Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations of the Ancients (Review)

Super Massive Black HolesCanadian band Super Massive Black Holes play Experimental/Progressive Jazzy Death Metal, and this is their début album.

This is bright and shiny music that’s technical but also slightly whimsical in nature; there’s something of the Devin Townsend about it.

The band manage to mix disparate elements of Devin Townsend, Opeth, Ephel Duath, Gojira and Cephalic Carnage; schizoid jazzy breakdowns, atmospheric interludes, Stoner vibe rockathons, pseudo-Grind workouts and heavy melodic cyber Metal all collide on this album.

The songs are surprisingly cohesive for all this. Sometimes an idea or a section can feel a bit half-formed or unfinished, however, although from the sound of it this could very well be intentional; to keep the listener guessing or to stop them becoming complacent?

The vocals are mainly between a shout and a growl, with the vocalist reminding a little of the singer of Gorod, or even Gojira on occasion, only not quite as emotive.

I like this album, although it definitely needs time to reveal its charms and won’t be to all tastes. Give them a listen and see what you think.

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Sovereign Council – New Reign (Review)

Sovereign CouncilCanadian band Sovereign Council play Power/Symphonic Metal.

Well, it’s happened again. Another band from Canada who fooled me into thinking they would be another Nightwish et al rip off, (due to lazy assumptions on my part from descriptions of the band), whereas in reality there’s a lot more going on here. They’re not female fronted for a start.

Along with the recent album from Merkabah, they must be doing something very right in Canada, as even though the two bands don’t sound massively alike they both come from the Power/Symphonic mould and the Canadian scene at the moment seems a hotbed of talent.

The band play their music competently and have the right idea with the music. The symphonics and keyboards are relatively subdued for this genre; you can definitely hear them of course but they’re not over the top. The band also have a bit of an electronica influence here and there which adds a nice touch.

The main male vocals are restrained and confident; no show boating here just quality emotive singing. The female backing vocals add a layer of texture and colour to the songs, and are not anywhere near as ubiquitous as the descriptions would have you believe. Mix this with a few harsher screams and growls and it all comes together as a package quite nicely.

Sovereign Council are also savvy enough to know that ultimately this is all about the Metal and don’t bury the guitars under the admittedly talented vocals. Instead the two walk side by side, with the guitars being just as prominent as the vocals, as they should be.

Check this band out and give them your support.

Scars Divide – Scars Divide (Review)

Scars DivideScars Divide are from Switzerland and play Melodic Metal/Metalcore with Progressive tendencies.

The riffs are melodic and meaty and don’t get reined in for safety purposes when they get a bit randy; rather they’re unleashed like the proverbial dogs of war and let loose to do what they may.

This is a key difference between Scars Divide and some of their more commercial cousins; Scars Divide are less concerned with opening in front of a big stadium, (although I’m sure they’re like to given half the chance), and more interested in creating modern Metal songs that entice, challenge and bludgeon.

It’s clear the band have an intimate relationship with their instruments and know exactly what they’re capable of. This is state-of-the-art Modern Metal that’s a refreshing change from all of the Djent/Lamb of God/At the Gates clones that seem to have been around forever.

The songs are inventive, interesting and above all Metal. Heavy guitars and a pummelling rhythm section keep things flowing nicely as the band get to work doing what they do best.

The vocals are impassioned and emotive without resorting to cleans or gimmicks, reminding of the Darkane singer on occasion.

Call me cynical, jaded, or whatever, but I am surprised at how good this is; I was expecting more Metalcore-by-numbers and I’m very pleased to be wrong. This is a premier league release that should hopefully see the band earning plenty of positive reviews.

Get in on the action while they’re still small, and help support a talented Metal band. This gets my vote.

Grey Skies Fallen – The Many Sides of Truth (Review)

Grey Skies FallenGrey Skies Fallen are from the US, and this is their fourth album of Progressive Metal.

The band combine a form of Anathema relaxi-prog and a Melodic Death Metal influence with sharp, rasped vocals and heroic cleans. On paper it looks a bit incongruous but in practice it works surprisingly well.

It’s a tribute to the talent of the band that they can combine the soft introspective nature with the heavier Metal parts of the songs and have it sound cohesive and complete.

Elements of Nevermore and Septic Flesh clash with the aforementioned Anathema influence, add to that a bit of Doom and Melodic Prog…basically they have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies and are talented enough to pull it off.

Subtle keyboards accompany the sometimes epic riffs to create a larger than life atmosphere that also manages to stay compact and manageable as the band flex their musical muscles.

The songs are well composed and have a real feeling of grandeur to them. The music is very operatic in scope and ambition, which means it’s a very satisfying listen.

Grey Skies Fallen have produced an album that demands closer inspection. Check them out and hear what they have to offer. You won’t regret it.

Transient – Transient (Review)

TransientTransient are from the US and play Grindcore.

This is professionally-recorded and nicely heavy. The songs are short and the anger high. The vocalist sounds like she is possessed by demons, (yes, plural), and is a whirlwind force of nature stalking these songs and shortening their natural lifespan by her presence alone. It’s an impressive performance.

The songs are hardcore-influenced Grindcore with lots to keep the attention with. None of the tracks reach over the 2:00 minute mark but that just means that every spare second is used for something useful rather than just filling space.

I love this kind of grind; modern and brutal but still with a firm emotional core and lyrics that have meaning rather than just being a pointless gore-fest, (which can also be fun of course).

Cross a band like Nasum with the scathing feral hardcore of Converge and Transient will be the product. This is a top quality Grind album and should be on the want list of every fan of this genre.

Norse – Pest (Review)

NorseNorse come from Australia and play Technical Black Metal.

Their latest EP is 6 tracks and 26 minutes in length; a decent amount to get your teeth into.

From the onset they’re striking with a bold sound and unusual riffing. Encoded Weakness is atypical Black Metal with interesting riffs stopping, starting, squealing and blasting. The vocals are snarled growls of Blackened hatred.

The rest of the songs follow in a similar pattern – it’s Black Metal but played in an unusual way that gives a very fresh interpretation of the genre, whilst still remaining recognisable as Black Metal. Irradiator is a great example – the riffs slide and slither over each other in serpentine ways delivering a refreshing listening experience.

The band have an excellent grasp of dynamics, songwriting and riff-construction. This, combined with flawless delivery and a strong, oily, sinuous production mean this EP is a real treat.

Highly talented. Australia once more proves it is a leader in the Metal scene when it comes to producing innovative and interesting Metal.

https://www.facebook.com/norse.official

Interview with Electric Hellride

Electric Hellride Logo

Electric Hellride have finished their new EP Come Darkness, Come Light. As a band who are very talented relatively individualistic this hopefully promises a bright future and good things to come for them. Time to get a bit more information on this band. Enter Casper…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Well, we are Electric Hellride, a metal band from Copenhagen, Denmark. We had our first rehearsal back in the summer of 2008 and had some years getting our act together but with our EP “Charged” from November 2010 things began to roll for us. A solid sound of metal with a groovy twist, a lot of fine reviews giving us more shows, all developing our live skills. This led to us winning the Danish leg of the W:O:A Metal Battle in Denmark and thus playing at Wacken Open Air in 2012 (the show can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/xbDEWUs8KdA).

 

After that we signed with Mighty Music and released “Hate.Control.Manipulate” in late 2012. Since that we played our first tour (in Denmark) in 2013 and developed a little different approach to our songwriting and this is where we are now: presenting some of our new material on an EP called “Come Darkness, Come Light” which will be released the 5th of May.

Give us a bit of history to Electric Hellride

We have known each other for several years. Some of us even went to the same public school and later to the same high school. We actually had a no-name band back in the years 1996-1998. When we decided to play together again in 2008 it was not to reform that old band of ours but to make something new as we knew that we would get along in a very fine way – being friends already.

What are your influences?

We all started listening to metal a few years before the teen years. This means that we are of course to some degree raised on Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and such. But since that we have all developed our taste in metal into something wider, so it’s not easy to narrow our influences down to just a band or two.

Maybe Brian (drums) has a distinct taste for groove through his early fondness of Pantera, Anders (lead guitars) brings us something more “classic metal”, Nicklas (rhythm guitar) puts in something dirty rocking via his interest in acts such as Down and Black Label Society. And me (Casper, bass/vocals), I’m very much into good old Swedish death metal, which might be heard to some point in our music – but I don’t really growl – except for a few words here and there.

But we all like a lot of different metal so it’s really a bit too simple to just put it down as I just did. Oh well, I tried anyway, haha!

Electric Hellride BandWhat are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

We actually made a list of what we listened to most in 2013, it’s here: http://www.electrichellride.dk/?p=1279

But on a more recent plan, I believe at least 75 % of the band enjoys the new Behemoth. And I personally really enjoy the new Triptykon.
Tell us about your EP

We were on a good path towards the second full length but we wanted to put out a teaser – or maybe a test – to see how our followers would like our new material as we felt we had changed our sound a bit. So on one hand we wanted to present some new stuff to get some feedback before we would write the last songs for the next full length. On the other hand we felt it was time to show the world that we are still alive and well and writing killer music.

This will of course require for us to write even more songs for the next album, but it is really worth it, as the feedback regarding the EP already is great and some great concert opportunities are being offered to us now.

It’s a four track EP, and as I mentioned earlier: it’s called “Come Darkness, Come Light”. 

Are you happy with how it turned out?

Absolutely! We have worked with Jacob Bredahl earlier, but decided to try something that also was more local to us so we wouldn’t have to travel. So we picked Emil Sauer to produce, mix and master. He has worked with Helhorse and Cerekloth among others and the recording session to place in his Grizzly Sauer Studio in Copenhagen.

The sound is not as dirty on the bass this time but it has given more room for guitars to really breathe. It sounds “more metal” but still very organic and clearly played by human beings and not edited to death in ProTools.

Electric Hellride BandWhat can you tell us about the lyrics?

“Higher Profanity” is about the clash between religion and science. I tried to make it open for interpretation but I think it’s obvious that I’m into the science part. What can you do – I’m a civil engineer, I’m educated to believe in science!

“Grey Mass Depression” is about living in a sad, boring, depressing environment of concrete buildings that really need refurbishment and how it in some places slow down the mind to something zombie-like.

Evil lives in us all. That it basically the conclusion of “Phosphorus”. Phosphorus relates to Venus which relates to Lucifer. And phosphorus also relates to DNA. So we can’t avoid the evil one. It’s in our DNA, simple as that. No need to try to be good, haha.

“Master Inferno” is about power. Power used to control others who are being (way too) submissive.
Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.

As already stated we are working hard on the song writing for the next album and it is going really well and it will be more in the style of the EP than our first album. Usually one of us comes with a riff or two and we work around that and we are all taking part of the songwriting and thus we are all very important for how a song will turn out.

You have quite an individual sound – was this intentional or a more natural development?

I think it’s natural. We don’t aim to land within a specific genre such as jumping on the retro thrash metal wave. We just like metal, but we are very critical to ourselves in the rehearsal room regarding what we feel works and what we don’t feel will make the cut. And over the years we have learned a lot about what we do well and which elements we should leave to others to pursue. It has taken some time to get here, but we do agree that we actually have found something a bit of our own now.

Working with producer Emil Sauer this time also has a lot to say. We really listened to his views on our music and together with him we landed on the sound that can be heard on the EP. 

In my review I say that you’re almost a kind of Stoner/Thrash hybrid, almost as if someone has appropriated the singer of a more contemporary band, (Clutch?/Godhunter?), and forced him to front Kreator. What are your thoughts on this?

That is just how I sing, haha! I like the way you tried to describe to vocals as a mixture of two different genres, as my singing is something that really is hard for a lot people to describe. As the producer said during the recordings “You don’t really sound like anyone else. Well, I remember one from Belgium but he doesn’t sing anymore. So…”.

But honestly, back in the day – long before Electric Hellride – I tried to sing clean, but although I wasn’t singing out of tune it did sound a bit flat and boring, so eventually I tried to yell instead. I like growls but the music I’ve played never really fit to that so to “yell” was the right way to go. It’s been a long walk but since our EP “Charged” I’ve been more or less satisfied with my vocals, and luckily my vocal skills are still getting better and better. Some part is better technique, something is just the natural ageing of the voice (well, I’m 35 – is that old?!). And a lot is the gained experience and just all of us in the band being critical towards the vocals. 

Electric Hellride Band

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

At the moment we feel that “Come Darkness, Come Light” is our sound of the future. It is a bit different to our earlier material and the clues to what makes it different is variation: we try vary the tempos of the songs more to each other, making heavier and slower songs as well as making faster and more aggressive songs. And we are also challenging ourselves to make riffs that doesn’t sound as it was picked from our usual “comfort zone”.

And then we are a solid live act and this will get even better in the future as we are getting a lot of interesting gigs at the moment.

What’s next for Electric Hellride?

We really want to play more outside Denmark. So that is a focus point – we are trying to land a tour in Europe in the fall of 2014. We hope it works out!

Best of luck!

 

Enbilulugugal – Noizemongers For Goatserpent

EnbilulugagalComing from the US this is Black Metal Noise of the darkest and filthiest order.

This is so not for most people it’s almost funny. Even the majority of hardened Extreme Metal fans would balk at this.

This is a compilation of sorts – we get their 2004 album Noizemongers For Goatserpent, a remix/reinterpretation version of the same from 2010 and a whole host of smaller harder-to-find releases tacked on to the end. All in all there are 79 tracks and 2.5 hours of music. Yes, that’s right. Read it again. 2.5 hours of music. And it’s not easy listening music I can tell you.

Enbilulugugal fuse the most twisted, mutated Black Metal with the harshest of Noise to create a perfect fusion of the two that’s nigh on unlistenable unless you’re in a certain mood or just want to punish yourself. This is the sound of nightmares made urban where the remorseless decay of society is mechanised and abused.

To judge a release such as this as good or bad is missing the point in some ways. It’s more of an experience, or even an endurance test, than any form of pleasurable listening as most people would recognise it.

Upon first playing this it took me a couple of minutes to acclimatise to what I was hearing and adjust myself internally to this new way of existing where I was being constantly buffeted by the capricious whims of noise terrorists via short, rusted aural jabs to the mind. They must have altered my brain chemistry somehow though because after a while I became inured to it all and started to find it strangely endearing.

When you exist in a perpetual state of torment is it common to miss it when it’s gone?

I very much doubt that you have the fortitude to survive this release intact. It is expressly designed to push people away so that only the worthy are left. For the vast majority of people this is simply not music and not worth the time to listen to. For the remaining few, this is Enbilulugugal.

Neige Morte – Bicephaale (Review)

Neige MorteThis is the second album from French Black Metal band Neige Morte.

This is unusual, multi-faceted Black Metal that kidnaps other subgenres to do its wicked bidding. Noise, Industrial, Sludge, etc. all make an appearance; anything that can lend itself to creating a filthy and degrading atmosphere is used.

The band aim to create eerie, desolate, dysfunctionally abrasive atmospheres where everything is permitted except hope. The dissonant assault is overwhelming and darkness quickly takes hold.

The band play their dissonant Black Metal at an acceptable level, but I find my attention is held firmer when they slow down and give in to their filthy Sludge leanings. When they do this then they light up like a murky, Blackened funeral pyre and the filth and witchery flows freely.

This album is likely to not appeal to everyone, but for connoisseurs of the underground there is a good amount on offer here, if your tastes run to this.

Beyond Mortal Dreams – Lamia (Review)

Beyond Mortal DreamsDeath Metal – this is the latest EP from Australia’s Beyond Mortal Dreams.

Having previously heard their very enjoyable Dreaming Death EP I stated at the time that I couldn’t wait to hear more from them. Well here we have it, albeit only a taster. Two tracks in just under 9 minutes.

The first song Lamia is a new one. It rolls out of the speakers like a steamroller and flattens everything. There’s a older-Nile vibe to this track; a sort of atmospheric brutality that sounds like it’s being filtered out through a black hole. Quality stuff. Hopefully this bodes well for the next album…

The second track Demonsword Infernal is new version of a song from their The Demon and the Tree of the Dead demo. I haven’t heard the original but this version is a top quality rhythmic pulser with dark melodies and swirling riffs.

Beyond Mortal Dreams have delivered the goods again. Only next time we want, nay, we demand, more!