Indian - From All Purity

Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2014

When it comes to the band I’ve never heard before on Relapse, these days there isn’t much middle ground for me to speak of. It’s either going to be surprisingly fantastic (ASG’s Blood Drive was a top ten list penetrator for yours truly last year, and perhaps only Bloodbath and/or Lonely the Brave have a chance of dethroning Nothing’s Shoegaze/Alt Rock masterpiece Guilty of Everything from the #1 spot in 2014), or it’s going to be something so awfully bad it just doesn’t need to exist (trying to tell Inter Arma and Howl apart gave me writer’s block for half a year). This fifth full-length from Chicago’s Indian unfortunately falls into the latter category. Nothing more than a pointless exercise in noise-making, imagine Eyehategod playing Funeral Doom without even the slightest ability to craft a remotely memorable riff. While the quartet successfully achieves a nasty filth-ridden guitar sound, big league production quality, and a truly dark, oppressive vibe completely barren of light or hope, they don’t do a damn thing with it that the listener will have an ice cream cone’s chance in Hell of actually remembering. (On that note, this is probably the type of band that claims to not care what anyone thinks of their “music,” but there’s a price tag on their merch that says they do.) This is just endless slow-for-the-sake-of-slow chord strumming —without ever arriving at an actual rhythm figure or hook— with the obligatory feedback and prototypical Sludge screamer. This might make a decent soundtrack to an ultra-brutal snuff film, but on its own, From All Purity is more like being tortured than watching it.
Recommended for fans of: being incredibly bored.
Highlights include: pressing stop.

Rating:
-
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


Kriegsmaschine - Enemy of Man

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Originally called Death Frost, Poland’s Kriegsmaschine has been around for a while. Though this is only their second full-length LP, they have an extensive back catalog that includes three split releases, three demos and an EP (A Thousand Voices, 2004). There is also a compilation CD that features rare and unreleased tracks. Enemy of Man comes almost a decade after 2005’s Altered States of Divinity debut full-length album, and shows considerably growth in both songwriting and sound. While there are those who might point out the somewhat obvious similarities to fellow Poles Behemoth, the bulk of Enemy of Man treads different territory. The riffing is dark and sometimes atonal, mixing higher and lower sounds together to create a grim and churning sea of evil music. My personal favorite tracks were “Farewell to Grace” and “Asceticism and Passion,” both of which have sinister atmospheres. “Farewell to Grace” had a lot of Dark Ambient effects in the background (chanting, tortured screams, etc.) and it added quite a bit to the song. “Asceticism and Passion,” on the other hand, had an almost tribal drumming style and the vocals were reminiscent of Attila (Mayhem). The other tracks, while not as great as those two, were still highly recommendable. Even though there are times where the specter of Behemoth makes an appearance (mostly in the vocals and the production), Kriegsmaschine is far from being a clone. If you’re a fan of evil sounding Black Metal, Enemy of Man doesn’t disappoint and it’s an LP that I highly recommend tracking down.

Rating:
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


Massacre - Back from Beyond

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014

I experienced an erection lasting longer than four hours when I discovered that Massacre was coming out with a new full-length for the first time in 18 years (and with a spoiler-alert title like Back from Beyond, potentially their first good full-length in 23 years). However, I did feel an unsafe drop in blood pressure upon learning that Kam Lee would not be involved with said new album. With no disrespect to founding members/Death Metal OGs Rick Rozz (guitar) and Terry Butler (bass), or even new vocalist Edwin Webb (former throat for the eternally so-so Diabolic), Kam Lee was Massacre to this pimply-faced teen in the early ’90s. Still —despite decades of life painfully teaching me to do the exact opposite— I hoped for the best. As usual… no such luck. After days upon days of listening to Back from Beyond exclusively, I just might have to start taking nitrates for chest pain. Aside from extreme disappointment, I feel absolutely nothing from this album whatsoever. Before you assume the obvious, I should point out that it is not entirely Webb’s fault. As far as the unthinkably daunting task of replacing Kam Lee behind the mic for fucking Massacre is concerned, he does a commendable job. He’s basically a poor man’s George Fisher, and while I’m sure there’s a Corspegrinder/”Corpsegrinder” joke in here somewhere, I’m just not in the mood. The reason this comeback attempt falls flat on its ass is the overwhelmingly dull musical backdrop Webb is growling over. Taking the bite right out of his bark, these songs just plod along in the same lifeless, unremarkable fashion as the last couple Grave records, meaning to hear one track is to have heard them all. Absolutely impossible to sit through without tuning out, the listener may very well acquire acute attention deficit disorder by mid-LP. If you’re a pure masochist, or just don’t want to take my word for it, you might as well shell out for the Limited Edition. You’ll get the two bonus Death covers —”Corpsegrinder” and “Mutilation”— which, while not the greatest Death covers ever recorded, are at least actual Death Metal songs. Trust me when I say that they’re the only memorable cuts on display here, making material originally written by Death being the standout the only thing this letdown has in common with 1991’s From Beyond.

Rating:
-
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


Omnizide - Death Metal Holocaust

Posted on Friday, April 11, 2014

When you see an album called Death Metal Holocaust, you can be reasonably sure that you’re not getting Power Metal. Omnizide is a Death Metal band in the Swedish style and though this is their debut LP (their only previous release was the 2011 Pleasure from Death EP, the songs from which are also on this LP), the members have been in numerous other bands (Craft, Dark Funeral, and Avsky) prior to this one. This isn’t a gang of new kids by any stretch of the imagination. For a debut album, this sounds pretty tight and professional, as you would expect from guys who’ve been at this a while. The songs might not be very original sounding, but they’re solid. Musically, Omnizide reminded me of a more Death Metal version of Dark Endless by Marduk. It had the same Doom-infused Death Metal style and the vocals sound similar in terms of delivery. Omnizide is a bit heavier, though, with deeper and more brutal guitar tones. The songs also have somewhat more memorability, sporting catchy riffing and the occasional bit of melodic guitar-work to spice things up. While this isn’t anything I haven’t heard dozens of times before, it is well executed and does what good Death Metal should: it kicks ass. Also, it sounds evil, which is always a good thing where Death Metal is concerned. It might not be “drop everything and call of your friends” awesome, but it doesn’t disappoint by any means. If you want solid evil Death Fucking Metal, this will satisfy your needs quite handily.

Rating:
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


The Kennedy Veil - Trinity of Falsehood

Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014

As usual, there’s very little guesswork involved with what you’re getting from Unique Leader. Yet this sophomore outing from Sacramento’s The Kennedy Veil isn’t so much a technical Death Metal album for the sake of a technical Death Metal album as it is a half-hour long blastbeat assault for the sake of a half-hour long blastbeat assault. From the moment you press play, it’s evident that these drumsticks are on that Heisenberg. I don’t know what this snare drum did to piss off Gabe Seeber, but dude isn’t going to be able to wipe his ass by 40. A surgical beating so ruthless that by the third track, my wrist hurts. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to approximate that roughly 93% of The Trinity of Falsehood is blanketed by Seeber’s berserker blast barrage. What’s troubling is that the rest of what’s going on is buried beneath, simply overpowered by the relentless blast onslaught. It’s unfortunate because KC Childers actually knows his way around a riff. Compared to the drumming, his playing is not overly technical. Sure, there are sweeps and million-mile-per-hour scales, but it’s mostly a melodic, hook-oriented style. Vocalist Taylor Wientjes has a nice present-day Frank Mullen meets Mike DiSalvo circa Whisper Supremacy balance of brutal yet semi-understandable going for him. The problem being that by mid-album, the incessant jackhammer drumming lulls the listener into a near-meditative state of mind-wandering that transforms his vocal patterns into wallpaper. It hardly seems fair to fault a drummer for being too brutal —perhaps some blame should fall on the mixing job as well— but a few times per song, Seeber takes his foot off the pedal (…well… not literally…) just long enough for the rest of the band to show off a penchant for high-quality songwriting. It’s these moments when the songs are allowed to temporarily breathe —see “Seventh Circle”— that the album elevates from sleeper to keeper. I just wish there were more of them. Here’s to hoping that future spins will reveal additional worth.

Rating:
-
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


Mystica Girls - Gates of Hell

Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

After being completely blown away by 2011’s stunning Metal Rose album (perhaps EP would be more accurate, as it was only 25 minutes long, but let’s not stand on formality), I was somewhat concerned about the subsequent lineup changes. I’m not sure if Alice (drums) and Sofia Renie (vocals) both left at the same time, but although getting a new drummer is usually survivable, replacing a singer often is not. I guess that I had my head up my ass and missed out on the 2012 re-recording of Metal Rose, this time fleshed out to inarguably full-length status at 44 minutes, and the next year’s follow-up EP, The Conquest, both featuring the revamped lineup of Yolanda Moreno on drums and Mon Laferte singing, so Gates of Hell is my first exposure to them. I’m unclear if it happened during the recording of this album, or perhaps just after, but I’m sorry to have to report that bass goddess Red Jane has also parted ways with Mystica Girls, leaving the apparently unstoppable Cinthya Blackcat with an entirely new band since the last time I heard them. The fresh Girls seem to have brought more Hard Rock influences to the songwriting than I was expecting (or wanted), as the Metal elements are occasionally toned down -sometimes way down, as in the disappointing “Spooky Cookie” and “The Boogie Biker.” Mon’s voice is strong, although I’m still getting used to her decidedly Hard Rock style, and she seems more comfortable singing in English than Sofia did -all of these songs are in English for some reason. When the band keeps to the Metal side of things, sometimes mainly evidenced in the drumming, then everything is fine, if not excellent. But there is no “Tortura” or “Mi Sangre” here, demanding that I listen to it over and over, although the intense title track and “Tiny Blue Dot” come the closest, and there are certainly many other moments of greatness. The mix is also a little different, somewhat de-emphasizing the bass. (Possibly because it’s at least partially Red Jane’s successor, Kathy Whitewolf?) Many groups have trouble with their second album; the old saying being that you have your entire life to compose your debut, but only a year or two for the follow-up. Considering that and the almost complete lineup overhaul, Gates of Hell is impressive in many ways, but overall still doesn’t quite hit the very high mark set by Metal Rose. Hopefully this lineup is stable now, because it will be interesting to hear what Blackcat and company do next, whether it’s more Metal focused or moves further into Hard Rock territory.
PS. Just throwing it out there, but what if Red Jane, Alice, and Sofia reformed under a new band name?

Rating:
-
Tags: - -
(0) Comment(s)


Tengger Cavalry - Ancient Call

Posted on Friday, April 04, 2014

Tengger Cavalry is one of a very small handful of bands that mixes Chinese and Mongolian Folk music with Metal. Of all of the groups I’ve heard, Tengger Cavalry integrates the Folk music aspects into their music the most. Chthonic is known to use Chinese Folk rhythms and song structures in their music, but for the most part, they’re solidly Metal. Tengger Cavalry, on the other hand, blurs the line between a Metal band incorporating Folk into their music, and a Folk band that’s incorporating Metal. It’s a very interesting listen, to say the least. As much as 2013’s Black Steed was Folk-influenced, Ancient Call takes that even further. Admittedly, some of the songs on this LP are a bit on the “Chinese equivalent of a Renaissance Faire” side, but for the most part, it’s like listening to the soundtrack to an epic tale of ancient China (maybe something like Red Cliff or Hero). If there is a flaw in the band’s sound, it’s that they’re sometimes too heavy on the Folk music and too light on the Metal. Tracks like “Brave” are essentially straight-out Folk with only minor Metal parts. You can barely hear the guitars sometimes because the Folk instruments push them so far into the background. Still, when they successfully integrate the two styles, they strike musical gold. Fans of Folk Metal that are looking for something different should definitely check this out if you can find it. I’ve noticed that a lot of this band’s material is difficult to get, but based on the recordings that I’ve heard, it’s well worth tracking down.

Rating:
Tags: -
(0) Comment(s)


Carnifex - Die Without Hope

Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Huge congrats to Carnifex. New year, new record label, and a new album that has penetrated the Billboard 100 (circa piracy age) via pure brutality alone. This accomplishment must feel all the sweeter done in the face of so many bitter haters. These overnight Metal authorities who bash Deathcore because it’s cool to talk shit about what “the kids” like. Oh, boo-fucking-hoo… you live in a place where the youth support extreme music. You poor jaded faggot. Come live in the ghetto with Daddy. I certainly don’t hear anyone on the block bumping Hell Chose Me. “The kids” like a steady diet of Chief Keef and Waka Flocka Flame ‘round these parts (and to be honest, I’ll take that over Watain and Skeletonwitch anyday). These people want to pretend they were born the boring old assholes they’ve become. Like their elders never persecuted them for their musical taste in between rapes. The relentlessly horrible misery of life does not discriminate against age, and neither does the music that heals the pain, if only for a short while. I feel that I also need to address these My Little Pony Metal mags who label bands like Carnifex “neanderthal,” “dumbed-down,” and “trendy,” only to turn around and put Phil Anselmo on their covers. As if his musical output is some classy, original, thinking man’s shit?! Name a trend in Metal. Fake Phil has fucked it bareback. These delusional bastards pen their critique through some haze of narcissistic make-believe in which the opinions of their imaginary friends affect their own. How does it feel to be the sad white defender getting dunked on in the Dr. J poster that is life?
Die Without Hope is as solid a heavy record as you’ll hear all year. Taking a longer time in between albums than usual seems to have refined their attack, as much of their ‘core elements have been scaled back in favor of big league Death Metal chops. It’s not all blast/pit riff soup anymore — not that there’s a damn thing wrong that formula. Shawn Cameron gives the most bestial vocal performance of his career, while his bandmates provide a significantly honed songwriting approach as the backdrop. Slower tempos, pummeling chug, melodic leads, and occasional atmospheric experimentation allow the songs more room to breathe, giving those aforementioned blasts and pit riffs more of a finishing move effect. I am slightly disappointed by the complete absence of the band’s signature heart-stopping breakdowns. I suppose they’ve bowed to the critics somewhat in that sense. Still, if this monster doesn’t get your fingertips tapping the steering wheel, I don’t want to know what will. If you hate Carnifex, you must love puppy dogs, flowers, rainbows, and Jesus. I just hope the band doesn’t get into any legal trouble for using Indiana’s copyrighted State motto as an album title.

Rating:
-
Tags: - -
(0) Comment(s)


Babymetal - Babymetal

Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014

Only in Japan could anyone think of combining “Death Metal” with little girls singing and dancing. But before you dismiss this completely out of hand, take a moment to consider what it means. In America, Metal is looked down upon. Most sheep people listen to totally worthless, disposable bullshit, such as whatever is popular at the moment you’re reading this. I don’t even want to type any of their undeserving names. Things are different in Japan. The awesome Animetal recorded Thrash/Power Metal covers of Anime theme songs, and were so popular that a US version of the band now exists, covering that band’s covers. That is how crazy Japan is. So, when I first heard of Babymetal, a couple years ago, I think, I stopped everything to immediately check them out. It helps that I just love Japan, of course. Osamu Tezuka, Go Nagai, Ichiro Mizuki, Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda, Stan Sakai, Yoshitaka Amano, Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima are among the greatest artistic geniuses the human race has ever produced. (If you don’t know who they all are, I truly feel sorry for you.) Babymetal released a few singles (and videos to accompany them, of course, as this is a visual band) which are compiled here with several new songs, so I went into this having already been familiar with some of the material. The new single/video, and the album-opener, “Babymetal Death,” is the heaviest thing they’ve ever recorded, along the lines of Dethklok’s most intense moments, with “Death!” chanted over and over comprising the bulk of the lyrics. I don’t make the Dethklok comparison lightly, as both bands are just about as equally fabricated (although both groups consist of actual live musicians when performing on stage), and if you can find any enjoyment in the music of the animated Americans, you might be able to do likewise with the very Japanese Babymetal. The music is generally within the realms of Thrash or modern Death Metal, plus some electronic elements, and of course the currently 16-year-old Su-metal singing with occasional vocal help from the even younger Moametal and Yuimetal. They’re better than you might think, although I don’t believe that any of them are unleashing those sporadic Death-growls. If you listen to any amount of Power Metal I guarantee that you’ve heard lighter-weight singing. The only real problem I even have with this, since I don’t expect it to be “art” any more than I would a PG-13 Hollywood movie to be, is that a few of the songs are written to cover specific musical bases that I don’t like. After about a minute-and-half, the very Pop-Metal “Ii ne!” suddenly becomes a Rap song for 30 seconds, before getting what I can only describe as “brutal” for the next 30, then going back to normal. I think that “Akumu no Rinbukyoku” starts with (and later goes back to) what may be a Djent riff. I avoid that type of supposedly-musical abomination like AIDS-infested Indiana meth/crack whores, so I’m not sure, but it’s an unbelievably terrible riff. Even so, it’s only a small part of the song and Su-metal just completely ignores it and signs a beautiful vocal line over it as if that stupid riff didn’t exist at all. “Uki Uki ★ Midnight” has some Dubstep elements, which I guess I didn’t really mind. I don’t even know how to describe what happens during parts of “4 no Uta.” But I do expect some weirdness. Admittedly, more than a little is lost without the visuals, and I don’t mean that in any perverted way (this time), but if you can get past the fact that this is three little girls and an anonymous (supposedly) backing band, there is actually a lot to like here. I mean, would you prefer that something like this is popular (which it is in Japan!), or… just look at the Billboard Top 10 this week. As with a great many other things, I’m with Japan.

Rating:
-
Tags: - -
(0) Comment(s)


Page 1 of 377 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »