Monday, September 26, 2011


Black metal is one of those genres where I’m not easily impressed. Yes, I am a huge fan, but a black metal band has to be really good to get me to support them. And I think that a lot of you can agree with me when I say that out of all of the black metal bands in the world, only a couple dozen bands are truly at kvlt status. Some bands that I consider to be at that status would be Darkthrone, Ravencult, Dark Funeral, and Watain. And I can be especially picky when it comes to the traditional black metal area. Acherontas is a black metal band that has succeeded in impressing me.

The intro track really sets the dark satanic mood for the album, it’s well put together and just at the limit..any longer would be too drawn out. Overall this band is pretty traditional except for the 70s classic rock vibe the music has. It’s interesting because it’s not the actual mood of the music that sounds classic, it’s the feeling it creates in the listener. Because when you listen hard, it just sounds like plain old kvlt black metal, but when you just let the music flow, it sounds like the original Black Sabbath has gone black metal (not particularly Black Sabbath, just a 70s metal band). There’s nothing about any of the individual musicians that really stand out to me as being better than average. Not to mean that as a bad thing, just that it’s not the musicians that make this band unique, it’s the creativity behind the songwriting.

There isn’t too much variation in the songs, but they do a good job of keeping it interesting enough to make the listener want to keep going. It’s weird how every time I listen to this album I go into a black metal phase for the rest of the day, so if you want to get into the black metal mood, this is the album to kick it off with. This album gets 13/20.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fiend-Before My Eyes...

Out of all of the albums that I’ve reviewed that were on the Reviewer’s forum, this is definitely so far the best one. This Russian powerhouse plays melodic death with nu metal and some industrial metal mixed in. The one thing that surprised me is that they pulled it off amazingly! Katalepsy, Taking Your Last Chance, and Xe-None are the only other Russian bands I know up, so I don’t really have a feel for what the general Russian metal sound is. There is one thing about this album that’s driving me crazy, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the music. The record company made a special version for reviewers to where every 20 seconds or so an annoying voice would say “Fivebyfive Records”. So I went out and bought the CD so I will be able to enjoy the album in its purest form.

Now something that is very important to me when it comes to an album is the opening track. First impressions are important. And if the opening track is amazing, I’m much more likely to find the rest of the album easier to enjoy. But it the opening track is less than impressive, I’m not going to be as motivated to keep listening. Now don’t take that as me being a “judge a book by its cover” kind of person, because I’m nothing like that. My opinions on things are just extremely influenced on first impressions.

So I play the first track titled “System Error”. The smooth melodic piano intro transitions into traditional metalcore style drum intro. Then instantly, the loud mesmerizing guitars leap out of the speakers to enclose you in a dark melody. Great first impression….check.

You will also get more industrial sounding songs like “Liar”, “Fade Away”, and
“Soundtrack to my Life” adding a really interesting twist that I’ve never seen before in the time I’ve been listening to melodic death. The songs that I find the most interesting are the songs with a really strong nu metal feel. It doesn’t seem like it should work, that’s why I was kind of uneasy about this band at first. But before you say it won’t be good, listen to “Drops of Time” and “Eclipse”. It’s amazing beyond what I imagined. The thing that they do with the screamed vocals at the beginning of “Drops of Time” before the singing…I don’t know what to call it. I guess they’re taking a clip of a scream and repeating it at an odd beat? Haha my point is though that that element reminds me strongly of old Primer 55 and Disturbed. But I would have to say my favorite tracks off the record are “The Moth”, “System Error”, and “Give Me”. This album is very impressive and deserves a lot of acknowledgement and credit. 19/20.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ROOT-Heritage Of Satan

The genre on Spirit of Metal says black heavy, meaning this band supposedly mixes black metal and traditional heavy metal. The only other band that I know that does this is “I”, the combination of Immortal, Gorgoroth, and Enslaved. I was blown away by their 2006 masterpiece (which I’ve also written a review on, and I’m also waiting for a follow-up since they’re still listed as active on Nuclear Blast). “I” had mainly Abbath’s black metal style vocals with fairly fast heavy metal music with a nice glaze of black metal to give it some edge. So after hearing Between Two Worlds, I made a lazy attempt to look around for other bands that had fused the two genres. And as my conscious had predicted, they all sucked. But apparently I had missed a surprisingly well-known band known as ROOT.

ROOT has a really sludgy sound to their music. And even though I am still fairly new to the whole sludge metal area of things, I feel I can generally point it out when I hear it. And that’s one of the things that makes this band really unique (and also probably what has kept them around for so long), which is that they have added some sludge metal and even some 90s style punk into their music. Mega bonus points for fusing four different genres and still making it sound not half bad! The song that really had a strong punk sound would be Legacy of the Ancestors.

Some of the songs that have a very prominent sludge metal sound would be the 8th track (can’t figure out how to put some of the symbols in there haha) and In Nomine Sathanas. The 8th track was the first song I ended up hearing on the album and with its really thick, heavy, slow sound, I was thinking they were adding guttural black metal vocals to sludge metal. But I was obviously wrong for making that assumption of the rest of the album because instantly after that, the powerful intro and the black metal song “Greetings from the Abyss” (my favorite song off the album) leaped at me from the speakers with pure power and very abstract vocals. Now I realize why Spirit of Metal put them as BLACK heavy.

Now let’s rewind the tape and take a look at the beginning of the album, because I’ve mainly been talking about songs that are at the end of the record. There’s something about this record that bothers me greatly, and that is that the intro track is over 5 minutes long. Now don’t get me wrong, I was fascinated by the spoken Satanic poem (which in fact I am a Satanist), but it was way too drawn out to be an INTRO track. I feel that intro tracks should be about at most ¾ the average length of the songs on the rest of the album. So my opinion on the intro track, it belongs either in the middle as an interlude or at the end as an eerie outro.

Overall, this album really isn’t half bad! It could use quite a bit of tweaking in some areas, but this is a nice thick black metal soup. 14/20.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Design the Skyline-Nevaeh

“The new album everyone is talking about! For fans of Attack Attack!, Bring me the Horizon, and Asking Alexandria” says the bright orange sticker on the case. I stumbled across this CD in one of the few Hot Topics in my home state of Washington. It had been awhile since I had last listened to some new screamo/metalcore bands, so I figured why not? For those of you who aren’t familiar with Attack Attack! and Asking Alexandria, they are some of the first bands to combine heavy screamo with poppy or melodic techno elements and synth sounds. Asking Alexandria is actually pretty damn good at it which makes them an extremely influential band. So I was expecting Design the Skyline to just be another one of the bands following in the trails of Underoath and Attack Attack! But I expected wrong….

In the first full minute of the first song, I thought I had accidentally bought a Chelsea Grin album. It kicked off with a slow, heavy Whitechapel/Chelsea Grin styled breakdown. I was expecting something poppy, not brutal like this! So it really took me by surprise. After the first minute, the mood turns soft and the chords are melodic with keyboards and synths with average-sounding singing. And alternates between those two sounds throughout the song.

Now let’s look at the individual musicians. First of all, there’s a lot of them, second, not much talent. Their drummer is below average; he overuses the splash symbol, his parts are uncreative and not unique at all, and his snare sounds horrible (probably not completely his fault). I don’t really have much to say about the guitarists other than that their lead guitarist is really good at writing solos and that everything else about them is completely average. The bassist is average, can really point out anything to say about him other than that I wish I could hear him better. I can tell that their vocalist screams and growls the wrong way, so it’ll only be a couple of years ‘till his throat goes down the toilet like Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence) and Alex Koehler (Chelsea Grin). The singer’s voice is just plain annoying, but it does fit the music quite well in some parts of the album.

Overall, the album isn’t that bad. It has catchy songs, it has brutal vocals, but it lacks individuality and creativity. I don’t know where these guys will go, but their name will definitely sick around for a while in the metalcore world. If you look around on the internet, you get sort of that black/white thing with peoples’ opinions. There are a lot of people that are raving over this album, and there are a lot of people talking about pissing on and burning the damn record. If you are at all interested in listening to this record, look up the song “Crystal Swords Kill the Hordes”. For me, I would give this an average score of 13/20.