Alexanred – Always Active (Review)

AlexanredAlexanred are from Finland and this is their début album. They play Industrial Rock/Metal.

This is catchy and atmospheric Industrial/Electonica-tinged Metal. If you think of bands like Neurotech and Deathstars, remove the Black Metal side and mix this with a Nine Inch Nails influence instead, you’ll have a good starting point for the band.

The tracks mostly hover around the 3 minute mark meaning that the songs are largely to the point and hook the listener in quite quickly. The music is quite emotive and has an atmospheric quality to it that recalls some of Devin Townsend’s work on occasion, (but only occasionally).

Always Active has a professional sound that befits music of this nature. It’s a powerful and driving sound that seems to push the songs along as much as it works for them.

The vocals vary from whispered, semi-spoken word parts to sung cleans and to event the odd shout. He sounds at his best when he’s singing though, as the spoken parts seem a little forced/repetitive sometimes.

This is a good début album, and if Alexanred can build on this then the next album should be very good indeed.

Insense – De:Evolution (Review)

InsenseInsense are from Norway and play a highly developed form of Modern Metal. They combine elements of multiple genres of heavy music, from Djent to Thrash to Sludge to Progressive Metal and others in between.

Well this is very nice indeed. Heavy, emotive and not afraid of striding boldly into territories avoided by a lot of bands.

The vocals are agonised cries, soft crooning, semi-cleans, powerful melodics, gruff shouting…essentially whatever the song needs; it’s a very personal and distinctive performance that immediately makes apparent the man’s talent. The moment his vocals make an entrance on the first track Part I- Conception I’m hooked straight away. This keeps up for the rest of the album and his vocals bleed charisma and character.

The music doesn’t slack behind either; none of the songs are especially long but every one of them seems committed to ringing out every last drop of emotion and feeling from the guitars. The tracks are all tightly focused balls of energy and in the hands of this clearly talented band there’s no need for longer songs – there’s absolutely no filler here.

Reference points? Wide ranging really; I can hear bits of In Flames, Fear Factory, Devin Townsend, Meshuggah, Mnemic, Slipknot, Darkane, Nevermore…I could go on, but you get the idea; polished, diverse and heavy whilst retaining melodics and soul. A smattering of modern European Power Metal; a bit of Djent in the riffs; wildly energised heavy riffing; stirring and memorable vocals…so much about this recording can be praised.

The sound is suitably huge and massive with everything coming through crystal clear and every sludgy riff sounding crushing and effective.

Quite frankly this album is an absolute revelation. If you were to cut it open it would have the words QUALITY stamped all the way through it in big letters.

Heartily recommended; you need to get this album.

 

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.