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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mortal Infinity - Final Death Denied

Artist: Mortal Infinity
Release Title: Final Death Denied
Year: 2015
Label: Red Dagger Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Grid Specter
2. Cult of the Dead
3. Revived by Surgery
4. Under the Serpent Tree
5. Hell Is a Crematory
6. Body Collector
7. Haunted Mental Asylum
8. Sleep Paralysis
9. Neurotoxic Fire
10. Dystopia

The second full-length from German thrashers Mortal Infinity offers up a rather enjoyable if slightly faulty attempt at a more American styled thrash attack than their German counterparts. In their thrashing modes, the band here is far more intent on utilizing the traditional Bay Area-styled attack here for the majority of their work. Utilizing tight, crunchy, mid-tempo chugging as the basis for this one, this one really puts those rhythms to great use in generating the kind of up-tempo, frantic paces that work best with this style of attack. Alongside the faster, blistering tempos this one really manages to get out a lot of the more mid-tempo work on display where the chugging patterns and tight, steady drumming tend to work over even more of the tracks here for what’s the most prominent style featured on the album. While this effort does get plenty of mileage out of those chugging rhythms, it does crop up as one of the main points against this one. With the group relying on that mid-tempo pace here without much deviation here within their patterns and arrangements, the tempos on so many songs seem to mostly plod along to the finish line without really generating the kind of vicious streak mostly associated with so many thrash acts. Likewise, beyond this problem with the main rhythms, another problem emerges here in the fact that this one ends up being far longer than it really should’ve been. While some of this comes from the plodding riff-work, others are far more curious as to why it’s so overlong where it certainly builds up to a ripping, full-speed thrasher only in the later half after most of the track has been a plodding mid-tempo series of crunchy riffing without a lot of energy. That’s understandable, but the epic isn’t graced with such excuses as it just wears on with the same riffing for nearly ten minutes without let-up as it winds on through it’s paces seemingly endlessly which results in a gaudy, overlong effort that stretches this out needlessly. It really is a problem moreso for being the closer, and it leaves a disappointing lasting impression that way.

The first half here sets this one up quite nicely. Opener ‘Grid Specter’ features tight, twisting riff-work and pounding drumming along a steady furious pace with plenty of twisting technical patterns within the mid-tempo charge with thumping rhythms driving the frantic riffing through the blistering solo section and on through the winding final half for a solid, raging opener. ‘Cult of the Dead’ uses a tight, crunchy series of riffing against utterly blistering, frantic drumming into a steady, solid mid-tempo charge with plenty of blistering rhythms working into a frenzied pace holding the main rhythms into the melodic solo section leading the discordant rhythms to carry into the finale for another strong effort. ‘Revived by Surgery’ takes a stuttering series of start/stop swirling riffing and tight drumming into a plodding mid-tempo series of riff-work that turns into a rather frantic series of blazing riff-work and frenzied drumming leading into the fade-out final half for a wholly unappealing and rather disappointing track. ‘Under the Serpent Tree’ uses a steady, gradual build-up that turns into a bouncy up-tempo series of crunchy riffing and plenty of pounding drumming that manages to bring the explosive patterns to thrash along to the strong swirling riffing stuttering into the solo section and carrying along into the finale for a more enjoyable effort. ‘Hell Is a Crematory’ features steady, mid-tempo charging riff-work with plenty of crunchy riff-work along through the plodding rhythms that work alongside the squealing leads with the plodding chug riffing before kicking up the energy with furious riffing and pounding drumming in the solo section and carrying that through the final half for a better track in the later half.

The second half here isn’t as enjoyable here and really shows off the album’s flaws. ‘Body Collector’ uses the sampled squished-meat intro to lead into a steady mid-tempo rhythms with the occasional blast into raging up-tempo drumming that manages to bring the riffing out of the plodding paces into tight, crunchy chugging into the solo section and carrying into the finale for a decent if not all that impressive effort. ‘Haunted Mental Asylum’ takes rocking drum-work and stylized riffing on through a bouncy mid-tempo pace with a steady crunch from the riffing holding the main series of thrashing riff-work running along throughout the raging solo section and keeping the blistering paces throughout the final half for a stellar highlight. ‘Sleep Paralysis’ features crunchy mid-tempo riffing chugging along to mid-tempo drum-work that settles nicely into mid-tempo thumping rhythms with stylish, fiery riffing keeping the steady pace along through the atmospheric melodies before kicking back into the frantic rhythms in the finale for a solid and enjoyable effort. ‘Neurotoxic Fire’ features simple swirling riffing with steady, mid-tempo pounding drumming keeping the rumbling chugging patterns holding along at an unchanging tempo with a sweeping series of crunchy chug-patterns throughout the solo section and keeping hold until the final half for a wholly solid and enjoyable effort. Finally, the epic album-closer ‘Dystopia’ uses an extended fade-in intro as the scratchy sampled voices gradually give way to ripping drumming and crushing mid-tempo chugging riff-work keeping a steady stream of thrashing rhythms along at a straightforward pace that lets the series of solo sections work through the varying tempos utilized with the straightforward tempos working along into the mid-tempo finale for a solid and decent if entirely overlong effort for a somewhat disappointing lasting impression.

While it’s a fine enough listen on its own right, the fact that this one here hardly ever seems to go for the kill in regards to it’s intensity and ferocity does hold it back to the point that it’s really more for the most undiscriminating thrash aficionados or German metal connoisseurs who will find the most to enjoy here as others will undoubtedly approve of more vicious acts out there.

Score: 78/100

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Cavador - Prohibido Nacer EP

Artist: Cavador
Release Title: Prohibido Nacer EP
Year: 2015
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
1. Prohibido Nacer
2. Campo Desolado
3. Ausgebombt (Sodom cover)
4. Prohibited Be Born

The new EP from Argentine thrashers Cavador features enough intriguing moments of old-school thrash which fits nicely into the South American variants in the genre. For the most part this here is mostly a crunchy, Bay-Area styled riff-work that rattles along with a series of sloppy arrangements which feature the type of frantic up-tempo paces that typify the kind of energetic and frantic off-the-rails thrash that’s utilized here. It’s one of the few kinds of efforts that manages to weave out far longer and winding arrangements than it really should because of that riffing style where it swirls around building up into the kind of overlong efforts here as this one really does work along quite nicely despite that rather disjointed feel. Even with that facet, the short running time here with the three original tracks and the cover simply makes that kind of riff-work all the more apparent because that’s all that appears here where the three long, winding tracks are buffered around the simple, one-note cover which sticks out here.

Overall here this one wasn’t all that bad. The opening title track works through the series of swirling rhythms into a mid-tempo series of thumping riffing alongside blasting drumming throughout the series of winding rhythms and scalding leads thrashing alongside the blasting drumming through a strong series of thumping rhythms leading to the acoustic-driven final half for a strong opening impression. ‘Campo Desolado’ takes tight, mid-tempo riffing and simplistic drumming into a steady, straightforward mid-tempo pace as the swirling rhythms carry along through plodding mid-tempo sprawling for a melodic buffer against the raging, surging solo section and carrying into the stuttering finale for an enjoyable if slightly weaker effort. Their cover of Sodom’s classic ‘Ausgebombt’ offers an incredibly faithful and enjoyable homage to the original with plenty of fiery rhythms and the same punk-ish attitude as the original yet still feels a little out-of-place as their original material is a lot more complex and involved compared to the stripped-down and simple nature of this one though it’s still remains a faithful and endearing version. Finally, ‘Prohibited Be Born’ features a tight, crunchy series of explosive riff-work and simple drumming working into a rather frenetic pace with plenty of tight, furious leads driving the raging rhythms into the surging solo section as the melodic riff-work leads into the charging finale for a strong and enjoyable lasting impression.

Despite a minor problem with it that gets a bit more pronounced over time, that isn’t a big enough factor to really overwhelm the raging energy featured here which makes for quite an appealing time here for fans of the bands’ past work or devout followers of retro-fueled South American thrash.

Score: 80/100

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Debunker - The Invisible Disorder EP

Artist: Debunker
Release Title: The Invisible Disorder EP
Year: 2015
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Groove/Thrash Metal
1. The Invisible Disorder
2. The Logical Zombie
3. After the War
4. Red Shift
5. Blindsided

The debut EP from Portuguese groove-laced thrashers Debunker starts off their career in fine form with a rather appealing and intriguing effort with a lot to like. This here is mostly based around the kind of tight, raging groove riff-work which is quite an appealing ploy by enabling a kind of vicious, intense aggression to the tracks which makes for quite an impressive take here that comes from that kind of tightly-wound groove throughout the effort. There’s even a sense of variety within the tempos as well where there’s a difference in the driving riff-work full of more atmospheric parts to the tracks that’s somewhat removed from the straightforward pieces that typify more groove-centered efforts, and that’s a quite impressive mixture for these styles to get pulled off throughout here, though it does seem to feel a little short overall here with the short tracks sometimes being quite abrupt before it leads into the next effort. This quite easily could’ve been a more full-length.with the work here, and this really starts building up to a great time before it quickly ends, which really keeps it down.

The tracks here are quite fun and have a lot to like. The title track opens into a rousing series of rumbling drumming and tight, groove thrashing that settles into a rousing mid-tempo thumping pace as the swirling groove rhythms keep the utterly pummeling drumming through the surging solo section and on through the blasting final half for an utterly impressive opening effort. ‘The Logical Zombie’ features tight, swirling riffing pounding alongside the tight drumming into a stylish mid-tempo series of rhythms keeping an intense series of churning riff-work thumping along to the blistering and frantic solo section and holding on through the finale for a slightly weaker but still enjoyable track. ‘After the War’ uses a tight, simple series of groove-filled riff-work with a steady, simplistic pace leading along through the up-tick into more energetic and thrash-filled rhythms into a charging solo section and moving along throughout the pounding drumming of the final half for a strong overall effort. ‘Red Shift’ takes a strong, immediate groove riff through a raging, tight blast of frantic energy through the charging rhythms with a series of strong, pounding drumming thumping along to the rather simplistic rhythms with the soaring solo section keeping up the intensity into the finale for a strong and enjoyable effort. Lastly, album-closer ‘Blindsided’ takes a simplistic and gradual build-up series of riffing into the series of frantic groove rhythms and pounding drumming keeping the simple rhythms and the fine thumping drumming that works along the solo section and into the charging final half for an enjoyable effort that ends this one nicely.

Though it does seem a little short with it’s brief ending overall, there’s still a plentiful vibe and energy that carries throughout the tracks here that makes it quite enjoyable which starts off their career nicely, making for a suitable time for those into the more aggressive and brutalizing thrash efforts.

Score: 84/100

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Vampyrsgard - Phantom der Nacht

Artist: Vampyrsgard
Release Title: Phantom der Nacht
Year: 2015
Label: The Horror Dimension
Genre: Black Metal
1. Vampyrsgard
2. Believe in Darkness
3. Sensual Neck
4. Phantom der Nacht
5. Fallen
6. Under the Power of the Midnight Fullmoon
7. Black Coffin
8. Deliciuous Blood

The debut album from Spanish black metal band Vampyrsgard comes off as a rather intriguing and at times enjoyable release from a band without any releases prior to this point. From the onset this here seems to be set-up primarily as a rather traditional outfit just with a much more melodic bent to the music. The main genesis is still swirling tremolo-picked patterns straight from the second-wave Norwegian originators, though they get balanced out by much heavier melodic leads running throughout the tracks. There’s a solid usage here towards generating the more up-tempo variety to really work nicely overall here utilizing a more mid-tempo and plodding pace within the confines of it’s simplistic style here of it holding onto a steady pace without overdoing or needlessly complicating itself than it really has to here, giving the songs a nice impact without offering up tons of over-used rhythms or patterns. This does feel very nice when the tracks work, but it can lead to deathly boring affairs when the pacing and songwriting aren’t up to par which is the main element holding this one back. It’s a problem inherent in the tracks due to the bands’ overall inexperience and youthful age where it hasn’t had the opportunity in really honing in on their prefered style rather than just jumping out with a full-length effort right from the start where honing out how to properly make their style a lot more cohesive, and that does manage to stick out here because of that..

The first half here does showcase the bands’ attitude the best on here. Opener ‘Vampyrsgard’ features utterly blistering tremolo riff-work and frantic drumming that settle into a rather steady pace with a thumping drive to the main rhythms alongside the ambient keyboards driving along through the clanking tremolo patterns swirling throughout the final half for a solid opening impression. ‘Believe in Darkness’ takes a gradual build-up with pounding drumming and stylized mid-tempo tremolo riff-work building along to the thumping drumming and stylish mid-tempo paces running along with the thumping rhythms holding alongside the pounding patterns of the finale for an enjoyable enough offering. ‘Sensual Neck’ utilizes impressive swirling tremolo-pitched patterns and steady, simplistic pounding drumming to keep the steady tempos in place throughout the melodic main rhythms running with the simplistic and rather stylish mid-tempo rhythms carrying through into the final half for a nice highlight offering. The title track uses a light acoustic intro before blaring into raging, frantic patterns with furious blasting drumming and melodic swirling tremolo patterns leading throughout the highly melodic up-tempo swirling riff-work pounding along throughout the finale for another strong back-to-back highlights.

Though fallen from the upper half, this one does have some decent enough moments in the second half. ‘Fallen’ uses an extended melancholic intro before turning into a stylish mid-tempo series of swirling tremolo riff-work with pounding up-tempo drumming keeping the steady patterns along throughout the droning endless swirling riffing holding throughout the final half for an enjoyable if still somewhat bland effort. The instrumental ‘Under the Power of the Midnight Fullmoon’ also utilizes the acoustic lead-in that runs along through the swirling riff-work with plenty of melodic leads and simplistic drumming throughout the mid-tempo pace leading into the finale for a solid mid-album breather. ‘Black Coffin’ features melodic swirling rhythms and steady, simplistic riff-work droning on into an endless series of swirling slow-tempo patterns as the drum-work keeps the plodding tempo in check throughout the plodding rhythms into the final half for a rather bland and drawn-out offering. Lastly, album-closer ‘Delicious Blood’ uses tight swirling riff-work and blasting drumming throughout the steady mid-tempo patterns holding the droning melodic leads nicely alongside the simplistic drumming that nicely brings the swirling tremolo riff-work throughout the finale for a solid lasting impression.

Though the bands’ inexperience and youth does become apparent at times throughout here, there’s enough quality and worthwhile moments here that it doesn’t hold back to where it should end up appealing quite nicely with fans of older black metal or those that prefer the slower, heavier side of the genre.

Score: 83/100

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dimlight - The Lost Chapters

Artist: Dimlight
Release Title: The Lost Chapters
Year: 2015
Label: Sliptrick Records
Genre: Symphonic Gothic/Death Metal
1. The Inception
2. Spawn of Nemesis
3. Shattered Idols
4. Invoking the Hunter
5. Dark Things of the Desert
6. Children of Perdition
7. Torrents of Blood
8. Fear of Heavens
9. Clash of Immortals
10. Fields of Carnage

The third full-length from Greek gothic/death metal unit Dimlight offers even more to like here with the bands’ take on symphonically ornate gothic overtones with death metal ferocity. As can be expected here, lush, grandiose keyboards swirl around throughout the majority of the work here which makes for an over-the-top display of orchestral work here from the keyboards being accompanied rather nicely with the operatic vocals being featured. Mixing the striking clean female soaring vocals with the raspy male counterparts may seem like gothic metal basics but it works here with the slow, pounding rhythms at the forefront of the bands’ other attacks. Coming complete with pounding drumming and the occasional deluge into romantic arrangements within the rest of the music here, it’s all quite fun and dynamic here with this one mostly utilizing the up-tempo work and offering plenty of gothic-tinged symphonics to put a lot of enjoyable work on display here. For all this good points, though, the band does tend to fall into minor trouble with the fact that there’s nothing really unique or creative about this kind of symphonically-charged gothic/death metal as it’s pretty basic and by-the-numbers styled work generating all the rather familiar notes here with one-note blistering drumming, up-tempo riffing and orchestral-styled keyboards offering a bombastic symphonic undertone. They’re clearly competent and cohesive enough but not without a lack of identity to really stand out here even if the songs themselves are enjoyable.

The first half here sets this up quite nicely. Instrumental intro ‘The Inception’ features a deep droning noise intro with a spoken-word storytelling set-up that leads into proper first track ‘Spawn of Nemesis’ featuring blistering drumming amidst grand orchestral keyboards charging along into a frantic series of symphonic flurries while keeping the Gothic rhythms at the forefront with the over-the-top keyboards and drumming continue swirling along into the light choppy rhythms throughout the final half for a fun overall effort. ‘Shattered Idols’ uses grandiose symphonics over blazing drumming and tight riff-work carrying along simple rhythms while keeping the over-the-top symphonics buzzing along through the series of thumping patterns with the extended instrumental interlude carrying the symphonics throughout the finale for a dynamic highlight. ‘Invoking the Hunter’ features a dark, haunting swirling series of riffing alongside the sweeping patterns and pounding drumming into a steady mid-tempo attack as the swirling rhythms lift for romantic keyboards and soft riffing that off-sets the quiet energy throughout the final half for a decent enough effort. The instrumental mid-album breather ‘Dark Things of the Desert’ simply serves as a brief storyline segue to lead into the next track.

The second half is rather enjoyable much like the upper half. Bleeding through the previous effort, ‘Children of Perdition’ opens with swirling riff-work and a blistering series of orchestral symphonics alongside utterly raging drumming that soon settles into a mid-tempo series of meandering rhythms and light melodic work carrying through the slight variances in tempos throughout the finale for a solid if unspectacular effort. ‘Torrents of Blood’ takes a swirling operatic intro with the symphonic keyboards leading into blasting drumming and sweeping riff-work leading the tight chugging riff-work and light symphonics plodding along to a slow, sluggish pace with plenty of sweeping orchestral work in the final half for another overall solid-if-unspectacular offering. ‘Fear of Heavens’ uses strong swirling symphonic keyboards alongside blasting drumming with plenty of tight riff-work that flows into a steady mid-tempo series of chugging symphonic patterns with blasting drumming carrying the bombastic keyboards along into the charging symphonic-led finale for a strong and impressive offering. ‘Clash of Immortals’ features light, soft romantic patterns before exploding into furious drumming alongside sweeping majestic symphonic keyboards and light gothic riff-work that deviates nicely between several strong tempos with sweeping orchestral work coming through into the final half for an overall fun effort. Lastly, ‘Fields of Carnage’ takes epic symphonic keyboards and haunting melodic notes to gradually build into crushing drumming blasting throughout the sweeping majestic keyboards that turns into driving mid-tempo symphonics with plenty of tight rhythms and ornate symphonic orchestral movements leading throughout the grandiose finale for a solid lasting impression.

For the most part, there’s a lot to like here with this one that ends up making it one of the more impressive and enjoyable entries in the style and as long as those can stand to overlook the flaws here with this one it’s a solid listen for those who enjoy impressive gothic-tinged metal or symphonics as well.

Score: 85/100

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dethrone (Swe) - Incinerate All

Artist: Dethrone (Swe)
Release Title: Incinerate All
Year: 2016
Label: Massacre Records
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
1. Reborn in Fire
2. The Plague Carrier
3. Rat King
4. Morbid Existence
5. Spiritual Deception
6. Where Darkness Dwells
7. I Am God
8. Failure
9. Dawn of Demise
10. The Inevitable End

The second full-length from Swedish thrashers Dethrone continues to follow the old-school way of bristling and energetic full-on mixture of death and thrash metal. Judging from the music alone, it’s pretty clear that what’s on display here is prime-era Swedish-styled thrash that was exploding on the scene at the start of the last decade, and it’s carried over here. Ripping razor-wire thrash riff-work, sounding not too dissimilar to the burgeoning Metalcore scene, dominates this one from the get-go and shows a keen ability of this one feeling like a revival act for that time period letting the more vicious patterns and arrangements get utilized instead of the tight crunch and more traditional riff-work that made it’s way in the Bay Area influenced acts. There’s even a nice amount of chugging patterns here to further that connection within the music, and combined with the odd moment of melodic interjections in the leads featuring explosive soloing and more dexterous, dynamic drumming that keeps things in spurts or offering a mid-song breakdown to lead back into some fine intense thrash patterns, this becomes quite fun and far more rousing than it really should be. This does manage to feature the bands’ old-school influence quite nicely but also holds it back from the standpoint of wearing those influences far too close to the vest as it were. There’s not a whole lot of originality on display, running through many of the same patterns and riff-work that was on offer there which is only given a more melodic boost with the leads featured here but is otherwise still very much of that style for the most part.

The first half here is a fine starting point to this one. Opener ‘Reborn in Fire’ gradually builds into a frenzied series of swirling riffing leading into thumping rhythms and frantic, full-throttle tempos running along the frantic thrashing riff-work buoyed by razor-wire melodic hymns and pounding drumming leading into the melodic solo section and into the swirling finale for an explosive highlight offering immediately. ‘The Plague Carrier’ uses pounding drumming and stylish technically-precise riffing to lead through the steady, mid-tempo thumping pace that features plenty of melodic flurries to offset the steady pounding riff-work swirling along into the final half for an enjoyable effort. ‘Rat King’ features tight, immediate riff-work and thumping dexterous drumming keeping a fine mid-tempo pace with plenty of steady swirling melodic thrashing patterns swirling along into the frantic stylish riffing and dexterous patterns along the steady mid-tempo finale for a decent enough effort. ‘Morbid Existence’ uses a thumping mid-tempo series of swirling riff-work and pounding drumming that holds a steady pace with the frantic interludes bringing the fiery melodies along into the rather dynamic choppy rhythms pounding along to the up-tempo pace into the solo section and on through the final half for a rather enjoyable if unspectacular offering. ‘Spiritual Deception’ immediately blasts through swirling razor-wire riffing and dexterous drumming that keeps the tight melodic rhythms running along into the fine breakdowns holding the melodies through the frantic series of buzzing riff-work following the tight leads into the melancholic finale for a rather enjoyable effort.

The second half does come off a little better in regards to some better songs overall. ‘Where Darkness Dwells’ uses a series of tight and blistering riffing with plenty of heavy thumping rhythms and dexterous drumming with frantic, fiery melodic leads running along to the mid-tempo speed-drenched rhythms that hold the tight riffing into the solo section and on through the charging final half for a strong effort overall. ‘I Am God’ features a tight, thumping build-up intro into a series of explosive patterns racing along at frantic stuttering tempos letting the steady riffing thrash along to the steady patterns leading into the strong melodic leads as the frenzied patterns hold out into the tight finale for another strong track. ‘Failure’ takes strong swirling riff-work chugging along with utterly relentless double-bass blasts and tight crunchy riff-work carrying a strong series of melodic rhythms running along through the strong series of twisting leads in the solo section and carrying on through the final half for a really impressive highlight. ‘Dawn of Demise’ utilizes raging swirling riff-work and blistering drumming through a frenzied pace with a steady series of mid-tempo pounding drumming and plenty of crunchy razor-wire patterns leading along through the choppy thrash patterns full of crunchy riff-work into the finale for a decent enough effort. Album-closer ‘The Inevitable End’ uses crunchy riffing alongside frantic drumming and plenty of razor-wire rhythms keeping the steady mid-tempo pace along throughout the steady series of intense riff-work with plenty of sterling razor-wire patterns leading into the dexterous drumming that carries along the final half for an enjoyable enough lasting impression.

Though nothing here is really all that innovative or original, there’s a noticeable enthusiasm with regard to how this comes off that makes this old-school throwback far more compelling than it really needs to be and makes this an ideal choice for the old-guard for Swedish-flavored thrash or thrash in general.

Score: 84/100

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Behind the Shadows - Raising Hell

Artist: Behind the Shadows
Release Title: Raising Hell
Year: 2016
Label: Visionaire Records
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
1. Raising Hell
2. Give Me Your Soul
3. Holy Lie
4. Zombie Flesh Eaters
5. The Shadow Of Death
6. Bloody Paradise

The second full-length from Greek power metallers Behind the Shadows is a rather troubling and somewhat problematic release that potentially could’ve been quite fun. The band’s basis for using tight, stylish riffing with a large influx of groove patterns makes for a decent base that comes off nicely here at times, especially alongside the faster tempos and paces from the simple-yet-pounding drum-work featured and the added symphonics on display. That said, there’s a few problems featured here in this one that does manage to hold it down. The main issue here is that the majority of the tracks are merely decent if not wholly uninteresting, tending to feature bland patterns and arrangements without much if any really exciting elements here which is due to the crippling nature of the simplistic style of the tracks. This particular genre is really keen on grandiose and bombastic patterns, and yet this here is stripped down to the point of not really featuring anything normally associated with the genre, making for a few decent moments spread out through the tracks which are more bland than anything else. That ties into the other big problem here, with the album being so short that it really can’t bring in too many other elements to spice this material up with it being so quick that there’s little opportunity it can really utilize to make up for those bland elements. It does have a few parts that work, but by and large this one isn’t all that great.

The tracks here for the most part are real hit-or-miss. Opener ‘Raising Hell’ features a simple, droning series of mid-tempo riffing with plenty of simple drumming alongside the plodding rhythms as the later kick-off into far more energetic riffing still manages to keep the somewhat plodding tempos leading into the solo section and keeping into the final half for a decent enough opener. ‘Give Me Your Soul’ uses a simple series of swirling keyboards running alongside pounding groove rhythms in the riff-work that continues along a jaunty mid-tempo series of rhythms with the simplistic driving rhythms bringing the discordant patterns into the finale for another decent effort. ‘Holy Lie’ immediately kicks into rousing groove riffing with fiery keyboards and dynamic drumming before settling on a decent mid-tempo pace with stuttering drumming and plodding rhythms churning along through the swarming riffing within the solo section and into the final half for easily the highlight of the album. ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’ features swirling mid-tempo rhythms that quickly turns into a stylish plodding mid-tempo series of grandiose riffing and pounding energetic drumming that continually keeps a steady pace through the hard-hitting series of rhythms leading through the finale for another rather enjoyable effort. ‘The Shadow Of Death’ takes simplistic symphonic keyboards and sparse riff-work to work through a plodding pace with a series of swarming patterns that mix with the fine drumming into a more energetic pace as the energy kicks up into the final half for a decent enough effort. Finally, album-closer ‘Bloody Paradise’ uses light droning symphonics before turning into a feral series of raging riff-work and pounding, energetic drumming keeping the intensity driving along the more intense riff-work leading on through the symphonic-led final half for a somewhat decent lasting impression.

With more sizeable and noticeable flaws here to a few somewhat negligible positives really manages to stick out here for this one not being all that remarkable or truly worthwhile, leaving this one mainly only for those die-hard aficionados of the style or fans of the band’s past catalog for the most part.

Score; 45/100

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Rebaelliun - The Hell's Decrees

Artist: Rebaelliun
Release Title: The Hell's Decrees
Year: 2016
Label: Hammerheart Records
Genre: Old-School Death Metal
1. Affronting the Gods
2. Legion
3. The Path of the Wolf
4. Fire and Brimstone
5. Dawn of Mayhem
6. Rebaelliun
7. Crush the Cross
8. Anarchy (The Hell's Decrees Manifesto)

The third full-length from Brazilian death metal horde Rebaelliun ultimately shows that their decade-plus long disbanding hasn’t slowed them down as they pick up right where they once left off. This has the band’s trademark sound and style dripping all over this release, running the full gamut of technical and brutal riffing here with blistering displays of tightly-wound rhythms charging along into ravenous speed-drenched patterns that are running along through rather impressive tempos allowing for the various changes and tight arrangements that have always been present throughout their sound. Generating that speed with these kinds of dizzying riffing creating the different sections filled with steady mid-tempo paces or blazing along through the intense barnburners makes for a fun time here as that type of attack was prevalent in their sound from the beginning and it’s still as crushing and heavy as it was. Added along with their dynamic blasting drum-attack that piles on the blasts and choppy, up-tempo patterns that matches the generous speed anthems here it makes for a wholly pleasing and cohesive effort that still sounds like the group hasn’t lost a step at all. This ends up being the one minor misstep here in that all the album does is reaffirm what the band was all about from the beginning with this one running through all the motions of their previous attacks without much deviation, and considering the overall brevity of the album that leaves this with a feeling of wanting more out of it, but in the end this is a negligible flaw that shouldn’t hold it back too much.

The first half reintroduces the band in grand style. Opener ‘Affronting the Gods’ features blistering riffing and dynamic blasting drumming through tight, technical rhythms with plenty of frantic rhythms carrying the intense tempos along with plenty of battering drumming keeping the swirling riff-work along through the fiery solo section and keeping the tempo into the finale for a strong, impressive highlight. ‘Legion’ uses deep, crunchy riff-work and frantic, blasting drumming keeping the intensity blazing along through the chaotic, spastic leads and urgent rhythms throughout the blazing, up-tempo series of technical patterns following the chaotic solo section as the tight patterns continue into the final half for another explosive and blistering track. ‘The Path of the Wolf’ uses immediate blasting drumming and sharp, technical riff-work blazing along to utterly frantic and up-tempo rhythms holding the tight technically-charged patterns along throughout the sprawling mid-tempo solo section before bringing the intensity and blazing through the finale for a great highlight. ‘Fire and Brimstone’ features an extended noise collage intro before turning into a tight, steady mid-tempo gallop with technical riffing and dexterous, pounding drumming while the droning, surging riff-work carries the mid-tempo patterns along throughout the steady final half for a decent effort held back mostly for the lack of speed.

The second half keeps that momentum going rather nicely. ‘Dawn of Mayhem’ utilizes immediate and blistering riffing alongside blistering, blasting drumming and pounding rhythms charging along through frantic tempos with stylish mid-tempo melodies slowing down the speed leading into the solo section as the technically-challenging riffing carries the energy throughout the finale for another high-quality effort. ‘Rebaelliun’ takes stylish mid-tempo riff-work and technical chugging rhythms through sprawling mid-tempo paces with plenty of urgent rhythms throughout the mid-tempo pace as the strong leads continue carrying the steady pace through the solo section and on through the steady rhythms in the final half for a solid, enjoyable effort. ‘Crush the Cross’ features heavy, thumping rhythms and dexterous, complex drumming turning into a frantic, up-tempo series of thunderous patterns carrying the tight riff-work and intense blasting drumming along the surging rhythms full of frantic, speed-drenched patterns through the solo section and on into the finale for another strong overall highlight. Lastly, album-closer ‘Anarchy (The Hell's Decrees Manifesto)’ uses blistering drum-blasts and tight, frantic riffing through an intense series of blazing mid-tempo rhythms full of dynamic technical riffing as the blasting drumming brings the up-tempo intensity back through the solo section and on through the final half for an explosive and enjoyable finishing touch here.

While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to these venerable and well-missed legends, the fact that it still sounds so much like the bands’ heyday and hasn’t missed a step attack-wise makes this a wholly worthwhile investment for fans itching to see their assault continue or even fans of the overall style.

Score: 96/100

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Enthrallment (Bul) - Eugenic Worms

Artist: Enthrallment (Bul)
Release Title: Eugenic Worms
Year: 2015
Label: Rebirth the Metal Productions
Genre: Brutal Death/Grind
1. Deserved Fears
2. Few Are Those Who Find It
3. Last Judgment Waltz
4. Totally Dismembered
5. Defame the Incarnation
6. Inspired Lunatic
7. Path to Silence
8. Nature Dose Not Allow Doubling
9. Enslaved by Your Own Seed

The fifth full-length from Bulgarian death metallers Enthrallment continues their assault of grind-laced brutality and bludgeoning musicianship into a tight and enjoyable release. Keeping in fine form with how the band has been since the beginning, this here is basically a combination of low-slung churning death metal rhythms laced with tight grindcore-laced rhythms. It’s a fine, appealing mixture full of blasting rhythms and furious bursts of speed, generating the kind of intensity and flaying rhythm-work expected mixing these styles together. Though the rumbling rhythms here do tend to come off in more mid-tempo paces than would be expected here, there’s an ease with which they fire off the dexterous soloing and lead-work on the album which is a decided highlight.  Added together with the blasting drumming and there’s a solid, deep-set base at work here with how it manages to generate that style of brutal death metal and slight grind influences. Still, there’s one major piece running throughout the work here that does tend to hold this one back. As already mentioned, this one tends to stick in the mid-tempo more often than really letting the grind rhythm really let loose, it does tend to come off feeling restrained and held back. On the whole, there’s always the sense that they really could’ve gone further with how they go about the mid-tempo arrangements here that really don’t operate at their most expressive or dynamic, instead feeling more like they’re operating under general rhythms for what’s expected of the genre rather than go through their own distinctive touch. It’s not much of a real problem on several tracks but this does crop enough.

The first half is a solid example of what’s on offer here. Opener ‘Deserved Fears’ blasts through intensive riffing and dynamic drumming with tight patterns offering plenty of full-speed twists and turns along through the churning riff-work leading along through the grinding chugging and frantic blasting drumming into the solo section and on through the charging finale for a great opening impression. ‘Few Are Those Who Find It’ uses a faded noise intro before turning into a series of grinding, chunky riff-work and steady, mid-tempo paces keeping a steady drive into the clanky rhythms and blasting drumming twisting along through the fiery solo section and on into the extended churning final half for an overall enjoyable effort. ‘Last Judgment Waltz’ features funky bass-lines and tight clanging drumming settling into a light blasting series of riffing with plenty of steady grinding riffing leading into the rattling drumming and rather furious rhythms keeping the mid-paced intensity through the grinding patterns in the finale for a rather strong effort overall. ‘Totally Dismembered’ uses rattling drumming and tight, grinding riffing riff-work with steady mid-tempo paces keeping the steady rhythms twisting alongside the dynamic drum-work as the grinding patterns lead into the dynamic, fiery solo section and keeping alongside the chugging mid-tempo leads in the final half for another solid effort. ‘Defame the Incarnation’ uses grinding patterns and rather intense drum-work blasting along through a frantic series of mid-tempo riff-work grinding along with tight, dynamic rhythms along through the frantic solo section and carrying the intensity through the finale for an enjoyable enough track.

The second half continues on with the work on offer here. ‘Inspired Lunatic’ features tight, intense grinding riff-work and plenty of blasting drumming through a fine mid-tempo pace loaded with tightly-wound patterns and plenty of frantic rhythms rumbling along through the grinding tempos leading into the solo section and keeping the rumbling riffing throughout the final half for a solid effort. ‘Path to Silence’ takes rumbling grinding patterns and blasting drumming running along through toughened mid-tempo patterns holding the tight, frantic rhythms along through the grind-laced patterns and full-on intensity of the fiery solo section leading through the fine finale for a fun overall highlight. The instrumental ‘Nature Does Not Allow Doubling’ uses light acoustic work and soft bass-lines for a light, relaxing air as it leads into album-closer ‘Enslaved by Your Own Seed’ which uses tight rhythms and rather intense patterns holding the tight grinding riff-work along through the dynamic leads that flows through the frantic mid-tempo rumbling rhythms as the main solo section leads into the extended instrumental final half for an enjoyable lasting impression.

While it’s not overtly original or dynamically full of innovation, this is still a solid, enjoyable slab of churning death metal that stays the course with the bands’ output and in the end remains a solid choice mainly for fans of the band or the genre for the most part while others will likely find it disposable more than anything.

Score: 83/100

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Hate Fusion - Filth

Artist: Hate Fusion
Release Title: Filth
Year: 2015
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
1. Torture Techniques
2. Under
3. Catharsis
4. The Hunter
5. Conquer Your Fears
6. Rolling Dick
7. Death Bringer
8. Fields of Blood
9. The Darkest Angel
10. Centuries of Aggression

The debut effort from Argentine melodic death metallers Hate Fusion isn’t really out to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the genre but still manages quite a decent showing in the style regardless. This here is pretty straightforward and simplistic melodically-styled death metal which is anchored rather nicely by the heavy chugging riff-work that takes the form of most modern melodic death metal which features that style. For the most part, this keeps the material firmly in the mid-tempo charge with the occasional burst into faster tempos with the influx of cleaner riff-work that is further augmented rather well with the addition of clean crooning in select passages while the harsher rasp takes on the majority of the work that doesn’t overdo a tactic to keep it’s impact solidly in place while still holding true to the tenets of the style and genre. As expected, the faster tempos kick the energy up even with some solid tempos and pacing on display elsewhere here with the mid-tempo charges, and on the whole this one comes off with a sense of professionalism that’s very enticing and rewarding. Still, there’s one main running problem throughout this one in that it’s rather fundamental and unoriginal, tending to play by the rules and convictions of the genre without really doing anything all that dynamic or unique with it. It’s all competence without originality, and that can tend to wear thin at times when this one starts going along at the second half when it’s simply doing the same thing without much difference in style or attack.

The first half here is a solid and enjoyable part of this one. Opener ‘Torture Techniques’ utilizes strong choppy rhythms and steady, straightforward drumming keeping the whirling melodic leads running alongside the chugging grooves and stylish up-tempo rhythms that bring the clean vocals into the urgent solo section and on through the final half for a solid opening impression. ‘Under’ offers a plodding melodic intro that settles into a steady, simplistic chug with swirling melodic leads alongside simplistic patterns before rattling along to a dramatically more urgent series of rhythms with the energetic riffing carrying the tight rhythms into the solo section and on through the finale for another highly enjoyable effort. ‘Catharsis’ uses simple melodic chugging and mid-tempo drumming carrying along a series of tight swirling leads driving along through the steady patterns with plenty of tight chugging patterns with the melodic leads over the buzzing mid-tempo solo section and keeping the tight rhythms throughout the urgent final half for a solid highlight effort. ‘The Hunter’ immediately blasts through intense drumming and urgent, up-tempo chugging riff-work keeping the steady mid-tempo rhythms along throughout the tight thrashing patterns alongside melodic leads with plenty of pounding, chaotic drumming leading into the solo section and chugging along into the finale for another solid track. ‘Conquer Your Fears’ takes simplistic drumming and tight charging rhythmic chugging alongside simplistic patterns with the choppy drumming holding the melodic leads into the intense drumming patterns and urgent rhythms leading along the solo section and keeping the up-tempo energy through the final half for a decent enough effort.

Though down a minor step, the second half still has a lot to like overall here. ‘Rolling Dick’ takes a simplistic and straightforward mid-tempo plodding riff with steady drumming before kicking into a higher gear with more urgent riff-work and kinetic pounding drumming that continues to hold the simplistic rhythms along throughout the finale for a decent if unspectacular offering. ‘Death Bringer’ offers a charging series of melodic chugging riff-work and tight pounding drumming letting the melodic leads hold the simple melodic rhythms into the plodding mid-section as the stylish chugging riff-work keeps the energetic patterns and pounding drumming on through the swirling final half for a stronger and more impressive highlight. ‘Fields of Blood’ uses a simple charging riff with plenty of tight melodic leads running alongside the pounding drumming with a strong series of chugging rhythms keeping the mid-tempo pace along at a steady pace with the furious drumming leading the urgent tempos through the melodic solo section and on into the finale for another impressive showing. ‘The Darkest Angel’ features straightforward and simplistic riffing with pounding drumming carrying along a charging up-tempo urgent pace with a stylish series of melodic leads keeping the intensity down throughout the mid-section as the choppy rhythms and up-tempo drumming carry on through the final half for another strong effort. Album-closer ‘Centuries of Aggression’ utilizes a swirling series of melodic leads with straightforward riffing and plenty of dynamic drumming keeping the up-tempo pace balanced with the tight chugging rhythms and pounding drumming running along to the series of strong patterns along throughout the pounding rhythms into the solo section and along throughout the finale for an enjoyable lasting impression here.

Though this here isn’t the most original of efforts into this particular field, it’s still competent enough and features enough points to like that the progress of the band in the future is going to be fun to watch especially for devout melodic death metal fanatics as well as those curious about other South American scenes not influenced by the extreme end of the spectrum.

Score: 82/100

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Necronomicon (Ca) - Advent of the Human God

Artist: Necronomicon (Ca)
Release Title: Advent of the Human God
Year: 2016
Label: Season of Mist
Genre: Death/Black Metal
1. The Descent
2. Advent of the Human God
3. The Golden Gods
4. Okkultis Trinity
5. Unification of the Pillars
6. Crown of Thorns
7. The Fjord
8. Gaia
9. I (Bringer Of Light)
10. Innocence and Wrath (Celtic Frost cover)
11. Alchemy of the Avatar

The fifth album from Canadian death/black metallers Necronomicon shows that their rigid schedule of releases is certainly working for them as this is perhaps their best effort yet. From the onset this here is set-up mostly around their dynamic mixture of blackened death metal that’s been at the forefront of their sound for so long. Taking the deep churning rhythms and frantic blasting patterns normally associated with more death metal efforts while offering technically-challenging rhythms to run alongside them, it usually gives this a wholly dynamic and appealing taste before it adds on the addition of the swirling tremolo patterns to add on a rather impressive black metal aesthetic against the tight rhythms. With all that riff-work being quite enjoyable, it’s the nicely-handled usage of the cinematic-sounding keyboards peppered throughout the tracks as this one doesn’t relying heavily on them at all, keeping them to select sections or omitted altogether which is highly enjoyable here and keeps this running along very well. The main problem with all of this is the fact that there’s just no real variation here with this one tending to sound quite similar to each other at times as this one just tends to go through rather route and familiar patterns without really changing up all that often except to offer some minor symphonic accents. That’s a minor note against this one which does tend to hold it back, as well as the constant instrumental interludes that pop up here that really hurts the feel and pacing here. These here are what hold this one down slightly.

The first half here sets this one up incredibly well. Instrumental intro ‘The Descent’ features grandiose symphonic keyboards and choirs leading through dramatic build-up patterns leading directly into the title track carrying the grandiose symphonics alongside blistering drumming and tight, ravenous riff-work swirling through tremolo-pitched rhythms as the clanging symphonic keyboards continually dive through surging tempos that carries along into the majestic finale for a wholly impressive opening offering. ‘The Golden Gods’ whips through utterly pounding drumming and unrelenting technically-challenging tremolo riff-work marching along at a feverish pace with plenty of intense rhythms twisting along through the driving riff-work and bludgeoning drumming throughout the final half for another impressive highlight. The instrumental interlude ‘Okkultis Trinity’ offers extended cinematic keyboard samples and noise that builds a majestic vibe with the choirs into ‘Unification of the Pillars’ as the frenzied riffing and crashing drumming blast into a fervent, blistering tempo with the blast-beats bringing the chaotic patterns along into the scorching up-tempo riff-work buzzing along with dynamic stuttering rhythms and epic keyboards washing along into the final half for a stand-out track. ‘Crown of Thorns’ an epic symphonic chorus leads into deep, charging riff-work with blackened melodies and tight, frenzied drumming blasting throughout the frenetic technical riff-work with the swirling rhythms and darker atmospheres keeping the frantic patterns along through the symphonic finale for another strong track.

The second half here is much like the first half overall. ‘The Fjord’ uses a light acoustic intro with plenty of rolling drumming and deep churning riff-work holding the steady pace as the added symphonic keyboards add a majestic quality to the simplistic riffing that kicks into higher gear in the solo section leading through the final half for an enjoyable and more laid-back effort. The interlude ‘Gaia’ features a light rumbling noise and haunting keyboards that leave a majestic air that leads into ‘I (Bringer of Light)’ that blazes through tight, rumbling drumming and mid-tempo tremolo riffing through frantic paces keeps the tight rhythms alongside the brimstone-fueled riff-work taking the tight thumping drumming in lockstep with the mid-tempo rhythms as the frantic buzzing riffing leads through the finale for another overall strong effort. Their Celtic Frost cover ‘Innocence And Wrath’ offers bombastic keyboards and pounding rhythms running along the plodding pace, yet doesn’t capture the real tone of the original and really doesn’t serve much of a purpose being there. Album-closer ‘Alchemy of the Avatar’ brings tight, swirling tremolo riffing and blistering drumming marching along at a frantic pace as the dynamic drumming brings along the thunderous blasting with plenty of tight, steady riff-work with the symphonics leading into the bombastic rhythms of the steady final half for a strong lasting note.

Though this one does tend to run into overly familiar patterns from their past and the frequent interludes can disrupt the flow somewhat, this is still a wholly strong and impactful collection of tracks that stands as their best effort yet and makes for an easy pick for fans of the band or this style as a whole.

Score: 88/100

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Murder Spree - Time to Rise Up

Artist: Murder Spree
Release Title: Time to Rise Up
Label: Killerpool Records
Year: 2015
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. W.O.T./Fading Away
2. No Rest for the Wicked
3. Six-Pack Tsunami Attack
4. Cerveza on the beach
5. A New Hope
6. Hipster vs THRASHER
7. False
8. Time to Rise Up

The debut full-length from Italian thrashers Murder Spree gets this going with a lot of rather intriguing elements to get this one going nicely. Essentially taking the crossover route in terms of offering straightforward, to-the-point riffing full of ravenous and intense patterns, there’s a wholly enjoyable and intriguing nature here to the tight rhythms found on display throughout here manages to bring out that form of work throughout here. From the frantic riffing and the dynamic,blistering full-throttle paces found here give that series of riffing all the more impressive attributes here with giving this the kind of reckless high-speed attitude needed here as well which really helps this one considerably make for a truly exciting and enjoyable that produces a competent and enjoyable enough attack here. While that makes this quite fun, in the end it also ends up making the album so tight and condensed that there’s a sense of brevity here where the music doesn’t tend to sit well as a full-length effort and comes off feeling quite a bit like a shorter release than it really is. The razor-wire riffing also leads into this factor somewhat by keeping the songs so brief and dense that it really doesn’t offer up the chance of really getting to the more sprawling rhythms, though overall it doesn’t tend to affect the songs as much as the other issue.

The first half here is quite a solid start to this one. Intro ‘W.O.T./Fading Away’ uses a sampled movie speech that turns into a tight, raging full-throttle series of blasting rhythms and pounding drumming full of tight riff-work thumping along with the frantic rhythms full of up-tempo riffing keeping this going through the charging final half for an exciting opener.‘No Rest for the Wicked’ features tight, twisted riff-work and thumping mid-tempo speed metal rhythms driving along the frantic, energetic riffing with plenty of non-stop driving patterns into the solo section and driving through the frantic finale for an enjoyable shorter burst of thrash. ‘Six-Pack Tsunami Attack’ blasts through intense rhythms and plenty of pounding drumming carrying the frantic rhythms along through the ravenous paces with plenty of vicious riffing and pounding drumming taking the steady, speed-driven rhythms through the solo section final half for a molten, blistering thrash highlight. ‘Cerveza on the Beach’ uses a rocking series of twisting razor-wire riffing with a steady mid-tempo groove with plenty of tight, fiery riffing bringing the swirling rhythms along quite well with the intensity brought back into the solo section finale for another strong effort.

The second half is another overall strong-enough part of the album. ‘A New Hope’ features strong swirling riff-work and tight rhythms blasting through the tight frantic rhythms blasting the utterly relentless drumming blasts through the strong series of stuttering, up-tempo patterns leading into the final half for an enjoyable highlight offering. ‘Hipster vs THRASHER’ uses a buzzing bass-line intro with a steady stream of swirling crossover riff-work blazing through the frantic paces with the furious volley of intense riffing keeping the high-flying pace on-track throughout the charging final half for a blistering effort overall. ‘False’ takes strong build-up riff-work and a decidedly strong series of thrashing rhythms with plenty of furious drumming blasting throughout the strong up-tempo paces keeping the rumbling frantic paces throughout into the ravenous finale for an overall quite enjoyable effort. Lastly, the title track features strong immediate riff-work with plenty of tight mid-tempo rhythms that soon explode into frantic blasting with a strong, steady stream of twisting riffing alongside the tight drumming carrying the blistering rhythms through the solo section and into the final half for an enjoyable ending note here.

For the most part this one was enjoyable enough with only the heightened sense of brevity holding it back as there’s still more than enough positives here to make this one worthwhile for fans of the more vicious and intense thrash acts out in the scene or even those tired of yet another retro/throwback act.

Score: 86/100

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sublime Eyes - Sermons and Blindfolds

Artist: Sublime Eyes
Release Title: Sermons and Blindfolds
Year: 2015
Label: WormHoleDeath Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
1. Greedy Hands
2. Ten Stones
3. Destroyer
4. Shellshocked
5. Your Time Is Done
6. No Regrets
7. We Are Chaos
8. It All Disappeared

The second album from Norwegian melodic death metallers Sublime Eyes offers a rather enjoyable if slightly formulaic brandishing of the genre throughout here. The riff-work on display here is mostly determining of that kind of melodic fire throughout here by offering up a strong series of heavy traditional-styled rhythms that are quite a bit heavier and more dynamic than would be expected from most melodic death metal outfits that then allows the melodic flurries to be sprinkled along for maximum impact. Putting alongside some nice thrashing drum-work alongside that gives this another strong element at play with the more frantic, up-tempo tracks here letting the fiery melodic leads even more room to breathe quite nicely here and generate some overall impressive moments here when this one lets it rip. Though this is all highly enjoyable and often responsible for some great tracks, there’s one overriding problem running throughout here in that the tracks just don’t really offer much variation to stand out from the crowd. However hard-hitting it may be and however infectious it features with the riff-work, this is still a pretty straightforward release that doesn’t really change the wheel or go for any kind of experimentation as the album is a simple, straightforward release played nicely enough and with conviction but doesn’t really generate anything new overall.

Overall this one doesn’t have all that much wrong in the first half. Opener ‘Greedy Hands’ slowly works into a sweeping melodic bent utilizing pounding drumming and up-tempo swirling tremolo patterns throughout the tight, chugging melodic leads running alongside the thumping rhythms holding the blazing leads thumping along to the heavy riffing in the final half for a strong, impressive opener. ‘Ten Stones’ features pounding drumming and swirling tremolo riff-work into a rousing, energetic series of thrashing rhythms and dexterous drum-work turning through a strong series of mid-tempo chugging rhythms leading into the swirling solo section and continuing the rousing energy into the finale for another enjoyable effort. ‘Destroyer’ utilizes sweeping melodies and churning rhythms with pounding drumming through a rather fiery series of mid-tempo patterns keeping the pounding drumming alongside the rumbling series of riffing through the solo section and into the fiery melodic final half for a decent enough effort. ‘Shellshocked’ utilizes deep, churning riffing alongside dexterous drumming and light melodic leads keeping the tightly-wound riffing along through the stuttering rhythms as the explosive swirling melodies and thrashing drumming carry on through the blasting finale for a solid and enjoyable offering.

The second half is more of the same and offers a lot to like. ‘Your Time Is Done’ uses a gradual build intro with discordant riffs leading into the tight, pounding drumming and urgent riff-work featuring plenty of light melodies with the rather dynamic, dexterous drumming holding the stuttering rhythms alongside the blasting final half for another enjoyable effort. ‘No Regrets’ takes thumping rhythms and pounding drumming alongside the scorching melodic leads with the dexterous thumping rhythms keeping the urgency and up-tempo runs running alongside the dynamic pounding drumming through the solo section and on through the finale for a solid highlight. ‘We Are Chaos’ flows through a series of tight, thunderous rhythms and plenty of churning riff-work with the impressive mid-tempo rhythms keeping this churning along through the pounding drumming and steady melodic flurries along the thumping rhythms of the final half for another highly enjoyable effort. Finally, album-closer ‘It All Disappeared’ takes thumping rhythms and blasting drumming full of pounding rhythms with the dynamic melodies churning along through the steady series of thumping rhythms while taking the melodic lead along through the swirling solo section and keeping the rousing melodies throughout the finale for a great lasting impression.

While it doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel when it comes to the rather healthy and vibrant melodic death metal scene, there’s enough firepower and melodic tendencies on display to definitely make this not only a growing contender in the scene to come but also a hard-hitting act that should appeal to those with more traditional flavorings to ease into very nicely.

Score: 88/100

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Decrepit Soul - The Coming of War!!

Artist: Decrepit Soul
Release Title: The Coming of War!!
Year: 2016
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Genre: Black/Death Metal
1. Awaken
2. Feral Howling Winds
3. The Coming of War
4. Perished in Flames
5. Piscatorial Death
6. Black Goats Breath
7. Storm of Steel

The second full-length from Aussie war metallers Decrepit Soul shows that the quick turnaround between albums isn’t a sap on their creativity but rather their general approach. This one here is still filthy, ravenous war metal which features that dirty blackened death metal approach, firing off utterly frenetic swirling tremolo riffing at such ferocious speeds it blends into a dirty buzz-like blur such is the speed they play these arrangements. Augmented really nicely with the addition of a solid mid-tempo death-metal lurch that settles very nicely into an appropriately mid-range sprawling-style patterns for what could be considered melodic interludes off-setting the tight, furious main rhythms on display which are still far more dominant on the album. With this all blazing alongside the utterly pummeling drumming that keeps this one charging along the album creates a truly dirty, blasphemous sound amidst the chaos. This one isn’t really all that varied or differential in it’s approach as there’s just so little work here with the short running time really not affording this one the opportunity to branch out or delivery some variety beyond that mid-tempo churn. Utilizing such an abbreviated set-list here doesn’t really allow for much chance to do much beyond infernal blasting, which works nicely but can make this somewhat one-dimensional at times.

The first half here sets this one up incredibly well. Opener ‘Awaken’ uses a sampled approaching-storm intro that turns into ravenous drumming and blasting, tightly-wound rhythms keeping the frenetic tremolo riffing scalding along through the savage tempo changes as the furious paces gives way to a mid-tempo sprawl leading back into the furious pounding in the final half for an impressive opening effort. ‘Feral Howling Winds’ features rattling tremolo riffing and steady drumming turning into a frantic burst of furious blasting and tight, intense rhythms carrying the swirling rhythms along into ravenous buzzing patterns leading into the swarming riff-work and intense blasting in the final half for a stellar highlight. The title track utilizes frenetic blasting drumming and swirling tremolo riffing into a frantic, intense blast full of blistering up-tempo paces carrying the buzzing tremolo riff-work alongside the blistering drumming as the screeching leads whip through the extended-noise finale for an impressive and dynamic if one-note offering. ‘Perished in Flames’ uses a slow-building intro with plenty of melodic rhythms through a fine mid-tempo buzzing riff-work leading into the tight, furious blasting and swirling tremolo rhythms firing through scalding tempos with frantic leads into the solo section and into the relaxing final half for a solid, enjoyable effort.

The second half carries the quality of this incredibly well. ‘Piscatorial Death’ takes the storm-cloud intro before gradually coming into the frantic, furious blasting with charging patterns and plenty of swirling tremolo riffing leading along through the sprawling mid-tempo sections filled with the tight rhythms along the finale for another solid track. ‘Black Goats Breath’ uses immediate blasting drumming and steady mid-tempo rhythms running along to the swirling tremolo patterns along the chaotic drumming with the frantic riffing leading through the tight leads with the buzzing patterns holding the intensity throughout the final half for a solid highlight. Lastly, album-closer ‘Storm of Steel’ features an extended melancholic intro with the change-over into tight blasting drumming and furious mid-tempo rhythms holding the tight, frantic patterns along with furious buzzing tremolo riff-work and blasting drumming running through the steady frenetic paces into the extended fade-out finale for an explosive and charging lasting impression.

Though there’s a lot to like here from a songwriting front about this effort, the fact that there’s just not a whole lot of actual songs on offer does come through and bite this one enough that it really seems more for fans of this bestial form of black/death or war metal in general.

Score:86 /100

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Devolted - Broken Kings EP

Artist: Devolted
Release Title: Broken Kings EP
Year: 2016
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Heavy/Thrash 'n Roll
1. My Monster
2. Dogs of War
3. God of Light
4. Broken Kings

The second EP from Irish metallers Devolted offers up some rather pleasing moments here with a rather varied attack that works more often than not. Built around a mainly thrash-inspired base where they tend to get utilized more playing hard rock-styled rhythms when mixed with the rest of the rhythms on display, this builds a maddeningly inconsistent approach here where there’s a multitude of rhythms and tempos throughout each track that really stands out against the others. Going from a thumping mid-tempo hard rock outing laced alongside more hard-edged thrashing leaves a rather weird and unimpressive mixture that comes off with a rather haphazard and disjointed feel. There’s a sense of it coming together and trying to be a cohesive sound as the bands’ trying to spread their influences out here with releases like this that try to hone that out to a point, and there’s moments where this works but overall it’s still a little haphazard.

The tracks featured here aren’t all that bad and have some solid points at times. Opener ‘My Monster’ takes sharp, rattling riff-work and tight drumming that brings about a tight, sturdy mid-tempo pace with rocking rhythms along the churning grooves of the main rhythms holding the sluggish patterns along into the fiery solo section and holding on through the final half for a solid opening effort. ‘Dogs of War’ uses thumping, heavy thrashing rhythms and dynamic churning riff-work that turns into a raucous up-tempo series of riffing and dynamic drumming that holds the fiery energetic riffing along through the stuttering mid-tempo grooves churning along through the raucous finale for another rather enjoyable highlight. ‘God of Light’ features raucous rocking riff-work and plenty of charging drumming leading into the swirling rock riff-work leading along through the kick into far more energetic thrashing that merges nicely with the rocking patterns leading along throughout the final half for a decent enough effort. Lastly, the title track goes through a slow-building intro with tight, pounding drumming and rather fine riffing leading through the more up-tempo rocking rhythms with a fine series of up-tempo leads running into the pounding drumming throughout the fiery solo section and into the finale for another rather enjoyable effort that ends this on a nice note.

Though there’s a few minor stumbling blocks along the way here with it’s rather chaotic sound, there’s some really enjoyable moments here where this one gets enough working for it that it really remains a viable choice for those who want a little something different from the normal thrash worlds.

Score: 70/100

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Arkham Witch - Get Thothed Vol. II EP

Artist: Arkham Witch
Release Title: Get Thothed Vol. II EP
Year: 2016
Label: Metal-on-Metal Records
Genre: Heavy/Doom Metal
1. Love the Lamp
2. Sunshine
3. Ancient Fire
4. Serpentine
5. Blood on Satan's Claw

The new EP from UK heavy/doom metallers Arkham Witch follows along the conventions of their previous attempt at this style rather nicely which makes for a really fun time. This is still very much in their woven style of classic rock riffs and proto-metal rhythms that merge together with plodding doom paces and psychedelic-fueled riff-work into a stellar and overall dynamic mixture which allows for the music to really weave through several varied styles. Rocking along at a stellar mid-tempo groove with nicely churning rhythms, picking up the tempo with some stylish speed-drenched efforts that sound even faster against the sluggish, heavy-handed paces elsewhere all come together into an eclectic yet still-coherent mix that makes for a truly fun offering that winds throughout the tracks as it makes these seemingly at-odds elements sound perfectly natural within the confines of the dark atmospheres conjured up here, and it’s what really sells this one even with it being mostly cover songs for the most part. That the best track here is their original work does speak somewhat to the remaining tracks even if it all comes together nicely in the end as this one manages to feel like a solid piece of work despite the short running time here.

For the most part the tracks have a lot to like here. Opener ‘Love the Lamp’ immediately opens with a strong rocking riff with bouncy drumming keeping the rocking energy moving along at a steady pace as the change-over into steady, swirling psychedelic-styled rhythms plods along through the stylized solo section before getting back to the rousing up-tempo rhythms rocking along through the final half for a rather enjoyable opening. ‘Sunshine’ uses a tight, hard-hitting rocking pace with plenty of rousing, energetic drumming keeping the steady, straightforward rhythms as the buzzing psychedelic rocking riff-work keeps buzzing along throughout the engaging, energetic solo section as the rocking rhythms continue on through the finale for another decent enough effort. ‘Ancient Fire’ takes rumbling, buzzing rhythms and rocking drum-work settling on a buzzing mid-tempo pace with rumbling patterns leading into a frantic and energetic outburst of stylish riffing and tight pounding drumming carrying along through the rocking solo section and into the hard-charging final half for the album’s clear highlight. ‘Serpentine’ features a hard-rocking mid-tempo rhythm with solid, steady drumming holding the fuzzy, buzzing riff-work along at the rocking pace as the changeover into a steady, rumbling psychedelic-flavored mid-range break before launching back into the frenetic up-tempo finale for a fine and enjoyable effort. Lastly, ‘Blood on Satan's Claw’ features the call-and-response intro before turning into a stylized mid-tempo series of rocking rhythms and pounding drumming that keeps the energetic rhythms bouncing along nicely during the steady mid-tempo solo section and keeping the rocking rhythms along through the final half for a decent lasting impression.

Though there’s a few bum tracks that are decent if decidedly lacking against the others, this one still has enough solid points about it to warrant enough of an inclusion for fans of the bands’ previous works, lovers of Lovecraftian-inspired efforts or simply fans of the style as a whole.

Score: 80/100

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Cadaveric Poison - Cadaveric Poison

Artist: Cadaveric Poison
Release Title: Cadaveric Poison
Year: 2016
Label: Metal-on-Metal Records
Genre: Death/Thrash Metal
1. Cadaveric
2. The Few
3. Rollover
4. Fight for Evil
5. Forfeit the Race
6. Never Put All Your Stones in One Basket
7. Face the Whore
8. Bombs Away
9. Violence Breeds Violence
10. Poison

The self-titled debut from International death/thrash supergroup Cadaveric Poison offers a lot of exceptionally strong work overall that makes them a potential powerhouse in the genre. This here is mostly all about simplistic, straightforward riffing featuring low, deep rhythm patterns creating a dark, heavy atmosphere that permanently dwells over the entire release emanating from the riff-work. There’s a certain dynamic spreading throughout the album as the cause of the straightforward, simplistic patterns keeps this charging along at pretty frantic, strong up-tempo paces that are far more enjoyable when it really lets loose with these arrangements as the heavy thrashing melds together incredibly well with the primitive death metal riff-work. Off-set by the ability to drop into a stellar mid-tempo sprawl that still maintains that evil, dark atmosphere for a sense of variety, this all makes this a wholly enjoyable and cohesive effort which does manage to highlight the one big flaw throughout here. The fact that the material does come off with a cohesive sound that it feels awfully familiar quite quickly here as it goes about doling out it’s attack which rarely deviates from either pattern throughout here. Considering the chance this had to really let loose if it did something about having both an intro and outro that would have provided more chances to deviate somewhat, but overall this one still doesn’t come off that bad with the enjoyment on offer here with how it executes the material/

The first half sets up this one’s work incredibly well. The instrumental intro ‘Cadaveric’ uses a haunting, ominous series of chords setting the stage for proper first-track ‘The Few’ ripping through pounding drumming and simplistic thrashing riff-work through raging tempos with swirling intense rhythms holding the raw, dirty rhythms along through the onslaught of tight riffing and a strong series of thumping, mid-tempo paces into the solo section leading into the raging final half for a spectacular, rousing opening effort. ‘Rollover’ features tight, swirling thrashing riffing and pounding drumming rolling through intense tempos as the series of sprawling, slow-down riffing makes for a fine segue into a rolling, blistering series of thrashing riff-work leading into the solo section and continuing through the blistering finale for another strong effort. ‘Fight for Evil’ immediately takes on thumping mid-tempo charging with infectious riffing and pounding, simplistic drumming thumping along through the steady paces keeping the simplistic rhythms along throughout the solo section and carrying through the steady final half for a truly enjoyable highlight offering. ‘Forfeit the Race’ uses a sprawling series of riffing before settling on thumping drumming and ravenous swirling thrash rhythms carrying the steady riffing along into the dexterous drumming and holding the steady thrashing riffing along through the blistering solo section and continuing through the finale for another solid, enjoyable track.

The second half stumbles a tad but still has a lot to like here. ‘Never Put All Your Stones in One Basket’ features rattling mid-tempo riffing and straightforward drumming running through a fine mid-tempo pace with plenty of rattling rhythms carrying the steady pace along through the steady paces leading into the solo section and carrying through the final half for a decent and solid track. ‘Face the Whore’ takes a steady, sprawling extended lead-in and melodic leads that turns into a rattling swarm of up-tempo thrashing riffing alongside the rattling drumming that continually pounds along to it’s simplistic charging pace into the solo section and on through the blistering finale for a rather dynamic and impressive effort. ‘Bombs Away’ uses a steady fade-in that works through a fine mid-tempo series that keeps the steady, straightforward riffing along through the deep, rattling patterns and plodding drumming that carries the steady rhythms leading into the solo section and keeping the plodding pacing intact through the final half for a still-decent-if-obviously-weakest track on here. ‘Violence Breeds Violence’ immediately blasts through the steady riffing and churning drum-work carrying the straightforward patterns along through the intense patterns leading through the furious riffing thrashing along through the solo section and keeping the intensity raging through the finale for another utterly strong track. Lastly, album-closing instrumental ‘Poison’ takes the sampled noises and ominous build-up into the light fade-out makes for a fine lasting impression as it ends this nicely.

While it does misstep a bit from time-to-time, there’s still a whole lot of enjoyable elements featured here that makes this a wholly worthwhile example of this genre that sounds ripe and ready for fans of the members’ other projects or for those who enjoy this rattling, primitive-sounding death metal variant.

Score: 90/100

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