Coma Cluster Void – Thoughts from a Stone (Review)

Coma Cluster VoidThis is the second album from Coma Cluster Void, an experimental avant-garde metal band with an international background.

Coma Cluster Void’s debut album Mind Cemeteries was 45 minutes of dissonant, cryptic, esoteric death metal that took a few spins to fully appreciate, but when you did conquer its challenging extreme metal worldview, it yielded many rewards and treasures.

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Colosso – Obnoxious (Review)

ColossoColosso are a Portuguese death metal band and this is their second album.

I really enjoy Colosso’s earlier work, (Abrasive Peace, for example), so Obnoxious is a release I was looking forward too.

The band have a track record of experimentation with their sound and looking to better themselves however they Continue reading

Manipulation – Ecstasy (Review)

ManipulationManipulation are a Polish Death Metal band and this is their third album.

Manipulation play muscular Modern Death Metal with plenty of attack and some interesting twists to the standard formula.

Blast beats and chugging mid-paced carnage are the order of the day, but the band also throw in some unexpected atmospheric moments throughout, via the inclusion of melodic guitars, subtle keyboards, choral-like cleans, etc.

Add to this experimentalism some ultra-modern riffs and Deathcore influences and you have 44 minutes of engaging Extreme Metal, the likes of which Poland always seems to do so well.

The songs are well-written and, as mentioned previously, Manipulation aren’t afraid to experiment or try new things, which is great to hear. This edge of Progressive Metal is buried within their core sound, but really does add to their delivery. When these elements mix with blasting extremity or heavy grooves it all comes together very nicely indeed.

The vocalist has a passionate and dynamic growl that fits the music well, giving them the Death Metal anchoring they need as well as enough variety to move beyond this and into more emphatic territories.

Energetic brutality with a playful spin on the genre; this is really, really impressive.

Highly recommended.

For fans of Thy Art Is Murder, Aborted, All Shall Perish, Cryptopsy, Gorod, Molotov Solution, Whitechapel, etc.

The Big Jazz Duo – Enemy (Review)

The Big Jazz DuoThe Big Jazz Duo arre from Italy and this is their début album.

Looking at the album cover and knowing the band’s name, you’d probably never guess that they play Death Metal. But they do; Experimental/Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore.

This is sickeningly heavy with grooves and breakdowns aplenty. Speed and brutality are also present, as are pignoise vocals and scathing screams.

There’s a Djent aspect to their sound too, which seems to go hand-in-hand with a lot of Deathcore.

The band also include orchestral interludes, atmospheric sections and the like in their sound, which immediately makes them more interesting and raises their game.

Deathcore and Djent are two sub-genres that can get very stale, very quickly, if not handled well. The Big Jazz Duo avoid this trap by mixing these up with more traditional Death Metal and a melodic edge, as well as the more experimental aspects of their sound.

The songs are well written and the band understand the need for dynamics and pacing. A very polished and strong production rounds off the package and ensures that the songs have the best chance to shine.

These songs may be largely quite short but they’re packed to the rafters with goodies. Heavy groove, blasting carnage and atmosphere all merge together to create a listening experience that, in all honestly, makes me really fucking happy. I can always tell when I’m getting into an album when I start spontaneously bouncing along to it without realising. As you do.

If you imagine a cross between The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Xehanort then you’ll be on the right lines.

So, Brutal Death Metal, Djent, Deathcore, melody, atmosphere, orchestration…all in 31 minutes and all very well-written? I’m sold!

An extremely impressive album, especially considering the oft-dreaded Deathcore/Djent aspects of their sound.

Very highly recommended.

Ataxia – Calignious (Review)

AtaxiaAtaxia are a Canadian Death Metal band and this is their début album.

This is sharp Death Metal with a technical twist.

The band have a well-produced sound that’s tight and focused. Good musicianship means that the band know how to widdle and lots of technical muscles are flexed.

The singer has a decent growl that seems to come straight from the depths of somewhere dark and evil.

Ataxia are a band who are trying to do something slightly different with the Death Metal template. Yes, to the untrained eye this is essentially Death Metal, but to the connoisseur of such things Ataxia have enough of their own personality and ideas that are manifested in Calignious to cause you to sit up and take notice.

The band seem to prefer to embed their technicality into the very brutal essence of the songs as a general rule, as there are surprisingly few solos or leads on this release. Most of the time the complicated fretwork makes up the bulwark of the rhythms and snakes around the blasting drums.

This is brutal, Technical Death Metal which takes its cues from the experimental sides of Atheist and Death as much as Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation.

I think it’s time to support the Metal underground once more and lay your hands on this.

De Profundis – Frequencies (Review)

De ProfundisDe Profundis are from the UK and this is their latest EP of Progressive/Technical Death Metal.

The band have a deep sound that showcases the technical riffing and aggressive nature of their music.

The drumming is all over the shop, but in a very good way; they’re not afraid of using unusual rhythms and off-kilter beats.

This description also applies to the rest of the music, although the band do throw in some melodies and leads here and there when needed.

Apart from the vocals, which are low and deep, the band remind of Death at their most Progressive and Experimental. Indeed; the last song out of the 4 tracks here is a Death cover of the song Crystal Mountain.

Brutality is still a factor in their sound though; this is Death Metal after all. This brutality is offset with sharpened riffs and fretboard exploration that never allows it to become too bludgeoning; rather this is extreme in a different way. It’s technically precise and musically demanding.

At 20 minutes in length this is a decent showcase for the band and allows them to display their musical wizardry to good effect.

A worthwhile listen.

Banisher – Scarcity (Review)

BanisherBanisher are from Poland and play Death Metal with a good deal of variety and interest.

This is Progressive/Technical/Experimental Death Metal.

I have enjoyed their previous full length, (Slaughterhouse), and was looking forward to hearing what the band have got up to on this, their second album.

They don’t disappoint. Death Metal played fast and hard but with some nice experimentation and technical flourishes thrown in for good measure. The band can certainly play and they know their way around the instruments. Crucially though they can also do simplicity very well and sometimes the riffs just crush!

The band may be heavy and brutal but they also incorporate some melody and atmosphere into the songs to keep things interesting. There are plenty of these moments scattered around the songs and mean that Banisher have a good amount of variety and longevity baked into these tracks.

A strong, clear sound means you can hear everything that the instruments are doing, (even the bass), and allows you to fully appreciate the various things that the band are putting into their songs.

This is catchy, extreme, brutal, technical, atmospheric and engaging in all of the right places. A lot of other death metal bands sound one-dimensional in comparison to this.

And the Benny Hill cover at the end of the album? Pure genius.

Warfather – Orchestrating the Apocalypse (Review)

WarfatherWarfather sees the return of ex-Morbid Angel growler Steve Tucker; he of the amazing Death Metal Premier League lungs.

His voice doesn’t disappoint on Orchestrating the Apocalypse and he puts in a fine performance full of character and passion. He has a clear, deep growl that nonetheless retains legibility of the majority of the lyrics.

Warfather play Morbid Angel-influenced Death Metal with a lot of ideas and interesting touches. Inventive rhythms, melodies, effects/sounds and even some choral vocals all appear in places. It’s clear that even though they play what is at its core Brutal Death Metal, they are not interested in limiting themselves and instead take the time to add a bit of experimentation into the mix. All of which is very welcome and adds a kind of pseudo-operatic theme to the album.

The tracks are full of expert guitar work; complex riffing, chaotic time-changes and a plethora of solos and flourishes. Each song is seemingly cobbled together from random bits of an Extreme Metal nightmare, and somehow given coherence by a sheer force of will of the musicians involved.

A challenging album that I feel is destined to be misunderstood by many; this is varied, interesting and recommended to anyone who likes a little bit of something different with their Metal.