Reviews July 2008
EMPIRE AURIGA- AURIGA DYING-CD (MORIBUND CULT)
Finally a record that puts all the elements of a band I've been waiting for for over 10 yrs . Empire Auriga is the bastard mix of Blood Axis, Nordvargr, Der Blutharsch and Black metal. The martial elements kick in immediately with the bombastic percussion and spoke word passage that might as well be Michael Moynihan. The industrial sounds and elements are very much in the Nordvargr/MZ412 feelings and the the Blackened Guitars are so in the vein of Azrael, Burzum and Xasthur. I know that Empire Auriga are on a well know label for Black and Death metal but this band is very much neither. Moribund is taking a real chance with this as its more about the Martial Industrial and Noise scenes then anywhere else. It paid off with Azrael so I hope the same does here. The Blackened vocals are total Burzum worship and work so well with the war like over tones of " Auriga Dying" . I also put this in the most positive of manners as I love this band folk but there is a very close kinship with the band Velvet Cacoon. Empire Auriga is a band not to miss as they are far more original then 95% of the crap out there.
NOCTURNAL FEAR- CODE OF VIOLENCE-CD (MORIBUND CULT)
I've read all the bullshit like you that Nocturnal Fear are Racist and Fascist etc. Well we all have to make our minds up one direction or another do you take this at face value and review a CD or say fuck it there racist without listening to music and lyrics and not review the CD well after 2 songs I don't hear anything racist about them there very anti religion and pro war but Jesus so is 90 plus percent of all extreme metal. What Nocturnal Fear sounds most like to is a mix of bands like Sodom, Old Slayer, Kreator and Exodus all in a blender with a lot of Hardcore elements mixed in for good measure. CODE OF VIOLENCE has a bunch of ass kicking thrashing guitar lines and some blistering bass and drum passages. Nocturnal Fear is one hell of a talented metallic force. If you like your Thrash classic , fast and ball out this is one not to miss.
Behexen-My Soul for his Glory-CD (Moribund Cult)
European tried and true atmospheric Black Metal if its done well you can not go wrong and you know what folks Behexen does it very well indeed. I love over verbed vocals and the echoing almost tinny guitar sound with that amazing low end rumble and hi hat , snare and kick drum blast beat. With bands like Behexen you can just feel with every note they live for the music they create and spreading the words of there pain and alienation of there cause is not something the want to to it's something Behexen has to do. If your a fan of the Cold Scandinavian sounds of the 90's Black metal scene then "My Soul for his Glory " is a must listen. If you like your Black metal more melodic and less harsh and dissident then Behexen are clearly not for you and its a damn shame. I love the synths and choirs with the sickened tones and grim qualities as a whole. Another Gem for the Moribund Clan.
Celestial Bloodshed-Cursed Scarred and Forever Possessed-CD (Moribund Cult)
Pure Raw Spitful Anti Christian Black metal from Norway . Remember when that actually meant something and you were actually creeped out by these corpse painted fellows screaming at you about the down fall of your god and how the new dark age was to begin and you would be shown no mercy. Welcome Celestial Bloodshed. This group of pissed off metaller's are here to tell you those days are back once more. There is nothing new or redefining in there music and there shouldn't be . There bringing back the feelings, sights and sounds of the Black metal art form to they way they should always be. I really miss the days I would go through the Redstream, Osmose, Full moon Prod and Misanthropy catalogs to see what band I wanted to buy before MP3 , MySpace and CDR's . You had to take a chance and with Celestial Bloodshed it feels that way again. My horns are raised high and yours will be too on listening to this band of apocalypse !!!
Gigan-The Order of the false eye-CD (Napalm Records)
It made me smile 1st off to see this Napalm promo did not have voiceover's and 2nd that a band from the US has again signed with Napalm records. Gigan are from Tampa Fl and play what I call Prog Death Metal its very technical, very bombastic, ultra guttural vocals and a thick and heavy production. There are a bit of Jazzy elements in the same way bands like Aghora use but Gigan is much more brutal. There are even moments of Voivod like movements. The American Death metal scene is really trying to expand in the last few years and its a very important thought. Having an ex member of Diabolic and Hate Eternal doesnt hurt the creative and talent pool of this band at all. I know Gigan will not be for everyone but those of us that like Death metal with a forward thinking and ultra technical side here's another release to cherish.
Arkona- Ot Serdca K Nebu-CD (Napalm Records)
I think Arkona took me by shock at 1st listen as this Russian Viking metal but with a very heavy leaning on Brutal Death metal guitar and vocals. Then the folk and viking sound come in but at 1st with the art and over all vibe this releases was giving the brutality of it all was a bit much for my mind. I like the female sung vocals, flutes, lutes and folk elements a lot . Arkona remind me a lot Battlelore and Vintersorg. Arkona is strong with the pagan elements . Its by far one of the more interesting Pagan/Folk metal acts around currently . The Slavic sagas are very close to the Finish tales to I can see why there pagan roots would be so strong. The production is very good as well and I'm a sucker for bands in there native tongues so all the more power to Arkona for keeping up the good fight. I hope Napalm get there music to the world. The old ways are what needs to be taught in this age of corruption and ill manners.
Ancestral Legacy - Trapped Within The Words-CD
Do any of you remember Dismal Euphony as this band very much reminds me of them. I use to love Dismal Euphony. Ancestral Legacy have the Symphonic Black metal sound with Male Growls and Clean angelic female vocals. The guitar harmonies and driving bass line with the very capable drumming make this a very professional sounding release. The songs are really catchy in the gothic way at times too. Almost in the Tristania or Within Temptation way. This band can be as lovely as grim all in the same track. I think I'm blown away they don't have any label support have the sent a CD to Napalm, Massacre or Prophecy Production if not its time to do so Ancestral Legacy. As you would be touring the world and I could see you in USA. Enough said. Support this band there Ep is fantastic....
Autumn's Grey Solace- Ablaze-CD (Projekt Records)
The 1st thing that comes to mind from Autumn's Grey Solace is the lush delicate melodies and the wonderfully warm female vocals. I want to call this Progressive Shoegazer music but I don't know if it does it justice in any proper manner. Erin Welton's vocal's remind me a lot of Anneke ( ex Gathering) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses) with a bit of Sarah Mclachlan thrown in for good measure. Erin is very talented to say the least. I really like the Guitar and synth lines that Scott Ferrell seem to ebb and flow through out every track almost effortlessly . There are some light Jazz and R & B feelings that come from time to time. The thick bass lines really shine in certain places. While more about the moody and vibe of it all there are some very textural complexities of Autumn's Grey Solace. The production of this release is huge and fills the headphones in all the ways you want these lazy drifting tones will. There is a dark sexuality to the vocals at time which add another layer to it as a whole. For my 1st review of a Projekt Cd in years this is a big thumbs up.
Lux Interna [a lantern carried in blood and skin]-CD (Projekt Records)
The world of Neo Folk and Apocalyptic Folk over the last 10 yrs has taken on its own world and culture like I never thought it would when I did my As All Die CD for Crowd Control Activites back in 2001. Lux Interna love to have the Epic Acoustic, Kettle Drums and Floor toms strong in the mix with the deep sung male vocals ( think Nick Cave, Tony Wakeford, Current 93) and the lovely female vocals in almost Celtic style. The string arrangement really bring out the sounds of Lux Interna. If you like bands like Blood Axis, Changes, Spiritual Front, Of the Wand and the Moon and of Course Nick Cave then this is crying out to be listened by you. The group sung choruses are fantastic as well. I think this band missed the World Serpent Days as they would have been superstars on that label. There are strong touches of a Gothic past here that are not over played but you can hear them in the Male vocals and the way the violins and cellos are arranged. Another magnificent release in production and scope for Projekt your now two for two in this batch of reviews kudos.
Tearwave-Different Shade of Beauty-CD (Projekt Records)
Maybe its me but a think this band has a major worship of Two 90's indie/ shoegazer band called Lush and Curve. Jennifer's vocals are soaring and powerful but at time are too fragile for the music at hand. There is a strong love of The Cure and Dead Can Dance at times. I really get why there creating here esp with the bombastic echoed percussion and the monsterous verbed and chorused out guitars and that driving bass line. It's I've just heard this all before and to be honest Projekt has a much stronger band in the name of Mira the does this style with a much more diverse palette. The songs sound good and the CD is very well done its just something way to familiar about it all for me to fall in love with it like others have.
Day without Dawn- Understanding consequences-CD (Forgotten Empire)
For this listener / reviewer Day without dawn took a way to untimely demise. They mix some of my favorite elements. Post Hardcore, Post Rock and Hard rock. Day without Dawn if you had to narrow it down would be equal parts Neurosis, Shudder to Think and Sunny Day Real Estate. I love the Clear , Clean Male Sung vocals mixed the very dirgy aggro vocals. The Guitars got from somber picked single notes, to fuzzy out chord back to a very verbed clean sound all in the same song the Bass and Drum are where the real complexity of the music comes in to play with very avant musical movements. I hate using the term but this its Thinking mans rock music and this could be the very reason it didn't catch on the way I would have hoped it too. Several members of this project are now in a band called Biclops something I will very much need to seek out as the talent level here is way to high. I'm shocked someone like Equal Vision, Transition loss or Vagrant didn't sign this band up after there 1st release. If your a fan of the 3 bands above sound this is a must have!!!!.
Ascend- Ample Fire Within-CD (Southern Lord)
I really think Mr Anderson has missed his days playing in Burning Witch and Thors hammer more then he leads on too. As Ascend reminds me of those to projects very much so with a strong love of Melvins and Isis through in for very good measure. This is some doomy ass droning metallic rock sounds going on here my friends. I've never really heard Gentry's other band Iceburn I just know they when from a Hardcore power house to a Jazzy rock project from a lot of reading I've done. Ascend is very very dense and oppressive but in a very killer way. There are some more avant and experimental moments with odd chants, growls and unique soundscapes. I don't think the band is Ascending you anywhere its more like Descending you into total madness. There are some Heavy Post Rock elements in the moments that remind me of Rodan and Kayo Dot more aggressive pieces. I like the fractured Jazz element in movements going on here as well. Ascend is not a one trick pony and another interested and fruitful releases on the growing powerhouse known as Southernlord
Mouth of the Architect - Quietly-CD (Translation Loss)
Massive, Epic, Crushing, Majestic, Awe Inspiring am I getting a mood and feeling across at how fucking great Mouth of the Architect are. Do I need to go even further . Oh let me tell you folks I can go on all day about this band that is everything Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon , Buzzoven, Eyehategod, Grief, Godspeed your black emperor, Mogwai are and more. As they layer so many guitar and bass textures into the heart of these tracks you can feel the struggle from within on each and very riff. The vocals are full of loss and anger in a unfeeling world around them. As Mouth of the Architect struggle to get all the thoughts out they need to it. The harmonics of all the tones going on make you feel hope and sadness, pride and sorrow all at the same time. Band like this like make me want to destroy all in my path and I feel that this is the intended emotion and the men of this group are here to help you release you darker feeling with a crowd so you can go on with your day to day activities. Translation loss has become the Post hardcore label that I thought for sure Neurot would become. Proudly wear the crown you deserve it !!!!
Motorhead- Motorizer-CD (SPV Records)
Jesus People its fucking Motorhead do they really need a review ... Hell YES they do. This is classic Lemmy, Phil and Mickey doing what Motorhead do best. play Bluesy Punkish Metal with killer leads that heavy poping bass and the drums that can be heard 3 states away. Motorhead with now over 30 yrs in the business just get better and better. Its funny to me to think of Mickey Dee as the new kid in Motorhead as he had been in the band for 16 yrs ... Motorizer is there 24th release. If you haven't taken a listen to Motorhead then what the hell is your issues as if your fan of Hardrock, Metal or Just great heavy rock get out from under your rock and support a band that does it as good as any them out there. Lemmy Voice is as strong as ever!!!!. Remember these Immortal words " LEMMY IS GOD!!!!"
ALGHAZANTH Wreath of thevetat-CD (Woodcut)
Sometime a band just hits you at the right time and I have to say ALGHAZANTH is one of those bands. It makes me long for the days 5-7 yrs ago my friend John and I use to run Dragon Flight magazine and Label together and listen to amazing Symphonic Black metal with those grim vocals that work so well. This project reminds me very much of Dimmu Borgir or Old Mans Child in sound and feeling and that is a very good thing. The production is top notch and the orchestration is amazing as well and isn't over done for the atmosphere their trying to create. ALGHAZANTH just created Black metal that moves me . What can I say. If your a fan of Epic flow Black metal with strings and choirs. This is a must listen. Woodcut has one hell of a release here.
SOTAJUMALA Teloitus-CD (Woodcut Record)
Good old blistering Death metal with crushing riffs and harmonies will never go out of style to this reviewer and that is what we have here. This is full on aggression with one hell of a vocalist. Very powerful pipes going on here with that blast machine of a drummer. The bass line are thick and full and drive the sound as a whole, Love the very fluid guitar with a technical touch in the leads but still keeping the skill and brutality needed to be Death Metal. There are very filmesque moments going on with some samples here and there and they really add to the sound and feeling of the music. If your into bands like Strapping Young Lad, Hypocrisy and Incantation then this will impress the soul out of you. SOTAJUMALA are on one mission only and that is to wreck all things in there path with musical extremity and my friend's job well done.
Made out of babies- The Ruiner-CD (The End Records)
The 1st thing that I hear on the new Release now on The End Records . This unit were on the mighty Neurot Recordings for last CD and Spilt CD releases. I hear a strong love for the following bands called Babes in Toyland and Crisis. Both bands in there own rights major powerhouses in the scene . What Made out of babies add into the mix is a lot more as they seem to like Avantgarde guitars, Dissidence and strong element for Punk. There are moments of Neurosis homage too but the very commanding vocals of Julie Christmas are a true stand out here. Made out of babies are one pissed off band. Yet still add a off kilter harmony and melody to it all to make " The Ruiner" all the more compelling to listen to and fall in love with. Made out of babies always have that Lower East Side/ Chicago Noise rock vibe at time if you know bands like Surgery, Helmet, Swans , Cop Shoot Cop, Tar, Shellac, Jesus Lizard etc there are a lot that vibe going on here. Julies vocals are so powerful they from Jarboe, Kris Force, Diamonda Galas, Karyin Crisis and Alanis Morisette even. The End keeps getting stronger bands on roster Sleepytime Gorilla museum, Tub Ring, Unexpect, Ulver . Just wondering were its going lead to as Made out of babies " Ruiner" will be a top 10 release of 2008 for this reviewer.
Skeletonwitch- Beyond The Permafrost-CD (Prosthetic Records)
Holy 1989 my friends this is the thrashiest metal band I've heard in a long time . They long for the days of the Bay area bands Exodus, Testament etc. The one thing that Skeletonwitch does switch up is the vocals are more in that black death style and the guitars at time really want to be black metal but within a moment they are back in the thrashing force and don't look back. I'm not sure retro is really the word for this but in they same way Slough Feg worship Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in crazy almost tribute band ways. This is how Skeletonwitch is with the days of Thrash. So dust off your demin jacket with the sleeves cut off and those patches and iron on's are your going to need it the next time Skeletonwitch comes into town. They will be a blast for all that love this style of music to see live and rock out with. Enough Said...