Maou Mindu – Grind Against Humanity (Review)

Maou MinduMaou Mindu are a deathgrind band from Canada and this is their debut EP.

Gotta love deathgrind. Taking the direct, lethal assault of grindcore and combining it with the extra depth that death metal can allow, it frequently marries the two together in strong and sexy ways. In the case of Maou Mindu, the results are very sexy indeed. Continue reading

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Hybrid Sheep – Hail to the Beast (Review)

Hybrid SheepThis is the second album from French death metal band Hybrid Sheep.

After the promise shown on 2014’s Free from the Clutches of Gods, Hybrid Sheep have now returned with another instalment of their modern death metal, and have showed some nice progress since their first opening release. Continue reading

Job for a Cowboy – Sun Eater (Review)

Job for a CowboyJob for a Cowboy are a US Death Metal band and this is their fourth album.

On this release Job for a Cowboy have refined their Death Metal further, adding a progressive sheen to their technical assault. Ambitious and bold, this is a game-changing release for the band in many ways, demonstrating that they are willing to do what it takes to reinvent themselves on their own terms.

The solid and modern Death Metal core of the band remains, but on Sun Eater this is complemented by additional ideas and different flourishes to what they have tried before, including nicely wandering basslines and progressive Metal explorations that truly flesh out their sound more than in the past. On Sun Eater it seems they have really pushed the envelope with their experimentation.

It’s really good to see a band that are not content to stay the same with every release; while still retaining their own identity the band have moved forwards with their style and embraced a more Death/Cynic aspect in addition to what they have previously done. This enhanced songwriting is apparent throughout this album.

The songs are complex, varied, layered and have a lot going on. Entwined melodies and eccentric grooves create all manner of intriguing soundscapes. The bass, which is always something I love to hear, is a major player in the band’s updated sound.

Note should also be made of their singer. Although he’s always had a charismatic growl, his performance on Sun Eater is probably his most diverse and enjoyable yet, with his growls and screams being flawlessly delivered and well-judged. His engaging vocal rhythms remain intact, even though the music has morphed and mutated around them.

Due to the above, Sun Eater offers less instant gratification than its predecessors, but repeated spins shows this to be a positive thing as the album grows on you like a plague, (in a good way).

Having successfully fully transitioned to this new progressive Death Metal style, this album is hugely impressive.

For fans of Obscura, Gorguts and the like, this is damn near essential.

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.

Gorepunch – Give ‘Em Hell (Review)

GorepunchGorepunch are from the US and this is their début album. They play Death Metal.

Comprised of members and ex-members from veteran groups such as Fear Factory, Aborted, System Divide and Malignancy, Gorepunch already have a lot of experience. Give ‘Em Hell makes the most of this and wastes no time in getting to the heart of the matter – blood, guts and blasting brutality. Remember, the quickest way to the heart is through the ribcage.

Their album has an interesting approach to Death Metal that takes some influence from Grindcore but largely adopts a split between Technical Death Metal and a state-of-the-art modern approach, resulting in an album that’s just at home slaying you with a direct approach or flaying you alive with an off-centre complicated attack. It’s a formula that results in a Modern Death Metal album with its putrid fingers in enough different pies to keep you happy and focused throughout the 26 minutes playing time.

The songs are like an enjoyable beating and feature good playing, pummelling riffs and savage vocals. The band use enough melodics to keep things engaging, but don’t allow them to go overboard and detract from the brutality.

A really engaging release that satisfies those cravings for a short, sharp blast of aural carnage that still has some substance to the barbarity.

For fans of Aborted, Job for a Cowboy, The Kennedy Veil, Prostitute Disfigurement, Wormed, Alterbeast, Exhumed, Ichor, etc.

Amenthes – Destroyer of the Icon (Review)

AmenthesAmenthes are a US Death Metal band and this is their début EP.

Amenthes play Modern Death Metal with a hint of Grind and even Black Metal.

Vocals are various growls with added screams. Duties are shared between the main singer and a guitarist/bassist; they’re ably done and not without personality.

The music is darkly brutal and there’s enough character and passion to the riffs to help Amenthes stand out from the pack.

On this release Classic Death Metal riffing has been combined with more modern chops to create a blend of the old and new. This is added to on occasion by a Grindcore influence that allows the band to let their focused assault slip off and get a bit more frenzied. Some of the riffs have a slight Black Metal flavour to them, lending the band a dark feeling to some of the parts of the songs.

I can hear shades of Cannibal Corpse, Martyr Defiled, Decapitated, All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, Hiss from the Moat and others in their sound. It’s a good mixture that allows the band freedom to do what they want without losing the core brutality that all Death Metal has.

Blast beats and energetic riffs lead the way while the vocals snarl their way through the carnage. I enjoy a good solo and the band have got me covered in this respect too.

I like that there are a few different things going on here, with some nice ideas sharing space with the heavy Death Metal.

This is a very enjoyable release from a band who have real enthusiasm and the songs to match.

Highly recommended.

The Juliet Massacre – Human Abuse (Review)

The Juliet MassacreThis is the second album by Italian Death Metal band The Juliet Massacre.

This is modern Brutal Death Metal/Deathcore

The vocals consist of pig squeals, deathgrunts, screaming and even the odd semi-clean.

The songs blend blasting brutality with breakdowns and the odd melodic passage. While it’s modern and energetic, unlike a lot of Deathcore bands The Juliet Massacre remember the Death Metal side of the Deathcore equation.

This will probably be a bit too “-core” for a lot of pure Death Metal fans, which is a shame as there’s a decent amount of brutality to be had here. The songs don’t let up and the album supplies the requisite hit of aggression.

I enjoyed this. With a slightly stronger sound and a little tightening up in the songwriting department The Juliet Massacre could easily ascend to the big leagues. Until then, I’ll still be listening to this again in the future.

For fans of Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder and Job for a Cowboy.

Ichor – Depths (Review)

IchorIchor are from Germany and play Death Metal. This is their third album.

Who doesn’t love a bit of Modern Death Metal? I know I do. Sharp and tight, played with just the right hint of Deathcore and heavier than a barrelful of spanners? Sign me up!

Take a look at the album cover – you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you like bands such as The Kennedy Veil, Wormed, Alterbeast, Job for a Cowboy, Bloodtruth, Deep in Hate, etc. then this is another must.

This is brutal music played for the love of carnage and all things destructive. Lightning riffs and chugging menace work alongside inhuman drumming and lethal intent.

The vocals are aggressive growls that trade off with scything screams. The vocalist clearly knows his business and puts in a top-rate performance.

These songs have the requisite speed and brutality to them but I also like the energetic riffing and dynamic nature of the guitars. There’s also somewhat of a Morbid Angel/Behemoth feel to some of the guitar parts, which is a different angle that differentiates them from some of their similar peers.

There are some nice ideas and interesting enhancements on this, a good example is the added orchestration that infuses some of the songs and creates another layer of atmosphere to the proceedings. Top work.

I particularly enjoy some of the lead guitarwork and there are plenty of solos to satisfy as well, which is something I really like too. These chaotic melodics work well with the hardened brutality of Ichor’s core and the songs come alive with a darkness that sometimes even borders on the edge of Blackened Death Metal.

Yes, yes; much like Swedish Death Metal I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff, but this really is a damn fine album. The cutting riffs, growling hatred and superior songwriting mean Ichor will be with me for some time to come.

Here’s to plumbing the depths…