Archive for BlackSabbath

Black Sabbath – 13

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , , , on 2nd August 2013 by Paul

Black Sabbath
13
Released June 10th, 2013
Heavy Metal
Released Via Vertigo Records

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In 1970, this Birmingham quartet created the first Heavy Metal album and gave birth to the genre that would go on to conquer the underground music scene for the next four decades. Legend has it that the band took their name from Boris Karloff’s horror film Black Sabbath after wondering if people would pay for a similar Gothic and disturbing experiencing from music. What resulted was an unholy orgy between Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Prog, and no small parts of Psychedelia, Lovecraftian horror and nuclear anxiety that today is infamously known as the Devil’s music: Heavy Metal. Tony Iommi, having lost the tips of some of his fingers in an accident at a sheet metal factory created his own unique style of playing guitar with dropped tuning and incorporating the so-called “devil’s tritone”, leading to the creation of the heavy, riff driven music the band would go on to define. Thus it can truly be said that the music of Heavy Metal was quite literally created in an industrial accident.

After going through many line-up changes, and releasing over ten albums throughout their decades long career, the band have finally returned in (almost) their original line-up. Sadly, Bill Ward declined to join due to contract negotiations going sour, and is replaced here by Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk. The end result is surprising and pleasing.

13 has a lot of things going for it. After the lacklustre Sabbath albums of the 90s, Tony Iommi has fortunately found his stride once more, following on from the well-received Heaven and Hell album The Devil you Know, the album features some of the band’s strongest song writing since Born Again. Once more, the gothic, occult theme has returned, with many of these songs resembling the band’s first eponymous song, and with recognisable progressive elements that made Vol. 4 and Sabotage innovative. Having Ozzy back is a big plus also, and the band effortlessly step back into their roles as a cohesive unit. Despite these strengths, the album often comes across as slow and plodding, which isn’t so much of a problem for long term fans and those that recognise the band’s influence on Doom Metal, but won’t win the band any new converts. It’s unlikely that any of these songs will become regular rock radio staples or appear on the Iron Man 4 soundtrack, but that’s OK, as this album is full of good moments and will sell well due to band’s deserved rabid cult following. Those new to the band would be better off sticking to the anthems on Paranoid that made the band into revered legends.

There are also certain trademark Sabbath elements that are missing. The album could certainly benefit from some more of the acoustic work that livened up previous Sabbath albums and showcased their underappreciated versatility. The album also lacks a solid, no-frills headbanger like Paranoid, instead making its statement to the world with the single God Is Dead. A great song no doubt, but at eight minutes long and with a tedious pace it is unlikely to have great appeal to the average festival-goer who just wants four minutes of catchy riffs and a sing-a-long chorus. The fact that this song is the second on the album, and follows on from the similar and also eight minutes long album opener End of the Beginning is proof that the band is doing things on their own terms and isn’t interested in reinventing the wheel or creating an album of radio hits, instead making an album that feels more deep and contemplative. And why not? After all if anyone deserves to take this route, it should be a band as influential and successful as Black Sabbath who don’t really have anything to prove to anyone except that after all this time, the original line-up can still make decent music; and they have definitely succeeded. This album will likely grow in its appeal over time and contains much of what made the band great – epic, apocalyptic riffing, gloomy atmosphere, and most importantly a sense of dread and anxiety that distinguished the band from the love and peace hippy bands that saturated the sixties and seventies. Best moments include End of the Beginning, God Is Dead?, Age of Reason, Zeitgeist, Dear Father, and Live Forever. It may not match their 70s masterpieces, or become a legendary comeback album resembling Painkiller, but this is a great record that features a band returning to what made them great and will most definitely please long term listeners.

4.5/5

Paul Gibbins

 

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Church Of Misery – Master Of Brutality [2001]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 17th January 2012 by vmteam

Band: Church of Misery
Album: Master of Brutality
Release Year: 2001
Genre: Stoner/Doom Metal

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Firstly, for those unfamiliar with this band (I counted myself in that category prior to this review), Church of Misery are a 4-piece Stoner Metal band from Tokyo who have been serving up serial killer inspired riffy goodness since 1995. Their debut album "Master of Brutality" features 6 tracks, of which 5 are based on and titled after infamous serial killers and the other is a particularly pleasing cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll".

First track "Killfornia" is  written about Edmund Kemper whose voice also provides the disturbing spoken word intro. It’s a good minute and a half before any actual music is heard and it’s the bass that kicks off proceedings with a distortion/wah pedal combo and choice of riff that brings to mind early Black Sabbath song "N.I.B". From here on in low-tuned fuzz-saturated guitar is the order of the day, and another slab of riffs heavier than a bag of Bieber’s hate mail is served up for your aural pleasure. Vocalist Yoshiaki Negishi remains on full throttle throughout, sounding like the chain-smoking bastard child of Lemmy and Matt Pike whilst drummer Junji Narita keeps everything tied down solidly and refrains from any ambitious overplaying.

Further on "Ripping Into Pieces", "Megalomania" and album closer "Master of Brutality" offer more of the same ; bass-heavy sound, plethora of Iommi-inspired riffs and Negishi’s razor-blade gargling vocals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but at times it can seem quite drawn out and possibly formulaic. The instrumental track however  "Green River" does offer a glimpse of a slightly different side of the Church of Misery coin.It’s an altogether more spacey affair and serves as a temporary respite from the sledgehammer approach taken everywhere else.

The other song featured on this disc is the previously mentioned cover of "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll",and I have to say it’s possibly my favourite track of the 6. The original song is a time tested rock staple and at the fingertips of countless would-be guitar heroes the riff has assaulted every guitar shop that hasn’t banned it. What Church of Misery have done is taken an already great track and turned it up to 10, bringing out the heaviness and improving ( in my opinion ) on the feel of the track.

Both structurally and lyrically however, I feel the album fails to broaden the heights of creativity,but then that is not what this genre of music is about. It’s about hard-hitting, in your face metal and there is no arguing that these 4 guys from Japan have achieved that. "Master of Brutality" is quite an obvious play on "Master of Reality" (3rd studio album by Black Sabbath and blueprint for all things doom related!) and their influence is worn firmly on their sleeves throughout the whole album. If you’re looking for something new and ground breaking then perhaps give this a miss, but if you’re a fan of early Black Sabbath and crave a bit more of the same with a slightly modern edge then you could do much worse than check out this album!

3.5/5

Reece Wilde