Oct 29, 2010

Reviews

CARNAL
‘Curse This Day’
(Distributor of Pain)
What’s on offer here is a good, if a bit uneven demo from those Polish lads. Apparently at the time this was recorded, 2003 to be exact, they were still searching for their own style of expression, which to me explains the combination of different metal styles they’re working upon in those songs. From thrash-like intensity, via some death metal passages all the way to the atmosphere of such acts as late day Katatonia and Anathema, Carnal, helped by both powerful production and precise playing, are trying with variable results to capture the listener’s attention and positive reaction. Logically when operating with such vast choice of influences at a rather young age not everything is bound to be stellar, and some parts sound a bit thrown together, but the potential was there even in their cocoon stage, so to say. Seemingly I and the band are sharing the same opinion on what style best suits them as this DOP reissue, from 2006, contains a bonus video of ‘Damnation’, one of the two doom, emotion laden, songs from the bunch. ‘Curse This Day’ quite got me interested to check out band’s more recent albums and in my book that’s one of the purposes of a good demo.




COPROSTASIS
‘35 Minutes of Skull Smash Terror Metal’
(Distributor of Pain)

Tailor-made stuff for good times - grab a beer, roll a joint and press play. In no time a smile cracks on your face and you’re grooving along to the purposefully primitive odes to all things dirty, filthy and obscene that Coprostasis felt the need to share with the listener, and get out of their system. With their tongues firmly placed in their cheeks these three amigos cover all the bases, you get your torture, your cartoon gore and your porn samples delivered through quasi-Repulsion sound, Autopsy-cum-Impetigo olde style death, Abscess’ drunken-punken guitar “virtuosity” and deranged “singalongs” bound to make Gut grinning proud, while puking bile upon dismembered corpses. C’mon you perverts, gang bangers and child molesters – get the party started! P.S. Horrible way of ending the album guys, a crappy pseudo hip-hop, even this short in length ain’t no match to the Haemorrhage and Impetigo covers prior to it. Yeah, who cares – just roll another one, light, inhale and chill back…




CLAYMORE 
‘Prolonged Active Antagonism’
(Distributor of Pain)
A pal was visiting and on behalf of this album he uttered something like “Whad’ya want – a pleasant music” and I was thinking how the world is filled with “pleasant” music that doesn’t touch me and move me at all.  At this point of the game Claymore are quite a veteran act in the Bulgarian scene, which is easily justified by the members’ technical skills and band’s urge to improve upon their former outputs, still for me it’s hard to follow the ride. They are certainly going for “atmospheric” type death/black with influences borrowed from vast area of metal styles but this release hardly invokes images of grandeur. One could blame it on the lack of power in the drums, or these overdone and sugar-coated keyboards that are practically all over the place, or the unnerving vocal cackles that simply don’t command your attention. Whatever it is, there’s just not the required feeling of “Boy, I need to hear the disc once again, urgently” here. And that’s an important factor in music, be it “pleasant” or not.




CUPOLA
‘Mistaken by Design’
(Distributor of Pain)
A nice surprise here because Cupola, even though playing melodic Swedish-influenced death metal, have packed these songs with just the right level of energy and biting edge to avoid this album turning into something of a mild sounding tribute to a genre that delivered on us enough questionable twists and turns over its existence. With its high quality musicianship this certainly is a grower, as there are plenty of small nuances jumping at you with each new listen, which in no small part, I believe, could be credited to possibly the best production job I’ve heard so far done by my old pal, Mr. Velev. Of course the main praise goes to the band for coming up with such strong material that does possess the ingredients to appeal to a large variety of people with different musical preferences in the heavy spectrum, yet sounding sincere to what’s deeply rooted in their hearts. Hopefully new material would surface some time soon, as ‘Mistaken by Design’ is over three year old release as of now and during the years I’ve seen way too many Bulgarian bands calling it a day after just one release…




FORGOTTEN WINTER 
 ‘Infinitas Estruturas Do Desconhecimento’ (Distributor of Pain)

I listened to this demo twice before writing the review, feeling guilty for wasting my time on it. Yeah, it’s that bad. And it’s not even hilarious; these guys are convinced they’re playing symphonic black metal/ambient mixture and have gotten the nerve to shop their abortion to people. Give me a fucking break, okay? Ambient can be great in the hands of capable masters and I don’t feel the need to discuss the importance of black metal but these guys took it all wrong. There’s no power here and the cheap sounding keyboards they are employing are absolutely headache inducing. Guitar is buried in the mix; vocalist’s shrieks don’t stand on their own – man, I don’t want to insult the band but there’s no way anyone would find this demo worthy of interest. Save your time and listen to Decayed instead for your fix of crushing Portuguese metal.


LIQUID GRAVEYARD 
 ‘On Evil Days’
(My Kingdom Music)
Aw c’mon – ‘hybrid metal’ sounds utterly lame. Do the listeners really need yet another tidbit of supposedly smart-ass, pseudo-intellectual, brain cell masturbation?  That, and the suggested similarity to Opera IX in the bio, was hard to stomach initially so better the album be good to really make an impact on its own. Liquid Graveyard, formed by John Walker of the Brit old timers Cancer, has a definitely modern-day sound, mixing the expected death metal heaviness and intensity with various progressive elements alongside bits from outside the metal perimeter, which seems to be the current path of numerous musicians who once in their youth were bashing the heads of their fans with odes to mutilation, rotten flesh and various other evil doings. Oh well, none is getting younger with time, you know. The songs themselves are crafted without prejudice, John’s extensive guitar work is the band’s main driving force, yet thankfully he was smart enough to resists the trap of self-indulgent guitar wankery, being both the pivot and a real team player, helped by solid drumming and Adrian de Buitlear’s (formerly of Irish doom giants Mourning Beloveth) strong and well audible low end. Employing a female vocalist can be tricky, and unfortunately on this band’s debut, proves to be. Raquel’s more raspy and menacing vocal style suits the songs way better than the soprano singing, which is where things turn to sour – that soprano might have worked for twats of the sissified Nightwish wannabe ilk but are rather inappropriate for this band’s musical approach, thus being the main reason I’ve not been able to fully digest this album. However, the tracks certainly display a fair share of intriguing moments and musical charm but half of the vocals can grate easily, and certainly do so, occasionally.





REDRUM
‘Mephisto Opressor’
(Distributor of Pain)
Add yet another to the never-ending list of bands using this moniker and don’t blame me misspelling the second word in the album’s title. Musically these Russians are trying to mix speed picked black, that’s not completely devoid of its more atmospheric moments, with notably death metal inspired vocals. I can bet bands like Behemoth and Deicide rank up high in guys’ personal list of influences, as sonically they seem to draw on them quite often in their songs. Fact is, however, that Redrum’s main problem has to be that the tracks, while high energy and all, are hardly sticking to listeners’ brain, which is a common problem for bands concentrating on the crushing delivery, rather than strong and haunting tone. Also, the programmed drums can be annoying at times, distracting from the overall feel of the music. Redrum should iron out quite some bugs in order to overcome the strong competition in their chosen style and spread the plague far and wide. The added two bonus videos were a nice touch, though.


SAUERKRAUT
In no way a food column here but another batch of releases from Burgas’ own emissary of grind, known to his deafened neighbours simply as Trifon and his famous Sauerkraut special. Apparently, Gias from DOP has found in me quite the expert opinion, so I’m banging the keys, trying to crack a good joke whilst informing the unsuspecting planet on the relatively new offerings by the band. Penis Enlargement / Sauerkraut split tape sees the Italian bunch as the ultimate Anal Cunt worship, albeit over 20 years too late to be any good or fun. I’m sure Seth would LOVE to use the “G” word on them, if he cared. Our boys easily shine compared to that mess, still flawed by not keeping things tight and under control, occasionally falling back into bad noise habits every so often, but when more grindy/crusty the shit is rather okay. And yeah – whoever wrote that funky chart breaker “Untalented Boys” the ‘Kraut have covered on here surely does deserve a Nobel Prize, or at least some long-owed cash by the guitar player. Next up is another split with some French guys going by an acronym to the effect of TDFNTF-insert-random-letters-who-cares-anyway. And don’t get me started what nonsense it supposedly stands for. Oh great – another crappy, muffled and pointless noise rehearsal here. You know what Seth would call them, if he cared. Sauerkraut seem to be a one-trick-pony and personally I’d vote for less fucking around and getting their shit together for maybe five kick-ass minute and a half tracks, instead of pissing time in the toilet/Black Sea, which is the same over there in their region. The same applies to their Promo 2008 but to a lesser degree, thanks in no small part, to the slightly better sound that graces the fucker. In 2011 the ‘Kraut rounds off ten years of existence, so I predict either Trifon moves to Czech Republic and joins a real grind band or stays home recording stuff for the next split tape that’s going to be released somewhere in South East Asia. Your guess?




SINCARNATE
‘On the Procrustean Bed’
(Axa Valaha)
Talk about influences here: lyrically the band draws from the works of no less but Camus, Schoppenhauer and Dostoyevski, while musically the label suggests (old) My Dying Bride and Winter, among others. Yeah, I should be sold right off the bat, rushing my way to Romania, not minding all the insane drivers on the roads of that country and offering the blood from my open veins to Sincarnate, if the result was as compelling as promised on paper. A decent mixture of doom and death this release certainly is, with all the required dynamics in the song structures, varied use of vocal styles, interesting guitar/keyboard interaction and rather strong rhythm section - that I’ll give them. This certainly isn’t the type of doom that engulfs you in its bleak and miserable embrace, refusing to let you go further, which, depending on one’s preference could be its weakness or strength. All things considered 'On the Procrustean Bed', band’s debut EP, has been a success in its role of an appetizer to Sincarnate upcoming offerings, as I feel that more than four tracks can really tell the tale for this band. Hopefully their still unreleased as of now full-length finds its way to me. As for now, wrists intact and all, I’ll be enjoying some nice reading, 'Into Darkness' playing on repeat, while patiently waiting the purchased vinyl reissue of 'Turn Loose the Swans' to turn up and put me into orgasmic bliss…



WARFECT
‘Depicting the Macabre’
(My Kingdom Music)

Probably, and unfortunately, there may be audience for this kind of slick sounding, tame, absolutely non-harmful sounding, groove-laden thrash, but despite the impressive technical skills of these Swedes, I’ll pass. Musically this is not bad I guess - tightly played and fairly energetic songs, probably with way more ‘90’s groove metal influence than what genuine thrashers need in their sonic diet, if any at all, but when the sweet, cleanly sung, vocals and choruses kick in this goes downhill real fast. Due to this vocal delivery on more than one occasion while listening to Warfect I could see this band appealing to teenagers who are into dorks like Linkin Park or Disturbed in their potential  search for something a bit more ‘extreme’. And that, as you know, is a bad sign. As weird as it is, Warfect either have to drop their thrash, or start thrashing like maniacs, depending on which public they’d like to appeal to. Confusion that is well audible on this full-length debut album.

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