Friday, September 15, 2017
Here's some ripping blackened death metal from Poland. On their fourth album, In Twilight's Embrace go straight for the throat with the "The Hell of Mediocrity". The vocals of Cyprian Łakomy are raspy and throaty yet clear with buzzsaw guitars and drumming fighting the good fight against mediocrity. "Fan The Flame" has a marching beat that takes the followers to Hades. The song starts at rock tempo and then goes from a marching beat into blast beats and back again. The raspy audible vocals really lift that track from being yet another blackened death song. There's a Celtic Frost influence on "As Future Evaporates" although In Twilight's Embrace add an evil spoken part towards this track. There's a slow build in "Trembling" before the death metal grunts set in and the plodding guitar and drum combo add a funeral dirge effect. This is the sound of corpses rotting before they descend to the underworld. "Flesh Falls, No Ghost Lifts" rips after a beginning that imitates earth tremors of a zombie rising from a graveyard. The spoken parts lend a spooky edge before In Twilight's Embrace attempt to separate your banging head from your not so banging body. The short instrumental track "The Rift" seems misplaced as it finishes quickly. "The Great Leveller" concludes the album with some blackened death featuring evil raspy grunts and blast-beats aplenty.
In Twilight's Embrace mix of black metal and death metal is an evil concoction. The only time it didn't work as well as could have was when they used brevity on "The Rift". The lengthier tracks with their build-ups and slow downs work so much better for the band.
Release Date: 22 September 2017
In Twilight's Embrace on Facebook
In Twilight's Embrace on bandcamp
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Record Label: World War Now
Just a few years after releasing their "Victimize the Innocent", (which the band themselves have uploaded on Youtube here and bandcamp here),Canadian four piece thrash metal band Hazzerd are back with their debut album, "Misleading Evil".
Hazzerd's full on thrash assault is of the Bay Area variety. The vocals share the spitting razor blades style of Exodus' Steve Souza and at times comparisons to Chuck Billy of Testament could also be made but the Souza stylings are much more prominent. Musically Hazzerd also look towards those bands beginning with the full on assault of "Tendencies of a Madman", which has some tasty guitar leads towards the end of the song. "Absolute Destruction" starts with a little guitar noodling then transforms into destroying thrash with some background gang vocals that can't help but bring "Fabulous Disaster" to mind although the background vocals aren't utilized on the Hazzerd tune to the same extent. In fact, "Absolute Destruction" changes path into an instrumental as the song reaches its conclusion. While the singer still sounds like Steve 'Zetro' Souza on "Execution of the Damned", the all-in parts are more reminiscent of "Practice What You Preach" era Testament. The contrast works in Hazzerd's favour but the complaint here is this track comes to a seemingly abrupt ending.
The album's title track "Misleading Evil" is a seven and a half minute instrumental that soars and thrashes although it really should have been snipped as it drags as much as Metallica's lengthier material. However, here's my major point of contention, it's difficult not to consider that naming the album after an instrumental track was a big mistake. An album title that gets stuck in your head due to a catchy chorus is a much better choice, eg: "Master of Puppets", "Fabulous Disaster", "Practice What You Preach", "Number of the Beast". It's difficult to imagine a world where thrash metal fanatics talk about Metallica's "Orion" album as a classic.
The intro to "The Fallen" is similar to Metallica''s buildups when they were on top of the thrash metal heap. The vocals are still very much in the Exodus mould but they're not a major part of this track, which instead features an abundance of guitar noodling and drum pummeling. "Under the Influence" is no holds barred thrash and it's easy to imagine smiles on both the band's faces and audience members as a moshpit goes crazy just in front of the stage.
The vocals take a slight turn on "Apocalypse Dawn" with the type of high pitched shriek that many a traditional band used to favour but thrashers can relax as thankfully this style isn't stuck with throughout. There's a definite Iron Maiden influence at work here (especially with the finishing "The Trooper" wooohooo vocals) although Hazzerd play much faster than those lazy old farts. Album finisher, "Road to Nowhere" thrashes a a whiplash inducing pace for a while but slows down to a basic rock drumbeat a little after the four minute mark allowing the drummer to catch his breath before the trashing commences again. A Kirk Hammet style guitar solo follows which once again which really means the song is too long and would have worked better if the band had cut the fat and the tune had come to an end around the four or five minute market instead of pushing for Metallica style excess.
As Hazzerd appear to be a young band, it will be interesting to see how they develop their sound as Hazzerd are definitely on top of their game on headbanging tracks like "Under the Influence" and"Absolute Destruction", so the songwriting skill is there. It just needs to be honed further to stand out in the retro-thrash crowd.
Hazzerd on facebook
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Record Label: DHU Records
Chicago band Faces of the Bog released their "Ego Death" album late last year. However, we didn't hear it back then and DHU records is releasing the album on a limited vinyl release run this September so you can stare at a bigger version of the trippy artwork on the album cover while you listen to the album.
In this case judging an album by the cover isn't a bad thing at all, the music on Ëgo Death"is just as trippy and heavy as the cover suggests. Faces of the Bog mix psychedelic rock with sludge and a touch of early grunge ala early Soundgarden. The vocals go from clean to a dirty yelling caveman who has dropped a huge boulder that refuses to move on his toes and often the music goes from tripped out psychedelic rock to grunge to the filthiest sludge within a single track. Drawing comparisons for Faces of the Bog to other bands isn't an easy task but there are elements of post-metal Neurosis, the more psychedelic side of Pink Floyd, a fair amount of the sludge of Eyehategod and more than a touch of the heavy grunge of early Soundgarden.
There's an ethereal quality to the music here because Faces of The Bog are psychedelic and progressive sludge. On single songs like Ëgo Death" and the eight minute album ender, "Blue Lotus, a first time listener and even when the familiarity has grown, it's difficult to guess the path the band will choose and there are so many layers when Faces of The Bog turn on the heaviness that strongly shakes an awareness that music captures and transports us through a portal to another dimension.
Release Date: 22 September 2017
Faces of the Bog on Facebook
Faces on the Bog on bandcamp
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Record Label: Ripple Music
On their fourth album, The Flying Eyes open with a scorching fuzzed out psychedelic rock tune entitled, "Sing Praise". There's a strong early 60's/late 70's vibe modernized and amped up to arrive at your ears through modern technology. There's a laid back approach to the Jim Morrison tinged vocals in "Drain and you can easily hear and smell the joints being passed around when the band play live in the song's quieter spacier moments. The track builds up to a finale with the sort of bluesy hard rock with a controlled chaos that Danzig achieved on the first few albums. The cosmic vibe continues in the nine minutes of "Circle of Stone" with some great guitar shimmering' and shining through yet allowed to fuzz out.
The vocals on "Farewell" are reminiscent of Gary Moore's approach to both his blues output and his slower hard rock tunes. Musically the track is equally muscular without The Flying Eyes flapping well away from the psychedelic rock highway. "Rest Easy" is as dreamy and laid back as its moniker suggests. This is music designed for putting the headphones on and contemplating the possibilities of life on other planets while gazing up at the stars in the night sky.
As none of the lengthier tracks outstay their welcome, it is very difficult to find fault with this album with each listen to "Burning of the Season, there is the discovery of something new to like about the album. Ripple Music has chosen another winner with signing The Flying Eyes.
Release Date: 22 September 2017
The Flying Eyes Website
The Flying Eyes on Facebook
The Flying Eyes on bandcamp
Monday, September 11, 2017
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity
Most black metal leaves me cold however combine it with death metal or thrash metal in the vein of Goatwhore Behemoth or Blackfast and then you'll get my attention. Hell, combine it with rock 'n' roll like Israeli band Promiscuity did (check out the review of their EP here) and I'll not only listen to it but there's a fair chance I'll love it if it's done right.
Similar to blackened rock and roller's Promiscuity, Arallu also hail from Israel and although they are a new band to us, "Six" is, surprise, surprise, Arallu's sixth album. The band incorporate traditional Middle Eastern instruments like Saz and Darburka into their sound. In fact, the album opens with a song entitled, "Desert Moonlight Spells, which to these unknowing but curious Western ears sounds like a traditional Middle Eastern tune. After the soft tone of the opening the band inform the listener in the song "Only One Truth"and the rotten core of Arallu is black metal with death metal. What really lifts Arallu from the stench of generic metal is the use of their country's traditional instruments. There's such a hypnotic feeling to the sound, it's not difficult to imagine Lucifer hiding as a serpent in a basket lifting his head out in time to the music as these black metal charmers play their music on stage. Lovers of the death doom sound will enjoy "Possessed by the Sleep" which introduces itself with a plod and growling death metal vocals interspersed with background bursts of both the traditional instruments and the traditional black metal bumblebees with blastbeats sound in the foreground. Thankfully the vocals of Butchered don't sound like the stereotypical black metal hobgoblin but hark back to early death metal as Jeff Walker from Carcass and John Tardy from Obituary are the obvious comparisons.
There's a lean towards thrash metal in tracks like "Philosphers" and "Soulless Soldiers" without Arallu completely taking the blackened thrash route. The black metal template is still present in these tunes as are the traditional Middle Eastern instruments and both these elements come across as a natural part of character. In creating a unique sound, Arallu have managed to do what few bands have managed to do and step away from the hordes of generic metal bands.
Release Date: 22 September 2017
Arallu on facebook
Arallu on bandcamp
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Record Label:Transcending Obscurity
One Man band Mindkult hails from the USA and crosses doom metal with shoe gaze, which has lead to great results. There's a pop sensibility to the doom of "Nightmares", think the John Lennon sings for Black Sabbath sound of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats meeting My Bloody Valentine. Check the tune out for yourself below.
Whilst the Sabbath riffs come out strong in the over nine minute track, "Behold the Wraith", the song veers into shoegaze territory. "Howling Witch"opens with with a horror movie sample then it's equal parts Jesus and Mary Chain and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats. Mindkult mastermind, Fowst creates an otherworldly feeling in the album's title track combining the more psychedelic side of Pink Floyd with doom and stoner rock.
The bottom line is that much of "Lucifer's Dream"sounds like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats gone shoegaze but not veering far from the template that makes Uncle Acid so listenable. Mindkult have discovered a winning formula.
Release Date: 20 September 2017
Mindkult on facebook
Mindkult on bandcamp
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