Saturday, May 29, 2010

Brief Blasts in Paragraph Form: Part IV

Here’s yet another fast look at more full-lengths (and a demo) that have been sitting in my “to (eventually) review” pile for quite awhile.

Soreption Deterioration of Minds

(Ninetone Records)

Soreption are a blatant rip off of technical wankery bands such as Necrophagist, Gorod, and the like. Like most of the bands in this subgenre of death metal, the music is exceptionally well played in a technical sense with plenty of rapid fire, all over the map riffs, noodling galore, huge bass lines, you name it. Also, like most of the bands playing in this genre, the music completely lacks any emotion, is wholly soulless, and adds absolutely nothing new. If you must insist on finding ways to tide yourself over until Suicmez gets up off his ass and decides to issue another full-length, I suppose that Deterioration of Minds will do.

Soreption MySpace

Nechochwen Azimuths to the Otherworld

(Bindrune Recordings)

Completely switching gears, Nechochwen are a highly progressive, almost folk, band only briefly flirting with ecologically themed black metal in the vein of giants such as Agalloch and Wolves In The Throne Room. Although periodically heavy with rough vocals and even an all out blast or two, Nechochwen’s main focus is upon quiet, acoustic guitar, clean vocals, and spoken word interludes. The result is a very clean version of the aforementioned bands and Nechochwen fit in perfectly with the ecological themes present in most of the music of the Bindrune Recordings’ band roster. The songwriting and musicianship on Azimuths to the Otherworld is exceptional, and this album comes highly recommended for those looking for the quiet, folk/ progressive fringes of mild, ecological black metal.

Nechochwen MySpace

Ares Kingdom Incendiary

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)

Here’s an interesting take on blackened death metal. Ares Kingdom’s second full-length, Incendiary, appears on Nuclear War Now! Productions at about the same time as that Kerasphorus’ monstrous debut EP, but Ares Kingdom take a slightly different spin on blackened death metal. Unlike the balls out approach taken by Kerasphorus, Ares Kingdom slow things down a bit, add some groove, toss in some dirty thrash metal reminiscent of the 80s, and even pay meticulous attention to guitar solos with a melodic, almost NWOBHM-ish, bent. Like Kerasphorus, Ares Kingdom contain grizzled alumni from Order From Chaos, and definitely have an old school approach to their attack. Great cover art from a WWI- era American painting further adds to the cred.

Ares Kingdom MySpace

Embers Wrath

(Self released two-song demo)

Here’s a look at a demo that I should’ve included in the last post. Wrath is a two-song demo from Embers, a five-piece from Oakland playing a mix of black/ doom metal with mild symphonic and melancholic touches. The gritty vibe is similar to that of Chicago’s Black September, but there’s a great deal of variation going on in only two songs. Nominally black metal in the way that Ludicra are described, Embers use piano and violin to foster a melancholy approach, as well as employ a few traditional black metal elements. Check out the second track, “Awakening,” in particular, as a good example of the varied approach. Incidentally, the band’s attention to detailed artwork and calligraphy is outstanding.

Embers MySpace

Wuthering Heights Salt

(Sensory Records)

Here’s something that’s definitely not my thing, but is pretty well done, nonetheless. Denmark’s Wuthering Heights, with whom I’m not familiar prior, play an up-tempo, melodic and progressive form of power metal mixed with folk elements. Before you roll your eyes, though, Wuthering Heights manage to avoid all (almost) of the cheesy clich├ęs usually associated with the power metal genre on Salt. Using the eternal struggle of mariners to overcome the random nature of the sea as a thematic muse on Salt, Wuthering Heights write catchy songs with tempos reminiscent of the speedier pagan bands. Although not my thing, I do appreciate this mature approach to power metal with thoughtful lyrics drawing from Shakespeare (“The Tempest,” I presume), and an album layout worthy of the gritty subject matter.

Wuthering Heights MySpace

OK, this time I'm serious...

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