Monday, April 15, 2019
GOREGANG - Neon Graves
Transcending Obscurity Records
The two members of GOREGANG (Jeramie Kling – vocals, guitars and Taylor Nordberg – drums, guitars) are both alumni of Sweden's Rogga Johansson's musical enclave. Check out the releases of RIBSPREADER. Hell Rogga's even involved with this release via the layout by Turkka Rantanen who's another alumni of his. But on the other hand Jeramie Kling plays drums now with VENOM INC. (aka: We Hate Cronos).
With all that said I'm not surprised that this Floridian duo have a touch of Swede Death n Roll to their overall sound. Maybe DISFEAR is a point of style to signal an influence. Toss in some DISSECTION for good flavor as well as DISMEMBER, AGNOSTIC FRONT and one of my favorite Floridian bands HOT GRAVES. This is the second release by GOREGANG. Prior to this full length they also put out a three song self titled EP in 2017. All three of those cuts also appear on here.
Neon Graves is a dozen songs that have me sitting on a painful fence. On one hand they sound like a cool hardcore band that likes some death metal and can actually play their instruments. While on the other side it's like a lo-fi death metal act covering every old school base in order to sound cool. Either way it's a cool and memorable listen. I was on my way to work the other day and had the songs "False Flags" and "Plague of Hammers" in my head for hours. Fun Stuff.
Sunday, April 14, 2019
EREMIT - Carrier of Weight
Transcending Obscurity Records
To say this release is just epic is to say the Great Pyramids of Giza are just monuments. This release is monolithic! It's power incarnate. It's sludgey, droning doom. It's over an hour long and only has three songs. And they're a three piece act from Germany. Frankly I wish I could end it at that. But I feel like I'm in a doom metal parody version scene from The Excorcist. The power of the music compels you to write more. The power of the music compels you to write more. OK fine but seriously stop throwing holy water on me and get that cross out of my face. You could put an eye out with that thing.
I look at these three cuts as a trilogy of directions and emotional episodes. The first part "“Dry Land” is a droning sludgey dirge which runs over twenty three minutes into lethargic time. Pass me a cup of strong coffee I might've missed something. The second part, "Froth is Beckoning”, with it's over eleven minute time limit actually rocks with a Southern US sludge groove. The third part, “Cocoon of Soul”, is where the listener is taken on an echo journey into a pseudo psych realm. Pass the acid I think I'm Timothy Leary.
In the end I see EREMIT as not a band creating music. This is more of an experience, an atmosphere that compels one to rethink about those past days fucking around with mind altering substances. The second time I listened to this I was having flashbacks. The third time I saw God. Alright I'm joking, about the flashbacks part, but seriously folks Carrier of Weight is about as good an hour of time you could have listening to music which absorbs you.
PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT - Self Titled
Rising Nemesis Records
So a few years back I was reading some metal magazine article and the writer made a joke about someone owning the complete discography of PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT as being not so cool. I didn't think it was funny considering at that time I did have all their releases. Fuck you hipster scribe is what I thought afterwards. Bias Alert, yes I am a PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT fan. Should I add the term "Duh" to it? They're extreme and brutal death metal from Holland a nation of my heritage and I write about extreme metal. Oh yeah DUH!
My history with this great and legendary band is interesting to say the least. But yes the nation of Holland or the Netherlands if you prefer has had some great representatives of extreme music in the death metal category. This band, for some stupid reason, has been considered a black sheep. Once again "Duh"? The band started out in 2000 and for almost a decade produced some seriously aggressive slightly technical death metal. Their biggest turnoff for some people is their choice of album cover art. But hey I don't care because it's great death metal. I saw their fourth full length, Descendants of Depravity from 2008, to be their best work.
But then everything stopped for a few years until the almighty comeback of From Crotch to Crown came out in 2014. Definitely a great record if you consider a band sticking to the formula which brought them out of obscurity. But as if on cue the band took another long creative break until now in 2019 we have this self titled full length. Obviously from the Jack the Ripper inspired cover art it's understandable why it's self titled. Musically it's the same as their last release. But then that's what is cool.
Basically you're getting a Dutch version of CANNIBAL CORPSE. You have a balance of brutality and technical prowess. The songs are intense and violent. Speed is their main engine with nine songs firing in at a little over thirty minute time span. The riffs are punishing with solos chiming in more harmonies that savage. Vocals are typical low tone gruff death metal roars. Bottom line yes I'm bias but hey it's great death metal for anyone who can appreciate it without getting butthurt. I might just include it in my year end best of listings just to piss off the hiptards.
Friday, April 12, 2019
FRENZY - Blind Justice
Underground Power Records
Aside from the fact this band mixes their love of metal with their love of comics. Despite the fact that the album title and cover art is a direct homage to Marvel Comic's Daredevil character. Despite the fact that it's 2019 and playing 80's era heavy metal is cool but you really can't bring anything new to the table because we only wanna hear and see nostalgia acts. Yes despite all of that I have to say damm does the singer of this band sound a lot like Klaus Meine of the SCORPIONS or what?
FRENZY are a five piece heavy metal from Spain. The band started out in 2014. Since then they've released a five song EP, Lethal Protector, in 2016. Now here we are with this their debut full length. The best I can say of this is that at least these guys are influenced by the musical basics of 80's metal and not the flashy stuff. Now when I say basics I mean decent powerful riffs and some melody. Toss in plenty of twin guitar action, dynamic lead work and of course a great vocalist.
Anthony Stephen is an exceptional vocalist and perfect for this style of metal. Yes he sometimes sounds like Klaus Meine then again there are times he reminds me of Don Dokken or Rob Halford. The guy has the gift. And this band also have the gift of song craft. Of the eleven cuts on here not one is a dud. This band has tapped into a vein of coolness as if they stepped out of a time machine. Bias alert, I was in my twenties in the 80's so of course I love this. Which is why I consider this one of the best releases of 2019.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - Doombanomicon
Black Doomba Records
So who doesn't want a cool doom metal double LP compilation that's gonna be limited to 300 copies? Ah yeah I know what you're thinking, single genre compilations tend to be boring. A good comp needs variety. So I can say that yeah this one has plenty of that. Secondly it needs familiarity to make you comfortable. The sound cannot be so experimental that it drives you to the off button. And finally the artist talent needs to be consistent. Remember label samplers which would have the top tier artists paired with lower tier acts? Not on here, this is even handed.
Doombanomicon consists of thirteen act all adding one track a piece. I've heard some of these acts like DOOMSTRESS, STONEMAN, WITCHCROSS, BLUDY GYRES, ORDER OF THE OWL and COFFIN TORTURE. The other acts all do good as well especially the label founder's TOMMT STEWART'S DYERWULF.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
HERETICAL SECT - Self Titled EP
Redefining Darkness Records / Vendetta Records
The genre of blackened doom has shown itself to have many more facets then one would assume. Take this debut release by Santa Fe, New Mexico's HERETICAL SECT. A three piece act who plunder the classic essence of epic doom and totally shove it through a blackened smoke stack. Even the vocals sound as if they're sung by a black lung cancer patient.
In a way sound-wise this shares more with some South American blackened death doom acts. It's got that harsh diabolical punch. And yet you still believe they're flaying you layer by layer with precision. There's only four cuts on this release but after plenty of repeated plays you feel as if you've experienced some long lost ritual.
Monday, April 8, 2019
CEREBRUM - Iridium
Transcending Obscurity Records
I believe many metal fans can agree that there were times in their fandom when they liked a certain genre of music but over time it's waned. Personally I can attest to quite a few but in particular is technical death metal. I shouldn't say "fan" because I can't say I ever was. As a matter of fact the only reason I have some of the prescribed tech death classics is merely because of chance. Once in a great while I'll pull one out to reminisce but it always ends up as a dust collector as opposed to other death metal releases I like.
Now I feel obliged to admit my bias toward a genre of which this Greek band CEREBRUM are part of. But since this comes from Transcending Obscurity Records, a label I admire and respect, then why not give it a shot. For the most part the music created by this four piece act is not what I'd call over the top or annoying. Basically this is old style tech death with space left open that lightly touches upon prog and jazz. At least the vocals are rough and rhythms grudgingly mean.
Of late I've been listening to various hard rock from the seventies and that includes some of that era's prog rock. Hey I grew up then so there you go. Anyways CEREBRUM allows some of that song structure abruptness to seep in. Add to that there's that jazz inspired interplay between the guitar and prominent bass lines. It all definitely has that KING CRIMSON goes death metal appeal.
In the end I think CEREBRUM's Iridium, which by the way is their third full length since forming in 2002, is a comfortable tech death release which will or should not invoke hails of name dropped past greats in order to please people who need a reference. CEREBRUM just does a great job on their own to be modern, interesting and captivating.