Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review of "New Dominions" by Horseback & Locrian

Buy this album

1. The Gift
2. Our Epitaph
3. Oblivion Eaters
4. In the Absence of Light
5. The Gift - Remix by James Plotkin

‘New Dominions’ is the product of the collaborative work of two pillars of underground blackened-doom-drone acts Horseback and Locrian. Both acts are well loved for their own flavors of wholly original smoldering blackened drone, but combining forces finds them creating a beautiful piece of mysterious darkened psychedelia. Previously available only in an extremely limited vinyl pressing, ‘New Dominions’ has been remastered by James Plotkin and expanded to include 3 more tracks. First edition of the cd is housed in a gorgeous mini-LP style tip on jacket.

With Locrian’s “The Clearing/The Final Epoch” being a boring extremely long drawn out listen in my opinion, I gave Horseback’s “Half Blood” a listen before heading off into the collaboration. Horseback gave me hope as their album made me believe they may help add to the ambience of Locrian. It wasn’t boring, although it was quite ambient in style for the most part, but their doom metal ways helped me through their album and their vocals are quite amazing. Now, onto what I thought of the collaboration album, “New Dominions.”

“The Gift” starts this album off with six minutes ambience, with atmospheric winds and various different noises. The growls were great, most likely from Horseback. The drumming three quarters the way through made the track less boring in my opinion. Bringing very grim feeling guitar and bass with the echoing voices, is the next track “Our Epitaph.” It is a very long track coming in at almost fourteen minutes and the increase of ambience made it a little more interesting and gruelling. I really wish they changed the guitars up even a little bit because for the length of the track, it was quite repetitive and tiresome. The ambience in “Oblivion Eaters” was a little more enjoyable. With a mix of upbeat style sounds and Horseback’s grim vocals, it made for very interesting listen.

The doom driven bass in the beginning of “In the Absence of Light” made me have hope that this track may have more substance, which it did a little. Bringing an eerie feel and staying with the track title, the guitar in the background was creepy, especially when more comes over top as the effect on it is even more so dark. The lingering moaning voice added to the overall feel. Being that last actual track, it ended the album on an alright note. The last track is a remix of the first track “The Gift” and was done by James Plotkin. Not being one for remixes I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the way it was done makes the original, feel grimmer with the effects used and such. The drums come in sooner in the remix and it takes all the more interesting parts and mashes them together. I kind of like this better than the original.

This album wasn’t as good as I was expecting, but Horseback did add things to the mix I enjoyed. They are a mix of ambient and doom, also bringing a more vocal side to the table, making the album grimmer with instruments and growls. This album was alright for what it was and I may give some tracks another listen but I think Horseback by themselves are better since they have some track which are more doom than ambient in their style. I recommend picking this up if you like ambient metal. I, for one, am not all that fond of it but Horseback makes this album more enjoyable.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review of "Like An Ever Flying Limb" by General Surgery

Buy this album

1. Like An Ever Flying Limb
2. Ejected Viscous Mucus
3. Seizures
4. Rhythmic Epidermal Clamor
5. Dark Cyanotic Hypostasis

Although Sweden’s General Surgery has been recording and releasing music since 1990′s Erosive Offals demo, March of 2009 sees the release of only their second full-length album, Corpus In Extremis: Analysing Necrocriticism (Listenable).

Since the three-song Erosive demo was released, General Surgery has puked up numerous demos, splits, and EPs, including the classic Necrology 7″ on Relapse in 1991, and like most long-running bands, they’ve had their fair share of lineup changes, including appearances from members of fellow Stockholm residents Regurgitate and Dismember.

General Surgery’s burst-of-releases-followed-by-periods-of-inactivity regimen ended with their first-ever North American show at the 2005 Maryland Deathfest and their debut album, 2006′s Left Hand Pathology (Listenable). The title – a nod to classic Swedish death-metal band Entombed and augmented with their Carcass-loving medical twist – perfectly sums up General Surgery, and Corpus In Extremis continues down that same scalpel-littered road with no anesthesia in sight.

Self-produced at Off Beat Studios in their hometown of Stockholm and mastered at Tailor Made by Peter In De Betou, Corpus In Extremis sees the return of bassist Andreas Eriksson and the debut of Erik Sahlström on lead vocals, both of which are sure to bring a number of fresh malpractice suits to the band.

For those that need their grinding sickness at audiophile quality, Corpus In Extremis will be available on both CD and LP with slightly different artwork and songs between the two versions.

Death metal and grindcore fans should look forward to March of 2009 and Listenable Records, because General Surgery are just what the pathologist prescribed.

The very short album starts off with the track, “Like An Ever Flying Limb,” bringing awesome blast beats with groovy and catchy guitars. The vocals are coherent but grimy and really add to the grind feel. The track flowed really well and it has good production quality for a grindcore band. The guitars on “Ejected Viscous Mucus” are really great, as well as the screams and growls. General Surgery knows how to make well produced and flowing tracks making it a great listen. “Seizures” is very short track and is to the point with its brutality. If you put a strobe light along with the blast beats you’d probably get what the track title entails. I really like the bass riffs on “Rhythmic Epidermal Clamor” and the guitar taking over it was groovy. That probably was the highlight of the track in my opinion. The last decently lengthed track and longest on the album, “Dark Cyanotic Hypostasis,” had a really awesome groove the way the guitar flowed. The solo was nice as well.

Coming in at just under eleven minutes, I kind of wish the album was longer. General Surgery is a very amazing sounding grindcore band, making their sound very enjoyable with the way their guitars are played in a groove-tastic manner. I recommend picking this up if you have a record player, or maybe digitally if it ever gets released that way.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review of "Widowmaker" by Dragged Into Sunlight

Buy this album

1. Part I
2. Part II
3. Part III

Bleak, ugly, barren, and scorched are words that don’t paint a pleasant picture, which is why they're all perfect to describe the sound of the UK’s DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, whose sonicscape and outlook are far from pleasant. The band -- who have been compared to the likes of EYEHATEGOD, GODFLESH and NEUROSIS, and who appear masked in photos, play in near-total darkness and smoke and do not publicize their individual names -- commented on the state of today’s heavy music scene: “A few blastbeats, a scrawled logo and people accept it, regardless of the reality. DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT is a concept. We’ve taken the time to come up with our own understanding and presentation of what we want to see associated with extreme metal.”

In 2010, Prosthetic Records signed DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, the label's first-ever signing of a UK-based act, and re-released the band’s debut album “Hatred For Mankind” which Chicago Reader described as “Doom, death, black and sludge metal combined into an incomprehensible Lovecraftian horror that changes shape every time you take your eyes off it”.The album, recorded by Tom Dring and Billy Anderson (Eyehategod, Neurosis), was praised by Terrorizer magazine for its “delicious black majesty” and “crusty blackened doom". ‘Hatred’ received a 9/10 rating from Decibel magazine who claimed “if this record had hands, they’d choke the nearest throat” as well as Outburn magazine that labeled it “as relentlessly gripping as it is ugly”.

The group proceeded to earn extensive acclaim on tour alongside Godflesh, Morbid Angel, Electric Wizard and Cough, in addition to performances at such prestigious festivals as Roadburn and Maryland Death Fest – where according to Exclaim magazine “there was not a member of the audience left unravaged by the group’s crushing set”.

Their new album “Widowmaker" -- which the band has stated “would be a mistake to consider as a follow up to ‘Hatred For Mankind’“ -- will be released on Nov. 6. The grueling three-track, 40-minute release has been described by the band as “a concept album from beginning to end. It’s different yet still leaves the listener thinking whether jumping out a 4th floor window might actually be the best idea they’ve ever had.”   Be prepared for even more masochistic brutality!

At first glance, being forty minutes and three tracks with no really titles, this seemed to be a hard one to review. As you can see, it obviously is not! The fact that the strums at the beginning are left to ring out before the next one is played makes the beginning of “Part I” very creepy. The build up of the first riff is pretty chilling but also relaxing. Some parts of this song are very black metal feeling, especially later on in the nearly fifteen minute long track. Some of the ambient noises and spoken words bit really add to the whole feel. As well as the violin doing a great job at being goosebump inducing and eerie around nine minutes in and onward increasingly with the guitar. Who ever that is is definitely a talented violinist.

“Part II” brings a very interesting change, as I was expecting an ambient track like the prior. I was instead greeted with dirty riffs and stoner metal esque styling vocals. he mix between black and doom is ever so apparent in this track, with doom lengthened tendencies and very blackened riffs. The vocals switch to deeper growls and higher pitched screams which adds a blackened death feel. The gnarly crusty chug type riffs are amazing and there is a really awesome bass bit around seven minutes. Being very unexpected and so much heavier than the first track, this second one was very epic the whole way through.

Coming right off the prior track, the last part, “Part III,” leaves no room for breathing as it starts up without any break. The first three minutes is your standard doom metal song start with slow chugs and when the guitars get heavily distorted and dirty sounding you know what is coming in your direction. That being very chilling guitars, slow drums and menacing vocals. About half way through, the guitars give you a false sense of relaxation with its mellow style of playing and when the lead comes in over top it makes it even more so the case. The guitars start to build up and that relaxed feel you just had is now covered in darkness as the band comes back with sludgy riffs, epic drumming and screams. There is another slow part after but it is not relaxing at all as it throws you in a cold wintery forest to face another round of brutality which plays out the album.

This album is everything you want from a band of its nature. You get your stoner and doom metal length and feel and sludge, but you also get black and death metal, as well as some crust influence. The mix of black and doom is a very depressing blend to listen to, but I really enjoy it. Dragged Into Sunlight really pull at your emotions and make for an interesting listen, in which I highly recommend picking up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review of "DEMOn" by Livid and the Bloodthirsty

Buy this album
 (date to be announced)

1. Gear Up
2. Life Balanced Upon a Knife’s Edge
3. This Scene’s Too Pre Teen
4. Senseless Debauchery
5. Hemophillic Hysteria

Formed in early 2011, Livid and the Bloodthirsty have since strived to concoct an eclectic yet coherent strain of metal. Prior band mates Lloyd Petch (bass guitar), Joe Baldasio (lead guitar), and Sandy Thomson (rhythm guitar) rejoined forces, and were greatly strengthened by the addition of Jonny Ancheta (vocals, guitar) and Brad Petch (drums) to the outfit. Their musical endeavours turned down a more sinister and brutal trajectory, plunging them headlong into the realm of metal. As they scavenged the skeletal Brampton music scene, and rapidly expanded into Toronto the band played many shows at prolific venues including the El Mocambo, Velvet Underground, Sound Academy, the Opera House, and the Rockpile, among others. Shows in support of metal heavyweights Cryptopsy, The Agonist, and most recently Kill Devil Hill were most notable. They have also been featured in local news outlets and respected metal blogs. The summer of 2012 was mostly divided between the stage and the studio for the and, whose five-son debut EP was recorded during this time, and is now on the eve of its release. Their progress has only fuelled their aspiration, and the band now aims to take their act on tour, and continue to record increasingly heavy and complex music. For more information on Livid and the Bloodthirsty, visit http://www.lividandthebloodthirsty.com or contact them by email at LATBcrew@gmail.com.

This album starts off with really old school guitars on the track “Gear Up.” The newer metal styles growls and screams make it have a nice mix of heavy metal riffs and death metal vocals. The part in the middle is more death metal, but you can still hear some older influences. The lead in the breakdown bit was awesome and made it enjoyable. “Life Balanced Upon a Knife’s Edge” starts off on an extremely badass part, mostly because of the impressive old school style vocal pitch. This track is a little more on the brutal side and the vocals are a lot dirtier. The solos are really nice and the riffs are really catchy, there is also a groovy breakdown near the end.

Keeping the groove going is “This Scene’s Too Pre Teen.” The drums and bass are amazing in the beginning and it gets even more so with the guitar accompanying it. The lead diddle was cool and there is a great blast beats as well. Bringing a great mix of technical and chugging bits is “Senseless Debauchery,” which flowed great with the screams and growls respectively. The riffs are catchy and there is another groovy technical breakdown, with a very moshtastic part after it. The second breakdown was more enjoyable and the vocals are most impressive on this track. Finishing the album off in a really in your face brutality style is “Hemophillic Hysteria” It is another stellar track vocal wise and the guitars are awesome as well and induce punching of the elderly. The slow breakdown with fast paced vocals was epic as well. 

This is another one of those locals that I wish I’ve known about. They are filled with awesome and deliver in the greatest way possible. Be it old school riffs, brutal breakdowns, technical diddles, screams, or growls they have perfected their style to the max. I definitely recommend picking their stuff up whenever it is available and also checking them out live.

Review of "Ecstatic Trance" by A Life Once Lost

Buy this album

1. Something Awful
2. Gnawing Lisp
3. Madness Is God
4. Miracle Worker
5. Empty Form
6. I Am
7. The Blues
8. People Stare
9. I See, I Hear
10. I Sit Ill
11. Asteroid [bonus Killing Joke cover]

Time to reconsider A LIFE ONCE LOST. You will still find the band as angry and relentless as ever since their founding in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the year 1999. Yet with their sixth album the Americans are boldly stepping out of the Metalcore corner they have been painted into. “Ecstatic Trance” thrills with a sinister coldness founded on huge, jagged riffs and churning, syncopated rhythms, which are contrasted by emotive guitar playing, explosive vocals and capturing melodies. A LIFE ONCE LOST founders Doug Sabolick and Bob Meadows create a disturbing vision born out of musical maturity for which they even cut ties with most other members. Their new sonic art fuses influences ranging from KILLING JOKE to CAN, KING CRIMSON to KRAFTWERK, FELA KUTI and more with their own organic soundscapes. A LIFE ONCE LOST set out with their first full-length “Open Your Mouth for the Speechless...In Case of Those Appointed to Die” (2000) and the “The Fourth Plague: Flies” EP (2001) to perform live with locals such as CONVERGE, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and LAMB OF GOD. With “A Great Artist” (2003) their dark, rhythmic sound took hold and A LIFE ONCE LOST rose from a Northeast favorite to an all American phenomenon. The more refined “Hunter” (2005) even got the band invited to the prestigious Ozzfest in 2006. With “Iron Gag” (2007) they introduced traditional rock grooves and a more confident swagger into their already explosive sound and toured worldwide alongside HIGH ON FIRE, SUICIDE SILENCE, JOB FOR A COWBOY and others. Now A LIFE ONCE LOST are ready for the next giant step in their continuous evolution. Be warned: “Ecstatic Trance” is not for kids!

A Life Once Lost is an interesting change from the black metal of Rage Nucléaire. The first track, “Something Awful,” brings nice technical riffs in the hard to follow Meshuggah style manner. The vocals are also reminiscent of them as well. I like the guitars on “Gnawing Lisp.” Although very repetitive, they are really intriguing. The lead and solo over top are very well done as well. “Madness Is God” is really groovy feel with the simplistic drums and catchy guitar and the lead parts are really great. The next track, “Miracle Worker” has some really amazing hard to follow chugs. I really enjoy when you don’t expect something from the guitars, time signatures are for the weak.

The guitars on “Empty Form” are relaxing, to me anyways, the way the rhythm and lead flowed. When the track picks up it sounds great and the riffs may feel a little repetitive but it doesn’t take away from it at all. “I Am” is just a short but heavy chug instrumental. “The Blues” brings really ambient guitars with the way they ringing out. The actual riff is really catchy and the “ooh” chant was really badass and kind of tribal. There is a great groove with the guitars and drums in “People Stare,” with interesting playing patterns especially the main part. I also liked the solo near the end as it was great as well.

The guitars are really hard to follow on “I See, I Hear,” which makes it that more interesting to listen to. The lead is awesome and adds to the epicness of the track. “I Sit Ill” continues with the more interesting riffs. The lead diddles on this track are nice. The final track is a cover of Killing Joke’s Asteroid and after hearing both back to back, I am torn between which I like better. The original vocals of Jaz Coleman were much more enjoyable than Robert Meadows rendition but the heaviness of the cover makes it so much better, and although I like Jordan Crouse’s drumming….. Dave Grohl, ‘nuff said.

This album is an interesting one. The guitars of Doug Sabolick are calculated, the vocals of Robert Meadows are very well done, and Jordan Crouse is great. My only issue is that this album is very similar in its style to Meshuggah. I do like A Life Once Lost, but I’d have to say if I had to pick between the two to listen to, it’d be Meshuggah. Don’t make that your opinion, as this album is great. It is just not the greatest in that particular genre.

Review of "Unrelenting Fucking Hatred" by Rage Nucléaire

Buy this album

1. Violence Is Golden
2. Hunt with Murderworms, Sculpt with Flies
3. The Gift of the Furnace
4. Fields of the Crucified
5. Endziel
6. The Sorrow Children at Mourningside
7. 30 Seconds in the Killhouse
8. Unrelenting Fucking Hatred
9. The Gallows and the Black Coffin
10. The Feeding Habits of Homo Horriblis

Subject was never actually born. Instead, Subject’s component parts (please refer to Component Parts listing below) including former CRYPTOPSY figurehead Lord Worm were assembled by Alvater, sometime in AD 2000, for the purpose of directing their aggression outwards, which now becomes imminent with their debut “Unrelenting Fucking Hatred”. Subject claims to be under influences ranging from early EMPEROR and IMMORTAL, to ANAAL NATHRAKH and MYSTICUM. There are most certainly others, but these are not named. Subject’s problems derive from primary preoccupations including firearms and genocide (“30 Seconds in the Killhouse”), universal pornocracy (“The Feeding Habits of Homo Horriblis”) and flies. Secondary obsessions include burning (“The Gift of the Furnace”) and swine. Subject feels an especially virulent loathing for all humanity. A cognitive-behavioral analysis concludes that Subject’s expressional proclivities include bonesaw guitars, punishing rhythms, bombastic keyboards, revoltingly inhuman vocals, and an orgiastic array of ghastly samples. The diagnosis reveals Subject is violently homicidal, suicidal, genocidal and vindictive, and can usually be found in an aggressive state of fury. Warning: RAGE NUCLÉAIRE is extremely dangerous and maybe harmful to others. Approach “Unrelenting Fucking Hatred” only with caution and respect!

Rage Nucléaire greeted me with a very refreshing black metal feel. The riffs and drums are extremely menacing to start off the album with “Violence Is Golden.” The vocals are very intense and somewhat remind me of one of my favourite local black metal bands Pagan Ritual. “Hunt with Murderworms, Sculpt with Flies” is very epic and catchy, the way the bass and guitars flow. The lead guitar makes it more chilling, the blast beats make it more grim, and the ambient keyboard really adds to it. The main riff on “The Gift of the Furnace” is really awesome. The whole layout of the track is really dark and menacing, with split second breaks. When the vocals are split between left and right sound different its eerie because they’re done in different tones.

“Fields of the Crucified” makes me feel like going on an epic journey through cold winter nights on a search for sacrificial virgins. The way the guitars and keyboards flow makes for some fun epic adventurous day dream. The drumming is very impressive and the lead nearer the end of the track is really dark, especially the snare roll accompanying it. Ending the track on a very creepy note is a cry. Opening the next track, “Endziel”, is some nice ambient keyboard. The vocals are extremely dirty on this and sound like he needs his throat checked by a doctor. The guitars are great and the riff and drums about four minute in was groovy. There is a great keyboard and guitar bit after that and a slower bit which was enjoyable followed that.

I got a little bit of a folky vibe from some of the guitar riffs in “The Sorrow Children at Mourningside,” the rest of the song is very chilling though. The vocals are very gruesome, and he sounds like he coughed up some organs. The guitar riffs near the end are very catchy with the way the drums flowed. The sound clip of shooting is only eighteen seconds and the track is 5:31 so this next track, “30 Seconds in the Killhouse” is very misleading. Nonetheless the guitars and keyboard are really epic especially at the beginning. Half way through the fast accompaniment of machine gun riffs and blast beats was amazing. This track may be my favourite track guitar wise as the lead is phenomenal.

“Unrelenting Fucking Hatred” starts off on a more mellow ambient keyboard and guitar, which gains intensity when the drums and vocals come in. The slow drumming and guitar chugs were really badass, especially when the double kicks follow the chugging pattern. This is definitely one of the more brutal tracks on the album, which is always great. The keyboard accompanying the guitar is really awesome on “The Gallows and the Black Coffin.” The vocal mix of screams and demonic growls was very eerie sounding. The mellow bit near the end was very chilling. Ending the album off is “The Feeding Habits of Homo Horriblis.” The chugging at the beginning with the painful whimpers and bell gonging was really creepy. The way the guitar and snare flows in the beginning is really epic. It is a short but very awesome track to finish of this amazing album.

This album is by far the best black metal album I have reviewed this year. The vocals from Lord Worm are really raunchy in the style and sounds like he has some kind of throat disease but that is fine by me! Dark Rage and Alvater are really great and impressive with their skills in guitar and bass as well as keyboard respectively. Fedrik Widigs, the most normal name in the group, takes care of the drums and is really impressive in his talent. Definitely pick this album out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest review of "Book Burner" by Pig Destroyer written by Rob Gabriele, drummer of NitemarE

This guest review is written by a good friend of mine, Rob Gabriele. He is the current drummer for NitemarE and formerly Bride of the Monster. You can like NitemarE page here. Also visit their website and buy merch here.

Buy this album

1. Sis
2. The American's Head
3. The Underground Man
4. Eve
5. The Diplomat
6. All Seeing Eye
7. Valley of the Geysers
8. Book Burner
9. Machiavellian
10. Baltimore Strangler
11. White Lady
12. The Bug
13. Iron Drunk
14. Burning Palm
15. Dirty Knife
16. Totaled
17. Kamikaze Heart
18. King of Clubs
19. Permanent Funeral

The undisputed kings of grind, PIG DESTROYER return with their long awaited fourth proper full length ‘Book Burner’.  ‘Book Burner’ is a resounding statement of championship, as every element of PIG DESTROYER towers above their closest peers—a 32 minute, 19 song knockout punch of cerebral viciousness.  Scott Hull’s guitar heroics sound like a mutant double speed hybrid of Slayer and the Melvins jacked up on amphetamines, new skinsman Adam Jarvis is the pinnacle of inhuman drumming, Blake Harrison delivers layer upon layer of suffocating atmosphere and JR Hayes remains the poet laureate of extreme metal.  ‘Book Burner’ is the finest work of extreme music’s best band.   Limited edition deluxe CDs and LPs available with bonus ‘Blind, Deaf and Bleeding’ EP, expanded packaging and the much talked about short story penned by JR Hayes. 

What can you say about the (what I call) supergroup formed in 1997 featuring members of Agoraphobic nosebleed, Anal Cunt, Misery index, Enemy Soil? It can only be screamed underwater followed by multiple sudden organ failures because Pig Destroyer deserve no less. The name alone demands your attention. The members thought it was a clever twist on the term Cop Killer. Everyone loves it from what I've read. I think it's lame, but what the fuck do I know?

Pig Destroyer's latest effort Book Burner is not unlike their previous albums but is clearly their best work to date. As a fan of theirs since first hearing Prowler In The Yard, I never know what to expect from them as far as the mix sound goes. Songwriting style overall has never really changed since 38 Counts but their style of mixing and noise is always different throughout each album. Speaking of noise it was absent this time. This is a clear recording of some goddamn near perfect grind. When listening to grind you can sometimes find yourself lost in what the fuck is actually happening. Not in this album. Even without a bass guitar the recording/mixing is indicative of hardcore & deathmetal influence. Again, the songwriting is not. This is fucking grindcore. Songs range from half a minute to a whopping 4 minutes which takes us back to the writing style of 38 Counts of the quick no-nonsense tunes. As soon as you start headbanging to a killer riff, it's over. But what is grind if not a tease. And I wouldn't prefer it any other way.

J. R. Hayes' vocals aren't screeching high, nor growling low. It's that hardcore style mid-range which reminds me of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal style vocals. What makes it grind is the ferocity in his delivery. Hayes once completed a gig without the use of a mic, which stopped working halfway through the set. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2BdP6lI6kqc) That says a lot. 2 songs on the album were done entirely by guest Kat Katz of Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Hayes' lyrical style this time is somewhat different than previous efforts. Less abstract and more to the point. Hayes is a lyrical genius and it's always a treat to see what grey-matter ramblings ooze from his pen. Baltimore Strangler is a good example of his storytelling poetry.

Blake Harrison joined the band in 2006 on electronics. I don't really notice it throughout the album other than the obvious samples. I suppose he's there though. Maybe when I finally get to fucking see them live I can see what he's actually doing. But nothing on this recording displays him at all, at least not to MY ears.

Scott Hull..... The Jesus Christ of grind. His licks were in the same vein as what he writes for Agoraphobic Nosebleed but way more coherent than any AgN riff. The example would be the tune The Bug, which is by far my favorite on the whole CD. Hayes is featured and Kat returns for some backing assistance. Scott's riff half way through the song could define the fucking whole genre. Not just grind but metal itself. He has some weird secret government job he's not allowed to talk about which makes him thaaaat much closer to being the coolest person on Earth.

Adam Jarvis joined the band last year on drums. I was curious to hear what he ads to PxDx, and yes he delivered. I was expecting more crazy tom fills like what he is known for in Misery Index but I was surprised to see him rather show off his double-bass speed. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of wild fills but Adam seems to rely more on his talents in his legs, polka-beats, lightspeed blast beats and groove breakdowns. The new sound he ads to the band is welcome and a touch more real.

There are no filler tracks. Nothing worth skipping or fast forwarding to the "good part". This is an example of a recording that is professionally done yet compromises nothing for anyone. There are no outside influences with their production. It's all them, in their parents basement (supposedly that's true!) making the music THEY like. An incredible feat and success. Sure everyone's producing/engineering themselves these days... but not this well.

This album will be in my playlist for many years to come. If not forever.

Guest review of "Symbiosis" by Abiotic written by Charlie Leduc, guitarist of Deformatory and Placentophagia

This is a guest review by Charlie Leduc, the guitarist of Deformatory and Placentophagia. Both bands are great death metal groups! You can see my interview with him and fellow Placentophagia member, Jay, here. Like Deformatory and Placentophagia Facebook pages, check out their respective website here and here, and buy their respective merch here and here.

Buy the album

1. Metamorphilia
2. Vermosapien
3. A Universal Plague
4. To Burgeon and Languish
5. Hegira
6. Conquest of Gliese
7. The Singe
8. Exitus
9. Facades
10. The Graze of Locusts

Surfacing from the heart of South Florida, Miami's  Abiotic transcends high above the rest with a most preternatural sound. By interweaving well-cultivated musical dexterity and pronounced lyrical finesse, Abiotic epitomizes an unwonted entity of unmatched musicianship. In a short amount of time since the quintet's inception in 2010, this ghoulish coterie has made a paramount impact in the death metal scene and support from the masses continues to grow.

"I work with an amazing group of musicians and I feel everyone brings something different to the table. It helps us create a sound that's both fresh, but still very familiar and something almost anyone can relate to," said guitarist John Matos. There is no doubt that Abiotic has a bright future ahead. These young Floridians never cease to amaze their listeners, and they leave crowds mind blown and chanting for an encore at every live performance. Front man Ray Jimenez expressed: "Our songs deliver a message of self-awareness, for they exhort us to analyze our interaction with the universe: the way we affect it and each other, as well as the way it affects us." The five piece assault indisputably strives to leave a mark in the world.

The five-piece group consists of vocalist Ray Jimenez, bassist Alex Vazquez, drummer Andres Hurtado and guitarists Matt Mendez and Johnathan Matos. The band has released two singles and a seven song studio EP entitled 'A Universal Plague'. "Vermosapien", the second track on the EP, has recently been featured on the quintet's first music video, directed by Dan Drescher.

More from the band: "In regard to the approach of the album, we can honestly say that it is going to be dark, heavy, and technical. If it sounds like we made the floor cave in or broke a chair when you listen to the record, that’s probably what happened. We’re just destroying everything. All of the songs reach a higher level of viciousness and moshability. We can’t wait to play the new songs on tour!"

"Lyrically, this record embraces several sociological, anthropological, and philosophical perspectives. We’re interested in themes that will enable us to explore patterns and paradigms of culture, religion, and society, among other aspects. Vermosapien, recently featured in a music video directed by Dan Drescher, demonstrates the egocentric superiority of mankind. This song is a paradox about becoming more human as we lose our humanity. We seek to encourage our listeners to analyze our collective interaction with the universe: the way we affect it and each other, as well as the way it affects us. Though lyrics may hold the prevailing interpretation of the writer, because language is arbitrary listeners can always find their own meaning, and we always look forward to that."

It’s a rare fucking occurrence to come across a band that you have already pre-judged and labeled as just another label-core band, and for that band to completely change your entire opinion of them in a swift instant. This occurred after the first few minutes of listening to Abiotic’s stellar full-length release, Symbiosis.

This 5-piece progressive, technical death metal band from Miami, Florida have released an absolutely impressive record that will get more play in my car than a hooker on discount Thursday. Seriously though, this album fucking slays.

As I mentioned, I was a little apprehensive to review this album. I don’t know why. Call me a self-righteous elitist who believes death metal should be a certain way...I don’t really care. Having said that, Symbiosis is an album that encompasses and appeals to every one of my metal senses. From solid composition and song structures, to blistering, unique solos, to vocals that make your skin crawl right off the bone; there is no stone left unturned on this album. Even the goddamn breakdowns are impressive!

What really surprised me with this album is how the band knows how to take your hand and guide you down unexpected paths. Just when you think you have the song figured out, they fuck your mind into a whole new dimension, and they do so with grace and pure, unadulterated sexiness. Guitarists Matt Mendez and Johnathan Mato deliver absolutely magnificent performances and have cultivated something very unique in such an oversaturated realm. Congrats boys!

I just wish there was more bass passages. Alex Vasquez is such an impressive bass player and my only legitimate complaint is that he needs to be heard more! The guitar tone for this album is perfect, in my opinion. The bottom end is so crunchy, yet every single note can be precisely heard.  Also the tone and the composition of the guitar solos literally made me ejaculate. 

Vocalist Ray Jimenez is a grotesquely raw and powerful vocalist for this band. His ultra diverse range and attack on these songs make his contributions an essential element to the quality musicianship on this album.
On a similar note, their drummer needs to be dissected and analyzed. Andres Hurtado is a straight-up fucking machine and delivers impressively, song after song.

All in all, this album surprised the fuck out of me. It’s impressive, heavy, catchy, groovy, unique and does something that most albums don’t: STAND OUT. 

Do yourself a favor and treat your soul with a shredtastically amazing record: Symbiosis by Abiotic.

It’s been a slice.

Review of "Evangelivm Nekromantia" by Antropomorphia

Buy this album

1. Intro
2. Nekrophilian Mass
3. The Mourned and the Macabre
4. Debauchery in Putrefaction
5. Anointment By Sin
6. Fleisch
7. Impure Desecration
8. Psuchagogia
9. Nekrosophia
10. Evangelivm Nekromantia

AntropomorphiAoriginally formed under the name 'Dethroned Empire' in 1989 by F = Ferry Damen [Vocals/guitar], M = Marco Stubbe [Drums] and former member Vincent van Boxtel [guitar].This first year as 'Dethroned Empire' they recorded several rehearsal demos. In those days under the influence from bands such as Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Infernäl Mäjesty and Bathory.

Between 1990 and 1993 the musical direction transformed into death metal. Subsequently their name changed to AntropomorphiA. At the same time they were joined by S = Marc van Stiphout [Bass] to complete the line-up. The next year and a half they concentrated on writing songs and developing their own style.

This culminated into the band's first official demo 'Bowel Mutilation', recorded at RS29 and produced by Oscar Holleman, this beast was released into the world early 1992. Immediately after the release of 'Bowel Mutilation' a record deal was offered by Swiss label Blackened Recordings. The band recorded their first MCD and in the second half of 1993 the cult classic 'Necromantic Love Songs' MCD finally rose from the grave.

After several live shows and a busy 1994 the band is back in the studio recording new material. The 1995 'I have my Way' demo got great reviews but didn't lead to a new deal. Within these years of turmoil AntropomorphiA released several recordings while band members got involved in other projects which consumed most of their time.

In 1999 the band part ways with guitarist Vincent van Boxtel. The remaining members decided to put the band on indefinite hold. Although they kept on writing music and record tracks nothing significant resulted from it.

Fast forward 2009 when other projects moved into the background, AntropomorphiA got re-activated. The line-up is still the same, original members, F (vox/guitar), M (drums), S (bass) form the trinity that is AntropomorphiA till this day.

In the course of 2010 an album is written and recorded but after finishing it the band decided to put this record on the shelve and start over from scratch. Early 2011 AntropomorphiA made their first live appearance since 2001 at Neurotic Deathfest where they put up a convincing brutal show.

While still working on a new album the band  released 'Necromantic Love Songs' combined with their first demo 'Bowel Mutilation for the first time ever on vinyl as a double LP through well respected underground label The Crypt.

At the end of 2011 most of the new album is recorded and the band is taking their time to make sure this album is something more resulting in Evangelivm Nekromantia - an album consisting of 9 tracks, divided into three chapters of each three songs. Lyrically driven by nekrophilae, murder, necromancy and necrolesbian lust. Mastered at Necromorbus Studios by Tore Stjerna.

"We've been working on this conception for almost a year. Dedicated to composing a new sort of disturbing death metal darkness which exceeds most of the one-dimensional releases that you hear most of these days!"

The album intro is very gloomy with its keyboard and ambient guitar, as well as very dark sounding growl vocals. The end guitar ringing out of the intro flows nicely into the first track “Nekrophilian Mass,” bringing you evil riffs and sludgy chugs. There is a great mix of eerie black metal styling as well as melodic and technical death metal bits. The fast paced riffs and blast beats are enjoyable as well. The drumming and guitars on “The Mourned and the Macabre” are really catchy. I really like the way the riffs are laid out on this track, with very groovy bits and heavier dirty parts. The melodic bits and vocals kind of reminds me of Amon Amarth.

“Debauchery in Putrefaction” is a slower track, but stayed equally as heavy throughout. The melodic riff along with the blast beat was awesome and the lead guitar bit after was great. The slower melodic riffs in “Anointment By Sin” are catchy. The faster melodic parts are nice as well but it really doesn’t give me the black metal feel I was hoping from a band like this. The vocals and backing vocals half way through, makes up for that however, along with the riffs as well. “Fleisch” is a shorter track and has a very in your face feel with fast pace bits as well as groovy and chuggy breaks. The mix between melodic death and black metal styles are infused nicely on “Impure Desecration.” The screams are very painful sounding with the accompanying slow menacing guitar, which sounds amazing. This is a very dark track and is probably my favourite on this album.

A very awesome bass riff opens up the next track, “Psuchagogia,” which goes straight into the fast paced melodic death feel. Half way through you are greeted with a grim guitar riff and accompanied bass. When the band collects together, the guitars feel very doom like but the bassist is very much so diddling his bass which is great sounding. “Nekrosophia,” really gave me a Cannibal Corpse vibe. It is a very straight forward track and is more on the brutal side. Ending this album off is the title track “Evangelivm Nekromantia” with a very awesome mellow riff and ambient rain and thunder to start. Half way through it changes its flow which is awesome. This is a great instrumental to end the album.

This was a very interesting album as it pulled influences across many styles. From black, melodic and technical death, as well as doom, Antropomorphia knows how to stay fresh. They are a great listen to if you like all of those styles and sure surprised me!

Review of "Lovelessness" by Bison B.C.

Buy this album
Metal Blade

1. An Old Friend
2. Anxiety Puke / Lovelessness
3. Last and First Things
4. Blood Music
5. Clozapine Dream
6. Finally Asleep

In the great Canadian spirit of loss and heart ache, the downer foursome known as BISON b.c. have managed to scourge their rotting brains desperately puking out new psalms of suffering. Akin to a lunatic writing their opus on the bedroom wall with their own shit comes this strange noise from the west coast melting pot of shit and failure; in a country based on terrifying distance and lonesome, stoic suffering. Lovelessness does not portray the death of love or the lack of the same. Rather it attempts to map out the pathetic and desperate pursuit of love, which in itself becomes violent like a cancer, an assault on anything that is good in the world. A heartfelt repulsion towards anything that could bring pleasure, because with happiness we suffer truly - the wanting of more. Gluttons! Pigs to the trough! Lead us to treachery! Lead us to solitude!

BISON b.c. worked with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker at Soma and Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago to record Lovelessness. Parker is best known for his work with bands such as Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance, and more. Needless to say, Parker is more than qualified to put-to-tape the raw, furious energy that is BISON b.c.

Starting of the first track, “An Old Friend,” is a very chilled out riff. This track has very groovy riffs with nice lead breaks and a great solo as well. The vocals are great, with coherent screams, making it easier to understand but still giving you your metal style. Next is the long track at nine minutes, “Anxiety Puke / Lovelessness.” I get a stoner metal meets depressive progressive doom feel from this track. It has a lot of mood changing riffs which clash very perfectly and the guitars have a mix between relaxing leads to heavier parts. “Last and First Things,” is the next track and continues the lengthy trend. The ambient intro with nice soft tribal drum patterns and great accompanying lead following was very amazing. When the track gets heavier the guitars are great with catchy rhythms and nice lead diddles. The harmonized bits and solo near the end are noteworthy and great as well.

A very weird strumming starts off “Blood Music,” followed by a very gloomy piece with the way the guitar and drums flowed. Bison B.C. really knows how to play from both side of the emotion spectrum with its chilling parts and relaxing catchy leads. Next is shortest track on the album, “Clozapine Dream.” I really like the guitars, which feel very moshable and there is definitely some punk influences drawn to create this track. “Finally Asleep” ends the album with very great mellow guitars. It is really catchy and the faster thrash style part was great. The solo accompanying it was nice as well and this is a great track to end the album.

This album is really well done the way the mix off gloomy, depressive riffs and the more upbeat catchy riffs flow together. I very much so enjoyed this album and my favourite two tracks are “Anxiety Puke / Lovelessness” and “Last and First Things.” You should definitely pick this up if you like stoner, progressive, and doom metal as it draws from those subgenres.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review of "A Bit Of Devil" by Zodiac

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1. A Bit Of Devil
2. Carnival
3. Blue Jean Blues
4. Horrorvision
5. Assembly Line
6. Thunder
7. Diamond Shoes
8. Coming Home
9. Dying Done (instrumental bonus track)

Once Drummer Janosch Rathmer (Long Distance Calling) started jamming with guitar-wizard Nick van Delft in 2010 both decided that the songs that rose from their sessions had to meet the ears. So they soon joined forces with Stephan Gall (Guitar) and Robert Kahr (Bass, Organ) (both play also in Rocketchief) to form the blues driven, heavy and sometimes psychedelic rock-formation that should go by the name of ZODIAC.

The four musicians combine a longtime experience in the game and a common will to create interesting music. You can hear the influences of the classics: Zeppelin, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Maiden just to name a few.

But it is more than that:
ZODIAC’s songs live on their performers’ passion for handmade, pure and inspiring music. Willing to bring their tunes to the people, ZODIAC want to play live as much as possible. This urge already allowed them to share the stage with Graveyard and Church of Misery — but they want a lot more! And now that the first five songs found their way to the recording studio (you can hear the results at this very moment) it is time to set the course...

The album has a really nostalgic heavy metal feel and it shows as soon as it starts with “A Bit Of Devil.” The vocals really fit the part and the bass riffs were really amazing. The lead guitar had a nice flow, especially when harmonized with the rhythm. The drums in “Carnival” were awesome with all the fills. The guitars are really catchy with the lead and the mellow part had a great lead which turns into a equally good solo. Next up is one of my favourites, “Blue Jean Blues,” and the song title wasn't kidding about the blues influence as the guitars are very much so of that style. Even the vocals take from the blues genre and the solos are very nostalgic towards the old style. I really do hope Nick van Delft found his blue jeans. This track makes you feel like your in a marijuana smoke filled bar in the 80s.

Bringing you a really great groovy mix of guitar riffs and bass lines is the next track, “Horrorvision.” The vocals are great as well, the guitar effect three quarters through sounded really awesome and the lead, rhythm, and bass after all sounded perfect together. The guitars on “Assembly Line” were very catchy, with great mix of heavier and softer parts. The main riff is really amazing with the short lick at the end and the lead parts and solos were great as well. This was definitely another of my favourites. “Thunder” is a very nice acoustic piece with nice vocals accompanying it. When the electric guitar comes in it gets really Wild West feeling. This is a very amazing track.

The old school heavy metal groove in “Diamond Shoes” is incredible. It is very catchy and well done with the lead guitar riffs and solo. “Coming Home” feels like it should be called the last track and it’s a long, coming in at ten minutes long. The organ sounding keys and lead guitar with the vocals accompanying them is very perfect. It is a really chilled out, mostly mellow track with heavier parts and great solo and lead breaks. There is nothing like a bonus instrumental track to end the album and that is what “Dying Done” brings. This track is a very good showcase of the guitarists’ talents showing off amazing riffs, leads, and harmonized bits.

Ever since my first listen to this album, I have not been able to stop listening to it. This album is amazing and should not be ignored. With masterpieces like “Blue Pants Blues”, “Assembly Line”, and “Thunder,” Nick van Delft shows impressive vocal skills as well as guitars accompanied by Stephan Gall and Robert Kahr on bass. Janosch Rathmer’s drumming is not to go unappreciated either as without him this album would not be perfect. I highly recommend picking this album up, as it is something that every metal listener would listen to.

Review of "Golden Eagle" by Ambassador Gun

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(link available on the 23rd)

1. Wounded Knee
2. Christbastard
3. Slowbled
4. Warpainted
5. Sunshine Acid
6. Cover Tracks/Sever Ties
7. Crack Ikon
8. Chris Brown
9. Unleashed
10. Circle The Lord Of Flies
11. No Suffering

Minnesota-based grind outfit AMBASSADOR GUN are amped and ready to release their second full-length record "Golden Eagle” on their new label, Prosthetic Records. The band stated, “We are fucking psyched to be a part of the Prosthetic roster. This is a reputable and integral label in heavy music with amazing bands, and we’re grateful for the opportunity.”

AMBASSADOR GUN, whose name stems from a certain style of sunglasses for pilots, was formed by high school buddies Tim Sieler and Luke Olson. After having both played in similar punk and metal bands throughout the mid-'90s, the pair relocated to Minnesota in 2000. "From there," Olson recalls, "we started to write a lot of psychedelic, experimental metal in the vein of Neurosis and Today Is The Day and somehow blended it with the stylings of Slayer and old-school Hatebreed."

This led to the 2007 release of their first EP, “The Streets Have Eyes” (This Dark Reign Recordings). It was not until 2009, however, that the band released their first full-length studio album, “When In Hell,” through Pangea Recordings/Relapse Records. “We had a new enthusiasm to write short, grind–punk-metal songs,” said Olson. After a few line-up changes, drummer Patrick Ruhland joined the band for the release of the 2010 EP “Fear and Coercion." Olson stated, “This guy is a blastbeat metronome. Writing, demoing and recording have been amazing!”

2011 proved to be a busy year for the newly regrouped band, as it saw the release of a 7-inch titled “Rich” through Minor Bird Records as well as a split EP with Milwaukee thrashers Enabler. “We were looking for another band to do a split with," Olson says. "Jeff from Enabler has been a good friend of ours for years now and heard we were looking from our buddy Logan, who was then playing guitar for Enabler.” Both bands were recorded over a weekend at Tim Seiler’s studio, The Gun Range, in March of 2011, and the split was released on cassette and digitally in June of the same year. The split also earned Ambassador Gun a spot opening for Enabler on a recent East Coast tour, one of several DIY-style treks that have seen the group also perform with the likes of Gaza, In Defence, Today Is The Day, After The Burial, Otep, Dead To Fall, Red Sparowes and several more.

Now aligned with Prosthetic, the trio is set to deliver a heavy-hitting album that will feature each individual element that makes AMBASSADOR GUN unique – a mix of grindcore with death metal-infused thrash, blended with some punk and crust elements. This unique blend will form the upcoming release “Golden Eagle,” due out October 23. According to Olson, "Golden Eagle" was an album title and a concept before most of the tracks were even written. Some (but not all) of the album lyrics center on Native American culture at the turn of the 19th century ("Theft, murder, harassment, duress, war," Olson says). The band tracked the album themselves and self-produced. Olson stated, “We had all intentions this time to record and mix the album ourselves. From the start, we knew we wanted a raw and crusty tone with a lot of mid. In the past we’ve worked with some amazing people including Steve Austin, Adam Tucker and Jeff Halland, but I felt the three of us had a certain sound we needed conceptually for this record. Tim Sieler captured everything we set out to hear and it came out great."

Coming out of the gate with the first track, “Wounded Knee,” you know what to expect for the rest of the album. It is very fast paced and grindy and the vocals are really fitting. I kind of wish the quality was a bit better so the guitar were less screechy. “Christbastard,” is very short track and like the drumming on it, there were some dirty rolls. The next track, “Slowbled,” is a really mosh inducing track. It makes me want to go around harassing the elderly. The slower bit to play the track out is kind of groovy.

“Warpainted” brings an awesome flow with the drums and guitar. It gives off a great old school grind feel in its style. The next track, “Sunshine Acid,” sure makes you feel as if you are on exactly that with the great groove riffs and faster punch to the face bits. The vocals are pretty good too. Bringing a great mix of ear bleeding riffs and slower head bobbing parts is the next track, “Cover Tracks/Sever Ties.” Blast beats, drum fills, and noisy riffs follow in the shape of “Crack Ikon.” What more can you ask from a grindcore band.

The next track is titled “Chris Brown,” and I really wish I could understand the vocals because I have a feeling they are very funny considering the title name. The vocal on this are pretty cool with the backing vocals. “Unleashed,” follows with infant punching inducing riffs and drums with a chilled out drum break in the middle. I really liked the hard to follow drum patterns and dirty riffs on the track, “Circle The Lord Of Flies,” as they make for a fun time. Ending off the album is the longest track, “No Suffering.” It brings a very punk style with the drums and guitar. The vocals are great, mixing between the main and backing. There is a very sludgy breakdown in the middle and an awesome solo of the grindy nature.

I would definitely recommend this album to those straight up grindcore listeners. The quality makes it hard to listen to, but it doesn’t make it unbearable. I still think this is a great album. Coming in at only a half an hour long, a listen to decide whether or not you like this album will not be a tasking feat. You should at least give it a listen once!