Wednesday, 5 November 2008

As with any year during Q4, there’s too much to buy. Bloodbath The Fathomless Mastery, Virus The Black Flux, Cynic Traced In Air, Atrox Bionuclear No Coil For Tesla, Portishead Third, Squarpusher Just A Souvenir, and Opeth The Roundhouse Tapes (DVD) are the only items I can think of which I’ve either reserved via pre-order or haven’t bought yet. This isn’t to mention the amount of DVD’s, books, and games to buy. Like many, I’m finding it all too much on the wallet, as well as too much facing time management and priorities. Hopefully throughout that list, I’ll be able to write about some of those releases, (at least within the usual genre) but firstly clearing up thoughts about one of last years albums may make the slate cleaner.

As the titles reads, I’ll get on with it. This was one of my favourites last year, and I believe it is Townsends best record. Although I disagree with most of what Townsend discusses on his forums (partially related to himself constantly addressing younger teenagers. A better example may be the thread last year titled something like “Dev Should Write A Christmas Song” which now this year, hopefully will be titled “Dev Shouldn’t Write A Christmas Song”, showed and laid arrogance on his part, due to his comments after the lyrics were published and the content of the publication. Whatever your reaction, the spotlight is his excuse) his music ‘speaks’ much louder. Ziltoid was loosely an album based on his concept derived from the age of eight allegedly. And although boasting a silly, ‘comedic’ value to the overall creation of the album, the final exorcism is never really received in such a way. This is because the album hosts such memorable characteristics, and boasts incredibley beautiful sparks of many musical ideas, that comedy is difficult to find within. Ziltoid may be partially humorous, but it’s what lies beneath its' veneer which makes it so extraordinary. The thought process into its pacing is quite excellent, as your smiling or on hindsight laughing at its brilliance, but then absolutely absorbed within its rapture of ideas, it makes for a truly fitting entertaining experience. The most important aspect of this album is its mix. It is the atmosphere which also keeps this concept alive. The slight reverberant spaced elements placed onto the audio bus, all work to create Ziltoid The Omniscient, without it, the record wouldn’t have been so memorable (not to mention the clever take on the arpeggio).

His best work to date and I’m very much looking forward to Ki – 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 5:48 pm
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I only picked this up three weeks ago, which to many would seem odd. I’ve been following the Swedish movement onto the scene for many years, and embarrassing myself now would appear rather moronic. However, I’ve owned a tape (which has degraded quite considerably) for centuries that’s had most of the content of this album on it, as well as having a digital copy of the album stored on my hard-drive (a “borrowed” friends disc, for around five years, which sadly departed my way roughly eight weeks ago). Quite a contradiction that I illegally have owned some of the contents of this album for a long time now, but yet continue to argue against piracy, most of the time. Anyhow I felt compelled as a rush of decadence to actually purchase the album, and I do believe it’s the best part of 140SEK I’ve spent.

“Sol Niger Within” expands across twenty nine tracks and is a tremendously clever, intricate, and urgent concept. Combining various elements of tactile abstract jazz, rhythmic workouts, and power-chords, completes a satisfying package. Reiterations aside, “Sol Niger Within” was and still is a tangible milestone for any solo artist or group to reach. By the increasing force of intensity, “Sol Niger Within” is true to its very nature of leaving you within intensified shock, and tranquil standstill. This isn’t entirely fair, or what I believe to be the correct way to divide this concept (if division is entirely precise at all), but it will add to the simplicity of this report, not the wavering confusion. If we label tracks 1 – 9 the first third of this album, then tracks 10 – 17 the second third, and then tracks 17 – 28 the final third, consumption is then a much easier explanation. Commenting on the first third of the album; it feels rich with more fluid jazz and free-formic approaches to the song writing, with much release and perhaps a slight less intensity than any part of the album. The second third is dare I say much more aggressive in it’s execution compared to any other part of this album, with rich and compounding metal riffing combined with a hectic jazz overhaul it’s truly an ambitious and still to this day a working formula. The last third is interesting, with many lyrics that perhaps are meant to be understood by everyone in a Buddhist standstill. To be blunt, I honestly don’t feel it’s worth the effort to try and understand such values completely and therefore don’t feel some sort of ‘spirtual’ connection, as I’m aware various members of the fan base do. The album is riddled with quotes and extremely, (I personally believe far too over-the-top) cryptic lyrics, that unfortunately do not tap into my own tunnel vision of what makes brilliant music, but perhaps it’s shaped and moulded some people reading. And failing to understand the ‘cryptic-ism’ I inevitably still consider the thought that either there was perhaps a language barrier when plotting the lyrics, or simply the lyrics have no meaning and are meant to tie into Brian Eno’s marketing theory of ‘bringing people to the point where they start searching’. However if it all indeed is a marketing facade then I’m sure many core fans would feel apparently disappointed, and resoundingly slightly bitter. Further more at times, the impression of trying far too hard, creates an image which is needlessly fake. I’m in no way shape or form completely sceptical to the brilliance of such a record, but at the same time I have always kept the reaction that the album boasts a needles ‘Pompous to be different’ factor, when instead it should be focused on creating intelligent and great music. Or perhaps I’m getting ridiculous.

None the less, this concept sits comfortably beside achievements such as Meshuggah’s Catch 33, Opeth’s Watershed, and Morbid Angels’ Covenenant. And although not as different or twisted as electro acoustic releases this is a truly an evocative and revolutionary release for growth and maturity within the scene - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 4:34 pm
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Saturday, 11 October 2008

Whilst I've had the chance to ignore this page for numerous weeks (although one could argue chance has had little or nothing to do with a refrain), time and its availability have been subject to intensified management, leaving either huge gaps within my schedule, or obvious claustrophobia. In these spaces however, there have been some interesting developments. Blue Hat Thinking has come under fire more recently regarding the mix, due to its "odd, un-refined, narrow" finish. Although arrogantly enough, I've had the chance to whimper “An uncut diamond is still a diamond!" which in all honesty, is far too bold considering the mix isn't a work of art. A new track (Kikakata!) is of completion, which will be featured on Shredguy Records, Volume 2 compilation album, known as "Shredding Around The World Volume 2". You can listen to the track via myspace, or here, using the widget.

Five reasons why Q4 this year has been subject to an adrenaline increase:
• Bands' final master looms large.
• Opeth - 18th Nov - Vicar Street, Dublin.
• Murcof - 22nd Nov - SARC, Belfast.
• Cynic - Traced in Air.
• GoW2.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:31 pm
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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I've actually only very recently picked this one up, and that's due to... well, I'm not sure, honestly. A swift dose of marketing espionage? Living within Northern Ireland does have many a constraint artistically! I often take a trip to my local record store reprising "What is it we don't have today?” However, like everyone else, I am a fixed heavy user of the internet, and such excuses cannot merit. Rather than questioning my alter ego for a more three dimensional response, I'll loosely utter the weakened schooled phrase of "I'm not sure, honestly".

Deicide are one of the more consistent acts I often listen to, for perpetuated death metal. However upon the much more recent chronology of Deicide - in particular The Stench of Redemption - we had a much more formidable, intricate and complex Deicide. Full of ideas of differentiating mood, a completely unusual guitar lead style suited with Deicide, increased technicality, polished tonality, blistering drum takes and a restablished symphony of urgency. I profoundly enjoyed The Stench of Redemption as did the majority of the metal communities. I'm also quite enjoying their latest offering "Till Death Do Us Part".

I believe the penny has somewhat elusively dropped from the release, gratification, and performance on The Stench of Redemption, because without the iota of bias, and general fan-unity, Till Death Do Us Part, is nothing but mere, more of the same from The Stench of Redemption. You may believe that I'm continuing downward a spiral of criticism but in fact, what's honestly wrong with the continuation of an archaic of an almost perfected album? Holding for my breath upon placing this one into the CD player, Till Death Do Us Part begins, with a sombre, dark, and uncanny introduction. It's an incredible maze riddled with melodism, and emphasised mood. Moving onto the actual track Till Death Do Us Part, it's brilliance is actually not within it's blistering pace, as thankfully we're learning that the modern Deicide has established so much more than the credits of soaring technicality. Till Death Do Us Part has many a portion of depth within it. Furthermore a reflection perhaps on what now the band are exploring on personal levels musically. Till Death Do Us Part cascades in decibels of the horror and darkness that Deicide are now practicing with even deeper meaning, it's horrific chorus, plaintive verses and exhilarating lead guitar work sets this song to be one of the highlights of the album. However the fumes do increase as the album progresses. "Hate of All Hatreds", and "In the Eyes of God", are both typified Deicide blisters that we've grown, upon listening to The Stench of Redemption. "Worthless Misery" is quite competently, a mixed bag. And is certainly one of my personal favourites throughout this release. It contains such a nefarious and wondrous guitar harmony assisting on the bridges and interludes of the track before Deicide continue with the demonic armoured legion throughout the verses and choruses. "Severed Ties" reminded myself of older, past efforts - notably the stuff on "Once Upon The Cross"(The constant grind, and march-like source of the track) "Not As Long As We Both Shall Live", contains mass gear shifts, and beautifully poised guitar octaves that you'll only either feel waves of tiresome or exhilaration throughout listening. Angel of Agony I've noted for its "brutality, and ingenious, demonic, melodic outro". We hear a cunning repeating theme present throughout this track, which is transparently uttered throughout the outro of the tracks insensitivity. Another gem "Horror in the Halls of Stone", is best described as Deicides’ now newly found majestic destructive nature. As intense as you could imagine, Deicide leave you simply in diluted claustrophobic reverence. The beauty of the chord movements as we move onto the "The End of the Beginning" is truly a fitting end to this mammoth that only Deicide can create, today.

The production values of this album are also soaring with a terribly healthy master, with every frequency polished. This band is still on dangerously excellent form, with each band member performing excellently on this release.

Another gem from Deicide, it's triumphantly almost a masterpiece (who knows, many may argue it is) 4/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 4:26 pm
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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

No, it's not a progenitor of SYL. And it's true, just because the trio consists of SYL members along with Townsend handling mixing and production duties, doesn't automatically point fingers at a smug comeback under a different heading. Zimmers Hole is known for its parodies of the genre, and combining them with semi-death metal, thrash and power elements (the power aspect is a subject of debate), and on that topic, it's all here, as you would expect. This album is actually somewhat masterful, authentic, and generally kicks ass.

It begins, carries and stops with usual SYL elements, so what's there to complain about immediately? Sure, the supposed comedic value of the album does not appeal to myself; (actually it's really not funny. If you read on iTunes supposedly this release is littered in satire; trust me, it's just not) but the album is packed complete of excellent musical features which exceeds the wasted silliness, and I believe that the records' most vocal points - regardless of my personal opinion on it's stance on metallic comedic value - are its musical content. The record is also paced excellently, but again, I wouldn't have expected anything less from the SYL members, and this is were I will differ with "Rock Reviews". It claims this album stands apart from the "plain bread-and-butter releases that crowd the market these days", but rather I believe that's where it certainly belongs. What's the record really deviating from? Not being funny? That’s almost certain. I'm also not attempting to criticise this record on the subject, because I really liked this one. If anything, to say that this record is doing a great deal different within the genre, is a clear misinterpretation or an impulse thought of giving it decent critical acclaim. To myself, this record appears to be more of a solidified metal record, combining typified SYL elements like song writing, song structure and perhaps even production. And here's the cleverest part that should end my, almost, contradiction of what I mentioned at the beginning; it won't remind you of a single SYL record. Of course, you're hearing the same group play, but it's ambiguity with similarity is incredible and this is another huge debt to the group, of what they're attempting to achieve.

ZH, you definitely don't rule the land, but you've certainly been ruling it for thirty days - 4/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:29 pm
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Monday, 14 July 2008

Celtic Frost's comeback stroked climacteric perfection with the release of Monotheist, and was my favourite of 2006. It is beautifully paced, poised, challenging, excellent, and meritoriously unconventional. The release being unconventional, I believe is one following its stylistic movement within the genre, and on the topic it's difficult to really home onto placing it within a simplified genre or six. A modern doom feature, perhaps? Or more avant-garde modern gothic doom may be a further suitable generic standpoint.

"Progeny" contains more obvious, (typical blackened thrash metal) CF qualities we've heard throughout the years, and as we change gears, and carry onto "Ground", we're introduced into an album riddled with degree-less atmosphere, and motionless characteristics which follow suit. There's a delicacy, and sheer brute within "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh". It's characterised by the teeth (and fist)-clenching grind its choruses appear to have, along with the contrast of the absolve, the tracks beginnings and bridges appear to have, which are tense and still. The doom idler follows throughout the next phase of the album. One of my favourites is "Os Absymi Vel Daath", whereby its movement is simply drone-ful and indulgent, carrying heaps of brutality, and simplicity, I'm often retained contemplating "Why haven't I thought of this already!” We also get a dose of that industrial ambience within "Os Absymi Vel Daath" and, "Obscured". Furthermore Monotheist is intricately complex, accompanied with wildly towering expectations; which it arises too. Finally departing with "Synagoga Satanae", we finish with the lush fourteen minute harmony and feedback tracking combined with the slow rot doom riffing toward the last third of the track. It feels brilliantly dark, sombre, plaintive, and brutal.

Another definitive design by Celtic Frost, which complemented there comeback justifiably - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:42 pm
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Sunday, 29 June 2008

When released in 2003, Akercocke were little known to me, only by noticing that their dress sense live was rather odd, and that they had sexual content within their lyrics. Whether that already convinced you to pick up this album or not back then, it’s fair to say that this record is preposterously good, and hindsight never should aid such a remark.

A definitive ‘majestic’ was told to me by a companion of mine, to somewhat characterize their music and it’s an excellent comment. Such is the majesty of Akercocke on Choronzon; their typified black metal brutality is exalted within its progressive movements. As you move throughout the album, the change of gear is so great, perhaps you’ll feel inebriated or exhilarated throughout the fumes. Akercocke dare I say have set the standard for extreme metal on this record moving out of the underground and can be considered much heavier and exceedingly extremer than that of underground blasters. Notably the Satanist vocals are interesting, and even though myself being categorically tagged ‘atheist’ or ‘nontheist’ could perhaps inherit the overall lyrical values differently, I do see the general insight and devoutness within such meaning. Akercocke’s combination of progression, and extreme brutality, is incredibly artistic, and peaking to various technical boundaries. Furthermore their beautiful two-note swinging riffing combined with melodic guitar lines in contrast to sections of absolute nefarious brutality is ones self stylistic following within the genre, and it’s a delight. Their influences coming through on this record perhaps more than ever before, it can flood memories of everything you’ve heard before, to completely nothing. The villainous synth work is something which should be accredited; it adds dimension, and dementia to the overall piece which again feels artistic and helps contrast this overall wave of brutality, and beauty.

An intoxicating release, that is breath taking and should undergo a careful listen. Musical magic, enjoy - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:58 am
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Usually when I decide to pick up a Nuclear Blast record, from any of their assorted regions, I often cringe. Anyhow, with metal giants, Testament releasing their ninth studio album, I felt it was essential to add to the collection.

"Dull. Contrived. Boring." these are the first notes I took upon listening to the album through the fourth time. "It's all so needlessly 1987, it's all so boring, repetitive song structure, repetitive album structure, dull, and boring. Clichéd and generic." That's the second. As you read, I was fairly disappointed upon placing this one into the CD player. A steadfast issue, that could do with a push-back; this record will be universally accepted within the metal community, as one of the better records of 2008, simply because of the name, and status of such a release, not to mention artists. Testament still within formation, are celebrating their twenty fifth anniversary since their initial formation. Four out of five of the original dominion of Testament has reunited for their first appearance onto a studio album in sixteen years, for Formation Of Damnation. Clemente is the only missing entity, and we now have Paul Bostaph taking the role of drumming throughout this album, (noted, past Slayer drummer). So, you can predict the type of stigma that such a line-up carries.

Moving onto the structure of the actual record, the actual song titles make me shudder and redden at the same time. It's slightly unfair that I'm single handily parting these issues, often I ignore song titling until I've read the lyrical value behind them, but, such titles are so melodramatic, a stereotypically boring westernised examination of political stances across the globe, and read as if we're living in North Korea. And I'm still convoluted about the title ‘FEAR’ (note it’s written specifically differently on the cover – ALL CAPS). I'm not sure if their referencing the video game (mind you the lyrics pose on no stance about a survival horror first person shooter, that the story revolves around a supernatural phenomenon which the squad FEAR are asked in presence of to contain), or they've simply wrote the title to gather the attention of the viewer - as if the expansion of marketing was needed for a record of such calibre. So, onto the actual music, now that I’ve cleared some minor frustrations. The production of this record is of course top notch, and beautiful; but what do you expect of someone as excellent as Andy Sneap. This is another artistic beauty to his mammoth of a portfolio. This is Testament, so I’m not expecting anything incredibly deviating, but I haven’t enjoyed this past fifty or less minutes listening to this attempt at straight thrash metal. Bill Hicks’ interpretation of one being upon the effects of marijuana whilst continuing to attempt to be interested on an on-going medium is rather a summing of my feelings toward this record, apathy. However, I would lie to you if I didn’t suggest that “Killing Season” was OK, at least I didn’t ‘sigh’ for around one hundred and sixty seven seconds. There’s something else I enjoyed about this album; I did enjoy the last track, “Leave Me Forever” because truth be told, this record will. The performance of each band member is excellent however, and perhaps this is a credit to the engineering present throughout the record, but the vocals, guitar work, and drumming is outstanding and typically artistic as thrash giants Testament get (typically I’m ignoring track layout, in depth analyses of track structure, and the tracks themselves because it’s all binary, if not, a typical thrash motion and I believe I’ve already expressed enough steam yearned by the frequency content of such a record).

This record may be essential to any only thrash loving fan, and dedicated Testament hardcore, but for wiery neutrals like myself, you could save throwing money at it. It didn’t surpass any expectation being perfectly honest, although carried much weight on its’ shoulders. I believe I’m done with straight thrash for twenty four months, at least I think that’s a fair recovery period. Now where’s my copy of The New Order, The Ritual, or The Legacy? 2/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:55 am
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First things first, there's a reason behind my known confidence upon placing this album into my CD player, and it's not Ghost Reveries. Ghost Reveries was indeed, a great critical acclaim for Opeth, and was received within the margins of success within the metal scene, making them your no longer, 'best kept secret'. But for myself, Ghost Reveries was received with a little apathy. Perhaps a slight too much panache, and too much understanding was read within this album from myself - but then I'm being extremely harsh.

Watershed, is a quite a leap from Ghost Reveries. Many may argue that a similar "vibe", is evident from Ghost Reveries, however I disagree. Watershed achieves so much more depth than that simple example of many laden critical judgements, I've been observing over the past week. These comments, simply lack dimension in the gravity of this album. The shear dissonance of this record is absolutely astounding, it creates an oblique surreal place for us to dwell in. And it's incredibly haunting, (I've almost lost two evenings of sleep due its unparalleled frequency content) bringing us in and out of this place of dread, and horrid atmosphere. What's more interesting, is at last, you're not able to simply take a back seat, and enjoy the show. Almost every track has its haunting event as the faders begin to draw down in DB level, as the tracks finally close. What's more potent about these tracks, is that they all don't have that distinctive progressive flow about them. You can't simply put your hair down, and start thwacking your head around the place in all metallic delight, as segments of riffs instead of progressively dying, just die, and cut off with and without regression. This assists greatly on the creation of that eerie, haunting atmosphere, I am failing on conceiving and justifying. Furthermore there are sparks and mirages of beautiful Opeth, which help wildly contrast the imagery, I at least get when listening to this album.

Every single track has its highlights, and again, it would be unjust and impulsive for myself to say that 'track xx is the highlight of this album, as it helps achieve a fundamental mood change personally'. However as you would expect, this new Opeth does not disappoint on the performance area of album reviewing. It's rich, and dare I say different. This is also a credit to Åkerfeldt's song-writing, which is again ingenious and jaw dropping. Furthermore the performances by each band member individually are a delight, and deserves more than accredited.

Anyhow, my words, and indeed other fan-boy words cannot assist in fully pledging you to pick up the album, and give it a go - the words simply too weak. However Opeth, cannot seem to do a bad a record within their career, yet. Perhaps if I mention that this album is truly unique, may convince you otherwise - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:49 am
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So many have condemned the release of Damnation & Deliverance; however I rejoice. The very fabric of any good death metal record is present throughout this mix, it's class of generic isolation along with this seemingly dark, cold, ambiance created by Åkerfeldt and Lindgren's melodic guitar lines is only something that must be accredited for. Furthermore the sheer mystery of the lyrical values present throughout this album is not only interesting - it's rather baffling. Considering that there previous effort "Blackwater Park" is a cross of lush, warm, and still acoustic tonality, but with the same harshness and dissonance as Morningrise or Orchid; the riff work throughout this album appears to be much more aggressive, but lyrically a completely different concept - and I enjoy this. I like the fact that Opeth consistently deviate from the clone of category.

Listening to the track "Deliverance" we're introduced to a memorable haze that only Opeth can create. It's repeatably dark theme is present even throughout the acoustic tracking, we are consistently hearing this release of cold incendious Opeth. And the obscurity of this album is what helps it drift apart from previous Opeth records. I get the impression from listening to "Wreath" all of the way through to "By the Pain I See In Others" that some sort of plot is developed throughout this entire album - something that all of us are not supposed to put are finger on, something that we are not supposed to simply understand. It's plethora, simply too much. The subplot of course being "Damnation".

Controversial none the less with Opeth fans. And I can tell why - the hair is back up, riffing slightly more rigid, the mix perhaps slightly quieter than expected. However, the rhetoric technicality within this record must be adored, along with it's sparse humane feel, and dare I say - a beautiful mix. This record is definitely not the Opeth I have grown to know, but is certainly the Opeth I can't help but credit - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:46 am
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Odd. An album claimed by the band that nothing "new" as such was going to be done on Obzen and furthermore the writing process appeared to be digging further back into their "roots" - is something I agree with. Upon hearing the entire album the seventh time back, there's really nothing new here that Meshuggah hasn't done before, in their monstrous career. However, that's not to say that this a disappointment; Meshuggah has raised the bar so high over the years, it wouldn't be fair to say that they are clinching a limbo under it, but I am slightly underwhelmed.

When first hearing "Combustion" I felt an overwhelming rise in panic. Contradictions Collapse on eight-strings just doesn't cut it for myself. However it's not an entirely bad track, and I definitely do feel, that fans will furthermore enjoy this track. It feels more like a celebration, an anniversary, a reflection over the years of what they've achieved with their eight-string thermonuclear bombs. Moving onto Electric Red, it felt much more exploratory. Further tension, and grind like movement combined with the explosion of the baffling riff within the beginnings of the track, sets this album to be exploring what level of rhythmic technique these guys really are at in 2008, and it's still enough to be in a simple state of 'shock & awe', with each note hit so elegantly, they move more potently and brutally than of which the sagitta could ever surpass. Bleed had been released prior to the albums release, and proved popular. It's simple structure with the new 'Meshuggah-like soul' is exhilarating - not to mention Haake's footwork; and causing myself - almost - neck injury. The highlight of the album, lies with "Lethargica". It's grind like motion, and solid groove combined with the emotionless roar of Kidman's vocal noises is absolutely astonishing, it really is at this depth, the bands passion is completely alight again. And there's more, with that caress break re-inventing that 'Meshuggah' atmosphere we hear now further expansion of the similar eerieness which Catch 33 gave us, and with such machine like ending, it felt like another continuation of Sum. Another mirage of sound, another defining moment in a sonic, scientific metallic career. "Obzen", "This Spiteful Snake", "Pineal Gland Optics", and "Pravus" move elegantly throughout the ending of the album, and hopefully providing Meshuggah with further new found live material. Typically "This Spiteful Snake, and "Pineal Gland Optics" are the more interesting, due to emphasised rhythmic science within them. However they appear to die out in contrast to their explosive beginnings, (more so Pineal Gland Optics, hence the more aggressive less progressive of the two). All of the songs never surpassing a simplistic binary song written fashion didn't matter - it all appeared fresh. It ends with the mammoth that is "Dancers To A Discordant System" and it's breath-taking. The shear verve of this outro contrasts vastly to previous efforts and I say again, it's fresh. Their collection of mechanical riffing and vigor of collected rhythms is something which this band will always uphold, and does so confidently.

Thordendal hasn't owed us anything for his dis-coherency on strings throughout his career, but yet he's ruffled through that jazz-Allan-Holdsworth book again, and gave us such a different dose of frequency content. Notably this style has created such a different atmosphere for the Meshuggah I used to know, giving the band - to an extent - a human face, although still maintaining that significant mechanical entity. Hagström's stroke of ingenious song writing is a credit to himself, and the band with devious, and deviating rhythmic work-outs. However, everything felt slightly restrained. The lack of acceleration through their typical mechanical riffing felt slightly dried up. By the slightest a softened Meshuggah, reborn.. perhaps, but only by the toe. That being said, this is essential for any Meshuggah fan and newbie. Perhaps not a classic - but another confident piece of work - 4/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:30 am
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It's interesting that a band of such calibre is able to push a record like this, without caring about what various broadcasters will say, and their record label. This album, hurtled from the band being considered by them as an "experiment", is really a following of one's self stylistic genre in metal. This album, is another branch of metallic science.

Such mechanic-ism throughout this album is achieved, and not for one moment are the pistons ever slowing. The highlight of the album considered "In Death - Is Life" and "In Death - Is Death" is Meshuggah portrayed in sixteenth gear. Sublime. And, let's never doubt that at the beginning of the record we are slumped with a slow repetitive dull rhythmic riff full of tedium, but rather we are introduced into this mechanic hypnotic maze that's only presented by the apparatus of what Meshuggah is. With the rusted spasm of each riff, and the device of Haake's 4x4 symbol 'hiss' we really have an engine gone wrong; or working 'nihilistically'. As we hear Sum, we are presented by what can only be described best as a mirage of sound - this machine functions.. not.

The albums eerie feel is unmissable. With such poised potency rhythmically, and the force which beckons Kidman's vocal work, will be remembered for generations to come. No one can and ever will, do this again - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:22 am
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Due to not being able to fully afford the publishing of a small booklet within the slim-case of the release, I simply wish to thank my brother Alan, and Maarten Kleyne for their support, help and patience with working along side me on my project 'Blue Hat Thinking'. Alan, completing all of the bass guitar tracks for myself, as well as his definitive opinion on specific uncertainties within aspects of the music is something I want to fully credit him for. Maarten Kleyne who has worked very patiently with myself to mobilize the brushes in creating the excellent piece of cover art for the project is something I am very grateful for, and humble toward. Furthermore Kleyne being a part-time employed web designer, who undergoes creating album covers as part of side-project, hobby work shows the lustful talent he can produce artistically.

To both, many thanks.

Kleyne's portfolio.
Blue Hat Thinking project, (within Kleyne's portfolio).

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:04 am
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Thought I could get back to this one, in case of someone not being familiar with the discogs website link I have posted around specific social networking accounts. The widget on this blog will have access to the discogs website, along with my own account there, which you can access should you wish to scatter through my records at hand, as proof of copyrights of the album reviews, and anything else.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 1:55 am