Wretched's brand of death-stained melodics are something that comes almost like a breath of fresh air from the younger generation of musicians. Before I get on my soapbox I would just like to point out how nice the leads on this album sounds; their crisps, clean tone flow nicely throughout the album while the drums and bass pound away some pretty interesting rhythms in the back. The opener on this album starts out fast, dropping you pretty much in medias res with riffs slicing at your throat as soon as she kicks off. The album has a nice runtime at just over 40 minutes, it only slows down to set the stage for the larger tracks. The interludes on here are also pretty nice, lots of good ideas that seem to end before they're complete but whether or not this is a good or bad thing (intentional or not), it definitely adds a lot to this album and makes it stand out. So if you're looking for a magic combination of Decrepit Birth's 'Polarity' and The Black Dahlia Murder's 'Nocturnal' well...then this might get you gubbins moist.
While thrash may be quite dead (despite revivalist effort) there are bands operating in the genre that still create an interesting new playing field for any other bands soon to follow. Revocation levels the board with their blend of technical guitar and bass playing and upbeat rhythms/riffage. Combining the old trimmings of bands like Megadeth and Slayer with the later work of Voivod, Death, Between The Buried and Me and Aspid this band makes a new beast all of their own device. There are a lot of bands out there trying to reimagine thrash and let's face it, these guys are getting right in ways I could never have imagined. Superb musicianship, radical songwriting and high-flying leads filled with an odd sense of (dare I say) whimsy and hope. Surprisingly catchy song-structure makes this album one hell of a new release. Nice to see a young band tearin' it up.
When it comes to noisy rock music of the stoned out variety, normally I know my deal but surprisingly this band slipped under my radar. Coincidentally I saw the cover of this record somewhere before and I tried to make a mental note to download/buy it somewhere but sadly (as my memory is rather shit these days) about a year later I still couldn't remember. Luckily Steve Brooks (America's Sweetheart of Torche/Floor fame) posted them on his page and my mind went all a twitter with excitement. Upon listening to it for the first time, it had everything I could ever want. Dreamy guitars with fabulously HEAVY low-end and nimble-but-punishing drums. The vocals slide and drip over this big stoner-sundae like 'butters drippin' ovah hot biscuits'. Nothing sounds better to my ears right now. Epic in every sense of the word.
Let me put it into words:
If the magazine 'Heavy Metal' had a soundtrack, this would be it. That's right; the only album ever to really match the awesomeness of monster slayin' babes and hunks behind the controls of a massive starship and maybe even a dragon fighting an eagle or some shit. It's just THAT good.
Imagine if you will, a world where Floor, Melvins, Big Business, Sonic Youth and Black Sabbath were all one and the same.
Leviathan is one of those one-man-bands that manages to crank out interesting and layered music with each release, this one in particular is fantastically stellar right down to the amazingly nimble basslines that dance under the ethereal guitars like witches at the Sabbat. Everything here is done right in ways beyond imagining; the vocals are potent and vicious while the drums keep their pace excellently even in the more haunting passages between blasts, the bass is perfect in the mix and the guitar maintains its lo-fi "chill" while sounding vibrant and lively. Definitely a great release to keep you company during these cold winter months.
Enslaved are back with their Prog-infused Black Sword swinging high over their heads. No holds barred experimentation (albeit not to the level of SOOOME bands we listen to) and some nice vocal dynamics make this album a real trip. With the soothing singing mixed with the blood-curdling growls over a typhoon of riffs backed by blistering drums while flighty guitar leads soar like blackbirds over this sonic battle field. As someone of Norwegian descent, it's refreshing to see a band portraying the wisdom of Odin and his followers as more than "KILL, MAIM, BURN" type shite (not that it's not enjoyable) but this combines all the majesty of the land of its origination. The cold atmosphere mixed with the unspeakable beauty inherent to the snowy wastes and mountain-highs. This record builds on the sound of 'Vertebrae' and brings even more to the table. Once again, this is a band with a lot under their belt and a lot more to add to their trophy case.
Progressive Sumerian Black Metal? You bet your mother's burka it is! This band has been in and around my radar for quite some time and here and there I've dabbled in them with varying results each time but since it is NOTHING BUT BLACK METAL NOVEMBER it's really put me in the prime listening to mood for this type of stuff. With primo guitar tone that combines the mighty Deathified-black thrash attack of later Behemoth with the Saurian-monolithic guitar stylings of Nile. Instruments from the country of inspiration are present throughout, with tablas (and possibly others I'm unaware of) weaving in and out of the music, bringing with them the taste of bloody sand stuck in your teeth as the scarabs tear through your soft, sun-baked skin. If you like monstrous riffs, precision drumming and originality; this band is for you. A must have for any fan of Black Metal or Metal PERIOD. A great release, it's a shame it took me this long to find it.
Not many bands truly encompass the full majesty of the world of the occult. Few successfully conjure images of black monoliths of the three veils; projecting death and its many mysteries into sonic form. Nightbringer successfully accomplishes this without breaking a sweat. They've put out one of the most atmospherically and technically punishing black metal records ever to have emerged from the void. With riffs that cut like cold steel and bass that bubbles and ebbs like hot tar, the instrumentation on this album never seems misguided or underdeveloped. Everything here is perfect and this album deserves much more attention. The hereafter opens its gates as you start to spin it. Open up your ears to the tales of the dead and revel in it.
Did I mention that they're from the good ol' US of A? USBM reigns supreme.
The Orthodox Avant-Garde Black Metalworkers from France are back with yet another slice of beautifully orchestrated grimm darkness. With some of their best (and most appealing) guitar work yet and their always AMAZING drumming and their TOP-NOTCH bass player. This album blasts forth like a never ending pit of serpents striking in unison. Envenomed vocals intoxicate while the guitars drift in and out of your mind, the throbbing bass pushing you onward while the drums pound you deeper and deeper into the cold and unfeeling world that this album puts forward. EASILY their most diverse and compelling release among a catalog of nearly flawless material. If you like Black Metal and don't have/enjoy this, I have no idea why you don't spontaneously combust.
Ofermod brings a lot to the table with this release; relentless Death-infused Black Metal with guitars that rip and tear through any opposition. With Morbid Angel-esque riffing and imagery this band tries to combine the golden age of Death Metal with the silver age of Black Metal; quintessential sounds and ideas from both important eras, combining them into one unstoppable killing machine. The vocals are mixed PERFECTLY on this record, lending their spite and malice to the heavier parts and their haunting croon to the slower parts. While there's not much new here, there's a LOT done right.
Bestial Death Metal in the spirit of Profanatica. Fast as fuck and blasting past you at a little over 30 minutes with 17 tracks. The opener sets you up with some creepy sepulchral atmospherics and then tears into some of the ugliest Black Metal around. Too bad this was released last year because it would've been at the top of the pile this year. There's everything here; killer dynamics, riffs, monstrous vocals and good atmosphere throughout. A rare occurrence indeed in today's Black Metal scene.
Last year Gaza managed to produce one of the noisiest pieces of Mathcore I have EEEEYYYAAAVAAAH heard. On this record they successfully manage to combine the fiery riffage of Mosquito Control-era Isis with the likes of Botch and Khanate. With the howling doom of the opening tracks and the quieter atmospherics of the interludes, this album is an anthem for the people of Utah.
Satanic Rock music that sounds like a mixture of Goblin, Witchcraft and Baroness, this is a force of rockitude that is to be reckoned. Prog sensibility and pop song-structure lend themselves to one of the best releases that I've heard in a while. There's not a whole lot I can use to sum this up other than: FUCKING AWESOME
Fire and Brimstone! Anal Blood and Goat Semen! Hardcore, Thrash, Death Metal. It's all here in the fastest, meanest and angriest thing to come out of Michigan since well....anything. This bulldozer of an album combines the hefty riffs of Mammoth Grinder with the face-peeling speed and precision of Pig Destroyer and Incisor. Absolutely no fucking mercy. This is a no frills album with a bloodstream of piss and vinegar the size of the east Pacific. If you fancy yourself man enough to weather the storm you'll find some of the catchiest heavy music to come out in quite some time. Then again, you're probably too big of a fucking pussy to give it a listen.