Genre: Death Metal
Label: Fysisk Format
Nicke Andersson, Entombed’s former drummer and one of the figure heads of the early Scandinavian death metal scene was quoted saying in a Swedish magazine a few years back that the best death metal was made in the period of 85-89. He’d absolutely love Obliteration, a young Norwegian band that has taken all the best parts of the American and Swedish old school, and pays homage to that era by delivering another gem.
After a good debut the band have now developed their dusty old sound even more- along with the raw and sloppy death metal there is a new ingredient, a slow and doomy psychedelia. Listen to “Catacombs of Horror” for proof of a slightly cosmic vibe among the lurching riffs, or “The Spawn of a Dying Kind” for an almost stoner-like atmosphere.
A song like “Ingesting Death” has that “Scream Bloody Gore”- like griminess but the slow parts bring to mind Autopsy and that particular brand of sludgy death they specialized in. Here is the beauty- Obliteration have managed to take the best from that genre and put their own twist on it. “Nekropsalms” is miles above any melodic death metal release of any year.
“Against the Gravity”
Genre: Pop-Punk/ Ska
Label: Antstreet Records
This melodic punk group from Slovenia sounds so blatantly American that they will probably end up on a soundtrack to a college film in the very near future. “Against the Gravity” is quite possibly the sunniest, most feel-good recording so far this year- fans of this genre will no doubt enjoy beach parties while this is playing in the background.
It is difficult to be too be negative about this kind of uplifting melodic punk; it may not be original but it is played with competence and does put a smile on your face. What you get is the usual fast-paced songs with infectious choruses along with mellow ska/ reggae tunes like “Dry Your Tears”. Billy Gould (Faith No More) has done a great job with the production and this is a worthwhile investment for fans of cheerful punk to enjoy on a sunny day with a cold beer.
“The Prism” EP
Genre: Heavy Metal
One of the more striking things while listening to this mini-album by Blue Origin is how good the sound is, aside from the music itself being of high quality. The Stoke band are as yet unsigned but “The Prism” does not sound like the work of novices and also boasts a great production.
In a climate of extreme metal and off-the-cuff sounds, Blue Origin stick to the traditions and play riff-heavy classic heavy metal and do it with style. The songs are as heavy as they are catchy- a piece like “Darkside” is instantly memorable as are the following three and the bluesy vocals really enrich the songs.
It remains to be seen if the same quality can be delivered across an entire full-length album but “The Prism” is strong enough to make you believe it.
More reviews from the February issue:
Devilfork – Devilknife
Label: Independent release
There is a sense of a band having a lot of fun with their music on “Devilknife”. The eclectic mix of music along with the sarcastic press release is a testament to that. It starts normally enough with “Ju88”, a slab of groove metal that actually brings to min now defunct nineties rockers Transport League. By song three Devilfork all of a sudden throw in a sleazy cock-rock song, “When two embrace one”. They execute it well enough but that particular genre is hardly a favorite, which makes the classic heavy metal-influenced “The Dragonslayers Swordquest” all the more welcome.
The humor is very evident on the aforementioned sleaze song but it especially comes up on “Tip”, where the band mix melancholy rock with a self-help tape for eleven minutes. It is good to see a band that has fun but sometimes it can also make you not take them seriously, which is a shame as they certainly can be a very good metal band when they want to.
Review by Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com) – link to site and review
Release date: 2010
This northern English band – they have since, according to their site, changed the band name to Maars – make themselves known with a nifty three-song demo sounding as if it was delivered straight from the seventies. They’re slow, pondering blues songs stripped of any excess – raw and bare boned and they make you wish this demo had more music on it. This is surprisingly good considering it is coming from a still unsigned band.
“Hassle” is a soulful piece with a distorted, rumbling bass as intro; the vocals are rich and expressive and the song is a perfect introduction to the bands rootsy blues-rock. The closer “Garden” is a similar offer but it is slightly longer and is given time to slowly build up, seeming like the band just warmed up and got comfortable. Only the middle song breaks the mould and is a straight forward rock ’n roll song – it’s perhaps the weakest of the three but strong nevertheless.
The sound is of expected demo quality; once this Leeds group have the means to record in a decent studio and write more songs they have the potential for reach. The genre may be difficult to get huge in but they at least have the skill to be as good as another English blues-rock band – Firebird.
Posted on Tuesday January 12th, 2010 – Scenepointblank.com
Grindcore is one of those genres where these days you are just as likely to come across an abject piece of music as you are something good. This could be said of all genres but you got to be skilled to provide something original with music where speed is the primary ingredient.
The classics brought something new and did it with a youthful and naïve charm and can still be considered supreme. It has been a long time since a band like Napalm Death was the most brutal thing in music – plenty of bands are more extreme today – but any new record they put out wipes its ass with anything by a modern grind band.
Luckily, Total Fucking Destruction carry some pedigree with them by having a member from a legendary grind band in the ranks and by delivering good music. It is refreshing to see that they have not opted for the most extreme delivery on Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction but have decided to spice up their politicized brand of grindcore with some different influences that helps from turning the listen tedious. Let’s face it – listening to over twenty songs with just blast beats and screaming can get tiresome no matter how much you love grind.
It starts with familiar territory though – “Bio-Satanic Terroristic Attack” is just under one minute and full of total speed. The quintessential song of the genre in other words. But already on the next song “Monsterearth Megawar” do things get slightly different. It’s not as fast and slows down even more with some rhythmic breakdowns in the middle. “Non-Existence of the Self” goes even further by for the most part being a melodic punk tune with clean vocal delivery. Small differences like these help make an album that could have been standard interesting. Even the closer, the longest on the album and a spoken word/rap piece does not feel out of place on an otherwise heavy, intense recording.
I Klatus – Surveillance and Worship
Review by Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com) – Click on site name for direct link to review
Label: Horse Drawn
Release Date: 2009
The two bands that keep coming to mind while listening to Surveillance and Worship are Neurosis and Isis. It’s inevitable when the music is atmospheric, noisy and experimental metal. Some might say that due to their similarities only one of them will suffice to mention, but there are reasons to disagree with that.
I Klatus sound like certain parts of both; the unnerving, slow doom of Neurosis is brought to mind and even the vocals during these pieces are similar, whereas the mellow and melancholy influences resemble Isis’s free-flowing suggestiveness (from their three last albums in particular).
The sound of desperation is at the forefront of the opening track “The Rift.” The first minutes are based on a glum intro of guitar strumming but with a creeping sense of unease, followed by black metal-like screams and then the eruption of the massive wall of riffs kicks in. This nine minute long opener is interspersed with little details that cement that unsettling feeling of the beginning. A small instrumental breather follows before “Flaw,” a song that bears the kind of nihilism that Eyehategod championed in the bad old days.
The record is not entirely full of noise though; “Flawless Covalency” is in parts a wonderfully sombre slow burner with better singing that can be expected from an album of this kind. Perhaps I klatus should have delved even deeper into these parts and let them flourish because at times the clanging and experimental noise tends to ruin their better, tender moments.Still, the good parts are in a definite majority.
Sadly, the band seems to have been struck by tragedy with the death of bass player Tariq Ali, so where this leaves them is unknown. Support them at least by giving this disc a listen. URL: http://www.myspace.com/iklatus
Supercontinent – Vaalbara
Review By Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com)
Saw Her Ghost Records
Release Date: 2008
Published: August 15, 2009
Link to review
Considering the meaning of the term supercontinent it can be said that these guys from Ann Arbor, Michigan have quite a fitting name. The sludge/doom on Vaalbara is practically overloaded with dense, overwhelming riffs and the album is largely instrumental so those that favour riffing over singing should love this. As befits the genre this album is very low on tempo, sounding instead as if most songs were played in a muggy swamp.
Naturally, due to the nature of this genre and the fact that Supercontinent also have quieter moments they will draw comparisons to more esteemed bands like Isis. This is inevitable but they actually have a tad more in common with Cult of Luna, particularly with their 2003 album The Beyond and during those very few moments when there are vocals present this comparison becomes clearer.
What Supercontinent do well here is manage to keep an album with over 60 minutes in length interesting which is not an easy thing to do, especially within sludge. They do it by calming things down halfway through with the mellow “Rain Gives Rise,” which is five minutes of beautiful melancholy as good as anything by the post rock bands. Another highlight is the mighty “Monolith,” a ten minute piece that goes full circle from churning heaviness, through introspective calm and back to suggestive riffing.
Sadly, this band is now defunct but don’t let that stop you from tracking Vaalbara down.