) is always a pain in the ass. Will be reviewing what I've been sent. My inbox is full of promos, so please give me time to get to them all.
Ministry - From Beer To Eternity (PR2013)
- Ministry's final album, and last with their original guitarist comes
off just as you would expect. It's a monument to their over thirty year
legacy which spans from their New Wave days of the 80's (and With
Sympathy is a great album, by the way) all of the way to their current
industrial metal sound of today. It's safe to say that this is easily
one of the band's best releases in recent memory and brings with it a
healthy dose of electronics as well as a hefty dose of metal. The disc
is plenty heavy, in other words; but it succeeds where Relapse failed.
be honest, I hated Relapse and thought it was very boring and devoid of
anything that I would expect from a great Ministry album. I considered
it just another drop in the bucket, but knew that the band wasn't going
to fizzle out with such a lackluster release. So when I heard that this
was coming out, my expectations went right through the roof, and for the
most part; they were surpassed in every way possible.
begins with the overly electronic "Hail To His Majesty (Peasants) 5:17"
which certainly introduces plenty of kick, as Al tells us quite bluntly,
"SUCK MY MOTHERFUCKING DICK!" Other than that, the track is definitely
an ode to old school Ministry, where more electronics were utilized.
"Punch In The Face 5:00" sees the metal increase, bringing intensely
heavy riffs along with it. Yet it still manages to keep the electronics.
Yes, this is what I wanted from Ministry. This goes back to Psalm 69
and The Land Of Rape And Honey. Then they throw a solo in there too?
Damn. I think I'd like another punch in the fucking face.
4:56" adds the groove and some Devin Townsend vocal effects to the mix,
really making me think of latter era SYL. It took a while to grow on
me, but there's definitely effort being put into this. And finally
hearing Obama's voice become distorted and twisted like Bush makes me
fucking happy. "Perfect Storm 4:56" thrashes about with some definite
nods to groove and great use of samples. Again, this is Ministry at
their fucking best, with a blazing solo to boot.
degrades the hell out of Fox News "Fair And Balanced Reporting" with
this thrashy track called "Fairly Unbalanced 4:15." At work, some of the
employees leave this blather on the television in the break room and I
actually sat down to watch it noticing that they find "attractive
looking people" who know nothing about news reporting and it's EXTREMELY
opinionated. The news is not your fucking opinion. Walter Cronkite
rolls in his grave at this blasphemy to the very nature of reporting.
You don't show emotion when you tell the news. You report the story. We
don't need to know, or care to know how you feel about it. Fuck you,
Rupert Murdoch. "The Horror 3:33" is another one that I'm glad Al got
to and it's an electronic piece that has to do with rape. In particular,
the backwards belief that some bull-headed political fuckbag spat out
during an interview: "the body of a woman can reject a pregnancy caused
by a rape, and that GOD intended it." Like the sample says - "Got ya'll
in a trance!"
I've also really got to personally thank Al for
"Side F-X Include Mickey's Middle Finger (TV4) 5:14" which is the first
real musical piece I've heard addressing a serious problem in the United
States Of America. We no longer advertise cigarettes and seldom
alcohol, so now we advertise drugs. Not medicine. Drugs. We're trying to
doctor people for bullshit that didn't even exist fifty years ago. I
almost expect death or black metal to play on one of these medicine
commercials, when the guy just fucking growls "side effects might
include suicide, heart attack, stroke, or even death!" I mean, think
about it. I just saw a commercial where an old woman talked about taking
a pill for foot pain. But the side effects for that pill are that it
could cause suicide. What? How the fuck does that work? I take a pill
for pain, but oh yeah - it'll totally make me want to kill myself.
Because then there's no pain at all. Thanks, Big Pharma. I mean, you're
so thoughtful. Who would've guessed that the cure for pain was to never
be in it again? So if I end my life by taking your pill, then at least
it did what it was supposed to. Yeah, fuck off. As for the song, it
blasts heavier and louder than anything else on the album. It's got a
punk nature to it, and actually goes through a laundry list of real side
effects caused by these prescription drugs. Not medicines, drugs. Ask
your doctor to "fuck off" today!
The next song on the disc
"Lesson Unlearned 3:16" is much different than anything we'd ever have
expected from Ministry though. It's a bit bluesy, and has a female
vocalist in the background. It's still plenty heavy and contains a
rousing solo. The next song after that is "Thanx But No Thanx 8:21"
starts out as a trippy little track with a great spoken word poem. And I
do mean, great. That's what this fucking country has become, folks. As
the drums kick in, the track builds a bit of groove, still keeping a
punk atmosphere. "Change Of Luck 7:16" mixes middle-eastern music along
with electronics for an interesting sound that eventually builds up a
bit of heaviness, but might not really go anywhere for most folks. It
takes a while before it finally reaches a summit and when it does, it
unleashes a tasty solo. But this song is more of an experiment than
anything else. The last song on the disc is "Enjoy The Quiet 2:39" which
is really a letdown. I mean, it's a veritable outro of static and
samples, and then it's pretty much got Al saying he's done. Goodbye. But
since the founding guitarist died after this was made, there's not
really much else you can do other than to give us a whole bunch of
B-sides or a live concert DVD.
And that's the last gasp from the
machine known as Ministry. I think I may even shed a tear. (But there
are so many of their albums that I still have yet to hear.) Whatever you
think of this album, it's the last you'll hear from one of the
progenitors of industrial metal. There are hundreds of thousands of
bands out there who owe their existence to these guys, and that means
that Al and crew left a mark in the world of metal that will be
remembered for many ages to come. Well, until we annihilate ourselves,
From Beer To Eternity isn't fantastic, but it's still
fucking great. It's much better than Relapse and even some of the Bush
era albums. They definitely wanted to do a few new things on this disc
while still keeping true to the old and I'm thankful for that. There are
ripping guitar solos, punishing riffs and enough worthwhile spite about
the corruption in our fair country (which is going down the tubes
faster than diarrhea caused by General Tso's chicken) to not come off
as just another angsty metal album. If you're a fan of electronics,
you'll love this album and consider it one of the best in their career.
Now if KMFDM could follow suite...
Highlights: Hail To His
Majesty (Peasants), Punch In The Face, Perfect Storm, The Horror, Side
F-X Include Mickey's Middle Finger (TV4), Lesson Unlearned (11 Tracks,
Exhumer - Degraded By Sepsis (PR2013)
- Exhumer is an Italian brutal death metal band much in the vein of
Cryptopsy, Suffocation and apparently Putridity and Brodequin,(of which I
haven't heard) so if that sounds appealing to you; then you should
probably check it out. Unfortunately; despite all the great plans for
distribution on this one, (Sony/RED in North America) it's really not
that great an album. But I'll be honest, if you're into a twenty-five
minute piece that for the most part sounds like the same fucking song,
then you'll love Degraded By Sepsis. I'm not the biggest fan of brutal
death metal in this vein, but I played this for a friend who likes this
kind of stuff much more than me and he was even bored out of his wits.
there's a lot of technical stuff on the disc; the drummer's got quite a
bit of talent and the riffs sound mechanical amidst the gravel/thrash
mouthed vocal, but it reminds me that no matter how many different times
you try to prepare a hot dog, it's still going to taste like a hot dog.
As a matter of fact, the only track really stands out differently on
this album is "Misery 2:19" because it's got a wonderfully eerie vibe to
it that comes off better than the entire album. If the musician
responsible for this horrifying tune ever decides that he wants to break
off and start an entire album in this vein, well I'd be more than happy
to review that atmospheric disc. This track alone, sounds like the
stuff of nightmares.
I'll also have to add "Scent Of
Decomposition 1:08" as a track worth checking out, but it's short. This
otherworldly atmosphere is absolutely killer and it boggles my mind to
see it thrown onto such a mediocre brutal death metal disc. I guess I'm
going to have to find out who's responsible for these wonderful
compositions by way of Metal Archives and ask him why he hasn't made an
atmospheric record yet. Trust me, "Misery 2:19" is something that crept
under my skin more than the metal on this disc ever could. I feel like
I'm being served mashed potatoes with a piece of filet mignon inside of
it. The mashed potatoes aren't so great, but they're certainly edible;
yet there's this gourmet piece of filet mignon in there that's
absolutely delicious. You look up from your plate and simply wonder,
"Who put this piece of filet mignon in my mashed potatoes?" Then a man
looks up from a piano where previously he had been playing a somber
tune, and smiles. That's what I think about this album. It's just mashed
potatoes with a piece of filet mignon thrown into it.
couple tracks here and there that are worth listening to, but the
atmospheres are the best part. Which means that something has gone
horribly wrong. I have an idea for Exhumer though. Why don't you combine
the atmospheres with the brutal death metal? Other acts have done it as
of recent, and have made some incredible sounding stuff. I promise you,
if you guys do it just once; people will take notice.
Vapors Of Cadaveric Mucilage, Pungent Aroma Of Uterine Necrosis,
Misery, Scent Of Decomposition, Degraded By Sepsis (11 Tracks, 25:00)
Cvinger - Monastery Of Fallen (PR2013)
- Cvinger want to be your new black metal crush, and they might just be
able to do it with this twenty minutes of raw, rough and unrestrained
blasphemy. The band chants in Latin, blasts the hell out of the kit and
plays the kind of riffs that you'd expect from a bunch of guys in a cave
somewhere or perhaps even a grim tower. It's not the best thing I've
ever heard, but if you don't like to smile and hold your frown and horns
proud, then you'll fucking love this disc. These three guys seem rather
true to the roots of black metal, especially in their imagery and I do
think they're trying to go for the "kvlt" sound.
Or maybe not.
The disc also contains some acoustic plucking, (Chp.2: Ashes And Dust
1:38) and the whole thing ends on a Latin chant. But tracks like
"Blaspherion 3:24", "Salvation In The Darkest Wrath 2:40" and the title
"Monastery Of Fallen 3:29" are full of spite and venom, which I'm sure
you'll relish for a long time to come. The production is again, quite
raw but discernible; and these guys definitely know who their audience
is. If you didn't like the turn that Watain took this time around, then
perhaps you'll find something in this.
Highlights: Blaspherion, Salvation In The Darkest Wrath, In Thy Kingdom's Sorrow, Monastery Of Fallen (6 Tracks, 20:00)
Masada - Hideous Rot (PR2013)
- I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this short release from death
metallers Masada, who is made up of current/former members of
Immolation, Goreaphobia, Crucifer and Rellik, yet also features a
bizarre contribution from Clive Jones of 70's occult rockers Black Widow
(who Black Sabbath admits that they always got confused with in The
Gospel Of Filth.) The band admits that they wanted to approach
aggressive music with a sense of "uniqueness and thought." Which is
definitely what they've offered with these five songs.
Cerebral Pulp 2:55" opens the disc with a lot of technicality and a
production quality that's more than just a little unpolished. Still,
there's no denying the weirdness of this one. These guys certainly have a
lot to offer with the guttural growls of Cazz Grant, who seems more
than capable for this act. "Fluteotherapy 3:12" is where things get very
interesting however, and I highly recommend that you check out this
disc, just because this odd ritual track is on it. Is it sex, is it
flute? Is it still the same band? Whatever it is, I like it. Maybe
they'll incorporate the flute more on their next disc, which is already
in the works. But the sounds of people moaning in orgasm amidst flute
playing is fantastically surprising. "Exist To Rot 2:14" comes in, just
as if the flutes and moans had never existed. Make no mistake about it,
there's some overall great riffs to be found on this one. It's hard for
me not to like this album thus far. "Suffer Mortal Decay 2:46" begins
next, with a great shriek from Cazz (always love those little shrieks)
and all sorts of nice little melodies sprinkled about. "Toxic Unreality
3:39" ends our trip with a solid death metal track.
As a whole,
Masada deliver. But I'd like to hear more. This disc isn't even quite 14
minutes of music, but hopefully the next release will be a bit longer
and feature even more interesting eccentricities. Try a few tracks out
Hideous Cerebral Pulp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8q6fQeiIZ5o
Suffer Mental Decay:
http://deathgasm.com/?p=150 You can also order the album there.
Highlights: Fluteotherapy, Exist To Rot (5 Tracks, 14:00)
The Mezmerist - The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty (PR2013)
- Looks like we're going to have another Decibel battle here. It's not
that I have anything against the fine reviewers of Decibel, it's just
that after I've heard the same disc that they thought was garbage (to
put it bluntly) and find the effort to be much better than garbage; I
want to scratch my head and wonder who might have paid this Justin M.
Norton for his review of this album. I'm serious. A Kmart guitar? Are
Now, I could be a complete and total dick and look
at that guy's tastes, probably finding something shitty in my search and
throwing it back at him in the vein of "Well, you like "this" so your
opinion does not matter." But then again, that's unprofessional and it
looks bad on me. So I won't do that. cause this guy probably likes Nails
and Nails suck. But at any rate; I really enjoyed what I've heard on
this album at first listen, as it mixes a bit of Sabbath with a bit of
Mercyful Fate and a dash of prog to top it all off. These are all GOOD
things and we SHOULDN'T discourage GOOD things.
But to Justin,
it sounded like a "bunch of high school kids doing a lame Mercyful Fate
impression" and he added that only Bill Ward's appearance (Black
Sabbath) "makes this notable." And while it is true that Bill Ward
played on the first part of this disc, (the Born Again EP) we're
completely forgetting about Tommy Mezmercado who apparently is "no Bobby
Liebling." Since I've never heard of this Liebling character, I'm going
to go get some of his material and see how good he really is.
album opens with "The Forsaken 3:01" and is kind of comical and might
not appeal to you any more than the first time around. "Dead Ones Cry No
More 6:56" definitely evokes Mercyful Fate, with Tommy doing a decent
King Diamond impression. But it's not about the vocals. This guy can
play and pretty well, I might add. His melodies really light up the
track and make it worthwhile. "Arabian Nights 3:33" continues with the
King Diamond vocal approach, but a little lacking this time. Good thing
he can back it up with his guitar. I am noticing that he's using a lot
of the same melodies though. "Victim Of Environmental Change 5:51"
evokes the sense of trippy 70's guitars that you would expect for such a
project and definitely manages to deliver what would have been the
closer to that first EP with Bill Ward on the kit. If you wanted it to
end with a big prog jam, then you're in luck. Because that's what it
The second part of the disc is an EP released in 1985. JR
is on drums this time around and the band has an obviously better
production value. Tommy doesn't use his King Diamond vocal approach here
and decides to use his normal vocal tone. "Kingdom Of The Dead 3:58" is
decent, but doesn't really light up until the guitar solo comes in,
followed by a slight jam. "No Family, No Friends 4:13" is mostly a jam
with a couple of lyrics and the main highlight of this EP is it's
closer, "The Jam Song 8:57" which is big hippie prog jam, filled with
many wonderful moments of blazing guitar. It's also got some surf-rock
On my second listen, I sort of understand what he
means now. It's not exactly amazing. The second EP really seemed to go
nowhere, other than the prog jam. But it's a little better than the 3/10
that Justin gave it. Five years went into this new version of the
material and I guess it is a sort of rare collector's item; but it's
certainly no Timeghoul. There's definitely some great things here and
there, but I've heard much better from Mercyful Fate and Sabbath and
several other bands of this nature. The disc is a little over thirty
minutes and will probably still stand as a rare collector's item which
will include a DVD portion explaining how it all came together. But it's
worth checking out for curiosity's sake.
Highlights: Dead Ones Cry No More, Victim Of Environmental Change, The Jam Song (7 Tracks, 36:00)
Argus - Beyond The Martyrs (PR2013)
- Argus are a noteworthy five-piece heavy metal band that makes me
think of a crunchier mix of Iron Maiden and Manowar. Which in all
honesty, is a very good thing. The album thunders forth with opener "By
Endurance We Conquer 6:43" and then follows with the slightly
prog/slightly Maiden influenced "No Peace Behind The Line 4:56" which
has as catchy as chorus as a song of this nature should have. Doom
creeps in on "The Hands Of Time Are Bleeding 4:56" and "Trinity 5:30"
brings a couple of thrash riffs into the mix. But I don't think it's
their strongest track.
"Four Candles Burning 3:54" returns the
triumphant riff melodies, backed by the masculine wails of the frontman.
Damn, Manowar hasn't sounded this good in years. "The Coward's Path
7:28" is the longest track on the disc because it welcomes more
atmosphere and a cleaner touch of vocal. There's also the notable
re-emergence of doom. And yes, it delivers. "Cast Out All Raging Spirits
5:01" brings back the Maiden influences, as you'll notice - but with a
bit more heat and fuzz than you would expect from Maiden, and would
expect for early Manowar. Then there's the album closer, "Beyond The
Martyrs 5:11" which is an obviously doom-laden, but still quite powerful
instrumental piece. It's a great way for the album to end and further
cements the fact that you really need to check this out when it becomes
available. I've never heard of these guys before, but I can say with all
certainty that this album made a real dent in my playlist and I would
certainly like to more from this band in the future. Argus sound like
heavy metal used to sound, so if you miss that style; then you should
definitely check these guys out. If you like your heavy metal to have
the right amount of melody, structure and crunch; then you certainly
can't go wrong with Argus. Definitely an act to watch out for.
By Endurance We Conquer, The Hands Of Time Are Bleeding, Four Candles
Burning, The Coward's Path, Beyond The Martyrs. (8 Tracks, 43:00)
Abominant - Onward To Annihilation (PR2013)
- Like with many bands I've reviewed, this is my first album from
Abominant. Upon further research I gathered that the band has done a
good amount of music since then, so I can't and will not try to compare
it to any of their work in the past. As far as I'm concerned, it might
as well be a debut. Hell, before I even researched it; I thought it was.
But for what it's worth, (and you've probably already cast off my
review now for something on From The Dust Returned, Tuefel's Tomb, Metal
Storm, or Metal Archives) this album absolutely kills. And not just in
the fact that it's a "brutal" disc. No, there's far more than unhinged
brutality going on here, which is what drew me to the release.
Are Coming 5:18" is very much a solid black/death track with a powerful
solo and some interesting work at the end, (I say it's great, but
elitists might just call it good.) and "Conquerors Of Death 7:10"
carries with that same onslaught, adding some groove to the mix which
will envelop into a memorable (and lengthy) solo. At least with this
album, these guys seem to be able to perform a strong balancing act of
both black and death metal. "Left To Rot 3:25" is a bit quicker than the
others, definitely paying homage to thrash amidst bits of death and the
occasional black metal scowl. "Battlescarred 4:57" takes a bit to start
up, but it pretty manifests as black metal riffs with death metal
vocals laying over the top of them, topped with frantic blasts. Again, I
like the performance; but other reviewers are probably going to chalk
it up to "decent."
"Onward To Annihilation 5:41" brings the same
amount of spite that we'd expect, but then the unexpected "Hold Your
Ground 2:42" comes in with a Judas Priest vibe, completely different
from anything else on the album and sounding like a completely different
band altogether. Not sure if it's a cover or not, but it's certainly a
good performance and a welcome relief from the formula of the last
couple of tracks. "Beside The Dying Flame 6:37" comes next, reaching
into doom territory for a while, then playing with death/thrash and
black/thrash. As such, there's also a solo. But this is definitely the
band at their most unrestrained. "Legions Of Hell 6:56" closes us out
with gravel vocals laid over familiar black metal riffs, but that's
until the song slows down to welcome a more foreboding and crushing
approach. A blazing solo appears from nowhere, and the song takes many
turns before it finds in end in one last solo and some excess. (Could've
ended with the solo.)
Basically, if you've heard Abominant
before and you like black/death and thrash metal; then that's what
you're getting with this album. There's really no need to elaborate on
this further, mention the names of band members and other such things
that you'd find in a normal review. A good bit of the promo reviews I do
are blind and I like it that way. If I get info with the promo that
tells me who the band members are I might mention it; (but I've fucked
up so many times with that before) but other than that, "the frontman"
or "the drummer" or "the guitarist" or "the bassist" works for me.
Unprofessional? Heck yeah. But there's so many professional reviewers
out there and I don't want to be another one of them. I review discs my
own way, and that's measured by how they effect me.
was excellent music to listen to while doing the final edits on my
latest novel (now self-published on Amazon as of the date of this post)
and these guys really know what they're doing. Again, Abominant performs
a strong balancing act of black and death on this album and they're not
afraid to play with thrash, doom and even classic heavy metal either. I
wish more bands would break out of the box like this - and I hate to
say it, but most albums I like these days are from bands that are either
doing something different, or are doing a familiar style proficiently.
In other words; if you've made a dent, then that effort gets noticed.
definitely recommend this album, as it shows the band at their
strongest (in so far as I've heard) and delivered much more than I would
have expected from it. (ie: bland death metal) Maybe it doesn't go into
the realms of weirdness or incorporate all sorts of technicality or
progressive power - but it's just damned good black/death. If it's done
right and I can't find a flaw, then it's perfect. There's really nothing
else to say.
(8 Tracks, 42:00)
Sinocence - No Gods, No Masters Vol.1 (PR2013)
- This is my first rendezvous with Sinocence and I'm more than quite
pleased with this short release. These Irish thrashers add progressive
and melodic elements to what is essentially a type of doom comparable to
Sentenced. And yes, it's very bit as good as it sounds.
disc comes bursting out of the gate with opener "A Coda On Self
Slaughter 6:46" in which blazing solos as it hits groove and a
Metallica-like sensibility. Except that there's that slight
depressiveness that Metallica wouldn't inhabit and I'd expect from
Sentenced. Except for the greater musicality as far as the drums are
considered. The man behind the kit is extraordinarily talented, and his
drum taps work well with the frontman's depressive bellows. In other
words, this reminds me of the ballsier side of Sentenced. The song also
contains one hell of a fucking solo piece, which is part of the reason
why it's a bit long. But I'll allow it, especially with the remarkable
"Long Way Down 4:48" mixes light melodies in with bits
of groove, but then things go right into Katatonia territory (who might
need to take note of the band that's going to end up replacing them.)
When the chorus hits, I can feel it. Then you get that slight bit of
drum bashing. Just enough to show that these guys can kick and play
depressive rock as well. Unexpectedly, a jam session then begins and it
really seems to light the song up.
The next song is "Occams
Razors 8:01" which will more than likely end up on my personal playlist.
It starts out much the way you'd expect for depressive rock, but has
one of the best choruses I've heard from this kind of music - ever. I
can feel the emotion in those lines, they're just so fucking vibrant.
You can't fake that shit. Being that the song is the longest on this
album, it's got all kinds of bells and whistles; one of the largest
bells being powerful vocal lines. Again, you can really feel the emotion
in this song. Then a solo comes in and we appreciate it. I mean, we
really appreciate it. And then after all that, we're back to the amazing
chorus. But not just another reiteration - the vocal lines work their
way up to it and then it hits, BAM! I've got to hear these guys do this
one live. Jesus Christ, that's fucking awesome! I'll be playing this one
for years, you can be sure of it.
"West Of Eden 5:54" features
more prog elements, as well as more bite. There's a chorus here, but I
don't think it's as strong as it could be. I can't really hear it, and I
think the verses sound better than the chorus. I definitely hear the
Sentenced influences here. It's also got a nice solo on the end.
In Silence 7:37" ends the disc out on a high note with more thrash,
some technicality and a strong chorus. The song really sticks to the
verse, like with "Occams Razors" and is much in the same vein, except
with more thrash. It also incorporates an awesome solo right into the
chorus. That's how you end an album.
Well, I'm obviously floored
here. These guys also have two full albums in addition to this release,
namely; 2005's Still Life Pose and 2009's Scar Obscura. And if those
two records are anything like this, I'm going to have to check them out
for sure. I also recommend that you check out these guys if you want to
hear what Katatonia or Sentenced would sound like with more emphasis on
thrash and solos. Which honestly sounds good. But that's because it is.
Highlights: A Coda On Self Slaughter, Occams Razors, Cruelty In Silence (5 Tracks, 33:00)
Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship (PR Reissue 2013)
- This symphonic black metal band came out of nowhere with a very solid
symphonic black metal album. The orchestral pieces flow beautifully
with the metal and nothing seems like it is too much, or too out of
place, yet it could still be too bombastic and well produced for those
who have “kvlt” tastes in this sort of music.(Everything is extremely
clear.)I might also add that each song has it’s own style in accordance
with the story, and I find that refreshing. If you are looking for a
contender to Dimmu Borgir, these guys would definitely be at the top of
that list. This reissue contains three bonus tracks, which I will get to
later. This review was originally done on my second week (and now we're
up to 86+) so I'm going to expand it for this reissue of the disc. Go
further into the release, if you will.
The disc begins with the
intro "Electronic Voice Phenomena 0:57" which is just a short intro to
this concept album. "The Sighting Is A Portent Of Doom 4:07" kicks in
with black metal and synths. These guys actually manage to work a few
light solos on this album, in addition to the Dimmu Borgir tendencies.
You've also got to say something about the melodies here. The song
itself actually takes many turns, and might sound to some not quite
finished. But I don't see that, as the piece reminds be both of Cradle
and Dimmu Borgir, seeing Carach Angren as a direct relative of these two
bands that I highly frequented in my younger days. "And The Consequence
Macabre 6:43" begins to feel much like a movie-score complete with lots
of vast structural changes (which are very welcome, by the way) and
vocals that definitely do a great job of narrating the story. His tone
is brash, but audible. Maybe because I've heard several thousand pounds
of the genre and can decipher the lyrics, but I'll admit that I can
follow along with this ghastly tale. Again, the band switches styles
quite a bit to coincide with different lines of the story. I'm actually a
bit reminded of Bal-Sagoth in this notion, even though as far as music,
they're the furthest thing from those guys. It's just in presentation
that Carach Angren remind me of those clever Brits in Bal Sagoth.
Der Decken's Triumph 5:15" follows along in the same fashion,
incorporating some pianos and violins into the mix, but managing to keep
the guitar melodies as a part of that orchestra, not just a part of the
band. "Bloodstains On The Captain's Log 5:50" sees more fury in the
performance, but it does all appear to be a part of one single song.
Which is the intended effect. One of the things I do like about this
album, is how each part of the disc introduces a new element to the
music so it doesn't come off as sounding all the same. The next track
"Al Betekent Het Mijn Dood 1:06" is wonderful interlude, showing some
serious acting chops from these guys. Operatic acting chops, which are
completely uncommon in bands of this nature. "Departure Towards A
Nautical Curse 5:31" comes in next, complete with Theremins and a
standout guitar solo. There's plenty of blasts as well. "The Curse Of A
Spectral Ship 5:07" welcomes a bit of thrash backed by grand orchestral
arrangements (quite like the rest of this disc.) Finally, we have "The
Shining Was A Portent Of Gloom 8:49" which ends out the disc. I'm
hearing some Cradle-influenced melodies in the beginning, but there's
obvious atmosphere buildup before a sunlit solo arrives, something that
you just wouldn't expect. I mean, the whole thing sounds kind of
beautiful with the pianos and such, but of course it gets much heavier
and a bit more eerie in tone. I really like the bass thumps at the end
of this one, which are truly headbang-worthy. It's a great way to end
out an interesting disc.
special reissue contains three bonus tracks, two of them from the
band's Ethereal Veiled Existence EP (remember that the Lammendam reissue
contains three more) and one from The Chase Vault Tragedy demo. These
are also re-recorded versions that the band did in 2011 (which means
that they more than likely recorded the entire Ethereal Veiled Existence
EP in 2011, so if you have digital copies, you can just put the songs
in order and in a sense you'll have the re-recorded EP.
rate, "The Ghost Of Rayham Hall 4:55" sounds like the previous release,
but with a bit more structure than the twisting Death Came Through A
Phantom Ship. I can also hear the Cradle influence here. "Ethereal
Veiled Existence 5:19" does carry itself in many opposite ways however,
even though it unleashes some really intriguing melodies. It's
definitely melodic black metal. Since "Sepulchural Disequilibrium 3:59"
is a re-recording from the band's demo, I wasn't sure how it would come
off. But the orchestration shines brightly, while still keeping the feel
of an earlier work in this re-recording.
definitely show their influences in this work, and if you're not
familiar with those influences, then you've been hiding in a cave
somewhere. I definitely think that their brand of metal is palatable; it
comes off well to the ears and it doesn't seem as anything more than
great melodic black metal with loads of orchestration. These three
gentlemen are extremely skilled and this record is a notable step in
their evolution. I can hardly wait to see what they'll bring to us in
2014, which seems a good date to expect new material (last disc Where
The Corpses Sink Forever came out in 2012.)
Definitely check this album out, as there's a good chance that it may have passed under your radar in 2010.
(12 Tracks, 58:00)
Verdun - The Cosmic Escape Of Admiral Masuka (PR2013)
- I'm not real sure about the lyrical content here, or even who Admiral
Masuka is; but I can tell you that these guys definitely craft some
solid post metal with elements of sludge and core. Of course, right now
I'm hearing doom riffs (Sons Of The Atoms 12:45) as a metalcore type
vocal approaches in, definitely creating the sort of post/sludge
atmosphere as described by the label/band. As you might (and should)
expect, the band is very much concerned with making an atmosphere which
they do manage to deliver on this first track, coupled with some moments
of slight devastation.
"Last Man Standing 7:26" throws in your
groove riffs (which I'm starting to notice is a pattern for many bands)
but it doesn't stay groovy for too long as some experimentalism creeps
in on the riffs. Alright, forgive me. There's actually a lot of
instances in the track where those groove riffs are repeated. Also as
expected are light moments of atmosphere. These guys are very much like
an atmosphere sandwich. They throw little atmospheres in between moments
of rough-necked anger. I could do without the clean vocal though. Good
thing that was over quickly.
"Jaxa 11:45" is the last track
here, featuring the clean vocal backed by what really sounds to me like
doom. Call it whatever you want, I'm hearing doom riffs with an odd
spoken vocal approach. It sounds good, but this post/sludge/core
whatever just seems like pretension to what's really a core influenced
doom metal. There's a couple heavy bits to the track, but I like the
more doom influenced portions and when the leads finally come in to
provide some melodies. There is some nice riffery going on here, so I'll
definitely have to point that out. The song ends on a bit of drone,
which I guess works for the band and at least makes it stand out a bit.
don't know much about these guys, other than the fact that they share
their band name with the last name of a woman who wanted to date me, so
that's very odd. I decided to "just be friends" with that woman and I
feel the same way with the band. They're a good enough act, but I really
don't think they're worth marrying.
Highlights: Jaxa (3 Tracks, 31:00)
Phelios - The Gates Of Atlantis (PR2013)
- Phelios is an exciting German project from one-man atmospheric
musical powerhouse Martin Sturtzer and if you're into floating through
other dimensions, then you'll absolutely love the work performed here.
Every track on the album offers a glimpse into another strange world,
each with their own separate cultures and sounds. Martin is a master of
synths and percussion, much of his work being akin to filmscores. "Gates
Of Atlantis 5:35" starts out on such a note, reminding me of the
grandeur of a soundtrack used in Avatar or perhaps even that John Carter
(Of Mars) film that's actually worth checking out. It boasts heavy
percussion with a strong sense of desert atmosphere.
But then we
have the exact opposite in "Temple Of Yith 6:59" which seems to evoke a
temple atmosphere, in the fact that I can imagine the structure which
might house these sounds. There's some sort of giant alien entity in the
center of an altar that doesn't seem to embody any sort of recognizable
human form and there's about ten or twelve cloaked humanoids (at least,
that's what I can perceive) bowing down and chanting in low drones
while the air wisps about the structure, blowing the dust about.
"Spiritual Possession 5:35" is a slightly darker piece, one that leads
itself right into the heart of foul rituals and occultists who cut
strange symbols into their hands, the blood falling in small puddles
beneath their feet. What god requires such a sacrifice? Well, that is
uncertain. I feel that I must hide from these madmen until their
impractical ritual ends.
"Hibernation 7:32" brings me into
another temple, this one housing a great being of some sort (be it god
or devil, I know not) encased inside of a large, flesh colored egg. Or
at least, that's what it appears to be. The drums thunder in my head, as
if there's some sort of great spiritual significance to the birth of
this entity; it truly feels like the march for a future ruler of an
obscure section of the cosmos that I will never be able to enter fully,
with my head sticking out of the veil to merely observe these strange
"New Stellar Age 5:55" uses the magic of
synths to fly me through the cosmos at the speed of light, as I hear the
very sounds of the universe itself ebbing and flowing around me. These
are the sounds of warbling stars, solar winds and whirling suns. "The
Shadow Out Of Time 7:55" mixes the atmosphere of drums and cosmic synths
together, making for something truly Lovecraftian and slightly dark in
nature. The final track on the disc is "Ascension 7:47" which captures
the feel and sound of thousands of different dimensional planes and
combines into a finale of sound and wonder.
Martin has been able
to capture the sounds of ritual and the universe for this record, which
may be useful during ritual practice. If you don't practice any sort of
ritual or even meditation; you might find the work an intriguing
atmosphere nonetheless. It's at times quite dark, but it doesn't feel
like a threatening dark; regardless of what the fiction author that I am
has described. It feels and behaves just like it should, but I wouldn't
recommend it as a sort of sleeping music, as the drums become rather
lively and things do sound very much like that of an "epic filmscore."
Nevertheless, I can't find any faults with it and would certainly
recommend it to fans of strong, ritualistic and spatial atmospheres.
Phelios is most certainly a noteworthy act in this atmospheric genre.
Highlights: All (7 Tracks, 42:00)
TOMB - Third Wave Holocaust (PR2013)
- TOMB which is an acronym for Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy, is a
US dark atmospheric act that utilizes bits of static and other such
things in order to create a foreboding and at times ritualistic
atmosphere. The band considers themselves to be "occult artists" and the
performances on the disc to be "ritual performances" but I'm not sure
how much I can buy all of that. For a man who's studied the occult for
too many years out of pure curiosity and intrigue, I sometimes really
want to believe that someone, somewhere has a hidden key. But I don't
think these guys have it, especially due to a song called "Disrupting
Admin" which turns me off the validity of the occult practices on the
disc automatically. Since "Disrupting Admin" would mean "Disrupting
Administrator" usually something that would refer to the web, (and
please don't even think for two seconds that you're going to tell me
that occult practices can be conducted via the computer, because that's
completely ludicrous) and I don't believe that such a track (let alone
Vulgarity and Third Wave Holocaust) would exist on a true album of
occult practices. Alright, now having completely destroyed the band's
image and realizing that these are just some talented guys who want to
make a dark ritualistic atmosphere, I'll review the album.
The Unknown 5:20" starts out very horror-esque, you've got your fuzz
and some otherwordly wails and the like. It's definitely the kind of
music that might get under someone's skin or sound great in a survival
horror video game series like Silent Hill. "Electric Exorcism 6:47"
comes next, but to the untrained ear it's just going to sound like a
bunch of fuzzy static. It would work better in a film or game, as it
builds that atmosphere. "The Great Venerat Insult 5:03" also works well
in a horror-influenced setting, as these guys generally seem to make
music that gets under your skin. It's probably not what you'd want to
play in a dark room, but for others... it may help to replace the work
of horror soundtracks in some computer/video games.
"NA LA GORE
NA 5:44" Starts out with a foreboding atmosphere backing by the chanting
of months, but then static is added to the mix and it doesn't really
work for me. "Vulgarity 5:21" just might ruin my computer speakers
because the fuzz is so thick and for that reason, I won't want to play
it more than once. It's just a layer of overly thick fuzz and static
that really doesn't appeal to me at all. "Disrupting Admin 4:13" begins,
mixing some electronic atmosphere along with more static and slight
chants. It's more listenable than "Vulgarity." Next is "VOM VOODOO 4:24"
which sounds like it came from a futuristic world where a horde of
robots are all babbling at each other and it all comes off as assorted
electronic noise. The noise reverberates off the steely walls, where it
sounds even louder.
"Third Wave Holocaust 4:35" sounds like the
inside of machine, it's gears turning and electric discharges erupting
from inside it's rotating core. "Clairvoyant Frequencies 7:45" uses
static to create more of an atmosphere, so it doesn't sound as much like
the "just static" that some of the other static laden tracks on this
album inhabit. The disc ends with "Tribute To HANHUA 6:28" who makes me
think of some Hawaiian god of Cocaine. People are certainly chanting to
him, amidst thundering gongs and some bells. I also hear a bit of static
in the release, as well as some female vocals that come into the mix. I
guess as far as ritualism is concerned, this one sounds quite
believable. But remember that these guys are just trying to make an
atmosphere, so there's no actual ritual action going on in the disc. Not
that I can discern anyway.
TOMB like to make a lot of noise and a
lot of static. But they also manage to create some horrific soundscapes
replete with slight elements of ritual, and I guess that's interesting
enough. Not completely my sort of thing, but I guess to those who
understand the thick static, it will work in their favor. Definitely
prefer the more horrific and more ritual side of these guys to just the
static. I can make my own "Vulgarity" in about five minutes with a few
programs. In fact, I think I've accidentally done that a few times. As a
matter of fact, I have an idea. I'm going to take one song from each
genre of metal and overlap them using Audition to see what comes out of
it. That's power, death, black, thrash, operatic, goth, industrial,
progressive and everything else. I think these guys have inspired me to
start creating monsters.
Highlights: Third Wave Holocaust, Tribute To HANHUA (10 Tracks, 55:00)
Huge Rat Attacks - Organic Babies (Band Request 2013)
- These guys have wanted me to review their album for a long time now,
and I've finally gotten to it. As a matter of fact, I listened to the
disc while doing the last of my final edits and the atmosphere was just
what I needed to complete the task. It's a short album, but it's
certainly a strong one. "Dimensional Loops 4:48" comes in like distorted
post-metal with a vocal approach that I find useful for the genre.
There's also some beautiful leads that provide background atmosphere
(dare I say shoegaze?) and it all just comes off satisfying. Not to
mention the jamboree portion at the end. Very nice, guys.
On Jet Skis 2:27" makes me think of porn music, but it also makes me
think of blues. The vocals sort of sound like psychobilly or grave rock.
Whatever the case, it's certainly a good tune. "Organic Babies 3:26" is
probably one of the best Kyuss impressions I've heard in years. Of
course, this might be more along the lines of Vista Chino (but I like
the vocalist better.) "Wheel 3:47" comes off a bit dirty (but everything
here does, so that's alright.) but adds clean melodies to the dirt,
almost like pouring a bottle of Fabuloso on the ground. The track gets
weird for a minute, but returns to it's melodic rock nature. "Heavy
Jelly 4:20" certainly retains the same stoner/doom feel as much of this
album, and brings back the shoegaze riffs, and what sounds like it's
going to turn into a rockabilly solo like three times, but never does.
What a weird fucking riff. Eventually a muffled solo does kind of make
it's way amidst all the oddity, but I will not fault these guys for
"One More Day Fades Away 2:56" took me by
surprise, and I think it sounds a bit more like indie rock with slight
hypnotic effects. Pink Floyd, John Lennon? I'm not even sure. Some
people might find something here, but not me. "Detonate 3:55" brings
things more into recognizable territory. Things get weird and crowded
for sure, but that's the charm of this band. It's very fuzzy. There's
also a great solo on the track. The disc ends with "Vision Quest: Gary
4:34" (The snail?) For some odd reason, I think Gary is a snail. A snail
popped in my head for some reason. As far as the song goes, it's
another strong stoner rock piece with plenty of trip. After listening to
this disc, I'm convinced that these guys have a lot to offer.
should sign or be signing Huge Rat Attacks. I know there's a label out
there who could add them to their roster. This is just the kind of
material that doesn't really sound like anyone else. They have such an
odd kind of hypnotic quality about them that I just haven't heard from
any other band. Also, like it or not, I can't fault "One More Day Fades
Away" too much, because at least they are showing that they aren't one
trick ponies. Most people are going to want this music at it's fuzziest,
but no matter what they do; they certainly have a quality that is more
than noteworthy. I definitely recommend checking these guys out. The
disc went down to 5.00 USD, so you really should take advantage of that
and give it a shot. I mean, if the guys had to lower it because no one
bought it; then there's a serious problem. There's that word again...
trailblazers. These guys are really blazing their own trail with this
music and I really hope that the big guys take notice. This is the stuff
you keep your eye on. I expect these guys to appear in a rock/metal
magazine one of these days. Yeah, it's that good.
Highlights: Basically everything but "One More Day Fades Away" (8 Tracks, 30:00)
Dark Season - Cruel Domination (Band Request 2013)
- I've got a thrash band called Dark Season now from Brazil. While I'm
not crazy about the album art, the band certainly seems to be able to
elicit some worthwhile thrash. The frontman has a throaty bark, but his
vocals seem to be high in the mix and the other instruments sound like
they're in the background with the exception of guitar solos. "Shadow Of
The Evil 3:59" is one example where the solo efforts truly prevail, I
just wish that I could hear the drums a bit more and the effort seems a
little contained. "Interceptor 4:46" seems to add more melody into the
thrash, but I just don't know how well I like the vocals here. Once
again, the solo portion delivers. "Groom Lake 4:32" kicks up the groove
and keyboards (but I can't really discern them) which definitely don't
make a dent until the solo. There's also some odd trilling sounds. At
least these guys are trying new things. "Final War 6:23" comes in with a
thump, backed with spoken vocals. There's a couple interesting ideas in
this track, like the use of electronics and uncommon riffs. A clean
vocal chorus comes in next, very much like a sort of melodic or power
metal. A solo also comes in and just like all of the rest, it delivers.
"Channel 666 4:51" comes in and pummels. I mean, I can really hear the
drums (even though the synths are tough to hear) this time and the song
appears to be taking a power-thrash tone. There's some spoken vocal
parts too. We get another keyboard solo and then a keyboard/guitar solo.
Great work, as they're both memorable. "Fighting The Day 4:42" sounds
more like power thrash, but has a good clean vocal chorus. I don't like
the frontman's harsh vocal attempts here. He should just use a gravel
approach and clean sing the choruses. That would make it a melodic
death/power band which would be fucking great. I just don't know how
many people are going to go for the rough vocal approaches that he uses.
"Going Down 5:44" starts out with those odd melody delays that I mostly
hear in more experimental black metal.
Alright. Stop this
review for a minute. At about "2:25-2:30" there's a well produced harsh
vocal attempt. It sounds great, it would have worked better if you'd
done the whole album in this fashion. And don't think that I'm not
familiar with vocals, as I've been doing them for damn near twenty years
in all sorts of extreme metal projects. The only thing that I really
needed to know is if this guy could bellow out some true harsh vocals.
But then I hear the "We're gonna die!" part and literally want to say to
these guys, "Can you go back and redo all the vocals minus the clean
portions in this harsh tone?" It would work much better, and I think
that listeners will agree. Some people can do thrash vocals. I can't. I
don't even like doing clean work because I hate the sound of my own
voice. But I'm good with gravel and I'm good with scowls, so that's what
I stick to. Was making a vocal placeholder for a song last night and
noticed this. A friend told me to use clean vocals on the album, but I
really don't think I'm going to because I just can't do good enough
clean. I don't want to suffer listeners through bad clean, so I'd rather
not do it. That's what I feel is the issue with this disc. The clean
vocals here are good, but the thrash vocals want to seem heavier which
makes them come off terrible. I said in my Thoughts On Reviewing that I
wouldn't pay attention too much on vocals, unless the frontman really
dropped the ball. And I feel that he did. As a matter of fact, the harsh
vocal performance is so good that I would have probably liked this disc
a hell of a lot more if the harsh vocals had been used.
the review, this track is actually quite good. The last track on the
disc is "This Cruel Domination 5:33" which is filled again with more bad
thrash vocals. Then there's fucking gravel. Jesus Christ! Why did you
even bother with the thrash vocals when you can do gravel like that?
Yes, this is what I want to hear. I want to hear more of this harsh
vocal work. Then we get another great solo from both the guitar and
keyboard, followed with great harsh vocals. Damn, there's real potential
here. I hope that these latter tracks are signs of things to come. I
mean, if the next Dark Season is harsh vocals and the music as good as
it's presented on this disc, then I'll definitely spotlight it. Yes, I
did say spotlight it. These guys are good musicians, they're just ruined
by the thrash vocals.
Despite that I didn't like the cover
(which isn't figured into my score) or the thrash vocals, (which are
figured heavily into my score) these guys are a very promising act. They
really need to stick to the melodic death style replete with keyboards
and thrash riffs that they are working towards here, and I really hope
that they'll take my constructive criticism having done this kind of
vocal work for many years. They've got it. They just really need to
evolve the music in the direction it seems to heading... which is a good
direction. A good fucking direction.
I'm definitely curious to see how the next album turns out. These guys have major potential. They're almost a solid metal act.
Highlights: Channel 666, Going Down, This Cruel Domination (8 Tracks, 40:00)