Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ursinne - Swim with the Leviathan

Ursinne are a big deal in the death metal world mainly because they feature a certain Dave Ingram whose CV includes Benediction, Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets and Jonny Pettersson (from Henry Kane, Wombbath, Just Before Dead and Heads for The Dead).

The music these two make together is old school Swedish death metal. "Devil May Care" is a heavyweight barreling affair that recalls the likes of Entombed to mind as the drums aren't full speed ahead and there's an assured steady beat holding the tempo together rather than threatening or veering off at breakneck speed. The vocals are of the throaty variety rather than the far too overdone Cookie Monster variety. The guitars on "I, Serpentine" bear a resemblance to the buzzsaws that featured in Blackie Lawless' dreams back in the 1980's. They're absolutely in your face and the track pummels along quickly. Ursinne pay tribute to Lemmy in the form of "Bullet Bitten, which features spoken samples from the man himself. The track itself is an energetic death metal blast combined with a Motorhead style vibe.

The cover of The Osmonds track "Crazy Horses" actually works well with death metal grunts however the cover of "Turning Japanese" really isn't a lot better than Six Feet Under's Iron Maiden covers. The death metal treatment of this tune just doesn't work and, even if Kam Lee of Massacre was enlisted neither does it work with "Monsters in the Parasol" as Kam just comes across like an embarrassingly drunk uncle yelling over a karaoke machine. Interestingly though, giving Siouxie and The Banshees "Spellbound" the death metal is an experiment that somehow worked.

"Swim with the Leviathan" is a great death metal album however all of those bonus cover tracks are novelty items that drag this album down and don't let it flow with the same deathly killer blow that could have been delivered if the tunes had been omitted and Ursinne had delivered only their own material. These songs are the reason this album has been knocked down a couple of pegs in the ratings.


Release date: 20 August 2017

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Paganizer - Land of Weeping Souls

Swedish death metal outfit Paganizer have been around for nearly twenty years and recently released their tenth full-length album through the Indian label Transcending Obscurity. The band play death metal in the Swedish "traditional" style of Grave and Dismember. The first track is no holds barred speeding death. The gruff vocals can be heard clearly and border on melodic. The drums are pummeled at breakneck speeds on most the tracks on this album. There's tasty guitar leads on many of the tracks but it really is the six string instrument of death that makes "Forlorn Dreams". Fans of blast beats will wet themselves when they hear the title track to this album although the tempo does slow down now and again which adds to the song much more than relentless drumming would. There's a clear thrash metal influence showing through in "The Insanity Never Stops" as it speeds along onwards from the intro.

Although many of the songs throughout the album sound both similar and familiar, fans of old school Swedish death metal will eat up "Land of Weeping Souls" regardless.


Release Date: 5 August 2017

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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Judge - Tell It To the Judge


Damn, this is great! The Judge unashamedly play retro-rock. The band are incredibly influenced by the seventies hard rock and metal. There are obvious Led Zeppelin and Sabbath references but these guys are no mere clones. There's no denying the influence of Sabbath on "Empty Halls" but The Judge's singer, Tyler Swope, has own thing going rather than just copying Ozzy and sits more in hard rock genre than heavy metal. He has the voice most who don't like Led Zeppelin wish Robert Plant possessed in the seventies. It's melodic warmth is easy on the ears. The bass, drums and guitars just seam together perfectly throughout the album. There's a laid back groove to the whole album but it's strongest in "High Flyin'". Fans of guitar noodling and blues style boogie rock will enjoy "Darkest Daze", which has been reworked since appearing on an early EP.

Seventies hard rock fans could play games picking the influences for hours whilst they knock back a cold one or more listening to this album but it's more likely that they'll wind up just listening to "Tell it to the Judge" and just kicking back while enjoying the album. "Tell it to the Judge" sounds like one of the better hard rock albums from the seventies but the production quality is modern. The mix is great with all the instruments coming out nice, clear and loud. Drum cymbals give off the sound they should rather than sounding like sticks hitting canned food.

The Judge manage to have that retro sound and the dart hit the bullseye on "Tell It to The Judge". Go and grab yourself a copy when this gets released.


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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Transient Songs - Stealing Sand

Seattle based bandTransient Songs are back. We reviewed their debut album "Cave Syndrome" way back when and made comparisons to a couple of Australia's finest 80's pop rock bands The Church and The Go-Betweens. The title track of the album starts with the lyrics "She rose up" and it's eerie just how much this tune sounds like Grant McLennan penned and sings this well-crafted pop ditty. "Shopping for Coffins" is a little touched by the psychedelic pop of The Church and this reviewer once again finds it difficult not to think of Steve Kilbey and Grant McLennan's Jack Frost project.

If you're scared of ghosts then avoid this album because the spirit of Mr GW Mclennan is everywhere on this release that it sends shivers down the spine. The press kit makes a comparison to the Afghan Whigs but it's hard to hear similarities other than strong melodic songs. I'd strongly recommended to fans of The Go-Betweens and The Church. If you were looking forward to another Grant McLennan solo outing this should suffice nicely so you can grab this album when it comes out on August 8, 2017.


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Sunday, July 23, 2017

MRTVI - Negative Atonal Dissonance

My initial thought upon perusing MRTVI's chosen handle was that they would somehow be influenced by Iggy Pop and The Stooges but in their Serbian and UK dwelling places MRTVI have their collective feet within the realm of experimental black metal. The members of MRTVI say this of their "Negative Atonal Dissonance" 3 track release.

"Negative Atonal Dissonance" is not an album. It is a statement, a philosophy, an experiment; a rejection and reaction to the current trends within the mainstream and underground alike. Extreme metal has painted itself into a corner. Production values that serve no other purpose other than to sound recognisable and palatable. Arrangements, rhythms and harmonies that are more concerned with being identifiable and 'viable' than with originality. In an infinite universe, music is endless; a spectrum of emotion, of atmosphere, a vibrational connection running through and joining all frequencies; a spiritual, meditative practice, a dream and a nightmare connecting the creation with the creative force..."

The first track "As Consciousness is Harnessed Pt1" is very much experimental music and will have black metalists pondering whether this is true metal or just as kvlt as it gets. This track is stylistically closer to Einst├╝rzende Neubauten than any black metal band. The second track which shares the same name as the first starts out very much in the black metal camp but then becomes much more chaotic and experimental. The production here could only really be described as raw. At times MRTVI convey a feeling of minimalism, the drums sound like drumsticks banging on a desk and at the other times it sounds like a kettle is being hit. The lengthy tracks combined with the black metal requisite soundscape of bumblebees from hell convey an eternal living nightmare. If sounds like your cup of black metal tea, the second track on MRTVI's bandcamp page linked below.

Release Date: 30 July 2017


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Friday, July 21, 2017

Sinister - Gods of the Abyss

Dutch death metal band Sinister have been knocking around since the 1990's. The band have split then got back together a number of times. After their 2003 split they recorded the four song demo "Gods of the Abyss"which lead to a record deal with Nuclear Blast. In 2017 Dutch label Vic Records have released the demo for public consumption.

The songs are undeniably crushing death metal but Sinister intertwine elements of more traditional metal. Whilst the vocals are like a caveman chewing sandpaper, there's a strong Iron Maiden influence in the guitar riffs on a couple of these tracks which would pique the interest of more than just the casual death metal fanatic. Listening to these tracks, it's easy to understand why Nuclear Blast signed these. The opening track "The Grey Massacre" effortlessly chops from mid-paced crunch to full speed ahead death dealing.
All the tracks here are very good examples of early death metal however "Altruistic Suicide" and "Afterburner"are Sinister at their peak on this release.


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