REVENGE OF THE MAYA…. WAIT.
REVENGE OF THE 2013’s… NOT QUITE.
REVENGE OF THE TWERK. THAT’S IT.
You know the drill folks. Thirty albums, five sentences. More in most cases.
Dream Death – Somnium Excessum (2013) – Dream Death is a doom/death act with an odd approach to their music. The sound is quite dirty, yet oddly reminiscent of an 80’s classic. Sometimes, it seems a bit unintentionally comical due to the nonchalant vocal approach of the band’s frontman, reminding me what would happen if the Green Jelly frontman decided to resurrect Acid Bath. Though the act comes off rough, they certainly have their chops down and deliver a promising atmosphere with “You’re Gonna Die Up There 6:39” and the slow groove of “Them 7:21.” But no band of this nature comes without memorable solos, which is one more thing that Dream Death do well.
(6 Tracks, 40:00)
Nocte Obducta – Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen) (2013) – Trying to compact a review for this German avantgarde black metal act is going to be a difficult feat, nevertheless I will try it. While Nocte Obducta does have the “black metal” genre-tag in their name, they do quite a bit more with the avantgarde tag; creating peculiar, yet intriguing soundscapes on such tracks like opener and closer “Kekerwelten Teil 1 &2 10:52” as well as “Dinner Auf Uranos 13:52” which sees a “4:32” minute reprise near the end of the album, right before the closer. It’s very thick with atmosphere, yet still features clean guitar and able drum force, yet lacks vocals for most of the piece which is fine. The band really only pulls out their black metal chops on “Mehr Hass 6:36” only to escape into the shoegazing solos of “Leere 14:17.” It seems apparent by this release that Nocte Obducta are trying to move as far from black metal as they can, and into something that’s a bit more, well… universal.
(9 Tracks, 68:00)
Grayceon – Pearl And The End Of Days (2013) – After you’ve brought a child into the world, I suppose that a song about the end of the world comes immediately next; which is what Grayceon have delivered with their latest EP release. There are just two tracks here, but it’s very much in the vein of their current material, laden with slight prog-thrash and violins. “Pearl 10:11” is a rambunctiously heavy song, yet it still retains class as the recently returned frontwoman sings almost in a glass-like approach over the top of it. Atmosphere is still the name of the game here, and these songs allow for plenty of it, even with “The End Of Days 17:21” featuring more sludge and doom than the previous track (there is also a section of drum blasts). If nothing else, it shows that Grayceon aren’t going anywhere.
(2 Tracks, 27:00)
Damnation Plan – The Wakening (2013) – Well, someone really likes Soilwork and djent, which is pretty much all I’m hearing from these guys as they try their very best to pave over a road that’s already been paved over a million times before. They still manage to do a pretty decent job though, with tracks like “Walk Of Illusion” and “Resurrected (Within Ourselves) 4:52” coming off fairly strong. “Edge Of Machinery 4:54” also succeeds, even though it doesn’t exactly stray from the Soilwork style; while ballad “Ashes 5:01” proves that there might be more to these guys than just what’s on the surface. As far as vocals go, they’re much the same as you would get with Soilwork; harsh bellows and squeaky clean chorus lines. But at the end of the day, these guys can play and know their way around melody which makes them worth a listen – at least they’re trying.
(10 Tracks, 45:00)
Psychofagist – Songs Of Faint And Distortion (2013) – While not a combination of Psycroptic and Necrophagist, experimental act Psychofagist does manage to have some fun experiments as they play around with djent and several other elements of jazz, which we’ve all heard before and are likely to hear again this year. But then the vocals came in, as haphazardly as humanly possible. I just don’t in any way get it, as I could have done everything he does here on the mic much better and far more convincing. I guess I would’ve gone more with the death and black metal vocal styles as well, bringing an unparalleled uniqueness to the act; which is sometimes worth the gamble. Despite the fact that the band does use electronic elements, it still won’t save this disc from getting on my fucking nerves; which it certainly did.
(11 Tracks, 31:00)
Edge Of Attack – Edge Of Attack (2013) – A large sailing vessel and a small lifeboat seem to adorn the cover of this modern power metal act’s debut. Much as you would expect, the effort seems to mix thrash and power riffs along with beautiful female clean vocals. Sometimes this works quite well, like in “Demon (Of The Northern Seas) 5:04” or “Take Me Alive 4:24” which hinges more on modern retro-thrash. Despite the disc’s lighthearted moments, a great deal of shredding takes place as well as a bit of guest vocals in the form of male thrash or male yelling, ala metalcore. Tracks like “Forever 3:46” try very hard to mix power metal with metalcore, but I just don’t think that this album is going to appeal to everyone, unless you really like the modern metal scene. In all that Edge Of Attack does; I think it’s a formula that needs to be greater explored and perhaps a future effort may be a bit less gimmicky, and a bit more magical.
Highlights: The Haunting, Demon (Of The Northern Seas), Rise Above, Forever, Set The World Aflame (10 Tracks, 53:00)
Serenity – War Of Ages (Ltd. Edition) (2013) – Serenity is a symphonic metal band with many of the same nuances that you’d expect for the act. They’ve got a powerful lead vocalist, a guitarist who loves to chug and loads of synths. At the core of this band, strong vocal choruses are the main point; very much in the style of Kamelot. They also employ female vocals as well, delivering a memorable punch with both styles. However, the band switches many different musical styles like the grandiosity of “The Art Of War 5:08” or the middle eastern vibes of “Shining Oasis 5:08” or the more eighties ballad sense of “Freedom’s Sake 4:35.” Seeing as these songs come right after another, it’s easy to see what the band’s game plan was on this album – nevertheless, “Legacy Of Tudors 5:01” still comes off pretty damn catchy. With keyboard frenzies and solos abound, this album has a lot to offer to fans of symphonic metal. However, I don’t think that the band’s cover of Queen’s “Love Of My Life 3:50” or their piano version of “Fairytales 4:29” is really worth the extra money.
Highlights: Legacy Of Tudors (12 Tracks, 61:00 Ltd.)
Chaos Invocation – Black Mirror Hours (2013) – And here we are into the wonderful world of black metal, this time with a melodic take on the genre in the form of the dark and dirty Chaos Invocation. This album sees the band becoming more experimental and ritualistic, much like we’d expect with other black metal bands these days. The subject matter is of course; ritualistic Satanism and the music comes with plenty of blasts beats, familiar tremolo riffs and scowls that could peel the paint from the walls of a church sanctuary. Though melodic, it is definitely not in anyway cheery; instead proving itself to be the very definition of the genre. The song lengths on the album vary, from the short blast sessions of “The Mirror 3:45” all of the way to the powerful atmospheres of “Walking In His City 9:29” which does include clean vocal bursts. The band try their best to craft an album that is not so much in the vein of familiar territory in so far as the almost sporadic vocal approach is considered; yet exciting experiments like “Faces On My Spiritual Plane 5:13” keep things from straying too far from the norm. Black Mirror Hours is the kind of black metal album that requires more time and study than I can personally give to it, which means that it’s definitely worth checking out; especially if you liked the heavier material from the last Dodsengel record… but I can’t help the feeling that I’m being reminded of early Rotting Christ on this record also.
(11 Tracks, 67:00)
Ancestor’s Revenge – The Archaic Return (2013) – Considered melodic black/death with a great deal of core elements and pro-elite lyrics (“Conspirators 3:29” seems to call upon Lucifer and welcome the New World Order) the band meander along the same thick drums, melodic, yet slightly technical riffs and punched in the gut vocals for the whole of the album. But we’ve got to give them credit for the scowls. The only problem with the band, is that they sound a little too modern for their own good. Sure it’s a heavy record, but there’s just not enough meat on here to separate these guys from other acts. On “Fakir 3:28” they try some discouraged clean vocals and “Initiation Into Nothingness 3:10” really sinks back into the basics of melodic death metal, but there’s not too much on the disc that warrants it as even solid. Even the great little melody strings that they play off as “solos” won’t save this one from being just another modern metalcore album.
(10 Tracks, 39:00)
Illnath – 4 Shades Of Me (2013) – Apparently, this band sucks and I had no idea of that; since I really enjoyed this album. Maybe it’s the vocal approach, but they remind me a lot of my own vocals. Yet people have told me that my vocals are good; so I’m just confused. At any rate, this melodic death metal has a great deal of thrash elements and it certainly sounds much better in the earbuds then it does in my computer, because I deeply felt it. But hell, it’s obvious that these guys are obsessed with Heartwork era Carcass and that’s probably why I go into frantic head banging fits when I listen to it, just as I did with that legendary disc. What’s not to like here, honestly? These guys made the album that I myself personally wanted to make, with tracks like “Pieces 3:19” really killing it with those heavy as fuck choruses. Yeah, roundabout it’s the same damned thing for the most part as riffs and melodies go; but I can’t go wrong with “Not My God 4:24” or “King Of Your Mind 3:48.” In reality, I’ve used the same vocal approaches on solo material before and I love the way they turned out. If this guy ever leaves the band, they could hire me as a perfect replacement. I would not mind doing vocals for this band. I mean, right now I’m listening to “It’s On Me 3:38” and I’m hearing many of the same vocal patterns that I use. It’s kind of fucking scary really. There’s seven billion people in the world, so what’s to say that one of them doesn’t share the same vocal ideas that I have? As far as I’m concerned, this disc is a fucking 10. In all rights, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I’d listen to it again and ten times after. But I’m going to appease the rest of the metal scene and factor in the fact that there’s… you know what? Fuck the rest of the metal scene. Trash and treasure folks, trash and treasure.
(11 Tracks, 38:00)
Jungle Rot – Terror Regime (2013) – Yes, I’m just now getting to this album. But I can’t say all that much good about it, obviously being on Victory Records is an odd fit for them; as such I think the band is trying to mix their death metal sound with the core style and trying to get a hand in the pockets of the scene kids. But everyone’s gotta eat, you know? There’s definitely punk influence in the disc this time, almost to the point where we might as well call it “Punk Death Metal.” As such, it’s kind of boring and runs in one ear and out the other. There’s good punk out there; but gentlemen this ain’t it. And as for “I Don’t Need Society 1:40” and “Carpet Bombing 1:13” well, they’re a prime example of filler. Just like the whole rest of the album. Good for a nap. It’s cardboard with solos, basically.
(11 Tracks, 34:00)
Katalepsy – Autopsychosis (2013) – Next I have Katalepsy’s Autopsychosis. This is an Abner pick, (which I can no longer do anymore, because I just don’t have the time) and is categorized as a mix of brutal and slam death metal. Opener “Lurking In The Depth 3:49” gives us a hefty serving of meat, topped with thick vocal bellows, a memorable solo piece and a drummer who has his feet glued to the kick pedals. To be honest, this band seems to be the evolution of bands like Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse who really aren’t going to matter as much with acts like this coming around and stepping all over their shit as they shred and technicalize the fuck out of each and every song while doing so. If you don’t feel the grooves on “Cold Flesh Citadel 3:41” or “The Pulse Of The Somnambulist 4:04” you may want to check your pulse, because you just might be dead. There’s nothing that these guys don’t do justice, as even the “Needles Of Hypocrisy 1:59” interlude is pretty juicy. Kataplexy have much to offer the metal scene in the future and this release is proof. If you don’t have it, go out there and fucking get it. This is one of the most promising bands that I’ve ever heard in this genre and the future of gore.
Highlights: Lurking In The Depth, Cold Flesh Citadel, The Pulse Of Somnambulist, Amongst Phantom Worlds, Needles Of Hypocrisy, Knifed Humility (11 Tracks, 40:00)
Pensees Nocturnes – Nom D’une Pipe (2013) – French Neo Classical black metallers Pensees Nocturnes are back with their new album, but I can’t even tell you what it means. But even though they’re considered Neo Classical black metallers, this is definitely French avantgarde at it’s finest. And most bizarre. While black metal riffs (and the guitars that play them, for that matter) are still featured on the disc, there are also a lot of various horns and saxophones and other such non-metal instruments that seem to work for what they’re trying to achieve. Even if that includes reggae. You’ve really got it all here, including marches, funhouse music, jazz, accordions, female chanting, music boxes, quiet atmospheres, and an outro piece that sounds like it might fit in a game based on Mr. Bizzaro’s Wonderful World Of Fluff. Whatever the hell that might be. But yes, it’s still… and I mean kind of, sort of black metal in a sense. If you like black metal and world music, then definitely give this very interesting album a try. I guess black metal is more than we thought.
(9 Tracks, 50:00)
Asaka – Tentei (2013) – Given the big Konami logo on the front cover of the album, this is the soundtrack to that Metal Gear Solid game (Revengencer?) I haven’t played where they ripped off Ninja Gaiden. But to Asaka’s credit, they really are a thrilling Japanese band with plenty of interesting (and yes, even avantgarde) offerings. As every single track is Kanji, it would do me no good at all to list them, so I’ll just talk about the highlights. I also apologize if this runs a little long. The disc has a powerful intro piece that actually runs (10:15) and features some heavy elements amidst classical instruments. The track that follows it is actually a bit heavy as well, and the vocalist tends to lose his mind towards the end of the song. There’s a bit of everything on this disc really; but what stands out for me is that the band uses classical instruments in addition to their punk influenced j-metal and it’s quite a formidable and experimental process that dwarfs anything considered “popular music” in American terms. It’s something that you’d really have to hear all of the way through, and not think of as just the soundtrack to a video game. What Konami basically did is hire Simon Belmont to come down to the recording studio where Asaka were making their new record, where he told them that if they didn’t relinquish all of the rights of the album to him and Konami; he would surely raise Dracula’s castle again. Not wanting to deal with the demons, Asaka agreed to give their new album to Konami and this is how it became a video game soundtrack to what seems to be the decline of the MGS series, which I never gave a fuck about because I’m all about whips and blasting aliens. At any rate, I highly recommend checking out this album because it’s just so damned different from anything else that I’ve heard as far as bands go, and these guys really don’t give a fuck if they mix thick death metal vocals in with bubbly avantgarde and all sorts of just oddball ideas that wouldn’t work together in any other setting. Not all the tracks are heavy however, and some are even quite friendly; but you’ve really got to give it to these guys. They’re just as important as Dir En Grey. Some people don’t like Asian metal at all, as some mouthy chick commented in a post on All Things Metal; but for those of you much more intelligent and higher thinking individuals that do, definitely give this wonderfully odd work of art a try. Not perfect, but pretty fucking unique. More of this please!
(15 Tracks, 74:00)
Denouncement Pyre – Almighty Arcanum (2013) – Beginning with “The Breath Of Tehom 1:48” and ending with “The Redeemer 7:14” (Hint – It’s probably not Jesus) these black/death metallers did nothing more other than to create one hell of a black metal record. They believe so much in their effort in fact, that they decided to open with the album’s longest song (by just one second) called “An Extension Of The Void 7:15” which tells you all that you need to know about the band. Though they have a familiar sound and style, they write well-structured material which allows for many different facets of sound; be that thrashy death metal, bombastic black metal or foggy atmosphere replete with concrete. Make no mistake, this is a death/black release that DOES NOT GET BORING and offers plenty of meat to chew on. Even when these guys start to get too full of themselves, it’s almost as if the album can telepathically sense when you’re feeling that it’s getting a bit droll; and change structure instantly! But as steeped in the occult as this thing is, perhaps that’s just the magic of great metal.
(9 Tracks, 42:00)
Death Wolf – II: Black Armoured Death (2013) – A mix of black metal and Danzig, Death Wolf is really something else. Also don’t underestimate the punk influence here, as the music itself is considered to be punk music. Except that it’s just a bit blacker and darker than normal punk music. For instance, you wouldn’t have doomy little tracks like “Lord Of Putrefaction 4:42” on any normal punk album, yet that’s what I feel will draw the metal fans in. And as I said with the Danzig, “Darkness Of Hel 3:25” definitely has that influence. But not so much as “Night Stalker 3:57” or “Snake Mountain 3:21.” In a way, Death Wolf is what happens when you mix The Misfits and Danzig together, then made the whole think a hell of a lot dirtier and blacker. There’s even a little bit of sludge influence on here in the form of “Death Wolf March 5:57” though it’s much darker. But dark, dirty and black pretty much explain the whole damn album. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for something different.
(13 Tracks, 46:00)
Xanathos – Imperium Nekropolis (2013) – Xanathos is a blackened death metal band with an obvious hatred for religion, due to the song titles. The disc isn’t all that well produced; but if you turn it up loud enough, you’ll be able to hear it. There’s only about twenty-five minutes of music here, but “The Crown Ov Genocide 4:33” starts things off with an intriguing symphonic intro that sounds much clearer than the band themselves. The band sometimes utilize symphonic elements and seem to have a strong approach from the beginning, yet they also seem to have a good command of the drums, thick vocal matter and a style of pummeling death with a good mix of black metal melodies. But other than that, this is more black than death and it is just a worthy demonstration right now. Worth checking out if you’re interested; but I think I’ll have to hear a bit more to differentiate them from similar acts.
(5 Tracks, 25:00)
Nightkarnation – Preposterous Humanity (2013) – A one man black/death metal project who is looking heavily for promotion, Nightkarnation actually have plenty to offer within the span of this disc; which is just six minutes over thirty. The production is a little raw, but that’s to be expected and it works well with the music, in all actuality. The frontman possesses and earthy growl and ghastly scowl, which work in tandem with the programmed drumming and thick guitar riffs. Nightkarnation isn’t a wholly melodic band, but melodies are found in certain areas. The main goal of this disc is to bash you skull in, and this is done with a well-crafted amount of calculation that doesn’t see the album becoming boring after listening to it for a while. This disc is surprisingly brutal in some areas, taking a key from brutal death metal as well as the obvious thrash and black metal elements. At least the artist is trying to make the songs sound rhythmically different from each other, which certainly shows that there’s definitely something here.
Highlights: Human Ataxia Four Legs Vitality, Making A God, No More Dead Ends, Devotion Oblivion, Carrion Eater, From The Perils Of Hell (10 Tracks, 36:00)
Walking Corpse Syndrome – Alive In Desolation (2013) – Walking Corpse Syndrome is an industrial death metal band with modern elements, and in some ways they’re quite powerful. For instance, the opener “Minion 3:18” captured my attention instantly, packing a bulldozer of a punch while wetting my appetite for more. These guys definitely love their grooves, highly inspired by bands like Fear Factory and Lamb Of God and it shows throughout this sledgehammer of an album that I’ve been waiting to review for a while now. Though it’s steeped in the modern metal “jump n’ groove” sound, there are still some portions where that changes to allow other sections, like cryptic melodies, or fierce drum bouts. The vocalist may have well replaced his mouth with a fist, but he spits out the lyrics so fast that some might think it’s being rapped. In fact, he has to catch his breath several times throughout these songs and maybe the guy should quit smoking. But if you’re a fan of death metal and really like groove, despite the fact that there are nu-metal influences; then you should definitely check these guys out. Walking Corpse Syndrome are kicking more ass than bands like Five Finger Death Punch are right now, that’s for sure. At least death metal influence actually exists on this record, as well as some memorable riffs and a feeling of vigor. Piss, vinegar n’ vigor. Don’t forget about the use of orchestration on “Inhumanity 4:33.” Someone fucking sign these guys.
(8 Tracks, 32:00)
John Zorn – The Mysteries (2013) – I wasn’t really sure what this was when I first checked it out, but it appears to be a wonderful series of soundscapes by one very talented individual by the name of John Zorn. There’s nothing heavy about this record, but it goes to show you just how much I can switch from something as pummeling as Walking Corpse Syndrome and go into the complete Antithesis of that, which exists here with Mr. Zorn. For those of you who enjoy the bubbly music of Japanese role playing games, you may find soundscapes quite similar to those on this record. It’s very much a “land of magic and wonder” sort of deal, something that one can sit back, relax and escape into. It’s a kind of music that seems way beyond itself, almost as if it was the music of another, more refined dimensional landscape. It’s quite soothing and very beautiful, using light acoustics and keyboards to decorate the way of these unknown lands and majestic castles in the sky. It’s the music of a place that you wish existed, a world that people make up to escape the droll monotony of day to day life. What Zorn has captured here is absolutely magnificent and it’s the perfect music to play when you’ve had a hard day of getting your head bashed in by Kataplexy. With that said, I highly recommend this enlightening album.
(9 Tracks, 48:00)
Sevendust – Black Out The Sun (2013) – Sevendust is one of those rare acts that just keeps on going, long after other acts of their type have gone the way of the pet rock. I may have mentioned how much I originally enjoyed Home before, but this new album sees them plodding along the same path that they’ve tread ever since it’s follow-up, Seasons. However, though the riffs are just as crunchy as always; the disc still jumps onboard with the djent trend. Fortunately, it is more structured than previous releases and features more harsh vocal influence from the band’s drummer. Lajon is Lajon; still sounding as good as he always has and makes all of the choruses shine for the most part. Some of the songs do get pretty heavy (“Till Death 3:06”) but the biggest advent on the record is it’s addition of guitar solos. Sevendust does benefit from these solos, and if nothing else; they make the album just a bit more than another drop in the bucket. It’s a step in the right direction and follows Home in some areas. Not too shabby.
(13 Tracks, 44:00)
Angizia – Des Winters Finsterer Gesell (2013) – I’m not sure if I’ve reviewed this album already or not, but it’s still on my HD and I want it off. To tell you the truth, the new release from this avantgarde/black metal/opera act is quite boring for the most part, with only a few songs like “Im Dunklen Tann 5:16” and “Jagd 7:18” to be halfway worth merit. The male and female duet feeling of opera is definitely here; but I feel it’s just a bit too thick for the metal listener. Though there is still black metal influence on the disc, (seriously, I’m not joking) all of the piano portions just serve to do nothing but lull me into sleep. The vocal lines are done with a great sense of emotion, but I just can’t get into this at all. I usually like avantgarde and experimental music. But not this time.
(15 Tracks, 69:00)
Dir En Grey – The Unraveling EP (Ltd. Edition) (2013) – I’ve never heard of a limited edition EP before, but this one is actually worth checking out. I can actually justify the limited edition of this disc with just one word: Macabre. Yes, “Macabre 16:18” in it’s multifaceted majesty is one of the most interesting tracks I’ve ever heard from Dir En Grey and hopefully will be featured on the band’s forthcoming album. The original disc contains just six short tracks, with “Unraveling 4:42” full of djent and clean vocal, and “業3:42″ being almost grindcore and the heaviest I’ve ever heard from the band. Also a good solo is featured on the track. If these guys keep it up, they’ll be good competition for Anaal Nathrakh. Unfortunately, they tend to stick to J-Pop territory; which works on certain tracks and not so well on others. I guess “The Final 4:15” would make a good anime opening/closing. Maybe they could actually feature the band in Persona 5. Maybe. By the way, you get two unplugged versions of “Unraveling 5:30” and “The Final 5:50” on the bonus CD that comes along with “Macabre” on the bonus disc. While mostly softies, there’s still some bite to this thing. Makes me scratch my head, wondering where the band’s going to go next.
(2 Discs, 10 Tracks, 60:00)
Eloa Vadaath – Dead End Proclaima (2013) – Last time I reviewed Eloa Vadaath, it was 2012 and the review was pretty fucking enormous. Well, I’m not going SxS on this one obviously; even though the core notion of the band is still the same. They still play an extravagant form of melodic death metal and they still utilize folk instruments, especially violins; which are most prominent. Clean vocals do show up, but I can’t say that I prefer them. They seem rushed and that’s never a good sign. Or maybe he’s just too damned excited and isn’t really focusing on the material. Technicality is still a pillar of the band’s music as well, as you’ll hear about a thousand different riffs and drum patterns at one time, per is normal. It’s an album that’s more musically proficient than vocally proficient; and it could function better as an instrumental release; compared to their last one. It’s also one of those album where you’ll highlight certain parts of songs that you like, maybe even certain clean sections (stop hollering all over the disc, you idiot! you can clearly sing) but probably not full songs as a whole. I thought the band’s previous release was better, but this still got released anyway. Still worth checking out, as these guys musically fail to disappoint and when you listen to them in a car with heavy bass it really highlights the instrumental portions.
(8 Tracks, 55:00)
Cyntia – Lady Made (2013) – Cyntia came out with this disc relatively quick, the Japanese all female power metal band still showing that they’ve got some fire left in them. Just as on the last album, that lead guitarist can really play; and she shows it with some memorable riff melodies. The music sometimes takes on a bit of a sparkle quality; as it clearly sounds like the sort of thing that might adorn an anime or J-game about a magical witch or female magician. Maybe Touhou. While not for everyone, fans of J-Pop will love it; almost acting as a sort of gateway into metal. I’m not as big as a fan of this one as I was of the band’s last disc, yet I’m still curious to hear more of their efforts. I’m also curious as to what game or anime I’m going to run into that features one of these songs. This J-Pop influenced power metal might just be what the doctor ordered; and as I noted – it does feature some memorable riffs and solos. Don’t count them out just yet!
(11 Tracks, 51:00)
The Psyke Project – Guillotine (2013) – Five piece angry sludge act, The Psyke Project have unleashed a rather hateful display of despair, hopelessness and anguish with the screechy beast that they like to call Guillotine. Personally, I don’t think that these guys really could have come up with a better title for the album, as it very much offers up a fierce sound that is wholly equivalent to a beheading. The disc is about as thick as can be, with fuzzy riffs and drums that just seem to flow right into them. Between the thick guitars and drums, the frontman might as well be screaming during a fucking earthquake. Oddly enough, each track on the album contains it’s own vibe, whether that be the slow sludge of ” Partisan 4:31″, the groove sludge of “Death Sight 2:59” or the atmosphere of “The Mute 2:32” and “When Man Became God 2:06.” The Psyke Project seem to do a hell of a job with all things greasy and grimy, leading me to believe that this rough and rowdy material is just what you need after a hard day. They should package it with a six pack of beer.
Highlights: Guillotine, Death Sight, The End, Partisan, The Mute, Empire, Hell Is Other People, When Man Became God (11 Tracks, 38:00)
Flagellant – Maledictum (2013) – Flagellant make black metal, and their brand of black metal is quite stitched in the realms of the classic style – you’ll just have to add more prog to the tremolo and you’ve got it. They use a hell of a lot of delayed riffs, have a tinny approach to drumming and frontman who can scowl as well as any other scowler that I’ve ever heard before. To be honest, this is the kind of album where all of the tracks sound round about the same, using riff melodies that I’ve heard a thousand times over (they even try the blackened groove thing on closer “Thirteen Cauldrons Boil 5:20”) and bringing off an effect that makes me just say, “Eh, they’re alright.” I mean, you’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt that what they’re doing is right. They can play black metal, but they just don’t seem to be doing anything new with it, or anything that sounds remotely interesting. Sure, it’s worth checking out if you can’t get enough of a band that sounds like another band that sounds like another band, and to some extent we’re all guilty of this. But Flagellant just isn’t the band that sounds like another band that sounds like another band that I particularly cared for. Maledictum is really just another black metal album, more or less.
(8 Tracks, 53:00)
The Storyteller – Dark Legacy (2013) – Storyteller is a power metal band who wants to know one thing… How well do you know your Odin? But if you’re not too familiar with the eyed king, then these guys do well to explain his legacy and might to you. As for the album, the production seems a little odd. It sounds like the drummer and guitarist recorded their parts in another studio and instead of recording the vocals separately and mixing them together with the rest of the band; it sounds like he just recorded his vocals over the tracks while they were playing. The album comes off like this because the vocals are far too high even though they are quite enjoyable. The guy can sing, but his chords don’t need to be that high in the mix. He’s not singing to an entire concert hall, just the ears of one or a few more people. But I can’t really pick on this band too much, as they do offer a worthy attempt and made one of the most awesome songs about Odin that I’ve heard yet in “God Of Gods 4:41.” I have to give these guys credit for something, because it’s certainly not a bad album regardless of the recording choice. It doesn’t break any boundaries or reinvent the genre either; but at least he’s put some feeling into it. Manowar would be pleased with their attention to detail, guitar acrobatics and Viking folk influenced metal riffs.
(11 Tracks, 51:00)
Warbeast – Destroy (2013) – Texas’s Warbeast is back, with another release on Phil’s Housecore Records. And if you don’t know who Phil is, then what are you doing on my page? At any rate, I’ve always been heavily reminded of GWAR when I listen to this band, and this new album is no exception. The only difference is that Warbeast is GWAR without the comedy, and a bit more metal muscle. I guess the vocalist of the band doesn’t have as much of a comedic approach on the mic as David Brockie either, yet he still manages to come off necessarily funny with his constant one word/one line repetition. Because of that, this disc begins to drone, and it drones fast. Not so much in the atmosphere of drone, because that’s not all what I’m saying. You just get a bit tired of it after awhile. They change the tempos quite a bit on the album, with meaty guitar riffs and drums ablaze; but after song after song of that, you get tired of the approach after awhile. They also pull off some relatively strong solos too (“Nobody 4:02”) and a strong political edge in it’s follow-up, “The Day Of… 7:09” and yes, that song really is seven minutes long. Warbeast have the right idea, but I think they’re a band where less is more. I want to like the disc so bad, but I just think there’s a bit too much going on. But if you want something that’s ungodly heavy in the realms of thrash and brutality; you should find something here.
(10 Tracks, 45:00)
Tengger Cavalry – Black Steed (2013) – Rounding out this leg of the journey, I have Black Steed from Chinese metallers, Black Stallion. This album shows another side of them when classic Chinese instrumentations teams up with dirty American stoner doom. Never thought I’d ever hear it before, but I’m certainly glad to see how we’re influencing people on the other side of the world. These guys can also play this newfound style quite well, with chunky riff melodies, punchy drumming and raspy vocals. The next track actually features the band giving authentic Chinese music a metal facelift, and the next track features breakdowns and bells. Two classic tracks have also been given a facelift on the album, like the speedier eighth track on the release, and the closer which is full of fucking fire. I think it’s time to take notice of Tengger Cavalry now. An American version of this album also released; but I’ve yet to check it out. It has all of these songs and then some.
(9 Tracks, 34:00)