Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week 81.5 (June 29th, 2013)


Scibex - Path To Omors (PR SPOTLIGHT 2013) - Scibex is an experimental black metal band from Brazil. These guys are quite talented and this sophomore album shows that they're getting better with each release. They clearly love their Opeth, as you'll hear lots of Opeth-like renditions on the disc, but keep in mind that these guys can definitely play and they do manage to put their own spin on what is not just a bunch of stolen Opeth riffs. Calling it black metal however, is indeed a stretch, sans the vocals which emulate perfect scowls. The music is more suited to progressive death metal with more of a scowl vocal influence and the use of clean vocals, so it has clearly been mislabeled.

Still, this progressive death metal (remember, black is a stretch) band certainly kicks a lot of ass and gives it their all on each of these eight (nine is just a short outro piece) tracks, which offer about an hour's worth of playtime. "Cryptic Comfort Zone 8:30" starts things off strong with harsh progressive riffs that flow along with the first taste of harsh vocal on the disc, which flows into a breezy sort of clean vocal, where light melodic passages soon become highlighted. "Built To Collapse 6:06" does manage to incorporate some actual black metal riffs however and throw in some nice backing melodies along with that. These guys like to throw in short sucker punches of melody and atmosphere into the mix, which might puzzle some of us, while intriguing others. I also sense some Enslaved influence on this one, so maybe calling them black metal isn't that much of a stretch, it just depends on the song.

A little bit of technicality creeps up on "Static 5:49." along with something that clearly resembles black metal. Though not flesh-ripping, it's still black metal in a sense, certainly in the most progressive notion. Genre meanderings aside, synths pop up on this track as do some clean vocals which lead into a short atmosphere. Finally, the guitarists show off their strengths with a captivating solo. "Mermaid Serpent 7:50" is next, continuing the Opeth/Enslaved mix which occasionally brings about an acoustic and a solo. "Being 8:37" offers a light, almost heavenly atmospheric which later erupts into black metal. "Heralds Of Noosphere 6:34" begins with some of the best melodies features on this disc, along with some maracas which add a little bit of culture to the piece. Anyone who doubted that they were black metal will now have to change their mind upon hearing this one. Scibex changed it up a nitch, but iut's still quite grimy, just beautiful and well-calculated at the same time. "Path To Omors 7:42" ends the disc out on piano that is soon accompanied with light synth and reminds me of great JRPG music. But that quickly fades as the band goes back to cranking out their version of Enslaved and they do it with just as much justice on this closer as they have with every song. As for "Vast & Secular 1:44" or the outro to the disc, it's a very light piece that ends the album on a very calming note. Considering the material, it seems sufficient.

Now, what is this material that you speak of? Well, I'll tell you. I took the liberty of reading the included lyrics and found them to be rather enlightening. The disc begins with our refusal to abandon the current system and state of mind, our refusal to leave the comfort zone. Then it goes on to talk about what happens when we do discover our true nature and spiritual existence in terms of metaphysical science. I've heard much about these noospheres, but don't know a whole heck of a lot about them. But according to these guys, they're a good thing. Maybe I should pick their brains about these things with an interview. At any rate, the "Path To Omors" is a path that we all must or should take to find our peace with father universe and mother Gaia. Apparently, we're all neurons in Gaia's hyper cortex. Intriguing, but I'd like to know the means on which they've discovered this information.

Whatever you take from all this, these guys are definitely talented and mix Enslaved and Opeth together with a great sense of purpose. They don't mind throwing in atmospheres from time to time and really know how to inject the venom when it's needed. Scibex is not only heavy, but they're keen on melody and atmosphere; making them worthy of my giving a shit and that's why I've highlighted this album. No, it's not just the bared alien breasts on the front cover. The music here is well worth checking out and I recommend it to damn near everyone.

Scibex is giving their album Path To Omors away at their official site, but if you want to support them you can buy a physical copy of the disc:

I'd love a t-shirt with the cover art if they have any. But, just being able to hear great music and promote it to the masses is really enough. It's music like this that makes the hard work worth it. Please pick up a copy of Scibex's Path Of Omors and let them know what you think. They worked quite hard on it and it's definitely not crap. I don't spotlight crap (of course, some of you still might think that's debatable) and I certainly wouldn't have spotlighted these guys if I knew that they couldn't have cut the mustard. Whatever that means.

Ignore my ramblings and just pick the disc up already!

Highlights: All (9 Tracks, 61:00)



Masterplan - Novum Initium (PR2013) - With a brand new lineup featuring Rick Altzi (At Vance, Herman Frank) on vocals, Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarious, Devil's Train) on bass and Martin Skaroupka (Cradle Of Filth) on drums, Masterplan is back with their brand new album "Novum Initium" which literally means "a new start" and sees the band reenergized in their genre of melodic/power metal.

"The Game 5:30" opens up the disc thrashing, while "Keep Your Dream Alive 3:48" reminds me a great deal of what Kamelot used to be. "Black Night Of Magic" reminds me a hell of a lot of mid-era Firewind, and it's rife with solos thanks to Roland Grapow's terrific guitar skills. "Betrayal 4:44" sees more influence from Martin on drums, even though it's a ballad. Just consider one hell of a ballad. And Rick sings his ass off on this one. "No Escape 4:22" opens with shredding, even though it also seems to be a ballad. But once again, it's a great ballad - think Kamelot. "Pray On My Soul 4:35" is another killer track. This disc just keeps coming with the hits, folks! "Earth Is Going Down 3:46" packs a bit more of a punch, yet still retains a powerful hook. "Return From Avalon 4:28" is another... yes, another great power ballad from these guys. It's like they've kept them in a box for several years and just decided to unleash every single one of them all at the same time. It's in a way, too much awesome for one disc.

But perhaps I spoke too soon, as "Through Your Eyes 5:04" just seems spread a bit too thin for me. Even so, the epic closer "Novum Initium 10:17" feels like a powerful finale and really delivers on all fronts, even with the piano influence. It's got thrash pieces, ballad pieces and pieces where Roland shows you how fucking well he can shred. This final track is a major workout for the entire band and I'm not sure if they'll play it live, as it seems exhaustive - but it's a perfect representation for the current amalgamate of Masterplan, which have proven they can cut the mustard and at sometimes the cheese; but that's why we love em. More like this gentlemen, please!

Highlights: The Game, Keep Your Dream Alive, Black Night Of Magic, Betrayal, No Escape, Pray on My Soul, Earth Is Going Down, Return From Avalon, Novum Initium (11 Tracks, 51:00)



Manegarm - Legions Of The North (PR2013) - Manegarm might look non-threatening in their band photos, but they certainly play a very threatening form of Viking metal that includes the essence of black and death metal entwined within these Odinic hymns.

"Legions Of The North 4:52" blasts the disc open wide as "Eternity Awaits 5:26" adds more folk elements, and for some reason I'm entirely reminded of Ensiferum (early Ensiferum) which is a good thing. I'm not sure if this is their debut or third release, but the influences can be well heard and they're certainly promising. "Helvegr 0:17" warms up "Hordes Of Hel 5:15" which plays with Satyricon grooves and folk instruments while being backed with a windy gravel. It's different and I like it. "Tor Hjalpe 5:24" comes back with a black metal assault, while "Vigverk 0:38" calms things down and rolls into the straight-forward Viking metal approach of "Sons Of War 5:45." A bit of atmosphere and lead licks open up the very traditional metal nature of "Echoes From The Past 6:53" which at this point, sounds like it could be a cover. Definite Amon Amarth influence can be heard here, and the emulation is handled perfectly. It reminds of "Once Sent From The Golden Hall" or perhaps some of Amorphis's earlier works. "Fallen 5:31" sounds more like Amorphis however. Manegarm are the Baskin Robin's of folk metal at this point. "Forged In Fire 6:25" comes around full circle, bringing the band back to it's black/death state; with the closer "Raadh 3:22" ending the disc out by means of traditional Viking folk music, complete with male and female vocals that are backed by acoustics and light tribal drums.

Manegarm prove that they're not just another folk metal act and definitely have their fingers soaked in the blood of black metal, from committing the axe murder associated with death metal... and they'd just call that a Viking raid. Because they step out of their comfort zone, they show that more can be done with Viking metal, then well... just Viking metal. Certainly much better than I had anticipated and well worthy of a seat at Odin's table... and considering all of the fine Viking metal acts that will be joining them, that's got to be a pretty big table.

Highlights: Legions Of The North, Eternity Awaits, Hordes Of Hel, Tor Hjalpe, Echoes From The Past, Forged In Fire (12 Tracks, 52:00)



Fueled By Fire - Trapped In Perdition (PR2013) - These thrashers prove one point with their music, and it's one that becomes absurdly clear after a while... SLAYER! Yes, there's no need to sugarcoat the fact that these guys love some Slayer and particularly Hanneman. Oh my God, yes. If you liked Hell Awaits, Reign In Blood, Seasons In The Abyss and everything else under the classic Slayer moniker, than you're going to love these guys. I'm almost willing to bet that they started out as a Brazilian Slayer tribute band. As a reviewer, I have no idea how to score this; but I'm going to be as truthful as possible here.

If you give these guys an inch, they'll take a mile. I can clearly hear the Slayer in "Catastrophe 4:32" which is their radio single, as well as "Suffering Entities 3:57", "Forsaken Deity 4:22" (albeit it's a bit slower than the others), "Profane Path 4:30", "Defaced Mortality 4:38", "Rotten Creation 4:01", Pharmaceutical Mortality 4:38"... and you can see where I'm going with this. The trouble with Fueled By Fire is that all I'm hearing is Fueled By Slayer. Maybe there's some Destruction in there too, but damned if I can hear nothing but Hanneman. Which begs the question, "Would Hanneman call his lawyers had he heard this?" I mean, it is very much in the vein of a Slayer knock-off act. They're definitely good at what they do, even playing the solos the same way that Slayer would. Some could even say that Fueled On Fire wrote another classic-era Slayer record and that's actually going to make some people happy. If you really want to hear some Slayer that isn't Slayer, these guys definitely have that. They'll get your head banging and your fists pumping and your air-guitars screaming as only air guitars can do. Of course, there is at least one moment of clarity to be had on the disc and that is in it's outro "Abeyant Future 2:19" which invokes choral synths and some apocalyptic riffs that stride underneath heavy bass licks. They also threw on bonus track called "Depiction Of Demise 4:09" and it sounds like it might be a Sepultura cover. They do quite well with it, showing that they've got Slayer down as well as Sepultura.

Don't give these guys the boot just yet, Napalm. They show that they've definitely got some skills, despite that they're playing around their record collections and I suspect that future Fueled By Fire releases will feature far more variation. Once again, these guys definitely offer a well produced and worthy Slayer tribute. It's not a bunch of guys just trying to be Slayer, it's a bunch of guys succeeding in that attempt. I'd keep my eye on these gentlemen, even if this disc only offers what's at base value - a classic Slayer album.

Highlights: Rotten Creation, Abeyant Future (11 Tracks, 44:00)



Lonewolf - The Fourth And Final Horseman (PR2013) - Lonewolf is a power folk metal act who looks like they've been around the block a few times. I'm not sure what release this is in their discography, but here's my observation:

Lonewolf has a very interesting vocalist, I'm suspecting German by the inflection and perhaps Udo has a bit of an influence there. The music sounds quite jolly in all reality, despite the album's content which deals with topics like "The Fourth And Final Horseman 4:57" (which has lyrics that I remember from Iced Earth's "Damien") as well as "The Poison Of Mankind 6:19" and "Throne Of Skulls 4:00" which is the only track here that resonates with me due to it's thrash influence which wakes the band up a bit. To be honest, the record is quite weak despite little kicks like that one and the catchy as hell "Time For War 4:18" which is sure to pump up the morale of any warrior. But despite what these guys manage to do with guitar work, most of the disc just bores me to tears. Again, there's still a little pick-me-up or two in "Hellride 4:02" which has a chorus that reminds me of Blind Guardian ("Night At The Opera" era) even though it's got an interesting set of lyrics "Let's go to hell and never come back!" Yeah, sounds like fun! And then there's "We'll nail your God to his cross, with the hammer... the hammer of THOR!" on "Dragonriders 4:19" so there's plenty of lyrical gold on this one.

The vocals might not work for you, but there's not doubt that these guys are playing their asses off on the record. The drums sound crisp, the guitars scream solos and keep the folky pace; but the whole thing doesn't come out as being all that great. But it's still musically better than a lot of shit that's out there right now and my opinion doesn't speak for everyone, so if your heart beats with the blood of Vikings and you mightily hail the Allfather with a large flagon of mead; then go check these guys out from Napalm records!

Highlights: The Fourth And Final Horseman, Time For War, Throne Of Skulls, Destiny (10 Tracks, 51:00



Destroyers Of All - Into The Fire (PR2013) - Portuguese death/thrashers Destroyers Of All might remain unsigned, but remain volatile nonetheless. Guilherme Busato (ex-Seventh Seal and Tales For The Unspoken) and Alexandre Correia (Strikeback) are on guitar duty, while Filipe Gomes (Existence:Void, Antichthon, ex-Imperivm, ex-Crystalline Darkness) handles the drum duties and Bruno da Silva (Antichthon) plays bass. As for the frontman, it's a friend of these guys by the name of Joao Mateus and he's a relative unknown. Quite literally, this is Joao's first band. But he holds his own quite well with these guys and for the most part, they crush in the most unconventional and unique ways possible making them definite artists to watch.

"Beginning Of The End 1:00"is nothing special, it's just a regular old intro track. But when "Soul Retrieval 6:08" comes in, you know you've got something. Listen to those squeals at the beginning. Priceless. These guys really don't stay in one place for long as the track thickens and welcomes more of a death metal punch. Then there's an opera atmosphere followed by a drum barrage that makes me think of BDM. A shredfest ensues and less dirty vocals welcome a powerful breakdown. The whole fucking thing gets gritty right towards the end as it plays briefly with djent.

You know, I said I'd never do massive song description reviews again; but these guys might just be THAT BAND where you really have no fucking choice in the matter.

"Into The Fire 3:46" comes out thrashing, as then begins to get much, much heavier. Filipe gives the kit a workout while Joao prepares the band for a thrash run. There's even a clean vocal that joins him. It's good, but not all over the place. It's pretty much basic thrash (solo and all) yet contains some orchestral moments and a few shouts. It's the band's most straight-forward and easily accessible number. Me thinks it should be a single. Youtube it, guys!

"M4 6:54" adds some Slayer to the mix (if you can't hear Hanneman in there, you're not paying attention) but then the song proceeds to go the way of technicality and grit. This is a very odd act, I've never really heard a band so out of the box in a sense that they mix these thrash riffs with this sludgy death metal which sometimes meanders into core. Fillipe once again treats the kit like his bitch as Joao proves that he definitely has a place in this band. They couldn't have picked a better frontman for this act. Melodies begin to entangle the track as the band shows what many years of playing in different bands does to one's skill set.

"Astral Projection 5:38" gets a little down and dirty Pantera style but welcomes some core and has a Sepultura vibe. There's an odd set off riffs playing during the breakdown just before the tasteful solo, and that solo erupts into a finale that stops abruptly as it welcomes these creepy melodies and some beach-front rhythms. But not for long, as the band really thumps down on their instruments (and is that chanting I hear in the background?) Damn, it is. Well how about that? Technical drumming and guitar wizardry play around for a bit before the song ends completely returning at the chorus. "Nothing Left 1:34" is this sorrowful little thing you'll probably skip. But just to play the whole thing all over again.

My bottom line is this: Someone please sign these guys! You mean to tell me that a band like this is going unsigned? This could kill if it was given to the right ears. Working in the metal community, I've since snagged a lot of FB friends who from time to time post their interests, and I can honestly say that these guys will appeal to the current scene and they've got that sense of musicianship that comes with age which will appeal to the older crowd. Destroyers Of All certainly have what it takes to make it in this heavily crowded scene, and I sincerely wish them the best of luck in getting some kind of recognition. This is a supremely strong EP that I highly recommend. Get your hands on it too, as it released a few months ago and is already available!

Don't turn down good metal!

Highlights: Soul Retrieval, Into The Fire, M4, Astral Projection (6 Tracks, 25:00)



El Camino - Gold Of The Great Deceiver (PR2013) - Named after a car, these Swedes do not fuck around, so don't take them lightly. What they've crafted at base is a very potent mix of Sabbath with death metal vocals, but I've loved every bit of it. This is their second album, and it's a fucking monster. But demon might be the better word to use there, considering the context...

"Gold Of The Great Deceiver 5:02" packs a punch right from the beginning, making Sabbath sound even more foreboding than they did with "Black Sabbath" riffs that they began with. Yes, I'm talking about the song itself, as you'll notice from the riffs. If you can make that song more menacing, then you're quite fucking good. This is a song about admonishing the devil that actually seems worthy of the content. I bet they really kill this one on stage!

"This Land Of Mine 4:34" comes next, and boy am I floored. Excuse me for a second. I just want to take this one in for a bit... Oh yeah, there it is - catchy melodies, scathing death metal vocals and crunching bass. What the fuck else could you want? "Black Witch Love 6:54" brings more of the seventies' influence into the band and it's definitely welcomed. The death metal vocals aren't used on this one as much, but there is a catchy chorus laden within and some great solo work. Definitely a powerful track, when those death growls hit you'd better believe that they kill all opposition with loud reiterations of "Burn! Burn!"

"Smaland 5:37" lyrically doesn't sound so evil, but it's a pretty fucking catchy track. The song structure is strong, there's a great bridge in the middle right before the second chorus, which is a deep-throated catchy welcoming. Things begin to sound sadistic after awhile and the music just sets the mood for it all quite well. Damn, why haven't I heard about these guys until now? They should be buzzing about the goddamned net at least!

"Torn 5:45" is strong, but doesn't do as much for me as the other tracks. It's still a good song and I can't knock it too much. "The One Of Evil 6:10" is another song about the devil and it actually sounds frightening, complete with sinister laughs and the same "Black Sabbath" riffs. Again, like the song, not the band themselves. There's just something really special about these guys, something that really sets them apart from their ilk and I'm trying to discover what that is. But they've just got it. Not even just a spark, these guys are fucking blooming and it's a flower of fucking unholy evil. I mean hell, you can listen to "The One Of Evil" by itself and get a feel for these guys.

"The Wizard 7:12" comes next and it's not the Black Sabbath cover of the track with the harmonica. As a matter of fact, it's another grimy, doomy thing of complete and utter evil with some really interesting lead melodies unlike they've done in other tracks. Even though this is the longest track on the album and I should like quite a bit of things on it, I think it's just a bit too long. But if you love it, I mean this record's almost a fucking ten. You'd better get it regardless.

The disc ends out with "Utmarsch 5:57" which sounds like swampy doom with fantastically fiendish lyrics. You've got to love this band's frontman, I mean he really sounds like a fucking madman. This one's a keeper and this acting job is magnificent. The guy sounds like he's losing his mind. Maybe he is. Goddamn, I fucking love this. I don't think I've heard acting like this since King Diamond. Sure, people have attempted; but this really seems to work. What a wonderful way to end a wonderful album. Everyone who is listening to music of this type right now that they think it better than this, actually isn't.

El Camino is a weird name for a great band, but at least you'll fucking remember it. I recommend all fans of evil, dark, gloomy, swampy, grimy, filthy, foul, repugnant, malodorous, pungent, acrid, foul and downright dour music should check out this record and I mean now. Few bands are out there like El Camino and I highly recommend that you guys check this album out now.

Where the fuck was I when they came out with their last one?

Highlights: Gold Of The Great Deceiver, This Land Of Mine, Black Witch Love, Smaland, The One Of Evil, Utmarsch (8 Tracks, 47:00)



Edvian - 2012 (PR2013) - Edvian is a progressive metal group that reminds me quite a bit of Andromeda and Pagan's Mind. However, there are just a few hiccups on this record and not everything is quite as clean-cut as it might seem. I will explain:

"Progress Of Death 6:03" comes thundering like a beast released from it's cage, showcasing itself as a very hard-edged track and giving you a misrepresentation of the act from it's very start. The use of electronics and technicality in addition to prog and tasteful solos help to make this song come off quite well in any case. "2012 4:31" certainly sounds like it got influence from Pagan's Mind, particularly in that chorus. There's quite a lot of instrumental play here, but that's a good thing for a band of this nature and they're still testing the water at this point. "This Is War 4:35" has the same vibe with crushing bass lines, light melodies and some use of harsh background vocals to round out the clean... as well as the prog. But that should be self-explanatory. Yes, these guys certainly know their way around prog, so they're not just some young upstarts with no clue. "Cradle Of Life 3:20" is a pretty weak ballad, albeit a powerful solo. "Time 4:29" is still very light, but has a bit more kick to it than the previous track. The chorus is quite strong however, backed by the electronics. "Storm 4:58" is another major highlight on the disc, thrashing about and utilizing those electronics in tune with well-placed vocal lines and some power chorus lines. Very promising, I might get this one stuck in my head. "For The Sake Of Love 5:29" is a welcome ballad, at least it sounds believable. Not to mention the latter part of the track, which is truly brilliant. Maybe it doesn't have the high production that a track of this caliber would normally have, but this is a good show indeed.

And that's where the greatness ends. For you see, these guys did a very bad thing and mixed their guitars in with dubstep, calling the track "Crazy World 5:39." It is a crazy world indeed, when these guys felt the need to ruin such a good track with dubstep. Dubstep and harsh vocals Even the chorus is a moot point do to the dubstep barrage. Note: I don't like dubstep, if you haven't already noticed. I've heard a million varieties of it and none of them do anything more than work with youtube videos and that's just for laughs.

So making a long story short, just stop the disc after "For The Sake Of Love" which sounds like a good place to end it anyway, as Edvian don't even sound like the same band anymore after this. Please don't attempt this stuff again guys, you're better than trends and especially better than dubstep. Regardless of all this, the effort made by Edvian is solid and worth checking out for all fans of progressive metal. These guys have it, even if it is just a spark at the moment.

Highlights: Progress of Death, Storm (8 Tracks, 39:00)



Creeper - Welcome To Room 9 (PR2013) - Creeper is an interesting idea, with sub-par results. The band is composed of four guys, one of them wearing a weird long-nosed masquerade mask and the other guy just wearing some grey mask. The other guys don't have masks. So obviously image isn't their thing, so what about music? Well, the idea was originally to mix the simplicity of ACDC with the heaviness of Slayer and this came about. I will say that Daniel Watkins has some memorable vocals, he can definitely hit the highs when needed and sticks to a vocal tone that reminds me of Testament.

"M For Murder 3:37" is a strong track that will work as a good single, replete with strong solos - but what in the hell is "Now 2:57?" I mean, it could work well live, but gets repetitive on the disc. "Room #9 3:57" has some interesting leads and I see what they're doing there, but it only brightens with the solo comes in. "Powers Of Hell 3:26" really seems to showcase the drums and reminds me a bit of Anthrax. I like the latter portion of the disc and think that Daniel needs to use his growls more. I like them, quite a lot actually and they could be effective on later installments. "No One Will Hear 5:51" reminds me a bit of Nevermore and that's a good sign. "Push It 4:46" doesn't resonate well with me, despite the fact that I like the grooves.

By the way, get used to grooves because these guys love them. But there's nothing wrong with that, as he wanted a band with grooves, hooks and old-school style solos which is what he got. "Push It" is going to be hard sell though. "The Majic 4:06" has a very classic vibe to it, I think this one really hit me on first listen. Usually when a track hits me the first time I hear it, then it's worth giving a shit about. "She Can't Take It No More 3:44" is a groovy thrash track about very rough sex with a woman who aims to please. Definitely something with a marketable edge, this track needs more promotion. "Timmy 4:25" comes in next and it starts pretty fucked up, but it does contain some rough growls and some great vocal acting work. Now this is the shit that's gonna make Creeper stand out.

"War Machine 4:21" sounds like it was recorded earlier in the band's career and the production isn't as great as far as the drumming goes. But that's because this was snagged from the demo. It's good, but I wish they had just re-recorded it. "Screaming Demon 3:35" was also recorded earlier on the demo and I don't think anyone needs to hear it. "Screaming Demon" just does nothing more than make me laugh. I dunno, maybe it should be there for comic relief.

Anyway you spin it, there's something here. I think these four guys from Dallas can be something pretty fucking big if they get marketed right. Tracks like "She Can't Take It No More" (One Of my favorites, can't you tell?) "M For Murder" and "Timmy" showcase nothing but potential. I want to hear these guys a few years later, after they're on a big label and hear some of these songs redone with the professional production job. Honestly, some of this shit is really good. It's simplistic, catchy and old-school at the same time. Definitely marketable.

Highlights: M For Murder, Powers Of Hell, No One Will Hear, The Majic, She Can't Take It No More, Timmy (11 Tracks, 44:00)



Viranesir - Fountain Of Uncertainty (2013 Band Request) - When one sees an album cover with a completely NSFW image of a giant and slightly battered phallus, one knows not what to think. But this is a new project from Yayla mastermind Emir Togrul and it is the fictional main character's project in his Emir's forthcoming film "Drink From The Fountain Of Uncertainty." In essence, it's a film score and that is why it doesn't do so well on it's own; at least without the visual element. Nevertheless, every album is entirely handmade:

As with his work on YAYLA, Emir Toğrul's grand vision, each Fountain Of Uncertainty CD is handmade; Emir sprays the discs, cuts and inserts the prints for the jewel case and jacket, and pretty much makes everything from scratch. All current and upcoming merch is direct from the hand of the creator himself, there is no limit to the number of Fountain of Uncertainty CDs, as long as the man is alive. Toğrul is also co-owner of Merdumgiriz (Records/Distribution).

I posted that, just so you could see that when I say "handmade" I really mean, "handmade." I also think it's interesting that there is no limit to how many discs are made as long as the creator is alive. That's art in it's truest form and whether you like the album or not; you've simply got to respect the effort and ambition behind it.

"Ovulation 4:27" starts the disc off with a fuzzy symphonic nature, complete with what appeal to be howls. There's also a choir chant in sections. "Stark Of Dark 4:58" seems very drone-like in origin, the guitar seems dropped down and thick as the same sorts of synths play throughout. It seems a little depressing from an emotional standpoint. "Ejaculation 12:12" is quite raw, but audible. It begins with an interesting melody note that is uncommonly repeated but may get on the nerves of some. Drums also join in this track, which slowly elevates in more melodic territory and is close to the realms of suicidal black metal, sans vocals. "Sight Of Light 2:58" plays with synths once again, but no guitar influence is featured this time. It reminds me a bit of Summoning or Mortiis's atmospheric work in the melodies. "Fertilization 4:57" is the last track on the album and while difficult to hear, some worthwhile melodies and structures are featured. Emir definitely enjoys the lo-fi sound and some will not like that, but if you can hear all of the little nuances that he puts into the album, you should enjoy it for the atmosphere alone - which is the entire reason that this album exists in the first place. Remember, it is an atmosphere for a film.

The album is out now and available here:

(5 Tracks, 29:00)



Pavillon Rouge - Methaline (2013 Single Band Request) - Pavillon Rouge has released a new single called Methaline for their soon to be forthcoming release. The first time I heard this, I wasn't quite so impressed but it has been a while since then. The song certainly hasn't veered from the electronic nature of the band and the black metal vocals remain intact. A couple of riffs light up the performance and end the track out on some interesting melodies. It's a jaunty track, well versed in trance and would stand just as much in the metal clubs as it would the electronic clubs. But I've unfortunately been to neither and we don't have those kinds of clubs in this stale southern state.

At any rate, check out this single. It's free from the band.



Amon Amarth - Deceiver Of The Gods (Bonus Disc Review 2013) - As I've already reviewed the album itself for NN, there's no fucking use in repeating myself. Instead, I'm going to review this four track little EP that the band did. It's not a series of covers, but rather it's an interpretation of classic bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest as performed by the band. Once again, these aren't covers. It's the band playing originals in classic styles. Johan is not always suited to these styles, you should see how he tries to emulate Ozzy on "Satan Rising." I guess it's a good way to get the newer kids in to the older music and these guys ought to be given a pat on the back for it. As you can expect, most of this might remind you of Six Feet Under's cover albums but with Johan's growls instead.

Judas Priest is emulated on "Burning Anvil Of Steel 4:27" and then Black Sabbath is emulated on "Satan Rising 4:20" which sees the band recalling classic Sabbath and Johan sounding a bit nasally while trying to attempt Ozzy's signature vocal tone. The band performs quite well on the track however and shows that they can play just about everything. Which isn't surprising, given the roster. Motorhead is emulated with "Snake Eyes 3:12" and "Stand Up To Go Down" emulates ACDC. Of course, I think it's a much better cover than the Chris Barnes' versions. All of these songs sound just like they would performed by the original artists, recording quality included. The Sabbath track sounds like it would musically be on a Sabbath album for example, with the Priest, Motorhead and ACDC track also sounding like they would be perfect fits. There's no denying that Amon Amarth can play other people's music pretty damn well and this is in all honesty, a good bonus disc that runs about 16 minutes in length. In this I can see that it's inclusion on the end of the album would be a bit of a bad thing, as it's completely different content from the album at hand. Furthermore, I would've rather had a full album of these attempts (What? No Manowar?) then just sixteen minutes of music, a comic book and a bust. Which is what you get when you buy the giant package. They certainly know their capitalism and how to make art into a product.

But this is what you'll get as an exclusive, if you want it.

(4 Tracks, 16:00)


The Fallen Alchemist Vs. Chris Dick (Decibel): Regarding A Recent Review For Summoning

It's no surprise to many of you that among many other magazines, I also subscribe to Decibel. More times than not I have debacles with the other writers regarding their scores, especially if it's unwarranted. However, Chris Dick's review for the recent Summoning release, "Old Morning's Dawn" had me so pissed that I was about scream.

First of all, his biggest complaint on the release was that it didn't utilize the current technology. This guy literally wanted a modern sounding Summoning record, for some unknown fucking reason. Chris, did you even bother to listen to the band's previous albums? "Oath Bound" came out in 2006 and cemented the fact that the band was trying to go back into their previous nature after the much clearer "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" release of 2001. From there, you knew what to expect. The music itself is supposed to sound archaic, it's supposed to recall the atmosphere of Middle Earth and that cannot be done with the kind of clarity that you were expecting. Do you even remember who you're reviewing? Has it been that long? Before I did my review for the disc, I listened to every album that they had made prior to it's release. This helped me to learn how the band evolved and how this album fits in with the others.

Remember that Ice Ages also reflects the work here, hence what you described as laughable "Dead Can Dance" moments. Yes, Summoning uses synths and electronics, but we don't curse Author And Punisher or Aborym exc. when they use low quality effects to create an atmosphere. Did you expect to bang your head, Chris? Is that what you wanted from the new Summoning disc? I sure didn't have any head banging moments, as there are eighteen million other bands out there who fulfill the need to increase my risk of military neck. Summoning is all about atmosphere and if you didn't understand that, then you just don't get it. You said in your review that people who are new to the band won't find much here. But what they need to understand is that Summoning is a band that requires the listening of all of their material, not just "the latest album" mainstays that most of us expect from a new band to pop into the scene (or pop back into the scene, in this case). If the young kids out there have too much ADD to turn everything off and focus on the music of Summoning, then they're simply not worthy of it. As a matter of fact, I carried on a few games of Torchlight 2 while listening to the complete discography and was able to pay attention, admittedly roughly enjoying the albums as I played the game. Surely these kids can play their Call Of Battlefield games while listening to music like... oh.

That's it. This generation is different. They might not even understand Summoning, let alone it's atmosphere. It's all got to be quick, fast and in a hurry for them and their Candy Crush Saga/Angry Birds/Call Of Booty crap. This must certainly be the reason why the music of Summoning won't appeal to the current generation of listeners. But that's beside the fact. You've also mentioned that the thin guitar on it will only appeal to the smallest kvlt listeners of black metal. But that is not true. You're simply placing your own bias on something due to what observations you've made while working in the scene. I listen to what is considered kvlt and what those kvlt people would hate and to be honest; I really can't consider the work of Summoning to be very kvlt. It's joyous, something that you don't expect with black metal, which would undoubtedly make many kvlt listeners cringe. I'm actually quite sure that a good chunk of these true kvlt listeners don't even listen to black metal that was made after the year 2000, if they'll go that far forward and would consider "Lugburz" their only good album, citing keyboards to be the downfall of the act.

For a man who is charged with reviewing releases for a major (and ridiculously expensive - 30 USD a year subscription) magazine and who actually gets paid for it, (something I'd love, as my labor job is physically killing me) I'm quite appalled that you would spit out such a haphazard review and throw in the bias of kvlt, without even examining who kvlt fans are and what makes music kvlt.

Once again Chris, Summoning is NOT a kvlt band. There was a time when they might have been considered such, but that time is not now. The band wanted to remain with the old school approach because they simply enjoy that style and it reflects the music better. There's nothing quite like the sound of gritty atmospheres and considering the material, it feels very organic; like it could have been written in the land of Middle Earth itself.

Because of you, Chris; people are not going to be interested in checking out the Summoning album. Instead of giving it at least a six, you've given the release an uncalled for 4/10. This is absolutely unfair to the band and their music and will automatically turn off loyal Decibel readers to what is in reality, a fantastic piece of music. It's one of the best metal-influenced atmospheric albums that I've heard in years and there's nothing out there on the market quite like it. You are entitled to your opinion, but because Summoning is a lesser known band; you've given them the boot in a magazine that has given pop metal acts much higher scores. There should be no instance where a band with less skill and talent gets a higher grade score than a band who has been doing it for years. Killswitch Engage is a strong metalcore act, and you've given their newest release a 7. I agree with that rating of 7, but would not even consider Summoning even close to that category. If they had made a bad album, I could see it. But a 4? You mean to tell me that you'd rather listen to Killswitch Engage than Summoning?

Reinvention? Why? Simply tell me why you want to hear this band reinvent a classic sound. Would you also knock on Tony Iommi's door and insist that "You really need to start adding more core and technical riffs into the next Black Sabbath album?" Would you go to Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson's flat and insist that on future albums, they include growl and scream vocal styles because that sells? "Hey Entombed, why don't you guys get back together and start adding crust into your music?" What about "Hey Gorguts, I know you're coming out with a new record, but I'll just hate it if it sounds like everything else you've done - and add a female vocalist. Because metal needs more tits."

Perhaps these are over-exaggerations, but in reality, this is what your review sounds like to me. "I wanted them to reinvent the wheel... It won't appeal to new listeners..." But that's because new listeners are too busy chugging down energy drinks while they blast Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides with their goddamned horns up in the air and their infantile mouths screaming "headshot! I owned you, noob!"

Of course it won't appeal to that crowd. They never heard the old shit. And that's one reason I think this record probably shouldn't have been made. It cost these guys quite a bit of money in the first place and when people realize that there just isn't room for Summoning anymore, (we're living in a world where the frontman of Arsis casts out the entire recent Tribulation album in favor of Dissection's "The Somberlain" even though his own record bit the dust heavily) the band will just hang it up completely. Old Morning's Dawn was a godsend this year, proof that the old greats still have it; and this guy basically puts all that time and effort into the fucking shredder. My hope for humanity has waned since I've read your review, Chris. I don't know if you'll ever read this or not, but you are definitely contributing to the death of the metal genre. You're helping to hold the coffin nails, while the modern trends hammer them in. The genre is bound to eat itself alive, while classics like this will go forever unheard and unnoticed.

But that's why I do what I do, as I help to give these bands just a little bit of recognition. The truth is that people should care about bands like Summoning. They've got the same sort of class that bands like Opeth and Emperor used to have and exist in a league of their own. While Opeth has jumped off the plank and into the ocean and Emperor has just walked off the fucking ship altogether, Summoning are still here and they're still creating worthwhile music. This "reinvention" that you expected would've killed the band, because there's no need to fix what's not broken. You seem to be the kind of guy who would've championed the black album or St. Anger. Those were reinventions. But like so many others in the metal community, I don't consider them that fucking revolutionary.

On the other hand, I want to personally thank you for your article on the history of Metal Maniacs. One of the greatest heavy metal magazines ever known to mankind, I enjoyed every issue that I could snag and they were ALWAYS worth the price. Decibel fills the void, but there's only so much you guys can fill that Metal Maniacs was able to deliver. Those guys went above and beyond to pump out GIANT issues (which I still have a few of) and I loved their black and white pages where underground bands would be interviewed in an completely uncut fashion. Not even Metal Hammer's subsection comes close. I'll also never forget the section of the magazine where you could ask an unknown band for physical demo albums. I've still got two demos that I sent for in that magazine. Thanks so much for getting that out there, because this new crowd needs to know that there was at one time, a real trump card in the metal world and it was Metal Maniacs.

After looking at some of your other reviews Chris, I see that you have given some great albums their due. Dark Tranquillity received a 9, as did Tribulation, which is much higher than the 80-85% the metal community was giving it. I agree with these and what you've said about the recent My Dying Bride EP, so I guess you were just having a bad day that week and took it out on these Austrians.

- The Fallen Alchemist (Eric May)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kanye West - Yeezus (W/Hidden Bonus Track 2013)

Kanye West - Yeezus (W/Hidden Bonus Track 2013) - Yeezus is a new path for American modern hip hop music, combining decently executed electronic soundscapes with bullshit rap lyrics which aren't enlightening or interesting in any way, shape or form. Kanye rattles on about sex and how great he is and how much money he has and how he drinks and passes out on your couch, but to tell you the truth, it's my couch and I'd prefer that he not pass out on my furniture from an alcohol induced slumber. He also says he's a God, but a man of God. How can you be a God and a man of God? Are you a God of a God? Are you a demigod? I should ask him that on his Twitter or Facebook account.

As far as the album goes, we must first consider it's packaging: a blank case with no album artwork, no cd artwork and a sticker. A big red sticker. How fucking pretentious can you get. "Oh, it's stripped down" he says. And Rick Rubin told Kanye that he didn't think the album was produced well enough, calling it "unfinished." So basically we've got what seems to be a rush-job of an unfinished album that comes to you looking like you bought it used at a pawn shop. Perhaps the album cover is invisible and I just don't have that hidden arcane knowledge that the almighty god, Yeezus posses and therefore I cannot perceive the majesty of the album's artwork. It all remains to be seen at this point.

As for the music, "On Sight 2:37" is just Kanye wrapping about bullshit to some electronic fuzz and beats. There's also this choir portion that comes in with no fucking purpose at all. "Black Skinhead 3:08" contains just a sample of Marilyn Manson (minus guitars) and there's a crow caw in it which is quite comical and makes me think that he's part bird. But he's a God, so maybe he would be part God. "I Am A God 3:51" where he talks about being a man of God, being a God and how his life is in the hand of God. If that's the case, then will the hand of God come down from the sky and crush this man like a bug? Or perhaps this giant foot will come down and commence with crushing Kanye West like a grape. Of course, there's this bold conversation where Kanye proclaims that Jesus Christ actually spoke with him and said "What's up Yeezus" and he said "Nothing, just trying to stack these millions."

Hmm... to me, that sounds like a very difficult job. Perhaps Kanye does work just as hard as the rest of us, as I can just imagine the pain and anguish in trying to stack large piles of dollars, a process that I surmise might take many days, even weeks or months to complete. Each dollar has to be perfect, set neatly beside the other dollars on each of the stacks and they cannot touch. How much monotony Kanye West must've went through in sorting each and every dollar - the one's, the ten's, the five's, the hundred's, the thousand's and the hundred thousands, unless he's actually got a few of those million dollar bills. It all depends on what bank he uses. At any rate, the meticulous work of stacking millions of dollars certainly has given me more respect for the man, seeing as how he had just enough time to make this album in between stacking the money that receives for his music. The labor must be next to back-breaking!

But I digress... and will continue the review. "New Slaves 4:16" is a bit of a hypocritical statement, because he says that people (in particular, black people) are slaves to corporations, which is extremely biased on his part; because it isn't just people of color who are oppressed, it is those who aren't in the top margin of society that become oppressed by the greedy (who apparently exist because of the devil, but if that's the case then there would be some very rich black metal bands) individuals who run everything. He also claims that "nigga's can't read" which I consider also biased and offensive, as it is a literal downgrade on a part of the population. There are some rather proficient people of color and they don't use the term "nigga" or any variation of it. Some of us have evolved far past the use of these terms. I don't call myself a "cracka" because I consider it very stupid. Why would I call myself anything more than human? As for the elctronics on this track, they could've been made by a five year old. If this is Daft Punk, it's time to quit. You're literally becoming "daft punks."

 "Hold My Liquor 5:27" is a piece of shit for more than most of the track, There's a guitar riff that fades in and out and that's all the music there is. It's practically acapella. There's some stupid autotune shit later in the song, but then at 2:45, there's a great use of guitar solo and electronics that's the only thing worth hearing on the album. It comes back at 3:53 and I just want to know who's responsible for that, because Kanye didn't compose that. I really like what is being done here and think that It would be so much better if IT HADN'T BEEN USED IN THIS SONG. Does Kanye now have copyrights to this piece? If so, someone needs to wipe him out so that the group can take it back and make an awesome electronic track from it. Again, this piece is the only thing worth merit on the whole fucking album. Thankfully, no lyrics interrupt the piece, but most closed-minded people won't understand it.

"I'm in it 3:54" is this song about fucking - big deal. But there's a demonic voice in the background that works. Then some crappy R&B shit starts. "Blood On The Leaves 6:00" makes me want to stab Kanye a dozen times with a screwdriver. I hate auto-tune already and it's man-bot sound, but then there's this other voice which yells "be!" over and over and I just want to strangle that person in all and any semblance of their being. They shouldn't have been allowed to even be on this album. "Guilt Trip 4:03" makes me think of a video game, but it uses those damn autotune vocals because Kanye can't actually sing. Then it uses the evil black man vocals, and to be perfectly honest I'd rather just hear the video game sound effect sample than all the other crap on this track. Can't you just put that on, I dunno... a better song by a more talented electronic artist?

"Send It Up 2:58" uses the some club synths over again until he uses some fuzz, then it goes back to shit programming. I'd really believe that Kanye did this one. Then there's that Jamaican guy on the track who sounds like he spent too much time in America, lost his accent and is now poorly trying to emulate it with the most effort on stereotyping as possible. He sounds like he's got something in his mouth. The end of this shit storm is "Bound 2 3:49" which is where Kanye uses this old sample from a 50's or 60's love song and he loops the chorus over and over again while he raps. It sounds like utter shit and nobody will give one shit about it. Then on the chorus of the song he uses another completely different track that sounds completely different than the one he's been looping. It was also poorly done. You can tell when he's cut off the chorus of the other song improperly. I'm also tired of hearing the "Uh, huh honey!  - I'm falling in love" over and over again, looping not even in tune with his vocals. "Bound 2" is nothing more than a rush job that he put together in one take. Mastering? Nope. Let's get this shit out as quickly as possible because he believes that black people have low IQ's and won't care? That's more what I'm thinking. "Bound 2" is the topping on the shit, one of the most amateur attempts that I've heard from a rapper. There's guys in their basements that can do a better job. You've got money, but you sure as hell don't use it.

Honestly, someone needs to knock this guy's ego down a bit. If your life is in the hand of God, Kanye; then I hope that God will help you find humility because you put out shit for the most part. "I'm Kanye West and I never had nothing in my life." You know what? Fuck you. If you gave such a shit, why wouldn't you make a decent album? Why would you rap about bullshit and not more important things? I hate to be rude, but why is it always white rappers who deal with world issues and real problems? Why are black rappers only rapping about women, cars, money and how great they are? Who started this trend? Who is responsible for this?

So much shit is going on in the world these days, and you think that Mr. Kanye West might give a shit about the horrible things that are going on. You mentioned corporations, sure. I'll give you that. But then you tell Jesus that you're counting millions. What in the literal fuck do you think he would say if you literally had a conversation with Jesus and he asked you what you were doing? I'm not very religious, but I do remember that Jesus pretty much told the rich man to drop his shit and follow him. Well, you still have your shit and you're trying to follow him. Keeping up appearances, are we? Go leave your lavish fucking home, take Kim and your child named after a direction and go out there to foreign countries and be a fucking missionary, if you consider yourself so holy. Go see the real Africans and visit the tribes out there in the middle of nowhere. Go to Ethiopia and eat with them. See what they eat, how they live. "Yeezus" was made not because you wanted to make music, but because you wanted to still be considered by people as a rapper. You just want to be edgy. This is absolute shit and the greats would piss all over your album despite the fact that you've used a few mediocre electronic pieces to illustrate your bland skills at poetry.

What's more, is that two of these songs were performed live on the SNL stage and you put some feeling into both of them. You damn near screamed these lyrics, there was no doubt passion behind them. But when I hear it on the record, there is no emotion, just a guy trying to get shit done as fast as he fucking can. Whew. Just let me calm down a bit before I go on. Thanks.

Though I didn't like one song on the album, I did like pieces of these songs, so I can consider it better than just a 1/10, but it's not amazing. I'll probably give it a 3 or a 4 at best. There's also this hidden track called "Teck Teck Tonic ft. Jessica Shores 3:57" but it's some bullshit pop song. So you don't need it. Hell, you don't need this album. Listen to anything, anything other than "Yeezus."

(11 Tracks, 44:00)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Toad - Endless Night (NN Promo 2013)

"Toad’s new album Endless Night is just as awesome as I would’ve expected, with their last disc Rotten Tide being far more than just another promising release. What we’ve got here is a group of gentlemen who don’t want to just mix punk and black metal ala Kvelertak, but who want to mix punk with black metal and trippy atmospheres, plus give it a real kick of sludge and make the whole thing as acidic as it is melodic..."

More Here: 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week 81 (June 22, 2013)


I Killed Everyone - Necrospire (PR2013) - I Killed Everyone is certainly not the kind of music that I gel with, not entirely anyway. For the most part, it's just progressive technical deathcore. Very much in the same vein as another band I'll be reviewing shortly, The Black Dahlia Murder. The first time I listened to this album, it all sort of bled together. To be honest, I'm here scrolling through songs and trying to find one that stands out. Every track on the disc so far seems to feature the same thing: bashing drums, deathcore grunts with the occasional scream. You like breakdowns? They're here. Technicality and elements of djent? I mean, this music practically writes itself.

And here I am, at the end of the album. What did I learn? Nothing. Did I hear anything inspiring? No. Did I hear anything original? No. These guys practically paved over what bands of their type have already paved over since the sub-genre began. You've heard this before, but if you really like older Faceless and Black Dahlia Murder (again, which is who these guys remind me of) then you should check this one out. As for me, I'll stick with new Faceless and Rings Of Saturn.

(10 Tracks, 40:00)



New Keepers Of The Water Tower - The Cosmic Child (PR2013) - The third album from these Swedish prog-doomers, it is jokingly described as "Dark Side Of The Doom", an obvious reference to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon." And to be honest, that's definitely a good way to describe it. It starts out with the heavy hitter "The Great Leveller 6:11" which encompasses all the thunder you expect from doom metal, but adds mere twinklings of prog and opens the album up for transmutation later on. "Visions Of Death 9:25" continues with the heaviness, but begins to fully meld it in with the prog. "Pyre For The Red Sage 12:05" continues thumping up until the point where it opens wide enough for atmosphere. Near the end of the track, the heaviness comes back, but with increased clean and atmosphere. This works well when it flows into "Cosmosis 3:45" which comes right out of 70's prog rock heaven. Some might not what to know what to think about this one, but as for me; I say it's fantastic. Then "Lapse 12:32" appears and I think that it's a downright build upon of what was done in "Cosmosis" really metamorphosing the sound and leaving the lyrics to minimalism. There's also a really hefty shredding portion. After that moment of greatness, "The Cosmic Child 2:51" gently caresses the ears, sort of like an after dinner mint to the astral travel session of the song before. So Pink Floyd gone doom? Yeah, that about sums this one up and it's really a listening experience that you have to take in as a whole. It's a very good trip, and much better than the trips I've heard from Intronaut and The Ocean this year. Some people might get that "Crack The Skye" era Mastodon feel from the album too, but that's okay, because many of us will agree that Mastodon was quite successful with that era and will never be able to capitalize upon it, hence why it's taken so long for them to make another release.

But just like "Crack the Skye", "The Cosmic Child" is also a concept album; one that seems to flow magnificently and is not to be missed this year. Those of you who are interested in this album, you know who you are. I've just given you the green light, it's okay to put through your ears and you'll definitely appreciate the hard work that these guys have put in on this one. While I'm not sure how it stacks up against their other releases, I definitely enjoyed it.

Highlights: Visions Of Death, Pyre For The Red Sage, Cosmosis, Lapse, The Cosmic Child, (6 Tracks, 46:00)



Ocellus - Departure (PR2013) - You know, you can tell a lot from a band by who they represent in their band photo. Ocellus is made up of guys who proudly display their love for Meshuggah, Between The Buried And Me, We Came As Romans, Dragonforce and Skeletonwitch and I can hear that same sort of modern metal sensibilities here. Once again, I find myself sailing through the album in the hopes of finding a good riff melody or something that hasn't been done by bands who also proudly wear the same influences on their sleeves... or backs, in the case.

But to put it into perspective, Ocellus basically mixes core with melodic death metal riffs and definite core breakdowns. Though I admit I like some of the melodies in "Sleepless 4:45" I've already heard them when Heaven Shall Burn, or more importantly; At The Gates did them. "Epiphany 4:13" made me first think of Soilwork, but then there's the djent influence and that's already become highly saturated in the genre as of late. "Endeavors 4:11" is pretty good, but I'll admit that I haven't the faintest idea why a solo is being played and vocals are still going. I always thought that a solo was just that - solo.

I'll admit that even though Ocellus's cover and logo shows that "Real Men Wear Pink" they're definitely better core than I Killed Everyone and that guitarist actually has some good licks. Yes, it's the same formula adapted slightly for 2013 trends and should become immensely popular with scene kids. Unfortunately, I'm no longer in high school (even though I wish I still was, there are so many things I didn't know then that I know now, and I didn't have all these aches and pains and health issues) and I'm damn near 30, so I don't think this stuff effects me as it would for someone else. I've been there, done that.

But if you haven't, Ocellus really ain't that bad.

(10 Tracks, 39:00)



The Lumberjack Feedback - Hand Of Glory (PR2013) - The Lumberjack Feedback isn't just an interesting band, they've also got a moniker that rolls right off the tip of the tongue. So what feedback does the lumberjack have? The lumberjack who's okay, works all night and sleeps all day, except when he wears women's clothing... Alright, so that would be the wrong lumberjack. (The guy at Kaotoxin is gonna have a field day with this one.) At any rate, The Lumberjack Feedback is a six man instrumental doom project with two drummers and no vocalist. The disc is made up of two songs which equal about 17 minutes of music and showcase just a little of what these guys have to offer.

"A Whisper To The Thunder 8:59" makes me think of early Pelican at first and that's a good sign. That's who I usually gravitate to when I think of instrumental doom, and this song is right up there with that kind of material. Albeit the work is a bit more thunderous, more foreboding in the middle, leaving less to clean melody and more to... well, "Hell on Earth" as described in the PR info. To be honest, this makes me think that it would go well during the "Inferno" campaign on the original Doom. It just sort of matches the wanton death and chaos that accompanies hell itself. Then the amp fuzz comes in, but it doesn't sound like something that's just there, it's writhes with the bellow of fear and sounds like a clarion call for the next track.

"The Dreamcatcher 8:33" has much more of a primordial feel, perhaps more akin to the first level of Hell in Dante's tale which I believe was purgatory, a place where virtuous pagans dwelled and there was no torture, but no light either. I kinda say bah to that, because I expect bands like this to be playing in that realm. After you're dragged through the jungle; you're gonna hear the track start to thump a bit, and things really start to get unruly towards the end. Again, it makes me think of Doom. But not that it would go good during the game, but of the actual sound font used during the game. ID software must have been listening to some kind of metal, because you can clearly hear that in that ancient sound font and when I hear a band like this who actually captures that same feel twenty years later, it's fucking grand.

The bottom line is that The Lumberjack Feedback are great. They don't sound like a band who needs vocals. Sure, you could add some, but it'd kill the feel of the music. Instead, I'm thinking of killing imps and demons in one of the many layers of the hellish abyss created by ID all of those years ago. I'm actually curious as to whether or not this music will work while being played during the game. But only one way to find out...

Definitely give the Lumberjack Feedback a shot. One of my favorite instrumental groups in years. I can't wait to hear more.

(2 Tracks, 17:00)



Eshtadur - Stay Away From Evil And Get Close To Me (PR2013) - One could have a field day with the broken English that composes most of Eshtadur's lyrics, but I won't do that, because it's not polite despite how much I want to mention it. According to my genre tag, Eshtadur is an experimental black metal band, but if you mean melodic death metal with elements of core and black metal, that's more like it. You see, there isn't really anything about this band that screams black metal to me.

However, they do write some pretty mean melodic death metal albeit with a few core breakdowns, core melodies and occasional injections of piano. When "Beyond The Shadows 3:09" started up, I had to double take at "black metal" because this is clearly the farthest thing from black metal that could be labeled as black metal. Clearly the guitarist loves his Dark Tranquility as he loves to utilize their riffs and throw a couple of black metal licks in. But that doesn't make them black metal. The bassist loves the hell out of his core, and the drummer just does kind of whatever. But I will say that there's a solo man in here somewhere. He's not sparkling, but he's audible. I'll also mention that the frontman of the group doesn't scowl or growl or scream, he kind of yells in the vein of thrash, but not in the sense of thrash. The vocal tone reminds me of something maybe in thrash or perhaps even core music.

When "Abigor 2:49" comes in, I definitely start thinking of death/thrash... you know, until the core comes in. Whoa... I just realized something. That guitarist that I was telling you about, well he really loves that same riff. I mean, really loves it. He damn near uses it on every single song. "Son Of A Witch 3:30" sees the band getting a little heavier with the inclusion of an actual growl (which should be more prominent) and more of that Dimmu Borgir influence that these guys seem to love so much. Then the guitarist decides, "Well, you know what? What the fuck? I'll just play the same lead again." and he does until the solo comes in.

Oh my God. It's even at the end of the album. The same riff. Sure, there's the keyboard on "The Girl Who Hated A Priest 4:05" but if you give that guitarist time, see how fast he starts to play that At The Gates/Dark Tranquillity riff he likes so much. Then of course you've got your core breakdowns and such while the scream/growl vocal thing goes on backed by synths. After the last track, there's a bonus Spanish version of "Beyond The Shadows" and I will say that the lyrics work much better in that version.

I'm sorry, but I just can't take these guys seriously. At least not yet. Believe it or not, they actually played some rather large shows in their home country, but that guy needs to lay off the At The Gates/Dark Tranquility riff and the whole band needs to learn what black metal is. I'm normally never this harsh, but this just doesn't work for me at all.

(9 Tracks, 32:00)



FaithXtractor - The Great Shadow Infiltrator (PR2013) - FaithXtractor are a two piece who play a very traditional type of death metal with an album cover that makes me think of a video game. They're certainly good at what they do, but nothing called out to me for most of the disc. Sure, "The Six Knives Of Redshield 3:28" was a good exercise, but it's one that I've heard several times before. However, it's right at the end of "Third And Final 3:23" that things start to get interesting. Rightfully called the title track, "The Great Shadow Infiltrator 6:11" gives me a dose of brooding death, complete with eerie electronics and a nice guitar solo that helps to highlight this track as what should've been the band's focus. "Freedom Conditional 3:28" adds the groove elements and "With Cold Calculation 2:51" shows off some impressive drum work.

But other than that, FaithXtractor show that they've still got some work ahead of them. It's a decent disc filled with some great solos and some interesting ideas, but I think they just need to fine tune themselves a bit, maybe tackle some different approaches to the material. Something about when Revolting does it and when a band like this does it that make two opposite parallels. I'd like to think that a band like this would want to be as good as Rogga and company, but those are some tough shoes to fill.

"The Great Shadow Infiltrator" is death metal in a vein that you've heard before with just a few odd bells and whistles. I'd recommend plenty of releases over this one, but if you want to support two guys who are doing what they love, then go check them out. It won't hurt you.

Highlights: The Great Shadow Infiltrator, With Cold Calculation (11 Tracks, 41:00)



Graveyard Of Souls - Shadows Of Life (PR2013) - Graveyard Of Souls is a two man atmospheric doom/death metal project for fans of early Tiamat and Saturnus, among others. I'm also hearing some early Graveworm (you know, when they were still good) and Moonspell in places, so it's a good mixture. Atmospheric synths back ridiculously catchy melodies, as thick gravel makes up the gamut of vocal content. The drumming on the disc is quite bare though, at some points I barely even noticed it. But that's probably because I wasn't taking as much notice of it as I was the lead melodies. Something can certainly be said about the synth and leads on this album, as these two ingredients really bring out the flavor of this act. I can definitely say that tracks like "Shadows of Life 4:54" with it's catchy Tiamat influenced melodies (think "Judas Christ" era) and it's follow up "Dreaming Of Someday To Awake 6:05" definitely hit hard and deserve to be placed right at the front of the album, but will never forgive them for completely butchering the 80's classic "Mad World 5:00" as originally performed by Tears For Fears, but later perfected by Gary Jules (this is the version that most everyone knows and covers, as the Tears For Fears version pales in comparison; despite the fact that they actually wrote the song. Ironic, I know.)

As you know, I am quite fond of my 80's music, being an 80's child. Though the Gary Jules version is quite newer, I've got so much respect for the track that I've been dying to find a band to work with to cover the song myself in some sort of blackened/death hybrid, with an extreme focus on the depression factor laden in the lyrics. This is the same thing that Graveyard Of Souls tried to do, but it's just too damned slow. This is a song about general hatred and distaste for the entire fucking world. It needs more emotion and gusto than what's being played so minimally here. Plus, I can barely make out the lyrics, as two vocalists are blaring them at the same time. Yes, the riffs are right - but it's just not spiteful enough and this song needs a hell of a lot of piss and vinegar, as it's one of the strongest ballads about one's general hatred for mankind and existence that I've ever heard. This haphazard rendition has upset me greatly and it's the second time I've heard metal fail to do justice to the song (the other time was Evergreen Terrace and they fucked it up too) so it looks like I'll just have to do it myself, one of these days. IMHO, the song should literally resemble some sort of psychotic breakdown and that is territory that I can successfully emulate.

Horrible 80's renditions aside, the album still delivers with the unreal melody of "Follow Me 7:33" and the kick of "Dead Earth 5:15" which once again makes me think of early Tiamat. While there are definitely a couple of clunkers on here, Graveyard Of Souls definitely have promise in the doom/death genre and have been studying the art of tasteful melody well. It's not something that we often get from metal, a sort of oddity that stands out from the pack of doom/death releases. Perhaps it's the Tiamat influence in the riffs, or maybe even the way these guys work their magic with synths - but whichever way you roll it, Graveyard Of Souls is a band to watch. I'm sure that their next release will see the duo even more refined and able to deliver further greatness in the realms of melody, with hopefully no horrible 80's covers and a more focused vocal sense (because some of the vocals on these tracks sound like they're all over the place.)

Nevertheless, go check out Graveyard Of Souls for some promising atmospheric death/doom with loads of melody. They do their influences justice for the most part, and that's saying quite a bit compared to some acts.

Highlights: Shadows Of Life, Dreaming Of Some Day To Awake, Follow Me, Dead Earth (9 Tracks, 46:00)



Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (2 Disc Limited Edition 2013) - Well, Volbeat are back with another one and it even features the legendary King Diamond on "Room 24 5:07." But before I get into all that, let's start with the basics. "Outlaw Gentlemen..." is a western themed pop-metal disc that combines elements of metal with rock and hard rock. It's much different from Domnius, we all know that. But that's what we're left with folks, take it or leave it.

"Perl Hart 3:26" starts the disc with this shitty little ballad. There's a good solo, but the song itself sucks. Couple of good riff melodies. "The Nameless One 3:52" adds some Metallica and ACDC influence into a song that's mostly stoner metal like The Sword. There's a nice Middle-Eastern solo here which has no business in the content of the album, but it works. It's not that bad, really. "Dead But Rising 3:34" starts out like "Black" era Metallica until it starts to kinda thrash. Then you've got some kind of fucking melodic thrash with Hetfield wanna be "Nyagh's" at the end of the vocal lines. It's not so bad, but it can grow annoying. "Cape of Our Hero 3:49" is next, it's a ballad which still has those James Hetfield "Nyagh's" and sticks to soft rock. I think I heard it on the radio during a countdown so someone likes it.

As for "Room 24 5:07" it reminds me of Black Sabbath a little and not just the band name - but the song itself. (But that's okay because Sabbath did the same on their new album, but they're Sabbath so they can do that.) This is probably the best Volbeat song that I've ever heard, but to be honest I wish they would've just gotten rid of Poulsen and kept the King. The song is about sleep paralysis, something that Poulsen claims happened to him once. Apparently, King Diamond said that it could've been a spirit (I hear about this kind of shit on boards all the time) but explained to him that it was more than likely sleep paralysis. At any rate, this track is kind of the music that I'd expect Volbeat to play for the rest of their career, but that will never happen. He fucked that up when he dissolved Dominus.

So now we're back into the wild west, with "The Hangman's Body Count 5:15" which in all honesty is a well-structured piece. I don't even mind Poulsen's vocals so much here. There's a little bit of thrash here, but it's a little more rock and contains some more of that odd Middle Eastern guitar influence. The guitar solos scream on the track, so it's hard to say too much bad about it. "My Body 3:41" is jammy little radio rock song. Fuck it. "Lola Montez 4:27" is a rock ballad with great rock solos. Nothing more. It's catchy but you've heard it re-arranged 18 gazillion times, just not with all the guitar jizz. "Black Bart 4:48" is what happens when you combine minimal punk-inspired thrash and mix it with the theme from Gunsmoke. There's an excellent solo here though. Would it offend Poulsen if I asked him to just make a record with him playing guitar instead of singing? The guy can play (or someone in this fucking band can, in that case - give that guy a guitar album) and I'd rather not hear Poulsen open his mouth if he can help it. These fuckers start to shred later on in this track and I never knew they had it in them. Definitely a highlight. What? You think I'm gonna chunk it with those solos?

Then we've got "The Lonesome Rider 4:04" which starts out western and involves female vocals. Yeah, I know. You just want to skip it. "The Sinner Is You 4:15" comes off as quite catchy, it's sort of a melodic rock song with a cancerously catchy chorus. "Doc Holliday 5:45" is where the band starts their Metallica phase and Poulsen is no Hetfield. His voice can make thrash sound like it would suit small children. No thanks, I'll pass. "Our Loved Ones 4:50" is a sort of modern thrash ballad. Hell, just think "Black album" and you've got it. It's like mixing one of that disc's heavy tracks (like "Everywhere I Roam") with one of it's lighter tracks ( like "Nothing Else Matters.") There's a good solo there. But those were also on the "Black album." And that's it.


On the bonus disc, we'll find five tracks of material that people like to include separately, because they like money. All together, it's about 79 minutes of music which would fit on a disc by itself. What a waste of fucking plastic. At any rate, "Ecotone 3:47" a Metalli-thrash track with some actual balls starts the disc and makes me wonder why it was left off the original disc. Surely the Volbeat fan would've appreciated more Metalli-thrash on their fake thrash album. Then there's a "Lola Montez (Harp Version) 4:29" which just features a harp and harmonica instead of the guitars. After that, you've got the first of the live tracks, "7 Shots 5:13" which features an alternate vocal from Poulsen that would actually make me like Volbeat if he used it. You mean to tell me that you can sound like that but you'd rather sound like this evil Elvis shit? I guess whatever makes money, ya bastard. I guess that's why you're rich and I'm poor, because you sold out. "Evelyn 3:47" is the next live track and it's got use of death metal vocal so that works for me. This guy has a great gravel, why the fuck is he singing? Then there's a demo of the same track at the end of the disc ("Evelyn 3:28") Goddamn. You mean to tell me that Poulsen growls like this? Damn, I'm about to get some Dominus albums for sure. Why the fuck did Volbeat ever happen? Fuck, I wish I could sound like that.

Volbeat's "Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies" actually has some merit going for it, but I'm still really upset that he dissolved a great death metal act in the form of Dominus because he wasn't making money by making great music. The devil opens the door with cash for the idiots who'll sell their soul.

Highlights: The Nameless One, Room 24, The Hangman's Body Count, Black Bart, The Sinner Is You, Ecotone, 7 Shots (Live), Evelyn (2010 Demo) (19 Tracks, 79:00)



City Of Fire - Trial Through Fire (2013) - The side project of Fear Factory's Burton C. Bell, these guys really have come into form with their second release. I really didn't know what to expect from this one, but I have to say that this is some of the best rock influenced metal that I've heard in years, despite a few hiccups at the end.

"Deliver Me 4:40" warms things up right at the beginning with hard driving riffs and powerful vocals coming from Bell. The man just sounds energized, like he's been waiting to do this (and he needs the break from Fear Factory after their last hiccup) for a long time now. Melodies blaze right into the sky and Bell sounds like he's the fucking metatron at times, like his voice is being carried from the heavens. It's really hard not to like this one.

"Follow Mantis 4:16" continues with the thunder, which is good because this album literally matches it's album cover image. You see fire, you GET fire. I have no idea what the hell Bell's singing about, but it must have something to do with Thelema, since he ascribes to those ideals. He takes a more subtle approach to the vocals, but the band never let up in their doom-like thunder. This is an album where head banging might be necessary. I don't think the "Follow Mantis" reiteration is necessary though, it comes off as overkill.

"Bad Motivator 3:42" lightens things a bit, but envelops into an explosive chorus that adds to the trance-inducing riffs. Which I can say appear on many of the songs on this album. It is a very sort of warm, trippy ordeal; quite like being in a hypnotic state at the center of hell.

"Prometheus Unbound 4:47" continues with thick riffs and some sections where the leads want to explode and finally do in the form of a terrific guitar solo. I don't think Bell's vocal performance is that great here though. This more about the guitar than anything else and after hearing the track, you can't debate that.

"Olympus Mons 4:44" is one of the stronger tracks on the disc, continuing in much the same way as the others but with a much better vocal performance from Bell. This one is more attuned to his vocals and comes off quite pleasing.
"Oceanut 3:48" starts out like a light ballad, but erupts with fury and some awesome riff melodies. Some of this stuff sounds absolutely spatial at times. Definitely one of the stronger tracks on this album.

"Dichotomy Blues 4:43" features a great bit of djent reinforced by the guitar. Bell's vocals meld perfectly with the track, and everything seems to be in universal harmony here, even though the song is quite vicious in lyrical nature.

"Made Of Stars 3:57" is that part of the album when things take on a more tribal tone. It definitely has that whole hippie vibe and I think that it fits with the content of the rest of the album, as it's all had a trance-inducing aspect.

The last original song on the disc is "Steps To Redemption 4:09" and it's really not that great. Whatever he told you about this song, forget it. It starts out with a piano and even when the band kicks in, I just don't buy it. Hiccup!

The album ends with a cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence 4:05." I never would've expected it, but everyone's gotta cover that fucking song into ridiculousness. It came out several years ago, was great and then got dug up somehow and now everyone wants a piece of it (No matter what genre!) Burton C. Bell can't even do it, I mean the band's playing on a different level than he is. Despite how much that drummer wants to make this song heavy, I've heard it done heavier and better. Please, for the love of God; give this fucking song a break. Maybe I should leave a message on Depeche Mode's FB account asking them to formally request no more covers of the track... Jesus Christ, enough is enough!

City Of Fire's Trial Through Fire is a very warm, trance-inducing record that's certainly worth it for people who want to hear some rock that's worth a damn. Yes there's metal influence, but I wouldn't call it metal. With this album, I think that City Of Fire is making a foothold in the cult music category along with bands like The Cult and Killing Joke. Bands that also, more than likely inspired them. I definitely recommend, even though it has some hiccups. This album is much better than some of the crap I've heard from rock and hard rock lately. It ought to be embraced, but I think it'll be forgotten because I haven't heard a single fucking thing about this disc since it released. Pity on the next generation.

Highlights: Deliver Me, Follow Mantis, Prometheus Unbound, Olympus Mons, Oceanut, Dichotomy Blues, Made Of Stars (10 Tracks, 42:00)



Leprous - Coal (2013) - Leprous, if you don't already know is the rest of Ihsahn's band, who when not playing as Leprous; double as his solo project. As such you can expect them to be musically competent to a high edged degree. The music that they play is surprisingly not black metal, but rather a very experimental blend of progressive metal. Their frontman is a bit colorful however, sort of reminding me of Freddie Mercury-esque soundscapes. Some of you might not even care or understand what in the hell he's doing at the end of "Foe 5:15" but it's most certainly the sort of thing you might expect to hear in a grand stage opera. This continues into "Chronic 7:19" when the guy continues his Freddie Mercury worship, despite a few heavier riffs mixed and some djent because everyone knows that that's always fun (sarcasm.) The song escalates into a Devin Townsend level of grandeur and that comes with a few harsh vocals. The chorus is extremely potent and the song is a worthy of an album itself. It's a self contained piece, which is something you rarely hear these days.

"Coal 6:50" throws some electronics into the mix along with some Tool riffs. Towards the end of the song, I'm reminded heavily of Devin Townsend. "The Cloak 4:09" begins with a Tool riff, but that's when the Queen influence comes back into play. After going back through this song, I'll admit that it's just not for me and that's all I'll say. "The Valley 8:59" is ungodly catchy. As I was flipping through it, I caught that damn chorus again and remembered how fucking great it was. But seeing as the size of "The Valley" is quite large, it's about far more than the fucking chorus and that's where atmospheres and the frontman's vocal dynamics come into play. No, I'm kidding. This song is nothing more than just an over-inflated prog ballad. It could've killed on just the non-atmospheric portions and the chorus.

"Salt 4:30" is a song I think I can do with out, especially when "Victoria!" is shouted. Whew, can't get much more feminine than that. I'll be if I played this album in a room by myself and a bunch of religious conservatives walked in, I'd be getting the Biblical lecture of my life. "Echo 9:41" is next, leaving the clean melodies, drums and vocals to create an atmosphere (notice that when I say vocals, I am talking about harmonizing which goes on through most of this album.) The song is good, but it just drags on too long.

The last track on the disc is my personal favorite. That's because it's a real, honest to god, heavy progressive metal track. Ihsahn's also on this track, (I think, or is that an impression?) so there's a plus. Still the amount of djent is frightening. I do like the fact that this track uses a vast amount of harsh vocal tones and that they are erratic and unruly. Musically, it keeps the beauty; but vocally it's a beast. Perhaps this is what their other material sounded like?

Leprous's "Coal" IS NOT for everyone; but for EXTREMELY open minded people who don't mind Freddie Mercury vocal tones and elements that might come off quite feminine in nature, it's worth checking out. It's definitely not something for Joe Metalhead who likes his music rough and brutal. It's something that Joe Metalhead wouldn't tell his metal head friends that he listens to. But I will admit that there are some really great songs despite the fact that it's a bit "unique" and may appeal more to the rest of us, rather than the most of us. Of course, there's an extremely rude derogatory term that some would use to explain the nature of this music a bit better, but it's one that I feel is offensive to people of a certain wonderful community and I won't say it here. After all, despite what we may prefer in life; metal is for everyone. I have many LBGT friends and won't use that term to describe music.

But yes, it does linger on effeminacy. Which I've just been told by my dictionary is also an offensive term. Really? I never knew. I've always considered myself a bit effeminate in nature. But just a bit, I'm not to the point of getting mani/pedi, but I work with some really rough guys who do actually get the mani/pedi. No shit.

Of course, it's not my style to be politically correct.

EDIT: Just realized that these are the same guys who did Bilateral. That record got a 777, and this thing only gets a 7? Damn, way to move down the hill gentlemen. To be honest, this record doesn't even sound like it was from the same band who recorded Bilateral. I suspect that they were abducted by Aliens.

Highlights: Chronic, The Valley, Echo, Contaminate Me (8 Tracks, 55:00)



Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death (2013) - Tribulation put out a worthy death metal album a few years back, but this is something completely of another vein. Though it still says "Death Metal" as the genre tag, this is something much more than the "Death Metal" that they put out last time and it took so many turns that I wasn't even sure what it was anymore... but it was fucking wonderful and I'll expound upon that right now (GET THIS ALBUM) so here's the (GET THIS ALBUM) breakdown (GET THIS ALBUM) of the (GET THIS ALBUM) disc:

First off, why am I hearing a cleverly guised rendition of Megaman X3's "Blizzard Buffalo" theme in "Vagina Dentata 3:59." It's definitely there, I could spot those tones anywhere. They don't think that you'd notice them, but yeah - that's it. It's a good theme for a vagina with teeth anyway. "Wanderer In The Outer Darkness 7:09" is next, and from the vocals I almost thought I was listening to blackened death metal. Then the music sort of pit black metal against death/thrash. Which is a great combo. Black and thrash and death, can't go wrong there.... then disco. Because everyone in the club is getting down to this evil shit. And finally atmosphere for good luck.

"Spectres 6:13" reminds me of death metal with a share of black metal riffs and some punk stylings. Then there's this wonderful atmospheric piece which goes into an all out assault and then more fucking awesomeness which I won't even describe. The next track "(indecipherable) 2:32" is just acoustic guitar and piano mixed with some odd effects and yes, it works. "Suspiria 10:21" had me once again hoping that the band decided to cover a Goblin classic in a heavier construct, but alas my dreams were crushed and replaced with a thumper of a track that contains some prog and atmosphere for damn near it's entirety, and then ends on a heavy note with some droning atmosphere to fully close.

"Through The Velvet Black 7:18" is either black or death metal and I've come to the point where I don't care anymore. It's just fucking great, that's what it is. I mean, who wanted a disc with both black metal and death metal tracks on it and then some? I mean, it doesn't even matter whether or not I finish this album breakdown. It's fucking essential for every metal head on the face of the planet Earth... and those in other worlds/dimensions.

"Randa 6:54" starts out catchy and it continues catchy. I think it's black metal, but who cares? The prog, atmospheres and 70's keyboards even come into the mix along with a fantastic solo. Who are these guys and where did they come from? They're not from Earth. "When The Sky Is Black With Devils 6:52" starts out light, but damn, you've got to love those horror inspired riffs. Then the drums start pounding and the lyrics start pounding too. Some atmosphere follows and other hijinks. But why spoil the fun? "Spell 6:00" comes in next and it's definitely black metal. Some of the best black metal I've heard in a long fucking time. But then it turns into so much more than that. Like every song on this disc. "Ultra Silvam 4:18" is another great instrumental that doesn't disappoint either and actually gets a bit heavy.

Alright, so how does it all end? How do you end a fucking masterpiece like this one? Well, you do it with a fucking epic and there's nothing more grandiose than "Apparitions 13:25" which definitely seals the lid on this wonder of extreme metal majesty. This thumping death metal influenced track has what seems like solo after solo after solo and then begins to truly thunder towards it's end where it picks up steam and shows off more instrumentation from the band.

Tribulation's "The Formulas Of Death" is a masterpiece. It's the best album of the year already, hands down. I don't know who can one-up this, but if you're on this planet I'd certainly like to hear your work. A universal constant is that there's always something better and always something worse - somewhere out there in the reaches of space. But as for this planet, you'd better do right and GET THIS FUCKING ALBUM as soon as possible. This might wind up being an undiscovered gem and it needs promotion. I'm more than likely going to re-review this album for New Noise in a professional construct just so more people can hear about this. It's really a work of art in the most estranged sense and I recommend it to all fans of extreme metal.

Edit: Alright, the general consensus for this thing is about 80-85%. I think it's great, but the metal community at large think that it's a good disc, not a great one. They do agree that Tribulation have moved way over the hill of death metal. Apparently, some people don't like all the atmospheres, perhaps they use too many of them on each song. I noticed that myself, but did not mind personally. It was so refreshing that I greatly enjoyed it.

Highlights: All