Dapper Dan Man…

May 12, 2009

Landmine Marathon – Rusted eyes awake album review

Filed under: Music,Review,Writing — gazzabazza @ 4:23 PM
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Here, finally after several months’ abscence is a piece published on Scenepointblank.  It’s about Landmine Marathon, a death metal band from Arizona (my favourite place in America, but the again I am slightly disturbed.)

Link to the review on Scenepointblank.

Otherwise, read on below…

One of the biggest pleasures of listening to Rusted Eyes Awake was to hear the music and not walk away with the opinion that this is just another modern U.S. metal band labeled with the death metal tag that actually plays nauseating post-millennial death-core. Landmine Marathon still does have some of those influences interspersed but for the most part the Arizonians play old-school- caked death metal with a heavy nod towards the old Earache Records releases. Even the cover art is brings to mind Repulsion’s seminal Horrified.

This album is an almighty brutal attack, it has to be clarified. There aren’t many pauses for breath amidst the scattergun approach, save for the occasional mid-tempo, chugging breakdown that betrays the band’s modern hardcore influences. Aside from this, Landmine Marathon let rip with pummeling drums and buzzing riffs. Rusted Eyes Awake is the kind of album that raises your pulse and puts you in the frame of mind to do something physical. A two hour Thai-boxing session would seem like the perfect activity for the soundtrack, as elbowing a sand bag (preferably with the boss of London underground’s face plastered onto it) is what you will be most inclined to partake in.

“Bile Towers” has the ultimate tempo for an album starter, immediately charging at you with churning, bass-heavy riffs with a loving nod to Bolt Thrower and old Entombed records. Sometimes the guitar players sidestep this with a few melodic riffing turns, and harmonies are good when avoiding monotonous rumblings. Along with this comes a worthy vocal performance by Grace Perry. She is definitely up there with the best in terms of bile and vitriol and the acidic throat renderings in “Heroin Swine,” to use one example, definitely do their best to convince you.

What makes Rusted Eyes Awake even better compared to many other modern metal records is that it doesn’t get weighed down by an overt technicality, something that can be a problem in this genre. Old school feel and grimy, lurching and sloppy riffs are always better for sheer enjoyment than a frenetic wankfest.

This isn’t perfect album by any means but it’s a joy to annoy neighbors with it. Supposedly these guys tour a hell of a lot – they need to bring their desert asses over to Europe soon.



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March 24, 2009

Music Review – Exciter – O.T.T

Filed under: Music,Review,Writing — gazzabazza @ 2:24 PM
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As seen on Blogcritics – Published March 24, 2009

Thrash metal isn’t the only classic metal genre that has experienced a massive resurgence in the last few years. Melodic but heavy ’80s old school speed and traditional heavy metal and its own brand of young upstarts have not gone unnoticed either: tight denim and vests covered in one of the holiest of metal manifests, the patch, are all over the place at the moment.

The revival of thrash has made it stronger and more powerful than ever, so now it is time for trad metal to gain its credibility again. Bands like Canada’s Cauldron or Sweden’s Wolf, Enforcer and Bullet are flying the flag for their more melodic inspirations and it’s as good a time as any to have some news from grizzly old troopers like Exciter to remind everybody where the young ones got it from.

I’ll be completely honest and say that “Exciter” or O.T.T as this album is also known, is in no way a perfect re-release of an ’80s heavy metal recording; it was already done about a decade ago and the same package is pretty much available this time too. The old, dusty and muffled production is still intact so not much has been done to boost the sound of it. The volume is, quite frankly, annoyingly low throughout and all the qualities don’t shine through, but there is no need to be completely negative about this.

The songs are top notch heavy metal and it is certainly a positive occurrence that one of the classics of the genre is getting a revival. O.T.T is definitely not one-dimensional; there are speedy songs like opener “Scream Bloody Murder,” which is heavy on adrenalin and unsurprisingly brings to mind Judas Priest’s finest guitar shredding. You get slow, groovy numbers such as “O.T.T” and the chugging “Enemy Lines” with their rolling tempos and anthemic songs like “I Wanna be King” where the singer gets to flex his vocal prowess. The hallmarks of a good metal album are all there.

One slight criticism is directed at the length of the songs. A few of them should be at least one minute shorter because that way this disc would have delivered more of a lasting punch. This, along with the fact that the tame production wasn’t injected with some more juice, brings the impact down.

Don’t ignore O.T.T based on these minor faults though. It is still way north in the quality stakes than a lot of metal currently out there.

September 30, 2008

Album review – Lizzy Borden: An appointment with death

Filed under: Uncategorized — gazzabazza @ 2:26 PM
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Lizzy Borden are only one of very many grizzly old metal bands that have either picked up the sticks again and decided to have one last shot at glory or that have ultimately experienced a revival of sorts and made their sound more in sync with the modern times.

This new attention to their music and the other musicians’ new found energy can have many underlying factors, but one of the biggest ones is definitely the fame of new young pups – Trivium are a good example – paying tribute to their childhood heroes by name dropping, re-using their riffs, and wearing t-shirts that would get you kicked in the head in the eighties.

Thrash metal is revived because of this and many old “heroes” are even touring as support bands to kids that used to stare at posters of these guys plastered all over their bedroom walls. What this says about kids and trend-following these days is a different debate altogether but it is clear that Lizzy Borden have gained from this interest. And this is in no way meant to belittle their career and their old output, but merely an observation on music today.

They sound better for it. Plenty of younger musicians, such as Corey Beaulieu from the afore mentioned Trivium and former Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan, are guests on An Appointment With Death and that adds to the cutting edge. Rutan has also undertaken production duties here and his work sounds crisp and clear, and provides Lizzy Borden’s music with a more modern sound.

It is just a shame that these guys play power metal, or at least traditional heavy metal with strong power metal tendencies – kudos for throwing in some chugging thrash riffs though – in the vein of Helloween and other such metal bands veering slightly on the cheesy side.

The singing is what ruins it, for there is nothing inherently wrong with the actual music. Metal should not sound chirpy and have all too obvious sing-along qualities. Piercing screams like the one halfway through opener “Abnormal” are really enervating. It sound happy and if you were singing this to karaoke then you would be throwing ironic shapes and pulling silly faces. Try doing that to a Slayer tune.

But enough with the negative aspects. I’ll openly admit that this style of metal really is not my jug of mead, but I am not that single-minded that I can’t recognize its qualities.
The riffs are chopping and Lizzy Borden definitely know the art of shredding. The short breakdowns, like the brooding “Bloody Tears” demonstrates, add rhythm and show some versatility. There is also pace to these compositions and a good solid drive, thus keeping your pulse up for the record’s duration. As before mentioned, there are distinct thrash elements as well, particularly in “Abnormal” and to these ears at least, these are the most enjoyable parts of the album.

Borden have managed to inject new interest in a traditional style of metal by keeping fresh and by decent song writing. If only the singing was more Mille Petrozza then Bruce Dickinson then this would have been great, but if you wear denim vests with Blind Guardian patches on then you will like An Appointment With Death . I, however, am off to listen to some power violence.

This is the full review that was published yesterday on Scenepointblank. Click here to read it on the site and to browse some more music news and other excellent record reviews and features.

I really like that site, it has some very good writers contributing consistently.

I tried to write the review of Lizzy Borden’s latest record as objectively as I possibly could. Under normal circumstances I absolutely loathe power metal but I thought a somewhat balanced review would be best. I did after all claim the promo personally and there are definitely parts of that record that I find to be quite decent. In other words, it’s not for me but I can see why certain people might like it.

I was also in a good mood when I wrote it so next time I might not be so generous. But I promise to try.

Over and out, battallion of saints…

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