Saturday, June 29, 2013

doomsters Demon Lung summer tour starts...NOW!!

Las Vegas-based doom metallers DEMON LUNG will venture west in the coming weeks to perform selections from their recently released full-length debut, The Hundredth Name. Joining the quintet on select dates will be friends Wounded Giant and Castle. Dates are set to begin June 29th in Salt Lake City and wrap with a hometown show on August 18th.
DEMON LUNG Summer Tour 2013:
6/29/2013 Bar Deluxe - Salt Lake City UT w/Odium Totus
6/30/2013 Red Room - Boise ID w/Mariana
7/01/2013 Duffy’s Hangar - Salem OR w/Wounded Giant
7/02/2013 Tiger Bar - Portland OR w/Wounded Giant
7/03/2013 The Mercury - Seattle WA w/Wounded Giant
7/05/2013 Red Room PDX - Portland OR w/Wounded Giant
7/07/2013 Please for Peace - Stockton CA w/Tales of the Grotesque
7/08/2013 Billy O’s - Ventura CA w/Castle
7/09/2013 Industry Theater - Lancaster CA w/Castle
7/11/2013 Cheyenne Saloon - Las Vegas NV w/Spellcaster
8/16/2013 The Shakedown - San Diego CA w/Wounded Giant
8/17/2013 Icehouse Tavern - Phoenix AZ w/Wounded Giant
8/18/2013 The Dive - Las Vegas NV w/Wounded Giant
8/19/2013 Burt’s Tiki Lounge - Salt Lake City UT w/Wounded Giant

symphonic, melodic, modern black metal: Chthonic (Taiwan): "Bú-Tik"

symphonic, melodic, modern black metal: Chthonic (Taiwan): "Bú-Tik"
This is the band's 7th album. Once again, it is nothing, if not professional quality music. They play fast-blasting most of the time, but the constant use of keyboards, symphonics, clean vocals, clean melodic guitars and other instrumentation, they make their songs a bit easier to know, even though it can be a little blurry at times. Not quite instant gratification, but also not monotony.
Consistent and reliable, they continue to walk the path they set out for themselves years ago: melodic, fast black metal. The guitar work is crisp and clear, with their heavy use of play-on/thrashy riffs to play fast, while letting the keyboards add a major component of melody. The guitar solos are more melodic, but the rhythms are that chunky-semichugging-play-on buzzing speed.
Thus, the keyboards and the vocal lines take the main stage in terms of memorability, and the guitars and drums have a somewhat less important role, in that respect. The guitars come to forefront when called upon, and they recede to the background during the speed.
I think the band has done a solid job with the album. To me, they are still searching for the big breakthrough album that will propel them into greatness. By now, this band is consummate professionals, very experienced, and it shows. That breakthrough is still in sight! They are not resting on their past glories, and ultimately, that's what it's all about, working towards the great album.
By the way, the drum sound on this album is very plastic, clicky and highly computerized. It does not sound like real drums. It is a very tight and fast sound, but the drum rolls sound cartoonish-plastic because they sound so blurry-fast that it does not sound real. Of course, this type of drum sound is a HUGE problem in metal music. I wonder if this is the bands' decision, or if the bands are getting pressured by the studio/engineers/producers/record labels/experts to just go with this sound because it's what "everyone" is doing. In that sense, Chthonic is just doing what many, many other metal bands are doing, so it is not a particular problem of this album or band.

Friday, June 28, 2013

finally over the hump? masterful death metal: Panzerchrist (Denmark): "The 7th Offensive"

finally over the hump?
masterful death metal: Panzerchrist (Denmark): "The 7th Offensive"
They have reached that point where just blasting away, no matter how entertaining, will never automatically equal a great song. One can blast all one wants, but if the guitar work does not have it, then it doesn't have it, and if the song doesn't have it, then blasting doesn't really matter.
The songs first have to be outstanding and give the listener something to remember once the music stops. Otherwise it is an entertaining blur.
Panzerchrist is an old band, mind you. Their debut is from 1996, and this is their 7th album, so the expectations and the standards are pretty high.
What they have done is: they managed to utilize the brutality and blasting for the song. Blasting is not a song, and this band understands that very, very well. It is not necessary to listen multiple times to understand that the riffs are distinctive (lots of tremolo picking), and abundant guitar soloing that sounds fast and a bit melodic, shredding. Add to that, the basic structure of the song, and the result is an album that is comprehensible the first time around, and the listener can hear the guitar work pretty clearly. See if you agree, check out the song "Attack of the Lycanthrope Legion" and see if you think it is "generic" or "ok." I think this is way beyond "pretty good." Panzerchrist deserves to be heard!
Despite the usual metal "macho-man" stupid gimmickry or the "evil" posturing (just look at the pictures) and the glorification of violence, Panzerchrist has made a memorable and melodic album, yet still very much blazing fast, modern and brutal, and all that stuff.
I wish the drums did not sound so plastic and clicky, but I guess that's just my opinion, and the band likes the "modern robotized" drum sound that brutal death metals are using.
Besides, those two points of whining, the band has made a very entertaining death metal album, very professional. If you like death metal bands that emphasize songwriting, then Panzechrist should be pleasing.
Mark down Panzerchrist as a band on your list of quality death metal bands that you need to check out. They are not rock stars, but fame is a different issue. I'm talking about the music, the songs.

one-man-chugging-death-metal machine: Nervecide (Italy): "Impermanence"

Nervecide (Italy): "Impermanence"
I can't find a picture of the one-man-chugging-death-metal machine, but maybe this description will do:
Woof-woof, wooooooof! Rooooooooooooooooooar! Ughwowobahdahbahwooofff! Chug-chug, chug-chugga-chugga-chug!! Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, arggggggghhhhh!
That drum programming is blazing fast! Computers can go reeeeeeeally fast!!
Nervecide wants to make Kannibale Kourpse sound like Da Beech Boyz or Da Bakstreet Boyz or Da Won Direkshun.
You want brooooootal?!
You can't handle brooooooooooooooooooooooootal!!
Run away, run away to your parents! And don't ever come here again!!
Music strictly for zombies. If you ain't a zombie, you best get the stepping.

groove-thrash: Destroyers of All (Portugal): "Into the Fire"

Destroyers of All (Portugal): "Into the Fire"
I am not able to post a picture of the band right now, but here's a little a bit about them.
Destroyers of All is potty-mouth, macho-man, vulgar-street-jerk groove-thrash, like lots of Pantera and thrash, with growling. This is an EP by this unsigned/independent band. I would say that Destroyers of All loves 90s metal, from groove Pantera/Sepultura to Machine Head, and a general angry-man attitude.
Not too much melody, instead it is pinch harmonics and groove. Sometimes it sounds like they might like rap-rock, too, but I am not sure. That's what I hear in the song "M4," like the vocalist is borderline-rapping, but that could be just an accident.
This band is also sort of mish-mash of different styles, but everything is inside the structure of groove-thrash. A bit of singing, here and there, and some melodic/growl notes also appear.
But the bottom line: it is all about groove-metal, 90s style!
My ears are telling me this.

children of Krisiun, Hate Eternal and groove: Grimus (U.S.): "Omnicide"

Grimus (U.S.): "Omnicide"
Grimus administers a severely violent attack upon their instruments. About as subtle as a bunch of dinosaurs in a candy store, Grimus blasts in the most "brutal" way they know possible, throwing down the heaviest, low-guttural blasting death metal they know how to do.
They love Krisiun, Hate Eternal and all the super fast blazing death metal. They probably think Hate Eternal is "ok," but not "brutal" enough because, you know, these kids are in competition to destroy everything before them.
Nothing is ever "brutal" enough and in a few years they probably will think this album was only "ok," as they reach new level of mastery and "broooooootaliteeeeee."
They have a bit of a groove/breakdown, just a bit, though, because too much of that will slow them down, which they never want to do.
Somewhere, in the small bars of New Jersey, where this band build its abilities, there are kids who have moshed the heck out of these songs and this band.
Now, they are self-releasing this album because that's how they roll. Can't find a company that's interested? Forget it, just do it yourself! Do it yourself, indeed.

sludge-punks Armed for Apocalypse will play shows in California and Nevada

Very recently Metal Bulletin Zine ran a review of sludge-punks Armed for Apocalypse.
If you are in any of these places in California and Nevada, make a stop at their show, it's going to be heavy and sweaty!
Check out the recent review of this band in the section of grind/punk bands, from a couple of days ago.
ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE will bring their audio battery to the streets next month on a short run of live assaults. The tour will begin July 11 in Chico, California where the band will be performing The Road Will End in its entirety. Entrants will also be given free individually numbered and signed show posters made by Matt Loomis (while supplies last). Additional dates are included below.
ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE Live Assaults 2013:
7/11/2013 Cafe Coda – Chico, CA w/ Death Valley High, Horseneck *ALL AGES. Free individually numbered and signed show posters made by Matt Loomis. The band will also be playing The Road Will End in its entirety.
7/12/2013 SAC: Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA w/ Death Valley High, Horseneck.
7/13/2013 The Night Light – Oakland, CA w/ Death Valley High, Horseneck.
7/14/2013 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA w/ Name
7/15/2013 The Oak Park Boiz House – Sacramento, CA
7/16/2013 Ryan’s Saloon – Reno, NV w/ Glacier
7/19/2013 Lasalles – Chico, CA 21+

horror gothic "extreme" metal: Cadaveria (Italy): "Horror Metal - Undead Edition"

Cadaveria (Italy): "Horror Metal - Undead Edition"
Pay attention to the music, and not the gimmicks. The gimmicks have their commercial purposes, and that's that. However, Cadaveria is no joke at all.
Cadaveria the band is no new-jack-in-town from the metal scene in Italy. In fact, Cadaveria (the person, the vocalist) was in black metallers Opera IX from 1992 to 2001. After that, Cadaveria, with fellow ex Opera IX drummer Flegias (Mr. M. Santos), formed Cadaveria the band in 2001 and this is the most recent album from 2012.
The sound is professional, modern and on the high end of production values, for this type of music. The main things to hear are guitars, drums and vocals. There might be, here and there, some symphonic or other elements, but that's not the key matter. The guitar sound is pretty chunky, with riffs that are thrashy, blackmetal-ish, dissonant-ish in places and sometimes cold-and-dry-ish at other moments. As you can see, there is no particular guitar genre going on.
No matter, though. It's pretty strong stuff. Not too complex, more on the direct-impact range. Some shredding takes place, some melody is found, but not too much. Mostly it's just heavy and groovy.
The vocalist, she does the black metal intonation, and a lower growl, too, as well as traditional singing (not too high and not too melodic), kind of subtle gothic-ish style.
At any rate, recently, it seems, I have been talking about traditional metal and also dooom bands from Italy. Cadaveria is an established name, but more on the "extreme" metal side of things.
This is recommended for listeners who, of course, are into Opera IX history and into the projects of Cadaveria the person. If you have not heard of Opera IX nor Cadaveria the band before, but you like "black metal with a good production," you might like the band's sound and songs. It's not melodic and catchy, but more, like I said, groove-oriented.
It's professional stuff.

blasting black thrash: Earthling (U.S.): "Dark Path"

Earthling (U.S.): "Dark Path"
Earthling's sound is on the "raw" and real side of things, and has a charm all of its own. The guitar goes between black metal riffs and thrash shredding, and the vocals are growl-snarl, with a drummer that loves to blast.
Earthling is a do-it-yourself-mentality band from Virginia, U.S. They are still in the early process of releasing material. It looks like they have done a split and now this album of a bit over 30 minutes of music.
They get by on their energy and enthusiasm. The songwriting works the fierce side of their sound. It's a pretty good first album for the band. The songs stick out for the raw impact, and not for being super catchy, but for being raging and loud. Earthling sounds like they are they are finding their way towards a more concrete sound, working on their chemistry and direction.
There is one thing that I find distinct about Earthling: the guitar soloing, and the band's desire to highlight the guitar that way. By doing that, with longer solos and longer guitar-centered moments, the music acquires a different energy, not so boxed-in with thrash/black metal-ish sounds. Some parts might sound a bit 70s-rock or even Thin Lizzy-ish, like the guitar harmonies on "Pass into Beyond."
In my inexpert opinion, that right there, that aspect of the guitar is something they should work, nurture and keep running away with it. And if the music sounds less "thrash" or less blackmetal-ish or whatever, then that's fine. It's all good.
It's nice to hear a band emphasize guitar playing, in the old school way of rock/metal that values people's precision and ability to shred on guitar.

for whom the bell dooms: Grime (Italy): "Deteriorate"; I Klatus (U.S.): "Kether"; Lycus (U.S.): "Tempest"; Crown (France): "Psychurgy"

Grime (Italy): "Deteriorate"
Years ago, one fine morning, after waking up, one of these fellows had breakfast and an idea occurred to him. In metal, too many people play fast, but what happens if you slow down to the maximum degree?
The result?
A vocalist that shrieks (in a black metal-ish way) but slowly chews every sound and extends the shrieking-screaming so that it goes on and on, like a series of looooooooonnngg shrieks (sort of, the longer syllables of singing being replaced by shriek-screaming). To go along with that, the music goes at a snail's pace 99.9999999% of the time, in a spiral-circular motion of monotony-monolith-repetition. Once in a while, there is a very brief drum roll, and it will make you raise your unibrow and then it's back to slowwwwwwwwww drumming.
This is like watching a movie in slow motion, on the slowest setting on the remote control. Ok, well, Grime has that idea for their music.
It is a massive stoner-sludge-drone guitar tone, that is as charming as it is a low-tuned-down wall of slow-buzz.
Now, I know that in the competition for "slowest,heaviest" band on the planet there are lots of contenders. Tonight, I wish not to argue that point because I don't care, really, for that silly argument. It is enough to say that Grime is ridiculously slow and heavy. I'll leave it at that.
The important thing is this, in my view: they sound excited, energized to be playing this and they do not sound tired or bored. Despite the slowness, the energy gets across very well, and the monolith of buzz makes sense, and that's an accomplishment for them, and for me, because I feel like I understand this Grime sound. Yay, for me! I get it! Fans of funeral/drone/sludge might, too!!
-- --
I Klatus (U.S.): "Kether"
I Klatus is part doom/sludge, but there are a couple of other major features that should be mentioned.
1. They do long segments of ambient/mellow sounds which contrast in a huge way from the heavy music. A bit of melody sneaks in that way, and the music can sound spacey. Or/and, they do some bursts of blasting speed, which can clash with the atmosphere of the previous parts, confusing the listener on purpose a bit, maybe. There are also other miss-mash bits all over the place and it can give the impression of wild, weird compositions.
2.The vocals are punk-shouted (not growl, per se), kind of yelled out, and sound a bit random, sort of like "some guy yelling down the street" in the neighborhood. People might say, "What's wrong with him?!" And the response is: "Nothing! That's the way he is. He lives around here and just yells like a crazy person at certain times of the day."
3.These are not so much actual songs as they are exercises in experimentation. People recording music, heavy, doom-ish music and then adding other things in there and just seeing what happens, and let the chips fall where they may.
Recommended only for the most adventurous of listeners.
-- --
Lycus (U.S.): "Tempest"
Lycus is "funeral doom" in the proper and traditional sense of the word. So, NOT sludge, not drone, not shoe/blackgaze. Funeral doom.
They have 2 songs about 10 minutes long (or so) and 1 song that is over 20 minutes long. Basically, you gotta have faith, and hope, and patience that these songs will work out in your mind when you listen to this. I mean, 20 minutes, hey, if can't commit, then you should quit. You're right, this is not about "headbanging" or "rocking" or anything like that.
They have parts of these songs where it's just sleep music. Is the drummer going to wake up? When is he going to hit the drum again? It's been minutes since we last heard from him. What did he do during the recording of this music? Did he hit the drum one time and then drove back home, made himself a sandwich, took a nap, ate another sandwich, drove back to the studio, and sat back on the drum stool and finally picked up the drumstick (only needs one; two would be "too happy") and hit the drum again?!
And wouldn't you know it?! Like champs, Lycus is so good at what they do. They are one high-class funeral doom band. Elegant in their heaviness. The vocalist growls, but he doesn't sound like a chump. He sounds like a friendly cave monster that is misunderstood by everyone. He is ugly. Actually, he is fugly, an eyesore, but that monster growls with such beauty that you begin to comprehend that the monster is just playing music, trying to make you happy by playing slow, melancholic sounds.
If you have the patience, I think that you will discover the atmosphere of Lycus and will appreciate it. They a few small surprises, too, in their songs. But you should hear for yourself. They are good surprises.
Funeral doom fans, here is a band after your own hearts! You will love Lycus and Lycus will bring you sweet misery in return.
-- --
Crown (France): "Psychurgy"
OK, so, I will try to make this one easy on you.
How do you feel about drum programming/drum machines? Do you care or not? Is it a hard principle or does it depend on the band/music?
Crown is, to my ears, more than anything, perhaps closest to a doom-ish band, BUT:
The drum machine gives the music an electronica/industrial feel. That's one thing.
Another thing is: they do things like "robotic voices," and just generally experiment with different sounds in the electronica/industrial/robotized/computerized-music//whatever field.
The guitars are heavy and the vocals are growled, in the funeral death doom style, but they do other things that go beyond that, obviously.
After telling you about all these doom bands, I think you get the picture about Crown and doom. I hope. Crown is a well thought-out musical enterprise and has a strong identity.
Whether doom fans will be also be exploring the sounds of Crown, that's another matter. It depends on how willing the listener is. Crown has put out a commendable effort.
It is your turn now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

funny-humorous-comedy-moronic-superstupid rock: Ghoul (U.S.): "Intermediate Level Hard-Core"

Foul-mouthed, low-intelligence, Rush Limbaugh-like, proud-jerk basic rock and roll.
This is 5 cover songs from bands like Gwar and other bands that are old and gone, I think.
If you love rock music with a jerk-comedy twist, then Ghoul should prove funny.
It's punk rock in a Misfits/classic rock sort of a way, in a 70s style of punk. This is meant to be stupid, and this band definitely is. Mission accomplished. Don't look into this is you are too serious and you hate nonsense. Nonsense = Ghoul.

out there in left field beyondweird: Bangladeafy

Bangladeafy (U.S.): "The Briefcase"
I'm just going to attempt to illustrate what you are in for.
A drummer and bass player getting down and funky and weird and technical, with some crazy-screamed vocals and keyboard/electronica/whatchamacallit sound effects.
This is NOT for the narrow-minded at all.
Does this band sound like some people just messing around and getting loose and crazy? Yes, it does sound like two wild and crazy guys. They sound like math geniuses or physicists or... something.
Please put on your helmet. Your skull will need protection from the crazy you are about to hear.
For those readers who watch the tv show "Friends" and who want an image to go with, here's one:
Do you remember that episode in which Ross plays his "music" for his friends and the people at the cafe? Do you remember when he was making all those sounds on his keyboard and people were, like, "what the heck was that?!" OK, this is like this, except that Bangladeafy is very serious. Ross would be proud. Geddy Lee from Rush might be proud of the bass on here. It is some loud, in-your-face bass!

heavy, doom-ish growl "hardcore": Reproacher (U.S.): "Nothing to Save"

Today I posted about a bunch of punk/hardcore/grind/whatever bands. A lot of interesting things are happening. But I forgot to include Reproacher in that section!
Reproacher (U.S.): "Nothing to Save"
Consider Reproacher a tons-heavy growled hardcore band with doom passages, in a "brutal" way, with a bunch of other tidbits, such as grinding parts, and crust, filthy segments and an energetic, intense, rumbling production.
In metal, people talk about heaviness and "brutality," but often those terms are not used for "hardcore," only for death metal or doom.
This music is heavy. Heavy as it gets and "brutal," too, but the difference it doesn't have all the macho, homophobic posturing about "killing" this or "murdering" that or glorifying violence or stuff about zombies and whatnot.
It's a different type of energy, without that whole "manliness" thing.
And don't forget that this sounds "human," and not all robotic, perfect with studio "magic."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the punk/core/crust/grind/death has arrived: All Pigs Must Die, Armed for Apocalypse, Centuries, Honduran, Mammoth Grinder, Quest of Aidance, Squash Bowels, Ramming Speed

These bands do not sound alike! They all have their sound. The reason they are all congregated here is because they have an obnoxious punk attitude. Some are grind, some crust, some hardcore, some a bit more thrashy, and some just don't give a flying flip about any genres and simply play loud.
Let's get to the details!
All Pigs Must Die (U.S.): "Nothing Violates This Nature"
(pic by Reid Haithcock]
With a name like that, this band better be as aromatic as a garbage dump and they better be abrasive. Sure thing, it's the type of punk in the neighborhood of grind, crust, death metal, hardcore and bags of garbage. They can blast and do so, but blasting is not the only thing they do. Just FYI, the blasting sounds so awesome!
They sometimes they slow down for some super heavy passages of sludge doom shoe/blackgaze drone. The guitar can sound metallic or punk-ish in a black metal-ish way or sort of hardcore in a metal-ish way or metal-ish in a hardcore manner...forget it, it's fierce, and I like it because of that.
Here's a little homework for you: when you find out who is in this band, you will know why they sound so experienced at playing stinking, rotting punk. That's because these people know.
Armed for Apocalypse: "The Road Will End"
What a filthy doom stoner punk crust whatever mix Armed for Apocalypse is! The screamer is painful furious anguish, kind of taking the time to enunciate-growl slowly the things that the band won't stop yelling about. This music appears to hate beyond hate all the "modern" hi-tech "perfect" recordings! It is raw, dirty, like a heavy garage growl punk just dooming and droning and sludging all the way to California and back...or Mars or wherever they got this cool sound from.
They even add a bit of melody, like on "The Well," but the sludge is so heavy that you won't even notice how sensible some of this segments are. You want nasty and heavy? Come and get it here. Please do not shower for a week before you come here because this band will notice the smell of clean and they won't like it. The last time they showered was back in 2005, and that was by accident.
Centuries (U.S.): "Taedium Vitae"
Ha ha, this is a "hardcore" band? I have no idea what "hardcore" is! The vocalist is a raspy, growling (not too distant from black metal, actually) lunatic, and the guitar work is this ultra heavy, windows-rattling sound, in the shoegaze-drone-doom-punk (what?!) played fast and loud (that's what's important).
What is really crucial here is the massive-aggressive sound, both heavy and fast at the same time, huge, big guitar sound and the energy of a band just being as honest as they can.
Don't try to avoid banging your head or nodding along or otherwise moving to the music because you will fail.
Overall, the charm of Centuries is the fact that they play an uptempo style of "hardcore" that even people who don't like "hardcore" will enjoy once they listen to this energetic performance. I'm not expert on "hardcore," but I don't think that that label is very appropriate for Centuries! But what do I know! Anyway, this sounds more like d-beat or crust punk, because of the speed, and they have an extra something different that makes it not really fit into any stupid box. It's familiar, yet different, to me.
Honduran (U.S.): "Street Eagles"
These Portland bums roar, scream, blast and rampage through their album. The growling and shrieking will make you think back to a happier time when you could throw a temper tantrum and nobody cared, they would just let you twist and scream on the floor until you got it out of your system.
Blasting sometimes, sludgy sometimes, metal at times, punk all the way, and 500% mutant rock. Just don't ask them what they genre they belong to because they are from Portland and bands like this will throw tomatoes at you for worrying about the genre. Just get in the pit or grab a beer or some orange juice and chill, what do they care.
Tons of heavy. Boatloads of abrasive. Genuine. Oh, and they have a song called "Hiding from the Idiots"! Yes!
Mammoth Grinder (U.S.): "Underworlds"
Mammoth Grinder is definitely way more straightforward death metal/grind/crust. They have these brief guitar solos and a wonderful guitar tone that is both catchy and filthy. Mammoth Grinder writes songs that are more direct and to the point, and easier to remember. The more linear approach works wonders for the band. The on-point performance shines through big time. Mammoth Grinder is professional stuff. The drumming is the heartbeat of this band, and it centers the metallic riffing. By the way, this guitar is deceptively easy: heavy, metallic and punk, but memorable in a strong way.
So, you do not know Mammoth Grinder? I did not until now, either. What a professional performance they have delivered here.
Recommended for those into filthy punk/crust and rotting death metal. If you say that Mammoth Grinder is a death metal band, you are right, like old school death metal by people who hate the state of "modern" death metal.
Very well done. You might hear a bit of early Entombed here, and that's not so bad, now is it?
Quest of Aidance (Sweden): "Misanthropic Propaganda"
What is melodic, tech grind?
I don't know, either!
To educate my ignorant self I listened to Quest of Aidance and I think I know a little bit better now.
Here is the deal: the production is very hi-tech with robotized-precision drumming that sounds like a machine blasting away; there are keyboards here, yes, keyboards and that will melt your brain. The vocal seem to be pretty much just growl-every-minute-of-the-day style. The vocalist here appears to be one ex-Scar Symmetry singer Christian, but these vocals sound different, so you can check for yourself what the deal is.
Quest of Aidance might sound a bit like blasting, melodic symphonic black metal, in some places.
Quest of Aidance is a very digital, computerized form of blasting metal, and do not fit in this review section, but now that they are here, I might as well tell you about it.
Hey, it's Wednesday, relax, the weekend is in sight. Quest of Aidance is not punk, not grind, but whatever. It's blasting, but the attitude is "modern metal."
Squash Bowels (Poland): "Grindcoholism"
Just like Squash Bowels, I'm going to make it short and direct. Guttural growling, screaming, a low tuned guitar tone, and blasting like today is the last day that blasting will exist. No-nonsense, no-time-wasting grinding. Not as filthy as crust, but fast and brutal all the same, in a "modern" death metal and grind style. This band is not kidding around with their grind. Total grind freaks they are, to total grind freaks they will appeal. Roarrrrr! Grrrrrrr! Aarrggg!!!
Ramming Speed (U.S.): "Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die"
Oh, no, wait! I'm done yet! I have one more band to tell you about! Ramming Speed is a thrash/punk band. The vocals are growled and screamed. More than anything, Ramming Speed is fun. The riffing is a bit of party-thrash. They do a bit of blasting in certain places, but they have a good time all of the time. No big agenda, just a band that wants to thrash, drink some beer (or orange juice), and gang-shout their way across the country playing their thrash until everybody goes home tired and sweaty. They might want you to think they are a bunch of morons, but they play their thrash seriously!
Fans of the crossover thrash/punk sound will like Ramming Speed a whole lot!! Get in the pit right now!

traditional, old school heavy metal: Night Demon; Sinister Realm; Circle of Silence; Twins Crew

All these bands have something in common: traditional heavy metal: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Accept, U.D.O., Scorpions, Angel Witch, Raven, Blitzkrieg, Armored Saint, Savatage, Omen, Primal Fear, and lots of other upfront, rocking heavy metal. The bands reviewed here have listened to classic heavy metal and decided to take matters into their own hands and make their very own heavy metal.
Night Demon (U.S.): "Night Demon"
Oh, wow, Night Demon is so dedicated that they sound like their favorite heavy metal is the 1979-1981 New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Angel Witch and Blitzkrieg would be two examples of the sound they approach: energy, enthusiasm and rocking heavy metal. It sounds like do-it-yourself, street heavy metal. The singing is not super high and not polished, and it's a street-punky singing.
Enthusiasts of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal will be so very pleasantly surprised to hear a band from today playing it so genuinely.
I know you probably don't believe it, just as I did not believe it at first. Oh, but how wrong you are, as I was wrong.
One rocking riff right after another, and next thing you know, it's over and it's time to hear it again.
Sinister Realm (U.S.): "World of Evil"
Sinister Realms sports a sound in which the bass guitar is very audible, and their traditional heavy metal balances the rocking with quality guitar work. The production makes it easy to like Sinister Realm, the instruments can be clearly heard and the songs speak to the listener in a way that is instant.
Shades of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are present throughout the album, but Sinister Realm is a bit more "battle heavy metal" in its sound and focus. The singer is a midrange vocalist, and not a super high screamer. Sinister Realm, here and there, pays tribute to the foundational legends, but they sound like they have made much headway in finding their sound.
Fans of old-school heavy metal and bands that are not well known will want to hear this Pennsylvannia band, as they defend traditional heavy metal with gusto. They just need more people to check them out.
Circle of Silence (Germany): "The Rise of Resistance"
Circle of Silence has upfront, punching riffs and a generally tougher form of heavy metal. The melody is there in measured amounts, while the energy and intensity are kept high, again in the Priest, Primal Fear direct-heavy-metal way.
The singer has a bit of grit and it's a bit "macho" or "tough guy" in the performance. Circle of Silence works their sound so that the music puts the listener in a better mood rapidly. This music you can take to the gym to work out to it because is a solid level of energy throughout. "Wimpy" heavy metal is not something that Circle of Silence wants people to think about this music. That is the reason why they sound so professional.
Before this album I had never heard of this band, but after this title, I won't be forgetting them.
Recommended for those into Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, and Brainstorm.
Twins Crew (Sweden): "The Northern Crusade"
Twins Crew is nothing, if not catchy power metal. Listeners who love power metal in a big way are going to be banging their heads into oblivion with Twins Crew. Harmony guitar parts, galloping play-on riffs, high singing and quick drumming.
Twins Crew uses the word "steel" and has a song called "Loud and Proud," so they are quite the loyalists to "true metal." They flash the metal horns any chance they get, and the two guitarists, David and Dennis J., are twins. "Twins Crew," get it? Nice, eh? Hopefully Twins Crew will get more attention because with this album they have done very, very well for themselves.
Here's an opportunity to check out a band that is not a household name, but that may be if they keep it up. There is a tradition that Twins Crew has in mind in their music. They are not yet legendary-status, highest-level power metal, but this is a strong step in the right direction. Good album, indeed.
Recommended for people into HammerFall, Stratovarius, Helloween and upbeat heavy/power metal that the listener understands on the first listen.

epicus doomicus metallicus: Demon Lung; Mirthless; The Vein

3 bands that take doom to the heaviest of places. Let's find out what's going on.
Demon Lung (U.S.): "The Hundredth Name"
Demon Lung has taken a strong step forward from their 2012 EP "Pareidolia," which was a decent stoner/doom recording.
In my view, their music now sounds like they are ready to run with the big dogs of doom.
To me, everything has improved. A lot. It is great to hear the band playing at this level and sound so good and so confident.
Demon Lung's doom metal now has ditched the stoner tendencies (that's what I hear, anyway), which to me was holding them back in terms of heaviness and making them sound too garage, for my taste. I also thought that the vocals needed more energy or more attitude, perhaps. There are 70s doom values here, but it does not sound like retro or stoner to my ears. It does not sound contrived, either. Demon Lung is the real deal.
Now, Demon Lung has sharpened up their sound to a ton of heaviness, in the Candlemass sense of the word, and Shanda Fredrick now sounds a lot more secure, or more comfortable in the role of singer, of the voice of despondency and doom.
I'm telling you all this to get to a point: Demon Lung ought to be interesting music to the listeners that want to hear traditional doom, with clear singing, with a heavy feel in sound, with a straightforward slow and heavy approach, and with a more organic or human production.
This is not fast music, of course, and it is all gloom and doom. It's so good, though!
Demon Lung will appeal to the traditional doom listener (no symphonic, no growling and other hip things) into tons of heaviness.
Mirthless (Peru): "A Dirge for Your Suicide"
Mirthless is only for the seriously devoted listener into super doom.
Mirthless goes for a production of early 80s death/black, dark and blasphemous, and the music is on the slow side of life. They will surprise you with bursts of death/black speed in places, only to bring things back to the slow-motion misery that they are specialists in.
In that sense, Mirthless is raw doom band, and will not appeal to those that demand a fancy and shiny production. It is a good sound quality and I do like this sound, but I understand that it's not for everyone. This music sounds like it is played by real human beings, and the studio magic and tricks are not the thing that Mirthless does.
If you give it a chance and are patient, you will find, as I have, that Mirthless has many, many charms. Depressive, slow fun.
The Vein (Denmark): "Scouring the Wreckage of Time"
Monstrous death doom that works a steady beat of slow and midtempo super heavy duty, low, guttural growling, with a bit of raspy vocals in selected places; the guitar work offers a substantial amount of melody, actually.
Do you like early 90s death doom like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride? If you think that it's been a while since you heard death doom that does emphasize the doom and you are interested in a melancholic, but still super heavy band, then I cannot imagine how you would not like The Vein.
Here's the good news: The Vein is not just heavy, The Vein has enough melody and catchy elements to add some spice to the misery. Perhaps The Vein is strictly for death doom zealots, but the strong songwriting is impressive, beyond its genre.

different colors of prog metal: De Profundis; Surgeon; Trials

Today there are 3 talented and different prog metal bands that I want to tell you about.
De Profundis (U.K.): "The Emptiness Within"
De Profundis is not an old-school prog metal band. Instead, it is new-jack, "extreme" metal that sounds a bit close to melodic black metal, while at the same time, they are much more varied than the style of melodic black metal.
It would appear that De Profundis asked themselves: "How can we make prog metal more exciting? We like prog, but if we speed it up to energetic, and often blasting death/black levels?"
The vocals are mostly growled, and the overall energy is that of "modern," and "extreme" metal.
Where they sound different is in the ways that the music allows for wandering, melodic segments, in which the instrumentality kicks it upfront and the musicians have a chance to show their abilities through melodic soloing or giving the bass guitar room to breathe, and not just follow the guitar. De Profundis wants the listener to hear the bass guitar. In a lot of metal, the bass just seems difficult to hear, but this is not the case here.
Of course, there is a lot "noodling" and "shredding," too, and they are quite good at it.
To me, they sound enthusiastic and a perhaps a bit too ambitious, which will give fruitful results in the future, for sure. Personally, I enjoy the combination of speed/blasting. That makes things a bit more interesting. The band does not really make use of traditional singing, although the melodic singing on "Release" lacks a bit of passion, to me. That aspect needs a more confident approach, I think.
In general, De Profundis is a promising band and I could make a long list of positives about the band. Suffice to say, those looking for a younger approach to prog will find something a bit new here.
Surgeon (U.S.): "Chemical Reign"
Surgeon plays traditional, melodic prog heavy metal. Thus, Surgeon does not use "extreme" metal as a significant component of what they do.
This is where you go when you want traditional singing, guitar-hero finger-twisting, heavy metal and semi-thrashy riffs, and a tight bass guitar-and-drum backbeat. Expect playing of a high quality, and a serious approach to metal.
The songs are catchy, but not "super melodic" or "poppy" sing-along style, because Surgeon doesn't play that game of pandering to the audience that wants "easy songs." It does take time for the "proggy" to sound "musical," but it is not very difficult to understand for the willing listener.
Without having investigated it, I simply got the impression that Surgeon might be on Sensory Records, which, as prog fans know, is a premier place for prog music.
But no. Surgeon is not on that company and they are actually independent.
This sounds so good! Don't assume that just because it is a self-release that this sounds like a demo because it sounds like a professional album, to me.
Surgeon deserves the support of prog fans!
Trials (U.S.): "In the Shadow of Swords"
Trials is much more of a prog thrash sound, with a very "modern" combination of growling and singing, melody and intensity, and the sound it's a bit of different genres, but they surely concentrate on headbanging music.
They sound thrashy, and execute the material very well.
I would recommend this to fans of Nevermore, not because they sound like Nevermore per se, but because Trials sounds like a band that thrash people would like, as long as it is understood, that this is a different type of "thrash." The guitar tone gets to close to death metal heaviness at times, and the music is thick, heavy uptempo headbanging style.
Most important of all, the songs do not take many listens to understand. There are bits and pieces of other genres, and the result is a lively selection of songs that will appeal to the thrash public, the prog listeners, and the traditional heavy metal followers, as well as other fans, too.
Apparently, this is another self-release, but it sounds very professional. Definitely worthy of being looked into.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the death metal legions: Dehuman Reign, Eternal Rest, FaithXtractor, I Killed Everyone, Humiliation, The Pete Flesh Deathtrip

This review is for those that love death metal! Here you will find a variety of approaches to our beloved genre, from old styles to new-jack intensity. This is a buffet of death metal, and it's time to feast!
Dehuman Reign (Germany): "Destructive Intent"
Dehuman Reign shows a love for classic, 90s blasting death that emphasizes tightness, guttural vocals, while never forgetting to keep the song at a mood that the listener can remember. It's fast, blasting, but not monotonously-claustrophobically so: the songs have a pace and riffs that will make you move.
Of course, Dehuman Reign is death metal all the way. "Brutal," heavy and fast to the max, the band is strictly for total and complete death metal listeners, and not the casual audience. If you are very picky and want something fancy, Dehuman Reign is not that type of death metal. They keep it straightforward and upfront.
Dive in, the water's fine, Dehuman Reign is death metal, and that's a-ok!
Eternal Rest (Australia): "Prophetic"
I had the pleasure of hearing the band's demo some years ago. Now, look at them, have a full album ready!
Eternal Rest is blasting death metal, but there is one thing about Eternal Rest is their identity.
The care the band has taken to have good guitar work, and I have observed the hard work and find it delightful and skillful. When listening to this band, I notice the way that one can easily hear two main guitar rhythms working in unity. Eternal Rest is not pleased just to have heavy riffing: the hooks and dark melodies provide other angles from which to approach the music. You might like their heavy and intense sound. Or, you might like their sinister melodies; sometimes it's a bit dissonant coupled with heaviness. Either way, Eternal Rest can win over the death metal fan.
Eternal Rest is already pretty good, and this album is ample evidence of that! If they keep going this way, I think Eternal Rest will gain many followers. They are only getting started!
Faithxtractor (U.S.): "The Great Shadow Infiltrator"
FaithXtractor believes in keeping death metal direct and ready for impact upon first listen.
This is old school, traditional, non-technical, and heavy and dark death metal. It is also instant-impression death metal. Sure, they can play fast and do so, but they can slow down for some dark melodies for brief periods of time, like the slow solo at the beginning of "In All Forms Reptilian."
Speed is not the main thing, though. I would say that even the heaviness is not the most important thing, either. It is the songwriting that distinguishes Faithxtractor. The combination heaviness, speed, and a bit of melody, makes this album sound like Faithxtractor.
Whether it is the Stockholm-style classic death metal vibe or the early, classic Incantation vibe, Faithxtractor adds its own take on the influences. Don't get the idea that this is a copy-cat band or retro group. In my opinion, they make it all sound so easy, but it's not likely that that's the case at all, and only because it is so good that it comes across as simple death metal.
Good effort! Good songs! If you love classic death metal, here's a band that thinks like you.
I Killed Everyone (U.S.): "Necrosphire"
I Killed Everyone is the sort of modern death metal band that does just whatever they want, as long as it is brutal. They love, love, love breakdowns, so that their deathcore sound is also blasting in a way that death metal fans might want to check out, despite the "core" qualities.
I think that their name might turn some death metal fans off and the fact that the band does hardcore breakdowns might contribute to that further.
It's a bit unfair, though. In truth, the band clearly is more "brutal death metal" than anything else. They have plenty of total metal guitar solos and shredding, and the drummer is not a lazy hardcore slouch, either. Blasting is used a lot, and the pace in general is fast and headbanging.
If you think all new-style death metal sucks, then maybe this is not for you. However, if you more openminded, then check it out at least. This does not sound like a hardcore band, it's not emo core or anything like. They use the chugging only on certain moments, it's not all chugging, no-ability guitar playing. Far from it! --
Humiliation (Malaysia): "Turbulence from the Deep"
Is Bolt Thrower ever going to release a new album? The concert in Seattle was excellent, so they are active, but no news on that new album, I guess. Maybe they are secretly working on it.
Well, you know, while we all wait for Bolt Thrower to make new music, we can entertain ourselves with Humiliation, a band that has a profound love of Bolt Thrower and who is very proud to make heavy death metal that recalls Bolt Thrower. From the very first song, and throughout the album, Bolt Thrower-ish riffs appear. It's not 100% percent tribute, but it is 100% a serious devotion.
Recommended for those that love Bolt Thrower and would enjoy bands that want to share that love with like-minded people.
The Pete Flesh Deathtrip (Sweden): "Mortui Vivos Docent"
This is recommended only for those like blasphemous metal. It's meant to be offensive.
Not to get into arguments about genres, but the Pete Flesh Deathtrip is more of a black/death sound, with the guitar tone being more of a necro sound. The riffs are somewhere between black/death/thrash, and not "pure" death metal.
Anyway, if you would enjoy some sick metal, Pete Flesh will be it. Of all the releases reviewed here, it seems to me, Pete Flesh presents the most raw, unpolished sound. Those looking for a modern, shiny sound will be disappointed, while those that like "underproduced" metal will be interested.
Be that as it may, this black/death sound has some good moments, specially when the songs are ferociously fast, which seems to be the majority of the time. It's not a masterpiece or anything like that, of course, but more the solo project of Pete Flesh, working with a couple of friends to jam out some old, sick metal.

Monday, June 24, 2013

4 hordes of thrashers: Death Mechanism (Italy), Havok (U.S.), Noisem (U.S.), Power Trip (U.S.)

Greetings to the thrashers! Here are 4 bands for the thrash-obsessed!
Death Mechanism (Italy): "Twenty-First Century"
Death Mechanism parties like this is 1985 and those speed metal riffs and high-speed soloing don't stop. Like someone turned this thrash machine "on" and the thing just doesn't know how else to go, except fast. Death Mechanism also has a distinctively angry gremlin for a vocalist. Seriously, the vocalist is not yelling or screaming, but rather vocalizes like a possessed gremlin or perhaps like a furious witch. Whatever you did to this vocalist, the gremlin witch will make you pay.
The riffs are total play-on, love-it-all thrashing speed. You will know the thrashing immediately and you will start swinging your elbows around. Retro-thrash, 80s thrash or simply thrash, Death Mechanism is exactly that.
Certainly not melodic nor memorable, the music flies by in a split second. Shredding is the objective. Search out this band if you want lean, mean, meat-and-potatoes thrash. "Just give me thrash now!," is the watchword for Death Mechanism. On this album, the band sounds pretty good. At the same time, their identity is not really the songwriting, but rather their strict allegiance to speeding thrash and headbanging.
Havok (U.S.): "Unnatural Selection"
Havok is angry-yelled traditional (think: Destruction's Schmier), hard-hitting, head banging thrash, with sharp riffs, head banging songs.
If you love thrash (possibly above all other genres), then: hello, moth, meet the flame.
Is Havok "Destruction, Junior"? Maybe, but Havok would not be offended by that. Havok is not a bunch old people, so it's ok if they sound like young thrash, because that's what this is.
Shredding, guitar solos, galloping riffs and headbanging riffs is the top priority. For those into Destruction and Overkill, and no-nonsense, bang-your-head, in-your-face thrash. Expect some good and capable soloing! While some people complain this or that "legendary" thrash band sounding tired or insincere, here's a young one, and certainly more exciting than those big famous names that are always in the news. Thrash fans, check out Havok today and be surprised!
Power Trip (U.S.): "Manifest Decimation"
Like Havok, Power Trip is huge galloping riffs and the metal command is to bang your head.
Power Trip's vocalist is more of a semi-growl-furious-punk (not a yeller), and huge, fat riffs.
The guitar tone is a pretty thick thrashing style, and makes Power Trip sounds like serious business. In fact, I would say that this band would appeal to death metal fans, too, because the energy is heavier than just thrash, and crosses the line into semi-growling and thicker sounds.
Power Trip proves to be a pretty distinct and memorable band, in part because the production is a heavier sound, less retro-sounding, in my opinion, although, of course, classic thrash is present here, too. At any rate, Power Trip is no tribute band! They don't sound like a garage band, either. They sound like they have made an effort to deliver a good quality thrash album, and they have more than succeeded in that.
Noisem (U.S.): "Agony Defined"
Finally, here is Noisem.
Noisem is thrash, but a much more mutated form of thrash: the vocals are death metal-ish (not super guttural, but way, way closer to dm, than anything else). However, the riffs plant Noisem firmly in thrash territory.
I was impressed the first time I heard Noisem, and now after more listens, I am convinced that it is not simply a good first impression. The vibe is there, the quality is there, and the songs are intense.
It is also true that Noisem survives on high energy and tight thrashing. The songwriting depends on the intensity, while the memorability is pretty good, I will be curious to see how they work their songs in the future and how they make them more memorable.

"glorious" symphonic power metal: Damnation Angels (U.K.): "Bringer of Light"

Damnation Angels (U.K.): "Bringer of Light"
High, melodic singing.
Orchestration, movie-soundtrack panoramic sounds.
Melodic guitar, and play-on galloping riffs.
Clear, lush production.
Catchy songs.
After the intro, the album kicks off with the ten-minute "The Longest Day of My Life," a major, look-at-us,-world-we-have-arrived-and-we-are-pretenders-to-the-power-metal-throne declaration of purpose.
If a person likes symphonic power metal, I wonder how they resist such grandeur of glory.
The idea here is that people who hate power metal would have stopped reading this review once they saw the first five lines of this review. That was their signal to move on.
Anyway, some listeners have observed that Damnation Angels is actually "baby Kamelot."
Is that so bad?
If a person feels comfortable with the catchiness of power metal, and its happy, poppy songs, then Damnation Angels will be worthwhile to look into.
The question is not so much are they "original," because that would take us off topic. This is power metal, and there is a tradition of power metal. I think a more interesting question is, "Is Damnation Angels a band with good songs?"
The answer is yes.
Sure, they sound young, and they have their strengths, as well as points that they will no doubt sharpen in the future.
Happy, bouncy, poppy power metal.
I'm looking forward to see what kind of run-for-their-money Damnation Angels can present in 5-10 years to the big names of power metal.
In the meantime, here's a band playing power metal and doing it well. They may not be famous or legendary, but don't think this is a garage band trying to figure things out. This band has figured out what they do, and are very serious about it.
If you want to hear a new power metal with a good energy about them and promising music, then this is a good place to do that.
Get ready to sing along!

awesome no has genre for: Agrimonia (Sweden): "Rites of Separation"

awesome has no genre for: Agrimonia (Sweden): "Rites of Separation"
You know when you hear Agrimonia that, of course, somebody in this band likes metal, but you will also notice that they are trying to sound different: Agrimonia may at times sound like post-black metal, but there are other threads running through their sound. It is the sound of post-genre metal, and these musicians really don't want to sound like a genre in particular. Isn't possible that Agrimonia represents the result of experienced musicians tired of the boxed-in thinking in metal that they see around them?
While it is true that the vocals are black/death-ish, the riffs somewhat black/doom/sludge and the drumming is a loose-go-with-the-flow punk-ish hard-hitting vibing, the songs are different from what one would imagine, sort of left-field, rocking metal.
I do hear a lot of metal in this music, but in my mind, it is a scattered/non-genre-specific metal, and there are also other elements of possibly other styles that some people in the band like. That "other" element is things that I am not qualified to talk about, probably, because I listen to metal, and don't keep up with the world of post-rock, post-alternative, post-punk and all those worlds. I just don't know what's going on there.
I will tell you this, because this is the best that I can do today, on this Monday.
Agrimonia sounds very experienced, very knowledgeable and capable. Clearly, they could play full-on black metal if they wanted, they could play doom, they could play melodic growl metal and they could play rowdy growl punk music, if they wanted.
But they do not want to fit any of those molds.
Therefore, give this a listen, but only if you are searching for bands that want to be different, heavy, yes, and metal, yes (to me, anyway), but simply different.
In the process, Agrimonia is actually forming a new genre or subgenre, I would say. In that sense, it strikes me that Agrimonia shares some similar aesthetics to Inter Arma (which was reviewed here a few days ago), in their search of heaviness beyond metal genres.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

a gem: Lantern (Finland): "Below"

a gem: Lantern (Finland): "Below"
A quick way to describe Lantern is to say that they are traditional death metal, more a heavy dm band (NOT "brootal"/breakdown/technical dm), which consistently oscillates between blasting, blazing speed, and guitar-centered melancholies to create its atmosphere.
That's their game plan, and it is a great one, but as awesome as the blueprint is, it is in the execution of the plan that Lantern delivers big time.
For that reason, it does not matter if it's the blazing moments or the slow segments, Lantern are much more than competent, they succeed at a strong level of praxis.
Considering their goal: blazing death metal and slow, atmospheric doom, this should not work this well, on paper. In fact, I can think of some bands that I like when they play fast, but when they slow down, they tend to bore me. They usually bore me because simply slowing down the riffs to sludge pace and not spicing up the slowness can make me lose my concentration.
The difference with Lantern is the guitar playing. Lantern is not afraid of solos, shredding and melancholy, and the guitar work demonstrates that amply.
Sure, Lantern represents a loyalty to classic death metal, and it's easy to hear that they have studied the genre through much time devoted to the founders and leaders. Lantern also sounds like a band searching for a type of audience that is initiated in the tradition of death metal. Most of all, quality death metal is the banner under which Lantern labors.
Having said all that, the most important things about Lantern, are the guitar playing and their songs. The riffs are distinctly death metal, but where the real identity is in the way that the guitar functions throughout the songs. Solos and melancholies are placed strategically and the impact is abundantly clear. Heaviness by itself is not enough, and they know it. The guitar must work to find ways to capture the listener's focus, pave the way for the listener to comprehend that which Lantern is.
At times, Lantern seems to have overreached their objectives: is it possible to combine melancholic doom with massive death metal in this manner? Could it work?
Yes, it does work, and Lantern proves that. And no, they have not overreached their goals. It can be done.
It is refreshing to hear Lantern be so fearless. Death metal can be heavy as heavy is, and memorable, while maintaining the vibe of "death metal for a selective audience," and standing apart on its own as Lantern.
Do you want death metal that strives and sweats to stand on its own?
Lantern deserves a chance. Death and doom done right.

excellence and elegance in doom: Graveyard of Souls (Spain): "Shadows of Life"

excellence and elegance in doom: Graveyard of Souls (Spain): "Shadows of Life"
Masterful, excellent, and outstanding.
First of all, this is very, very highly recommended for those that really enjoy doom metal.
Second, even those who are "not into doom" --because they think that doom is "too slow" or "boring," or they don't like what they perceive a retro-70s and stoner tendency-- will in all likelihood be very pleasantly surprised to find that Graveyard of Souls is actually something different from the stereotypes about doom.
Graveyard of Souls is so good that they transcend their genre, and that's something special. When a band writes songs that go beyond the small corner of genres, when the songs have such quality that categories make no sense, then that's when a band truly stands out above the limits, and can connect with different audiences, whether that is doom or black or death or heavy or gothic metal, or more.
Here is a poor attempt to describe what they sound like: The vocals are growled. But wait a minute! It is elegant growling!! What's elegant growling? That's growling that fits the music perfectly, it is growling that is mixed correctly in the sound, that is produced appropriately, that is a balance between heaviness and melancholy, smooth and massive. Most growling is aggressive and mean, trying to chew off the listener's ear or whatnot, but Graveyard of Souls is concerned with taking the listener's senses to a place beyond shallow delectation, and wants the listener to embark upon a journey to a wonderland. A journey where? A journey to your own imagination!
The music is uptempo/midtempo in a doom way, not slow. It is bouncy music. Vibing. With atmosphere; melancholic, melodic, an enchanted heaviness.
Graveyard of Souls is not satisfied with simply having heavy riffs, which they do have. There is a sense that they have worked extremely hard at adding hooks and melancholy above the heavy riffs. In reality, they have done that for all the songs, so that there are hooks, licks, solos, and melodies everywhere.
That's the art of working and re-working a song until it stands on its own, distinct from the others. Of course, it sounds like the same band, and the songs all sound like part of an overall framework, but the point is this: that it is not monotonous or repetitive.
That's how it seems to me, anyway.
Of course, people into classic Candlemass, early Katatonia, "Gothic"-era Paradise Lost, Slumber's album "Fallout," or more recently, Daylight Dies and October Tide should find an abundance of fun in Graveyard of Souls.
I think all relatively open-minded listeners, who are not anti-doom, who do enjoy some atmospheric, melancholic and melodic uptempo metal should also check it out, on account of the strong songwriting.
At this moment, due to my present temporary location, I cannot access much information about Graveyard of Souls. Did two people play on the album or is it all by one person? Is this a band or studio project? Is that a real drummer or drum programming? Are there other people involved? I cannot say right now. I'm just telling you about the music, and I'll leave it at that for now.

melodic, black-core metal: Eshtadur (Colombia): "Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me"

melodic, black-core metal: Eshtadur (Colombia): "Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me"
The first song I heard by Eshtadur was the title track "Stay Away from Evil and Get Close to Me" and I liked what I heard. That song, and "Son of a Witch" showcase, in my perspective, the band's strengths. In both cases the music is faster, melodic black metal, with a clear sound quality, and both numbers are immediately intelligible, and likable. Coming across as a "modern" band, they do well, with a youthful energy that is encouraging.
The raspy vocals and the drumming, in particular, appear to be by musicians with a good attitude and effort. At times, the drumming seems to carry the brunt of the song, pushing forward the speed and rhythm. Similarly, the vocals are pretty good, with some death metal low growling in places, to add variety, as well as some really screechy yelling.
One thing that I do find surprising is how much Eshtadur actually mixes their influences and wear them on the sleeves. At times, I think the unity of the sound takes a turn for the worse because the more midtempo moments illustrate a feature of the band that is not their strongest, in my opinion.
In particular, I find some of the guitar work to be less effective when the music is midtempo. When the music goes fast, the riffs, while perhaps reminiscent of melodic/growl metal's most influential band's, sounds friendly to my ears.
The midtempo moments show a recurring tendency to sound like "metalcore," including with breakdown moments, such as found in the most famous core/breakdown/melodic/growl bands. To me, that does not sound as effective. Bands can mix all sorts of influences, and I'm sure that perhaps a younger audience would like that, given that that style is widely popular, like Killswitch Engage. However, in the case of Eshtadur, the chugga-chugga guitar goes a long ways towards undoing the ferocity of the speed in others songs or other parts of the songs.
Eshtadur sounds promising. To me, it would be better to concentrate more on the non-breakdown, non-core style, and instead use the strengths to build on the sound of the band, to reach out for the sound that can be consolidated in Eshtadur, along the lines of the better songs here, in the style of fast, melodic, symphonic metal.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

post-genre massively heavy post-whatever metal: Inter Arma (U.S.): "Sky Burial"

post-genre massively heavy post-whatever metal: Inter Arma (U.S.): "Sky Burial"
More than 1 hour and 9 minutes.
It is indispensable to have patience. Lots of patience.
And then a bit more patience, with Inter Arma.
They begin this long journey with a black metal song called "The Survival Fires." In this song the band already shows the epic-brain-freeze the listener will experience, but the black metal makes it much more easily understood.
Not only that, there are many, many positives about Inter Arma. They have a great sound. It sounds human, and not robotic, no clicky drums and all that stuff.
Here's the kicker: Inter Arma will destroy anybody's rules about what genre goes with what style, and whatnot.
Before I give you a headache with the description of the sound, I want to tell you also that Inter Arma probably will become a big deal in the future and you will not be able to avoid them, unless they break up. People who get to liking this band will become zealots because this is so ambitious.
OK, now to the sound: If you listen to the complete album, you will hear: black metal, doom, shoegaze, drone, funeral doom, folk, space rock, sludge, death metal, grind, punk, crust, post-hardcore, post-metal, amongst other things.
Unless you hear the complete title, Inter Arma might sound like a compilation of different bands.
But that's why they have long songs, you see?
They need the room to transition from one segment to another.
Is this their masterpiece?!
I would say so, and would think that they never, ever will top this, but somehow they sound capable of anything... anything!
Again, this is for you only if you are a patient and adventurous music listener. This thing will take weeks to sink in. Very interesting and impressive.