Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 15 metal albums of 2011

The trend this year IS to make top 15 lists instead of the classic top 10. The rise of the Ipod allowing us to digest more music. With Metal this was not a problem though with rock music I had a harder time finding 10 much less 15.Being O.C.D , making lists which rank things in any order became an all to intensive task where i broke out spread sheets and devised scoring formulas.While engaging in that sort of crazy behavior for this I gave my self a little veto power.I looked for good songs, originality, and staying power... how much it was listened to over the course of the year. So here we go in count down order.
the top 15 metal
15-Skeleton Witch- Forever Abomination -Ok thrash is making a comeback i got it . What this album has on some of the others that didn't make the list, ...toxic Holocaust, Absu, etc, is a dark sense combined with hooky guitar interplay and fantastic song. alot of the other bands in a similar vein just didn't tie it altogether as perfectly for me . Sure the vocals are a little one dimensional but we rocked past it.

14-Peste Noire... L'Ordure à l'état Pur- one of the more unique albums on here, captures a sleazy night of debauchery in Paris or perhaps this is gangsta black metal. The songs are winding almost Mr.Bungle-ish adventures and i would have digested them more regularly if i still did drugs.

13-An Autumn For Crippled Children-Everything - Ever wonder what the Cure's Wish album would sound like if covered by a black metal band? This comes close to capturing that. To be considered depressive suicidal black metal this album is oddly uplifting.This is the year i also re-considered medication.

12-Leviathan - True Traitor , True Whore- This came out late in the year so yet to have it fully grow on me so i can absorb it for the masterpiece i will one day recognize it to be, so for now I see it as Wrest's musical therapy after being charge with sexually assaulting his ex-girl friend with a tattoo gun. If he had actually done this it would have been the most metal moment of all time. the creative growth on here is remarkable and needs more time to sink in.

11-Blut Aus Nord - 777 deSanctification - This feels more like a piece of modern classical music than a black metal album. Dense and seething like a storm cloud in hell. It's more of a score than songs but i don't skip it when it comes on shuffle and fits my mood perfectly for early sunday mornings.

10-Krallice - Diotima- This album may cause dizziness , don't listen it operating heavy machinery . The guitar work on here was created by gloves of + 5 dexterity and worn by a chaos mage. It embodies one of the things i look for in good black metal to be pummeled by the ambiance.

9-Moonsorrow- Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa- Epic blackend folk metal .I am sure this one topped the pop charts in Middle Earth. I for one have rolled many a 20 sided die to it this year. While the songs are sprawling variations of a theme, it's a theme to ride into glory to.

8-Taake - Noregs Vaapen- Raw Norwegian black metal that still manages to be melodic and experiment beyond the tried and true which at this point would be stagnant.For all it's experimentation none of the fierceness is compromised.Another album i didn't get a hold of until later in the year but it ranked high because i was impressed with the song writing and creativity .

7-Woe - Quietly Undramatically- This howls with fury in a way few American Black Metal bands can capture. While not taking as many chances as Krallice or Liturgy, they make up for it in grit. There's a strong aftertaste of post-hardcore, but that's not a band thing.

6-Loss- Despond - Normally i would not consider myself a fan of funeral doom or doom of any flavor aside from the Doctor, but this album plods with beauty. It trudges the road to unhappy destiny in a way that really resonated with me. it is however better played at home than out and about on my ipod which is why it isn't ranked higher.

5-Primordial -Redemption at the Puritan's Hand- though i was a little disappointed these guys are atheists and not pagan, this one rocks with a grim epicness which made me forget that. Very cohesive playing throughout that always serves the songs. In fact the superior quality of the song writing is why these guys scored so high as i am not always in the mood to roll like Braveheart.

4-Shining- Född förlorare- OK, these are not the Swedes you are looking .They are no longer depressive -suicidal black metal or black metal of any flavor , but like charlie sheen are rocking out like total fucking rock stars from mars . if you have seen the video from this one you know its true. It recalls old Opeth which is fine with me since Opeth is now Emerson Lake and Palmer.

3-Liturgy-Aesthethica- My ipod doesn't care about triple h's pontificating . No all it knows is it likes the abrasive shimmer of guitar these guys spit out. Are they Hipsters? Prolly so, but unlike most hipsters these guys get it done so maybe the Hipsters in Brooklyn rock but everywhere else suck, i dunno. I do know this shit is blisteringly pretty and has stood the test of time when other albums got deleted.

2-Tombs- Path of Totality- Speaking of hipsters i heard this streaming on npr before release and yes i already had winter hours, what impressed me was how dark this son of a bitch is . I am not sure if this is black metal or not but god flesh raping joy division the bowels of the hollow earth. Not a bad word to be said here.

1-Burzum - Fallen- When i was putting this list together , i forgot this album had come out the first of the year, i just thought of it as another classic from the Varg vaults. It has that kind of a timeless quality to it. the addition of clean vocal melodies is positive growth from an old dog you wouldn't assume to be learning new tricks.The vocal hooks on this one i find myself singing under my breath today just as much as i did in January .It has every element i want in my metal...of course aside from King Diamond like yodels. I think Varg's legend obscures the fact he makes some fucking killer music as my inner teenager would say. In a year obviously dominated by black metal it only makes sense he has to take the number one spot.

ok non-metal ...that exists you know .

10- Ancient VVisdom-a God Like Inferno - You think this was going to be kvlt as hell but it turns out to be campfire songs for Satan. I don't have any of those in my Ipod so yes please and thanks.

9-Puscifer- the Conditions of My Parole- I love Maynard, but the first album from these guys didn't do alot for me mostly because all of the songs were sung in a register lower than what i feel he should record a whole album in. This one he is back into his A Perfect Circling croon. I think the scope of melodies he has to work with here lends it's self to more compelling song writing. Sure there are a few songs which sound like Tool's deleted out takes but thats life at the vineyard .

8-Cult of Youth- self titled- This had to grow on me in part because i was unsure about the singers often out of key bellowing. There's also something kinda like if the Pogues wrote their lyric with a Ouija board to this as well. Not to mention the whole are these hipsters trying to find the irony in Death in June factor, But when i made it past that i had fun with it.

7-Mogwai- Hardcore Will Never die but you will-They have been at this for a long time. Another one of those bands who i did not require as much listening time from when i quit doing drugs, however rather than ride on the name they have made for themselves they have craft some beautiful songs here , they have fit many a mood this . You know they have a killer guitar tone , now they have killer melodies to serve with it.

6-the Devil's Blood- Thousandfold Epicenter - Yes , if they ever flirted with metal then they have decided to see other people. The whole occult element seems toned down and the production heavy handed, but great musicianship, i mean unrealized guitar gods of the freedom rock variety. The Jefferson airplane has indeed landed on their street. Now is the singer going to start wearing skimpier outfits?

5-Pain of Salvation- Road Salt Two- Another band who once flirted with metal continues to drift into other waters. I like this one much better than it's predecessor as the blues shuffle felt a little forced to me , i think it is also a good idea the faith no Mormonism is left at home. The vocals are what wins it for me here, the most dynamic singing of the year.

4-Royal Thunder- Self titled Ep- Ok this is only ep i allowed to rank on either list, though Cynic's would be a close second place but feels like Goldilocks would find it too small and this one just right. This is also the only band in the ATL i am giving props, as they put their best foot forward where Mastodudes put out what sounds to be an album of b-sides, i think they might have been wiser to put out an ep instead but oh well. I think Royal Thunder would like to be a metal band, but i think they fill this middle ground much better. the singer sometimes reminds me of Lita Ford, but is full of darkened soul, these songs have a great feel which ranks them this high . if that makes any sense.

3-Glasvegas- Euphoric Heartbreak- The fact that this band's sophomore slump is better than almost everything other rock album that came out this year ,says something. their first album was so good that the bar was set pretty high. the song " what ever gets you through the night " could be my favorite song of the year. i wanted them to take the gut wrenching and tear jerking to 11 but instead i got something wanting to be pop. However this collection of coming out of the closet lamentations fills the void Placebo left when they decided they were just going to start dialing it in. Once the fact this doesn't pick up where the first album left off has begun to sink in i think i can get more out of this than i have in my initial listens and is growing on me .

2- The Decemberists- the King is Dead- In some ways this is a perfect album but this is the Decemberists we are talking about so you know what thy are capable. everytime i wanted to cross my arms and complain they were selling out i was brought back to the fact these are really good songs. Ok leaning towards country and not a sea shanty to be found, but after Hazards of Love i can understand why they would want to strip it down and hey R.E.M isn't making this kind of music anymore so i'll take it.

1-Zola Jesus- Conatus- the lady gaga of Witch house? sure she prays at the altar of Siouxsie. But the conviction she sings with is what helped give her the edge over everything else i have heard this year. i can listen to it all day .the perfect blend of bleak and beats. She gets alot of feeling and sound out of employing very minimal elements. i relate to every lyric it's one of those things where it is the album that sums up where i am at in life so that factors in why it rates so high , not to take away from what she has created . like charlie sheen says of partying .."whats
not to love. looking to make a road trip to see her.

overall list
1-Zola Jesus- Conatus
2-Burzum- Fallen
3-Tombs - Path of Totality
4-Liturgy -Aesthethica
5-the Decemberists- the King is Dead
6-Shining- Fodd forlorare
7-Glasvegas- Euphoric Heartbreak
8-Primordial- Redemption at the Puritans hand
9-Loss- Despond
10-Woe- Quietly Undramatically

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Glorior Belli - the Great Southern Darkness

And to think i was surprised when i found out Gojira was from France. Glorior Belli, not only stands apart from their peers in the already diverse French Black metal scene , but sounds like drug addicts New Orleans rather than rolling out from the suburbs of Paris.
Their newest release finds them treading a similar path they followed on the 09 album " meet us at the southern sign. Upon my first couple of listens to this one i have to say it sounds darker to me, than the previous effort, they have dabbled further in the blues and sound more authentic at doing in than most american sludge bands. For the most part raw mid-tempo black metal , like an Acid Bath influenced version of Watain , this comparison is further drawn when the occasional clean vocals come in which invoke Dax Riggs from the Pagan Terrorist tactics days .
The guitar comes across dirty dark and creepy as black metal should , the dirty element never comes from lack of production, every thing sounds right in place, this is not under produced for the sake of being kvlt.
As i normally bring up the fact i listen to most albums in chunks on my ipod shuffle mode, to sit and digest this one today was a treat, the album was an easy listen, the next thing i new when i put it on i was four songs into. I am sure some one will want to label them the next Watain, i am not going to do that ,Watain has a dirty sound but it is dirty like the worms in the stage carcasses , where as Glorior Belli would be a good replacement for SLEEP if a sequel to Gummo is ever made . By all means smoke 'em if you got 'em to this while spray painting a pentagram on the back of the double wide.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Non-metal is the new Metal?

It's not secret music outside the bounds of metal is a huge influence on what we band our heads to. It trickles down from musicians pulling from a broader range of influences to listeners , who in the age of mix cd's to Ipods have wider taste buds , even back on the days of myspace the dude with corpse paint on in the music section, would have the random vnv nation or skinny puppy listed. so listening to other forms of music has been acceptable to some extent, though not as widely embraced in the troll circles of sites like metal sucks or blabbermouth.
Recent headlines show Metallica, teaming up with lou reed and Mastodon's latest album full of Thin Lizzy inspired phrasing, but even the more brutal purveyors of real metal ...not what Lars and co try to pass off, such Erik Danielson of Watain who claims he wouldn't be making music if it wasn't for Feilds of Nephilim, who Behemoth also claims as an influence. Varg has said in interview aside from classical music the only band he listens to is the Cure, and Carpathian Forest have covered them. Goth is of an only once removed cousin to metal, the two are more closely intertwined than you average fan might care to admit.
So today we are going to look at ten non metal " bands" the term use more loosely in some instances , if you are going to listen to stuff that's not metal i think tonally it should be a comfortable shift in the ipod , some of it is music that is heavy and dark in mood rather than in chugging guitar.
first off my most recent obsession
1-Zola -Jesus, ... why a metal head would dig it well it's dark and has a subtle abrasive quality to , the siouxsie influences front and center , the vocals both beautiful and almost ominous , un happy electronica , noise under tones, if you don't like female singers or keyboards , this isn't for you but if the yeah yeah yeahs are too upbeat then here you go
2-Rasputina... i had dated more girls who liked this band than any other, so had a prejudice against them until last fm wised me up, mainly cellos and drums, smatterings of piano and other instruments are present like scattered parts of a porcelain doll hit with a hammer, sure the singer sounds like a spoiled child from the Victorian era but the song writing and bizarre lyrical content makes up for it
3-Murder By Death... by their name you prolly though these guys were metal any way, if you checked them out you found it was former members of Cursive making dark western music whose closest relative is maybe Morphine, while they do rock out in their own way it is never through blunt force, the occasional screamed vocal comes into the back ground normally low in the mix ,
4-Slow Dive... highly regarded in the shoe gaze circles, for fans of Alcest who are ready to take the plunge into the real thing, i think most fans of dsbm could appreciate them as well, the guitar sound drowns you as it add as flood to your rainy day
5- Tiger-Army... if you listen to punk rock or dated a chick who has you might have already heard these guys, the pattern with all my picks so far is they are dark, these guys could fall into psycho-billy, the punk edge is still there, like a fusion of A.f.i and chris isaak at times , no not the really duran duran ish A.F.I, though he doesn't ever shred per se, i think guitarists can appreciate their chops, they have balls to them and sing about death as well.
6- Blonde Redhead... ok you can listen to them with out becoming a total hipster now, very experimental while maintaining, drugged out pop hooks..that's popin the carpenters manner of speaking not Katy Perry , their guitar swirls around you like methadone cotton candy, they can be intense at times with out pouring on the loud
7-Aesop Rock...yes this is rap, but it doesn't make you feel like a your are pretty fly for a white guy for listening to it as he is very intelligent and subversive, spits out some pretty grim images and isn't laying on the bass to rattle your car but more challenging sonic landscapes , a very unique rap voice as well
8-the decemberists ... like rush if you judge them by the radio songs you aren't getting a very clear picture of what they actually do this is the only prog band i am putting on here because , most of you i expect already are familiar with yes and king crimson, sure there are acoustic guitar's and Colin's bright vocal tone , but he sings about murder normally grisly murder like macabre would write about , so if you aren't into prog , you still might like these guys , his placement of melody is catchy and unique, while their radio exposure has the wrong people listening to them they are still one of my favorite bands selling out and all
9-Skinny Puppy...i have already praised the Swans, so this is the next most metal non metal band after them, they have every thing you need from a metal band with out being metal... harsh toned vocals , slicing guitar samples, they match Carcass in the lyrical department, don't let the drum machines scare you away
10-Diamanda Galas - she's the only one on this list not already in my ipod, i'm not sure why she isn't , i think i tried to find the album she did with john paul jones online and couldn't and tapes don't convert over so well, any way more satanic than 90 percent of your black metal , she 's fucked up and not fucking around , check out her black mass, she makes gospel music evil and is on a Rotting christ what more do you need

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Swans live sept 16th

While not by most definitions metal ,live Swans crush almost every metal band i have seen, the elder states men of post/ rock , sludge and industrial . they opened last night with about ten minutes of feed back before Micheal Gira took the stage to build into the crescendo with the opener from their most recent album " my father will guide me up a rope to sky, in their two half hour set the songs from this album dominated the set the only old song was the jarboe sung" i ", Gira handled the vocals to give the song a different meaning, he flailed his arms like a much younger man, once the sound level's even out in the mix his voice retained it's warm rich baritone resonance , evident on the closer "eden prison" and the rare encore of " little mouth".
They played the new song apostate which live version have circulated on youtube this summer, if any indication of the direction the songs to come are taking it is clear from Gira's howls , the have come back to prove they wrote the book on what the kids of today like Boris, Earth, and Jesu have laid claim to in past 14 years Gira has been exploring experimental country with Angels of Light.
Newcomer Chris Pravdica's bass playing was fluid and powerful under current
One of the highlight's was when multi instramentalist Thor Harris put down the mallets, in favor of other instruments like a clarinet , violin, or Appalachian dulcimer, allowing the expansive sonic pallet of the band to become fully
realized. Kristof Hahn's heavily delayed pedal steel created a mournful cacophony of surreal ambiance as the counter point, their trademark searing bright guitar tones.
I will admit, the urge to hear songs like "killing for company" or " Blood Promise" was a subtle itch amidst the pummeling, where on the albums the more melodic sections provide a hypnotic interlude, but the evening was more focused on Micheal Gira's wardance. He flailed and stomped into the clubbing chords creating a wall of sonic blunt force. Despite this i have the upmost respect for Gira to look forward rather than back, their legacy intact rather than a trek through the nostalgia, he could have brought Jarboe back for that, the only remnant of the good ol days was classic albums at the merch table , balance out in equal parts with discs of their current solo endeavors.
the band made themselves easily accessible in the lobby after the show and the sincerity in Gira's firm handshake was an example of a rare legend with integrity, after seeing a show like this it makes you re-think the other shows you had planned on attending in the near future as the bar is raised so high on many levels.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Post Dragon-con review

If you don't know what dragon is then, refer to my willsmashforcomics blog. While metal is for the most part a largely neglected subculture at dragon-con who leans more towards goth... though i suspect , if a poll of attendees were taken the metal heads would out number the goths, as goth is a somewhat stagnant genre commonly more associated with the fashion more than the music which is a very broad umbrella with no defining characteristics like metal , both dead can dance and christian death fall under it's canvas but neither sound a like. where with metal as some point you know there is going to be distorted guitar crunching down sooner or later , though more often than not sooner.
So judging by t-shirts alone, Kamelot is gaining popularity even with the departure of roy khan as there was an overabundance of shirts from the new tour, also folk metal has taken a foot hold as i saw ,eluveitie and korpiklaani shirts and had a conversation in line about moonsorrow with a guy.
of course always have to bring metal into the picture i injected it into two panels , one in the alternate history track on vikings , when the topic turned on the Christianization of norway , i brought up the church burning done by black metal bands as being a national socialist movement of course then went over their heads . secondly in the goth is the new goth panel , which was one the changing face of goth, the emphasis was place on hipster indie rock bands with goth influence, i brough up the influx of black metal bands with goth influences , ...lets see watain, behemoth, Burzum... varg has said the cure is the old band he listens to outside of classical music. once again met with confusion, doc hammer brought up celtic frost saying they did it but that scen was on a stagnant flatline, the singer of bella morte claimed to have been a metal head citing metallica and iron maiden ...which are much more mainstream, the bass player of loss who was the panel's moderator was the only one who got it . i got the chance to speak to him briefly as well , his only comment about the decent album was ..well its been getting some good reviews .
so a weak weekend for metal... the cruxshadows are the most popular band at this con and they are basically monotone pop in black , though their britney spears like back up dance had on pink to keep it real .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Opeth - Heritage

So by now you know the album has leaked , and i will keep this brief because i doubt there will be a lack of coverage and there are more underground bands who deserve the space on here , an Opeth release can't be over looked though with this album there was a moment of questioning if i should include it on here as it's not really what would be considered metal. Prog -rock yes, and it was no secret Akerfeldt was abandoning the use of growled vocals. His clean singing is stronger , though not as rock n roll as he hinted in interviews he gave earlier in the year There are moments where the songs drive in a forceful manner like the 2nd half of " the lines in my hand" or the slight chug to folk lore, the first song that has really grabbed me, but unless i need repeated listens there are not many moments which reach beyond being heavier than their friends in Porcupine Tree, a non-metal band with a large metal following.
The jam band element often brings me to expect a " hello bonnaroo " in-between songs, the muscle in the bass playing keeps it from gong into total phish territory, the swing and groove to most songs overshadows the darker elements which were prevalent in Opeth's music almost making the first half of the album too happy for me, the last few songs it begins to darken. The rhythm section shines here, the drumming and bass playing take center in a way not unlike King Crimson or Tool. Fans of the Damnation album will feel comfortable with this one and love the acoustic intervals , but if you are looking for another " your arms my hearse" uh ...not so much . since it is so well done i don't think this is going to get the same kinda reaction Morbid Angel received and they will either lose more of their metal base and pick up the jam kids who where on the fence with them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peste Noire - Lordure a letat pur

Ok finally got it done , maybe not the night i said i would but i'll write it off as being dragon-con week. Ok i'm going to skip right over the controversy and who used to be in the band , because i think the music is really all that matters here. This is a unique album in many ways, the french have made some outstanding black metal and experimentation seems to be their signature, there are things like drum machines on this that work in ways morbid angel could have only dreamed about, but it comes across here as something more dangerous like the ghettos' of paris roll with black metal gangsta's and i mean that in the most o.g. dr. dre way that doesn't imply metal metal. you know i kept reading these reviews saying haow the disma album had a filth to it , i neve heard it but here i dirty in a much different way, there is a sleaze to that makes you realize this guy famine is,'t fucking around and is more likely wearing a ski mask rather than corpse paint.
being from france their are some real edith piaf moments as well, it has the swagger of vaudeville, then there are beautiful moments of meticulously picked acoustic guitar before the slinky barrage cimes back in. the vocals are tortured and crazed with the expected rasp, their craze is no unlike that of sigh in more departments than vocals alone the high theatrics of controlled chaos run rampant over this album, the bass playings is a real stand out as traditional blakc metal bands the bass is very low in mix . i'm convinced , from the sampled gun cocking to the porn samples. their is more human perversity here than i remember hearing from any metal flavored album since the first mr bungle, . can't recommend this enough to the more adventurous black metal fans .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

calling you out ...monstro

when you are a metal head you can smell a poseur a mile away, their is a knowing they get it or they don't, the same goes for bands who want to market themselves as metal but aren't the real deal, there are some local guys with connections , brothers in bands like mastodon, sure they have put in the leg work with bands like torche, bloodsimple , skrew, .... ok skrew should clue you in as they put out a couple of good ones are descendants of angkor wat but largely a solo project armed with hired guns, which is what monstro reeks of hired guns , produced by alice in chains new singer , some of the band came out of band called piece dogs , who also spawned the drummer of sevendust ...a nu metal bands who lost it years ago, there's that element of trying to redefine your 90's alternative roots, so stoner metal is the target here, do you think any one on the tour with the sword and kyuss lives are going to be fooled? ok they guy from torche is in... they were heading into foo-fighters territory on their last album and that is what it reeks of , so very middle of the road bland and uninspiring , i'm sure you can find some distortion some where but not a pair 0f balls . would josh homme wipe his ass with this ? what would wino think? or steven von till ? not fucking much , this is a hype machine on a rampage and any one who buys into are the same people who would defend judas priest for appearing on american idol

the next level of hell

Ok , i am going to sit down tonight and bust out a review of the peste noire album, i need another listen to really approach the dirty beast. After a blazing summer, which heat for me makes metal harder to engulf myself in as every thing is already irritating me. now as the cusp of fall i feel another layer of discoveries are opening themselves up to me , a new album by an autumn for crippled children, and a new one from glorior belli, which has a late September release date, so i doubt that one will be popping up online anytime soon.
I also stumbled across Hypomanie's newest release which came out with very little fanfare to fade into an undeserved obscurity. while many bands get the post rock they actually deserve it and sound as if they might have spun daydream nation a time or two . Life post -dragon con always bears a certain bleakness the transient nature of my personal life high lights this so my sound track need to reflect this. i wish could find ash borer online but seems to be no luck , i might make another attempt to tonight. some people have suggested they are analog only. i know that's a trend in the hip underground to stay true but i have an 80 gig ipod classic i am slowly filling .
Last fm reminds me i need to give a forest of stars a harder listen, i am currently listening to a station based of an autumn for crippled children so stumbling across many little gems from bleak shadows of hell.
i am noticing alot of german and russian music in this vein doesn't do much for me like this band liam playing now why they are tagged with black metal i don't know , they have more in common with mogwai
all this is to say there is alot of review coming to this blog after the con- we'll kick things off with peste noire before the night is over

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vader- Welcome to the Morbid Reich

In case i'm not covering enough brutal stuff on here , i needed to hit the new Vader album, a band i have a sporadic history with. My first exposure to them was when they opened more Morbid Angel on the domination tour, and i was so stoned i was perplexed why they were so angry, i remember thinking the reminded me of Kreator.
My first thought when checking out their newest effort is this is the album Morbid Angel should have made. Maybe these guys were thinking this as well when they titled the album. To be honest straight forward death metal hasn't been my thing probably since Domination came out. Though some bands ...Ulcerate , would i'm not sure i would call straight forward and Disma, who are getting enough coverage with out my two cents. So for Vader to hook me in is an accomplishment in it's self. Granted i'm have a all brutal day to get pumped for Conan tonight and thought an Unleashed song from 2008 sounded killer ,so we will see when the barbarian buzz wears off.
My other knowledge of Vader is they loan out their drummer to Dimmu Borgir, and he plays with as much fury in Vader as he does in Dimmu, and stacks up well against the likes of Hellhammer. The production on the album stands out the guitar tone in the solo sections is well blended while putting the spot light where it needs to be . The Vocals are more intelligible than anticipated in fact he reminds me of Oderus from Gwar as they are produced with similar effects as those on the scum dogs of the universe album, though think more horror of yig , he never goes into a croon.
Death Metal can become a wall of white noise , the pummeling tends to make all the songs sound the same, this is not the case here,though i can't really say their any tracks that stand out more than others, each has it's own shining moment, if pressed to pick a favorite , would go with come see my sacrifice, the tracks they are coming and ultima thule are segues in the day of the ipod could be avoided. i can see Behemoth comparisons being made and of course those who are still in shock from the great betrayal of morbid angel go find this now .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Iconoclast vs Dedicated to Chaos

Two new albums from supposed leaders in the genre of progressive metal, and to be honest both are little bit of a let down. Granted in this debate there is going to be a slight bias as i am a huge Queensryche fan however there most recent effort , though the term should be use loosely as to the amount of effort put into the song writing seems slim, so i could argue that i am going be harsher on the Ryche as i expect more from them. Symphony has the bar held pretty high you would think after paradise lost and if we put these two albums head to head on a metal forum board , the edge would go to them because it is heavier and an actual metal album where it would be harder to label Queensryche's new as metal. Though it's not a wimpy as i was lead to believe by the rather Foreigner sounding single.
I can say both Allen and Tate both sound less than inspired in the vocal delivery, though Allen' gruffer tone allows him to get away with it . His higher register stalls out never soaring as it's capable and Tate never really gets off the ground from a croon. So lets hear from the prosecution who lays the same charge against both bands , to be so -called progressive both albums feel like a regression , neither break's ground i would call progress or moving their sound forward. in some ways i question the economy coming into play on this , do they feel if they don't take a middle of the road approach they are going to shake the boat ? Granted Symphony x is winning out here as along as they stay heavy a certain metal head fan base is going to stick by that . But i have had a problem listening to this album because all the songs sound the same , and even though it's heavier it's boring song writing , the only progressive elements are the solo sections, so you have keyboard solos to go along with your guitar solos , i guess this is all it takes to be prog these days, some one should call up Robert Fripp and let him know. They had chops on paradise lost so i know it's possible for these guys to be more engaging , but it really sounds like Russell singing Nevermore Karaoke. As many times as i have tried to get into this album, the sogs run together and become a blah .
Quneesryche 's lyrical content is as bad as the new morbid angel's, though served with a plentiful side of cheese , i like the american soldier album , not their most crowning achievement even the cover album had it's moments nd the lyrics on the new symphony x are nothing to write home about either . to be honset this isn't the first time the ryche has wimped out , do you remember an album called Empire ? i think the difference here is the execution in song writing, you can't say the same level of pink floyd plagiarism, there is a riff holding some similarities to fame by david bowie, and at times comes across like robert palmer's rip tide album for reasons i can't place, after listening to the album , i recall there were six songs i thought i could pass for queensryche , though none of the songs are what i would think of as classics ryche in the least .but those six songs are listenable , the more commercial stabs solicited as singles are plain terrible, wot we do and some other power balled i tried to forgot . the chorus' on iconoclast are only slightly less cheesy, while in the minds of a large percent of metal heads can be sold on heavy alone i think iconoclst might slight in that regard , i guess i have until october to see if dedicated to chaos has grown on me, it didn't make the cut to deserve a download onto my ipod so that is a shaky proposition - fans of bland nevermore ish stuff will dig it and continue to swell there popularity with the mall crowd.
in wrestling it would be called a double dis qualification both bands were counted out of the ring for boring me

In solitude - the world , the flesh, the devil

King Diamond/ Merciful fate is one of my favorite musical entities , so when i band get praised as being the second coming of fate or a singer gets compared to king diamond , you have my attention . the devil is getting his due these days as the current retro trend seems to be tipping of the hooded robe to Fate these days , with Ghost in the fore front of this .
While the influence can be heard as In solitude singer launches into a similar mid range moan, absent is King Diamond's soaring falsetto, and truth be told the guy from Ghost doesn't pull it off either , the phrasing of the melodies also wear the king's influence but over all - the riffing is much more maiden, the guitar hit harder than i expected it too, some death growls creep in but are restrained, the soloing is proficient while derivative , i find myself listening to find where the bands personality comes through and it seems to more on the harder galloping sections , which border on thrash. these remain so slavish devoted to the time period they are trying to recapture it plays as both their strength and their weakness. While it sell the over the top serpents are rising chorus , it also cause the songs to start to sound the same , a little more texture and variance could set the songs apart.
At the end of the day when it comes to a blast from the past i would much rather ;listen to these guys than Toxic Holocaust , up against , i would have to give Ghost the upper hand in the song writing and having their own personality while giving a wink at their influences . Poisoned , Blessed and Burned is song to give a listen to on this album as all their strong suits fire to kill here , the slower intro , the punches and guitar flourishes work their best . If you want more head banging and less art then this album will make you happy and who knows it might keep growing on me i have only listened to it all the way through a couple times so they jury is still out on what kind of staying power it has .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Talking bout False

while / is funny , the pedestal the purveyor of this blog sets is pretty high as he decides what metal is and isn't and calls people out for being false like a troll on blabbermouth ...which i am all in favor of . However reading a post on how he discovered metal , i was shocked to hear it was through watching the tv show Ecw Wrestling as an adolescent which would put him between 13 and 19 - tires screech to a halt so going into high school this means you weren't listening to metal ? huh????
i think most ten year olds have a pretty good grasp of what music is and what kind they like - by ten i liked ozzy, kiss, alice cooper , iron maiden, grim reaper and motley crue... you see it was the summer of 1985 right after my 10th birthday that i found out what selling out was when motley crue put out an album call theater of pain and proceeded to stink up the place and open the door for a band of copy cats called poison to further drag the standard down. the imagine of motley crue in pink was wiped out of my mind with in a month when i watched a live broad cast of a re-united black sabbath preform at live -aid . i had waited by the tv all morning for them to come on, so please tell me what metal is.
By the time i was in the 9th grade i had a different king diamond shirt to wear every day of the week and my hair down my back.
which means in 1992 you were listening to rump shaker or pearl jam at best, obviously beavis and butthead was on tv which had tons of metal on it as well as a show called head bangers ball which if you did not watch that while it was on the air ...i think the poseurs are over their listening to high on fire and being ironic as they grow mustaches.
but hey its the internet we can be what ever we wan on here right ??

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Forgotten Tomb/ Shining

doing a two in one review here , for a few different reasons, lets just say the 2011 releases from these two bands are in the same neighborhood, even though one band is from Italy the other from Sweden. They in the past have shared a drummer but earlier work from both bands set them apart from one another where here The similarities are more pronounced , particularly strange as both bands have taken a stylistic shift .
Lets start with the opening act Forgotten Tomb and their release "Under Saturn Retrograde." Both albums have migrated from the Depressive Suicidal Black Metal sound into something more straight forward. Forgotten Tomb straddled the fence from Funeral Doom to Dsbm, the doom presence takes a back seat except in a few instances when they do the most noticeable difference in style occurs , like the clean vocals on the song shutter , which carry a bluesy almost Corrosion of Conformity feel.
Forgotten Tomb i'm not sure they benefit from this progression as much as Shining, their guitar work for me always stood out , and perhaps it's the production but the tight compression on the guitar marks a more run of the mill distortion, when complimented with the chugs and pitch harmonics , it seems like a step back. The drummers use of his china cymbal, feels more like a cowbell and also give them a more rock n roll sound.
The strong suits of the album wrestle against questionable choices like the cover of " i wanna be you dog " . Joyless makes up for this with it's Type o Negative vocals , though the rock n roll vibe picks up midway through, making me miss some of the creepy chords of the earlier material. Not sure if this is a move responding to label to expand their audience base. The playing despite the production is strong, the guitars get interesting enough at times to make me forget the straying from drew me to this band in the first place. the part two of the recaptures some of their earlier ambiance with the inclusion of the mournful acoustic guitar building into a melodic lead section.
This is by no means a bad album, there are certain more commercial aspects of some of the riffing taking on an almost arena rock tone at time that raises my eyebrows, but i'm sure i will get over it, and it is yet to be seen if it's one of the releases i grow into.
while embracing what could be seen as more commercial elements Shining's Fodd Forlorare, or born loser is still pretty dense, the riff have not only hooks but claws. The album seems angrier than depressed . Strangely even months after this album's release, the band was already in talks with King Diamond guitarist to produce this album's follow up. A big difference in my ears to Forgotten Tomb's nipping at their heels, is the more effective use of clean vocals, they stay consistently melancholy and i think bring back the eerie desperation of earlier days better than the harsher ones which sound more pissed than tortured. the clean vocals on one track are sung by Haken Hilman of Nordman, a band which broke up due to Haken's drug problem but have since reformed, one has to wonder if Niklas Kvarforth met him in rehab , or perhaps the swedish drug scene is closely knit among the rockers.
The tempo has picked up for this album , a direction they have been headed for the past couple releases. there is a enough dynamic shifts on this album to justify this. Where other black metal bands might rely on this as the reins to their one trick pony.The drumming catches up on this album to being as impressive as the guitar work , even the bass player shows some nice melodic embellishments, unique in a genre where bass is buried in the murk of guitar.
Like forgotten tomb, the polished production takes away from the density of their sound yet, with the varied sounds and passages on this one it's not as noticeable i like the cinematic keyboard mix, they are present with out turning the band into Nightwish. One thing i can say for this album is i enjoy it more every time i give it another spin

Friday, July 1, 2011

From Exile -Monolith

Atlanta Band From Exile, you may have heard of via Metal Sucks , as they have connections to Daath, me i have seen there name around but , to be honest most local bands in Atlanta don't have alot of personality to their music , i'm sure this is the case in any town and what separates most bands from the pros , that and hard work , persistence, marketing smarts , money etc ...
so i was surprised when they caught my ear, while they recently put out and album of nine inch nails covers featuring emil wrestler , from what i heard of it didn't really do much for me , so i am going to review Monolith, last years release
They fall into progressive metal in a similar sense that more recent Mastodon does, the chops are a little in the department of an aspiring Dream Theater, where Mastodon is prog by way of Neurosis .
They aren't by any means as heavy as Mastodon, but their songs flow seamless together with a little more ease, Listening to their cd on my Ipod straight through the first three songs seem to be one, the guitar is the stand out throughout , the bass is way down in the mix i have to really open my ear to search for it .
Exhumed stands out as it get heavier here , the vocals come in as well, the are clean and heavily effected , they get props for being original , Porcupine Tree or Newer Ulver is the only comparisons that come to mind. The keyboards are more present in the mix than the bass helping to float into the fifth songs Veritas.
The common theme i find myself returning to while listening , is how fluid every thing moves from one change to another , the arrangements are really their strong point as the music is melodic , it is not hooky, but is like a musical stream floating by me easy listening for metal heads perhaps .
I want to check these guys out live imagine from this album there might be a more jam bandy feel. The guitar harmonies are strong, not as acrobatic as Iron Maiden but once again fluid around each other, the sound is full yet there is alot of room.
If i had any complaint its more of an energetic or esoteric one. The music feels very bright , sure they have a skull on the cover but thats about as creepy as it get , even on the slower almost doomy break, in their heart of hearts this is not the emotional catharsis you get from most metal , there hearts aren't in the heavy, the energy i get from these guys is not that they have had a hard road and done alot of drugs , but that could be said of alot of bands in this genre. If they were and alignment in dungeons and dragons they would be lawful neutral where most metal i listen to is chaotic evil, would say king diamond and ghost would be lawful evil. but alignment aside, this album flows easily to my ears and is more ambitious than most atlanta metal, now if they got hooked on drugs or black magic they might really be onto something but perhaps they are just young and pure of heart . when it comes to metal in the long run i would fault them for that. So i see them perhaps evolving into something else, but in this stage they are worth checking out if you like easy shredding.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Metal and me vs the rest of the world

The state of Metal today is influx, we see the fore fathers of the genre falling from their pedestals left and right from Judas Priest's appearance on American Idol to the New Queensryche, Alot of it is a reflection on the metal head of today, there were people defending American Idol on Blabbermouth, which in the late eighties or early nineties would have never happened .
For better or for worse i think some of it has to do with the hundred sub genre's as every one is off in their little corner of the metal world, the black metal kids are on their sites and blogs , the djent kids are all on metal sucks...which lets face it djent is the evolution of nu-metal, the death metal guys are on their sites , the prog and power metal guys are on world of warcraft, and all the poseurs are now on blabbermouth defending mediocre,
in this climate artists are no longer concerned with albums sales so things like Nostradamus are made - i liked the album but as it could be Priests last studio album Rob was letting his show tunes shine, which i think is what is happening less effectively with Queensryche who used to be one of my favorite bands .
As a kid and this is post Kiss and Alice Cooper who were all i listened to pre -ozzy
my top ten favorite bands were ...
2-King Diamond
3- Queensryche,
4- Priest,
8-Suicidal Tendencies
10-Lizzy Borden
the honorable mentions ... Dio, Twisted Sister, Grim Reaper, Motley crue first two albums and venom
well we know what became of Ozzy, i got turned off by the no more tears album, King Diamond maintained his integrity but his song writing took a turn as he got mired down in the story of his concept album, Priest is on American Idol and there last great moment is going to be painkiller ...though i like Nostradamus, Slayer held out longer than alot of the other until they tried to become a hardcore band, and i found out the satan thing was just a gimmick,
wasp ...mmmm well for hair metal....headless children is the last album i bought by them ...they came back wanting to be marilyn manson , Maiden had a hiccup after no prayer fro the dying which was a step down from seventh son, i think every thing post blaze bailey works for me despite bruces waning pipes
Suicidal tendencies...the last album that worked for me was how will i laugh tomorrow once they started getting funky well rage against the machine wasn't far behind
Motorhead had a good run 1916 where i started to lose interest
Lizzy Borden - visual lies was great they dropped off the map with master of disguise
then came this thing called grunge and with it alternative then my favorite bands became
2-Type o negative
3-Morbid angel
4-Skinny Puppy
5-Life of Agony
6-Voi Vod
9-Faith No More/Mr. Bungle
10- Deftones
Honorable mention during this time deicide, carcass, sepultura, monster magnet , minstry, fear factory, neurosis ,
here's where the sub-genres came in, metal got repackaged and mediocrity crept in as bands started to try to stay relevant...which there is a right and wrong way to go about this see the cross purposes album
Tool, still has it but aren't what you would call prolific
peter steele ...r.i.p, dead again was decent world coming down was a let down after october rust - which i feel surpassed bloody kisses
Morbid angel - once david vincent left -see my review for this years album if you have been living under a rock a missed out on the backlash
Skinny Puppy- after the process ... broke up and reformed with some strong moment even if industrial is now almost non existent
Life of agony got confused and fell apart , now is a retro act of their former glory
Voi Vod- horribly under rated i feel they bridge the gap between thrash and what metal would become , not so sure about anything without piggy
danzig ...have you heard black acid devil, the post john christ chemistry is um...
Gwar held up better than you would think the gimmick would - this toilet earth is solid then like slayer they thought they were punk rock
faith no more - broke up mike patton when crazy and started recording fart sounds and beat boxing on bjork albums - tomahawk is in my ipod
the deftones - well ...after white pony haven't felt the same i can still get down with the faith no more ish elements of the self titled album, they also in my opinion helped make screamo what it is
we went into a mire a murky place for metal after this time the bands who helped me through the murk
Opeth, Acid Bath, Converge, Sleepy time Gorilla Museum, Katatonia, Dredg,
it was also around this time i found myself going back and replacing all the old classics i lost along the way and bridged into black metal for me as i became disillusioned with american metal my new favorite bands would be in no particular order
7-the swans
8-Dimmu Borgir
9- darkthrone
honorable mention- behemoth, shining, moonsorrow, negura bunget who i would tie with alcest but alcest created a subgenre of their own black gaze so they go to stay , you can throw most dsbm like wrests super groups, tombs , a storm of light and the whole retro ghost/devils blood thing in
i know dissection is dead but reinkaos is such a masterpiece and if you mention dissection why watain when they are so similar and it could have been space used for moonsorrow, well watain brings the attitude to mix and keep it real like shining spitting in the face of convention...isn't that what metal is supposed to do
and the swans they could have gone on my post grunge list as i got into them back in 95 0r 94 , but really rediscovered how influential they are ... go ask neurosis
i think nachtmystium carries the flag for us black metal ... but know they are going to buck it
call Dimmu sell outs and frankly the verdict is still out on post ics stuff - they won't always have snowy shaw - but the last album was solid even if not really capable of being actualized live unless you see the footage from the gig with the oslo symphony orchestra which was pretty fucking epic and blew away the show i saw when they played and barren rock club
i like the balls they have to wear their cyber viking suits and make epic shit
that how i want my metal go ask blackie lawless
varg - you crazy nazi, tell the world to fuck off , be unapologetic like King used to be when Them was out,
Fenriz you wannna sound like venom bring you are blowing high on fire out of the water
remember when progressive metal progressed , well Agalloch does
remember when ozzy was desperate and on the run from rehab and rocked like he gave a fuck , blake judd snort another line please
i want my metal to give you the middle finger for satan while high on junk is that too much ask, shining says the Norwegian band with the same names are fags for thinking otherwise

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tombs - Path of Totality

Mike Hill's project tombs released a genre smashing follow up album even featured on npr, here's my walk through listen- though it is not my first listen to the album all the way through , my initial listen i was struck by how sonic this band stays even on the heavier parts
black hole summer - it with the same sonic fury of a band like liturgy before plunging into neurosis land with the roar of chaos reigns. it's a sludge sledgehammer from there the song pounds, though mid tempo it still has a dirge feel
to cross the land - starts off with eerie ring of reverbed guitar, before the bass begins to stalk the song, its allowed to build for two minutes into a blast beat barrage , the vocal remain at a forceful bellow , the guitar tone is hollow and very dark which wins points with me , Hill plays the right notes but is frugal with the ones he plays, after reading metal suck's top 25 modern metal guitarist i am determined to make my own and of course superior list so i find my self keying in on the guitar today . shifting into the dinosaur stomp , i could see where fans of the old mastodon might dig this ,
Constellations - what strikes me about alot of the riffs on here is how dark dense and sonic they are , they are allowed room to breath and ring out before going into the chug
bloodletters- comes in with driving chug and the neanderthal bellow - sprinkled with quick flurries of blast to counterpoint the ringing chords
path of totality- the ambiance is very short lived this song kicks the door in and goes for from the beginning, the vocals little more hateful here , the sonic elements remain present even on the quicker segments this songs goes back into the neurosis territory - there's a nice heavy chug section in this one and though the neurosis comparisons are going to be frequent due in part to the roar and manner they slam down on the lumbering riffs like say locust star , there is still a different ambiance feels more stark than neurosis and less organic, these guys will not be playing hacky sack at steven von till's drum circles .
Vermillion-goes back to the post black metal blister, then the clean vocals - a low croak over a single note break - builds into the growl, the blast beat bursts are one element that keeps their neurosis fixation at bay.
Silent world- the chords get a little brighter , fugazi comes to mind , the low moan of the clean vocals come in and actually make the songs darker , his singing voice is along the lines of a lower justin broadrick, the bass player lays it down solidly towards the end giving the guitar a little more room to float away
Cold Dark Eyes- comes in with another liturgy like blast , the snare sounds a little weak here, and comfortable when when they let up a little bit and go into the more ascendent patterns , at this point the predictability is beginning to set in, when it all dropout and let the guitars ramble, it comes back into a nice melodic guitar line
Blackheaven - starts a little more rock n roll think the cure than the others , before going liturgy at mach speed, this is tremolo picked swells , not slayer , i like the syncopated part here it is still very liturgy- in come the clean vocals , a good move to mix it up before the neuro- howl starts, lyrics can become more discernible even in the rough sections , song has a nice float
red shadows - ok back to the blast beat, minute of that then we get a slower more interesting riff, intros are not their strong suit then more roar kinda going into mayhem territory , like when the bass goes up higher on the middle melodic interlude of a verse, if i haven't mentioned they don't stick to the standard song structure, they have there own variations they stomp through, distorted clean vocals , fade in
ok last one angel of destruction- with the title i thought i was going to get blast beats from the get go instead there is more of a wind up - this might be the darkest song on the album , a very sabbath lumber with lots of space inbetween, the woe is me clean vocals are a nice touch , i like how they are produced my only complaint in production is the snare is a little flat its most noticeable on the blast beats
ok second listen i wasn't as blown away as the first time i heard it - its on my ipod so we will see what subsequent listens bring

Monday, June 6, 2011


ok Morbid Angel generating controversy for changing in some form or fashion here's a band that has generated almost the same amount for being who there are and taking it a step further in Brooklyn's Liturgy and their leader Hunt- Hunter Hendrix- i guess it also makes him triple H.
So here we go for a listen through, the album starts off with High Gold- the guitars strike me of having a bell -like ring to them even in their barrage- the drums play around them accenting the ring, the bass is understated to inaudible, and triple h's black metal snarl, is the only thing to me really rooting them in as black metal , though the share the sonic intensity of black metal bands just as a light as in radiant counter point but there is a certain light quality in the guitar tone as well, the blast beats or burst beat roll in, the give the song a feeling of movement as builds into to staccato drone
True will -starts with a minute choral chant, piercing tremolo guitar pervades this track , faster picked than the first track though many similar elements are there the barrage of ringing guitars and almost jazz-like drumming - i like the Swans like build at the 3 and a half mark of this one it washes into white noise before returning to a similar burst beat feel the song began with, the songs do not adhere to a verse chorus arrangement , and from previous listens i noticed lots of them are variations of a theme
returner- this one starts off hitting you with syncopation and goes into a flowing shimmer , i really like the drums on this songs their is a smoothness to this chaos, the guitar builds into higher passages which seem to burn brighter, back when i smoked pot this album would have required a head phone listen for me to float away to
generation- is a heavier turn, the closest thing i have heard to chug coming from the guys at the minute and a half mark it goes into the holy shit head bob, the snare work is like nothing you have heard before, now the official chug comes into the mix a minute later- so far this is the first song that really stands out from the others , even the kultest metal head would have to give this song props though i could see how an un -adventurous fan of cannibal corpse straight ahead death metal might not consider these guys metal at all - it builds again at the 5 minute mark
tragic laurel - might have weird intro if you didn't catch the first four songs then blast into the fast drumming and majestic tremolo triple h even says the vocals are pretty much an after thought i would be surprised if their are any real lyrics as they are unintelligible, this song pretty much floats on the tremolo picking
sun of light - pretty much picks up where the previous song left off , until the drums fall out and let the guitars make some interesting sounds , they come back in at another minute and a half or so and the blast pummel begins , it sounds on this song at time he might be screaming real words it builds into a blast march is all i can call this section 4 minutes in then back to the shimmer ,
helix skull - starts off sounding like that 8 bit video game music - it beeps on like this for the duration and could stand to be deleted from my ipod
Glory bronze - is a return to form the same ringing shine to the guitars and drums churning the water around them, it breaks down a little at the two minute mark i guess the is the expand and contract triple h has been referring to in his interviews three and a half minutes in the first time these guys dramatically change tempos to slow it down before going back into the dizzy flurry. it builds back into a wave of pearly white noise . the thing i get about this album is the lack of the hate characteristic of black metal -
veins of god - opens in a very god flesh manner before going into a powerful lumber, considering and the rock n riff at the three minute really kills it in some ways because it is such a departure the album's earlier sound , guitar begins to take a slightly more sonic ring and the drone is consistent with the rest of the album , the layer of guitar is also impressive as the song pounds on ,
i like how the machine gun sound at the beginning of red crown almost feels like it ties into the previous song , it really blast back in at a minute and a half and we are back in familiar territory the stop start of the chords ring out on the punches toward the middle helps break up the barrage, it's safe to say though there is a beauty to this music it is still not going to be for every one and even metal heads who are not open minded might find the album difficult due to some of the meditative monotony, but i guess that's transcendence for you. i think the fact i am such a big fan of the swans give me more suited tastebuds for this than if i just listened to mayhem and marduk . glass earth is just a vocal chant which can be left off my ipod , the chant continues into the beginning of harmonia , which has a awesome pounding tempo change a minute and half mark which seems to be where everything happens with these guys , it brings back the heavy in the best way possible , before we return back to the trademark tremolo, which keeps getting faster

Friday, June 3, 2011

Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus

Ok the New Morbid Angel - has the metal messages boards in an uproar and in some cases understandably, death metal is a very narrow genre that does one thing so adding too many elements might alienate the more neanderthal thinking fans who just want grunting and blast beat all the time. so hears my re-listen to , we'll see what has grown on me, the album opens with a militant march of apocalyptic ambiance before going into Too Extreme - i'm ok with the samples , the vocal are not as much growled as they are distorted in production , very ministry , but still heavy the start stop and the goth vocals about two and a half minutes in work for me , over all very industrial , the repetitive we are your new religion vocal line gets a little old , reminds me of behemoth
Existo Vulgore, sounds like a return to form , more recognizable as Vincents growl, the drums get very blasty, more blessed are the sick than altars of madness , this one should be please every one who wanted them to stay the same, i think i would get bored if the whole album kept this tone, shit the new drummer is fast, his snare hits don't have the same power as pete's , Trey's solos sound more melodic and less inspired by ancient ones
blades for Baal- should keep alot of the complaints at bay as will as it too goes back to blessed are the sick period , and what alot of the younger metal heads forget is COVENANT could have been seen as a sell out in comparison to Blessed ... each album as been a change so far i'm ok with everything , some of the drumming is so fast it can sound like white noise, but i think this is the heaviest song so far , yep way more form in Trey's soloing , as a whole so far there is less chaos to the proceedings, ok got it this song is about human sacrifice
I am Morbid- starts of with chanting , not ritual chanting but rock concert chanting, goes into a slower riff with the under current of faster double a trademark, then into a groove, the chords get different , not weird just not what i expected in the pre-chorus , this one has more of a Domination feel it as it's pretty mid tempo and a little old school metal feel to it , almost a Metallica swing, like sad but true, the solo speeds up Trey's chops sound great, his tone right on but much more shredder friendly,
Ten More Dead- on my first run through this was my favorite song- mid tempo, Vincent has a little more of sneer to his voice , very domination again , i like the type - o vocals in the chorus, i'm not sure though if purists would consider this death metal , kinda groove metal like old machine head. on second listen the speed up in the solo section doesn't feel natural , like thats where the song wanted to go but maybe its me, so five songs in and i'm not terribly offended , though the more challenging pieces are on the way .
Destructos vs the Earth- is where the techno elements people have been up and arms really begin to make themselves known, the robotic vocals on the chorus are the only really suspect part , can hear the kmfdm part but then again, i use to like them so i might not be the best party to pass ill judgement, does it sound like Morbid Angel , eh... not really, i think this is more of a sign that Morbid Angel was been out of the game for a while so they are out of the loop that people quit listening to industrial music shortly after Domination came out, if this album had come out in 97 or 98, i think the wince factor would be greatly decreased.
Nevermore- i was never blown away when i first here this song, it busts in thrashing , but i think they are better songwriters than this , the drums become a blurred texture, the faster accented vocals don't gel with me either , the clean ahs are the high light for me, but it does sound more like them than the song before .
as i listen to this i think what needed to happen before the experimenting took place is they need to come back and prove themselves as ass-kickers then they might have gotten away with more on some of these songs.
beauty meets beast- starts off heavy more of a domination feel-the low clean vocals are fine with me , the verse vocals don't feel as growled to me , the gated distortion is on the vocals for sure, i think a wetter where the slime live feel might have worked better, this song doesn't suck but isn't there best , trey has his a game on, but as the sole member who has stuck by this line-up all these years - i think the riffs need to bring the evil a little harder considering they are coming back in days of black metal ,
Radikult -the album's problem child - first off this electronic beat is just weak as are the marilyn manson - nu metal guitars , i guess touring with the genitorturers for so long gave Dave a distorted sense of what the musical climate is and though this songs would have been at hit with the 1999 , that train has left the station guys - there is a decent solo in this song it's just hard to make it too
Pro Fundis - very domination - the mea culpa chant is a little meh- traces of samples float around the song which i think would have been wiser to distance themselves from this and end the song in a slightly more brutal fashion than the way whatever that is haunts the faster riffs and makes them sound like something from an anime movie
ok i would say 5 of the ten songs the first five at that really do anything for me so this would rate 5o% five out of ten , not where they really need to be on their first album back with David Vincent and no Pete Sandoval - did they take this into consideration or do they not care and think the public will just buy anything they put out ? maybe it might grow on me and it could be there will end up only 3 songs i'm not crazy about, i did grow to appreciate that fourth danzig album -so it is possible , and i did not hate chinese democracy either - so i should be ok with this but am pretty split - i think like other i got into heavier stuff so this doesn't seem as crushing

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Altar of Plagues -Mammal- a real time review

This band is blowing writers minds because they are just slapping on the praise , and must be smoking some pretty good weed or trying to tow the hipster party line, i am listening to the album as i write this in real time and on the first of the four tracks i think the shortest song is around 8 minutes , I like any band that is dynamic and takes chances but is Altar of Plagues really the second coming?
At five minutes into Neptune is Dead , the 15 minute opening epic, i can say i like how this song moves and the fact they are heavy sonically, in the same post - metal ball park as Tombs, or even Drudkh, comes to mind , the guitars are carrying all the melody , the vocals seem to be the weak link only offering the one harsh dimension, the build up at 8 and half minutes in great guitar attack into a blast beat , really the first time i hear the black metal come through, and no i am no expecting them to be kult and grim , the drone pummel knows when to relent and that is their strong point when i am on the verge off being over a riff, the neurosis influence is here , it's in the drum patterns
on to the twelve minute feather and bone - the drummer is the secret weapon , here this double bass lead in is pretty sick , and the layered tempo feel is a nice touch ,it has not changed the way i listen to music as one reviewer suggested , part of it even in this song is the flat vocals that feel like an after thought, when you are clocking in songs over ten minutes singing some where would work and not only would be would keep it a little more varied it sounds like jazz i am listening to variations on a theme and not that we are headed into prog territory not in the king crimson sense , the guitar is more skilled at drone than shredding so far , the doom plod dominates the entire middle and we finally have have the singing i was waiting for , see that wasn't to hard was it , pretty simple vocal lines, no great range or range at all really required, a haunting background moan , than a melody to peel your ears for, the rolling guitar line is nice very isis. the black metal comes back for the last two minutes of this song, so i would say doom is more prominent than the sounds of blackness,
at the halfway mark with when the sun drowns the ocean starts with female vocals , sound Japanese, maybe mothra is on the way, then into creepy minimal guitar, sounds like an orchestra tuning if they were about to play a concerto of reign in blood, they bring the beat in at 4 mins in , so this might not be the best song for shuffle mode of your ipod. its a slow build and i predict if they are going to bring it would be at the six minute mark but sounds like they are on sound track mode for this one, the this will destroy you fans would dig this track though on a four song album bot sure if it is needed , but be a deleter her for , to save ipod space, if you are stoned and just using this as back ground music , you are scared and using this as a break to take a piss
now the closer the 13 minute all life converges to some center , opens slow with guitar bringing the doom clean doom but a little sludgey none the less, sludge with a shimmer , and the blast beats are back from spacious groove of sorts, back into a blast beat, the wheel isn't being re-defined, the swell and contract take place again as the song converges to it's center i guess, let the pretty chord ring out ala explosions in the sky if they were darker, at eight minutes into this one i can say the first two songs are the best on here unless a rabbit really gets pulled out of a hat here, but guess we are going back to the blast beats for build up, mmm well instead of that it's a half time snare pop groove still in post rock territory , maybe this is the cross over album for these guys and i'm cool with that , it builds into feedback and doom accented cymbal hits , now a min 15 left see if the bunny comes sounds like we are getting Swans - like noise here and it's kinda washing out with explosions of static - ok thats that , the end solidified my previous statement, i like the first half , middle track brought down the momentum and the last song , is nice background but heard before
looking for black metal this isn't it