Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week 91 (November 19th, 2013)

To be honest, this is a feat in itself and I won't be able to do any more massive review posts like this for quite a while at least (unless they are quick runs, which I plan to do for 2012 and 2013 near the end of the year.) as I'm starting work on my next novel, The First Day Of The End Of The World. Future posts will only offer 10-12 albums a week until the spring of 2014. Additionally, I'm working on a music project of my own which will be announced in time. I also appreciate all the records that you've sent me. It really means a lot that you appreciate these reviews that much!

Side note: If you can, please convert any WAV based albums to MP3. It's easier for me to download and I don't have to convert them which can kill intended sound quality.


Cursed 13 - Triumf (PR2013 SPOTLIGHT ALBUM) - The third album from this Swedish black metal act is not only good, it's something of a gift from the Gods. The mastermind behind this project wasn't even sure these songs were ever going to properly get off the ground, and after fifteen months of problems (even serving jail time) the band was finally able to get together and rerecord some of their strongest tracks, including material that wasn't able to be released, as well as a brand new track.

Oddly enough though, this album doesn't just trudge in the murk of black metal, as fine crafted odes to Swedish death metal crawl up in "Dead And Gone 3:39" and "Death N' Roll 3:00" which sound pretty fucking timeless. The album starts out with "No Return 3:53" which features a bit of funeral doom influence, moves through the death metal tracks that I previously mentioned, then it plays with a punky sort of black metal on "I Love Cyanide 4:41." After that, things take more of a Nordic approach with "Aska Till Asaka 0:42", "Frälst av Eld 3:14" which seems to play with post metal riffs, "När Marorna Kallar 3:45" which seems to tread on the road between black and death metal. "Seductress 5:04" looks to doom and opens up for a guitar solo, as "Requiem/Victory 4:44" brings forth black metal with an atmosphere. If all of those genre inclusions aren't enough already, "Agitator 2:09" comes in with electronic elements that actually work to benefit the track. The disc ends with "Vrede 3:05" which plays around with Satyricon style black metal, and just like with every other thing that is tried on the album; it is successful.

Cursed 13 make a brand of black metal that is so much more and yet, still the same. These guys caught me from that very first listen, I even said to myself "these guys are really fucking good" and this point is proven true on the disc. "Triumf" is bursting with so much potential that I would have to consider it a definite recommend. As a matter of fact, the only way that I wouldn't recommend this album is if you're one of those people who prefers things more along the lines of traditional or kvlt black metal; because that is one thing that Cursed 13 is not. The mix is fresh, the production is sharp and the effort is as gloomy as it is remarkable. "Triumf" really is a triumph in aggression and darkness, it is one of those albums that you won't end up skipping tracks while listening to, because nothing on the disc is boring and the whole experience seems fresh and invigorating. Hell, it's just fucking great metal.

HIghlights: No Return, Dead And Gone, Death N Roll, I Love Cyanide, Frälst av Eld, När Marorna Kallar, Seductress, Requiem/Victory, Agitator, Vrede (11 Tracks, 37:00)



Gorefield - As Dawn Bleeds The Sky (PR2013) - Gorefield are an Australian thrash act that has since been making quite a bit of noise and playing along bands like Epica, as most notable. This is the band's official debut, running in at about thirty minutes and offering a very catchy, somewhat varied style of thrash that has a very poppy tone on the vocals, similar to a new act that I just recently heard by the name of The More I See, who are a new sign for Century Media. Of course, the only difference here is that these guys actually thrash and those other guys; well they like to make catchy radio rock pop hits too.

So there's one advantage for the metalhead, a band who likes to thrash. From the band's photos, I see an act that looks awfully young; but decked from head to toe in 80's metal symbolism. More than likely they weren't around when some of these acts were in their heyday, but are paying them homage through this work. But the band's name puts me at a bit of a damper, as I don't think that Gorefield really makes me think of thrash. I mean, if I hadn't told you this was a thrash band, what would you think when I said to you "I'm going to check out this new band called Gorefield?" Yeah, death metal. Maybe brutal death, grindcore. Definitely not thrash.

But let's get onto the album. I mean, I don't really have to go into a full exposition here - it's definitely thrash metal ("Playing With Fire 5:15") with elements from Iron Maiden, ("Those Who Say Never 3:48") which I definitely caught on the first listen. Of course, a couple of modern experimentation elements pop up on "Apathy 4:01" as well as more radio-friendly elements on "End Of The Night 4:05" which definitely brings a catchy chorus piece. The title cut, which also ends the album (5:02) seems more of a melodic anthem than a thrash cut, so I really don't think that you can classify Gorefield as a complete thrash band. I guess the best way to describe Gorefield is to say that they're a much younger version of Iron Maiden with more thrash elements and a vocalist who seems to bellow out a cross between punk and NWOAHM style vocals (Trivium). While not the best thrash band I've ever heard, Gorefield certainly has promise. I just wish they'd change their name, as it brings up so many of the wrong connotations.

Highlights: Those Who Say Never, Playing With Fire, As Dawn Bleeds The Sky (7 Tracks, 30:00)



Enabler - Flies (PR2013) - Well, three old dudes and a young chick got together and had a orgy. It was called Enabler and it's genre tag is apparently "Fuck Today" which I've never heard of. But as far as the music is concerned, it seems to be a very abrasive form of hardcore with a large emphasis on punky hardcore vocals, pummeling bass-lines and a general sense of raucous anger. I caught a few nice (but slightly muffled) solos on "Meaningless Life 2:11" but also the same amount of structure that I would get for a Dillinger Escape Plan album. I just listened to Dillinger's latest today and definitely can sense those influences here. the songs are short, but there's something to be said for these guys if they can actually perform convincing music in less than fifteen minutes, which is about how long this disc is. "Sickened By The Wake 2:38" caught me with a slight black n' roll approach musically, even though the vocals still relegate to hardcore. Later on in the album, there is also a healthy dose of melody and technical riffing; showing that these guys can do a bit more than other bands of their vein. At most, they're experimenting and that's how Dillinger started in the first fucking place.

If there's any reason that you need to check out Enabler, it's for their well-varied structural compositions and punk-like angst. They experiment with damn near everything on this album (including closer "Arise 2:52" with features vocal gravel) and certainly manage to make every song sound different from the others, while still keeping in style. I definitely recommend this one to fans of experimental hardcore looking for something to gawk at. These guys have done more in thirteen minutes than some bands have in thirteen years.

Highlights: Switch, Silenced By The Wake, Arise (6 Tracks, 13:00)



Rusted Brain - High Voltage Thrash (PR2013) - I'm not really sure where these guys are from and the like; but I can also say that I'm not so sure they're all that great a thrash band - all things considered. Thrash is just one of those genres that can be difficult to perform, due to the fact that you could end up sounding like everyone else. Which is what Rusted Brain seem to do with this release. To be brutally fucking honest, Rusted Brain succeed in nothing more than making the same brand of thrash that I've heard a thousand times over. You can pick out the influences, hear the Metallica and Anthrax riffs... it's very cut and paste. I also don't like the frontman's vocals. He just comes off as annoying. You know that band who I reviewed earlier in the year and said that they were really nothing more than a good copy of Metallica? Well, those guys are better than these guys. Yes, they have the formula down; but I can't pick out one track on the album that doesn't sound like something I've heard before. So in the end, what's going to differentiate Rusted Brain from anyone else? While the band is fast and heavy, they seem to be comfortable playing everyone else's shit and with an annoying vocalist to boot.

I'm sorry folks, there's just really nothing good that I can say about this one. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not good either. No one wants to be "just another thrash band" and that's what Rusted Brain seem to do with this record. Sure they thrash, but there's nothing else here but retread. Next!

(9 Tracks, 28:00)



Roarback - Face The Sun EP (PR2013) - This debut EP from Roarback is quite fucking promising. Named after an only decent Seputura album, these guys are much better than that disc ever was. The best way that I can describe Roarback, is that they are a mix of Suffocation and thrash metal. Yes, I know that sounds good. And trust me, it is. The EP is a bit raw, but I like that raw feeling to the music; if it was overproduced it would probably kill it. The disc is short, but damn is it a great appetizer.

"People's Hate 3:12" is a wonderful opener to the disc, providing more guttural grime and flaming solos than I've heard some bands do with an entire album. The next track is "Manor Of Hatred 4:06" takes more of a death metal approach, with darker riffs and a great exercise in drumming. These guys successfully manage to mix thrash and death metal together in a way unlike I can even fucking explain. The disc unfortunately ends with "Echoes Of Pain 3:03" which sees the drums sped up quite a bit, allows for some melody and then pounds down for the rest of the track. These guys really fucking know how to make memorable metal. There's no doubt about that. Give me more!

I'm not sure where you can get this EP, but I'm sure that you need to get it. Whenever the debut from these guys comes out, it's going to blow a lot of other albums right out of the fucking water. Wasn't expecting much with this one at first, but damn if it didn't deliver. And in spades.

Edit: Album is free on the band's bandcamp page: http://roarback.bandcamp.com/
(3 Tracks, 10:00)



Suffer The Wrath - Divine Sign (PR2013) - If there's one thing I hate more in this genre, it's the fact when bands look cooler than they sound. Suffer The Wrath (Illinois, USA) has one of the best images I've ever seen in metal, they're right up there with bands like GWAR, in the fact that almost all of them (but one) reminds me of those Stalfos Knights with the horned helmets from The Legend Of Zelda. They're all clad in this awesome black armor, and one of the guys has this bloody sledgehammer in his hand, while another holds a chain. He's also got this great beard that works well with the helmet. These guys really look like they're about to enter a fucking battle. The lyrics for the record also seem to deal with some sort of grandiose magical war against an evil sorcerer.

Again, here's the problem - they're all image and little originality as far as music is concerned. In laymen's terms, they're technical death metal with an emphasis on brutality. They're plenty heavy, but I just want them to do more. The vocal approach is a mix of thick gravel and howling scowls, but the riffs are bland as hell. The drummer also seems to know not much else other than to pound the kit. I mean, there's just not much skill on the kit at all. As expected, there are also core elements - you get the idea. These guys are trying to do to brutal death metal what Erimha did to black metal, make it more of this apparent "bro-core" sound. Not only that, it doesn't matter what track you play; they all sound the fucking goddamned same.

This is the kind of thing that really pisses me off. A band that puts everything into making this awesome image and mythos, but nothing into the music other than marketable trends. I mean, they do try with the melodies at the end of "Slave King 3:48" but it just doesn't come off as anything more than this "bro-core" style which is heavily marketable, but certainly not interesting.

As much as I like the look of the band, I can recommend about a thousand acts that sound much better than this. On the other hand, look forward to Suffer The Wrath becoming heavily popularized by the mainstream metal media quite soon.

(4 Tracks, 13:00)



Terrifier - Metal Or Death EP (PR2013) - These British Columbian thrashers are certainly good at making thrash as you know and love it. They've got a rowdy frontman who likes to howl quite a bit, and the drummer really pounds down on the kit. The riffs don't all sound the same and open for melody. This is definitely how thrash is done properly. The solos are also memorable and in the vein that should accompany thrash metal. While not doing anything truly amazing, they are certainly making a noticeable buzz with this short EP, which if nothing else; shows a band that is ready to go out there and conquer. Originally these guys were called Skull Hammer, but some reason changed their name. I liked Skull Hammer.

It's worth checking out for thrashers, because it sounds generally like good thrash. These guys have show experience and have played with acts like 3 Inches Of Blood and Augury, and Dismembered which shows that they're definitely seasoned as the material shows. They also played with Holy Grail, but Holy Grail should be opening up for them. Not the other way around, as it probably went. I'm sure that during that show a bunch of people were like, "Hey! Bring back Terrifier, what the fuck is this? It's not thrash!"

Sorry, just because you got signed to a major doesn't necessarily mean you're good. Just marketable. These guys on the other hand, are good. I like what I'm hearing here quite a bit and will certainly consider these guys a promising act. Needless to say, I'd like to hear more when more is released. If there's anything of note here, it is the brilliant solo sections; which proves to me that this band can play circles around Holy Grail.

Terrifier are definitely worth checking out.

(3 Tracks, 11:00)



Sinister Haze - 2013 Demo (Band Request 2013) - I've got three tracks here from Sinister Haze, which is a demo - but an interesting one at that. A "demo" is of course defined as a "demonstration" as in, "here's what we can do." So let's hear what Sinister Haze is capable of, shall we?

The first song, "Changin' Ways "8:10" opens with fuzzy blues grooves and a style that really reminds me a hell of a lot of Acid Bath if you want to be honest. The chorus on the track is quite catchy, the rock melodies are admirable and the whole thing comes off satisfying. The next track reaches further into doom, with "Black Shapeless Demon 9:34" and features more of a harsh vocal tone, but then again; this isn't the kind of harsh vocal utterance you would expect. It's more of a tortured holler that decorates the dreary clean approach, again - like Acid Bath. Just a bit darker. The final track on the demo is "Betrayed By Time 5:50" which brings back the blues melodies, yet utilizes mixes them in with the doom. It features a sparkling solo and ends the effort out on a strong note.

Sinister Haze are certainly something to keep your eye on, especially if you're a fan of Acid Bath or EyeHateGod. I think they've got plenty of potential and would like to hear more when it becomes available. Definitely give these guys a try.

Highlights: Changin' Ways (3 Tracks, 23:00)



Winds Of Plague - Resistance (PR2013) - Ah, I remember that very first Winds Of Plague album... it was even worthy of the name, which I always thought was a great name for a black metal act. Funny enough, they incorporated those elements on the very first disc and I had hopes for the band at the time. Unfortunately years later, these guys seem to only be interested in one thing and one thing only - deathcore. Why? I dunno. The only thing about this disc that separates it from other deathcore discs is that it utilizes some decent melodies and pianos. There's even a nod to Jamey Jasta on this thing, but the Hatebreed album was far better. I don't care how many synths and pianos and organs these guys throw into their music, it's still quite basic deathcore that's trying to be more.

You want to know what a good deathcore act is? Listen to the new Born Of Osiris and you'll find something to like. Those guys are actually managing to do something to the genre that doesn't turn it into rehashed crap. "Say Hello To The Undertaker 3:44" seems to be the only real decent track on this album, and further on in the listen I thought that I might have to take off my shirt and start throwing it around whilst jumping and pounding my fist into the air. There it goes again... breakdown. Then you've got songs like "Sewer Mouth 3:05" which is about someone who talks shit ("Yo, what you talking that shit fo, mothafucka?") and they have the fucking nerve to add classical music to this... what the fuck. The fact that Winds Of Plague is still a band is further reassurance that the world is ending. You know what? I'd rather listen to the new Oceano than this, at least those guys were trying new things. Give these guys a blank a slate and they'll throw in a breakdown. I'm sure this music was written for the pit. And that's good, because it can fall back down into the fucking pit for all I care.

What happened to these guys? They started out with so much promise. I even remember liking "Vlad The Impaler" from their earliest disc. Now they just destroy classical music with deathcore. If anything, "Resistance" is a sign that they're at a standstill and not so sure what they're doing anymore. Are we death metal? Are we core? Are we classical? Are we symphonic? Despite all the nuances that this band tries to add, it all winds up sounding the fucking same. Definitely not my cup of tea, but fans of deathcore will eat it up.

Highlights: Say Hello To The Undertaker (10 Tracks, 31:00)



Pestilence - Obsideo (PR2013) - Highly complex death metal bands like these are awfully tough to review sometimes, and that's usually because they require more of your senses than other acts. The fist time I heard "Obsideo" I wasn't all that impressed and thought that many of the songs sounded round about the same. The vocals seem to elicit a very garbage mouthed death metal approach much in the vein of classic death metal, yet the album still sees it's fare share of djent riffs which might be unnecessary. (Pestilence, why are you hopping on trends?)

Also, forgive me for this one; but the album is supposed to be about the spiritual journey that one makes into the afterworlds/dimensions upon death. There's nothing really enlightening about it, like I found in Gojira's "The Way Of All Flesh." Yet it is quite punishing, so I'm sure that probably speaks more to the death metal audience, except for the fact that all of these damn djent riffs does not a death metal album make. Though great melodies and awesome solos fill the room with magnificence, the use of so many modern nuances makes the thing quite redundant. In other words, there are newer bands (Orthodox, Allegaeon) using this same style who are able to pull it off much better and with more finesse than Pestilence. But is it a listenable album? Yes. I would certainly see an audience for this disc and I'm sure it's got many marketable aspects. The band really does try to make this a worthy effort, and if you can't tell by the injections of prog atmosphere that are so lovingly attempted on tracks like "Laniatus 3:09" but there's just too much of this technical/djent stuff on here for me to care.

We all remember Pestilence. They were notable for thrash, and then early death metal. But now it seems that they're playing that progressive death/jazz fusion stuff. I'm still trying to figure out where the jazz riffs are in this material. There's lots of djent here, so I hope that's not the same as jazz. There are even core elements and breakdowns ("Saturnation 3:07") in places on this disc, so that's certainly not something I would have expected from these guys either. If not for the interesting guitar melodies, and bits of prog in the album; this disc would be a by the numbers technical death/djent disc. As it stands, the disc is only decent and worth checking out for fans of the jazz/djent/fusion genre. Which isn't me, unfortunately. Remember that I couldn't get into the new Gorguts either, so I guess I'm just not a fan of this kind of stuff.

If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out anyway. Pestilence definitely mix the old flavor of death metal with the new flavor of djent/core and technicality quite well. There are also well thought-out melody and solo pieces on the album that might make it slightly more tolerable for those who aren't fans of djent and technicality. To be perfectly honest, I would personally grade it a 7 as far as my own opinion was concerned. But I do believe that other people will find the disc at an 8 or much higher depending on their tastes. This is the toughest thing about metal reviewing, because everyone has their own palette and one person's trash is always one person's treasure.

So what I am going to do, is to sit Pestilence at a 7.5 and consider the performance as a bit better than decent, but not quite solid. That's my personal opinion on the album, so of course yours will be different. Feel free to disagree, but I just don't understand this genre all that well and would be happier to see Pestilence go back to their old style. As it happens, this band is only a "serious hobby" for the frontman, Patrick Mameli (as described in an interview) so he's not really all that concerned. He's got another job, after all. Of course, the band believes that they need to evolve and not play the same kind of music that they played back in the old days. Well, if saturating an album with djent riffs are your definition of evolution; then you've got a long way to go.

Highlights: Laniatus (10 Tracks, 34:00)



Wan - Enjoy The Filth (PR2013) - Wan is an odd metal act consisting of four older gentlemen who, from photos; have certainly had their fill of food and drink. The album itself is not very long and sounds quite raw with warmth and fuzz. This thing has so much heat that you could sit next to the speakers and use it to warm yourself during a blizzard. The album's longest track is "Pentagram Rockers 3:39" which is a stickler for black and roll, but opener "Day of Reckoning 1:40" sounds more like thrash. The same can be said for "Swing The Hammer 2:22" which seems to switch between moments of lo-fi thrash and lo-fi black and roll, as well as old-school black metal.

Speaking of old school black metal, "Ni Skall Di 0:42" definitely hammers that down. "Helvite 2:24" features more chug, while "Pagan Metal Damnation 2:51" has fun with fuzzy punk riffs. "The Charger 2:32" throws an unexpected doom element into black/thrash. "Northern Brothers 3:18" is the third longest track on the disc, and seems to be full of black metal spirit. These guys might be from Sweden, but they've certainly captured the spirit of the genre with this album. But not just the Norwegian spirit, because the English spirit of the progenitors is also here. It's like a combination of the first and second age of black metal, (we're currently in the fourth age - third was the Satyricon style) "Enjoy The Filth 2:35" features the addition of fist raising shouts amidst it's blazing thrash riffs. "Djevelsang 0:51" sounds like black metal, basically. "Trollmor 2:18" plays around with third age work, so this is like mixing three ages of black metal together. They just haven't messed with the experimental (fourth age) stuff yet, even though there was a hint. The second longest track (by one second) is "Belial 3:19" which manages to play around with atmosphere. It's more the Deathspell Omega 3.5 stage of black metal (now I'm just being ridiculous) and goes into the final track, "Burn 2:46" which is a thrash track.

And that's Wan in a nutshell. The production quality is incredibly raw, which is going to have the kvlt feel that some people want, yet it won't have that kvlt sound and some won't like it. But you can't please everyone. The disc is certainly a good exercise in black metal and is well recommended for people who just want to relive all the good moments of the genre. It's like a fucking corpse-painted time machine with black leather tights that captures everything we know and appreciate about the genre. For four middle-aged guys that eat and drink as heartily as these gentlemen do, it's great to hear that they've got their black metal chops down. Certainly worth checking out.

Highlights: Pentagram Rockers, The Charger, Northern Brothers, Belial, Burn (13 Tracks, 31:00)



Harm - Cadaver Christi (PR2013) - Harm is an old school death metal band, who really doesn't need much of an introduction. They employ an "if it ain't broke" approach to their music which is felt heavily in the swampy mix, as it features the pounding of drums, the warm mist of guitars and a slew of scathing and garbage mouthed growls. This very much is the spirit of classic death metal, so you really can't fucking argue with it; and they do a great job solidifying the approach here. From first listen, a bevy of influences like Vader and Entombed will pop up into your ears, quite possibly Autopsy, Grave and the usual gamut. Guitar solos don't keep on the album very much either, it's definitely a meat and potatoes kind of disc that doesn't require a full rectal exam.

If you're looking for an old school slab of death metal that definitely doesn't disappoint and doesn't play around with any modern nuances either, then Harm is just what you're looking for.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)



Concrete - Dawn Of Revival (PR2013) - Another disc that really doesn't require a full dissection is this one from US style death metallers, Concrete. All the things that you remember from Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Suffocation are here and presented before you in grisly display, yet it also in some strange sort of way, reminds me of the music of the working man. Sure, songs like "Annihilation Of Humans 2:55", "Dripping With Cyanide 4:12" and "Relentless Killing Spree 2:17" might not sound like the kind of songs that a man might hum while at his labors, but believe me - they certainly echo the soul of the laborer.

As I was listening to this album, I was doing "muscle work" which is mainly just lifting heavy items and carrying them from place to place. It's tedious, back-breaking labor that a man of my stature can barely accomplish, but I grit my fucking teeth and do it. Lightening the load however, was the music of Concrete who made the job a bit less stressful with their thick grooves, thunderous vocals and high flying guitar antics. These guys sound very much in the way that classic death metal should sound, and the music has such a high amount of energy pumping through it that it acted as a type of adrenaline. To be honest, the lyrics didn't really matter. It was the music itself that kept me working, just a group of construction workers might turn on the radio whilst building a structure.

"Dawn of Revival" is a disc that absolutely pummels, offering a memorable but not out of the ordinary approach to death metal that we may have certainly heard before, but is certainly not out of favor. It is the kind of music that a man might listen to while he hammers a nail, turns on a drill, perhaps even while he unloads a truck of freight. It is the music of sweat and elbow grease. A guaranteed shot of testosterone that embodies the power of the working man, the lower class, the laborer. It's also about death and zombies. But let's not worry about that part, because somewhere there is a man toiling to his labors. And in his ear there booms a blasting and furious noise - the sound that keeps him going, the heavy slab of Concrete that represents all laborers.

(12 Tracks, 40:00)



Cathexis - Pillar Of Waste (PR2013) - Cathexis play a brand of technical progressive death metal that should certainly be familiar to fans of acts like Obscura and Decapitated. The band actually does a relatively strong job as far as technicality goes and riffs seem to float all about the disc, with some unhinged sort of perspective; as drums are played to complete perfection. The music of Cathexis certainly seems of merit, and should appeal to anyone who's looking for the seed of an act which I believe will soon matter over the course of time. This is a brilliant debut, although the band hasn't really gotten to the point where they are over the level of djent and technicality backed by harsh vocals. As more experimentation is used and utilized, this act will steadily gain more intrigue. But with the addition of a few worthwhile guitar solos and some obvious nods to traditional death metal, featuring a few chunky grooves here and there - they certainly have enough to offer from the start.

There's also a cover of Coroner's "Metamorphosis" here as well, which is done quite credibly. So there's a bonus. Go check out the album when it releases.

(9 Tracks, 41:00)



Sapiency - Tomorrow (PR2013) - Sapiency is a German modern melodic death metal band that I found intriguing before I even got the promo release. I heard a few tracks from these guys on the internet beforehand, and have to say that I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more material from these guys (including their debut LP, "Fate's End" ) because they've got everything that I look for in a modern melodic death metal act. While nu-metal nuances exist on the album, as well as grooves that you've heard a million times over; you can't deny that these things weren't done when Scar Symmetry first started up with "Symmetrical In Design." It's also got that same melodic semi-djent feel of modern melodic death that's been employed since the latter era Soilwork albums.

But what really speaks to me here is the vocal catchiness. The frontman doesn't have the most angelic clean vocal, but he's got a great vocal tone and this makes the band's choral repetitions come off flawlessly. The first two tracks on the disc "Prayer Of The Pain 4:15" and "Hungry Again 6:11" are great examples of this, the latter being particularly strong because the extra minutes on the track are mainly used as strong choral reiteration moments, the stuff that gets stuck in your head regardless of what you hear afterwards.

The band does manage to brandish a bit of death metal bite on most of the latter tracks, like on "Unknown Enemy", "Breaking Chains" and (my personal favorite track) closer "Dying Illusions 3:43" but you'll really find it splattered throughout the disc. There are also a few guitar solos on the album which I've found to be rather noteworthy, they all don't come off as complete shred-fests; yet are a bit shorter than you'd expect. But with a band that seems to be more focused on choral reiteration and well-structured modern melodic death metal, I wouldn't expect too many grand solos.

Every song on the album contains harsh vocals however, which sort of doesn't work for "Fight On 3:58" which almost sounds like it's going for an In Flames "Cloud Connected" sort of ballad vibe. Electronics are also heard in places throughout the disc, though not as frequently as you'd expect. To put it bluntly, Sapiency is a very solid modern melodic death metal band that I would recommend for fans of bands like Scar Symmetry, In Flames, Soilwork, and Deals Death. I'm a fan of all of these acts, so I highly recommend checking out this band. Few have made as varied a record, that sticks so true to the base of the strong choral nature that we've always found intriguing about the genre. If you've got to have modern melodeath, don't forget about Sapiency.

Highlights: Prayer Of The Pain, Hungry Again, Free Within, Fight On, Breaking The Chains, Torn Apart, Dying Illusions (11 Tracks, 47:00)



Inferno - Omniabsence Fueled By His Greatness (PR2013) - The sixth album from these Czech black metallers, "Omniabscence..." has a cover that would make Christians fume and conspiracy theorists put on their tin-foil hats. Yes, that is a large one-eyed pyramid on the front cover, with several other occultic items, connected by something that seems to be a malformed Kabbalic tree. The bottom point of the tree actually connects downwards to a seven pointed star with three sigils in the circle around it. Yet I also find it interesting that the symbol of fire is right above the star. This must represent Lucifer. But I'm sure it's not normal for a reviewer to say, "Well, I'm going to talk about the cover first" but I'm that guy. This stuff is so fucking fascinating, that I just got sort of giddy when I looked at the cover and discovered all this arcane matter, curious as hell to how might all work. I could go deeper to describe the sun and moon on opposite sides of each other, followed by the symbols of fire, water and wind, as well as what I see as two demonic sigils as found in the Lesser Key. Yes, I could probably break down this whole thing due to sheer curiosity. But let's get to the music part of the album, shall we?

The band plays a slightly raw edged form of atmospheric black metal that sounds highly ritualistic in nature and judging by the album cover; it probably is. There are six songs here and they are quite lengthy sans the short introduction piece, "Pervasion... 2:23." The album really begins with "The Firstborn From Murk 11:27" and demonstrate how black metal can still have death metal vocals in it, and still be referred to as black metal. The slight melodies on the track help to liven it much in the way that Blut Aus Nord has been recently having a difficult time with; yet it still retains an air of mystique, with thick shadowy vocals that sound just as they should be for the disc. Eventually, all the music slows completely for light atmosphere and black metal melodies. It's a very multi-faceted piece, as you should expect. "The Funeral For Existence 8:34" borrows a little bit of Satyricon groove, but keeps things relatively mellow and with an atmosphere that sounds both majestic and dangerous - how I've always considered the occult. Apparently, these guys still want to get a little bit of thrash in and that's just fine as there really aren't any barriers to this as I've so far, foreseen. When the song starts, it's quite abrasive but lightens to reflect the nature of the track. The atmosphere comes off as quite successful. "Revelations Through The Void 7:04" sticks to regular black metal for the most part, but it of course adopts the air of atmospheric experimentation and even seems to follow a bit of chanting. Again, the melodies definitely come in towards the latter portion on some of these songs, which is a bit formulaic; but seems to work in their favor. "The Heretical Fissure Of The Most Distant End 10:15" is one of the more interesting tracks on the piece, as it uses interesting harmonies that really seem to shine throughout the blackened filth of caves that one might expect these rituals to have been performed in. It definitely features what sounds like the chants of many at once, and could be the adoration of some great cavern dwelling entity which has not yet been revealed to mankind. The disc ends on "Metastasis Of Realistic Visions 9:41" with an atmosphere that is still very much the same as the others, a definite balance between beauty and brashness.

"Omniabsence..." is definitely a much better atmospheric black metal disc than I've heard from Blut Aus Nord in years, even though the label recommends that you check these guys out if you like Blut Aus Nord, Aosoth and Ondskapt. I've heard this approach done before, of course; but these guys certainly do it with their own sense of class and skill that borrows as much from black metal as it does from the realms of fantasy. Whatever in the heck they're chanting to on this album, it should be quite pleased. I most certainly am.

(6 Tracks, 49:00)



Kuazar - Wrath Of God (PR2013) - Kuazar are a three-piece Paraguayan thrash metal act, and this CD was originally released in 2009. But it's what I've got, so I'm reviewing it. The interesting thing about these guys is that they're more of a death/thrash act than anything else, with a heavy influence on harsh vocals which range from thick gravel to a tortured scream. Two vocalists are sometimes employed on both tracks, with the drummer bashing the living hell out of the kit more often than not, and peppered with thrash riffs. But they also don't mind throwing a few technical and core riffs in every once in a while, which does give the music some body and keeps it from becoming stagnant. There are also some useful solos in places. There's no real need to drive through this album, but I can say that like "My Life Is My Own 4:32" heavily resembles Carcass and "Inner Prison 1:47" is a pretty useless acoustic instrumental that follows "Alcataz 6:05" which is a pretty fucking great instrumental. But the thing about these two instrumentals, it that they're too close to the beginning of the disc and too close together. "Black Soul 4:55" also has it's merits with the use of some delayed doom riffs. It also has a really odd solo piece that sounds like an experiment/solo and that's always refreshing. I really don't want to spoil the disc, because these guys do so many "other things" on the album that you just wouldn't expect and look for in a metal band to begin with. Please give it a listen.

When I hear Kuazar, I hear a band that has clearly got some useful ideas and doesn't encase themselves inside the "thrash" bubble. These guys could be clearly more if they ever get together to record a new one. I don't know about you, but 2009 was quite a while ago. Definitely check this out and give them some support if you like the album. They need it!

Highlights: The Truth Of Reality, Kuriju, My Life Is My Own, Alcatraz, Black Soul, The Light Of Damnation, Twenty Days In Hell (10 Tracks, 47:00)



Oblivion - Called To Rise (PR2013) - Oblivion is a five-piece death metal act, being hailed as "the best new original death metal band in years" so I definitely wanted to give this one a thorough listen to see if I agree with this statement. The intro to the disc "Oblivion Part 1: The Chaos Of Tyrants 1:39" was intriguing, almost ritualistic in nature, so that's a start. But then after that you've got "Black Veils Of Justice 3:11" and "Between Suns Of Light 2:50" which are quite strong brutal death tracks with hints of technicality. "Binary Souls 3:24" really pounds down, so that builds some structure while throwing in riff delay and other technical ditties. "Reclamation 4:11" says "Look here, ma! It's a guitar solo!" but if you blink, you'll miss it. "Canon In E Minor 2:30" comes next and I'll admit that it's something quite interesting and unique, but perhaps a bit out of place and some might wonder why it's there. "Anunaki 3:06" puts things back into perspective with a lesson in proper brutal death metal complete with some stimulating ideas thrown into the mix, so you can't fault these guys for trying.

"Reigns In Fire 4:59" continues much in the vein of brutal death metal, until progressive melodies come in and really pepper it up. There's no doubt that Oblivion have potential, but I need to hear more proof of that before I'm entirely ready to call them "the best new original death metal band in years." But they're still a good band. That's been cemented at this point. Another solo appears on this track, definitely much more powerful than the last and doesn't play the "blink and you'll miss it" game. "Cancer Of Wraiths 3:52" throws in more melodies to the brutality, but "Multiverse 4:41" really dials them up in an atmospheric kind of fashion. It's quite beautiful and doesn't need any fucking lyrics. Without a doubt, this is the best song on the album. Listen to those fucking melodies, they sound like stars twinkling in the sky. Fucking incredible. Alright, so after I pick up my head, we've got " Oblivion Part 2: Infinite Descent" which is a bit more atmosphere with the chanting and such; these kinds of things might really turn the brutal death metal fan off; but I think that some will certainly embrace stuff like this. Of course, why in the hell can't you guys mix this stuff with the brutal death metal? Brutal death with chants? Come on, it isn't that difficult. Septic Flesh does it all the time, comes out wonderful. Same with The Monolith Deathcult... and that's why I can't call Oblivion "the best new original death metal band in years" because those bands exist and TMDC put out a genre-defining masterwork this year.

Bonus Tracks

In very slim cases, some promos have bonus tracks. This one happens to one of those promos. We first get "Black Veils Of Justice (Instrumental Version) 3:11" which is just as good as the original, but without the vocal element. Not the strongest for an instrumental, why not "Multiverse?" Well, they did sort of do that here with "Shred I: Multiverse (String Orchestra) 4:51" a string orchestra (why weren't they on the album?) and it sounds more like a horror movie film in some instances, but I really just wanted to hear it as a metal instrumental because the guitar melodies sounded much better to me than the orchestra. "Shred II: Long Deaf Hate (String Orchestra) 3:53" is also here, but not my personal favorite track. Good for a horror film though, I'll admit that. And I think just to further upset the fans, there's another version of "Multiverse 4:47" on here with a string orchestra. Whoa, hold on a bit.

No, let me seriously rethink this. What we've got is something really new. It's death metal without guitars. Instead of using the guitars, the band does the song as normal with thundering drums and harsh vocals, but over the orchestra. Why couldn't they have done the entire album like this? Then they really would, in all honesty be "the best new original death metal band in years", but not just years; possibly decades. Because no one would have ever thought to do anything like this. If this disc had been orchestral death metal without guitars, it would have sent these guys straight to the top of the line. Everybody would be talking about the new band who makes death metal music without the use of guitar. I'd be talking about them, people I know would be talking about them, sites would be blowing up about someone who's actually found something new and different. Hell, even Gorguts hadn't thought of this when they put the classical piece on their new album. Keep this in mind for your next disc, as it is something that people haven't yet heard and could be highly interesting. While I still want an instrumental recording of the metal version of "Multiverse" (Why is it not here?) I definitely hope that people would check out what potential there is to be found on this disc. It's too bad the whole album couldn't have been orchestral death, but what is offered is definitely a strong enough death metal act that is worth checking out. (Fingers crossed for orchestral death metal sophomore album.)

Highlights: Oblivion Part I: The Chant Of Tyrants, Binary Souls, Annunaki, Reigns In Fire, Multiverse, Oblivion Part II: Infinite Descent, MULTIVERSE (STRING ORCHESTRA)

8.5/10 (.5 added for orchestral death metal. You would do the same thing if you had heard it.)


OvO - Abisso (PR2013) - OvO is quite weird and that's an understatement. Before hearing this release, I wasn't sure if I should send SinDelle over to Clawhammer for promotion of her Scream Machine work because it really didn't fall quite into the realms of metal as it did electronic music. But now, I'm going to tell her to give it a shot, because her work actually has more metal or rock elements even, then this. Which is a blend of music that I am still trying to decipher. The photo shoot for this album looks crazy, but just about as crazy as some of the absolute weirdness that you'll find on Google image search if you type their name in.

From what I can assume, this highly experimental and positively strange musical act consists of light atmosphere that is heavily backed by electronic influence and the advent of scathing female vocal noises and slight grunts by the male (or I would hope it's male?) portion of the group. It's essentially just two people making very questionable music that seems to even run into the Two The Lovers vibe, but it's actually still considered music. I've never heard anything like this before in my life. We're going to go through this, albeit very quickly. Once was enough, after all.

"Hamronica Microcosmica 6:25" started me off with light drums, subtle bass riffs (or is that electronic too?) and a mix of female screams and male grunts. "Tokoloshi 2:24" is that one song, where if you have made it through it; then you're a definite fan of this style of music. Influenced by dubstep and with a vocal approach that sounds like a llama being raped, it's danceable but is it music? "I Cannibali 2:06" which has a harsh vocal female approach comes off next. "A Dream Within A Dream 6:31" is the sound of um. That's the best way to put it. It's the sound of um. When you listen to something and wonder "um...?" is the best way to put it. There's an atmosphere alright, with a mixture of angry human rage. It's like an angry drone, more or less. Gets a bit heavier towards the end. "Aeneis 4:12" is a bit jumpier, with frantic female shouts here and there. What in the hell are these people doing? "Harmonica Macrocosmica 7:50" features a decent chunk of electronics, but the harsh vocals seem to make no sense. In music that seems to make no sense to begin with. "Abisso 4:27" actually starts out a little bit like Dead Can Dance's earlier material, but that is where the similarities end as all sorts of chaos seems to ensue shortly after. Sounds like total hell, to be honest. "Pandemonio 3:08" is actually a heavy song, or it starts out that way. Everyone loses their shit in the beginning, and then decides to vomit every now and again throughout the rest of the oddly structured piece. "Ab Uno 4:42" offers a decent atmosphere and shows that the female portion of the album can actually sing. But I believe, as I have heard from the vocals that the band is middle-eastern. This might not be true, however. "Fly Little Demon 8:26" comes right after, utilizing an almost experimental blues approach that retains a nature of coffee-shop poetry. It definitely captures an interesting atmosphere and is worth checking out. But not for everyone, like as with the rest of the album. The disc ends with "Fame 2:57" which some people may want for themselves, because it sounds like someone suffering in an abyss of total damnation. It's one of those atmospheres that you would expect to hear if you were actually in hell, and you would probably hear it for the rest of eternity. I'll consider this one a highlight, because it really makes you think you're in hell. Seriously, put on a pair of headphones and turn out the lights - this one might scare the shit out of you.

And that's OvO. Again, I'm not really sure how to classify this music and am quite lost on whether or not to consider it as music. However, they've made the best atmosphere for hell that I've ever heard. If you want the soundtrack for damnation, I guess this is it.

Edit: They're Italian, not Middle-Eastern.

Highlights: Fly Little Demon, Fame (11 Tracks, 54:00)



Doyle - Abominator (PR2013) - Known as the guitarist for horror-punk rockers Misfits, Doyle has decided to create his own solo effort, long after the creation of Danzig. But it's like they say, "better late than never." The style of "Abominator" is very much in the vein of ferocious hard rock, nu-metal and southern groove metal. It's got a very Rob Zombie feel with an obvious punk node on the vocals. If there's one thing that Doyle does, it's pounding down on the riffs - you'd almost expect sparks to fly out of the amp during the recording. The album follows a twisted love story, but can be totally listened to out of context (as I can assure you, because my MP3 player mixed up a bunch of the tracks anyway.)

I think it really hit me with the first track "Abominator 4:08" came thumping in, with a shoutable chorus, which led into the punkier "Learn To Bleed 3:20" and it's thundering riffs. I thought he was going to break the guitar. This guy really goes heavy on the bottom with thing. The next track was the bluesy "Dreamingdeadgirls 4:21" which is one of my personal favorite tracks, mixing Doyle's bullhorn shout with Misfits style choruses and a Dimebag inspired solo. "Headhunter 3:44" features thickly metalized punk with another shoutable chorus, not to mention the fact that Doyle really puts a lot of aggression into his vocals on this disc. "Valley Of Shadows 4:34" is the album's single, which is a groovier number that features a strong chorus and some interesting little melodies. "Land Of The Dead 3:43" sounds like thicker Misfits, with notable moments in heightened aggression. "Cemeterysexx 4:17" is one of my favorite tracks on the disc, it shows Doyle using some lighter toned vocals, backed by the southern grooves and a remarkable chorus. Why in the hell wasn't this the single? "Love Like Murder 3:37" makes me think it's a Soundgarden cover at first, but that suddenly changes as a return to Doyle's clean vocal approach comes in, with a bit of Phil Anselmo vocal influenced screams. The track actually gets a bit heavier, and continues the Pantera approach musically. It's the most thrash that you'll hear on the album, but it's definitely a standout. Damn, then we have "Mark Of The Beast 4:19" another song that stuck out from first listen - this latter half of the record is really good, folks. This one actually has the Danzig influence and it's done justice. I think Danzig would be proud. This track also really hammers down the chorus, it's unforgettable. Then you've got "Bloodstains 4:45" which features the blues-groove metal intact, but with a great clean vocal chorus and some great clean lines to boot. The song eventually injects some steroids into the mix, giving the song a sense of bipolarity. The disc ends with "Hope Hell Is Warm 4:07" which isn't a light-hearted ballad, but isn't my personal favorite track. It's strong enough, but I didn't like the chorus as much as some of the others, which he seems to think sounds better than how it comes off.

At any rate, I definitely recommend the new Doyle album regardless of the fact that another NN reviewer gave it a 2/5. I'm definitely more of there with a 4, which amounts to an 8/10 here, because I've definitely enjoyed most of the tracks on the disc and would definitely consider it a solid debut. It's not the best album of it's type, but it is rare when you hear southern metal grooves and punk vocals on a disc at all. Fans of classic Rob Zombie, current Danzig, Bloody Hammers and Transport League (their new album - which I haven't been able to review yet but will in an upcoming blitz - has the same vibe) are advised to check it out.

Highlights: Abominator, Dreamingdeadgirls, Valley Of Shadows, Cemeterysexx, Love Like Murder, Mark Of The Beast, Bloodstains (11 Tracks, 44:00)


Root - Viginti Quinque Annis In Scaena (Live) (PR2013) - Though these guys have been around for 25 years, I've never heard of them. They're quite popular in eastern Europe and feature one of the oldest black metal vocalists in Jiri "BigBoss" Valter who is also surrounded by some level of controversy. He was also featured on albums by Behemoth, Moonspell, Helheim and others. They've got nine albums to their credit and three live DVD's, including two live CD's, one of which is this album. Unfortunately, this music doesn't quite sound like black metal in the way that we would expect. It's a very heavy metal styled sort of "dark metal" which is mostly performed in the native. Most kvltists would turn heads immediately at this material, wondering how in the hell this was ever considered black metal. "Talking Bones 4:38" started out with classic heavy metal and vocals that I wouldn't consider black metal at all, and then "Sonata Of The Chosen Ones 4:09" reminded me of Rammstein with a grumbling harsh vocal and clean operatic male singing at times. "Hřbitov 5:45" is a little more hard edged, and even though it repeats "black metal" over and over again, this doesn't really make me think of black metal as much as it does thrash. "The Endowment 6:11" comes next, with some audible black metal melodies and actual black metal vocals but not completely. But at least they are trying, I guess they just don't sound so well live. A worthwhile solo is however performed. "In Nomine Satanas 2:50" sounds like more of a darker, Sabbath inspired hymn to the dark lord, complete with a really good rock solo. It's about as evil as a black footstool. "The Festival Of Destruction 6:02" is about the same really, heavy but not quite as much as you'd want. "And They Are Silent 5:21" is rinse and repeat. Heavy music with grumbling vocals and some clean operatic things. "Lucifer 5:08" comes next, which appears to be one of their strongest songs. I think it probably sounds better on the disc. "The Aposiopesis 5:12" is kind of a ballad, so then "The Old Ones 4:53" come in, with a more flute-laden and progressive nature complete with operatic clean vocals and some harsh still used. "Pisen Pro Satana 3:13" is a bit thicker in nature, but the heaviest track they have here is "666 4:25" which certainly isn't the best song I've ever heard in my life, from what isn't the greatest band I've ever heard in my life.

I don't really know what to say about Root. They deliver musically, but they certainly aren't black metal. They're more like "dark heavy metal with elements of opera." I also don't think the vocals are good at all here. It's obvious that BigBoss is getting a bit old and just isn't able to sound as good as he probably once did. But it says something that at this age, he's still up and able to do it. It's uncertain for how much longer he'll still be doing this kind of music, because it's uncertain as to how much longer he'll still be on this planet. But these things do happen with time and I'm sure that he doesn't regret all of these albums and the effort put into them. If you're a fan, you'll probably quite enjoy this album. But if not, then you won't. It's not the best live album I've heard, but it's alright.

(12 Tracks, 57:00)



Temple Of Baal - Verses Of Fire (PR2013) - These French black/death metallers have been around for fifteen years now, and show no signs of age with this third full-length album. Much in the vein of Inferno, Temple Of Baal also relish in the occult and satanic aspects as far as the lyrical topics are concerned. As far as the music is concerned, the disc begins with "το αστέρι 418 7:26" which sees brutal death metal married with atmospheres and ghastly growls. So far, so good, right? "Bloodangel 3:02" blasts right in, featuring a drum battering and some obvious thrash elements. Yes, we can point out the influences; but hearing them all melded together like this is what makes the disc matter. Arcania Silentium slows down the pace to allow for a bit of drone, which soon becomes replaced with black/thrash backed with growls. "The 10th Aethyr 6:36" is next, featuring black/death done right, complete with some ritualistic shouts. At the end of the piece is featured an eerie, yet tasteful solo. "Gates Of Death 4:02" is a bit faster, with a more abrasive sense than the two previous tracks, plus there's a screaming solo on it. That's what I'm talking about. "Gnosis Of Fire 6:42" begins with some light prog melodies, and then sees itself realized as battering blackened death metal assault. "Golden Wings Of Azazel 3:17" brings back the thrash elements, while "Lord Of The Raging Seas 5:14" (Poseidon?) offers some intriguing melodies that sound like you'd expect to populate the atmosphere of a city being engulfed by a massive tidal wave. I don't know why, but I think "massive tidal wave" when I hear this one. It really sounds like chaos, and the vocal approach is much stronger here too. This is my favorite track on the disc. "Serpens Lumens 5:43" beings back the atmosphere, which by now makes me think that ol' cloven hoof might get tired of these slow-paced atmospheres. Though they really try to have some fun with the guitar melodies, it doesn't come off very strong until someone in the band decides to start playing a thrash solo for about five seconds. The next track is "Walls Of Fire 9:39" and so help me, this had better not be one long experiment in drone. Thankfully, it picks up a bit and throws in black metal riffs and eventual djent (really?) riffs that accompany a guitar solo. Yep and that's how it ends.

Well, Temple Of Baal is alright. They definitely know what they're doing, but I think they're doing too much of the same thing. I don't really care how much this pisses someone off, even if it's someone in the band; but I would be quick to tell the guitarist "that riff sounds just like the other riff you played for the last song." Because to be honest, this guy seems to play the same damn riffs over and over and over again. Though they pepper it with guitar solos and slight melodies and drown it with drums, these are the same damn riff combinations. Sometimes he does the thrash, which is better than the black/death approach which comes off as incredibly basic. Yes, the structures in these songs help them to flow; but when every other song starts to sound round about the fucking same, you get frustrated real quick. Just because you've been doing it for fifteen years doesn't mean that you can slack off! Ha! But it's still a solid attempt, nevertheless. I still think the song about either Poseidon or Aquaman is the best though ("Lord Of The Raging Seas") and everything else is just hit or miss.

Highlights: Bloodangel, Gates Of Death, Gnosis Of Fire, Golden Wings Of Azazel, Lord Of The Raging Seas (10 Tracks, 59:00)



Thought Chamber - Psykerion (PR2013) - I'm a bit late on this one, but it's definitely prog metal that's worth checking out and might have went under your radar; so I thought I would go ahead and review it. Obviously, prog is mutli-faceted and consists of many layers, which is what has been done here.

"Inceptus 2:40" started the disc off with a playful prog experiment that picks up in "Exodus 1:47" and rolls into "Psykerion 3:03" which displays a mix of classic prog metal riffs with an acoustic back and some very powerful clean vocals. These guys sound a bit young, but there's no doubt that they've got it as far as prog goes. "In The Words Of Averkus 1:53" is a light acoustic piece that moves into "Light Year Time 5:33" which comes off a bit like Rush or Yes, and is an obvious node to progressive rock. "Kerakryps 5:28" picks up the heaviness a bit, complete with more playful experimentation. These guys are good at this sort of prog experimentation, so if you like it; then go check it out. "The Black Hole Lounge 1:08" sounds like a lounge version of the main melody that floats through this album. "Circuits Of O.D.D. 1:54" is a light return to prog metal form, complete with a memorable guitar solo. "The Eyes Of Ikk 8:36" adds electronic flavor into the mix, and really throws prog and fusion rock together in an incredible fashion. Plus, the keyboard work is quite fantastic here. This one's certainly a standout for the disc. "Isle Of Bizen 4:34" is a light acoustic piece like I've heard in Ayreon and it's done quite well. "Xyrethius 4:30" is a worthwhile instrumental that sees guitar and keyboard getting along well. "Recoil 3:17" brings back that same floating melody, but this time with a violin. The song gets a bit warmer and eventually flows into a very eerie sort of experimentation. "Breath Of Life 3:04" is another ballad, where the keyboard really seems to shine. "Transcend 9:38" is the longest track on the disc and goes through about a thousand changes, bringing about a memorable (man, these guys really love Rush) progressive track with a definite nod to the legends. Thought Chamber is definitely a prog band with merit. "Planet Qwinkle 4:41" is another great instrumental piece, (this album is meant to be listened to as a whole, so that it all sinks in) which is ended with "Inner Peace 2:07" and finally ends the disc with the other half of "Psykerion." Though not noted, this song is technically "Psykerion Pt.II" ending the album out relatively well.

Thought Chamber have done something really unbelievable for guys as young as they sound. Instead of going with all the modern nuances in prog metal, they've stuck to the very roots of the genre and have offered something that really speaks to the nature of progressive rock. Fans of Yes, Ayreon, Dream Theater and Rush will drool all over this stuff; so if it sounds like something you'd be into, then by all means check it out. Highly recommended.

Highlights: Inceptus, Psykerion, Light Year Time, The Eyes Of Ikk, Xyrethius, Transcend, Planet Qwinkle, Inner Peace (16 Tracks, 63:00)



To The Lovers, Farewell - Enchanting Style (Band Request 2013) - First of all, I don't want to be the pillar that stands in the way of creativity, but I will admit that I don't find some art as attractive as others. This is human in nature as we all have different ideas as to how art is to be perceived by the human eye, or ear in this case. As far as a review score is concerned, the music would get a 0. But that's not because it's bad music, it's because it isn't really music at all. It's more of an artistic experiment using noise and samples that not all people will understand. I listened to the entire piece and it sort of made me think of a what happens when you try to fast forward through a warped VHS. There are odd squeaks and other such reverberations of static in this cacophony of sound, that it is quite difficult to process; yet I am sure there are people out there who would find the piece remarkable. So I am promoting it here for those people to try and check out new sounds.

Once again, my score for this album is an uncategorized 0 as in that it's not classifiable. I can't score this, because it doesn't qualify with my criteria. I will say that it's an interesting art experiment nonetheless. I would definitely hope that the act continue to make this kind of music for the people who like it and respect the atmosphere and noise catered within. But I digress and will admit that even I had to take the piece under a low volume. It was simply too much for my ears, due to the strength and weight of the samples, so I caution new listeners to do the same. Cleverly, I do think that this would be the listenable form of music in a devastated future world, quite like the kind that I am about to write with my next novel. I did find inspiration in the piece at any rate; and will consider it worth checking out. He's probably going to think I'm an idiot for both recommending it and giving it a 0 at the same time, but I'm so confused by this that I'm really not sure what to do with it. It's as if I was giving a spelling test and this guy gave me mathematic equations as answers. How can you really grade something like that?

If you are interested, please check out the To The Lovers, Farewell Bandcamp page: http://redvenicerecords.bandcamp.com/album/rvr0153-enchanting-style where several pieces of art have been crafted for your listening enjoyment. Or perhaps you just want to annoy the living hell out of your neighbors. It might even cause insanity if listened to for long periods at a time. Try it for yourself!

(10 Tracks, 30:00)



Sages Recital - Sages Recital (Band Request 2013) - I wasn't really sure what to expect with this album from a Sages Recital, which I think is a one-man project, though I'm not sure. At any rate, the act is definitely worth checking out for fans of guitar-laden melodic metal as this guy seems to nimbly sail through each and every one of these tracks in a vein that would certainly make Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai take notice of the work. "The Power Within 3:55" is mainly where this starts, but neoclassical influences come into play on "You Hold The Key 4:41." Neil's Vejlyt has a memorable vocal approach, proving that he can actually sing just as well as he play the guitar. This is a rare fucking talent nowadays, so to see it displayed so well before my ears is quite fascinating. Subtlme synths are also featured on the album, giving it a bit of depth. "The Last Unicorn 3:48" comes next, which is one large exertion of guitar prowess and fury. "The Council Of Dragons 6:36" comes next, as it brings the neoclassical influences back, making me think of Castlevania. But the song itself is definitely one of the album's strongest, it has many layers and tells an intriguing story with quite a few notable parts. It's my favorite track here, for sure. "Immortal Flame 9:28" follows with a bit of a classical (possibly Baroque era?) ballad piece, that is littered with elegance and electric leads. A female vocalist joins on this track, proving that her presence is worthy of being on the disc. She adds to the story, and of course; Niels decorates it with his guitar. Near the end, there is a great duet section that should have been the main chorus. The solo that follows it, is just the sort of thing I look for on an album. It links right to the chorus melody, which I've always found to be somewhat important on albums. Sadly, the song cuts off here; which should really be extended and made into another track. It sounds like Niels tried to stick two songs on to one track and that may upset some people. "The Dead Winter 8:58" is another great instrumental piece, just as good as the last - with some truly captivating melodies in areas. Niels can play, as I've noted. But I need to add that he's just as good as some of the greats. This record needs more promotion, because this guy is a fucking genius. The last song on the album "The Last Battle 15:29" is a little over fifteen minutes and features another guest vocalist (it doesn't say who yet, but as I got the disc the cover was still being finalized.) At any rate, both vocalists do a fine job with this long closer which is fattened with several instrumental parts. Though I think it's a bit too long, I still believe the effort is worthwhile enough.

Sages Recital is an extremely promising act and is recommended for fans of melodic metal and acts like Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. Neils has an incredible voice, unimaginable guitar skills and an overall amount of talent that is comparable only to some of the greatest guitar players in human history. I was completely blown away; and that's an understatement. Give this album a try when it releases, because it will be well worth the listen.

Highlights: The Council Of Dragons, Immortal Flame, The Dead Of Winter (7 Tracks 52:00)



Djinn and Miskatonic - Forever In The Realm (Band Request 2013) - I never thought that doom metal would catch on in India, but Djinn and Miskatonic certainly prove that the ominous thunder of the genre is a completely universal concept. This is their first release after having only put out a demo and a Motorhead tribute track earlier. But these guys aren't just doom that you'll hear from the first few minutes, as death metal elements do manage to creep their way into the mix. There are just five tracks here, but they will require a bit of swimming through.

"7 Year Witch 11:39" starts the album on a Sabbath/Candlemass note, with droning vocal lines and an eventual pull to death growls. Thrash elements come in towards the latter path, with what sounds like a bit of blues. It's slow to start, but ends with a satisfying finish. "Book Of The Fallen 8:39" brings in the chugs to start, as the disc rolls into something quite reminiscent of Candlemass. "Vulcan's Forge 4:56" sounds like it's going to be played at a party, but when the music finally comes in; well I'm not so sure as to what's going on here. There's a definite trip factor to the music though. "Voice From The Tomb 1:00" is a short piece that introduces the disc's main hunk of meat, "Weird Tales 16:56." If you don't know what that song is a reference to, please Google it. This track actually comes off the best, with it's Sabbathy blues-grooves and memorable death metal vocals. I hope the frontman will use more death growls on the next album. I think they suit the act better, especially at the end of this track. Please tell me that these guys will head in this direction!

Djinn and Miskatonic are one of the first doom metal acts I've heard from India and I will definitely say that there are some absolutely killer acts over there, so I can't wait to hear more of them. I'm definitely looking forward to future albums from these guys too, as they have the doom and doom/death formulas both down but still need some time grown and explore these realms further. This album seems more of a stepping stone to greater things and I hope to hear those soon. With memorable work like "Weird Tales" and "7 Year Witch" it's only just a matter of time before those greater things happen.

Highlights: 7 Year Witch, Weird Tales (5 Tracks, 43:00)


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