Monday, March 27, 2006

Cannibal Corpse

The new CC album, "Kill", is their best in years. Review will soon be posted on Live4Metal. Watch for it!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

New promos received!

New promos from Sapthuran/ Leviathan, Oblomov, Apnea, Celestiial, Squash Bowels, The Ruins Of Beverast, and ... the new Cannibal Corpse album, "Kill"!! Yes!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Misc. Stuff

Scopata Di Morte review has been posted on Live4Metal, so check it out. Been listening to the latest from The Sword. Good, fuzzed out Stoner metal that shamelessly rips off Ozzy-era Black Sabbbath but with considerably better songwriting skill than, say, Orange Goblin. Also received a slew of new promos to review. I'll clue you in on 'em later.

April 23rd is Morbid Angel, Krisiun, and Behemoth at The Key Club in West Hollywood. Also upcoming on May 21st at The Key Club is Cryptopsy (unknown support as of yet). Cryptopsy is unreal live. Flo Mounier is unbelievable.

Monday, March 20, 2006

New reviews posted!

Asma, End- Time Illusion, and Catacombs reviews posted at Live4Metal. Check them out. Also, been listening to Ganzmord's "Monolithic In Stone". Unreal, unholy raw BM with a fantastic ambient edge. Mesmerizing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Just completed reviews.

I've posted two reviews here (Thyrfing and Avulsed) that won't be posted to Live4Metal for various reasons. At any rate, watch for my upcoming reviews on Live4Metal from Asma, End- Time Illusion, Fear Of Eternity, Scopata Di Morte, and Catacombs.

Avulsed- Goresplattered Suicide (Metal Age)

Spain’s atypical gore-laden death metal veterans Avulsed return (in late 2004/ early 2005, so this is a late review) with their fourth full-length, “Goresplattered Suicide”. I describe this band as somewhat atypical of gore metal because, while most of the familiar elements of modern gore metal are present (no samples, though), Avulsed is different in that a great deal of melody similar to latter Carcass and some more traditional heavy metal is liberally applied.

The usual familiar aspects of gore metal are present in “Goresplattered Suicide”: deep gurgled vocals, a chunky guitar sound, and some blastbeat speed. However, Avulsed are at their best when the drums infectiously gallop along to groove-laden riffs that set off a frenzy of neck snapping and head banging. Luckily, Avulsed incorporates this feature into just about every song on the album, and create an enjoyable listen.

Avulsed is also good at applying various elements to the songs. In addition to the blastbeats and the infectious grooves, some very melodic aspects make their way prominently into the songs. Some traditional guitar soloing that would be right at home on “Heartwork”, acoustic guitar (featured during a blastbeat in the 9th track, “Divine Wine”), and even a sitar at one point enter the songs. Most of these elements are largely unexpected from gore metal; however, those of you that are already familiar with Avulsed would not be surprised. After all, this is the band that released the rather strange industrial/ electronica gore album “Cybergore” (a remake of an early album, “Eminence In Putrescence”). Lastly, the last track is a throwaway cover of Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades” that doesn’t add anything to the release.

Worth mentioning is the rather disturbing, yet amusing, cover. Consisting of a ménage a trois ending in murder suicide that is definitely approaching an X rating, I’m reminded of “Desperate Housewives” due to the suburban setting and the spring day depicted outside the window. Who knows what’s going on behind closed doors in suburbia? Also worth mentioning, Avulsed are apparently preparing a new release for 2006.

At any rate, Avulsed distinguish themselves from the gore metal pack with different elements to the songwriting and are worth investigation. Recommended.

Thyrfing- Farsotstider (Candlelight Records USA)

Lately, Viking metal seems to have taken a turn towards a more melodic approach to the genre. Although excellent releases, the latest opuses from Finntroll, Korpiklaani, Asmegin, etc. have digressed far from the original black metal base first laid out by Quorthon with the classic “Blood, Fire, Death”. In addition, the undisputed kings of the genre, Enslaved, have completely gone off on a tangent that no other band has dared to explore.

However, two bands in particular continue to push Viking metal forwards with a rougher approach to the genre. Those bands are Moonsorrow and Thyrfing. Last year, Moonsorrow released their magnum opus, “Verisakeet”, which not only made my top ten list for 2005, but those of many other reviewers, as well, with it’s blistering, soaring epic take on the genre. Now, early in 2006, Sweden’s Thyrfing unleashes “Farsotstider”, their first full-length since the solid “Vansinnesvisor” in 2002 and their sixth overall.

On “Farsotstider”, Thyrfing’s approach is to utilize solid, crunchy traditional riffs backed with powerful production, subtle hints of melody and folk elements, rough vocals, and mid-paced drumming with a few bursts of speed to deliver a lumbering soundscape that hits the listener like a ton of bricks. Never once on this release do images of trolls or bouncing Orc children enter my mind. Instead, like Moonsorrow, we have a serious, no-nonsense approach to the music that works exceptionally well.

While “Verisakeet” grabbed my attention from the first listen, I found that I had to listen to “Farsotstider” a couple of times for the music to sink in. I would say that this is because Thyrfing’s incorporation of the melodic folk elements on “Farsotstider” is usually subtler than on “Verisakeet” (which is already muted compared to Finntroll, Asmegin, etc.). Once the music had a chance to work it’s way in to my mind, however, I realized that “Farsotstider” is just as brilliant.

For those of you that may have been turned off by some of Viking metal’s more melodic approach of late, you will be tempted back to the genre by Thyrfing’s “Farsotstider”. Highly recommended.

Top 10 of 2005

The fact of the matter is that this year’s list is exceptionally difficult to compile. This was a banner year for the extreme end of the metal spectrum where my personal tastes lie. It was, and is, difficult to listen to all of the releases this year, let alone winnow the list down to ten for the absolute best. A lot of big names released albums this year, with very few of those releases being less than stellar. Those big names tend to push the lesser-known acts into the background. That’s a shame because some rather unknown acts released some gems.

1) Nile- Annihilation Of The Wicked (Relapse)
Nile trims away some of the fat and beefs up the production to produce a monster of brutal, technical death metal.

2) Bolt Thrower- Those Once Loyal (Metal Blade)
Bolt Thrower roars back with their best album in years.

3) Akercocke- Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (Earache)
Mesmerizing black metal with the progressive touch ramped up.

4) Twilight- Twilight (Southern Lord)
USBM super group that lives up to the hype.

5) Cephalic Carnage- Anomalies (Relapse)
The art of grindcore perfected.

6) Corrosion Of Conformity- In The Arms Of God (Sanctuary)
Thick Southern sludge. COC’s best album in years.

7) Opeth- Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner)
Opeth’s masterpiece.

8) Moonsorrow- Verisakeet (Spinefarm)
Viking metal at it’s finest.

9) Immolation- Harnessing Ruin (Olympic)
The experimentation from “Unholy Cult” is perfected
10) Cryptopsy- Once Was Not (Century Media)
Tight, blasting, and firing on all cylinders.

Honorable mentions: Sunn O))) “Black 1”, Nevermore “This Godless Endeavor”, 1349 “Hellfire”, Marduk “Plague Angel”, Sargeist “Disciple Of The Heinous Path”, Vile “The New Age Of Chaos”, Craft “Fuck The Universe”, Deathspell Omega “Kenose”, The Axis Of Perdition “Deleted Scenes From The Transition Hospital”, Khold “Krek”, Taake “…Doedskvad”, Drudkh “The Swan Road”, Nokturnal Mortum “Weltanschauung”, Graveland “Fire Chariot Of Destruction”, Hate Eternal “I, Monarch”, YOB “The Unreal Never Lived” and a lot of others, quite frankly.

Disappointments: Origin “Echoes Of Decimation”, Paths Of Possession “Promises In Blood”, Fear Factory “Transgression”, Meshuggah “Catch 33”.