Sunday, May 28, 2017

Circle of Ouroboros :"Ruumistahdet"

This project from Finland is back with an album that finds them returning to their black metal roots. The second real song is two minutes long also doesn't have much room to explore a wide range of dynamics. They do manage to squeeze in come eerie guitar melodies and I like the fact you can actually hear the bass on this one. The fourth is darker and angrier with more drive. The vocals stay in a more feral Burzum like place. Even though it's longer than some "Petetty" is more of a droning interlude than a song. The bass playing on this album has really stepped it up. The bass is often more melodic than the guitar. There is a weighty Celtic Frost like stomp to "Odotus" which at almost four minutes is one of the album's longest songs. There are some gloomy guitar melodies that echo from behind the more distorted guitar. The vocals are ore of a snarling rant.

They break the four minute mark again with something that is more in league with Venom. The shadows of their more Cure like side which came out in the past is still there and breathes heavier on their neck with "Kaarme Keirtyy" this is one of the best balances of atmosphere and melody with their grim sound thus far.The beautiful gloom continues on "mieleni on eksynyt".As the album winds on . With 18 songs it is a long and winding road with this one, they come closer to depressive black metal in several places. The vocals begin to feel a little stale I wish there was a little more variance in where they go all me mainly get a coarser version of talking their way through the songs.

"Kylmasta kylmempaaan" sounds like a cross between old Cure and Burzum, with Varg handling the vocals. "Oisia vieraita" finds the guitar more sweeping and atmospheric and the drums calming down into a mellower groove. Once again the vocals find them painted into hole. There is not enough going on like a band along the lines of An Autumn for Crippled Children employs to really justify this to the fullest extent. There is a more straight forward black metal assault to the closing song.As far a back metal albums go in 2017 this is pretty good, even with the more post-punk side phased out I'll give it an 8.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Chambre Froide : "Rouges chapelles"

Normally raw black metal is something that turns me off. However something about what is going on here works for me. Now granted it could be the mood of the first song that caught my attention and the fact I can hear where punk and black metal meet on this song. They are on Fallen Empire so I am more likely to give anything those guys put out a little more of a chance since they have a pretty decent track record with black metal. Sure the production is lo-fi , but they captured the right amount of atmosphere and the dense guitar tones are fuzzed with enough darkness to please me. The second song did not get me at the same place as the first one.In places it was more feral, but overall failed to connect as soildly with me. There are more sweeping sonics in the song that follows. Still they are no Burzum and not as rock n roll as the punk days of Darkthrone.

 There is a more thundering double bass around the blasts that drive "Cicatrices" . The vocals stay in their mid range bark. Not too growled and not screamed either. I guess it's by this point in the album that I begin listening for something aside from them coming straight for the throat all the time and when this album is played on computer speakers rather than headphones it's really horrible. So ear buds are advised. "Les Enfants de Baal" it all begins to become that blur which is the reason I don't really listen to this brand of black metal. The song writing goes out the window and almost everything gets buried behind the crash of blast beaten cymbals. They do slow but the guitar fades into the background and the production that give this charm now becomes a sticking point.

The title track works better for them as things slow down and become more deliberate. They still indulge in savagery it just comes across more thoughtful. If you do like raw black metal and prefer a more lo-fi sound then you might even round this one up to an 8 as chances are that you will also appreciate the punk rock influences that creep through. I am giving it a 7.5 as it got off to a good start , but by the end of the album I was less than blown away by it.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Show of Bedlam : "Transfiguration"

It's always ambitious to open your album with the longest song. I was not expecting the female vocals that start this song off. Very murky and dissonant before they commit to the doom glazed groove. When they return after going back into the abyss for another groove there is a more nu-metal like feel bubbling under things. The fact the lyrics  are overtly personal it taps into that Korn like place where metal bands really got into their daddy issues. For a 12 minute song it's pretty painless so they are doing something right. The second song is not as long , but it also doesn't really lock into something that grabs my ear aside from the "hell is a girl wetting her bed". The title track is more of an interlude with a sample running though it.

"Hall of Mirrors" doesn't introduce anything that we haven't heard in the first few songs. There is a more sludge like lumber to this one than doom, maybe because it's slightly more uptempo. For what it is this song is fine enough. Not blown away but not having an adverse reaction either. There are a few more little interlude blips but the last song is the ten plus minute "Easter Water". It starts off on better footing with more of an ominous feeling.This is much darker than the previous songs so it me waiting to see if the vocals will work with or against the music. They actually breeze in and work with until she has to go into her more dramatic angsty declarations . This one is doomier than the rest but it begins to lose me in it's drone and her angry chanting doesn't help me.

I will round this one down to an 8, as the bratty nu-metal cheer-leading of the vocals when they went unrestrained could be a little much, but they certainly tried . They did capture some great dark moods with genuine anger behind it. Not many bands are still around doing what these guys are doing to that gets them points in my book as they are following their own path like it or not. If you want doom, but with more suburban colors to then check these guys out.   It came out earlier in the month on sentient ruin laboratories .


Goatwhore - "Vengeful Ascension "

By there 7th album most bands would have gotten land locked into a set formula and a sense of staleness would have set in with the same old same old. That is not the case with the new Goatwhore. Sure there is not a wild deviation from their sound, but the song writing is more focused and highlights the band's strength and energy. This might also be one of the band's most melodic albums. It seems like they have more readily embraced their death metal. So in the swirl of hybrid sub-genres that make this band up death metal is the predominant ingredient this go around. The second song "Under the Flesh, Into the Soul" finds more of the blackened thrash like sound that has colored the past two albums. There are some pretty hooky riffs, and it would make you think that my rule of "cool riffs alone , don't make a good song" would hit a band like this hard. This is not the case as a key component to their song writing is having every thing is the perfect place.

The title track is more than likely the album's best song as it is certainly the one I return to the most. One the first verse the vocals which are more spoken than growled are coated in effects to almost create the illusion of singing. I think more death metal bands could take note of how this is done as it really create a wider range of vocal colors. This song still meets the first two in terms of momentum despite being much more melodic. They blast into "Chaos Arcane" but the rapid fire drumming reminds me more of Morbid Angel than anything black metal. This also brings out a more familiar locomotive aggression. This is also one of the band's most well produced albums. They broke away from working with Erik Rutan to have Jarrett Pritchard at the helm, who has also done sound for them. This was a wise move as this seemed to not only find the band entering the studio with a fresh outlook, but has helped open them up to a new range of sounds.

The album also has a dynamic ebb and flow. You go from the more melodic throb of "Where the Sun is Silent" to the faster double bass thrash touch to "Drowned In Grim Rebirth" . Ben's lower growls have a more pronounced death metal resonance to them. The drums also have a very crisp sound to them this time around that you can hear when he really starts flying at the beginning of "Abandon Indoctrination". They are incredibly locked in going into "Mankind Will Have No Mercy" and continue to unleashed razor sharp guitar hooks. "Decayed Omen Reborn" is very deliberate and powerful on death metal. The band's most black metal moment comes in the sonic nature of the guitars on the blasting closer"Those Who Denied Gods' Will" . While Goatwhore doesn't worry about what sub-genre they fit into, and stick to a sound that is them, it's apparent they have rediscovered a sense of adventure with the freshness evident in these songs. I'll round this one up to a 10.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Danzig : "Black Laden Crown"

I am good with Danzig digging deeper into more of a doom sound. I am not ok with how tired his voice sounds on the title track. It's not like this is the 30th night on tour. You are in the god damn studio take a nap then record your vocals. Are you telling me after fifty takes that is as good as it get to for you. His lack power is shocking he adds a little more grit on "Eyes Ripping Fire" , but it sounds like he talking his way through the song and barely singing. If you are just not into the song than don't record it. Some of the guitar lines are pretty decent in a cock rock way, nothing is more ground breaking than anything I haven't already heard on a Monster Magnet album that followed 'Dopes to Infinity". I am not sure I can make it through this one the first thought that hits me by the third. He sounds like he is about to lose his voice on the first line.

I get it that you are 61, but Bowie did way better and 8 years older. If you can't do better then it's time to retire. He tries to get back into his chest voice on "Last Ride" , but it sounds like when he is trying to rally the band loses steam beneath him and he can't catch a break. "Witching Hour" almost starts off decent , then when it should build it totally tanks and you can almost hear him panting for breath in the vocal booth. Who ever this wanker of a guitarist is the solos coming out at every chance is not doing these songs any favors. The guitar tone improves and "But A Nightmare" is coming across as darker and heavier. His voice even begins to sound alright on the first verse, so I am holding my breath for the chorus.

I think with better production, some of these songs might not sound so amateur. His voice sounds alright on "Skulls and Daisies" but the guitar sound is like something you hear a teenager at Guitar Center doing. Where is Rick Rubin when you need him. I would be fine with the guitars sounding like AC/DC again. "Blackness Falls" finds the vocal feeling for better footing, though the song writing itself is a little dialed in. This is a guy whose first four solo albums are pretty stellar, so the bar is high and if David Bowie could do it and we are under the belief that all people are created equal then that means Danzig should be able to as well , if he indeed still cares about his craft and is not just putting out albums as that is what is expected. The album ends with "Pull the Sun". Which is the first decent song on this album and makes it all the more frustrating because if you are capable of doing this then why wasn't it happening the whole album?  I'll round this one down to a 5.5 as it's pretty disappointing.

Danzig - Last Ride [New song from "Black Laden... by kaiserbilly14

Blood Sun Circle : " Distorted Forms"

This band from New York caught me by surprise as they are much darker than what you normally think of when it comes to noise rock. There is a rowdier spastic anger to the second song that finds them falling somewhere in-between the Jesus Lizard and Black Flag. They lock into bouncing chants. I can also hear a darker side that hints at a Nick Cave influence lurking here though not a pronounced as the first song. "the Golden Bones" is more angular to the point of making the song songwriting seem awkward until they transition int more of a groove.The manage to also find the play where they are sonically heavy. The tense pounding of "the Spook" is the first song that doesn't deliver the extent of it's promise. The melodic dissonance of " Eyeless Bliss" works pretty well almost to a Swans like proportion. Here the drone has more pay off in it's explosive release.

"Mercykill" picks up where the previous song left off though there is a more bouncing variation on the droning throb of a riff this song sinks it's teeth into . Unlike Swans these guys keep their drone within the confines of a more standard song time frame. There is less of a jamming experimentation. Some of the riffs have more exotic touches that bring to mind Wovenhand,especially on "Firebath" where the singer actually sings more than just hollering and scowling to varied degrees. "Learn to Love" also has more of the melodic qualities they dabbled with on previous song. The monstrous tone of the bass player continues to ground the more atmospheric jangle of the guitar. The vocals go into more of a chant at one point that sits nicely against the more chilling guitar passages.By the end of the songs the vocals have escalated into more of a howl.

There is a more weighty pound to the darker "Hideous Twin". I don't feel this song hooks me in as much though it could be that the further into the album we get I grow more accustomed to their sound so it becomes less of a novelty and needs more song writing to hold my attention. There is moment in this song where it clicks for me that in some ways these guys are likea heavier version of the Afghan Whigs. The guitar continue to pick out an eerie brooding melody on "Son of the Stars". The vocals are more of a whispered croon. Overall this album is pretty killer I will give it a 9 for now and see how it sits on me. I like the moods it captures and for noise rock doesn't just settle for ripping off the Amp Rep bands.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pig : "Swine & Punishment"

I am going to go ahead a treat this re-mix album as if it a album of new material as for all practical purposes the re-invention of these song makes it as such.The album opens up with the  darker moments of "Viva Evil" that reminds me a little of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.  The bump and grind that KMFDM normally invokes is summoned on " Found in Filth" . Vocally it sits at more of a Iggy Pop place in the verses. "the Diamond Sinners' is a  Tim Skold contribution that has a bit of a gospel slink to it. While the bulk of this album has more of a KMFDM feel to it this song feels more like Marilyn Manson to me. "the Fly upon the Pin" focuses too much on the atmosphere to the point that it comes across more like an dramatically ambient .

The second take on "Viva Evil"is more upbeat. The guitar is more minimal and the song bounces along it's rubbery groove. The gospel element to 'the Diamond Sinners"remains intact though with a odd edm vibe. Then the dance vibe gets off the chain with the Mortiis remix of "viva Evil" which is not as dark as I expected from him, but I guess this is the direction that roll has been headed .  The second pass at "the Fly Upon the Pin" finds the song moved in a darker direction that feels more like a song. I expected there to be a little more groove to the London After Midnight remix of "the Diamond Sinners". The vocals on the chorus sound like something from a Siouxsie song. So it's plenty dark and I am not sure what I am complaining about.

There is something more Revolting Cocks like about the next version of "Found In Filth" with various televangelists sampled. This is one of the album's best re-mixes for sure. "the Diamond Sinners" and "Viva Evil" get the most remixes. I think it would have been more effective if there had only been two of each song. The the fourth version of it , even the coolest sound begin to sound like filler. To this versions defense it does sound like something from the Tron soundtrack. "Drugzilla" comes across more like a rock song in the context of this album though the more dub glitched elements toward the end of the song work well. The tweaker remix of the final installment of "Diamond Sinners" is less than thrilling though it might have had more impact if this wasn't the 5th version. The last swing at "Viva Evil" might be one of the album's best as it reminds me more of his work with KMFDM. The album closes with "Violence" which is more graceful than most of the songs here. The low Rammstein like vocals don't wow me ,but work for what this is. I do like the line "this is the future that you planned" which sums up my thoughts on anything I hear in the news. With albums like these it can be hit or miss though this hits more than it misses I think pulling from a wider range of songs would have played in this album's best interest, but for what it is I'll give it a 7.5