Archive for November, 2012

Sinister – The Carnage Ending

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 26th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Sinister
The Carnage Ending
Released 28th September, 2012
Death Metal
Massacre Records

Having been around for more than 20 years and still thriving in the metal scene, Swedish death metal band Sinister has definitely hit home with their newest full length album, The Carnage Ending. This album is full of memorable riffs, epic headbanging parts, and just an overall punishing sound that will literally give you chills by its shear awesomeness. This album is easily up to par, if not better, than their previous albums and has a consistent sound and style that defines them as a band.

The album starts with an intro song, Gates of Bloodshed, and for those who are fans of Sinister will know that they’re pretty fond of using intro songs on their albums. The buildup of the intro then is immediately followed with Unheavenly Domain’s opening riff. That heaviness is carried consistently through the rest of the album while being mixed with some slower parts as well.

The song Crown of Thrones is one song that stood out to me on this album. The song starts off slow, gradually building you up until you think it’s just about to get into the faster part, and then it stops and starts the buildup process all over again. While this was certainly a tease, I feel that the unexpected pause added more anticipation in wanting to hear the song and definitely got me more pumped. One other song that stuck out to me was Defamatory Content. This song gave me goosebumps in that the mix of slow, groovy riffs paired with the faster, neck-breaking riffs just made the song not only more interesting but I feel that it added to the heaviness as well.

2012 is just an overall good year for death metal, and Sinister definitely adds to that with this album. Their easily distinguishable vocals paired with their familiar guitar sound and blast beats makes this band a favorite of mine and will hopefully be a favorite of yours too. This album was beyond the expectations I had and I praise Sinister for still delivering brutal music even after all these years.

5/5

Lauren Gowdy

 

Cerebral Bore Vocalist Simone “Som” Pluijmers Leaves Cerebral Bore With Shawn Whitaker As Replacement

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

It’s sad to say that Simone “Som” Pluijmers has left death metal band Cerebral Bore and will no be seen on their current tour with Dying Fetus and Cattle Decapitation. While growing a steady fan base in the United States for the last year, it will upset many who have grown to love the band and may not have gotten a chance to see Som dish out her brutal vocals.

A statement was issued from the band about Som’s decision to leave on their Facebook page:

Som walked out on us less than 24 hours before the US tour, and we were forced to either cancel or go ahead with it as an instrumental if need be.  We didn’t want to let our US fans down, so we went ahead with our buddy Shawn Whitaker on vocals for the tour.  Show us your support and make Shawn feel at home, he saved us from a disaster.

This statement was then followed by an alleged reason from Som on why she left the band [I haven’t found the original source of this quote but have seen it on Som’s official Facebook fan page and a couple other websites as well]:

I decided to leave because Paul McGuire treated me bad… And him saying I walked out on them like I’m a bitch is ridiculous.  I’m not a diva, I had to do this for my own happiness and safety.  He wouldn’t let us have an own opinion or wouldn’t let me have friends and screamed at us all the time.  I’m sorry but I was too unhappy with him and had to leave.  There was more going on than this but if he’s gonna start bullshit than I’m more than happy to tell you guys the truth.  I had to do this for me and thought about fans etc. it was a difficult decision… But for the best.

More will probably unfold from this story as this news is fairly sudden and a bit sparse for Cerebral Bore fans to fully understand. Based on this alleged statement Som made, it seems that there may have been problems within the band for quite some time.

Shawn Whitaker [Insidious Decrepancy] has taken up filling in as vocalist on The Blood of Power Tour which ends next month.

The Addication – The Addication

Posted in CD, Metal on 25th November 2012 by izaforestspirit

The Addication
The Addication
Due for release/Released: December 2012
Thrash Metal
Released via: Inverse Records

‘The Addication’ is the self-titled debut album from Finnish thrash metal band.

The opening track ‘Burning Down’ offers some fast paced, powerful guitar riffs, solo and vocals akin to the Finnish speed thrash metal legends Stone. A promising start so far… Then the vocals suddenly change for the worse on the next track ‘From The Ashes’. This is a shame because the rest of the music, especially the guitar riffs is actually pretty good.

Sadly this vocal change seems to stick like glue, with the rest of the album following the same pattern. The lead vocals resemble a mixture of wailing and howling which means that the rest of the musicians, particularly the guitarists, have to work that much harder to make amends. Take ‘Last Seconds On Earth’ for instance, it has a promising start with the thrash metal guitars and even the vocals are ok for a while then the wailing starts again. Luckily there’s a good guitar solo in there which provides some relief to my ears before the dreaded vocals resume. Then there’s ‘Rust’ with its melodic, acoustic guitar parts at the start of the track which highlight the bad vocals even more. I mean – let’s face it; the speed thrash metal style guitar riffs are the only thing that actually stands a chance of masking the cringe-worthy vocals. Good thing the song picks up the pace later on which makes it listenable though still not great.

It’s really difficult to find a track with some potential as they are all tainted with the aforementioned crappy vocals. ‘My Testament’ has some decent guitar solos and Machine Head style riffs, just try to ignore the vocals and you might actually enjoy it! Then there’s ‘Out From The Inferno’ with quite possibly the best intro of the album thanks to the opening guitar riffs, shame that they had to add the howling vocals.

2/5

Iza Raittila

Incursed – Fimbulwinter

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 23rd November 2012 by izaforestspirit

Incursed
Fimbulwinter
Due for release/Released: November 2012
Epic Viking Metal/ Pagan Metal/Folk Metal
Released via Label: Unsigned

‘Fimbulwinter’ is the second album from the Spanish viking metal band Incursed. It is the follow up to their 2010 debut ‘Morituri’. The band has been compared to the likes of legendary viking and folk bands such as Ensiferum, Falkenbach and Mithotyn.

Now, I don’t think I’m the only who has trouble trying to piece together a link between the Vikings and Spain… Oh well.. nevermind, onto the music…

After the symphonic or should I say “epic” (read Ensiferum-style) instrumental intro track ‘Endless, Restless, Relentless’, it’s straight into some pagan metal with ‘Svolder’s Battle’ sounding like mixture of Korpiklaani and Falkenbach with hints of the aforementioned Ensiferum and possibly even Alestorm. Ok, so there’s no real accordions in here but the keyboard and guitars do a pretty good job of ensuring that the song is still catchy. Similar things can be said for the next track ‘Ginnungagap’, which has more of that symphonic feel to it due to the keyboards. The one thing which lets this song down are the vocals, as there are moments when I really can’t make out a single word that this guy is trying to say.

It’s pretty clear that these guys are really into Ensiferum as some of the song structures resemble those of the Finnish folk metal legends. One example of this are the vocal patterns on ‘Jörmungandr’. ‘Homeland’ features a somewhat unusual acoustic guitar intro but then it resumes the pre-set path of the previous tracks offering more of the same Ensiferum-esque folk metal melodies. One thing that sets these guys apart is their Spanish accents which are ever the more audible on the tracks where you can actually make out the words.

This album does have a few surprises, though. One of them is the country and western themed elements of ‘Nordwaldtaler’, which are sandwiched neatly between the folk metal style guitars and keyboards. Another noteworthy track is the catchy instrumental ‘Finnish Polka which really highlights the skills of both of guitarist and the keyboard player.

3/5 – It’s a very Nordic, folk metal sounding album by a Spanish band. I’m somewhat confused by this and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Iza Raittila

Venial Sin – Sphere of Morality

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 23rd November 2012 by -Scorpius-

Venial Sin
Sphere of Morality
Black/Death/Melodic Metal
Infekted Records
Released: 2012

Venial Sin are a four piece extreme metal band from Villa Real in Portugal, they consist of Renato Sousa on Lead Vocals, Predo Matos on Guitar, Vocals and Synths, Paulo Padrao on Bass Guitar and Helder Guedes on Drums. The band aren’t easily categorized but have elements of Death Metal, Black Metal and some more melodic elements, blended with some very dark and atmospheric elements.
Their album, Spheres of Morality which I am reviewing here was released in 2012 via Infekted Records.

Track one is entitled, A New Rose, which starts off with a really interesting riff on the guitars and bass shortly progressed by some really intense guttural vocals and some great rhythmic parts and harmonizing guitar parts, then there’s an acoustic sounding segment with clean vocals and some cymbal work on the drums.
One thing I would like to note about this track is that the drums sound fantastic, they are really full and played flawlessly by drummer Helder. A New Rose is a really good track, it is rhythmic yet melodic which can often be a hard balance to find but the guys at Venial Sin have found it and executed that balance with some style, there are some great atmospheric background sounds on this track which caught my attention and overall this track has a nice contrast between it’s heavy and light elements.

Next up is a track called, Prepared for Battle, the title does not disappoint either! The first thing that strikes me about this track is the guitar tone, they have got that sound just right I feel, there is some great drumming with really interesting rhythms at play on this track, some brilliant blast beats and perfect double bass pedal work on the drums. This is quite a Black Metal sounding track, without sounding clichéd either! I like the use of overlapping duel vocals and the bass guitar really compliments the guitar parts, towards the end of the track softer vocals come in which are intermixed with the familiar guttural vocals and the track starts to take a on a rather ethereal quality to it, especially with its guitar solo!

Novembers Fall is the third offering on this album and it starts with acoustic sounds and some great ambiance, there’s some great guitar picking and a nice chord jangle at the end of the main riff at the beginning before it get’s into a really mournful and depressing feel, the guttural vocals are slow and droning and that’s intermixed once more with the softer vocal, giving this track a very somber feel. One thing I did notice at one point with this track is that the softer vocal does a harmony which is very reminiscent of a vocal phrase that Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant does in Stairway to Heaven, the similarities to it are striking and I don’t know if it was a conscious thought out idea to have that in there or if it was just a natural organic thing that happened. My overall thoughts on this track is that it is very mournful and depressing, great if you want to listen to such a track.

Track four is entitled, Real End and it is definitely the ballad track of this album, it starts off with some electronic keyboards in its intro which is shortly followed by the Bass Guitar, Drums and Soft Vocal and there are some really nice harmonies on this track, I found it to be very contemplative and introspective and it really makes the listener look inside of themselves, as I am sure was the intention of the band with this track, around the 3 minutes mark the heavy vocals comes in and the tempo steps up somewhat.

Vanishing Death is the penultimate track on this album, it has a very fantasy almost computer game feel to this track and I don’t mean that in a negative way, it sounds like it could be part of a soundtrack to one of the Final Fantasy games, there are some interesting guitar and drum parts and a nice overall rhythm. It has a great progression as the song goes on and almost has a battle feel to it, like your about to face a level boss on a computer game. An interesting track indeed!

The Title track of this album, Sphere of Morality is the final track on this album, which I found to be quite an odd but not unwelcome position on the album itself. This track starts with a Death Metal feel to it and has some nice choppy rhythmic parts and it is quite a technical track, I like the duel layered heavy vocals and the drumming once again is top notch, there is some very impressive double bass pedal work which really shows off the drummers skill.
There is more synth in the background of this track and at approximately 2 minutes 20 seconds into this track all the instruments stop playing and the listener is momentarily left with just synth before they kick back in again, I get a feel of finalisation and that the album has come full circle with this track and perhaps that is why the band decided to place the title track at the end of the album, the track then ends with some synth that slowly fades away and your left with the sounds of a Portuguese night, with crickets and various nightlife painting a picture of a late summers night.
On the CD there are two final tracks labelled, Part I and Part II although they share the same track as the previous song, Sphere of Morality. It’s hard to define which is Part I and Part II to be honest, the fire sounds give way to some electronic keyboard and some synth which is shortly joined by some reverbed flute sounds, which soon takes over the track, it’s a very ambient sound and I would also go further to classify it as electronic easy listening.
My personal opinion here is that the band should of left out this electronic part and ended the album with the sounds of the night and the fire, for me that would have been a far more satisfying end to the album.

To Summarise, Sphere of Morality is not that bad of an album if you want to sit and listen to something that’s going to transport you to another place or another way of thinking, if your expecting track after track of heaviness and brutality then you will be sorely disappointed, yes there are times when there is heaviness but I wouldn’t personally call it a brutal heaviness, more of a doom metal kind of heaviness to me but that however is just my opinion.
What I will say though and in no way am I being negative or derogatory here, I think this album would make a great soundtrack to a video game, a fantasy based game such as Final Fantasy X as a lot of the ideas really reminded me of the soundtrack to that game, I really think the band should approach some games developers as if they can get their album used as a soundtrack, if not in part to a game I really think they would make a lot of money with it!

I do not wish to make the entirety of my summary of this album to be a pitch to have this made into a video game soundtrack however, so here are a few more of my thoughts.

This album has the potential to span and cross various musical genres in my opinion and a great potential to win a lot of fans who may not usually listen to this type of music, I found it to be very accessible and I am sure new listeners will too. If you have never heard this album I would recommend it to you all, take a listen to it just once to see if it is your cup of tea as it may well be or it may not be but still take the time to give it a try as I did, I don’t think any listener would be sorely disappointed with it at all but I do think the listener would have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind to make this album a regular listen. For me it would be an album that I would put on now and again to perhaps lift my mood or have it playing in the background. All in all a pretty good effort by Venial Sin and I think the band will progress nicely and their next release will have a natural and well deserved progression.

3/5

~Scorpius~

Local supports announced for Korpiklaani Manchester and Glasgow shows

Posted in News with tags , , on 22nd November 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Korpiklaani will be hitting the road with Metsatoll all over Europe in February and will be hitting the UK for several dates. Local supports have been announce for Korpiklaani’s Manchester and Glasgow dates.

Opening up for Korpiklaani in Manchester will be folk metal outfit Andraste, who are renowned in the north of England for their unique blend of folk elements and hard hitting metal sound, while symphonic black metallers Morlich will be opening up for Korpiklaani in Glasgow.

Tickets are available form the usual outlets and full tour dates are below:

January
30 – Essen, Germany – Turock
31 – Norwich, England – Waterfront

February
1 – Glasgow, Scotland – Classic Grand – With Morlich opening
2 – Manchester, England – The Academy – With Andraste opening
3 – Dublin, Ireland – Button Factory
4 – London, England – Underworld
5 – Colmar, France – Grillen
6 – Paris, France – Divan Du Monde
7 – Rennes, France – Antipode
8 – Cognac, France – West Rock
9 – Madrid, Spain – Caracol
10 – Barcelona, Spain – Razz2/Salamandra1
11 – Toulouse, France – Bikini
12 – Lyon, France – CCO
14 – Solothurn, Switzerland – Kofmehl
15 – Chur, Switzerland – Palazzo
16 – Reggio Emilia, Italy – Tempo Rock
17 – Turin, Italy – Combo@Suoneria
18 – Rome, Italy – Orion
19 – Treviso, Italy – New Age
20 – Maribor, Slovenia – Stuk
21 – Bratislava, Slovakia – Majestic Music Club
22 – Budapest, Hungary – Club 202
23 – Ingolstadt, Germany – Westpark

 

Play With Drugs – Drugland vol.1

Posted in Industrial on 21st November 2012 by izaforestspirit

Play With Drugs
Drugland vol.1
Due for release/Released: Summer 2010
Industrial/ Electronica
Released via Label: Use More Grass

‘Drugland vol.1’ is the debut album from the American industrial band and Vampire Freaks user Play With Drugs. The band was formed back in 2010 by DJ Maysin. The album as well as the new single are both available for free download from the band’s page on the Vampire Freaks Digital Music Store.

Now, considering the band’s name and the title, I don’t think need to say much more about the album’s main theme: drugs and the joys of taking them recreationally. So it’s no surprise that they have song titles like ‘Under The Influence’ and ‘The Perfect High’. Musically speaking this is dance floor – friendly, instrumental electronica.

The aforementioned opening track ‘Under The Influence’ sets the scene with some synth tunes that gradually pick up the pace as the song progresses. Time to get ready for a night out. By ‘MDMA’ you’re already at the club and you’re off straight to the dance floor. It’s full speed ahead as you show off your moves and believe me, this track might be short but its catchy synth and drum machine combo really does get you moving. ‘Perfect High’ has a slow start but, much like it’s predecessors, it’s not long before it picks up the pace and reveals its true colors as another dance track.

The ambient/atmospheric undertones in ‘The End Of All Things’ give the song a different kind of feel compared to the rest of the album. That particular song is also slower, lacks the dance floor feel and the overall structure seems a bit more complex as well. Then everything comes to an end with ‘Soiled Memories’ combining the atmosphere of ‘The End Of All Things’ with some mid-pace synth melodies which gradually speed up towards the latter half of the song.

3/5

Iza Raittila