Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interview With Death Metal Demons, Nominon!




Country of origin: Sweden
Location: Jönköping
Status: Active
Active since: 1993 Genre: Death Metal
Lyrical themes: Blasphemy, Death, Evil
Current label: Deathgasm Records


Juha Sulasalmi: Guitars (1993-2011), Bass (2011-present)
See also: ex-Choronzon, ex-Dion Fortune
Per Karlsson: Drums (2002-present)
See also: Die Hard, In Aeternum, Nex, Serpent, Benediction (live), ex-Dion Fortune, ex-Suffer, ex-T.A.R., ex-Wortox, ex-Deströyer 666 (live), ex-Interment (live), ex-Altar
Christian Strömblad: Guitars (2005-2010, 2011-present)
See also: ex-Immersed in Blood, ex-RAM
Henke Skoog: Vocals (2010-present)
See also: Inverted Cross, Eviscerated
Alexander Lyrbo: Guitars (2011-present)
See also: ex-Morbid Grin, ex-Brutal Noise

THE INTERVIEW Answered by Perra (Drums Ov Death), Henke (Vokills), Juha (Bass) & AntiChristian (Guitar)

1. First of all Perra, do you have any relation to the famous Swedish Occult Magician famous for most of Therion 's lyric content, Tomas Karlsson? If so, how? And what is your opinion on The Order Of The Dragon Rouge?

PERRA: Hail. Thomas and I are not related in that sense, no. Yet I know him pretty well. We used to hang out a little bit back in 96-99, when I was running a record store in Stockholm. Dragon Rouge actually had a few meetings and stuff at the record store every now and then, because they didn't had any local at that period of time, so they were meeting up at the store and even though I wasn't that much involved in their business personally we were still hanging out quite often. My girlfriend at the time was heavily involved in Dragon Rouge though, so one could say that I had some sort of relation with the whole gang. As I said, I wasn't a member of Dragon Rouge, yet I supported and helped them in many ways.

2. Describe the process for recording The Cleansing. What was the toughest part? How long did it take? What was your goal for the album?

HENKE: It has been quite a journey for “The Cleansing” to rise into this disgusting place we call earth. The original plan was to record the album in Växjö, due to some miscommunication and a lot of frustration everything fucked up and we ended up at Robert Ericsson's Studio Hell. There were some frantic and destructive weeks at the time we recorded “The Cleansing” and you can feel the hatred and the vigorous atmosphere that occurd in the crypt of Studio Hell. Perra rode on his mighty black horse of doom(!!!) to Barcelona to invoke the last cursed soul that was missing into “The Cleansing”. Mr Javi and Perra did an extremely good job and really delivered a vicious piece of art. Javi himself will be rejoining the force of NOMINON the 15th of December when we’re planning on genocide together with UNLEASHED.

AC: It was really cool this time. We all knew what we were up for. The toughest part was to get a studio to record this abomination.|We were in contact with some people that had a studio, but it turned out to be just bullshit. They stalled the whole situation and we were delayed so we said fuck off! We were in a crappy situation, we had no studio and were ready to record! Once we got started, we just knocked it out. We had no time to fuck around. The goal was to get a more honest an philthy sound, not so polished and professional sounds as the ones before. I think I was there for three days laying down my guitar parts.

PERRA: The toughest part was to complete the song ”Slaughter The Imposter”, because we had some technical issues during that song in the studio. But it turned out killer in the end, so it wasn't like the end of the world or whatever. We spent something like a couple of weeks completing the recording, we usually recorded the parts during the evenings, since most of us worked during the days. I spent two three evening recording the drums as far as I remember for the ten songs on the album. The goal was to make it the best possible fucking Death Metal album out there.

3. What does the name Nominon mean? How does it reflect the band?

PERRA: NOMINON is a name of a demon, it was chosen by the original vocalist Peter Nilsson back in 1993. The name suits the band perfect and it's quite original as well.

4. The Cleansing is a very strong title for an album. It can signify some sort of spiritual cleansing, or the complete annihilation of an entire race of people (which is more along the lines of what I was thinking.) What do you feel needs to be cleansed?

AC: The humans of now! Stupidity is the new world order. There are a lot of things that needs to be destroyed to the very last strain of DNA. But also we needed to be cleansed in a way. Shit had to be cleansed to find power to marsch forward and spread the pest called NOMINON.

PERRA: The main influence for “The Cleansing” is the hatred towards most of the humans that are walking on this earth, towards mankind, to the plastic fake garbage fucking people that just seems to be living everywhere. They do not care about anything besides perhaps the latest “Big brother” episode on TV, or how they personally doesn't stick to what they believe in, and instead just try to fit into this society and stuff like that. People that doesn't have the guts to say no, enough is enough. In our world thet might as well be cleansed and erased from this place.

HENKE: The earth is a despiteful place and there was a time when you didn’t put everybody else first before yourself. Things have gotten out of control and yes, there are a lot of people that I rather would see dead than alive.

5. There 's no need to explain your influences, to do so would be foolhardy. But what bands are you guys currently into now? Is there any metal you 've been recently listening to lately that we might want to check out?

PERRA: My personal fave bands are pretty much the same as they have been for the past 20-25 years, like: MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND, MORBID ANGEL, TESTAMENT, MOTORHEAD, SAXON, DEMOLITION HAMMER, PRIEST, MOTLEY CRUE, FORBIDDEN, MALEVOLENT CREATION, OZZY, ROOT, MAIDEN, SADUS, ZZ TOP, MERCILESS, DARK ANGEL, LIZZY and so on. I listen to a lot of Metal and Hard rock in general, so I can recomend any of the above really.


HENKE: Right now TREBLINKA is crushing my ears. Everybody else can fuck off.

6. Explain the equipment you guys used in making the album. What was it that made you guys decide to start playing death metal in the first place?

JUHA: It's a process and not a decision you make like "OK, what genre should we start playing?" It comes naturally when you're young and live your life immersed in metal, thrash and other extreme styles. My weapons in the studio were an Ibanez bass and an old Yamaha combo.

PERRA: I used my Pearl drum double kick set, four toms and some roto-toms. It was the first album ever that had the chance to use Roto-toms, and that felt really cool. Of course I used tons of cymbals and shit too, but it's just too much to mention here and now. And to be honest, since I don't have any endorsement or whatever I won't be letting any particular company take credit. I play Death Metal because it's the most honest style of Music on the planet.

AC: I don´t know, my guitar and an amp that I can´t remember. I did not choose Death metal, Death metal choose me. It´s what I am.

7. What is your definition of the "perfect" death metal release? What do you think a death metal album must have to be considered death metal, and do you think that deathcore counts in this equation? Or is it just a bad offshoot?

PERRA: The perfect Death Metal release must be ”The Cleansing”. Deathcore?! What is that? Some Emo shit trying to be labelled as Death Metal or what?

AC: The music, the album cover. Death metal is death metal. You´re not death metal if you don´t know what It´s all about. Fuck them! Fucking posers trying to take cred from Death metal doing their crappy gay-music. They shall be tortured forever!

JUHA: If it has all the components from "The Cleansing" then it's Death metal. What's deathcore?

8. Obviously there 's a lot of horror influence on this disc. What are some of your personal favorite horror films? Some stuff that we should definitely check out and might not have heard of?

PERRA: Masque Of The Red Death is my favourite film, I'm quite a fan of Vincent Price.

HENKE: Recently I’ve seen some Amicus movies. Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is a recommendation. Grizzly (also known as Killer Grizzly) directed by William Girdler is also a nice piece. Satan’s Slave delivers evil. You can hear the frightening voice of Vincent Price in the song “Son of Doom”.

9. People talk of impending Armageddon, doom, the end of the world and other such apocalyptic scenarios. Why do you think this is so popular in this age? Do you think that somewhere in the back our minds we all know that we 're all about to die?

PERRA: The sooner death and armageddon will appear, the better. I think this world have survived long enough already. It's mainly fucking idiots living on this earth anyway.

AC: Just look at the state of the world. Look at Europe and especially Sweden, the answers are there! There are so many ways for the world to end! Open your eyes!

10. You guys have played more shows that I can count, and have played with hundreds of bands, including the legendary Dissection (RIP), Dismember, Vital Remains, Demonical and Nunslaugher among others. What was it like meeting some of these bands? What was it like on tour and general? And I 'm sure in years of playing death metal, you guys have got to have some stories of hilarious road shenanigans. Tell us about some of those.

AC: I love playing live and hang out with those loyal to NOMINON. Meeting all those cool people makes everything worth it.
I fucking love it! And what happens on tour, stays on tour. Code of honor!

PERRA: Of course there has been plenty of shit happening when we have been out there on the road. Too much shit, seriously. We should write a book about it eventually, it would be like Spinal Tap for real. I have some close friends in the bands that you mentioned here, bands that we have played shows or toured with. So for me it was like hanging out and having a good time, really. I also worked with DISSECTION on their Rebirth tour in 2004. I met Jon way back in 1990 for the first time, so we knew each other pretty well. Same with VITAL REMAINS pretty much, I interviewed them for my old zine MOULD MAG back in 1990, so we had a story going together already. They're all good bands and hard-working bands as well. Now we just have to catch up and play some shows/tours with IMMOLATION and AUTOPSY so we can die happy some day.

Thanks for putting out a great slab of Swedish death metal, and we hope to hear more from you guys in the future. Keep playing real death metal guys!



Nominon - The Cleansing (PR2012) - Nominon might as well have been around longer then some of you have been alive. Their very first demo dates back to 1993, and they've even opened up for legends Dissection and Dismember back in 1996. So these guys have had a long fucking time to perfect the Swedish death sound that they've again unleashed with their twenty-seventh offering, (according to the official release list) simply entitled, "The Cleansing." Now "The Cleansing" is just as you would expect from Swedish death metal stalwarts such as these - it's raw, brutal and drenched with the same gore that makes up Grave, Unleashed, early Hypocrisy, early Dark Tranquility, and others in that vein. While it's nothing ultimately new, what is done here is a certain solid effort that should appeal to most death metal fans. There's no core breakdowns, technicality or anything that you find in death metal these days. However, you will hear crunchy riffs, gore-splattered vocals, and drum work that you would expect for death metal of this nature. It's a very straight-forward approach and it's one that works. I had a very tough time picking out standout tracks on here, but that's due to the fact that everything on this disc fucking slaughtered. But where's death metal without solos? And these guys have delivered in that aspect too. Again, there's nothing on here that I thought was weak, and "Son Of Doom 5:00" and closer "Infernal Rites 5:07" are exceptionally strong.

Swedish death metal... for me, it NEVER gets old. This is just one of those records, and I highly recommend you check out this pummeler. Imagine the disc as a giant fucking hammer to your skull, and you've got it.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Small Update (November 28th, 2012)


Doomsday - Doomsday (PR2012) - This six-piece consisting of members from a barrage of different bands spanning black metal, sludge and thrash have all come together to make a short hodgepodge of aggression. The disc is most certainly along the lines of punky and raw black/thrash that pulls no punches, but definitely features elements of all three genres. Opener "She Will Be The One 3:33" starts out with a thrash barrage, goes into a bit of black metal and then thumps with majesty toward the very end. "The Punishment 4:06" has the feel of black thrash, but throws in some core influence that you might not have expected. "Bring Down The Knife 5:02" contains the album's first solo piece, backed to blackened thrash that features a slower moment with unforeseen melody, showing that this band has much more in mind then just simple black thrash. "Empty Vessel 3:04" comes in pummeling, and features a riff that reminds of Volt Catfish's theme from Megaman X3. But don't tell these guys that. "Black Judas 3:18" comes in afterwards, but the riff is so similar to the opening of "Empty Vessel" that it makes me want to kick them. The song however takes a sludgier vocal approach that seems to benefit and (slightly) differentiate the song, and a guitar squeal attempts to further hide the fact that this one is filler. The disc ends with "I Kill Everything I Fuck 2:07" which just makes me smile with glee. It's got a definite Venom influence but has a much harsher vocal. This track is more about their influences than originality, but it fucking works. (EDIT: Track is actually a GG Allin Cover)

The thing is, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that six gentlemen were needed to complete this 21 minute album. I'm sure that four, or even three gentlemen could've done the same thing. What were the other guys in the band doing? Honestly? I mean, this stuff isn't that fucking complex; it didn't require a full regiment to complete. It's also essentially a demo in most regards, something that talented musicians did on their off-time. And once again, six men is a bit ridiculous. Have we really gotten so bad at the art of music, that it takes six men to accomplish what three or four could've done? The same thing could have been said with Slipknot. There were more or less only four or five musical contributors to the band - everyone else was doing some effects every now and again. Why does it take a million men, to tie a knot? Plus, that's Nu-Metal. Not too much really of merit going on until about the third album when experimentalism came into play. (That album would have been much better had they left the pop at home though.)

However, back to the Doomsday equation here:

One album = 21:00. Most of the riffs straight-forward, nothing really mind-boggling. Guy on drums, guy on bass, guy on guitar, guy on vocals. No synths, no effects. I'll bet that two people can pull off the same amount of effort. Yet I still see six dudes and wonder what small contributions that some of them might have made. But this album is definitely a solid black thrash album with a just enough bells and whistles to set it apart from some of the more simplistic stuff out there. Regardless, I'd like to hear a full release that justifies the use of six individuals in this project.

Highlights: She Will be The One, Bring Down The Knife, Empty Vessel, I Kill Everything I Fuck (6 Tracks, 21:00)



The Gates Of Slumber - The Awakening (Reissue PR2012) - Now this is more like it. Traditional Sabbathy (with a capital "S") doom metal produced by three guys, not six. Showing that three men can produce the kind of music that some bands feel that six, eight, twelve or even thirty men might only be able to accomplish. What you've got here is a raw sounding effort that reminds me very much of the earliest Black Sabbath records. The vocalist was most certainly influenced by Ozzy, yet he's got a bit of a southern drawl that might not appeal to some folks. The guitars thunder with a vengeance, and everything gives off a atmospheric sense of foreboding doom, especially on the title track "The Awakening 7:49." The cover features a Conan inspired barbarian going to war with what looks like a Lich king, but the album itself doesn't seem to flow for that concept. Something darker, like a skull-faced judge sentencing the damned to the abyss, might have been more to the style of this album.

Nevertheless, the guitar melodies are great on this one, and the solos are just as good as any you'd find in traditional doom - something the new The Sword album, Apocryphon was severely lacking. The album does sound a bit thin in areas, but the fact that these guys worked very hard to put it together is definitely there. "The Judge 6:04" might not be so great, but "The Jury 7:25" is most certainly jammable. You'll hear some great melodies on "Broken On The Wheel 5:34" which make me wonder why this thing hasn't been reissued sooner. That middle section is one of the most badass middle sections I've heard in doom in quite a while, and it's the shit I look for. I always subconsciously ask a band when I review, "Alright. How can you amaze me?" and it's shit like that that manages to answer my question.

"The Executioner 3:19" comes off priestly, but I fucking love Priest, so shove it in your ass if you don't like those guys. That's the birth of heavy metal right there, like it or not. However, this song isn't as great as it could be and is kind of out of place, other than the shred-tastic fucking solos. As for the album's technical closer, "The Burial 9:36" those same solos help to pepper the classic doom atmosphere of the track, an atmosphere that goes as far back as the actual "Black Sabbath" in nature. And I'm not just referring to the band, I'm talking about the actual fucking track itself. It's a perfect closer for the album and the way you want a doom album to end.

Bonus Track

The Cloaked Figure - God, I fucking love this one. Even though the lyrics aren't featured on this one, this song fucking kills beyond anything that has ever killed before in terms to just sheer fucking grimness. I used to be "The Grim Lord" so I know what the fuck grim means, and these guys have it. Those are the riffs that play when a meteor is heading straight for the planet, Cthulhu and his minions arise from the sea, or the fucking antichrist is crowned in a golden temple. That's the shit you'll hear in your head. All nine minutes and thirty-four seconds of this song are fucking brilliant. This is the way you END a doom album.

These guys know how to make great doom, just the way the masters have done it - those Masters Of Illusion that we thank partly for metal, (I'd like to think that Priest also owe a big part to it's foundation among others) Black Sabbath. Though a little southern-fired on vocals, this is exactly what I was looking for from the genre and I strongly recommend it, even though there are a couple of tracks that don't quite hit the mark. It's one of those albums that I have to simply say, "even if you've got tracks like this, there's also tracks like THAT and THAT is fucking worth it all."

Highlights: The Awakening, The Jury, Broken On The Wheel, The Burial, The Cloaked Figure (9 Tracks, 53:00)



Grai - O Zemle Rodnoy (About Our Native Land) (PR2012) - A word of warning before I begin with this one. If you're not into jovial pagan-folk metal with female vocals and loads of chants, then you might want to skip this review altogether. But guess what? I am. So if you're like me, then continue reading this review and you might here something profoundly interesting. Of course, I can't play for you the album, but my job is to describe it - so that is what I'm going to attempt. This six piece (and yes, utilizing folk instruments and metal instruments is something that very well does require six people) is certainly one of a kind, mixing the impressive vocal acrobatics of the female vocalists with the prowess of high quality folk instrumentations and metal work that includes thundering riffs and some great drum work. It is very joyous music, songs about the harvest and such that might have some of the pagan variety dancing nude in their homes while listening to it, more than likely. I found the music to be very entrancing to say the very least. While listening to it at work, I could not focus on the task and became very emotional for some odd reason - this stuff lets out a sort of innocence in my conscious and vocally, this stuff is up there with Dead Can Dance.

Soft ballads like "A Winter Tale 3:58" and "Leave Us, Sorrow 5:33" definitely lighten the mood a bit, but there are certainly heavier numbers like "Brave Warrior 4:27" and the closer, "Get Up From Your Knees!" that feature more animalistic vocals. The song structure of the album is balanced well, without the folk and metal getting too mashed up into each other. Flutes make up the majority of the melody here, but the flute playing makes for many great sets of melodies that you will hear throughout the album. I could not find one song on this album that I thought was mediocre, but I couldn't find any songs that I thought were better or worse than the others. Which means that the band has made a terrific album, and has well justified the women in wheat sun-crowns and the men wearing black shirts emblazoned with an image of the sun. I see much referencing the Dying and Rising God in this band, but little referencing the mother. Perhaps that will come in the band's next album.

Nonetheless, I urge my pagan fans (and friends) to check out this one, as it will uplift your spirit and make you proud to call yourself both a pagan and a metalhead, as both ideas are done justice on the album. I cannot say for sure that those looking for extremes will find much to like on this album, but I feel that it's an extremely strong and true ethereal pagan celebration.

Grai are the very definition of "pagan metal" and I cannot wait to hear more from them in the future. Worthy of any pagan ritual or gathering. I will be recommending them to all of my pagan friends.

(10 Tracks, 46:00)



Magnum Itiner Interius - Departure At The Betrayal Of Life (PR2012) - This one man instrumental/atmospheric and melodic doom project is meant to be listened to as an instrumental album, but so help me; I think that some of these tracks could've really used vocals. The first track after the intro, "A Mirage Of Your Journey 5:51" really sounds quite bare as instrumental, I was thinking of lyrics as I was listening to it in all honesty - since the title of the track had poetic philosophies flying out of my brain, and I heard several instances for verse and chorus. At writing music, this gentleman has succeeded immensely. It's done so well in some instances, that it's very difficult to believe that one man was responsible for it. Despite the fact that there are small interludes, (and most of them are done well, with the exception of a two that I felt a little lacking due to effects) eight full length tracks round out the metal portion of this album. "The Shattered Dream 6:09" comes in very dream-like but features a great guitar melody that overlaps it, (again, reminding me of Rapture) and "Pitchblack Stream 4:48" features some electronic effects and a true instrumental feel that should've composed this album from the beginning.

Then we're back to the same style with "A Wall Of Memories 7:30" which while good, would've sounded less hollow with vocals. It's just that these songs don't have any emotion. I can feel it in the music, but I need to hear the instrument of tongue to really convey this meaning to me further. It helps to hear in words the expression of the art being conveyed to me with this release. "The Spreading Rift 5:05" once again brings us back to the intended nature of the album, should it have been the way of an instrumental piece. The man's nature for crafting intriguing atmospheres makes this album worth a buy in it's own right. He's very good at what he does, and would probably craft some rather interesting soundtracks for computer/video games.

The next track here is "From Nothingness Comes Eternity 6:25" which illustrates both a doom and effect-laden atmosphere. "Scorn To The Inevitable Ruin 7:10" features many different parts, but manages to never lose it's feel, which is very important for the nature of this album. Could vocals have been used on this one? Quite possibly, but the song does work well as an instrumental and the melodies cannot be denied. The album closes up with the title track, "Departure At The Betrayal Of Life 9:33" which is very similar to the track that came before it, except for a few extra bells and whistles. While this man is good at crafting doom metal soundscapes, he must also be careful to avoid repeating himself.

This album is certainly a worthwhile listen, as it combines melodic doom metal with many other unique and interesting ideas. Though I feel a "voice" of some sort would help to affirm the piece; I am still satisfied with the end result. Is it perfect? No. But with time and experience, this musician and his art will become more defined. I wish him the best of luck, and if he ever wishes to use a seasoned vocalist in the black and death metal vocal styles, I am only an email away.

Highlights: Frozen, A Mirage Of Your Journey, The Shattered Dream, Pitchblack Stream, A Wall Of Memories, The Spreading Rift, Scorn To The Inevitable Ruin (13 Tracks, 63:00)


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Paganizer - Carve; Stillborn Revelations and Revel In Human Filth (PR2012) - As you all know, I am certainly no stranger to Sweden's Paganizer. But while this is not a new disc, it was certainly something that I haven't heard before; and was worth checking out. Of course, this is a combination of one EP and two albums from the band, who went under the name Carve during a stint that lasted from 2002 - 2004. During that time, they released two demos and two albums, of which the two albums are featured here. Though the actual track, "Stillborn Revelations" is missing from this disc (or just this promo, perhaps) there have been three bonus tracks added to Stillborn Revelations which I will talk about later.

As for Stillborn Revelations, it is not my personal favorite album from the band and sounds just a bit rough, other than the drum work on the album, which is furious. Rogga is full of spite as usual, but the guitars sound very garage-band style and the effort is punishing, but not amazing. However, there's a track on here called "Flatline 5:25" that brings forth some killer melody. For the most part, this album is a pummeler, and it's certainly got it's grit and groove. But that doesn't say much as a whole for me. Not to mention the fact that some of this is very low quality and sounds like demo-days in many aspects.

Bonus Tracks

As Wolves 3:11 - Sounds like a good song that was recorded outside of a box. It's furious melodic death metal, but very muddy.

The One True Hate 3:45 - This is a straight forward death metal track, but it's certainly done right. The quality is much better on it too.

Cold As Fear - This track is alright, but nothing special.

Revel In Human Filth is an all around better disc to me, as it has better production and more structure. Plus, things don't sound quite so muddy. It's clearly the better beast of the two, and features more song structure and melody than the previous album. I can hear Rogga's vocals a little better too, and that helps. I particularly like the album's closer, "Fall From Disgrace 5:13" which is probably my favorite song from the band, as well as the last disc's "Flatline." They really saved the best for last on this disc, and I'm glad to see how Carve transitioned well into what Paganizer is now.

Truthfully, I would only be recommending eight tracks on this twenty track album; but that's my personal recommendation. I don't necessarily think that the material on the first Carve album is up to par with the second one, and it's also not nearly as good as the material that Paganizer has put out since then. If you're curious as to what was in Carve, I would recommend that you check this material out. I'm sure you'll find some great death metal here, regardless. At any rate, another track follows at the end of this disc that wasn't on my promo. So if you want to hear that extra track, there's another reason for you to pick it up.

Highlights: Flatline, Revel In Human Filth (The Album) (20 Tracks, 73:00)



Weapons To Hunt - Blessed In Sin (PR2012) - This death metal four piece has the right idea what it takes to create interesting and somewhat unique melodic death/thrash. Take the opener, "The Hell Room 4:52" which features thrashing guitars, guttural vocals and grim melodies in addition to a couple of interesting drum taps. This guy blasts, but he doesn't blast the whole fucking album. Then you've got your solo, which is performed well enough - albeit a tad short. The album's title track "Blessed In Sin 4:28" follows and it bombs, but the album picks up a little with the next track, "Corpse Field 4:15" which is strong enough but doesn't really seem to have that much meat on it. I heard a smidgen of guitar solo, and while not every song needs to have a solo, more than four seconds would be great. However, a killer riff melody makes it's way into this track near the end of the song and that riff while short - really seems to make this track work for me. I just wish that more could have been done with it.

"The Smell of Victory 4:25" starts out from a song that doesn't even begin in thrash. I like how it has a slow proggy melody that builds up into something that really shows the drummer's prowess. Perhaps this is the song the album should've been named for, as it really shows just what this band is capable of, utilizing many facets of their skill. "Bullets For The Assassin 4:36" doesn't help to further accentuate that skill however, and it takes something punchier like "Merciless Impact 4:55" to get that point through, and to bring about a fucking decent solo on this thing. I don't care for the spoken word vocals on this one though, it doesn't come off in the way that the band wanted. "False Positive System 4:23" comes off sounding quite plain, (besides the drum work, which is the only thing that really shines on this entire album) and the closer "Strike Face 4:18" just isn't my favorite either. There are some good ideas here, just like on the rest of the album - but the band's need to produce standard death thrash seems to blur many of the good ideas used on this release.

Out of eight tracks on the disc, I'm barely recommending three. It's not that the band isn't good, because they are - they just don't have everything oiled up and aligned well enough yet. I think with more time this band will get better. But for now, I think that there is certainly room for improvement on this short disc. If you like your death/thrash to have a few short bells and whistles (and I mean short) you might like this album. But other than the drumming, (which I'll again say is phenomenal) there is not enough in this package to keep me hooked.

Might want to look elsewhere. But check it out if you're curious.

Highlights: The Hell Room, The Smell Of Victory, Strike Face (8 Tracks, 36:00)



Hooded Menace - Effigies Of Evil (2012) - The sophomore album from brooding deathers Hooded Menace, is even more refined and frightening then their last. Some might say that the first disc was a little too brooding, perhaps difficult to stomach for some, so it's take me a while to get through that one. Rest assured, I will have it's review as soon as possible. As for the band's 2012 release, we're led into the same gloom and grime as the first - but with the same elements of classic rock and metal that we've expected from the band. The album is also brimming with great melodies and structure, which make it easier for some of us to stomach.

But Hooded Menace aren't a bad band, they're just not going to be everyone's cup of tea. One other review that I've read for this disc describes it to still be a bit rough to traverse, but I don't actually feel the same this time around. The disc opens up with a long epic, "Vortex Macabre 10:24" that gives us most of the package that is Hooded Menace in less than eleven minutes. This song has impressive melody and powerful adrenaline shots of groove, yet it still maintains it's acid mouthed doom nature. One thing I can certainly say about Hooded Menace is that their frontman's vocal approach reminds me of how it would be if the slight grunts and groans of the Toxic Avenger were applied to a full album. It literally sounds acidic and beastly, like there's a real fucking mutant monster on the microphone. Hell, the guy doesn't even fucking sound human.

Of course, this band knows who their fans are; and the fans are going to love this brooding mound of melodic sludge/death. There is not a track here that is jovial, it all sounds like it was being played in the fucking sewer. But despite all the sludge and filth and feces being poured on these monsters as they strummed through music that only matches the acrid conditions of their atmosphere, these guys can still pull off some great fucking solos. In this kind of music, the melodies and solos stop it from becoming quite so stagnant.

Let's be honest in saying that Hooded Menace aren't necessarily re-inventing the wheel. But what they do here offers a grim fucking slab of death and sludge, and acid and evil. The majority of these songs follow the same tempo, with different melody combinations, and there are plenty of voice clips from old horror films that help to decorate the feel of this act. One could consider them a slightly slower version of Revolting, utilizing the same formula of horror and grim melody, albeit much slower and to an extent - more fucking grim.

While the album is tough to stomach for some, I thought that it was a truly solid release, just the kind of foul pus-filled stuff you'd expect from the genre of brooding acid death metal, or whatever you'd like to call it. If this is something you'd be interested in, you've probably already got it by now and I apologize for being so fucking late. But as a reviewer, I consider this a solid album that's definitely going to make a great grimy gift for the Helliday. Get it for your favorite monster/demon/unholy being from the fetid abyss of grim fucking doom.

(8 Tracks, 50:00)



My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures (2012) - This new album from My Dying Bride is really a fucking letdown. The band's EP, The Barghest Of Whitby was fucking excellent, as the band finally decided to start doing some extreme metal work once again, but there are only one short portions of this, one being on the album's first track "Kneel Till Doomsday 7:52" almost as if in a joking fashion. While I do like the gothic poetry of the lyrics here, just as good they have been since the band's inception; I find most of this to be a terrible retread of a retread of a retread of a retread of a retread of a retread.

Listening to songs like "A Tapestry Scorned 8:00" make me think of a metal atmosphere given to a tale from Poe, but they aren't actually songs that you can enjoy in the sense that one enjoys a song. There are plenty of melodies on the disc, just the same melodies as have always been; but there are few songs with actual strength on this album. Perhaps "Hail Odysseus 8:54" shows the most spirit on the disc, and it also shows the most spite from this band musically that I've heard from a while. So the drummer can do more with his kit then tap every once in a while.

This is most certainly dreary, gothic doom metal of the classiest nature (and it is very classy, don't fool yourself) but it is far removed from what I was offered just last year. While I generally liked the tone and nature of each song, I can't see myself going back to re-listen to too many of these tracks. It's just not a very memorable experience, in all honesty. I've always been a fan of the British metal scene, still holding high that the Brits are generally responsible for the genre of metal and doom, in particular; but this time I don't see one of the godfathers of Goth flourishing all that much. Frilly shirts aside, I haven't felt that this band has been worth a damn in years. Many years, to be honest. I've listened to all of their releases, not seeming to find anything that really quenched my thirst for their past work.

One cannot truly say as to whether or not there is still a place for Goth, as the world has in the words of Stephen King, "since moved on." And ever does it move, putting a terrible vice grip on ideas of the past. Yet there are bands who still wish to carry this idea of Goth onward, forward into the next millennium.

But can they succeed? Only time will tell.

Highlights: Kneel Till Doomsday, A Tapestry Scorned, Hail Odysseus
(8 Tracks, 63:00)



Stone Sour - House of Gold And Bones Pt. 1 (2012) - Corey Taylor's side project (and band before Slipknot) has yet again released another album. While I said that the last disc was more or less a "metal version of The Backstreet Boys" I must definitely say that this album is far, far better than Audio Secrecy. "Gone Sovereign 4:03" starts out poppy, but blows up into thrash and does contain a fucking meaningful solo. Yes, I was a bit shocked too. Though still a little poppier than most thrash, this is still a thrash track and an odd way to open up this two disc concept album. "Absolute Zero 3:49" comes in with new metal thumps and definitely reminds me of the band's earlier material, which I liked so don't give me shit about it. "A Rumor Of Skin 4:11" is pretty much a fucking rock song, but there's a sweet solo on it and some uh... prog. Yeah, it kinda works. If you're going to save hard rock, might as well start by adding some prog.

"The Travelers 2:26" is an acoustic ballad. I could do without it. "Tired 4:11" comes in next, and I have to say - I really like the riffs on this one. It's a very mature song and it's genuine. Reminds me a little of Pink Floyd for some reason. "RU486 4:22" starts out with an interesting warning and then plows into modern metal. Corey kind of fights between yell and harsh vocal. It's a heavy track with another great solo. So far, I like what I'm hearing. Much better than the crap you guys fed me last time. "My Name Is Allen 4:18" is a pretty basic hard rock track that I could do without, but the solo's good. At least they got that right.

"Taciturn 5:25" is this long over-drawn out ballad that makes women wet. But I will say that the fucking solo on this one is utterly magnificent. Whoever is playing the solos on this thing, they know what they're doing. I can't hate this song, the playing is too fucking good and it's certainly catchy. "Influence Of A Drowsy God 4:29" is a strong song. It's definitely a hard rock track - but it's performed very well. I like the melodies, the drumwork and Corey's vocals sound great on this one. But one of my favorite Slipknot tracks was the B-Side "Child Of Burning Time" because it had such a powerful feel, (not just musically, but lyrically) just the same as this one does. Oh, the guitar solo on this one is good too, but it's much shorter than the others. This is the definite climax of the disc.

"The Travelers 3:01" comes in with a legendary riff, very Priestly; they're paying homage to the metal gods. But I'm also sensing some Pink Floyd vibe. You'd have to be deaf not to hear this influence at the beginning of the track. The disc ends out with "Last of The Real 3:01" which is a decent enough song, but I'm not sure if it has a place right at the end of the disc. This album is just the first part of a duology, so it's technically not the closer to the piece.

At any rate, this disc a heavy refresher from the shit that this band gave me last time around. It's honestly as good as their debut album in terms of heaviness, but I would consider it to be much more mature, experimental and actually worth checking out. I may have talked shit about this band during their mid-era, and that's because I hated the crap that was shoveled out to me last time. But now, I've got a newfound respect for Corey and the crew and these guys have literally blown me the fuck away. You can say a lot about a disc, until you've actually heard it with your own ears, and having done that; I feel as though I owe these guys an apology.

So this review would be that apology. People will see it and they'll get the picture. I'm definitely curious as to what they'll do on the second part of this duology which has already been recorded and will be released earlier next year. At any rate, go check this one out. It's got some good metal moments, as well as killer solos. And when I mean killer, I do mean killer. This isn't just "Oh, he played some good licks repeatedly." This is "well, that's a fucking good solo. That's how a guitar works."

Bravo, gentlemen! Encore!

Highlights: Gone Sovereign, Absolute Zero, A Rumor Of Skin, Tired, RU486, Influence Of A Drowsy God (11 Tracks, 43:00)



Kissing The Mirror - Light Through The Night (2012) - Japan's Kissing The Mirror, known for their In Flames take on Touhou Metal, decided to release another album at Reitaisai 9. If you don't know what that is, look it up. At any rate, this album is of all things; a power metal record. Now I don't know how I feel about these two doing power metal, but obviously they felt that they could join the ranks of Japanese heavyweights like Animetal USA, X-Japan and Galneryus. Though the musical element is good and Wooming's instrumentation is as good as always, his guitar melodies especially - Vocchang's vocal ability leaves something to be desired in power metal. He's certainly a better clean singer than I am, but I think it's still rough and needs a little work.

There are some slight moments in "Spirit Of Silence 4:37" where the clean is good, but they're trying to be too much like Galneryus and it isn't working for them. Harsh vocals creep into the mix via a guest vocalist on "Over The Prominence." The band he (or she) is in is called, A Snake Tattoo On Her Left Arm which I've never fucking heard of, but it's a mouthful to say the least and the guy (or gal) derives their style from core.

Believe it or not, even though Vocchang did all of the vocal and lyrical work, he's credited with being only a guest musician. Wooming is credited with being the only actual member in this band. Weird. But as far as musicianship, Wooming proves that he is an exceptionally talented musician, doing everything from guitars to keys to synths to solos, to mixing and mastering. He even programmed the drums rather well.

The disc contains a special bonus track which is a re-recorded version of "Crimson Haired Lady 4:49" in which Vocchang tries to raise his voice as high as humanly possible. It's certainly not my favorite.

At any rate, this is an unexpected turn for the band and I hope that they don't do another one of these anytime soon. It's not the music that kills it, as this would be better with a vocalist who doesn't sound like he's trying to be a power metal vocalist. Vocchang just tries too damned hard and that just ruins the whole fucking thing for me. Despite how good Wooming's riffs and melodies are, the vocals are too fucking over-powered and high in the mix.

Might want to pass on this one. There's a new Galneryus after all.

Highlights: Spirit Of Silence (8 Tracks, 33:00)



Regnum Caelorum Et Gehenna - Dimersity 01: Meus Vitualamen Exertus Muto Vestri Universitas (2012) - First of all, this Japanese act is fucking phenomenal. At times, they're mind-blowing. Yes, it's a Touhou Metal act; and yes, it's in the realms of extreme metal. Don't even try to pronounce the name of the band or the album, just check it out first and foremost - and now I'll tell you why I've just recommended it out of the blue, as most of you have probably never heard of this band in your lives.

This melodic death Touhou metal band starts out with a sort of melodic core, and that influence is certainly there; but they're mixing it with electronics and djent in a motion that just seamlessly flows through genres in a very pleasing sensation. Even if you don't know who this band is, you will soon want to. The intro "The Dead End Of Progress 3:38" instrumentally opens the album with this fucking fond note, and you will wind up wanting to hear it again.

"Unspeakable Darkness 4:37" opens with a sense of deathcore/hardcore influence, yet the neoclassical influence is something not tried here in America and it works well for these guys. It reminds me of an extreme soundtrack for Castlevania and is heavy enough to bang the hell out of your fucking heads, folks. This is metal. "In The End Of Days 4:25" starts out with a very melo-death style with core screams and death growls, but you'd be a fucking idiot to deny those goddamned melodies. Then there's a play with djent for a few seconds, leading into some great fucking picking that goes back into djent, acoustic and back into metal. These guys are so fucking versatile, it's unreal.

Some of you musicians that read this blog might actually shit when you actually hear this stuff. These guys really do some wonderful work and are literally bursting at the seams with promise. "Stargazer's Eternity 4:56" is a little weaker, but manages to mix electronic synths and core with slight moments of djent. There's even a section before the momentous solo that features a couple ritualistic drum taps. Even if the vocals aren't the best, what is going on musically is certainly worthwhile. "Super Sonic Zero 3:59" features a mix of metal and electronic effects that work well to it's nature. While the solo softly plays, electronic whizzes are heard throughout. If nothing else, these guys are methodical and have calculated every bit of this disc. But that could be why the Japanese already have fucking mech suits. Google that shit, folks. You get one for 100,000.

"Broken Hearted Machine 5:18" features some keywork, electronic effects and a mix of melodic death metal and djent. Then there's the screams during the acoustic part that puzzles me. Whatever works, I guess? At any rate, there's a sullen soft vocal approach used on this song (and some others on this album) that remind me a little of Dani Filth's gothic croon that he sometimes uses. But these guys do more than that. You'll hear an awesome solo that goes into a neo-classical picking session that plays during some sort of effect that I cannot place, but have heard before on several Sigh records. "The Savage Garden 1:02" comes next, bringing with it an interesting soundscape in which some unique riffs and effects are used.

"Meaningless Affirmation 3:38" opens up the second part of this album, bringing several of the same elements along, yet still managing to please with it's brutality and odd uniqueness. As well as another great solo. Gothic organs also round out the atmosphere of this song as well as the croons which are speaking in some kind of odd ritual chant. (Perhaps these guys drew on real occult for this album? Wouldn't surprise me. The Japanese seem to love the occult.)

"Die Today Bravely 5:04" starts out in a way that American bands would never certainly attempt, but these guys just don't seem to give a shit as they mix trance elements with melodic death metal and djent. There's a great riff after the 1:30 mark that's worth checking out, and even though breakdowns appear, it's hard to hate them when you've got so much else going on. This song is full of structure - hell, this BAND is full of STRUCTURE. Damn? What was that, sounded like fucking Primus for a minute there. Now they're giving me a solo? Fuck. I'm not even worthy. Shit. They even fucked with the SID chip. And all this is one song. Yes, it's all one song.

"Like The Sleeping Beauty 4:35" is next and it is a little more straightforward at first, mainly sticking to the musical rules of melodic death metal but the vocalist is still using his yells. Neoclassical elements and low vocals come in, but after some melodic death riffs, the death growls take up the majority of the song as it gets rather dreary. Then we've got some excellent fucking neoclassical guitar work. "From The Deepest Space 2:27" is a soft instrumental that incorporates acoustic melody and electronics that work in an almost magical fashion. It certainly sounds like something from a game, and it's a good interpretation of something that actually did come from a game. Yes, all of this music - as heavy as it may be - did originally come from a game series.

The disc closes with the nearly eight minute "Sigh Of The Void 7:58" and it is an absolute powerhouse in which the band pulls out all the stops. Though there are core moments, the chorus reminds me of classic In Flames a great deal. But when the instruments are given a chance to play by themselves, the band delivers. An acoustic part follows along with a whisper and this goes into a weird fucking electronic that goes into a fucking stellar solo backed by a drum pummeling. The chorus continues and goes into a blast session that opens up one more vocal line which goes into a growl letting loose even more of these extremely powerful melodies. Then we have it... another solo. After some more of the dark croons and drum work, the disc fades out.

What else can I say? I'm extremely pleased to represent these guys at The Grim Tower and almost shit myself the first time I heard this one. I can tell you that it's even better the first time around, and even though the vocal approach might not be to your style, there are so many wonderful ideas on this disc. The drummer's amazing, the guitarist is amazing, and whoever the hell is messing with all these effects, is fucking amazing. We've all heard good bands with vocalists that aren't so great, but whoever's doing the growls is certainly good at it. At any rate, I'm ready for Dimersity 02, whatever the hell that means. Japanese bands don't wait two years to release a full album, so I might see an even stronger (if it's even possible) release next year. The production on the disc is also good, you'll be able to discern everything, even all of the little effects.

The bottom line is that Touhou has never sounded better. I'm a fan, considering these guys to be the best Touhou metal band I've ever heard in my life. They took all their influences, made them into a hodgepodge and experimented in both ways that you can blatantly hear, and ways that you'll have to listen closely to hear.

Definitely one of the best bands to come out of Japan. Keep your eye on these guys, I will. By the way, I am going to try to see if I can get an interview with these gentlemen for The Grim Tower. The lyrics of this album are all in English, so I would assume that the band could understand the language very well. If not, well at least I tried.

Highlights: The Dead End Of Progress, Unspeakable Darkness, In The End Of Days, Super Sonic Zero, Broken Hearted Machine, Die Today Bravely, Like The Sleeping Beauty, Sigh Of The Void (12 Tracks, 51:00)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week 67 (November 20th, 2012)


Frosthelm - The Northwinds Rend Flesh EP (PR2012) - First of all, don't expect mighty Viking hymns to the Allfather, replete with horns and orchestration. Because North Dakota's Frosthelm aren't that kind of band. They seem to compare themselves to Skeletonwitch, Dissection, Goatwhore, Metallica (Old), and Amon Amarth. But I'm not hearing the Amon Amarth influence at all - maybe just by name. However, this album certainly makes me think of a Goatwhore that dissected a Skeletonwitch while listening to old Metallica. So almost all of the influences are spot on. The music thrashes throughout with banshee screams and troll-like growls, while melodies pervade from every orifice. You will hear some definite "classic thrash" moments that separate and help to define the band's sound further. Personally, I think they're a strong up and comer to the title of Skeletonwitch's throne, even though some of you might not think so. (But this reviewer didn't like Skeletonwitch's latest, in all fairness)

Though the disc is only 11 minutes long, there's definitely some promise here and I'd really like to see what these guys could do with a full length, or even 30 minutes. But I will say that this EP lasts as long as most sexual escapades, (or so I've heard, as it's been five years since I've gotten any) and it's probably perfect for one fierce bout of rough sex... and another, and another, and another...

Well worth checking out. Only a sample of what these guys have to offer, and I want to hear more, damn it!

(4 Tracks, 11:00)



Elvenking - The Era (PR2012) - To start this review, I will simply say that I didn't like how this album began. If you want me to be honest, "The Loser" sounded like a folk/power infused bout of Bullet For My Valentine. And no, I don't like Bullet For My Valentine. But the chorus on that song was particularly strong, so I can't say that it was a complete waste. But what we've got here is a six-piece power/folk metal band with all the trimmings of both folk metal and symphonic power metal, including some influence that I would have to chalk up to Tobias Sammet and Edguy. There are even a few growls used on this album, but I feel that they are sort of useless in the mix of everything else, just on there to appeal to a certain demographic that thinks that all metal must have at least one or two growls. However, these guys can play their instruments and the guitars do let loose on some good solos. The band really likes to pile it on thick with the vocals too, like on "I Am The Monster 5:11" where it sounds like everybody and then some is singing along on the chorus (and on some of the verses too.) I do like how everyone gets a turn, but just make sure that they can sing first...

Moving on, I'm going to talk about some of the finer points of this disc. "A Song For The People 1:45" is short as hell, but it's a great little folk song with a female and male vocal duet that works perfectly. This song leads up right into another great track, (heavily inspired by Tobias Sammet, who was one of the first power metal vocalists to throw profanity into a melodic power metal chorus) that most of you are going notice right off the bat. It's called "We, Animals 4:07" even though I'm sure that the band probably at one time wanted to call it "We're Just Fucking Animals." Another one that I really like on the disc is "Walking Dead 3:44" which also cements the band's ability to use hard-hitting and catchy choruses. But we have heard the folk and electronics power metal mix before, right?

There are also some ballads on here as well, like "Forget Me Not 5:39" which features a male/female duet and an excellent guitar solo/piano combo that you might not have thought these guys were capable of. But the main high point of the disc is the closer "Chronicle Of A Frozen Era 6:40" which starts out as a ballad, (and comes right after one of the album's tearjerkers, "The Time Of Your Life 4:19" so it's misleading.) but quickly picks up speed and introduces a powerful chorus and some choirs, prog riffs, and one massive solo.

Without going into too much detail, Elvenking have a lot of potential; but these guys are still young and the frontman's vocals could be stronger and the band could mature their sound a little more in future albums. There are also some songs on here that I thought of as nothing but filler. But I can't go wrong with the outro on the disc, "Ophale 2:46" which tells us that these gentlemen can play those folk instruments that you've been hearing throughout this whole album, and they can play those instruments quite well; I might add.

Not bad, worth checking out. But I definitely want to hear what these guys can do on future albums.

Highlights: A Song For The People, We Animals, Walking Dead, Chronicle Of A Frozen Era, Ophale (12 Tracks, 52:00)



A Life One Lost - Ecstatic Trance (PR2012) - This is the first disc I've ever heard from A Life Once Lost, even though I'm sure they've had several. I just never really got into their style of music until I had read some reviews for this album and found it to be well received, melodic and transcendental in some aspects. I will say that the little over a half an hour that comprises this disc is filled with djent, intricate guitar melodies and a certain sense of definite transcendentalism. So they got that right. But I think these guys are playing up the djent craze a little too much and playing Meshuggah with the vocals, (Gnawing Lisp 2:55) in some weird kind of tribute. But I can say that without a doubt, the guitar solos on this record (and yes, there are several legitimate ones that seem to echo throughout the expanse of the disc, it's an odd feeling really) are absolutely fantastic. Whoever the fuck is playing on this one is definitely showing the world that they can play leads, and play leads well.

Fans of their core material might like the more streamlined approach of "Empty Form 4:21" but the "I Am 0:45" that comes right after it, is ultimately forgettable. But what's odd about this album is that the first half is made up of 4's and 2's, whereas the latter half is nothing more than 3's. Not one of the tracks after "I Am" goes over 4 minutes, which is odd. Of course, "The Blues 3:33" sounds like a core version of a stripped down Meshuggah. The rest of the songs are pretty much along the same lines as the rest of the album, which is mainly loaded with djent and good guitar solos. Fans of Meshuggah just might like this, but I also think that fans of djent bands who aren't core would actually like this core band. They really seem to shed their core a bit on this album, which shows evolution and as I said, the guitar licks are fan-fucking-tastic. I'm just hearing a little too much of those time signatures for my taste.

Bonus Track

Asteroid (Killing Joke Cover) - I'm definitely a big fan of Killing Joke (and I'm still crawling through their huge discography right now) and I having heard the original, I can say that this version actually does do the original justice. It also shows that the band has more staying power than exists just in core. This is a killer cover and is definitely worth hearing for any fan of Killing Joke and I think it's a good way to get people who've never fucking heard of this band, (get out from under that rock!) finally into these guys.

Highlights: Something Awful, Madness Is God, Empty Form, The Blues, People Stare, I Sit Ill, Asteroid (11 Tracks, 36:00)



Aeon - Aeons Black (PR2012) - Already hailed as one of the year's best death metal releases, Aeon comes forth with a fury that's not unlike Corpsegrinder fronted Cannibal Corpse. As a matter of fact, I'd certainly have to compare their style of death metal to Corpse, it's thrashes just the same and the vocals are damn-near uncanny for George Fisher. But not only does the band come in blazing with opener "Still They Pray 4:00", they jump right into a slower but still brutal number called "The Glowing Hate 4:22." Sure there are a few instrumental portions like "The Voice Of The Accuser 0:53, and Passage To Hell 1:07" but we can't honestly forget about "Neptune The Mystic 1:14" which sets the stage for the skull-pounding rage of "Nothing Left To Destroy 5:38." Many have been also saying that this is one of the best Deicide albums in a while, and maybe Deicide should keep that in mind with their follow up to the cleverly named, To Hell With God. One thing's for sure, and it's that these guys absolutely fucking despise Christianity and each every song will further engrave this message into your fetid skull with catchy melodies, neck-breaking riffs and some of the best overall death metal growls that I've heard in a long fucking time. This thing thunders left and right, it's literally a fucking beast and I don't know if there's anything else that's going to be able to top it for quite some time. Did I mention that the solos were fucking great too? Well, they are. This is everything that death metal should be and more, and I fucking love every goddamned bit of it. If you're looking for that album to get out all of your anger and frustrations towards the world at large, this one will be that album. This fucking disc should have a warning label on it that says:

"Could Contain Too Much Fucking Death Metal For You To Handle - Exercise Caution While Listening."

Definitely one of the best, if not the best fucking death metal album of the year. Hell, even with the short fucking instrumental pieces, there's still eleven fucking tracks on this album and they're all killer. This IS death metal, ladies and gentlemen. Bang your head to this, fuck to this, do whatever weird and crazy shit you do to yourself while this album is playing. It's a goddamned masturbatory event, and is something you need to shout off fucking the rooftops about. I'm ecstatic. I could listen to this for days, weeks, months, years. It's that good and you need to make sure that Satan Claus has it on his list for the Hellidays this year. Every bad little girl and boy needs a copy of it right from the clawed hand of the Krampus.

If you miss out on this, then you're beyond worthy of the Darwin Award.

Highlights: Everything! Don't like the interludes? Skip them! The album is killer, regardless. I'm not bringing down a score for 2 or three minutes of orchestration, piano effects/exc. (15 Tracks, 52:00)


The Devil - The Devil (PR2012) - The Devil is a black metal band, but that's where the similarities end. As a matter of fact, The Devil is a new sort of breed in the world of black metal, a bunch of masked gentlemen who prefer to create grim and melodic atmospheres with sound clips replacing what would be vocal lines. But there's more to this, than meets the eye and you'd better pay quick attention because this band is not about worshiping the devil, in any WAY, SHAPE or FORM. The band seems to be especially interested in conspiracies and metaphysics as well as philosophy. You will find several interesting voice clips on the album, taken from all sources. Some you've certainly heard, but others you might not have. There's even a song further trying to get it through your thick skull that the "Illuminati 3:15" is alive and well, and only through enlightenment, can we rise above their tyranny. Songs about extra-terrestrial cover-ups, nuclear weapons, war, corruption, and the innate spiritual power of self fill this disc and make me consider it a must for the whole of American civilization. Yes, someone has got to take off the wool covering over your eyes and why not let what you thought to be some "evil" black metal band, do the trick? Though you might not like the fact that songs like "Astral Dreamscape 3:03" and "Transcendence 2:24" are merely soundscapes that one might use to project their spirit onward, there are also songs of heavier mention like "Devil & Mankind 5:41" which I would love to put vocals on. I was actually coming up with lyrics right off the bat, as I was listening to the piece. But being the fact that the track is loaded with soundclips, I feel that the melody and impact of the track is ruined. Out of all the tracks on this disc, this should have been omitted, maybe even used in a different band. It sounds like something that would've been good with vocals and sound clips make it sound lazy. If these guys need a vocalist and lyricist, I would be more than happy to illustrate the same concept as told by the sound clips. (Which is based on the military industrial complex.)

And that is what you might feel is the problem here. This disc shouldn't just be a musical disc. It should be a musical film. The band has already released videos for both "Universe 4:35" and "Extinction Level Event 4:41" and this have been released to high acclaim, some saying that they help to further purvey the message in the soundclips. If you're going to give us conspiracy, then why not give us the videos too? Maybe these kids might like to know that there are things beyond fur-fetishes and people hurting themselves for personal recognition on the internet. This is a great way to get out information to the masses who wouldn't normally check out the work otherwise.

The final icing on this cake is the nearly half hour track called "Ascension 28:34." It begins with a slow atmosphere that becomes a binaural wave. It felt like my brain was being microwaved, and to be honest - I couldn't listen to the entire track. It was making me feel really "odd" to be honest. On speakers, this is nothing. But it was meant to be and is effective on one's headphones. This fully begins at the 5:00 mark, but will not play on my laptop speakers...

(hooks up headphones to laptop input jack)

Wow. I'm certainly hearing it now. This is a secret, sort of hidden thing - as I said, it won't play on certain types of speakers, but it is there. Oh yeah, this makes me feel weird. Holy shit. I feel like I'm in a spaceship, or on a teleporter... damn, the sound was increasing there for a minute. It's increasing in intensity... I have no fucking clue what kinds of energies are being sent out to my brain, but it's becoming hard to type.

Damn. That's it. Got to take it off.

(unplugs jack)

Yep. Now it's back to silence. At any rate, this is definitely worth checking out. Plus the binaural thing... I've never gotten to hear that kind of music? before in my life. Heard about it, but now that I've heard it, it just feels weird. My brain feels "numb."

(13 Tracks, 78:00) 49:00 without the binaural portion


Birth A.D. - I Blame You (PR2012) - A product of crossover thrash from Candlelight Records artists, Averse Sefira. It was also produced by thrash guru Alex Perialas who is responsible for producing albums from Testament, Overkill, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and others. It also features guest appearances from Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ (How the hell did that happen?) and Bill Taylor of Immolation. Now that I've got all that out of the way, I'll talk about the album. The disc is exactly as you'd expect for something like this, with pummeling drums, thrash riffs and punk vocals. Though I liked the lyrical content of the album, and thought that it was good musically, I guess I didn't care for the vocals and that turned me off the entire album. I know that punk is generally performed like this, but I want someone to sound a little more menacing (like the old Gallows vocalist) and less like a comedy. But then again, we can go back to 90's era GWAR and that's got almost the same vibe. Perhaps I just prefer Brockie's sick humor to what this guy's trying to do, and it just doesn't sell to me. Which is entirely alright, as I don't expect to like everything that's thrown at me. However, I do think that this band has potential and if they've been selling as well as they have before, then there's no reason why they should be signed to a label and promoted. This thrash/punk could start another metal revolution in the same way that retro-thrash occurred, but this is certainly not a rehash of anything, and it certainly has some meat. I've never cared for short songs really, it makes me think of a song one time I heard on a radio show where some fellow made a metal song called "I don't want to go to work" and that was the entire fucking song. He yelled, "I don't want to go to work" about three or four times and that was it. I'm getting that feeling here especially with "Failed State 1:20" (Try adding some more lyrics, guys?) but at any rate, I do agree with most of the lyrical material here like in "Short Bus 2:06", "I Blame You 2:04", "Kill Everybody 3:43", "No Jobs 1:49", definitely "Equal Opportunity 1:34" and "Popular War 2:34" which I was listening to while on the john. The song compared war to football and I thought it genius. So it's not terrible, but I couldn't listen to it five or six times in mad ecstasy.

But for fans of punk and thrash, this is definitely worth checking out. It's much better than the fake thrash of Lazarus A.D.

(18 Tracks, 37:00)



Cystic Dysentery - Culture Of Death (PR2012) - With a name like Cystic Dysentery, I already know what to expect - fucking brutal death metal. And lo and behold, that's what I'm getting. It's literally a half an hour of face melting and slightly technical brutal death metal recommended for fans of Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Gorguts and Deeds Of Flesh. However this is NOT my forte and there are few technical death metal bands that I actually like, (Obscura, Mencia and Gojira are some) so I thought the effort was mild at best. The band's photo does however remind me of the old photo shoot with bandmates Shadowed Sun that we took years ago. It also has the feel of southern death metal dudes just having a good time. The production on the disc is quite high, because it was mastered by some genius in Orlando FL (and that guy would be tearing his eyes out trying to master some of our old demo work.) To be honest, other than parts here and there, it's not really my thing as I've noted. But at any rate, the band makes a strong presence here and I can't deny that. While I've hard better and I've heard worse, but this is a strong debut.

(8 Tracks, 31:00)



Dehumanized - Controlled Elite (PR2012) - This is Dehumanized's sophomore album, but it's been a long time coming - 14 years, as a matter of fact. While one can't exactly say how much better (or worse) this album is than the original, I can say that what I'm hearing here is a good slab of death metal. The drums blast, the vocals are gravelly, there's a backup screamer in the band and it's definitely a good show all around. Though this is considered New York "slam death" I'm not hearing anything that sounds like that from them. As a matter of fact, I like the little riffs opposite the breakdowns on "Man Vs. Man 2:33" and especially when there's that growl/scream duet. The entire band really seems to be on their game and aren't afraid to pull out a couple of solos, (which you'll barely hear in slam death) not to mention some good melodic leads and structure. The only reason I've never enjoyed slam death is because it's too simple. A handful of riffs, over-the-top technicality and lack of memorable solos do not make an album... but let's also mention the fact that I've always felt that slam death lacked structure. Unlike these guys, which show me that if this is "slam death" than I'm wrong. In all honesty, I hear melodies on this album that remind me of Kataklysm and there are some interesting ideas (including a solo by Suffocation's Terrance Hobbs - at least they cared enough to put solos on the disc!) put forth on the album. Even though the style of the release is the same, I'm getting variation in each and every song which stops every track from sounding the same. While core breakdowns do exist, I certainly don't mind them on this album and they actually seem to further "slam" certain vocal techniques into your skull. There is only one problem I have with this disc, and it is in the closer. Again, I feel that in this age of digital music, hidden bonus tracks in between silence seem archaic and unnatural. When you had the physical disc and it kept playing to denote a hidden bonus track, that was pretty cool. But in all honesty, those days are long gone, gone like my high school years. As a matter of fact, I see the CD format of music to fade out completely in the next five to ten years, the same way that physical books (sighs) will soon fade out to electronic books... err... pad devices.

Honestly, I liked each and every track on this disc. They all "killed" so to speak and I would certainly recommend it to others. This is just the kind of thing I expect to hear from brutal death metal and even though there are breakdowns, they help to enhance the devastation. Definitely worth checking out. Maybe we'll get another release in fourteen more years! If we're all still alive by then...

Highlights: All (11 Tracks, 40:00)



Deus Otiosus - Godless (PR2012) - This is the sophomore release from Danish Old School death metallers, Deus Otiosus, but it also features some influence from black and thrash metal. Whatever the case, this disc is great and totally unexpected. Songs like "Snakes Of The Low 5:00" and " In Harm's Way 4:31" are beautifully vile, with thrashing drums and guitars, deep growls and plenty of structure. I also like the little intricacies that the band throws in. The guitar work on this one is great, I think it really shines well throughout the whole package and keeps this from being a bland death metal release. The band also plays much slower material like "New Dawn 6:06" and "Cast From Heaven 5:14" which at times does creep up a get a little heavier. But despite what this band does, it shouldn't bore you. These gentlemen are especially talented, using every facet of their skill to craft an album that you won't soon forget. They could have made just another death metal album, but they didn't. The intricate melodies and impressive drumwork help to define this release, and the solos are fucking great when used. It's still melodic death metal, and plays with black and thrash to an extent that it changes up everything. But I have to especially mention the closer, "Death Dance 5:41." which does have folk influence, something you might not expect for album of this type; even though it is still a death metal track.

That's just the kind of material that you can expect from a band like this though, who tries their hardest to make every song sound completely unique, worthwhile, and different from the rest of the material. Definitely worth picking up on the 20th of November.

(8 Tracks 41:00)



Paroxsihzem - Paroxsihzem (PR2012) - First off, I have no idea how to pronounce the name of this album, and I know nothing about the band. But I do know that this atmospheric death metal project is worth checking out. While a little low in quality, the disc is certainly both mysterious and ravenous in nature, and in all honesty it felt a little calming to my nerves. I was having a rather stressful day at work and as I normally go down the list of promos on my mp3 player, I had recently listened to the first track on this one before turning it off. When I resumed it inside the tool area stockroom, a sense of calm begin to wash over me. Maybe because I was getting all of my frustration out subconsciously. I literally had a stress headache and was extremely close to quitting. As I said, this is amorphous death metal, I could compare it to a sort of ebon cloud of music that snakes through the brainwaves and effects the subconscious (certainly.) I believe it's the way the guitars sound in the mix, a little stuffy, but it oddly works for the project. The drums and guitars sort of mix together and normally, while I'd hate this, again - I stress that this works. If you think of it as an atmosphere, which denotes the feeling of the band photo; it works well together. Just note that while this calmed my nerves, it was only because I was on my last one. I wouldn't recommend this before meditation or anything of that sort. But it is a meditation of sorts, a nebulous meditation of extremity and death metal. I can't call it brooding, because it's not about building the atmosphere, it is the atmosphere.

Definitely worth checking out.

(7 Tracks 38:00)



Plutonian Shore/A Transylvanian Funeral - Alchemical Manifestations (PR2012) - This split (and I don't get too many of these) is from two black metal bands called Plutonian Shore and A Transylvanian Funeral. While I like the grim and melodic black metal of Plutonian Shore, (and the name) I must say that I wish I could hear it a bit better. The quality on the disc is slightly raw, but there's some synth use and the melodies are about as strong as any melodic black melodies I've heard. Both "A Thousand Eyes 3:56" and "The Beast And The Mirror 5:01" are great tracks, but what I really liked was the band's interpretation of Rotting Christ's "The Fifth Illusion 5:32." This originally opens up "Theogonia" and they decided to make it a little blacker and less theatrical. Two live tracks follow, "Consecrating The Flesh 2:56" which in all honesty is a little slow and melodic for black metal; and the much harder to hear "Path To Amenti 3:55" which are strong, and would be stronger if I could hear them. Plutonian Shore is a strong band for sure, but I would like to fucking be able to hear them better.

Now we have the one man project, A Transylvanian Funeral who comes packed with five tracks, but a performance that is one minute longer than Plutonian Shore's performance. I also like that I can hear his vocals and the drums better even though the guitars sound muffled. Guest vocals on opener "The Supreme Ritual Of Transmutation 5:26" are performed by none other than The Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley and I can honestly say that melodic black metal fits his soft vocals perfectly. But it's "Night Hags 6:29" that really had me banging my head. There's just something about the drum work here that I like. Though it's simplistic, it's effective. I will not even lie to you, I enjoyed the living fuck out of this one and can't wait to hear more from this guy, especially since I can actually hear him. There's also the seven minute masterpiece, "Moonchild 7:06" which I fucking also loved immensely. It reminded me of those first two Krallice albums in terms of melody and atmosphere. Finally, we have "Light Cast Out 5:33" which is a little lower in quality, but still effective.

Ultimately, I preferred A Transylvanian Funeral over Plutonian Shore, but both bands performed well on this split. They're both great melodic black metallers, and I'd like to hear more from both of them. If you like melodic black metal that's grim as living fuck, you'll like this stuff too, hopefully. It's available on CD, TAPE, or DIGITAL. So go check it out now!

(10 Tracks, 47:00) Plutonian Shore - 23:00, A Transylvanian Funeral - 24:00


Sparrows - Mark Of The Beast: Indoctrination (PR2012) - This 21 minute disc flew right by me, and I didn't even notice it the first time, so I'm going to take another listen to it. As of right now, I'm hearing something that reminds me of black metal in the vocals, but it's not black metal. I would certainly consider a type of modern melodic death metal, which isn't a bad thing - it just has elements of modern music. At times, the band sounds like a sort of grim black metal, and there are also some deathcore moments in the mix. In all honesty, maybe I could call it melodic blackened deathcore. But whatever it is, it's certainly uniqe and will appeal to fans who actually don't like deathcore. Come on folks, you can't deny some of those riffs. Listen to the leads on "Cellar Of The Damned 4:58" and the demon-like shriek that comes out of the band's frontman. You can't honestly tell me that it isn't the least bit intriguing. There's bits of prog, djent, core and everything else on this one - not only that, sometime the frontman uses a ghastly sort of gurgle for some spoken parts on the album. It might sound like I'm confused at what to call this disc, but that's because it's the physical equivalent of taking most metal genres and throwing them in a bag, and then shaking it up and pouring it out. In all honesty, what these guys can do in a little more than twenty minutes is interesting. I'd certainly like to see what they could do with a full hour. I was told that the distribution is really trying to get a name for these guys and they need it. This isn't just market-speak, folks. This is actually some really interesting shit which is all over the goddamned place and is pretty goddamned fierce. If you can't even stand one lick of core or djent, then don't fuck with it. But if you can just open you mind for just a few minutes, you might find at least one or two really great tracks here.

This really sounds like the kind of band that's going to blow up big in the next couple of years. That's my honest opinion.

(6 Tracks, 21:00)



Manticore - Behold The Ascension Of The Execrated (PR2012) - These guys like to play death and not write a whole hell of a lot about it, apparently. It just says that the album is a "brand new 2012 release from Cleveland's masters of bestial black/death metal." Alright, that seems to be enough. But at any rate, the disc sounds decent enough, a little scratchy and I can definitely hear the static, but I like the vocal approach. The band mixes faster tracks like opener "Behold The Ascension Of The Execrated 3:50" with slower tracks like "From The Darkness Below 2:52" and "Torn Apart By Hate 3:48." Of course, what really got a chuckle out of me was "In Nomine Sathanas 4:22" which is more than likely a cover from Mayhem, Darkthrone, one of those bands (but I'm still listening to old discographies so give me a break folks) as it sounds a little old-school and can be easily parodied, and probably has been. This is my favorite track on the disc in all honesty, but "Filth Upon Filth 1:12" also seems to do something for me, despite that I usually don 't like short songs.

The band does a good enough job, but I don't think it's the greatest album I've ever heard in my entire life. Would I encourage you to get it? Well, not really. But go check out their version of "In Nomine Sathanas" at any rate. I'm sure there's people out there who'll like it, but I'm just not hearing anything really good other than the scowls here. That guy's a great scowler.

(9 Tracks, 30:00)


Oliver Kaah - Antigravity (2012) - Oliver Kaah's music was a product that I had stumbled upon while browsing the infinite sea of music available on music promotion websites. The genre of the music was described as black "electro-metal" and having personal experience with this genre first hand, (even though LeakID didn't seem to like my self-produced Ebon Etheric discs - apparently they own the rights to the FL Samples?) I definitely thought about checking it out. The disc is exactly how you'd expect, yet it's also how you might not expect as it's very diverse, albeit never swaying from the nature of being electronic metal, even if it's not all black metal. "Reactor 2:36" certainly opens the disc on a black metal note, but that note flies into a more trance-influenced track called "Filter 3:16" which comes complete with black metal vocals and eerie electronics as well as garbled guitar and some djent riffs. However, "Mechanics 4:04" becomes something much more different, with it's use of what sounds like bells and a clean vocal that is a bit hard to stomach at first, (but easier on "IO 4:36") but lets loose into a strong black metal scowl. It's an odd mix, but it works.

Speaking of "IO 4:36" it's one of the more diverse tracks on the disc, starting out with a clap track and a riff and vocal harmony that certainly reminds me of Devin Townsend. This is actually a really great track, it's catchy and it will get stuck in your head. But black metal influence creeps up later into the track, even though it still keeps it's rather jaunty nature. "Alchemist 3:49" comes next, with even more apparent Devin Townsend influence that opens up into something I'd have to compare between Emperor and Devin Townsend for sure. It's certainly got a sort of circus like nature, but is balanced by the chants - this is one of those songs that you won't easily forget and it shows a great deal of promise.

"Machine 2:13" starts up just like a machine with all sorts of effects that lead up into a riff, which definitely piles into black metal. It's a little short and I wish more was done to it, but it definitely further cements this guy's work as being something worth keeping my eye on. A light instrumental follows "Eries Icca Nob If 0:49" and this brings us into "In The Blur Of Rain 4:50" which continues the machine's buzzing and cracking into the heavy riffs that start the track. But it continues into a dreamy nature that I wish has stronger clean vocals. The musical effort is there, but I'm not sure if the clean vocals are yet. But make no mistake, Oliver Kaah is a master musician and his ability to transmutate songs is uncanny. Take "After The Rain 3:20" for example. What starts out with piano and rain envelops into fierce black metal and some beautiful melodies which the vocal harmonies do accentuate on this one. "Nap Re-Tep 5:37" is a much calmer track devoid of any black metal nature, but it comes packed with some good electronics and a harmonic vocal atmosphere. Maybe the clean aren't quite there yet, but it's hard to deny just what this man can do with his voice. The atmosphere of this one might fall into a portion of dub-step, but I can forgive it here. It's much more accentuated with the light melodies in the background. You'll hear wub-wub, but you'll hear something else that makes it actually sound feasible in the word of legitimate, non-corporate electronic music.

"The Spaceship 5:13" brings us back into the heavy, but in an interesting sort of way that has the synthesizers blazing away at full speed. The song lightens itself a little, but then cranks up into some of the most electronic synth-laden black metal that I've heard. Happy black metal with fierce scowls? Works for me. "Artificial 5:02" goes back to the melodic riffs and harmonies ala Devin Townsend and even though black metal heaviness creeps back up, the nature of the song retains itself, still ready to transform at a moment's notice. "Diagnosis 3:24" is a much slower natured song, with full on acoustics and "there's a whole lot of shakin' goin on" but it works to build the almost shamanic nature of the piece. In an album which is so inorganic, this track feels truly organic. But the end of the disc follows this into a transitive state called "Hypnos 4:02" which shows that Oliver Kaah has the ability to pull off many different soundscapes within 52 minutes of play time.

Oliver Kaah's electronic tinged black metal with Devin Townsend style theatrics and atmospheres might not appeal to everyone, but you can bet that there's an audience for it. It is actually difficult to go through this album in just a few paragraphs, because each and every track offers a surprise. There's so much ground covered here that it's something of a mad scientist and reminds me of my own ideas, (what I wanted Shards and The Ritual And The Murder to be) except that there are real instruments on this one.

I highly recommend it. From first listen, I knew this was something different - so I knew that I had to get a review and interview up for this one. It's as interesting as it is mysterious, and that's the kind of musical work of art that I respect.

Highlights: Reactor, Filter, IO, Alchemist, Machine, In The Blur Of Rain, Nap Re-Tap, Spaceship, Artificial, Diagnosis, Hypnos (14 Tracks, 52:00)



The Sword - Apocryphon (2012) - The Sword are back, with their fourth album "Apocryphon" which is loosely based on what the band considers to be "arcane knowledge from the Bible." In simplest terms, it's a collection of books that the church thought was too heretical or too "dangerous" for people to read. Interesting, eh? But this is old news to me. At any rate, the music on the disc is just as you'd expect from the band, occult laden doom metal in the vein of Black Sabbath. The majority of the songs on the album are in this vein, with the exception of a few. Don't worry, you'll definitely get your thunderous riffs on this one, and your classic rock melodies and solos. It's all here. It's all just as good as it's been, and the production quality helps it to standout even better. I can really hear the drums pound, the guitars thump and the vocals howl. What fucking else do I need from a traditional doom record?

Well, the band thought they'd give me a little more anyway; so there's "The Hidden Masters 4:49" which changes the tempo up a little, "Dying Earth" which is just a little faster, (but doesn't thrash - because they don't like mosh pits, remember that) and the folk song nature of "Execrator 2:46" which is probably one of my favorite songs on the disc. We've also got "Hawks & Serpents 4:31" which definitely shows it's roots in classic rock, and finally we have the electronic influence of closer "Apocryphon." But don't think that these don't go together, because they do and it works. I consider it more of a nod to trippy prog rock, personally, which was definitely an influence on this album. In a way, "Apocryphon" is a tribute to the band's influences, and in many ways a namesake album for the band. Nothing was done wrong here, and everything was done right. I found my head banging to each and every track on the disc, and I certainly played air guitar along with some of it's solos (but some of them are shorter than I'd like.) This is what a band sounds like when the chemistry is perfect, and it definitely portrayed the arcane elements that the album is based around. While it's not a concept, many of the tracks do tie together. If you want, I guess you can study the lyrics and then the books that spawned them.

Or you can just jam the fuck out to the album. That works for me. The limited edition of the disc contains a cover of ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" and I definitely recommend you check that out because I haven't been able to hear it yet. But being a fan of the original, I'd sure like to hear their take on it.

Highlights: All (10 Tracks, 44:00)



Daylight Dies - A Frail Becoming (2012) - As I look at the cover for the new album, I see what either looks like a snake or a rope on the front cover. It's certainly phallic, whatever the case. Oh, and dark... like a metaphor for Uncle Fred coming into your room and middle of the night and... (coughs.)

But seriously, this cover does match Daylight Dies at what they do best; making death/doom metal that still matters. Or does it? Sure, the disc pops with the opener, "Infidel 5:20" and it's killer melodies that remind me of Rapture, but I think those guys did this style of music much better. This album does have some comparisons to their first (and I still say their best) release, and that's in the fact that some atmosphere is built on the album and some definite riff structures are used. The only problem I have with this album, is that it just doesn't sound genuine. The dreary melodies and harsh vocals are something that we've heard so many times before, and at this point; I think I'm going to need more than just really good guitar solos in sections to sell me on this one. The new Fall Of Every Season is due to come out soon, and I just don't know if these guys are going to be competition for those death/doom masters. There are a lot of expectable acoustic beginnings that go into death/doom tracks with solos. As a matter of fact, the instrumental "Ghosting 4:49" might as well just be called "Good Guitar Solo" and "Water's Edge 1:33" is ultimately forgettable.

That being said, the disc is far from terrible. It's a decent enough doom/death disc, but I've heard so many just like it that I'm really just kind of like, "meh" it's okay. If you like doom/death, it's good for melodies and overall dreary atmosphere laden with heavy riffs and fierce vocals. Some parts of it are even dreamy. But I think that I want more from my doom and this disc just didn't cut it for me. I thought the band had a much stronger sense of raw emotion in their earlier years, and this sounds like manufactured emotion.

I'm just not feeling the sorrow, guys. That's not a good thing. When I hear doom, I want it to feel like someone's shoving sharp pins into my eyes. This disc just isn't able to convey that feeling of despair to me. The songs all seem to sound the same.

Highlights: Infidel, The Pale Approach, Sunset, Ghosting, Hold On To Nothing
(9 Tracks, 48:00)