Saturday, April 21, 2018

Axminister - The Crucible of Sin

Label: Self-release

Some times it really is worth looking at the promo sheet. It would have been easy to ignore Toronto band, Axminister simply due to the piles of death and black metal that comes this way and just write them off as another band that will only appeal to fans of those sub-genres and not write about them at all. However the publicity sheet recommends the band for fans of Iron Maiden, Manowar, Slayer and Megadeth. So, there is a warning that it's time to get prepared for revved up speed metal.

It's immediately apparent that Dave Mustaine is a huge influence on the vocal style of Nicholaus Klaus as he employs an incredibly similar snarl. The riffing and song structure of "Prey" and "Salvation" have also been learned from the Megadeth textbook. There's a definite Manowar influence on the chest-beating chorus of "The Trials of Hercules". The vocals are raspier and the chorus isn't quite as catchy as it might have been. The song's best moments are when the vocals stop and the instruments are given a metallic thrashing. The intro to "The Succubus and The Crucible of Sins" is in a sea shanty style that is reminiscent of many a viking and folk metal band however Axminister veer away from the ocean as their desired pirate booty contains thrash metal.

There is undeniable Slayer influence creeping through "Sanctus Equitus Mortis" and strangely the vocals are their strongest on this tune. Axminister add a little melody to the tune and, after a tempo change and a couple of layered choruses, the song then ends in a much more traditional heavy metal fashion.

It's hard to shake the feeling that this is a band still trying to find their own sound. Despite that the Mustaine snarls are great and more of them throughout the EP would have been nice.

Release Date: 4 May 2018


Axminister on bandcandcamp

Axminister on facebook

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bang - The Best of Bang

Label: Ripple Music

Bang were a cult band back in the early seventies. Power trio Bang released their debut album in 1971. Since the band were considered the American Black Sabbath by some, it could be argued by many whether they fit under proto-metal umbrella or not.

The Black Sabbath influence is so strong on tracks like "Lions...Christians" and "The QUeen" that you wonder how many bats the singer has bitten the head off. There's undeniably heavy UK influence on this group in both senses of the word, "Questions" sounds like a missing link between Stray and Led Zeppelin due to the vocals doing the high-pitched part that Robert Plant became renowned for during his Led Zep days.

There's a delightful simpleness to the rock of "Mother". The song is catchy and there are echoes back to the fab four but while Bang were looking to the past, they were also looking forward. "Keep on" is from a similar mould and you can check this tune out on soundcloud. (Yay, I finally got my head around Soundcloud. Oh, no. I didn't. That site still sucks for embedding music on blogger). Many listeners will hear the roots of both what is now known as classic rock and also doom metal on tracks such as "Feel The Hunt". If "Windfair" was stacked up through more amps and turned up to 11, it'd sound rather similar to an English band named after torture device. There's some great soloing on "Don't Need Nobody". "Feels Nice" has a huge Zeppelin influence and if you've never liked Zep, this track will also beg the question, why does he sing like that?

This Anthology will nestle down in the vinyl format in the record collections of stoner and psychedelic rock/proto-metal fans and meat and potatoes hard rock fans. If you've enjoyed any rock albums that were released in the early seventies or if you'd like to, then "The Best of Bang" is a good arrival point.


Release date: 20 April 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mordor - Darkness...

Pagan Records

Here's another comeback album. Poland's doom metal peddlers, Mordor have definitely taken a long time between drinks. It has been 21 years since there previous album. The band blot the landscape by painingt a bleak atmosphere with heavy riffs and deep throaty vocals.

The band walk the tightrope between atmospheric post-rock or post-metal on many on their tunes. There's a black metal influence on "L.U.C.I.F.E.R." with a similar guitar tone and incredibly fast drumming that veers away from plodding doom metal but Mordor still keep their musical template. There's a slow build to "Melancholy", which incorporates black metal with a more atmospheric sound which are married with deep gruff caveman style vocals that would seen many a sludge band green with envy. The band convey a Gothic feel that in the album closer, "Dark Room", which has a sparse and dark sound.

Fans of death-doom will eat this album up and non-purist black metal fans will be intrigued by the manner in which Mordor has incorporated one of their favourite metal sub-genres. There aren't any quick hooks on "Darkness.." so those looking for a quick metal fix won't find much to their liking here as Mordor favor long songs with no tunes briefer than six minutes.


Release date: April 20 2018

Mordor on facebook

Monday, April 16, 2018

Satanic Surfers - Back from Hell

Label: Mondo Macabre

This Swedish punk band's comeback album should be right up my alley. After all, I loved the pop punk that the Epitaph record label was putting out in the mid-90's.

However this album is boring as hell. Sure there's loud guitars and it's fast and melodic but it's mostly generic as hell. There is an experiment with combining reggae with Pennywise style surf/skate punk on "Self-Medication" and whilst it doesn't really help the song that it comes in late in the picture, it's hard to shake the feeling that this is the most innovative Satanic Surfers get.. "Ain't No Ripper" sounds like came straight from a skateboarding video soundtrack and Satanic Surfers got a well used but reliable cookie cutter. "Madhouse" asks that age old question, "Who let the dogs out? "Nowhere Fast" has a speedy edge that is reminiscent of the faster material on the later Descendents album but not quite as catchy. "Paying Tribute" is the Satanic Surfers version of the Descendents "Thank You" but the Swedes have a punk and roll edge.

This album will no doubt appeal to fans of skate punk and 90's pop punk fans who still pop out their old CD's now and again. Those looking for hooks and those looking something on the harder side of pop punk may find a little of what they are searching for on "Back From Hell" but whether it satisfies or even leaves the listener wanting more is uncertain.


Release date: April 13 2018

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Satanic Surfers on bandcamp

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...