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.

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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.

Mercy Brown – Mercy Brown (Review)

Mercy BrownThis is the début album from US band Mercy Brown. They play Metal.

This is a band that takes Heavy Metal and Death Metal, stitches them together and then sits back with satisfaction as its creation takes on a life of its own.

The music is on the harsher, heavier end of the spectrum and this is frequently augmented by more melodic moments and other Metal accoutrements.

The singer has a diverse voice, varying between deep growls, high screams and cleans. She has a powerful and charismatic voice no matter the style she sings in, and her different vocals work well with the more Death Metal-oriented music.

The band have a heavy sound that makes the most of their crushing delivery. This is Metal through and through. The sometimes-angelic female vocals shouldn’t make you think of bands like Lacuna Coil and Nightwish; this is more akin to Whitechapel mixed with Arch Enemy, only with clean vocals added in.

There’s a decent amount of stuff going on here. Apart from the straight-ahead Death Metal and Heavy Metal there’s plenty of other things happening to add depth and atmosphere. The band take the time to slow down and relax a bit on occasion, increasing the effectiveness of the heavier parts as well as these more reflective sections working well in their own right too.

I like this a lot as it’s a little different from the norm and well-delivered. Check them out.

Deep In Hate – Chronicles of Oblivion (Review)

Deep In HateThis is the third album from French Death Metallers Deep In Hate.

The band have a good line in both brutality and melody and combine the two nicely; crushing riffs and double-bass beatdowns compete with melodic leads and riffs.

This is a band who are fully comfortable at the modern end of the Death Metal spectrum without completely giving themselves over to Deathcore; although there is a healthy influence from that most maligned of subgenres it stays on the Death Metal side of the equation more often than not. The result? Aborted meets Beneath the Massacre meets Whitechapel with, as strange as this might sound, elements of Hypocrisy at their heaviest.

The sound is crystal clear and the band use this to show you exactly what they are capable of in all its visceral glory. This is modern Death Metal played proficiently and with the sole aim of battering and beating the listener into submission.

The added melodic parts are there to keep things from becoming one-dimensional however, and the sheer aggression and brutality of the band as a whole never allows the melodies to get too out of hand; you could never describe them as Melodic Death Metal, for example. It’s a winning brutality-to-melody-ratio; brutality clearly comes out on top but the melodic aspect holds its own when the songs need it.

The vocals are deep roars full of aggression and testosterone. These alternate with occasional higher screams. The singer takes his cues from the Aborted singer and shares a talent for interesting vocal rhythms and patterns.

Each of the songs has its own identity and is capable of being a ambassador for the band. No filler.

Kaotoxin Records seem to have a talent for sniffing out the very best of French Metal talent. Deep In Hate are their latest find; let them be yours too.