- Published on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:31
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 297
Allegaeon – Formshifter
“Formshifter” is the second album from Colorado-based technical melodic death metal band Allegaeon. I have heard these guys on Liquid Metal before, but have not put them under the microscope for closer inspection.
The first thing I notice about this album is the excellent sound quality. Say what you will about the atmosphere on an album, but a good production always helps. The next thing I notice is the technical musicianship. Being that I was once a string plucker that is where my ears focus first; there is some wonderful guitar playing on this album. Melodic guitar lines contrast well with the heavier music base. The vocals are harsh, but in that Swedish death metal way that leaves you able to still make out a lot of the lyrics. I enjoyed how the vocals were not buried but still left plenty of room for the guitar gymnastics to be heard.
There is so much melodic death metal being dropped on metal listeners that it can be tedious picking out which bands are worthwhile. If I were the maître d' of an all you can eat metal buffet, and you asked me for a suggestion after poring over the extensive melodic death metal menu, I would recommend the special of the day, Allegaeon, it has a nice bite to it but goes down smooth.
Marauder – Elegy of Blood
Marauder is a heavy/power metal band from Greece and “Elegy of Blood” is their fifth album. Inside the first minute of “The Great War” I am reminded of Iced Earth. Let that comparison set the tone, but do not dwell on it too much, as the impression quickly fades. Once the cleaner, more epic vocals make an entrance I have trouble thinking of similar artists.
The songs on “Elegy of Blood” are power metal in the vein that gets my blood pumping and makes me want to swing a sword. Soaring, clean, gang vocals and bombastic power chords are the order of the day and they are served up with gusto (I must be hungry with all this restaurant talk). I am known to be very picky about power metal, but I would not hesitate to recommend Marauder. This is power metal that does not leave out the metal ingredient in favor of too much melody; these songs have their metal balls intact. Check these guys out.
Bible of the Devil – For the Love of Thugs and Fools
I have listened to Chicago’s Bible of the Devil in the past and recall enjoying them, but something about their seventh album, “For the Love of Thugs and Fools” just does not click with me. The first thing that turned me off was the overly long instrumental album intro “Sexual Overture.” Things pick up once they get into “Away” but at this point I notice that the production quality on the album is rather weak. If I was feeling more charitable I would say this works out ok with their retro, stoner rock vibe, but come on, this is their seventh album; it is time to get some real production.
On the upside there is plenty of cool stoner rock guitar riffage. Lots of bands are flooding this genre and play this style poorly, but Bible of the Devil write good songs; they just need to record them better.
Diseim – Holy Wrath
“Holy Wrath” appears to be the first album from Latvian death metal band Diseim. I make a lot of (often bad) judgments about albums based on the album cover before ever listening to a note, and in this case I was expecting something mediocre and poorly produced. Well, you know with that kind of lead-in that when I gave the album a listen that is not what I heard.
The production on “Holy Wrath” is not really all that spectacular; it definitely sounds like they were on a budget. But they seem to have made the best of what they had available, because the music is fairly stripped down and tight sounding making this a diamond in the rough. The vocals are harsh but are seated above and a bit apart from the music, and while they are harsh, they also have a subdued quality that gels really well with the music. The album falls mostly under death metal, but there is a heavy, ponderous aspect that leaves the door open for appending them with the doom tag.
Chalk this one up as the surprise of the day. I really enjoyed this album. Check out this YouTube clip that previews tracks from the album.