Friday, September 22, 2017

Kult Mogil - Portentaque

Record Label: Pagan Records

In these digital days, there definitely seems to be confusion as to what an EP is. Many bands these days have EP's that run for well over 30 minutes, which during the heyday of vinyl and cassettes would have been considered an album. But times and definitions have changed over the years. The abbreviation FTW did not mean "For the Win" in the pre-internet age and selfies weren't photographs of yourself. Anyway regardless of how times have changed, Polish death band Kult Mogil have stuck to older definitions and released an EP with three songs on it. The EP is available in digital and CD form plus 12" vinyl (which is to be played at 45rpm).

The first track on the EP, "Alae Magicos" lets you know what Kult Mogil are all about. The song opens slowly with Scooby Doo style vocals over slow guitar playing, which conveys a bleak post-metal dystopian atmosphere. The song then deceives really speeds up with incredibly fast paced drumming but the drummer then slows down. The growled vocals are ever present over the blast-beat drumming and ambient post-metal guitar playing. The marriage between the growls, blast-beats work well. The near spoken part towards the middle of the track conjures up images of chaotic evil from the depths of the pits of hell. The tempo changes in this track lend this track an evil edge when the track slows down then there is a glimmer of hope in the overwhelming grimness of the hellish cacophony. The title track weighs in eight minutes and Kult Mogil take the listener on a wander through slow death doom dirges with short faced paced bursts that should carry a warning for those with heart troubles. The guitar sounds at the end of the song contain a shimmer of hope among the oppressiveness as they again border on ambient post-metal.

This three track EP clocks in at just over 18 and a half minutes. What Kult Mogil have done with their guitar sound combined with the more typical death metal growls edges the band well away from being yet another generic death metal band. Thankfully, they also vary the tempo in all three tracks rather than just putting their feet down and going for all-out speed with blast-beats. The variation in drumming style and speed makes for a more interesting listen as Kult Mogil could not be described as a predictable death metal band. I look forward to hearing more from this band from Poland.


Release Date: 29 September 2017

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Buried Realm - The Ichor Carcinoma

Record Label: Self-release

Heavy metal has long been full of widdly widdly guitar parts where a musician shows off their proficiency at playing the guitar. Buried Realm is essentially a one man project featuring Josh Dummer, who displays his talents playing nearly all the instruments on "The Ichor Carcinoma". The album features guests like Arch Enemy's, Christopher Amott, Brandon Ellis (from Cannabis Corpse and Black Dahlia Murder and Peter Wichers (from Soilwork) plus many more (the guest appearances do make for interesting reading).

The album lulls the listener in with the melodic "Portal", which is a short instrumental track. The albums title track is a punishing beast in more than one way. The guitar wizardry sounds amazing and it's clear that Dummer didn't get his chops down by merely playing Guitar Hero. The vocals to this song begin as death metal grunts and then turn into Danii Filth style shreiks, which are incongruous with the power/progressive Symphony X style of guitar playing. The guitar sound is great but those vocals are like nails on a chalkboard when they're married to a fantastic guitar sound. "Asphyxiation's Lullaby" is much the same story but features some actual singing which matches the music but those grunts and shrieks are also used. The mix of vocal styles completely messes up a track which had so much potential.

"Through Darkened Halls" starts with an electronic opening and also contains that mixture of shrieks and grunts over the banging guitar playing. There's a classical vibe to the guitar in this track, which is also mixed with occasional blastbeats and great soloing coming in and out. Imagine if a "Lord of the Rings" movie was playing with continual loops of Steve Vai's part in "Crossroads" also playing either on the same screen or very nearby and this is the aural equivalent. The vocals sound like a troll and orc chatting.

"Aperion 1 - The Legacy" actually marries the guitar sounds and both clean and shreiked vocals well as the guitar heroics aren't the forefront of the song. They do appear at the end and this gives the song a laid back vibe rather than in your face. "On Serpent Style" is another instrumental track, which features a guitar style that sounds like Satriani on steroids. This track is great. "Aperion II - Global Dreamer" mixes up the shrieked vocals with a melodic chorus, those Symphony X style guitars and some tight mid-tempo drumming. The drumming on the follw-up track, "Unscrupulous" after a slow intro starts out damned fast then slows down and speeds again and so do the guitars. Instrumentally this track is fantastic but again the vocals bring it down a level and it's not because shrieks and grunts are awful rather because they just sound unnecessary on this track.

The bottom line is "The Ichor Carcinoma" should have either featured mainly clean vocals or been wholly instrumental as the vocals are mostly annoying and detract from the technical musicianship. This album would have had a much higher score if it weren't for the incongruity of the death metal vocals with incredibly well played instruments. The non-instrumental tracks don't have much post-review replay value.

Release Date: 29 September 2017


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Profetus - Coronation of the Sun

Record Label: Weird Truth

Although originally released in 2009, Japanese record label, Weird Truth Productions have re-released and remastered the debut album Finnish doom metal band, Profetus. Besides the four track which appeared on the original debut, the remastered version also features the two tracks from the band's demo and a live track. Just below is the track "Winter Solstice"from the band's demo

Profetus play funeral doom. With the exception of the track, "Saturnine Night", which has a running time of 3 minutes and 41 seconds, the songs are mostly lengthy slow plodding doom dirges which last for well over ten minutes. All the tracks convey a depressingly bleak and sorrowful atmosphere that would be envy of many goth bands. The slow doom notes and riffs are sparse. The drumbeats are at an incredibly slow tempo. The vocals are not often used but they are usually a gruff hoarse whisper. The shortest track "Saturnine Night" features a spoken part which lends this track a very dark and menacing underbelly.

The lengths of most of the tracks are the main weakness on this album and also there's a feeling of deja vu in each track following the opening track due to the similarity in sound. However those weaknesses are common in the style of music Profetus play and often considered strengths. As somebody who usually hates bonus tracks on re-releases, I actually feel that the record label, Weird Truth, made a good move in sandwiching the original four album tracks between the two demo tracks. However, I still find the inclusion of a live version of a track that is on the album a questionable move as the track is close to twenty minutes long and while it's well recorded, it's difficult to hear the audience so why not just include another studio track?


Release Date: 27 September 2017

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Arisen From Nothing - Broken EP


Record label: Collective Wave

I know how tough it is to be original these days as there are a tonne of blogspots out there that are fairly similar to this one and, even though we altered it slighty, we stole our blog's name from both a song and a magazine. Seattle band Arisen from Nothing have released an EP shares the same title as a Nine Inch Nails EP however this band sound nothing like Trent Reznor's outfit.

Listening to their "Broken" EP, Arisen From Nothing fit snugly in the heavy metal category and most would place them in the groove metal pigeonhole. Whilst it opens quietly, and then bursts into a melodic guitar sound, vocalist Jessie Bingham starts shouting Lamb of God/Pantera style in the opening track, "Chaos", however he also uses some clean melodic vocals, which give the track a little more of a traditional metal edge. "American Patriot" features the near rap style shouting of some New York hardcore however Bingham is a versatile vocalist and when he pulls out the clean vocals they have a slight early Faith No More (think Mike Patton rather than Chuck Mosley) feel. The song itself moves from stomping hardcore/groove metal style to Middle Eastern rhythms. A melodic synth opens "Better Off Dead" before Arise From Nothing lay down the groove, which transforms the song into a stomping huge metal track with some traditional metal guitar solos and good cop/bad cop vocals. "Falling from Grace" has single written all over it as this track is rock radio-friendly with its fast driving beat, crunching guitar sound, mostly clean vocals and sheer catchiness. The final track greatly contrasts "Falling from Grace" as it has an incredibly fast beat with shouted vocals and a bumblebee guitar sound, which is all reminiscent of later Pantera.

There are also two bonus tracks on this EP, which do nothing to change my feelings about bonus tracks being a waste of time. One is a radio edit of "American Patriot", which has some of the words bleeped out. The other is a clean version of "Chaos", whic,h despite being a little more melodic than the opening track, still features a lot of shouting.

This EP is well-produced and Arisen From Nothing have a huge sound. It'd be great if they did away with the shouting because it's clear that their vocalist can hold a melody so why not utilize this talent more. Although Arise From Nothing probably aren't doing anything that you haven't heard many times before, they do sound like they'd be a fun band to see live.


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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Howling Giant - Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2

Record Label: Self-release

The band's chosen handle, Howling Giant suggests a gargantuan blood-curling beast and their latest EP title, "Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2" and song titles like "The Forest Speaks", "Circle of Druids" and "Earth Wizard", leaves little doubt that these three guys from Nashville, Tennessee are not only music nerds but also sci-fi and fantasy nerds.

From the outset of the EP, Howling Giant let you know they aren't just messing around with sound, the album opener, "Henry Tate" is nearly all instrumental groove as their are haunting spoken parts. Howling Giant let you know through their psychedelic space rock that they're going on a trippy ride and want you to take a seat and strap yourself in alongside them for the journey.
"The Pioneer" begins as a radio-friendly rock tune. The vocals of Tom Polzine are reminiscent of Jon Toogood from Shihad and the first three minute of the song do remind me of that band's recent rockier tracks but Howling Giant take off into more fuzzed out territory than the long-running New Zealand band have dared to.

There's a warning of an onset of ominous doom to come in "Visions", due to some slowed but incredibly heavy Sabbath riffs. While the melodic clean and incredibly accessible vocals are at the forefront of the mix, the music carries a heavy sense of foreboding doom through the heavy fuzzed out riffs until around the five minute mark where the band veer further into space with a more psychedelic stoner sound with wailing guitar. "The Forest Speaks" is an instrumental track with aucoustic guitar, baritone sax and synth. This track will draw the band many comparisons to the progressive sound of Jethro Tull and the space rock of Hawkwind. Comparisons aside, "The Forest Speaks" is a beautiful and relaxing soundscape.

After lulling the listener in, with a tranquil piece, Howling Giant take a medieval twist with "Circle of Druids" and conjure up Black Sabbath era Ozzy vocals with an emphasis on percussion and chants to come together (intentional nod to The Beatles, that you'll get when you listen to the track) and ascend from Avalon. The fuzzed out guitar leads voyage all over the place searching for Excalibur.

Mammoth crushing doom riffs set the tone of "Earth Wizard". This is the type of song that slowly creeps up behind you and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the band lay down breathtakingly heavy riffs.

To merely say that this EP is good would be understating a fact, the six songs on this release are fantastic and all fans of space rock, stoner rock and metal, psychedelic rock should listen to this Howling Giant. The whole album can be streamed and bought for name your price at the band's bandcamp page. You know what to do and if you want greater riff sensation do what the band tell you to on their bandcamp page and play these songs at maximum volume.


Release Date: 25 August 2017

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Friday, September 15, 2017

In Twilight's Enbrace - Vanitas

Arachnophobia Records

Here's some ripping blackened death metal from Poland. On their fourth album, In Twilight's Embrace go straight for the throat with the "The Hell of Mediocrity". The vocals of Cyprian Łakomy are raspy and throaty yet clear with buzzsaw guitars and drumming fighting the good fight against mediocrity. "Fan The Flame" has a marching beat that takes the followers to Hades. The song starts at rock tempo and then goes from a marching beat into blast beats and back again. The raspy audible vocals really lift that track from being yet another blackened death song. There's a Celtic Frost influence on "As Future Evaporates" although In Twilight's Embrace add an evil spoken part towards this track. There's a slow build in "Trembling" before the death metal grunts set in and the plodding guitar and drum combo add a funeral dirge effect. This is the sound of corpses rotting before they descend to the underworld. "Flesh Falls, No Ghost Lifts" rips after a beginning that imitates earth tremors of a zombie rising from a graveyard. The spoken parts lend a spooky edge before In Twilight's Embrace attempt to separate your banging head from your not so banging body. The short instrumental track "The Rift" seems misplaced as it finishes quickly. "The Great Leveller" concludes the album with some blackened death featuring evil raspy grunts and blast-beats aplenty.

In Twilight's Embrace
mix of black metal and death metal is an evil concoction. The only time it didn't work as well as could have was when they used brevity on "The Rift". The lengthier tracks with their build-ups and slow downs work so much better for the band.


Release Date: 22 September 2017

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hazzerd - Misleading Evil

Record Label: World War Now

Just a few years after releasing their "Victimize the Innocent", (which the band themselves have uploaded on Youtube here and bandcamp here),Canadian four piece thrash metal band Hazzerd are back with their debut album, "Misleading Evil".

Hazzerd's full on thrash assault is of the Bay Area variety. The vocals share the spitting razor blades style of Exodus' Steve Souza and at times comparisons to Chuck Billy of Testament could also be made but the Souza stylings are much more prominent. Musically Hazzerd also look towards those bands beginning with the full on assault of "Tendencies of a Madman", which has some tasty guitar leads towards the end of the song. "Absolute Destruction" starts with a little guitar noodling then transforms into destroying thrash with some background gang vocals that can't help but bring "Fabulous Disaster" to mind although the background vocals aren't utilized on the Hazzerd tune to the same extent. In fact, "Absolute Destruction" changes path into an instrumental as the song reaches its conclusion. While the singer still sounds like Steve 'Zetro' Souza on "Execution of the Damned", the all-in parts are more reminiscent of "Practice What You Preach" era Testament. The contrast works in Hazzerd's favour but the complaint here is this track comes to a seemingly abrupt ending.

The album's title track "Misleading Evil" is a seven and a half minute instrumental that soars and thrashes although it really should have been snipped as it drags as much as Metallica's lengthier material. However, here's my major point of contention, it's difficult not to consider that naming the album after an instrumental track was a big mistake. An album title that gets stuck in your head due to a catchy chorus is a much better choice, eg: "Master of Puppets", "Fabulous Disaster", "Practice What You Preach", "Number of the Beast". It's difficult to imagine a world where thrash metal fanatics talk about Metallica's "Orion" album as a classic.

The intro to "The Fallen" is similar to Metallica''s buildups when they were on top of the thrash metal heap. The vocals are still very much in the Exodus mould but they're not a major part of this track, which instead features an abundance of guitar noodling and drum pummeling. "Under the Influence" is no holds barred thrash and it's easy to imagine smiles on both the band's faces and audience members as a moshpit goes crazy just in front of the stage.

The vocals take a slight turn on "Apocalypse Dawn" with the type of high pitched shriek that many a traditional band used to favour but thrashers can relax as thankfully this style isn't stuck with throughout. There's a definite Iron Maiden influence at work here (especially with the finishing "The Trooper" wooohooo vocals) although Hazzerd play much faster than those lazy old farts. Album finisher, "Road to Nowhere" thrashes a a whiplash inducing pace for a while but slows down to a basic rock drumbeat a little after the four minute mark allowing the drummer to catch his breath before the trashing commences again. A Kirk Hammet style guitar solo follows which once again which really means the song is too long and would have worked better if the band had cut the fat and the tune had come to an end around the four or five minute market instead of pushing for Metallica style excess.

As Hazzerd appear to be a young band, it will be interesting to see how they develop their sound as Hazzerd are definitely on top of their game on headbanging tracks like "Under the Influence" and"Absolute Destruction", so the songwriting skill is there. It just needs to be honed further to stand out in the retro-thrash crowd.


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Kult Mogil - Portentaque

Record Label: Pagan Records In these digital days, there definitely seems to be confusion as to what an EP is. Many bands these days h...