The Ritual Aura – Tæther (Review)

The Ritual AuraThis is The Ritual Aura’s second album. They are an Australian technical death metal band.

Well, hold on to your hat, because you won’t be expecting this.

The Ritual Aura’s 2015 debut album Laniakea was a favourite of mine. At only 26 minutes in length it was a supremely enjoyable blast of cutting-edge death metal. Tæther is, to say the least, a lot more ambitious, lasting over 70 minutes in length. In many ways this seems like a different band altogether. Continue reading

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Azooma – The Act of Eye (Review)

AzoomaAzooma are a death metal band from Iran. This is their debut album.

This is progressive death metal that sees the band upping their game from their already quite impressive debut release A Hymn of a Vicious Monster. The Act of Eye continues and refines their style, mixing Opeth and Death with elements of more modern bands such as Obscura, Gorod and Gorguts. 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.

Innsmouth – The Shadow Over Innsmouth (Review)

InnsmouthInnsmouth are from Denmark and play Technical Death Metal. This is their début album.

This is Technical Death Metal with programmed drums and added subtle keyboard highlights.

Think bands like Nile, Necrophagist and Obscura and you’ll be in the right place.

The musicianship is impressive with shredding guitar solos peeling off all over the shop. The solos feel like an integral part of the band’s identity and they make a good impression.

The music is nicely varied with a healthy amount of brutality offsetting the technical capabilities of the band. Quality riffs and some good atmospheric sections rub shoulders with moments of chuggery and melodic leads. Inssmouth seem more than capable of keeping the listener interested and the songs on this album show a high degree of maturity of delivery and composition whilst simultaneously keeping things aggressive and direct.

The band have plenty of energy and show that they can use dynamics to good effect. These songs actually feel like songs rather than stitched together riffs, which is always a danger with the more technical side of Metal. Thankfully they seem to realise that the song comes first and everything else is just enhancement.

The vocals are quite daemonic and evil sounding, both deeper growls and higher screams.

The album’s production values are good and the music has a satisfying sound that hits the spot.

A most enjoyable release. This is Death Metal with interest, depth and a whole bucket-load of guitar shenanigans. I Like.