Wingless – The Blaze Within (Review)

WinglessWingless are a Polish metal band and this is their second album.

So strongly do I associate Poland with death metal, than upon seeing the album cover of The Blaze Within I immediately jumped to that conclusion with Wingless. Well, you know what they say about books and their covers… Continue reading

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Of the Sun – Before a Human Path (Review)

Of the SunOf the Sun are a progressive metal band from the US and this is their second album.

This is an interesting brand of progressive metal – Of the Sun essentially take the groove metal of bands like Pantera and Lamb of God and mix it with a bit of modern progressive music that has hints of Gojira, Mastodon and Alice in Chains in it. Continue reading

Ferium – Behind the Black Eyes (Review)

FeriumThis is the second album from Israeli Death/Groove Metal band Ferium.

Ferium’s début album Reflections was a lively and enjoyable album that mixed Death and Groove Metal in just the right amounts.

The first thing about Behind the Black Eyes that strikes me is that it’s a far more focused effort than their début; the total playing time, total number of songs and individual track lengths have all been pruned, showing a band who have gained experience in the last few years and have trimmed away the fat to leave a lean, aggressive Metal machine.

The band essentially employ the same format as they did previously – heavy riffs and groovy beats interspersed with elements of modern Metalcore and underscored by a Death Metal base – but this time it’s tighter and more direct. That’s not to say there’s no depth of songwriting here, rather, the band are now closer to the style they clearly want to play and are playing it as they know how best to do; with angry brutality and poised aggression.

The singer growls and barks his way through the tracks. He seems to have improved on his already very satisfactory earlier performance and on this latest release appears to have settled into his role even more comfortably than previously. His voice is quite versatile, with his many different vocalisations all intent on maximising aggression.

All of the songs are well written and demonstrate a band coming into their own. Interesting and nuanced riffs rub shoulders with simpler bruisers, resulting in satisfying songs that may take a direct approach but provide enough content so as to be worth returning to over time.

Well, Reflections was good, but this is better. Well done Ferium.

Highly recommended for fans of Whitechapel, Gojira, Lamb of God, Job for a Cowboy, Thy Art Is Murder, Meshuggah, etc.

Sanzu – Heavy over the Home (Review)

SanzuThis is the début album from Australian Modern Progressive Death Metallers Sanzu.

We’ve met Sanzu’s Gojira/Morbid Angel-inspired work before on their Painless EP, where they proved themselves to be an energetic and highly-promising addition to the world of Extreme Metal.

On Heavy over the Home Sanzu continue to develop their influences into something even more personable than previously. Although you can still readily identify the Gojira in their sound, for example, they’ve taken ownership of this even more than on their EP and Heavy over the Home is a force to be reckoned with.

It’s also a heavy force, as I suspect this word is used deliberately in the album title. Sanzu do heavy very well indeed. It’s hard to do your own thing when heavily influenced, (pun intended…), by such a recognisably distinctive band such as Gojira, but Sanzu have risen to the challenge by embracing their Morbid Angel-esque Death Metal side even further on this release, meaning that we end up with a kind of Gojira-gone-Death-Metal sort of album. This accomplishes two things; it allows the band to go their own way and make their sound much more their own, and also it sounds absolutely great.

Twisting, rolling rhythms and punishing grooves seem to trample and flatten from above, and the band’s melodic sensibilities, developed though they are, seem utterly incapable of blunting this crushing heaviosity. We wouldn’t have it any other way, of course.

The 45 minutes of music on this album allow the band to spread their wings and develop much further than on their first EP, and it’s very pleasing to see Sanzu metamorphosing into something more than their influences, something they can be proud to call their own.

In an utterly crushing display of super-heavy Death Metal, Sanzu destroy the opposition with ease and leave us with a top-quality album to enjoy in the smouldering ruins of what came before.

I’ll be playing this on heavy rotation from now on, that’s for sure. I advise you do too.

Voros – Diseased Deity (Review)

VorosVoros are a Death Metal band from Australia and this is their début album.

If heavy Death Metal with good riffs and pacing is your thing then look no further. Voros feature a thorough approach to Death Metal that sees them take the Classic style and infuse it with a modern energy.

Believe it or not, but Diseased Deity covers a lot of bases;  Death, Thrash, Progressive, Technical and Modern Metal are all thrown into the blender and feed into this Death Metal feast.

The vocals are savage shouts full of anger and hatred which seem to lash out of the music like diseased barbs. The singer has a touch of the Meshuggah about him, giving his voice a different edge to that of the normal Death Metal vocalist.

The songs are well-written and see the band showing off what they do, whether it’s riff-hungry, mid-paced Thrashing, faster complexity or blasting destruction.

I like the combination of older and modern influences that give this a feel of Lamb of God and Gojira conspiring together to cover Morbid Angel, Death and Immolation tracks. It’s a really good way to approach this album; modern fire with tried-and-tested Old-School steel. On Diseased Deity it all comes together perfectly and the songs are an interesting, varied and engaging vision of what the band want to achieve.

The various influences work together very well to produce an album that takes from several different styles, with the band having enough skill and talent to make it all their own. Diseased Deity is very impressive and these songs have both immediate appeal and longevity of delivery.

This is a great find. I recommend you get hold of this immediately.

Sanzu – Painless (Review)

SanzuSanzu are an Australian Death Metal band and this is their début EP.

This is Progressive Death Metal with a modern slant – kind of like a more extreme Gojira; Gojira mixed with Morbid Angel would be a good starting descriptor.

The grooves and heavy rhythms are immediate and effective, but there is more than meets the eye here and subsequent spins reveal deeper layers to the songs.

The meaty guitars pummel and destroy and the production on this release is absolutely immense. With this recording they could be playing anything and they’d still demolish buildings. As it is, combined with these huge, monstrous riffs they seem to peel off with wild abandon, Sanzu sound unstoppable.

They have the songs to back this up though, otherwise it would be all sonic carnage but no longevity. Gojira have such a distinctive sound that it’s easy for any band that even comes close to their style to sound like a rip off; although Sanzu are clearly influenced by Gojira they avoid sounding too much like them due to the more aggressive delivery and the other Death Metal influences in Sanzu’s sound.

Well. Listening to this for the first time on a Sunday morning I can faithfully report that it blew all of the early-morning cobwebs away and left me feeling energised. This is an EP that bears repeated listens though, as the first time around it’s all too easy to get fixated on the colossal guitars and miss a lot of the other stuff that’s going on.

If this is just their début EP, what’s next for Sanzu? For their first album I hope for the same huge sound and a further development of their Progressive Metal side, while still keeping the Death Metal brutality. If they can pull this off then we may just have a modern masterpiece on our hands.

Until then we have Painless. It is enough. For now.

A must listen.

Nero Di Marte – Derivae (Review)

Nero Di MarteNero Di Marte are from Italy and play Progressive Metal. This is their second album.

This is complex and dense music. There’s a lot of substance here, a lot to take in. Nero Di Marte are not your conventional band; they do things differently.

Rather than catchy riffs or hooks, instead they play riffs that merge and flow with each other to build up a complex tapestry over time. As the songs progress it becomes clear very early on that a lot of thought has gone into these compositions.

This is modern, heavy Prog; more akin to Gojira, Mastodon and Memories of a Dead Man than Dream Theater. This isn’t Post-Metal, but the band borrow the sense of dynamics and momentum-building that Post-Metal does so well and fuses them into their own sound.

These are masterfully crafted tracks that are as engaging as they are entrancing. The low-key vocals almost get lost in the churning maelstrom of guitars and percussive treats, yet they’re there, they add a lot to the already busy music and they help the band connect to the listener in a very visceral way.

Derivae sounds very warm, with the drums in particular having a very satisfying feel to them. This feels like real music, not just something pieced together and let loose with minimal feeling.

Overall, this is a thunderously strong album.

A rewarding and entrancing listen.

Memories Of A Dead Man – Ashes Of Joy (Review)

Memories of a Dead ManMemories Of A Dead Man are from France and play Modern Progressive Metal.

Here we have a band that merges Metal, Post-Metal, Hardcore and Sludge into one big compelling whole.

This is ambitious music that has the talent to back it up. This is Modern Progressive Metal in the style of Gojira or the excellent Eryn Non Dae – both also French; I wonder if there’s some strange conspiracy to inflict interesting, thoughtful music on the world…? Where do I sign up?

The songs meander and bruise, wander and startle. A pounding rhythm section backs up emotive guitar riffs and a voice like leather. At least that’s when the singer’s not softly crooning at you that is, which he doesn’t do very regularly but when he does it sounds very intimate.

The band will take you on a journey through melancholic atmospheres surrounded by walls of guitars and heavy riffs. The length of the songs work in favour of the band as they make the most of the freedom allowed them, irrespective of genre constraints or rules.

Music like this is full of ideas and quirks, whether it’s as simple as a certain riff in one song or the addition of female operatic vocals in another; the band create an impressive soundscape in which to dwell, and invite you to come join them and sample their world.

Memories Of A Dead Man have crafted a modern Metal treasure with Ashes of Joy. Let’s hope many people get to find it.

This is music for adventurers and explorers.