Colosus – Blestem (Review)

ColosusWell this is a surprise. For some reason I wasn’t expecting to like this release that much. Not really sure why – something just put me off it for some reason. I’m happy I’m wrong though as what we have here is some excellent atmospheric Black Metal from the UK. Just the right combination of feeling, grimness and sound quality to ensure that the album sounds suitably murky but clear enough to make everything out.

We start off with a suitably (un-)pleasant intro, followed by the almost-thirteen minute “Mormant” which is a well-executed chunk of depressive Black Metal. Here Colosus shows the ability to produce a very atmospheric track that draws you in and slowly absorbs you until, before you know it, it is almost over and you are left wanting more. Thankfully the next track supplies.

The vocals scream and wail, almost in the background; almost used as another instrument. Not a million miles away from a band like Vinterriket; such a comparison is a good place to start actually, although it only a starting point as Colosus are certainly no clone.

Interspersed within the pieces of Black Metal are more ambient interludes. Thankfully these are not mere filler though and add to the atmosphere of the album and provide another facet of the journey to get lost in.

Overall a very strong album, and one that I will be enjoying absorbing myself in for some time to come.

Scalpel – Sorrow and Skin (Review)

ScalpelThis is an album that pulls no punches; ultra-brutal underground Death Metal from the US.

Reminiscent of other US bands like Origin; this is nonetheless a solid release that gives the listener a suitable brutality-fix when needed. They know how to slow things down on occasion also. “Skullscraper” is a good example of this – the slower, brooding part at the start of the song works really well.

Although everyone in the band knows their instruments the drummer in particular seems to be in overdrive mode for most of the time. Pummelling blast beats and furious double-bass are all executed with power and precision.

Favourite Track: Sorrow and Skin.

Check this band out – if you like your metal brutal then this should be for you.

Anciients – Heart of Oak (Review)

anciientsEver wondered what it would sound like if Mastodon and Enslaved got together and released an album? Well wonder no longer, as it would probably sound like Heart of Oak. Imagine a 50/50 collaboration between both of those bands – the melodies, both vocally and musically displayed here are reminiscent of both groups and are hugely enjoyable.

This is not to say that Anciients are a rip-of band of course – far from it – the Mastodon/Enslaved comparison simply serves as a useful starting point when describing Anciients and they certainly have their own individuality and flair – more so than most bands. Amazingly this is only a debut album – a release of this calibre is usually not heard of on a first full-length and is as refreshing as it is enjoyable.

The songs on display here are arguably simpler/less complex than a lot of Mastodon/Enslaved songs, (to use these bands as a reference point again), but this is not to their detriment, as this album is all about the melodies and the song structures. This is probably one of the catchiest metal albums you’ll hear all year, and yet it still manages to retain its edge that will allow it to age well and not become tired as some melody-driven albums can become after time.

An album that is as long as it is good. Worth it.

Insain – Spiritual Rebirth (Review)

InsainInsain are a brutal Death Metal band from France.  The album starts with a nice, slow, ease-in before entering full-on brutality mode proceeding to pummel the listener into submission, in a thoroughly enjoyable way that only this style of music can do.

This album has a very nice sound – the best way I can describe it is satisfying. As the songs play and the brutality unveils, it feels like a very satisfying listen. This is the kind of album that reminds you why you first got into Death Metal in the first place, and makes you hungry for more.

This is an album that grabs you immediately but it’s also clear that it will stand the test of time and still remain an enjoyable listen down the line. Riffs, beats and (brutal) melodies are in abundance with both simplicity and technicality being displayed.

Special note should go to the vocalist, who I feel has done a particularly good job and whose vocals are very satisfying (there’s that word again) indeed.

Apparently there’s a new album in the works for the near future – after hearing Spiritual Rebirth I can safely say that this is something every Death Metal fan should be looking forward to.

To The Pain – To The Pain (Review)

To The PainNow this is the stuff! Here we have a Thrash/Power Metal band from the US who really know their stuff.

Here we have some classic, 80s/90s-style thrash with a power-feel to some of the vocals. There are seven songs on offer here and each one of them is as enjoyable as the next. No trends, no compromise, just old-school metal played by people with an obvious passion and talent for this style of music.

There are plenty of great riffs, melodies, solos, vocals, etc. being shown off here. Each song is an actual song and stands strongly by itself, with plenty of feeling and quality poured into it and covered liberally in pure molten metal.

As I sit here listening to this album I am transported back to the formative years of my metal youth; listening to the giants of the thrash and heavy metal genres – this album has a similar feel to those, all wrapped up in a modern sound that lends it a freshness that a lot of bands lack these days.

I really, really like this release – I suggest you check them out as soon as you can.

Monolithe – Interlude Second (Review)

MonolitheAnother solid release from Monolithe. They really do play some exceptional doom. After recently getting their Monolithe II album I knew this was going to be good and I was not disappointed.

If you have not encountered Monolithe before they play crawling, mysterious Doom with an emphasis on the heavy.

This is only a two-track EP ‘interlude’ between their main releases, but there is still over 36 minutes of music here – all of it of a high quality and well worth a purchase. Monolithe are not a band for everyone – the repetitive drone-esque heaviness will just be more than some people can stomach. Never-the-less; devotees of all things slow will find a goldmine of doom to be found in their work, and this EP is fitting as a good introduction to the band and as preparation for the doom-a-thons that are their albums.

Interested? Have a listen and then hop over to Bandcamp to get it – it’s currently only €0.50 and an absolute steal at that price.