Friday, June 20, 2014

A review of a review of Tripykon's "Melana Chasmata"

If you are reading this you may have also read reviews of albums on www.metal-archives.com or maybe not. Anyway, I am the type of person who will pass time by looking bands up and reading reviews. Some reviews are actually really entertaining or just funny as hell. In fact, my favorite reviews are the really bad ones where the writer just gets way to emotionally involved in the bashing! Anyway, I figure since everyone will be talking about the latest Triptykon and kissing its balls, I wanted to post a review some guy named "bitterman" wrote (who gave the album 0%) and respond to his observations. Here goes!

"bitterman" wrote: Aside from having the namesake of Tom G. Warrior attached to this project, nothing about this album approaches the artistic scope of past successes. Sounding like an even more disjointed and overlong (also, one-dimensional) version of Celtic Frost's Into the Pandemonium covered by Roots era Sepultura, Melana Chasmata is over an hour of half-baked doom and groove metal cliches of the single string 2 note vapidity variety, angsty lyrics ("why did you abandon me!?"), and flirtations with goth whininess. Completely unremarkable, this hasty mess of an album sounds like a focus group project that aimed to satisfy the simple tastes of pickup truck drivers attempting to appear "cultured" the world over (guys who wear Black Label Society t-shirts that claim Diamond Darrell is the greatest guitar player to have ever lived and watch Zeitgeist to "know what's up").

Shaxul: Well FUUUCKIN goddamn bitterman let it out! Let's see, well bitterman rattles off a number of potent visuals basically referencing, I think, an overall leaning towards nu-groove metal. that is VERY bad of course! But this is a tough one sometimes because there was plenty of heavy grooves in early thrash and Celtic Frost was one of the "grooviest." So it is a bold statement to compare "Melana Chasmata" so simply and quickly to "roots" era Sepultura. Upon a quick listen you could perhaps hear a few riffs from this album and pass it off as "generic groove," but a few minutes of this and it's quickly obvious that we are dealing with a "doom" groove and not a "nu metal" groove. So bitterman is being overly dramatic because he took a quick snapshot and made a quick decision without much thought, me thinks.

Maybe it's Tom's Beanie that pisses off bitterman. The thing about Tom's beanie is that it doesn't make you think of American sports teams. It makes you think more of Nosferatu trying to adapt to the trends. Or Frankenstein trying to dance. There is something...disturbing about Tom's fanatic insistence on appearing with that bloody thing on! And I like the fact that it is awkward and he still does it. True freaks in metal are a rarity these days. And let's face it, Tom is a legendary freak if there ever was one!!

bitterman is too focused on making modern comparisons to appreciate what is unique about the album. I think it is possible he has not heard enough 70s/80s hard rock/metal to get the fact that GROOVE was actually good in metal at one point. And just because NU Metal "borrowed it" doesn't mean they own it forever.

"bitterman" wrote: Songs plod along listlessly and do not resolve any of their conflicts upon completion. Constant unnecessary detours (I imagine for the sake of "quirkiness" or being "avant-garde") show that no real thought were put into making these songs work. When stepping outside the bounds of "doomy" tempos (like on Breathing), Triptykon fumble, sounding like tired old men trying to act "angry". Various forced vocal styles such as crooning, yelling, and spoken word (mumbling?) attempt to spice up the album with "variety", but the similar patterns of plodding rhythm riffs that are sometimes occasionally thrown next to discordant, jangly "goth" whininess (if not programming which accomplishes the same) remain constant throughout.

Shaxul: Man is this guy a former Celtic Frost member or what? I mean "Breathing" is such a godly awesome song! I guess he has a problem with the way it starts slow and then gets violently fast. The song starts kind of trippy and doomy. It's called an INTRO bro! So then a crazy discordant riff busts in, violent drums, and now we are experiencing a lesson in violence Triptykon style! Now the way in which Triptykon shifts from the droning notes of the intro into the violent chaotic thrash beat is perfectly well written. I mean, these guys know how to write songs! It takes you to 2 or 3 places. And the changes flow well. Tired old men? Man this drummer sounds like a young Scott Travis! I mean christ, what do you want? Killer tone, killer chops, killer sense of groove - where the fuck did Tom find this guy? Songs are fairly formulaic, so I think it's the drastic dynamic changes which bitterman is seeing as not making sense and being "lazy." I dunno, I think its just over his head. And this album is NOT that hard to understand really.

The spoken word stuff is a personal thing. I actually hated all of Tom's vocals from Into the Pandemonium through Vanity Nemesis. His "spoken word" stuff here sounds better. Not as annoying. I don't think Tom throws these sections in at random or to be overly "artsy", they are well placed and do enhance the songs and bring different moods. But you do have to buy into the dark concept of the album to appreciate them I would say. And I think bitterman wrote this off too quickly to embrace the mood.

bitterman really seems to be questioning the basic songwriting skills of the band here, which is kind of absurd because these guys (and girl) are pros! It sounds to me like bitterman made a snap decision not to like this and just totally overlooks all the intricacies and just goes "ah fuck it bunch of noise" like Clint Eastwood in "Gran Tarino." Come on bitterman, lighten up.

I mean look at classical music. A lot of times in classical music I find the dramatic changes to be a bit confusing and distracting. But with classical, the melody and changes are everything. In Metal, it is very much VISCERAL. So when a very visceral band such as Triptykon gets into arrangement and dynamic changes in a classical song structure sort of way, it can quickly alienate a certain group. But honestly, if you are a fan of at least the first 2 Celtic Frost albums, there is NO WAY IN HELL you can simultaneously DISLIKE this album so much. Because fuck me if it doesn't sound like Celtic Frost took a time machine from 1985 to 2014 and wrote a fuckin album called "Melana Chasmata!" I mean this shoulda came out instead of "Cold Lake" and that woulda ruled!

"bitterman" wrote: When this album ends, all that can be gathered is that Thomas Fischer is content to wallow in one fixed emotional state (angsty despair) to make money off those gullible enough to believe any of his music past To Mega Therion is worth listening to. I recommend purchasing the Hellhammer demos compilation instead to hear the sound of a musician out to change the world because this is just a lazily manufactured mainstream audience pandering media product at best. Dull and vapid.

Shaxul: duuuuude that is so retarded! Mainstream audience pandering??? I mean let's take a look at one of Hellhammer's heaviest songs: "Triumph of Death." What does it sound like? It sounds like a really shitty recording of Triptykon! Triptykon IS Hellhammer you fool! Ok yeah I know it's not the same band. But the DOOM element in Celtic Frost (and even Hellhammer to a degree) is really where Triptykon is at. All of the violence and darkness is here, it's just being done with the best production and best players. i think many fans get connected to the run down demo era of a band and have a hard time realizing that it sounded fucked up NOT on purpose but because they were BROKE! Some artists actually make great art even when they have a budget and competent equipment! So that's what this is. If you wanna sit there and go "dude this is so slow and boring" well - the riffs are interesting, they have dynamics, they are painful at times - I think bitterman doesn't "get" doom yet.

I rate bitterman's review 50% not on accuracy, but on entertainment value alone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Children of Technology "Future Decay" (Hells Headbangers) 8/10

Fuck this is killer. Sounds like "Motorbreath" from Metallica's first album. I mean, it sounds ALLLLOT like Motorbreath. Is it ok for me to like this? Singer sounds kinda German or something....ok so I looked it up and they are Italian! Anyways, this is fucking great it just sounds like "Kill Em All" if it was recorded with today's technology.

Ok so the whole album doesn't sound like "Kill Em All" but the drums sound EXACTLY like Lars Ulrich "Kill Em All" drums. So therefore, even when it doesn't sound like Metallica, I see Lars' headband in my mind....anyway...the rest of the abum is just a fine example of what Europe has to offer and how they really embrace the spirit of classic Metal...

Singer sounds like Tom Warrior mixed with...Tom Warrior. He doesn't quite hit those "grizzly bear" notes, but has a very grizzly delivery.

Corrosion of Conformity "IX" (Candlelight Records) 8/10

COC is a very interesting band. I especially love the way they bounced around over the years from hardcore, to Thrash, to bluesy doom, and then right on into who knows the fuck where??? What I hear from the first song "Brand New Sleep" is pretty much a perfect trip down memory lane through the heavy sounds of the 80s and 90s as viewed through the eyes of COC.

One thing that bugged me about the 90s era COC is that they got a little too close to the line between "grunge stoner pop" and genuinely cool grungy underground music. Thankfully, this new album dwells in a similar area, but with much more feel and less produced sound. SO basically, this accomplishes that medium between the Bluesy Sabbath side without mocking it, yet retains the attitude and experimental feel the band has been known for lately.

The sound is VERRRY raw and dry sounding. I mean this almost sounds like it was recorded in the 70s. These guys REALLY have their tones down. I mean from the awesomely cheap bluesy leads to the vintage sonic wall which punishes you from slow down blues to up tempo hardcore. A sound like this is highly evolved in a way that is deceptive. Hats off to the effort put into this album.

I'm a huge fan of Reed Mullin's drumming, and this rhythm section really compliments him. So it's just really a pleasure to hear a band with so much chemistry jam out. It's really rare.

I wouldn't say anything here was particularly "amazing" just REAL kick ass.

Goatwhore "Constricting Rage of the Merciless" (Metal Blade) 8/10

I never really liked this band, but this sounds pretty good. It's an interesting mixture that I suppose can only be the "Goatwhore" sound.

I guess what really annoyed me about this band initially was the perhaps overly eager effort to assimulate Black Metal sounds just because it was becomming really hip in Ameria at the time. To me, it contradicted the whole "southern hearcore death" thing they seemed more rooted in. Kinda like Pantera when they went from Glam to Thrash. Well, not quite but you know what i mean...At least with regard to the singer's former band. To me it sounds like Goatwhore stopped trying so hard to be "Black Metal" and are now playing something a bit more true to their roots. So while there is a little edge of the "blackened" sound, it tends to compliment, rather than contradict the otherwise Death/Hardcore laced obscurity.

"Baring teeth for Revolt" is a very kick ass song. I mean it's just awesome fucking hardcore, with a touch of classic 80s Thrash thrown in. Very nice combination of sounds. I like this band better than I used to. Super fucking solid. Very Thrashy at times. In a VERY GOOD WAY!!!

"Reanimated Sacrifice" has a nice backward 80s Slayer riff that will have you struggling to find it on one of their albums. Shit, I did not expect a lesson in violence here, but this is a lesson in violence I won't soon forget!

Overall, more variation here than most albums. From obscure blackened passages, through a thrash metal lesson in violence, a good hardcore pounding in the way Carnivore may have resembled, and what you have is a pretty fucking nice pakkage I shall purchase!

Midnight "No Mercy for Mayhem" (Hells Headbangers) 8/10

Well Midnight delivers them goods as usual. Like a cosmic battle between Lemmy and Cronos, the music strides comfortably from d-beat death punk to classic thrash metal, ala Metallica's FIRST album. Some nice other elements are thrown in for some good ecclectic bangin throughout.

It's easy for a band like Midnight to lose their charm. But so far, they seem as strong as ever and even more classic sounding, if anything. But in a way they sound like they are progressing musically at times. However the raw nature and image of this band is going to limit how much they can experiment - so it'll be interesting to see how the next few albums are. For now, no complaints!

Sacrocurse "Unholier Master" (Hells Headbangers) 8/10

So here is some ultra satanic sonic hate noise of hell. It drones in the way Beherit does I suppose. But with more singular intent and with more of a death metal execution. This is more hateful death than it is black metal. It doesn't matter to the band I'm sure.

I'm not a huge fan of this repetitive, singular sonic delivery because it demands much of the listener. And it is rare I am in the mood, as I prefer more dynamics in songwriting. For example - "Altars of Madness" absolutely stunned me with brutality, the way this album is doing right now. But Morbid Angel manages to make it extremely musical, whereas this band is more about the "vibe" and are not as intrictate as I would prefer with regard to songwriting.

It's funny, the more I think about it, this sounds like Altars of Madness in many ways. I say that's good!

For fans of hateful death noise, this is great.

Wolves in the Throne Room "Celestite" (Artemisia Records) 7/10

I never liked this band but this is easily the best I've heard from them! It's not Metal at all, it's just spacey hippy trippy shit. But I tell you, it puts me right in that 60s-80s class Sci Fi movie head space. I mean, I keep waiting for Hal's voice to bust in.. "I'm sorry Shaxul. I cannot stop the self destruct sequence. Goodbye!"

These fuckin guys..."let's make an album that sounds like the milk bar scene in "A Clockwork Orange."" Hey, you know Master's Hammer did something like this. And I actually love that album (Slagry?) so this here is technically in the confines of "something a Euro BM guy coulda done" category, so they are good.

All bulshit aside - I actually like this. Hate to admit it. Someone kick my ass please. Cannnot...like...does...not...compute....

Wolvhammer "Clawing into Black Sun" (Profound Lore) 0/10

Fuck they still writing this shit? This fucking arty Hitler Haircut college thesis on "distressed" black metal or whatever the fuck they call it...I refuse to listen, even if it does sound nice at times!