Search Results for "Album Review"

Album Review: Pinkish Black – “Bottom of the Morning”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 3:39 PM (PST)

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Pinkish Black‘s Bottom of the Morning is a decidedly low key but brilliant
release from Relapse and the Texas based band. Much more akin to the (current
tour mates) Zombi side of the label than the Suffocation side, PB are an
artful and smart band who create often lengthy but never boring synth based
band with droll vocals which nonetheless have an insistent emotional impact.

The title track is a cool dream that whirls like slowly whipped cream around a
vertiginous yet repetitive refrain, building and taking away in layers
including at times rising to a fuzzed out stomp. Much of the music snakes and
teases this way, somewhat akin to Krautrock or electronic Radiohead but
perhaps not as minimalistic and with more of a cultish (and cultivated) sense of menace.

Maybe if Mark Lanegan was really into Tangerine Dream? I dunno.

The songs are actually deceptive in that they
have a lot more elements than you might at first remember, since a casual pass
is more hypnotic than “woah, go back to that part!” in general. But every song
has numerous rewards from horn sounds to cinematic 70’s art film style
disorienting textural key strokes or almost imperial moments of august and
celestial import. Some of it is even oddly No Wave.

The Fort Worth band are very interesting and anyone who enjoyed the soundtrack
feel of Goblin Rebirth’s record or who likes rock a bit more brainy that still
has a certain moody allure will dig this. It’s like an at times challenging
and hallucination frought semi-grandiose withdrawal from some womb-like Philip
K Dick-esque state sponsored pill of conformity. Challenging but in the end it makes you
wiser and glad you shed the brainwash. The songs take on a landscape of their
own, even when they drift into almost background music at times due to a
lulling nature of some of the more repetitive parts (“Brown Rainbow” has a
particularly hypnotic march) you suddenly are swirled right back into the dead
center of this oddly all seeing eye.

Album Review: Turbid North – “Eyes Alive”.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 9:58 AM (PST)

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Turbid North finally return with the proper follow up to the impactful debut Orogeny and despite taking half the time since the last Tool album, which is still five years and too long for a rising band, it was worth the wait. If anything, Eyes Alive exceeds expectations, since no one was sure if the new three piece version of the band would pack the same punch. A catastrophic solar concept album where people are forced to live underground, the record hits hard and has the power of early Mastodon or Kingdom of Sorrow without being too derivative.

Slaved over tones, cliff shearing/mountain crumbling solos, thrashy sections, bellowed vocals. This one has it all for aggressive sludge metal fans. The riffs have a testosterone infused swinging arms feel without becoming ninjitsu hardcore, more on the King Kong side of things. At 9 tracks, it is nonetheless a full plate. Most of the tunes could be a full workout session in themselves.

Again, he once quartet have become a trio and while it means this record has a slightly less death metal sound, I’m liking the way the drums really cut through more now (see “The Pyramid Drones”). If anything, the leaner sound allows you to really hear the bass growl and textural differences. They sound more than capable of hopping in a van and laying waste to wherever. The band have the hunger in their sound that has perhaps been replaced in a proper Mastodon record by more slick, proggy comfort (to take nothing away from metal’s biggest success story of the last decade or so who deserve their success).

Turbid North remain a very cool band, though the material is most interesting on repeat listens when the band show their influences less. “Destroyer of Worlds” is almost like a grind song with slower Sirius-era Gojira verses before it really becomes interesting and the drums go apeshit while really weird dissonance takes over until the band just sludge the hell out.

“Black Sun Rising” is the most awe inspiring initially, with a Kirk Windstein worthy slow and trippy melodic opening section worth raising lighters or fists too. “The Great Dying” is another standout track, the band allowing themselves to relax and vibe out to a sun baked, stretched out darker desert rock soundtrack that could appeal to C.O.C. , ASG or even Down fans. Not reinventing the wheel here but it’s a rock solid record.

To be released via Turbid North’s newly created label, The Pyramid, a pre-order bundle for Eyes Alive is available via www.TurbidNorth.comthat will include an exclusive album t-shirt with CD or digital album.

Album Review: Born Of Osiris – “Soul Sphere”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 9:57 AM (PST)

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Born Of Osiris have really refined what they do, years of touring and proving naysayers wrong evolving them from an initial The New Reign buzz band heralding the metalcore/prog fusion’s new younger wave alongside cohorts Veil of Maya and early Faceless. Then the stupid fake windmill kick hardcore kids started ripping them apart for expanding their sound on (still my nostalgic favorite) A Higher Place.

Since then they have gotten better at their core sound but have also grown. With a few well regarded records under their belts, the band return with perhaps their most ambitious record yet Soul Sphere. This is a big statement from the band and in my opinion nails it where Veil maybe lost the plot a bit. I wasn’t against the new clean vocals in Veil of Maya, but BOO have continued to set their songs apart whereas Veil’s material other than the vocals is starting to blend together.

“Free Fall” on here is a thrill ride of screams, unexpected instrumental flourishes (is that a fucking djent xylophone, cuz that was awesome!) and the band sounding tight as fuck. Unlike a million bands who are doing fourth wave metal core and blowing goats, BOO have the fierce metal core screams without the fucking painfully predictable arrangements and the band sound pissed for a reason. But they aren’t hiding in having to sound angry for anger’s sake. “Free Fall” has literally got a few sections that will find you nodding your head headbanging or grooving despite any resistance, including the token BOO semi hip hop, cool ride out.

“The Louder The Sound, The More We All Believe” opens like a techno/EDM song, but it is one of the coolest tracks on the record and full of a more hyper conviction.

“Illuminate” is the weakest link where they sound the most like metalcore cliche except for the rad back up kid of epic slave rowing grunts and heave ho sounds in the background that could be roman gladiators on an Ex Deo record. But the song feels forced like it is trying to be the most accessible or metalcore accepted of the batch (redeemed by a killer whiplash part around 1:48, though).

Other highlights include “Goddess Of The Dawn”. Eos has always been a favorite greek goddess of mine. And the BOO song is a beast of gnarly tones, psycho drumming and a few Pantera grooves thrown in before things get super techy.

“The Sleeping And The Dead” kicks critics who say the band can’t write a memorable riff and jump around too much in the nuts with a sick opening riff before the band…jumps around a lot, haha. But the song doesn’t suffer and keeps you invested.

“Warlords” opens things with a mercurial piano line that continues to veer in and out beneath the barrage the band drop in like a bag of bricks on top of it.

“Tidebinder” starts with some crackling samples and then manages set an epic feel so well. Born Of Osiris have always had that ambition from awesome artwork to their writing. I liked The Devil Wears Prada’s Space EP, for example, but it could have benefitted from being a full album. BOO seem to know just how long to make their records while still cramming them full of hot, riffy action. If we were still in an age where a kid had just $15 for a cd and dropped it on this, they would have more than enough music and chant alongs stuck in their head, big synth parts and moshable moments to ensure they devastated their bedroom practicing cool faces for the local show.

XXX

Album Review: Sacred Words EP by Suicide Silence

Posted by longhairedpoet on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 10:43 PM (PST)

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When I first wrote about “Sacred Words” when I reviewed You Can’t Stop Me in July 2014 I knew the track was brutal. So I’m stoked that Suicide Silence released a single for it.

Check out my full review of the EP here.

Album Review: Act Of Defiance – “Birth and the Burial”

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 10:43 AM (PST)

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So, I picked up the ACT OF DEFIANCE debut album Birth And The Burial today. I was a little skeptical at first, since the last time two dudes left MEGADETH and tried something new, David Ellefson and Jimmy DeGrasso gave us F5, which left a lot to be desired. Not to say that the band wasn’t any good, but you would expect more out of ex-MEGADETH guys. A lot more.

ACT OF DEFIANCE, formed by ex-MEGADETH members Shawn Drover (drums) and Chris Broderick (guitars), along with singer Henry Derek (ex-SCAR THE MARTYR) and bassist Matt Bachand (SHADOWS FALL) went down a completely opposite path as the boys in F5. The band is a perfect blend of so many different sun-genres of metal, there’s something for virtually everyone. Very old school, no nonsense, in your face metal, but still very new school at the same time.

Read on BELOW.

Album Review: Cryptopsy – The Book of Suffering (Tome 1)

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 2:34 PM (PST)

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Cryptopsy‘s The Book of Suffering Tome 1 should put the veteran Canadian’s back to the higher tier they deserve in the death metal world. The first in a series of EPs, it completely kicks your ass and exhausts but leaves you panting for more evil. Pre-order HERE.

These days “technical death metal” means precise widdly widdly and oddball arrangements to some rather than complex, relentless attack ala Cannibal or Aeon. I’d put proper Cryptopsy in the latter category, a band at their best when having fun writing arrangements unselfconciously but still pushing themselves to get as crazy as can be. People give them shit for The Unspoken King because it was a deathcore departure, but what’s funny is how few people notice how much the death metal side of Whitechapel’s This Is Exile, for example, sounded like it really wanted to be Cryptopsy at certain points. I don’t think a band should be punished for expanding their style anyway. Sure, a classic sounding doom album like Crypt Sermon’s latest Out Of The Garden nails a certain style and is above the doom pack this year due to killer performances such as “The Master’s Bouquet”, but if everyone always adhered to only certain forms we would have nothing but genre boundaries and no innovation.

So, The Book of Suffering. Definitely on the more classic Cryptopsy sound-side but full of thrills and some twists anyway.

For some reason the title has me thinking of Hermann Hesse’s “genius of suffering” Steppenwolf (a must read for anyone, let alone metal fans, haha). A treatise on spiritual loneliness and the moral shades of embracing the wolf within, the book often mentions Buddha.

“A man who can understand Buddha and has an intuition of the heaven and hell of humanity ought not to live in a world ruled by “common sense” and democracy and bourgeois standards. It is only from cowardice that he lives in it…and refuses to see that the wolf is as often as not the best part of him.”

Read more BELOW.

DVD Review: Rage Against The Machine – “Live At Finsbury Park”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 8:25 PM (PST)

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RATM‘s Live At Finsbury Park is a must have document from the titans of guerilla funk metal.

In late 2009, a successful campaign was launched by English DJ Jon Morter and his wife Tracy to promote an alternative to the omnipresent “X-Factor” winner being the Christmas No. 1 hit in the U.K. singles chart. The track they nominated was RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’s “Killing In The Name”. The band supported the campaign, donated the proceeds from the sales to charity and lead singer Zack de la Rocha promised that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE would perform a free concert in the U.K. to celebrate the achievement. This is that concert.

From a crucial introduction from professor Chuck D of hip hop greats Public Enemy (who have a dope new album out this year Man Plans, God Laughs) to a fired up crowd truly passionate and alive after doing the unthinkable and taking the power back from the gross spectacle the pop charts have become, this was a landmark moment for music with bite breaking through. It should be as essential viewing as The Clash at Shea Stadium or the new Run The Jewels clip (featuring De La Rocha) for their racial violence song “Close Your Eyes (And Count To F–K).

We have missed RATM on wax despite the infrequent but still vital times they have risen up for sporadic live shows. I get that The Battle Of Los Angeles is a damn hard act to follow (and Bleed The Pigs, OTEP and Stray From The Path have done their best to fill the void), but seeing the sea of people surging to “Testify” or being fresh from watching the 2015 Dem Debates on my tv and hearing Clinton get it wrong on medical marijuana or candidates drag feet on Snowden, Wall Street reform and other issues, it’s good to know that somewhere there was once more of a spark of resistance in our alternative music and not just trying to get everyone nude at a festical, all due respect to Miley & The Lips. While maybe that could be revolutionary for Millenials in 2015 eager to pick and choose from the hippy days, but it seems like a good recipe for douche bro/ molly rape to me, the validity of body acceptance themed events notwithstanding.

As De La Rocha raps the familiar words from the great S/T album about the bombtrack starting as a “sketch in my notebook”, you wonder how many people are trying to drop knowledge at a higher level and how many just want to get high.

Finsbury is a great example of the populace being engaged in their own destiny and saying “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me”.

XXX

Album Review: Novelists – “Souvenirs”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 7:38 AM (PST)

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Novelists from Paris are not a tribute band to the works of Sartre or -even better- Boris Vian (who once devoted much of a book to describing a piano that could make specialty cocktails depending on what notes you played). No, the young group are a progressive metalcore band full of attack, djent and busy guitar parts, albeit with some solid melodic parts to set them apart from the bands who only scream over this style. I will go on the record and say it is not my favorite sub genre of metal as I find regionalism tends to go by the wayside and make many of these bands near indistinguishable regardless of country of origin (Exist Immortal, Rise Of Doom, We Came As Romans all kind of sound more or less the same to me despite being good at what they do). Heck, even black metal really has many bands that adhere to form. My bias works in the band’s favor here as Novelists still have a lot to grab ahold of the listener’s ears (even a primarily stoner rock fan like me).

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Queensrÿche – “Condition Human”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 11:11 AM (PST)

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The only way it could be more apparent at this point that losing Geoff Tate
was the best career saving decision Queensryche ever made was if the current
line up performed some Frequency Unknown songs in the set and did a better
job at those as well. Understand that every time I have to write something
like that about Tate-ryche and the fall from grace of one of metal’s once
towering voices, a little part of the kid in me who fell in love with every
track on Empire dies. But the new band have made me believe again, along wth
many others. Geoff Tate is grasping at straws with his distastefully named
Operation: Mindcrime band, a move that cheapens the iconic album’s brand more
than a new Queensryche line up that kicks ass and has a classic sound ever
could.

And I feel for Tate. It’s gotta hurt. But make no mistake…Condition Human is hands down the best Queensryche album in
20+ years, the best since Promised Land by far and the first to finally once
and for all make you say ,“Chris DeGarmo who”?

To be fair, I liked moments of Tribe and even Dedicated To Chaos had a few late Tate great moments where his better character shone through like “Get Started” which sounds a little like Pearl Jam doing a mid tempo Queensryche song but was fun. But the “we don’t suffer fools” lyric from that song and “Time to change the view” line turned out to fit Tate the best.

Read on BELOW.

Album Review: Once Human – “The Life I Remember”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 8:17 AM (PST)

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Logan Madder will always hold a place in the heart of any metal fan who has ever been in the midst of a “Davidian” riff onslaught, but the producer and guitarist is much more than that. Returning to the stage after a decade plus, Madder has re-emerged with a strong new group Once Human.

I’m a fan of some of Madder’s production with especially Gojira and less so with Five Finger Death Punch, if more so because the band annoy me than any fault in the production. Once Human, however, it feels like Madder pulled out all the stops to assert his new group is the bomb. He did a good job. The title track in particular is enough to make any fan of this kind of alt metal/crossover thrash salivate. From the roared vocals of Lauren Hart, which recall Tarrie B at her most unhinged married to some real hooks, a dry and punishing amped up drum attack from secret weapon Dillon Trollope and groove metal power to make the 90’s blush, the band are nonetheless not a throwback. There is plenty of studio wizardry and unexpected textural twists, dives and especially cool spacious elements in the guitars to contrast the heaviest moments.

Pick up a copy HERE.

“Time Of The Disease” is powerful groove metal, ballistic bass, a slick solo and augmented by awesome string and vocal patterns like something from a gothic horror movie before major melodeath kicks in. Hart’s voice has a particular low end to her scream not heard this effectively since Karyn Crisis. “I Am War” is another highlight, a war march intro with cooed vocals that gets more uneasy as the band build the 1:52 track from a dreary military march through a dollhouse nightmare like soldiers and Marilyn Manson-esque circus outcasts had a party.

Read more BELOW.

Review: Corrections House – “Know How To Carry A Whip”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM (PST)

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Corrections House don’t care about your feelings.

“Go back from whence you came and tie your shoes correctly this time”.

When the dust settles from listening to this new record, you won’t know if you have PTSD, are inspired or are a masochist.

Industrial influenced metal and punk has really made something of a tiny yet formidable comeback via acts like the brilliant UK act Hateful Abandon, France’s Crown, the doomy studio project Culted and the U.S.A.’s own vital, machine building, pacifist madman Author & Punisher or my pal Jay Gambit’s Crowhurst.

Even Nergal has been getting into Youth Code and it’s a good time to feel bleak and alive. Circle Of Animals was a cool record and even Ministry has had some solid late career surprises amidst their more speed metal direction, Theologian and Prurient thrill but the genre was mostly wheezing on paint fumes compared to other styles like thrash, death and metalcore which the public has clamored for more recently. That said, this shit is never gonna become standard mall kid fare, ever. Not unless Bladerunner ever really arrives in full.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Slayer – “Repentless”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 8:55 AM (PST)

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I have not really been able to stomach most of the reviews or negative attitudes towards the current incarnation of Slayer since Jeff H. died. Do you really think Hanneman would want us all turning on the band he was in for so many years? I can’t blame Araya for singing “Pissing match of egos” on the thrash-tastic title track of this latest entry into the band’s storied discography. Personally I think people are really easily swayed by band wagons these days and you get a few trolls or bad reviews up and running and suddenly no one thinks for themselves.

“We’re killing ourselves a little more everyday!,” Araya also screams on the title track.

I’ve written for other sights about how I prefer Katy Perry to Taylor Swift any day, but essentially at the end of the day it is about personalities. Pop music is mainly written by three or four people! Wake up! We are part of a still thriving underground and it is weak that Mayhem Fest had low turn out this year just because a more commercial band like A7X wasn’t headlining. But below the surface of the mainstream all we get is a sea of fucking arguing.

While Kerry King’s comments about the Mayhem Fest this year divided some fans, the infighting in the metal scene could also be pointed right back at plenty of more closed minded Slayer fans who will only accept the classic line up. I love the current Slayer and think they did as great a job as humanly possible with Paul and Gary. Really, could anyone be as good replacements for Dave and Jeff as these cats? They’ve been killing it live and both are classic members of the thrash pantheon in their own rights. Paul even arguably played on Slayer’s arguably MOST classic record GOD HATES US ALL since the early days!

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Draconian – “Sovran”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 7:58 AM (PST)

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Along with Paradise Lost’s fantastic The Plague Within, this has been a victorious year for gloom and doom. Sweden’s veteran beauty and the beast doomers Draconian have made a masterful new record Sovran (pre-order HERE!) that has had fans counting down the days. Pleased to report it should exhalt the group to new heights in the scene, a real modern victory. The My Dying Bride and older Katatonia comparisons might still rear up hear and there, but the band are also their own and deserve a look without comparative filters.

“Heavy Lies The Crown” alone as a single would have critics gushing, myself included. Thankfully we have nine songs nearly as glorious and dark, like spilled wine and hopes running through the fingers and down a pale arm as it drops a glass mixed with poison. No song is below the six minute mark, though each is like a movie unto itself yet adding to this whole experience. “The Marriage of Attaris” has a bold poetic monologue intro before the simply soul stirring voice of Heike Langhans. Heike really asserts herself subtly and beautifully on this record and should be more than embraced by longtime fans at this point. Anders Jacobsson retains a growl that sounds truly fierce and lonely yet strong, while the band’s relentless forward marching doom is as natural as wood rotting in the forest or dark growth and shadow reclaiming a scorched Earth.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Soilwork – “The Ride Majestic”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 3:13 PM (PST)

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In Daniel Barenboim’s Music Quickens Time a passage popped out to me this morning:

Another inevitable constraint on free thought is the attempt to facilitate the condition of human existence by constructing a system of belief that renders the act of questioning futile.

Wow. That statement could apply to social conditioning as well as, heck, the entire careers of Soilwork (and definitely In Flames)! A lot of the Swedish bands built their cities on rock n roll only to be turned on by some fans later for expanding their horizons (aka adding more melody or technical/progressive passages).

“Death In General”, the third track on Soilwork’s 10th (!!) studio album The Ride Majestic, is just the latest proof that Soilwork are capable of so much more than just a Steelbath Suicide solution.

Pre-Order HERE.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Ramming Speed – “No Epitaphs”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM (PST)

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East Coast smashers Ramming Speed are one of the more chaotic, thrashy bands
around, like their label mates Exmortus often sounding like one big evil as
fuck party. Ramming Speed have really dogged it out to get to album number
three and have a lot of cred in the crust punk scene as well. They just seem
like an awesome band and can really play a good, rough around the edges more
punky version of thrash.

Full review BELOW.

XXX