Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Paradise Lost - Tragic Illusion 25 (The Rarities) (2013 NN Promo)

"Ah, Paradise Lost. There’s no one out there quite like them and this collection of rarities proves that even their B-sides are well worth hearing. Most of these tracks were only available on special or limited edition versions of their studio albums, or they were import bonuses – perhaps even made available only to subscribers of certain magazines. At any rate, the band decided to gather them all up and release them for this 25th anniversary celebration. While not as extensive as the earlier released Paradise Lost: B-Sides And Rarities (2006) collection on Music For Nations, this collection spans the band’s legacy from the 2007 release In Requiem to the band’s current album, Tragic Idol. Some of these tracks were packaged with the special editions of albums, so I have heard them before – but others must have been either extremely rare or packaged with singles and that’s why I’m not familiar with them..."

Read More Here: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-paradise-lost-tragic-illusion-25-the-rarities/

Interview With Eddie Kim Of Billboard Death Metal and Deadfall, Now On New Noise!

"Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been making music and what bands or projects have you done before these current ones?

My name is Eddie Kim and I’m a Boston based musician and producer. I grew up near Denver, Colorado and moved out to Massachusetts to attend the Berklee College of Music in 2006. I’ve been playing music since I was a child starting with the piano, but didn’t get serious about music until I picked up the guitar at age 11. Throughout middle school and high school I played a lot of hard rock and jazz music. When I got to Berklee I started playing a lot more technical music such as jazz fusion and progressive metal, as well as starting to grow a love for the recording/producing side of music..."

Read More Here: http://newnoisemagazine.com/interview-eddie-kim-billboard-death-metal-deadfall/

Hank 3 - Brothers Of The 4x4 (2013 NN Promo)

"Make no mistake, folks. Hank Williams III is definitely a country singer. Despite the work he’s done in metal and punk, country is the man’s forte. Hell, it’s in his blood. Having not heard much of the original Hank Williams or Hank Jr., I can’t really say if this sounds just like the original Hank Williams, but I can say that I was listening to the album while an old man was fixing some things around the house and he thought I was listening to the original Hank Williams! Make no mistake, Hank 3 wrote a real country album. Yes, as in fiddles and banjos, not the pop-country that gets played on the television and radio these days. Some have even opted to use the term “Rebel Country” to divert it from that pop-injected mumbo jumbo. This is about as hillbilly or redneck as things can possibly be – and living in the south, it’s the music that represents life down here pretty well. With song titles like “Hurtin’ For Certin”, “Lookey Yonder Commin” (about Hank’s hunting dog) and “Possum In A Tree,” it really doesn’t get any more southern than this..."

Read More: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-hank-3-brothers-4x4/

Hank3 - A Fiendish Threat (2013 NN Promo)

"While not entirely my cup of tea as far as punk music goes, I’ll definitely admit that A Fiendish Threat is far from the kind of punk music that I remember. Instead of using classic punk rock instruments, Hank decided to use instruments that are quite bit more classic in the tone of a stand-up bass, banjo and a fiddle. You could go on and call it “country punk” and it’s definitely something that I don’t think the world has ever heard before. That’s why I’m glad to have been able to review it, because I believe that life is all about new experiences. To put it to you simply, Hank 3 sounds like what would happen if the Ramones and Misfits decided to pull the plugs on their instruments and go all out acoustic..."

Read  More Here: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-hank-3-a-fiendish-threat/

Octavion - The Golden Ratio (2013 NN Promo)

"I have no idea what’s in the water over there in France, but these guys apparently got together and said, “What would happen if we mixed a band like The Deathstars with a band like Septic Flesh or The Monolith Deathcult,” winding up with this unparalleled monstrosity of brilliance. But that is exactly what this odd, but successful experiment happens to be. For those of you who might be wondering what in the heck something like that would sound like, take note of the catchy opener “The Sky Of Babylon” which is very much in the goth-drenched electronica of The Deathstars and its follow-up “Annunaki” which has the orchestral laden death growl fare of anything you might expect from current Septic or Deathcult. At this point, you might say “that’s nice and all, but these guys can’t keep it up throughout the whole album, can they?” 

Read More Here:  http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-octavion-the-golden-ratio/

Scream Machine - Cadaver Amatorem (2013 NN Promo)

"One woman army SinDelle Morte has only been crafting her own bipolar blend of electronic music since 2009, but she has made enough releases that you would assume she’s been doing it for well over a decade. In all that time we’ve seen the full length albums Devil Bitch, Sinister Flesh, and The Chronicles Of Sin in addition to a numerous amount of EPs that feature everything from brand new songs to remix and collaborative content. She’s even offered many of these EP’s for free on her Bandcamp page as well as the recently released compilation album, We Are Revolution. After releasing two very different EP’s this year, (Moon In Libra and Rise Of Machines, respectively) as well as a completely free electronic album in her side project godMONSTER, (Sol-Luna: Sounds Of The Sun, Songs Of Sleep which is free on the godMONSTER bandcamp page) she has finally released another full length Scream Machine album with a sound that will surprise fans of both the band and electronic music alike..."

Read More Here:  http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-scream-machine-cadaver-amatorem/

Dark C3ll - Dark Verses (2013 NN Promo) -

"Taking a cue from acts like Dope, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Wednesday 13, industrial hard rockers Darkc3ll have finally been signed for their upcoming release, Dark Verses. Many of you might have not heard the band’s first album, Reboot:Repeat but compared to this release, I think that it’s far stronger. Though Dark Verses has its share of strong tracks like “Death Of Rock N’ Roll” and “Six Hundred & Six Six” which offer the band’s same brand of catchy, punky and horror influenced anthems; the band’s older self-released disc has some absolutely killer tracks on it, like “FTW (Fuck The World)” and one of my personal anti-establishment anthems, “Machine” which is still the best song that I think these guys have ever done. Hopefully, that album will also get reissued; as it’s definitely just as good as anything you’ll find here..."

Read More: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-darkc3ll-dark-verses/

Insomnium - Ephemeral EP (2013 NN Promo)

"There comes a time in every band’s life, where they would seem to have reached a brick wall in terms of creativity. And for Insomnium, it would appear that that time is now. I guess the band realized that there was just no way in a thousand hells that they were ever going to top their last highly acclaimed release in 2010’s One For Sorrow and decided to completely switch gears on the music entirely. If I told you that this EP contained three beautiful acoustic pieces with scant an electric in sight, would you think me in jest? But it’s true..."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview with Rene Pedersen Of Mercenary Now On New Noise!

"The new album is called Through Our Darkest Days. How did you decide on this title? Do you think that we as human beings are going through our darkest days right now?

The title is very much related to personal experience, going through some tough times not only as individuals but also as a band. We now feel that we have been through the worst and that we have a brighter future ahead of us. The lyrics also deal with some of these obstacles, while also having the strength to focus on the positive, when everything is drowning in negativity..."

More Here: http://newnoisemagazine.com/interview-mercenarys-rene-pedersen-social-worker-through-darkest-days/

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 89 (October 22nd, 2013)


Otargos - Apex Terror (PR2013 Spotlight Album) - Considered to be a mix of acts like current era Behemoth and Industrial era Satyricon, these guys definitely prove that they have what it takes to stand out amongst the clones. This is an album where the music speaks for itself, so I'll spare you the frivolities.

The disc opens with the middle-eastern influenced riffing of "Apex Terror 4:35" which features ferocious drums, Behemoth riffs and harsh vocals, complete with hints of electronics and a worthy solo piece. Now that's how you start an album. But can they continue at this pace? "Fleshless Deathless 5:33" seems like it might have gotten a little bit of a Gojira injection, and features a much deeper style of vocal (with still the reminiscence of Behemoth) and a bit more crunch then the last track - along with another solo piece that sounds a bit out of place, but welcome. I'm glad that they still felt it was alright to put solos on pieces like this, because some bands wouldn't. "For Terra 4:45" brings on the black thrash atmosphere, proving that these guys really are capable of many different styles and wind up using every damned one of them on this album. Atmospheres are certainly concocted on this number, as well as some vocal effects that I find appealing. Wow, where'd that solo come from? It just kind of fell into place. And that's what I like about these guys. The next song "Remnant From A Long Dead Star 5:06" brings things into a much bleaker piece, backed with a bit rougher edge vocal that somewhat sees a bit of a shout. But that's good, because I do like to hear the native tone of the vocalist, it makes the work seem more human. I really love deep, grimy (and at times beautiful) work like this; there's even a wonderful solo on the track.

"Fallout 4:26" brings back the blazing drums, but with an odd vocal approach that carries the flavor of a megaphone backed rebellion. You've really got to hand it to that drummer, he definitely knows how to keep things interesting. The harsh vocals come back as the melodies change and welcome riff chugs. "Xeno 0:59" is next, an unsettling instrumental piece. "Drone 4:04" comes right after that, another maniacal musical outburst of fury and insanity, taking the best of black metal riffs and throwing the machine gun drumming of death metal happily into the mix. I'm reminded of Nalgfar with this one and that's a good band to be reminded of. "Aftermath Hyperion 6:16" is next, seeming very bleak, much in the vein of "Remnant..." but even more dreary. This sounds like it could be the theme for the end of the world. But that's until the drums begin to once again thunder backed with the same harsh vocal approach, yet this time it opens up into atmosphere. The band does give their songs a chance to breathe and I know what rules they're playing by, (there's Secrets Of The Moon influence in here somewhere) so I already know what to expect from most of these songs. As a matter of fact, I saw "Versus 3:26" and thought it might be a Secrets Of The Moon cover; but it seems that it is not. However, the song is certainly strong and definitely makes me think of the Antithesis album anyway. Albeit with a screaming solo, which is definitely great to hear. He really thunders this last song down vocally, just as much as the band thunder it down musically; along with another solo.

As bonus, there's an industrial remix of "Fleshless-Deathless." This one is called "Fleshless-Deathless 2.0 Remix 5:33" and is integral to the album. For those of you who might have been upset to hear that band only used electronic influences once on the whole album (Apex Terror) then this one will definitely pique your interest. It is a much different song than the original and even features female vocal influence. The soundscapes made on this thing are amazing, it feels longer than the original song; and definitely cements Otargos as a worthy industrial act, should they ever want to go that way. As a matter of fact guys, how long would it take to remix the whole damn album and release it as Apex Terror 2.0?

All in all, Otargos is my kind of band. You might not like them, but if you're not as big into Secrets Of The Moon, Satyricon/Sonic Reign/Stellar Master Elite and golden age Behemoth as I am, then you probably won't like this album. But there are people out there who are into those bands and others like them, so Otargos will be a must buy. I believe I've finally found my 10 for this week.

I definitely recommend Otargos to everyone. Damn, there are so many great albums coming out right now. It's too hard to choose the year's best!

(10 Tracks, 44:00)



Shock Frontier - Mancuerda Confessions (PR2013) - Considered the brainchild of Psychomanteum's Robert Kozletski and aided by Kyle Carney of Defiantly Fading, Pennsylvania's Shock Frontier is one of the best death industrial acts that I've ever come across. Much in the vein of Steel Hook Prosthesis, but slightly more experimental, they've crafted a nightmarish future world that will change the way you think about society forever. Now I don't know much about the actual Mancuerda confessions, who Mancuerda is and what was confessed; but I'm definitely going to google it and find more information on that, as it's spiked my curiosity and more than likely would entail something that's quite fucked up in some form or fashion.

The album begins with "Paroxysm 8:06" in a very electronic fashion which sounds much like a sort of robotics engineering facility. It's possible that the factory is building new life forms to replace humanity, in this "sudden burst of emotion" as the song title is described. "Angels Upon Iron Horses 6:40" comes next, continuing the factory's assembly of these mechanical monsters and would probably enlighten everyone who doesn't already work in an industrial plant and hear the same noises for hours at time. Shock Frontier have successfully mimicked the sounds of hard industrial labor with these two tracks. That is fine, but it is a good thing when ":Blood Eagle Zealot 18:27" (which sounds like a good name for a band, by the way) finally comes in and shows how the robots attack the church and wind up slaughtering everyone in it, starting with one altar boy who is apparently still in prayer. It's quite morbid to think about, but it would be a rather odd feeling to have been in prayer and killed while in that act of prayer. Would you even know that you were dead? Like if you're of the Christian faith and you're praying to Christ, but all of a sudden something comes by and removes your head without you knowing about it. That's what I felt like happened during this song. There's this deep, almost peaceful quiet at the end of the track; where it seems like the robotic entities who destroyed this humble church start to whizz away from the scene, only leaving light sounds of reverberation behind..

Next we have the confessional, where apparently the robotic entities feel a sort of sin for what they've done, so the find a cathedral wherein they begin to whizz and sputter about in repentance. "Controlled Atmosphere Killing 5:41" takes us back into the static and industrial noise of the factory, where the robots have all been assembled, but the machines continue to build as they have nothing else to do, no other programming; and no signs of shutting down. Our tax dollars at work. As we close into the factory, we finally see what programming the robots were inbued with on "Understand The Extent Of Our Disintegration 7:31." In a very slow and easily processible manner, all of the country's recent catastrophic events have been recorded, leaving these machines to consider our race as obsolete and incredibly volatile beings. With that information, these robots begin their evisceration process; which no one ever saw coming. "Decrepitude Approaching 4:58" leads us into the sputtering core of the factory, whirling about like some sort of black hole. Such a thing is of swell grandeur, but who was the mastermind behind it's construction? "Mancuerda 10:13" begins next, but it doesn't shed much light on who or what that term refers to. Though it sounds like it could be another line of data from the factory, possibly something not yet implanted into these ravenous machines who have now realized that confessing for their sins is a fool's errand and have begin to once again cleanse the world of mankind. They of course will try with their bullets, tanks and other weapons of war; but these are to no avail as the machines continue on in their rampage. "This Is Paradise 6:21" seems to capture the aftermath of that world, with the sounds of the old age fading out into the stars as the new age of life attempts to repair and restructure the world into their own utopia. Perhaps it might really be a paradise in that aspect, as these machines would not repeat the ills of man. It is simply not in their programming. But how long would this age last? How long would it be until even the machines rust and give way to the age after, an age where nothing remains but the sounds of the world that was...

You'll have your own interpretation of Mancuerda Confessions, but this is mine. Shock Frontier have certainly made the soundtrack for the kind of sci-fi post apocalyptic tale that you would expect to see on the big screen and I have no idea why these artists don't commission their work to independent films and games who could use soundtracks just like this one. It's always boggled my mind, especially when I could see this kind of music adorning several recent sci-fi related games and films. It's a very mature version of the future apocalypse that seems like it would also fit perfectly with several independent and low budget sci-fi and sci-fi/horror films that I've seen. Remember, low budget does not mean "not good" it just means that more time was taken into the story and less into the special effects. It also means that no major corporations had a say in the film, so the creator could do as they wanted. The same of course, could be said for games as well as this kind of music. Death/Industrial is not well known, but because it isn't, it can live in a place where it not conform to the trends. For an example of this, I will state the motion that I have never heard a Malignant Records act do dubstep and am forever thankful.

I definitely recommend this mature vision of the apocalypse from Shock Frontier, unless you work in an industrial plant where you hear the buzzing and whirring of machines all day long. The last thing anyone wants to be reminded of when they hear music, is work. Without a doubt, one of the best industrial death albums I've ever heard. Recommended for fans of Megaptera, Steel Hook Prosthesis, Soldnergeist and the early CMI sound (which is?) according to the promo information. Having heard Steel Hook Prosthesis, I can make the comparison, but this album doesn't have the horror atmosphere that they do, it's more mechanical.

Highlights: Paroxysm, Angels Upon Iron Horses, Blood Eagle Zealot, Controlled Atmosphere Killing, Understand The Extent Of Our Disintegration, Decrepitude Approaching, Mancuerda (9 Tracks, 72:00)



Pinkish Black - Razed To The Ground (PR2013) - Pinkish Black, as a friend told me (and this might not be entirely true) got their name from a stain that was left on the wall after their singer killed himself. The band described it as "pinkish black" in origin. Kinda fucked up, but so is their music... real fucked up as a matter of fact. But it's also strangely interesting... You know, in a fucked up sort of way.

The disc opens up with a spooky little ditty called "She Left Him Red 3:37." It reminds me quite a bit of Estradasphere, so that's a good start. Then we have the next track, which continues the Theremin play for a while, almost sounding oriental in tone - you can definitely sense video game music references here. The vocals come in and they sound about as depressing as a tombstone, yet strangely have a bit of blues, maybe even darkwave. They really love that Theremin. But I would too, if I could play one. I still can't even believe that thing's an instrument. "Kites And Vultures 3:52" gets a little dirtier, but it strangely lightens to allow prog elements and psychedelics. "Razed To The Ground 3:52" sounds like electro-doom with wall-thin vocals. I can barely hear or care what the vocalist is saying, he might as well be talking about what he needs to buy at the grocery store - but the vocals themselves make a good instrument, I just think that add nice tones to the oddity that is this track. "Bad Dreamer 7:42" brings in the piano for a quarter of the track, but then switches to a very odd take on what sounds like a doom-laden drone. I think that bands like this improve my skills, because I have to think of other terms to describe them, rather than the usual gamut of "it's thrashy, heavy, bashy, doomy" exc. This album really goes above and beyond. "Rise 5:34" sounds like dirty rock with the same wall thin vocals, but it brings in a Theremin during one of the album's great rushes and builds on the band's atmosphere, which seems to be Pinkish Black's main goal. The album ends with "Loss Feeling Of Loss 11:09" and it follows much of the same dirty electronic rock with Theremin and other electronic influences. Near the end of the song, things sound quite uneasy and then end with a whimper.

I'm not really quite sure what kind of experiment Pinkish Black are trying to attempt here, but I do feel that it's worth listening and that there's nothing else out there quite like it. They really might have gotten their name from the stain left behind from the death of a former member, seeing as how this music can be both very uplifting and rather downtrodden at the same time. It's an odd mixture that I would recommend to the more adventurous of people. I hope that my descriptions were enough to describe at what times, is quite indescribable.

(7 Tracks, 44:00)



Subscale - The Last Submission (PR2013) - I wasn't sure what to expect from the Croatian act, Subscale; but in the end I feel that they've made a very solid release. Sure, one could sum up an entire album review in just that one sentence, but I feel that I need to break these down, as Subscale isn't what I thought and I don't want you to get the same impression when I use the words djent. They do much more than just that.

"Interception 5:15" begins with a Soliwork approach to melodic death metal and plenty of little chugs. It's a punchy little opener that goes right into "Fictional Constructs 3:50" adds more of the djent influence to the mix, but it's also quite multi-layered in as far as performance and laden with electronics. "Antecedent 4:26" sees more djent in the piece, but with some Pantera portions. Not too shabby. "Method And Manner 4:31" contains some awesome clean choruses (it's not the same vocalist here.) "Pull The Threads (Extraction) 6:14" started out with djent, but contains a melodic solo before the track even starts. Some static begins to creep in near the end of the track. "Realization 5:45" starts as light piece with some whispers, building into something that isn't djent and actually contains female harmonizing as well as tasteful solo. This reminds me more of Sybreed's lighter work, with a very strong focus on powerful clean vocals. The song really peaks toward the end. "Outreach 4:37" begins with djent, but gets much heavier and offers a good sense of melodic death metal along with some beautiful light melodies. "The Verdict 1:49" is a light, yet troubling piece with electronics that sound quite disturbing. But this might be the point of the instrumental. Unfortunately, "The Last Submission 4:55" seems to be the most musically forgettable and damn near thrown together track on the album. Sure, there's a lot of piss and vinegar, but it's all lumped together... wait. Well, there is a nice clean vocal chorus here, but the hardcore sensibilities here don't sit well with me, despite the solo piece. Yes, it's kind of hard to deny that solo piece and the gravel here, but the hardcore vocals are really killing it for me and I wish that the djent wasn't so thick. "Endgame 5:41" is the last track on the album, and it starts out rather slow and features a strong sense of electronics, later building to djent-laden atmospheres that house angst-ridden vocals. There's also a nice guitar solo used here, but the track is more of an afterthought than anything else.

Subscale definitely have potential, but I think they would be a stronger melodic death metal band with electronic influences than one filled with djent. The djent really doesn't seem to help them all that much and they hit so hard when they break out of the mechanical box, that they might be able to burst out into the scene as something truly noteworthy. The album is digitally available for free, so google the band's name and I'm sure you'll find it if you're interested. Alternatively, you can support the band by buying a physical enhanced CD from the same place where you'll find the digital version available. At any rate, Subscale are certainly worth hearing, so give them a go.

Highlights: Interception, Antecedent, Method And Manner, Realization, Outreach, The Verdict (10 Tracks, 47:00)



Soul Remnants - Black And Blood (PR2013) - Soul Remnant make a version of balls out thrash/death much in the vein of The Crown, Skeletonwitch or Impious. "Chopwork II 3:43" comes blazing out of the gates with an all out assault to the ears, definitely reminding you of the very best that death/thrash has to offer with some technical riffs and busting drums. As for the vocals, they're as vile as you should expect for the music. Black metal riffs creep up into "Cauldron Of Blood 3:19" but it finds itself as a thrasher and delivers just as much as the last one. Technicality still remains, as do black metal melodies (though also quite technical) as we jump right into the break-neck thrash of "Incinerator 3:45." My head is actually moving quite a bit while writing this review, at points I am tempted to throw up the horns and bang my bald head while these guys just kill on their instruments. I mean, that's what they do.

Then we get to "Symptoms Of Death 3:55" which starts out like it might be a cover song, but then it quickly regains speed and turns into yet another bludgeoning. Some grooves erupt and the chugs thunder in, backed by an immaculate vocal approach. "Dead Black (Heart Of Ice) 8:10" is a much different number that sees sorrow replacing the scathing thrash, and thick scathing vocals piled overtop beautiful, yet depressing melodies. It's still got some quite heavy portions though; and manages a tasteful solo piece that you would not expect to hear in a band like this. Then we get into the prog, where the band really gets out of their comfort zone. This is great though, because it gives them more than just that "death/thrash" title. I know few death/thrash acts that would even try such a sorrowful (and now we've got a choir humming) piece as this. "Rape Casket 4:01" brings us back to the band's current nature, (and I really need to point out that I'm hearing some Carcass influence here, albeit faster drumming) though things do manage to slow and mutate a little. Where did the sparkles come from? "No Afterlife 4:39" has an especially strong chorus piece and also plays around with tech and groove... these guys are just great. It doesn't really matter what they do. I wish I had more time to listen to this one! "The Antifaith 4:17" uses a vocal effect in some places (I think) but is mostly just chugs. It does have a solo portion too, but I don't think it's as strong as the others. "Reanimation 5:12" definitely pushes the technical death metal part of the band, ending things out with a whole lot of well... technicality. It's very straightforward in that sense.

Soul Remnants is one hell of an act. Checked these guys out on MA and seems they're from Massachusetts. Had no idea that there was metal over there. At any rate, it's fucking good metal. The only track that I didn't like so much was "The Antifaith" although I did like the use of the vocal effect on the track. I just thought it was a little chunkier than the others and didn't come off quite so well. But yeah, I would certainly buy this record. These guys just started out more or less, so if you like what they're doing, then give them some support!

(9 Tracks, 41:00)



Oceano - Incisions (PR2013) - I was told that Oceano is one of the most horrible acts out there as far as the core genre is concerned, and it seems like the word might have got out there to these guys on this latest album. What I didn't expect, is that the frontman knows how to do more than just the standard deathcore grunt and scream. He actually utilizes some extremely thick gravel on this one, especially on the opener "Eternal Wasteland 3:03" even though the solo (I mean, can we call the reiteration of the same three chords a solo?) is more than a little lacking. "Slow Murder 4:38" wanted to incorporate more electronic elements, but I found the overall drone of the track grating. As for the next track "Slave Of Coporatocracy 3:15", I actually like it. The piece begins with thick gravel and decent enough riffing, and I wish he would stay with this brutal death metal vocal approach and quit the core grunt entirely. Near the end of the track, someone clangs an anvil or something and it works for the song. As far as the song lyrics go, from what I've discerned; I believe it 100%. Most of our slaves to the corporate machine. I know that I am, I'm going back to work tomorrow to locate stock items in a database tomorrow, and then I'll be unpacking well over a hundred boxes of overpriced kids clothes that were made in sweatshops. You think I'm lying? Read the boxes. Made In China, Bangladesh, India, exc. To tell you the truth, I'd rather be working on my book or doing more reviews and interviews. I consider those things productive and worth the limited time that I have to spend on this planet. I'd rather make a name for myself in society, than to be known as just another cog who got worn out and replaced in the great corporate machine.

"Internal War 4:48" introduces some experimental elements into the mix, there's actually some very interesting things here, as far as incorporating melodies and trying to deviate away from core as much as humanly possible (please tell me that the next album sees Oceano as no longer a core act!) "Self Exploited Whore 2:56" doesn't offer all that much, but they are definitely trying to break out of that box. "New Age Apophis 3:31" starts out like brutal death metal, but decides that it wants to stay core, despite some interesting electronics and melody combination at the end. "Embrace Nothingness 4:40" is really stepping out of the box for these guys, it's not a core track at all and doesn't really feature any core grunts. The track focuses around a melody and spoken word vocal portions that help to create an atmosphere. The melodies are also quite strong, so I definitely enjoyed the piece. There's also a very nice, unexpected solo. "Incisions 3:59" which of course is the title track, wouldn't be much without the backing melodies and barely manages to interest me. "Blasphemous Mask 3:12" sounds better when it's doing the death metal thing, instead of the core thing. "Severed Appendages 3:57" sees more experimentation in terms of musical structures, but doesn't end on much. "Disservance 5:16" Is an instrumental piece with several different layers. It's definitely worth listening to an has some very surprising portions that you might find intriguing. "The Reclamation 3:37" ends the disc very boringly, I wish they had just left that off and ended the album with "Disservance."

I did think that this album was going to be a horrible listen, but when I finally decided that I was going to give it a chance, I found some songs that actually managed to impress me. Oceano actually has some potential and if they just break out of the core shell, they'll offer a convincing release that might actually get some recognition from the underground. If you're looking for just another deathcore album or whatever they offered before, then this isn't going to be your kind of album. But I'm quite glad that it isn't. It's good to see acts like this taking up new ideas and evolving with their music into something that's well... a bit more metal. You can tell that these guys just aren't listening to and be inspired by the same types of music that they were in the past. There's brutal death metal injections and melody on the album, as well as electronic pieces that help to enrich the experience.

In all honesty, it's actually worth checking out.

Highlights: Slave Of Corporatocracy, Internal War, Embrace Nothingness, Disservance (12 Tracks, 46:00)



Pitch Black Mentality - The Pitch Black Reality (PR2013) - Pitch Black are a four-piece power/thrash act that draw from bands like Nevermore, Pantera and Brainstorm. They're actually a relatively strong act, that come right out of the gate with "Carpe Demon 4:36" which shows these influences displayed beautifully. Powerful melodies work to introduce the title track "The Pitch Black Reality 6:24" showing itself with more abrasion and a memorable solo. These guys truly seem to be proving their salt. "Tool Of War 4:41" plays around with technicality a bit more, but I don't think it's as vocally strong as the others, sans the choruses which seem to deliver. Of course, it's hard to deny these solo pieces. "The Throne 5:04" throws more Pantera influence into the mix, while "Red Light 3:26" seems to be more concerned with speed and technicality, sans the slower chorus portions. The band literally changes the tempo at the drop of a hat, so there's a good feeling of song structure in the piece and plenty of thrash, nonetheless. "Silent Voice 4:37" continues much in the same vein, as "Feed Your Suicide 4:37" proves itself as a standout, and "Truth Denied 4:22" follows in that regard. "Carve My Stone 5:27" ends the album with a slew of powerful solos and fades out on that note. It's pretty straightforward.

Pitch Black Mentality have a hell of a lot of promise. Their mix of Pantera grooves, Nevermore-esque technical riffing and more than heaping helping of thrash band X make them certainly a standout among others in their ranks. These guys are actually worth listening to with their memorable choruses, solos and the spirit of power/thrash remaining completely intact. You might hear some modern influences on the album, but you won't be able to deny that these guys are really doing something great here. I listened to it the first time and wasn't real sure of it, but after this second listen the disc sort of rubbed off on me a bit more and I can see it as a solid piece of material that's worth checking out for fans of thrash and power/thrash. While not the best power/thrash act I've ever heard, they certainly aren't the worst by a long shot.

If it sounds like something you'd be interested, I'd definitely recommend it.

Highlights: Carpe Demon, Feed Your Suicide, Truth Denied (9 Tracks, 43:00)



Noumena - Death Walks With Me (PR2013) - Recommended for fans of Dark Tranquility, Amorphis and Insomnium; this Finnish melodic death metal band have released their fourth album complete with a new female vocalist by the name of Suvi Uura who is able to provide both pleasing melodies and brutal growls along with the band's harsher frontman, Antti Haapanen. But as for the album, it's a bit raw as far as production quality is concerned (which I think is it's only downfall.) The band seems to have been studying their Amorphis well, as I clearly hear those melodies being utilized on "Handful Of Dust 5:26" complete with clean vocal choruses as well as the thick gravel approach of the frontman. It's very much melodic death metal with female clean vocal injections and clever attention to solos.

You'll actually hear quite a bit of Amorphis riffs throughout the record, but there are also little acoustic pieces on "Sleep 5:19" which really hammers down on the clean chorus. Suri really proves her salt on that one. But "Death Walks With Me 5:01" proves to offer more bite in the drums, with "Let It Run Red 5:11" seeming a little lost in the mix. The vocals and guitars don't seem to register very well on this track as compared to the others. But I can still feel the solo piece despite the muddied production on this one. "The Storm 6:05" returns Suri back to the vocal element, where the band then starts to remind me of mid-era Battlelore. "Mysteries Of Motion 3:47" proves to be another strong song, on an album which really doesn't suffer so much in the realms of musicality; just production. "Nothing 5:41" also sees the Battlelore like territory with male and female vocal duets and proves to be another powerful track. "Only The Silent 4:05" brings the heaviness back, as "Season Of Suffocation 8:09" comes forward as a wonderful piece, filled with all the greatness of melodic death metal and touching female vocal lines. "Sundown 4:57" ends the disc with a female fronted melancholic acoustic ballad piece and I suppose it fits. Again, I'm reminded of Battlelore on this one and I've always loved their early-mid era material so I'm sure if you like those albums, then you'll like this one too.

Noumena are a terrific melodic death metal band, and this release that celebrates their fifteen years of playing metal is definitely worthy of checking out. It's a powerful release that is only hemmed down by it's production and is one of the worst produced melodic death metal albums that I've ever heard. For music that's really this good, I hope maybe they will put up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo fundraiser in order to be able to record a better produced record. This album deserves better production and it deserves it so bad that it makes me sick. I highly recommend this album nevertheless, and would give it a much higher score if the sound wasn't so fuzzy and muddled. Definitely one of the best melodic death metal albums of the year, with unforgettable female vocal lines - Suri sings her ass off on this record, and with the dual guitar assault and Antti's vocals, there's really no reason that you should ignore this album.

I highly recommend Death Walks With Me, despite the low production value.

Highlights: Handful Of Dust, Sleep, The Storm, Nothing, Season Of Suffocation (11 Tracks, 57:00)



Gnaw - Horrible Chamber (PR2013) - Let me be honest and tell you that I've been dreading this one. When you get albums sent to you, you have no idea what you're going to find; and this one had me stuck on the very first track "Humming 5:26" for about a couple of weeks now. I just wasn't sure if I could bring myself to listen to what sounded like a bunch of guys screaming in a booth amidst some static. I don't even get the atmosphere on this one, it's just fucking awful and they should have scrapped it or left it for the end of the album. When you look at the band pictures, these guys don't even look like the kind of band who would make music that sounds like this. You'd think there would be some kind of retro 70's throwback going on by the look of these guys, not what sounds like horror style atmospheres and screaming that reminds of someone abducted by unfriendly ethereal beings and locked inside of a soundless glass prison. But you know what? I made it through the track.

Then I got into "Of Embers 5:14" which adds doom riffs into the mix. The same incoherent creaming (can I have his job? I bet I can do that too) still remains and rattles my brain with annoyance. Alright, so how about "Water Rite 7:04?" Now this one actually sounds like a person trapped inside of an alien ship, screaming for help. You can even hear the whirr and buzzing of the ship as the person screams for help. "Worm 4:48" comes in next, adding electronics to doom and lightening up the frontman's vocal approach a bit, (I actually like this style better, you're not assaulting me) and then "Widowkeeper 9:43" plays with more electronic atmospheres and doom (as far as atmosphere goes, they're great - but this guy really ruins the whole thing for me.) "Vulture 6:31" comes in next, and starts out good until the guy starts screaming again. "I can't stand them!" he says over and over again. "I can't stand him!" is what I've been screaming inside my head over and over again. When we finally get to "In This Horrible Chamber 12:05" things are fine until the guy starts screaming again later in the song. Again, this band would be so much better if he just stuck to an instrument that isn't his vocal chords.

There's no amount of words that can describe my hatred for the frontman's vocal approach. But Gnaw as a musical element is a very strong band, that creates wonderful atmospheres which are highly believable and definitely otherworldly. Some of you might think that the vocals add to the mix, while I think I'd give this album a higher score if they had all been removed completely. These guys don't need vocals, they do just fine with the work they do at creating these vast monstrosities of terror. I would actually recommend work like this is if you've been enjoying the Malignant records work I review with artists like Steel Hook Prosthesis and the above posted Shock Frontier. It's definitely in those realms, except with added elements of doom and horrifying vocals. For some of you, this will be just what the doctor ordered. But I think I'll pass on this.

I'm going to have to explain my score here too. I'm giving the disc a 7, but only because of the vocals. Without them, these guys are an 8 or 9 easily. The atmospheres created on this thing are fucking brilliant. But the fact that I can't listen to them without the vocal element is something of a bother to me. The vocals here remind me of some now defunct hardcore group that started with an "S." (I can't remember their fucking name.) I hated those vocals so much that I wanted to punch that guy. It's upsetting that people found influence in his style.



Felix Martin - The Scenic Album (PR2013) - Felix Martin is a guitar virtuoso with a fourteen string guitar, so this something that you guitar aficionados will want to check out for sure. He fiddles his way through several portions of The Tango (1-3 7:00), brings a bit of metal influence into "Spam II 4:26" has fun with the Animals As Leaders style on "Triangle Tune 7:10" (which really sets itself as a standout for the disc) complete with several bits of prog that roll into "High Spirit 6:26" which has much the same atmosphere as most guitar discs, and then features three other tracks "Virolano tries Prog, Jazz, Metal (7:00)" in which he plays prog, some lighthearted jazz and finally prog metal with Opeth influence. After that, he really experiments with "Eleven Drums 5:17" which sounds both beautiful and unique, finally finishing it off with "2 AM 5:50" which closes the disc with a jazzy number replete with a few metal injections and some sprinkles.

Felix is certainly skilled, there's no doubt about that. This album is a joy to listen to and features several overlapping soundscapes which seem to meld together rather well. If you're already a fan of Steve Vai, then I'm quite sure that you'll be a fan of Felix Martin. (speaking of, anyone get this over to Vai yet? I'm sure he would endorse it) On another note, I need to also mention that one of the tango tracks reminded me of the music from Pac-Man. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but I seriously heard 1980's Atari in there somewhere.

Definitely recommended. I don't even need to tell you why.

(11 Tracks, 44:00)



Nekrokrist - SS Der Todesking (PR2013) - Well, I want to be the nice guy when it comes to reviews, but sometimes I just can't. That's not entirely my fault though, sometimes the bands just aren't up to par and that is the case with these guys. I like black metal, and would go on to say that I really like black metal; but these guys are about as generic as can possibly be considered black metal. That's fine if you like your black metal to sound like it was made in 1996, and I definitely enjoy some of the classics, but the fact of the matter is that not one single track on this album manages to stand out from another on the piece and it all sounded the same. So much so, that I was taken out of it completely while listening to it and got enveloped in conversation. When my brain focused back on the music, it was because another album was already playing.

As for the music, it's a one man project that begins with a happy German tune and then goes right into black metal with slight moments of melody. The black metal with slight moments of melody complete with scowling vocals is the whole of the project. I've heard ten thousand bands that sound just like this one. The choice is clear on this one, and I am not in any way impressed by this effort. Hell, I can do a better job then this.

(7 Tracks, 33:00)



Mortal Decay - The Blueprint For Blood Spatter (PR2013) - It's kind of funny, but I'm having a hard time with the title of this brand new album from South Jersey technical brutal death metallers, Mortal Decay. Mainly, it's in that last word. What's the difference between blood splatter and blood spatter?

spat•ter [spáttər]

v (past and past participle spat•tered, present participle spat•ter•ing, 3rd person present singular spat•ters)
1. vti throw or come out in drops: to expel something in small scattered drops or splashes, or come out in this way
2. vt splash something with liquid: to splash something with or as if with a liquid, especially if the liquid leaves a mark or residue
3. vt defame somebody: to defame or sully somebody's character

n (plural spat•ters)

1. droplet of something spattered: a droplet or splash of something spattered
got a few spatters of paint on the floor
2. small amount: a small amount of something
a spatter of applause
3. act of spattering: an act of spattering or being spattered
4. spattering sound: the sound of spattering

Alright, so a spatter is a sort of splash.

splat•ter [spláttər]

vti (past and past participle splat•tered, present participle splat•ter•ing, 3rd person present singular splat•ters)
to spatter: to spatter or splash something, or be spattered or splashed

n (plural splat•ters)
a spatter: a spatter or splash

And "splatter" technically means the same thing as splatter. So instead of using the word "splatter" in their title, they used the original word "spatter" which can also be applied to paint, or any sort of liquid really. Aren't words incredible?

As far as the band goes, they concoct a more than solid form of brutal death metal with thick vocal gravel, loads of technicality and even some solos in places. And that pretty much explains the whole album. The drums also sound just as you would expect or should expect; as they fill the album with calculated blasts much in the way of Cryptopsy. It's a very straightforward album that doesn't need a scientific dissection. There's really no reason you shouldn't check out this disc if this description sounds like it would be something you'd dig, because the band sounds exactly as I've mentioned and they are good at what they do. They aren't reinventing the wheel, but don't seem to want to either. You can point out influences in Cannibal Corpse, Cryptopsy and Suture among countless others, but the music speaks for itself. With track titles like "Chloroform Induced Trance 3:47" and "Jugular Gurgle 3:39" you should already know what kind of brainy brutal death is being concocted here. If it ain't broke, then don't fucking fix it.

Well worth checking out. You'll definitely play it more than once.

(9 Tracks, 32:00)



Sasquatch - IV (PR2013) - Sasquatch are a three-piece stoner metal band and apparently this is their fourth record, hence the title IV. They aren't the only Roman numeral album title out this year either, with several other acts also opting to use these fine numerals like Onslaught for example, with their new album VI. The album opens with "The Message 4:29" which opens with dirty guitars and strong vocals. There's a definite hook to this track and a worthy rock solo. "Eye Of The Storm 5:42" slows down the music a bit more, but I don't know if I'm feeling it as much as the last track. "Sweet Lady 4:41" is a bit less dirty, with more of a straight up rock and roll feel to it, complete with another great solo. "Money 5:38" comes next, with a more mechanical riffing approach. The solo also delivers. As far as I've predicted, they all will. "Smoke Signal 7:56" is a bit longer and thunders a bit on the doom. But these guys are clearly more rock than metal, which isn't a bad thing by any means. Odd effects actually pop up on this track and they definitely work well for the piece. "Wolves At My Door 3:31" features phenomenal solo work, then "Me And You 4:44" works as a jazzy love song, "Corner 3:28" seems like a corner to the album, I don't really sense much meat on this one. "Drawing Flies 8:11" ends the disc on a sort of trance-laden hippie vibe, but riffs manage to thunder into the track and create great shots of atmosphere.

Sasquatch definitely have the right kind of quality that could make them extremely popular if they can just get heard by the right people. These guys do a great job of mixing blues and jazz together with metal and rock, so I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before a major label comes knocking at their door. There are definitely radio quality hits here like "Sweet Lady" and "Me And You" that could see them commercial success if they desired to pursue it.

Check it out if it sounds like something you'd be interested in.

Highlights: The Message, Sweet Lady, Smoke Signal, Drawing Flies (9 Tracks, 46:00)



Disfigured Dead - Relentless (PR2013) - Disfigured Dead is a four-piece technical brutal death metal band like Mortal Decay, but I definitely like these guys a little more. Their song structures are much stronger and feature a greater attention to detail than the latter act. There's no set path set for these guys, so they utilize many different elements in their gore-laden death, with an albums that's in all honesty very hard to describe unless you've heard it. There's definitely the Morbid Angel influence, especially in solos and the dual vocal approach really seems to work well for the band. The drums sound phenomenal and the calculated patterns on this disc definitely show that these guys have more than just a little potential. A good example of this would be in "Deranged Consecration 5:18" which is one of the single best death metal tracks I've heard in a while. This is the kind of album that I myself could personally jam the fuck out of and not really give two fucks about another person's opinion of the band. It's quite simplistic, even though unprofessional - my ears are hearing good music that I can relate to: bits of Dying Fetus and Morbid Angel being done incredible amounts of justice. By the way, these guys are quite young, which says a lot for where their skill is at the moment. The fact that Disfigured Dead got together and made an album that sounds better than a lot of older dudes who have done the same thing with more years of experience behind them in most cases, really speaks for the power of this act.

To be honest, there isn't a bad song on this album. It's a band that has been studying death metal and studying it quite well. You might look at the band and the album cover and not expect so much, but once you've heard the music; you'll understand that Disfigured Dead is definitely noteworthy and well worth checking out. While these guys haven't added any obscure elements that you'll find when bands try to break out of the genre of death metal, these guys stick to what they know best and deliver a hard-hitting album with powerful solos and thick song structures that are sure to leave their mark on someone. While I don't like how "The Process Of Decay 4:24" ends, (should have just let it end at 2:50) I definitely believe that the rest of this album speaks for itself. While not perfect, it is definitely worth checking out for all fans of death metal, as these guys certainly prove that they've got the right stuff when it comes to skull-bashing mayhem.

(10 Tracks, 46:00)



Lost Breed - The Evil In You And Me (PR2013) - There are always a few bands out there who don't always strike the iron and wind up missing, leaving a large hole in the ground. One such act seems to be Lost Breed, who play a classic-rock influenced brand of heavy metal that seems well engineered with memorable solos, but not so memorable songs. For instance, "Rescind The Horde 3:39" opens the disc with a bit of blues, groove and metal but it doesn't seem to really leave much of a hold on me until the solo comes in. "King Of Electric 3:20" goes for a powerful chorus, bit ends up failing miserably. The frontman just doesn't seem to be able to cut the mustard in several of these songs, making this album just not worth it in the long run. "Another Victim 5:44" delivers well in the guitar factor, but the rest of the doom-laden passages that compose it just come off forgettable. "Coffin Cheater 4:02" isn't even worth mentioning, and though "The Postman 4:02" offers thrash, it's still nothing to write home about. "Soul Chariot 3:30" has a bit of school flair, but surprisingly; the band's namesake song "Lost Breed 4:51" has absolutely nothing to offer, other than a solo. "The Evil In You And Me 4:01" is a bit stronger however, brining some more of the doom influences along with a strong chorus, but that doesn't say much in retrospect. "Nation's Song" seems like light thrash, but "Say You Love Satan 3:53" sounds a bit like grunge and doom fighting each other. The disc ends with "Storm Comes Down 2:40" which also leaves no major impression on me.

All in all, I'm completely unphased by this album. It just doesn't manage to do anything for me. If all I've found to be good on the record is the guitar solos, then something is horribly wrong here. Also, the frontman has such a terrible vocal approach that it turns me off the work completely. Lost Breed just seem to be lost, to be quite simple. It's not anything that I would spend my money on and I wouldn't really want you to either. There are very few times where I wouldn't recommend an act to anyone, and this is one of those times. It's just incredibly mediocre. However, the band did make another release after this one and I will review it in the next review week to see how it fares.

Highlights: Another Victim, Soul Chariot, The Evil In You And Me (11 Tracks, 42:00)



Zodiac - A Hiding Place (PR2013) - The album cover depicts a retro throwback to old LPs, but the picture and band logo depict something much different than you might expect to hear from the band. Even from the magazine advert, I thought these guys might be some really trippy stoner metal, but that's not the case. Zodiac takes me back to the kind of music that my father used to listen to, like Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynrd, probably even some Creedence Clearwater Revival. It's not so much that the band sounds like any one of these acts, but that they take influence from them in so far as the music is concerned. Led Zeppelin fans will hear a lot of their influence in the band especially. This southern rock still does contain several psychedelic elements and is certainly worth listening to, if you have the kind of ears to appreciate it. While "Downtown 4:58" doesn't really kick things up, "Free 7:33" seems to offer a bit more as it brings in the trippy elements and proves a strong chorus. If I were to compare the two tracks, I would rather "Downtown" be left off the album entirely - it should have begun with "Free." A Pink Floyd solo moment with a dirty touch ends the piece off, making it even more worthwhile.

"Underneath My Bed 3:47" injects funk and blues into the mix, even a little bit of soul. There's nothing wrong with this and it reflects well. "Leave Me Blind 4:44" is where our damn piano ballad comes in, but it sure does kick things up and develop into a powerful ballad that's quite memorable. "Moonshine 5:29" brings back the southern hospitality, but continues to add the psychedelic elements which add a nice touch to what could've been a very plain act. "Believer 7:49" is a lighter track that is more focused on the trip factor than anything else, but comes off with a rather catchy chorus and a memorable solo. Two parts of "I Wanna Know 7:00" follow, with the second part being more memorable than the first, as well as it's strong chorus. I don't know why the song was split, it would have been fine as an 8 track album. As for that last track, "Cortez The Killer 8:52" it's about Ferdinand Cortez slaughtering the Aztec people. History is something I've always loved and this has an Iron Maiden lyrical vibe to it in that regard. This is also my favorite song on the album, despite that it's a little slower than the others. It just sounds like a classic, like a song you'll remember for years to come.

Zodiac has some definite talent and could prove to be a formidable opponent in the realms of classic and psychedelic rock revival. Not what I was expecting, but one hell of an album nonetheless. If you hear anything from this album, please check out "Cortez The Killer." The guitar work on that one is mind-blowing. Just like the good old days.

Highlights: Free, Underneath My Bed, Leave Me Blind, I Want To Know Part 2, Cortez The Killer (9 Track, 51:00)



77 - Maximum Rock And Roll (PR2013) - Spanish rockers 77 are already back with a brand new album, but I have to say that this one just isn't as strong as their last one. While the ACDC and classic rock influences are still here and still strong, not all of the songs come off that well. Some songs on this album are just run of the mill, like the opener "Maximum Rock 'n' Roll 2:59" which doesn't offer so much that I haven't already soaked in with the Stones and ACDC. The same can be said with the Aerosmith influenced blues rock of "Jazz It Up 3:06" and the odd swamp blues turned ACDC thunder anthem of "Stay Away From Water 3:44." But there are a few stronger tracks here like "Don't You Scream 3:11" which offers a strong chorus, and "Highway Rebel 3:39" which makes for a strong anthem. There are still even stronger tracks on the disc, like "You Bored Me 4:45" and the closer "16 Year Old King 3:57."

Unfortunately, I don't like the vocalist on this one much and I'm not sure if it's the same guy or a replacement, but his accent doesn't do so well for the music. These guys seem like a Spanish ACDC knockoff at times, but they're better than that as they showed on their last release. There aren't any overly long titles on the disc this time either, which I would've liked - because they were able to pull off some great things on the last album and haven't been able to do so here. Even though there are still some good songs on the disc, it's just not quite up to par with their last release.

Highlights: Down And Dirty, You Bored Me, 16 Year Old King (10 Tracks, 36:00)



Coven 13 - Destiny Of The Gods (PR2013) - Well, Coven 13 is back. Most commonly known for the release (of which I recently reviewed the remaster) Worship New Gods, the band is back from the past and have brought another dose of classic metal for the new era, entitled Destiny Of The Gods. But Destiny Of The Gods is a much different piece of music than the offering of years past, and has it's own share of hits and misses to boot.

"Thor's Twins 5:28" has a punk influence for instance that I don't care for and it took me right out of the album from the very beginning, which isn't a good sign. "Winds Of Revelation 4:41" has more of a classic metal feel, but I'm not feeling the frontman's vocals here either. It just seems to be devoid of anything other than boredom. "Elfstone 6:01" seems to be one of the album's better tracks, with lyrics based in Middle Earth and a pleasing guitar solo. "Walpurgisnacht 6:35" finally brings in the doom, with a sub-par vocal approach; yet memorable solo piece. "Isle Of Man 2:27" brings back the punk influence, showcasing off a very weak track. "Frost Giants 3:44" offers a passable classic metal performance comparable to Judas Priest. "Witches Kiss 3:42" brings in proggy keyboards, but it's obvious that the vocalist thinks he can sing better than he actually can; which seems to be the downfall of many of these songs. The guy just doesn't have a very strong vocal approach on this album, despite all of the tricks he uses. "She Rides The Dawn 4:30" comes at about the point that I was waiting for the album to end. You should already know by now, that if I'm just waiting on an album to end; it's done nothing for me. "Solitary Days 7:16" however is actually a much stronger track, showing me that maybe this band does still have some signs of life after all. It's probably the best song on the album. The disc ends with "Spellbound 3:13" which injects piano into the mix, but ploddles along with a rather forgettable piece.

Listen, I'm all for these guys getting back together and creating a new album after all these years, but this is one of the worst and most forgettable classic metal throwbacks that I've ever heard. Compared to Woship New Gods, this is not even in the same plane. It's out there in the astral stuff somewhere, as far from that album as can be. The frontman comes off as droll and annoying, and the album seems to be a disc where you have to wait for something good to happen. I hate those kinds of discs and they shouldn't exist at all. If after four or five tracks have passed and you're still waiting for that one touch of gold; then chances are that the record is just not very strong. I'm lenient in the aspect that I don't necessarily consider openers as the first and final say for an album, I always make sure to give it the full chance - but most people will not do that. They're going to listen to start with "Thor's Twins" and expect the whole album to sound that way, which it doesn't - but you can't tell them that, because most people these days are stubborn. They're going to jump on their own sites and forums and chats and tell people "That new Coven 13 album is awful" or even worse words than what I've used here. But I will be honest and say that it does sound like these guys were trying. The vocalist just thought that his voice was soap, when it was really butter and I don't think everyone is going to jump on the bandwagon. I wish these guys the best of luck and still think that their live performances will be more memorable than what has been offered on this new studio album. So go see them live while you've still got the chance to do so.

Highlights: Elfstone, Walpurgisnacht, Frost Giants, Witches Kiss, Solitary Days (10 Tracks, 47:00)



Cannibal Accident - Lennu 7" (PR2013) - Cannibal Accident is a five piece death/grind act with some interesting oddities. Though the 7" is short, it's still worth checking out. "Orgiastic Hypothermia 1:46" seems to revel in classic death metal, complete with more moments of vocal insanity than usual, (it almost feels like everyone in the band got a turn to scream, holler and growl) then "Nuclear Semenstorm 0:53" seems to feature rowdy drums and a whole lot of fury. "Chili Con Carnage 1:36" seems to be more gore obsessed, with a few crunchy moments and the sounds of strangling, as "Total End 1:36" sounds more like punk with odd TOOH high-pitched vocal moments. "Dawn Of The Dead 1:16" features more groove and a gurgling vocal approach which goes into "Rectum Loosener 1:10" closing the album with one single shot of brutality.

Again, while not overly long; the disc manages to traverse many territories of gore and does not offer me the same song over and over. That's reason enough for me to recommend it. These guys aren't afraid to experiment and do weird things with the music, so I'm not afraid to tell people to check them out. Plus, with a name like Cannibal Accident; it has to be good.

(6 Tracks, 8:00)



Fukpig - Bad Fucking Dickhead (PR2013 Single) - A single from the fourth forthcoming album from Anaal Nathrakh side project, Fukpig; this song is definitely worth checking out. It's heavy as hell, rough and full of spite. If an amount of anger can be shoved into a track and then regurgitated back into your ears, it's this abrasively chunky thing. To best express it, if you've ever been pissed at a person, this song will capture that anger perfectly. The grooves on this track kill, as well as the angry and sometimes wailing vocals. It's pretty straightforward and you're definitely going to want to check out this solid track. It also has the same effect as if you walked onto that Monty Python sketch where the guy was looking for an argument and accidentally walked into abuse. This is a track that you can lovingly send to those you care about.

(1 Track, 4:06)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Mayans Last Gasp Part III (October 8th, 2013)

Going back to the one paragraph review format of the first 2012 Quicklist, with expansions for certain albums.


Verdunkeln - Weder Licht Noch Schatten (2012) - Verdunkeln is a German black metal band that's worth checking out for all fans of the modern black metal sound, yet it certainly has elements of avantgarde and sets itself completely apart from other acts in the opener "Das Antlitz Des Himmels 6:56" in which a scowl is not performed, and the riffs take on a sort of waltz factor. This style continues, offering thickly layered soundscapes and very little in the way of the black metal blasting that you might expect. It's a thinking man's record in that aspect, something that requires you to sit down and absorb, rather than coming to it at the first bite. Even when the scowls do finally make their way back into the music, it still doesn't come off as an energetically heavy disc and seems to take pleasure in smooth calculations. If you don't feel that you've heard a good forward thinking black metal disc this year, then simply jump back to 2012 and give this one a go. It's definitely worth checking out.

Highlights: Die Letze Legion, Weder Licht Noch Schatten (5 Tracks, 48:00)



Zatokrev - The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere (2012) - Zatokrev is another rarity in the world of black metal, concerned heavily with sludge and even some punk and avantgarde aesthetics; making the music quite a treat to listen to. "Goddamned Lights 9:12" starts the disc with an evolution of punk influenced black metal into something more in the lines of melodic blackened sludge, complete with a truly memorable guitar solo. "9 8:36" sees sludge and ominous atmospheres becoming a factor, as "Rodeo With Snakes" injects more southern sludge into the mix. "Medium 10:28" sounds like a bad trip, rolling right into the wheel, where melodic post sludge seems to have taken over. "Feel The Fire Pts. 1 & 2 (11:00)" are great explorations of a blacker edged Neurosis, seeing the slow-paced and foreboding nature of "The Bat 9:46" fully realized near the end of the disc. Zatokrev goes out very much in the same way you'd expect, with more blackened sludge and shoegaze solos.

For anyone who wants to hear a mix of black metal, post and sludge, you can't go wrong with Zatokrev. Memorable solo pieces and slight moments of shoegaze add to the band's unique style that is truly their own. The band is original and effective, therefore obtaining a perfect score.

(9 Tracks, 73:00)



VA – Re-Machined. A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head (2012) - Despite the fact that Deep Purple has had a slew of material beyond this one, most people seem to consider this one their best record. That's probably not true, but there's no doubt that it's their most commercially successful album and made "Smoke On The Water" and "Highway Star" guitar teaching staples throughout the spectrum. Most guitarists cut their teeth on one or both of these songs, and it appears that a slew of artists wanted to cover these tracks in tribute. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't fuck it up. As with most VA albums, there are several hits and misses.

Carlos Santana & Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) lent a touch to the illustrious "Smoke On The Water 5:05" with Santana killing it, replete with Keyboards. But when Shaddix isn't singing about how goddamned emo he is (despite living in a fairly nice mansion with everything that person could want - the guy's a rock star, for crying out loud - it's all a sham) he's doing a decent job on the vocals. Yeah, it's not entirely bad. Chickenfoot takes on "Highway Star 7:05" live, doing the classic justice. Glen Hughes & Chad Smith cover "Maybe I'm A Leo 4:59" performing a respectable cover of the funky original. "Black Label Society put the southern biker edge into "Pictures Of Home 3:30" and certainly seem to have crafted a worthwhile performance. Kings Of Chaos cover "Never Before 4:05" as they get the proggier number right and seem to deliver a fairly strong performance that echoes the original. The Flaming Lips got a hold of "Smoke On The Water 4:25" turning it into a caricature of it's former self, replete with electronics, some kind of weird chanting and computerized vocals. It's just terrible, so skip it. Who ever thought this would be a good idea?

Jimmy Barnes & Joe Bonamassa cover "Lazy 8:53" bringing a sense of classic blues rock to the mix along with some atmospheres and keyboards. It's a joy to listen to and reminds you of the good old days. Iron Maiden cover "Space Truckin' 3:27" but even with Bruce on vocals, they just don't seem to be able to deliver on this one. It's a dirtier side to Maiden though and offers a much different perspective on them. Metallica finish it up with "When A Blind Man Cries 4:37" giving us a sense of what their new album is going to sound like. The band doesn't really offer a heavy performance until near the end of the song where they almost manage to fully deliver. There's also a bonus track here with Steve Vai & Glenn Hughes. It's a cover of "Highway Star 6:18" and not a live version. I don't like it as much as the Chickenfoot version, but Vai certainly delivers on the guitar aspect.

Having not heard the original disc, I'm making guesses here as to what it could sound like, but as seeing the covers are definitely sticking close to what I've heard and expected of Deep Purple's music, it definitely seems like each and every artist did their best to capture the band's music. The only cover that I found truly haphazard was the Flaming Lips. You really don't even need it, and it just seems to ruin a good day; so delete the track if you downloaded the disc from iTunes or something; or just burn another copy and remove the track from the album. It really is deplorable and kills the entire album. Again, it's a cover of a song that already has a cover on the disc; so it's not necessary.

Highlights: Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, Pictures Of Home, Never Before, Lazy (10 Tracks, 52:00)



Bitcrush - Collapse (2012) - Labeled as IDM (not exactly sure what that means, maybe Intriguing Depressive Music?) the band certainly seems to make a rather depressive and beautiful flight through five long ventures. The cotton candy riffs and subdued vocals help to pervade a sense of bright melancholy in the piece that is absolutely surreal in most aspects. Though things get a little dirty, and there's some sense of warmth through the disc, it doesn't change much in style. This is one of those discs where vocals aren't the standpoint of the album, and it seems to enjoy it's melancholy cotton candy beauty. Collapse is an absolutely beautiful, albeit depressing release that makes me think of what one must feel like after they have died and now gaze on the splendor of the afterworlds before them. It seems to capture pain and pleasure perfectly within the confines of a small plastic disc. I highly recommend this piece as it's one of the most wonderful atmospheres that I've ever heard, bar none. Whatever this IDM shit is, I certainly would like to hear more of it.

(5 Tracks, 49:00)



Ojo Rojo - Painkiller Hell & Damnation Soundtrack (2012 - Though other artists were featured on this video game soundtrack, they were regurgitated material that has been used sine 2004 and should not even be on the disc at all. But for all sakes and purposes, I am reviewing the Ojo Rojo tracks. There's a full EP of music here, displaying a hard rock act with slight tinges of metal, and believe it or not - some promise. There's only six tracks on here essentially, (and then instrumental versions of those tracks) but they are still worth checking out.

The disc opens with "Run In Circles 4:25" which offers a bit of groove and a whiskey throated frontman with a southern tinge floating through it. The chorus is strong, but it could be better. There's no doubt that these guys are certainly trying though. "Flies On Strings 4:07" is certainly my favorite of the tracks here, with a powerful and interesting chorus. The music of Ojo Rojo is quite light though and doesn't seem like the kind of music you'd want to slaughter hundreds of demonic entities to. When will these game companies get it right? Go to a fucking Bandcamp page, find a heavy as hell band and ask for a track from them. Find another heavy band, get a track from them. Find another heavy band, I mean - think of what kind of music invites death and destruction. Not what sounds good on the radio. You'll just have people muting the music and changing it out for the death metal they'd have played anyway.

At any rate, I really like "Flies On Strings 4:07" which has that nu metal when it was good feel to it. "Monkey Nation 2:54" features thrash injections and protest notions that don't have anything to do with the game. But I agree with the lyrics. Also, game companies - find a band who actually likes the music so much that they'll write an album based on the game. Yes, some musicians fucking love games so much that they'll write a full album based on the game. Hell, I already wrote lyrics for a song from the game and it's up on Youtube. People seem to like it. Which I think they would, since it's accurate to the storyline. You've got a game about a guy in hell, so why not something with a bit more bite? I used the last Dodsengel disc while playing the first one and it worked perfectly. If you can find a band who's good with ominous and foreboding atmospheres, that can work better than spoken lyrics. Boss battles should be blazing death/black metal, and tight/dark spaces should be something that instill fear in the player. Trust me, while listening to that last Dodsengel disc during the last game, it really improved my experience of the game.

"Cazzo Milano 4:10" is another strong song with good lyrics, showing that Ojo Rojo makes some rather fucked up hard rock. As far these lyrics go, this shit is pretty psychotic and I like that. But it's not the kind of music for this much blood and gore - maybe for a ride down to the liquor store. "White Knuckle Ride 3:33" provides about the same kick, these guys have studied their hard rock, nu metal and thrash pretty well and are able to utilize a couple of decent solos on the disc. "Linus 4:25" is the album's light atmosphere piece. It doesn't offer much and I hope they didn't use it in the game at all. It just doesn't fit with Painkiller. But neither do the rest of these songs. Nordic clearly wanted a band that was accessible and I guess some people might be turned off by more extreme forms of music. But then again, those people might be just as well turned off by the extreme amount of gore and violence in the title. Isn't there a Dance Central game you should be playing?

You see, back in the old days there were games that synthesized heavy metal and it was more appreciated in that aspect, because I guess it was synthesized. But now you have to use accessible bands, because we don't make synthesized heavy metal music anymore and you might offend someone. What Nordic needs is an industrial/metal act that can deliver the kind of material that they tried to go for with the whole series. This is why so many people love the NIN Quake soundtrack, because it did fit the mood of the game.

Ojo Rojo would have been better off releasing this EP in the same manner as a bandcamp act. It's certainly strong, but has no place in a game like this. But because the gaming community is shallow, we get Beyonce singing in the back of a Call Of Duty ad (who in the living fuck is going to play Beyonce music to a game where you fucking kill people) or Linkin Park who did the same with "Castle Of Glass." Yeah, that's a real heavy one guys. Great way to advertise a game where you spend most of your time fragging and cursing into your headset. A friend of mine was talking about that shit a few days earlier. "Nobody is going to listen to Beyonce while they're playing that fucking game." The whole gaming industry is nothing more than a billion dollar corporation who gives little of a shit about delivering good products, just making money. When a pop star advertises a shooter, we're headed down the road of Atari collapse. Fuck you, gaming industry.

All rants aside, Ojo Rojo is worth checking out for fans of hard rock and metal. I want to hear a full length from these guys and will definitely review it if it's as good as what I've heard from this EP.

(6 Tracks, 23:00)



Pyramids/Horseback: A Throne Without A King Split (2012) - This is probably the direction that Painkiller should have gone, especially in some of the deeper areas, as it invokes a sense of discomfort on the main meat of the album (A Throne Without A King 1-4). Pyramids starts the simple yellow covered disc off with "Phaedra's Love 6:48" which is quite beautiful, yet mechanical and that one goes into Horesback's black metal influenced electronic track, "Thee Cult Of Henry Flynt 7:05" which plays with standard melodic black metal (with a unique electronic edge) and goes right into an odd, static-laden atmosphere.

This begins the collaboration between Pyramids and Horseback, which makes in all reality, one hell of a soundtrack. Remember Fallout 3? Here's your soundtrack for Fallout 3. These four, also static-laden tracks seem to invoke the feeling of a world who like King would have said "has moved on." You can hear the cackle of broken power lines, electricity buzzing from them as you walk down what was left of your childhood homestead. The winds are blowing, as the nuclear winter sets in, for what might turn out to be a very long time. Hope you've got some Rad-X.

This is ultimately, a phenomenal post-apocalyptic atmosphere. The best I've ever heard for a post-apocalyptic world. The first time I heard it, I imagined the landscapes of Fallout, and just found this as a perfect atmosphere to just such a game as that one. The music itself seems to have been orchestrated to create this horrible wasteland future, quite like the kind you'll be reading about in my next novel. But my only qualm with this is the first two tracks. Pyramids and Horseback both perform two tracks at the beginning that have nothing to do with the album at hand. If you're going to make a dark ambient disc, then don't give me black metal. This album would have been better if it had just been the 45 minute piece that covers "A Throne Without A King 1-4." 45 minutes is enough, and the material is plenty strong without having to hear new material from you guys. I would have rather waited to hear "Thee Cult Of Henry Flynt" then to have it ruin the beginning of what is a fantastic atmosphere. Also, whoever designed this cover needs to be shot. It just doesn't capture the feel of the piece and looks bland. It should have been a desolate landscape on the front cover, something that would make me understand what exactly this music illustrates. Not some ridiculously thrown together yellow background with black text. How goddamned pretentious can you get?

So to cut it short, take off the first two track on the album, or put them at the end of the disc. They're nuts to have started this collaboration with their own two tracks, as it holds better weight as one full piece. Once again, I highly recommend those who want to hear the sounds of a post apocalyptic wasteland to check out this disc. I'm giving this album a perfect score, as I've heard nothing like it to date. I loved it the first time, and this second time proves how damned chilling the piece is. But the question I ask to you is, is this just a musical work of dystopian art, or a vision of the future?

Highlights: A Throne Without A King. That's it. Forget the other two tracks ever existed.

(6 Tracks, 59:00 but should only be 4 Tracks, 45:00)



Ashes You Leave - The Cure For Happiness (2012) - Ashes You Leave are a gothic/doom metal act with a female vocalist. They certainly have some promise, as the band does more than you would expect them to do, complete with meaty song structures and catchy songs. There are even some well-crafted solos on the piece which seem to do the band justice. The female vocalist really proves her salt on "For The Heart, Soul And Mind 4:54" and the band prove their salt on every damn track on the album. There's also a growler in the band who manages to evoke the same sense as first era Theatre Of Tragedy, which I'm getting reminded a lot of on this album. It's a combination of pianos and violins, complete with thick riffs and once again - notable song structures. These guys just don't play goth metal, they do the genre justice and return it to it's less poppy roots. If you're in the mood for something that's depressive and well played, then look no further than this awesome goth metal act. They deliver so much more musically than I can even describe here, so I would rather you hear the disc for yourself. Definitely one of the most interesting female-fronted goth metal bands I've heard in recent memory. Highly recommended for Theatre Of Tragedy fans who remember the Liv Kristine era of gothic doom/death.

Highlights: Devil In Disguise, For The Heart, Soul And Mind, The Ever-Changing, Meant To Stray, Summer's End, Reality Sad, The Cure, ...For Happiness (9 Tracks, 49:00)



Yngwie J. Malmsteen - Spellbound (2012) - I'll be honest and mention this album kind of buzzed right by me. It's got a lot of great guitar playing on it, but nothing I really haven't heard before. "Spellbound 4:29" offers plenty of Neoclassical Castlevania shredding, and "High Compression Figure 3:20" offers the same when he's not shredding. "Repent 3:15" features vocals from the man himself, but they aren't done so well. "Let's Sleeping Dog Lie 4:40" invokes blues and barely audible vocals. Then there's "Majestic 12 Suite 1,2 &3 9:03" which is more shredding, and "Electric Duet 1:34" which is more shredding. "Nasca Lines 2:56" comes in, where the man begins to flamenco shred, eventually switching to an electric and shredding some more. "Poisoned Mind 3:04" brings back the barely audible vocals, a classic metal atmosphere and more shredding. "God of War 7:21" is like "Nasca Lines" but much longer, and with more shredding. "Iron Blues 3:26" is just that, shredding and blues. "Turbo Amadeus 1:12" is classical guitar, as one might expect. "From A Thousand Cuts 3:24" is more shredding. The shredding ends with "Requiem For The Lost Souls 6:17" which also sounds very Castlevania.

And that's it. If you want a disc that is nothing but shredding, then here it is. The man's good, but there's little variety. I think Vai had a better one this time around. As much as I love solos, I love them where they should be. Not just all over the place. Almost all of these songs contain nothing but solos, with good melodies hammed in every now and again. Of course, the whole damn performance is hammy.

(13 Tracks, 54:00)



The Way Of Purity - Equate (2012) - Blackened Deathcore is an oddly funny genre that some of us are wondering how it even came to be. It was bound to happen eventually, with some bands doing a reputable job of it and others not so much. As for The Way Of Purity, the band revels in a scowling vocalist and metalcore melodies with some slight black metal influence. it's not bad, but it's certainly blackened deathcore. I'm also thinking that the singer might be a female, I can hear the vocal inflections and it comes off as such. She's certainly good though. When I get to "Eleven 3:26" I'm completely sure of the fact, as she offers a palatable clean vocal. Now that you mention it, I don't think that blackened deathcore works for this band. I'm hearing more Dark Tranquility than I am black metal, so I would consider it melodic deathcore. And yes, there are certainly breakdowns. There's even some djent riffs on "The Mighty Fall 3:33." But then again, I may have misspoken as the closer "Lijty Crjsty 3:49" certainly sounds like black metal.

Whatever you want to call them, The Way Of Purity are certainly promising, in the fact that they actually know what they were doing when they mixed deathcore with melodic death metal and black metal as well, in some instances. Imagine it in the vein of bands like Iwrestledabearonce, but with more firepower and attention to detail. It's actually good, in that instance - something that doesn't fuck up black and melodic death metal by throwing core into it. While there are clean vocals on some of the songs and not everything is as volatile as it begins, they certainly help to diversify the disc and make it something worth checking out if you like deathcore music. I would rather listen to these guys then most of the mainstream deathcore acts that I've been approached with, so that should say something.

Highlights: Artwork Of Nature, Keep Dreaming, Lijty Crjsty (10 Tracks, 37:00)



The Black Rain - Night Tales (2012) - The Black Rain is a rock band who I probably downloaded by accident, while trying to download someone else. Oh well, the rules are what they are - if it's a recently released album and I've downloaded it, then it gets a review no matter what it is. As for their sound, it's definitely a commercial style of classic rock that's certainly catchy. "Lake Trip 3:45" comes off better than "Won't Let Go 4:19" even though the chorus on the latter track is quite a grower. "Plastic Love 5:38" has that hard-edged hair metal feel to it, while "Sugar In Poison 6:44" manages to bore me with a ballad, despite a decent solo piece. "Hot For A Night 4:29" also comes off with a catchy 80's vibe, and "Mama Let It Be 5:56" reminds me a bit of something I've heard on recent Stonesour ballads. "My Sweet Mistake 5:16" is decent, with "The Black Rain Motel 4:13" following the same 80's vibe that mostly flows through this album. "Coming Home 3:10" has a Crue injection that works for it, but the disc ends on a whimper with "As I Lie 4:28" which is a light ballad with a memorable guitar ditty. But isn't the solo the most memorable part about most ballads? Not that there aren't any good ones, (take Nevermore for example) but there are quite a few that don't manage to elicit any feelings in me. This was one of them.

All ballads aside, The Black Rain have made a decent 80's throwback that offers the best of that era as translated into this one. If you're in the mood for classic rock and hair metal poofiness, then give this album a go.

Highlights: Lake Trip, Plastic Love, Hot For A Night, Mama Let Me Be, The Black Rain Motel (10 Tracks, 47:00)



Tech N9ne - Boiling Point EP (2012) - While I'll be reviewing the latest Tech EP for New Noise Magazine, this is the last one he released before the new album, Something Strange. The disc features black blood gushing out of his eyes and at first seemed like it might be something a bit darker in lyrical terms, maybe even a nod to horrorcore as he sometimes does. But, to be honest, I think that Tech struck out with these seven tracks, offering very little to like. It opens with "URALYA 4:08" which features a few guitar riffs along with Tech's speed rapping, and some rough shouts, which make it a little abrasive. "Fire In The A.C. (Feat. Krizz Kaliko & Smackola) 3:47" is a rap about last year's James Holmes incident. Of course, Tech labels him as just a demented breed, not bothering to research the information about MK Ultra and Monarch mind control methods and what was clearly a government experiment. The man was absolutely brilliant, but clearly stated that he had been given some sort of pills - nobody bothered to research them however. Of course not, because nobody wants to know the truth and believe that our government would never experiment on it's own citizens. As for the track, I'm turned off by it completely for this reason, despite that overall performance is decent.

Then there's "Should I Killer 3:59" which he apologizes to people before the song starts. Why? Man, you've lost your edge. God forbid we fucking offend someone. At any rate, this is commercialized horrorcore. It's going to offend women, but the same ones who would be offended by death metal lyrics. "Hunger 4:49" is next, featuring one of my personal favorite horrorcore acts, Brotha Lynch Hung (who did not apologize for any of the material on Coathanga Strangla btw.) At any rate, it's still commercialized horrorcore. Which is what Tech is doing with his new label, doing the unreal and trying to market "murder rap" to the mainstream audiences. Then there's "Paint On The Pillowcase (Feat. Aqualeo) 4:37" which is also commercialized horrorcore. Seeing a pattern here? Yes, it's a darker disc. But it's commercial, with all the fat removed. "Heavy 4:08" brings back the guitar and seems to be about a song about a guy with deformities. Technically, this also classifies under horrorcore as I've seen ICP do songs like this. The disc ends with "Alone (Feat. Krizz Kaliko & Eric "Ezikuhl" Boone) 4:38" which features this soul singer. And that's how it ends.

For the most part, what Tech tried to do was to market a horrorcore disc to the mainstream hip hop audience. Still, not many people were interested in it. While it doesn't feature the "booty shaking" songs of the newest album, it still doesn't hit as hard as anything that's underground horrorcore. The other thing I don't like about this album is how he tries to play as religious, but on the Klusterfuck EP describes himself as a klusterfuck of different ideas. One of those includes damnation? He says "the gates of hell will swallow you whole" to the mind controlled patsy, but then on the opener to Something Strange he talks about being the devil and then of course, Serj Tankian sings about how people worship all these false ideas - like the kind that Tech seems to promote in this album. It's very much a "I'm a Christian, but I'm going to sing about murdering people album, so forgive me for this." but I could have sworn that the Bible mentions that thinking about an act is the same as committing it in the eyes of God, and he's a quite rough fellow from what I'd imagine. Yet again, it says thou shalt not judge, which helps millions of hypocrites get by everyday. Isn't religion wonderful?

I don't really recommend this one, because there are much better discs out than it. For instance, if Tech let me rap on a song; he couldn't put it on an album because people would be too offended and think the guy's a devil worshipper now. Go old school, like Esham, ICP, Twiztid, Dark Lotus Necro, Ill Bill, Jedi Mind Tricks, or anyone but this disc.

Highlights: URALAYA (7 Tracks, 30:00)



Veiled In Scarlet - Idealism (2012) - I'll apologize for keeping these guys a secret, but Veiled In Scarlet (formed from ex members Hiroki and Kaija of Serpent, whose last release was xGodx) play a wonderful brand of Neoclassical melodic death metal that's not just worth checking out, it's absolutely imperative in my opinion and is one of my favorite discs of 2012. But not only that, it's one of my favorite melodic death metal discs out of all the melodic death metal discs that have ever been released in the history of mankind. These Japanese guys took the great feel of Neoclassical soundscapes and mixed them seamlessly with hard hitting melodic death metal with a strong gravel backing vocal (Shun, who has now left the band) and eccentric solos that sound just as you would expect. Yes, it certainly has that video game feel to it; but I won't apologize for being a fan of video game music.

These guys literally manage to inhibit every quality of melodic death metal that I find brilliant and offer such dazzling Neoclassical solos, creating an act that is absolutely unforgettable. Though the production quality isn't extremely clean, I can still hear and feel every aspect of each one of these songs. Keyboards and pianos also sometimes fall into the mix, making a Castlevania soundtrack that rivals even the original. As a matter of fact, I'd love to hear these guys cover those classic Castlevania tracks. They'd kill them. Have you ever heard a band that captured you so much that you wanted to know more about them? This band did that for me. Veiled In Scarlet is the Galneryus of melodic death metal and I don't think that any act can touch them right now. Care to try?

Some of the best metal I've ever heard in my life. Got to see if these guys are doing another one, would love to interview them if possible. But how in the hell can you one-up this? I'm in awe. You see that ten? It was an eleven until I considered it unfair to the other acts. But yes, these guys are really that good. At least in my opinion. You may not like them however and that's completely fine. Forgive me, I'm babbling about like a schoolgirl.

(9 Tracks, 44:00)



The Konstellation - Order Of The Universe (2012) - The Konstellation may be a thick-sounding progressive death/black act with lots of djent riffs, but they should still appeal to the many people who passed them by the first time. The formula is easy to explain without a song by song commentary, as it contains the raw edge of black metal along with a little big of prog, as well as some drum heavy moments where the growls take over - and yes, they are thick growls. Yes, the band does utilize a few breakdowns on tracks like "Surrounded By Smoke 4:21" but then again, they utilize odd chants on "Juggernaut 4:21" and offer a weird atmosphere in "Ancient Chaos 1:31. You'll also find another dose of the odd on the closer "Microcosmos 1:20." Whatever the case, these guys really love djent riffs. But that's not bad, as this isn't djentcore. It's progressive death/black metal with loads of djent riffs and more of a focus on the black metal side of the spectrum. I would certainly recommend it, as it has more kick than most bands who utilize djent riffs these days, regardless of that fact that some will think it's blasphemy and feel that death/black metal never really needed djent riffs in the first place. Give it a shot first, before you pass up on it.

(11 Tracks, 44:00)



Astor Voltaires - Black Tombs For Dead Songs (2012) - This Spanish melodic doom/death metal project is a side project of another band, but I'm not sure who; because I read that review a few months ago. The majority of the lyrics are in Spanish, giving the work a decidedly Latin feel within bright leads amidst thunderous backing riffs and a mix of harsh vocals, beautiful clean and at some points female vocals. There are even keyboards used in the project. Unfortunately, at least for this album; the band seems to focus more on the clean vocals than the death metal, and while those vocals are good; it's really monotonous to hear a tinge of death metal vocal and then find out that the rest of the song is mostly done in the clean vocal sense. There are little tracks on here too, like "Quark 1:36" which is just piano and "Gold 1:50" which is also just piano, but better played. Sometimes the band creeps into atmosphere, like on "An Orphan Heartless 5:58" and on "Solo un Sueno 3:56" which I didn't like at all. Maybe it's the vocal inflection, it's too much in the vein of Latin American pop music; and the frotnman could probably do that just as well as here. Offering a few more growls might have made me care more about this act, which is musically decent. Though the doom is strong with them, this might be a little more lighthearted in the vocal (do you really have to reach up to those high octaves all the time?) range than some of us wanted, despite some strong melodic riffs. To be honest, this just wasn't my bag and I probably won't check these guys out again.

But if you think you'd be interested in it, then go check out this Latin melodic death/doom act.

Highlights: Como Un Desierto, Tummasilmainen, Gold (12 Tracks, 56:00)



Black Magician - Nature Is The Devil's Church (2012) - Black Magician is a doom band more in my style and sounds right out of the 70's with this warm throwback to occult laden lyrics, devilish riffs and powerful leads. "The Foolish Fire 0:59" may only be a lead in to our journey, but "Full Plain I See, The Devil Knows How To Row 10:25" brings us right into Sabbathy goodness, complete with ominous keyboards. The frontman has a very "unique" vocal approach, it sounds like it may be English; which is the home of the very genre, so I'm going to expect greatness. While it does take a while for the devil to get rowing, the band finally closes out the piece with a truly worthy solo moment that also sounds right out of Sabbath. "Foul Thieves Vinegar 10:19" evokes the same dark atmosphere, complete with creepy keys and the frontman's thick English accent. Once again, it picks up the pace near the end, where the keyboards have a bit of a frenzy before the big thump.

"Of Ghosts And Their Worship 5:52" is next, taking on a bit of a different atmosphere. This track comes off as a sort of acoustic guitar and keyboard laden free-for all, complete with maracas and an occult rock vibe. It's still quite ominous, however. Nothing on here is, well... happy. That brings us to "Chattox 15:21" which might be one of the best doom metal tracks ever conceived. It evokes the spirit of what I've come to expect from the doom metal genre - doom, gloom, and an eerie atmosphere. Remember that when the genre was first being created, people were afraid that Sabbath was playing the Devil's note and even Sabbath themselves sometimes felt frightened to play the music as they have admitted several times. Apparently even some "odd shit" happened during the recording of the album, but you could also chalk that up to a bit too much of the drink or the drugs that have somehow worked to preserve Ozzy. At any rate, "Chattox" is the major highlight of this album, showing all other doom bands how it's done and I hope that Black Magician continues to role out doom like this in it's most classic aspect. The track ends with some wonderful guitar solos that only help the decorate this dastardly evil music that Sabbath created, Candlemass perfected and Black Magician continue to refine.

I certainly recommend this album. It is a must for classic doom aficionados, though I will admit that some of these tracks certainly take a little while to get started and could come off as monotonous to some listeners. But if you want to hear doom done the old fashioned way in this day an age, then look no further than here.

(5 Tracks, 42:00)



The Cory Smoot Experiment - When Worlds Collide (2012) - Cory Smoot, or more commonly known as GWAR's recently deceased guitarist, Flattus Maximus; (Now Pustulus Maximus) released this album as a solo project but it became greater popularized after his death. Alternatively, buying this record constitutes to his fund. So if you want to support him, then go buy this album. Naturally, this is a guitarist's record, so you can expect a lot of his signature style on these tracks.

Opener "The Blood Red 4:17" begins the disc with Cory's signature guitar solos and starts the album off with an abrasive number complete with some growls. "Fortunate Sun 2:12" is much different though, sounding to me a bit like GWAR's "We Kill Everything" as it sticks to a doom metal style. "Religion Is Fiction 2:29" brings djent riffs into the mix and is mostly instrumental apart from some harsh vocal shouts. "Rebirth 1:33" sounds like more insanity and it sounds like Corey might be losing his mind too. "Brainfade 2:08" features more acoustic material, but includes a much heavier and growl-backed solo portion. "Mandatory Purgatory 2:13" sounds like GWAR with a heavier touch to the vocals. "Countdown To Oblivion 4:15" is a djenty melodic death track with a bad touch on clean vocals. The whole thing has a very GWAR vibe to it, expectedly. "The Gauntlet 2:21" coming off much the same way. "When Worlds Collide 5:03" is a more eccentric piece, that really shows off Cory's Skills. It's also got some creepy melodies in a few areas. "Mutilation 5:38" comes off like angry djent, with some punk influence. It's definitely GWAR influenced. "Hollow Tree 4:27" is much the same way, albeit with a lot of experimentation. The last track is "Sloth Loves Chunk 3:38" which is a little bit lighter and offers a bit of trip-funk.

Well, this is the last we have from former GWAR guitarist, Cory Smoot. But it's actually interesting material that goes a bit beyond what he's done in GWAR. It's certain that the disc contained plenty of GWAR influence, but he also utilized some things that GWAR never would. I definitely recommend that you check out this unique piece of music and remember that buying it donates to his personal fund.

Highlights: The Blood Red, Fortunate Sun, Rebirth, Mandatory Purgatory, The Gauntlet, When Worlds Collide, Mutilation (12 Tracks, 40:00)



Umbah - Enter The Dagobah Core (2012) - I went into this album expecting one of the best and most unique death metal albums that I've heard. It's a sort of space/cosmic avantgarde death metal, and I usually love that sort of stuff; but this became one of the worst albums that I've ever heard in my entire life. To be honest, there's just too much weirdness on the disc for me and that's entirely unusual. I don't care for the vocals, I'm not sure if this guy's trying to sound like some kind of professor or alien being or what; but it doesn't work for me. This disc is really something that would take entirely too long to run through, because very song has hints of odd electronics and at times just sounds incredibly like something that isn't music. There's shit here that doesn't even work in the most basic extent, like "Enter The Dagobah Core 4:02" which is the fucking title track, for fuck's sake. Or "Oberon Tales 4:43" which doesn't do much either. Though these guys can blast the drums and shout like weird aliens, it just doesn't do anything for me at all. I want to like this stuff, because I respect the weirdness; but this just doesn't work for me at all. Better luck next time, I guess?

Apparently Autothrall loved it, so there's a second opinion from another respected reviewer.

(13 Tracks, 53:00)



Slaughter Messiah - Deathlike Invasion (2012) - This is a four track EP from the Belgian black metal band, Slaughter Messiah. They certainly pride themselves in the old way of doing things, as I had to raise the volume on this one right at the start of "Slaughter Messiah 3:44." The influences on this thing are quite apparent, you can hear the Bathory riffs and even some Slayer that creeps up every now and again. The vocals are very odd however, they sound like a little ant that had been given a megaphone, maybe some goblin thing that sits on your shoulder normally and feeds you cookies. If you're the kind of person who would eat cookies from a shoulder goblin. I wouldn't, because I don't have one. But I've heard from people that have them, that if you run out of cookies, they get angry and you have to summon the fourth realm and force them into the portal. Wait, what am I talking about?

The next track "NWOBHM (New Wave Of Belgian Heavy Metal) 4:12" continues the shoulder goblin rattlings, but the band does seem to make a viable presence. "Visual Aggression 3:16" proves to be their strongest track, but not by much. It ends with a Terrorizer cover of "Dead Shall Rise 2:37" which is decent enough. I'm alright with Belgian heavy metal, but it's not quite as good as Belgian chocolates. Slaughter Messiah definitely craft a decent performance with this record, but it doesn't do much for me. I've heard the same thing a thousand times before.

(4 Tracks, 13:00)



Blunt Force Trauma - Vengeance For Nothing (2012) - My thoughts on this Abner recommended album are quite simple. It's fucking great. But to describe this new project from members of Jenovavirus correctly, I would have to add that it sounds a hell of a lot like Dying Fetus. Some might even call them a Dying Fetus clone. But I'll be honest, these guys definitely know what they're doing and do Dying Fetus justice. The whole fucking album reminds me of that Dying Fetus concert I went to, with all the thick death metal and groove that I should expect from a Dying Fetus album. The drums blaze, the vocal gravel is just as it should be and the whole disc sounds like another great Dying Fetus disc. There are some bits of technicality here than Dying Fetus would use, but other than that; you're getting a fucking great album for fans of the death metal that Dying Fetus craft.

For people that don't get it, this kind of death metal isn't about the lyrics, it's the fucking vibe of the music. The grooves have always been thick on a Dying Fetus album and the vocals only help to illustrate that sound. Even if you can't feel it on the record, you can certainly feel at a live show. Speaking of show, these guys should do a tour with Dying Fetus. It would be like seeing the same band twice.

Highly recommended to all Dying Fetus and death metal/grindcore fans! Sure they ripped off Dying Fetus, but they did a damned good job of it! Japanese knockoff, hell! These guys are just as good as the original!

(10 Tracks, 32:00)



Back Door To Ayslum - Akathisia (2012) - We have another Abner recommend, this time from technical brutal death metal act, Akathisia. While I love the intro "Snuffed Out 1:58" which sounds quite volatile in the way of atmospheres, the band doesn't seem to offer much of anything from "Entozic 3:26" up until their Cryptopsy cover of "Graves Of The Fathers 4:10." The first two tracks sound the same, but the latter piece does seem to invoke a slightly different atmosphere. Their Cryptopsy cover kills and the skinsman delivers on a cover where drums will count the most. "Rabid Dogs & Hungry Jackals 4:09" is next, finally adding a solo into the mix and also changing the style of the band a bit. It proves that they can do much more than what the second and third track offered and will mean more in their future. Not everyone can get away with a Blunt Force Trauma, (and those guys did try very hard to be Dying Fetus) so seeing them branch out is great. "Detachment 1:35" is an odd acoustic backed with some uncomforting atmosphere, as "Embrace The Pain 3:36" sounds more like Cryptopsy. The same can be said with "Restless 5:12" and it's overbearing technicality as well as soundclips, (do we really need to interrupt the music with these?) which finally culminate in a good, but unnecessary atmosphere piece. So out of 33 minutes of music, you're only getting 17 minutes of metal. Enjoy.

Yeah, Back Door To Asylum isn't so bad; but I've heard better acts. I also think that more metal and less atmospheres would have been in order. Unless these guys are trying to be an atmospheric brutal death metal band. But I don't think that's the case. Someone just needed a lot of filler for their short EP.

Highlights: Snuffed Out, Graves Of The Fathers, Embrace The Pain, Restless (10 Tracks, 33:00)



Neosis - Neosis (2012) - I wasn't sure what to expect with this industrial metal act, but even though they employ lots of djent riffs and deathcore vocals, I can't help but note how catchy they are. There's obviously a thick grunt used here, but there's also a wonderful clean vocal that sounds like it's going for Into Eternity territory. He sounds like he could be a younger version of the former Into Eternity frontman, Stu Block (Now of Iced Earth) and proves it first on "Everlasting Mind Collapse 4:57." His vocals are spread out through the entire album, so I would definitely consider these clean vocals a major highlight of the piece and why I would recommend listening to it at all. Again, while these guys use more than enough djent riffs; they at least sprinkle some electronics over them and attempt some interesting enough things with the background music so that it doesn't come off too hokey. There are little melody portions in "Fragmentary Alteration 3:59" that leads me to believe that these guys are capable of being much more than a djent band, and I'm just sitting here; waiting for them to break out of their shell. The album even has a couple of solos if you look for them. So there's definitely something here, I just feel that I swim through all these djent riffs in order to find it. Even if you don't like the djentcore part of the band; the electronic, clean vocal and melodic part are still worth checking out. Yeah, there's something here alright - I just hope that they'll experiment enough so that it unearths itself. I'm giving these guys an 8, because I want them and you to know that they're going in the right direction and it is an incredibly solid piece of work, all djent riffs aside.

Highlights: Everlasting Mind Collapse, Fragmentary Alteration, Cerebral Helix (10 Tracks 48:00)



Bloody Hammers - Bloody Hammers (2012) - The first Bloody Hammers is, unlike the newly released one; highly recommended. This album saw more Type O Negative and My Dying Bride influence, whereas the other one seemed to be influenced by the lack of time needed to properly write and record it. Not that the new disc is terrible, but I'm quite partial to this release. Maybe it doesn't soak in on the opener "Witch Of Endor 3:53" but "Fear No Evil 4:01" really starts to hit the point home. With a catchy chorus and wonderfully gothic keyboard play; it's not one that will get out of your head anytime soon. "The Last Legion Of Sorrow 3:58" has more of an Alice In Chains feel to it, but that's not the pinnacle of this album. You see, these guys wrote one of the best Vampire tracks I've heard in years, since the days of Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses and that song is called "Say Goodbye To The Sun." If there's just one song I recommend for the fan of grim gothic rock and metal, it's definitely going to be the piece. It struck me like a stake to the heart, especially on that last part where he sings, "please understand, and say good bye to the sun." If anyone's going to take the Type O Negative crown, it's going to be these guys.

"The Witching Hour 4:16" follows with just as much of a bite as the last one. This is when the record really grows on you. So can "Black Magic 4:06" do the same? Yes. It's a bit punchier, but certainly worth of any Halloween dance. These are the guys that you would especially want to go see on Halloween night, with their lyrics about witches, vampires, the occult and all other creatures of the night. I'm personally glad for their existence and hope to hear more from them in the future. "Trisect 4:26" comes off just as strong, but it seems to be the final bite before things begin to slip a little. "Beyond The Door 4:03" throws that little bit of blues in, just like in "Black Magic" but I think "Black Magic" does it much better. Then there's "Souls On Fire 3:53" which also seems to come off as a misstep for me, it's just not as strong as the other tracks have been. Finally, we end the disc with "Don't Breathe A Word 2:51" which is a dark acoustic that I should like a bit more, but it doesn't just seem to capture me quite as much as the other tracks here have. But that's in no way saying that this is a bad album. The disc has ten tracks and seven of them are just about perfect, with some of them going far beyond that term. I still think that "Say Goodbye To The Sun 5:40" is absolutely timeless, proving to me that these guys have a lot of staying power. And to be honest, we need a good heavy goth band again. The emo shit has died down and all the trends are starting to fade into another territory (geek culture) so it's a great time to start dressing in black again. As long as you're not going to commit to it on a daily basis.

I highly recommend Bloody Hammers self titled release and hope that it gets reissued or just becomes as readily available as their newest one. If you didn't like the new album, regardless of the great looking cover art; this one will definitely fill that deep gothic hole that you've been trying to fill with sub-par acts. These guys are the real deal and this album proves it.

Highlights: Witch Of Endor, Fear No Evil, The Last Legion Of Sorrow, Say Goodbye To The Sun, The Witching Hour, Black Magic, Trisect (10 Tracks, 41:00)