Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Symphony of Symbols - Stupefying Beliefs (2012, Metal Scrap Records)

Genre: Death Metal
Year: 2012
1. Cold Season 1 01:10  
2. Time Has Come 10:41  
3. Cold Season 2 01:00  
4. The End of Material Life 08:11  
5. Cold Season 3 00:42  
6. Fire for the Body 08:23  
7. Cold Season 4 01:02  
8. The Fire of Revenge 06:51  
9. Cold Season 5 00:52  
10. Roaming 10:28  
11. Cold Season 6 00:43  
12. Things That Only the Magus Knows 11:10  
13. Cold Season 7 01:15  
The artwork promises a progressive metal band, but the music delivers death metal like Morbid Angel and Death would give you.
The riffs follow the DeathMetalGuidebook and resemble previously mentioned bands. The singer has a good grunt that does the job but lacks variation. The site mentions that this is death/black metal but I fail to see the black metal elements here. The
While we get 13 songs presented only about half of them are real songs, the others are more progressive interludes that seems a bit out of place for an otherwise standard death metal album. Out of place but still A+ for effort.
 The booklet seems a bit crowded, it could have used a page or two extra because the 13 songs all have lyrics that they put in. In true Hongerian style it's English that makes little to no sense. I would actually prefer them to write songs in their own language for once.


Where to buy:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shame Yourself - Wonderfuck (Metal Scrap Records, 2012)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Year: 2012
Country: Poland
1. Work Is Not Over 04:06  
2. For All Your Sins 03:26  
3. Secrets 04:23  
4. Jab C.O. 04:05  
5. Metalheads 06:11  
6. Cannabis Corpse 04:42  
7. Your Creation 02:36  
8. Redrum 04:33  
9. Cathology 04:05  
10. Slave of Masturbation 04:34  
11. Hell 05:18  

So another band from the Ukrainian metal label Metal Scrap Records, this time not a Ukrainian band but a Polish group releasing their debut album.

When you hear Polish thrash you might be thinking about a more classic style like we know from Destroyers, Turbo or Kat. What we get here however is something completely different, we get more groove, mid-tempo thrash metal songs. Indeed not a cliché for a polish band but nothing new anyways. While some listeners might be put of by is the lyrics (very simple, basic lyrics) their is humor to be found in them. A good example of the humor would be the song cannabis corpse. If you aren't laughing with the title right now you won't like the rest of the lyrics on display here. The lesser knowledge of the English language also isn't helping their case, like this lyrical gem from a song about masturbation
'Every time I close my eyes, I see naked chicks
all in foam,
then my little marine, grown in power and want
to fight...'

You can't tell me this wasn't just translated by google translate, the rest of the lyrics aren't that much better either so you can either laugh with it or hate it.

The singer does a combination of death metal grunting and more hardcore shouting.
The production has a very "full" sound to it,all the instruments are mixed well and it just sounds like you expect from a decent release.

From the first song 'work is not over' you get a very good idea how the rest of the album is going to be, no real standout tracks or progressive songs here, just modern thrash that sounds surprisingly good.
The song 'hell' can be shown as an example of the more hardcore influenced perfectly, making use of breakdowns and the vocals being very shouty.

The artwork is very well done, of-course referencing a dollar bill, but the booklet is actually foldable and looks great. Definitely a plus in my book.

All in all it is nothing new, but its fun nonetheless.


Where to buy:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sectorial - Erase and Reborn the Humanity (Metal Scrap Records, 2012)

Genre: Thrash Metal/Grindcore
Country: Ukraine
1. He Who Eats the Tale 01:16  
2. Cage With No Limits 01:18  
3. Too Much ? 03:38  
4. The Exhausted 00:52  
5. Passing By ... 01:25  
6. Stones Have a Vote 00:19  
7. In Deep Shit 01:34  
8. Before the Silence Come 03:07  
9. Viva Nature 02:30  
10. The Unknown 01:07  
11. Internal Enemy 02:39  
12. Why Are You Killing Yourself ? 01:43  
13. Thy New Horizon 02:25  
14. The Policy 00:45  
15. Stolen World 04:58  
16. Religion - Business 01:38  
17. Rushing Ahead 00:57  
18. In Endless Motion 01:48  
19. Flaw of Law 02:46  
20. Step By Step 01:52  
21. Outro 02:16  
22. Truth of Life 02:10  
23. Rise Up ! (Phobia Cover) 01:45  
Sectorial is a band hailing from the Ukraine that has released 3 EP's previously. I cannot comment on how those sounded since I never even heard of the band until I got this album in my hands.

So according to the band they play some sort of thrash/grindcore mix, now does this hold true?
The bands starts out as expected as a very grindcore band. Simple riffs but very heavy. But here they are being song with a thrasy voice. Nothing to unexpected, but on closer examination one suddenly finds black metal influences and even pagan instruments. While this sounds like a strange mix (and it definitely is), it can be a great plus for people searching for something new.
The song 'Too Much?' has a pan-flute in it, that is indeed a bit to much for a song that for the rest is just like any other random grindcore song. But balls for trying guys, balls.

The songs are all pretty short, keeping in the grindcore tradition even-though there are a few exceptions like 'Stolen World' and ' Before the Silence Comes" that latter one even including bird chirping and more flute-action (not the kind that you see in a dirty movie though).

The booklet is pretty well done, with all lyrics being both in Ukrainian and English next to each other, it also starts with and text from Plaise Pascal (thoughts), which is a very interesting way to engage your listener to your themes. Here most songs are about that you need to wake up and stop taking everything for granted.

If you like your grindcore to be just that tad bit more, that tad bit more experimental check it out. I for one did not like the more alternative bits like 'Before The Silence Comes' but I still liked the more traditional parts pretty well.


Where To Buy?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

T.A.N.K - Spasms of Upheaval (Symbol Muzik, 2012)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Year: 2012 (October)
Country: France
1. Life Epitaph 01:48  
2. The Raven’s Cry 05:29  
3. Unleash the Craving 04:07  
4. Spasms of Upheaval 05:09  
5. Through the Disgrace 04:43  
6. Inhaled 04:31  
7. Slumber 00:52  
8. Conflict 03:45  
9. Stillness Withered 05:12  
10. A Life Astray 04:48  
11. Cryptic Words 04:53  
12. Daze 05:06  
The second album is for a new band is always the most important. While the first one just needs to make us familiar with the style of the band the second one needs to improve on the debut album, make sure to show us that the potential that was their on the debut is fully utilized. So the question now is, does T.A.N.K. deliver?

T.A.N.K. (Think Of A New Kind) is one of the newer bands hailing from France, playing modern sounding metal like Deboga, Gojira, and so on. They play Melodic Death Metal very derivative of Soilwork, so nothing new to be found here at first glance .
The artwork is very nice, and it might be noticed it is only released as a digipack or a digital download. No normal cd for those who prefer that. That being said the digipack is very nicely done, no complaints here.
We start with “Life epitaph” a almost mechanical sounding one riff instrumental that sets the mood for the album, the songs after that we are bombarded with decent sounding Melodic Death that lucky uses clean vocals sparingly (no mallcore here guys and girls). Everyone who listens to this album will have their own favorite tracks, there isn’t one track that is just better then the rest. That being said I would like to add that it does not mean that every song is a instant hit, there is some originality still needed to stand out. A special mention should go to the song “Inhaled” that has Jon Howard (Threat Signal) lending his voice, and what a throat that guy has.

I also like to point out that just with other modern metal bands their are some real jewels hidden in the lyrics "swayed by my inner dilemmas, I need invasive curses to breathe".  What does that even mean?

In summary this French band delivered what they promised and gave us a well-produced, melodic but heavy album that still is pretty varied. I could go on how it’s nothing new and reminds me of Soilwork and the like. But it’s definitely not a buy you would regret later.


Where to buy?:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Majesty of Revival - Through Reality (Metal Scrap Records, 2012)

Genre: Progressive/Neoclassical Power Metal
Year: 2012
Country: Ukraïne
1. Meaning of Life 05:02
2. Self-Control 04:32
3. The Moonlight 05:19
4. The Code 05:05
5. Masked Illusion 04:14 instrumental 
6. Blind 03:52
7. Magnalia Dei 04:29
8. Reality 07:28
9. Epilogus (Part I and II) 08:44


So today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Majesty Of Revival, a Ukrainian progressive power metal band. Upon first listening, bands like Yngwie Malmsteen and Rhapsody immediately spring to mind. While those bands have big budgets and real professional sound engineering, Majesty Of Revival does a very good job sounding professional on a lower budget, which is pretty impressive considering it's a debut album. All the instruments sound right and this is especially noticeable with the organ used in 'The Code', but not every song here is a winner. There are some weaker ones like 'Magnolia Dei' with its sudden use of more brutal vocals being very out of place in this sub-genre of metal. And those just aren't even that great to begin with.

The album is pretty diverse with, like previously mentioned, even some grunting to switch things around. That makes for an experience that does not get boring. Too bad not every song is a winner, but at least the good outweigh the bad. As far as singing goes, the 'normal' singer does a decent job and most noticeable of all, has almost no accent. A thing quite strange for a Ukrainian band. Instrumentally it works a bit better, the guitar work is very good on a technical level and elevates the music from being a standard power metal band to a more progressive level.
The artwork is very very fitting; there's no way somebody wouldn't look at this and mistake the genre. Well done, guys. The booklet contains the lyrics as expected, but I do have a gripe with it. Namely the text is almost impossible to read, and being such a small font doesn't really help either. I'm hoping with their next release this will be addressed. I like to know what they are singing about.

For a first album this is quite good and I'm definitely looking forward to what they will bring in the future.

PS: The highlight of the album is definitely 'Self Control'. It's just a song that really, really works.

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Where to buy?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pagan Altar - The Time Lord (EP) (Cruz Del sur Music, 2012)

Genre: Doom Metal/NWOBHM
Year: 2004 (2012 re-release)
Country: UK
1. Highway Cavalier 02:46
2. The Time Lord 08:10
3. Judgement of the Dead 06:58
4. The Black Mass 05:52
5. Reincarnation 09:03
Pagan Altar is a cult band best known for only recently releasing most of their 70s/80S songs on album. Back in 2004 the band actually reformed to re-record some old unreleased songs, what would end up being the EP I got here today.
This is the 2012 re-release by Cruz Del sur Music (in collaboration with Shadow Kingdom Records). Fully remastered and with new cover art.

If you haven't heard from Pagan Altar, they bring old school doom metal in the line of Saint Vitus, Count Raven and hour of 13.
The title track, the real highlight of the record, also has a very Manilla Road vibe to it, what I can only approve, while Judgement of the Dead could be taken from Ozzy era Black Sabbath.
Of course being remastered, this sound better then their original demo but still a fair warning should be placed here that the songs can sound a bit "cassette" like. Not that that is necessary a bad thing, I feel it all adds to the feeling of the music.

So in summery, The Time Lord is 5 songs filled with doomy riffs and ozzy-like nasal vocals all harping back to days long forgotten. I highly recommend grabbing this EP, it's about 30 minutes of material which is long enough to recommend but a true doom lover already has the full Pagan Altar
discography of course.

Note: Since I got send this album in a digital format I cannot make claims about the quality of the booklet and cd itself this time.
PS: Volume 1 is also getting re-released under the title: 'Judgment of The Dead" on 28/09/2012 so also check that out.


Where To Buy:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lich King - Super Retro Thrash (StormSpell Records)

Genre: (8-bit) Thrash Metal 
Year: 2011
Country: U.S.A.
1. Lich King III (World Gone Dead) 05:48
2. Combat Mosh 04:39
3. ED-209 03:38
4. Toxic Zombie Onslaught 04:20
5. Black Metal Sucks 02:36
6. Behaver 04:38
7. Wage Slave 03:50
8. Act Of War 04:54
9. Attack of the Wrath of the War of the Death of the Strike of the Sword of the Blood of the Beast 03:48

So you probably have heard of Lich King by now, if you haven't let me introduce them, started in 2004 they play gimmicky straight played thrash metal influenced by the classic bay area style.

I bought this album from the label, StormSpell Records itself. Stormspell has been known to bring out high quality releases of 80 demos/eps and new band playing one or another 80s style. So Lich King is a safe bet for them.

There is a limit to 299 hand-numbered copies normally but they have some spare copies where you
get the number punched out instead of a number (like what my copy is), but lets be honest, thats not whats important.

On to the artwork, having it pictured as a NES game sure tells you whats awaiting you on this album, but too bad the nes cartridge drawing doesn't fill thewhole picture because that green background is just hideous to be honest.

The booklet is just a 2 page insert, not suprising considering there are no lyrics to be found here. But still the 8-bit representation of the band members all add to a certain charm. I must admit the cd-art itself is pretty neat.

But on to the music, what do we get?

Lich King playing covers of some of their previous songs in a 8 bit videogame music style.

Does it work?
Well its hit and miss really. I found out that I really love the idea, it throws me back to my old gaming habits. On the other hand not all the songs chosen here simply work as an 8 bit version (take black metal sucks), it does not fit at all. No clear melody to be found here just a whole lot of repeating the same thing and thats not really good music.

8 Bit music was normally composed by real composers making truly super pieces of art.
Here it can show that the songs weren't really mend to be played in such a basic, minimalistic style.
Knowing that Lich King isn't the most progressive band around you have lots of moments that truly aren't any good.

Anyways after everything is said and done its still a pretty neat item to have in your record collection
and worth a listen to if you are either fan of the band or of old 8 bit music.


Where to buy?: