Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Death - Symbolic (1995)

The eye, the snake, hands, a couple and lots of dark grey,
It seems like the symbolicism her is that if humans don't
watch out, we might create gentically modified snakes with
 hands, that will kill us all.
There was a request in the comments some time ago, to give my view on Death, or "Chuck will turn in his grave man"
caring for my readers i try to oblige all requests. do give me more of them, i might find something new i like.
I will also want to apologize for not updating for a whole week, but i have been extremely preoccupied with preparations for a show, and i may be busy next week, too, can't promise an update before next Tuesday.
The annihilator Concert review is a project I've started to write, but lain off, since i don't have the pics that my buddy snapped. The review goes up as soon as i get my hands on the pics.

Now, Death. Easily one of the most important names in the death metal genre. Innovating and almost inventing the death metal genre, including naming it, these guys are essential in the collection of any fan of extreme metal. Debatably releasing the very first true death metal reccord in 1987 with "Scream Bloody Gore" and with constant renewal of themselves, "evil chuck" and crew come of as musicians with high ambitions and considerable skill.

1995's symbolic has taken the band to a far more progressive, melodic and emotional style.
The albums focus is not on the brutality and/or technicality that most other  DM bands of the time did, but rather on taking the listener on a journey of feelings and moods. the use of tempo changes and a few changes of time signatures around the album keep things interesting throughout, and at times, wondering what will come next. In structure and songwriting this album is absolutely top-notch. Very few albums have this level of thought put into composition.

Vocally, chuck has put a greater emphasis on making the lyrics distinguishable, and the articulation of the semi-growling vocals is great. If  you put emphasis on distinguishable lyrics, this album is a pleaser as there is little effort needed to decipher the lyrics. Despite the clarity in chucks voice, he still manages to sound angry. there is a definite aggression to his hoarse voice.

Rifficaly speaking, the album is not the strongest DM album in existence, without being bad by any standards. The variation is good, and a lot of the guitar parts convey emotion well. But few riffs truly stand out as truly excellent DM pieces. (The opener/titletrack has a few dam good parts though.)
The solos have tons of direction and work very well, and are of the highest quality. A true highlight of the album.

Percussion on this album is perfect. While there are more speedy & technical drumming out there, and more progressive amazingness in other genres, the drummer here knows how to only attract attention when he does something extraordinary. His work is  also amazingly tight at all points in the album. the drum sound is slightly dry, with little reverb or "fall-off" noise. Here credit is due to the producer, as this dryness gives the tight work an even tighter sound.

Bassmanship has a lot of the same qualities as the drumming on this album. tight, truly excellent at times and well produced, it also has a lot lines that keep unique to the guitar, without being all that noticeable, making the bass a little hidden gem that you can search for and give you a little smile anytime.

Well produced, extremely well composed and with generally very good individual performances. this makes for a great album. If you are not acquainted with death's style of DM, you will need a couple of listens before you truly appreciate it, but when you get there. there is a masterpiece there for you. 9/10.

Death - Symbolic
Death - Symbolic (spotify)

Death - Crystal mountain

Death - Symbolic

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Troll, w / Mercury @ spokes Scene.

I wrote this text in Norwegian, and thought of posting it here, but i can't be assed to write it all out again, instead i present you this puzzle, of poorly translated concert review ramblings.
those of you who solve it, all glory to you.

Mercury, as the opening band gave everything to the atmosphere. A touch of humor by reading the poem that was found on the floor, and spontaneous ideas as to set up a lectern to lead singer testified won a stage set and entertainment group. By running at a high tempo from the beginning, and with an incredible live stage performance. Is it nothing more than to reap praise for the Mercury effort.
Sonically, it was no sludge ', which drowned some of the riffs any and all text disappeared in a sump hole of sound.
Musically, the mix of their heavy & power metal, with elements of prog, thrash and core elements interesting and varied. Especially the singer should have praised for its excellent and varied vocal lines.
Purely personal, I could wish that they Tont the "fairy metal" tendencies their breakdowns and did listen to the X-core band to come.
A sleepy audience may be due to the somewhat remote concert venue, the band's relatively unknown, and that the audience sat on chairs. An Experience that met expectations, and a fantastic live show makes Mercury deserves a
roll of the dice: 4

Troll entered the scene in total darkness with the grim, grandiose tones accompaniment. The theatrical effect was strong, and put the audience in the mood for what was: raw Norwegian black metal, with elements of symphonic, industrial, death and thrash. There was a high degree of riffing on both guitar and keyboards, and great vocal delivery.
The performance stage to the Troll was just as energetic as Mercury, but less vivid, unless flirting with the audience, but with constant headbanging and windmilling.
Sonically, however Troll had 100% control, with a clear distortion tone, and all the instruments clearly audible. Some of the audience thought the vocals were unclear, but as I sat there with me I got everything.
Troll did a very good concert that could only be improved with even more life on stage.
With good sound, good music, much of the last album, and a strong live performance, merit Troll
karrakteren: 5

Review of the annihilator concert yesterday is comming, but i can say, i loved it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Annihilator - Alice in Hell

That midget is freaky alright.
 Sweet, sweet acoustic tones. Arpeggios supplemented by a beautiful complex melodic line. Modulations and returns. “Crystal Ann” is one of the best pieces of music written in the history of popular music. It's strong mood, and emotion gets the listener quite ready for the rest of one dam strong album. 1989's "Alice in hell" is one of the best efforts by Jeff Waters, and his crew with Annihilator.
The first song on here, what some would call the title track: “Allison Hell” starts of with a dramatic acoustic, following the intro, but then bursts into a strong melodic riff, with a interesting bassline, to then go completely nuts, and calming down. This is indicative of the entire album. There are lots of changes, and riffs and passages of highly varied nature. All the parts are also of a highly catchy nature, and most parts have a strong identity, and feeling of uniqueness.

W.T.Y.D is a mostly fast paced thrasher with a fairly technical riff. Around the halfway mark, it has a very nice calm interlude, and then a shredding bridge. One of my favorite breaks of the album.

“Wicked mystic” is a heavy song, that never really lets up, and continues to thrash about until the melodic solo starting at a bit past halfway. This is one of the more shredding solos of the album (as opposed to directional solos). Strong track, that will leave your neck tired, should you witness it live.

“Burns like a buzzard blade” tones down the speed and heavyness for a bit, but makes uf for it in a more catchy riff and chorus. The staccato riffing on the verse feels so tight that you'd wish you could stick your dick in it. The solo is not the best on this album, and this song does not count as one of my favorites on this album.

“Word salad” is an intense song, with frequent changes of of speed, and a melodic thrash riff sticking out as one hell of a technical achievement. The acoustic piece in there is also the most creepy of them all. This makes a great contrast to the inspirational and quite directional solo. A nice piece of songwriting right there.

Schizos are never alone. A Fun and highly varied song, the title hinting to schizophrenia is somewhat indicative of the songs structure. Forgetting where it is, and where it is going, but with awesome parts driving it, this song is like a highway to nowhere. You don't get anywhere, but it is a nice ride.

Staccato drumming starts off “Ligeia”. The most important part on this song is it's structure, with its mix of mid-paced heavy thrashing, and breakneck speed choruses. Also worth noting, is the phenomenal bass riff carrying the later part of the song, with nice fills and intense riffing.

Ending the album is the bass heavy “human insecticide”. The bass jumps all over the place, with harmonies and octaves everywhere, fills and unique lines flow out of the lower register at amazing speeds. In general this reminds more of the second albums basswork, and that is a good thing.
The guitars keep up the intense speed too, but allow the bass enough space to shine.
A decent way to end a fairly good album, without any weak points.

This consistent album of good individual parts, and simply headbainging tunes is deserving of a decent 8/10.

Annihilator - Alice in Hell (spotify)

I am seeing annihilator, sworn amongst and svölk live in a weeks time, does anybody want a writeup of the consert, or are you more interested in having a more obscure recommendation instead? Leave your comment.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Watchtower - Control and Resistance

Sorry. No lame joke today.
I know that some of you told me to update more frequenlty. sadly, writing these reviews is a very time-consuming process, and for a hobby, there is a limited amount of time i can use between my other duties of the real world. Actively listening to an album for no less than three times, with several rewindings, and then writing my analysis to you, all my readers, will rarely take less than three hours. with two updates a week, this is easily 7 hours a week, that i spend on my blog. I have school, band practice and social stuff to do, so even though you love my updates, you will have to wait for each one of them. sorry.

Now for the real reason you are here: your semiweekly recommendation of obscure metal. This time around, i will point you to one of the earliest acts of progressive metal, (if you exclude the prog-rock-metal bands). Watchtower is a Prog/tech-thrash band in some of the same vein as mekong delta, coroner and realm. Their second album, Control and Resistance is the more progressive of their two albums, and a very good progressive effort at that.

The first element that deserves attention is the bass playing. Lines that differ from the guitar is the norm on this album. It is the most impressive bass playing i've heard on any thrash record, both musically, and to some extent technically. The modal qualities of the bass playing make the lines interesting at all times. The few times that the bass follow the guitar it is still highly audible, because of the equalization, with boosted mids and a excellent production with no mud in the sound at all. There are small bass solos scattered around, but most notable is the solo on the final track: "dangerous toy". This solo has such a jazzy quality and with the band following it, it is amazing. (jazz-thrash has definatly triggered my interest, and i plan to find more bands in this vein of music, to review)

The vocals have their own, extremely distinct style, they sometimes just completely ignore what is happening with the rest of the song. The most prominent example is "Mayday in Moscow" where time and melody is in intentional conflict with the rest of the band. The result is ear-catching, as the use of progressive singing is so little widespread. The uniqueness of the vocals is simply astounding.

Percussion-vise, this album is extremely varied. The drummer is a master of accentuating at the strangest of times, (in a good way), there are a few less interesting beats around if you look for them, but they are never kept around for long, and the simpleness is only used when it is extremely effective. the only complaint one could have, is that some of the toms sound a bit flat, and could use a bit more punch. This is hardly a thing to note in a recomendation, but for the sake of not praising everything into the sky...

The guitar riffing is of a highly progressive nature, but retaining a technical and thrashy edge at most times. The leads are very memorable, and the soloing is strong. Around the record there is some of the best sweeping i've heard in a long time. However the guitars mostly hold the backseat on this record. They do their job, but they are more there to bind the sound together, than to make their own voice heard.

Strong songwriting, great individual performances and a knack for making things that are both extremely complicated, yet catchy. If you can stand the vocals, this is a great record. Easily a 9/10.

Watchtower - Control and Resistance (mediafire)
Buy it from amazon

The Eldritch:

Mayday in Kiev:

P.S. These guys have a new single out. and if they manage to find a vocalist, they will record a new album as soon as possible (most probably named: "mathermatics")

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

i have a request.

today, i was going through all my followers, and i got to say that there are quite a few of you. passing 150 today.
i also know that most of you have blogs of your own, and i tend to have a look at all my followers blogs, but some of you do not keep a link to your blog on your profile page.
 you can set this at two different places on your blogger profile settings page. (i hope this link works)
please, for the furture. add your blogs to your profile, as i am sure you want to have me check out your blog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Deliverance -Weapons of our Warfare

Weapons of our Warfare: Monks-with-the-ability-to-
Spoken intro with prayer. A badass angel slaying some evil dragon. Releasing a classic Thrash record in 1990, when classic thrash is mostly dead or dying. All signs point to Christians showing that they can rock too, and be angry like the kids.
To some extent they succeed. The music is angry, with a fair amount of riffs, energetic vocals, and fast paced and decently varied drumming.

To be a bit more descriptive, The style of riffing is roughly 50% Metallica (including acoustic parts), 32% early-exodus and 13% later-and-slower-slayer and a final 5% of technicality that can remind of Aspid, Coroner and other tech bands of the late 80's.
The riffs have quite decent inspirations, and have decent headbangability, but have a lack of individuality. none of the pure thrash riffs have any memorability, or iconic qualities. they thrash about in a moderately fast-paced manner, based on  "chugg&resolve" the solos are decently good, with a fair share of direction and dynamics. they are absolutely the high point of the guitar work on this album.

The bass is mostly inaudible, apart from the bonus track on the 2008 reissue, "rescue" This track has a quite different feel than the rest of the album, the riffing is based on harmonic guitars, and a more speed metal approach to riffing. the progression of modulations of the riffs however have a power metal feel, and this is enhanced by the harmonic guitar & polyphonic vocals on the chorus.

The vocals in general have more power metal to them than the average classic thrash, even though they do not feel wimpy or weak. The vocalist has a sound ranging from a rather mustaine like snarl, to a melodic rasping that i can't compare to any singer i know of. he also has a generic powermetal falsetto, that he uses sparringly. the variation of vocals and decent uniqueness of melodic rasp makes the vocals the strong point of this album.

The way to drum on a thrash album can be solved simply. Bass/snare or high-hat/snare patterns always work, and the drummer here uses them for what they are worth, but his fills, are so intense, fast and generally of high quality that they up the quality of his performance to a quite acceptable level. I am also convinced that it was the drummer that made the rhythm for the progressive/technical intro to solitude. A performance not too bad, all in all.

Structurally the songs flow well, and the album has a decent mix of calm acoustics and thrashing that keeps the interest decently high throughout the album.

Summing it up, this is a release that a fan of classic thrash will enjoy, unless they got a hate for Christian lyrics, or the vocals unusual style. Personally however, the two technical riffs on this album (intros of "solitude" and "Bought by blood") don't cut it to impress me. have a look if you are into classic American thrash and don't mind the vocals, but if you are here for the tech thrash, you can save your time.
This is a subjective score, mind you, and it amounts to 6/10.

Their spotify (not this album)
Deliverance - Weapons of our Warfare(mediafire)