сряда, 29 февруари 2012 г.

VORE – "Gravehammer" Review

Many of death metal's greatest moments are martial in nature. From Bolt Thrower's crushing cannonades to Amon Amarth's victorious marches, metal and war are inseparable companions. Vore capitalize on this synergy to great effect, plowing a potent path of aural avarice. Like the best articulations of aggression, Gravehammer has the power to physically propel a listener. 
Vore aren't new kids; they've been toiling in the metal trenches since the mid '90s. The ideas they convey aren't new either, but death metal is all in the delivery. Gravehammer unfolds as a storm of swarming, chopping, chainsaw riffs, driven by a volatile rhythmic butchery. Riffs often fall into a flailing, circular churn, bolstered by the badass beats. There's plenty of hoary, hammered-on guitar work that plays well against the base bashing. Solos are sparse and purposeful, full of sane, semi-melodic sweeping that works well enough.
Frontman Page Townsley's vocals are gloriously guttural and demonically deep. The lyrics are delivered synchronously with Gravehammer's marching cadence, as if by a monomaniacal drill sergeant. Pithy, scream-along choruses beg for listener participation, or perhaps demand it.
None of Vore's weapons would work if the riffs and rhythm didn't rip off your head; Gravehammer does that consistently and voraciously. Remy Cameron's flawlessly executed drums direct the maelstrom with panache and precision. Perfectly innocuous production lets this thing speak for itself. You'll want to listen. Every day is a fight to the death; Gravehammer is a perfect soundtrack to your quotidian combat.

Western Massacre - "Freedom Through Violence" Review

"“Freedom Through Violence” is a muscular, powerful synthesis of death, thrash, and hardcore – all sifted through a filter of mid-tempo groove, spiked with irresistible hooks, and shorn of predictability."



Standing out from the herd is no easy task, as struggling local metal bands (a redundancy, perhaps) the world over will no doubt inform you. If it were, then everyone would be special – and then no one would be. Then we’d all die of boredom. Butt-Head, wise beyond his own understanding, put it best: “If nothing sucked, and everything was like, cool all the time… how would you know it was cool?”
Boasting a moniker that’s at once a clever geographical pun and a loving homage to the music scene that spawned them, Western Massacre possess a magic touch that catapults them light years ahead of the gaggle of underground bands vying for fans across America. Content neither to repeatedly rehash the same Exodus song, nor to drown you in breakdowns, this band has built a loyal following through inspired songwriting that pays collective tribute to various styles of metal while forging an identity of its own. Their full-length debut “Freedom Through Violence” is a muscular, powerful synthesis of death, thrash, and hardcore – all sifted through a filter of mid-tempo groove, spiked with irresistible hooks, and shorn of predictability.
Don’t assume to know what’s around the bend before your first spin is complete. Opener “Steel Casket,” for example, hits you all at once like a Tiananmen tank in a doomsday explosion of drums, bass, guitars, and frontman Matt Lentner’s gutturals. But before the thirty second mark, rhythm guitarist Chad Hoag and lead shredder Kyle Leary take flight with an infectious interplay that is to form the core of Western Massacre’s sound. Then we get a lasso-swinging riff divined straight from Pantera’s ever-present ghost. This Dimebag influence remains welcome throughout, shining through on “Roadhouse” and peaking on the brilliant “Defector.”
Other standout influences include the mournful harmonizing leads of ‘90s Gothenburg melodic death, captured most pristinely on “Facelift” and “Blood and Stone.” Bastardized by American metalcore – a style whose best traits Western Massacre adopts while skirting the genre tag – the Scandinavian strains here come across as invigorating and appropriate for a change. The whole affair stirs the fresh sense of awe at hearing genres mixed for the first time; the excitement of spinning ’93-era Carcass and wondering who let that strange "Amott" fellow through the door.
To summarize, this is memorable stuff that will seize your attention, burrow its way into your brain, and stay there. While the frequent gear shifting within individual songs can occasionally hinder Western Massacre’s ability to bust out a straightforward, classic barn burner (think Lamb Of God’s “Redneck”), the transitions are handled with a deft and steady touch – as are the writing and performances in general, for that matter. This band refuses to rely solely on speed, aggression, and volume to make an impact; theirs is a calculated and controlled Massacre, anchored by their secret weapon: the groove-based rhythm section of drummer Jeff Greene and bassist Nate Larsen. These songs don’t simply make you bang your head – they make you MOVE.
“Freedom Through Violence” is an extremely rare, unexpected, and impressive achievement for an unsigned band still paying its bloody, sweaty, and tearful dues in regional clubs.

Highs: Stellar, memorable guitar work and sexy grooves throughout.

Lows: Each song contains too many changes of pace to qualify as a signature live "anthem," but the capability is certainly there for the future.

Bottom line: A catchy and impressive debut of dark, melodic "DeathGroove" from one of the finest bands in years to emerge from the Western Massachusetts metal scene.


вторник, 28 февруари 2012 г.

UNDERGANG - "Til Døden os Skiller" Review

It would have been to imagine a heavier album than Undergang’s Indhentet af Døden. The thing was totally crushing: churning out one stomach-churning groove after another with a hardcore-derived simplicity and a tenderising mallet of a guitar tone. Whilst I loved the album, its complete single-mindedness made me wonder what to expect from a follow-up. What would the point be without some kind of change of tack, when your point was made so emphatically the first time around? In fact Til Døden os Skiller is a change of tack of sorts, though a perfectly logical one given the band's career trajectory. Here, the pounding hardcore rhythms have all but faded away, and in its stead the very sickest forms of death metal have been given space to breathe. This is Undergang playing deeper and slower than ever before, and it is something to behold.
This is an album that wallows. The extravagant slowness of some passages here most clearly brings to mind the early days of Cianide. The latter’s The Dying Truth is perhaps the best example of one of my favourite ways of playing death metal: that which revels in the immediate, visceral pleasure of indulgently down-tempo hooks. Undergang songs like Ormeorgie or Rådden Messe roll out super-slow riffs that manage to be both languid and suffocatingly heavy at the same time, helped in no small measure by the brilliantly deep gurgles that pass for vocals here. Not that it's all one-paced. It's just that the sheer bloody heaviness of these sections weigh like a ball and chain around the feet of the faster parts, dragging it down into this beautifully inviting swamp of decay and lethargy. At times the whole sound seems to be grinding to an ugly halt. The last minute of Når Børnene Dør, for example, is priceless: squelching and staggering forward as David Torturdod’s voice spatters maniacally below.
The album closes with an instrumental, Kadavermarch. This is a level of ambition the band didn’t really have before- a piece based on morbid atmosphere rather than pure riff-power. It works horrifyingly well, with despondent guitar lines that ooze and belch distortion, and a tempo that perfectly matches the trudging, shambling gait implied by the title. It is an unusually descriptive piece of music (even if the scene described is a well-worn cliché), and as such represents an apposite end to the record. This is nasty, primitive music, and all the better for it. Buy this! Fucking buy it!

COLDWORKER - "The Doomsayer's Call" Review

I've avoided listening to much of Coldworker's output, as I suspect have many Nasum fans who are - not displeased by Anders Jakobson's new project so much as unwilling to face the disappointment when it doesn't match up to the rightly-revered Nasum. Now that a line-up of Nasum is planning on getting back together and touring as a final farewell (memory of Mieszko Talarczyk dominant in the band's mind as much as fans') it seems a good opportunity to finally lay the tragic memory of Nasum to rest and to follow Jakobson in his new project.
Coldworker is now three albums in, and The Doomsayer's Call seems to move away from Nasum's furious intensity towards a more death metal style, clearly influenced to an extent by doom with the solemn ominous atmosphere conjured by some of the riffs and the surprisingly melodic soloing in opening track A New Era. For the most part there's more than enough blasting to keep grindheads happy, the punkish rhythms of the likes of The Reprobate quite Napalm Death-y in tone. There's plenty of the furious deathgrind violence that you'd expect, but as Vacuum Fields shows the band also have a taste for the epic, and like to throw in little technical bells and whistles to make your headbanging impressed rather than mindless.
So, Swedish grind plus British death sums the band up quite well. With a membership roster which includes some small names of the scene, most notably Anders Bertilsson (ex-The Project Hate MCMXCIX) this is anything but a supergroup. Indeed, one of the band's few faults has to be vocalist Joel Fornbrant, whose deep growl works well with the music but can make it seem rather monotonous through lack of variety. Which would be a shame, as there is genuine variety on show in the songwriting, the catchy crunching grooves of The Glass Envelope contrasting well with Living And Suffering's speedy blasts, and the likes of Pessimist are brutal and engaging enough to keep the listener engrossed. I can't compare The Doomsayer's Call to past Coldworker outings, but having heard this will definitely be checking said albums out. The Doomsayer's Call is certainly a solid, skilfully-constructed deathgrind album that will appeal to a variety of death metal fans.



Cormorant - "Dwellings" Review

USA's Cormorant's past releases have caught the extreme metal scene by storm, with their debut EP and full length album garnering critical acclaim through their unique fusion of various different extreme metal sub-genres. Dwellings sees the band continue in the direction where they have set off from, and their appreciation of different kinds of art-forms is evident from their album artwork, which incidentally was the first thing that caught my attention and piqued my curiosity regarding the music behind the artwork.

The opening riffs of The First Man already displays the folk influences that are present on the band's music, before the vocals of Arthur come in, with almost a sense of frenzy in his vocals, spitting out the lyrics to the songs with much rage and fury, but as the album progresses this makes him seem to only put on a false aggressive front, though this is certainly not something to complain about with the brilliance of the music that one is about to discover. Despite the pace that the band travels at, there is a weird sense of calm and peacefulness in the music as well that is displayed through the melodies of the songs. Unlike many other bands of similar genres, there is not much gain on the guitar, lacking the bite that most extreme metal bands utilise, but this helps in making the softer and more melodic passages on Dwellings more soothing and sincere. Vocalist Arthur also utilises different vocal approaches, depending on and adapting to what is going on in the background, ranging from extreme metal-styled growls and screams to clean vocals and whispers. The clean vocals that are present on songs like Funambulist remind listeners of such French bands as Amesoeurs and Alcest, with the pleasing vocal quality.

The music on Dwellings, as already mentioned, is mostly soothing and at times border on epic and atmospheric. For example, on Funambulist, the band takes a slowdown, focussing on producing a huge wall of sound with an almost fuzzy guitar tone. This is not to say that there aren't heavy moments on the album though, as songs like Junta sees the band slowing down their music even further to a doom-pace, with heavily palm-muted riffs and hard hits on the drums, displaying the heavier side of Cormorant. There are also slightly more upbeat moments on tracks like A Howling Dust as well.

Throughout the album, the various instruments are also noticed to be made use of fully, especially the rhythmic instruments such as the bass of Arthur, with the softer segments seeing the bass taking over the lead role. The guitar solos also seem to take the role of bringing out and accentuating the emotional aspects of the music, with the soaring tone of the guitars, and guitarists Matt and Nick letting their instruments wail, at times sounding as if they were mourning the passing of a close friend. Drummer Brennan displays his versatility as well, through the band's rapid switching between fast and slower moments, incorporating odd time signatures at the same time, yet never missing a single beat. The band's abilities on their instruments is perhaps most evident on the instrumental Confusion of Tongues.

The strength of the band's songwriting is such that even long tracks that range in the 10 minute region such as Funambulist and Unearthly Dreamings never fail to entertain and keep listeners enchanted, not only through the variations in the musical style in a single song, but also through the charismatic execution of the track, and the perfect amount of emotions that they have included in their music. With music as strong as such on Dwellings, it leaves one wondering why bands like Cormorant remained unsigned by major labels, but it could just as well remain so, considering the quality of the work that the band has managed to put out so far on their own, putting many other more recognised and more experienced bands to shame.

Veil Of Maya - "Eclipse" Review

The technical deathcore band Veil of Maya has been blowing people away since their 2008 release of The Common Man’s Collapse. I’ve always liked them, but I’ve never been BLOWN AWAY by their music. I was, though, quite impressed when I saw that their bassist was playing a 7-string bass guitar at the 2010 Summer Slaughter Tour. As far as keeping up with them, I haven’t really gone any further than getting their new releases a week or two after their release. I was made an offer by someone at Sumerian Records to be one of the reviewers for their upcoming release, Eclipse. Hey, it’s a free promo copy and I get to hear it before anyone else, why the hell not? Almost a week after receiving it, I can now say that Veil of Maya has successfully blown me away. They made tons of huge changes in their overall sound with , but instead of taking the sound from that album and adding some stuff on top of it, they decided to go ahead and create something completely new yet again! The best way to sum this up is that it’s deathcore with more death and less core.

The intro track is fairly predictable and has been done by so many other deathcore groups like Chelsea Grin, Bleed from Within, As Blood Runs Black, Murder the Frail, and others have done countless time. The intro track is pretty much just a really fancy breakdown that blends into the next song. This isn’t a total downer because it sounds cool, but I would expect something a little more out of a band with as much status as Veil of Maya. Here’s the thing that caught me by surprise: the first full song doesn’t sound ANYTHING like the Veil of Maya I’ve known since middle school! Where the hell are all of the constant fancy technical breakdowns? This is probably one of the best deathcore albums I’ve heard in my life! I love deathcore albums that AREN’T constant breakdown after breakdown after FUCKING BREAKDOWN!!

Those of you that hate the deathcore genre for that very reason, THIS IS AN ALBUM YOU NEED TO HEAR! Every single musician in this band have improved a thousand times since. I guess they were really trying to expand their creative abilities with, and then used Eclipse to expand and improve their technical and instrumental skills, which means that I’m going to have EXTREMELY high expectations when they release their next album two years from now. I’m going to list off basically how each musician has improved over the past two years. The vocalist hasn’t really been the best growler or screamer out there, until now. His growls are extremely powerful and deep (something that was lacking majorly in). His screams sound much more developed and professional in Eclipse than the screams in Common Man’s Collapse and, which sounded strained and weak at times. So a huge improvement on the vocalist’s part has really enhanced the listening experience.

The drummer is probably the one that has improved the most out of the whole band. Not in the area of his technical skills, but more so in the areas of the different styles that he can play. Before, it seemed that all he knew how to do was really complex kick drum work while hitting the high-hat on the down beats and the snare in random places. Now, you see him playing flawless blast beats, driving rock-based beats, and just outright creative shit that I’ve never heard before! He also seems to have more involvement in the music than before, where the guitars were the center of attention. That’s another thing I just realized! The focus isn’t on one specific member! The WHOLE BAND is under the spotlight the WHOLE TIME.

The guitarists sound much more together, which sounds better than in, where they sounded like they were each playing something completely different; which got really confusing sometimes. Although those extremely abstract guitar sounds are just what I need at certain times, but I get so much more enjoyment with what they have done here. The bass is weird on this album. It’s one of those things where you can hear what notes the bassist is playing, but only on the really low end that can be heard with a subwoofer. So on top of each individual musician improving, the overall songwriting and song structure is literally a thousand times more organized than ever before.

If you’re asking me for any certain highlights on the album, I would say that Vicious Circle is DEFINITELY the best song on the album. It’s one of those things where that’s the first song I go to when I turn on this album. Fortunately,Veil of Maya doesn’t leave you COMPLETELY in the dust; they bring back memories of their older sound with Punisher, an extremely heavy and complex song. Other than that, the songs have A LOT of blast beat drumming and much fewer breakdowns to show that they are out of the in-crowd and that they can progress from what they’ve been doing almost their entire career. I know it may seem like I’ve been giving a lot of high ratings lately, but that’s just because I’m in a mood to show the world some of the good music that they’ve been missing.

LIBERTEER - "Better to Die on Your Feet than Live on Your Knees" Review

Left wing themes are hardly unusual in grindcore, in fact they seem entirely logical. Grind is rather the opposite of black metal, in that it tends not to worship the purity of its own past (a conservative mindset by definition), instead having a proud history of experimentation through hybridisation. Typically, anti-establishment wrath has served as a vital energy force for bands of this nature, but what’s interesting about Liberteer is that it has tried to integrate these ideas more explicitly at an aesthetic level, too, making for a blood-pumping and distinctive perspective. Better to Die on Your Feet than Live on Your Knees frolics around socialist iconography- titles include Rise Like Lions After Slumber, I Am Spartacus and so forth- like a tourist trip around radical history, guided by a man (sole member and former US marine Matthew Widener) whose reading of Goldman, Kropotkin, Bakunin and so on, led him to break with serious-faced avant-grind survivalists Citizen and form his own explicitly anarchist project.
More pertinent here, though, are the musical references. On one level this is frantic, energising grind in the vein of Terrorizer or another Widener-related project, Cretin. Very unusually for a grind band, however, (albeit not so surprising if you’ve heard the abovementioned Citizen) this features the kind of orchestral, brass and acoustic influences that one might expect to find emanating from albums by face-painted Norsemen. Here, though, these disparate elements blend together into a vibrant splurge of deepest red, which is simultaneously militant and militaristic. The martial atmosphere- see the opening trumpet salute of The Falcon Cannot hear the Falconer, or the fragments of tin whistle marching tunes in Build No System, for just two examples- sits very uneasily with anarchism, in fact the juxtaposition of the two could seem like a defilement of both. I’m not sure how to interpret the paradox: I’m tempted to take it as sarcastic satire. Certainly, the way the soldiers-on-parade overtones of Usurious Epitaph, is echoed and usurped by livid metal guitar in Revolution’s Wick Burning Quick reminds me of Master’s bitter mockery of their own national iconography in America the Pitiful from way back. The effect, though, is highly ambiguous, because the martial rhythms and melodies that intertwine with the grind are actually quite stirring on a musical level, adding a great deal of emotional kick to the tracks. Not only that, but they contribute musical depth, too. The short tracks tracks herein leap from plaintive tunefulness to raging grind in the blink of an eye, producing an exciting unpredictability that few bands can muster nowadays.
And the collision that is Better to Die on your Feet… still has more components to be untangled. There are hints of acoustic folk to be found, here conjuring eerie bluegrass Americana rather than the clichéd “weren’t our ancestors spiritual, darlings?” buffoonery of the black metal acts with whom I counterposed Liberteer above. Banjos flutter, somewhat like they do in Panopticon or Petrychor, tangling with the abovementioned military themes to wallow wistfully in sepia-tinged Americana, before we are wrenched out of this happy place by screaming and distortion. The effect is a powerful one. Most bizarre of all is the thudding almost-power metal of Sweat for Blood and Barbarians at the Gate (songs here can be taken in interlinked clusters rather than distinct entities), but I suppose such anomalies can again be taken as all part of the fist pumping power of the record- which is not a subtle one by a long shot.
Still, all these elements are handled extremely well considering this is just one guy with guitar, kit, and synths (ironically a lineup configuration more closely associated with black metal), and the album, taken as a whole, is addictive and explosive. The riffing is complex and vicious, but equally capable of hitting you with melody- a pretty novel achievement for the genre. The many elements of the sound, where they could sound arbitrarily hurled, give Liberteer a striking depth and fluidity. In short, this is essential grind.


Mpire Of Evil - "Hell To The Holy" Review

After stumbling out of the gate a bit with "Creatures Of The Black"an ill-advised EP of covers and a couple original tunes, Mpire Of Evil finds its footing on the band's full-length debut, "Hell To The Holy." With three ex-members of Venom making up Mpire Of Evil, it's not surprising that these songs have the dawn-of-thrash sound that Venom and Motorhead pioneered back in the day.
For the uninitiated, Mpire Of Evil is made up of guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan on bass and vocals and Antony "Antton" Lant on drums. It's somewhat easy — and, for that matter, reflexive — to say that this stuff doesn't measure up to Venom classics like "Prime Evil" and "Black Metal," but it's got plenty to offer on its own merits.
The opener, "Hellspawn" and especially the follow-up track "Metal Messiah" get the classic thrash vibe going, with the former having a definite Motorhead feel, while the latter blends in some of the technicality of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal circa 1981 or so.
That era is recalled affectionately (if somewhat clumsily, lyrically) in "Snake Pit," which recalls "one hot night in '85" and name-checks Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the Scorpions, making reference to "aces" and "bullet belts" worn by another classic metal icon. The track features Mantas' best ax-work on the album, with some face-meltingly awesome solos.
Those looking for a brief break from the fury will enjoy the bottleneck blues that opens "Devil," a familiar tale of a musician looking to trade his soul to Satan for some tasty licks. It's the album's grooviest track, with plenty of hip-shakin' to go with the head-bangin'.
Much of the credit for that — and, for that matter, how well the rest of the album goes down — has to go to Antton, who expertly straddles the divide between the double-bass bashing of thrash and the more groovy approach that tracks like "Devil and "Waking Up Dead" require.
Sure, the album has its share of filler tracks — "All Hail" and the pretty generic title tune in particular — but nothing falls short of being listenable. The biggest complaint to be had musically speaking is that Demolition Man's bass work is fairly inconsistent. On the faster tunes, he's got the Lemmy Kilmister vibe down pat, but on some of the the slower tracks — particularly "Hell To The Holy" — his playing feels a bit muddled.
As befitting its membership, Mpire Of Evil's "Hell To The Holy" raises plenty of Venom-style hell. Fans of the way metal sounded as the '70s turned into the '80s are going to find plenty to love here.

Highs: "Hellspawn," "Devil" and "Snake Pit."

Lows: "Hell To The Holy" and "All Hail."

Bottom line: A Venom-style thrasher that will please fans of that band plenty.

http://soundcloud.com/scarlet-records/mpire-of-evil-hellspawn 

понеделник, 27 февруари 2012 г.

10 Favorite Albums of 2011

2011 has been an incredible year for Metal and Hardcore. With so many great records being released, I could not ask for a better soundtrack to what has been one of the most insane and epic years I’ve experienced. Having missed the boat last year, I wanted to do my best to listen to as many albums possible. I soon discovered how daunting this task was. Therefore, I’ve put these records in no particular order and have included a selection of honorable mentions at the bottom.

Toxic Holocaust – Conjure and Command

With few exceptions, I like my music straight-forward and to-the-point…Behold! Toxic Holocaust!!! As I’ve said in the past, I’m very fond of the neo-thrash movement, and I would happily nominate these guys as one of the very best of that group. Conjure and Command has a very pure thrash-metal sound, with some of the band’s Punk and Black Metal influences extracted out. But this does nothing to diminish this amazing, riff-laden album of its glory. Somehow, they’re just able to make that open-E chug sound new again. THRASH! THRASH! THRASH!

Dragged into Sunlight – Hatred for Mankind

If you wanted a good metaphor for this album: imagine a sledgehammer…dipped in sulfuric acid…with razor wire wrapped around it…on fire. One of the most violent records I have ever heard, Hatred for Mankind certainly lives up to its title. Distorted and overflowing with rage, the vocals on this album strongly resemble those of bands like Black Witchery and Eyehategod, but with an even deeper low-end. The bass and drums are mixed in such a way that they propel the music ferociously out of your speakers. Check out Volcanic Birth to see what I mean. Oh, and then there are the creepy voice-overs…seems like a requirement these days.

Mastodon – The Hunter

A surprise favorite for me, it took a few listens for me to warm up to The Hunter. In a way, the band sounds more like a hard-rock act now, but they do so in a way that retains their characteristic sound. These are of course: excellent vocal melodies, watery and dynamic riffs, and dazzling compositional creativity. To my ears, The Hunter resembles a blend of all previous Mastodon records, but with a certain emphasis on Remission and Crack the Skye. The Hunter contains some of the catchiest and memorable songs of the year, and is one of the few records that get progressively better from one song to the next. And dude…honestly…there’s a song on it called Octopus Has No Friends- C’MON NOW!

Mother of Mercy – IV: Symptoms of Existence

When I went to the Metal SuckFest this October, I spent some time chatting with Hardcore reviewer extraordinaire Gary Suarez. After talking about a few of our favorite records of the year, he made an extremely strong pitch for Mother of Mercy. On first listening to Symptoms of Existence, I would definitely second the motion. Mother of Mercy incorporates just the right amount of metal riff-and-groove that lets their sound retain an authentic hardcore edge. You know you love an album when it makes you want pump your fist and spin-kick the lamp off your desk!

Tombs – Path of Totality

n enormous improvement over their previous record, Tombs provides the ultimate in doom and gloom on their 2011 release. Tombs craft’s a brilliant blend of sludge metal heaviness with all the grim rage of Black Metal- perhaps a less folky and more dissonant version of Agalloch. With winter approaching, I feel I will be listening to this record a lot more soon. (Apparently I have a telepathic connection with the folks over at Decibel, as they have picked this album as their #1 album of the year.)

Origin – Entity

I don’t care what anyone says about how much of a “disappointment” they thought Entity was- I love this album. With the storm of riffs and blast-beats, Expulsion of Fury gets the record off to an explosive start. I have an obvious preference when it comes to death metal- that being one for the low-end tremolo riff style perfected by bands like Incantation and Drawn & Quartered. Along with their lightning fast sweeping and drum-kicks, Origin has packed this album with exactly those 1,000,000-ton riffs I crave. For perfect examples, listen to Saliga and Consequence of a Solution. A great record to get a noise complaint for!

Today is the Day – Pain is a Warning

Where the hell have I been for the past 15 years!? I just discovered these guys at Metal Suckfest and I feel like such a moron for not checking them out sooner. Today is the Day gave an incredible performance, supplemented an array of disturbing video footage played behind them. Pain is a Warning burns with noisy yet intelligent energy through dramatic numbers like Expectations Exceed Reality and the title-track (which sounds like a strange yet exhilarating mix of NIN and Converge).

Protest the Hero- Scurrilous

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to check out this band. Their name sounds like some band that would be on the Bamboozle tour circa 2008 and I didn’t have much else to go on. When I heard Rody sing for the first time I had one of those bug-eyed moments of the “I must listen to this band!” quality. So despite my sub-conscious silliness, Protest the Hero has become one of my favorite bands. Yes, the album drops and plateaus after the first two songs, but C’est la Vie and Hair-Trigger made such an enormous impression on me that I had to listen to everything else the band put out. As I dove into the band’s music, I found I couldn’t get enough of the spiraling guitars and harrowing vocals that seemed to be limitless in their range and variety. Whenever I think of summer 2011, I will think of Protest the Hero.

SubRosa- No Help for the Mighty One

An ominous beast of an album, these ladies know how to make a Heavy Metal record that is both beautiful in its themes, yet still aggressive in its delivery. Like the genre they are named for, SubRosa plays like the ultimate doom-metal funeral elegy. The lyrics, the riffs, the melodies are all among some of the best I’ve heard this year over the last five years. If our Metal Injection assignment was to make a list of our Top Songs of 2011, it’s highly likely that Borrowed Time Borrowed Eyes would be at the top of my list. I can never get that ending refrain out of my head, and I’m glad.

Wormrot- Dirge

And now for something completely different…Singapore’s finest export! If you can play a record without skipping any songs, you know you have a classic on your hands. On this metric, Dirge delivers and pulverizes everything in its path. Just when you think “Oh, I could skip this part…”, you’re suddenly slammed with a sonic neutron bomb of grindcore perfection. In fact, I could listen to this album all day non-stop, and have…and felt amazing because of it. The album is so ridiculous in its screaming energy that I cannot help but laugh at certain moments at how awesome it is. And, because I can’t help myself when it comes to song titles…just read these: Overpowered Violence, Principle of Puppet Warfare, Back Stabber Mission Aborted, Butt Krieg Is Showing (lololololol), and perhaps my favorite song title of the year…Meteor to the Face

Honorable Mentions

Whenever you try to make a list of ten anything, the hardest part is what to cut. If I had numbered my list from 1-10, any one of these albums would have easily qualified for #11. I remember back in January driving to work every day while listening to Desultory’s Gothenburg-style masterwork. I remember hearing Line of Scrimmage for the first time and having one of those “Holy Shit, this is awesome!!!” moments (they’re like a beatdown version of All Out War). I also remember being pleasantly surprised by Unearth and Anthrax for making solid new albums, and by Decapitated’s glorious comeback. Any Punk fans reading this should find hope in SSS for their raw and dirty blend of Crossover and Discharge. Like most of the people who I’ve spoken to, I love the new Revocation album, one that shows a band truly on their way to do great things. And yes, I’ve begun to warm-up more to the new Megadeth album as well.
Megadeth- Thirteen
The Black Dahlia Murder- Ritual
Anthrax- Worship Music
Decapitated- Carnival is Forever
Unearth- Darkness in the Light
SSS- Problems to the Answer
Warbringer- Worlds Torn Asunder
Revocation- Chaos of Forms
Desultory- Counting our Scars
Earth Crisis- Neutralize the Threat
Line of Scrimmage- Penance
Amon Amarth- Surtur Rising

неделя, 26 февруари 2012 г.

Goatwhore - "Blood for the Master" Review

Goatwhore’s fifth release definitely has a more varied sound than previous albums. The band pulls from its sincere admiration for earlier metal acts like Judas Priest and Hellhammer and mixes it masterfully with Goatwhore’s particular brand of fierce and strict black metal. “Blood For the Master” brought me back to my own reverence and love for seventies and early eighties metal bands, making it a fun listen that has the power to take anyone to another time and age.
The album begins with an immediate assault in “Collapse in Eternal Worth,” as the music is immediately extreme and purely black metal with no lead-in or intro to prepare the listener for the assault that follows. The next song slides the mood into a more classic metal influenced piece “When Steel and Bone Meet.” Goatwhore is known for a love of Judas Priest, and it is starting to show on this album. Guitarist Sammy Duet masterfully plays a very classic, wailing solo. His solo in “An End to Nothing” is also very classic metal oriented with notes so high it almost sounds like the manipulation of a Theremin.
“Blood for the Master” holds so many surprises that I had to listen to the album again and again just to hear them all. In addition to Sammy letting loose his guitar, for instance, vocalist Ben Falgoust changes styles during some moments. He hisses softly and menacingly during breakdowns in “Judgement of the Bleeding Crown" that are punctuated in a nearly militaristic march style by guitar and drums, and in “Embodiment of This Bitter Chaos,” the usual over-lay of the vocals is not present. Instead, Ben utters short phrases sporadically in a nearly hardcore style that provides a change-up that needs to be listened to closely. Other elements of the song are also not typical for the band, which begins with a slow fade in with acoustic guitar that adds a silvery and sad lining to a wailing electric guitar before going into the namesake chaos.
“In Deathless Tradition” and “Judgement..." have fairly slow tempos for a band that is known for incredibly fast playing in the style of the black metal progenitors, but that slow beat only makes for a more intimidating sound. Drummer Zack Simmons does very well keeping up with the switching between genres and tempos without any loss of ability during songs like the more distinctive “Beyond the Spell of Discontent” and early metal-inspired sections.
The CD and vinyl album also features striking artwork by tattoo artist Jordan Barlow. “Blood for the Master” shows the band’s foray from pure black metal into a love for classic metal.

Highs: Great mix of black and classic metal that Goatwhore hasn't done before.

Lows: Not the pure black metal the band is known for.

Bottom line: "Blood For The Master" is one of Goathwore's best albums.

Christian Mistress - "Possession" Review

“Possession” is the second album from Christian Mistress, who got acclaim for their previous release, “Agony & Opium.” That record seems like a minor flirtation of where “Possession” takes the band. The band’s love of early heavy metal is plastered all over, the bubbling chemistry that guitarists Ryan McClain and Oscar Sparbel give off in their harmonies a signature of the great music from the ‘70s. This is an album with an older audience in mind, though younger metal heads would be wise to use “Possession” as homework to study up on how heavy metal can be without fancy studios and cut-and-paste hack jobs.
The first third of “Possession” is what any fan of “Agony & Opium” would expect to come from Christian Mistress. “Over & Over” charges from the starting position with rabid joy. The minimal production leaves it up to the band and their compositions to head to victory, and “Over & Over” is a great opening march. Not only does the band feel tighter in their instrumentation in the two years since their debut, but these couple of early tracks feel like the band is in a dingy basement jamming out, fueled by a diet of stale beer and leftover pizza.
Unlike the held-back, typical heavy metal outlook of “Agony & Opium,” there’s a creative outpouring on “Possession” that extends to non-metal sounds. Before the fear shakes up the reader, there’s no implications of any rapping or “wicked sweet” one-note breakdowns from the band. Most of the experimentation comes from well-crafted acoustic intros that show a classical (“All Abandon”) and bluesy-country (“The Way Beyond”) influence. They take up about a minute per track, though the acoustics take up longer on the lighter first half of “There Is Nowhere."
Even those momentary breaks do little to dilute the force the band lets out on a track like “Black To Gold” and “Conviction.” A ballad-ish beginning to “There Is Nowhere” is a false start, as the band gets tired of taking it easy, and the guitars storm to life. There’s an impenetrable excitement whenever the guitarists break off and wave magic from their fingertips. Having a rock-solid rhythm section that knows when to stay in line and when to say, “Screw it,” and get in on the fun is invaluable.
If there was a competition to see which of the members made the most strides between the two albums, vocalist Christine Davis would be the front runner. She wasn’t terrible on “Agony & Opium,” but her voice didn’t always gel well with the material. It could have been from a lack of a group bond, or a rushed studio deadline; none of those issues come up on “Possession.” Her voice fits these songs better, and her range is much more defined. She doesn’t soar like some faceless symphonic metal singer, as her vocals are more grounded and fit the gritty music.
“Possession” has every mark of an excellent sophomore album by not just recreating the first album with a different title. Christian Mistress has not grown out of their heavy metal roots, but has brought in acoustics, and doom-like tempos on the title track, a cover of an old Faith tune. “Possession” is a tightly-composed record, not overstaying its presence for long, and leaving the listener with a wave of satisfaction that continues to wash over on repeated plays.

Highs: Old-school heavy metal sound, guitar solos and harmonies fly free, vocalist Christine Davis puts in a great effort, acoustics add variety when used

Lows: Raw production might turn some off, a few more faster cuts like "Over & Out" would have been nice

Bottom line: An excellent follow-up to "Agony & Opium" that shows the band evolving their sound to bring out the best that heavy metal has to offer.

четвъртък, 23 февруари 2012 г.

DESTRUCTION Announce Headlining Dates

Iconic German thrash trio DESTRUCTION will embark on a North American 30th Year Anniversary Tour this May with shared direct support from Vital Remains and Warbringer (who will be alternating each night) plus Pathology.

States DESTRUCTION frontman & bassist Schmier:

“A killer package for old-school thrash & death metal freaks! This may be the best set list we’ve ever had – the essence of thrash metal history united with our new anthems. We’ll have more classics than ever in the set, more from the first records for sure. Can’t wait to hit the road again!!! Some North American cities have a great audience for this old school sound again, and it wasn’t always like that. The main intention for this second North American tour within a year is that we could not play all markets that we wanted to book last time. Now, we’ll play some new places and return to those cities that gave us a great welcome last year like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal. Warbringer are a perfect match to a DESTRUCTION bill. They are one of the best new thrash bands and keep our ‘80s spirit alive. It will be great to have them with us! We’ve played with Vital Remains before; awesome guys and a brutal band. They bring a good variety into the billing. Thrash/death metal is always the best mix, that’s why Pathology complete the show!”

Confirmed dates & cities thus far for DESTRUCTION’s 30th Year Anniversary Tour are:

05-04-12 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
05-08-12 Casselman’s – Denver, CO
05-10-12 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
05-12-12 Blackened Moon Concert Hall – Lansing, MI
05-16-12 B.B. Kings – New York, NY
05-17-12 The Met – Pawtucket, RI
05-18-12 Maverick’s – Ottawa, ON - CANADA
05-19-12 Rockpile – Toronto, ON – CANADA
05-22-12 Kim’s Pixie Inn – Pueblo, CO
05-24-12 The Coach House – San Juan Capistrano, CA
05-26-12 The Metro – Oakland, CA
05-30-12 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA

MUNICIPAL WASTE Post Lyric Video

The lyric video to "The Fatal Feast," the title track off MUNICIPAL WASTE’s fifth studio album, is available below and features guest vocals by NUCLEAR ASSAULT’s John Connelly.

The Fatal Feast is due out in the U.S. and Canada on April 10th and in Europe on April 13th.

The members of MUNICIPAL WASTE spent an entire day shooting their music video for “The Fatal Feast” this past weekend in Los Angeles with Jeff & Chris Speed of Halo Of Flies Productions. According to guitarist Ryan Waste, “For our upcoming video of the title track, we stepped it up drastically in the sci-fi horror realm. Once again, we had a blast working with The Speed Brothers and crew. Prepare to Feast!” Video debut date will be announced soon.

MUNICIPAL WASTE will be direct support to Gwar on the “Return Of The World Maggot” tour with guests Ghoul and Legacy of Disorder.

Tour dates can be viewed here .



ORIGIN Announces Dates With CATTLE DECAPITATION And DECREPIT BIRTH

Tour dates, bands and venues have been announced for the upcoming Occupation Domination Tour. The lineup includes Origin, Cattle Decapitation, Decrepit Birth, Battlecross, Rings of Saturn and Aborted. The tour kicks off April 20 at Sonar's.

Dates announced so far:

Apr 20 – Sonar – Baltimore, MD
Apr 21 – Mojo13 – Wilmington, DE
Apr 22 – Backstage @ Champs – Trenton, NJ
Apr 23 – Railroad Cavern – Keene, NH
Apr 24 – Europa – Brooklyn, NY
Apr 26 – The Brass Rail – Peoria, IL
Apr 27 – Mojoes – Joliet, IL
Apr 28 – Camelot Arena – Portage, IN
Apr 29 – Fubar – St Louis, MO
May 02 – El Rey Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
May 04 – Ruby Room – San Diego, CA
May 06 – The Whisky a Go-Go – West Hollywood, CA
May 09 – Plea for Peace – Stockton/Morada, CA
May 10 – The Alley – Sparks, NV
May 11 – Branx – Portland, OR
May 12 – Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
May 13 – The Venue – Boise, ID
May 14 – In the Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
May 15 – The Summit – Denver, CO
May 18 – Granada Theatre – Lawrence, KS

сряда, 22 февруари 2012 г.

The Kandidate - "Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death" Review

This is a mean, unforgiving arsenal of thrashy death-tinged songs that pulverizes you not with a constant high-speed frontal charge – given the wrong mood, those albums put me to sleep now and again – but through the raw, genuine rage embedded in the very essence of the playing. No posturing, satanic black metal wannabes can hope to terrify on this level when frontman Jacob Bredahl (ex-Hatesphere) bellows, “Memories lost, memories gone, DEAD! FUCKING DEAD!” over the grooving crunch of “Let The Maggots Have It.”
For a band rooted in such aggression, it’s refreshing to discover that no two tracks sound quite alike. In a shift from the comparatively straightforward offerings on the 2010 debut “Until We Are Outnumbered,” this album is soaked in hardcore’s confrontational snarl (“Modvind,” “The Knives Spit”) and punk’s directness (“Fucked In The Search For Life,” “Dommedag”). “Standing On The Cliffs Of Madness” is the standout thrasher, while “One And Alone,” “Total War,” and “Disillusionized” increase the considerable groove factor. Tempos rise, fall, and otherwise shift unpredictably with a journeying complexity that somehow never feels blatant or disjointed. Guitarist Tvedebrink is largely responsible for this; his avalanche of inventive riffs slides right past the edge of wankery with feet to spare, and winds up riveting you as the rhythm section blows out your car windows.
Produced neither too much nor too little, “Facing The Imminent Prospect Of Death” sounds exactly as its makers believe it should: like four expert musicians playing a tight, precise live show, where the digitized soullessness of excessive effects and overdubs is off the table. Essential for fans of Hatesphere (and of primary influence Entombed), The Kandidate is teaching a valuable lesson in how angry music should be played – and remembered.

Highs: "Let The Maggots Have It," "Standing On The Cliffs Of Madness"

Lows: Pure death/thrash fans may not appreciate the prevalent punk and hardcore tendencies, and if you can't handle being yelled at, forget it.

Bottom line: Thrash, death, groove, hardcore, and punk converge in Denmark for one hell of a collision, leaving no survivors.

Corrosion of Conformity - "Corrosion Of Conformity" Review

It's little wonder that Corrosion Of Conformity chose to self-title its latest album. What you'll hear from the first notes of "Psychic Vampire" through the closing notes of "The Same Way" is the sound of a band going back to its roots.
With drummer Reed Mullin back in the fold and singer/guitarist Pepper Keenan off doing other things, the band has returned to its "Animosity"-era three-piece lineup. Are there moments when Keenan is missed? Sure, there are -- but they are surprisingly few in number.
What you get is a much younger feeling. This is the sound of a bunch of guys who liked Black Sabbath and punk rock and figured why not mash them together with some southern blues to keep it interesting. Hence you've got the aforementioned "Psychic Vampire," which moves from sludgy slow to raging punk and back again on a dime, as does the appropriately named "The Doom."
Meanwhile, the instrumental "El Lamento De Las Cabras" feels like a love child of Lynrd Skynrd and Alice In Chains. That grunge rock feel also makes itself known on other tracks as well.
The performances are pretty much uniformly excellent, with guitarists Woody Weatherman acquitting himself particularly well. He and bassist Mike Dean's vocals are good enough that you won't miss Keenan too much, especially given the slightly punkier nature of this album's material.
Thrashy, punky and packed with Sabbath-style sludge, Corrosion Of Conformity has brought back not just an old lineup, but also some of the fire of a bygone era. But yeah, it still would've been nice to have Pepper playing on it.

Highs: "Psychic Vampire," "The Doom"

Lows: None to speak of

Bottom line: You may miss Pepper Keenan, but not much, as the rest of the band moves on.

official website : http://www.coc.com/

The Fathomless Deep - "The Fathomless Deep" Review

Review from metalunderground.com

The Fathomless Deep’s debut self titled release is a medley of songs that tend to stick with the listener long after they’ve walked away from it. Perhaps somewhat untypical for a Finnish band, these guys have taken a far lean to the more avante-garde aspect of metal; reminiscent of bands like Unexpect, while still being brutal enough to be considered death metal.
One of the really special aspects about the album is the diversity of the musicians. The vocals are for the most part quite harsh, ranging from highs to more growling, dirty lows. A personal favorite off of the album is the track “Beneath Cursed Waters,” where we are treated with duets between epic clean vocals that battle the seas on waves of growls that threaten to bury everything in their way.
The Fathomless Deep has managed to create a completely unique compilation, and one that tends to shift styles in almost every song. The musicians have given their instruments personalities that differ and change just as our own moods do. At times it seems as if the guitars are having arguments with each other and at these moments the violin steps in to make peace, while the vocals authoritatively and effectively conquer and force submission from all.
Combined with the soaring notes of the melancholy, yet at times enraged, violin, the guitars manage to hold their own and still be leading instruments. Unlike many violinists who are content to be in the background, the composer here has made violin melodies an integral part in every song. This album will appeal to listeners fond of changing it up a bit, those of us who are tired of the same few recycled riffs and overused genres, from this refreshingly creative group.

Highs: A unique metal album that is full of variety.

Lows: No real lows for me, though listeners of more standard genres of metal might feel lost with this release.

Bottom line: The Fathlomless Deep will be highly appealing to fans of death metal, as well as those who appreciate avant-garde metal. This album will become a regular listen for ears that are prepared for it.

official website : thefathomlessdeep

вторник, 21 февруари 2012 г.

Metallica - "Beyond Magnetic" (CD/EP) Review

Like "Death Magnetic," the album they were originally written for, the four tracks on Metallica's "Beyond Magnetic" are a more-than-pleasant reminder that the biggest band in metal is still capable of the thrash fury of its early years. At least two of the tracks ("Hate Train" and "Rebel Of Babylon") are at least the equal of anything on the album they were culled from, and the sound quality of these supposedly "rough" mixes feels a little more natural as well.

After the solo-free experience that was "St. Anger," guitarist Kirk Hammett cut loose quite splendidly on "Death Magnetic," and that naturally carries over here, with "Hate Train" especially featuring some inspired lead guitar work, along with a Motorhead-style speedy rhythm line from James Hetfield.

The eight-minute "Rebel Of Babylon" features a variety of styles, ranging from the opening with its clean electric guitar tones, to blitzkrieg thrash that slows to Sabbath speeds in the chorus. It's also the best showing for Hetfield's vocals on the disc.

"Hell And Back" is a decent mid-tempo rocker that wouldn't feel too out of place amid the better tracks on "Load" and "ReLoad." "Just A Bullet Away," on the other hand, flirts a little too much with "St. Anger" territory both in terms of its self-loathing subject matter, and in feeling pretty severely under produced (thank goodness for the lack of "pinging" drums from Lars Ulrich, though). Granted, there's a decent solo, but the song feels a little incoherent when it slows down in the middle.

Yes, the mixes on these songs are a bit rough (a nasty bit of feedback on "Just A Bullet Away" doesn't feel like it was intentionally put there), but not so much as to detract overly much from the experience. It does sometimes seem that Hetfield's vocals are mixed a shade too high, making them feel a little too separate from the rest of the band.

Still — and especially after the disaster that was "Lulu" — it's nice to be reminded that Metallica hasn't forgotten how to create the music that earned them their early accolades. Yes, "Beyond Magnetic" is merely a trip into the vaults to bide fans' time until the next full-length album, but it's an enjoyable trip, nonetheless.

Highs: "Hate Train" and "Rebel Of Babylon"

Lows: "Just A Bullet Away"

Bottom line: If you liked the band's return to form on "Death Magnetic," you'll enjoy these tracks from those sessions.

*********************************************************************************

Metallica just doesn’t understand how to stay in our good graces.

By most accounts, 2008’s Death Magnetic was a very long-awaited return to form for the Biggest Metal Band in the World. The production was a mess and it was only about half thrash, but it was the best thing they’d written in ages and revealed that they still had good – sometimes great – songs left in the tank. A very successful tour featuring killer setlist choices and (gasp) real metal opening bands redeemed them about as much as they could hope with the community that built their popularity.

Then they go and drop Lulu. Enough has been written about that debacle that all I can add is that I’m still perplexed over the thought processes that must have gone into that decision. Regardless, it makes it quite difficult to view Beyond Magnetic as anything but a peace offering. Comprised of four unreleased songs from the Death Magnetic sessions, this cheapo EP is cut from the same cloth, mainly the half-thrash-but-groovin’ material that they seem to have found late career comfort with. The problem? These are clearly the leftovers, and only half of this EP competes with the worst material on the full-length.

The faults of Death Magnetic are even more exposed within Beyond. First, there is a serious issue with self-editing. There was no reason for a straight rocker devoid of any epic tones (“Just a Bullet Away”) to be given a soft bridge just to extend it to over seven minutes. If anything it makes those embarrassing lyrics (“suck on the barrel / suck on the barrel / suck, suck till it’s dry!”) that much more puzzling. Second, too many attempts to expand songs into more progressive terrain also put a bigger burden on Ulrich, who does nothing but deter with his have-eighth-notes-will-lumber drumming technique. Furthermore, the production still honks. The mastering isn’t as monumentally fucked as it was for the full length (the “clipping” is gone), but the overall sound is dry and plastic with zero depth.

In spite of the glaring faults, opener “Hate Train” and closer “Rebel of Babylon” still manage to create some memorable quality. The latter is also the closest thing to an extended Metallica epic that the band has written since the 80s, offering a nice balance of hard-hitting thrash, thick grooves, and an incredibly memorable chorus. It almost singlehandedly justifies the five-buckaroo price tag that the band put on this thing, but considering how quickly this is destined to show up in used bins for even less, wait for that if you must buy it.

Still, even these tracks fail to approach the likes of “Broken, Beat, and Scarred,” “Cyanide,” or “The End of the Line,” and the other two are either forgettable (“Hell and Back”) or cringe-worthy. (Hey, James Hetfield, don’t tell me to suck on things.) Even with the well-intentioned price tag, Beyond Magnetic is barely necessary for all but the Death Magnetic-obsessed. If there is one success here, it is proof thatMetallica edited their 2008 album mostly correctly (mostly). There is some superficial enjoyment to be found, but that doesn’t make this EP particularly good.

Oh, and Lars Ulrich… goddammit, you suck.

четвъртък, 2 февруари 2012 г.

Mussorgski - "Chaos And Paranormal Divinity" Review

After a hiatus that lasted nearly fourteen years, the two piece Black/ Doom Ambient Metal band Mussorgski is back with a vengeance. Sounding just as eerie without losing any ferocity, their latest effort 'Chaos...' is mystical and divine at the same time; those who worship any sort of atmospheric Black or Doom Metal will fall in love with it. For those not familiar with the works of Mussorgski the music might sound quite a bit repetitive such as on the opening "Industrial Technology...", as it tends to survive on the same notes though lengthy guitar notes, keyboard, and snarls, whispers and industrial/ ambient elements. Some usually might consider this 'white noise,' but Mussorgski has been sure to  make the production clear so the beauty of the ambience can be heard and listeners can still get lost in the music rather than feel whitewashed by distortion. Other tracks like "7th Son's..." are a bit louder and are still thick in sound but sound a lot more Black Metal oriented, or even Black n' Roll with touches of symphonic elements. This kind of marriage will certainly appeal to those who like more complex bands like Farsot.
For the most part though, Mussorgski will keep things on the quiet front in Metal with their music. The twin "Paranormal Divinity" is an excellent track to get lost in, the first part "Inside" sounding like a nightmare with whispering voices executed in just the right tones with swirls of distortion to create the ultimate 'Black Ambient' track whereas the second half shows off the symphonic side with piano, keyboard, and just a subtle tone that closes out the album very well with style. For those who feel that Funeral Doom/ Black Ambient has gotten too saturated by relying on distortion to create atmosphere, then 'Chaos...' is a great place to re-ignite the fire for remembering how much skill it takes to create Metal and harmony together in an esoteric way. Plus, the lyrical/ song title delivery is as chilling as ever, making Mussorgski's work a true example of 'thinking man's/ womans' Metal.'

Savage Messiah - Plague Of Conscience Review

In a world where thrash metal seems to be steadily leaning more and more to the harsher side of things (Warbringer, Toxic Holocaust, Skeletonwitch, etc) it's pretty nice to hear a more melodic step-back. Granted, this isn't an extremely vicious album, but who cares? It seems it's becoming just too easy to write steam-rolling thrash. Some times, it's just nice to hear thrash that can just...soar.

Don't let that fool you though, thrash is thrash. It's made for top-speed aggression. Sure, Plague Of Conscience isn't teeth-shattering aggression, but more of that epic lead-based thrash. It flies like power metal, but generally drives forward with a little more kick. The best way to picture it is some US power/traditional heavy metal hybrid with a thrash metal engine. It's got its fair amount of revivalist touches, but Savage Messiah manage to deliver it in a youthful enough way to not sound completely flavourless.

There's leads, then there's riffs. Plague Of Conscience is an album of leads, and that's where it falls a little flat. There's such a total focus on creating that top-speed, high-flying sound, that they come up short when it comes to delivering the basics; riffs to bang your head to. Here's the part where they should have taken some tips from their harsher contemporaries; this album seems like a lot of flash, and no crunch, far too often. Where there feels like there should be some great riffs layin' down the lead, there seems to be a big hole that was filled with some generic thrash rhythm section.

Overall, Plague Of Conscience is not a bad album. If anything, the band should be commended for focusing on their strongest aspect; awesome guitar leads. It just would have been nice to see them fill those in-between moments with something a little more engaging.