- Published on Friday, 18 January 2013 08:27
- Written by Corey Morris
- Hits: 201
Rotten Sound - Species at War
These grind demons hail from Finland with their Napalm Death intensity mixed with Entombed’s classic 90’s guitar tone. I have always loved Rotten Sound; these guys always deliver and have never let me down before. “Species At War” is their latest release, an EP that lasts for approximately 8 blistering minutes.
The EP’s tempo is in full chaos mode from start to finish. It’s exactly what grindcore should be, vitriolic vocals complimented by swells of impassioned and unstoppable energy. Every track has that “classic” Rotten Sound as opposed to their previous release of Cursed. I think Rotten Sound should be applauded for simplifying the production process, allowing their version of grindcore to sound like what grindcore should be, simple and brutal.
Rotten Sound once again follows the same trend by having track listings at one or two words, while only lasting a minute or so. My favorite track off “Species At War” has got to be “Salvation.” “Salvation” incorporates a really cool groove that not only works but caps off this impressive EP. Rotten Sound has taken a step back in the right direction and this EP should appeal to old and new listeners alike.
Blockheads - This World Is Dead
When I think of grindcore, I think of the Blockheads. For those who have no idea who the Blockheads are, well they are a grindcore band from France. The Blockheads last release was in 2006, but since then they released a CD/7inch split with Mumakill, had a few lineup changes, and released an excellent DVD by the name of “Grindcore Overdose.” The band has the necessary hatred to produce grindcore while also being impressionable and interesting to the listener.
The guitar work on the album is superb and reminded me of Pig Destroyer with a sprinkle of old school aggression. The vocals are very polished due to the bands more modern approach to production in the studio. The bass is extremely fast and furious and really shines on the shorter tracks. The percussion is filled with high-powered blast beats that drive energy into each and every song. Lastly, the lyrics are intelligent and enjoyable at the same time.
Overall, “This World Is Dead” is a testament to not only the Blockheads, but also other grindcore bands across the globe. We are starting to see more grindcore bands emerge and I hope that this continues to happen throughout the rest of 2013. This album will definitely appeal to fans of grindcore and hardcore as well as death metal too due to its deathgrind feel.
- Published on Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:47
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 235
Audrey Horne – Youngblood
Audrey Horne is a post-grunge hard rock band from Norway and “Youngblood” is their fourth album.
Before you start wondering why such a band is on Metal Disciple, know that current and former members of Audrey Horne have also played in bands such as Enslaved, Gorgoroth and God Seed. So yeah, these are metal guys having some fun with rock songs that are a bit more catchy than their usual fare. I would say that if anyone is qualified to make rock songs that don’t suck, it would be metal guys.
Considering their other bands don’t generally have much call for melody and hooks it is almost surprising how well they pull off these songs. I say almost because we all know metal musicians are the most talented in the world and can pull off anything, right? We have the “I could play that commercial shit if I wanted to, I just choose not to” attitude. Well these guys prove that this is true. Audrey Horne is making rock music better than anything I would hear on the radio here in the U.S.
The songs may be catchy but there is still plenty of cool musicianship and guitar work on “Youngblood.” The production quality is great and perfect for the style they are playing. Honestly I can’t think of anything to knock off points for; this is a batch of well-written and well-played hard rock songs. If you are open to that sort of thing I have little doubt you will enjoy this album. If not, well, maybe the next band will be more to your liking.
See below for a “Youngblood” album sampler for Napalm Records.
Chapel of Disease – Summoning Black Gods
Chapel of Disease is a German death metal band and “Summoning Black Gods” is their first album.
I dig the rather Lovecraftian album art work on “Summoning Black Gods.” Oh, and yeah, the music is pretty good too. Chapel of Disease manage to pull off having a raw sound while still maintaining a decent sounding production. The music sounds full but not so punchy and crisp as to sound like a slick marvel of production wizardry. There is also a bit of atmosphere in the sound, but not so much as to muddy everything up. Overall an nice blend of raw and finished.
The guitar work is more than just a chugging wall of death and destruction; there are plenty of excellent riffs and leads that are reminiscent of mid-era Slayer. The vocals are of course harsh and at times remind me of “Scream Bloody Gore” era Chuck Schuldiner.
I don’t really have much else to say about this album. I enjoyed giving it a listen. “Summoning Black Gods” is a lot better than hordes of the competition, so I recommend giving them a listen. Check out the promo clip below for “Descend to the Tomb.”
The Advent Equation – Limitless Life Reflections
The Advent Equation is a Mexican progressive death metal band and “Limitless Life Reflections” is their first album.
“Limitless Life Reflections” is very literally a mix of both progressive metal and death metal. Some bands say progressive death metal and that just means that they have harsh vocals and lots of fretboard gymnastics. That is not the case with The Advent Equation. One moment they are playing melodic guitars and pianos and all that proggy stuff with soaring clean vocals, and the next moment the vocals go full-on throaty death roar. Sure, there are a lot of bands that mix clean and harsh vocals, but something about this album just makes it seem like they are hitting the extremes in both directions and that seems out of the ordinary for this listener. Good job on exceeding my expectations.
The song writing is phenomenal and the musicianship is there to pull it off. The only thing that bums me out a little is that the production is at about 90% of where it should be. The album sounds really good, but given all that is going on and how well it is played, the album really deserves to have a top of the line kick-ass pristine sound quality, and it falls just a little short of that. There is plenty of punch, but there is also a slightly muffled quality that feels like it is restraining the songs from hitting those high crisp places that it wants to reach. This dampens the sound of the album ever so slightly. But hey, it is still a great album.
Check out the promo video for “Purification Lapse.”
Gruesome Stuff Relish – Sempiternal Death Grind
Gruesome Stuff Relish is a Spanish death/grind band and “Sempiternal Death Grind” is their third album.
Gruesome Stuff Relish is not shy about their Carcass-worship, and consider themselves one of three bands that “possess the same old, rotten spirit” as the acclaimed UK grind masters (the other two being General Surgery and Haemorrhage.) I will freely admit (and likely piss off the purists) that I am unable to stomach the first two Carcass albums; they sound fucking horrible. Third album “Necroticism” is the first Carcass album that sounds good to me, but my favorite remains “Heartwork.”
Anyway, so, yeah, grindcore. Listening to “Sempiternal Death Grind” I can tell right away that the sound quality is far superior to either of the first two Carcass albums, and possibly even the third. Actually, this is probably one of the most accessible (relative to other grindcore) grindcore albums I have heard. The production actually has a decent low-end and is clear enough to make out what the guitars are doing. The rhythm guitars often have an Entombed-like quality to them.
The vocals are very harsh, and at first I wasn’t a big fan of them. But as the album goes on I acclimated to them and they are alright. They are pretty guttural, so there’s no making out words without a lyric sheet. I’d like to hear the vocals mixed a little bit louder too.
Here is the track “Desecrated.”
- Published on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 11:02
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 400
Æther Realm - One Chosen by the Gods
Æther Realm is a melodic death/Viking/folk metal band from Greenville, North Carolina and “One Chosen by the Gods” is their first album.
I came across these guys recently while seeking out new music, possibly on Bandcamp, and right away I knew I needed to get this album. They may be from North Carolina, but they sound like they could be next door neighbors to Amon Amarth. During the week Johan might come over to borrow a whetstone and an extra bear skin, and on the weekends they could plunder coastal villages together.
As a first album “One Chosen by the Gods” sounds absolutely brilliant. Not to blaspheme Amon Amarth, but I don’t recall them sounding this good on their first album. The production sound is all that I could ever ask for. The music is bright and clear while maintaining a thick, heavy punchiness. The vocals, which are harsh but enunciated well, are perfectly mixed so they are not overpowered by the music. This is a shining example of how much power can be generated by a quality production sound.
I dug this album so much I had to stop in the middle of this review, go to their online storefront, and buy a t-shirt. Expect to see me donning their battle gear in future Metal Disciple videos.
Everything I can find points to these guys being unsigned. That this album sounds as amazing as it does without any label support just blows my mind. Well done sirs! Any label could swoop in and release this album as it is and consider themselves lucky to have it. I am very impressed.
Do not miss out on “One Chosen by the Gods.” Head over to iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp and get this album. Here is the title track to help convince you. Raise your swords to Æther Realm!
Dei Aemeth – Apotheosis
Dei Aemeth is, in their own words, an “avante-garde metal, progressive metal or wizard metal” band from Dallas, Texas and “Apotheosis” is their first album.
I must agree that I have a hard time confining Dei Aemeth to a single corner of the metal pantheon. There is a death metal aspect from the heavy music and harsh vocals, but there are definitely progressive elements and parts that I suppose I can attribute to the catch-all avante-garde. To be certain, this is not your typical-every-day-ordinary metal album. As I started listening to the album I thought it was going one way, but then they would go somewhere else that I wasn’t expecting, all without getting too weird. Consider my attention grabbed.
Is it me or is there a lot of cool fucking metal coming out of Texas these days?? It seems like in the 90s Pantera must have spread their seed around the state and now the crop of new metal is ready to harvest. And it’s not like they all sound the same either; there is a wide range of styles: Dei Aemeth, The Sword, Vesperian Sorrow, Texas Hippie Coalition. The list goes on.
Leg-humping the Lone Star State aside, make sure you check out Dei Aemeth on Swimming With Sharks Records. “Apotheosis” is anything but a typical death metal album. I think you will enjoy it.
Here is the lyric video for “Tide of Devourment.”
Haiduk – Spellbook
Haiduk is a death metal band from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and “Spellbook” is their first album.
In some ways “Spellbook” is more of a traditional death metal album than today’s previous two bands, but traditional does not have to mean typical. Haiduk does not have the Viking/Folk trappings of Æther Realm, or the experimental nature of Dei Aemeth; rather “Spellbook” is focused, concentrated darkness.
Haiduk is a one-man project created by Luka Milojica. Sometimes you can really tell when an album is the product of one person (for example anything from my terrible body of recorded work) and sometimes the lone mastermind pulls off an album of material that sounds no different than that produced by a full band. “Spellbook” is one of the latter; had I not known this was the work of one man, I would have expected a full band. Kudos on making it all work seamlessly.
“Spellbook”, while death metal in nature spends a lot of time focusing on the music. There are long instrumental passages that I don’t normally associate with death metal, which help the album stand out in my mind. This is not the mindless, slavering violence of a diabolic force, but more like a sinister and brooding darkness which is biding its time until the moment is right for unleashing its vengeance upon the world.
I am quite impressed with Haiduk’s first offering. The songs are interesting and the production is far above average death metal style music. I recommend giving “Spellbook” a listen. Here is the track “Black Wind” to get you started.
Ajana – Home in Decay
Ajana is German metal music project with doom influences and “Home in Decay” appears to be the first full-length album.
The sparse bio I received indicates that Ajana is a solo project with extra session musicians, but that the vocals and music are written by Ajana herself. I looked around online trying to find a little more information and was amused to find a review by someone else who was equally in the dark about the finer details of Ajana. Ah well, it was a nice looking bio sheet, if not overly specific.
Who cares about that stuff anyway, right? If the music can stand on its own that is the important thing. So let’s talk about the music. The music is mid-tempo and heavy with a thick and lush production. If I like nothing else about the album, I like the music. The vocals, however, are also really good. Ajana sings in a clean and sometimes haunting voice.
I’ve been saying how not-typical the albums are today, and that trend continues with “Home in Decay.” Ajana has produced an album that is almost nothing like what I have come to expect from the “typical” female fronted metal band, and I am very pleased. The well-produced music along with the beautiful vocals guarantees that this is an album that I will be coming back to for repeat visits.
Check out Ajana and “Home in Decay.” Here is the song “Grey.”
- Published on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 10:17
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 273
Sonic Reign – Monument in Black
Sonic Reign is a black metal band from Germany and “Monument in Black” is their second album.
I call these guys black metal because that’s what I see on the screen, but don’t get the idea that this is Mayhem or Emperor style black metal. What they really sound like to me, particularly in the vocal department, is latter day Satyricon. Sonic Reign have a simpler and more compact sound than most black metal bands; these songs are not drenched in atmospherics, but rather are heavy on the cold and raw aspects. The name Sonic Reign put me more in mind of death metal than black metal, but there you have it.
I am rather surprised by how good this album sounds. Not that I have any real basis for making that statement other than the fact that I tend to be surprised when a band I have never heard of drops some well-crafted metal in my ears. In my experience it tends to take underground extreme metal bands a few albums before honing in on a great sound and production, if for no other reason than at least because of budget. I have no idea what their first album sounded like, but “Monument in Black” is really good and growing on me with every listen. (Note – I just looked back at their first album, and it is titled “Raw Dark Pure.” How appropriate.)
I love it when I hear a band for the first time and they take me from skeptical all the way to believer in one sitting. That is the dragon I am chasing every time I listen to a new band, that feeling of “Wow, what have I just come across?!” A lot of people probably like the comfort of well-worn and familiar material, but me, I like to discover new things. Thank you to Sonic Reign for making my day.
Don’t miss “Monument in Black.” Here is the track “The Whisperer in the Dark.”
Deceptor – Chains of Delusion
Deceptor are a UK thrash trio and “Chains of Delusion” is their second EP.
Hmmmmm, interesting. This isn’t thrash in the Warbringer or Municipal Waste sense, but rather in the style of pre-thrash originated by bands like Attacker and Omen. It also reminds me of a slightly heavier “Over the Top”-era White Wizzard, which makes sense as that album also sounded like it came from that 1983-85 period.
I think this is a strong showing, but there is work yet to be done. I love their style, and the production is even pretty good, but it sounds like it could be tightened up. The drums sound a little clunky and the guitars are perhaps a little loud. Or at least the vocals need to be bumped up more; probably both. The foundation of a good band is something they already have; they just need to work on the fine tuning of the sound.
I have to mention the two filler tracks, “Transmittion I” and “Transmission II” because they are just these robotic voices that remind me of Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica series. By your command!
I like where these guys are headed and hope to hear more from them as they progress. Here is the video for “Heatseeker.”
Black Jesus – Black Jesus Saves
Black Jesus is a death metal band from Australia and “Black Jesus Saves” is their 2010 demo. I assume it is being re-released by Hells Headbangers Records.
I must admit that while bands with names like Black Sabbath, Black September and Black Majesty all sound pretty metal, a band named Black Jesus immediately makes me think of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Does that make me a bad person? I mean, I get where they are going with the name, but that is still the first thing to pop into my mind’s eye.
Anyway, this is a demo and it sounds like one. The sound quality is pretty poor, though I have heard worse. The songs aren’t too bad on their own, they are just held back by the weak production. I bet these guys would clean up pretty well if someone puts some money into them.
I respect what they are going for, and I hear potential, but the production is so poor that I would not likely listen to this again. Here is the title track.
Erupted – In the Grip of Chaos
“In the Grip of Chaos” is the first album from Swedish brutal death metal band Erupted.
Well, Erupted has a brighter and clearer sound than Black Jesus, but the production is still pretty bad. Surprisingly the uber-harsh vocals are the easiest thing to hear. Most people bury vocals this brutal, so I’ll give Erupted credit for making them easy to hear. Unfortunately the rest of the band is actually buried under the vocals. The guitars seem like they are wandering and the drums feel….hesitant sometimes.
I dunno. On the strength of the vocals the album grows on me a little as it progresses. I suppose this would make a decent demo, but as an album it feels lacking in fire and intensity. Perhaps they are going for that slower, sludgy death metal. If that’s the case then they need to really beef up the whole mix so it is just ungodly thick and heavy thereby making it intense in that way. It’s a first album, so maybe by the time they do a second album things will sound a little better.
Here is the title track, “In the Grip of Chaos.”
- Published on Monday, 14 January 2013 11:26
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 225
Sulphur Aeon – Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide
Sulphur Aeon is a death metal band from Germany and “Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide” is their first full-length album.
I called this death metal because that was the label I was given, but this feels like no mere death metal album to me. The vocals are certainly growly and death-like, but the music has a vast atmospheric and melodic air about it that brings to mind black metal. So, yeah, this may be death metal, but death metal like Dissection, not like Cannibal Corpse.
The production borders on almost too atmospheric for my tastes. I would like to hear this sounding just the slightest bit crisper. I wouldn’t want to lose all of that atmospheric quality, because it really does bring something to the mix, but if the drums had a little more punch and the vocals were just a hair higher in the mix, this album would blow my mind. As it is I am still very impressed.
Here is the track “Inexorable Spirits.”
Denouncement Pyre – Almighty Arcanum
Denouncement Pyre is a blackened death metal trio from Australia and “Almighty Arcanum” is their second album.
I didn’t plan it this way, but Denouncement Pyre sounds like the same style of Dissection-worshiping black-death as Sulphur Aeon, only with less of an atmospheric sound. I think I am going to like “Almighty Arcanum.”
The main production difference I hear between these two bands is that everything on the Denouncement Pyre album is much brighter and sharper, almost to a fault. While I love how clear everything sounds, they almost sacrifice a little too much low-end. But I won’t complain very hard; I’d rather have too clear than not clear enough. For a trio this sound is huge.
The more I listen to these songs, the more I like them. These songs are so heavy and evil sounding, yet they are not just a wall of aggression from front to back. Differing levels of tempo and intensity provide a dynamic range that is often lost on death metal music.
I heartily recommend checking out Denouncement Pyre. Here is an album teaser for you.
Troubled Horse – Step Inside
Troubled Horse is a Swedish retro-doom/hard rock band and I believe “Step Inside” is their first album.
Troubled Horse has a rather interesting sound. It makes me think of a pinch of Graveyard-style hard rock music combined with another helping of Witchcraft’s heavier retro-doom. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise since Troubled Horse features Ola Henriksson from Witchcraft.
“Step Inside” is really a pretty good album. It may not be as heavy as the aforementioned death metal bands, but it IS still heavy. It combines that old school heavy with an infectious catchiness and upbeat sound that helps Troubled Horse move ahead of the pack of similar retro-tinged acts. While other acts in this vein will wank while my attention begins to wander, Troubled Horse seems to make every note count.
This album sounds so terribly familiar, yet at the same not quite like anything I’ve heard before. I could ramble on for a while attempting various comparisons, but the whole point, ultimately, is that “Step Inside” is a quality and entertaining listen. It may not appeal to the extreme metal crowd, but if one does not have a versatile ear one will most certainly miss out on a lot of good music.
Check out the track “One Step Closer to My Grave.”
Skrog – The Global Elite
Skrog is an industrial metal band from Minneapolis, Minnesota and “The Global Elite” is the band’s first album.
The first track “The Revelation” started leading me down the path to boredom. The music wasn’t doing anything interesting and the vocals sounded overly saturated in effects. I persevered, though, and the second track, “MK – Ultra” proved to be a big improvement. The music on this track was a lot more interesting and the vocals sounded less drenched in effects (though certainly not devoid of them.)
The third track, “Military Industrial Complex” starts to lose me again with the use of sampled audio clips. The song is a pretty decent industrial metal song, but I am just so done with people using sampled audio that my eyes start to glaze over every time the clip starts playing. They really kill a track’s momentum.
I don’t really listen to much industrial music anymore, metal or otherwise, so I’m kind of a hard sell for this album. However, there is more about this album that I like than I dislike, so I chalk it up as a win. The album definitely grows on me as it progresses. I would maybe not lead the album off with “The Revelation” though; start with “MK – Ultra” to get the listener engaged right away.
Check out the video for “Dark Metamorphosis.”
KingBathMat – Truth Button
KingBathMat are a psychedelic/progressive/alternative rock band from Hastings, England and “Truth Button” is their sixth album.
As I listened to “Truth Button” I tried to decide how to describe them (and whether they even belonged on a metal site.) Reading the bio sheet I saw my thoughts in print:
The musical style of KingBathMat is difficult to ascertain, pin down or pigeon hole and does not sit comfortably in any particular category of music. Often described in reviews as an amalgamation of numerous bands e.g. “the sound of Pink Floyd wrestling with Kasabian”, “Black Sabbath cuddled by extravagant ELO harmonies.”
That is a mighty fine way to describe the band. The Pink Floyd influence was immediately apparent. I’m not a Kasabian fan to know if that comparison is relevant, but they do blend the occasional heaviness of Black Sabbath with the complex rock of ELO.
The production quality of the album is pristine and does not even warrant mentioning. The quality of the musicianship is also without question. The only thing really left to determine is whether I like what they are doing. That really isn’t much of a burdon either, as the songs on “Truth Button” far and away trounce anything from the rock music scene I have heard lately. Granted, in America rock is mostly dead in the mainstream, so there isn’t a lot to compare them to here. I’ll take KingBathMat over Justin Bieber (Canadian, I know) and Lady Gaga any day of the week.
This is some good stuff. Check out the album preview below.