Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gruesome - Dimensions of Horror EP

Artist: Gruesome
Release Title: Dimensions of Horror EP
Year: 2016
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Old-School Death Metal
1. Forces of Death
2. Raped by Darkness
3. Amputation
4. Hellbound
5. Seven Doors
6. Dimensions of Horror

The second release from US old-school death metallers Gruesome condenses the band's sound and attitude into a shorter attack that carries them into the future quite nicely. Composed as a supergroup with a scene of established and credible musicians with a deep history in the scene, this new EP was released May 20, 2016 on Relapse Records.

Unlike most supergroups in the scene, the band has a clear-cut gimmick that they play around with quite readily here. The band here is openly committed to aping the work of early-period death metal legends Death, which results in the band utilizing the same thrash-inspired rhythms and dark, primitive death metal atmospheres which goes for the sort of utterly simplistic, straightforward riff-work that features the intense thrash-driven rhythms alongside the pounding drumming and it works quite well. There’s an immediacy and energy when it displays that style of darkened, feral intensity reminiscent of those early records with the darkened old-school atmosphere that comes through here and is more than enough to offset those simplistic rhythms. It’s all really enjoyable enough if only hampered by the confines of an EP, tending to end right when it gets going and interesting which saps some of the enjoyment out of the effort since the tracks are really getting quite good at that time, yet overall it’s the only section of the album to really find fault with.

Though this one tends to get quite entertaining here when it comes to the actual content of the album and how close it gets to replicating that raw atmosphere, it’s short running time does run against it enough that there’s really enough here for this one to appeal only to fans of the band or the style.

Score: 83/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Dystonia - World Wide War

Artist: Dystonia
Release Title: World Wide War
Year: 2016
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Starvation
2. No Chance to Return
3. Consumer
4. Justice
5. We Are All Condemned
6. Holocaust
7. Eternal Nuclear Winter
8. Downfall

From their 2010 beginning, Russian thrash/death metal band Dystonia have turned their trade on making a rather nice and appealing mixture of modern-sounding death and thrash metal mixed together. Finally unleashing their debut offering, self-released digitally May 9, 2016, this concept album about the near future of humanity, total war, genocide and a worldwide nuclear winter offers up a strong opening impression.

For the most part the album is pretty simple and straightforward, taking the heavy-hitting thrash rhythms and tight, swirling rhythms along through the rather fun, dynamic paces featured here. The riffing is generally tight, crunchy and just a shade about the chug-laced rhythms favored by a vast majority of modern thrashers that creates a fine mid-tempo charge throughout here that does manage to include a scattered amount of fiery up-tempo segments blistering with fine amounts of raging drumming and a far more overt series of old-school riffing rhythms that allow for some rather dynamic sections buffeted against these more violent, vicious sections elsewhere throughout here. It’s not all that heavily flavored with the death metal rhythms at all and really only adds it into select spurts and starts in the tracks which is where this one seems to slightly stumble in that there’s these minor sections that showcase death metal riff-work or just switch down the tempo into a heavier, tighter series of rhythms that signal their death metal influences yet it does so awkwardly against the thrashing which is clearly far more of a priority in their arrangements and patterns. Due to that, it’s unclear whether this is a cause of their inexperience in being unsure how to properly work those into their music as a whole or just a part of their sound that’ll get rearranged as it goes along their career, but yet overall there’s some rather weak transitions throughout that does crop up from time-to-time. The length might be an issue for some, with only the seven original tracks and then the instrumental outro, but overall it’s not really all that much of a detriment at all.

Though it has some growing pains evident throughout here as there’s signs of inexperience crawling throughout here, it has more than enough signs of competence and youthful aggression that it should be a more-than-adequate effort for those looking for some vicious-sounding modern thrash or simply thrash fanatics in the first place.

Score: 80/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fibra de Acero - En tiempos de guerra

Artist: Fibra de Acero
Release Title: En tiempos de guerra
Year: 2016
Label: Sepulchral Silence
Genre: Heavy/Speed Metal
1. Desert Warriors
2. War Metal
3. Lycans
4. Leyendas
5. Crucifixion
6. Batallas
7. Desert Warrior (studio version)
8. Crucifixion (studio version)

From the Chilean town of Copiapo, heavy/speed metallers Fibra de Acero have been in existence since 2014 but have yet to professionally release anything until now. Their debut release, initially issued independently June 6, 2015 before a June 25 reissue on Sepulchral Silence Records, features six live and two studio renditions of epically-tinged, locally-flavored heavy metal.

The album itself is a mostly straightforward affair, really taking a few rather simplistic touches throughout and weaving them in the course of the music. Rather than tight, swirling speed-metal numbers, instead the riffing here is a lot looser and rawer as befits the mostly-live recording-setting for the material, and there’s a nicely anthemic feel to the music here due to that which manages to get the tracks bouncing along to the mostly simplistic rhythms and sprawling drumming that takes the rhythms along through the rather charging tempos. When it gets a little tighter and delves into the speedier tracks, and especially on the two studio renditions, there’s plenty of fun times with it generating that tight, vicious riffing style and energetic riff-work which is quite more lively than the mostly sluggish patterns featured elsewhere. The ability to tie itself into the local culture with their melodies and arrangements, though, is the main selling point here with it coming across as a really nice touch to include those amongst the more traditional melodies. Still, the fact that the release is comprised of the live material with the studio versions tacked on makes it seem like a slap-shod effort and feels pretty jarring when it could’ve been a more cohesive effort one way or the other. Likewise, the band isn’t the best at adapting the energy quite well with the majority of the tracks pretty plodding and mid-tempo which can be worked out over the future, but otherwise this is still a mostly enjoyable release.

Though there’s some work to be done in terms of effectively managing their energy and intensity throughout their work, there’s still more than enough at play here to make this a mostly engaging effort that will inevitably end up appealing mostly to those who prefer this looser, raw form of South American heavy metal.

Score: 73/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Mortillery - Shapeshifter

Artist: Mortillery
Release Title: Shapeshifter
Year: 2016
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
1. Radiation Sickness
2. Age of Stone
3. Bullet
4. Mantis
5. Black Friday
6. Wendigo
7. At the Gates
8. Torture
9. Shapeshifter

Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Mortillery has not only remained remarkably consistent regarding their line-up but also in terms of releases gaining in quality each time out. Following two quality releases in their discography already, this third effort from the group, released May 27, 2016 from Napalm Records.

As has been the bands’ crux from the beginning, there’s an extended and pronounced old-school feel running throughout the album as the main focus on offering thrashy, speed-drenched heavy metal rhythms tends to become the primary focus. Propulsive, tightly-wound riffing, scorching soloing and thumping drumming take center-stage which effectively recalls the old-school thrash scene to a fine extent here coupling those hard-hitting traditional patterns with the fiery excess, aggression and flavor of thrash. As well, the inclusion of the more traditional metal rhythms manages to keep this one engaging when it dips down into a heavy, plodding mid-tempo chug fully showing off a rather fine and heavy style quite well outside of the thrash patterns. Given a great, energetic production-job that highlights those spindly old-school melodies quite well and the album has a lot to like. Though this frantic thrashing certainly works well for the album, there’s the first of several minor flaws cropping up because of that. With the main focus here as fervently mixed with the two styles, it struggles to keep the energy going completely throughout the mid-tempo work and that causes this to stumble somewhat. The need for simplistic riff-work and choppy arrangements are bad enough, but to augment it all with high-pitched banshee wailing vocals completely kills the mood dead as it’s just so completely against the remaining influences present that desperately trying to enhance the energy when it’s not there does give this some decidedly odd moments. Likewise, that brings up the vocals in general which seem really ill-suited for this type of work as they’re draining in pitch, decidedly one-note in general performance and despite the enthusiasm in their reading seem too light to match the hard-hitting work here. Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot that holds this back.

Though there’s a lot of rather fun and engaging work to be had here with this one’s old-school charm, there’s a few minor stumbling blocks out there that does hold this back enough that it’s really mostly worthwhile to more devout revival-era thrash fanatics or those who’ve been able to live with their work in the past.

Score: 91/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Destruction - Under Attack

Artist: Destruction
Release Title: Under Attack
Year: 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Under Attack
2. Generation Nevermore
3. Dethroned
4. Getting Used to the Evil
5. Pathogenic
6. Elegant Pigs
7. Second to None
8. Stand Up for What You Deliver
9. Conductor of the Void
10. Stigmatized

Few bands make it to 30 years of activity, but Destruction have managed that feat with a slew of quality EPs, some fine live albums and numerous compilations gathering their releases together to help bide that time. Now on album fourteen and their eighth post-reunion effort, the long-running German thrashers carry on their Teutonic leanings with a stellar effort from Nuclear Blast Records on May 13th, 2016.

Utilizing the same rabid rhythms and rattling thrash riff-work it has plenty of enjoyable nods to their classics without offering much deviation being given the rather those same galloping rhythms being full of fiery performances that are like more modern versions of their late-80s work. Balanced out with some stylish mid-tempo chugging and it manages to get close a lot of times to their classic sound while being balanced out with the occasional mid-tempo plodding chug-style rhythm that gets utilized here. Though this one manages to sound relatively similar to the type of work featured in their discography, that inherently is the album’s lone downfall. As ravenous and aggressive as the majority of the material is, there’s never any sense of the group expanding or broadening it’s horizons to really give us something new or interesting. It’s all pretty much by-the-numbers style riffing and rhythm patterns which is fun by going along through the motions of fast-paced old-school thrash but doesn’t really offer up the feral energy of their early work or the relentless aggression of their earliest post-reunion work that remain their best efforts. It isn’t detrimental to the album as a whole but does manage to stick out somewhat, especially on a group this deep into their catalog.

Though it’s got a familiar ring of the past running throughout this one, it’s simply a matter of not really distancing itself enough to really take on the classics even with enough to like here that it instead becomes recommended more for nostalgic fans of the band who’ve come this far already or just the most complete connoisseur of old-school thrash.

Score: 87/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Antiquus Scriptum/Krigere Wolf/Waldschrat/Notre Amertume - The Beginning of the End split album

Artist: Antiquus Scriptum/Krigere Wolf/Waldschrat/Notre Amertume
Release Title: The Beginning of the End split album
Year: 2015
Label: Fallen-Angel Productions
Genre: Viking/Pagan Black Metal; Black/Death Metal; Black/Folk Metal; Atmospheric Black Metal
1. Krigere Wolf - War's Ancestral Prophecies
2. Krigere Wolf - Come to Die with Us
3. Krigere Wolf - Supreme Energy of the Universe
4. Waldschrat - Wer Wind sät..
5. Waldschrat - Die Ruhe vor dem Sturm
6. Waldschrat - ...wird Sturm ernten
7. Notre Amertume - Cella Serpentibus
8. Notre Amertume - Tartaros
9. Notre Amertume - Le Sand d'Ouranos
10. Antiquus Scriptum - Primordium / The Skeptic Beholder

Gathering four bands together, this new split effort containing Italian black/death upstarts Krigere Wolf, Austrian black/folk metal newcomers Waldschrat, internationally-based atmospheric black metal group Notre Amertume and a lone track from Portuguese black/Viking metallers Antiquus Scriptum for a wholly enjoyable mixture and variety present. Released January 11, 2015 on Fallen-Angel Productions, this here is as fine a sampler pack ever unleashed for each of these bands and presents most of them in great fashion.

Starting with Krigere Wolf, their pummeling mixture of frantic tremolo-picked black metal with the dexterous tempo-changes and rather pounding rhythms here makes this quite a ferocious beast, making their swirling tremolo patterns at the forefront to create a dynamic and wholly-enjoyable up-tempo assault that rattles along at consistent speeds for maximum impact and devastation while still managing to successfully incorporate the sprawling majestic melodies in the appropriate manners for the perfect augmentation to the ferocity presented elsewhere. This is easily the best band on the split and really has a lot to like with their three blistering tracks.

With Waldschrat, again the omnipresent use of swirling tremolo patterns is at the forefront though instead there’s a far more pronounced blend of folk-influenced arrangements for the riffing. This still carries itself along quite well with plenty of strong and truly ferocious rhythms presented here, but the blasting tendencies are cut in favor of melodic swirling patterns and rather looser-fitting arrangements that are given a raw edge to the overall work with some great harmonic lines throughout which helps this out infinitely more to give another dynamic impact to the music. Some of the longer sprawling sections seem to go on far longer than they really should but overall there’s a lot to like here.

Up next is Notre Amertume and the international project is the clear weak-link in this offering. The simplistic, sluggish nature of their tracks is hardly impressive next to the other works, and their cliched use of celestial-influenced arrangements, plodding drumming and lethargic doom-like sprawling sections predominant in their music isn’t that enjoyable with numerous other bands attempting those elements at far more pronounced and enjoyable mixtures. The main impetus holding them back is the lethargic, lifeless doom-like paces that don’t really give them much room to really express their atmospheric patterns and in the end their three contributions are on the whole eminently skippable. 

Finally, Antiquus Scriptum contributes just a lone track, which is a highly enjoyable one even with all the different elements thrown into it. There’s symphonic keyboards, medieval-sounding horn-blasts, swirling tremolo riffing and more in the near-twenty-minute effort, and it does seem like overkill given the track has no need to go that long and really could’ve been trimmed down into a more digest form. Still, the generally up-tempo pace and convergence of influences makes for an overall fun time here and overall there’s a lot of rather enjoyable work here as there’s at least one or two sections present to appeal to most fans.

Though one of these groups is a clear weak-link and doesn't really leave much of a lasting impression, the fact that the remainder of the bands provide not only incredibly fun and exciting work that this ends up being an undeniably effective introduction to these groups as well as those longing for more bands in each of these styles.

Score: 80/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rampart - Codex Metalum

Artist: Rampart
Release Title: Codex Metalum
Year: 2016
Label: Iron Shield Records
Genre:Power/Traditional Heavy Metal
1. Apocalypse or Theater
2. Diamond Ark
3. The Metal Code
4. Sacred Anger
5. Of Nightfall
6. Into the Rocks
7. Colours of the Twilight
8. Crown Land
9. Majesty (Blind Guardian cover)

Not usually known for its traditional metal acts, Bulgarian heavy metal act Rampart have nonetheless cranked out an impressive catalog of singles and full-length albums, as well as the odd compilation appearance, on their way to this newest release. The fourth full-length from the group, out April 8, 2016 on Iron Shield Records, continues to cater to their traditional mind-set by delivering another enjoyable release in their catalog.

This here is nicely traditionalist-leaning classic metal in their riff-work, full of tight churning rhythms offering plenty of crunchy patterns and steady, solid rhythms that make for a truly enjoyable ode to the heavyweights of the classic period of the early 80s. The numerous tempo and pace changes on display feature some interesting and enjoyable variations with the band able to change-over into steady, simplistic riff-work or a slightly more up-tempo gallop that doesn’t quite border on thrash but offers that kind of energy and cadence when off-set by the churning rhythm work featured elsewhere here. As well, like most classic metal offerings there’s ripping, fiery soloing and plenty of tight, pounding drum-work on display throughout here that makes this quite fun as well with the more spindly, melodic leads found throughout here as there’s a slew of simplistic rhythms here featuring those melodies running alongside the harder-hitting riffing here. This all leaves the album well-enough if not exactly all that original, though what really tends to hurts this is the light wailing siren-like female vocals that are as an acquired taste as any in the genre. It’s not terrible but it takes getting used to this nasal tone and register over the music as this seemingly cries out for at the very least a gruffer tone than what’s featured here. It works nicely in the context of the music once it gets past the point of familiarity, but overall it’s not so bad.

Though the vocals are something that really hinders this one at times, there’s little else about this one to hold it back here as the sound has enough going on for it that this will undoubtedly appeal to fans of good classic traditional metal as well as those curious about metal from the region on the curiosity factor.

Score: 85/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BattleX - Imminent Downfall

Artist: BattleX
Release Title: Imminent Downfall
Year: 2016
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Break Your Bones
2. Raise Hell
3. Final Confrontation
4. Face to Face
5. Dignity
6. The Hierophant
7. Whispers in the Sand
8. Circus of Trust
9. The Ascent
10. Imminent Downfall

Slovenian thrashers BattleX have been in existence since 2007, and quickly unleashed their first EP several years later before honing their craft in the following years before their new release. Self-released January 21, 2016 six-years after their first release, this comes off as quite a fun and enjoyable mix of traditional and thrash metal.

This is an overall enjoyable album which maintains a lot of it’s enjoyment with the fact that there’s a solid backbone to work with here as the album tends to feature the kind of mostly up-tempo series of rhythms with plenty of solid swirling riffing to bring out the thrash feel here. Those energetic and somewhat driving rhythms are taken along quite nicely here with the album’s more thrash-centered moments that are nicely worked into the majorly up-tempo numbers, and comes off rather nicely with the crunchy traditional metal rhythms throughout here. This produces a solid mid-tempo pace here with far more simplistic riffing and some stylish elements featured here to really make for a rather lighter balance to the harder-hitting rhythms. That tends to bring out the main factor against this album with the whole effort feeling quite bland and somewhat lacking in terms of the driving intensity usually required in the top-tier thrash acts, as the more trad-flavored rhythms drain a lot of the energy out of the tracks with their mid-tempo leanings. It’s not nearly as noticeable in the faster, driving sections of the tracks as that's where the true sound of the band gets released in it’s finest state, though again considering this is still a debut effort a little bit of leeway is granted at this stage in their career.

It’s not the most blistering take on the style, though there’s definitely enough working for it here that it comes off with enough rousing energy and moments of effectiveness that this is a solid choice for those looking for a more traditional lean in their metal or not a true fan of thrash wanting a little extra exposure alongside more preferential elements.

Score: 76/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Defiled - Towards Inevitable Ruin

Artist: Defiled
Release Title: Towards Inevitable Ruin
Year: 2016
Label: Season of Mist
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
1. Subversion
2. Cauterized
3. Doomsday
4. Conspiracy
5. Force and Obedience
6. Shadows Hands
7. Fear from Above
8. Scapegoat
9. Debunked
10. One World
11. Silent but Ongoing
12. Towards Inevitable Ruin

Finally making it to album five, Japanese brutal death metal legends Defiled are certainly known for taking their time with their releases full of uncompromising brutality and relentless technical precision. Taking only five years to deliver a follow-up this time, this samurai clan are poised to follow up the acclaimed of their previous works with this devastating effort unleashed July 8, 2016 on Season of Mist.

Offering a far more organic take than normal in regards to their sound, this one manages to come off quite well in regards to it’s inherent brutality as the tightly-wound paces and overwhelming riff-work take hold quite early here. The galloping pace is quite appropriate here in offering swirling, stuttering rhythms that bring about quite a pummeling style that generates a wholly oppressive feel here. It’s full-on intensity is generated by this stuttering style of riff-work augmented by discordant technically-complex bass-lines and the occasional burst of blasting drumming that whips up veritable whirlwinds of frenzied patterns throughout fully making for a truly brutal and technical offering.There’s really only one element which holds this one back, though, as there’s some that might not find the short length somewhat inviting as the thirty-minute running time might put some off with the feeling that it ends just as it’s building steam. The fact that the album has nothing over three minutes is a minor variance, given that there’s barely any time for the tracks to really work in some nice atmosphere, for their just done and over after some short blasts and frenzied soloing. Overall, this one is still a lot of fun in it’s short pummeling blasts.

Despite some might having a problem with the overall brevity and presentation, the pummeling nature of the rest of the material here is far more impactful with it’s more pronounced brutality and technicality that it remains a viable choice for brutality aficionados, fans of the bands’ past work or extreme metal in general.

Score: 92/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ragehammer - The Hammer Doctrine

Artist: Ragehammer
Release Title: The Hammer Doctrine
Year: 2016
Label: Pagan Records
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
1. First Wave Black Metal
2. Unleash the Dogs
3. Wróg
4. Warlord's Fall
5. Knives
6. I Am the Tyrant
7. Pure Hatred
8. From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor
9. Spotkanie z Diabłem (Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover)

The debut full-length from Polish black/thrashers Ragehammer offers a hugely enjoyable take on the style with all the full-on promise from their early days realized in the flesh. The basic riffing style is full-throttle and viciously savage thrash metal at it’s heart, utilizing the intensity and aggression at full chaotic bents and dive-bombing along throughout the album here which generates a relentless energy rattling through frenzied arrangements that takes their thrash roots at the fullest. It’s energy is given a fuller sheen with the dirty black metal rhythms that take on a far greater appeal here due to the seamless meshing with the thrash riffing which leaves this one overall feeling absolutely devastating with the savage thrashing riff-work taking plenty of dirty rhythms that has so much connection together which fully makes this one seem incredibly old-school in approach. Alongside the rather ravenous rhythms brought up here, the band also manages to dip rather nicely into the past with their rather fine ability to carve out a solid mid-tempo style that charges along quite nicely here since this one does tend to ease up on the throttle here. As it does go for more of a charging attitude during those sections, these charging attitudes tend to speak to more of the old-school approach on display with the ravenous, frenzied riffing being offset by the tight chugging for a stylish counterpoint and making for an even more dramatic break against the thrashing, giving this a strong and impressive overall sound. The album only really stumbles in a few small areas, mostly the cover track at the end which feels too simple and different from the rest of their original material but it’s still a walloping, dynamic debut.

The first half here gets this started incredibly well. Opener ‘First Wave Black Metal’ takes a thumping mid-tempo series of riff-work before racing along to furious filthy thrashing riffing and speed-drenched rhythms as the up-tempo series of frantic drumming and ravenous riff-work brings the speed along through the solo section swarming through the final half for a spectacular opening impression. ‘Unleash the Dogs’ features a slow dirge of pounding drumming and a churning series of riffing that fires through blistering thrash riffing with frantic drumming careening throughout the unrelenting riff-work as the ravenous patterns build in speed and intensity throughout the finale for a truly ripping highlight. ‘Wróg’ fires through furious, frantic drumming and stellar thrashing riffing with full-throttle tempos charging along through a series of dive-bomb pattern rhythms offering frenetic razor-wire patterns carrying plenty of speed and intensity reaching a feverish pitch in the final half for another explosive and chaotic highlight. ‘Warlord's Fall’ uses ravenous drumming, tight razor-wire riffing and blistering rhythms to careen through a frantic series of mid-tempo patterns that nicely drop off into a series of stellar swarming sections plodding through the middle before firing through the finale for a highly enjoyable offering. ‘Knives’ takes swirling riffing and steady charging drumming along a thrashing mid-tempo series of spindly rhythms featuring plenty of thumping patterns holding the steady paces along through the sprawling sections in the mid-section as the pounding drumming turns into a series of ravenous rhythms along through the final half for a strong overall effort.

The second half here is just as explosive and intense as the first. ‘I Am the Tyrant’ features swirling mid-tempo rhythms and utterly relentless drumming marching along to a feverish tempo with plenty of dirty thrashing riff-work careening along to the rumbling bass-lines as the savage, driving patterns keeping the energetic tempos along into the finale for another strong highlight. ‘Pure Hatred’ utilizes ravenous swirling riff-work and pounding thrash drumming winding along through a series of intense patterns while the rhythms soon drop off into mid-tempo charging paces with plenty of pounding swirling drumming bringing along the frenzied chaotic thrashing into the final half for a dynamic and impressive effort. ‘From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor’ uses utterly ravenous thrashing and plenty of explosive drumming raging along through the up-tempo paces with the swirling patterns rattling along to the razor-wire riff-work careening along through the blistering full-throttle tempos racing through the finale for a truly enjoyable and raging thrasher. Finally, the Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover ’Spotkanie z Diabłem’ uses the punk-lined rhythms and blistering energy quite well with the frantic off-the-rails intensity and speed carried over quite nicely and feels at home with their other work if only the simplistic material didn’t stand at odds with their other thrashier work, but is still a solid and engaging lasting impression.

There’s a lot to like here with the album’s viciousness and intensity running quite heavily here as the heavy thrash influence takes centerstage in creating a fantastic energy that makes this a wholly appealing effort that will undoubtedly appeal to old-school thrash or dirty black metal.

Score: 96/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Crimson Fire - Fireborn

Artist: Crimson Fire
Release Title: Fireborn
Year: 2016
Label: Pitch Black Records
Genre: Power Metal
1. Awakening
2. Take to the Skies
3. Right Off the Bat
4. Young, Free, Lust
5. Hunter
6. Bad Girl
7. Master Your Destiny
8. Knightrider
9. Only the Brave
10. Her Eyes
11. Vengeful Spirit
12. Eternal Flame

The second full-length from Greek metallers Crimson Fire continues their ploy of mixing the stylings of old-school heavy metal and power metal crunch. This here is incredibly straightforward and rather unsurprisingly simplistic music here, simply taking the form of classic heavy metal with vibrant fiery melodic power metal melodies over the top of everything. The underlying rhythms here are tight, to-the-point and offering the kind of classic metal crunch usually favored by the more mid-tempo groups in the style, leaving this one with a solid, heavy thumping backbone that take full-advantage of weaving them throughout in an unwavering fashion. Sprinkled nicely amongst these dense rhythms is the band’s penchant for sterling, soaring melodic leads and soloing that comes into play here, giving this a rather fun and engaging majestic gallop to the heavier rhythms offering the variations of the type. The fact remains though that despite this enjoyable enough presentation their so simplistic and straightforward that the band offers virtually no varied approaches or styles throughout here, as the one attempt at a ballad turns back into a mid-tempo cruncher which is the only real variance within the music and it does make this quite a one-note album overall. This here really could’ve been one to try something to give it a little more variety, which does hold this back somewhat.

The first half starts this off nicely. Instrumental intro ‘Awakening’ features sterling soaring melodic leads building to an epic feel that sets the stage for proper first track ‘Take to the Skies’ with charging riffing and crunchy rhythms with the steady mid-tempo drumming winding along at a steady straightforward series of rhythms with fiery charging leads carrying on through the solo section and bringing the tight patterns on into the finale for a strong opening blast. ‘Right Off the Bat’ uses a light acoustic intro with a charge into stylish mid-tempo gallop full of crunchy riffing and steady straightforward drumming that holds the simplistic pace on through the fiery melodic leads of the solo section and leading through the final half for a strong and enjoyable effort. ‘Young, Free, Lust’ uses a swirling grandiose series of riffing with plenty of tight crunchy patterns and sterling mid-tempo rhythms holding on through the anthemic arrangements keeping the solid melodic leads at the forefront against the solid mid-tempo patterns leading into the finale for a rather fun and engaging offering. ‘Hunter’ takes swirling melodic riffing and crunchy mid-tempo patterns running along throughout the series of charging fiery melodic leads in the steady mid-tempo series of rhythms into the solo section and carrying on through the final half for another solid enough offering. ‘Bad Girl’ utilizes rocking swirling riff-patterns and blistering crunchy patterns through a rocking up-tempo pace with the fiery melodic leads and dynamic, crunchy dum-work carry on through the series of blistering rhythms of the solo section and leading into the finale for a strong highlight.

The second half is still rather fun if somewhat lacking against the first half. ‘Master Your Destiny’ takes light, melodic riffing and solid, straightforward leads with plenty of simplistic rhythms holding the anthemic pace along through the gradual series of straightforward rhythms leading into the solo section and continuing on through the final half for a decent-if-unspectacular effort. ‘Knightrider’ takes frantic swirling riffing and furious speed-drenched rhythms racing along at rather frantic paces with plenty of tight, frantic frenzied patterns at blistering tempos as the frantic patterns race along with the furious melodies through the solo section and thumps along to the charging finale in the clear-cut highlight effort. ‘Only the Brave’ offers strong majestic melodic leads and dexterous galloping drumming carrying along through a strong mid-tempo series of patterns with the steady crunchy rhythms holding on through the sprawling mid-section that carries the soloing into the rather tight and crunchy final half for a strong and rather enjoyable track. The semi-ballad ‘Her Eyes’ features light acoustic noodling amid spacey keyboards into a soft, romantic feel that carries along through the tough blistering series of rhythms with plenty of tight drumming and crunchy riff-work carrying on through the finale for a rather decent enough effort that works better in the more up-tempo areas than the softer rhythms early on. ‘Vengeful Spirit’ uses fiery, crunchy rhythms and plenty of steady drum-work taking the simplistic riffing along through the majestic galloping tempo with plenty of rather fiery melodies carrying on through the solo section and bringing the steady melodic rhythms on through the final half for another rather enjoyable effort. Lastly, album-closer ‘Eternal Flame’ takes strong swirling rhythms alongside the steady mid-tempo crunch of the drum-work with plenty of fiery rhythms carrying along through the steady rhythms as pounding melodies and tight crunchy riffing hold on into the solo section and lead into the finale for a wholly enjoyable lasting impression that ends this on a positive note.

Though the band does tend to play it safe from time-to-time, there’s plenty of elements that do work here in their sound that they remain a fine choice overall for fans of the Greek scenes other classic heavy/power metal bands or those looking for a starter band in that genre since they are evocative of the style without being at the top of that style.

Score: 80/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Horror Chamber - Eternal Torment

Artist: Horror Chamber
Release Title: Eternal Torment
Year: 2016
Label: Distro Rock Records
Genre: Retro Death Metal
1. Beyond the Unknown
2. Eternal Torment
3. Rise of the Dead
4. Prelude to Perdition
5. Dawn of Madness
6. Believe in the Faith (Burn)
7. Blood Obsession
8. Perverse Mind

In existence since 2004, Brazilian death metallers Horror Chamber has had sporadic releases since with only a demo and an EP before this new release, after a seven-year delay between these releases as well. This debut full-length, released April 24, 2016 on Distro Rock Records, this contains eight total tracks including two brief instrumentals of churning old-school death metal.

This here manages to nicely capture the old-school feel and tone of the early death metal scene quite nicely with the riffing taking a large majority of that feel. Whipping along at frantic, fervent tempos with primitive thrash stylings as the main choice of attack, there’s a violent intensity dragged out of the riff-work when it remains at those mid-tempo paces yet generates even more greater feelings when it fires up the paces into a far more generous and blasting pace. Offering far more blastbeat-driven rhythms and churning riff-work alongside the tight patterns and thrashing arrangements that makes for a wholly more engaging and appealing experience buffered together and are generously chosen to accentuate select areas of the tracks rather than just barrel along as would be more obviously utilized in the writing which greatly benefits a more veteran approach than expected. Even slowing down the tempos into lurching, doom-like paces for the solo sections works nicely by contributing to the oppressive old-school atmosphere while enhancing the overall heaviness apparent elsewhere in the rhythms, all of which is greatly appreciated. Still, there’s the minor issue here of this one suffering two minor problems, first in the fact that there’s two brief, minute-long interludes here that really don’t need to be featured here as the other flaw, featuring only eight tracks in total, means that every available space must be maximized to generate lasting impact, and wasting that time on two non-essential throwaway breaks like that in the space crunch that it’s already under seems quite illogical as it holds this to a few original tracks that seems over before it really started. Otherwise, this one really has a lot to like.

Despite suffering a few minor issues that are not in the slightest bit concerned with their performance but rather their rather curious  inclusions in the end leaves this one really impressive overall that should wholly appeal to any aficionado of South American death metal, old-school death metal or extreme metal in general.

Score: 88/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Allaxull - Evangelio de brujos

Artist: Allaxull
Release Title: Evangelio de brujos
Year: 2016
Label: Sepulchral Silence Records
Genre: Raw Black Metal
1. Introducción al ocultismo
2. Evangelio de brujos
3. Satanismo, locura y profanación
4. Ascenso del infierno
5. El último ángel
6. Cruzando el aqueronte
7. Ídem de Destrucción
8. Goecia
9. Noveno círculo

A rather long-running name in Mexican black metal, Allaxull is also one of the most enigmatic bands in the genre with very little activity and even less musical output in their career that spans back to the late 90s. The debut effort from the group, released July 3, 2016 from digital-label Sepulchral Silence, offers a steady dose of frantic and raw-sounding black metal.

From the onset here this one is made pretty much like a traditional old-school black metal effort. Short and to-the-point tremolo riffing is usually found here as the predominant style which is usually affixed with celestial noodling that offers up a stylish vibe over the raw compositions and ventures quite close to Middle Eastern melodies at times. That melodic influx also concerns the remaining rhythms of the music giving it a rather simple melodic pace that carries on for the majority of the tracks while also allowing it to generate a far more chaotic bent at times with the burst into frenzied chaotic riffing patterns that rumble along at pretty dexterous and dynamic patterns across the two distinct sections of the album. It’s a great sign of distinct and varied writing styles here in that there’s a clear set-up in the first half here to focus on quick and shorter tracks while the second half is much more involved with longer epics than before allowing for more involved and dexterous rhythms throughout which is especially enjoyable given the raw production edge to this. That in itself is the album’s single biggest stumbling block throughout here as there’s very little about the production of this one as it gives the appearance of being one level above a garage-rehearsal sound with weak drumming and buzzing guitars while the screechy vocals go over the top of it all. It’s enough that the album suffers a little from this, but not so much for the intensity of the writing.

Though there’s a somewhat detrimental flaw running along throughout here, there’s more than enough here to like elsewhere in the album that this lone flaw might not even matter all that much, making this a solid choice for fans of the gravelly undercooked style of raw black metal or the scene in general.

Score: 79.100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Majesty of Revival - Dualism

Artist: Majesty of Revival
Release Title: Dualism
Year: 2016
Label: Massive Sound Recordings
Genre: Neoclassical/Progressive Power Metal
1. Deadlock
2. Awaken
3. Alive
4. Inner Dimension
5. Darkest
6. Failure
7. Days
8. Wolfheart
9. Tongue
10. Perfection
11. When the Night Embrace
12. Serenity
13. Dualism
14. Same Blood

The third full-length from Ukrainian Neoclassical power metallers Majesty of Revival is yet another wholly strong and dynamic effort in their vastly-impressive catalog. Following a year of intense writing and recording, this impressive offering is released June 25, 2016 on Massive Sound Recordings.

Buoyed by the album’s strong riff-work, there’s a strong element charging along throughout the music here as the riffing takes on all series of challenging, progressive work here that offers technically-complex arrangements from tightly-wound speed metal leanings and fine thrash parts to soaring, majestic power metal anthems graced with plenty of fine keyboards running alongside those heavier pieces and tending to give this a widely-ranged and varied effort overall. It’s dynamic and wholly appealing in that there’s a strong attempt at variety here which definitely helps this one keep from overall repetition and familiarity that tends to dominate such material overall, though that plays up the first of the bands’ few small problems. The fact that it includes so many varying elements that the album as a whole is incredibly bloated and overlong, not just with ideas but in tracks as well. This could’ve easily been trimmed down a few songs in the running order to keep it to a more respectable length with this one carrying on with too many tracks featuring their admittedly-enjoyable take on these varied elements being present here and probably could’ve done with some trimming here and there to prune this one down a little. A fine start is the bands’ decision to include some rather obscure elements here as the few attempts at indie rock and more straightforward tracks don’t mesh so well with the more metallic work featured. Still, it’s not as big a problem as the other feature even though taking those out would help the bloated feeling.

There’s a lot of great work to be had here with the band spreading themselves out to include some varied and interesting elements into their core sound for an enjoyable if overlong offering that should really appeal to fans of the bands’ work in the past or those looking to explore the more progressive ends of the genre.

Score: 88/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Dakesis - The New Dawn

Artist: Dakesis
Release Title: The New Dawn
Year: 2016
Label: CapsAArx
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
1. Overture
2. The New Dawn
3. Betrayal
4. Destined for the Flame
5. The Great Insurrection
6. To Conquer or Die
7. Intermezzo Meridian
8. Judgement Day
9. The Sacrifice
10. Autumn
11. The Seventh Sky
12. Call to Freedom
13. By the Fading Light

The second album from UK progressive power metallers Dakesis offers a strong and truly engaging effort that contains a lot of really likeable elements present. The Birmingham quartet seems positively inspired and energetic here that should likely catapult them into the forerunners of the genre here on this effort released March 11, 2016 on CapsAArx.

Being a keyboard-dominant band, that is in effect the ground-work for the majority of the album as this one tends to really utilize a lot of striking and majestic bombastic notes featuring the keyboards throughout the music, ranging from wholly over-the-top cinematic style orchestrations to more melodic accentuations brimming along the main rhythms. These here are so wholly fun and dynamic that there’s a great deal to like with their bouncing enthusiasm and infectiousness running alongside the remaining elements here which come from strong riffing and full-throttle, pounding drumming. The riffing in general flows through grand dynamic and fiery patterns with everything from tight speed-metal trappings and symphonic workouts with the bombastic keyboard work while definitely keeping the complexities and technically-challenging arrangements at the forefront alongside those sparkling keyboard work, and in the end it all manages to make for a wholly enjoyable and fun time here with the bright melodies and challenging arrangements. There’s strangely not a whole lot to dislike here as the main element that works against this one is the fact that there’s just no real use for the band to include the two ten-minute plus epics, one of which is nearly twenty minutes and really stretches out the length of this one considerably. Though the two tracks are undoubtedly highlights, there’s little need for such material to be spread out here when the band was clearly competent and performing engaging work in much shorter spans, so the need to indulge in such epics will likely cause burnout for those attempting to indulge this in one sitting but it’s all that’s really wrong here.

Though the need for including those two overlong epics is a little questionable, there’s little else to dislike about this effort which really does feature plenty of enjoyable and engaging elements that makes this a worthwhile look for those who prefer such fast-paced power metal or the genre in general.

Score: 90/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ragestorm - A Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin

Artist: Ragestorm
Release Title: A Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin
Year: 2013 (2016)
Label: Self-Released/Independent (Sliptrick Records reissue)
Genre: Death/Thrash Records
1. The Meatgrinder Theory
2. Debt Ritual
3. Polysilicotetrapropryvinylfluorethalene
4. Moloch
5. Idiocracy
6. Acid Tears
7. Interlude: Hari Seldon's Speech (feat. The Boylerz)
8. The Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin
9. Soldiers of a Lost War
10. New World Disorder
11. Reaching the Impossible

The debut full-length from Italian death/thrashers Ragestorm shows the effects of a band in such a situation while also offering plenty of promise for what’s to come in their career. For the most part this one carries along the type of melody-infused riff-work that seems to play through that style without any deviation. Switching between tight chugging and extra-sloppy swirling melodic runs in the guitar-work, there’s a pretty simplistic energy attributed to the tracks here that occasionally brings up some fire from time-to-time, though the majority of this one gets stuck with those chugging rhythms holding the paces down in the mid-tempo for the most part. These tend to feature so many rather bland and plodding rhythms that they’re wholly lifeless at worst, while the best effort about them is that they’re decent-if-unspectacular. This applies to an overwhelming majority of the album as well, which tends to leave this staggeringly overdone and seemingly just filler material on the whole. Even more to the point there’s a wholly unneeded and just plain needless interlude to the album which is a droning and endless industrial collage that plays over a sampled speech that’s just pointless and seemingly included for no real reason which makes this a deviation to the whole effort since this one doesn’t bring up the points in the speech overall and the whole thing is just such a painful experience. This pointlessness of this really showcases the early point of the bands’ career at the fullest and should not be continued in the future.

The first half here is decent enough if not all that impressive. Opener ‘The Meatgrinder Theory’ features a sampled chainsaw reviving intro leading into driving drumming and stellar riff-work through the steady mid-tempo series of riff-work through a fine charge as the soaring melodic leads carry through the solo section and bringing the tight chugging through the final half for a solid opening effort. ‘Debt Ritual’ brings tight, crunchy riffing and blistering drumming churning along through a frantic, mid-tempo pace with plenty of slight chugging rhythms and steady riffing carrying along through the stuttering main patterns carrying into the solo section and working through into the finale for a somewhat decent if overall unimpressive effort. The short and brutal ‘Polysilicotetrapropryvinylfluorethalene’ features immediate blasting drumming and rather frantic swirling riff-work charging along at butal, blistering charging patterns with the choppy rhythms leading to the tight, driving final half for a rather enjoyable effort for the album’s clear highlight. ‘Moloch’ features light acoustic riffing amid crackling noise before quickly turning into a simple, straightforward plodding chugging series of riff-work with plenty of pounding drumming keeping the simplistic elements firmly along through the utterly ferocious finale for an impressive finish to a bland effort previously. ‘Idiocracy’ takes churning drumming and swirling riff-work through the mid-tempo chugging paces with simplistic rhythms and frantic patterns churning along with the chugging riff-work leading along to the fiery solo section and bringing the energy back into the final half for a decent if unspectacular effort. ‘Acid Tears’ immediately blasts through frantic razor-wire riff-work with plenty of solid swirling patterns charging along through the simplistic paces charging along into the dynamic, fiery solo section and carrying the straightforward rhythms along throughout the finale for a rather enjoyable effort.

The second half isn’t that bad and manages to make for a far more impressive effort. ‘Interlude: Hari Seldon's Speech’ features a sampled speech over a droning industrial sound collage that doesn’t in the slightest bit need to be there and really just eats up time on the album overall. The title track takes militaristic pounding drumming and simple chugging rhythms that swirl around through rather tepid plodding paces with the occasional flurry of stellar melodic leads that whip along through the fiery solo section and continue swirling along through the melodic chugging patterns in the final half for a solid if generally decent effort. ‘Soldiers of a Lost War’ takes heavy melodic riffing over a gradual build-up style drumming that leads to the simplistic chugging riff-work bringing along the simplistic charging rhythms with plenty of rather dynamic, dexterous drum-work bringing along a sense of energy on through the finale for another wholly unimpressive effort. ‘New World Disorder’ uses thumping riff-work and charging drumming carrying along through the swirling frantic rhythms with plenty of melodic charging flying along through the stylized twisting rhythms that lead along through the solo section and bringing the tight chugging into the final half for a decent-enough effort overall. Lastly, album-clsoer ‘Reaching the Impossible’ takes frantic swirling riff-work and plenty of chugging patterns whipping along through the frantic up-tempo rhythms whipping along through the rather dynamic stuttering patterns holding along through the charging solo section and leading into the extended soulful piano finale for a somewhat enjoyable lasting impression.

While the band is clearly still going through the learning curve when it comes to their style and energy, there’s enough elements at play here to work with in the future that it could serve them well whenever they carry on which leaves this one still only for the most devout fans of the style as a whole at this point.

Score: 64/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Highrider - Armageddon Rock EP

Artist: Highrider
Release Title: Armageddon Rock EP
Year: 2016
Label: The Sign Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
1. S=Txl
2. Agony of Limbo
3. The Moment (Plutonium)
4. Semen, Mud and Blood

The debut EP from Swedish heavy metallers Highrider starts this group off on a fine note with some enjoyable work here that makes for quite a solid opening impression. The main basis here is on tight, hard-rocking metal with a mostly enjoyable mid-tempo crunch that’s quite nicely propelled along here with the dynamic drumming which fully manages to feature some rather dynamic pairing. With this all being given a solid mid-tempo pace, on top of it all is a series of swirling, majestic keyboards that spin around the rhythms with a fine flair which makes the album take on a far lighter tone and overall approach than what is normally expected in these hard-rocking efforts. Rather than use them in a sense of grandiose symphonics and bombastic rhythms as expected, there’s a nice bit of experimental offerings attempted here with that slight deviation from the norm here which gives this a nicely unique feel. The fact that this doesn’t really merge nicely with the riff-work though tends to draw the music out into far more dragging mid-tempo work than what would usually be the case here as this one doesn’t really generate the kind of enthusiastic or blistering charge of action usually associated with such material and can feel draining at times.

For the most part the songs here aren’t that bad. Opener ‘S=Txl’ uses an extended keyboard melody into a series of fiery churning riff-work with stylish drumming and spirited keyboards bouncing along to a fine up-tempo pace with the majestic keyboards carrying along through the sprawling mid-section and bringing the rocking rhythms into the charging finale for a grand opener. ‘Agony of Limbo’ takes tight, crunchy riff-work and steady, up-tempo pounding drumming along through the hard-hitting series of mid-tempo paces as the blistering rhythms and choppy chugging riffing brings along the spacey atmospheric keyboards along through the final half for another rather enjoyable offering. ‘The Moment (Plutonium)’ features an extended sci-fi intro with spacey keyboards droning over the series of churning riffing as the pounding mid-tempo drumming and simple riffing that continues on alongside the spacey keyboards shine against the mid-tempo rhythms charging along in the finale for a decent if unspectacular effort. Lastly, ‘Semen, Mud and Blood’ uses a fiery, charging series of rhythms with plenty of charging up-tempo drumming with spacey keyboards swirling along throughout the blistering rhythms as the up-tempo patterns, swirling leads and energetic riffing leads move along into the final half for a rousing finishing impression.

There’s a lot here to really enjoyable about this one as the work on the whole is highly enjoyable even with the few minor spots holding it back enough that this one here really serves itself best for those that prefer the slightly more experimental side of traditional heavy metal although all fans of the style are advised to check it out.

Score: 70/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Mesarthim - Pillars EP

Artist: Mesarthim
Release Title: Pillars EP
Year: 2016
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
1. Pillars
2. Orbiting
3. 11
4. Constellation

The new EP from Australian atmospheric black metallers Mesarthim features the band exploring and utilizing their brand of celestial-influenced black metal at it’s brightest, if not the best. As to be expected, the music here is straightforward and simplistic black metal with the expected swirling tremolo patterns and hard-hitting blasting drum-work that makes for a truly enjoyable base setup for the inclusion of cosmic, celestial-inspired influences to come through in the guitar rhythms and intense keyboard work. That also drops off nicely into a sort of disco-inspired trance arrangements that further cements the strong astral connection alongside the riffing patterns that make for a more complete experience. That trance element, though, seems to be the one lone flaw here as it really holds up the effort here since it introduces such a choppy and stilted rhythm into the rest of the arrangements and creates a startlingly lower black metal aesthetic surrounding the music and lowers this one significantly due to that. Since the tracks are so long anyway it creates a series of extended rough patches which don’t tell that much black metal significance to the music, and it’s something to get over with this one.

As a whole the music here isn’t bad and has some solid moments. The opening title track slowly works from a simplistic swirling tremolo riff with plenty of celestial atmospheric keys as the sluggish rhythms and lethargic patterns continue on through the deep droning arrangements with the occasional burst of extended celestial melodies in the riff-work and keyboards that wind on through the finale for a solid and highly enjoyable opener.‘Orbiting’ features stylish mid-tempo trance-styled keyboard rhythms with static start/stop stuttering riff-work against the churning patterns and straightforward, simplistic pace continuing throughout as the trance elements spark the mid-tempo charge into the final half for a mostly bland and uneventful effort without a whole lot of real black metal elements throughout. ‘11’ uses a series of churning trance-styled keyboard melodies over plodding celestial rhythms and pounding drumming that continues alongside the squealing keyboards in simple, plodding patterns and a rather pronounced drop-off of celestial riffing in favor of trance-like keyboard bursts continue on throughout the finale for a somewhat decent if not entirely engaging effort. Lastly, the instrumental ‘Constellation’ uses a stylish synthesized celestial pattern throughout the light spacey tremolo riff-work and simplistic pacing that captures the feeling of cosmic tranquility for an effective and enjoyable lasting impression.

Though it does concern itself somewhat too heavily with outside black metal influences, the effect and execution of the material here is fun and wholly dynamic enough to overcome those issues and really make for a truly captivating listen for faof the style in particular for the other influences won’t win over die-hards of other styles.

Score: 60/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Scolopendra - Cycles

Artist: Scolopendra
Release Title: Cycles
Year: 2016
Label: Dooweet Records
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
1. Dream Sequences
2. Purity
3. Awake Nightmare
4. Spartan Killer Instinct
5. Morbid Psychosis
6. Mental Torture
7. Psychic Paralysis
8. End of Tunnels
9. Pinhole of Diffraction
10. Pinhole of Diffraction (Part 2)
11. Psychotic Mass Murderer
12. Soul Dissolution

The debut full-length from French thrash/death metal band Scolopendra manages to contain enough quality points to be a viable entry in the style moving forward. Based around a tight, crunchy thrash attack with the scattered deathly riff-work and vocals, this here is a lively affair full of dynamic rhythm changes and wholesale tempo shifts. The riffing here is capable of deftly maneuvering through these shifts with great ease, either at a generous mid-tempo gallop littered with steady, simple drumming, swirling thrash rhythms rattling along at a fine heavy charge or just bursting into full-throttle paces that explode with tight energy and frantic rhythms that allow their death metal roots the most opportunity to shine nicely here. Those are where the band really gets quite a lot of mileage out of this one, and showcase the most promise overall with their style generating it’s best work overall, though the fact that it gets quite so many chances is another story here since there’s a few too many tracks featured which manage to come off a little too bloated despite a shorter running time than expected here due to the shorter tracks on the second half which really comes into making this one quite so troubling. The tracks all featured along the upper half here tend to get a little more dynamic and lively work with the more involved rhythms and longer overall running time, while the second half does get short-changed by going more for brief instrumentals and shorter arrangements, leaving this somewhat lopsided and uneven with the differences becoming quite apparent about this minor stylistic change. Beyond this though, there’s not a whole lot really working against it.

The first half has some rather enjoyable work about it. Instrumental intro ‘Dream Sequences’ takes a series of industrial noise riffing droning on into proper first track ‘Purity’ as the tight, crunchy riff-work and thrashy drumming work through a series of intense patterns with the razor-wire riffing working nicely alongside the furious drumming as the mid-section delves into a series of meandering melodic rhythms that charges back into the frantic blasting in the final half for a strong opener. ‘Awake Nightmare’ gradually works from light trinkling riffing that turns into a strong series of raging rhythms fueled by more frantic, full-throttled riff-work and pounding drumming that keeps building into the rather loose, bouncy rhythms rattling along through the finale for another rather strong and enjoyable effort. ‘Spartan Killer Instinct’ features tight, crunchy mid-tempo riff-work that explodes into utterly frantic and blasting patterns with plenty of charging up-tempo riffing bringing along the intense swirling riffing along throughout the solo section and bringing the stuttering, crunchy rhythms thrashing into the final half for an enjoyable and dynamic highlight. ‘Morbid Psychosis’ is another industrial noise collage offering a lead-in for next track ‘Mental Torture’ features swirling droning riff-work with plenty of plodding rhythms that carry on at a straightforward, simplistic chugging series of rhythms with hard-hitting-yet-simple drumming that picks up some energetic patterns driving along into the frantic final half for a decent enough if overall bland offering.

The second half is a little sub-standard but still has some solid points. ‘Psychic Paralysis’ features ravenous razor-wire riffing and plenty of blasting up-tempo drumming that settles on a frantic, up-tempo pace with a series of tight chugging riff-work alongside the more thunderous and savage pounding drumming that works through the tight finale for another rather blistering highlight. ‘End of Tunnels’ uses the sampled speech and chaotic noise to lead into next track ‘Pinhole of Diffraction’ as the savage swirling riffwork and pounding drumming burst through the chaotic opening before settling on a bouncy, mid-tempo paces with stuttering rhythms and pounding drumming that soon builds to a frantic finale for another strong effort. Bleeding through into follow-up ‘Pinhole of Diffraction (Part 2)’ with swirling stuttering rhythms with savage drumming taking the furious paces and tight riff-work alongside the savage, unrelenting drum-work that thumps along to rather enjoyable, bouncy patterns that work throughout the enjoyable finale for another rather enjoyable effort. ‘Psychotic Mass Murderer’ gradually fades into a thumping mid-tempo chug with plodding drumming and tight, stylish riffing with a light, sluggish rhythm holding loose swirling riffing into a mindless repetitive series of riffing throughout the final half for an overlong, unneeded and overall bland offering that doesn’t really belong here. Finally, album-closer ‘Soul Dissolution’  features distorted industrial noises and squealing effects driving into the classical piano notes alongside the deep droning sounds leading into the finale for another dull offering that  really leaves this on a doubly bad impression.

Though it does come up a little short in the second half, there’s a whole lot of enjoyable work on display here when the band does get their sound right that this is an easy listen to fans of death fueled thrash metal or those curious about the band as they begin their careers overall.

Score: 84/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Blliigghhtted - Into the Cunt of the Witch

Artist: Blliigghhtted
Release Title: Into the Cunt of the Witch
Year: 2016
Label: Merdümgiriz
Genre: Experimental Black Metal
1. Black Flame I: Life Is a Prison
2. Black Flame II: Keep Your Light from Me
3. Black Flame III: Death Is Life
4. Illusion I: Religion
5. Illusion II: Pleasure, Pain and Pedophilia
6. Illusion III: Suicide Is Painless
7. Death I: Unknown, Unknowable, Uncertain
8. Death II: Ejaculating into Darkness
9. Death III: Black Flame Is Refusal
10. Suicide I: Chaos Everywhere
11. Suicide II: Naked Life
12. Suicide III: Certainty Is Illusion

The fourth full-length from Turkish avant-garde black metallers Blliigghhtted offers a highly enjoyable and entertaining variety of chaos and discordance that’s quite scattered but still remains fully coherent. With it’s black metal baseline here, this one tends to feature that generally appealing as the fiery tremolo-picked rhythms and stylish melodies firmly place the band within the genre, and it’s only upon dealing with the bands’ other influences that it really becomes apparent how it all works together. Mixing in ambient soundscapes underneath the main rhythms to create a discordant feel against those more traditional elements, there’s a definite sense of experimentation present as it pushes against the most singularly-defined variation of black metal aesthetics since they’re just so weird-sounding against the fiery tremolo rhythms. That does make for quite a varied and highly enjoyable time here as this experimentation is quite appreciated since it’s just putting slightly off-kilter arrangements within the framework of solid black metal that doesn’t really differ too much from nominal chaotic-influenced groups. The fact that the album does seem to lose steam with the four different sections running through varied elements so that it’s quite hard to make out what each one really means overall since there’s little point in doing so at that stage since it ties nothing together with the different sections featured. That’s the only thing really holds this one back.

The first half sets the stage for this one nicely. Opener ‘Black Flame I: Life Is a Prison’ takes thumping tremolo riff-work and pounding drumming through urgent, frantic patterns with discordant rhythms storming along through the highly explosive swirling tremolo patterns firing off through the finale for a fine and enjoyable opener. ‘Black Flame II: Keep Your Light from Me’ uses thunderous, rumbling patterns and plenty of discordant tremolo riff-work firing along through the frantic, chaotic blasts of furious patterns clanking along to the stuttering rhythms before the abrupt end in the final half for a rather dynamic offering. ‘Black Flame III: Death Is Life’ bleeds through with the furious, frantic drumming and frenetic riffing carrying the explosive atmospheres along through the series of chaotic rhythms blazing along throughout the furious riff-work and chaotic blistering drumming in the finale for a highly enjoyable and engaging effort. ‘Illusion I: Religion’ uses screeching riffing and rather simplistic, plodding drumming throughout the early rhythms before turning into a frenzied series of blasting, pounding drumming alongside the frenetic swirling riff-work leading into the abrupt end in the final half for an explosive and enjoyable effort. ‘Illusion II: Pleasure, Pain and Pedophilia’ bleeds through the frantic, frenzied riffing and blistering drumming with a series of swarming tremolo riffing carrying on alongside the frenetic tempo as the chaotic swarm of blasting rhythms carries on into the finale for the album’s highlight as a singular track. ‘Illusion III: Suicide Is Painless’ uses swirling tremolo riffing with plenty of tight, mid-paced blasting and a darkened atmosphere as the churning death-metal styled grooves give way to more of a chaotic blast of fiery classic tremolo-styled riffing and pummeling drumming that carry on through the final half for another solid highlight.

The second half is certainly just as fun and lively as the first half. ‘Death I: Unknown, Unknowable, Uncertain’ features swirling tremolo patterns and frantic, chaotic drumming blasting along throughout the frenetic thumping drumming leading into the finale for a short, disposable interlude that does setup the following track ‘Death II: Ejaculating into Darkness’ as the swirling, plodding rhythms and rather fine mid-tempo industrial collages continue on throughout into the later half where the blasting drumming and frenetic, chaotic patterns charge on through the blistering tempos in the final half for another strong singular effort. ‘Death III: Black Flame Is Refusal’ takes a swirling mid-tempo tremolo riff through a stilted series of plodding tempos against the plodding drumming as the frenzied, chaotic blasting carries along into the strong series of chaotic rhythms in the finale for a strong effort overall. ‘Suicide I: Chaos Everywhere’ leads a tortured scream into a series of plodding mid-tempo riffing with plodding tremolo riffing alongside the frantic blasting drumming that settles into a wholly chaotic series of blinding drumming bristling along through the tremolo riffing in the final half for a highly scathing effort. ‘Suicide II: Naked Life’ takes frantic swirling tremolo patterns and plenty of blasting drumming along through the pummeling tempos filled with scorching patterns and furious, frenzied riff-work with plenty of dynamic tremolo patterns along throughout the series of blistering tremolo patterns into the finale for a wholly enjoyable effort. Lastly, ‘Suicide III: Certainty Is Illusion’ uses a plodding sound-collage intro with plenty of stylish drumming and thumping mid-tempo tremolo riffing that extends outward into the series of swirling atmospheric breaks all throughout the extended mid-section and carrying on through the discordant riffing in the final half for an extended and overlong lasting impression.

Though there’s some misfires here and there along with the overall brevity of this effort, there’s still overall plenty to like and enjoy about this releases as it still features a lot of the trademark rhythms and elements present that it should appeal to those who enjoy and appreciate this chaotic breed of black metal or extreme metal in general.

Score: 85/100

Does it sound good? Order it from here: