Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nachtmystium: Silencing Machine

For all the interviews I have read where Blake Judd sounds like he wants to make the Ministry album that should have been, the Skinny Puppy records were left out of the studio .Though it's not uncommon for songwriter to go into the studio with one idea of what his vision is and the songs take on a life of their own and decide to go somewhere else.

To Judd's credit even though it would have been warranted he never said the standard heavy metal line, this is going too be our heaviest album yet

The open in the ruins of Jerusalem , hits with a blasty mcnasty. Like old cvlt dark throne the intensity of the attack creates its own drone of white noise,as the whirl wind of shrapnel sucks you in. While I can appreciate the lack of subtlety here for what it is the real meat of the metal rises on and I control you, after the few listens is my favorite songs as the eerie melody haunts the background and guitar comes in shredding as called for what more do you need from metal? Sure it's slower paced than the first two but foreboding quality makes it heavier than the albums opening.

The lepers of destitution is a beautiful song, in the same way I prefer storm clouds to feeling the sun on my skin and see where Judd was referencing depressive suicidal black metal, as it has the very somber elegance that makes it sound like fast funeral doom .

Rare in this sort of black metal that you are aware the bass is there playing actual notes . Not to mention his tone is sick, the bass sounding more like a cyborg bullfrog in heat calling out to mate with Dagon. Drummer Charlie Fell is a smart addition as his more bombastic playing style is a prefect fit more the relentless raw vibe of the album.

While the vocals don't have as much variety as previous albums, the one sound they captured is dead , though most of their black magic is in the overdriven production. The lyrical content is a big change as their is less lamenting over addiction and ,ore raging against a dystopian machine. Fitting as the vocal delivery is more angry than a drug torment.

The rock roll element stomps out as needed, the more straight forward traces of left over addicts riffs are actually the albums weaker moments.I has also heard Judd throw around that the album would have elements of depressive suicidal black metal and the only song with which he made good on those claims is the closer " these rooms in which we weep". I'll give this album a ten as I suspect give me the grave will grow on me , it's not boring as to make me want to avoid it just more straight forward on initial listens than I might have wanted but the take the poison prt gets stuck in my head so I will go ahead and round it up from a 9.5 to a 10 as this and Pinkish Black will more than likely be slugging it out for album of the year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Live: A Place To Bury Strangers@Drunken Unicorn 7/24/12

I have heard them called the loudest band in New York and , that title was well defended as I can't remember the last show I attended where my ears still rang into the following after noon. Metal heads, you are missing out on A Place to Bury Strangers. Live they were punishing in the same aural sphere Sonic Youth once was but with much more drive. Feedback is their friend and their lo if light show aided the assault. The comfortably sized crowd did not make the drunken unicorn to cozy and was a gathering of head bobbing slackers not unlike a dinosaur jr show from the nineties.

While I was sober for this, those who weren't could fully appreciated the flashing visuals dancing behind the band, whose pummeling strum seldom relented, in the moe,nts where the dynamic did dip down a notch the vocals were more present and the nuances of the guitars sparkled through the din. Their pulse overpowered the unicorn's p.a.

Not much of breath was given in between songs, feed back prevailed when the clash of pick to string stilled. Guitarist Oliver Ackerman dragged some his his smaller combo amps to the front of the stage bass and drums kept churning. They leaned on material from their previous full length "Exploding head" more than their newest album "Worship" but all of the songs slammed into your ear drums with a more abrasive slant than anything of their studio work.

For me the vocal mix of their studio albums, almost scratches the itch left by bands like Stone Roses, particularly on "Worship" so the jarring transition to the live show where guitar and drums were more prominent took the first two songs of me to settle into and their momentum carried me through the rest of their set. At times the strobes were a dizzying sensory overload, but I like a live show that makes me feel something other than indifferent so overwhelmed I can work with.

I would like to see them in a venue which could give them a larger production value, on a bill with Swans and Liturgy would be a cool transition, though Gira tours with acts dramatically different, not to say comparisons could be made between the two aside from volume. The closest comparison live would be Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but I think A Place to Bury Strangers is more intense in a sonic sense. Overall I would recommend their live show to any one who likes shoegazey guitar that puts a foot up your ass more often than lures you into a dream state.

Merrimack: the Acausal Mass

Celtic for hell pit the band lives up to its name,as it seethes with darkness, the must sweat black when they launch into their mc blast offs, the tormented vocal gurgle spewed forth.
The French five piece has been around since 1995 in one form or another but this is only it,s fourth full length.

It opens with straight ahead black blast of velocity with some haunting tinges a
round it's frayed edges,The drumming even in the spastic blasting sections is very precise,songs like "Gospel of the Void" Slayer influence cn be heard, so Dave Lombardo worship might be e source of this attention to detail here. Like Slayer the opportunities taken to slow down the tempo add to the creep factor,I have always adhered to the fact Slayer's serial killer love letters are their best works. they tend to not keep their blast up for longer than two minutes which is timed just right for my threshold hold of such a straight ahead sound and then it blurs in hyborean ambiance.

The second song leads in with a tempo change, a more comfortable grasp on atmospherics and their lead shred down scale patterns with mores skill than howling wind,which in somes ways this album feels like but what howling wind was trying to accomplish . As a whole has a more melodic temperment. By the third song they are eager to get back to the blast.i think this was done to more effectiveness on the opening number,they relent at the two minute mark far the guitar chords to ring out in a similar manner to how w again gives you the feeling you are floating away on a viking pyre during "Waters of Ain'. The solos are once again superlative because how many black metal bans aside from immortal and emperor have guitarists that can really shred the house down.

The band captures and executes their sound perfectly, the variations are primarily tempo changes for dynamic, with about three speeds,within that context the tones are hewn into stone, with little deviation in vocal of guitar tone. The seasons in the abyss moments are are constant them with back ground over dubs drifting into the background to create the sound track to relaxing boat ride down the river Styx.The rare mid tempo groove opening the song "Abortion light" is one of my favorite moments and as it later turns into verse like riff is wise songwriting in my book and overall makes it one of the albums best songs."Liminal matter corruption" also dabbles in this pace and has a very effective build.

The riffing on hypohanie goes into an apocalyptic gallop in the verse and the vocals begin to feel like more grimly gurgled Tom Warrior, so they have the classics covered with the Celtic Frost and Slayer, though no riff plagiarism , more of a feel thing, though it coud be argued sometimes this feels like a more thrashing Blut Aus Nord.
The only thing I can imagine burning this album out is also one of its strings parts is the hypnotic drone a lot of these songs take on a similar element found in Blut Aus Nord and Urfaust which make them better listens on my desk top while I'm writing late night than one the go metal , though in the winter months I like the drone,along with more Viking based metal.

It might change once my iPod subjects it to the test of time, but playing and melodic creepiness captured in the guitars earn this album an 8 out of ten, if you wanted to smash your Taake and Blut Aus Nord together like a Reese cup it would sound like this and taste pretty good.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the Howling Wind-Of Babalon

The album opens after the powered gloom of the first couple chords going straight for the faster mcblaster. Tonally falling some where in between woe and tombs more straight forward attacks, black metal 101 with less demon shriek in the vocals and more of a gurgle to death grunt. This head on approach doesn't vary a snare beat until the fourth song scaling the walls, where there's a dramatic shift and the whole band takes on a groove, like a less proggy enslaved indulging their inside rock fetish. It's a welcome shift from the uniformity the album opened with and when they can no longer resist the urge to blast beat it, the guitars take a different approach.

The rest of the album abandons the formula, the mountain view drips into the beat like hot lava before they take off at their favorite speed. Still in the meat of this songs they could have stood to have used more sonic ambiance, the songs switches gears into a more punk rock feel and returns back to the blast . The effect at this point begins to wane. They are capable of handling this speed with relative ease and do not allowing their playing to become sloppy.

Abominations and filth stomps in with shades of thrash in the syncopation. The vocals stay in their one mode of rasp,leaving the guitar solo of sorts to pick up the slack, I gin to think perhaps what we are hearing here is something Martyrdod does better. Hints of altars of. Madness era morbid angel can be traced in the vocal patterns .

Choronzon fakes like its going in another direction than the verse really takes though I like the guitar in th chorus like section and the melodic single note passage following it. The effects on the vocals here on a needed deviation as well.the morbid angels of mercy return in the guitar solo making this one of the stronger songs.

Gateways not the Dimmu song but a slinky bass driven number that launches them back into Damian waters of Styx by the tie a chorus should arrive the hook being a melodic guitar line .this album worked best as back ground music at two in the morning, while the band claims thematically there is an occult slant to the lyrically content it doesn't matter because the vocals areal growled int he saw abrasive wash varied only in phrasing at times. The almost haunting chords ringing out as the end nears is too little too late to really balance the beating.

I will give this one a five as it took a good solid listen to realize they are really good at a style allowing for only a moderate level Of dynamics but never trip over their own feet when racing down hill at this speed. Overall the musicianship could stand to be more well rounded particularly in terms of melodic variation, though I know there is a market for low risk high threshold metal, so if melody isn't at the top of your list, you might dig these guys live I would watch them open up for some one ur would not seek them out as at high volume in a high setting it seems the songs might become hrd to differentiate even though they did begin to vary the attack midway through.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ihsahn: Eremita

How do establish your own identity and distance yourself from your legacy if you are one of the founding fathers of Norwegian black metal ? If you are Ihsahn you record a trilogy of solo albums. Now that the smoke has cleared from those Eremita marks his first album outside of said trilogy.Fans of the pioneering black metal band will find enough musical key points of the genre to satisfy the more open minded among them. In their heyday Emperor deviated early on from feeling to need to have low production value in order to maintain some type of kvlt ethic and blended grandiose epic songwriting with bursts of chaos. In his maturation Ihsahn has shed the need for chaos in favor of more focused songwriting.

The new album is more of a progression than departure from his three previous solo albums. The hooky chorus of the second song “ the Paranoid” steps further melodic territory. The melodies spread like shadows in the dusk .

The cohesion lies in part from the superior drumming of Tobias Andersen who like the majority of Ihsahn’s back up band play in Leprous. The songs have a seamless flow, listening to a streaming version of the album I leave it on and let it keep playing. in the similar manner of an album like King Crimson’s “ In the wake of Poseidon “

Lyrically there’s a story of sorts going on, the narrative is so introspective, and somewhat abstract so the storyline isn't a distraction and not what comes to mind from the term concept. In several lyrical passages the words paint with tighter stokes to flesh the details of a scene here and there. when the story does surfaces more clearly it is done tastefully and in a manner where the song retains its personality when taken out of context from the rest of the album.
Thematically there is a hope in the darkness,the aptly titled “Catharsis” is one of the album's darker moments , the guitar leaves room for the mournful atmosphere to flourish, and the staccato vocal melody to tip toe in from the back ground.

The guitar tone even in the darker moments retains a certain warmth and organic feel. The distortion is tight but not overly compressed. The layering of guitar parts is the best I have heard from a metal record this year. the chords are allowed to ring while single notes haunt.
The use of clean vocals set against Ihsahn’s trademark larynx rending screams are some of albums most memorable moments. Devon Townsend and Leprous singer Einar Solberg. Both of these singers have a similar approach, their voices hit my ears as a mix of Tripping Daisy alt-rock and Dream Theater.

songs like Something out there, carry a carnival like feel to it not unlike Arcturus. It's this bold spirit of adventure that is the most noted carry over from Emperor along with Ihsahn's coarse shriek, but this album falls into the same neighborhood as bands like Borknagar than black metal. It even shares the same zipcode as his collaborators in Nevermore and Strapping Young Lad, still too extreme to cross over into commercial metal like Dream Theater or Disturbed, this is credited to the European sense of art rather than the more marketed craft of their american counterparts.

The sax of Jordon Munkeby, helps the album distance itself from traditional metal . His playing is a brilliant blend of dissonant chaos and tasty embellishment. makes me forget my prejudice towards the band, since I’ma fan of the Swedish Depressive Black metal band with the same name for some reason the shared moniker irks me.

His guitar playing is no less virtuosic than Loomis, when sort of dynamic are called for. The songwriting is far too focused to allow this album to become a shredders paradise. I do think musicians aspiring or experience would have a profound respect for Ihsahn after giving this album a listen .

With a more vicious bite to it than Opeth, yet less schizophrenic than Sigh, Ihsahn is much more comfortable in his identity. This album is more one solid piece of work than , stand along songs in feel and it's hooks are more cerebral than demanding . Still this holds enough weight to satisfy and thinking metal head and deserves a 9.

A Forest of Stars: a Shadowplay for Yesterdays

I have appreciated this bands previous works the songs tended to be a little lengthy for my iPod,but I have imagined there live show must be entertaining as they're the first if not the only black metal band to assume a steam punk motifs

The bands opening dramatic narrative reminds me a little of Bowles outside album, it lurches into a creepy churn, the bass very prominent before they get a ase of the blasts mcnasties, the vocals coarse but not hatefully wrecthed almost black metal making the lyrics comes across more liken invocation. The dynamics on this are great, there are some very dark and unique sounds, is this what steam punk metal should slime mmm. Well the violin works for me ,maybe some gears churning and whistles piping of int eh back ground and in my head steam punk has a more vaudevillian element. The violins does dig up memories of earlier my dying bride ? The almost science fiction pulse of electronicsin the song man's laughter comes closet to realizing what steam punk black metal sounds like.

These guys defy liturgy smarty pants hunter Hendrix's theory of hyborean black
Metal saying the blast beat becomes a paradox and more ambient than heavy, while his point of reference is Darkthrone's Transylvanian hunger album that stays blasty through out. These guys vary the drumming, when the double bass comes in it reAlly compliments the awesome riff opening the song a prophet for a pound of flesh. This has more in common with agalloch or blut aus nord than dark throne for sure. The way the songs ebb an dflow borders on prog but they keep things steadier than Sigh.

Some great guitar sounds, some of the more acoustic passages make me think of death in June I terms of feel,and throughout the album their is a beauty and the beast sort of counter balance, if memory serves me correctly I should say this album has a much heavier and rawer vibe than at least it's predecessor.

The vocals are the only weak link,they are rough and not sung never go into a full on scorching scream, I think at times a good shriek would float over the proceedings to useful effect, maybe there,a a little Bathory worship going on in the vocal dept.
I am a big fan of the almost death rock inflection the vocals take on during the underside of Eden , I think it compliments the more theatrical elements. Clean vocals return double female vocals in the last song and the bonus track, which for all practical purposes is part of the album. The last two songs take a more melodic approach giving the over all work a more interesting build.

The drumming has made noticed strides since the last album, the double bass has a massive assault as if Hellhammer is behind the kit. The bass playing is creative and melodic giving an underlying groove not typically found in the genre, tough it brings to mind Peste Noire at times.

they are bringing a lot to the table on this one and I think they've really come into their own , with out question this wil be staying in myipod for dragon con but I suspect it will only grow on in the best ways possible as it possesses most of the qualities I look for in music. I do have to only give this album an 8 due to the very approach to the vocals and some times the blast beat feel slightly like a copping out into default mode as a dynamic shift, which are the only two elements preventing this from being an other wise perfect listen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ides Of Gemini : Constantinople

This one has gotten tons of hype to live up to, so the minimal percussive element caught me by surprise in the initial songs which opens the album, it's minimal in the Ancient VVisdom sense. it took four songs until any movement simmers up on this album. this might be a stylistic choice as some like Earth adapts a similar approach with minimalism of orchestration. Where is picks up on "Ressurectionists" it feels like a P.j Harvey song or maybe a less haunting Chelsea Wolfe, though the singer's voice was hailed as being a national treasure she can't touch Wolfe not to say her voice isn't pleasant.

Of all the current flock of dark retro tinged female pseudo metal band cropping up , ides is the least heavy by far, I would even be more prone to call sleigh bells cheer leading metal than this.

More often than not the songs never build while this could be part nd partial to the minimal nature of what they do this leaves the songs naked as a collection of unfinished ideas they never fully realized. The guitar playing upon initial listens isn't particularly wowing me , it could use some effects or something to create more ambiance which something that is going for creating a mood tater than rocking needs to do and is where some one like Chelsea Wolfe excels, or even some one like the Cocteau twins, who early keeps things simple but truth be told I think the Cocteau twins first album feels heavier that this with out even trying to.

I don't think the vocals or guitar are deft enough to stand alone with out the benefit of a more prominent rhythm section, to hold this up. I have always held to the fact guitar is what makes it metal and bass and drums make it heavy, vocals are the icing on the cake that seals the deal.the singer could very easily be fronting some sort of neo folk act.

A 3 out of ten is as high as I can rate this, though if this is your thing add a point or two as there are rough gems of talent hidden some where in the vocalist waiting to be brought to the surface.

Friday, July 20, 2012

R.i.p - John Lord

Legendary Keyboardist John Lord of Deep Purple/Whitesnake died on July 16th of 2012 at the age of 71. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Before in the throes of his illness he was planning on recording an album with Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman and was in a super group called Whocares with Toni Iommi, Jason Newstead, Ian Gillan and Niko Mcbrain, hopefully that material will see a posthumous release.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to him by all progressive metal as well as jam bands or any one who has employed keyboards in rock music after 1968 as he set the standard. He distorted the Hammond organ with Marshall amps to achieve a rock growl harder than most guitars of the day. Early in Deep Purple's career he incorporated more blues based styling but by the third album which was self titled Lord began to infuse classical baroque influence into his playing most noticeably on the track "Bird Has Flow". As Yngwie Malmsteen would admit Deep Purple at this point birthed neo-classical metal. Lord's virtuosity raised the bar for metal artist to come who cut their teeth on Deep Purple.

It was Lord that provided the bridge into classical music for the rest of the band leading to several ground breaking collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra , in a time period where hard rock was snubbed by the general public, some we take for granted in 2012 when a band like Dimmu Borgir films a live dvd with one, and interesting enough said band covered Deep Purple's Perfect "Strangers" . Other metal bands who have paid homage to Deep Purple in similar fashion include, Metal Church, Deicide, Bruce Dickinson, Soilwork, Ygnwie Malmsteen, W.A.S.P, Blind Guardian, Faith no More,Metallica, Buck Cherry, Type O Negative, Helloween, Opeth, Overkill, Venom

While is most monolithic body of work was with Deep Purple he was at sought after session player and his skills were used by such artists as George Harrison,David Gilmore and Nazareth. For metal heads, the track shown is an unmistakable testament to what he added to Deep Purple at the height of their creative powers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Having Grace Under Pressure

Progressive metal has fallen from the pedestal I once held it on. The most vicious blow the recent departure of Geoff Tate from Queensryche, something fans of the band had seen coming as his attitude in early summer festival performances was...umm needing adjustment. They have been one of my favorite bands since I first hear the song " Queen of the Reich". Mindcrime was a monumental album, though Empire was a joltingly commercial affair, I liked when It came out but when silent lucidity took over the airwaves the sellout was hard to swallow as a teenager. Back in 2005 I went back and re discovered the rage for order and warning albums and rekindled my fandom, this was aided by the fact they released string of decent albums around this time and went on to put on a really great show in 2008. So it was heart breaking to read micheal Wilton recount in gory detail the disintegration of their relationship with Goff Tate.

Later that night I finally got around to watching the Rush documentary beyond the lighted stage. Filmed by Sam Dunn who also created the history of metal show and metal a head bangers journey, the fil was filmed in similar fashion with interview clip interspersed in the impressive list of rockers paid homage,Danny Carey, zakk Wilde, Kirk Hammett, mike portents , Russ abbot, billy corgan,. While creatively the band went through its ebb and flow, most notedly their keyboard heavy new wave period, they always held a certain integrity . What Queensryche needs to do is sit down some kind of monster style and watch the rush documentary and learn how to have some fucking class.

Even when Neil pearl pretty much comes out and says he can,t stand being around the fans, he turns around and shows strength of character overcoming the death of his daughter an wife and making a graceful return to stage.

Granted watching recent YouTube footage of the band playing old songs discouraged me because Geddy lee sounds like a mongoloid losing its hearing, as he voice just can't find where to go. So this will be the deterrent from keeping me from throwing down the big bucks to catch them live. Instead I will hold the memory of the last time I saw them ten years ago , where Geddy might not have power it out like he use to but was in the ball park. I will load my i-Pod up with Rush and I'm talking about Power Windows and some of the albums I might not have given a fair shot at the time.

Queensryche's drama continues to unfold now the band has brought in the replacement singer of Crimson Glory to now serves as their replacement singer, meaning the kid clearly has no style of his own and with be a bland star search sounding prog singer who could very well be the dud from Circle to Circle of a second string version of Fates Warning, but will be able to hit note in a mimicking fashion with no style of his own. Lets face it a Queensryche with out Geoff Tate is not Queensryche. I am going to try to refrain from reading the mudslinging to come and when I feel the urge to peak at the car wreck then I will go listen to Rush.

Nile : At the Gates of Sethu

Breaking the trend of either reviewing albums I have been into or know my friends will be into, I'm doing one that is just of general interest to the metal community and I have seen suspicious little about aside over at angry metal guy. I'm not a Nile fan, those whom the gods detest , I flirted with the idea of Nile as Epstein mythology plays into a certain element of my personal spirituality, but I didn't, last long on my iPod. It did last longer than "at the Gates of Sethu".

The first thing i noticed about the recording is it ws oddly recorded some of it had a very claustrophobic feel, like it was recorded in a crawlspace under some ones pyramid. That first impression was much more interesting than what I would take away from sitting down to give this album my undivided ttention. Just like Jeff Loomis' playing could never carry an entire Nevermore album from solo to solo, Sanders seems to have a similar problem, an excellent shredder there's the pesky little thing called songs that tends to book end solos. There are riffs taped to together by his solos but the awkwardness of their lack of intent.

The drummer tries to help he knows his way around the kit,but who ev produced this did not do him any favors s the drums sound paper thin, especially theclickingof the double boss's, varied pattern would be in orders he seems to window only one way to attempt
this. Like most straight forward death metal from the 90's the bass it lost under the guitar , which is a feat here as nothing is really thick enough to hide behind so maybe they forgot to track bass at all.

Like morbid angle thee vocals are more barked than growled as enunciating the lyrics, David Vincent has more ball and personality in his voice so works better in their case.
Toward the end off the album things come together more anew epic riffs merge but it is too little to late, just when I though production was the problem a haunting bit of ambience floats I under the mix those moments as well as sanders solos bring this up to. For Nile to be right behind Cannibal Corpse these days in terms of commercial success when it comes to brutal old school death metal, these guys need to rein in the song writing and this albums shows chops alone are not enough. 3.5

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How much blacker can you get ?

The kvlt is alive. The second wave of black metal is now thought of along with other classic period of metal like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or the Combat records years, yet as a sub-genre evolved to develop a sustainable life of it's own.  While metal head can be the most stubborn when it comes to change it is esstential to keep a sub-genre moving forward and not going the way of hair metal or grunge. Granted over exposure was the death of those genres which record companies fattened the cash cows for the slaughter. Black metal escaped that in part to it's abrasive nature, it skimmed the outskirts of pop culture. Sure a Lords of Chaos movie would have been the nail in the coffin, it won't happenat this late juncture so are going to accept the stagnation of say Marduk putting out the same album over and over again until they are as old as Lemmy going to cut it . So rather than bitch and moan lets take a look at ten bands who have a chance in hell at pushing the genre forward .

Atriarch-We discussed these guys talking about the death rock resurgence, and in the grimness of the darkness  rolling in with the storm cloud in every note this band plays I think these guys are taking black metal into a loenly enough corner. At times it borders the Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, which since Shining went all rock n roll is a banner some one needed to wave, this one just has a darker shade. In future releases I can forsee the Portland quartet dabbling in extremes at both ends of the sonic spectrum busting out the blastoids of hell fire and chanelling Rozz Williams . I'm good with either of those options, I just want to hear more from these guys and if opther feel that way then theres a future.

Nachtmystium- i know they arent a new band their new who's album the silencing machine drops at the end of the month is the next black metal band I see reaching a bigger audience, regardless of the albums reception Blake Judd and friends will push the genre forward, the first few track were a return to a rawer sound yet incorporated industrial undertones, in interviews during the writing process judd stated he was drawing more of an influence from the depressive suicidal side of black metal no surprise considering wrest is one of his collaborators in the side project twilight,

Bosse de Nage-Beautifully brooding while vocal chords are vomitted on the stage, yes bring it. Another band who is off their meds and feels the influence of dsbm, with out being as heavy handed as say a band like Make a Change Kill Yourself was. These Californians aren't hampered by the sunshine when it comes to going intoa full on snare blizzard.Their newest release 3, find them reverting into more of this rawer head on attack, yet is sprinkled with several sections of quirky post/indie rock interludes with cleaner guitar sound doing some interesting things rhythmically

Black Breath: Ok no corpse paint and a very prominent crust element, but on first listen to their "Sentenced to Life " album older Watain came to mind. So not a feast of blast beats, but they are more black metal in attitude if nothing else than some of the genre's bigger blackened acts like Behemoth or Dimmu. Does this also lean heavy into death metal at times but it seems angrier almost punk at times.

Oranassi Pazuzu- The French five piece occupies the same level of hell as Blut Aunord. Highly experimental but not forsaking songs, they have crazed sounds just melting off the walls. Their album Kosmonaut, has an excellent mix and with that kind of production value they can execute the boundaries they are pushing.

Ash Borer- Have already covered ground on these guys before but they have a new album out that is going to feature some female and will see the band venturing into more Wolves In the Throne Room like territory. 

Lord Mantis-The initial burst of their new album" pervertor"  brings to mind what Gorgoroth might sound like if they got really stoned. The includes a former guitarist of Von, which if you ask Watain it doesn't get any truer than that  along with the bassist of Nachtmystium and the drummer from Indian which explains who brought the weed to the party here.

Lunar Aurora-One half of the German duo was Trist. With him he brought the ambiance of the Bavarian woods. The new albums Hoagascht,  grinds away with the hypnotic churn of post- prison Burzum. 

Vorkreist- The French music scene might be more incestuous than the Norweigan, as every one in the band has played in Merrimack before, and also features former members of Glorior Belli and Secrets of the Moon. While the shoe-gazey BM put France on the map to most , this band is more like a collision of Immortal and DeathSpell Omega, not a epic as in rush to the long boats sense Immortal might be there are some big powerful riffs with a dense darkness to them. Futher listens shows shades of Morbid Angel and really outstanding guitar work. 

Dragged Into Sunlight - In many ways this British band is more death metal, but there is something darker to them than say Disma who does something very similar, there is more of the sonic dissonance in Dragged into Sunlight's music, the all out chaos which they blast into sections feels more black metal to me though like lots of other bands mentioned her there is a crusty grindcore like grime to the mess they are making, and that's aside from the vomit on a spider web logo. The higher register shrieks help to seal the deal for me to include them as a dark element and abrasive yet sonically intense instrumentation is what I look for in black metal and even if the guys and most noticeably black breath are more blackened than cold and grim, this is music that would appeal to fans of black metal who reside slightly outside of Mordor's zip code.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Baroness: yellow&green

The savannah boys had a band meeting where the question was asked...why is mastodon making ll the money? The answer they. Ame up with was to really focus on vocal driven songwriting. Up until this point I was split on the band , I liked the red lbum but the blue one left me bored with nothing to grab onto. There are big changes on this double album,which I don't think can be called metal at all hard rock isn't even a fitting description as calling it driving indie rock. It brings to mind a sweaty hairier version of minus the bear. The way the vocal melodies move over flow of shimmering guitar the obvious link. The vocals employ a plainitive croon and are the biggest improvement. Trenton to detail ws put in the construction of melody and the layering of the harmony section, producer John Congleton brought out the best performance possible. This makes up for the fact the lyrical content seems to give away the premeditated change in direction, as they focus on boy loses nd meets girl,but the fact they are so passionatly sung causes me not to begrudge them.

Any studio trickery was done in. Very tasteful manner, they have captured some great guitar tones, there is less math in the riff to those sort of flourishes do ring out, while not taking away from the flow of the songs. The solo sections shine out in an almost thin lizzy manner especially when guitars harmonize. The guitars have for the most part clean tone leaving distortion a warm fuzz layer rther than smoke acreen to hide behind.the bass is really the only area where any excess metal lies, though I do see the metal media rallying behind this album more so than mainstream, Spin magazine won't know how to work them next to Bon iver.

I have become just as a.d.d when it comes to having my iPod on shuffle as the next guy, unless I'm reviewing something, so if an artist can bring back the lost art of inspiring me to listen to an album front to back says something. The yellow portion is better than the more bluesy instrumental interludes of the green part . This lead me to include thi could have been better served as a single album and that reason this album gets a
7out of 10. Still pretty strong even if has only enduring a handful of listens, it's a fitting summer sound track.