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March 20, 2010

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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December 17, 2009

StonerRock.com review – Orcustus – S/T

Filed under: Music,Review — gazzabazza @ 5:21 PM
Tags: , ,

Orcustus – Orcustus
Review by Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com)
Southern Lord Records
Release date: 2009

Link to review on Stonerrock.com

Orcustus are a slightly obscure entity made up of more or less reputable musicians in the black metal world. Luckily they don’t delve into the world of theatrical black metal rich with keyboards as so many of their peers these days do – this album is all the better for containing nothing more than the basics. There is more atmosphere here than on any work done by the likes of Dimmu Borgir.

Don’t mistake it for sounding primitive, though, as the production and packaging here is top notch, from the disturbing cover art and the accompanying booklet to the atmosphere of the bone sharp, melodic riffs.

The vocalist has the near perfect voice for this kind of music and more black metal front men ought to have voices this acidic and raspy. Orcustus go for depth on this album rather than full on speed and mayhem. Their approach has more vigour as they opt to vary by also having a lot of rhythmic delivery rather than playing blast beats for seven songs. At times the rhythm can almost be said to have a punky edge to it.

The fast songs are there though; “Coil” and “Death and Dissolution” have the pace, but the album as a whole provides a lot of contrast which is good since the songs are rather long.

These guys may not be as popular as some in the vast pool of black metal but should they pick up on the activity then they should be, as this self titled disc outdoes many in the genre.

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