Dehumanize/Nihilism – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed – Split (Review)

Nihilism DehumanizeDehumanize and Nihilism are both French Death Metal bands. They’ve conspired together to unleash this split on the world and have clearly given it some thought rather than just chucking some old songs together; each band has contributed two new songs, a new version of an old song and a cover of one of the other’s. As ideas for splits go it’s better than most.

We start off with Dehumanize, who offer us 16 minutes of sharp Death Metal.

Dehumanize have a good amount of both savagery and brutal melody in their sound. Solos and leads are used well and there’s lots of meaty guitar action.

Their style incorporates an Old-School feeling as well as some Thrash influences in the riff department.

This is an interesting collection of tracks and, for whatever reason, I enjoy each one more than the previous. This culminates in their final song Don’t Be Scared with it’s driving rhythm guitar and subtle melodies that combine with some brutal thrashing and an emotive vocal performance. It’s almost as if you’re watching the band warm up – the start of their side is good but it definitely improves as it goes along.

After Dehumanize, Nihilism have 20 minutes to show their stuff.

Nhilism’s Death Metal is rhythmic and Old-School. It’s primitive and atavistic with an underground sound and vocals that sound like they’re issuing forth from a daemonic cavern. Interestingly though, the band aren’t above using semi-clean vocals when they need to; this, coupled with some nice melodic/atmospheric work, lends them an air of early Amorphis/Anathema/Sentenced on occasion.

The songs have a fuzzed up bounce to them and a rotten energy that’s undeniable. The Old-School is strong with these, and the more interesting elements of atmosphere and harmonies make the band even more compelling than if there were just playing Old-School Death Metal alone.

An enjoyable split from both bands.

Aenemica – Empty Inside (Review)

AenemicaAenemica are from Germany and this is their début album. They play Progressive Rock.

This is modern Progressive Rock that has influences from both Progressive Metal, Modern Rock/Metal and even a splash of Djent to some of the riffs.

The singer has a voice that’s soft like silk and flows like liquid gold. He’s instantly engaging and very listenable. His voice is very versatile and the harmonies and tunes used are infectious and very more-ish.

The songs are a merging of the more modern, commercial style of Rock/Metal, (incorporating elements of Djent and Stadium Rock), and a more classically influenced Progressive Rock style. It’s played and delivered extremely well so that they successfully blend the different aspects of the music into their sound. The result is one that’s pretty much pure aural candy.

Imagine a combination of Evanescence, Device, Queensrÿche and Pain of Salvation; it’s quite a combination but it works together well.

The focal point is clearly the vocals though. Personally I’d like to hear the music slightly higher in the mix so as to create an equal emphasis on the music/vocals, but this is only a small complaint really.

Aenemica are a worthy addition to the world of tuneful Metal. Have a listen.

 

Voices – London (Review)

VoicesThis is the second album from UK group Voices. They play Progressive Blackened Death Metal.

Featuring former members of Akercocke, this is an album full of promise from the start as Akercocke were one of the best and most individual bands that the UK had to offer.

As soon as the dark acoustic opener Suicide Note starts I’m instantly hit with the feeling that Akercocke gave me in their more restrained moments. Then Music for the Recently Bereaved blasts out of the speakers and I feel warm and fuzzy inside and out.

If voices aren’t the heirs to Akercocke then I don’t know who is. They’re definitely their own entity but they channel the same primordial power and majesty that Akercocke did so well.

Blasting Death Metal, scathing Black Metal, Progressive Metal, Avant-Garde and everything in between make up these tracks. Progressive Blackened Death Metal is as good a term as any, but it seems so small. Voices are just bigger than that and have a whole lot more on offer than that mouthful of a genre tag implies.

The songs here are varied and full of interesting ideas and avenues for exploration. The band essentially just do what they want and I’m incredibly glad of this as it has resulted in a top quality album full of modern Extreme Metal that stands alone.

Growls, screams, cleans; the band do it all with style. It’s like Akercocke, Arcturus, Opeth and Emperor were crushed up together, digested and vomited up as a slick, professional, fully formed Extreme Metal machine. It’s classy and in a class of its own.

I love it when bands do their own thing and inject their art with personality and character. It’s even better when they do this with obvious talent and a passionate hunger. London is all of these things and more.

This is ambitious and hugely impressive. For a snapshot of everything that Extreme Metal should be these days then London is flawless.

In fact that’s all I need to say really; London is flawless.

 

Falloch – This Island, Our Funeral (Review)

FallochFalloch are from the UK, and this is their second album. They play Folk-tinged Post-Rock.

This is the kind of album you’d listen to when trying to relax at the end of a hard day, or when you want something light and non-invasive to tinkle away in the background.

Falloch specialise in nature-inspired songs that take the slow route and utilise the build/release nature of Post-Rock to carve out their ethereal sounds.

This Island, Our Funeral is somewhat of a mix of bands such as Agalloch, Anathema and Blueneck only with more of a Post-Rock style and an elemental, windswept feel.

Guitar melodies and leads conjure images akin to the album cover and the organic production has some steel to it despite the nature of the music.

The vocals are well-performed with layered harmonies and angelic tones. The singer’s voice is well judged and fits the music well; it shares the same Folk-edge that the music does and the vocal melodies seep out of the speakers like honey.

Falloch have crafted an album that attempts to forge an emotional connection with the listener and its success largely depends on how receptive the listener is to what they have to say. They clearly believe in what they’re doing and I think they’re definitely worth a listen or two. Have at it.

Ignotum – Larvas Mortal God (Review)

IgnotumIgnotum are a Black Metal band from Italy and this is their début album.

This is aggressive and ugly, but not without melody. As well as their Black Metal sound they also incorporate licks and riffs that have a more Classic Metal feel as well as having some pretty good leads and solos.

Due to the above additions to their sound, this is not the usual pitch-black purist Black Metal affair, yet nor is it some jaunty, upbeat Melodic Black Metal one either; the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. The band are Metal enough to have some driving riffs and strong melodic leads but Blackened enough to be ugly and uncompromising in other areas of their delivery.

The band definitely have a harsh streak to their sound, brought to the fore with no small assistance from the snarling vocals. And really, snarl is the best word to describe them. The singer goes about his task with all of the pent up threat of a dog about to pounce.

Ignotum have crafted an interesting album that combines a slick molten Metal delivery with the ugly Blackened nature of the really grim. It’s an interesting combination that makes for an enjoyable listen.

Be sure to check them out and see what you think.

Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Review)

ArchgoatThis is the third album from Finnish Blackened Death Metallers Archgoat.

This is raw, underground music filled with a horrific vibe and lashings of brutality. Blackened Death Metal, for the most part, usually means a Death Metal band with some Blackened influences. Archgoat have found that rare middle ground though that straddles both genres equally.

The Black Metal influence lends the songs a grim atmosphere and the Death Metal influence provides the aggression and ugliness.

Archgoat have created a very good listen with this album. Each song blurs the line between the two parent genres and we’re left with something that most people would just abort, but not Archgoat; they love, nurture and sculpt this malignant offspring into something worthy and deadly.

The deep growls seem to belch out malevolent black smoke and they seem to erupt out of the guitars like cancerous evil.

The riffs are captivating as they combine that Black Metal groove with Death Metal attack. It’s a winning combination.

Overall verdict? A great listen.

Triumvir Foul – An Oath of Blood and Fire (Review)

Triumvir FoulTriumvir Foul are a Death Metal band from the US, and this is their début demo.

At just under 16 minutes in length this is a decent taster for the band that comprises 3 original songs and an Autopsy cover.

This is blistering Old-School Death Metal with a filthy disposition and vocals that sound like Satan gargling acid.

The putrid riffs and disgusting vocals combine to ensure that these tracks deliver the goods and at the end of the playing time you’re left wondering what just happened and why you feel soiled and sullied.

Grime-ridden guitar leads and solos are included for that extra bit of rotten flavour and the band successfully create a miasma of pestilence and sickness wherever they go.

It’s only a demo, and even though the sound could do with a few sonic tweaks here and there it’s still a great representation of a band who clearly know their style and intend to dominate it.

One to check out for sure.

Greensleeves – Inertial Frames (Review)

GreensleevesGreensleeves are a Brazilian Progressive Metal band and this is their second album.

This is quality Progressive Metal with a proper Metal edge. The band aren’t afraid of being a bit heavier than the norm and the songs make the most of this, mixing the forthright nature of Metal with the wandering, exploratory Progressive edge of the style.

If you like bands such as Dream Theater, Threshold, Pagan’s Mind and Nevermore then Greensleeves should be your thing too.

The singer has a really, really good voice; coming off somewhere between the singers of Pagan’s Mind and Nevermore his voice rises to the challenge again and again. Frequently the weakest link in bands such as this is the singer and I’m very pleased to say that isn’t the case here.

The songs are very well played, as you would expect for a band in this genre, and there are plenty of leads and solos to satisfy. I should compliment the chunky rhythms also; as mentioned previously they’re heavier for the norm and certainly bring out the Metal aspect of their sound.

Decent melodies and layered harmonies combine with thick guitars and melodic know-how to create exemplars of the style.

There are 12 tracks in total and they’re all composed so that the album as a whole is a very good listen. At over 72 minutes in length it’s a long listen but one that’s very rewarding.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to this and will continue to do so again and again in the future.

Definitely one to check out for your next Progressive Metal fix.

Masochist – Condemned to Grovel (Review)

MasochistThis is the latest EP from Masochist, who are a Brutal Death Metal band from the UK.

The intro track Prologue to Prolapse is nicely heavy and really clears the cobwebs away. Phew. It’s enough to crush a rhino. Not that you’d want to, but if you did this would do it.

From here the rest of the EP picks up the pace but is no less heavy, with thick guitars raging and blaring out.

This is Brutal Death Metal with the modern, heavy sound of Deathcore. To be clear, I’m talking the aural feeling and production of a modern Deathcore band, not the style; Masochist are firmly in the Brutal Death Metal camp. Yes there’s a lot of crossover of course but Masochist’s Death Metal comes from an older lineage than Deathcore’s relatively young one.

The vocals are deeply satisfying. Or satisfyingly deep. Both actually. They’re added to with high screams that aren’t too far away from static.

The music pounds, batters, rips, tears and destroys; these and other similar words. It all adds up to the fact that these songs are not only Hellishly brutal but Hellishly brutal in a way that says “Masochist know how to knock you down whilst writing top songs that hold attention and reach down deep into your stomach into your happy place and grab hold hard”. It’s a bit of a mouthful but that’s what they certainly do say, yes sir.

Oh but this is too good. Masochist are spoiling us. If they can keep their songwriting skills up and replicate this crushing, heavy sound on their début full length then the UK will have a real player on its hands.

I can’t recommend this highly enough. Top work. Now if I could only find a rhino…

My Shameful – Hollow (Review)

My ShamefulThis is the sixth album from Finnish Funeral Doom/Death Metallers My Shameful.

My Shameful craft dark and atmospheric Funeral Doom containing elements of Death Metal that are completely bent and broken to Doom’s single-minded will. Even the faster sections carry an aura of depressive longing and tragic woe that no amount of blast beats can erase.

The songs slowly build in intensity and atmosphere using textured guitars and eerie melodies. The band do a great job of stamping their own identity on the Doom/Death template and although it’s obviously recognisable as the genre it is, My Shameful don’t sound generic or stale at all. Kudos to them.

One of the key things about this band which sets them apart from others in the genre is the guitars; Rather than settle for the ever-familiar heavy rhythms with winding leads approach that so many go for, My Shameful have rhythms and riffs that are more nuanced and subtle than the norm for this style. Add some spectral effects and otherworldly sounds, mix in the expressive vocals and wrap it all up in some quality songwriting and Hollow is an album to savour.

This is haunting, strangely beautiful music that fosters a morbidly oppressive mood. Even the vocals, which are brutally evil growls, add to this feeling of ethereal heaviosity where the band seem to strike the right balance between darkness and light. It’s certainly not an equal balance, probably 85/15, but it’s one that allows them to work their Doom Metal magic.

As far as Doom/Death goes it doesn’t get much better than this.