Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reviews 7.01.2012

Agalloch "Faustian Echoes" (ep)

2 song ep based on "Faust." Songs are hella long, so this ends up being over 20 minutes I guess. Very composed, moody, melodic, and somewhat unpredictable at times. The mood focuses on the brooding wintery sort of sound, with that occasional glimmer of hope, of course. But not enough to step on the dark toes of the whole thing. Overall, it's just too comfortable sounding. Nothing breaks out of the mold of countless other recordings and nothing violates the territory you would expect from such a band. This genre is at a dead end creatively. But unlike other genres which have run their course, cascadian black metal gives the impression that everything it does is artisically valid and amazing and far reaching themeatically. If this was the only recording of its kind, that might be true. But it's really lost in a sea of similar sounding albums - they just been doing it for longer than most.

Dying Fetus "Reign Supreme" (Relapse)

These guys have been around for quite a while and I imagine they have a very well established sound/following. The sound here is obviously evolved from years of trying to strike the balance between extremety and songwriting. I have to say they succeed on many levels. At times it sounds out of hand technical, but just as fast as I think that thought - they launch into a killer chugger riff. These guys know that bruality alone is not enough. there's plenty of killer riffs to satisfy the old school DM head - but enough technicality to probably make the tech kids happy. Not real innnovative or anything, but solid and no doubt killer live. Reminds me of Suffocation at times. What is up with that logo though? Fucking photoshop has better fonts!

Fastkill "Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer" (Pulverised)

Thrash Metal, unlike Death Metal, can get away with being kinda silly and rediculous - for it can enhance the chaos and brutality in an obscure way if done right. So here we have a singer who undersands full well that the more rediculous he sounds, the more his band will stand out. He has clearly found his own personal inner "Mille Petrozza" and has fully embraced it. The music is kinda aggressive the way "Terrible Certainty" is, but with an almost punk kinda over the top hyper hectic intent. With song titles like "Toxic Tormentor" and "In Thrash we Trust," these guys clearly have the intenionally retarded song title thing down. And considering they are from Japan, that's acually a feat. Because they are thinking up intentionally retarded song titles in a foreign tongue (not their own) and succeeding in making it fit with the traditional thrash sensibility. This is fun, and reminds me of random german thrash bands I hear from time to time, which shred most American bands I hear doing Thrash these days. But I'm not sure I buy Fastkill's act. It's all too obvious. Still, if I were drunk and feeling really retarded I'd probably be moshing to this if they came to town. Not classic, but fun for a one night stand.

Mantas "Death by Metal" (Relapse)

Mantas was Chuck Shuldiner's band before changing the name to Death. These are the early demos, so obviously they are important. I think it's Kam Lee on vocals but I am not sure. Not much else to say. It's an important archival document, but obviously not real high on the production value. This is not really for listening pleasure, it's for those die hards who want to take a trip into the past and explore the origins of Death,

Master "The New Elite" (Pulverised)

The Death Metal Lemmy himself returns! Paul SPeckmann is still at it, and before I say shit, let me just say every time I've seen Speckmann on stage his band has kicked total ass and not posed for one second of it! And aside from the rather silly album title, here Master jumps right into what they do best - show everyone how the fukk it is done old school DM style! Right to business and no fucking around. Just raw fukking Death Metal. Killer riffs, raw vokills, introspective lyrics that don't try to sound like broken English on purpose, and incessent raw brutality. I dunno what else to say. Master wrote the book, and here is another chapter. Kicking ass and ready to fukk you up when they come to town, which they usually do. If you wanna hear what the original shit sounded like before things got all fukking overly technikal and shit - check this out when they come to town. Pass the whiskey!

Sophicide "Perdition of the Sublime" (Willowtip)

Hella brutal german metal on the technical side of things. The guitar work here is very good, it just goes by so fast and spends so much time trying to maintain "brutal metal certification" that it is hard to get into the subtleties. What I like about this is that there are some good musical passages that stand out more than the typical "brutal death" band. If I am not mistaken, I'm hearing a little Helstar/Coroner influence. Or maybe it is just the classical bits I am hearing. I like what this band is doing guitar wise - but the vocals and drums are just standard "brutal metal" and that makes this a partially realised vision to me. Still, I'm gonna have to say this is pretty damned good considering how tired this genre has become. I would be very interested to hear what the next couple albums sound like.

Sons of Tonatiuh "Parade of Sorrow" (Hydro-Phonic)

Heavy duty baby. Molten sludge from the Eyehategod factory of hell. Stop taking showers and bust out the beeswax, because it's time to KRUST OUT with S.O.T.! I'm kinda bored with this shit, but it's well done. I'm just kinda over it.

Stonehaven "Concerning old strife and man banes" (Horror Pain gore Death Productions)

What the fuck is a "man bane?" I must be less intelligent than this band because I have no fukking clue what the hell that means. Anyways...the music is trying really hard to capture that old school raw black metal thing. They actually do a pretty good job of sounding like they are from Norway and writing music in 1993 - but when I hear this I just can't help but ask "why?" This is not bad, it's just that it might as well be a cover band - they wanna be Burzum/Darkthrone/Ulver so bad, it's kinda embarrassing. As I read the notes regarding the concept and art of this album, I feel more embarrased for them. It's like they wanna prove how fukking "Scandanavian" they are. They are from Kansas though. I'm so tired of these bands trying to be so fukking Nordic and European...

Strong Intention "Razorblade Express" (Patac)

Crusty deathy punky grindy stuff. Fat, thick production captures the grimey vibe well here. Not much else to it. SOme nice bluesy riffs! Some power violency blast beats. Singer sounds kinda like Bloodclot from Cro Mags at times. good ape man slam music.

Taurus "Life"

Who the hell comes up with this shit? This is 2 songs. "Life Part I" and "Life Part II." How fucking stupid is that? I can already tell this is gonna suck. Anyways, here we are almost 2 minutes into the first song and all I'm hearing is what sounds like a CD skipping. I'm serious, it's a sound skipping repeatedly. Ok now we have some ominous guitar which sounds like it is through practice amps. Intentionally cheap sounding for that "indy feel." Almost sounds like Weakling in a weird way. Oh man, what the hell is this? Now we have full on sound collages happening. Ok, if I was on acid this would be great. But I'm not, so it sounds like complete nonsense. Anyhow, "Life Part One" drags on for like 15 minutes. Tenatively, I proceed to "Life part II." Ok to be fair, I just want a riff - and this is not that sorta band. This is artsy noise collage shit that gets thrown in with Metal occassionally just because it is so loud and guitary - but seriously, I can't stand this crap. I mean, gimme some drugs and MAYBE - but otherwise stop the fucking CD before someone dies, please. I can't stand his pretentious artsy fartsy shit.

Windfaerer "Solar"

This ep was recorded at a place called "Frightbox." Why am I mentioning this? Because I think Frightbox is a way better name than Windfaerer. But then, I guess this band would have to change their sound to suit the name, which is decidedly UNfrightboxy sounding. Kinda reminds me of early Aeturnus or maybe a touch of the heavier Falkenbach. But closer to the early Death of Aeturnus. Basically, it's really epic Death Metal with a folky/blackish leaning. The music is pretty killer, but the singer sounds like a complete idiot. You know when you watch a high school play and the kids are doing shakespear or some shit? - some kid gets way too into the role he's playing, thinks he's the next Leonardo Decaprio or something, and over acts and you feel kinda embarrased for him? That's kinda how this singer sounds. He must know it too, because he doesn't sing much! It's kinda rediculous actually. I mean, is this a finished product? Some great guitar parts in here - but the rest really needs work. It almost gets away with it in a cheap classic demo sorta way. But the production is slightly too good. I'm not saying it's great production, but just not shitty enough to support the "accidentally classic demo" angle.

Zombiefication "Reaper's Consecration" (Pulverised)

Another EP. What is this, the year of Eps? This is good ol Death Metal in the veign of the Swedish style. And I don't mean the trendy hipster shit, I mean early grave, Nihilist, Unleashed, Dismember, early Darkthrone sorta shit. good and raw and thank satan they didn't carbon copy the Sunlight sound. This is good and raw and from the black heart of hellish Death. Rekkomended!

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