Friday, October 11, 2013

Taketh "Ignorance is Strength"

Often bands will come with a mash of styles and have no idea how to describe themselves to potential fans and reviewers.  At a certain point, a band that refuses to pigeon-hole themselves by not describing their music at all sadly does not get a look-in from overloaded inboxes and will simply be ignored simply because the reviewers curiosity is not piqued due to the lack of any stylistic references.

Swedish band Taketh are clearly aware of this as they describe their music as melodic death metal which they they definitely are.  In fact, a few months back I received an email from David Dahl, Taketh's vocalist and he stated that the band would be a perfect fit for fans of Dark Tranquility, At the Gates and old In Flames.    He's definitely a vocalist who is capable of holding a melody and also  resurrecting a voice from the netherworld.  Taketh aren't afraid to experiment and "Moving On" ,the opener to "Ignorance is Strength" utilizes a small piece nu-metal and electronics without a huge cringe factor.  Those who consider death metal no place for clean singing will be searching from earplugs  from the get-go but it'll be a smooth sailing for those unafraid of cleanliness.

 At times the vocals fall somewhere between Carcass's Heartwork and Danni Filth(although without the high-pitched shrieks) and there are bursts of black metal.  "We are Slaves" contains a mixture of clean and filthy riffs although the soap and water definitely wins out.  Whether or not  "Your Master" is death metal is going to be up for debate as it opens with vocals that fall between Ozzy and Jon Olivia and then the singer takes a much more melodic direction that will have fans of symphonic metal (Kamelot is often the band that comes to mind) looking for a change of underwear although whether they can all handle the closing chop and change to deathly vocals remains to be seen.   The song also contains a snippet of a marching sound that
isn't miles removed from Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People"

Although the songs are built around the vocals of David Dahl, the band are clearly all first-rate musicians.  It's also clear that Taketh are past the experimental stage as the band seem to be aware of what sounds work for them.  There's a definitely a sense of irony in naming a song "Flaws" and if the music wasn't up to scratch every reviewer would point to this song and "Mind Numbing Crap" delivering on their promises.    However "Ignorance is Strength" is an album that will be listened to again now that the reviewing process is over.

Fans of the TV series "Breaking Bad" and the movie "Pushing Tin" may be interested to learn that this band originated with two guys in an air traffic control tower playing acoustic guitars before the recruiting of other band members.


Taketh's music video for "Moving On"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Critical Solution - "Evil Never Dies"

Plate o' Shrimp.  In Repoman, one of the best movies ever made, a hippie burnout talks out how you might be thinking about one thing and then for some unknown reason someone else mentions something else that is somehow connected.  The point being that nothing in life is actually random.  In the comments section of the review of One God or Another, I made mention of Metallica and then next up got around to listening to "Evil Never Dies" by Critical Solution, one of the many albums lined up for review in the email box.

Critical Solution live and breath 80's thrash metal to the point that they will give Evile a serious run for the money in the Metallica clone stakes.  A number of sites could easily be fooled into thinking some of these tracks are new Metallica.  The vocalist is closer to the James Hetfield of the 1980's than James Hetfield is capable of getting these days.  A large amount of the riffing is an enjoyable voyage into the Bay Area's past.  "This Burning Hate" takes the "And Justice For All" template and improves it in a number of ways.  What are they?  It's a lot shorter than any of the songs on that album and  it's easy to hear all the instruments.

The gang vocals throughout the album are a trip back to the time Testament released "Practice What You Preach" and that was the only variant from the template Metallica had set.  For those that need a history lesson, they were far from the only band stealing the blueprint, check out Onslaught's "In Search of Sanity" and a bunch of others that were released around the same period of time.

Proving that it's  not all retro-thrash as "War Machine" harks back to the days of NWOBM and there's definitely more than a tinge of early Iron Maiden in there.  The steady drumming as the song changes tempo is one of the highlights of the song.  It's also catchy with a crunchy guitar sound that's easy to sink your teeth into.

It's a little mind-blowing that some of the guys in this band weren't even born when Metallica first became a radio-friendly unit shifter.  A concept album is an ambitious project for a debut album unless of course you count "Kill 'Em All" as a concept album about how Metallica will kick your ass.  Critical Solution's concept is much more mature as its about greed and power and follows a character named Wallace Green who wants to assassinate a king.  These guys hail from Norway but recorded  this album at Andy La Rocque's studio in Sweden.  Mr La Rocque even appears in a couple of bonus covers, "Killed By Death and "Seek and Destroy".    Fans of the first three Metallica albums should check this out as it's a highly enjoyable listen although it might even be a little to close for some listeners.


High Priestess - High Priestess

Record Label: Ripple Music High Priestess are a recently new Los Angeles trio who play heavy psychedelic music. The band was formed...