сряда, 21 март 2012 г.

Meshuggah - "Koloss" Review

When Meshuggah announced their plans for Koloss, I knew that this news would dominate every metal outlet from that moment until weeks after the album’s release. Sure enough, each time Meshuggah issued an update, the metal universe ignited with near-manic excitement. Usually when this happens, I get nervous that the hype will end up drowning the final product. Not so with Koloss, which balances newfound accessibility with ever-present brutality in what may be Meshuggah’s most anticipated work. Their seventh full-length lives up to (and maybe even exceeds) the hype, in bone-splintering form. The tracks that the band has ‘leaked’ so far offer obvious (albeit incomplete) insight into the record, but the true glory of Koloss lies in the full listening experience.

In a few ways, Koloss picks up where obZen left off, but in a far more unyielding and captivating way. Opening with the slowly churning “I Am Colossus”, Meshuggah takes their command of groove and damn near enslaves it, trading in their former frenzied structures for something much more controlled and primitively brutal. The production on the album is stunning, trading in the digitized abstract battering from previous recordings and exploring a much weightier and more tangible sound. Each song is a clear part of a greater vision, as was the case with Catch Thirty-Three, but Koloss has far fewer stretches of ambient filler and is void of digitally manipulated narration. There are fewer frenetic riffs, but almost every track has a definitive hook that will demand multiple listenings and sold-out shows in support of this phenomenal record. It goes straight for the jugular and never loses murderously intense focus, but that focus may be a bit too static for purveyors of Meshuggah’s more convulsive offerings.

The album goes straight from the cool and collected aural castigation of the first track, into “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance”. Instead of tapping the listener on the shoulder with a pounding intro or gradual progression, Meshuggah pistol-whips the audience into submission with a merciless up-tempo assault. If ever there was a clear-cut headbanging track on a Meshuggah album, this is it. The pace is relentless and the ferocity never wavers. “Do Not Look Down” opens with the band’s signature polyrhythmic synchronicity of chugging riffs with Tomas Haake’s drumming to create a five-minute embodiment of their evolutionary sound. It’s not the most creative song on the album, but it fits well within the context of Koloss, and it’s more vibrant than the track that follows.

“Behind The Sun” begins with a eerily subdued clean guitar, and invokes vague memories of “Acrid Placidity” from Destroy Erase Improve, but the guitar is soon joined by a sludgy riff and rock-solid drumming. Unfortunately, the song’s momentum is damaged by down-tempo repetition, and while most of Koloss’ tracks function quite well independently, this is not one of them. It almost comes across as an excessively long interlude, replete with technically proficient playing, but lacking substance until a few dynamic shifts toward the end. It’s a six-minute weak spot, only because the surrounding material is so damn strong.

“The Hurt That Finds You First” pulverizes any lingering sense of disappointment, with thrashing drums and a vigorously percussive feel. The short bursts emanating from the guitars and drums are at times echoed by Jens Kidman, but he also provides some lengthy roars worthy of praise. His vocals have greatly improved in range and overall quality over the years, and Koloss exemplifies some of his finest contributions to date. The track slows down in sections, but loses none of its dominance. Instead, the creeping and ominous ending only intensifies the song’s magnetism.

Meshuggah continues their unrelenting streak with “Marrow” and “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion”, the latter of which is one of the best tracks on the album. There’s incredible varying textures and the seven minutes fly by in a wicked blur of aggression and atmosphere. “Swarm” lives up to its name with buzzing chords and brilliant offerings from the bass and drums. “Demiurge” continues their spine-shattering prowess, and makes the quiet closing of “The Last Vigil” all the more provocative. It’s an interesting choice to end the album, with softly resounding guitars and a somber sonic landscape. The instrumental piece serves as a series of breaths, a reprieve from the exquisite violence created on this prodigious record.

Review from metalreview.com

петък, 16 март 2012 г.

Bolesno Grinje - "Grinje!Grinje!Grinje!" Review

Review by Tsvetan / brutalism.com

Do you like oldschool grindcore,you know,the one with simple punkish riffs,blasting drumming and mad shouting vocals ? If the answer to this question is loud and proud YES! then you definitely should check out the fifth full-length album "Grinje!Grinje!Grinje!" of the Croatian veterans Bolesno Grinje. Their name translates to something like "Sick Mites" in English and they terrorize the world with grindcore since the year 2000. Hoc (bass/vocals),Rio (drums/vocals), Jule (guitars/vocals) and Angeri (vocals) attack the listener with fifteen blasting and grinding pieces of music - a furious mix of grind/crust/punk and oldschool hardcore. All tracks finish under the two minute mark with the exception of "Pobeda je nasa" ("Ours is the Victory") which is almost three minutes long and is the slowest song in the album. My personal favourites from this CD are the death/grind explosion of "Svinjojeb" (this should be translated as "Pigfucker" I think) and the smashing power crust attacks of "Mrtvi deca" ("Dead Children") and "Hail Satan,Blood & Orgy" which is the only song in English. All the other tracks are worth hearing in case you are into bands like Disrupt, Sore Throat, Anti-Cimex and similar grind/crust bands. Bolesno Grinje's fifth album will surely be a delight for everyone into oldschool grindcore with raw and unpolished sound but performed with true passion for the underground music!

Lost World Order - "Parasites" Review

This German thrash/death metal band hit the scene in 200 and shot out their first album later that year. Parasites is their third album and the latest to hit the metal scene.
This mix of thrash and death bring new life to the German and European metal scene. Hard punching guitars and continual drums back a talented vocalist with the ability to work from hard and husky, to deep and then back up the scale again, one kill not often seen in vocalists of thrash/death nowadays.
Unlike a lot of thrash, these boys know how to take the sound and make it new without repetition taking over. The riffs are fresh and clean, as is the ever present drum/bass rhythm section, which brings all the elements together as the vocals burst onto the scene. As well as skilled musicians, this album shows them as skilful composers, able to turn their hand to anything innovative and special. 
The anthemic quality of the hooks and chorus of many of their songs adds to their calibre not only as thrash metallers, but also heavy metallers. They’ve taken advantage of Germany’s rich metal roots and taken their work to the next level – wowing fans new and old. Strangely, some of their songs also have a Mercyful Fate quality to them, with the storyline within each other instead of the whole album, which again is innovative and special.

Review from brutalism.com

Disease Illusion - "Backworld" Review

This Italian melodic death metal bad is influenced by the legendary Gothenburg sounds from bands such as Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. This is the debut full-length from these Italian metallers. Going from 2006, the band changed their name from ‘The Slayers’ to Disease Illusion, and this change, including that of the main vocalist, also instigated a change from heavy and thrash metal to the melodic death metal they play today.
The album starts off typically melodic, with slow guitars and drums which build into a crescendo, getting faster and harder until the introduction of the main vocals, a scream of sound that takes over and is meshed within the instrumentals. The vocals then move to a deeper scream, with more depth and the ability to catch some of the lyrics, which is different, but in a good way. 
The guitar/bass/drums are expertly played by the band members and none of them overwhelm the other, the mixing on this album being a near perfect as you can get. At some points, it does feel more epic than melodic, especially with the big intros for most of the songs. The constant guitar riffs provide depth to each of the songs, using the skills of the guitarists perfectly. The drum beat behind is a constant rhythm that fits neatly beside the bassist’s skilled playing. 
At no point does this album disappoint. It has the power and the passion of the Italian, mixed with the sound of more prominent bands, but within that they make it their own.

Review from brutalism.com

Human Infection - "Infest To Ingest" Review

Human Infection hailing from Virginia mean business! I hadn't heard of these guys before so I wasn't sure what to expect from them. I was underwelmed by the cover art of this album and to be honest kinda had them written off in my head but my god was I wrong. Kicking the festivities off with opening track "Sheer Terror", were met with the now mandatory opening horror sample which is pretty much "colour by numbers" by today's standards but what followed was a real treat. If one could blend the technicality of modern day Dying Fetus, tied in with the grooves of Skinless and wrapped in barbwire with Cannibal Corpse you'd be pretty close to what this is all about. Track after track, it's packed to the throat with slams, sweep picking sections, blast beats and guttural vocals. The production is second to none here and sounds absolutely magnificent in just about every sound system I have heard it on so thats a real plus. For everytime I thought maybe a riff was going on a lil bit too long it changed about 3 times in a flurry of seconds. These guys really know how to write songs for the pit! Look no further than "Perversely Possessed" and title track "Infest To Ingest", 2 real jem of tracks that are literally in a treasure chest of brutality.
The production is super clear and super punchy in delivering these 11 tracks to your ears. The drums are very natural whilst maintaining a pulverizing tone, the guitars are thick and menacing, the bass sits beautifully in the mix whilst not drowning out kick drums or detuned guitars, all capped off with the vocals ripping your head off in the mix. Lyrically, it's the usual fare, gore/murder/mutilation but sure were all used to that by now. It really does sound that good and it needs to be commended for it so.
This CD hasn't left my car, I love it that much and I've been racking my brains trying to something negative to say which I truly can't. Track after track this album absolutely punishes the listener whilst trying to incite the mosh pit to go crazy. So the moral of this review is never judge a book by its cover.

Review from brutalism.com

сряда, 14 март 2012 г.

Pallbearer - "Sorrow and Extinction" Review

Beyond Black Sabbath, traditional doom puts me to sleep. My interest in the bleak arts is only piqued by the extraordinary; Pallbearer are precisely that. Sorrow and Extinction is a phenomenal, unique and irresistible articulation of dysphoria. Enshrouding these mesmerizing riffs and exceptional vocals, however, is an umbra of triumph. Sorrow and Extinction transcends mere morosity; there is victory, even in death.
Pallbearer manage, most remarkably, to hold you rapt throughout this melancholic voyage. Somber harmony is deployed as ineluctable sonic weapon. These are not esoteric convolutions, but direct and piercing melodies. Dual guitars and pleasingly present bass ply an engrossing resonance, interweaving prodigious pulverization with majestic leads. Each and every riff exists in service of the song; not a moment is wasted in pointless plod. 
Brett Campbell’s outstanding, ethereal vocals are poignant yet commanding, never lacking vitality. His voice recalls a young Ozzy denuded of nasality, but the comparison does little justice. Clean vocals, quite honestly, fail to please my ears at all in this day and age; Brett Campbell outclasses many a man. Sorrow and Extinction’s lyrics tread life-stealing astral paths, ponder numinous harbingers of death, and explore our power to stand up to grief, or to embrace oblivion, if that’s our choice.
Repeated listens bear out the vivifying drums, which drive and shape these molten floes. The massive, monumental riffs never feel languorous within these horological constructs. Calmer passages exude a latent volatility; rapturous upheavals lurk below. “Devoid of Redemption” builds to an absurd crescendo, churning an irresistible tempest of sludge.
Sorrow and Extinction is both consolation and cataclysmic companion. Pallbearer make me want to use my fists to pound and smash, to lift my arms in raging supplication. Doom just doesn’t do that for me; Sorrow and Extinction does.

Review from metalinjection.net

ANGEL WITCH - "As Above, So Below" Review

Legendary British heavy metallers Angel Witch have risen from the grave (once again) with their first studio album since 1998’s Resurrection. This new album, entitled As Above, So Below, is undeniable proof that a classic NWOBHM sound can survive and even thrive in today’s metal environment. The eight-song ass-kicker contains four previously unreleased Angel Witch tracks from the ’80s, as well as four all new songs—and the real testament here to Angel Witch’s consistent quality is how well these eight songs gel, despite being written a quarter-of-a-century apart.

The reformed Angel Witch consists of founding member Kevin Heybourne (vocals and lead guitar), along with Andrew Prestidge on drums and Will Palmer on bass. Veteran guitarist Bill Steer is appearing live with the band, but did not record with them on this album.

As Above, So Below is rife with the galloping riffs and epic lyrics we’ve come to expect of the band. It has a real “classic” feel to it. And yet these tracks don’t come across as dated or irrelevant in the least, despite half of them being written decades ago. A lot of that can be attributed to the top-notch songwriting and the crisp, balanced mix. It’s an airy, open album, with the instruments given plenty of space to breathe. What we have here is an album equally at home in 1986 or 2012, and that’s a rare treat.

If there are weak points in As Above, So Below, they lie in new tracks like “Geburah,” “Brainwashed,” and “Upon This Cord.” These fresh offerings by Angel Witch are by no means lacking—there really isn’t a lousy track to be found on this album. But after a few listens, I found myself drawn more to older tracks like “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Witching Hour.” Although I must admit that my favorite track might be “The Horla,” with its extended instrumental section slathered with delicious layers of guitars and some tasty cymbal-work courtesy of drummer Prestidge.

As Above, So Below is about as solid as metal albums come nowadays, and it’s honestly cool to hear some unreleased tracks that aren’t blatant throwaways. I’m genuinely surprised that these songs never found their way onto albums before now, come to think of it. As Above, So Below has quickly earned a place in my musical rotation, right beside 1980’s Angel Witch and 1986’s Frontal Assault, and I only hope that Heybourne can keep this incarnation of Angel Witch together long enough for us to see them perform this stuff live stateside. If you’re a fan of Angel Witch or NWOBHM in general, this kickass throwback album is a definite must-listen.

Review from metalinjection.net