Monday, July 24, 2017

Ded : "Mis-An-Thrope"

It's a crazy though that new nu-metal is being created in 2017. The first song almost makes you ready to write these guys off as wanting to be Slipknot. While this is not untrue, these guys are actually not half band and write some decent songs. Sure there are the chanted temper tantrum vocals and the rap elements on the first single "Anti-Everything" bring to mind Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit depending on where you are at in the song. It still somehow manages to work even though it is a little on the radio side of the equation so not as heavy as most of the bands we review who refer to themselves as metal. "Dead to Me' gets mired in the kinda of watered down screaming metal that nu-metal eventually defaulted to.The lyrics revert to just telling people to fuck off in various ways. Slipknot thing seems to be the more dominate motivation for the kind of music they are trying to make. Granted they don't have a bunch of extra clowns beating on things, so some of the clutter and density is not there.

The more Linkin Park like " is one of the more well written songs despite it's more pop tinged leanings when it comes to the hooks. Linkin Park always struck me as being a boy band with guitars, and this is not that blatant. "Disassociate" works better for me as the hip-hop accents and almost grunge like vocals on the chorus don''t sound just like some other band from the Hot-topic and allows me to hear who these guys actually are. "Rope" finds them trying to bring the noise to a more Slip-knot like magnitude. The sung vocals are a little more original than how we have heard them used earlier in the album though comparisons could be drawn to Breaking Benjamin.The hip hop moments work better than when they are overtly angry and angst ridden. The whole I am about to have a nervous breakdown vocal just sounds dated and silly. "Hate Me" has a more sing song chorus that sounds almost like a nursery rhyme. Then they fall back into the more pummeling Slipknot thing with the chant for you to cut them off at the knees.

"Inside" plays off all the conventions of nu-metal, but puts them together in a way that plays to their strength as a band and works well as a song where they might have fallen short on some of the other songs. "Beautiful" starts off with more of a ballad type thing going on without it being too Linkin Park, it's more like Staind or Cold. I think giving this album an 8.5 is fair. They are good at what they do , I just haven't listened to what they do in some time and take it about as seriously as I take Motley Crue.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Multiple Eargasms - the Weekly Shuffle

Ok we are two weeks in a row now, with this feature that has proven to be more popular than I would have imagined. I just press shuffle on my iPod and review the first ten songs that pop up. So here we go, hope this inspires masturbation and multiple eargasms. AFI- "Feed From the Floor" Danny Havok's vocals sound great hear and the bass line certainly invokes the Cure. This song stand more in the shadows of pop punk.I haven't give this album enough listens to that is one of the cool things about doing this feature is getting to dig back in an give things a second chance. Halsey- "Now or Never" The hook of this song reminds me of Ellie Goulding. I would say there is more of a hip-hop influence bubbling under the surface here than Goulding. The production certainly gives nods to hip-hop. For pop music this going to be one of the strongest albums of the year. The Smiths -Sweet and Tender Hooligan" One of the smiths more driving punk like moments. This shows how their influence touches both indie rock bands and post-bands. Moz sound great and the lyrics are as biting as anything else they have done. This is more straight forward playing than what you expect from Marr , but the bass line is killing it. the Cure- "Blood Flowers" This song is both sonically powerful and incredibly moving from an emotional perspective. I always forget how good this album was until I listen to it. It really does hold up against the rest of their work. Cocteau Twins- "Treasure Hiding" I normally dopn't think of these guys as shoe gaze , but I guess if this was the only song you heard from them it would be easy to slap that label on. Not my favorite song from this album as it lingers in the abstract for too long. Liz sounds great, but she could sing from the phone book and it would sound divine, the melody that comes in at 2:40 mark is awesome , but wish they got to the point. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum- Helpless Corpses Enactment Another bad that I am always glad to hear when they come up in shuffle as their are so chaotic that Sleepytime is not always my go to when cuing up something to listen to. This is one of their more metal moments, it's a damn shame these guys broke up, because I can't imagine what else they would have been capable of. Life of Agony - "I Regret" This band in their prime was criminally under rated. Too band when Keith's river started running red that he also forgot how he sang on this song and what about his delivery helped define this band and make them stand out from all the other bands in the 90s. This song is one of the few from the second album that sounded like it could have been on their first. 2Pac- "Only God Can Judge Me" This is not one of the strongest songs from "All Eyez On Me". It suffers a little more than some of the other songs when it comes to how the 90s production holds up today. Lyrically its a bunch of whining about how hard it is living in his shoes. The guest rap by Rappin 4 Tay is pretty terrible. Mastodon- "Clandestiny" I don't remember really being overly wowed by this song when I first got the album. It had endured in the competitive landscape of my iPod so that says something. Metal should not feel so middle of the road and this song doesn't hit me as being heavy enough to be metal despite it's guitar tones and most of the metal trappings being close to center. Cult of Youth - "Monsters" When they are in the more rambling folk punk strum they tend to sound less like Death in June. The baritone vocal is more rowdy and carefree than Death IN June, in fact I can hear fans of punk liking this more than tragic goths. Their earlier work was more filled with this kind of punk energy. Twisted Sister - "Burn in Hell" For anyone who wants to lump these guys in with the rest of the 80s hair metal I think this song sets the record straight. Not as dynamic vocally I think Twisted Sister has more in common with old Iron Maiden or Priest than they do Motley Crue. Unless we are talking about the Crue's first two albums then it does have a similar drive to it. The Cramps- "Bop Pills" This song is pretty much straight up rock in the vein of early 50's rock more than it strikes me as being rock a billy unless we are saying Jerry Lee Lewis falls into that as well. It's as song about drugs and those song are always good to party to.

Nine Inch Nails :"Add Violence"

I found their appearance on Twin Peaks to be odd and not in the manner David Lynch is normally odd. The first song is more aggressive than what we have gotten from the past few albums and has more guitar on it ,which is what I am most please with. Some of the synth sounds are purposefully retro. This sounds like Nine Inch Nails and doesn't conform to the current trends in electronic music. In some ways it reminds me of "Bite the Hand that Feeds" .  His vocals drop down to a lower whisper under the bleeps of the music twinkling above his speculations. This is more ambient and experimental than what we have heard from him in some time. I do like the chorus to this song and it does sound more like the classic era of Nine Inch Nails.

Reznor continues to lay the atmosphere on thick with "This Isn't the Place". It almost could be confused as an extension of the previous guitar into the more fragile = vocals come in. There is a more dynamic explosion that comes  from "Not Anymore". Overall this album feels  more organic as the drums on this song sound like they are being banged out on a kit. The drums go back to sounding programmed on the atmosphere thick .At 14 minutes there is some drone to it , but at two and a half minutes in the beat smooth out to provide a more substantial groove. It's Nine Inch Nails so of course the production should be stunning. The song could end at the 7 minute mark as it devolves into noise which was the purpose but we could have gotten to the point with it sooner.

As far as EPs from Reznor go the songs on here might not be as strong as what was on "Broken" but it is solid and I am glad he has gotten his edge back . It's darker and well balanced blend of atmosphere and aggressive bursts. I'll give this one a 9.5 , it will sit nicely against the rest of their catalog and is better than everything since "the Fragile" . So if you are a long time fan , you should be pleased that you are getting what we have wanted.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Alice Cooper : "Paranormal"

Alice Cooper was my second concert as a kid so we go back a ways. This new album finds him  going for a sound more akin to his later 70's work and less of the overt metal he had been stomping around in since his return in the 80's. I am not sure if it's the production or not , but his voice sounds amazing. It's like these are vocals lifted right from the 70s. Perhaps these are the paranormal powers at play and the christian golfer was just a joke and Vincent sold his sold his soul to the devil to retain the voice of his youth. If so it's worth it because I almost can't believe my ears. While he sounds good I am not sure of the Hendrix like funk that propels "Dead Flies" . Bob Ezrin is working with Cooper again which helps him find his way back to his more classic sound. "Fireball" is just well written rock song. There is a filter on his voice which sets him back into the mix along side the guitars. It's good to hear him singing more and not just relying on what had become his trademarked gritty narrative.

He steps out of the 70s and into his take on modern radio rock with "Paranoiac Personality". He steps back into a more familiar role vocally to blend this with his more post- Trash body of work. The backing vocals even remind me a little of Def Leppard.  "Dynamite Road" is the first song that I am digging because it sounds like a cross between "the Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Radar Love" and is not really the kind of rock that Alice does best. "Private Public Breakdown" is an improvement, but not as strong as the first few songs, opting for a more Rolling Stones school of rock. "Holy Water" is not totally removed from some of the other songs Alice has acquired over the years, but it it's not my favorite either. It did grow on me on the second listen. "Rats" is another case of where it's not totally out of left field for him and while he does cover a wide range of rocks many flavors, this one is just to vanilla for me.

The more Pink Floyd / Dada like tone of "the Sound of A" is more satisfying for me as it's darker and seems to wink and the weird new wave time period of Alice that I love. The last two songs are preformed with the original Alice Cooper band, who have preformed in the past as Billion Dollar Babies/ He plays it pretty safe on the cross dressing ode "Genuine American Girl" where he claims to be only 30 out of 50 shades of gray. "You and All Your Friends" captures the more radio friendly sound of classics like "Elected" or perhaps to a less bombastic extent "Under my Wheels" Lyrically one of the smarter songs as Alice makes a political statement more veiled than some he might have espoused in the past. The playing of the Alice Cooper band on these songs is failry conservative and far from the more progressive slant of an album like "Killer". The same could be said for this album as a whole, it starts very strong and show a more melodic side as it progresses sinks into a safer rock n roll formula. So I'll round it up to an 8.5 for now , but that is lagging way behind his more classic work.  '

In This Moment : "Ritual"

So this is pretty much the Maria Brink show now. There is more spooky stuff going on to open the album and it feels like their will be less sexy nurses writhing around. I have often found her better to look at than listen to so lets see if this album changes that opinion. The first actual song is strange as it takes the stomp of a negro spiritual and molds it into something more sultry hard rock edges. The big chorus hooks don't come til mid way into the song. I am not sure if it is all production but here voice sounds better on this album, if she stays in more of Britney Spears like alto. But it's clear she has a better range than Spears as she can belt into her upper register.

There is a more organic feeling to this album, despite the drums not sounding real. Rob Halford shamelessly shows up on "Black Wedding" . Which makes this inversion of the Billy Idol even stranger. I make no qualms about stealing the chorus in the refrain. But some how it works. Then we get yet another cover of "In the Air Tonight". Not sure when Non-Point covered it, but seems like we don't need another cover of it. She does sing the hell out of it , but otherwise musically there is not much we haven't heard before. "Joan of Arc" feels a lot like "the Beautiful People " but a watered down less aggressive take on it.Pop and metal meet pretty evenly on "River of Fire ". I can do without the oh oh oh vocals in the background, aside from them it's a pretty solid marriage of pop and metal. I think the "let it rain" part would make this a great song for strip clubs.  If I ever wondered what Katy Perry would sound like doing metal the answer is on "the Witching Hour" . This formula is not fool proof as it backfires on "Twin Flames".

They get mired in similar almost nu-metal grounds with a slight tinge of 90s industrial rock on "Half God, Half Devil" . The problem then continues to be that they don't feel dark or heavy. They make a better stab at convincing me on "Roots' which was not the Sepultura cover I hoped for. "Lay Your Gun Down" feels more like an outro than ever building into a real song.I'll round this one up to a 7, I think I like the sexier KMFDM sound better, though the pop infused stuff can work. I guess if you are are fan this is par for the course.

Monday, July 17, 2017

One Master : " Lycanthropic Burrowing"

These guys have supposedly being haunting the underground with their brand of black metal for 15 years , but this is the first time I have heard of them. To call them occult black metal seems a bit far fetched as they are really just straight up black metal with the kind of feral intensity that has become common place in the post- second wave world. So the kind of furious blast beats and tremolo picked guitar that feels impressive in the first half of the first song, but makes you wonder how long this will continue to wow you once you have been numbed out by it. The second song steps away from this and into a more punk infused sound, before the band returns to the mean spirited drone of "the Black Bat". The vocals on this one are less rasped and have more of a Venom like snarl to them.

There is a similar approach to the song that follows though it's enshrouded in more of a wall of white noise. In feel alone this reminds me of earlier Darkthrone, as I recall how those albums lulled me into the drone of their tremolo picked guitar.The snarl of "Erosion" reminds me a little of Dissection. The difference being the vocals are not as commanding. Nor do the vocals attempt to stand out on their own as a driving force of the song. The sonic intensity they come at you with is impressive, but it's fury begins to wane by this point in the album as they have pounded into your brain with little in the way of dynamics.

The closing song is a bit of a anti-climax as it dances around a drone very similar to the ground this album has already tread upon.There is a little more atmosphere at the beginning, which is an improvement aside from the full frontal assault it seems like these guys prefer to launch. It's well into the two minute mark when they decide to bring the fury in a flurry of blast beats. The mood to the song is slightly more tempestuous, but not enough to really make you take notice. If you like very aggressive black metal then this is for you, I am giving it a 6 as it's too one dimensional for my personal tastes.

Poison Blood : " S/T e.p"

This project pairs Jenks Miller of Horseback with Neil Jameson of Krieg. Together they provide yet another example of how black metal doesn't have to default to blast beats. The sluggish grind of the guitar churns away with an almost apocalyptic despair. Image rougher around the edges version of Celtic Frost without the gothic tendencies. The vocals are lower of a growl than typical of black metal, but more mid-ranged than death metal.The guitars are more dissonant and sonic than your typical black metal as well. The songs are a respectable length at under five minutes. The more atmosphere hints are around the frayed blown out distorted edges of the songs. "Deformed Lights" comes closer to the more typical black metal sounds , but the guitar is give na punk like attack and with the keyboards in the back ground it makes me think of what the Murder City Devils might have sounded like as a metal band. 

"Myths From the Desert" kinds falls out of the previous song and if you are not paying attention you won't be clued into this fact unless you hear how the chords modulate and take on sound that has more in common with Horseback's earlier work. There is a similar tempo and drone to the blasting shuffle of " A Cracked and Desolate Sky" which goes back into more of a punk riff. I guess they are calling what happens on the interlude "the Flower of Serpents" dungeon synth, as that is a thing. The blackened punk that erupts on "Shelter Beneath the Sea" clocks in at under a minute so there is not much time for anything to develop. By the time we are hammered into "From the Lash" the dynamics are beginning to feel a little flat despite the fact that I do like the bass line the song ends with , but otherwise it's a messy blur. 

At four minutes and twenty two seconds " Circles of Salt " is the longest song on the album. It has a darker droning atmosphere. The drums build up underneath it's swell. It proves to be pretty powerful by the time the bass line comes in. I can hear how people might want to label this moment as being post-punk or death rock. Though the vocals stay in a tormented scream so vocally it's neither of those. Despite the bulk of this album's rather monochrome drone . It's still manages to be energetic enough to keep my attention so I will round it up to an 8. 

Dwoom : "Pale Mare Demo"

Until the guitar solo came in I was thinking this sounds too good to be a demo. The vocals are very dramatic. I don't think they Candlemass , but if that is the first place your musical vocabulary goes then ...oh well. He does try with his phrasing to sound like Marcolin as the sound build ,he goes up higher and has a more soulful tone which is where I think he needs to keep exploring . These guys get mad props as the guitars are heavy as fuck and have a dense raw sound that is more brutal than anything Candlemass could have done in the 80s or 90's though Entombed was this heavy in the 90s so there you go. Entombed's "Wolverine Blues" album with more power metal vocals. But power metal is not equating to it's typical cheese here.

The second song and title track is not written with the same sense of perfection and is ok with just defaulting into the mire of more conventional heavy metal until it goes into a weird break with clean guitar. The vocals go lower and this helps break them out of the Candlemass like thing and into something heavier. When the guitars lock back in it's crushing. I was not expecting the more growled vocals to come with their manic declaration. So while the over all isn't as good as the first they throw you some curve balls. The drummer pulls out some double bass for "Empty Temples". They allwoow it break down into clean guitar and more Deep Purple like vocals. It feels like as songwriters they get their groove back on this one. It would not have been so noted on the last song, but when you only have three songs every minute counts. They continue to bury you in crushing riffs.

I'll give this one an 8.5, it's heavy as fuck it just didn't get a 9 as I think they could have fine tuned the second song a little. I do look forward to hearing more from these guys and hopefully a full length next time around. While they do sounds Swedish as far as what you expect from death metal, not what you expect from other genres out of their. I think these guys are onto something good and look forward to hearing their sound further refined and more of it next time as if this was a full length there would have been more to balance it all out with. I think it should also be noted that these guys never cross the seven minute line and managed to really pack a ton into each song so they know how to be efficient which more bands could stand to take note of.

Neverending Winter : "Хиус"

So I was taking a break from Game of Thrones to get some writing done and it's pretty fitting I chose this albums as it makes for a good transition. In someways they are like Agalloch with out trying to bore you to death with long and winding epic songs. Not that Agalloch is boring , but all the band who tried to be like them sure seem to be. The vocals are rasps and snarled with such nasty animal like intensity that you can t even make out the Russian. They have a rough guitar tone, but it keeps the galloping riffs pretty mean with some weird black metal like breaks in-between that suggest some punk influence is in here some where.The song named after the band is more straight forward and benefits from a sharp guitar attack. They do dip into their more folk side and this song almost touches the 8 minute mark which is still pretty efficient with this genre.

This band can't be easily summed up as black metal though they are more black metal than they are folk metal. "Heeus" starts off a little darker then comes alive with a more commanding brand of metal. Five minutes in and the folk comes back starting to make this formula more habitual. The last song is "Sib Ir" . Which allows it's angry stomp to give way to the more coasting clean guitar passages. Art just over the nine minute mark this is the album's longest song. Double bass is one of this drummer's stronger suits. It is refreshing that he doesn't lay the blast beats on too thick. They dig into that more thrash like version of black metal that was perfected by Dissection. The riffs get really mean going into the four minute mark. The guitars are this album's strong suit for sure. The drummer gets the job done, but he still adheres to the bible of metal playing. Not to say the guitars don't do this as the bass player is probably the most creative member but sits back in the mix. The progressions the song build into could be something off a Thursday album as it rides the line between emo and hardcore.

The songs final moments go out on strummed guitar which I didn't see coming and had me waiting for the blast beats that never came. And that my friend is how to use blast beats. I'll give this one a 9 as I debate if it's going to make it over to my iPod or am I going to load "Storm of the Light's Bane" on their instead. Thats not to say these guys are Dissection rip of by any means, perhaps they would be more tempted to be if they were not from Russia. Any way this is a very solid album of blackened metal, not weighed down with blast beats and full of other textures. In short pretty bad ass.

Android Lust : "Berlin"

So in holding to the theme of creating a sound track of sorts for various cities, this one is Berlin. It sounds more Blade Runner and I typically don't think of Berlin as being so futuristic, maybe Japan. There is a cold starkness to it that feels right and this is juggled with a thick swathe of atmosphere. The first things that feels like a song is three tracks in . It is carried by a future pop bass line. Shikhee's layered vocals have an almost chanted quality to them. The song oddly drones as most as it grooves. The production is interesting and I recommend listening to this album through headphones as it's well panned. "Insects" is more tense. I am not sure if feels like Berlin. Some of the layered vocals have a more anguished tone to them. The groove and the ghostly vocal melody work together to make  "Heart Tunnel" really work. "Crawl" is more timid with the mood having a more subtle creeping feeling to it.

"In Memory" is an instrumental with an interesting beat, it might linger in the soundtrack atmosphere to much to be more than an interlude and not something I would listen to cruising around on my Ipod. Vocals return for the thick atmosphere of "Plaza Steps". Lyrically it seems like there is personal attributes as she is singing about something some one said , is this a person or the city? The beat shifts to something more club-centric. After a minute and a half of sounds we get into the thick of "Madness in Men". The vocals are more hushed and focused on the poetry of her words rather than melody until we get to what would be the chorus.

The album ends with the instrumental "Eventide". Which is pleasant background music, I just wish this album had more actual songs, many of the songs on this albums are great to pretty decent so would like to hear more from her, considering time can pass between albums with this project. For what this is I will give it an 8.5. It is certainly worth another listen or two as it is well crafted and a success for her, though I am split as it's not really 100 percent what I want from this project but I might be stuck in 90s industrial anyway.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Second Cumming of the Weekly Shuffle

The return of this once beloved feature deserves a hot girl with big boobs, because those are numbered among my favorite things just like the songs that are going to pop up like an erection when I hit shuffle on my trusty ipod and review the tracks at random.

Punk Goes Pop Vol 7

In the case of the first song this proves to be redundant as the band is supposed to be pop punk, but they are more on the pop side to begin with. This is the case with State Champs. They do a decent job, it's almost like the original but with guitar. Dance Gavin Dance, who I'm not a fan of to begin with though the guitar does some interesting jazz like phrasing on the verse. The screamed vocals on the verses just suck. So it's up to the guitar to save the day. New Years Day isn't a punk band even by Myspace standards. They do how ever do a pretty decent job of "Gangsta". The Amity Affliction has a tough rough with "I Can't Feel My Face" since I actually like the original.The end result is rather middle of the road. The barking harsh vocals sound obligatory and almost the only element giving them an edge. So it's another case of here is what this would sound like with guitar. Then there is the god awful thing that happens with Andy Simms who makes the Frozen version of "When We Were Young" that is just terrible.

Grayscale must be Justin Beiber fans they play a pretty dead on version of "Love Yourelf" that builds into the Myspace pop punk thing. I am not familiar with "Fake Love" , but it seems Capsize do a pretty go version of it that will appeal to teenagers in the burbs. Boston Manor takes on "Heathens" . I am not familiar with the original, but I am not really feeling their performance. Eat Your Heart Out really nail their interesting take on "Shape of You". Which is why I like these albums as they take a song I already like and give it an interesting twist, true to the original but with their own color. Which is the purpose of covers unless you are a tribute band. I am sure I have heard "Let it Go" before. I can say that the singer of the Plot in You, has a great voice. It borders on being the kind Nickelback rock I don't like, but in this context works.

The pressure is on Ice Nine Kills with "I Don't Want to Live Forever" as it's Taylor Swift. It's pretty typical Myspace metal, the vocals handle the chorus pretty, there is none of Zayn's falsetto. The Bass tone is a little flat. But I guess I can live with this version , maybe not forever. Seaway's version of "Closer" felt like it was there own. I have heard the original , but like they way the owned this one. The singer of Too Close to Touch is obviously a big queen who got too into singing "In the Name of Love". The keyboard melody in the background is a little obnoxious and while they do a good job of this it's not my favorite song. I'll round this up to a 7.5, as some bands killed others failed big time or just dialed it in so it's a mixed bag, I'll just take the songs I want and delete the rest.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Boris : " Dear"

Boris have brought back the heavy. That is not to say it's not full of the experimental atmosphere they have been languishing in the past few years it's just a more balanced blend. The first three songs kind of run together until they pick up the pace on "Absolutego". It is very grunge like, thank to the drugged mumbled  grit of the vocals. When you go back and listen to these song again you might realize like I did that there is less substance to the second song which makes it almost more like an interlude. "Absolutego" however rocks in a way that makes up for the experimental years. It builds into a heft sludge chug. Songs four , five and six also lull you into a seamless blend in their dreamy haze. "Beyond" starts off with a coo of soft female vocals and builds into the male voices coming in as the distortion kicks in . This is done in a manner that reminds me of some of Jesu's best moments.

"Kagero" just kind of drones with falsetto vocals haunting the song, it doesn't really go any where. There is more of a shoe gazey feeling to "Biotope". But the song never really pays off in the end and is more of a tease as it could have soared , but in said lingered and procrastinated. Then there is another tease this time they make you think they might get heavy again on "the Power" which is more of an interlude than a song. The next real song is "Momento Mori" which finds the band taking a page from Sigur Rios play book. They do a good job of it even though the vocals are not as impressive. The vocals return to the more fey like breathy style of singing often used in shoe gaze.

Then comes the almost fourteen minutes of "Dystopia". This one could have had the first two minutes shaved off without compromising the song. It sounds like if Smashing Pumpkins decided to become a post-rock band. When we get to seven and a half minute mark a guitar solo kicks in. I don't think I have ever been so glad to hear a guitar solo in my life as it means this song is actually picking up and going somewhere. The title track cranks up to end the album with a lot of fuzz and feedback. If yells and abstract sounds create the sound of hell then it has a very sparse soundtrack. This goes on for four and a half minutes until it begins to seemingly gather steam. The drums linger to keep the slow drone going. I find it really hard to consider the noise that ensues a song. While they show potential and bring back some heavier sounds I would not say this is the band's best work . If you really like drone then you might round it up a bit from the 7 I am giving this album. I think they have potential and would just like to hear it invested in songwriting. I know a band making albums with song's is a vulgar concept but oh well.

Atriarch : " Dead As Truth"

Portland master's of black hearted gloom are back. The album opens with thee ritualistic pulse of "Inferno" . It lurches into a more metallic dynamic two minutes in. Lenny makes commanding declarations about a spiraling emotional state. The more death rock like croon comes in at the three and half minute mark followed by a more black metal like scowling. So right from the first song they waste no time using and array of vocal colors. Since vocals are the first thing I key in on this obviously makes me very thee grimmest manner possibly. These guys once once prove that darkness alone can make you sonically heavy.  While this song creeps along at more of a doom pace, it's this darkness that would appeal to fans of black metal. Things to accelerate by the end of the song, without having to rely on blast beats. 

"Dead" like several of the other songs on this album is from the cassette ep the band released on their own last year and plays more to their death rock side. The chants of suicide follow the despairing moans of the verses as Smith muses over slitting his wrists. The guitars offer some great sonic textures as the bass drive this song. They build into a more black metal passage, which once again find the band only using that genre as one shade of the darkness they color their sound with. "Devolver" is another new one. The drums build a tribal tension. There is a more sludge like oppression to the mood, that waits for an impending explosion. In stead of pouring on speed they hit you with very deliberate and powerful chugs. The next two songs are more familiar. The mood of "Void" reminds me of when my therapist told me that depression turned inwards eventually comes out as anger. "Repent" laments this pre-apocalyptic world where the rich keep getting stronger. The drumming keeps a brisk pace while dissonant stabs of guitar linger behind. 

The album closes with "Hopeless". The guitar tone shifts and has a cleaner sound. There is a mix of beauty and ugly dissonance. The song is aptly named as it feels more depressing than song, though it is by no means a shade brighter than the shadows. Another great addition that takes the cassette ep and expands the world created there for this Relapse records release. The mood is very solid and opaque while not as dense or heavy in the metal sense as what we have heard from them in the past, I think it takes the two sides to this band and melds them into a cohesive presentation. I'll give this one a 9.5 and see how it sits with me for the rest  of the year. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Limbonic Art : "Spectre Abysm

The opening track doesn't seem like these guys are offering anything new with the Norwegian band's take on black metal. However they are doing it with a more polished vigor and seem to have tapped into a well balanced medium between sharp production and feral gnashing of teeth. While the logical mind knows that the fleet  feet creating this kind of double bass are part of the job requirements for playing black metal, that doesn't mean your ears might not still marvel at it. So far it's epic , but not symphonic, which is fine by me. They race by you in a blur , often sounding like a more tormented version of Watain. All the elements that should be in black metal are here. I believe what is going on here is genuine, I guess I am not blown away because they are not really doing much more than playing it safe in terms of the scope of sound they bring to the table.

The race from hell continues , but by the third song I feel I am growing immune to it's demonic intensity. It does slow into a more pounding section that offers a little shift in tempo, but when Watain does that sort of thing it creates more of a hook, this album is beginning to fade into the background. There is a much more Dimmu like feel to "Triumph of Sacrilege" . That is until the song really starts flying then it holds more in common with their earlier work. The first bit of atmosphere that involves synths is on "Disciplina Arcani" . It opens with the dramatic whisper of demon voices before a proclamation is made over pipe organ.

Not sure what it is with black metal these days but it seems the trend is to run out of gas on the last song. Here they don't loose speed just inspiration. Maybe it's staying angry for that long that takes it out of them. While they play what seems to be all the right notes I am not feeling the anger as I did on the other songs. So it's just not as inspired. So with that I'll round this one down to a 7.5 as it would have had to be a little less one dimensional to qualify for an 8. If you are a devoted fan of the band then you like one dimensional black metal and can round it back up to an 8, but I don't see myself listening to this one again, yet respect what they did here as they are good at what they do.

Tau Cross : " Pillar of Fire"

If it wasn't for the fact that Away plays drums on this, I would not cover this album. This hesitation is based off the fact certain parties of the band acted like big babies after I reviewed the album for this blog and Cvlt Nation. I think the fact I am very blunt particularly in regards to a band wearing their influences on their sleeves irked the parties and the fact I continued to point this out in both review rather than kiss their ass. So here is the fucking news...this is my blog so I write whatever the fuck I want in it. If you are in a band and are ungrateful for me investing the time in your music, then fuck you.It's not my fault that I have been listening to music for over thirty five years so am well steeped in it's history. This history once again haunts the band as the ghosts of Killing Joke haunt the opening track. While this song doesn't really blow me away the fact I can draw comparisons to Killing Joke is a positive thing. If I felt these guys were being a Killing Joke tribute act then I would call them out on it, but I think there is enough of them invested in it and I like the fact some of the riffs remind me more of Voivod, than what was on the first album. If you read this blog on a regular basis then you know Voivod is one of favorite bands. Thus why I am reviewing this, along with the fact Away has always been cool with me and gracious with his time .

This album begins to show the improvements made in their sound since the first album. "Bread and Circuses" is heavier than we we heard previous from this band. There is also a more goth tinged take on post-punk with "On the Water". Away's drumming is more restrained than what he does with Voivod and allows him to indulge his punk rock leanings. "Deep State" finds the band milking the verse riff for all it's worth, and while you can hear the Motorhead influence I would say this sort of thing almost owes more to Hawkwind. They return to a darker sound on the title track. The vocals are more of a baritone croon here, shedding the rasp that typically dominates them. The vocals have an odd tone on the verses of "Killing the King". They sound better when they go down into the more familiar husky lower register. They amp things up into a more metallic direction with the pounding chug of " A White House".

They continue to use a wide range of dynamics on "the Big House". So far on this album they have their influences much more blended with their own collective identities on this album. The melody on this song has a solid hook that sticks with you. They use "RFID"  to vent some of their thrashy punk tendencies. The sung vocals come in with their dramatic baritone as the last thing you might expect over this tempo. The post-Apocalyptic throb of "Seven Wheels" has more in common with Amebix. The album closes with a song that ranges from the more folk side of neo-crust to what sounds like one of Motorhead's more power ballad moments. These guys took what they did on their first album and moved it in a heavier and darker direction with a very dynamic and varied blend of the styles that make them who they are. I'll round this up to a 9.5 as it is a huge success in terms of the album they set out to make.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tear Garden "the Brown Acid Caveat"

Edward Ka-Spel of the Legendary Pink Dots and Cevin Key of Skinny Puppy have re-united after 8 years as Tear Garden. The album opens up more up beat than what I remember from them. Though over the span of their 31 years together they have covered a lot of dark and trippy ground, often wandering in the same sonic neighborhoods as Psychic Tv. I like how things get darker for "Stars on the Sidewalk" and when I hear this I think, I really hope these guys go on tour, so that's  a positive sign. "Amy's Personality" is more plodding in it's swirl of intangible mesmerism. A more electronic pulse is added to "Calling Time" . The more whispered English narrative of the vocals continues its chant like meandering on the more free form "On With the Show"  . I can hear Key's influence on the glitch filled atmosphere than I remember hearing on their previous albums that struck me as being more organic in its psychedelic pursuits.

There is a dark electronic throb to "Sinister Science".  Strings come in to give it a lusher sense of melodrama despite the continued understated vocal. "Lola's Rock" is more of a narration that makes me think of one of the interludes on Bowie's "Outside" album. Guitar returns on 'Kiss Don't Tell" to give a more organic feel, along with the sing song vocal that goes into a more Syd Barrett like cadence. There is a Stranger Things like vibe to the eerie moving the mood of "A Private Parade". This finds the song taking on a drone until it breaks down at the midway point and jumps back into the same droning groove. The synth melody wavers into weirdness toward the end so the song goes somewhere.

It sounds like more organic instruments are introduced once more on "Seven Veils". The vocals occupy a more conventional spot and finds them once again in the zip code of early Pink Floyd. This is prime real estate if you are psychedelic so it means they are doing something right for this comparison to be drawn. "Object" comes close to being a neo-folk ditty. Which is fine by me. Then some near Kraut rock weirdness with the closing "the Sound of Space Escaping". It's clear this requires more drugs than Pink Floyd was on for "Obscured By Clouds". While the first few songs are the best before the drugged lethargy sets in over this album I have no problem rounding it up to an 8.5 . I am sure would have scored higher if I still did drugs.

You can check out videos they made on their crowd funding page ....thanks Pledgers!, Here's a little video treat for you via @pledgemusic

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Skyclad : "Forward Into the Past"

When folk metal made it's boom a few years back this is the first band that came to mind. The opening song reminds me of a more driving version of "Stonehenge" which I think is a fitting place to say this brand of metal was born. Coming from 1990 there is a fair amount of thrash influence injected into their vision of what would be known as folk metal. The vocals are the least dynamic element of the band.The songs are very compact. They prove that you don't have to have everything at over ten minutes in order to capture and epic feel. Even though they openly embrace their more old school approach to metal they attack they songs with an aggression not often found in the frolicking of folk metal. On "Change is Coming' they show that you can have the best of a both worlds. They couple a very celebratory tone with a commanding mood.

"Starstruck' does have a happier tone to it. I think this compromises the heaviness. "Heavy Price to Pay"bemoans sexual dysfunction due to drinking too much. It seems to take it self more seriously than the previous song. I like the tinge of melancholy that reminds me of Marillion on "Words Fail Me" . Some of the double guitar lines remind me of Iron Maiden, whose influence can be heard on the more mid-paced songs. "The title track just kinda meanders around a more straight forward hard rock. I think "Queen of the Moors" is a much more interesting song.The bass playing on this song with pretty top notch. There is groove to "Last Summer's Rain" which makes it a little more interesting. The guitar work on this album is great, which considering how these guys are old pros it should be.

The vocals to "the Measure" are pretty cheesy and kill the song for me. It's to the point where it sounds like some amateur shit you would here from a local band on a thursday night. They prove they know better on "Borderline" which is a good balance of melody in the metal. The guitars blaze around the vocals. It is played aggressively without being what I think of as heavy, but it works well as a song which at the end of the day is what matters. I'll round this album up to an 8.5 I think it's a welcomed return to form for them and aside from the one mis-step is a solid album that only sounded dated when it comes to the vocals and even they can prove to be endearing.

Ride : "Weather Diaries"

Robert Smith once refused to play a festival unless this band was added to the bill. One of the forefathers of shoe gaze, they proved to be more versatile than other bands in the genre.The guitar tones on this album are incredible. The breathy vocals you are used to hearing on shoe gaze albums, come in but stronger than some of the breathy moans as they are able to harmonize and ride the groove with confidence. After bringing you in with a dreamy groove the second song feels like British garage rock.. The production is very different. The vocals sit behind the reverb heavy guitar. It borders on being too upbeat and happy for me, but after I gave the album a few listens I didn't really mind it. Weird ping pong delay is put on the vocals that are used more as a effect to open "All I Want". The vocals have more of an Oasis feel, which is no mistake as Andy Bell played bass for Oasis at one point. They also hover in the same psychedelic air as Stone Roses. The hooky vocal melodies being one of the strong points.

"Home is a Feeling" finds the guitar more strummed and the vocal harmonies carrying more of a Pink Floyd ambiance. Like most of Pink Floyd's albums this would be a great one to smoke pot to. If you do drugs of any flavor I would highly recommend this. Which is a decision that is easily made even when you are only on the fourth song.The title track a little more melancholy and benefits from a smooth groove where every thing falls in place for the relaxed vocals to add to the mood. It all feels pretty effortless here. The lyrics "it's too perfect something's gotta give" could be more appropriate to describe the music.This song is seven minutes but it breezes by in a way that stops time. It sounds at one point like the song is getting sucked into a David Lynch movie when things begin to get weird.

The weird continues as the first half of "Rocket Sliver Symphony" is atmosphere before busting into lush Brit Pop.  A 90's alt-rock bass lines propels the more driving "Lateral Alice" . "Cali" works off a similar formula but is more relaxed. The atmosphere is laid on even thicker  for "Integration Tape" making it more of an interlude than a song. "Impermanence" is the first song that really adhere's to today's definition of what we have come to think of as Shoe-gaze. There is a much more grandiose tone to "White Sands" that closes the album. It weaves a very dynamic path in the arrangement and makes me think of what it might sound like if Brian Wilson wrote a song for Radiohead.  It's pretty easy to round this album up to  10 as it's easy on the ears and is a testament to their songwriting prowess. Good to have these guys back.

Monday, July 3, 2017

WARBEAST : "Enter the Arena"

This is German thrash by way of Texas. Sodom is the first band that comes to mind when I pressed play and it ripped into my ear drums. There is a little more groove than the German bands from the 80s really possessed. Granted this is 2017 so there are decades of death metal which have followed the golden age of thrash and influenced these guys as well. So why I am so quick to dig into history and offer comparisons you ask. Well when you are following a genre that is so rooted in a certain place in time you can not escape the sense of nostalgia cast by it's shadow. To their credit the dense production gives a greater sense of density that most bands that were not Dark Angel did not really embody.

This kind of music really struggles against my rule that cool riffs alone do not make a good song. Riffs are their stock and trade. Take away the riffs to most metal and what do you have? That in many ways is the mission of the blog. To ask those questions and find the bands that go above and beyond to offer something more. Sure they are punishing. Their drummer can fly at the speed of light, but that is what is expected from the genre. On "Punishment for Gluttony" there is a much stiffer feel to the forward charge they attack you with. You also begin to get a sense of just how one dimensional the vocals are going to be. This was not always the case with the classic albums from the 80s.

The two songs that follow offer a little more groove to head bang to. "Maze of the Minotaur" finds the guitar getting more adventurous and almost reminds me of Mastodon's earlier work. It's this groove that can compensate for the limited delivery of the vocals. "Hitchhiker" finds them doing this in a way that plays to their strengths as a band and is more along the lines of what Vio-lence used to do. There is a darker dissonance to the chord progression of "Chemicals Consuming " before blasting back off into the rapid fire punk hybrid of metal. The guitar pyrotechnics work better on this song than they have earlier in the album.

The hammering thrash of "Enter The Arena" proves to be powerful until they allow the velocity to over come them. This song proves blunt force alone is not enough to keep my interest. Indian chanting starts of "the Scalping". When it eases back from the more whiplash inducing passages and allow the song a s little room to breath the groove in does it benefit the most. Sadly "Conjuration with the Devil" is pretty mundane aside from one really crushing riff towards the three minute mark. There is more Slayer in the riff to "Ancient Hate". Like Slayers more recent album the speed kills the groove and just feels like they are throwing rapid riffs at you. This album grew on me a little, but they are in no way redefining the thrash genre. It is a pretty solid performance so I'll give this a 7.5

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Integrity - "Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume"

I remember this wave of Victory records hard core bands that brought a much more metallic sound to hardcore. Bloodlet and Snapcase were my favorites, but Integrity was after Bloodlet the next darkest of those bands. There is an almost black metal blasting to the first song when it it's not in a more punk rock beat. When it slows down into more of a break down like accent they sound their most powerful. Guitar solos come blazing out of the cracks more than I remember happening back in the day. There are Slayer like diving bombing guitar squealing everywhere with the more mean spirited thrash of "Hymn For the Children of the Black Flame".  The drumming is also very Slayer, but Slayer hasn't sounded like Slayer in some time so I am o.k. with this . But will the band's longtime fan-base ? "I am the Spell" blasts past me, but the more Motorhead thrash of "Die With Your Boots on " catches my ear. The guitar solos are staring to get a little excessive by this point in the album.

The intro to "Serpent of the Crossroads" sounds more like a Kiss song. The vocals are still really gritty in their raps but sound like there is more of an attempt at singing here. They get creepy with the organ leading into "Unholy Salvation of Sabbatai Zevi" . Not the best song on the album, but still pretty solid without getting lost in its momentum. While I am not a fan of the spoken word vocals on the verse of "7 Reece Mews" I think the varying guitar tones and all the sonic pieces that they assemble hear make for a unique sound that stands out on this album and shows their songwriting prowess to a much fuller extent. "Burning Beneath the Devils Cross" reminds me a little of the earlier more Punk days of Bathory or even Venom.

There is a more rock n roll feel to "String Up My Teeth" . It has a mid paced Judas Priest like groove. The more Motorhead like sound returns on the title track to close out the album. It reminds me of "Orgasmatron" era Motorhead with am ore dense and oppressive sound. I think these is a more metal album than it is hard core, but these guys are good at what they do and this is a resounding success so I'll grant this one a 8.5.

Algiers : " The Underside of Power"

When people got all excited about the Zeal & Ardor album, I was underwhelmed as I had already heard Algiers who may not dive into the metal trapping but does what Zeal and Ardor does better in terms to the feeling they evoke. They are still dark and angry on their album, with what feels like a hip hop beat to the opening "Walk Like A Panther" . The vocals are all over the place in the tradition of gospel.There is a rough distorted filter over them. It doesn't strike me as having the same polished sense of songwriting. The programmed drums don't have as commanding of a pound as I remember these guys having. I remember my ex-wife telling me she didn't like these guys because they reminded her too much of hip-hop and while I didn't hear that then I can hear it now.

They rein the songwriting in on the title track. The chorus has more of a hook, though the mood is lighter and it feels more like 60's garage pop. So far "Death March " is the most interesting song on the album as the guitars sound like something from Twin Peaks and the vocals work with the groove rather than rage against it. "A Murmur, a Sign" is not as compelling and meanders without committing. The song after is is not any better. It's not until "Cleveland' that the album reconnects for me. I think this song finds all the elements that work for them in good working order.  "Animals" has almost a punk energy to it's ranting vocals. "Plague Years"  drones on to set a mood , but is more of an interlude than an actual song.

The piano driven "Hymn for an Average Man" is another study in droned texture, but benefits from the crooned vocals. There is a similar interlude of atmosphere after this song and before the closing song that has more energy . The tempo is brisk and every thing should be clicking for m, but it isn't this might be because it's not as dark. There is much less tension over all and I would not call it post-punk, but indie rock. I'll round this down to a 7.5 as I don't think it comes close to what they did on the previous album and the strong songs are not as numerous. It's not a bad album I am just disappointed because I know they have done better.


Top 10 Rock Albums of 2017 far

It's that time again as the year continues to fly by, for us to look at what they top ten rock albums of the year so far are. These are a wide jumble of varied genres that have one thing in common...they aren't metal. We have hard rock, indie rock, math rock, cock rock etc...they are ranked according to what Last FM said I listened to the most. So here you go..
 If you wanna hear more just click onto the link to the full review of the album.

10 - Cherry Glazer- "Apocalypstick"

 Here is a wacky indie rock band that works best off best clever, though they can build into a more punk infused punch on the opener "Told You I'd Be With the Guys". The lyrics are just as smart as the arrangements especially on "Trash People". This album is sonic and compelling indie rock that's familiar in some ways , but they are very much their own person.

It’s comforting to know that one of the scenes biggest indie rock band’s actually knows how to rock. They open the album with a more reflective tone that cruises  on smooth melodies, but by the second song they remind you that indie rock has punk roots. There is enough of a jangle to take you back to the days band's like the Replacements held a place on college radio. If you are too young and missed the boat on the first two Weezer albums or Jimmy Eat World’s early work, then these guys have got you covered. This is indie rock that knows where it came from and adds it’s own flavors.">

7-Steel Panther- "Lower the Bar" 

 Hair metal ...cock rock or whatever you want to call the metal from the 80's that held a glam tinge and packed arenas, is what Steel Panther is. These guys are more of a parody, but in the process make some good music by mistake.

6-King Woman - "Created in the Image of Suffering"

The dream like haze cast over the doom-gaze of the band's debut full length has grown thicker than what  we found on their previous ep. This album hits a sweet spot for me,  once again proving you don't have to adhere to the typical trappings of metal in order to be heavy. Blues bubbles under the simmering cauldron of hypnotic riffs. Overall this album starts off with a dreamier coating and wakes into a more grounded powerhouse..Kristina's vocals pull the songwriting together and making it an album you’ll dig deeper into with repeat listens


5-Crystal Fairy - s/t Holy shit! I had le Butcherettes confused with the Ravonettes going into this because this chick can fucking belt it out with rock god size balls, I know she is from Bosnian Rainbows but it didn't all click now.At times it feels like Rasputina as a punk band, but overall it rocks pretty solidly and this reminds me I need to give it more listens.
4- Mastodon - "Emperor of Sand" Living in Atlanta it's hard to gauge just how big of a deal a new album from Mastodon is outside of the microcosm here. It feels like more of a fully realized vision that the past two albums.Overall this might be the band's best album since "Crack the Skye" so it made the much envied trip over to my iPod and then I will see how it stands the test of time. Some of the songs that didn't hook me in as strongly as the groovier poppier numbers still have room to grow on me.

3- Gold- "Optimist"

 The Dutch band is back with more introspection to the gloom. The singer has really stepped up her game on this collection of more refined rock songs that succeeds in being sonically heavy without being metal.This one is still growing on me , but has gotten a generous share of repeat listens.

2-Royal Thunder- "Wick"

There are metal influences under the surface but this is not a metal album. By the album's third act it becomes obvious they have remembered who they are and what they should be doing. The album comes to a close with 'We Never Fell Asleep". There is a dagger like quality to how the lyrics are spit out on this one and they gain some punch as the song progresses.   Overall this one shows the band growing away from who they where and that takes some adjustment if you are invested in their old sound,but is worth the trip.

 1- Minus the Bear - Voids
ts been awhile since I have caught up with Minus the Bear around 2004 they were one of my favorite bands. The last album I owned by the was 2007's "Planet of Ice" so it's been a decade since they were really on my radar. In that time frame they have releases a few more albums, I felt with "Planet of Ice" that the song writing was not as focused as the first album. Things have changed and there is a better balance. Overall the dream like qualties to these songs is very thoughtful and makes this album carry a lot of depth as well as being a fun ride for casual iPod listening and makes me want to go back and see what I might have missed out on from these guys. This marks a return to the band I want them to be.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top 10 Metal Albums of 2017... so Far

Where has 2017 gone? It seems like the year has passed us by in a cloud of internet hatred and bickering. So with that comes the need for heavy music. Black Metal, Doom, Death Metal and Thrash are all represented to some extent. The number one slot was determined by what Last Fm said I listened to the most. If you want to check out more on any of the following bands just use the link to the review. At the end of the day we shall see how these albums hold up over the next six months. So far only the top five still maintain their spots in my Ipod, though that is not to say I won't go back and give the others another listen.

10- Ever Circling Wolves -"Of Woe, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloom"

This band from Finland is certainly worth championing due to their originality. This doesn't mean they have forsaken key components for metal and twisted them into something no recognizable to the average metal head in a Morbid Angel t-shirt. After a three minute introductory instrumental that throw some melodic death metal at you that is mid to doom paced. The organic guitar tones allow the riffs to breathe and the notes to remain distinguishable. This album's production certainly lends it self to supporting their adventurous style of songwriting.

9-Emptiness-"For Music"

Wow! these guys are so different from anything out there the newness is easy to get immersed in. To the point the first song just sounded awesome because it didn't sound like anything in recent memory so it won me over without me ever stopping to ask is this song good. There is more groove to "It Might Be". Twiggy Ramirez produced this and I am not sure why Marilyn Manson hasn't been letting him handled everything .

8- Ragana -You Take Nothing"

This two piece out of Oakland has returned with a moodier yet more feral vision of black metal mixed with crust. "To Leave" places more emphasis on atmosphere and ringing guitar melodies than the more deliberate opener. They do blast off towards the end of the second song. One thing they have going for them is their songs are very concise and streamlined never feeling like bloated drones. The two longest songs are six and a half minutes.These gals prove they are capable of hitting you with varied colors and tempos.

7-Volur -"Ancestors"

The Canadian doom project features the Bass player from Blood Ceremony. Germanic chants coast over very melodic bass playing  drivings the song. It takes a minute to realize that the Guitar is not sitting back it's actual the violin occupying the space a guitar would sit order to create the atmosphere. They have a very unique sound that drones ,but is so pleasing to the ears that it doesn't bore you.

6- Samsara - "When the Soul Leaves the Body"

Slovakian metal is gaining ground now when it comes to doom. The proof lies in this band Samsara who has a big majestic sound, when they pick up the pace into a chug the results are without a doubt powerful. This is poised to be be one of the best doom albums of the year.

5-Bathsheba- "Servus"

Here is the doom I have been looking for. These are the thoughts inspired by the weighty riffs that opens the new album from this Belgian band. The fact the clean vocals are so dominate works for me  she can pull out some more snarled harsher vocals , which are effectively used. The pace picks up out of the realms of doom into something more blast beaten  when it slows down into a more deliberate and powerful drive it should make you  believer.

4-Pallbearer -"Heartless".

So things continue to change The vocals are even more upfront in the mix on this one. As they should be as the vocals are really killing it, though the guitar is taking a back seat that makes me think this album might be heavier if they were pushed forward or maybe I am not listening to it loud enough yet. "Thorns' is a logical step from where they were on "Foundations of Burden". There are plenty of those angular riffs snaking themselves around the songs .


3-Loss- Horizonless

So here is everything you liked about “Despond” , but made heavier by fuller production. The guttural gurgle of vocals remains, but over the course of the album more vocal colors have been added. There is a  more scathing higher pitched black metal like snarl that explodes out of " the Joy of All Who Sorrow". They even give me the creepy  lower  baritone that I grew up loving as a poor goth child. This album is a triumph by the band and everything I can want out of this brand of doom.


 2 - Tombs -"The Grand Annihilation"

 I think it's obvious that this is the soundtrack the world needs right now. The album is almost split into two parts on the front end If you thought the more post-punk elements were diluting the more metallic properties then make most mistake this part of the  album is up in you as metal as it gets. Then if your tastes fall more on the dark side as mine do than you have to hang on and your get that too.

1- Goatwhore-"Vengeful Ascension"

 They continue to kill it on their 7th album.>Sure there is not a wild deviation from their sound, but the song writing is more focused and highlights the band's strength and energy. This might also be one of the band's most melodic albums. It seems like they have more readily embraced their death metal side. So in the swirl of hybrid sub-genres that make this band up death metal is the predominant ingredient this go around. The second song "Under the Flesh, Into the Soul" finds more of the blackened thrash like sound that has colored the past two albums. There are some pretty hooky riffs, and it would make you think that my rule of "cool riffs alone , don't make a good song" would hit a band like this hard. This is not the case as a key component to their song writing is having every thing is the perfect place.

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