Saturday, 12 December 2009

New personnel with a different focus in its crosshairs; this encapsulates the ‘Devin Townsend Project’ with only two records in. It’s an obvious ploy made by Townsend, to not least further his career but to keep us (and himself) guessing on the eventual output. Ki was a success. It spanned of everything deep within the Townsend vein and some. Following on from Ki was sure to be deflating. Branded a collectively ‘more fun and straight to the point’ record, Addicted! is infinitely that PR line and less.

If warning shots were fired by Townsend, prior to the eventual criticism of Addicted! then we’ve taken two the chest. He’s dead right, Addicted! has no where near the same care or depth associated with Ki. You’ll be dosing on disco and pop, fused with his typical industrial metal (think a minor SYL) or you’ll be listening to incredibly straight to the point, heavy, metal. However, everything presented is expectantly polished. The ‘to the point’ material is very effective, that even outdoes a lot of his better productions under SYL. The pop or disco implementation is unpalatable, and so are the shoddy but necessary choruses. Interestingly there are about five core tracks the album manoeuvres around, (which are very much accomplished) with the commercial beef intertwining between.

Of the four ‘Devin Townsend Projects’ (four announced, two complete) it doesn’t take half a brain cell to know that Addicted! will be on the bottom of Townsend’s barrel (mine too), when it comes to rating the albums one by one. That’s not to say this is a bad record (in fact it’s the very opposite), but suffers considerably from the negative clichés that greatness indirectly spawns. What next though, for Townsend - we can’t wait.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 7:42 pm
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Sunday, 15 November 2009

If one of Wilson’s many efforts were to suffer from the negative backlash of hype, Insurgentes was it. Promising guest appearances, shifts in stylism and a reflective documentary meant much to live up to, and upon listening to the single “Harmony Korine”, labelling the record a ‘flop’ wasn’t out of question if very arbitrary.

Everything from the first and last track on Insurgentes confirms that Wilson is really out of his progy comfort zone. No longer are you hearing swaths of the late 60’s with a specific nod to the Floyd but computer sequencing, reflecting a desire to get off the traditional progressive hovercraft, and more importantly, amplify change.

Porcupine Tree underwent a renaissance many years back (In Absentia, 2002) shifting toward a progressive metal approach. Insurgentes is of personal evolution for Wilson, and the records moody but captivating substance proves this. Shoehorning the record into ‘prog rock with a leaning toward metal’ is not only a disservice to you, but entirely false. You’ll find that Insurgentes marks uncharted territory for Wilson, as he explores themes never to be associated by previous works. Track “Abandoner”, filled with electronic sequencing ends with ‘bit crushing’ that eventually scales to nearly be painful on the ear; if not, at least very uncomfortable. Similarly the haunting climax to track “Get All You Deserve” ends in discomfort. Purposefully easing someone into discomfort is simple with sound, but to make it compelling is nothing short of masterful. Wilson achieves this, easily. The riffing and atmospherics present are also worth a mention, as not only do they provide an excellent backbone to the record, but are so varied that coined criticisms toward ‘obvious and repetitive song writing’ go out the window. The massive degree in mood swings, create a dark and sombre undercurrent that is touching and felt with unease. The blend of the aforementioned makes Insurgentes, ultimately timeless.

The 55 minutes are so rich in detail, that when Wilson decides to throw a curve-ball (and he throws many) the impact might not be as greatly felt. However, in a sea of superlatives these kinds of criticisms have never felt smaller.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:07 pm
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Saturday, 26 September 2009

It’s difficult to not think that The Few Against Many would be little else, without their symphony in backround. Often they’ll play through progressions with the odd keyboard stab thrown in for layering – or some quasi production value argument, the band would immediately bark at you. Needless, and wasteful, the used symphony isn’t an aid to their cause. However, "Sot" being incredibly dull without isn’t far from the truth.

A decent, if not worthy addition to the Scandinavian archives, dismissing "Sot" like it was Arch Enemy’s Doomsday Machine would be extremely harsh and unfair. This will be enjoyed by any Scandinavian fan, or occasional user. Its songwriting has more depth than your average cup of Sweden, and coupled with powerful punchy choruses, help add impact to what is a very normal Scandinavian effort. The symphonic addition to The Few Against Many undermines much of the latter. It adds a panel of tackiness often invoked with Children of Bodom; best described as a plethora of Botox, into a space that hardly needed filling.

Blessed with excellent musicianship, "Sot" is a record that initially feels as solid as Bloodbaths “The Fathomless Mastery”. The symphonic undercurrent left us baffled, questioning its existence over such firm foundations. Why the plastic?

Posted by Posted by Andy at 4:59 pm
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Monday, 14 September 2009

Have you heard everything here already? Nearly. The underlying discrepancy with everything Tandjent have presented on “No One Will Hear Us” is that it is straight imitation. Yet it’s done in a manner that is somehow fresh. For all of the wrong reasons, Tandjent’s debut is solid, worthy enough of their hero’s recognition (if they embrace copycats) and likewise of their main influence, technically sound. Meshuggah’s “Destroy Erase Improve”, and Fredrik Thordendal’s scientific “Special Defects”, are no easy feats to emulate, let alone weave together; but somehow, they’ve done it.

Everything from the shotgun guitars that Hagstrom phrased in relation to Destroy Erase Improve, to Thordendal’s jazz-like-Allan-Holdsworth lead guitar, to Haake’s mechanical grooves have been layered anew amongst different riff progressions. You could swear their final number “The Path Of True” is “Soul Burn” when your eyes are closed, if only for a brief moment. The margins are really too close on periods of the album to applaud; but applaud you will, at the sheer technical know-how and brazenness of it all.

The same concoction thrown into different, if lesser test tubes. This embodies Tandjent’s plagiarised formula as if it were something they had been born to do. But even as you try to wave notions of theft in front of the project, their regurgitation tastes just as good, and just as technical. Perhaps the critic must learn to unlearn to fully appreciate “No One Will Hear Us”.

Tandjent’s debut is packed full of technical nous, but is artistically a moot point. At Metal Mayhem UK, we can only see a vast potential and lend a thought that they’ll find their feet, come the second release. Here’s hoping.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:24 am
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Sunday, 30 August 2009

Sometimes album reviewing is very tricky business and more to the point it’s difficult to not make The Black Flux article into a full blown press release. It really is that good. And whilst perfection is an unattainable score, Virus without a doubt, have
never been closer to it.

Beautifully discordant, dark, sombre, and majestic often at the same time encapsulates The Black Flux. The music itself is challenging because of the intense atmosphere made by the above. You’ll not hear blistering technicalities on the instruments (nor do you need to) but the steep learning curve many will have to undertake to fully understand the project is a tall order. Placing The Black Flux into the progressive metal category may spark debate, but it’s definitely an accuracy whilst being loose (more so heavy metal, experimental and progressive metal in one pot). One of the bigger aspects present on the record is the vocal echoing Ian Curtis from Joy Division. It is certainly controversial when thrown in, and will conflict with most listeners assumptions on harmony (not to be mistaken as a discordant vocal, it’s just another surprise when layered on top of the other elements in the music). Saying that, it’s certainly suitable, that adds to their sound richly and beautifully; it’s near enough a defining touch. Finally, Virus aren’t scared to draw out a guitar riff or two, and this is a huge characteristic amongst the tracks.

A twisted and haunting masterpiece that should change many perspectives in the genre. Virus have not just made a progressive leap with The Black Flux, but metal itself.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 9:28 pm
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Saturday, 15 August 2009

Whilst the security of merchandising and record sales is often enough for any musician to show their hand in the industry, it too comes at a creative price tag, one that “One Without” simply can’t afford. “Thoughts Of A Secluded Mind” is a pop rock/metal effort. Placing it within the metal genre is only a given because of the heavier ‘chug’ guitars present. You’ll also find clean vocals, drums, and synth at the heart of the experience.

The music itself is firm, well written and well executed. Everything has been done in binary fashion (chorus, verse), that echoes themes from the later works of In Flames, Megadeth, and Evanescence. With it being radio, nightclub, youth club and hard rock café friendly, popularity to be gained and sustained is a mere certainty.

Such assurance is creatively expensive. “Thoughts Of A Secluded Mind” is very plain, and very, very stale. There’s nothing on the record that claims a ‘unique selling point’, it’s just an emulation of the acts previously stated. The album lapses into repetitive territory with each track guaranteed to contain a power chorus (or five), a key change and a melodramatic guitar solo.

“Thoughts Of A Secluded Mind”, is an accomplished record, setting out to do what it means to do; yet falls very short because of this. On one of your better days, this effort can sound as vibrant as an early Megadeth record. On a different day, as tedious as Madonna.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 7:35 pm
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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Apart from the blindingly appalling title, As You Drown are very focused about their business on "Reflection". Sharing common ground with pioneers Decapitated and even more so Oceano, has sensibly made AYD make key decisions based on their influences formulas and not there own. There are no melodramatics to be thrown around, spontaneously cried with, and be tucked away into the deeper hierarchies of ones brain. Instead, an emphasis is placed on (overwhelming at times) sheer down-tuned brutality, and demonic chord progressions. No complaints.

The music itself is comprised of 'chunkier'-than not guitar riffing, that floats in and out of majestic chord movements, with a blasting or death metal applied drum style in its undercurrent. AYD’s major fault is their own approach being too similar to acts previously mentioned, and the other ten thousand that follow.

“Reflection” presents a group with solid intentions, firm foundations, and excellent song writing. However, the prompted question “Is the modern death metal reiteration on the verge of becoming stale?” rings much louder in the aforementioned chaos.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 1:22 pm
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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Hello friends!

We've spent over a year writing & recording our debut, and now, it's finally online and ready to be heard. Tera are a prog metal outfit, consisting of four members.

Taken from (you should go there!):

Tera formed in early 2008, are an ambitious outfit, lapsing into progressive and uncharted territory. They elegantly blend the charms of their influences into a single innovative and cohesive package. With the release of Forerunner, Tera mix the intensity of progressive metal with their own modern agenda that refuses to play ball with the conventional acceptance of modern song writing. (Tera 09, Press Release)

Get to, to listen to the projects works, and get further information.

Many thanks,


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:39 pm


Thursday, 25 June 2009

With a focus being very much instrumental along with guitars and drums at the fore of the experience, you might be forgiven to judge this book by its cover. However, National Sunday Law are remarkably fresh in their approach and song writing. Completing there entries in a progressive and doom fashion, they also create atmospherics that are rich and help add a real sense of depth to the production. NSL are also a 2-piece.

The song writing itself is broadly influenced with many other genres and stylistic approaches added into the equation. It’s repeatedly refreshing to hear production techniques tarnished by the mainstream, rejuvenated in such vibrant, energetic and uncharacterised ways. Think a meandering soft guitar riff, then clapping, and therein begins another section. NSL feature a memorable recording as the production quality is fine; the music itself feels spontaneous, live and within the moment. The vocal doesn’t enter the crosshairs as a centrepiece, but is used as an atmospheric tool. Disappointments may lay with the testosterone fuelled “To Hell With You,” but all is easily forgiven, as the track counter changes. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Donley and Tambascio.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:47 pm
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Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Yellow Signs “Ancient” showcases a band with a leaning toward the DM extremities of Oceano. What’s different in comparison are the more progressive, melodic and doom sections that unfortunately don’t quite make the focus of the record. The tracks themselves having the above in their undercurrent are excellently put together that tether the drum and riff work subliminally. The vocal is not acumen to The Yellow Signs work, but does shift into the crosshairs from time to time. It’s a disappointment mixed into the depths of the EP, that marginally hinder the experience and this is due to the performance on the mic not being quite as cemented as the other instrumentation. Think, Decapitated’s “Covan” with a minor throat infection, which makes his vocal even drier. The assisted high-pitch yelps are tasteful in liking but certainly work better when layered on top of the main vocal (it’s almost as if both are two halves of the same walnut).

The Yellow Signs biggest hurdle lays in their ability to produce material that’s more definitive than mashing their favourite influences together. The tracks on display through the EP are no-frills, hands-down worth departing every penny for; they just lack that memorabilia which help define the likes of Oceano and Decapitated. Even if “Ancient” isn’t that accomplished, it certainly reveals a band very much worth their salt.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:42 pm
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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Heavily focused on the influences of Mike Oldfield, Shackleton’s Voyage is a record echoing the theme of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s journey to the Antarctic. Treated to an arsenal of instrumentation with narration thrown in for good measure, lend a hand at creating a powerful atmosphere to encapsulate the Voyage. Whilst being rooted to a more prog rock template, Eureka do mix symphonic, synthesised, and Celtic themes into the affair, that help give their concept an interpretation so clear it can be visualised. This is were the concept becomes alive, as picturing such events before your eyes are at the very least moving and pay tribute to the quality of the atmospherics present.

However, on closer inspection, the albums compositions would be dead without the concept. The tracks themselves are very lean without their storyline and to truly absorb the albums fruitful atmosphere, a brush up of knowledge on the expedition wouldn’t go a miss. That’s not to say Shackleton’s Voyage isn’t accessible through casual listen (in fact it’s quite the opposite) but understanding the concept will guarantee an increased hit whilst listening. The records pacing is dynamically excellent, as the album drives and cascades through rocky progressions, and atmospheric hazes. If all else fails, Eureka may raise awareness of the historic event amongst the unfamiliar.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:31 am
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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Frequency is gripping, tasteful and all the more memorable. Consistency is easily found on each number, with enough proggy up and downs that keep things moving.

There is no ethic to push the genre forward with radical forward-thinking on the album, but the twists and intricate musicianship displayed best on tracks “Frequency”, and “Life Support”, certainly add depth to the record. Rooted to a more dated, classic prog-rock approach, without attempting to break any ground raise an awareness of detracting ambition. IQ have played it very safe on Frequency, and even though each track has its marvelling moments, other passages are all too stale, with the cobwebs of archaic song writing being very present. Nicholls vocal work on Frequency is particularly impressive, adding an important dynamic to IQ’s music, that command and tether progressions together effortlessly.

Frequency is certainly not a just release geared toward the fan, as from the get-go, headbangers that make an acquaintance, will note a package evocative, solid and worthwhile.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 1:27 pm
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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Comprised of everything Scandinavian, "Wearing A Martyr’s Crown" is made up of melodic guitars, belching vocals, double kicks, and its fair share of acoustic guitar passages. For the fan, the record may saturate for years to come, but for the neutral, Wearing A Martyr’s Crown sounds dangerously close to early Arch Enemy, Inflames and Children Of Bodom – actually it initially appears to be an arranged "Black Earth". In 1996, and still to this day many herald Black Earth as a Scandinavian masterpiece, and with partial reiterations in 2009 still happening, this point is further cemented. This also highlights the genres biggest problems. Much like London’s drum and bass scene, Scandinavian metal has never had the ability to progress from the late nineties, without becoming something entirely different. Herein lays Nightrage’s biggest problem. They sound specifically the same as their precursors.

However, there is credit were its due. As you would expect, song writing is solid with enough twists that’ll certainly retain attention spans. The performances are among some of the most mesmeric heard in years. Production values are kept suitably high, that help showcase their compositions clearly. It’s just such a pity that Wearing A Martyr’s Crown is just another addition to the obese genre, and almost a non-respective one at best. To add, you wouldn’t have been surprised to see Nightrage add the masterstroke to push the genre forward; which makes Wearing A Martyr’s Crown that more disappointing. Maybe we’ve been listening to cover bands for the past 13 years?


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:24 am
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Initially, Inferno appears to have more in common with the pretentious IDM faithful than the metallic hardcore. The introduction to Pompa Magna, “bar / bar / bar minimizer,” is almost entirely electronic, that hints at what’s to come and glints at Inferno’s electronic capabilities. Newcomers to Inferno might find worth in noting that this introduction has little in common with the remaining numbers; except for the remainder having restrained synths, odd time signatures, noisy vocals and hectic song structures. The majority of the release combines all of the above, along with distorted guitars and energetic drum takes, that loosely reminisces, “Sonic Syndicate,” and “Dillinger Escape Plan”.

Inferno’s experimental backbone tailor the act to be an assault on the ear, rather than a group bolstered delivering on great song writing. What’s unfortunate on Pompa Magna, is Inferno’s lacklustre song writing with depth untouched and riff progressions non-cohesive. This quintet will throw themes familiar and mostly unfamiliar at you, but do so with little construction and cement. That’s not say that this isn’t a valiant effort; it’s just parried by other innovative artists too easily.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:32 pm
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Saturday, 16 May 2009

A New Constellation,” is a mish mash of many themes. The belching vocal, padded synth and progressive guitar are just at the heart of the experience. At times, there is a fusion psychedelics that formulate into a metal entry. Other times, Nahema will catch you off guard with a saxophone line breaking into a rock chorus. The genius of “A New Constellation,” is how such elements appear to blend with ease and elegance. The problems? The record has potential to be masterful, but it just isn’t.

With such depth musically, it’s easy to point out highlights on each track as so much riffing is present. “A New Constellation,” tends to stay very safe progressively, as it showcases a very conventional watered-down approach to prog song writing. And whilst this does point to a detracting ambition, Nahema’s more ‘simplified with different instrumentation’ philosophy appears very solid and albeit, very fresh. There are very memorable moments on the record and equally, there many worth forgetting. “A New Constellation,” is a much more than average release that will raise a few eyebrows, only to be brushed aside by others.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:07 am
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Thursday, 14 May 2009

If there’s one chip lying on the shoulders of emo rock/metal, it’s that the vocal and lyrical melodramatics often lack a dignity found in anything beyond the genre. Hand To Hand’s latest, “Design The End/Follow The Horizon” is a traditional emo-metal entry, that’s unfortunately not as deep or cryptic as the title states (unless you’re undergoing the similar harmonic stress as a pregnant woman). Nonetheless, some of the antics are plausible, if only for a brief moment, as they do showcase an ambition for a more mature approach to the genre, whilst not breaking any new ground.

The album consists of 10 tracks that are written in typical fashion. Production values are retained to a high commercial standard, which ultimately helps tether their song writing superior, compared to what’s available. You’ll also find the usual melodic vocal and guitar to be at the heart of the experience. This too, is were most of their problems are felt. With no sense of atmosphere to lend a hand, the aforementioned vocal and guitar need to capture the subjective themes expressed. Unfortunately with such immature lyrical values, and obvious clumsy guitar riffing, “Hand To Hand” fail to seduce. Furthermore, the albums commercial aesthetics help it become so repetitive, that there is no value in repeat play. A worthwhile miss, unless you’re a no-sensibilities fan.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:11 pm
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Saturday, 9 May 2009

"Planetary Duality" arrives, and the promotional sticker reads “For fans of Cynic, Meshuggah and Necrophagist” (not in that particular order). It’s unfair; if only too brief a glance at what’s really within the record. Sure, there’s a flirt with the vocal vocoder (like Cynic), the sweaty dexterous guitar riffing (like Necrophagist) and odd time signatures (like Meshuggah). However, we would be doing you a great disservice if we mentioned that, that’s about it. You’ll find when scratching the surface, the Faceless are pulling strings in such an organic way, that "Planetary Duality" feels unique even when all of it has been heard before. The album sets a benchmark for their German (if otherwise) counterparts, with a technical mastery that’ll easily make the competition blush.

"Planetary Duality" is a brisk affair with the entire record wrapping up in just over 30 minutes. That’s not to detract or defunct in anyway – it’s difficult to imagine such detail in technicality exceeding the 35 minute barrier. Straight off the bat, you’ll soon discover that the Faceless aren’t simply a technical distro using guitar hero histrionics to boast their blindingly talented musicianship (as you probably did discover listening to their previous, “Akeldama”); they also merit extremely detailed song writing that even the progressive diehard would applaud. And yet, there are about a thousand acts one could reference that are in this regurgitation. It’s how well all of these sophomore’s have been put together which make the Faceless very different, and albeit, very unique.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 9:34 pm
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Monday, 4 May 2009

There are no gimmicks, no ethic to evolve the genre, just a pure focus on old fashioned prog. Saga’s latest “The Human Condition”, is a generic entry spanning pop, rock, metal and neo progressive influence (Marillion and IQ). Containing such idiosyncrasies it’s clear, that straight of the mark "The Human Condition" is meant to appeal to their nostalgic fans than to the neutrals brain. And whilst this really does read dull on paper, things do move fast enough for the inane amount of depth to never sink in.

With vocalist and founding member “Michael Sadler” departing in late 07, “Rob Moratti” (Final Frontier) has taken responsibility of handling his vocal in the aptly but overdone symphonic power metal approach. The majority of the numbers being vocally lead is acumen to why those big shoes need filling, in the correct manner. The well executed vocal harmonies along with Moratti’s strong performance throughout the record confirm that Saga did find the right man; even if his voice is bound to the realm of clichéd – which suitably epitomises the album. Qualifying this to be a rock experience are the guitars being at the fore of the mix, with typical powerchord progressions and not so typical “Rush” played arrangements, along with the keys taking a backseat. It’s a solid, no frills approach underlining, that not much if anything has really changed since their heydays of the early 80’s. You can’t help but feel that this is for the worst, as "The Human Condition", sounds tired and ultimately showcases Saga to be an overly read story of the past. Thankfully, there are just enough memorable progressions to make the record worthwhile, even when it is incredibly stale.

With old commercial watermarks, “Guns N’ Roses”, “Marillion” and “Metallica” releasing records in the past 12 months, negativity has been hurled toward them on a basis of going backward within the very genres they helped innovate. Similar feelings bubble, surrounding Saga’s latest. Is this raw expression coming from the nostalgic purist, or a regurgitated commercial cash-in? This is a fun release, that’s intended for the dedicated fan – but nobody else.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:48 am
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Monday, 27 April 2009

There’s a certain amount of hype that’s naively associated with OSI. It’s the kind of hype that believes a collaboration of great minds from other great acts, can make something suitable to go down in the scribes of metallic history (which often means an overly full metallic garbage bin). With Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) on drumming duties, Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) lending his vocal on track “Stockholm” and Kevin Moore (Dream Theatre) along with Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) laying the foundations; it’s easy to understand such extensive excitement surrounding Blood. At the heart of the record is a generic rock experience with electronic subtleties that easily break the mould of usual industrial movements. In other words; mesmerising details to fatten what would be generic prog-lore.

The entire album is comprised of atypical American rock, mixed with heaps of electronic characteristics. This isn’t to say it’s a more electronica than rock package; it simply helps add depth to what would be a very stale release. Furthermore, these production values retain a commercial appeal, even when claiming to be experimental. There’s a certain amount of downtempo to be had throughout Blood and as such does not qualify to be a metal entry. “Terminal” and “We Come Undone” are almost entirely made up of electronic elements that are a shade Radiohead than alt rock. “The Escape Artist”, “False Start” and “Radiologue” are made up mainly of hard rock elements that feel more like audio for screenplays than for a sole listening perspective.

Furthermore, Blood is packed full of atmosphere that is only bolstered by its dark and moody characteristics. The downtuned ‘chug’ guitars mixed with the electronic subtleties and Jonas Renkse muted vocal style help achieve this. There is also a notable charisma present throughout each number.

Remarkably with Blood having so many details in its undercurrent, it is accessible to newcomers of the genre, whilst holding enough water for the progressive diehard and warranting enough subtleties to satisfy the industrial steel men. This is a release that engages both your brain and emotions, with solid and detailed song writing. It doesn’t quite attain masterpiece status; however Blood fills those gigantic shoes quite nicely.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:32 pm
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Screaming Angel’s Inner War EP is an emotive punk project that fails to capture anything of the aforementioned. With huge questions hanging over the two piece musicianship from the initial get-go (which doesn’t get going), it’s difficult to critique Screaming Angel without using overly abrasive and negative remarks that would indefinitely lead to insult rather than constructive backlash. The use of the aptly but extremely shallow themed ‘emotive’, does not move you, nor in way shape or form connects. This is largely due to the way the vocal is expressed, and how it does anything but confirm an indecent immaturity. The song writing present is grey, obvious and poorly executed, (ideas are here and there, but when put together are done so in the most oblivious way). It’s the performances on Inner War that will sooner rather than later set alarm bells ringing for a supernatural stamina to carry on further listening.

Even when expressed poorly, the EP raises enough questions imposed on society to warrant a question of our own. Is it possible to exercise quality control on such groups? Shame.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:49 am
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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Is War From A Harlots Mouth just an honest reiteration of The Ocean Collective, Textures, Meshuggah and D.E.P? The answer being obviously yes, could leave bitter, sour or explosive tastes lurking around zesting taste buds. In Shoals, is a record that whilst not delivering in the same irrefutable manner as the aforementioned forerunners, certainly knows how to go about its business, even when it is trying far too hard.

Indulgent on similar formulas by the previously stated, In Shoals is an effort relishing in excellent execution and cumbersome song-writing. Mixed with technical, thrash and jazz esque ingredients, In Shoals positive or negative is an experience that will never let you free of its grasp. Its intensive nature never lets go, and at the final whistle you’ll sooner exhale a well earned relief, to only find the need to delve right back in. However, the cracks in the wall are clearly evident another time around. Clumsy song-writing will assure frustration, whilst the 50% complete numbers assure feelings of boredom. Furthermore, mostly evident mid way through tracks “Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept And Obstruct Errorism”, “Justice From The Lips Of The Highest Bidder”, and “Scully” are noticeable patterns of failed reoccurring experiments. With such climatic intros and outros, but poor thickeners in between, you’ll be left wondering what all the fuss was about.

In Shoals is ultimately an experience that suffers from the ‘trying-far-too-hard’ syndrome, coupled with song-writing that is neither here or there, but blessed with a visceral performance from each member. A brief overlook on the record may fool you into believing that a technical artistry has been achieved and upon closer inspection you’ll find its shortcomings well and truly thawed. A well thought and crafted experience that succeeds and fails 50% of the time.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:14 am
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Zippo’s Road To Knowledge may not be that omniscient in terms of completing something unique. However, it certainly possesses the ability to teach fellow students and elders on the progressive hovercraft, that an alt rock approach, (and I use alt rock in the loosest way possible) can be pulled off; even if some of the tracks are songs for the deaf.

The Road To Knowledge is best described as a record set out to accomplish so much, that it fails to hit any milestones. However, with exploring such vast territory (minor psychedelic rock, grunge, stoner metal, heavy metal, alt rock), this is as niche a release as any. Even when plagued with the usual suspects of obvious song writing, and a shade duller than dull riff progressions, the album is able to combine enough elements into the brew to make a package that is full of depth. Furthermore, there are superlative ideas that have been thrown into these entries, but when combined are hopelessly confused.

Zippo’s Road To Knowledge is an overly sour mixed bag, that’s not quite worthy of your shelve space.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:10 am
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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Hello friends,

'Heuristic' from Blue Hat Thinking is to be featured on the "Pit of the Damned" Heavy Metal radio show at Yastaradio.

15th April - 19-20:30 (C.E.T.)
17th April - 04-05:30 (C.E.T.)

You can find more information here.

Playlist for The Pit of The Damned

DORIAN GREY - Ashes of Verities - Overpowered by Suffering
THE PROPHECY - Into the Light - Into the Light
ILL NINO - Confession - How Can I Live - ALTERNATIVE
KLIMT 1918 - Secession Makes Post Modern Music - Schmerzwerk 1976 - ITALY
MY DYING BRIDE - For Lies I Sire - Santuario di Sangue
ANDREW DANSO - Blue Hat Thinking - Heuristic
MANES - Solve et Coaugula - Solve et Coagula
SEPULTURA - Schizophrenia - From the Past Comes the Storms - BACK IN TIME
MAGNIFIQAT - Il più Antico dei Giorni - Dalla Bocca dell'Imbrunire - ITALY
HELEL - A Sigil Burnt Deep into Flesh - Mass Destruction Mass Alienation
AKPHAEZYA - Anthology II - Chapter I: Chrysalis
KARABOUDJAN - Sbrodj - Plan 714 till Sydney
GANDILLION - Perrenette Gandillion - Covent Garden
ANNIHILATOR - Carnival Demons - The Rush
PORT-ROYAL - Flares - Flares pt 3 - ITALY

Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:24 pm
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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Not to be plagued with the melodrama inherit in such releases, Oceano’s ‘Depths’ is a real blood and guts effort, that’s as brutal and callous that needs be. Armed with an arsenal of technical, DM and doom extremities, ‘Depths’ is a record bubbling with ambition, even when it is overflowing on generic influence.

Initially the record is a lot to take in, as its intensity is consistent right from the get-go. Mixed within the chaos, ‘Depths’ is a record with much of the aforementioned in it. You’ll readily discover a saturated atmosphere, elastic discords, and majestic song writing. Oceano have taken influence from everything commendable within the genre(s) and moulded that into their own package. And whilst this certainly does deliver on all fronts, there’s nothing unique to discover on the record.

Yet the album is a fresh debut, as the majority of the song writing is pieced together with a particular finesse, that echoes throughout the release. The same can’t be said mid way through, with the instrumental and self titled track “Depths” breaking up the assault. Whilst this track does work on a justifiable means, (to relieve the listener of a constant and consistent grind) the track itself is a diluted effort that is reminiscent of ‘Textures’ own shortcomings. Once bypassed and back into the thick of it, it is easy to overlook such a blip. The records final third is as intense and as good as its first, with ‘Depths’ maintaining pace and vigour until the faders draw close.

Passionate performances are littered throughout this release, with each member performing with excellence under the new immense standards that modern DM merits. The low-belch growls and high pitched screams contrast radiantly with each other as they add a fitting dynamic to each track. However they’re so unnecessarily upfront that they take a lot of adjusting too. Aside from this very minor anomaly, the production present is slick and of outstanding quality, that will prove to be one of the better sounding records this year.

Oceano’s ‘Depths’ isn’t a far cry from the norm, but does just enough to justify a certified freshness. This is a record that does capture everything stylistically correct, even when its generic faults come into play. Upon picking this one up, we can only recommend three to four back to back play-throughs, to fully absorb the albums wealth of content.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:13 am
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Monday, 30 March 2009

Ignominious Incarceration is a band confused. Whilst the record does exhibit performances from each member that merit excellence, there are the usual suspects of clumsy song writing and poor riff progressions that plague their overall technical prowess. Of Winter Born, is Ignominious Incarcerations debut release, with the band being in partnership for over two years. And whilst talented musicianship can be found throughout this entire record, collectively there are many question marks.

There is a guarantee that each track will have there plausible moments and oblivious ones. This sort of tedious repetition is at best, met with a frustrating listen and proves all the more aggressive if they’re trying to anger fellow listeners. The first half of the album is a less intensive affair than it’s other half, with events picking up on the self titled ‘Of Winter Born’ mid way through. The entries are well constructed, that are as technical as modern death metal needs be, but are far too indulgent on using the same elements heard on previous tracks. An EP may have been a better showcase, as the restrain of repetition for the sake of 35 or so minutes, feels like a wasted opportunity.

‘Of Winter Born’ is a technical workout, that does work a sweat and will prove an eye catcher for some (whether that is the 2 minute decent riffing, the superb production or striking artwork). However its clumsy design met with an immature aggression, burden what could have been a saturated Extended Play. Of Winter Born, is fairly ignominious.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:24 pm
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Southern American Metal. Unquestionably one of the first discoveries you’ll make on your rock revolution evolution. On a technical level simple to perform, that demands very little from the listener. The genres ever congested arena has acts pouring from the sky and melting ice shards as we know of them. Definite success is a lottery. God Damn’s latest addition to the fumes, ‘Old Days’ is not only strange by means of a French group completing this entry, but by a means of how fresh and yet totally traditional the record sounds. The authenticity, the production, the personality, the binary written tracks, and the performances are all remarkably present, but surely this is just another Cowboys-from-Satan-made-up-chameleon-land?

The first half of the record is a much more muscular affair than its other half, which is integral to its design, as their testosterone (or indeed yours) will carry the main foundations of this experience. The initial introduction “Landing for My Pride” is possibly their biggest brute, with an opening that marvels in the correct amount of aggression that the album needs for it to trigger your attention and maintain. Which sets up the entire disc suitably, with the band clinging to atypical grooves and middle to end bridges within their song structure. However, it’s how they have been placed to together with a particular finesse and bravery that make God Damn all the more admirable.

The records second half is a more watered down, diluted approach that starts to feel neither here or there with song writing becoming periodically repetitive and tedious. However there is a much more explorative quality in the later numbers, with God Damn sounding more unique and albeit pale at the same time.

Blessed with superb production, excellent song writing and passionate performances, Old Days is a record that understands it must be of irrefutable quality to even scratch the surface, in such a littered market. The albums desired punch out does its shortcomings toward the final stages, even though depth at times is non-existent. Old Days may not differ that much from what’s currently available, however it does claim the right for its own territorial space that comfortably sits beside giants such as BLS, and Damageplan. A more brute than brawn package, that does not try to be different from its southern precursors but fails to imitate them all the same – a cliché that certainly appears to work.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:16 pm
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It is extremely difficult to critique Man Infest Destiny, without mentioning their present engineer Jack Endino. This was the first note taken upon listening to the record. You can view this as a possible cheap disclaimer, but this most definitely was the case. There are ilk’s of his work almost referenced everywhere within the record, which has been an obvious design choice made by Slave Traitor (who by the sounds of things, aren’t bad producers either).

A meaty hard-rock production, Man Infest Destiny presents a tried and tested formula that does appear to still work within the current climate. Although a condescending remark and slight gripe at forerunners in the industry, Slave Traitor have been able to capture everything stylistically correct, with a huge tick on-top of what is, a littered box.

Yes, it is easy to suggest that Man Infest Destiny is just an honest reiteration of the past, with at times a lack of depth that is disappointing throughout the entire record. However, the aforementioned concerns should be dispelled, albeit rapidly, as the groups song writing is comprehensive and laden with honest and rustic deliveries. Periodic progressions throughout the record are absolutely mesmerising that provoke contemplation as to why Slave Traitor are not pioneering such a congested genre.

Saturated in Jack Endino’s grace, “Man Infest Destiny” is a production that feels very much stuck between its grunge and metallic precursors of the late nineties. This will synthesise with many as an appreciated choice, that certainly works, however an assumption of detracting ambition can be readily concluded, with periods in various tracks feeling unintentionally lazy, and diluted.

There is an infinite amount of excellent riff progressions, enough twists on song structure, and enough barefaced twiddling of the knobs by Endino to make “Man Infest Destiny” a worthwhile package. This is certainly not his best work, nor Slave Traitors; however “Man Infest Destiny” is on par with other competitors, and their previous works, that will add to an already impressive discography for both parties. “Man Infest Destiny” is a decent hard-rock production, but little else.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:13 pm
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Sunday, 1 March 2009

It’s difficult to stay objective and accurately review Fire:Water:Ash. There are periods of excelled atmosphere with majestic overtones, but ultimately there’s a definitive cog missing throughout this entire release. ‘If you are searching for something with a canny pagan resemblance, then this is certainly one to pick up’ – at least that is Ironwood’s assertion that we cannot fully agree with. There is somewhat a traditional-esque overhaul on some aspects of their work, but fundamentally the final exorcism is received very much in a different way (quite conventional and atypical themes are mostly present).

I have since never been able to recall anything within my collection which warrants to loosely be pagan oriented metal, thus I was hoping for something to blow me out of the water. Instead the introduction to Fire:Water:Ash, is a diluted affair, with a particularly dull approach – especially on Ironwood’s folk progressions (which I certainly mean in the literal sense). This culminates to a formula throughout the twenty-five or so minutes, that stagnantly comes to a halt. However, if you can get through the first three tracks of the record, the ambition, the acclaim, and the rich atmosphere portray ilks of soundscapes that are in themselves very unique to the group. The metallic component of Ironwood does work to a justifiable means, but we can’t help but feel a missing link with that of the folk progressions and the periodically extreme metal reoccurrences.

Fire:Water:Ash, is an experience, positive or negative that does manage to appeal ever so slightly form the competition. But for all of the production, all of the acclaim, and all of the meaty presentation, Ironwood lack an integral design on the record that missed an adept insight into becoming something close to a masterpiece.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 6:08 pm
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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The French metal scene has imploded following the past five years, with acts rippling across France, into their neighbours, and across the water. We’ve managed to catch up with one such act, which appears to be taking the helm, emerging as successors from the underground. God Damn has exclusively been speaking with Metal Mayhem on their latest up and coming debut album "Old Days".

Metal Mayhem: How long have you spent recording Old Days?
God Damn: Actually the recording sessions were quite fast for Old Days; all together it took less than ten days. But only thanks to a huge work, for several months, on pre-recording with our staff mate who did our first demo in 2007 and our studio engineer at Studio Cartellier.

MM: What are your overall feelings on the debut, Old Days?
GD: We are very proud of this material! It sounds like we would have been recording for months, and we hope people will appreciate it as much as us! Seriously, we have a quality first album to defend on stage.

MM: When did you first start writing Old Days?
GD: After the release of our demo in early 2007 we were already thinking of the next true step for the band. So naturally we wrote some pieces that grew older with our musical point of view, and finally we realized that we had enough tracks and money to make an album of our own.

MM: You’ve already cited main influences within your biography (predominantly Southern American), but what do you feel are your main influences?
GD: We can hardly hide them! All the bands of the NOLA RnR and metal scene such as Down, Crowbar or Eyehategod among others, also some old groups of the 60s 70s like Black Sabbath or The Who, which come from our musical background. But it will take ages to write them all down!

MM: You’ve played with famous acts such as Firebird, Ultra Vomit and Phazm. Did playing with such groups help get you to where you are now?
GD: These gigs brought us a new audience day after day, and it’s made us more confident on stage. We also made good friends on the road too. And it helps us to correct some details, professionally speaking.

MM: You’re currently working with The Rock Runners agency as well as being signed to Nip Down Records. How has this success had an impact on the band, and were you prepared for it?
GD: It added a new way of working with others, we were used to a much more underground way to promote ourselves! It’s a good thing to have some guys behind us to do a proper job. We could easily focus now on our music. Actually we know The Rock Runners staff for several years now and Nip Down Records are true partying mates so it s helped us to converse daily. And thanks to Nip Down we are beginning a partnership with Season Of Mist distribution. Its a whole good thing but also brings endless late night arguments inside the band.

MM: When you were playing at Hellfest 08, what kind of reception did God Damn receive?
GD: We were very excited to play there! Every year we went there with our backpacks, tents and alcohol artillery! But this year we were playing twice next to the campsite on Friday and Saturday although the audience were mostly in front of the main stage, but it was cool already to meet new people and legends such as Slayer or Motorhead.

MM: How have God Damn been received locally?
GD: We have good numbers of people that follow us in our area so the gigs are fucking great, its like playing at home every time!

MM: I will quote; God Damn created a new explosive way of making shows. In what ways are your shows so explosive?
GD: You know much of the actual metal scene in France is made of extreme bands with fast beats, and an angry living, so they don’t have time to enjoy on stage! We just play some kick ass stoner metal, so we have plenty of opportunities to booze on stage with the audience. We are often there less than an hour to fully enjoy the booze, so we give it all away to them and take time to communicate. We manage to bring some warmth around here with music that leads you to a party at the bar after the show!

MM: Can you explain to our readers, what your involvement is being in The Red Neck Metal Crew, and what is it, that this organisation does?
GD: The Red Neck Metal Crew is developed in several countries now, so naturally we were discussing, with bands of mates met on road to create it in France. It is a way to unite bands like us, such as Phazm or Addicted with the same South RnR influences, and not only for the playing side of things! It’s much a way of life made from booze, grass and Sunday hangovers. It will lead to gigs across France during this year.

MM: You have your own association, Dead Burgers, how has that been progressing?
GD: The Dead Burgers brought us the opportunities to organize concerts in Lyon and its area, with the exchanging gig process: We make you come here and you help us to go there. It’s a good way to travel often and to create working contacts. Everyone is pleased with it; we have done it for years now and it still works actually.

MM: What does God Damn plan on bringing forward to the metal industry?
GD: We want to create a bit of actual metal that is listened, or “used to be listened to” by many metal fans, although has not been played as much as it should, in France in particular. Also proving that a French band can do it in the southern way!

MM: Will we catch you in the UK, any time soon?
GD: Actually we aren’t booked yet in the UK but we hope to come someday soon!

"Old Days" is to be released on the 21st February, with Nip Down Records.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 1:20 am
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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Progressive metal, with melodic additions, folk movements, restrained keys, and cogent vocal takes, welcome Cathis Ord. And although you’ve heard all of this before (similar to Opeth, Katatonia, etc) this is not a canny replicate. Moreover, an expansion to similar themes and an effort that easily deserves recognition. Cathis Ord, is also (surprisingly) an uncharacterised solo project. Containing just the James Russell within its vicinity, he has been able to capture everything commendable in the genre.

Here at MMuk, we’re rather humbled by Russell’s latest offering, as a single entity he’s achieved most aesthetics all too many groups merely outcast. There are two tracks on the demo, with the entire disc clocking in at around 22:24. The objectivity upon highlighting this is that for either of the tracks (particularly pertaining to the length of eleven minutes) to hold much water, they must be blessed with rich and compounding song writing. Russell presents excellent song writing, further complex song structure combined with atmosphere dubbed in a wealth of beauty and artistry. He’s certainly synthesised our checklist. Each track has their fair share of acoustic, melodic and metallic doom-esque passages; in addition it’s the way they’ve been moulded which makes Cathis Ord as fresh as it is breath taking.

This isn’t exactly an innovator nor does it have to be, though Russell has brought to the fore a formula worthy to any commercial release. And sure, it is a little rough around the edges, with the mix sounding ‘muddy’, production periodically being sparse, and the drum programming staying within their stereotype. Yet these idiosyncrasies fail to mask an albeit, wondrous journey. A simply exceptional contribution.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 7:38 pm
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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

With ilks reminiscent to Children Of Bodom, Arch Enemy and Carcass, it’s extremely facile although unwise to suggest that Grim Drowsiness are too late in latching the commercial bandwagon. There is a specific lack of ambition that is resoundingly disappointing with this EP, as the capabilities and potential within the band are squandered by blindingly obvious (and periodically low brow) song writing.

Yet, Grim Drowsiness are extensively good at what they do. Aside from the minor anomalies, the band are easily one of the more objective quintets around, progressing with a clean coherence through each track, often felt from their very forerunners. It’s effortlessly easy to slam the door on various personal performances through the EP with successive lead, bridge, and vocal sections beckoning the question; to what extent has this demo been finished?

Sonically, this is rich stuff, proving bang for your buck based on the mixing quality the record exudes.

This isn’t a demanding release for the listener, that will work as an easy stepping stone for newcomers of the genre, but invites a hit or miss attitude for experienced users to adopt. Grim Drowsiness’ biggest hurdle lies with their own stylistic positioning. Everything the group has achieved has already been done so since 97’. And although Grim Drowsiness will most certainly prove popular locally, they are an incremental update to the genre.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:13 am
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

“Dark Oriental Metal” – I’ll stamp this at progressive metal for all intensive purposes. To not begin to further become confused with how to define Bilocate is a much superior use of words than to bog down on categorically attempting to place them in more than four genres – yes there’s a lot here, but the mirages of influence and genre are two completely different things. As read, there is a rapture of ideas to behold within Sudden Death Syndrome. From the opportunist to the majestic, the sombre to the brutal, Bilocate capture everything commendable within the genre.

Beginning and concluding in ambient domain, Bilocate are easily one of the more remarkable groups at kissing the horizon. It truly is plentiful in its soothing yet dark characteristics that set a resonant chord, to echo throughout the release. The layers of eastern magic, level in these ambient showcases too, expanding on similar themes that bands such as Opeth and Porcupine Tree have touched on, and also introducing to newcomers of the genre that the east/west division (particular in the archives of metal) is not lost in translation. “Blooded Forest”, is clever as it is idealistic. It packs a strong experience reminiscent of strong influence. It’s also an excellent perception to the similar themes explored by Bilocate throughout other aspects of the release. Capturing the essence of progressive metal with consistent fluidity, “The Dead Sea”, “Ebtehal”, “Inoculate” and “Pure Wicked Sins” intertwine themselves gracefully. There’s a notable beauty to Bilocates artistry, as well as an accessible reverence in their work. With a discernible passion in each gift-wrapped souvenir, Bilocate have handled their packages with extreme care that never fails to deliver.

Not to mask Bilocate’s glorious feat, Sudden Death Syndrome is subject to a peerlessly healthy master with Jens Bogren along with other engineer’s involvement on the album. It has been polished, and further refined.

This is a fresh and significant contribution to the genre which must be recognised. Bilocate will certainly be pioneering the Jordan scene, but who knows what’s next to come, as in the west, Bilocate will be effortlessly distinguishable. Within the current economic climate, this will be the only easy choice you’ll make to depart with your hard earned cash.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 11:24 pm
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Saturday, 17 January 2009

Funeral Mourning typifies its atmospheric, sombre, dark and plaintive verses with a catalyst commonly found within the doom genre. From the beginning, this solo effort from the former Kinstrife, Blood, and Pestilential Shadows member, known as “Desolate” will induce images that are temporal in dissonance and spanning still life. Within Drown In Solitude’s lifetime we wanted to lament, run and leave it all behind - there could be a no more fitting response.

Littered in droneful movements, unyielding drum takes, conforming guitars, and dithering vocal work, “Drown In Solitude” vivifies and stimulates collectively hand in hand. The introduction “Winds Of Unknown Existence” is the albums biggest statement of intent as it lays foundation for dejected overtones and atmosphere. It’s because of this, that throughout the entire record nothing is professionally juxtaposed or further changes. “Sounds Of A Dreary Sea” is the records highlight. It boasts an intelligible, majestic and glorious feat to its overall composition, but yet sustains its disconsolate overtone. Similar to most of the record, a confident achievement, packed full of reverence and downfall.

Although, this is no perfect vignette. The skinniness of the drums periodically consumes most of the record’s atmosphere and ambience, instead of bearing a partial of the records weight. Its riffing progressions at allotted points appear lost. The intervals are scattered at non-successive events within the tracks. There is also an overhanging suggestion of unnecessary restraint and reserved harness.

However on a record of such scale these minor anomalies do not hold much water, as Funeral Mourning have achieved everything set. This is a coherent delivery saturated in brilliance.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 8:32 pm
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Thrash metal is now in its period of adolescence. The genre has failed to manoeuvre from its lacuna back within the late 70’s mark, and its because of this that Godslave appear to be living in the past, with their cumbersome overt riffing, combined with a lacklustre of plain bread and butter song structures, on “Out Of The Ashes”.

It’s difficult to discuss Godslave without mentioning a quality of detracting ambition. There’s nothing acute on song structure, nothing judicious on lyrical value, and something painful on the overall delivery. The EP opening with “Out Of The Ashes” is a rather diluted offering. It’s sparse, and riddled with inadequate ideas. It lacks a sufficient amount of qualities to maintain your requisite attention, as the track contains five riffs that are progressed over a timescale of five minutes, twelve seconds. This is tenuous poor stuff. The performances of each member present are not completely inspiring, fulfilling your every last shade of grey. “Slaves To The Black”, “Wings Of Wrath” and “Dead Reckoning” are not avid contributions either. These efforts will leave you hankering for something more specifically not from Godslave. “Where The Sun Sleeps” is the one notable offering with a much more accomplished opening. It packs atmosphere, it displays ambition, and ultimately reveals Godslave’s potential. Unfortunately with this group already sounding out of sorts and out of credible ideas, remnants of un-necessary repetition plague what could have been a superlative (when comparing the previous) on this EP.

While not pertaining dubious, you’ve heard everything on this disc before. It is a shame with so many groups such as this polluting the scene, that there is no strict authorization on quality control. Furthermore Godslave have been blessed with a beautiful mix, and a soaring production level that has been dashed by a lack of honest foresight when it came to the final exorcism. Godslaves basic skills and tools of the trade are here but little else. Its back to the drawing board for this five piece.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 9:53 pm
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There’s a fallacy in thinking there is anything different, unique, or inventive on Powerdrive’s Steel Roots. No, this isn’t even an entirely creative or technical achievement. Instead a musical achievement, using the correct amount of American influence, Powerdrive has proven with Steel Roots, that this formula, still works.

Steel Roots rather commercial introduction “Final Chapter” is a perfect mix of simplistic, honest and generic idiosyncrasies. All of the tracks are binary in form, and although that could be viewed upon as a minor critical blow, it’s their initial riffing and vocal work, which feel fresh. Yet it’s an underwhelming introduction at best. The guitar riffing at times appears lazy. Ideas show sparseness on Final Chapters song structure because of its intense obviousness, not to mention it falling short on atmosphere. Final Chapter is stuck on boundaries that are far too easily broken, within their target market. However, if you can ignore these tiny imperfections Powerdrive’s (ironically titled) Starting Over gives much more of a kick, as it does flexibility. It’s exhilarating, brutal, powerful and intrinsically addictive. There’s enough material present to keep you on edge, as there is to keep you thwacking your head around in metallic delight. There is considerable depth on Alive, if you’re prepared for reflections similar to 80s ballads. “Alive” yearns for potential, but is squandered by its poor song structure; it also lacks an emotional flame for it to fully alight in. It is listenable, and plausible, but simply not good enough. “Self Determination” reveals Powerdrive’s potential on song writing, with pounding guitar riffing, blistering drumming, and nailed ardent vocal takes. “Treat”, “Laid to Rest”, and “Blast” portrays Powerdrive within their classy comfort zone. Its raw, its rustic and its enthralling. “Silver Bullet” excels on creating atmosphere, and a level of melancholy, which helps it become a memory within Steel Roots. Other times, it exceeds an acceptable level of mature emotion to limbo under the barrier of becoming silly. However, the lead guitar work present on “Silver Bullet”, deserves acclaim, as it helps make up for these periodic disappointments. It’s mesmerising, leaving the desired punch that the type of song requires and although no technical achievement as far as guitar virtuosos go, this is tremendously great sounding frequency. “Dead Silence”, “New Life” and “Untouchable”, serve as an excellent outro for Steel Roots. It’s notably Powerdrive’s most technical work, and when it wants to be, the most irrefutably intense section of the album. It stands out to shine through, and could well be a benchmark for Powerdrive to reach next time around.

Its also excellent to hear an unsigned bands work so sonic and polished in its production. This is also a credit to each individual performance, proving an excellent listen to further add resemblance onto the bands talent.

Creditable modern stigmas go out the window with Powerdrive, as they teach an old used and abused genre new tricks. Yes, at times Powerdrive will feel like an antithesis on modern metal but that’s probably why you’ll love them. This is an old-school record repaying a genre congested with emission. What next for Powerdrive? Probably a record deal and tour bus to accompany.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 9:49 pm
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