Tuesday, 25 February 2020

REVIEW: Agvirre, "Silence"

By: Benjamin Gomes

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 24/01/2020
Label: Trepanation Recordings |
Surviving Sounds

“Silence” CS//CD//DD track listing:

1). Radio Silence
2). Muzzle & Mask
3). Abandonment

The Review:

Taking their name from one of the most important movies in Werner Herzog’s filmography, Agvirre are a post-black metal collective from Manchester that debuted in the scene with their extended play “Silence.”

Despite the short time span of the piece, clocking in at around 27 minutes, the band showcases a unique blend of black metal, incorporating experimental passages and an interesting song writing approach that infuses the tremolo picking we know well with violin melodies soaring over the songs that brings a more emotional vibe to their compositions.

This is bolstered  further still with a strong vocal performance, reminiscent of Colin H. van Eeckhout’s of Amenra where every word is shouted with such emotional urgency that it accentuates the compositions  beautifully. Lyrically, the whole album is cantered around the idea of one using a mask to cover their true self, dealing with hard things like loss and pain under a guise which only contributes to having a more difficult time dealing with that.

In the ending part of ‘Abandonment’, the third and last track of the EP, Agvirre switch to cleaner vocals and deliver a final uplifting message that works as a summary of the whole message they were trying to convey, a final message to the band that will serve as the final message of this review “Take off the mask that squalors you / Take off the mask that squanders you / Your true voice lies beneath / Your true self lies beneath / Take off the mask that silences you”.

“Silence” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Angellore, “Rien Ne Devait Mourir”

By: Thomas Gonzales

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/02/2020
Label: Finisterian Dead End

“Rien Ne Devait Mourir” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. A Romance Of Thorns
2. Dreams (Along The Trail)
3. Drowned Divine
4. Blood For Lavinia
5. Sur Les Sentiers De Lune
6. Que Les Lueurs Se Dispersent

The Review:

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, then with a crushing, moody, and atmospheric new metal album? Thanks to Angellore and their most recent release “Rien Ne Devait Mourir”, themes of sorrow, death, love, loss, and the beauty of nature are poignantly showcased in a crushing wave of Death Doom.

Formed in 2007, Angellore have carved out a place amongst doom fans the world over like a stone angel at the gates of a mausoleum. Hauntingly beautiful, but not at the expense of heaviness, Angellore are able to slide along the spectrum of Doom Metal, ranging from Funeral to Death Doom, then back again. It is as much an emotional journey as it is a sonic one, and at no point do they allow the atmosphere to lose gravity.

Vocalist Lucia returns to once again lend classical cleans to an already diverse mix, bringing brilliant melodic sensibilities to sweep across the heavier segments of each track. When paired with the acoustic guitar breaks, they waltz back and forth in a macabre dance, lending a refreshing Gothic nature to their already sorrowful sound. If you haven’t caught on yet, the tone of the album is dark and broody, and can be appreciated in those quiet hours of contemplation, without feeling forced or edgy.

That’s not to say the album isn’t also a banger, it’s just more about the musical experience than creating catchy riffs, and anthems. Opening track “A Romance of Thorns” is a crushing twenty-minute juggernaut of a song, showcasing a little of every technique the band has become known for. Lucia starts things off in a somber operatic fashion, before passing the flame to vocalist and founder Walran, who provides some of the crunchiest growls of the year (so far). Walran’s harsh segments are rough, and rumbling, and add a weightiness that drags the whole track down into a crashing blast of Death/Doom, before giving way to a soothing classical guitar segment. This ebb and flow is part of what makes this album so enjoyable as a continuous piece; each song is so dynamic, that it’s hard to lose interest before the cadence changes once again.

Every bit as pummeling as it is graceful, “Rien Ne Devait Mourir” is a composition deserving of a start to finish listen. While several of the tracks could be enjoyed as singles, it is a disservice to the artist (and yourself) not to experience the complete vision. Skipping around changes the pacing set out by the creators, and would cause the listener to deny themselves some of the finer aspects of the recording. Pick up “Rien Ne Devait Mourir” today on Finisterian Dead End Records.

“Rien Ne Devait Mourir” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday, 24 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Kreator, “London Apocalypticon: Live at the Roundhouse”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/02/2020
Label: Nuclear Blast

“London Apocalypticon: Live at the Roundhouse” CD//DD//DVD//LP track listing:

 1. The Four Horsemen/Choir Of The Damned
 2. Enemy Of God
 3. Hail To The Hordes
 4. Awakening Of The Gods
 5. People Of The Lie
 6. Gods Of Violence
 7. Satan Is Real
 8. Mars Mantra
 9. Phantom Antichrist
10. Fallen Brother
11. Flag Of Hate
12. Phobia
13. Hordes Of Chaos
14. The Patriarch
15. Violent Revolution
16. Pleasure To Kill
17. Apocalypticon

The Review

Kreator deliver 17 tracks (well, 15 with an intro and an outro) of uncompromisingly brutal thrash metal on this latest live document. This is a review of the audio only- there is a DVD/Blu-Ray release but I don't have the access to it so audio only it is.

The track list is very solid indeed- it's a cherry picked run through of highlights from their most recent albums and a well chosen selection of their earlier material. Kreator can stand shoulder to shoulder with Overkill, Destruction and Testament as a band whose material has been stellar in the most recent decade of their careers. After an atmospheric intro, “Enemy of God” blasts the set off and is followed keenly by “Hail to the Hordes” from 2017's excellent “Gods of Violence”. The band also plays “Satan is Real” from the album as well as the title track. The record acts as a kind of bookend to the “Gods of Violence” campaign- much like the “Dying Alive” set of 2013 did for “Phantom Antichrist” (how can that live album be seven years old?!).

You also get Mille Petrozza encouraging the crowd in true Germanic style to turn the Roundhouse into a “massacre” as “Awakening the Gods” from the classic “Flag of Hate” EP rips out. It's hard and somewhat pointless to review a live record track by track- the fans know the material already, so it falls to assessing and reviewing the atmosphere and track listing etc. rather than the songs per se. “Coma of Souls” is represented by “People of the Lie” and other records get a look in as well.

It pleases me to hear the “Phantom Antichrist” title track- I love that album- and from there it is a whistle stop tour through much of, but not all of, the band's impressive discography. As this is Kreator, you can expect raw energy and unbridled adrenaline in place of note perfect renditions and also no small amount of metal history. The intro of “Fallen Brother” makes the band's allegiance to the Abbot Brothers and Motorhead clear and is a fine example of Kreator's latter day sense of melody and hooks as well as bludgeoning power.

As I have stated in several reviews before this one, Kreator are my favourite of the Teutonic thrash bands and hold a special place in my (metal) heart as the best German metal band along with Accept. They've got the songs to back up their rep- “Flag of Hate”, “Hordes of Chaos”, “Violent Revolution” and of course “Pleasure to Kill.” All those songs are on the release and they are all expertly and viciously played.

The press release for this excellent live album states that Kreator had their most successful tour ever off the back of “Gods of Violence” and I can't say that they are not on incredible form. I must admit to never having seen the band live- a huge hole in my gig ticket book for sure- so until they play Northern England on a date I can actually make, live records like this keep fans like me going. All in all, this is a hugely enjoyable live record which captures both the essence and energy of the band at the peak of their powers. How much longer Kreator will continue for is anyone's guess, but I hope this live document is the start of another album cycle and that they keep touring and producing some of the best thrash metal the world has ever heard. They remain gods of sonic violence and also remain one of the very best metal bands in the world. Incendiary.

“London Apocalypticon: Live at the Roundhouse” is available HERE

Band info: facebook

Sunday, 23 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Disastroid, "Mortal Fools"

By: Peter Morsellino 

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/02/2020
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records

“Mortal Fools” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. 8hr Parking
2. Hopeless
3. Mortal Fools
4. The Crewser
5. Reset
6. Bilge
7. Insect Mind
8. Deep Well
9. Space Rodent

The Review:

San Francisco's Disastroid returns with an eclectic mix of hard hitting rock tunes. Acid dripping desert rock intermingles with fuzzed out doom and grimy proto-grunge to create a nonstop rollercoaster of riffs.

Brooding melancholy reminiscent of Alice in Chains mixes well with an overarching sense that these guys are having a great time. This dynamic is the driving force behind the album. “Mortal Fools” is a litany of contrasts, without becoming contradictory.  A yin and a yang that keeps this record spinning. 

Tracks like “Reset” greet us with a familiar bouncy rock and roll sound not unlike early Mudhoney.  In stark contrast are songs like the aptly titled “Hopeless”, with moody tones painting a bleak picture.  Keep an ear out for closing track “Space Rodent”, a bluesy romp with some delightfully crunchy guitars and an Oh so funky bass.

And speaking of the bass. I would be remiss to not make a special note of the incredible talents of bassist Travis Williams, whose superb tones lead this album straight to the top of the pile. From chunky distorted riffs to funky romps and bouncing passages, this guy is a star for sure.

“Mortal Fools” is an album that needs to be heard.  It needs to be experienced.  There is a sense of nostalgia running throughout it, but more so, a sense of origin. Disastroid takes us back to where it all began, reminding us of why we fell in love with these gritty filthy rock songs. Give it a listen. You won't regret.

“Mortal Fools” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Saturday, 15 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: The Visceral Madness Condition, "The Visceral Madness Condition"

By: Peter Morsellino 

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/12/2019
Label: Independent

“The Visceral Madness Condition” DD track listing:

1). Do Not Enter
2). Dead Man’s Soup
3). I’m Afraid of You
4). Tales From The Sewers
5). Wooden Brain
6). The Mat
7). Poor King
8). Cut

The Review: 

In only their second release since 2018's “Love Me Kill Me Hate Me Kiss Me” single, The Visceral Madness Condition offer up an eclectic mix.  With sludgy riffs, stoner grooves, high theatricality, and an overall abundance of weird, this may be the most unique album you here in quite a while. 

One of the main features that comes off immediately is the voice of vocalist Dirty Dave. Highly expressive and demanding of attention, Dave inserts in these songs a theatrical vibe that is almost reminiscent of Marilyn Manson or King Diamond.  Other times, he barks with a perfect hardcore ferocity and moans like the demons of hell, even conjuring up a pretty close Ozzy wail.  This wide range of vocal stylings lend themselves to a unique listening experience.  

Musically, the album features heavily Sabbath inspired riffing and downtrodden beats mixed seamlessly with speedy hardcore passages. They could be easily compared to GWAR with their refusal to be placed into a single box musically, rather serving the weirdness of these songs by any means necessary. From the creepy and brooding to the pounding rhythms of yesteryear's fist pumping rockers. 

“Do Not Enter” is a focal point of the album, with the almost ten minute timespan fully showcasing what the band can do.  With a haunting atmosphere and spoken word piece leading into a seventies inspired guitar driven dirge before exploding into pure stoner rock madness. The end of this track will have you headbanging for sure. 

While the high strangeness of the group might turn off casual listeners, the breadth of its creativity will certainly reel in those who will become hardcore fans for years to come.  From doom anthems to sludgy grind mashers to stoner groove fests, there seems to be no end to what this group will throw at you.  We certainly have not heard the last from Dirty Dave and company.  We can only hope we won't be waiting too long for the follow up.

The Visceral Madness Condition” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Thursday, 13 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: The Osedax, "Meridians"

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/01/2020
Label: Independent

“Meridians” DD track listing:

1). Offen
2). Beacon / Ox Eye
3). White Horse / Tempest
4). Ratlines

The Review:

There is an expanse.  A sprawling, black expanse. Dead, hopeless, untouched by light. A thick atmosphere covering all life like a black shroud. It is a bleak place, though not a place without its own beauty. On “Meridians”, The Osedax transports us to that place, holds our hand on our journey, and takes us closer to the edge of the abyss than humanity was ever meant to go. 

The worlds created by The Osedax (and that is very much what they are, fully formed worlds) tell thousands of stories in their ambient dissonance. There are stories of sorrow and pain, and of life and death. Stories of war and of peace.  They take you to a place of absolute serenity before punishing you with crushing force. “Meridians” is truly an album for all seasons. 

We begin with “Offen”, a slow dirge of mind bending atmospheres that gives way to a powerful, rhythmic march. The ethereal ambience of the introduction breaks abruptly, creating a chaotic feeling. It's almost panic inducing. Like a car crash on a Sunday drive. 

“White Horse / Tempest” brings us back into that ambient void. It lulls us for quite a while, with a heavy anxiety hanging in the air for that thunderous catastrophe to hit. This album keeps you on edge. When that shift finally comes, it is a dense blackened sludge that you find yourself trampled under. 

Beacon / Ox Eye then takes us to a beautiful place, with subtle melancholic guitars spinning a yarn of fragile hope. This serenity is quickly ripped away to pounding rhythms and shrieks of agony before returning to that same haunting ground which once again will give way to chaos. 

The album closes graciously with the cool off period of “Ratlines”.  It grabs hold of the listener and rocks them calmly with its spacious melodies. The anxiety of a crash is still present, but the tracks keeps its promise of safety. 

“Meridians” is an emotional rollercoaster. Taken in one sitting, you can expect a white-knuckle experience of tension and relief that gives the album a very cinematic feeling. This is a very moving piece. It's dark and light, dense and airy, beautiful and hideous. You might not have a good time throughout the course of this album, but when it's done you are left fulfilled, with a sense that every storm will eventually break, and night will always eventually give way to day. 

All in all, this is a story of hope and joy. It is a hope that is earned, not given. If you enjoy music that can create great spans of emotion in you, then this is for you. Lose yourself in it. Experience all it has to offer for better or worse. It is an experience, and one that I can highly recommend at that.

“Meridians” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

VIDEO PREMIERE: Redwood Hill debut mesmerising new track "Polar"

For all Redwood Hill fans out there, the new decade heralds the long-awaited announcement of a brand new album.   Entitled “Ender” the Danish post metal / hardcore ensemble's new album includes all the band’s trademarks.  With a sound firmly rooted in the post-metal genre, they sound heavily influenced in the vocal and mood department by black metal. It's a great atmospheric mix, conveying feelings of despair, isolation and depression but not without leaving the listener with a glimpse of hope in the midst of the sombre musical and lyrical landscape.

You can check out the track “Polar” below taken from the album as well as a personal message on track from the band.  As the band states, the track is massive, harrowing and beautiful.  Judge for yourself 

Polar entirely encompasses what we try to achieve as a band. All the elements are there: A fragile guitar intro abruptly shattered by a demolishing and brutal wall of sound leading into the chorus. A droning passage featuring a melodic and harrowing instrumental composition which transitions into the final chorus and snarling outro. Polar is the second song written for Ender, with a first rough draft realized in late 2014, early 2015. It is not the most complicated and involved track on Ender but It’s very Redwood Hill; Massive, harrowing and beautiful.

Band info: facebook || bandcamp