Antropofago – Æra Dementiæ (Review)

AntropofagoAntropofago are a French Death Metal band and this is their second album.

Antropofago’s latest release is based around the concept of dementia and is a mixture of brutality and technicality.

The Brutal Death Metal influences propel the band’s carnage forward effortlessly while their Technical Death Metal side allows them to experiment with all manner of interesting ideas. The two warring sides complement and rein each other in so that the songs don’t go too much in ether direction.

It’s also important to note that the songs are, in fact, actually songs. A lot of Death Metal has a tendency to focus on the individual riffs or sections of a track with only a superficial regard for the song as a whole. Antropofago take a holistic view of the tracks and each song is recognisable as such. The album benefits from this consistency of vision and the tracks on Æra Dementiæ are memorable, surprisingly catchy and actually individually identifiable as distinct entities.

The band have a decent heavy sound that complements their style. The groovy bits sound meaty, the fast bits sound unstoppable and the technical wizardry and lightning melodics sound hot enough to burn. The bass is just audible enough to make an impression and the drums are crazily inhuman on occasion.

The singer has a classic Death Metal growl that seems to suck all of the air out of the room.

Antropofago have unleashed a very strong album on the world. This is some quality Death Metal that combines songs, brutality and depth into an appealing package. In a world of disposable music this one has some longevity to it.

Highly recommended.

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Effa Lente – The Effa Lente Configuration- Parts 1-4 (Review)

Effa LenteEffa Lente is a one-man Irish project that plays Instrumental Progressive Rock. This is his first release.

Apparently inspired by watching a Quentin Tarantino film, this is noticeably cinematic music that has a lot of different moods and themes throughout its 45 minute playing time

Did I mention that it’s just one 45 minute track? Well it is.

Various moods, emotions and feelings play out during this extended playing time and the impression is very much one of a Progressive Rock film score.

It’s as if Steven Wilson, Anathema, Opeth, Queen, King Crimson, Glorie and The Monroe Transfer all got together to score a film. It’s a very impressive listen that manages to fully engage and hold the attention despite not having any vocals to act as a focal point.

The music jumps around all over the place in a seemingly natural way, rather akin to how the different scenes in a film move from one to the next. It never seems jarring and almost has a narrative feel to it as different themes are taken, explored and then left until we meet up with them again at a later point for either a resolution or a cliffhanger.

70s moods and contemporary Rock sounds merge together in a cinematic melange that is very impressive. Considering this is the brains behind the outfit’s first attempt at doing something of this nature it’s a huge success.

Not just a listen, but an experience.

Intravenous Contamination – Drowned in Human Fluids (Review)

Intravenous ContaminationThis is the début album from German Brutal Death Metal band Intravenous Contamination.

Intravenous Contamination play USDM/Slam style Death Metal with plenty of chug, groove and blast.

The vocals are guttural pigsqueals that are as inhuman as any in the genre. The singer has a voice that’s as brutal as the music and she sounds utterly deranged.

The songs are the equivalent of boulders dropping form the side of a mountain. Unsubtle, blunt-edged and dangerous to get in front of.

The recording is dense and thick, layered with violence and ill-intent. This gives the songs a squirming, alien feeling that makes their aggressive assault all the more effective in some ways, but curiously muted in others.

Heavy riffs abound and there are no flashes of colour or melody. Everything is blood-red and determined to cause maximum damage.

This is one for hardened Death Metal fans who only care about the ugliest music. Brutal carnage and bloody rage resides within. Dare you listen?

Favourite Track: Carnal Incitement.

Kataklysm – Of Ghosts and Gods (Review)

KataklysmKataklysm are from Canada and this is their twelfth album. They play Death Metal.

Veteran band Kataklysm have returned with another 46 minutes of music that continues with their trademark vision of Death Metal as a balancing act between brutality, melody and groove.

After decades of practising and perfecting their art Kataklysm have their formula nailed down. Their Death Metal combines blasting brutality with a melodic sensibility that means these are actual songs first and foremost. Kataklysm were never going to put out a dud album, and Of Gods and Ghosts once again shows why they’re at the top of the Death Metal pile.

As with all of their work it’s very riff-heavy, with colossal grooves a way of life for the band. Their songwriting has been perfected to the point now where these riffs merge seamlessly into their more melodic counterparts and Of Gods and Ghosts is so incredibly catchy and full of hooks it’s just a surefire winner for anyone how likes Melodic Death Metal.

With all of this being said, I like the fact that there’s still extremity here; this is Death Metal after all. Kataklysm can still blast with the best of them and there’s plenty of Northern Hyperblast alongside the slamming riffs and melodic refrains.

The vocals are shouted growls that are a little higher on occasion than some of their past releases, but still do their job well in providing a focus point other than the frenetic riffs or pummelling drums.

For Death Metal that’s straightforward, instant, heavy, melodic and very, very catchy you can’t get better than this.

Iron Kingdom – Ride for Glory (Review)

Iron KingdomThis is the third album by Canadian Heavy Metallers Iron Kingdom.

After enjoying their second album Gates of Eternity, Ride for Glory promised much. Once again we’re treated to Iron Maiden/Iced Earth-style Heavy/Power Metal that’s epic and embraces fully everything about True Metal.

The solos and leads are shred-tastic and everything is flashy, ostentatious and overblown. Although they don’t reach the totally over-the-top heights of a band like Freedom Call, (one of the best), it doesn’t seem to be for the want of trying.

The vocals are just as histrionic as the previous album and work just as well with the music.

Iron Kingdom know their style very well and Ride for Glory is the complete Heavy Metal care package. Loving attention has been lavished on this release and the songs may not be perfect but what they sometimes lack in creativity is more than made up for with passion and zeal.

Unless you’re completely allergic to fantasy/mythology-inspired Heavy Metal it’s hard not to like this. The band have an enthusiasm for their subject and genre that is positively infectious.

Give them a try.

Deathwhite – Solitary Martyr (Review)

DeathwhiteThis is the second EP from US Melodic Metal band Deathwhite.

We’ve met these before on their début EP Ethereal. Katatonia, Paradise Lost and Anathema remain prime influences but once again Deathwhite put their own spin on things.

The songs have a confidence and maturity about them that belie the band’s youth; these are the songs you would expect from a group that had been together for many more years than this. These are well-written tracks that wear their influences on their sleeves and yet don’t sound derivative.

I can easily imagine these tracks being played on a large stage. The melodic nature of the band stands up to scrutiny well and this is a memorable, catchy collection of songs.

It’s all very easy listening and just seems to melt out of the speakers. The singer’s voice in particular is soft and enticing.

My only complaint with solitary Martyr is that it could do with a little more variety as it relies a little too much on the heavy/light approach that was so popular in the late 90s/early 00s, but this is really only a minor thing as ultimately these songs are very enjoyable.

Check them out.

Nergard – A Bit Closer to Heaven (Review)

NergardThis is the second album from Nergard, a solo project from Norway that features a multitude of guest singers and musicians from bands such as Aeon Zen, Amaranthe, Pagan’s Mind, Primal Fear, Withem and others.

The songs are Melodic/Power Metal with a side of quality Rock.

The combined experience and talent of the various singers means that there’s no issue in the vocal department. The myriad styles of the different vocalists all add something to each track and no guest is wasted or under-used. It’s not a complete testosterone-fest either, as we are also treated to a few female singers whose presence raises the bar.

The multiple singers give the album a diverse feel while the music and production gives it a cohesiveness that is necessary to avoid it sounding like a compilation. The singer of Aeon Zen appears on many of the tracks, either doing main or backing vocals, so he remains a familiar thread throughout, too, helping to keep things stitched together.

The songs are well-written and are chock full of hooks, catchy melodies and harmonies. Each song has its own character and personality, and this is further enhanced by the vocal variety.

The brain behind the outfit plays drums, bass and keyboards, with everything else being handled by one of the many guests. The musicianship is first-rate and there are enough solos included for the guest musicians to get their teeth into.

At 45 minutes in length it doesn’t outstay its welcome and overall A Bit Closer to Heaven is a really enjoyable listen. The songs grow on you even more upon repeated listens and I know I’ll be spinning this again and again in the future.

Recommended.

Die Krupps – V – Metal Machine Music (Review)

Die KruppsDie Krupps are from Germany and play EBM/Industrial Metal. This is their eighth album.

This is music that’s catchy and can carry a good beat. For easy and lazy points of reference think Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails.

The songs incorporate a wealth of electronic and Industrial elements into the tracks and these form the basis of the band’s sound; an electronic base with guitars built on top.

There are some good grooves on this release and the songs give the listener plenty of excuses to bounce along to the energetic music.

Die Krupps are a veteran band that have influenced a whole host of other groups and on V – Metal Music Machine they clearly know what they want to achieve and how to do it. These songs are written and performed by experienced hands and this comes out strongly in the music.

Most enjoyable – check out the latest from Die Krupps.

Stillnes – Sin Destino (Review)

StillnesThis is the second album from Spanish Thrash Metallers Stillnes.

Wow. Now that’s an album cover. GIANT MONSTER ALERT!

Thrash Metal is a funny beast these days, with most bands seeming to opt for either an ultra-modern approach or an Old-School Retro one. Stillnes are one of the odd ones out as they opt for something in the middle.

This has elements of the Old-School but it’s not some puerile Retro nonsense. Theirs is a more balanced approach that has a modern sheen but not overly so; they come across as a nice mix of old and new that would fit nicely in many different Thrash eras. Ultimately they belong to themselves and this is what I like about them.

The band have a straightforward approach to their Thrash and play largely mid-paced with a good energy and plenty of melody. They are perfectly capable of unleashing a more aggressive attack when they need to, but for the most part it’s choppy riffs and good rhythms that lead the way.

The singer has a decent voice and there are plenty of solos and leads peppered around the release.

Somewhat of a cross between Trivium and Metallica; there’s not a lot to dislike on Sin Destino and it’s an enjoyable listen.

Check them out.

Macabre Demise – Homicidal Parasites (Review)

Macabre DemiseMacabre Demise is a solo Brutal Death Metal project from Germany and this is his second album.

This is just over 26 minutes of chug-friendly Brutal Death Metal that’s guaranteed to get the blood pumping and the head moving.

There’s a good mix of blast beats and slower/mid-paced heaviness on Homicidal Parasites. It’s a mix of the USDM and Slam styles, touched up with a bit more of a European feeling in places.

The songs don’t shy away from a bit of melody when needed, which is a nice thing to hear. It’s not a common part of Macabre Demise’s sound, as the songs largely opt for a more direct, brutal, chugging assault, but it’s an added facet to their sound on occasion.

There’s a lot of mosh-friendly sections that are bouncy and groovy. The tracks specialise in aggressive destruction that’s strangely accessible for a band of this style.

The vocals sound like someone wiping the floor with the Cookie Monster. Deep growling is complemented by higher screams when necessary to add that extra bite.

The production is decent and the album benefits from a good recording. It sounds, and I believe this is the technical term, PHAT. Or something. In any event, it’s a very satisfying sound that the songs make the most of.

So, quality Death Metal from this German outfit. Me like.