Monday, February 18, 2013

NettleCarrier (Norway): NettleCarrier;Tsar Bomb (Spain): Neowarfare

NettleCarrier (Norway): NettleCarrier (Indie Recordings)
Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger” + Satyricon’s “Now, Diabolical” = NettleCarrier.
That’s what I hear, at any rate. The main words associated with black metal: tremolo riffs like there’s no tomorrow, coldness and grimness, the viciousness of the vocals—it’s all here.
NettleCarrier takes the listener through the songs in which tremolo riffing rules. After a few listens the waves of tremolo picking begin to build the monuments to black metal that they are. Once they start to make sense, it turns out that it is headbanging metal music, played very well in the style of classic Norwegian black metal. Sure, there is a great 90s spirit throughout the album, and NettleCarrier excels at what they do.
Of course, NettleCarrier would have to be huge fans of classic 90s black metal. If you are too, then NettleCarrier is definitely for you.

Tsar Bomb  (Spain): Neowarfare  
Drum-machined brutal black metal monotony of speed and fury is Tsar Bomb’s goal in life. Raw and hideous is the music, but in comparison with straight death metal, Tsar Bomb’s guitar clearer and easier to hear.
The songs rely on speed to make their point. There is no variety, nothing to remember and only chaos will remain in the mind after the music stops. FYI, this does not have a garage sound quality, but rather sounds pretty good.

Ensiferum (Finland): Unsung Heroes; Execration (U.S.): The Acceptance of Zero Existence

Ensiferum  (Finland):  Unsung Heroes   (Spinefarm Records)
Ensiferum’s folk viking melodic metal is so contagious that you need exactly one listen to remember it.
The first proper song “In My Sword I Trust” has everyone in Finland singing along already. Finland sent me a Morse code message and said, “It’s about time you understood.”
From that first song, it’s up, up, and away we go into the realm of happy melodies and catchy tunes about swords, kings, heroes, queens and other newsworthy, current political problems of the Middle Ages.
Semi-harsh (but nice) vocals and clean singing are thrown in all over the place. The melodies are sweet and sugary and the beats are friendly to the ear.  The songs from this album make children, teenagers, adults and elderly people happy, so happy, so very happy.
Heavy as a feather, and offensive as a puppy, Ensiferum are shamelessly melodic and catchy.

Execration (U.S.): The Acceptance of Zero Existence   (Comatose Music)
Through their total blasting, Execration sounds like they want to set fire to the idols of death metal like Krisiun and Hate Eternal.
I noticed one interesting about Execration: it sounds like they use the tremolo guitar work, along with the more familiar death metal guitar riffs, so this music has a feel that is more specific to this band. Good.
Next time, though, I do hope the sound quality is better because it sounds a bit muddy, I think. Anyway, go to Execration for frenzy and intensity, and give them a chance. Maybe the next album really will be a homerun.

Ad Patres (France): Scorn Aesthetics; Aum (China): Of Pestilence

Ad Patres  (France): Scorn Aesthetics   (Kaotoxin Records)
Ad Patres is a very competent band at precision and technicality in their low-growl death metal. There are headbanging riffs, catchy guitar solos here and there, and generally a band doing “modern death metal” skillfully.
It is beautiful and fun, in particular, for the total  “brutal death metal maniac” that listens to 7 to 20 death metal albums every day. Boy oh boy, do they know how to make a racket. You will love it!

Aum   (China): Of Pestilence           (Le Crépuscule du Soir)
Aum’s rabies-infested fugly of minimalistic black metal raises a nasty, necrotizing proposition for the enthusiast. Blazing speed, choking vocals, tremolo guitar, such as on “Temple,” the first track here: awesome energy, at one point, the vocalist sounds like he is coughing his lungs out, and it is hilariously evil funny. The coughing is a genius move.
Oh, wait a minute! I just received an “electronic mail” from Darkthrone telling me that Aum is too black metal for them. Darkthrone is going keep playing punk rock instead, because they can’t hang with this.
That sounds about right. To hang with Aum, you have to like ferocious, barebones black metal recorded in a cave. It is rough on the ears, just like the doctor ordered.   “Place of the Skull” drives some catchy riffs, covered in a nice sheet of battery acid. On the other hand, “The Forge of Zurvan” is more than 8 minutes long and in it, Aum plays fast, slow and everything in between, including adding a tiny bit of melody served with a gallon of salt. It’s just Aum being Aum.
Aum is doing something right with their black metal!
They also have a 16-minute song called “Aum (Acolytes to Eldritch Dimensions)” and I’m still not sure what’s up with that track because it is trippy, spaced out number. Just you wait, Aum will set the black metal fire to the Chinese black metal fanatics. Bring it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Offensor (Peru): Manifiesto herético

Offensor  (Peru): Manifiesto herético
This recording is alive, unpolished, with a bite, where one can hear the rawness, brutality and grimness well. Here are 4 things that I noticed.
--1--hard-hitting drumming, fast drumming: Offensor has those moments of total death metal brutality where the hitting sounds so strong. These Mike Smith/Suffocation moments sound great in this context.
According to Metal Archives, there is no drummer listed. Could this be a drum machine? It’s difficult to believe it, it sounds creative, in a human way.
--2--the vocals sound like brutal death black metal, but enunciated well (not cupped microphone); the enunciation of words is done with such a venomous tongue of black metal grimness. 
--3--the riffs are sometimes very death metal, then black metal, and also with a recurring feel of classic 80s sickness. These three features make up this bundle of sound.
--4--lastly, and most importantly, the songs get the job done in a good, energetic way. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Züül (U.S.): To the Frontlines (Planet Metal)

Züül  (U.S.): To the Frontlines  (Planet Metal)
Züül’s vibe for traditional heavy metal sounds so devoid of trickery and gimmickry, and the songs have so much to offer that all-metal addicts shouldn’t pass them up, and especially those into “classic olde metal.”
Züül appears to be musically descended from Thin Lizzy huge guitar harmonies, as well as classic metal in general. The vocals also sound Thin Lizzy-ish in the sense of a midrange, tuneful voice (no high screaming, no growling nor anything like “modern”/”angry” vocals). The main riffs for the songs are both classic metal, classic rock, with an exuberant energy, a Motorhead-ish energy, if you will.
What you get are rocking metal songs, that in 2013 would appeal to fans of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, 70s classic metal, maybe with a little classic punk thrown in (energy), and classic rock.
Just out of curiosity, here are some Thin Lizzy quotes by Züül. Right off the bat, on the first song, 14 seconds in, and they smack down that recognizable guitar shot that opens “Jailbreak.” Coincidence? Then, at 1:03 the guitar harmonies are winding up and down for half a minute, and then at 1:29 they directly quote a Thin Lizzy signature squeal. Or take “Skullsplitter”: out of the gates, the harmonies would make Phil Lynott smile from ear to ear. Check out 1:44-2:24, guitar fans’ delight. Then, they bring the house down at 2:56-3:37: that’s how to play harmonies and solos.
Add to this, the Motorhead energy, and you got a fun metal band. I get the feeling that singer Brett Batteau is holding back a bit, that he could get down and dirtier, and let his voice explore more. At any rate, here’s a band that sounds little like anything else you may have heard in recent years. That was my experience, anyway.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Phobia (U.S.): Remnants of Filth (Willowtip Records)

Phobia  (U.S.): Remnants of Filth   (Willowtip Records)
Phobia just melted my precious computer from 1988 (my floppy disks, aaargh!), so I have “permanently borrowed” a computer from my neighbor Tom Brady (an athlete of some sort, says that he plays “professionally” hockey or football or something).
Wow, 18 songs of crust grind punk that runs under 20 minutes, recommended for fans of Napalm Death, Nasum, Rotten Sound, Wormrot: short, fast and obnoxious. This has to be one of the best sounding grind albums of the last couple of years, too. Nice and clear. Angry, very angry, Phobia destroys stages and musical equipment.  Carry on screaming, Phobia, carry on screaming.