The SHORT STACK is short reviews of releases that I wanna say something about but not too much.
OF FEATHER AND BONE - Bestial Hymns of Perversion
Profound Lore Records
On first listen this sounds like a newer hardcore band trying their hand at death metal in the formula of PORTAL, AUTOPSY and INCANTATION. Basically it's that whole death doom concept with cavernous vocals and occasional furious grind bursts. The basic influences are fine and there's plenty of acts doing it well.
Unfortunately OF FEATHER AND BONE are not one of em. Upon learning more about this Denver act it seems they are/were a powerviolence band. They do well on a few cuts but for the most part this is weak. I'll give em props on the perfect cavernous vocals but the riffs are not exciting, the drum work is horrible and the song structures are badly rehashed versions of the real thing.
MOURNFUL CONGREGATION - The Incubus of Karma
To say Australia's MOURNFUL CONGREGATION are icons of funeral doom is an understatement. I got into them with their 1999 debut full length, Tears from a Grieving Heart, a few years after it's release. Yeah I admit I was in the back of the funeral procession. I liked their second album, The Monad of Creation, which came out years later as well. After that, well I moved on but actually they moved onto a progression path which I did check out but lost a connection with.
Here we have their fifth full length and it's far more melancholy, more intricate with beauty at it's base. Yes the sadness beckons but only for people into not really a lot of crushing riffs or thorn in the paw of a lion vocals. This is more bleak whining then sobbing sadness at the grave site. If you thought 2014's Concrescence of the Sophia was great then this is a repeat in fuller bloom.
TRIBULATION - Down Below
Century Media Records
Yes I am "THAT PERSON". I believe this band's 2009 debut, The Horror, was not only a great fuckin death metal masterpiece but it ushered in the new wave of bands appreciating and performing old school sounding death metal whether the influence was Sweden or the US. Then they changed into a Halloween-esque Goth Rock band on their second album and out the door I went.
So here is their fourth full length overall, third as a Goth Rock act or is it blackened hard rock? Kinda reminds me of when SATYRICON went full on hard rock with The Age of Nero. Be that as it may I won't begrudge them for their artistic choices. Honestly they do the Goth Rock thing well and I don't know but is that Goth movement still around? Because if it is then those kids are digging this one. As for me no thanks. I'll stick with The Horror and forget this stuff exists.
JUDAS PRIEST - Firepower
OK lets get the obligatory stuff out of the way quickly. I first saw PRIEST during their Hell Bent For Leather tour. I've been a fan since then. That's the soapbox from which I'm standing and speaking from. Now in my not so humble opinion not only is this a great classic metal album but it's a damm good PRIEST album. Now I say that because unlike some detractors of this release I don't view it through 1980's glasses. I think it's foolish to expect PRIEST to be exactly the same as they were thirty to forty years ago. And I don't want them to be.
So when I listen to this I judge it in comparison to the releases this band has put out since Rob Halford rejoined the band. Therefore this is obviously way better then their last three albums. Firepower is a mixed bag of old and new. There's some cuts on here that would feel at home on Defenders of the Faith. There's also some stuff that reminds me of Rob's solo work with HALFORD. In the end I'd call this one of the best releases of 2018.