Divine Zero – The Cold Asylum (Review)

Divine ZeroDivine Zero come from Germany and play Death Metal. This is their second album.

Divine Zero have a singer that alternates between deep growls and high shrieks, sometimes within the same sentence. It’s schizophrenic and harsh. The high screams have a bit of At The Gates about them and both styles sound top quality.

Ostensibly a Melodic Death Metal band, Divine Zero have enough brutality in them to satisfy fans of harder Metal also. It may be melodic but it’s also aggressive.

The songs have plenty of tasty riffs and the trade off between melody and brutality is handled well, with even a smidgen of Thrash being thrown into the mix. Everything’s played to a high standard and there are lots of things included to hook the listener and capture the attention.

The riffs are interesting and quite varied, with everything between modern Metal and Old-School Thrash having a look-in at various points. I also like that the solos are bountiful and emphatic.

A strong sound rounds off a strong package and Divine Zero have produced a very enjoyable album. It reminds me of turn-of-the-millenium Metal like Dew Scented and Withering Surface.

If you’re put off Melodic Death Metal as you think most bands who play the style sound watered down and/or too commercial then give Divine Zero a listen, you won’t be disappointed.

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Terminal Prospect – Redefine Existence (Review)

Terminal ProspectTime for a bit of Swedish Melodic Death Metal in the form of Terminal Prospect and their second album Redefine Existence.

At 11 tracks in 34 minutes, most of the songs are quite short and to the point. This is from the same school of Metal as The Haunted, early In Flames, Darkane, At The Gates, etc. and it’s better than you probably imagine.

The album starts with the high-pitched screams of the singer, whose vocals appear to be designed to scratch at the brain while the music batters your chest. He screams and shrieks his way through the songs in an effective manner, and it works particularly well when he locks into a rhythm with the guitars and they work together as one.

The songs are streamlined and full of melodic flourish, while still keeping the Thrash feel of the riffs alive and well. There are some nice guitar parts and the band have a vibrant feeling to a lot of the riffs. This vibrant feeling is important; it would be easy for a band like this to have tired-sounding guitars. Although it’s exceptionally hard for any group to have completely unique riffs, melodies etc., and Terminal Prospect don’t fall into this category, (as most bands don’t); at least they still sound young, fresh and full of life. There is no going-through-the-motions here, it’s all done for the love of Metal.

A quality album that is easy to digest and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. Recommended.

Your Last Wish – Desolation (Review)

Your Last WishCanadian band Your Last Wish play Melodic Death Metal.

After the usual perfunctory opening, first track proper Crisis To Creation opens with a much more impressive dual display of melodics slipping into heavy chugs, repeating over and over until the appetite is well and truly whetted.

Their brand of Melodic Death Metal is fast and sharp, which matches the high-pitched screams of the vocalist who has a rasp to challenge the best of them, although she also does deeper vocals when required.

A starting reference point for this album would be someone like At The Gates or early In Flames. These are only as reference points though as Your Last Wish are not merely wishing to repeat past glories of the masters. They have something of their own to offer.

The riffs are enjoyable and substantial and the crisp, professional sound makes the most of them. Well played solos pour out of the tracks, the vocals are scathing and the drummer provides a backdrop to the carnage.

This is the kind of Melodic Death Metal that they rarely make any more. There is no pretension or leanings of commerciality; no clean harmonies of radio-friendly compromises. This is Metal through and through, and I for one can’t help but like this very talented band.

Give them a listen and give them your support.

Coraxo – Starlit Flame (Review)

CoraxoComing from Finland, Coraxo play Industrial Death Metal with a strong Aliens theme running through the tracks on this release.

After a suitable intro we get first song Signal Detected which positively bounces along in a jolly, sci-fi kind of way; melodic Death Metal under a covering of electronics and effects; like At The Gates/Dark Tranquillity and The Kovenant/Deathstars/Neurotech fighting it out.

There are some pleasing riffs churned out, with the effects adding additional depth without smothering the actual Metal. This is a band using the electronica to enhance the Metal and the theme of the songs rather than to be a novelty or for wider commercial appeal.

With this kind of music there is a lot that can go wrong, and as usual this is very subjective so it does depend on the interpretation of the listener of course, (as always). For me this EP tends to largely be on the right side of the potential hazards; the electronics and effects are prominent but not overbearing; the guitars have substance and are not just there for show; the vocalist has bite and is not interested in being the next Marilyn Manson; the music is dark enough to avoid any potential “Cheese Factor”. I’m calling victory here.

The more I listen to this the more I fall for its charms. It has its own character and personality. It’s also very catchy in places. Xenotaph in particular. Tacked on the end of the EP is a cover of Sepultura’s Refuse/Resist that ends proceedings nicely.

If your taste in Metal runs to the less-conventional then check out Coraxo and see if you fall for their sci-fi sound.

Ragestorm – The Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin (Review)

RagestormItalian Death Metal band Ragestorm chainsaw their way out of your speakers with enough introductory brutality and modern Thrashy Death Metal know-how to raise the odd eyebrow or two. Then the vocals kick in and you know you’re in for a wild ride. Alternating between deeper and darker, and higher and sharper, the singer can strip paint and cut skin at 100 paces.

This release boasts a tight, precise sound that helps the carnage come alive as it rips and tears everyone around it with a surgical slaughter. The songs are heavy and the band can play.

This is the kind of Metal that excites as it bludgeons. Death Metal it may be but there is also a firm Thrash sensibility at play that informs the songwriting dynamics with more than just mindless brutality. I can also hear a Lamb of God influence; particularly in the vocal department on occasion in certain vocalisations and vocal rhythms and patterns. As for the music I can hear similarities to Byzantine in places. So; imagine Lamb of God and Byzantine coming together to play some tasty At The Gates-style Melodic Death Metal; this should give you a good place to start with the sound they have. They also have guitar solos, which immediately makes me like any band just that little bit more.

This is just their début album and there is already plenty of ideas and talent on display to last them a few albums to come. These ideas are spread out over the entire album, but find a focus in Hari Seldon’s Speech.

A really good collection of songs and a really good start to what will hopefully be bigger things to come.

Top stuff.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack (Review)

EverblackThere is something innately enjoyable about The Black Dahlia Murder. Essentially taking all of the best bits of bands like At The Gates and adding extra speed and bite with some deeper vocals, this is the absolute best that Melodic Death Metal has to offer the world. And the offering is goooood!

One of the things that like most about this band is the combination of good songwriting, good solos, and just good energy. This is the closest you can probably come to “happy” extreme music without being ridiculous. It’s not “happy” music of course; it has a dark edge and it has bite, but the energy is there in spades and it’s sometimes hard to stay still when listening to them!

Having said all of this though it’s important to remember that although this is a great album, they have released better in the past. That should not diminish this album at all of course; it just means that whatever they do next could be even better as they continue to develop and refine their sound.  Until then I’ll be listening along and thrashing out!

Check them out –

http://metalblade.com/bdm/