Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reviews 7/20/11

Warning: I pretty much disliked all of these, so prepare yourself for a lot of complaining!

Aurvandil "Yearning"
More pretentious apocalypse heralding blackish stuff from Europe (France this time). Note - this music was "crafted" according to the bio. (No, it's
too important to have been merely "written!" How passe!) Anyways, when the music kicks in, it's exactly what it looks like on the front black and white
snowy mountain image: 90s styled black Metal. Fairly grim and somewhat primitive. The song "A guide to Northern Scapes" would seem a rather obvious
hint to the listener "we play old school 90s grim Black metal in case you didn't know" Although I must admit, it is not bad. Has an odd (now somewhat
acceptable) sort of "distant" production. Fairly atmospheric and noisy, but without losing a classical/musical feel. I like it, just nothing new. If you like
it sad and grim you will want to add this to your mile high pile of CDS with lo -fi black and white covers and unreadable logo. Eisenwald Records?

Beast of the APocalypse "Henosis"
With song titles like "I am not worthy to utter thy name" and "Vision of the 12 priests before the altar" these guys must be very very serious!
Starts out kinda slow and plodding, then wham! Smacked right in the face with hellnoise! Specifically, guitars turned up to...well, I'm not sure there is
a number high enough on my stereo. It's VERY loud, put it to you that way. Repetitive and apocalyptic. I think the vocals are drowning away somewhere in the
middle. Funny enough, kinda remonds me of our own Dispirit, from Oakland/San Francisco! I don;t care for this stuff, but if you like hellnoise of the
extreme apocalypse variety, be sure to pick this up and listen to it at top volume after not taking your meds for a few days. You are bound to see
the world end! Transcendental Creations.

Century "The Red giant"
Lots of yelling. Wow, how original? Oh wait, I hear lyrics and lots of swearing. Well he must be saying something intelligent.
Unfortunately, I couldn't care less because the music is so stupid. These guys can't decide if they are Rage Against the Machine, Korn,
or Brutal Truth. At this rate, I'm gonna stop even reviewing Prosthetic Record's promos and tell them "no thanks."

Death Wolf "s/t"
One of the guys from Marduk formed this band in 2000 or so. Sounds kinda blackish - but with a distinct hardcorish feel, particularly with the singing.
At points it ventures into more alternative territory ala Alice in Chains/Danzig. Not bad really, just not really what the world needs right now.
Regain/Blooddawn Records.

Echtra "Paragate"
Droning, boring, blah blah artsy fartsy, "10 minutes just to get a regular drum beat or a riff" going crap. Sounds like the new age music my dad listens
to on Sirius Radio, only with faint distorted guitars way in the background. WHo the hell listens to this, much less creates it??? Yeah, I don;t have the
attention span for it, sorry. But if you like the sound of one retarded acoustic guitar playing the same chord thingy for like 5 minutes straight with some
new age keyboard behind it, knock yourself out. Temple of Torturous (indeed) Records.

Isolation "Closing the Circle"
Christ, another acoustic intro? Fuck, it's cool once in a while, but come on this is Metal!!! Oh I see - this is "depressive" ok ok...forgiven!
Anyways, let's see...mid tempo grim "depressive" music. Moaning dude who sounds kinda like Curt Cobain. But it's ok to sound like Curt if you are
playing "depressive Metal." Maybe these "depressive Metal" people are just ex grungers? It's funny, I was a grunger and I am not into this. My ex wife
used to listen to bands like Modest Mouse, Rapeman, and A Minor FOrest - while I appreciated em kinda I never liked it. This sounds like a Black metal
band trying to meld itself with that sound and I hate the combination. More than Danzig hates getting pictures taken of himself when he is shopping for
Kitty Litter. Hopefully this "Circle" is "Closed" for good some day soon. Eisenwald Records. Hmm. That is a label to avoid it seems!

Kvelertak "s/t"
Nice pen and ink drawing on the front. A couple hot chicks nuzzling up with some owl. No boobs though. How artistic and sophisticated! Truth be told though,
this is some good artistry. Reminds me of the art on that one Soilent green album that came out way back in 2000 or so. Anyways...sounds like a
faster "At the gates" mixed with some Scandanavian Hardcore and Black Metal influences. Mid tempo, blast beats, whatever the members decide they wanna lean
towards genre-wise. Problem is, I don't really hear a band jamming here. I hear a bunch of people trying to immitate this and that in order to please the
record label. And if it's not to please a record label, then they need to go back into the rehearsal room and find a sound because this just sounds like
puzzle peices thrown together into one BLAH album. Indie/The End

The Living Fields "Running out of Daylight"
Extremely half assed doomy/folky stuff. It's almost good at times, but then sucks enough to keep it below the "break even" point.
Candlelight Records.

White Arms of Athena "Astrodrama"
What kind of stupid band name is that? What kind of shitty mall core Death Metal is this?
Are singers SILL trying to sound like Phil Anselmo? Why? How can such technical/brutal music sound
so devid of heaviness and talent? I guess it needs to be heard to be believed. Prosthetic Records.

Friday, July 1, 2011

CD Reviews 7/1/11

Animals as Leaders (s/t)
The names Joe Satriani, Marty Freidman, and Tony Mcalpine come to mind here. Only it's the year 2011 and it ain't any of those guys. Nuff said.

Black September "The Forbidden gates Beyond"
COld, fast, noisy Blacky Deathy stuff. Non descript, boring, with moments of melodic interestingness ala Sweden.
Shitty monotonous vocals.

Bloodfreak "Mind Scraper"
Wow, what in sam hill is this? Sounds like an early 80s b horror movie soundtrack. Actually, I think these are b-movie samples. Just one after the other.
Samples, samples, and more samples. Cheap creepy keyboards, cheap drum they are talking about Metal. I dunno where this is going, but
I guess it will actually become Metal at some point. Ah, yes. Brutal grindcore has arrived. Wow, sounds like a 10' x 10' room crammed with 20' x 20'
worth of carcasses crammed in. I'm seeing bodies. Blood. Carnage everywhere. Jesus, I think the band is just struggling to be heard through all the corpses
being slaughtered. Shit, if you want blood you got it! Reminds me of the sound that hallway in the Shining must make when that elevator opens and all the
blood pours out! If you want technical pro production, you DON'T got it!

Book of Black Earth "The Cold Testament"
I remember these guys from a few years back. I know they been honing their brand of American Black Metal meets Hardcore for a while, yet never have
I been that interested. This recording does little to change my mind. Some of the riffs are pretty good, and the sound is fairly good. Vocals are
just very boring and uninspired sounding. I mean, he's yelling and all that - but it's really no better than 30,000 other bands out there. Nothing stands out.
The strong suit here is the riffs and guitar noodles. They seem to have a rule against solos. I guess that is the punk/hardcore pride in there. Whatever
that means, since Metallica has even done this in recent years. I admit, I'm not sure what these guys are going for. I'm sure they would say "we play whatever
we feel like" and I am sure that is the truth. Unfortunately, what they feel like playing is not that interesting. But fans of more noisy/trippy/artsy
stuff might dig it. Prosthetic Records.

Burnsred (s/t)
Self released full length. This CD kind of came out of the blue, with its' nice
professional digipak and clean production. I guess these dudes reside in San Francisco
but this is the first I heard of em. Anyhow, the MUSIC....
Sludge and Doom are the first words that come to mind. Pretty slow, heavy, and dark. Very
Eyehategodish in the vocal department. Musically, like a cross between Burning Witch, Asunder, Eyehategod, and
Neurosis. But just a bit more subdued than all of those bands. Production is clean like I said, and underscores the somewhat
technical side of the band. At times they break into these mellow groove jams which are a nice contrast
to the heavier parts. But in the end, it sounds kind of like a sober band attempting to sound like they
are on drugs. That can be a good thing sometimes and I'm not saying it's bad here. This CD is pretty good
actually, and I am sure this would go over well live. Not blown away, however, upon first listen.
Mainly because there is just not much that stands out here. Everything positive I can say about it has been
done better many times. My main criticism would be that it doesn't go as far as it should on any of the levels
that it flirts with. Except maybe the vocals. But then again, they are way Eyehategodish as I said.
Recomended to those who just can't get enough of the sludge-doom and want something with a touch more musicality
and dynamics within the songwriting. Link:

Cadaver guts (4 way split)
I think these bands are all from the Northwest, and it was released by Dark Forest Productions. No other info is provided.
THE DEAD have 6 songs here - which are...let's see...fucked. Total gore lyrics, wierd as horror movie sorta samples. The
guitars are very buzzsaw in the Swedish/Nordic sort of way and the parts have a Black Metal sort of quality. Yet the overall sound
is dirty in the gore death sort of way. Nice high/low vocal interplay. Basically, this is a mixture of American and Swedish Death
Metal - with a touch of Nordic Black Metal. It leans in whichever direction it feels like at any given time. But always soaked
in a filthy slime. REEKER continues the theme of b-splatter movies. Unfortunately, the CD has started to stutter. I guess
there was a problem at the replication plant? Anyhow - once the samples are over, what we have left over is along the lines
of Exhumed and Nunslaughter. rack 7 - 9 appear to be the only fucked up tracks here. So that leaves 2 listenable ones. One of which
is a Repulsion cover. Now we have RAW SEWAgE with 5 tracks of rediculous horror Thrash. The music is actually pretty good dirty
gore Thrash with a Death Metal smell to it. Singer just ruins it though - with his teenager hardcore voice. While I like the idea of
Thrash Horror Death - it just doesn't sound as good as I thought it would here. When the dude with the lower voice sings it suddenly
turns into killer gore Death Metal in the veign of Exhumed and Nunslaughter. Did I just say that? Finally, we come to MEATHOLE INFECTION.
I think the band name covers the lyrical theme already. Musically, this is easily the heaviest and most Swedish sounding on this comp.
Nice filthy guitars which harken back to the heaviest of old school Swedish Death. Specifically, grave, Dismember, and maybe throw some
Boltthrower in there. Although I can't say it quite matches those bands. But they are on the right track for sure. Keep it up guys!
Vocals sound like a toad reciting passages from Dante's Inferno.

Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire "Visceral"
Heavy, noisy, extreme fast/slow... singer REALLY wants to convince you how tortured and angry he is. I applaud the attempt, I just see no particular point.
It's not original and it's been done way better. Riffs are inaudable. Can't make out a fucking thing. This sort of sound only works once in a while,
and here it doesn't. At least not for me. Prosthetic Records.

Devastator "Burn the Beast"
This is a local band that just changed their name to Blessed Curse. I guess they finally realized that Devastator was not so original. Unfortunately,
Blessed Curse is not so original either! But whatever - the music is pretty good here and production is a step up from the "Crush and Kill" demo for sure.
Solid Thrash. A good balance between aggression and precision. I can't say it's amazing, but this band has potential. The vocals on "Crush and
Kill" sounded kinda like a teenage Mille Petrozza." On this CD, he sounds like a 21 year old Mille Petrozza. Aside from the non-existent guitar
solo element (unless you count 2nd rate "Pleasure to Kill" knock offs, oblivious to key), this is very solid Thrash and good to bang your head to.
I can't say they come across this good live, but this recording is proof that potential is there. myspace - devastatorblast

Dragged Into Sunlight "Hatred for Mankind"
Very cool cover art. Fucked up hand drawn pic. Song titles like "Boiled Angel" and "Buried with Leeches" do the picture justice for sure.
Music enforces this image fairly well. Manages to be noisy and fucked up without sounding overly clear, artsy. or derivitive. Not my thing, but if
you like FUCKED UP Death Metal with a lot of random noisy shit thrown in, check this out.

The greenery "Spit and Argue"
Heavy and slow with some stupid guy screaming his head off. Prosthetic Records.

Holy grail "Crisis in Utopia"
Wow, so much for my expectations that this was old school NWOBHM style. It sure isn't! Sounds like mainstream emo rock with metal leanings. Avoid!

Horrid "Blackened Deathrash" $7
Old school Death Meal from Los Angeles. And by old school I don't mean they are an old band, I mean that they play late 80s style Nordic Death Metal.
Think Entombed, grave, Tiamat, Unleashed, first Darkthrone....nothing more to say really. Wasn't recorded at SUnlight, but pretty dirty tone just the same.
If you like the old Swedish DM shit, you'll want this. This is a full length and the recording quality is actually quite good. Well worth the money.

Last Chance to Reason "

Neuraxix "Asylon"
I think this drummer's legs are broken, because they are stuck on BDBDBDBDBDBDBBDBDBDDDDDDD! Fast, brutal, and boring. The list of bands that these guys
sound like, but are inferior to, is very long. If you can't get enough brutal/technical Death, this is a good band to pass the time in between Cannibal
Corpse and/or Origin albums.

Trap Them "Darker Handcraft"
Noisy crusty guitars, nice clear drums. Actually, the drums sound too clean. Like a different band recorded them and gave em to Trap Them. Anyhow,
this is on the crusty side of Sweden. Or perhaps it could pass for raw old school Swedish Death Metal with a crusty singer. Nothing to say really, other
than it is amazing how average they are. Nice guitar tone though. The dude just needs to learn how to play the upper 4 strings.

Undivided "Until Death"
Very cleanly produced Hardcore Metal. Sounds good, just a bit too clean. Singer's voice is really monotonous, and not so convincing. I mean he's got
some character - it's just not real original or special in any way. Oh wait, some other dude just started singing. He sounds like he might be shorter
and skinnier? Anyways, back to the first singer...yeah his voice gets old quick. Some nice heavy riffs and good dynamics. Everything about this band
is well executed, it's just that it's clean presentation kinda betrays the message that they are trying to send, which is something like "we are angry
and we are from the streets." I guess if you like 90s Biohazard and want a less heavy, less aggressive version, here ya go.