Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adversarial - All Idols Fall Before the Hammer

Can't get enough "new" old-school Death Metal?  I'm feeling the same way.  This one's coming at you all the way from Toronto.  This band actually has a lot in common with  what their (French) Canadian neighbors to the east were doing 15 years ago.  I'm talking about Cryptopsy and Kataklysm.  Like the early albums of their predecessors, Adversarial obviously have some chops, they're just partially muffled by some seriously annoying production value.  The real "mosquito around the face" here is the drums, as that's the loudest, "ringiest" snare I've heard outside of a Slam album.  Actually, other than that, the production isn't half bad.  If you're used to hearing Mutiilation and Blasphemy cassettes, you probably won't even notice.  But I think production is very important, that's why I mention it in almost every post.  The riffs and drumming are pretty damn cool once you train your ears to adjust to these extreme levels.  Basically, if you think it would be cool if "Worm"-era Cryptopsy and Incantation had a baby together, you should give this a try.

awesome cover art (that probably ate into the production budget)

there's no such thing as a "judo chop"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hyaena

Like Juju, Hyaena was written during the golden age of the Banshees.  This album stands out among their other "mid-period" works as being their most ambitious and varied, which is probably due to Robert Smith being in the band at the time.  While I've never been a Cure fan, his presence does seem to add an extra layer to their overall sound.  By this stage, Siouxsie and crew had finally achieved a truly professional production job.  Everything's been rounded out, gone are the sharpness and boominess of their early works, and replaced with soft depth and chime.  The instrumental section has also been expanded; melodies are not restricted to just voice and guitar, you can now add piano, woodwinds, and strings to the list.  "Yeah, that's all well and good, but is the songwriting still there?"  It is, it's just a bit different.  The song structures and melodies are a bit more challenging this time, and the overall feel is more "artsy" and less aggressive. 

This album exeplifies the career "sweet-spot" the band was in.  You see, it's all about balance.  As songwriters, they've just gotten mature enough to write challenging music, but had not been tempted towards the darkside of pop accessibility.  The production had become lush and interesting, without being polished to the point of flat, emotionlessness.  And the Siouxsie's voice was clear, and accurate, without being watered-down and losing her uniqueness.  All of those negative aspects would more or less occur in the coming years of their career.  Enjoy this album, as it's the peak of their creativity.

the only head you could ever bring me, is the head of a preacher man

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lantern - Subterranean Effulgence

More shit that's in line with what I've been bringing you the past few weeks.  Lantern (I admit is a crappy name) are only vaguely Nordic sounding, but strongly old-school.  This 21 minute "EP" is chock full of unique, yet accessible riffs.  I might even hear some Immolation style dissonance.  All instruments are played by a single member (Cruciatus), so as you would expect, the drums are a bit basic, but hey, at least they're real.  The production is actually very decent: there's a good amount of reverb going on, the guitars and vocals sound great, you can even hear the bass, the drums being a little too distant is my only gripe.  This is a great EP overall, and shows tremendous promise.   These two Finnish Metal bros don't try to sound like any particular band, or regional style, they're only concerned with making Death Metal the best way they know how: dark, gritty, and true to the old masters.

low budget, but still very cool

Monday, July 25, 2011

Funebrarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams

Throwback trends in Metal are cute and everything, but usually these new bands are just sad bastardizations of the past.  So rarely do you find a new band that not only sounds authentic, but actually stands toe-to-toe with the old standards.  Funebrarum is such a band.  They're easily confuseable with the legitimately old Finnish band Funebre, but easily better.  Instead of just doing a cop-out by creating an intentionally dated aesthetic and writing low-brow cheesy lyrics, Funebrarum create their authenticity by duplicating the energy, emotion, and tone of those seminal recordings.

Enough of those vague descriptions, I'm sure you wanna know what this actually sounds like.  The Sleep of Morbid Dreams is very much in the early Swedish/Finnish style, with low-tuned guitars and a dark, cavernous production.  The guitars sound particularly great here, pitch-black tone with the perfect balance of fuzz and mudd.  The vocals are about as good as it gets in DM; fat and beastly, and still relatively intelligible.  I wish the drums were a little louder, as there's some fine skin-beating found throughout as well.  The whole band varies the pace regularly too, keeping every song sounding fresh until the end.  If you liked those Amorphis and Murder Squad albums I posted awhile ago, you need to hear this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grave Desecrator - Sign of Doom

Do you like primitive 80's Death Metal like Master, Nunslaughter, or early Bolt Thrower?  Do you prefer Death Metal that has more spikes than braincells?  You'll definitely like this regressive band, if you answered "yes" to the above questions.  If Atheist are the Rush of Death Metal, these guys are the Nasty Savage.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam

Probably the best band from Mordor, and only recently, one of the more controversial Norwegian Black Metal bands.  Although they've had a few album flops, and made plenty of abhorrent personal choices, they're still my favorite "true" Black Metal band.

Despite coming from their most publicized period, and having the "Isaac Mizrahi" of Black Metal on vocals, you can't really fault this album.  It's actually really good.  Frost (1349, Satyricon) did all the drumming here, which I never would have guessed, as the drums are a bit more subdued than he's known for.  Still, they're tight, and work well with the other instruments.  The vocals are good as well, but most of the focus here, as on any Metal album should be, are the riffs.  Epic and memorable, discordant at times, melodic at others, the guitars on this album create a vast and well-rounded landscape.  Great Black Metal should make you feel pain, and this album hurts so good...

why do you hurt me so?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hutt - Sessão Descarrego

Man, sometimes pickin's are slim for new stuff to post.  This time, I had to reach waaay back in my CD collection (yeah, I do CDs, not Vinyl) for this gem that I bought six years ago.  This album reminds me that Brazilians don't just create awesome dance moves, they also make good music.

There's really not much to say about this one, it's just really good Grindcore with a Death Metal lean.  This is the real deal too: no triggers, no processed vocals, and no misogyny to be found.  What you will find are: great riffs, lots of tempo changes, and a hostile attitude.  This is concise brutality, what Grindcore is all about, not trends!

big 'ol booty

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Nachos - Worthless

This year, the Nacho boys have returned and given us a new (very short) LP.  Just like last time, they've made some changes, but still deliver the goods.  This recent album sounds like a compromise between their last two:  you get the speed and fury of Punish and Destroy, plus the generous helpings of mosh from Unforgiveable.  The enormous, "tree-felling" guitar tone that everyone loves is still there, and is a bit more "detailed" thanks to a slightly cleaner production job.  The only thing that's really missing are the "clenched-teeth" vocals that the singer was known for.  This time around, he's opted for a more typical, throaty scream; sounds fine, but not nearly as intimidating.  Still, a stellar release, and proof that Los Nachos remain at the top of the Powerviolence heap.

bob swerski approved

Ofermod - Tiamtu

Boy, I sure have been lazy lately.  That's why it's been three days since the last update instead of the usual two.  Tomorrow, I should be back to normal posting though.

Norway may have Gorgoroth, but if you ask me, Sweden's Black Metal scene trumps Norway's in sheer volume and quality of work.  This album only further proves my point.  Tiamtu is impressively dynamic and mature, far beyond most of their peers, not to mention that it's their debut full-length.  Ofermod seemingly come from the same school as fellow Swedes Ondskapt, with a similar slightly chunky and vaguely progressive style.  One major difference, though, is Ofermod shows a considerable Morbid Angel influence on several tracks.  Beyond that, you have an exceptional slice of Modern Black Metal here.  Take heed...

cantata for my death-hole

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harm's Way - Isolation

If you're like me, you often have to push really hard to motivate yourself to work out.  After a long day of work, you need all the help you can get to manage getting off the couch and exercising (more work).  This squeaky new album is just the remedy for such problem.  You can now look forward to your routine knowing you have the perfect soundtrack for muscle development.  

Harm's Way have been making waves in the hardcore/metalcore scene for a few years now; starting as a vaguely metallic Powerviolence band, and later as a typically "moshy" Metalcore band.  This most recent album continues in that path, but now, I hear a significant Godflesh influence.  There's even one song that uses a drum machine, very odd, but it doesn't suck.  Aside from that, this is pretty straight-forward slow to mid-paced heaviness.  The production here is great too; slick and punchy, reminding me of Dan Swano's work.  Overall, this is just a great album to do strength training to, or to beat people that don't meet your elitist ideology.

 yes, that's the singer, talk about tough-guy cred...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Infestus - Chroniken des Ablebens

I know it's been awhile since I posted any Black Metal, and this one doesn't disappoint.  This German band plays in the finest Nordic tradition.  I definitely hear a strong Dissection influence as well as early Setherial.  There also seems to be a hint of "Anthems"-era Emperor  in the clean sections.  One of the first things you'll notice is the lush production that's properly atmospheric without any of the unecessary harshness (also remiscent of Setherial's Nord).  The sound is quite masterful, especially considering how little-known this band is.  Technically, this isn't a band at all, this is one man playing all the instruments, and he does so superbly.  I honestly would never have guessed, and I usually notice lack of technique right away.  Most full-blown Black Metal bands can't sound half as tight as this guy, and they only need know one instrument each!  While it hasn't changed my life, it's a consistently great album.  I pit this against any recent BM release.  This is the real deal: no drum machines, no right-wing political bullshit, no annoying "clean" singing.  This is Black Metal as it was always meant to be: the ultimate in dark and extreme music.

the 'Germs rarely disappoint

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Undead Creep - The Ever-Burning Torch

Old-school Swedish Death Metal by way of Sicily.  I've been on sort of a primitive Death Metal kick, and this album fits right in with that.  If you're familiar with the style, you know what to expect: buzzing guitars, simple riffs, mid-paced drumming, all with the occasional sprinkling of melody and blast-beats.  The only thing I'm really missing is more bottom-heaviness and just plain loudness in the guitars.  I always liked feeling suffocated under the weight of the guitars of Dismember and Fleshcrawl, and this album lacks that slightly.  Other than that, you have pretty much the perfect Death Metal prototype.  It may not be as memorable as Like an Everflowing Stream or Slaughter of the Soul, but it definitely satisfies.  Pretty cool artwork too.

the great taste that won't fill you up, and never let you down

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Elitist - Fear in a Handful of Dust

What, crusties doing Death Metal?  I know you've heard this before with Sanctum and Stormcrow, but these guys are actually good.  What I mean is that this band actually succeeds in playing Metal, something which is lost with most Crust/Metal or "Stenchcore" hybrids.  This record sounds just like it should, cavernous, dark and muddy; no solos or "technical" anything.  In addition to the Death Metal base of this smelly stew, you'll also hear "epic" Crust influences (ala His Hero is Gone) as well as some Sludge influence (ala Noothgrush).  At it's heart though is early-humanoid barbarism.  Seriously, this is the best band to come out Portland since Sleater-Kinney (just kidding, I'm pretty sure Portland had no good bands until now).  If you like your Death Metal oafish and moderately lethargic like Asphyx, early Incantation, or Witchrist, you should probably stop smoking so much pot... and then listen to this.

near a handful of bust

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kate Bush - Alone At My Piano

I don't normally post bootlegs here, but I'll always make an exception for Kate.  This album is a collection of her early demos from '76, '77, and '80.  The '76 material is the main focus, and most of it is unreleased.  These were home recordings, so the sound is rough, as is her voice at this young age.  Still, her signature tone and expressiveness are there, and some these unreleased songs are pretty sweet.  If only she re-recorded this old material for Directors Cut, instead of her 89-93 stuff...

Dead Language - Dead Language

Since I'm such a man of the people, I'm gonna let you (the fans!) review this album.  *Actual reason* I'm running out of albums that I "know" and that also meet my quality standards (I only post stuff that I would still listen to today).  Here's a brief "un-review" to get you interested:  Dead Language is Powerviolence "supergroup" containing members of Iron Lung, No Comment, and Walls (who?).  The sound is pretty old-school PV with a clearer, modern production.   It's lean, cutting, and noisy, without the guttural vocals and mosh parts of the newer bands.  I guess that sort of was a review, but that doesn't mean you leechers are off the hook!

passing the savings on to you

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cattlepress - Hordes to Abolish the Divine

Proof that New York City has more to offer than just great salsa.  Nope, this some raw, midpaced Sludgecore.  This album is about halfway between Neurosis and Brainoil.  Very droney in parts, mathy in others, and I even detect a hint of Metalcore (hey, it was the 90's).  Pretty difficult to describe, but it'll seem very familiar once you hear it.  That's all I got today, just enjoy this album as it's kind of rare.

link courtesy of sketchy russian download site

Friday, July 1, 2011

Torture Division - Evighetens Darar

You ever notice how "punky" early Swedish Death Metal sounds?  Well, these three handsome men are about to prove that point once again.  Although there are blastbeats to be heard, as well as the typical Swedish "buzzsaw" guitars, I can't help but notice the D-Beat influence.  Ok, so maybe I'm blowing the whole "punky" thing out of proportion, it's still for the most part old-school Swedish Death Metal with a modern production (handled by Dan Swano, by the way).  These aren't some young dickheads trying to be "retro" either, these guys have spent time in the seminal Grave, Entombed, and Vomitory.  They also played in The Project Hate, who nobody really liked.  Lyrically, the approach is also more stripped down and maybe juvenile?  That's ok though, you'd be a fool to listen to Death Metal for the lyrics anyway.  If you like to-the-point Death Metal without any gay stuff like melody or artwork, this is for you.

fast, smooth, handsome rock