Thursday, December 23, 2010

Underoath-Ø (Disambiguation)

The group of astonishing artists that go by the name Underoath have finally released their new masterpiece. Except now, the album does not include their long appreciated and loved drummer/singer, Aaron Gillespie. Aaron has always been (and still is) one of my favorite drummers of all time. So I have been longing to hear what their new drummer sounds like. So when Aaron left the band, Spencer really had to take initiative and be a good leader to help the band stay together. Along with that, he now does all of the vocals (singing and screaming). And he did an amazing job of working with the band on creating a completely new sound.

I have noticed lately that a lot of bands have been striving to create new sounds (kind of like the 70s all over again). Bands like Alexisonfire, Mutiny Within, Animals as Leaders, Augury, Decrepit Birth, Iwrestledabearonce, Keep of Kalessin, I, Nachtmystium, Bring me the Horizon, Winds of Plague, and many more have been striving to create something not slightly new, but completely new, things that haven't been even thought of before! This album somewhat reminds me of Plagues by The Devil Wears Prada. But even then, those two albums sound almost completely different from each other. That is partly why Underoath is my all-time favorite screamo band; because they will go to the edges of the earth to create their own sound (which they are great at). But in my opinion, that's not how they've always been.

Underoath's landmark album (They're only Chasing Safety) is the first album with Spencer Chamberlain being the guy that does all of the screaming, instead of Dallas Taylor. Taylor's departure outraged and upset numerous fans. But the band's worldwide recognition skyrocketed. Here is my personal opinion on all of the albums previous to (They're only Chasing Safety). All of the instrumentations are simple, uncreative, and all of the songs generally sound the same. There just wasn't that much variety or progression in their music. Starting with (They're only Chasing Safety), EVERYTHING that Underoath played was filled with color, experimentation, and pure artistry. I think that Spencer had a huge influence on the band's new sound; constantly supporting progression and wanting to create something new. And ever since that, Underoath's sound has been getting better and better.

A lot of bands rely on one member (or person) to write the basics of a song, and then they take each part and build on top of it to make it have its own unique sound. After that, they will combine each member's part to create the final song, critiquing each other's parts along the way. But Underoath does something completely different. The whole band literally writes everything! This record comes with a bonus documentary DVD that the band filmed and produced themselves (along with occasional interviews by an anonymous interviewer). And it was surprising how each member took a small part in everything. I also noticed that everyone got along perfectly like a family should.

The overall quality of the music on the record is astonishing. The sound of the guitar distortion is a little similar to Lost in the Sound of Separation. I am one of the many people that believe that Aaron is a way better drummer than Daniel. But I think that it's obvious that the band wouldn't hire a mediocre drummer. He has to be good. And Daniel is an amazing drummer! He is a little more stubborn than Aaron, but he is a very good musician with plenty of talent. Aaron's drumming is a little more explosive and chaotic than Daniel's. But Daniel has done a great job of making his drumming blend in well with the music with more of a traditional style, rather than being more abstract. This album is also the album that has the most digital effects and keyboards in the music. This I think really is the main factor that gave this album its truly unique sound.

The instant that the In Division music video got uploaded on YouTube, I watched it (me being view #3). It was nothing that I think anyone was expecting. And the song did nothing short of blowing me away (I think I might have shit myself). The pure color and creativity of the album is not something that can be easily put into words. I would say that the song that sticks out to me as my favorite is Vacant Mouth. In this song, Underoath really tries on the jackets of heavier music. And they did a great job of it, especially with the solos done by almost every member. Driftwood really is a weird one. I can't really say much about it other than that it's cool, but really nothing I've ever heard in my life. If you want to get an idea of what I'm getting at, buy the CD and listen to it, because it's an experience you will never experience ever again unless you play the album again. The three remixes at the end of the album are actually really good (most remixes of metal songs aren't that good, because it's hard!). This album gets a perfect score on ANY scale.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Napalm Death-Scum

Napalm Death has had a huge affect on my musical life. Not only did they make me truly appreciate other crust punk bands, they also have had an influence in my songwriting. I am someone that strongly believes in the crust punk genre (I just call it crust). For those of you that don't know what crust is, it's basically hardcore punk mixed with a metal genre. Some crust bands are Napalm Death (punk mixed with brutal death and grindcore), Hatebreed (punk mixed with thrash metal), Darkthrone's newer material (punk mixed with thrash metal and black metal), Black Flag (punk mixed with thrash metal), and Extreme Noise Terror (punk mixed with death metal). Black Flag was really the first band to start the crust trend. Obviously they got their influences from Venom and Slayer, who formed right before Scum was released. I personally have been growing up listening to Napalm Death due to my older sister playing it in her car and at her house a lot. Out of all of the works of art that Napalm Death has produced, Scum still stands out to me as being a huge landmark in music and a masterpiece.

Scum has a quality that for some reason I love, which is the low quality recording quality. I have this weakness for music that has been recorded with a very raw sound, and very little editing. It shows basically that the band doesn't need any editing to make the recordings better (and also that the band/record label didn't have the equipment or money to edit them). Scum also covers a huge variety of genres, such as hardcore punk, crust, grindcore, brutal death, thrash death, death metal, drone, and speed metal. And to just about every album, there are downsides. The biggest ones are that Lee's vocal style is something that has to take some getting used to, and the drummer uses way too much symbols in some songs. Otherwise, the creativity is outstanding, and the musicianship is very enjoyable. The really fuzzy distortion that the bassist uses sounds really interesting when he plays alone, but it really adds a different kind of distortion to the band's music that sounds outstanding. I would recommend looking at the lyrics for this album, because most of them really give a realistic and accurate view of the mainstream style of living from the perspective of a metalhead that is far away from everything mainstream.

This isn't an album that was meant to be partially listened to. To get the best enjoyment from this album, listen to it when you know you won't get interrupted or have to skip songs. Otherwise, you won't feel truly satisfied. The song that stands out to me the most is the title song. It's obviously the song that they worked on and practiced the most. Divine Death and Parasites are really influential songs that really play around with the elements of thrash metal and grindcore. I noticed that this album possesses the shortest song in existence. You Suffer is about .4 seconds long! That's less than half a second! This album would impress mostly people who are diehard fans of brutal music. This would also be a good album to show people who are still new to the elements of brutal metal. Since first listening to them when I was 12, I have seen them perform twice; both of those times being an amazingly brutal experience, this gets 18/20.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Hanukkahkwanzamas!!!

Hello everyone! Apologies for my absence for I have had so much school work and stuff with my band that i haven't had the time to post. Sound of Silence will be releasing their debut album on the 21st of this month!!!!! Our new website is www.soundofsilencemetal.weebly.com. and don't forget to check out my black metal solo project Cold Cry (www.coldcrymetal.weebly.com. I will be posting reviews and posts at light speed over break, continuing my Iron Maiden review series and start with a black metal series that includes albums like Transilvanian Hunger by Darkthrone, Gorgoroth's 2009 album, and Defective Epitaph by Xasthur. Hanukkah+Kwanza+Christmas=hanukkahkwanzamas!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miss May I-Monument

I've only been listening to Miss May I for a few months. I have known about them since they came out with their first album, but haven't really gotten around to actually listening to them. After being legitimately satisfied with the band's material, I heard from a couple of my friends that they were coming to play in Seattle in about two weeks. They said that they had bought me a ticket because one of them was having his birthday there, so I decided I would go since this band was pretty good, and I had seen both opening acts before and liked one of them. Overall I was satisfied with Miss May I's performance, not something I would spend my own money on but I had fun. I had only heard their first album before that so I bought their new CD since I liked the songs that they played off of it.

First off I would like to say that Miss May I is one of the heaviest metalcore bands I've ever heard in my life. They aren't quite as thrashy and ear suffocating as Mnemic (the heaviest metalcore band I know of), but their breakdowns are so brutal I think my heart skipped a beat during one of them. I would like to note something that I think was a horrible decision. And that is that they chose one of the worst screamers to be a guest vocalist on one of the songs. I mean, he is horrible, and if you want to know just how bad he is, read my review on Attack Attack's self-titled album, and message me and I'll send you two YouTube links that I will have you watch. My favorite thing about the overall sound of the album is that there is tons of clean, meaty bass that sounds awesome. The bass blasts are perfect, without distortion. In Miss May I's first album, the vocalist really needed some improvements due to an undeveloped and unpracticed scream and growl. But in this album, damn, his vocals sound astonishing. His vocal frys are perfect and his growls are deep and full. The singing can be a bit out of tune sometimes, so maybe the singer should practice more and remember to take care of his throat and such. One thing that I recently realized is that this band is one of the only screamo/metalcore bands that get regular air time (I don't know about the rest of the world but they sure get played on one of my stations quite a bit), even though there are tons more other bands like that that never get played on the radio, which is something that I've always wondered (which probably why the concert had tons of people there). An improvement that I would make is that most of the breakdowns in the album sound very similar to each other, which shows lack in creativity. I think that the best musician in the band is most definitely their drummer! The drummer uses a larger than usual set and (unlike most drummers that use huge sets) he actually uses it and knows how to use it well! That and the singing are the main downsides to this album.

The first song is one of their faster songs, and the band really nails keeping on time which makes the song really cool. The song starts out with pure speed and brutality, and then makes a very smooth transition to a melodic, sung chorus with an excellent transition back in to the speed and anger. The second song is my favorite, despite the fact that it features one of my most hated and unsupported vocalists. The song is very fast a lot of the times, and then has a whole mish-mosh of melodic parts, brutal breakdowns, and other unexpected stuff. This song is really where the drummer shows everyone what he is capable of, huge thumbs up for the fancy drumming! Now the breakdown at the end is one of the most brutal breakdowns I've ever heard a melodic band play, when I heard it, I couldn't stop smiling and laughing because it really gave the song an astonishingly fantastical ending. The pure anger and rage in the whole album is so controlled and beautifully expressed. This album definitely gets a solid 19/20. This album would mainly impress people who are fans of melodic death, metalcore, and screamo. I will most likely buy their new album.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Iron Maiden-Fear of the Dark

This is one of the better Maiden albums. Fear of the Dark was the last studio album released before several years of touring and the release of numerous live albums such as A Real Live One, A Real Dead One, and Live at Donnington. This is also the first Iron Maiden album cover not to be designed by Derek Riggs, who did the covers for all of their previous albums. Fear of the Dark is the second bestselling Maiden album, the first being The Number of the Beast. I bought this album a couple of years ago due to a recommendation of a friend and an extra $5 I found in the back pocket of one of my pairs of jeans. I haven't listened to it all that much, so I decided I would seriously listen to it and review it. I am mainly writing this review upon request, so I will do the best I can to make this sound good.

Fear of the Dark is one of Iron Maiden's more progressive and complicated albums. The album mainly consists of faster, more driving songs, and ballads. I have owned this CD for quite some time now, and I haven't listened to it very many times, so this was my first time actually sitting down and completely soaking in the music. And I will say that I am greatly impressed with this treat to the ears known widely as Fear of the Dark. I didn't notice any technical drumming or guitars during the record. Most of the instrumentations were quite simple, but still moderately creative. This is not an album that I would listen to while driving or while on the go, this is an album that I have to sit down and listen to. In other words, this album doesn't make the best background music. The lineup that Iron Maiden had at this time (which I think was also the same general lineup for Seventh Son and No Prayer for the Dying) is my personal favorite. I would consider Seventh Son, No Prayer, and Fear of the Dark to be Iron Maiden's ultimate zenith period. I have had a lot of disagreement regarding that so I thought I would try and get my opinion heard by all of you that are reading my review. The lyrical themes on this album seem to be mainly about the life of someone who is homeless, always on the run, and is paranoid about being attacked. About when the album was more than half over, I suddenly realized that the bassist was one minute playing along the same general notes that the guitars were playing, and the next he was literally all over the place going crazy. After that he would go right back in place with the guitars, it was quite an astonishing thing mainly because he did such a good job with it!

At first, the album kicks off with Be Quick or be Dead, a very short-tempered, fast song that is an explosion of technicality and heavy melodies. This song reminds me of a lot of King Diamond and HammerFall songs. For some reason it seems to surprise a lot of people that someone of my age listens to a lot of the old classic metal such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Dio, Accept, Led Zeppelin, and Twisted Sister. I have been listening to heavy metal ever since I dug up Led Zeppelin's self-titled CD when I was in third grade. Back to the album, the second song is quite a delectable one. Not as fast as the first, From Here to Eternity is my favorite song off the album. Mainly because this song contains one of the most astonishingly mind-blowing guitar solos I have ever heard in my life. It's something that I call PURE ART (I RARELY call something that). Afraid to Shoot Strangers is the first ballad on this record, and it's not something that I am a huge fan of. Iron Maiden does some pretty wicked ballads, but this one is one of the more mediocre ones, there is a guitar solo in it, and the beginning of it just doesn't seem to fit the song at all, but I will give them credit for creativity and experimentation. The Fugitive is my second favorite song off the album. Although it lacks some in length, it makes up greatly in creativity and melody. I like how they mix distorted guitars with really smooth sounding guitars.

Overall, I am quite glad that I agreed to sit down and listen to this record after a couple of years of not listening to it. One thing that I love is feedback. I love it when people post comments on my reviews giving me feedback and telling me other stuff. I mainly talked about the songs that stuck out to me the most, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the album isn't worth listening to. I would recommend this to just about everyone! I would give this album 16/20.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Attention Maiden Fans!!

This is a message to all fans of Iron Maiden. I will be writing a series of reviews each being on iron maiden albums. I will at least be writing a review on Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Powerslave, Fear of the Dark, and The Final Frontier

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Keep of Kalessin-Reptilian

I have had this album ever since it was released. Having been quite impressed with their debut album, it wasn’t much of a surprise to me that Reptilian was astonishing. I recently saw them live as an opening act for Nile, along with Ex Deo, Pathology, Psycroptic, and Phlegethon. And I was astonished beyond belief. I actually managed to easily get up on the stage and stage dive. On top of that I touched the vocalist’s hair sometime during the beginning of their set. Some time after they got off stage, I got a chance to meet the band at their merchandise table. I learned that three of the members are Satanists, and the fourth being an atheist. They were all very nice and I bought Reptilian on CD and got it autographed by the whole band. After that I decided that Keep of Kalessin is one of my favorite black metal bands of all time. My favorite thing about them is that they aren’t PURE BLACK METAL. They are progressive and experimental, which is a good band to show people who are new to black metal. So if you want to introduce someone to black metal, this should definitely be one of the bands that you show them.

The thing about Keep of Kalessin that I think everyone should know is that they are one of the tightest metal bands I’ve ever heard. This is expressed the most in the intro of The Awakening. The drummer’s blast beats are traditional, but he always adds something small to them, the thing that he adds is different each song and it really makes listening to the drums interesting. The distortion of the guitars is very clean, which means that you can listen to it very loud without experiencing discomfort or damaging your ears. The vocalist isn’t the best at the traditional black metal vocal style, which is probably why he doesn’t do it that often. When he screams, it sounds like he’s straining himself a little bit which could probably mean he is doing it incorrectly, or that he smokes. The one thing that he’s really good at is growling. His growl is very deep, has a powerful sound, and has been practiced a lot. Something that Keep of Kalessin did that I think is unique is that they created a small choir that was used in a few of the songs to give them a really gothic sound at times. One thing that could use a little work is the guitars. The guitars are a little too simple and can be very repetitive at times.

I think that the song that was practiced the most would be The Awakening. The intro is so tight that it seems almost impossible that a band could do that. At first I thought that they edited it in the studio, but they did the exact same thing live and metal bands usually don’t cheat when they play live. The Divine Land is one of the more melodic songs, having a really mystical and gothic sound due to the melodic guitars and large amount of singing. Judgement is an interesting song. It starts out slower, with no vocals, very melodic too. And then the whole song speeds up completely, but still stays extremely melodic and pretty. I guess now I’ll talk about my favorite song from this album (which they played live!), The Dragontower. This song is filled with creativity and color. The notes that are sung in the chorus fit the song perfectly. The Dragontower is the most diverse and abstract song from the album. I would highly recommend this album to black metal newbies, and hardcore black metal fans. This gets 19/20.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Darkthrone-Panzerfaust

This right here is Darkthrone at their best. This is currently one of my favorite black metal albums of all time. My friend bought me this CD when I was in seventh grade, and I literally played it until the player was unable to read the disc. This was the album that introduced me to the wonders of Norwegian black metal. Many of my friends from where I live aren’t really fond of black metal mainly they think that all or most of the blast beat drumming that the drummers do all sound the same. I think that that statement is true in several cases, but there are quite a few black metal bands that have astonishingly creative drummers. Some of those bands include Darkthrone, Keep of Kalessin, Immortal, Dark Funeral, and Ceremonial Castings (although they aren’t pure black metal). Darkthrone has been around for such a long time, and have been so successful that they have become one of the most famous and loved black metal bands of all time, and hopefully their name will be remembered for decades to come.

My favorite thing about most black metal music is that the recording and sound quality is very low profile, raw, and almost (if not) completely unedited. Darkthrone is the best example of that. I cannot imagine Darkthrone’s music in a high quality sound. In this album, there are fewer songs about Satanism, Christian blasphemy, and evil, and there are more songs focusing on the wonders of nature, and forests. The vocals are quite distorted to match the guitars. I love the fact that nothing is too high pitched because I am generally sensitive to high frequencies that are very loud, so I prefer that recordings don’t have too much of anything (especially treble, but a lot of bass is good). Panzerfaust is the first Darkthrone album that uses a lot of simple guitar chords within the songs. Because in albums such as Transilvanian Hunger, and Under a Funeral Moon, the guitar chords are more sophisticated and juicy, which sounds very yummy. I would personally like the vocals to be a tad bit higher pitched because it sounds better to me if black metal vocals are more of a high pitched sound rather than a nasty yelling sound. But I will say that I’m not a person that thinks that all bands of a certain genre should have all of the same qualities; I actually love variety and experimentation within the bands.

I can’t find any songs on this album that I dislike, but I will note a couple of songs that could use some improvement. The guitar part in Quintessence is very boring and repetitive, the only thing about it that changes is the key every once in a while. My favorite song off of this album is definitely Triumphant Gleam. The speed of the song changes in various places which makes me confused on how this song should be making me feel and what emotions this song should give me. The lyrics in this song are actually very powerful if you study them a little, because at first they just seem like a compilation of random notes written down at different times. En Vind Av Sorg is Norwegian for A Wind of Sorrow. This song is very pretty and melodic which really distracts the mind from most of the other punkish, heavier songs. I would highly recommend this to all fans of black metal, and to people who are interested in discovering the astonishingly unique sound of raw black metal. This scores 19.5/20.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breathe Carolina-Hello Fascination

I think that this is my first review on a band that isn’t metal. I’ve only been listening to Breathe Carolina for about a couple of months. At first, I wasn’t particularly fond of their music, but I have actually grown to greatly appreciate them. I think I started liking them more when I saw them live with Attack Attack!, Asking Alexandria, I See Stars, and Bury Tomorrow. I was mainly at that concert to see Alexandria and Attack. But I decided since I have some of Carolina’s music that I would stick around in the crowd and watch them. Since then, I have listened to them quite a bit more, and decided to buy this album at the concert, since I already had their first album.

In my opinion, Breathe Carolina is one of the more creative and experimental crunkcore bands. And this album is one of the more experimental albums out of their three releases (two full lengths and one EP). I think part of the reason is that this album is under Fearless Records. I have noticed that most of the Fearless albums out there are more experimental and unique. I think that Fearless Records encourages bands to be more elaborate and unique with their writing and musical styles. Every song on Hello Fascination sounds almost completely different from all the other songs, which is a trait that I always look for. One thing that I like about crunkcore is that the speeds of the songs differ. Unlike techno, where I noticed most or a lot of the songs are the same general speed. The inhale screams are pretty good, I would usually say that they could use to be a bit higher, but I think that the pitch that the screams are really fit the music. The singing is also really in tune, and the singer has a very pretty voice. But I’ll say again, autotune bothers me because I like a smooth transition between notes.

The title song is a great song to dance to. I love how it has the electric guitar sound, and has a really mystical sound in between the choruses. And during the choruses, the mood of the song changes into a really upbeat, gleeful sound that gives it a great twist. I.D.G.A.F. is probably the most techno sounding song on this album. Mainly because of the fuzzy keyboard sounds and the synthesized vocals. Tripped and Fell in Portland is probably the “heaviest” song and is the closest to real traditional crunkcore. In the beginning of the song, the music sounds almost like a screamo breakdown. Most of the song is distorted guitars, which really surprised me whenever I listen to the album straight through. Rescue is one of the songs that I don’t like. The song is very repetitive and the keyboard riffs are uninteresting and boring; some of them are even kind of annoying. So this album has its ups and downs. Overall I like the album quite a bit. I would recommend at least giving this album a try. I would score this album 16/20.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SWWAATS-The Grand Partition and the Abrogation of Idolatry

This band the best deathcore band of all time. SWWAATS is an acronym for Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky. I discovered this band via YouTube. SWWAATS was formed in late 2006 by members of Dehumanized, Filth Porn, and Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus. They have appeared on many U.S. tours including the “Monsters of Death” tour with Vader, Augury, Decrepit Birth, Warbringer, and The Amenta. That is the tour that I actually had the pleasure to see them on. I’m surprised how underground they are considering the fact that they’re signed on to a major record label being Nuclear Blast. I’m hoping that this review will help spread the word of this amazing group. I’ve been having some trouble finding a recent biography that covers what they’ve been doing since the release of their debut masterpiece.

SWWAATS is an amazing mix of deathcore and brutal grindcore. First off, I would like to say that the way everything sounds is perfect. The kick drums aren’t too high-pitched, the bass has a deep, growling sound, the guitars have some crunch to them, and the vocals are a treat to the ear. The band is exquisitely tight and on tempo 100% of the time. I can tell that the musicians know the fundamentals of death metal because they play with such technicality and creativity. The drumming on this album is absolutely flawless. His blast beats are like no other blast beat technique I’ve ever heard. I can tell that the vocalist growls the right way, and it sounds fantastical. Their bassist is one of the best metal bassists I’ve ever heard. He plays a 6-stringed bass that has 4 pickups. Each song on the album sounds completely different than each other. There is no repetition in any of the songs. And their political messages are powerful and realistic. There are many songs in the album that sound like complete chaos at first, but then the band completely pulls the song together with an amazing breakdown, and then release the song to go completely berserk! So far, everyone that I’ve showed this band to has gone completely nuts over them, so I can tell that someday, this band will be a landmark in metal history. Their lyrical themes show political themes through the eyes of people that work for long shifts for pretty much next to no money at all. And then some of their songs are predictions of the lower class eventually becoming the rulers over all.

I don’t know what song to start with, so I guess I’ll show you my views on the first song. The first song is extremely fast and brutal. I love the chords that the bassist plays. This song depicts how many of the leaders of the huge churches have become more focused on power, money, and political status, rather than spirituality and religion. I have no idea what the hell Cattle is about, but I will tell you that it has some of the most astonishing drumming that I’ve ever heard. Despot is probably the most well known SWWAATS song. This is a headbanging song that has very tight breakdowns. This song has my favorite blast beats in it. Automated Oration and the Abolition of Silence has chaotic drumming throughout the song which really gives it an odd twist, because the other members are playing stuff that almost sounds a bit melodic. A Path is definitely the most brutal, and the most chaotic song on this particular record. This is an example of how the band lets the song go crazy, and then they capture it to create an amazing breakdown, and then let it go loose. I’ve saved my favorite song for last. Agenda is one of the greatest deathcore songs ever written. The band is very chaotic, but then again, they’re very tight throughout the song. This song has more than one astonishing breakdown that is just face-melting. This album has amazed me. This gets a perfect score on ANY scale. WOW.

Suicide Silence-The Cleansing

Suicide Silence has become one of the most popular and mainstream bands in the deathcore genre. I myself am quite a fan of their music, owning both of their albums. The release of their self-titled EP really got their name out and got them on several tours. Their claim to fame is the album that I am going to talk about today. The Cleansing has introduced so many people to death metal. In an interview, one of the members said that they are “going to stay true to death metal, and not branch out away from [their] core metal sound”. My hopes are that this band stays around for a long time, keeping the spirit of metal alive.

There are a few downsides to their music, which is what I would like to talk about first. Mitch Lucker’s vocals are edited a little, because in the high quality live recordings/videos that I’ve heard, his screams are not quite as good as they are in the studio recordings. I personally like the vocals to be at least 93% pure and unedited. Another downside is that the guitar and bass parts aren’t really as creative as they should. I honestly believe that the guitarists and bassist are capable of creating a much more creative sound than what they did here. I can tell that their parts are very simple, most of the songs consisting of three to five basic notes. My favorite part of this band is their astonishing drummer. He does a lot of blast-beat drumming, which isn’t something I’m particularly a fan of, but he’s really good at it. His riffs and solos are purely amazing, and he is always on time and tight with the rest of the band. But I would like to say again, his parts are lacking a bit in the creativity part. My absolute favorite thing about their music is their extremely brutal breakdowns. A few of the breakdowns on this album are some of the best and most brutal I’ve ever heard. My favorite being on No Pity for a Coward. This album is definitely for fans of the most brutal music out there.

The most well known song from this album is without a doubt Unanswered. This song’s breakdowns and fast parts are extremely tight and unbelievably brutal. The one downside to this song is that it’s composed of only four notes. Bludgeoned to Death is honestly the most brutal song on The Cleansing. There is a breakdown in the middle of the song that is literally “melt your face off brutal”. One of the songs that I’m really not fond of is Hands of a Killer. The song’s intro is just really unappealing to me, and that same riff that’s played at the beginning is played pretty much throughout the whole song. I would say that the breakdown at the end is exceptional. No Pity for a Coward is best known for one thing, and that is the breakdown at the end of the song. They even made some of the lyrics from that breakdown into a shirt design. Eyes Sewn Shut is a song that is one of my favorite deathcore songs, but for some reason they have never played it live (that I know of). Green Monster is a political song talking about money (the green monster) consuming people and basically taking over them and “eating” them alive. Green Monster is one of the slower, more brutal songs. It’s also one of the longest (not counting the silence at the end of the track, I personally hate it when bands do that). For some odd reason, most people can’t really get the full message of this song, which is why I just spelled it out for you. My all time favorite song from this album is Girl of Glass. The blast beats are tight and creative, the song consists of more than four notes, and the lyrics really stand out to me.

Suicide Silence is known as one of the best and one of the most influential death metal bands in existence. Although they aren’t one of my favorite bands, I do think they are capable of doing a lot in the metal world. And for all you people that were thinking of commenting me saying that Suicide Silence is a “pussy emo band”, don’t, I personally am not someone that likes to get in the middle of that stuff, I consider Suicide Silence true deathcore, end of story. This album gets 17/20.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Engel-Reina El Caos

I’m still not sure how I found out about Engel. I think I typed in “deathcore” in Google images and the album cover of this album came up in the results. Engel is one out of two known deathcore bands from Panama. The other one being Murder the Frail. I have no idea if there is any relation between the two bands. I’ve searched the internet far and wide looking for some kind of biography on Engel, but so far I’ve found nothing. This band has been around for about two to three years and has gone on one full European tour as an opening act for French deathcore band Eths. I’ve found this album quite delectable so I decided I’d review it, hoping to spread the word on this band.

My favorite thing about this album is that everything is over distorted to the point to where it sounds really cool. The vocals are very distorted, which gives them a unique sound that I’ve never heard before in a metal recording. I’ve heard something similar to this in some songs by Queens of the Stone Age. I think the drumming is creative and I can tell that the drummer uses a lot of different auxiliary percussion items. The bassist I believe could use to be a bit more creative with his lines, because his parts are a little too simple for the band’s music. Another thing about the vocalist, I’m guessing that he does inhales (which is not something that I usually like), but the extra distortion on the mike really gives it a sweet sound. The logo is also very well made for a super underground band like Engel. Also I would like to add that I don’t know what the band’s lyrical themes are because they speak Spanish, not English.

The “song” that is very intriguing to me is the intro “song” (it’s not really a song; it’s the intro track that has just talking). I’m wondering who the guy on the phone is talking to. Then, it leads into Culpable with a sick drum intro. The breakdowns in the song are very tight and interesting. The title song has one of my all time favorite breakdowns at the end that has a really unique time signature. There is something very weird about this album that I noticed just a few days ago. That if you take out all of the songs and just play the intro and the outro, the two songs blend into each other! I think that this was intentional. I love it when bands add odd twists like that to their music. Overall, this is one of my favorite deathcore bands of all time and most likely will stay that way for quite a while. 19/20

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bring me the Horizon-There is a Hell believe me I've seen it, there isa Heaven, let's keep it a secret

The time that I really started to notice BMTH’s clime in popularity was around five to six months after they released Suicide Season. I have known about them since day one, but I didn’t truly get into them until about early summer in 2009. I currently own all of their albums on CD except for this one. In Count Your Blessings, BMTH was very creative, and was amazing in the area of technicality, musicianship, and tempo. The guitar solos were a bit primitive, but hey, no one’s perfect. Suicide Season somewhat lacked in the musicianship area. But the band was so creative it blew me away. I also noticed that they started drifting towards metalcore a little bit in that album. Two of the songs were pure metalcore.

Now, in their third full length album, they have dropped majorly in musicianship and technicality (except for the drummer, who has gotten much better), they aren’t all that tight anymore, and they aren’t very creative at all. Oliver has officially fucked himself over. He screamed the wrong way, and the yelling thing he does is slightly damaging to his throat. So now, all he does is that yelling thing (which is cool, but it gets old really fast). He does growl a line or two in every other song or so. There are two types of songs on this record. There are the really fast, driving (and sometimes) heavy metalcore sounding songs, which I actually like, most of them aren’t that bad. But the problem is, is that they all basically sound the same. The other songs are more of a soft, really melodic metalcore sounding songs, which annoy me. They have no creativity, and yelling doesn’t sound good with soft music. I would also like to note that the album cover is one of the worst covers I have ever seen. It’s just too weird.

I am only going to talk about the songs that stuck out to me in some way. The first song is a longer than normal song. It’s one of the softer songs, with a few driving parts with the really high pitched melodic trembolo picking that the guitarist likes to do. Then, at the second half of the song, this annoying girl’s voice comes in all digitized (in a very disturbing way) and ruins the whole song. My favorite song off of the record would probably have to be Anthem. The guitars are very simple and not very creative, but the drumming is amazing. This is a song that I would mosh too, and there is some screaming and growling in the song to put the icing on the cupcake. Blacklist is a fairly ok song that has quite a bit of growling in it, and is a good song for the headbangers, but the song is pretty repetitive, and the tempo doesn’t change very much. The song Fuck is stupid. There is no creativity or tempo that I know of. But the lyrics are friggen hilarious.

So overall, the album is pretty crappy for a band like BMTH. The drummer though has improved greatly, so I’ll give the thumbs up on that. I am a diehard BMTH fan, and I'm majorly disappointed with this release. For all you metalcore fans out there, it wouldn't hurt to give this album a try, some of you out there might like it. This album gets 12/20.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Linkin Park-A Thousand Suns

I’m surprised that this album is on spirit of metal because this album isn’t metal!! With “Minutes to Midnight”, they switched from an astonishing Nu Metal sound to more of a heavy rock sound. And in my review of that album I said that their sound had drifted away from the Linkin Park sound. But this?? A Thousand Suns has drifted so far from it that their original sound is way beyond the horizon. Even Chester Bennington himself said that he doesn’t fully like A Thousand Suns. And I don’t blame him for thinking that! I have been checking up on Linkin Parks spirit of metal page and I’ve noticed that ever since they released their new single (which is one out of only three songs I’ve heard from the new album), the amount of fans have gone down at a dramatic pace. The thing that I just can’t understand is that there are people out there that actually like this album!

Let’s talk about their new sound. They still have a guitarist and a bassist, but I can’t hear any guitar or bass in the music, unless they have been digitized and edited so much that you can’t even tell that they even have a guitarist or bassist. Another thing I would like to say is that in the good old days (the Hybrid Theory and Meteora days), Chester Bennington sang and screamed, and Mike Shinoda did the rapping and occasionally sang to add some harmonies to Chester’s vocals here and there. But now, they both just sing. And I will tell you this, THEY AREN’T GOOD AT IT! I bet that in the studio recordings, they just use a drum machine, and when they play live, they use an actual drummer, because only techno bands would make the drums sound that automated and digital. Basically what I’m saying is that all I can hear is keyboard and vocals.

Another thing that I would like to note is that I hear quite a bit of auto-tune in the vocals. Auto-tune is typically used when a singer can’t hit the right notes when he’s singing. The thing that I don’t like about auto-tune is that there isn’t a smooth transition between notes. On top of Linkin Park switching to techno, the worst thing is that they aren’t any good at it. Unlike some of the better techno bands like Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, and Blaqk Audio, their songs are repetitive, boring, and have too much of a mainstream sound. In music, I am an extremely open minded person. I want bands to change their sound every once in a while. But if they’re changing, and not getting better (or if their getting worse), that’s something that I strongly dislike. I’m a techno fan and love listening to it, but this thing that Linkin Park has done is horrible. It’s more of a techno/pop sound, which is something I don’t like. As you can see, I’ve given this album 1/20 on spirit of metal, but if I could I would give it an infinite negative numbered score. I miss Linkin Park.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nightrage-Wearing a Martyr's Crown

I’ve been listening to this band for many years now, so I think it’s about time I reviewed one of their albums. Nightrage has a very distinct, recognizable sound that I would know anywhere if I heard it. They have been known by some to be one of the better live metal bands. Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of being present at one of their live performances yet. Their sound has progressed in many positive ways over the years, and they just keep getting better and better.

Their old sound had a very heavy, dark sound. There wasn’t much diversity in their music back then, but their vocalist really had hopes that someday the band would come out with an astonishing album, so he kept the band going. And now they’ve finally come out with something great. Now their sound is darker, but sometimes really soft and melodic, occasionally having parts with acoustic guitars and some singing here and there. The new lineup is perfect for the band. Antony claims that the musicians in the current lineup (unlike the previous ones) are actually dedicated musicians that really want to be a part of Nightrage’s sound. The one thing about this band that really bothers me is the vocalist. His vocals sound horrible, and I wouldn’t like this band if the music wasn’t so good. But for some people, me included, have gotten used to Antony’s vocal sounds. But they still bother me a little bit. I do think that their current drummer is holding them back. His drumming is a little too simple for Nightrage’s sound. Nightrage is also one of the fastest melodic death bands I’ve ever heard. Usually, melodic death bands (like Dark Tranquility, Cipher System, and Dark Lunacy) are much slower, to give their music a darker sound.

There aren’t any songs on this album that stand out to me enough for me to talk about. The music on this album is for you to find out for yourself. I would like to talk about the band and each member’s influences according to their official website. Marios Iliopoulos is the lead guitarist. The bands that influence his music are Iron Maiden, Metallica, Testament, Thin Lizzy, Death, Obituary, Pestilence, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Gales, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Xentrix, Sepultra, and Pantera. Antony’s main influences are At the Gates, Sepultra, Immortal, Slayer, W.A.S.P., Hypocrisy, Death, Testament, Dimension Zero, Motorhead, Stone, The Crown, Napalm Death, and Darkthrone. The bands that influence Olof’s guitar playing are Nightrage, At the Gates, Testament, Metallica, Pantera, Zakk Wylde, and Steve Vai. Jo Nunez’s drumming is influenced by Aborted, Arch Enemy, Avenged Sevenfold, Angra, Children of Bodom, DevilDriver, Dragonforce, Megadeth, Firewind, Wintersun, Pantera, Rage, Soilwork, Symphony X, and The Black Dahlia Murder. Their Bassist is influenced by Dead Can Dance, and Elend. Oh…..WOW! I’ve been listening to this album while writing this review, and I just came across a song that has a beautiful, amazing guitar solo! The song is Sting of Remorse. It’s an instrumental that starts out with a soft, ambient acoustic part that is just beautiful. Then, the other members kick in, and the guitarist breaks out in what I think is one of the best solos I’ve heard in a long time. I would recommend this album to all melodic death fans. 14/20.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Veil of Maya-[id]

Veil of Maya is probably one of the most technical deathcore bands I’ve heard yet. I never fully appreciated them until I saw them live a couple weeks ago at the 2010 Summer Slaughter tour. I was surprised to see that their bassist’s guitar had seven strings! That isn’t something you would normally see in a deathcore band. I was just outside the venue by some merchandise stands chatting with my friends and eating a mini pizza (it was around lunchtime). I was sort of listening to them as background music, and while I was inside throwing my pizza away, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; I had to stay and watch this. Pretty soon I was enjoying myself so much I was in the pit within a few minutes (even though I was freaking tired). I was impressed by them and bought their new album, [id], while I was there.

Veil of Maya’s sound is very abstract. The guitarists play a lot of out of tune chords to give the sound an edge. The vocalist is one of those deathcore vocalists that mainly growls, and screams every once in a while (like whitechapel, carnifex, and suffokate). Before I saw them, I had their first demo that I got when a friend gave it to me about a year after they released it. Now that I’ve heard this, I’d say that they are astonishing compared to the demo. Their bassist has great technical skills, and I can tell that he uses every string on his instrument. The drummer plays a lot of abstract tempos and uses a lot of auxiliary drumming items. I would like to note that I’m not extra critical on how metal vocalists sound because it’s very hard to do (I know firsthand that it’s difficult). But I would like to say that the vocalist’s scream could use to be worked on a bit because it’s a bit scratchy sounding, which bothers me a bit.

There are several interludes in the album. The first “song”, which is the intro track, really gives you an idea of what you’re about to listen to. In the next song, the guitarist plays a really weird chord that sounds really cool to give the song some edge. Believe it or not, in deathcore, I am not easily impressed when it comes to breakdowns. They have to be really good, tight, on-beat, and creative to impress me, and honestly, none of these breakdowns impress me (I’m not saying they’re bad at all, they’re just not quite good enough for me). Overall, the band’s performance and this album have impressed me. I would recommend this to metalcore and deathcore fans, and of course, to anyone who loves discovering new music. This album gets 16/20.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I-Between Two Worlds

Apparently Abbath was bored with not having a band. So he teamed up with members from Enslaved, Sagh, and Gorgoroth to form a very unique band. I found out about this band from this guy on the internet who claims to be “the biggest black metal fan of all time”. I was intrigued by the name of this band; mainly because the entire name was just the letter I. The band hasn’t been very active. They’ve only played one concert, which was at the Hole in the Sky metal festival in Norway in august, 2006, the same month that they released their album. Since then, I has had no activity whatsoever. Abbath thought that this band would take off. But that same year, Immortal got back together, and that is probably the reason for the activity absence from I. But even though they haven’t done anything for over four years, there has never been anything said by the band that says they’re split up, or is even thinking about doing so. I have listened to this album plenty of times, and overall, it’s pretty damn good. There are a few things about the music that I would like to be different.

The band is very creative, tight, and uses a lot of influence from classic heavy metal bands. Abbath does his classic raw black metal vocal style with music that has a very old heavy metal sound. When I first heard this, it didn’t sound like something that would fit together very well. But when I heard the music, I was pleasantly surprised with how it sounded. It seems to have created more of a mainstream sound, somewhat similar to Soilwork, DevilDriver, and Nevermore. Their attempt at this has been somewhat of a failure. I do not think that they have done a very good job at being progressive, and unique. A lot of the songs sound similar, and a lot of the drumming and bass lines are repetitive and mediocre. All of the members having come from phenomenal bands, I honestly believe that they are capable of doing something much more amazing that Between Two Worlds. Besides the cons, the songs are catchy, they grab my attention, and the guitar solos are very delectable.

The Storm I Ride is strongly influenced by Motorhead and Queensryche. I can tell because of the faster beats and the way that the pitch of the vocals sounds with the down-tuned guitars. Also, the guitar solos remind me strongly of the style that the Queensryche guitarist plays. The title song has a very heavy, crunchy sound to it. Probably being influenced more by Nevermore and Black Sabbath, the title song has parts that sound very edgy, and some where the band isn’t very tight. Mountains has an ambient black sound during many parts of it, including the beginning, with the out of tune, slightly distorted guitar. The song also has too much of an Immortal sound to it. The reason why I think of this as a bad thing is that this isn’t Immortal! This is a different band that should have a different sound, because if it sounds similar to the band that the leader is also a part of, it shows a lack of creativity. But the album is still worth checking out. I think that if this band can’t get more progressive and technical, that they shouldn’t come out with a new album. This gets 13/20.

Augury-Concealed

A couple of months ago I wrote a review on Augury’s most recent album, Fragmentary Evidence. A lot of you guys seemed to really enjoy listening to the album and/or reading the review I wrote. Well after I saw them live a couple of weeks ago when they were one of the opening acts for Soilwork, I was so blown away by their performance that I just had to get their first album. Concealed was released all the way back in 2004. The long period of time in between album releases was probably because they weren’t signed on to any label for a couple of years. Then they signed on to Nuclear Blast and released Fragmentary Evidence in early 2009. The lineup back then was pretty close to what it is now, obviously not exactly. I’ll tell you, listening to this album was a very unique and interesting experience; I can’t tell you if it was a positive or negative one, it was just nothing that I’ve ever experienced before while listening to music.

I have listened to this album straight through countless times trying to figure out what other genres and/or bands influence their music. I still can’t come up with anything. This means that these guys have created an entirely new sound. In some of the songs, they have a really ambient sound in a lot of parts of it to give it a futuristic and mysterious feeling. There are quite a bit of sung female voices in some of the songs, which really have an edge, because in some of the places where they have it, it doesn’t fit in with the other music very well. None of the musicians use a traditional approach of playing their instruments. Everything in their music seems to have been crafted and put together by the band. Of course, the bass guitar is the dominant instrument in their music, although it could use to be a bit louder at many parts. The bassist plays a lot of the notes by tapping the strings on the neck with the hand that he would normally have by the pickups. The guitar playing is nothing short of very abstract and new. The guitarist does a lot of strumming on the neck, playing with the different effects, and frequent changes in the speed that he plays. Although it may sound like it, their drummer does not do any blast-beat drumming in any of Augury’s songs. I know this for a fact now that I’ve seen the band live and have chatted with some of the members.

My favorite song off the album is Beatus. It has also come to be one of my very favorite Augury songs. In the very technical and pretty intro, the lead guitarist is playing all of the notes just by pressing down on the strings with his hand that is on the neck of the guitar. His other hand is on the volume knob on the guitar turning it up and down to give it a really cool sound. Halfway through the intro, the other guitarist and eventually the bassist join in doing the exact same thing. The overall sound structure is very Avant Garde and unique. In Russian Dolls Universes is a very abstract song. Probably because in several parts of the song, the way that the female vocals are sung reminds me of how the choir from 2001: A Space Odyssey sounded. Augury’s very experimental, futuristic sound will definitely be remembered for a long time, and will influence many bands in the future. Anyone who enjoyed reading my review on Fragmentary Evidence should go out and buy this album. Not only them, but anyone who is into progressive music, and enjoyed reading this review should go out and buy this album. I also noticed that the vocalist for Augury read my Fragmentary Evidence review and left a comment. It would be awesome if he read this review. This album gets 15/20.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ReVamp-ReVamp

When After Forever disbanded in February, 2009, singer Floor Jansen claimed that she would take this opportunity and form a new band. She said in an interview that she wanted this band to have a sound that was more fitting to the lyrics she wrote, because she felt that in After Forever, quite a few of the songs (soundwise) didn’t fit the lyrics she had written. ReVamp has the keyboardist from After Forever, and a few other musicians that have worked with Floor in the past. Many reviewers have claimed that ReVamp sounds no different than After Forever, which isn’t really a good thing. Others have said that Floor’s voice isn’t nearly as good as before, and that the songs are not creative and that the overall sound is mediocre. But then again, there is the crowd (which includes me) that enjoys ReVamp very much.

ReVamp’s overall sound is much heavier and darker than After Forever. The Dutch band has really pushed symphonic metal into a whole new realm. It sounds like they have mixed in some metalcore in with their sound, causing the more technical sounding guitar parts and drumming, as well as the sound of the guitar distortion. Floor’s voice has changed quite a bit, being slightly deeper, and having more of an edgy sound. The bassist in my opinion is the best musician in the band. He plays most of the songs with a five string bass, but in an interview he said that he played a couple of the songs using a six string bass (not stating what the songs were). The member who does the growling is not very good at it. I feel he should practice and work on it more so that he can develop his own unique vocal sound (like every good metal vocalist does). The band isn’t quite as tight as After Forever was. I feel that the band was put together very fast and came out with an album too soon. It would have been better if they took more time in perfecting their songs and practicing more times, as well as more thoroughly.

In this review, I will only talk about the song that is split into three very different parts. Part one uses a lot of symphonic and orchestral instruments, as well as a piano playing in the background throughout the part. The song has a very heavy sound with an exquisite combination of melodic melodies and dark, crunchy bass lines. I also think that the pianist did a fabulous job on his part, having a very technical classical sound. Part two is fast, dark, angry, and mean. That is mostly due to the fact that it features legendary vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork. The song is very technical, very fast, and it has a thrash metal feeling during some parts of the song, and has melodic death sounds in it as well. I would have liked it if Floor had worked on being more in tune on her singing in part two. Part three is my favorite part of In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us, as well as being my favorite song off of the album. Mainly because it has an awesome beat, and that it has one of the most beautiful choruses I’ve ever heard in symphonic metal. They were very creative in the solos, the chorus is beautiful, changing keys almost every time the chorus is played, the overall sound of the song is very catchy, and you can tell that the band put a lot of effort into this part of the song. This is an excellent debut release and deserves a solid 17/20.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Faceless-Planetary Duality

The Faceless is not only known as one of the best Californian death metal bands, they are known as one of the most progressive and inspirational metal bands of modern times. The first thing I think anyone would say is that the album cover is pretty damn cool. Planetary Duality has been successful enough to bring this young band to very high standards, enough to get them on the Billboard 200 list. But just because they’re really popular and are selling a lot of albums doesn’t always mean they’re good. I usually don’t pay attention to a band’s success because that factor usually has no meaning to me, so I don’t waste my time paying attention to that stuff. But this album has amazed me; I had no idea that musicians could do some of the things that these guys have done.

The first thing that I would like to note is that I hate it when the kickdrums are too high pitched; I like it when they have a deeper sound, and the sound of the kickdrums in this album is just a tad bit too high pitched for my taste. Aside from that, the band’s music is very fast, and extremely creative and technical in every way possible. There isn’t any part of Planetary Duality that is in the least bit repetitive. One thing I would like to point out that I have never heard before in any kind of death metal is the songs that use the vocoder in parts. It really gives the music a really futuristic, science fiction sound that really impresses me. There are a few songs that have some really cool acoustic parts that give the song somewhat of an ambient sound. The vocalist’s growl has a very solid, strong sound that shows that he has practiced and worked on it a lot. The whole band is extremely tight, and it shows very strongly that band has practiced a lot.

The first song has some of the fastest guitar trembelo picking I’ve ever heard. The song is astonishingly fast, the band is extremely tight, and the vocoder used in several parts of the song gives it a futuristic sound. XenoChrist is, once again, amazingly fast, and it also has some of the most technical drumming on the whole album. Coldly Calculated Design is my favorite song that has the vocoder vocals in it; it’s the song where I think the sound of the vocoder fits the song the most. My favorite song by The Faceless is The Ancient Covenant. My favorite part of the song is the astonishing bass intro. The song is fast at many parts, the bass stands out throughout the whole song, and the vocoder used at the end gives it the magic finishing touch. This album is astonishing. I can’t wait for the The Faceless’ next masterpiece. This album deserves 18/20.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mnemic-Sons of the System

There can’t possibly be any way that metalcore can get any heavier than this. This band has come a long way. They are one of Metallica’s favorite bands, and they’ve played at the Wacken Open Air festival, where only legends and bands considered landmarks in metal play. The album was recorded in the band’s own studio. Mnemic describes the album to be more theatrical and catchy. This is by far my favorite Mnemic album. Everything from the album cover to the overall sound of the album is awesome. Like I said before, this is the heaviest metalcore band of all time and I love it.

Being one of my favorite metalcore albums, I would like to say first off, that I have been listening to these guys since the release of Audio Injected Soul. But I didn’t really think much of them, or listen to them that much until Sons of the System came out. After I was blown away by Sons of the System, I went back and listened to the other albums I had by them, and wondered “why the hell didn’t this band speak out to me before Sons of the System??” I guess that the new album is the best first impression for people new to the band. The instant I find out that they will be playing in Seattle, I will buy the damn tickets!

Every song on this album is very different from each other. There are songs that are more electronic and theatrical, with more of a melodic sound, and there are songs that are very fast and heavy. It’s very hard to pick my favorites, but there are a handful of songs that stand out to me. The title song is the best first impression for anyone. It has their theatrical, melodic sound mixed with their brutally fast sound; the best first impression for anyone. Mnightmare is probably the heaviest song off the album. The song’s very fast drumming and tempos are really driving and leave my heart racing after every time I listen to the song. Dreamjunkie has more of a theatrical sound with a very catchy beat and vocals. The Erasing has a catchy sound to it with some brutal drumming to mix it up a bit. This is by far my favorite Mnemic album and would recommend it to all metalheads. I’m giving Sons of the System 19/20.

Dethklok-Dethalbum II

There are a lot of people that don’t consider Dethklok to be a real metal band. I on the other hand beg to differ. Probably the reason for a lot of people not liking Dethklok is that they are an animated band that originated on a T.V. show. Also, in their first album, there were only two people making the music (which surprised me because it sounded like there were more people). As well as that, the lyrical themes in their songs were quite comedic and abstract in songs like Birthday Dethday, Fansong, and Briefcase Full of Guts. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the first album; I don’t really think they truly applied themselves which caused the music to be somewhat below mediocre. But they have really improved quite a bit with the new album which impressed me.

The overall sound quality of the album is low. It kind of has that mushy, metallic sound. The sound of the guitar distortion has a very delectable crunchy sound that reminds me of God Dethroned. The creativity level has gone way up since the first album. The lyrical themes have varied now, instead of all being about “deth”, they have covered a wider variety of themes. The drumming in some songs is also very fast and tight, as well as being more creative and less repetitive. The area that I think has improved the most is the vocals. Before, the vocals sounded like the vocalist hadn’t really developed his own unique sound (which is something that every decent metal vocalist does). It just sounded like he hadn’t really been growling very long, like he was just starting. But now, he has really developed a deep, sharp sound that sounds really cool.

The first song is also the single, and the one with the music video. My favorite part of it is the really cool sounding drums at the beginning and in other parts of the song. Laser Cannon Deth Sentence is a really cool song that is quite fast and tight. The song reminds me of In Perfection by Cipher System. The Gears is probably my favorite song off the record. It has a really tight, crunchy sound to it that has really creative vocal sounds, drum parts, and keyboard backgrounds. Comet Song is not one of my favorites. It is repetitive at parts, and there are times where it gets off beat, which bothers me. Overall, this is a delectable album that I would recommend to melodic death fans. 14/20.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Xasthur-Subliminal Genocide

The music that comes from the mind of Malefic never ceases to amaze me. He has so much to put in his music that his songs are almost never shorter than seven minutes long. The thing I love most about Xasthur is that there is an unbelievable amount of emotion in the music; it’s mind blowing and I’ve only heard a small handful of others that can do that. Malefic claims that Burzum is the one that inspired his one-man approach to his project (Xasthur). His lyrical themes are unlike most black metal bands. Usually, in black metal you would find lyrical themes about Satanism, anti-religion, and Christian blasphemy. But Malefic’s lyrics are about death, suicide, despair, and depression. I am guessing he has had a pretty rough life to come up with such powerful messages in his songs.

I have almost everything by Xasthur, and Subliminal Genocide is my absolute favorite out of all the others. This album takes you on a journey of extremely strong emotions of depression and despair, and it is an amazing experience that never gets old. The sound of the guitar distortion is my favorite out of all of his other albums, having a bigger, broader sound with a bit more bass to it. The guitars also seem to be more in-tune than some of the other albums (some of them having extremely out of tune guitars that don’t sound very good). I also like the fact that I can hear Malefic’s amazing vocals more; the music doesn’t drown it out in this album. If you were to ask me what my favorite song from this album was, I could only narrow it down to four.

Prison of Mirrors is one of the more melodic songs, the message being about someone who hates himself being trapped in a room of mirrors, with nothing to look at but himself, also with nothing to kill himself with. The song has some very beautiful guitar parts, and the drums are on-time with the other instruments. Beauty is only Razor Deep is an amazing song. It’s probably the most depressing song off the album, but it’s an extremely delectable experience to listen to. There are some fast double kick drumming in the song, which gives it kind of an edgy sound at parts. This album has many interludes as well (unlike the other albums, only having an intro and an outro). Just the overall sound of Victim of Your Dreams is very sharp and higher pitched. It has a really thick, heavy sound that is really calming. The last song I would like to talk about is the title song. It has a very deep sound with a lot of bass that stands out. Malefic doesn’t really belt out his vocals as much in this song. He sounds more relaxed. This is a very great album that I would recommend to all black metal fans, and to any people that are still a bit new to black metal, this gets 20/20.

Friday, August 6, 2010

After Forever-After Forever

The self-titled album by metal superstars, After Forever, is their absolute best album by far. The sad thing is, is that it turned out to be their last, as well as their best. In January 2008, After Forever announced on their website that the band would be taking a break of at least a year, mainly to assess the health problems of vocalist and guitarist Sander Gommans, who had been absent during most of the tour supporting their self-titled album. In an interview with Ragnarök radio, Floor Jansen said the band would get together early 2009 to discuss After Forever's future. On February 5th 2009, After Forever announced that they decided to call it quits. The long break, during 2008 and 2009, had made them realize that they did not feel the passion towards the band any longer.

This album has already been prophesized to be remembered always and to be a landmark in metal history. Floor’s voice is definitely one of the most beautiful and powerful voices I have ever heard. No, this band is not “just another symphonic metal band that sounds like every other one”. After Forever are true masters of metal and will always be remembered. They are extremely tight, creative, and beautiful. This seems to be the first album where their male vocalist doesn’t sing at all, just growling. On top of that, the band’s overall sound has a lot less of a gothic sound than in all of their other albums. When I first got this album over a year ago, I remember listening to it over and over again endless times. The distortion of the guitar is very powerful, but a very clean distortion. I think it’s a coincidence that this album turned out to be their last because the album cover has the omega symbol, which is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. But the music is the best part.

Discord is my absolute favorite song off this masterpiece of an album. The song starts with orchestral instruments, but it sounds like an old 30’s or 40’s recording. Then, the guitars come on with a very powerful sound. It’s amazing. There is a lot of emotion in the music, especially in the singing at the chorus. Evoke starts with Floor singing with an opera voice. The song has quite a bit of a darker sound at parts. The keyboard really stands out in Transistory. There’s great growling, an awesome chorus, and really cool, unusual harmonies. Energize Me is the hit single off the album, as well as having a music video. There is plenty of emotion and creativity in that song. Equally Destructive is one of the heavier songs, having crunchy guitar sounds at parts. Withering Time has a lot of choir vocals with some amazing music that matches it perfectly. De-Energized has a very heavy and angry sound with some astonishing guitar riffs and lots of growling. Cry with a Smile is a softer song, with very pretty vocals and overall sound. Envision is very unique, especially with its creative drumming. Who I Am is another heavy song, with great keyboard parts that really stand out. Dreamflight is the only song that has male singing in it. It is also the longest song, being over 11 minutes long, as well as that, the keyboardist really has one of the main parts in this song. Empty Memories is mostly made up of orchestral and symphonic music, having very few guitars. The last track, Lonely, is just beautiful piano and astonishingly pretty singing from Floor.

Overall, I can’t really see how this album could get better in any area, it’s perfection. Every song I just talked about on this review is purely amazing and should be heard by everyone. I still can’t believe that after this masterpiece, they lost interest, it’s disappointing. If you have never heard of this band, and find this review and album appealing, don’t hesitate to buy it, I promise you, you won’t regret it. This album is outstanding and deserves a 100% on any scale.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fleshgod Apocalypse-Oracles

There are many elements of music that progressive death bands blend in with their music. I have come to find that many of these bands such as Opeth, and Between the Buried and Me, like to add some jazz rock to their death metal sound. Other bands, such as Soulfly and Amorphis, like to blend in a bunch of progressive rock in with their metal sound to make a thick, beautiful sound. Fleshgod Apocalypse does something different though. Fleshgod blends in clips of classical music in with a fast, brutal death metal sound. I discovered this band via internet and at first, this did not seem appealing to me, so I nearly forgot about the band. A couple of months later, I came across them, and looked them up. The impression it gave me was nothing short of amazement.

Fleshgod Apocalypse is a fairly unknown progressive death band hailing from Rome, Italy. Mixed in with most of the songs on Oracles are orchestral music, chamber choir choruses, and an entire song being a classical piano solo song. The music is extremely fast, extremely brutal, extremely technical, and extremely amazing. I've looked everywhere trying to find out who plays the piano in Oracles and Embodied Deception, but it doesn't say anywhere. So I have come to the conclusion that the only possibility is that the pianist is the reanimated corpse of Chopin. That is how amazing the piano parts are. The guitar distortion is very powerful, and has a bit of a buzz to it.

In Honour of Reason starts with one of the most amazing intros I've ever heard, starting with the sound of an orchestra tuning, then the brutal guitars come in. After that, the song is very fast with very tight drumming. The message of the song is embracing realistic humanity. Post-Enlightenment Executor is an astonishingly brutal song with quite a bit of blast-beat drumming and technical guitar riffs. As Tyrants Fall is an excellent song. The only downside is that the song is slightly repetitive. But a symphonic waltz at the end of the song makes up for most of the repetition. Sophistic Demise is the fastest song off of the album with impressive drumming. The vocals also seem slightly higher pitched in that song than in the others. Requiem in Sj Minore is the longer and calmer song off the record. I'm guessing that the band felt they needed to slow things down a bit on one of the songs. There are only two words I can use to describe At the Guillotine, and that is PURE BRUTALITY. Embodied Deception is my favorite song by this band. The piano intro is some of the fastest piano playing I have ever heard in my life. The song is very fast, it's brutal, and it has so much creativity it's practically shoving it down your throat! Infection of the White Throne is an anti-religious song with very powerful kickdrumming. It also has a choir singing at the end to add the classical element. Retrieving my Carcass has some very good bass riffs and brutal drumming. The last song, the title song, is a classical piano solo piece that is very good, and I would do a lot to get my hands on some sheet music of that song (I have been playing piano for about ten years and my favorite kind of music to play is classical). This album is amazing and a must-have. 19/20.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Decrepit Birth-Polarity

Decrepit Birth has come a long way, and their sound has changed dramatically over time. I was not fully impressed by their previous albums, but I was still very pleased, and now Polarity has fully blown my mind. There have been many great albums released this year, but there haven’t been very many death metal albums quite as inspiring as Polarity. I have been listening to Decrepit Birth since the release of their sophomore album Diminishing Between Worlds. Since then I have been watching them out of the corner of my eye waiting for something amazing to come from them (which turned out to be Polarity). It was also to my surprise that shortly before they started recording the new album, they had signed on to Nuclear Blast Records! They must have done something amazing in order to get signed on to Nuclear Blast. After hearing this album, I am not surprised they got signed on to them. I got stuck listening to this album over and over again for about two weeks straight, and I’m not anywhere near of getting sick of it.

Like I said before, the band’s overall sound and musical style has changed dramatically, and I think Nuclear Blast has something to do with the change, because all of the bands under that record label always have a very different, progressive sound. Also, bands’ sound seems to change when they sign on to Nuclear Blast. Their original style was a traditional Californian brutal death sound that had some technicality in it too. Now, their guitars are not down-tuned as much, the vocals are deeper, and they have entered a realm of metal known as technical death metal (which is not a genre I typically use). I would also like to note that although the album artwork was done by the same guy that did all their other album covers, the cover for Polarity has a lot more bright colors and is more abstract and futuristic looking than all of their other album covers, which had darker colors and more of a simple design.

Ignite the Tesla Coil is the longest song being around six minutes. It is also probably my least favorite song off the album. The guitars could be a tad bit better, and most of the acoustic parts are kind of repetitive. Aside from that, it is a very progressive song and I love the melody during the intro. Metatron is very technical and creative. The vocals and double kick drums are very well done and tight. The Resonance is one of the slower, more melodic songs off the album, which gives you a change in emotion when you are listening to the album. Then they start to speed things up. My favorite song off the album is the title song. It is extremely technical, I don’t know how much more creative it can get, let alone astonishing. The vocals in Solar Impulse seem to be a lot deeper than in all the other songs, which fits it extremely well. This is another one of the more melodic songs with very creative guitar and bass lines. Mirroring Dimensions is probably the most progressive and experimental piece on Polarity. It is very brutal, but then again it is very creative and technical, especially in the drumming. A Brief Odyssey in Time is an interesting song. It is basically a short interlude, but it’s an actual song. My favorite part of that song would have to be the mysterious sounding keyboard parts. The Quickening of Time is very fast, tight, and has great bass and drums. Sea of memories is another progressive and experimental song with the bass standing out. Symbiosis is filled with emotion and creativity. It reminds me of the song Sufferstream by Cipher System. Darkness Embrace is slower and has much more of a darker sound than the other songs. I like the down-tuned guitars and the great piano in the background. This album is amazing and I love it, 19/20.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Immortal-All Shall Fall

After 7 years of waiting, Immortal finally releases their new album. When I noticed on the Nuclear Blast website that Immortal had released a new album, I bought it as soon as I could and laid down to listen to it. This is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had listening to music. Immortal has made an astonishing comeback. After the album was finished, I was so blown away I couldn’t sit up to restart the CD.

Immortal’s sound has changed dramatically. They’re not as driving, quick, or as aggressive as they used to be. They’ve slowed things down a bit, as well as being more melodic and complex in the song structures. This album reminds me of At the Heart of Winter, due to the melodic sound; the only difference is that All Shall Fall is a million times more creative. The quality is crystal clear, obviously because it was released under Nuclear Blast Records. The overall creativity and complexity of the album is nothing short of astonishing and mind blowing.

The first song of the album is the most recognizable. The title song is an amazing song that is filled with delicious guitar riffs and some if the fastest kick drumming I’ve ever heard. The Rise of Darkness I believe primarily focuses on drumming. Reidar really tries his best to put his drumming skills to the test. The one downside on that song is that the guitars are just a tad bit repetitive. Hordes to War is the fastest and heaviest song on the album. Norden on Fire is my favorite song on the album. The intro to the song is just flat out amazing. The way they blend perfectly from an ambient sounding guitar to a heavier, black metal is really something you don’t hear very often. Arctic Swarm is another heavier piece with its extreme tempos and aggressive guitar lines. Mont North is all about the snowy, icy landscape of northern Norway, and the music fits it perfectly. The beat, drumming, and guitar parts to Unearthly Kingdom are amazing; this is the perfect headbanging song. I would give this a perfect score. There is no stopping this band.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wintersun-Wintersun

Wintersun is a melodic death trio hailing from southern Finland. They are the side project of Jari Mäenpää, the guitarist for folk metal band Ensiferum. After obtaining a record deal, Mäenpää scheduled studio time to record the first album. Ensiferum's tour to support their 2004 release was scheduled at the same time, which forced Mäenpää to request time off from the band. The band instead fired him, and Mäenpää was free to go ahead with the production of their self-titled album.

Wintersun is a beautiful combination of melodic death, power metal, speed metal, and a little bit of folk metal. The quality of the album is crystal clear (mostly because it was released under Nuclear Blast), the musicianship is astonishing; the guitarist can play amazingly fast, with outstanding creativity, and the drummer plays extremely fast, but is almost completely relaxed. Their theme is winter, snow, ice, and supernatural magic. The songs get gradually longer throughout the album, the first song being 2.38, and the last song being 10.16. My favorite song off the album would be Beyond the Dark Sun. Its technicality and speed blows me away every time I listen to it, I think that it also has the best melodies and bass lines.

An article on Wikipedia says: Recording for the second album, tentatively titled Time, began on May 2, 2006. Wintersun entered Sonic Pump Studios with Thunderstone's Nino Laurenne as sound engineer. Recording of Hahto's drum tracks began on May 3. Rhythm guitars and bass were also recorded during the session. Mäenpää would record synthesizers and sampling, guitar solos, acoustic guitars, vocals, and Mäntysaari's guitarwork at his apartment studio. The album will have seven songs and an intro and outro. The songs' compositions are complex, being composed of 200 to 300 tracks each. Time would face multiple setbacks, delaying the album's release for years. On October 23, 2006, Wintersun released a statement that, because recording was continually delayed, the dates for the album's mix would be pushed back to May 2007, causing Wintersun's appearance at Ragnarök Festival that same month to be cancelled. A tentative release date for August 2007 was given. On April 17, 2007, Mäenpää released a statement updating the status on the album, detailing that difficulties with hardware failures caused further delays in the recording process. The mix dates were cancelled, and because Laurenne's schedule at Sonic Pump Studios was full for the remainder of the year, the album's release would be pushed back further. By this time, all guitars, including solos and acoustic, were recorded, and the intro was completed. Mäenpää had begun composing and arranging the synth layers, but stress and frustration had been hindering his creativity. I’m giving this album 18/20.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Demonical-Hellsworn



Demonical is an extremely unknown Swedish death metal band. I discovered this band via internet and loved what I heard. They show great creativity and talent that is simply laid out. None of the songs on this album sound the same, none of them are boring or repetitive, and some of their members have been in other successful metal bands. As unknown as they are, they have been quite successful in their home country of Sweden.

First off, for an extremely underground band, the recording quality is amazing! The guitar distortion is my favorite part of the album. It sounds similar to Soulskinner by Fleshcrawl, but better and broader. The vocalist is one of the best I’ve heard in quite awhile, I can tell easily that he growls the correct way. The song speeds vary greatly. Quite a few of the songs start out slow, and then speed up. Some of them are fast and brutal all the way through.

The beginning of Bloodridden sounds a lot like Black Sabbath’s title song. World Serpent has some of the best guitar work off the album. Infernal Void has a traditional death metal sound with some technical creativity in the bass and drums. Death Metal Darkness is my favorite song off of the album. It has an all original traditional death metal sound that can’t get any purer. This album is fast and brutal and will mow you down if you’re not careful. This deserves an 17/20.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Intestinal Strangulation-Pathological Brutalistic Fermentation

Intestinal Strangulation is a brutal death trio hailing from Whittier, California. I’ve seen them once and their music is a treat to the ears. They have brutal music right along with brutal lyrics. Anyone who loves the really brutal bands, this is just the band for them to sink their teeth into.

Their theme is gore, and the lyrics and music fit it perfectly. An interesting thing about them is that both the guitarist and the bassist do vocals. One of them does a deep inhale growl, and the other does exhale screams. The drummer is very good; he’s my favorite out of the three. He has a medium to large size set, and he uses it with creativity and precision. The overall quality of the recording is lovely considering they are a practically unknown band.

Some of the songs off of the record that I like are Homicidal Artistry, mainly for the very delectable drum solo at the end of the song. Thrones of Abysmal Torment really shows a lot of technicality and talent through the musicians. Leather face has an interesting twist of thrash metal that sounds great. My favorite song by this band is Postmortal Prostitution. This band is for anyone who loves traditional brutal music and gore. 17/20.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Threat Signal-Vigilance

This is the second studio album by my favorite metalcore band. This is also one of my favorite albums of all time. This album blew my mind in many ways. I saw this band live once and they were so good, it even impressed my dad (who is not easily impressed). Of course they are signed on to Nuclear Blast Records, no Nuclear Blast band has not blown me away. I have only listened to this album a couple hundred times probably which obviously shows that I am crazy about this band.

First, I would like to point out that when the vocalist sings, he sounds a lot like Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. The best musicians are definitely the drummer and the lead guitarist. I like how in some of the guitar solos, the guitar sounds a lot like a keyboard, originally I thought that it actually was a keyboard. My dad was impressed by the drummer, who is honestly nothing but amazing. This album has many more melodic elements than Under Reprisal, even having acoustic parts.

My favorite song by this band (and off the album) is The Beginning of the End. This song really took me on a journey of hate of anger, and then ending with a relaxing nirvana feeling. Some other of my favorites include Through my Eyes, Afterlife, United we Stand, Beyond Recognition, and Another Source of Light. This is an album to die for. Recommended to EVERYONE. 20/20.