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venerdì 23 febbraio 2024

Insomnium - Anno 1696

#FOR FANS OF: Melo Death
Good release, I'm just having some animosity with the vocals, not so much the music. So instead of a top rating, I docked some points away because I didn't care for the voice on this album. It usually contains a barometer into my writing up on the band. Sure the intensity is there, I suppose it's an acquired taste as to how much I'd like to enjoy most of this. The screaming is all right, just sort of growing on me, I suppose. I do think that the music is critical here, and in retrospect I think it's definitely the driving force to this album. They sure are an intense band that bring about their all influences, be it At The Gates, or bands within the melodic death arena.

Solid recording. No complaints there really, and it seems like the more I hear of the vocals, I like them in small increments. The vocals and guitars I think are the segue into a solid release that this album is and therefore accepting the most good out of it, I must do!

Mixing was also good, and if you notice that they've signed with a major label (Century Media). That got them deep into some fame that they must take home and the band shall flourish in this genre. They are by no means as good as say Arch Enemy's old work but maybe that's a band that's more established since they've been around in the metal world since '96, Arch Enemy that is. These guys are not from Sweden though, they're from a Finnish act. They definitely got some good positive ratings on this one, and rightfully so! The music takes everything away. They kind of make me think of Children of Bodom as well, in the vein of Hatecrew Death Roll'.

Love the melodic guitar, and the leads are pretty decent! Overall, this album (for me) went from when I first heard it as a maybe 75 or 70 rating to 80. The experimenting was all there and the moods with the guitars are ever so wicked. They're not totally in your face melodic death. They're pretty experimental in sounds, and it fits the mood if you're heavy into melodic death like I am. Definitely one of the top releases in 2023.

If you have a way to get a song or two to take a listen to, I think it's the best idea as to see if they're going to be on your radar. Check them out, melodic death freaks, or just lovers of extreme metal! (Death8699)

giovedì 22 febbraio 2024

Cattle Decapitation - Terrasite

#FOR FANS OF: Progressive Death Metal
Loud, blasphemous, and never letting up, Cattle Decapitation's 'Terrasite' is in my opinion one of the best metal releases of last year. Let me explain. The vocals take on one aspect of the album, one screaming and one hoarse throat. The music, the drums, and the production quality is immaculate. You find the vocals always fluctuating, the music brutal, and this whole release from start to finish is never-ending death metal. The only thing that took me a little bit of time accepting were the screaming voice. But I like how they take it back and forth. The tempos are ever-changing, the intense drums and the original sounding guitar riffs are enticingly invigorating.

This is the first album that I've heard from the band, and they have quite a discography. I couldn't pick a better way to find them being listed in MetalInjection.net's best of 2023. I felt that way as previously mentioned. And well, actually this release has vocals in three different types: screaming, hoarse, and clean. Hence, the progressive death metal diagnoses. They cover it all in almost an hour in length.

For most of this release, it is intense. The closing song entitled "Just Another Body" is where the progressive sound in the vocals/music takes on. Most of this album does fluctuate. But most of it in retrospect is death metal. I mean fast and ferocious death metal.

The intro gets you pumped in what you're about to hear: ferocious riffs/music. I mean, ear-piercing. Every part of this album is filled with intensity, and where they want to slow it up in the outro song is fine because most of it never lets up. The lead guitar, rhythm, and every aspect of vocals that you can imagine is well received. But get ready for some extreme intensity. One of my outstanding monuments, you can imagine. Coming from death metal, turning into progressive death metal. But most of this release is blistering and uncompromising. These guys do well on the songwriting aspect. What an original and talented act of whom knows how to blare in your eardrums with this unimaginable and ferocious extreme metal! (Death8699)

Azathoth’s Dream - Nocturnal Vampyric Bewitchment

#FOR FANS OF: Raw Black Metal
Hailing from the US, Azathoth’s Dream is a new one-man band, whose debut EP entitled 'Necromanticism', caught the attention of a well-known label like Iron Bonehead Productions. Apart from this, there is little information about this project, so we will let the music speak, which is obviously the most important thing here.

As mentioned, Iron Bonehead is set to release the first full length of this obscure project. The first effort is entitled 'Nocturnal Vampyric Bewitchment'. The album title and the dark artwork give a clear clue about how this project sounds. Azathoth’s Dream’s debut album shows its devotion to black metal’s '90s golden era and more particularly to these bands tagged as “vampiric black metal”, where the sound is an interesting mixture of rawness, melody, and atmosphere. And this is exactly what we can find in this album. Consisting of nine tracks and lasting less than 28 minutes, this effort gets right to the point. After a haunting intro, the fury begins with the ferocious "Instatiable Sanguine Thrist". As soon as the song begins you will notice the murky production which is typical in this sort of bands. The lacerating high-pitched vocals are combined with the expected tremolo picking guitars melodies. Even though the production is remarkably raw, the guitars are able to create some melodic harmonies and a bewitching atmosphere, which will be a constant through the whole album. This is what makes Azathoth’s Dream music so enjoyable, it gets the right balance between aggression and melody, as it still sounds loyal to the underground. Another good point of this song and the album overall is the pace, it never focuses too much on being fast, as slow, and mid-temp sections are also adequately used. Especially captivating songs like "The Grace" and "The Moor" obtain fantastic results doing this. Furthermore, the addition of some atmospheric and even majestic elements creates glorious and lasting melodies that you want to listen to over and over again. A track like "Extinguish the Light" shows in its third minute length a good range of riffs, being some of them particularly crushing and raw. The contrast between this heaviness and the inclusion of atmospheric keys is again very well-done and makes the tracks very alluring. The rest of the album follows very similar patterns, but the inspired work with the guitars, the always changing pace, alongside the excellent atmospheric resources never fail, and consequently let you desire that the album would last a bit more.

'Nocturnal Vampyric Bewitchment' is undoubtedly an honest and outstanding homage to the classic '90s black metal scene, where rawness and atmosphere coexisted greatly. The tastefully created compositions and its short duration, leave the listener wanting more, and this is indeed a good foundation for the hopefully, next album of this project. (Alain González Artola)

venerdì 16 febbraio 2024

Dying Fetus - Make Them Beg For Death

#FOR FANS OF: Brutal Death
Immaculate release, better than 'Wrong One To Fuck With', their previous release. What an onslaught of brutal death metal! The vocals seem to be the same as their predecessor, but the riffs are a lot better this time around. These guys know what they're doing, a heavier yet technical release yet again. But it seems like they put more time in writing this one. Some people shy away from this band for whatever reason, but in my opinion, if you like death metal, this one is no one to fuck with! The technicality is there, but the rhythms are tight, making this release even more intriguing than the previous album. They just are a notch up from that one, and you'll hear it if you compare the previous to this one.

They take off from their predecessor, only the songwriting (to me) is better. The riffs stick out the most and (of course) the burly vocals. They fluctuate and there are two members that are trader off in this department. I feel like there's more emphasis on the music rather than the vocals.

I would classify them to be not only brutal death/grindcore but also technical death metal, which makes them very diverse. I liked this one from start to finish. And I'm showing support for the band by purchasing the CD. The vocals go well with the music because you have that heavy-duty sound of the axe and burly voice along with it. It's uncompromising death metal mostly, despite what I said previous and just to generalize. The guitars are immaculate. This album is intense the whole way through it, and they even put in some melodic guitar riffs alongside the brutal intent. There's really nothing that I would change here, even the production quality was quite good!

Lead guitars were good as well! But mostly, I like the rhythms with the vocals. It's quite immaculate on how they chose to proceed in this recording. All the songs are good, you can just take a listen if you attempt to dispute me over this. Amazing metal quality from start to finish! (Death8699)

Esoteric - Epistemological Despondency

#PER CHI AMA: Funeral Doom
Sono passati 30 anni, ben tre decadi dall'uscita di questo memorabile lavoro che risponde al nome di 'Epistemological Despondency', atto primo dei britannici Esoteric. Era peraltro sempre la Aesthetic Death a far uscire una release che torna oggi in digipack, edizione limitata e rimasterizzata, un evento che celebra la storica uscita di un doppio cd che probabilmente ha fatto la storia in ambito funeral doom e, al contempo, inaugura la Vynil Series dell'etichetta inglese. E allora che dire di nuovo di un disco che già il fatto che duri ben 88 minuti per sei brani, rappresenta già il manifesto programmatico della band originaria di Birmingham. Ah Birmingham, quante ne hai viste, dai Judas Priest ai Napalm Death, passando per i Black Sabbath, fino ad arrivare agli Esoteric appunto. Esoteric che con questo lavoro pongono una pietra miliare di un genere, cosi come avevano fatto i loro illustri concittadini. E allora, se ancora non conoscete questo ambizioso e mastodontico album, non potete far altro che lasciarvi avvinghiare dalla morsa mortifera dell'allora sestetto (dotato di tre chitarristi) guidato da Greg Chandler. Vi accompagnerà già dall'introduttiva "Bereft" (20 minuti!!) in un viaggio nel profondo della vostra psiche, tra chitarre ultra ribassate, atmosfere super psichedeliche condite da voci che rimbalzano come l'eco contro le pareti, mentre le chitarre producono caleidoscopici e camaleontici riff. La musica vi entrerà cosi dentro, arrivando a toccarvi direttamente le budella, estraniandovi dal mondo che vi circonda. Vi renderete presto conto che questo sarà uno dei tanti effetti psicotropi in grado di generare questo disco, visto che la successiva "Only Hate (Baresark)" potrebbe sembrarvi semmai un tributo ai Napalm Death di 'Scum', visti i soli due minuti e 40 a disposizione, affidati a ritmiche incendiarie grind e vocalizzi animaleschi. Esperimento stravagante che serve forse a spezzare la monoliticità dell'opener prima di affidarvi ai 19 asfissianti minuti di "The Noise of Depression", una song che si affida nuovamente ad atmosfere iper dilatate, almeno per i primi cinque minuti, per poi sfociare in territori che potrebbero evocare un altro (capo)lavoro uscito un anno prima, 'Transcendence into the Peripheral' dei Disembowelment per poi sprofondare nuovamente in lugubri e pachidermiche atmosfere funeral. "Lamented Despondency" apre il secondo terzetto di brani con suoni peculiari in sottofondo, ma quando attaccano le cavernose vocals di Greg, vi renderete ben presto conto di essere stati catapultati in un altro incubo a occhi aperti. "Eradification (of Thorns)" suona più ruvida, forse perchè sembra mostrare un retaggio ancorato al death doom dei My Dying Bride degli esordi, con qualche ammiccatina anche ai Cathedral di 'Forest of Equilibrium', anche se le demoniache vocals del frontman sembrano distanziarci un po' dai due colossi inglesi. Chiusura affidata ai 26 minuti (si avete letto bene) di "Awaiting My Death", una maratona vera e propria, una song che da sola avrebbe potuto costituire un disco a sé stante, una traccia ancor più liquida delle precedenti tra partiture arpeggiate, un'effettistica ricercata, echi e riverberi ancor più forti, derivanti dalla psichedelia dei famigerati anni '70, che fanno forse ricadere la band nel funeral forse solo per le growling vocals. Non temete perchè l'ossessività del doom farà breccia nelle vostre anime ormai straziate anche nel resto della song, che vanta peraltro un fantastico assolo che chiude un super pezzone per un disco quasi unico nel suo genere, che merita di stare nella collezione di tutti gli appassionati di queste sonorità. (Francesco Scarci) 

mercoledì 14 febbraio 2024

Katatonia - Sky Devoid of Stars

#FOR FANS OF: Alternative Metal
Well, this metal is more on the alternative side of that genre, very eclectic! I liked this whole album, there were really no peaks and valleys in it, it was solid the whole way through. I didn't play favorites with any of the songs, either. They were all good, the 11 tracks featured a bonus song. I kind of didn't want this to end, it was so mesmerizing. It's anything but aggressive though the roots are still in that genre, I wouldn't call this alternative rock really like see more modern Anathema. This band is Swedish based and a lot of excellent albums are from that country, especially melodic bands. That would be At The Gates, Dismember, et al though those are really heavier bands. Dark Tranquillity and Arch Enemy are other metal bands that are melodic too!
The recording quality was quite good. The instruments were well mixed too, and I'd have to say that it's a more romantic sort of recording, featuring more clean vocals throughout. That's what made this album so appealing if you're not expecting anything heavy. It's just not there on here!

I kind of didn't want this album to end! But it met the mark in my top albums for 2023. It would be the one that I've held most in high esteem for that genre, and others that are a bit heavier would be Fires In The Distance. They're melodic too but a little bit heavier. And good news that yet another Dark Tranquillity album is coming out soon they've just finished with that recording so my sources say! It's a year that has done well with metal in 2023. This year, in terms of melodic bands, Everdying is another melodic band that's heavier though and much more aggressive than Katatonia. Anyway, all the songs on this Katatonia release are favorites. I can't site one that's better than another. They all have a special place in their discography.
Not to digress like I did previously, this is something that's so esoteric and surreal! They're not balls out intensity, it's wholly melodic with so many intriguing instruments in the mix that are essentially clean. Basically, they have light-to-metal guitars and keys that play well with the vocals.

I think this is my favorite release from the band. It's so consistent, just don't expect it to be balls out heavy the element here is "feel" opposed to aggression. These guys take melodicism to the next level with genius syndrome effects and essence, as I'll revisit my previous state. Check it out! (Death8699)

Dominion of Suffering • Phobonoid - Split

#PER CHI AMA: Black/Death
Split album in casa Godz ov War Production che mette insieme i nostrani Phobonoid con gli elvetico/slovacchi Dominion of Suffering per quaranta minuti di vorticose, sanguinarie e intriganti sonorità estreme. Sono proprio questi ultimi ad aprire le danze con un sound sparato ai mille all'ora che ci annichilerà con la furia delle sue ritmiche e di belluine screaming vocals. Quello che mi sorprende durante l'ascolto di "The Way of Destruction", ma ancor di più in "Descendant of the Fallen Gods", è la capacità del quartetto di coniugare il black con porzioni heavy metal anni '80, come se questo lavoro fosse stato concepito ormai 40 anni fa. Interessante poi il fatto di proporre qualche assolo che potrebbe evocare i fasti del thrash/death teutonico (questo lo si evince anche in alcune linee di chitarra), cosi come pure porzioni ritmiche che paiono ispirarsi all'oscurità dei Celtic Frost. Decisamente di un piglio diverso la proposta di Lord Phobos, il mastermind che si cela dietro al moniker Phobonoid, che già abbiamo avuto modo di apprezzare in passato per quel suo black sperimentale. "Cosmonauta Eterno I" ci impiega però oltre due minuti a ingranare ma per fortuna ne dura circa dieci e mezzo. Qui la one man band trentina torna a deliziarci con suoni dallo spazio profondo, quel cosmic black freddo e cibernetico, capace invece di scaldarmi l'anima con quelle partiture atmosferiche in cui ammicca ai Blut Aus Nord o ai Progenie Terrestre Pura, soprattutto nella seconda metà del brano, ove le vocals rimangono in sottofondo e il driver del brano è dato dalle melodie sci-fi del polistrumentista italico. Ottimo, come sempre, ma devo ammettere di essere già un fan dei Phobonoid. "Cosmonauta Eterno II" riduce il numero dei giri del motore, con un'atmosfera mortifera, quasi catacombale, fonte di disagio interiore grazie ai suoni pilotati da un plumbeo basso e dalle vocals mefitiche del frontman. Il flusso melodico si canalizza poi attraverso essenziali linee di chitarra e porzioni di synth che rendono la proposta più bombastica all'ascolto e che confermano le eccelse qualità di Lord Phobos. L'ultima traccia è poi un outro ambient che segna la fine di un nuovo viaggio interstellare in compagnia dei Phobonoid. (Francesco Scarci)

Zmarłim - Ziemie Ja​ł​owe

#PER CHI AMA: Black/Death
Stranamente gli Zmarłim non sono riportati su Metal Archives, quindi non starò troppo a tediarvi su che album sia il cui qui presente 'Ziemie Ja​ł​owe' nella discografia della band polacca (ma vi direi che quello di oggi è in realtà l'EP del 2018 con una nuova cover, e con l'aggiunta di un breve intermezzo ambient e un nuovo brano). Per chi non li conoscesse, vi basti sapere che il trio originario di Konskie propone un black alquanto caustico, di quelli che non lasciano troppo spazio alla melodia, ai fraseggi ricercati o all'avanguardismo. Le prime tre tracce sono datate 2018 e ci si potrebbe aspettare che suonino più grezze rispetto alle successive, palesandosi con un suono che evita troppi spargimenti di sangue, dimostrandosi chirurgico nell'esecuzione, nelle rasoiate ritmiche, cosi come negli inaspettati rallentamenti pseudo-atmosferici della lunga "Szuflady" o nelle glacialità delle sue chitarre. Diciamo che il terzetto polacco offre una proposta piuttosto tradizionale per il genere, differenziandosi magari da altri colleghi, per soluzioni chitarristiche un filo sghembe ("Wędrowcy"), inserite in un contesto davvero privo di compromessi. Detto dell'inutile intermezzo strumentale, focalizziamoci maggiormente su "Patrzą Na Nas Tylko Satelity" che ipotizzavo meno grezza rispetto alle precedenti. La sensazione comune è invece che i nostri siano diventati ancora più sporchi e cattivi con influenze che spaziano dal punk/hardcore al grind/death, con una violenza tale da non lasciare prigionieri e sprigionare anzi una malvagità che sembrava quasi inespressa nei precedenti pezzi. Staremo a sentire in futuro che direzione prenderanno i Zmarłim, per ora provate a dargli un ascolto. (Francesco Scarci)