Search Results for "Album Review"

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.

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He Whose Ox Is Gored – “The Camel, The Lion, The Child”.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 7:40 PM (PST)

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Well, here we are. How do I even start a review for a record this rewarding? How about by demanding you pre-order it HERE. No better compliment?

I am gonna blame Lisa Mungo from Seattle’s He Whose Ox Is Gored for almost single handedly getting me back into proggy/post-rock stuff as well as, incidentally, Stephen Brodsky’s music. I’d written Lisa a few weeks back introducing myself and asking a question and then started listening to HWOIG’s older stuff more thuroughly than I had in the past. Now I am so hooked!

As the band are touring with Mutoid Man and that Bleeder record of theirs also blew me away and has a similar workmanlike chopping drum attack paired with busy but also at times spacious guitars, I soon found myself diving into old Brodsky classics like Cave In’s Jupiter for the first time in years. God, most music really fucking sucks now compared to that stuff, doesn’t it? I mean, I am a super positive guy unless you really piss me off, but woah.

The Camel, The Lion, The Child has a (very) few rougher patches here and there but  they only add to the striving humanity of this future classic. “Oathbreaker” recalls Game of Thrones as filtered through new wave hell metal, at least in my mind. Bells toll and the anticipation building hi hat simmers nerves. The cool time signatures, vox roaring at 3:41 like dub music weaving in and out plus synths equals an amazing listen. Think post-metal sci-fi meets Chicago noise or 90’s rock completely disassembled but with screams ala Botch and occasional pretty vocals, as members alternate. “Omega” (premiered HERE at Cvlt Nation) could teach some of the Between The Buried And Me wanna bes a thing or two about feel, as like Prosthetic trio InAeona or Junius the bigger feelings evoked don’t depend on overplaying. Yawning void is actually a thing on some of these tracks.

For more see BELOW.

Album Review: Dead Letter Circus – “Aesthesis”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 10:42 AM (PST)

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Pre order HERE.

“And I hope that one day I will see you again”. This plaintive lyric opens Dead Letter Circus’s masterful new album Aesthesis. Kim Benzie’s distinct voice is a proud flag the Brisbane band rallies around with colorful and spacious hard rock that wastes absolutely zero time trying to fit into a box of preconceptions.

Life is a varied experience and thank God. I am a huge Max Cavalera fan but was dismayed to read an old quote recently I’d never seen where he called Killswitch Engage “gay”. Even more than the lazy use of that word I was much more bothered by the inference that Killswitch acted “like U2 on stage” as Cavalera said in, I think, like 2008 when Howard Jones was in the band. Perhaps it was bitterness for Sepultura doing an awesome “Bullet The Blue Sky” cover post-Max, but the Brazilian metal greats comments just rang as senseless to me. Every Soulfly record has had guests of different stripes from the very melodic Chino Moreno to Fred Durst! I know Max is a Bob Marley fan. Let’s try and be more open minded again in metal and hard rock.

Look, I like Possessed as much (and maybe more) than many people. That said, who are we trying to prove things too? Ten death metal or throwback thrash fans who only support narrow definitions instead of achievement and risk? With no melodic elements in metal there is no Fear Factory, no Iced Earth, so many good bands. One of my photographers today is shooting Deftones/Incubus for us and I’m thrilled that package tour is luring back some hard rock fans. Ticket sales are down across the board. Forward thinking bands like The Safety Fire are breaking up. Mayhem Fest just fell apart, tragically.

This is not a time for closing doors on each other.

“Yeah dude, but is the record good”? Yes. Dare I say, Hell fuckin’ yes?!

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: BTBAM – “Coma Ecliptic”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 2:32 PM (PST)

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Between The Buried and me are in a great phase right now, already respected
and with several classics under their belt, more plenty of “prove your mettle”
tours under their belts and a reputation up there with the best. BTBAM, with
Coma Ecliptic, step out of the shadow of Parallax and into their most concise
yet still deftly ambitious work ever. Alaska had heart and showed promise and
other moments like The Great Misdirect (a personal favorite) showed BTBAM were
unafraid to reinvent themselves or push at their corners with a flare akin to
Wilco, Mastodon, Candiria, Radiohead- bands with the hunger. Parallax is a
Crack The Skye or Dark Side of the Moon moment in BTBAM’s history, but not
their last hurrah.

“The Coma Machine” is perhaps my fave statement from the group yet as it is
really air tight even though lengthy and full of movement. Perhaps it is the
Scrooge-like theme of a man looking back on memories within each track, but
entire journey is impossible to miss. If you skip a track, like Cynic’s Kindly
Bent To Free Us, you’ll likely be compelled to go back and hear what you
missed. And with good cause, as “Memory Palace” alone is several awesome movements.

More BELOW.

Album Review: Watertank – “Destination Unknown”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM (PST)

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If you want a record that will shock you with amazing audio, bold arrangements and huge, huge, huge guitar riffs very much like the bold melody Torche and Aftertaste-era Helmet had a baby shower in some Quicksand…need I go on? Watertank from France are fucking awesome, the kind of band where if you saw them blow the roof off a small club it would probably change your life. Throw on Destination Unknown and leap into your supressed dreams. “Automatic Reset” hammers into the record triumphantly, up there with some of the best of Failure or Filter and other bands who aren’t afaid of melody but can be unapologetically heavy at times to the surprise of some people who underestimate them, compared to say, death metal.

“Fever” is a barelling post-punk charge, enough room for mosh pit elbows and ass shaking. They kind of remind me of Paw a little bit too or the band Sleeppers. France has been my go to zone for saving myself from insanity for about a decade now when it comes to keeping faith that some countries give a shit about real music. I’ve worked a long time with uber prestigious taste makers and rad folks noisemag.net and they always support real, cool shit like this or KEN mode, bands who have chops, underground grit and working class roots. Watertank or many of the Throatruiner bands of the moment, for example (I know that’s Belgium), could school most American bands who are distracted by the dumbest fucking shit trends. I wanna hear the Life & Times meets Rush-like intro to “Last_Lost Hope” spread out across the heads of a vast crowd. These guys prove indie and post-hardcore or groove and metal can be friends.

“Surrender” reminds us to “Never say never…”, and this band sound like true believers.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/U7KU65sU7xU[/youtube]

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Album Review: Veil Of Maya – “Matriarch”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, July 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM (PST)

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Matriarch is certainly a big statement for Veil Of Maya. New singer. Clean vocals. The amazing guitar-tistry of Mark Okubo. Like most of their records, there are moments of sheer brilliance that make it worth purchasing. Other sections however are kind of aimless or more textural than servicing the “song”. I remember Okubo once saying he didn’t like Jane’s Addiction in an interview, which bummed me out cuz they feature such great guitar skills but also can always deliver a solid song as well. Sometimes less is more.
Then again, with Veil of Maya you have room for many layers or approaches under one band name, parting the veils to keep searching for what it all means.

Without a doubt Veil seem re-energized, though I’d really rather hear them with less compressed sounding production. It’s just a tad too slick and not enough bass, though the guitar tones at times get fuckin’ glorious on the proggier, walky Okubo lines.

Vocals in Veil were always the weakest part. It happens a lot in newer tech or proggy or metalcore bands, vocals secondary to the complexity of arrangements in both depth and scope. Pop culture references abound in some of these bands or names from TV shows. Within The Ruins did a great job on their last record but it wasn’t so blatant. Though serviceable, Matriarch aims to focus on female power symobls and matriarchs in society but they should’ve pointed to Malala instead of, I dunno, fake movie and show characters.
Don’t get me wrong. These guys often really slay at times.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: The Devil Wears Prada – “Space” EP

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7:19 PM (PST)

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I love that The Devil Wears Prada always make me reasses intial impressions on repeat listens, at least since their early days. Prada have subtly tweaked their sound in ways fans have accepted more than, say, Job For A Cowboy with each release. It’s hard to pin how some bands can be succesful at this with fans while others aren’t as embraced.

I like that TDWP “never sounded quite like this” each time, while still retaining trademark elements, dissonance, screaming, some catchy
hooks for the new school emocore kids and weird textures. The Chariot was another band that managed to evolve really distinctively, whereas while the new JFAC proggier direction yielded some cool results, you’d be hard pressed to peg it as the band you knew even an album ago.

Prada meanwhile have been perfecting their approach with each release since Dead Throne. Their themed Zombie EP is a well loved “aww shit” classic to many of their fans, some of their heaviest yet well developed tunes. I like the idea of themed concept EPs a bit more than stringing a story through many albums ala Coheed, for example. I mean, it’s cool to follow a lengthy intertwined tale as in King Diamond’s Them and Conspiracy albums, but then you have the cases of Geoff Tate from Queensryche calling his post-Queensryche band Operation: Mindcrime or Metallica’s “Unforgiven pt. 15″…and that gets to be painfully desperate, grasping at the last straws of a once glorious concept. Prada have decided to put more substance in their albums both long and short, with consistently superior long players and EPs with short little punch to the gut/head concepts that are easy to participate in with enthusiasm for a bit before moving on to the next material.

Full review BELOW.

DVD Review: Black Veil Brides – “Alive And Burning”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 9:50 PM (PST)

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Alive and Burning is everything a Black Veil fan could want in a DVD
experience. Great audio, an extensive booklet and pro footage of BVB ripping
through a lengthy set in November of 2014 at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre. The
band have come a long way since vocalist Andy Biersack used to sleep in his
car. Right from the opener “Heart Of Fire”, you know why Avenged Sevenfold
need to watch their backs. This band right now could blow them off the stage,
and I’m not even an Avenged hater.

The hard working, hard rock tradition loving band that people either love or
hate threaten snobs who just don’t get where these dudes are coming from or
like the aesthetic, but in reality Black Veil are right up there with some of
the best 80’s bands. They are certainly light years better than a plethora of
compressed emo vocal bands all trying to grasp at pubescence with high pitched
vocals while also trying to sound tough and screamo-core or the distended anus
of most deathcore mouth fart vocals and floppy breakdowns these days.

Watching this DVD is exciting, fans are stoked, rock n roll is alive, the band
have sick gear and Andy is using his real, God given voice to kick ass. The
band have on stage fortitude and a killer energy exhange with fans many
numbskulls could learn from if they could stop automatically associating glam
or death rock with Mall metal trends. Personally I love when I see some
younger kid with a Heartogram or a Black Veil T Shirt, because it isn’t fake
music.

Click HERE for more.

EP Review: Castrator – “No Victim”

Posted by Joan on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2:26 PM (PST)

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“Tightly she holds the blade
With which the rapist will be raped .
Castration Of the rapist! Emasculation.”

Talk about a reply to any number of songs from Cannibal Corpse’s discography! Having discovered these ladies last year, right before their demo was released, I was ecstatic to finally hear Castrator‘s 4-track EP released in early May under the Horror Pain Gore Death Productions label. These five ladies hail from all over the map (Sweden, Colombia & Norway to name a few countries), marking this group as both ethnically diverse and fem-tastic! Shrouded in a bit of mystery, the ladies are credited as M.S. (vocals), M. Akesson (rhythm guitar), R. M. (bass), C. Perez (drums) and P. Serrano (lead and vocals). You might already be familiar with many of the ladies from their other bands, which with time, I’m sure you’ll all figure out.

It’s sort of a supergroup in the making. Castrator’s EP has brushed off the dust to reinvigorate traditional death metal, and, in fact, does so with a healthy dose of feminism. And for you males out there who shy away from the f-word – put simply, it’s about leveling the field.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: Nekrogoblikon – “Heavy Meta”

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 12:22 PM (PST)

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“Ok, what the fuck is ‘Goblin Metal’?” I swear, I sat there asking myself this question for about 10 minutes when this first fell into my hands. Just sitting, staring at my phone, wondering what this meant, but drawing blanks. Seriously, I could almost see myself grabbing people and screaming in a gravely voice, similar to Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight movies, and asking “What is it!? What is it!? Tell Me! What is Goblin Metal!?”

If you’re reading this right now and feeling the same way, then stick around. I’m about to answer this question the very best I can. The band NEKROGOBLIKON would be the best (and perhaps only) place to start. They are by far one of the most original bands I’ve ever encountered, so I can’t even begin to compre them to anything else I’ve heard yet. They can best be described as a fun, melodic, comedic, black metal band with some 80s inspired riffs, epic keyboarding, and vocals about goblins, for goblins, and performed by goblins that really resemble creature cards in one of my Magic The Gathering decks.

Read more below.

Album Review: Faith No More – “Sol Invictus”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 5:43 PM (PST)

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Faith No More‘s Sol Invictus in far too easy cliffnotes shorthand would be a slice of The Real Thing with the general brevity of the songs (not the 2x vinyl album duration) of King For A Day, with plenty of unfamiliar yet familiar textures and pratfall avoiding moments of sheer joy and snark from camp “Rock Band” Patton and Co. Hearing Mike Bordin’s straight up, scarce frills yet so spot on percussion parts on the somewhat desert rock and Tomahawk-esque spaghetti western gangsta thriller “Cone Of Shame” is like putting on your favorite old coat that still is cooler than the new styles.

Was it worth the wait? Yes. I’m gonna say absolutely. This is a really great return to alternative nation.

The title track opens things up with the calm self control the band brought to the stage in Brooklyn a few years back opening with fucking “Midnight Cowboy” before just exploding with energy from there. Same digs here. “Sol Invictus” starts on a somber and slow, piano balladry note before we are thrust deep into “Superhero”, the band’s true comeback single. “LEADER OF MEN! GET BACK IN YOUR CAGE!!!” Man, that is the lyric of our times for the bank puppets we answer to who are all really still in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma.

“Superhero” and “Motherfucker” appealed to Real Thing and perhaps Album Of The Year-era fans strongly, both great singles. “Superhero” in particular just has so much of the classic FNM sound no one has ever imitated well. There are even a few “Take This Bottle” worthy moments here (if perhaps no “Midlife Crisis” – Angel Dust will always be their best record to me. It’s just a fucking masterpiece front to back. “Smaller and Smaller”, kids. HIGH water mark dopest song maybe ever, in my book).

I’ve got to say that “Sunny Side Up” is one of the best lyrics Patton has penned in years, continuing the homerun streak he has had with recent songs he’s been a part of like “Stone Letter” or Peeping Tom’s dope ass “Kill The Dj” and the score for The Solitude Of Prime Numbers (which had the coolest, leafy packaging I’ve seen in a long time).

There’s swing, stomp, sass, some PMA, some funk, scat alley cat yeowwls we know and love, beautiful piano parts (sans floppy fish) and plenty of gimpery to go around. Like Soundgarden’s King Animal or the forthcoming Failure disc, it defies critics who think the band are cash grabbing. There isn’t a song as sexy as “Stripsearch”, one of the last pre-break serious gems the band wrote which inspired some friends of mine to start a whole short lived band with the same name years ago…but I was slightly baked and exhausted in the bus station in NYC today listening to the NPR premiere of Sol Invictus in the headphones and just fucking found myself jamming the hell out and drumming in a pink t shirt not giving a fuck if people stared at me. What the hell ever. That’s a good sign.

Then I was looking at the picture of the two friendly cops on the wall by Gate 32 when Patton sang “Aint no grave gonna hold this body down”, and it made me feel something really deep and profound for the fabric of our society so at odds over hate and racism.

I’m not giving it a 4.5 out of comparisons to shittier bands but because it stands on its’ own merits. If that was the case it would have had a five (and probably should since once this site gave a five star rating to The Bunny, The Bear). But yeah, I really wanted someone to bring back the power of weird ass, ambitious rock for the radiation soaked masses. Oh wait, somebody has. Faith No More!!! Goodbye, Motherfucker(s)! You had it coming! #rainbowswillcurveforme 

Album Review: Svetlanas – Naked Horse Rider

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 7:39 AM (PST)

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Svetlanas were just banned in Russia, play punk that is borderline thrash metal and have one of the fiestiest and most confrontational front-women around, Olga. The new record was produced by Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves and Andy Carpenter and is on boutique DIY working class punk label Altercation Records. You should be drooling by now anyway but did I mention it also has arguably the best cover art of the year?

It is not because I am Estonian and we are stereotyped as hating Russians after years of the occupation by the USSR, though my grandpa was sent to Siberia under Stalin and I never met him. No, I am not a hypocrite and can say that American politics is a clusterfuck of hypocrites too, but that doesn’t make what Putin is doing right. Censorship,Pussy Riot’s incarceration, homophobic idiocy and brutal police state tactics undermine anything genuine Putin says, much like no one is fooled when we have inter-continental stare downs over missile base locations and try to act like the USA is the only one moral enough to have nukes. No one should fucking have nukes, unless horrible face rape aliens appear from the sky and we have to defend ourselves. Jesus! Drink some vodka and dance, everyone! All of our countries love vodka.

Anyway, from the no ripcord yanking high speed charge of the hysterical “I Must Break You” which should be in 50 Shades Darker (ahahaha), to the hysterical title of “Crimea River” that deals with the very real and sad topic of the Crimea conflict to “Sacrifice Your Orifice” and “Go Fuck You Self”, there is a lot of real meat here in the satire. I mean, the band fucking pretend to be KGB Agents, which makes it pretty damn funny they’ve been banned from Russia. Pick this up and thank me later. Snarling brilliance, no fucks given. #altercationrecords #svetlanas #KISSarmy #Putinwillbepouting #KGB #thrash #punkrock #thedwarves 

Album Review: Imperial Cult – “Rise Of Yalamber” EP

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 7:38 PM (PST)

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Opening with the sound of struggle and mass humanity, Imperial Cult from India soon shatter eardrums with a snaking yet rabid style of blackened death metal.

Recorded in Pentatonic Studio, Kalkata, the 4 song Rise of Yalamber EP is an engrossing charge into reality and beyond. Great performances from fat drums to twisting and turning guitars and a grim harsh vocal delivery is wed to some innovative arrangements, varied but all gnarly guitar sounds and a high repeat listenability factor.With influences from Behemoth to Daath in their bio, you can tell the band are performing a unique version of what they are going for.

The band paint a dark shadow of trials and the will to move through them on standout track “Pain Of Mortals”, a song which becomes almost opressive amidst additional thrash influences before pushing the listener nearly to the breaking point with blazing drums that then give way to an adept guitar solo over a rugged and unstoppable bridge. The song goes on to charge through subsequent movements with the inevitability of mortality. But some things live on after death and it is clear on this EP that this small band from India are making a bold declaration that they are alive and want to make a mark/tell their stories.

Check the album out HERE.

For more read on BELOW.

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