Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Obsessed - 2016 - Sodden Jackyl

Pikes Edge - 2016 - Denial Of Service

Architects - 2016 - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Architects is a metalcore band from Brighton, England. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us is their new LP. Architects play metalcore that manages to be progressive and move their sound forward without falling into any of the pitfalls of typical "progressive metalcore." Architects come blasting out of the gates at top speed with Nihilist and barely let up for the proceeding 47 minutes. They have found the sweet spot where crushingly heavy, technical riffs can be surrounded by a groove and is the better for it.

The singer has an excellent and versatile voice, his desperate screams are as powerful as his clean singing is beautiful. Highlights include Phantom Fear, Gone With The Wind, Downfall, A Match Made in Heaven, Gravity and the aforementioned Nihilist. With All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us Architects have crafted a forward looking metallic statement.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Evaporators - Eat To Win

Inoculum - 2016 - Antigen

Inoculum is a five piece metal band from Frederick, Maryland, USA. Antigen is their debut LP. Inoculum play metalcore with hints of progressive metal and lots of thrashy riffs. This is the kind of debut that intrigues me, Inoculum have a sound that is not quite there own but they have managed to avoid the major cliches of progressive metalcore. Where they go from here is the real question.

They come out of the gate at full tilt with As It Burned which lays the template for the rest of the album. Double metalcore style bass drums, both clean and screamed vocals with guitars chugging out riffs galore. The progressive element is largely kept in check, only obvious in a little stutter step electronica here and there. Here's where I would list my favourite songs but there's no need when an LP is this solid. With Antigen, Inoculum have crafted an exciting debut.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rosàrio - 2016 - And the storm surges

Rosàrio is a five piece heavy metal band from Montagnana, Italy. And The Storm Surges is their sophomore LP. Rosàrio play an eclectic brand of heavy metal incorporating elements of hard rock, stoner metal and desert rock. To Peak And Pine lays out the template for what is to come, riff focused slightly sludgy stoner metal with a suitably gravelly voice. Rosàrio know how to take their time building up atmosphere which only makes the deployment of the heavy stuff that much more powerful.

Dawn Of Men leading into Monolith is the perfect example. Dawn Of Men takes the whole length of song crafting a beautiful, acoustic stoner desert atmosphere, complete with the singer sounding a lot like John Garcia of Kyuss, before exploding into the riff laden stoner monster that is the epic closer Monolith. Radiance is the other great example, the evolution from atmosphere building to heavy riffs & solo's improves both ends. With And The Storm Surges, Rosàrio have crafted a solid statement of desert influenced stoner metal.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Algos - 2016 - Amongst Monoliths

Algos is a one man heavy metal recording project from The Netherlands. Amongst Monoliths is their sophomore LP. Algos plays progressive & melodic death metal citing Be'lakor, In Mourning and Swallow The Sun as influences.

The singer has a versatile voice, while his grim, blackened shout is a little thin he has a solid cookie monster growl that he puts to great use. When the songs are firing on all cylinders he weaves together sections of heavy riffs with melodic solos and moments of heavy brutality contrasted with moments of quiet beauty. Highlights include Metempsychosis, The Withered King, Blessed With Weakness, Corruption Defined, Odyssey's End and The Poisoned Well. With Amongst Monoliths' Algos have composed an imposing statement of progressive melodic death metal.

Friday, November 18, 2016

After Chaos - 2016 - After Chaos

After Chaos is a seven piece thrash metal band from Indonesia. After Chaos is their new EP. After Chaos play straight ahead thrash metal lyrics in both Indonesian and English. When the band is firing on all cylinders these are melodic thrash songs that you can bang your head to and sing along while moshing in the pit. There are riffs galore and a galloping rhythm section.

The middle of the EP does fall apart with two meandering, moody pieces that take the energy down all the way. But even when the songs never get their riffs off the ground they are filled out with excellent, melodic solos.  Highlights include Bayangan Pendusta, South Warrior, Monster and Ilusi Kehidupan. If you're looking for some melodic thrash, After Chaos have crafted a solid debut.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Zenobia - 2016 - Alma De Fuego II

Zenobia is a heavy metal band from Lardero, La Rioja, Spain. Alma De Fuego II is their fifth studio LP. Zenobia play a straightforward brand of heavy metal, infused with power & symphonic elements to make it arena ready. When they aren't playing synth heavy, bombastic metal they are playing radio ready hard rock. No matter what genre you try and slot them into synths abound and there are riffs aplenty.

Songs like Ángel Negro, Brindemos por una Canción and Militia Est Vita walk the line between more epicly minded symphonic power metal and riff focused thrash metal while songs like Si Pudieras and Valiente streamline everything to make the music even more radio friendly.  Highlights include the aforementioned Ángel Negro, Militia Est Vita, 100 Dardos, Océanos de Fuego & a live version of Borraré Tu Nombre. With Alma De Fuego II Zenobia have crafted a rocking statement of thrash and power metal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Simple Minds - 2016 - Acoustic

Simple Minds is a five piece rock and roll band from Glasgow, Scotland. Acoustic is their nineteenth studio LP, rerecording eleven tracks from eight previous Simple Minds LPs. Perhaps best known for the song from The Breakfast Club Don't You (Forget About Me) this LP finds Simple Minds swapping out electric guitars for acoustic and synthesizers for piano. On songs like Sanctify Yourself and New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) Simple Minds still rock out but any previous edge has been sanded off.

Despite the addition of KT Tunstall these recordings have turned out bland instead of raw. Yes the instruments are mostly acoustic but the production style erases any rough edges. On songs like See The Lights and Glittering Prize they approach something like U2 which may or may not be a compliment.. Highlights include the aforementioned Sanctify Yourself, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize, Someone Somewhere In Summertime and of course Don't You (Forget About Me). If you're looking for some relaxing, acoustic rock Simple Mind's Acoustic has you covered.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Deceitful Conspiracy - 2016 - Abtu

Deceitful Conspiracy is a heavy metal band from Ballinluig, Scotland. Abtu is their debut recording. Deceitful Conspiracy is the musical  brainchild of Ryan Sturrock with help from Rory Troup, Aidan Hood and Strachan Barr. Deceitful Conspiracy play instrumental progressive metal.

There is no djent and very little uninspired noodling, this is streamlined riff focused heavy metal. This LP could very easily fall into the pitfalls of progressive metal but there are actual songs and a driving rhythm section to keep everything moving forward. This would appear to be a concept album but that remains vague when only given song titles. Highlights include Journey To Abtus Kingdom, War, The Last Act Of Humanity and Collapse Of Creation. With Abtu, Deceitful Conspiracy have crafted a progressive, trashy debut.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Unison Theory - 2016 - Arctos

Unison Theory is a four piece death metal band from Rome, Italy. Formed in 2011 by Omar Mohamed the band achieved a stable lineup with Simone Tempesta (drums), Alexander Starstev (vocals) and Giulio Rimoli (bass) though bass on this record is credited to Marco Mastrobuono. Arctos is their debut LP, a concept album mirroring the novel Ice Hunt by James Rollins.

Unison Theory play slightly technical, symphonic and thrashy death metal citing Revocation, Obscura, and Symphony X among others. Special guests include Rafael Trujillo from Obscura, Tommaso Riccardi of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Riccardo Studer from Stormlord and Donato Cipriano. Highlights include Omega, Grendel, Level 4, Polar Sentinel and The Price Of Eternity If you're looking for some thrashy, slightly technical and symphonic death metal Unison Theory have crafted an excellent debut with Arctos.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Oxo 86 - 2016 - Akustikalbum

Oxo 86 is a ska punk band from Bernau, Germany. Akustikalbum is their ninth LP since forming in 1996. On this new record Oxo 86 take their beer swilling, oi influenced ska and unplug for over 40 minutes of acoustic ska punk.

The songs work best when they maintain the presumed energy of the original, So Beliebt Und So Bescheiden, Alkohol and Skinhead all have an intense singalong energy. There is always a risk that the momentum and swing of the music is will suffer when going acoustic but the horns and rhythm section ensure danceability does not suffer. Other highlights include Wenn Könige Reisen, Dein Freund Der Boxer, Sowas Kannst Du Echt Gebrauchen and Auf Die Liebe Und Auf Die Sehnsucht. Stepping outside of their presumed comfort zone Oxo 86 have produced an excellent slab of acoustic ska punk with Akustikalbum.

Friday, November 11, 2016

One Of Us - 2016 - Affliction

One Of Us is a four piece groove metal band from La Plata, Argentina. Affliction is their debut LP following up 2015's debut EP Symptoms. One Of Us Play a sludgy brand of groove metal that is equally at home riding a riff into the ground as they are trudging through distorted sludge. My favourite moments are all when the band hits that mid-tempo groove just right. They nail the riffs to the wall while the vocalists shout is equal parts drill sergeant and demonic possession with some clean singing for balance and contrast.

Members of One Of Us have also played in Lepanto, Demolition Project, Retummba, Feed the Dog Embodiment, Justo Fierro, Daemon, Choique, Deneimles, Los Alcoholes Galácticos, Messias Snekker, Deneimles and Ciudad en Peligro. Highlights include Blind, Seven Seconds, Don't Scream My Name and Hate My Mind. One Of Us' Affliction is a solid debut, marrying sludge and groove metal for the betterment of both.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Brownout - 2016 - Brown Sabbath Vol II

Brownout is a nine piece funk band from Austin, Texas. Brown Sabbath Vol II is their second collection of funk covers of Black Sabbath. Brownout take the classic Sabbath songs we all know and love and transform them into funky, horn driven danceable soul songs.

Formed in 2010 by members of Grupo Fantasma they have backed Prince, Daniel Johnston, GZA and Bernie Worrell and cite WAR, Cymande and Funkadelic as influences.

There is not as much distance between Black Sabbath and Brownout as there would seem to be at first glance. The drum & bass are the anchors keeping everything heavy and funky. While the guitars are no longer the focus they set up and rideout a funky backbeat before revving up. The horns are the real stars of the show here, kicking what would otherwise be fairly tame but funky heavy rock into the stratosphere.

Highlights include Supernaut, Fairies Wear Boots, Children Of The Grave and Sweet Leaf. If you're looking for some heavy, funky rock paying tribute to the metal godfathers while still keeping a foot in modernity, Brownout's Brown Sabbath Vol II will serve well.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Dark Tranquility - 2016 - Atoma

Dark Tranquility is a melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed in 1989 they are one of the longest lasting bands from the Gothenburg metal scene. Atoma is their eleventh studio LP courtesy of Century Media. In terms of instrumentation there are no surprises here. Start with the already tempered attack of melodic death metal then mix in post-metal, giving the songs room to breathe, allowing them to stretch out into extended melodic passages.

I cannot say enough good things about the vocals on this LP. The singer has an excellent blackened growl that he puts to great effect and is pushed higher with the contrast of the frankly beautiful clean vocals. Highlights include Encircled, Neutrality, Force Of Hand, Faithless By Default and The Pitiless. If you're looking for some melodic death metal to help power through your day Dark Tranquility's Atoma will serve well. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Nocturnal Scum - 2016 - Demo

Nocturnal Scum is a five piece punk rock band from Berlin, Germany. Demo is their debut recording. Nocturnal Scum play a crusty brand of hardcore punk with elements of crossover thrash garnering comparisons to Withers, Hammers, Gattaca, and Ruins.

This is the kind of demo that excites me, there is enough going on here in both songwriting and instrumentation to overcome any lofi production limits. Here's where I would normally list my favourite tracks but there's no need when a demo is this solid. Take one part female fronted hardocore punk, add one part thrashy d-beat and divide by a blown out production style and you have Nocturnal Scum's Demo

Monday, November 07, 2016

Ashen Divinity - 2016 - Digital Sisyphus

Ashen Divinity is a death metal band from Istra, Croatia. Digital Sisyphus is their sophomore LP, follow up to 2014's The Wealth Of Abominations. Ashen Divinity plays a thrashy brand of death metal and members have also played in Infernal Tenebra. They have taken the all out attack of death metal and dialed it back slightly, loading up on heavy, meaty riffs and melodic solos.

Vocalist Erik Uljenik has a solid deep growl with which he bellows socio-politically relevant lyrics. Highlights include an ode to social degredation (Corruptia), an anti-war song complete with battleground sounds (Cannon Fodder) and a progressive piece based around W.B. Yeats The Second Coming, not to mention the aggressive title track. If you're looking for some thrashy death metal Ashen Divinity's Digitial Sisyphus will serve well.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Lou Barlow - 2016 - Apocalypse Fetish

Iggy Pop - 2016 - Lust For Live (live on austin city limits)

Taman Shud - 2016 - Dogs And Gods

Taman Shud is a stoner metal band from Amiens, France. Dogs And Gods is their debut LP since forming in 2012. Members have also played in Oniromancie, Ashura and Your Own Film. They describe themselves as Desert Rock and doing a solid job of calling up that groovy but still riff focused heavy stoner rock that came out of the California desert in the 90s.

The singer's voice could be a little higher in the mix but it works well, the melodic counterpoint surrounded but not buried by walls of fuzzy riffs. My main complaint is that the songs do tend to overstay their welcome a little, there is just barely too much sludge in the mix for my liking. I personally prefer faster, thrashier songs to the mid-tempo sludge influenced but everyone has their own preferences. Highlights include Bullet And Glove, Guns And Children, Sharks  and the excellent title track. With Dogs And Gods Taman Shud have crafted a solid heavy desert rock debut. 

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Sedition Sunday #5: Angela Davis

Angela Davis is an American academic. She lead the Communist Party USA in the 1960's and developed close ties to the Black Panther Party. She had a broad research interests with many ideas intersecting including: feminism, African-American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. This has been one of her main areas of research and writing, on the prison-industrial complex that is the USA today and ways we can abolish, not reform, the prison system.

Blackning - 2016 - Alienation

Blackning is a three piece thrash metal band from Santo André, Brazil. Alienation is their sophomore LP after forming in 2013. Blackning play a straightforward brand of thrash metal, generally mid tempo with lots of intricate & heavy riffs, melodic solo's and head banging grooves.

The vocalist has a nice gruff shout, aggressive and loud without being unintelligible. Lyrically the album seems focused on various social issues and addresses them handily without being preachy. Blackning isn't reinventing the wheel by any means but who needs to reinvent the wheel when you can produce heavy, thrashy metal like this? Highlights include Mechanical Minds, Street Justic, Weapons Of Intolerance, Devil's Child and Two-Faced Liar. If you're looking for a heavy slab of thrash to bang your head to, Blackning's Alienation will serve well. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Shining - As Performed By The Minnesota Opera

This past May, the Minnesota Opera presented the world premiere of The Shining. The opera was an immediate sensation, selling out completely and earning critical raves. In cooperation with the Minnesota Opera, Classical Minnesota Public Radio is now pleased to present the complete streaming audio of The Shining, as performed live during that premiere run. This exclusive listening opportunity will be available for a limited time only: through Nov. 30.

Agathocles - 2016 - Commence To Mince

Agathocles is a grindcore band from Belgium. Commence To Mince is one of several new LP's. Since 1985 Agathocles have played what they call mincecore. Only original member Jan Frederickx describes it as "the same as old school grindcore, the way it was in the 80's, raw, minimalistic and socially and politically involved." If you like grindcore, with the requisite speed, chaotic songwriting and explosive playing this will more than scratch that specific itch.

Agathocles blast through these 34 songs in 33 minutes leaving no prisoners, only ringing ears, blown out amps and shredded vocal chords in their wake. Highlights include Anarchist Spectrum Disorder, Thanks Man!, Wasted Words, A Late Abortion and Excellent Toilet Paper. If you're in need of some classic grindcore Agathocles Commence To Mince will serve well.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Testament - 2016 - Brotherhood Of The Snake

Testament is a thrash metal band from Berkeley, California, USA. Brotherhood Of The Snake is their eleventh studio album.

Since coalescing as a band in 1987, for almost thirty years Testament has played straight ahead thrash metal around the world. Brotherhood Of The Snake shows why Testament has been around so long.

Chuck's voice and lyrics are as point on as ever, Alex's & Eric's twin guitars churn out heavy, aggressive thrash riffs for you to bang your head to while Steve & Gene's rhythm section ensures everything feels both limber and heavy. Highlights include The Pale King, Black Jack, Stronghold, The Number Game and the ass kicking title track. With Brotherhood Of The Snake Testament have delivered another outstanding thrash metal statement.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Japandroids - 2016 - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Bushwhaker - 2016 - The False Dilemma

Bushwaker is a metal band from Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. The False Dilemma is their second LP. Formed in Whitehorse in 2008 Bushwaker moved to Vancouver in 2011. They play progressive brand of metal incorporating elements of Death, Black, Sludge, Post & Thrash metal. Instrumentally speaking Bushwaker stacks thrashy death metal riffs on top of one other reminding me of Gojira and garnering comparisons with Cormorant and early Mastodon & Lamb of God.

With multiple vocalists come multiple vocal styles, one singer has a great raspy, black metal shout while another has the authoritative drill sergeant bark. This LP is not as consistent as it could be, the riff focused death metal songs (Tower, Dead Man's Waltz, Shikadance, Bushwaker, Golden Shell) are great, towering slabs of progressive death metal but that impact is interrupted by interludes and overly melodic post-metal meanderings. This is the kind of LP that will only come with technical prowess and a willingness to smash genres together. If you're looking for some progressive death heavy metal Bushwhaker's The False Dilemma will serve well.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Death Note Silence - 2016 - Code Of Silence

Death Note Silence is deathcore from Quebec. Code Of Silence is their debut LP following up several singles. Death Note Silence play an aggressive brand of deathcore designed with mosh pit singalongs in mind. There is just enough groove, clean vocals and melody to draw in those who might get turned off by the deathcore label.

 These dudes deserves kudos for self recording and producing, they have done a great job and the LP sounds great. This five piece isn't reinventing the wheel by any means but who needs to when you can play hostile, riff heavy deathcore and can write good songs. Here's where I would normally list my favourite songs but there's no need with an LP this consistent. With Code Of Silence Death Note Silence have crafted a solid first effort.