Act of Denial – Negative (Review)

Act of Denial - NegativeThis is the debut album from Act of Denial, an international melodic death metal band.

Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Death, Decapitated, Ephel Duath, Septic Flesh, and Testament, as well as the superlative singer of Soilwork/The Night Flight Orchestra, I was eagerly awaiting this release to see what kind of punch it packed. Continue reading “Act of Denial – Negative (Review)”

Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)

Cicada the Burrower - CorpseflowerThis is the fourth album from one-woman black metal band Cicada the Burrower.

Corpseflower is an intriguing and engaging collection of tracks that mix jazz, post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, and post-rock into a 31-minute progressive/post-black metal framework that also incorporates elements of blackgaze and depressive black metal. Continue reading “Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)”

White Ward – Futility Report (Review)

White WardThis is the debut album from White Ward, a Ukrainian post-black metal band.

This is post-black metal with avant-garde tendencies. However, this is a very simplistic description of what you’ll find on Futility Report; the music is anything but simple.

Mix Ihsahn, Ulver, Ephel Duath, Blut Aus Nord, Deafheaven, and Wolves in the Throne Room together, and you’ll still only have the barest glimpse of what White Ward play. Continue reading “White Ward – Futility Report (Review)”

Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)

Brain TentaclesBrain Tentacles are an experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal band from the US. This is their debut album.

Experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal is a bit of a mouthful, and in all honesty doesn’t even properly do justice to the sounds that this album contains at any rate.

In addition to the usual drums and bass you’ll also find synth, piano and horns on this release. But no guitars. Continue reading “Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)”

Pogavranjen – Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem (Review)

PogavranjenPogavranjen are a Croatian avant-garde Post-Black Metal band and this is their third album.

Pogavranjen are one of many Post-Black Metal bands who are not content with the base genre and are intent on pushing boundaries and experimenting with the genre to help them get to the sound they want. In this case, this means twisting the core style in avant-garde, progressive, jazz and psychedelic ways, mutating it into the end result on Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem.

In addition to the standard instruments, the band use keyboards, synths, trumpets and trombones to achieve their vision. All of these are well-played and the musicians clearly know what they’re doing, whether it’s playing more straightforward parts, more involved, jazz-inspired free-form chaos, or building atmosphere with grim intent.

Coming across as a curious mix of Ephel Duath, Arcturus, Manes and Solefald, the band spend 45 minutes building up intricate and textured soundscapes, taking the listener on a compelling journey into the abyss.

The vocals mainly consist of well-performed cleans that are full of presence and an authoritarian charisma. They immediately catch the attention and provide a focal point while the music travels down multiple paths of darkened delights.

Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem is a real slow-burner of an album, requiring multiple listens to truly give up its secrets, and even then it keeps some back, jealous of its esoteric knowledge. It’s worth the effort though, as Pogavranjen’s avant-garde stylings are definitely on the right-side of quirky and this album is full of impressive sounds and moods.

Recommended.

Convulsif – CD3 (Review)

ConvulsifConvulsif are from Switzerland and this is their third album.

Well this is quite insane. Imagine Ephel Duath, Fantômas, Blut Aus Nord, Atomsmasher and Sunn 0))) all working together to bring on the apocalypse…it’s intense.

The recording is first rate, with everything sounding clear and precise, but not overly so. I especially like the bass presence, which provides a full contribution to the aural chaos.

This features eclectic Metal, freestyle Jazz and Progressive workouts as well as Drone/Doom sections, all plastered together in a melange of Blackened undertones. What to classify this as? Who knows, but it’s pretty damn good. I suppose you could loosely term it Experimental Black Metal, but Convulsif are a band that genre tags just don’t work for.

There are no guitars, which makes CD3 an even more interesting listening experience. Instead, we get drums, bass, clarinet, violins and electronica. Just what the (mad) doctor ordered.

And when you think you’ve heard it all, they do something else that makes you sit up and take notice. The unexpected, demented screaming that suddenly appears just when you’ve taken them for an instrumental band is a case in point.

This is highly creative and individual music that nonetheless manages to create coherent atmospheres across these 29 minutes. The eerie sounds and otherworldly noises emanating from this recording is a testament to the talent of the individuals involved in its birth.

CD3 just needs to be experienced. This is challenging, interesting music that demands your attention.

I love this. What’s not to love? You’ll love it too. LOVE IT!

Singularity – Singularity (Review)

SingularityThis is the debut album from US Black Metal band Singularity.

Technical Black Metal is not the most common of sub-genres, especially Symphonic Technical Black Metal, which is what this essentially is.

The synths are heavy and thick and give the band a colourful sheen under which to ply their trade. Said trade consists of sharp, crazy guitar work, widdly bass and precision-point drums. It’s as if a band like Dimmu Borgir had overdosed on Technical Death Metal and angular riffs in the style of some of Mayhem’s work. It also puts me in mind of the first Ephel Duath album.

The songs are still here though. This is an enjoyable riff-fest with inhuman drumming and layers of atmosphere and jagged darkness.

The technicality and Blackened atmospheres combine in a way that most bands never attempt and the resulting mix of styles works primarily because they never sacrifice the songs for the riffs. The playing is very impressive but the Black Metal framework always reins them in before they become overbearing or surplus to the needs of the song.

That being said, there is certainly a lot of flash playing on this album, but as I say – it works.

The tracks are quite varied as the guitars never stop and are always interesting and entertaining. The singer gives his all to the screams; they’re high pitched and very pointed. The cleans that appear are professionally delivered also; another string to Singularity’s impressive bow.

The production is top quality and everything sounds crisp and clear. You can really hear every note.

Singularity is extremely impressive in many ways. I always like a band that puts a different spin on things and the rampant technicality on this album really gives them a flavour all of their own. The fact that they mix this with a Symphonic base and have managed to produce an enjoyable set of songs without everything sounding messy or forced speaks volumes about their talent.

Take a chance on this and listen to it now.

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.