Monday, January 23, 2012

Reviews 1/2/12

Coldworker "The Doomsayer's Call" (Listenable)
The album cover looks like a killer 80s Marval Comics image. Anyhow, this is Death Metal. It's very aggressive at times, very heavy and slower at
others. Very solid riffs. Vocals are good, just very typical and just kinda there without adding much. I don't hear many solos. The world doesn't really need
this band, but they are a bit above average I'd say. Mostly because some of the parts stand out as memorable. Songwriting isn't there though, and at the
end of the day I won't be grabbing for this CD again. I'm sure they will fit well opening for Cannibal Corpse or some 30 band Death Fest.

Corrosion of Conformity "s/t" (Candlelight)

This band has devolved back into a previous incarnation recently and have basically restarted right from the point before they went "Swamp/stoner" which
is cool with me because I always thought their early Hardcore material was their best. I've seen them live twice since their return to a 3-peice format, and
they are sounding very good these days. Anyways, this is clearly a progression from the band's "Technocrocy" sound, and in a good way. Mixes the hardcore
and sludged out sections well, without getting caught into any cliches. It sounds like the band jammed a ton on these and got the songs really worked out.
Everything works perfectlt together here, and it's something that can't be faked. It's aggressive, but not
overtly so. Fans of straight forward hardcore might not have the patience and fans of the Peppar era might not have patience with the experimentation and
perhaps lack of dumb headed stoner sections. This sits right in the middle of a few different sounds. The songs are very constructed. This is something with
depth that must be heard repeatedly to appreciate. I plan on doing that.

Dunderbeist "Black Ars and Crooked Tails" (Indie Recordings)

The band name sounds like some german slang for "dumbass." After listening to this, I am going to assume that I am correct as only a complete DUNDERBEIST
would buy this CD! Let me tell you folks, just because it is Norwegian DOES NO mean it is good. Norway's 15 minutes is up. Prepare for at least a few more
years of crappy Nordic pop-metal attempting to cash in on the whole "Black Metal" movement of the 90s. This is like what Creed was to grunge.

Liberteer "Better to Die on Your Feet Than live on your knees" (Relapse)

If you took Amon Amarth and got them to do songs about the American Revolution and Colonial America, you'd be pretty close to what this is. Some of the
interludes remind me of early Enslaved, when they used those dated 80s Keyboards for epic effect. Anyhow, there is a real effort here to incorporate an
American Anthem sort of feel, which is fairly original at this time I'd say. But I guess this was ineviable afer years of European folk inspired Metal.
The song titles seem a bit overly self important sounding, but I haven't read the lyrics so who knows they may be brilliantly insightful and I may wanna go
shoot the president after I read em. But somehow I doubt it. Decent death/grind with a message during troubled times.

Ministry "Relapse" (AFM/13th Plane Records)

I haven't been following Ministry much for the past few years, but I did read something about Al's near death experience from drugs or something. I dunno the
details, but that and the fact Al claimed the band was over around the same time makes sense with the album title. Is he saying he had a relapse literally, that
the band couldn't stay away, or both? Seems like a typical Al Jourgensen clever/sadisic pun. Anyhow - he has always been a great songwriter within the conext
of computerized/drum machine productions. Even when he was creating new wave. In fact, I'd say Al has gotta be one of the best since the dawn of modern
industrial. His gift for marrying samples, noises, and extremely aggressive/catchy riffs is as obvious here as it ever was. The guitars especially have evolved
and gotten quite good. I haven't picked up the last few Ministry albums - but this one sounds pretty inspired and fairly new. Or maybe it's just a complete drug
relapse inspired creation. I mean it's either that or the beginning of the "12 step" era of the band. I tend to think this is the "I fell the fuck off the
wagon HARD" album. This is one I might have to listen to a few times. I sense greatness here.

Nekromantheon "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" (Indie Recordings)
Norwegian Thrash band. Sounds like german Thrash from the 80s mixed with some Slayer, early Sepultura, Morbid Saint, Infernal Majesty...you get the point.
They have specific influences from the harsher side of 80s thrash. They do it very well, but I wouldn't fly to Norway to see em. But if I was in Europe and
they were playing, I would not miss it! Not likely they will ever step foot in the Bay Area, so don't expect to see em here. It would be nice if at least
one Bay Area band did something like this. Dekapitator was that band for a minute, but they are long gone and we are stuck with bands who don't seem to know
the first thing about german/canadian Thrash. Tisk tisk.

Opera XI "Strix Maladictae in Aeternum" (Agonia)
This band photo is rediculous. Some chick wearing nothing but a cape in front, boobs exposed. The other dudes are just standing around trying to look normal.
This is stuffy artsy Black Euro gothic Metal. I am sometimes a sucker for this shit, and I admit this is the better side of this typically wretched genre,
but I'm not sure it is any better than average. Band pic is stupid, song tiles are stupid, but the band does know how to play. there is a nice raw edge. The
thing with epic gothic Black/Death Metal is that if it is overproduced it really amplifies the arty farty fakeness. But with a raw edge it helps promote a
nice underground feeling. This band does have a bit of the old school black metal feel I like. And I am a sucker for gregorian choir vocal chants.
Just not sure if there is enough for this CD to sit alongside the old Einherjer, Mythotyn, Old Man's Child, and Falkenbach material. But the fact it even
comes close is impressive. All the shit talking aside, this is somewhat interesing and I would listen to it again, as the music does have dome depth and it
is possible there is an amazing song somewhere in here. But I am sure their next recording will be more polished and likely lose the good atmosphere which
is present here. Bands like this do not stay raw, they get cleaner and less powerful usually. Hasn't this band been around for years? Why does the name
sound familiar?

Orange goblin "A Eulogy for the Damned" (Candlelight)
I just realized I once knew a girl who posed on the album cover for this band back in the early 2000s. Anyhow, I wasn't real impressed with them back then,
and this does little to change that. Sounds like a commercial version of High on Fire.

Pilgrim "Misery Wizard" (Metal Blade)

great American Reverend Bizarre clone.

Ribozyme "Presenting the Problem" (Indie Recordings)

I think I was reading the side of the box of Special K cereal when I firs saw the word "Ribozyme." It must be the thing that gives it that slightly bitter,
shitty taste. I'm not sure it is healthy either. Someone remind me that Indie Recordings releases nothing but SHITE! I mean, what is this? Alice in Chains
mixed with the worst parts of American Nu Metal and alt/industrial? I guess this label is about commercial viability. I get it, but it has no place in my
world. Begone!

Root "Heritage of Satan" (Agonia Records)
I've always liked this band. They are weird as fuck and evil. Always a good combination! Being from Easern Europe, they also remain somewhat obscure. Anyways,
the singer in this band is kinda like the Czech version of Vincent Price or Peter Steel in the sense that he's good at telling a scary story at a painfully
slow pace in a very dramatic way. He also has a way of coming up with random stuff you never expect. Songs have much dynamics and are not straight forward.
Production is pretty stripped down and in your face, but has plenty of atmosphere. It is hard to compare this to anything because it is really just removed
from many of the obvious cliches we Americans tend to relate to Death, Thrash, or Black Metal. It sits closest to obscure Death Metal, if anything. But
Root has their own sound, and if you want something different and weird, get this.

Temple of Baal/Ritualization "The Vision of Fading Mankind" (Agonia)
French split LP. Temple of Baal is quite brutal. They've got that almost cliche "Blackened Death" sound which in the veign of Aeturnus and Belphagore.
Nothing fancy, just blast beats, huge riffs, and growled vocals. If you are stoned and in the right mood, I'm sure this would be great. But once you get
over the brutal sound, there is not much lef in the deparment of songwriting. Some sections are cool and break up the monotony, but they come off as extremely
predicable. Vocals are paricularly boring. Fuck this, who's next? Ritualization. Ok now this band has a much more closed in Death Meal sor of tone. Very
aggressive. Almost a throwback to Cannibal Corpse "Butchered at Birth" but with a slight Blackened Euro edge. Vocals are deep and Chris Barnsey. Drums are
typical "can't stop stabbing you" sorta relentless blasting. Though it sounds pretty different than Temple of Baal, it is the same formula. I hear more old
school Death Metal here though. The band Death, to be specific. Kinda ineresting, but lacking of originality. This is the better half of the split I'd say.

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