Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Record Label: Self-release
I remember going circuses as a kid enjoying the animals doing tricks, laughing at the clowns and being enthralled by the gymnastics of the trapeze artists and the tightrope workers. The tightrope walkers especially captured my attention as somebody who absolutely hates looking down from heights. I've always started shaking when I'm on the third floor of a shopping mall if I can see below. The enthrallment is similar for music, when bands straddle the tightrope between genres it's fascinating and attention grabbing. Vantablack Warship straddle the tightrope between hardcore and metal.
You might be asking yourself, which kind of metal do these genre-benders straddle? On "Another Dead Rockstar", it's black metal but there's an undeniable modern hardcore edge. On "Black Tongue Bertha", it's groove metal and I'd guess that a few members of this band own both Pantera T-shirts and albums. The vocals are spat out Phil Anselmo style. "Blood on the Mat" is Pantera wrestling with Converge. Kneel and pray you don't get hurt as a mere spectator. Towards the end of the song when a more standard rock beat is set down, the vocals move in the puking and growling direction of Blaine from The Accused.
Is death metal groove a thing or groove death metal? Because that's the twisted direction that "Kill this Kid" takes. It's slow but there's a metallic edge and a grooving underbelly. There's a little of nineties noise rock twisted in their mixture too. Amphetamine Records fans should be all over this track. There's a clear Slayer influence on the riffing on "Ruderalis" although the vocals lean towards blackened hardcore. "Abrasive Pulmonic Speak" sounds like Helmet jamming with Slayer. The chorus to "Crisis" is oddly reminiscent of "Stay Hungry" period Twisted Sister but the tune is a lot heavier and sludgier than anything Dee Snider's crew did in the eighties.
On surface level, Vantablack Warship come across as a metallic hardcore but scratching below the murky surface, the band are integrating nineties noise rock and black metal. If you wanted to hear any of the bands mentioned in this review take on a more experimental edge then I'd recommend checking this album out. With the eight song on full album clocking in at under thirty minutes, Vantablack Warship, thankfully don't wear out their welcome. In this day and age of over sixty minute albums and even songs, brevity is warmly welcomed.
Release Date: 26 January 2018
Vantablack Warship on bandcamp
Vantablack Warship on facebook
Monday, January 22, 2018
Record Label: Ampmandens Records
I'm willing to stake my wages that when you think Norway and metal, groove metal is not what comes to mind. It's more likely black metal, which conjures up images of bleak weather, snow and forests in the Scandinavian country. Groove metallers Untime have been knocking around for twenty years. They've finally got around to releasing their debut album this year.
As Untime are a groove metal band, the Pantera influence shines through brightest but there's also a tablespoon of "River Runs Red" period Life of Agony. Tracks such as "Some to Pay" open with that guitar tone and chugging rhythm that Pantera were renowned for during the nineties. "Mysterious Ways" is thankfully not a U2 cover but a fierce and muscular Untime groove metal original. "The Chosen One" is how Pantera would sound if they'd allowed New York tour mates Biohazard to influence their sound.
Untime's drummer bashes his kit in "This Picture". The vocals are somewhere in between rap, hardcore and metal without the band abandoning the groove metal template. Untime prove they're far from one dimensional groove metallers in "One Step", which contains a heavily grungy underbelly. "Manipulation" comes off as pure nineties Pantera worship. Untime sound stronger when they go down the Biohazard road and integrate elements of hardcore and rap like on the track, "Pale and Grey"than when they imitate the band who claimed to be stronger than all. It might be telling that the last track is called, "This is Nothing Compared to What's Coming". Hopefully what is coming doesn't sound as much like Pantera.
Untime on facebook
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Record Label: Memento Mori
How good can a Greek retro-thrash metal be? Rapture play unrelenting, ferocious thrash with a touch of death that is a throwback to the early eighties. Easy reference points are Slayer, Dark Angel and Kreator. This is largely due to the vocals of Apostolos Papadimitriou, whose barks fall somewhere between Mille Petrozza and Tom Araya. The band thrash along the Teutonic highway rather than taking in the sea air of the Bay Area. When Rapture go full throttle, they veer into death metal territory but keep the thrash edge, which is a feat not many bands can pull off. Just get a load of the death metal and thrash metal banging together tightly in the title track.
Those who like their thrash metal on the technical side will find what Rapture have served up on this vinyl to their taste as it is undeniably present in tracks like "Redemption through Isolation" and "Quintessence of Lunacy" plus a number of others. There's no doubt each of the musicians in this band can play their instruments with razor sharp precision and it's the tightness of the musicianship, which will have many a metal fan drooling over this band due to this release.
Other band comparisons that are likely be thrown at Rapture due to the sheer strength of "Paroxysm of Hatred" are Sadus, Dark Angel, Pestilence, early Believer and Demolition Hammer. This is Rapture's second album and is already a serious contender for album of 2018 in these quarters. 2017 was a great year for metal and 2018 is shaping up to be even better.
Rapture on bandcamp
Rapture on facebook
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