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 piĆ¹ 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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