Monday, February 27, 2012

Risk - Hell's Animals

A record like this is pretty much taylor-made for this blog.  And like so many of my recent posts, the cover art represents it perfectly; dated and nonsensical, but yet so good for what it is.  Just like their contemporaries in Angel Dust, Risk were a bit behind the times stylistically, but were so fucking good, who really cares?  I mean, Metal has progressed so much in the years since this release that any Thrash album sounds antiquated by today's standards.  Risk were comfortable in that middle ground between early Speed/Power Metal of the early 80's and the slightly more agressive Thrash Metal of the mid 80's.  Thing is, this was released in '89, when Thrash was on it's way out and fans were already graduating to the more brutal sounds of Death Metal and Grindcore.  This is where blogs like BlackHandInn come in and bring to light these lost treasures that the previous generation shelved, or the current generation (me) never knew in the first place.  Hell's Animals is very nice Speed/Thrash with a satisfying Progressive lean.  Serious music with not so serious lyrics.  The whole animal theme?  I don't get it.  And I'm pretty sure the cover was by the same guy who did the early Tankard stuff.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Destruction - All Hell Breaks Loose

For years I've suspected there was another good album by Destruction besides the great Sentence of Death and legendary Infernal Overkill.  I think I've finally found it with All Hell Breaks Loose.  This album marked the return of original front man Schmier, but it's still Mike Sifringer's guitar work that makes this work shine.  Mike's riffery is catchy, plentiful and complemented by a properly obese tone.  His timing had also improved since their early "Steamhammer" days; turning otherwise rudimentary palm mutes into neck-breaking grooves.  Sven Vormann's drumming isn't wimpy either; further solidifying those grooves and providing a very "musical" feel.  Schmier has never been known as much of a bassist, but hey, at least you can actually hear the bass throughout the recording (and not just when the other guy's stop playing).  The overall production is good with a very "fat" compression going on, but the treble is way too prominent.  Pretty common in 90's albums I guess.  The cover art maybe revolting, but this is about as good as comeback records get.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Toxik - World Circus

So I've finally gotten around to posting Toxik's debut album and you know, it turns out I actually like it better than Think This.  The vocals and lyrical content work much better with the consistent Thrash pace of World Circus.  On Think This, I felt that the falsetto singing was just too over-the-top and comical sounding to mesh with the dead serious lyrics and sophisticated musical vision.  World Circus showcases the band at a more comfortable level.  In one way, both albums are exactly the same; the riffs are in an unusually high key.  I'm not literate enough in music theory to tell you what keys exactly, but I can tell that most of the playing is done rather high on the fretboard.  There's a suspicious lack of deep chords here.  That, combined with the high voice can kind of be annoying if (like me) you prefer lower, warmer tones.  You're just gonna have to endure it though if you wanna hear the killer riffs and amazing technique Toxik can offer.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ketha - 2nd Sight

Sorry for my lack of updates lately.  To be honest, I've actually been feeling sick the past couple days.  But after a day off work, I feel pretty much back to normal.  Ketha's 2nd Sight (both terrible names, I know) is probably the most original release I've posted here in weeks.  While only loosely qualifying as Death Metal, Ketha seem to bring many other influences to the table, it's just really hard to pin them down.  There are plenty of stop-and-go rhythms that remind me of Math Metal like Meshuggah, but not as slick or chunky.  There are also fast, ultra-dissonant parts that sound very influenced by later-era Gorguts.  You can even find shrieking, delay-soaked solos that you've been missing ever since Morbid Angel decided to all "industrial" on us.  All these influences are then gift-wrapped in an exquisitely warm, clear, and spacious production.  Perfectly done.  Ketha have managed to exhibit their vast influence of styles without losing their individuality.  I'm very impressed.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Desecravity - Implicit Obedience

I first heard of this new deadly release from blogger-bro and fellow fat guy Brett.  As you would expect, the level of musicianship and sonic violence is staggering.  You just don't get any tighter and more technically demanding than this, so much so that it's a bit "show-ey". [start of tangent]  I often wonder to myself where Metal can really go in terms of extremes.  I mean, blast-beats are now so "palatable" that you can see System of a Down play them on SNL.  Ok, so that means "Brutal" Death Metal bands have to up the ante and play gravity blasts.  So now we have bands like Braindrill that just play gravity-blasts throughout their entire album.  Is there any room to get even more brutal than that?  I don't think so.  It's to the point where some of these albums sound like an A-10's mini-gun.  Metal musicians need to realize that being the fastest, slowest, or most guttural doesn't make you good.  Music is supposed to be art, not an arms race.  Don't put out music just because you can, do it because you have significant art that you think would better people's lives. [end of tangent]   Desecravity do a pretty good job of keeping things interesting and brutal at the same time.  Implicit Obedience is a great listen, just don't expect it to change your life (or your view of Death Metal).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ritualization - The Abduction Mass

You know, sometimes, I'm just at a loss for words.  I feel like I've thrown out every adjective and sub-sub-genre reference there is.  This is the predicament I find myself in with Ritualization.  I can say that Ritualization occupy a space within the realm of Angelcorpse, early Morbid Angel, and Sadistic Intent.  The Abduction Mass is early American-style Death Metal with lyrics about Satan, Hell, and Shitting on Jesus.  Would you expect anything less?  I try to only post albums that are unique, but this is just too good to keep a secret


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Violent Ends - Invisos

It's been quite a while since I posted something like this.  Violent Ends (band name of the year) play my favorite style of modern, moshy Powerviolence.  They definitely remind me of Weekend Nachos with their fat, girthy sound.  In fact, the "fat" has been taken one step further with a Swedo-Finnish "muddy buzzsaw" guitar tone (which I always love).  There's just the right balance of moderate chugging parts and fast, stiff blast-beat parts.  This  album is expectedly straightforward and very well done.  I would have preferred a more guttural vocal instead of the typical Hardcore rasp, but that's a pretty minor flaw.  All in all, Invisos hits all the right spots.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amoral - Decrowning

I admit it, part of why I chose this album is just to post the ridiculous cover.  But, besides that, it's really quite good.  It's also the most accessible Death Metal album I've heard since Decapitated's comeback.  I'm reminded of 90's sounding pseudo-Death bands like Fear Factory, Arch Enemy and Shadows Fall (in a good way) in sheer "catchiness".  Sure, some of you may shit on those bands, but they could really play and they all have a couple good albums to their credit.  Anyway, Amoral do a damn fine job of creating tonal Death Metal that's still brutal and technically adept.  I guess we're so used to the harsh dissonance of bands like Ulcerate that we forget there is indeed wiggle room in the genre for something more "listenable".  Those of you with beards and tight jeans will hate this, and I love that!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lurk - Lurk

You know, for such a small country, there seems to be a constant stream of great Metal flowing out of Finland.  Many of my first posts were of Finnish bands, and while I may not hold the country in as high of esteem as Sweden or England, they're not far behind either.  Lurk's debut hasn't been turning many heads as of yet, and that puzzles me.  Maybe that's because it's not quite Death Metal enough for the denim and leather clad, and not Doomy enough for the bearded and dreadlocked.  Personally, I think it's great; and I don't care if it doesn't fit into whatever purist genre standard.  While their sound is a hybrid, I do feel like it leans more towards the Sludge/Doom side as far as riffs and pace go.  But the sparse keyboards and guttural vocals create a sinister atmosphere more akin to Death Metal.  The verbal gargle demonstrated here is of the highest caliber, as if Gorefest and Horn of the Rhino had an ugly baby.  Instrumentally, Lurk occupy a space between Modern Sludge and Atmospheric Doom/Death.  It's a very comfortable place, although a bit confusing from song to song.  But You still get great riffs, scathing vocals and a super dark atmosphere.  Who wouldn't want that?