Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brainoil-Death Of This Dry Season

Brainoil, now that’s a cool name if you ask me! I’m not too familiar with the sludge metal area, although I am a huge Hellyeah fan, and I have heard some Down stuff, and I have a Black Label Society album. But otherwise, I haven’t really gone into much depth into the sludge lake. But hey! There aren’t very many things that I love more than listening to new music. Now I wasn’t particularly fond of the Down stuff I heard, so that was kind of a bad first impression on sludge metal. But Hellyeah has been a band I’ve been following their whole career, but they mix in some nu metal and some thrash in their bowl of sludge.

The first thing I need to note is that this is a pretty raw and poorly produced album. And that’s not a bad thing at all because I listen to tons of poorly recorded stuff. So the guitars have the really thick, crunchy sound that I’ve heard in most sludge bands (and I love the sound of it too). I do hear some classic heavy metal influenced guitar riffs here and there which is good because it’s showing these guys have some inspiration going here. I’m also noticing that the vocals aren’t being sung, it sound like a dirty, Sepultura-styled scream/yell almost. But the thing that’s really bothering me about this album is that the vocals are really quiet and I have to really listen in order to hear them clearly, so it would be a plus if the vocals were not so drowned out by the guitars, which are pretty much dominating everything else. I’m also having trouble hearing the bass. So most of these faults are just due to the crappy recording quality which is understandable because producing music isn’t the easiest thing in the world, it’s just something that takes some work. So maybe these guys should have spent a little more time perfecting the volume on each track so that you can hear everything fine.

Now the first song starts with the classic faded-in guitar feedback which sounds really cool if done well; and they definitely pulled it off in this song. The first track also has a lot of traditional heavy metal influenced guitar parts that actually sound really catchy. Ok now were on the second song…wait…I think I just heard the same intro that I did on the first song, did I not? Ok now we have some repetitiveness here, because I’m hearing the same type of intro for all of the songs except for two of them. It was great in the first song because it was a good album intro, but it shouldn’t be used anymore after that. This is also one of the slower metal bands which really give their music that thick sludge metal sound. So overall, not bad! But there are quite a few things that need to be worked on, but I see quite a bit of potential for these guys. This gets 11/20.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vomitory-Blood Rapture

I’ve been listening to this album for a few years now and I’ve always thought the same thing about it: can death metal get any purer than this? I discovered these guys at the same time I dug up Fleshgod Apocalypse, Dark Lunacy, Mortician, and Hate Eternal. It was on this stupid website that isn’t around anymore, but I’m glad I found those bands. When I want to show someone what pure death metal sounds like, one of the bands that I’ll end up playing for them is Vomitory. And for a plain death metal album, it’s not that bad at all. And that’s kind of unusual for me to say because the thing about a band that always grabs me is if their creative and progressive with their music, instead of sticking to pure tradition.

The first thing I would like to note about this album is that the guitar distortions are very clean and smooth, as opposed to the crunchy distortions on Carnage Euphoria. Most of the album checks out pretty well. None of the instruments are overpowering and drowning everything else out, the bands is relatively tight but it could use some work. I like the deep growls, except they sound a tad bit too relaxed, so they could use to be more powerful. I love the way they have the drums tuned on this album. The drums have a really clicky sound, but there’s bass in the drums so it’s not all high-pitched and annoying like it is on some metal records. The guitar solos are a little too simple for my taste, but luckily they fix that up in Carnage Euphoria. And the drums are kind of overtechnicallizing the other instruments (I just invented my own word). In other words, the drums are really technical, but everything else is pretty simple, and it doesn’t really fit. But other than those minor faults, Blood Rapture checks out just fine.

This is one of the albums where I haven’t paid any attention to the song names. I just put this album on shuffle and listen to it straight through. But I did pick out a couple of song names so that I could point something out that bothers me. You can’t hear the bass in some of the songs; it’s just not loud enough. Two of those songs would be Rotting Hill and Hollow Retribution. And I don’t know how many of you out there pay much attention to what the bassist is playing, but I naturally hear what the bassist is playing because I play the bass myself. This happens to all musicians, when they listen to a recording that’s not theirs, the instrument that the musician play just naturally stands out to them. It’s actually kind of weird because before I started playing bass almost 4 years ago, I didn’t really hear what the bassist was playing unless he was doing a solo or something (like in Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin). So this album is pure death metal, nothing else. This gets a 16/20.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All Shall Perish-This Is Where It Ends

It’s July 23rd and I come home to see that my pre-order of This Is Where It Ends by All Shall Perish has arrived at my doorstep three days before its release. It feels like Christmas day since I’m a huge All Shall Perish fan and I also got the limited red vinyl edition with a shirt and an autographed poster. And yes, I do listen to vinyl LPs and I own my own turntable. This isn’t my first purchase of a Nuclear Blast LP; I bought Entity by Origin on vinyl. I’ve been following these guys ever since I heard about the release of Awaken the Dreamers. I also ended up seeing them on the 2010 Summer Slaughter Tour, and I think that they did the best performance of the event besides Decrepit Birth. So after putting it through my dad’s record cleaner to get off the crap from the factory, I place the bright red disc on my turntable.

Like most of the albums I end up loving, the first song on the album usually has a longish intro that builds up and then explodes into the song. But instead of an intro, all of the instruments instantly leaped out of the speakers at full speed like all mayhem had broke loose. The distortion of the guitars is very similar to Awaken the Dreamers. But the whole instrumentation is tighter than ever, this is especially expressed in the breakdowns. This is one of the most technical and best albums I have ever heard. This album has the classic All Shall Perish sound. Half of the time it’s pure technicality and volume, and half the time the sound of the music is very ambient and atmospheric. The atmospheric parts on this album kind of remind me of the title song off of Depths by Oceano. One point that I noticed that I would like to add is that Eddie has stopped using pig squeals and inhaled growls. Another thing that I notice is that Adam Pierce gets better and better with each album; I can’t see how he could possibly get any better than this. And that’s the same with all of the musicians in this astonishing quintet.

All Shall Perish is another one of the metal bands out there that have politically themed/anti-government lyrics. Some other bands that have those lyrics are Dying Fetus, Dope, Despised Icon, The Red Chord, Havok, and Testament. You can see on the album cover that the guy in the center that’s all tied up and bloody has his eyes covered with a bandana with the American flag, and that there is a catholic priest pointing at him, possibly accusing him for something.

Like I said before, the music instantly leaps out of the speakers with full power on Divine Illusion. This is definitely where all of the members are tighter than ever. The drumming is astonishingly fast and technical as are the guitars. The bass has an interesting part in this song, rather than following along pretty closely to the guitars, the bass part is actually not that fast, but it is very technical and complex. My favorite song on this album so far (I’ve only played the record twice so far) is There Is Nothing Left. The first six chords that the guitarists play sound pretty ambient, but then it instantly drops down to a lower, darker key, but then goes back to being all ambient, and that pattern repeats all throughout the song. One thing that I’m noticing about deathcore bands is that the difference in tempo speed in the main part of the song and the breakdowns is not as extreme as it used to be. I’m not saying this is bad at all, but I don’t LOVE it. It does sound cooler that the bands are making the changes in speed more smoothly, but I do like to have an epic tempo drop (an example of my opinion of a perfect breakdown would be in Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation from Awaken the Dreamers). Otherwise, I can’t really find any faults at all in this album! This gets a perfect score for being one of the best albums of 2011.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Before the Dawn-Deathstar Rising

Before the Dawn is one of the reasons that I am truly proud to be half Finnish. I’ve been fascinated by their music ever since the release of Soundscape of Silence. I think I first heard about them when I saw Arch Enemy; their drummer was wearing a Before the Dawn shirt and told me to look them up. The main thing that I’ve noticed about this band is that these guys are one of the only bands where their music gets better each album, the only other bands that I can think of at the moment that are like that are Soilwork, Lamb of God, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Born of Osiris, and Decapitated.

The thing that’s interesting about these guys is that they are similar to Amorphis not only because they’re also Finnish, but because they have a nice blend of power metal and melodic death. In the second song on the album, you can definitely hear the power metal sound in the music part, and the death metal growls to put the icing on the cake. Before the Dawn really decided that it was time to start exploring different areas of metal, because for three consecutive albums they’ve pretty much kept the same general sound. And I think the best example of that sound is Soundscape of Silence. The areas of music that I can hear that sound new in their music is a lot more power metal, some soft and acoustic progressive rock, and even some traditional heavy metal here and there. The one thing that I would change about these guys is I would turn the growls down and octave or two. I’m a huge fan of really deep, powerful growls. Some bands with good growls I’d like to mention are Opeth, Scar Symmetry, The Faceless, and Fleshgod Apocalypse.

This is one of the albums where I haven’t really paid attention to the song names and which song is what. More so, I’ve just been listening to the album straight through, and thinking of the music as all one whole thing, not individual songs. That’s what I do with most of the albums I listen to; I rarely choose an individual song unless I’m introducing a band to someone else. Otherwise I just choose and album and play it straight through on shuffle. But I will say that I am a huge fan of Winter Within. Mainly due to the deeper growls and the faster tempos. But that aside, this is undoubtedly the best melodic death album of 2011, 19/20.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brain Drill-Apocalyptic Feasting

I don’t know where I first heard about Brain Drill…I think they might have been on an event poster taped to a sign post in downtown Seattle when I was visiting the Pike Place Market. Anyways, I saw the name and obviously recognized it to be some really brutal death metal band. But I didn’t check them out until about a year later to find that they’re one of the most technical and complex bands out there. I also found out that they are a lot more popular than I originally thought. But aside from that, a band cannot impress me with technicality and complexity alone. These guys have proved to have unique songs that aren’t repetitive, that are high on the brutality scale, and that never cease to disappoint.

I’m not too knowledgeable about this group, but I do know that they have a very well known vocalist that has appeared on Metal Injection several times and is really funny. He is one of the very few death metal vocalists that can growl and scream perfectly. If you want to get an idea of what I’m getting at, listen to “The Depths of Darkness”. His growl is somewhat deep but very powerful and smooth, and his scream is very high-pitched and gut wrenching. Let’s just hope that he’s not doing his vocals the wrong way and eventually end up like Mitch Lucker and Chris Barnes.

If you were to ask me who these guys could relate to, I would say that they have a sound that can relate to Origin, Decrepit Birth, Veil of Maya, and Dying Fetus. Brain Drill is one of those tech death bands that have a lot of those high-pitched complicated guitar parts. The good thing is that it’s not constant. They also have one of the better bassists of modern death metal. I can definitely compare him to the bassist that was with The Faceless when they recorded Planetary Duality. Listen to “Bury the Living” and you’ll see that he’s fucking amazing.

The lyrical content of this band is actually pretty unique amongst the majority of other technical death bands out there. You will often find a lot of science fiction themed lyrics in the genre, some examples of bands that use that theme are Origin, The Faceless, Decrepit Birth, and Embryonic Devourment. You can probably guess Brain Drill’s main theme just by their name. Their lyrics are very gore oriented with lots of apocalyptic-styled stories of destruction and downfalls of the human race. Their most recent album, Quantum Catastrophe has less of the gore elements and more of the apocalyptic elements.

I would have to say that my favorite song off this extremely technical album would have to be “The Depths of Darkness”. I can see some deathcore elements seeping into this song, mainly in the vocal section. I’m also a fan of “The Parasites”, which is one of the songs where the band’s ability to stay together and on-time really stands out. So overall, this is an extremely technical and brutal album that I would recommend to just about any fans of technical music. I would give this album 16/20.