Friday, September 22, 2017

Kult Mogil - Portentaque

Record Label: Pagan Records

In these digital days, there definitely seems to be confusion as to what an EP is. Many bands these days have EP's that run for well over 30 minutes, which during the heyday of vinyl and cassettes would have been considered an album. But times and definitions have changed over the years. The abbreviation FTW did not mean "For the Win" in the pre-internet age and selfies weren't photographs of yourself. Anyway regardless of how times have changed, Polish death band Kult Mogil have stuck to older definitions and released an EP with three songs on it. The EP is available in digital and CD form plus 12" vinyl (which is to be played at 45rpm).

The first track on the EP, "Alae Magicos" lets you know what Kult Mogil are all about. The song opens slowly with Scooby Doo style vocals over slow guitar playing, which conveys a bleak post-metal dystopian atmosphere. The song then deceives really speeds up with incredibly fast paced drumming but the drummer then slows down. The growled vocals are ever present over the blast-beat drumming and ambient post-metal guitar playing. The marriage between the growls, blast-beats work well. The near spoken part towards the middle of the track conjures up images of chaotic evil from the depths of the pits of hell. The tempo changes in this track lend this track an evil edge when the track slows down then there is a glimmer of hope in the overwhelming grimness of the hellish cacophony. The title track weighs in eight minutes and Kult Mogil take the listener on a wander through slow death doom dirges with short faced paced bursts that should carry a warning for those with heart troubles. The guitar sounds at the end of the song contain a shimmer of hope among the oppressiveness as they again border on ambient post-metal.

This three track EP clocks in at just over 18 and a half minutes. What Kult Mogil have done with their guitar sound combined with the more typical death metal growls edges the band well away from being yet another generic death metal band. Thankfully, they also vary the tempo in all three tracks rather than just putting their feet down and going for all-out speed with blast-beats. The variation in drumming style and speed makes for a more interesting listen as Kult Mogil could not be described as a predictable death metal band. I look forward to hearing more from this band from Poland.


Release Date: 29 September 2017

Kult Mogil on Facebook

Kult Mogil's Bandcamp page

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Buried Realm - The Ichor Carcinoma

Record Label: Self-release

Heavy metal has long been full of widdly widdly guitar parts where a musician shows off their proficiency at playing the guitar. Buried Realm is essentially a one man project featuring Josh Dummer, who displays his talents playing nearly all the instruments on "The Ichor Carcinoma". The album features guests like Arch Enemy's, Christopher Amott, Brandon Ellis (from Cannabis Corpse and Black Dahlia Murder and Peter Wichers (from Soilwork) plus many more (the guest appearances do make for interesting reading).

The album lulls the listener in with the melodic "Portal", which is a short instrumental track. The albums title track is a punishing beast in more than one way. The guitar wizardry sounds amazing and it's clear that Dummer didn't get his chops down by merely playing Guitar Hero. The vocals to this song begin as death metal grunts and then turn into Danii Filth style shreiks, which are incongruous with the power/progressive Symphony X style of guitar playing. The guitar sound is great but those vocals are like nails on a chalkboard when they're married to a fantastic guitar sound. "Asphyxiation's Lullaby" is much the same story but features some actual singing which matches the music but those grunts and shrieks are also used. The mix of vocal styles completely messes up a track which had so much potential.

"Through Darkened Halls" starts with an electronic opening and also contains that mixture of shrieks and grunts over the banging guitar playing. There's a classical vibe to the guitar in this track, which is also mixed with occasional blastbeats and great soloing coming in and out. Imagine if a "Lord of the Rings" movie was playing with continual loops of Steve Vai's part in "Crossroads" also playing either on the same screen or very nearby and this is the aural equivalent. The vocals sound like a troll and orc chatting.

"Aperion 1 - The Legacy" actually marries the guitar sounds and both clean and shreiked vocals well as the guitar heroics aren't the forefront of the song. They do appear at the end and this gives the song a laid back vibe rather than in your face. "On Serpent Style" is another instrumental track, which features a guitar style that sounds like Satriani on steroids. This track is great. "Aperion II - Global Dreamer" mixes up the shrieked vocals with a melodic chorus, those Symphony X style guitars and some tight mid-tempo drumming. The drumming on the follw-up track, "Unscrupulous" after a slow intro starts out damned fast then slows down and speeds again and so do the guitars. Instrumentally this track is fantastic but again the vocals bring it down a level and it's not because shrieks and grunts are awful rather because they just sound unnecessary on this track.

The bottom line is "The Ichor Carcinoma" should have either featured mainly clean vocals or been wholly instrumental as the vocals are mostly annoying and detract from the technical musicianship. This album would have had a much higher score if it weren't for the incongruity of the death metal vocals with incredibly well played instruments. The non-instrumental tracks don't have much post-review replay value.

Release Date: 29 September 2017


Buried Realm on Facebook

Follow the Small Takeover on Facebook

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Profetus - Coronation of the Sun

Record Label: Weird Truth

Although originally released in 2009, Japanese record label, Weird Truth Productions have re-released and remastered the debut album Finnish doom metal band, Profetus. Besides the four track which appeared on the original debut, the remastered version also features the two tracks from the band's demo and a live track. Just below is the track "Winter Solstice"from the band's demo

Profetus play funeral doom. With the exception of the track, "Saturnine Night", which has a running time of 3 minutes and 41 seconds, the songs are mostly lengthy slow plodding doom dirges which last for well over ten minutes. All the tracks convey a depressingly bleak and sorrowful atmosphere that would be envy of many goth bands. The slow doom notes and riffs are sparse. The drumbeats are at an incredibly slow tempo. The vocals are not often used but they are usually a gruff hoarse whisper. The shortest track "Saturnine Night" features a spoken part which lends this track a very dark and menacing underbelly.

The lengths of most of the tracks are the main weakness on this album and also there's a feeling of deja vu in each track following the opening track due to the similarity in sound. However those weaknesses are common in the style of music Profetus play and often considered strengths. As somebody who usually hates bonus tracks on re-releases, I actually feel that the record label, Weird Truth, made a good move in sandwiching the original four album tracks between the two demo tracks. However, I still find the inclusion of a live version of a track that is on the album a questionable move as the track is close to twenty minutes long and while it's well recorded, it's difficult to hear the audience so why not just include another studio track?


Release Date: 27 September 2017

Profetus on Facebook

Profetus on bandcamp

The Small Takeover on Facebook

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Arisen From Nothing - Broken EP


Record label: Collective Wave

I know how tough it is to be original these days as there are a tonne of blogspots out there that are fairly similar to this one and, even though we altered it slighty, we stole our blog's name from both a song and a magazine. Seattle band Arisen from Nothing have released an EP shares the same title as a Nine Inch Nails EP however this band sound nothing like Trent Reznor's outfit.

Listening to their "Broken" EP, Arisen From Nothing fit snugly in the heavy metal category and most would place them in the groove metal pigeonhole. Whilst it opens quietly, and then bursts into a melodic guitar sound, vocalist Jessie Bingham starts shouting Lamb of God/Pantera style in the opening track, "Chaos", however he also uses some clean melodic vocals, which give the track a little more of a traditional metal edge. "American Patriot" features the near rap style shouting of some New York hardcore however Bingham is a versatile vocalist and when he pulls out the clean vocals they have a slight early Faith No More (think Mike Patton rather than Chuck Mosley) feel. The song itself moves from stomping hardcore/groove metal style to Middle Eastern rhythms. A melodic synth opens "Better Off Dead" before Arise From Nothing lay down the groove, which transforms the song into a stomping huge metal track with some traditional metal guitar solos and good cop/bad cop vocals. "Falling from Grace" has single written all over it as this track is rock radio-friendly with its fast driving beat, crunching guitar sound, mostly clean vocals and sheer catchiness. The final track greatly contrasts "Falling from Grace" as it has an incredibly fast beat with shouted vocals and a bumblebee guitar sound, which is all reminiscent of later Pantera.

There are also two bonus tracks on this EP, which do nothing to change my feelings about bonus tracks being a waste of time. One is a radio edit of "American Patriot", which has some of the words bleeped out. The other is a clean version of "Chaos", whic,h despite being a little more melodic than the opening track, still features a lot of shouting.

This EP is well-produced and Arisen From Nothing have a huge sound. It'd be great if they did away with the shouting because it's clear that their vocalist can hold a melody so why not utilize this talent more. Although Arise From Nothing probably aren't doing anything that you haven't heard many times before, they do sound like they'd be a fun band to see live.


Arisen From Nothing on Facebook

Follow the Small Takeover on Facebook


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Howling Giant - Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2

Record Label: Self-release

The band's chosen handle, Howling Giant suggests a gargantuan blood-curling beast and their latest EP title, "Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2" and song titles like "The Forest Speaks", "Circle of Druids" and "Earth Wizard", leaves little doubt that these three guys from Nashville, Tennessee are not only music nerds but also sci-fi and fantasy nerds.

From the outset of the EP, Howling Giant let you know they aren't just messing around with sound, the album opener, "Henry Tate" is nearly all instrumental groove as their are haunting spoken parts. Howling Giant let you know through their psychedelic space rock that they're going on a trippy ride and want you to take a seat and strap yourself in alongside them for the journey.
"The Pioneer" begins as a radio-friendly rock tune. The vocals of Tom Polzine are reminiscent of Jon Toogood from Shihad and the first three minute of the song do remind me of that band's recent rockier tracks but Howling Giant take off into more fuzzed out territory than the long-running New Zealand band have dared to.

There's a warning of an onset of ominous doom to come in "Visions", due to some slowed but incredibly heavy Sabbath riffs. While the melodic clean and incredibly accessible vocals are at the forefront of the mix, the music carries a heavy sense of foreboding doom through the heavy fuzzed out riffs until around the five minute mark where the band veer further into space with a more psychedelic stoner sound with wailing guitar. "The Forest Speaks" is an instrumental track with aucoustic guitar, baritone sax and synth. This track will draw the band many comparisons to the progressive sound of Jethro Tull and the space rock of Hawkwind. Comparisons aside, "The Forest Speaks" is a beautiful and relaxing soundscape.

After lulling the listener in, with a tranquil piece, Howling Giant take a medieval twist with "Circle of Druids" and conjure up Black Sabbath era Ozzy vocals with an emphasis on percussion and chants to come together (intentional nod to The Beatles, that you'll get when you listen to the track) and ascend from Avalon. The fuzzed out guitar leads voyage all over the place searching for Excalibur.

Mammoth crushing doom riffs set the tone of "Earth Wizard". This is the type of song that slowly creeps up behind you and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the band lay down breathtakingly heavy riffs.

To merely say that this EP is good would be understating a fact, the six songs on this release are fantastic and all fans of space rock, stoner rock and metal, psychedelic rock should listen to this Howling Giant. The whole album can be streamed and bought for name your price at the band's bandcamp page. You know what to do and if you want greater riff sensation do what the band tell you to on their bandcamp page and play these songs at maximum volume.


Release Date: 25 August 2017

Howling Giant on Facebook

Howling Giant on bandcamp

Follow the Small Takeover on Facebook

Beastwars - IV

After over a year off for various reasons, we have returned solely because we wanted to review the new Beastwars album. I really w...