Dapper Dan Man…

March 20, 2010

Powerplay reviews – March issue



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.


Elvis Jackson

“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.


Blue Origin

“The Prism” EP

Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: Self-Released

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.

Rating: 6

Powerplay reviews #2 – February

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More reviews from the February issue:

Devilfork – Devilknife

Genre: Metal

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.

Rating: 5

Powerplay reviews – February

These are album reviews published in the February issue of Powerplay magazine.

Pure Hate – Hate is Coming

Genre: Metalcore

Label: Unholy Melodies

It’s no surprise that an album with this kind of music is called “Hate is coming”. The deal on this Polish band’s debut is tough guy metalcore with testosterone overload and a dose of melodic riffs influenced by the popular Gothenburg death metal strain of music.There isn’t much subtlety on offer on “Hate is coming”- songs like “Warriors” and the title track are chock full of slow, lurching riffs while a few like “Power and Pride” provide the kind of modern melodic metal popular today.

The brutish hardcore parts are preferable as they get the blood going and make you feel energized.

“Hate is coming” makes no claims for originality but if your Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage albums have been worn out during the gym sessions then reach for this competent substitute.

Rating: 5

Nargaroth  – Jahreszeiten

Genre: Black Metal

Label: No Colours

This German one-man black metal entity has based this latest outing on the concept of seasons of the year, hence the title. The prolog is followed by four long pieces, starting with Spring.

It is a fitting concept for a black metal band but the first song leaves you instantly bewildered when the riffs on “Frühling” kick in- it sounds like a bouncy old folk song in its melody and in all honesty a tad too chirpy for this kind of music. This last for a few minutes and finishes in the same manner but in between you get the usual grim, frosty riffing so familiar to black metal. It is at least an interesting touch but with songs this long variety is welcome.

Herein lies a small problem-most songs are too long, save for “Herbst”, whose mellow and melancholy build-up merits its rich length. As for the others, all the grimness and emotional cold could have been conveyed in less time but Nargaroth is clearly one of the better black metal bands around today.

Rating: 6

Fallen Within – Intoxicated

Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Label: Coroner Records

All the way from Greece what we are graced with is a piece of pure, Sweden-inspired melodic death metal with a fair deal of electronic influences. It actually feels as if death metal is a misnomer as the melodies and clean vocals in parts evoke modern metal releases and seem to shun the heavier end of the spectrum. The Greek band’s debut brings to mind In Flames’ 2003 release “Reroute to remain”- the sound is very similar, albeit more rich in industrial overtones with Fallen Within, especially on songs like “Pain Right Under”, which has a thick layer of electronic throughout.

The guys are clearly competent musicians but will more than likely suffer for operating in a genre that has clearly reached its saturation point already. They would be wise to expand on the electronic influences and carve out their own niche, while toning down the obvious In Flames/ Sonic Syndicate influences.

Rating: 4

I Shalt Become – The Pendle Witch Trials

Genre: Black Metal

Label: Independent Release

These days the grimmest black metal seems to come from across the pond rather than from the parts of Europe where it started. Thus, this release is brought to us from Michigan and it is one truly depressing piece of work. Every fibre of “The Pendle Witch Trials” breathes utter hopelessness and desolation which makes for quite an unsettling companion. It is not recommended to listen to this while taking a nightly stroll through the park.

I Shalt Become is mid-tempo, atmospheric black metal inspired by the likes of Burzum. In evoking a sense of unease and a world devoid of hope this album clearly succeeds with its intent but the bad production ruins the experience. The vocals are so far down in the mix that they are barely heard and can hardly be said to even accentuate the harsh music- in that respect this could have simply been an instrumental album and sounded better for it.

Rating: 4

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