Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reviews (April 17th)

Midnight Chaser (s/t)
They're not British, they are actually from San Francisco. This wasn't recorded in the 80s, it was recorded last year.
Other than that, what you have here is a killer NWOBHM band! Mid tempo rockin' numbers. Some nice riffs, melodies, solos,
and killer vocals which sound like Zeeb of Witchfinder general and perhaps some other NWOBHM guy. About time San Francisco
churned out a band like this! I have LPs of this for sale, (which are limited to 200) on Heavy Artillery Records. There's
only 3 originals on here, the other 3 are covers (good'ns). Hard to tell how much gas these guys have, but time will tell.

Abandoned "Thrash You!"
Back in 2007 this german band recorded this. For some reason it took till yesterday to reach my store. They are on Locomotive,
which I believe San Jose's Imagika was on a few years back. This is an interesting mix of Bay Area Thrash, Melodic traditional
Iron Maiden sort of parts, and hints of Melodic Death Metal. The main thing holding this back is the plastic production and the
incredibly average singer. The riffs are pretty killer and playing is great. Some very cool melodic twin guitar work.
Bass drum sounds like it's made from tin foil. Overall, great music, just lose the singer and get a better producer.

Magica "Hereafter"
Imagine the band Europe with a few power Metal riffs thrown in and the chick from ABBA on vocals. Needless to say, I can't stand this shit.
Melodic Euro commercial symphonic pop Metal. But if the above description is ok with you, knock yourself out! On fact I just threw it in the
free box, so if you want it come get it!

Clawfinger "Life will Kill You"
Also on Locomotive. I guess a guy from Locomotive Records was here? Anyhow, this is awful. As soon as the white-boy rap vocals came in, I couldn't
eject it quickly enough. Now available in the Shaxul "free" bin.

Hell Fire (CDR Promo)
Very talented young traditional Metal band from the Bay Area. We need more bands like this and I am glad we have, like 2 now. These guys are very young
like I said, but they have the right influences. They just need to figure out who THEY are now and work on their songwriting. Almost every song sounds like
an Iron Maiden "middle section" or an Iron Maiden "outro section." There's not alot of "rocking riff" going on. Although you can't tell from
this badly replicated CDR, I've seen them live a couple times and their singer has probably the best vocal range I have ever heard from an SF Bay Area band.
I am talking old school geoff Tate. But he's not sure what to do with his gift. Hopefully he figures it out! A band to watch. Although I have a feeling
they are gonna change their name as soon as they find out there are already like 13 bands named "Hellfire" out there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More reviews...

Negative Plane "Stained glass Revelations"
You mighta heard me say this before, but I am not a huge Black Metal expert these days. I don't listen to alot of the new ones and I don't seek them out because honestly most if what I hear is just recycled crap and I am so tired of this "we are so evil" shit. Especially because most of the bands are completely unoriginal and the opposite if "scary" and most importantly, write music that is just boring as hell. All that being said, Negative Plane is, in my opinion, one of the best American Black Metal bands around today. It is hard to describe why, but I'll try...the sound on this CD has a big cavernous echo to it, which I think was meant to sound like it was recorded in a cathedral. Indeed, many of the slower interludes have a distinct classical church choir sort of feeling. How they manage to get a somber "classical" feeling without totally playing "classical music" is beyond me, but very impressive. The sound does not feel "forced" like so many Black Metal bands do. There is a real attempt here to create something dark and original. These guys know how to play their instruments, and are not afraid to show it. I hear many interesting melodic scales. So many Black Metal bands are afraid to play anything that sounds too SCALEY, which is fucking stupid because some of the best, darkest, and saddest music utilize classical scales at their root. When did shit noise replace actual melody? I mean I like me some grim shit noise, but enough is enough. I want a song at some point! Anyway, I worship the gloom on this album. It takes me to another place and time and I would never say that about any other American BM band I have heard in recent memory. And it does not have that fake vibe I hear too much lately. Best comparison I can make in my limited knowledge would be the last Blut Aus Nord album, which I also liked quite a bit.

Bittencross "In Honour"
I don't mean to be a SHAX-HOLE, but that name is pretty silly. Not a good start! Anyhow, someone probably handed this to me at the store. Then again, I'm not really sure where it came from. I guess they are from Spain. This is Black Metal of the sort that I could almost just invent a generic response for. In fact, I'd probably use the same exact review I did for Abigail Williams...Black Metal? Yes. Descent? Yes. Original? Not at all. Point? None. I'm so done with carbon copy Black Metal bands. Why bands put so much effort into sounding like a less inspired version of 1995 Black Metal I have no idea. There are too many of these bands and they all sound the same. Wow, I;'m actually getting angry right now! Better turn it off...

Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You (Split Album)
New relapse split. I'm not a huge fan of grind/power violence, but when I like it, it has to be real raw and super pissed off. I can't tell which band is which here. Song are short, crazy, and lots of yelling. Only problem is, it sounds too clean, too hemogonized, too tame. Vocals are sort of "middle of the road angry." How can you yell this loud and not sound angry? "I am yelling! I am angry! Can't you hear how angry I am!" Sorry, I don't buy it. How do you create crazy music like this and not have an edge? 2nd half is a little better, but still too cookie cutter and overproduced. But the songs are better and it reminds me more of stinky, sweaty punk rock warehouses, which is the point of this I guess. Overall, I would quote Torbin Ulrich here: "Delete that." But if you are easily satisfied with short/fast/brutal songs, I suppose this would be worth $4.99.

Havok "Time is Up"
This is Candlelight's official "Thrash Metal Representatives." I've seen Havok live a few times in the past few years and they are hungry and young. They have some good riffs on this album and someone clearly has a good right hand Hetfield "downstroke" which many newer Bay Area bands unfortunately lack. Leads are pretty good in the "chop" department as well. These guys practice their instruments, yay! All that being said, these songs just don't stand out to me. Yeah, it shreds. Production is good. But these guys just don't write great songs. Vocals are boring. Sounds like Whiplash "Power and Pain" with a more boring singer. Not a bad band. One of the better young Thrash bands in the USA I'd say, but to me they need to work on their songs and sound more. Thrash was done to death in the 80s, newer bands need to do their homework and try to up the bar, not just recycle. Too generic and unoriginal as it is - but if Havok realizes one day how much better they can actually be, maybe I will buy the album. Live they are great, but have a bad habit of playing Slayer "Reign in Blood" songs. I listened to "Reign in Blood" a thousand times as a teenager. I don't need to hear a bad cover version of any of the songs. I can barely listen to the album anymore because I've heard it too many times. At least pick a less played out Slayer album to cover!

Cruachan "Blood on the Black Robe"
Irish pagan Black Metal. Nice production, good atmosphere, some nice fiddles and other non Metal instrumentation. Sounds a bit like Falkenbach, but perhaps a little bit more straight forward. I guess this band has 5 albums, and the Pogues dude sang on one of em? Seems kinda random, but anyhow...title track starts out with some nice acoustic Irish hippy sounding folk, then turns into standard Pagan Black Metally sorta stuff. Nothing really stands out much here, but I am a sucker for the pagan Metal sound. I would put this more on the Black Metal side of things, than the "pagan" side. Whatever the fukk that means! It's darker and less "jolly" than say, Einsiferum or Eleuvitie. But less dark than Allfather or Winterfilleth. I'd say this is solid, but I'm not hearing anything amazing. I'd go see them live and I would bring my horn.