I get lots of promos but they seem to mostly be of the "art/noise" metal variety. I'm not a fan of this type of music generally, so I'm not gonna review this stuff anymore. From now on I am only gonna review stuff I deem either METAL or at least ROCK AND ROLL or Punk. So this should be the last time you see me bash a whole bunch of arty farty bands. I realize plenty of people like these sorts of bands and probably think I'm a dick for calling them "un-Metal" or that I just don't get it because I listen to too much Motorhead or something - I mean whatever, I love all kinds of 70s prog - so whatever the fuck that means, but anyhow...I'm tired of listening to and reviewing these bands and I'm sure you're tired of hearing nothing but bad reviews here so this will be the last update of this type. Cheers and feel free to email any comments/feedback - I do appreciate any of you who read this here blog. Cheers!
Altaar (Indie Recordings)3/10
Distortion, atmospheric computer noises, light keyboards, heavier distortion...5 minutes go by...louder, heavier...5 minutes go by...climax, all goes quiet...trippy noises for 5 minutes...builds up again....heavy gutteral riffs...5 minutes go by...fades out...next song follows the same formula. All instrumental. Sounds more like a recorded experiment rather than an album of completed material. This comes off as a complete waste of time to me. For all its "experimentation" there is nothing here that doesn't sound planned and there is an utter lack of looseness. It's an extremely tight vagina with way too much lube, as opposed to a naturally wet vagina. There are musical "movements" and then there is just boring pretentious production wanking. This would be deep in the latter territory. But I'm sure it's just over my head. Pass the Motorhead please before I go on a carjacking spree.
Batillus "Concrete Sustain" (Seventh Rule Recordings)7/10
This band has kind of an interesting sound. It is very well produced and has a somewhat mechanical industrial feel. Yet, I think the drums are real. Probably using a click track. It managed to strike a pretty good balance between a sludgy organic tone and a almost Ministry-like heaviness. I guess you could say it's like a slower doomed out Ministry, which is an interesting sound indeed. Other than changing speeds, they don't seem to have too many tricks in their bag - but Beset is a pretty goddamned heavy tune. Total doom/industrial. Interesting band, just not quite enough to put it over the top. I'd like to hear what they do next and see how they evolve.
Call of the Void "Dragged Down a Dead End Path" (Relapse)
This'd be groind, mate. If ya like that sor'a stoof, well oy'd 'afta recommend this here shite. It's quite the groind extraverganzer....boy the guy sure likes ta bark into the moicrophone duzz'nt 'e? Well fook me if this ain't some solid groind! Guitars could use a bit more buzz on em, but that's spli'in 'airs a bit...Not sure oy'd buy the voynil, bu'oid buy the bloody cd for sure! Provoided it ain't more than 10 pounds or sew...
Defeated Sanity "Passages Into Deformity" (Willowtip) 7/10
Nice early 90s raw Death Metal sound. Sounds like "Butchered at Birth" was the album they had on the "let's copy this" table. If you can't get enough of Cannibal Corpse's 2nd album, get this. There's not much else I can say. It's really good early 90s florida style raw Death Metal. I'm kind of a sucker for this shit, so I'll probably pick this up at some point.
D.I.S. "Becoming Wrath" (Deep Six) 6/10
As the name kinda suggests - this is part of the "Discharge meets whatever heavy sound of today" style. In this case it's real predictable vaguely Entombed sounding hardcore metal. I'm not gonna say much else - it is what it is. If you like that style, here's another one to add to the pile. I do like this style, it's just starting to get a little old. I prefer Death Breath, but this isn't too far behind that.
Eight Bells "The Captain's Daughter" (Seventh Rule) 8/10
This is music which is mostly on the heavier side which mixes various elements from heavy rock together with a "trippy" somewhat psychedelic feel at times. But for sure on the darker side. It's not bad, but it's not what I'm into at the moment. This is a band I would go see live, but recorded it's not gonna be high on the list of priorities. As far as "experimental" music that drifts on the outskirts of metal, I would say this is the best it gets. It feels honest and real and evolved. As opposed to so many recordings I hear that feel forced, overproduced, and motivated by something lame and fleeting.
Howl "Bloodlines" (Relapse) 5/10
Cool cover art. Some bloody chick, skeletons, birds, and all that deep archetypal kinda thing. The production is really good, crunchy, but a bit too standard and perfect sounding. It's got just the right crunch, just the right volumes, just the right everything - but for me this takes away from the underground vibe it tries to capture. It's not quite on par with say "Heartwork" by Carcass. But it does kinda seem this is the sort of sound they are going for. The vocals and guitar tone certainly are along these lines. But the songs are just very middle of the road and nothing very exciting happens. It's just a steady drone of songs, none of which stand out upon first listen. It's kinda like a cross between later shitty Slayer and the more boring later Carcass tunes, mixed with Six Feet Under. It has moments, but overall this just seems created to be the opening act on the next big tour by leading "underground" headlining acts.
Infernal Opera 7/10 (CDR Demo)
I don't know where I got this CD, it was handed to me at some show recently. It's solid traditional Heavy Metal with soaring female vocals. It's a bit generic sounding, but not bad. Sounds like any number of traditional metal bands from Agent Steel to Majesty. On the raw/thrashier side. Songs are somewhat sophisticated rhythmically, but it also feels a bit overly technical at times just for the sake of it. Some very good guitar work and some nice dual harmonies. I don't know how old the band is but I presume it is their first demo and if it is, not a bad start at all. I just wonder how long a band like this will stick together to see if they can develop a bit. www.reverbnation.com/infernalopera
Nightbitch "Chainmaker EP" (Ear One Productions) 5/10
I love reading these band bios where they try to tell you how to listen to the band. I admit I heard Danzig right away in the vocals. But Danzig riffs? Uh, no I don't hear that at all. And Ritchie Blackmore? Gimme a break. Whoever made this bio really seems to be on the guitar player's nuts to the point of throwing any flattery they think of in the bio regardless of whether it's true. Solos are nice and bluesy though, so no complaints. It's nice to hear a band going for the classic bluesy style. That being said, it's not really enough to just have "classic bluesy" elements. At the end of the day the songs need to be good, and this little ep is average at best. It seems to think it is much better than it is and including a Deep Purple cover on your band's first EP seems like a bit of a smug gesture. I mean, do you really think nobody has heard Deep Purple and that you need to "show em what's up?" How about working on your originals a little before trying to play a classic like that? Yeah, ok the singer sounds a little like Danzig, but Danzig he ain't! Gida Gash is much better if you wanna hear that style done in an honorable way.
Primitive Man "Scorn" (Throatruiner/Mordgrimm Records)8/10
Nice creepy album cover. Some dude with a skull for a head pulling some dude's head in half so he can shove a gun down his throat. SO far the music does about the same thing - or wants to. Slow, violent, discordant and heavy as a garbage truck full of shit filled diapers. These boys mean business, and business is HEAVY! If Frankenstein had an extended family, this is the music they would play at the family reunion. If Phil Anselmo made 3 clones of himself and lobotomized all of them, then formed a band - this is what it would sound like. Ok, that might be going too far, but hopefully you get the picture by now.
Soen "Cognitive" (Spinefarm)4/10
You know that scene in "Some kind of Monster" where Lars Ulrich's dad says "delete that?" Well this starts out with that same musical part. I think they watched that movie and actually figured out that shitty unused Metallica proposed intro and made a whole album based on that concept. What follows is something like a cross between Tool and the softer parts Metallica was afraid to include on "Saint Anger." The production is very proper and some of the parts are kinda groovy and heavy - but it lacks any sort of balls. It's all very clean and presentable, but it just takes no chances at all. The songs might be kinda memorable after a few listens. But this seems like a pop folk band that really has no business playing distorted guitars. The parts that are heavy are just so wanna be Tool it just begs the question "why?" The only answer seems that they lack any sort of creative identity and simply intend to mimic a top selling band in hopes to - you guessed it, be the next Tool.
The Casual Rapists (Demo) 6/10
As the band name might suggest, this band is not super serious. Right of the bat the DRI influence is obvious, and not much changes after that. Perhaps a smidgen on old Slayer here and there. Very old school, some nice random ridiculous samples between songs, and titles like "Church of the fingered Christ," "I was Michael Peterson," and "Hipsters Can't Revolt." Good straight ahead punk hardcore in a stripped down raw form. Coming soon to Johnny Vs in San Jose. If you don't know where that is, well see your local seedy dive bar in the seedy part of town to get an idea.
The Happy Mask "Ruines" (Domestic Genocide) 4/10
Ok so the cover art and logo are lo-fi Black Metal style, which is odd for obviously reasons (look at the name of the band). I wanna give this a chance, but why so many bands think a 2-5 minute noise intro is interesting or original at this point is beyond me. Is this just some new standard with "contemporary art metal" now? Kinda like how Metal bands always had a high scream within the first few seconds of the first track of their album for a while there? Jesus, 4 1/2 minutes and I am still wondering when this "happy mask" is gonna show up. Because if this wash of indy film emo drone noise is gonna go on for another 5 minutes I dunno if I can hang. This is like the Coldplay of instrumental art noise. Only there is no vocals.
Von "Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves" (Von Records) 10/10
I interviewed Veinen here on my blog recently and he went way into Von's past present and future. I learned much about the band, yet the nucleus of Von's origins remains a mystery, as both Veinen and Goat seem to be silently (or not so silently) at war over the rights to the spirit of the band, if not the name itself. With Von Goat's "Septic Illuminations" it was clear Goat has a strong ownership of the obscurity and image. But here with Veinen's "Dark Gods" trilogy finally rearing it's terrifying face - it is clear the Veinen was also a very integral part of the spirit on Von, and so far from what I am hearing, this is a logical progression from the "Satanic Blood" sessions. Let the new era of Von begin, with the dark, dark dirge which is "Ancient Flesh of the Dark Gods!" While "Septic Illuminations" took me a few listens to really grasp as I searched for the Von sound - well here that was not the case. I know exactly where I am, and I am in VON HELL for sure. This is the creepy music of old that manages to sound genuinely scary without being so goddamned obvious about it. As it drones, it constantly retains the obscure and creepy vibe Von has been known for - yet a new depth has been reached, and it is obvious this music comes from a depth of inspiration that was bottled up for some time. At this point I can't really pinpoint one element. This will take a few listens, but overall, it is just a very complete sound and realized vision. I plan on listening to this a few thousand times and I will have to get back to you then...
Vreid "Welcome Farewell" (Indie Recordings)9/10
Ah yes, now that is an intro that is worth the wait! For what we get is a nice fist pumping stream of blackened riffs from the raw! I guess they are calling this "black and roll." Well I just call it kick ass Black Metal in the raw style. Not in the fake overproduced sort of way, but the in your face "love it or leave it" sort of way. (did I just say this in another review?)...anyways, this is the sort of shit I would be glad to put in the CD player and blast with the windows down. If they come to town I will be attending.
Wormed "Exodromos" (Willowtip) 7/10
This is new school Death Metal which has brutality at the top of the list of priorities. My problem with these bands as that the quest to encapsulate and lead the genre itself seems to trump song quality. I mean, when you are simply trying to cram as many atonal parts as you can into one song at the fastest speeds - the details get lost in the shuffle and it also ends up sounding the same as all the other bands trying to do the same thing - which I guess is the point so they can get on one of these wonderful 30 band bills with one headliner. The album art is in line with Origin's "techno/Outer space" imagery, which works but kind of loops this in with a larger sea of similar sounding/looking bands. There is basically one vibe here - and that is a generally dark/apocalyptic one. There really is not much distinguishing from one song to the next. It's more like one like exercise in brutality. A few hers back I guess you coulda said this about the latest Cannibal Corpse release - but for me this lacks character and relies too much on clever noises and clever rhythmic breaks, It's just way to percussive and not song/note oriented. It is very good, I just needs songs and riffs that last more than 1/32 of a second to enjoy them.