Appollonia – Dull Parade (Review)

AppolloniaThis is the fourth album from Appollonia, a Metal band from France.

This is Modern Metal with a Stoner/Progressive edge, somewhat akin to a mix of Mastodon, Baroness and Deftones.

Dull Parade has a strong production and everything sounds loud and heavy. The band strike a good balance between polished and gritty.

The vocals vary between cleans, semi-cleans and rougher shouts. These are performed well and have an undeniable charisma to them. All three band members contribute vocals to this release, so there’s a decent amount of variety and vocal layering going on. Melodies and harmonies abound, all richly textured and enticing.

The songs can be rawkus and confrontational or more emotive and considered, either way there’s an undercurrent of raw emotional intensity to the tracks, helping to give them longevity and depth.

Dull Parade is a thoroughly enjoyable modern interpretation of Alternative Metal with catchy songs and emotive content. It’s also heavy and uncompromising in its vision for what loud music should be.

Highly recommended.

Abhorrent Deformity – Entity of Malevolence (Review)

Abhorrent DeformityThis is the début album from US Brutal Death Metal band Abhorrent Deformity.

With an album cover that lets you know exactly what the band are going to sound like, Abhorrent Deformity proceed to brutalise you with 35 minutes of powerful USDM for fans of Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Deeds of Flesh, Dying Fetus, Defeated Sanity, Severe Torture, etc., as well a s touch of a more modern approach to some of the riffs, somewhat akin to Molotov Solution.

Savagely deep grunts are unrelenting in their vocal attack. The singer has a classic Deathgrowl that’s quite satisfying and utterly guttural, (say that five times fast).

Entity of Malevolence is ugly, brutal, full of blast beats and has just enough chug-and-squeal to be pleasing without getting boring. I imagine that some may have had their fill of this style and might want more from a Death Metal band in 2015, but it’s hard to complain when the band stamp a boot on your throat and knife your insides.

These songs use a good combination of speed and heaviness with which to beat the listener into submission. It’s music that’s not for everyone by any means, but then Brutal Death Metal never is. If you favour the style though, Abhorrent Entity play it with a purity and honesty that I haven’t heard in quite a while.

Definitely one for all fans of brutality, everywhere.

Dystrophy – Wretched Host (Review)

DystrophyThis is the second album from US Death Metallers Dystrophy.

Dystrophy play dissonant Progressive/Technical Death Metal that sits a little out of the normal comfort zone of Tech Death, (if there is such a thing), by incorporating a Doom influence into their songs rather than going full-blown-crazy-hyper-speed, as is the case a lot of the time for the style. Mix this with a bit of Brutal Death Metal and an Old-School flair and you have the ingredients for a crushing album.

And crush it does. Repeatedly, and often.

The most obvious reference point for Dystrophy would be Gorguts, but there’s more to the band than just their obvious influences. There’s a lot going on here and it’s good to see that they don’t hide the songs behind blurs of speed or impenetrable craziness. There are fast parts on the album, of course, but it doesn’t define them as a band. Instead this is done by the brooding malevolence and sense of menace that the songs have fostered so well by the interplay between rhythm and lead guitars. The latter do a lot of work to add tension and suspense to the atmosphere of twisted peril that Dystrophy create.

But there’s more than just menace and tension to these songs; there’s an impressive amount of atmosphere and feeling on them. Leads and solos add a lot of texture and emotive qualities, backed up with coordination and style by the heavier riffs.

The vocals are uncompromisingly harsh; deep growls that sound as if they would be quite at home in a dark, dank pit somewhere. As the complexity and nuance of the music rages around them, the vocals are brutally simple and straight to the point.

This is an ambitious release from a band who have managed to insert emotive shades of colour into their music, which is no mean feat for a Death Metal band. Wretched Host is an album to be savoured and enjoyed at length.

I would definitely recommend this one; any band attempting to do something a bit different should be supported, especially when they are doing it so well.

So yes, here’s another album to put on that perpetually expanding to-get list of yours.

Todesstoss – Hirngemeer (Review)

TodesstossThis is the seventh album from German Black Metal band Todesstoss.

At 75 minutes in length this is a long album that only contains 3 tracks. I mention this purely to set the scene for the kind of sprawling, unconventional, Blackened vision that Todesstoss have.

This is Experimental Black Metal that takes the serrated core of Black Metal and adds Electronica, Ambient, Martial, Dark Rock, Avant-Garde and Depressive tendencies to it, creating songs that are unhinged marvels of deranged darkness.

Various instruments and flashes of sound compliment the core instrumentation and the mangled, psychotic vocals punctuate the music like stab wounds. His violent outbursts are quite disturbed and fit the uncompromising music.

Think bands like Bethlehem/Burzum/Deinonychus/Dødheimsgard, only stretched out to the extreme.

There are a lot of themes and moods spread across these tracks and it’s clear that a lot of work and effort has gone into perfecting the meaning and rationale for the existence of every part of this music. To some listeners it may seem as if occasional bits of noise or instruments are randomly inserted here and there, but I suspect that everything is where it is for a reason.

These certainly aren’t songs in the traditional sense, but rather canvasses of sound that are used for exploratory experimentalism by their creators to give voice to what dwells inside them. It’s a fascinating insight into a warped psyche as portrayed via the medium of mutated, corrupted Black Metal.

This is not an album you enjoy in the traditional sense. It’s an album you survive, and then, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, you develop an affinity for the abuse it puts you through and eventually go back to it time and time again for more punishment.

Let your re-education begin.