Week 116 (July 3, 2014)

I’ve got some band requests this week, so I’ve added Humut Tabal, Super Massive Black Holes and Blacksnake to the list. Next week comes the crippling 25 release run, so be on the lookout for that. Additionally, I’m slowly building up for next month’s 25 release run because of the sheer amount of promotional materials I’ve received in the last few weeks. I apologize for this being so late and I blame Sears for fucking up my work schedule. It’s all due to Independence Day, which screws up truck schedules and sends retail stores into a tizzy. Without any more of my blabber, here is Week 116!

October File - An Introspective Of The Human Condition

October File – …An Introspective Of The Human Condition (2014 Spotlight Album) – Sounding like one great big mix of Neurosis and Killing Joke (and even more so than Floor, who I reviewed previously) these Englishmen mix post/punk industrial and heavy metal together in an award winning package that isn’t something you’d want to miss if you love Killing Joke’s current work as much as I did. Early on, I remember giving the band’s 2010 release, Absolute Dissent a 10/10. Oddly enough, October File seems to have been highly influenced by that record as well, with tracks like “I Fuck The Day 4:16” and the monumental “The Water 11:14” carrying right in-tune with classic Killing Joke nuances and showing mass amounts of Killing Joke worship throughout the whole disc. There’s definitely a feeling of post metal here too, as things are quite thick and muddy, with the frontman’s vocal utterings coming off as rough and thick as a bar of handmade soap – and I’ve had a bar of handmade soap in my hands before. It sure as hell isn’t Dove. But there’s a short little acoustic number on here called “Upon Reflection 4:18” that shows the band completely changing from their previous direction on “Elation 5:48” another of the album’s worthy cuts, as the disc takes a softer and certainly more reflective turn. Then the effect laden “Where The Clouds Meet The Horizon 6:24” features catchy and calculated crunch, with closer “To Be Watched Upon 9:29” incorporating a slow and repetitive dirge almost in the vein of a posty Opeth. Yet things like this are what draw me even closer to the disc, as it shows a band that can not only copy a legend; but also one that can take that style and really roll with it. It’s assured that they certainly created their Killing Joke Self-Titled 2.0 part II or perhaps Absolute Dissent 1.5 with some of the tracks on this disc, but after hearing the absolute mesmerism engrained into “The Water” (which I just can’t mention enough) I can’t just call this album a finely crafted counterfeit. An Introspective… really draws further upon the style that Killing Joke abandoned in part when they began their next album MMXII (2012) and I truly feel that the piece as a whole is well worth checking out for fans of post/punk and sludge. October File are truly a memorable act and I can’t wait to hear more from them in the future. But first, I’ll have to end up digging through the multitude of work from their past.

Highlights: The Water (9 Tracks, 55:00)

9/10

Floor - Oblation

Floor – Oblation (2014) – After several long years, Floridians Floor have finally gotten back into gear with their long awaited third full-length album. I’ll be honest and tell you that this is the first Floor record I’ve ever heard, but the amount of sheer grandiosity and amazement laden within is truly monolithic. Calling these guys just another sludge/post/doom band just doesn’t really describe what I’m hearing here. The album’s pummeling title track (3:08) brings forth a muddy and lumbering groove that shines brightly in its clean vocal acrobatics. Yet there are slight touches of melody that make the piece come off a bit brighter than it would have been, if there were harsh vocals in the piece. “Rocinate 3:19” follows that grandeur with an almost punky post vibe and I’m really reminded of current era Killing Joke on this whole album. “Trick Scene 2:26” really rolls in with the doom thunder, as it pummels heavily through your skull. Even the clean vocals can’t save this one from being a downright sludge fest. But that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Musically, the band really don’t offer so much in the way of variation, as many of the tracks offer much of the same combinations of sludge, doom and post. There are definite exceptions in the almost robotic “Homegoings And Transitions 3:02” and the monument in “Sign of Aeth 7:52” which offers almost a shoegaze sort of vibe, but for the most part these guys stick to the same meat and potatoes sludge riffs throughout the entire album. Yet it still shimmers and that could very well be due to the fact that it has such a pleasing vibe. Even when it crushes, it lays out almost a metaphysical vibe… kind of like cynic, but with a bit more muscle. It’s the kind of album that you can headbang to, but also listen to while driving down the street. Oblation is definitely one of the most non-violent, yet heavily abrasive records that I’ve ever heard in my life, but it’s got an almost alternative rock vocal style that might not appeal to everyone. I see it as a much kinder, gentler version of Neurosis with more than likely the same lyrical vibe (if you can make heads or tails of the poetic ramblings in the booklet) and it manages to deliver just the same. The sound of the album really matches the beauteous artwork on the front cover, which ultimately equals out to a wonderful listen. I definitely recommend Floor’s Oblation because it’s truly one of a kind in a genre that seems to be filling with more copycats than a basket of kittens. Angry metal kittens. Without a doubt, Floor proves that they’re the pick of the litter.

(14Tracks, 44:00)

9/10

Loudblast - Burial Ground

Loudblast – Burial Ground (2014) – For someone who’s never heard a Loudblast album in their life, I look to find that these guys have released several records throughout their long lifespan, after breaking up in 1999 and reforming about ten years later. Surprisingly, these French death metallers still seem to have it, Burial Ground proving to be evidence enough to prove that statement. Views were skewed on MA with one guy giving it a 60 and the other an 80. Each track on the record does deliver a different approach as previous reviewers have noted, but it’s that kind of approach that makes me give a shit. Listen, if you’re going to write an album where it all just sounds the same, then that will only serve to bore me. There at least has to be some defining factor for a disc to stand out, which is what I’m getting here. “A Bloody Oath 6:03” begins the album with a slow and ominous feeling, yet still finds the ability to dole out some carnage. It delivers a slow, but forceful approach that only gets better when the solo section introduced. There’s definitely a little bit of black metal flowing through the veins and shreddage of “Darkness Will Abide 4:17” as it still manages to slather towards the Swedeath style that we all know and love. There are obvious kinks in that system in the way of post and prog, but the fucker delivers and that’s the most important part. “Ascending Straight In Circles 5:03” brings in the groove that you’ve been waiting for, albeit with some double bass action and a little atmospheric section in the middle. These guys really are a clusterfuck of sound, I must say. “Soothing Torments 4:11” puts a little fear into the mix, but “From Dried Bones 3:28” upsets me because it takes so long to get to the interesting riff melody that opens the song. There’s still plenty of crushing groove to be found here, but this song just shouldn’t require a nearly fifty second silence. This is just too long, especially when the change in the style is so radically different. Seriously, couldn’t you gentlemen have found another place to put that long intro? Perhaps in the middle of a song, instead of at the end of it? You know that if I put that on my MP3 player I would have to go into my music editing program and cut that whole intro piece off. I had to do the same thing with an Enslaved song. What is it with all this pretension in bands lately? Getting back to the album, the bands takes a turn from sludge into progressive era Death (I can almost match the melodies) but I don’t think anyone is going to be upset with this one. After another incessantly long intro, the band finally gets back to bash and groove with “Abstract God 4:18.” The song plays with doom and drone as it throws those elements into death metal, delivering heavily on the chorus. The weird thing about “The Void 6:05” is that it sounds like post death metal, but seems to go into the bridge during the 1:23 mark of the track. The beginning vocal approach sounds completely like the “drive it home” section that should have been placed at the end, turning the rest of the song into a complete labyrinth, despite some really well-placed guitar licks. Then there’s an acoustic section just tacked on to it at the end. What in the hell were these guys attempting to do with this song? Finally, we get to “The Path 6:26” which hammers home on classic death metal as it rolls right into the post death style that has encompassed most of this album. And that’s probably why that one guy didn’t get it, because Burial Ground is very much a post-death record, and while that is rare; it’s definitely not amazing. I’d much rather hear these guys with more focus on melody, groove and structure, rather than the odd mess that I feel I’m at some times having to unravel. Though the disc stuck with me and showed an inventive French stamp on the timeless notion of classic death metal, I don’t think this is Loudblast’s finest hour. While that closing solo is a beast, it’s even more a shame that they cut it off. This means that I would have to find a way to book a flight all the way down to wherever these guys are playing, just so that I could hear the whole solo. I have to hear that final riff. It’s very important to me to know how the entire solo sounded when it was written. But that’s always been the live “hook” so to speak. If you saw the band live, you’d get to hear those solos that they just cut off in the recording. I remember it back with Iron Maiden, finally being able to watch some of those live concerts and hearing those last final notes. It felt like completion. Unfortunately, I felt like I would if I had been approached by a stripper with one of those large baskets of edible fruit on her head… confused and left with blue balls. Of course, that depends on the stripper. I’d probably still fuck her, just as well as I still enjoyed this album and would recommend you give it a shot regardless. Burial Ground might just take a few more listens for me to finally get it. It’s your choice as to whether you’re willing to traverse this metallic jumble for yourself.

(9Tracks, 44:00)

8/10

Corrosion Of Conformity - IX

Corrosion Of Conformity – IX (2014) – I’ve never been the biggest fan of COC, but I will say that I’ve always respected and appreciated the bluesy stoner doom that they’ve created over the years. The band’s new release IX is much like all the others, in that it offers thunderous riffs, catchy grooves and an overall 70’s rock atmosphere. Alright, so maybe it’s not like every other album that they’ve ever made, but it doesn’t completely betray the formula and I think that COC fans are going to be stoked for that. If you wanted that big old’ jam session right slap in the middle of a song, then opener “Brand New Sleep 5:53” will give you just that. If you’re going to play COC and not light up a joint or crack open a beer, then you’re clearly doing it wrong. These guys just sound better when you’re stoned and it doesn’t take an idiot to know that. However, there’s a song on here called “Denmark Vesey 2:06” which throws a heaping pile of punk into the mix. It’s fast, raw and loud… and I wouldn’t smoke a joint to it. That’s punching bag or workout music, folks. “The Nectar 4:14” carries that same speed for a while, but it mellows right back down and resumes stoner friendly atmospheres. After an “Interlude 0:56” we get right back into it with “On Your Way 3:40” as it pumps a bit more pep into the mix. “Trucker 5:32” also packs a little bite as well, but for the most part it stays slow and smooth as it shreds heavy. “Tarquinius Superbus 5:33” features possibly the fiercest approach that I’ve ever heard from these guys, even with the addition of some sharp vocal screams and admittedly more piss and vinegar than they usually offer. In all actuality, it’s a bit odd to hear them sound this damn heavy, but some new school metalhead might be able to get into it. Definitely going to kill your buzz. Luckily the last two tracks on the disc take the band back to what we know and love, so if you feel that you’ve had a few bad trips during the inaugural play of this release; then hopefully IX‘s ending will mellow you right back down again. So maybe IX isn’t quite like all of COC’s early releases and perhaps I even lied a bit in the beginning of this review. But that will teach you to read the whole thing then, won’t it? At any rate, this album shows that a band with nine albums to their credit is still coming up with new tricks to keep things interesting. They could have unleashed stoner grooves and prog jams for a full hour and everyone would have been fine, but throwing a few new ideas into the bag never really hurt anyone. It’ll keep listeners on their toes at any rate and shows that these guys aren’t just phoning them all in. Not bad, gentlemen. Not bad at all.

(11Tracks, 42:00)

7/10

Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare

Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare (2014) – Alright, you can give me all the shit you want for this one. Just grab a big bucket of manure and chunk it at me. Go ahead, I can take it. But yes, this is the first Mayhem album that I’ve heard the whole way through. Yes, I have the others but have yet to listen to all of them (and I’ll start in chronological order one day, if ever I have the time) so in essence I’ve gone backwards with this one, their newest and last release since 2007’s Ordo Ab Chao which apparently wasn’t all that well received. Though I really don’t know what the problem was with that record (as I have yet to hear it) I can say that Esoteric Warfare is a relatively decent example of the black metal standard and mindset of 2014. Though it still has much in common with the band’s older work (I said I haven’t heard full albums, not full songs!) it also embraces several modern elements such as post, prog and the overall sound of modern black metal. Additionally, it’s not about Satan this time as Attila Csihar considers himself as much of a conspiracy buff as I am (which makes me want to read the lyrics, as I can’t understand the man’s vocals for shit) and the landscape there is consistent with these conspiracy theories which relate to mind control and several other possible instances (of which I believe are much more than quite possible.)

The album begins with a post-black (and slightly industrial approach on the drumming) riff atmosphere, which opens up “Watcher.” The record itself seems sort of raw and thick in this aspect, but it’s nevertheless abrasive, with Attila’s ghastly scowls searing like razors as Hellhammer proceeds to make the kit explode with volcanic fury. There’s a little bit of an atmosphere shoved in, but it works to achieve the sort of ominous feel that they were going for. “Psywar 3:25” I heard much earlier through the single, even though it really is kind of short for black metal. The track delivers the same rough abrasiveness and post-black metal tremolos that the rest of the disc delivers, but it too features a section of atmosphere right before a little hint of grandiosity. I think the synths need to be a bit louder in the mix though, as I can barely hear them. While I would not ever entertain the idea of a freshly polished Mayhem, I think the fact that they’re still trying to sound like they made this record in someone’s garage at this age in their lives is rather fucking insulting. “Trinity 3:57” seems to deliver the same tone of rough and scratchy abrasiveness (I simply can’t use that word enough on this album) with Hellhammer and Attila featured most prominently in the mix. I’m not sure who the lead axeman is, but he doesn’t seem to be really doing all that much, other than to provide a slight melody here in there when needed. It’s not that he doesn’t help the album, but it just seems like he didn’t really have all that much to do. “Pandaemon 2:53” really fucks with heads as it starts and stops several times before launching into fury. I must say, it really is an odd construct to hear Mayhem trying to attempt the sound of bands like Dodheimsgard and Aborym; yet I’m in part getting that feeling here. There’s a steely, almost industrial feeling to the music that I’m quite sure wasn’t apparent on the band’s earlier and more heralded works. And I’m hearing more than enough from the kit on that one, I think. Let’s continue, shall we? “Milab 6:03” begins with strange otherworldly utterances and it observes a much lighter, yet rather unwelcome tone. Attila tries his best to sound like several other things besides a black metal vocalist (including a gravel throated growler and tortured pig) and we thank him for his efforts. “Vi. Sec 4:12” shows a doom-influence as tremolos back slow dirges and measured drumming. Attila practices his bird calls for the first few minutes, until Hellhammer finally decides that it’s time to get the track rolling and so it does, up until the end. “Throne Of Time 4:06” seems to experiment a bit more while still utilizing the post-black rustic sound, as it introduces more growls and scowls from Attila. It definitely seems that this track (and most of the songs on this album) are all about the atmosphere, with Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord apparently having become a favorite of the band as of late. There’s a layered section near the end of the track that almost sounds like it’s in the vein of brutal black/death. Then “Corpse Of Care 4:06” begins as Attila shrieks like Pterodactyl. It almost sounds like the mutant Sauron (X-Men, not LOTR) is on vocals at times, perhaps in a back room or something. This one really starts to drone however and starts to become awfully fucking boring. it’s a good thing that the band later kicks it into gear and even offers up a demonic laugh. “Posthuman” is the longest number here, but by now they’re all starting to sound the same. This one really verges on the odd, with riff-structures that sound more prog rock than black metal. I understand that these guys are really trying to reinvent the wheel with this album and further transfigure post-black metal, but I’m not quite sure if this is the way to do it. Towards the latter section of the track, it really seems to be more about Hellhammer’s drum skills than anything else. Once again, I’m hearing more of the drums than anything else on this fucking record. The disc ends with “Aion Suntelia 5:25” which just offers more in the way of weirdness. But that’s really the best way to explain this album… it’s just fucking weird. There’s a bonus track on the disc called “Into The Lifeless 3:39” which was taken from the band’s Budapest sessions and it’s in a completely different manner than the rest of this album. I guess it’s an alright addition to the disc though.

At the end of the day, Mayhem did very well manage to produce the black metal standard for 2014. Unfortunately, that also amounts to said standard being a total fucking mess and a caricature of itself. I really don’t think that black metal even sounds like black metal anymore to be honest, and these guys are a brilliant example of that. In reading some other reviews on the disc, I’ve seen this thing get everything from a 0 to an 85% rating. But as for me, I think it’s a decent 7.5 and shows that these guys might just be doing too much. Perhaps they just need to quit and form another band. I understand about band evolution and line-up change, but it’s hard for me to accept that these are the same guys who did “Freezing Moon.” Hellhammer proves that he’s still got the muscle behind the kit, and Attila proves that he mimic a plentiful amount of birds, both of the current and prehistoric eras. Yet it all just sounds like one big black mess… of darkness!

(11Tracks, 51:00)

7/10

Humut Tabal - The Dark Emperor Ov The Shadow Realm

Humut Tabal – The Dark Emperor Ov The Shadow Realm (2014) – Oddly enough, Texan black metallers Humut Tabal may have well-crafted a much better album than even Mayhem this year! While that might not really come as a surprise to most, “Across The Boundless Land Ov Death 8:13” sees the band’s frontman Grimzaar scowling like a mad fiend as he plays traditional tremolo riff melodies while Njord pounds the hell out of the drums, much like Hellhammer. The track manages to punch more groove into the mix (halfway drowning out the vocals) as it observes a section of melodies (I won’t call it a solo) that lead right into a spirited bout of pummeling percussive fury and vocal rage. “Through The Forest And Twisting Shadow 5:20” continues the fury further as it offers even more punch in the vein of frantic blasts, slowing down to welcome a slight pause before another fierce drilling attempt. I haven’t heard much of the jazz and classical styles referenced being used here, but the Emperor, Mayhem, Satyricon and Dissection references are definitely on par with this experience. I really like the drum pattern at the beginning of “Furious Winged Helldaemons Soar 4:08” as it almost exhibits a middle-eastern vibe. Some death growls also make an appearance on the album. There’s even a section where things get a bit more chunky and threatening with the meld of black and death metal vocal aesthetics. “Alone In Purest Silence 5:36” finally serves to differentiate the formula, but Grimzaar probably should have turned his vocals up in the beginning of the mix. He does manage to pull of some rather mellow leads in this much calmer, yet slightly depressive piece. It still manages to pain the sky black though, making for a rather intriguing separation from the band’s weightier material. In all honesty, this one’s got to be my favorite cut so far. Next comes the shortest track on the release, “The Misanthrope Ov The Barren Waste Becomes 2:23” which comes full on with thrash, rampaging drums and more of those harsh vocal scowls. It’s more black/thrash than anything else, but it delivers far more than most of Esoteric Warfare, that’s for sure. “Wielder Of The Daemon Blade 6:00” makes me think of the demon emperor Ashtar from Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword Of Chaos. It also sounds as threatening and ominous as one would expect for a tune to accompany him. I like the fact that Grimzaar tries a strained vocal approach (maybe I should try that on our next album?) on the disc, which works inherently well with the drums that kick in later. But I can barely hear the guitar melodies. There is a nice section of orchestration though, which I didn’t expect and really makes these guys stand out more than they did for the first few songs on the album. There’s a certain groove kick to the piece as well, which definitely makes it another strong cut for me. This is something that I could really get down to, regardless of what the lyrics are to be honest. They guy could replace all instances of the word Satan with Batman and I’d still dig the fuck out of this. I think Batman’s more interesting anyway. Perhaps there should be a Batmanic black metal genre. I’ll be the progenitor for that one. Next we’ve got “In the Shade Ov Lord Satan’s Wings 6:39” or should I say, “In The Shade Of Lord Batman’s Cape” which definitely hits hard on the black and thrash, while adding a slight “orb” effect. That works for me, as we can never really have enough orb effects. The song continue to add a morose section, which only adds to the overall musicality of the piece. Humut Tabal adds sections to their songs, instead of just adding new riffs, and that’s what makes them stand out on some of these later tracks. This morbid portion of the track really helps the more abrasive section that comes in much later. It also reminds me a little of my own band, which is nice. The album ends out with “Dark Emperor Ov The Shadow Realm 7:11” which starts out rough and rabid, but later entertains more atmosphere (can you please raise those vocals a bit?) as it looms closer to the end. Damn, this section is really a fucking wash and I hate to say that. I’ve hit these same lines myself and I just think that the vocals are too low in the mix here to raise them above the guitar melodies. Also, the drums totally bury the guitar. What the hell happened? It’s still a good record though, even though these guys still show that they’ve got some work ahead of them. I’d be rather proud of a debut like this to be honest, and it’s a truly kick-ass record that delivers in just the way that modern black metal should. Definitely get your hands on Humut Tabal, as they have so much to offer on this debut if you’ll look aside from some of the recording issues. But I can only guess as to how that mastering session actually was. Every member of the band wants to be heard, but the trick is to master them all so that certain sections come off much stronger than others. For instance, if there’s a really good riff melody, the drums should be pushed back a little to allow that particular melody to come through. The drums have already had plenty of punch for most of the song, where normal leads were being utilized, but when something unconventional and different begins to emanate from the guitar, it should be noted. People want to hear “that particular riff” and it’s a shame when they can’t. But even the big guys fuck up in this area, I’ve heard it all the time. Mastering music is a truly delicate art that is both frustrating and rewarding. At any rate, definitely give the disc a listen. It’s well worth checking out!

Highlights: Alone In Purest Silence, Wielder Of The Daemon Blade (8 Tracks, 45:00)

8/10

Cemetery - Enter The Gate

Cemetery – Enter The Gate (Discography 1991 – 1993 2 CD 2014) – Bavarian death metallersCemetery are dead and gone, but they managed to make only one record of which you’ll hear on this two disc compilation album. The Enter The Gate release has finally been made available here, which has never been made available prior to this release. And to be honest, that’s quite terrible, because Enter The Gate is a truly memorable and mesmerizing release. It definitely contains the spirit of classic death metal, but still shines with an unforgettable luster that will surely appeal to fans of Death and perhaps even Atheist. But I’m certainly hearing more Death influence than anything else on this hard-hitting disc, as cuts like the powerful “Cremation 9:56” show. Cemetery definitely played a thrash inspired death metal that’s much in tune with the greats like Deicide, Entombed and Morbid Angel, but they also went a step further and added several light-hearted and beautiful sections to otherwise rather morbid pieces. The metalhead of that time period might have looked upon this as a risky idea, but the metalhead of today would certainly understand and accept it. There was such a firm grasp of melody and precision on this album, that it’s a shame we’ve had to wait almost thirty years to finally hear it. The original record came in at about an hour’s playing time, but it certainly managed to deliver several memorable moments in what I can describe as rather spirited solo efforts and powerful melodies the whole way through. Again, this isn’t something you would have expected for the time and it could explain why the band later found a female vocalist and changed their sound to become Aeon’s End in 1996, which also only released one record and split up. Yet the work of these musicians proves that there certainly was something bumbling around in that Bavarian Cemetery and this album makes stark evidence of that claim. The second disc just offers extra material, but none of it I found to be as good or relevant as the Enter The Gate release. In truth, we should have entered the gate a long fucking time ago and these guys should have now been hailed as timeless legends. But unfortunately fate had other plans and this one moment of greatness is all that we get. Be sure to track down this lost relic of heavy metal history. You’ll be glad you did.

(2Discs, 15Tracks, 100:00)

8/10

Super Massive Black Holes - Calculations Of The Ancients

Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations Of The Ancients (2014) – The cacophony of incredible sounds that emanate from this US four piece are pretty jaw-dropping, if I don’t say so myself. Equal parts Atheist, Gorguts and Exivious, these gentlemen mix together death metal, jazz, progressive, blues and several other styles that will certainly have your mind spinning. Denver’s vocal grunts aren’t necessarily perfect, but it doesn’t really matter in the slightest; at least not when he can play this good. The album only comes in at about five minutes over the thirty minute mark, but that’s more than enough time for tracks like “Distance To The Great Attractor 5:23” and “Ghosts Of Bhopal 6:44” to work their magic. The songs aren’t all that long, but they do offer quite a bit of roughness (Sub-Molecular) Transmogrification Of The Oriphy 4:02) with an occasional dose of calm subtlety (Mathematics Of Emotion 3:04) in the mix, which gives you a very distinct picture of the band and what they’re capable of as artists. Calculations Of The Ancients offers exactly what a proper debut should and shows what to expect from this intriguing little outfit known as Super Massive Black Holes. If you like your music loose-fitting and apt to methods of great and unexpected change, then there’s no doubt that you will fall in love with this impressive package. If this is what these guys sound like on their debut, then I can’t wait to hear what amazing surprises will be featured on the band’s next album. Definitely not one to miss!

Highlights: Ghosts Of Bhopal (9 Tracks, 35:00)

9/10

King Parrot - Bite Your Head Off

King Parrot – Bite Your Head Off (2014) – In case you haven’t been paying attention, Phil Anselmo has been talking these guys up a bit lately, insisting that they’re one of those bands that you need to fucking hear. But what is the true verdict on this statement? Well, at observation these Australian thrash and grindcore enthusiasts certainly offer an interesting package in this recently reissued debut (originally released in 2012), which includes a bevy of different metal styles and influences, including the extremities and black and death metal. Nevertheless, that punk spirit still remains strong as Youngy belts out an almost Ringworm sensibility to the vocals, albeit a bit screechy and almost in the vein of a very angry rodent. One could make the joke that these guys were playing one day and this very rodent crawled out of a hole somewhere in their practice space, and upon teaching it proper English, it became quite upset with life and started barking out angry squeaks. But how else do you explain one of the band’s lyrical topics as being “shit” in the literal term? Yes, these guys actually have a song about shit somewhere in this pleasantly pungent concoction of noise, and I’m quite sure that someone out there knows every word to this song dedicated to the number two. I’ve never heard a band that sounds like they’re so mad that they could shit, but these guys certainly sound that way. Oddly enough, the band also write about sobriety which highly contrasts their fecal musings. If you’re looking for a band that presents a meaty and unhinged approach to the very expression of aggression in whatever form they feeling like showcasing it in, then you’re definitely going to find it within these seventeen rough and rowdy tracks. I can say wholeheartedly that while the vocal approach and style is somewhat similar to Ringworm, this album is much better than any Ringworm album that has ever or will ever be released. It’s definitely core and it’s definitely grind – but it also has influences in several other unexpected genres, which makes it well worth giving a shot. Still not my cup of tea, but it’s much better than some of the other stuff I’ve heard in this genre recently. Thirty-four minutes of pounding surely await thee within this recording!

(17Tracks, 34:00)

8/10

Blacksnake - Lucifers Bride

Blacksnake – Lucifer’s Bride (2013) – Blacksnake is a Polish heavy metal band that mixes a lot of classic rock, blues and groove elements into their music. The opener and title track (3:48) starts the disc with a definite rock n’ roll vibe, yet with a little aggression. But at its heart, the track is a fun little number and despite the not so stellar vocal approach, it’s still played rather well. Next came “Pandemonium 4:25” which almost verged on black metal at the beginning, but dives headfirst into thrash. There’s also some gothic organs on the piece, which transfer later into “Legacy Of Rock 3:41.” Pound for pound, each of these songs are played remarkably well and the only real problem that I have with the album happens to be with Kamil Rusiecki’s vocals. I just don’t think they’re all that great and they tend to bring the album into so/so territory for me. However, the great guitar work of Maciej Wieckowski in addition to several other talented guests that appear throughout the album certainly help to make the package a bit more interesting. I can’t say that Kamil is completely at fault, because it’s more than obvious that he’s trying to perform his lines with a proper finesse and tone and the band as a whole certainly aren’t slouching off during any one part of this recording. In other words, I just can’t say that Lucifer’s Bride is a bad album and I do think that it’s well worth a listen. Several wondrous guitar solos and leads appear throughout places on the disc, in addition to some other unconventional ideas like the use of a harmonica on “Broken Heart Blues 3:55.” If nothing else, Blacksnake should be complimented for their uncanny mixture of classic rock and hard hitting thrash grooves. There’s even saxophone used on the disc in certain areas. Sure, it might not be for everyone, but Lucifer’s Bride shows a talented band at its core. Additionally, little riff melodies like the one that appears right near the third quarter of “Iron Ground 3:45” show me instantly that these four Pollack’s certainly have much more to offer than what we’re witnessing in the less than forty minute playtime that comprises this record. Blacksnake is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

(10Tracks, 37:00)

7/10

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