Nihilosaur “Hymn & Ruin” Album Review + Stream…

NIHILOSAUR

Hymn & Ruin – Digital Download

Independent – Released July 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Florian Analfox / Voices, Bass
Felix Geniusfix / Guitars, Samples
Tiwo Meiz / Drums

Review:

From the nether regions of Poland, Nihilosaur return with their 3rd full length album entitled “Hymn & Ruin”. Nihilosaur has a unique sound. I don’t feel that music needs to be categorized but it’s a lot easier to describe a band by their genre. Usually when I don’t know how to classify a band I’ll hit the net and check the usual places. Wikipedia is my go to but Wikipedia never heard of Nihilosaur. My next stop is Encyclopedia Metallum who list Nihilosaur as “Death Metal / Hardcore”. Even the shortest of listens leads me to believe that what they actually meant when they said “Death Metal / Hardcore” was “we don’t know”. Off to Nihilosaur’s Facebook page where they list their Genre as “Hymn and Ruin”…. That’s not a fucking genre. That’s the album title. I assume what they mean when they say their genre is “Hymn and Ruin” is “We don’t care”. I don’t think we can lump them into any category.

With that in mind, I think the best way to describe Nihilosaur’s sound is by conjuring up an image in your mind of the Nihilosaur itself. What would that be? First, the Nihilosaur is ancient & long dead but reanimated, presumably by some toxic waste and a few shots of lightning though no one knows for sure. Some of the Nihilosaur’s flesh was preserved in the tar pits from whence it came while some places the flesh is rotten, even decomposed to the bone. Its movements are slow. Despite having emerged from the pits a decade ago, tar is stuck to the Nihilosaur’s exterior. Flowing like molasses off its body with each movement, despite leaving a trail behind there seems to be no end to the muck. Nihilosaur is large, carnivorous and hungry – but not evil. No. Nihilosaur will devour you with indifference; not malevolence. He’s also horny as fuck.

Let’s see if we can complete the metaphor as we tour through the album. Starting with the cover, the analogy breaks down but let’s ignore that for just a minute. We’ve got a comic book style cover with an upright elephant with multiple arms, its trunk rammed into its gut. I guess it’s eating itself? I’m not really sure. The lettering of the band name looks eerily familiar and I’ll kick myself when I figure out where it’s from. Hopefully you’re reading this and yelling it at your screen, maybe I’ll hear you. Anyway, I have no clue on the significance of the elephant. Maybe it’s some sort of Nihilist symbolism though that’s a complete nonsense thought.

The album opens with a track called “No, No, No”. The heavily distorted guitars start the number, giving us a clue as to what comes next. The drums and bass of join the fray filling out a thick doom sound. Slow, melodic, distorted voices start creating eerie, ancient doom. They soon give way to death voices but quickly return to eerie again. Unfortunately none of the voices are discernible so I have no idea what this song is about. I agreed to review this album based on the band name alone (it’s so clever!!) and was hoping to hear what these guys have to say. The incomprehensible voices are a theme throughout the album. In fact the voices are turned down so they don’t stand out but rather blend in with the music. I suppose this is why the band calls them voices as opposed to vocals. It does suit the sound.

Moving on track to track, we have an atmosphere of thick goo. Imagine your lungs filling with tar. How they achieve such density with a 3 piece is beyond me. I would guess it has something to do with the heavy distortion and the blending of the voices which throughout the album go from eerie to death vocals to deep chants to low rumblings to screams.

Bimp Picture

Song titles like “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” and “A Bag of Bones” tell me the Nihilosaur is hungry…or perhaps he was. After all, it’s not a bag of drumsticks, it’s “A Bag of Bones”. Song titles like “Night is My Nudity” and “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?” tell me he’s horny… but then again, if “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” then he’s probably planning on working up an appetite during the orgy. Don’t go anywhere alone with the Nihilosaur unless you want to be dinner.

The album closes out with a track called “Reptile Parthenogenesis”. If you’re not aware, parthenogenesis is when an animal impregnates itself. Get ready for there to be many little Nihilosaurs running around having orgies and devouring whatever’s in their path. (Edit note: after writing this paragraph and submitting this review, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized what the elephant is doing to itself on the album cover… a little parthenogenesis action!!!).

Seriously though, it’s hard to take a band seriously when their members have names like Analfox and Geniusfix. I have to assume that they don’t take themselves too seriously either. That’s a trait I think is very admirable in music and musicians. It’s supposed to be fun. Grab a copy of Hymn and Ruin, give it a listen and have a good time.

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Screams of Winter “Divine Chaos” Album Review + Stream…

SCREAMS OF WINTER

Divine Chaos – EP – Digital Download

Independent – Released – Sept 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Michael Scola/ Vocals
Maxwell Damske / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Drum programming
Alex Damske / Lead Guitars

A Brief History:

Screams of Winter is a melodic death metal act hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Forming in 2004 as a middle school act, they disbanded in 2010 when they “failed to evolve musically”. (Reference their Facebook about page). Fast forward 7 years, Screams of Winter have reformed and re-recorded 5 tracks that “finally sound like what the band always wanted them to sound like”. I haven’t heard their 2006 release, which they describe as “far from listenable” but I have to say the 5 tracks schlepped up on Divine Chaos are what I want them to sound like as well.

 

 

Review:

First the cover, which I’m guessing is a depiction of Saint Peter. The gates behind the angel-like figure suggest he’s standing atop the stairway to heaven waiting to pass judgement on whoever seeks entry. He is the Devine. However, there’s also an element of space here. The planet, stars, and comets are the Chaos. Well thought out.

The album opens with ‘Mechanical Chaos’. The first minute and a half is mostly keyboard ambiance with some light percussion and the odd strum of the guitar. This is the kind of thing a band might have the Sound Man play at the start of a show to set the mood as the band enters. Sound Man or keyboardist, that is, if they had one which it appears they don’t though I believe I hear some here and there throughout the album. Guitars lead us into the tune and finally the vocals join the fray. The first thought I have is Screams of Winter sound like a cross between Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy. Michael Scola’s vocals remind me of Angela Gossow and whoever is taking the lead on the guitar shreds like Alexi, early Bodom. Upon reading their bio, I see they list In Flames as an influence and now I can hear it big time. To be clear, I’m talking early In Flames, not current In Flames. There is one low point to the song that I feel compelled to mention and that’s the clean vocals. They’re not bad; I just don’t think they fit the track. In this particular case, they remind me of Ray Alder of Fates Warning, specifically from A Pleasant Shade of Grey. While Alder is one of my favorites, unfortunately in my opinion, using them on this track takes away a bit more than it gives. And don’t get me wrong, ‘Mechanical Chaos’ is solid regardless.

‘Divine Tragedy’, track 2, opens with a super melodic riff and again I can hear that early In Flames. I love the harsh backing vocals here as they allow for a pace that couldn’t be done with a single screamer. Again though, they cut to the clean vocals which I’m not fond of. In this track, they do better suit the layout, as they come while ‘Divine Tragedy’ slows. I believe they’re inspired by God Forbid who uses clean vocals more frequently and who are also, coincidentally, listed as an influence on Screams of Winter’s “About” page. Despite my reservations, this might be my favorite on this EP.

‘Orwellian Overture’ begins with Rush-like keys which come and go throughout the track. Again with the clean vocals; but they’re growing on me. I love how they transition in and out of the melodic riffs on this track.

Scarlet Beast Promo

‘Rise of the Nephilim’ is the perfect tune for a live show. It’s got all the elements I’m looking for. It begins with a pace that’s sure to open a pit. It slows a bit after 30 seconds or so, allowing the guys who get gassed easily the opportunity to stand aside and breathe while the few psychos remaining can keep at it as the reduced pace still justifies some slamming. The backing vocals again suit the track (fry, not clean). ‘Rise of the Nephilim’ continue the tradition of sweet transitions as the guitars sustain, the drums take over for a few seconds before the soloing begins which gives way to a chant “Rise! – Rise! – Rise!”. Of course, in the live setting this is the time for crowd interaction and I have no doubt there’ll be any problems getting the fiends in the audience to chant along. Sure, the nuts in the pit will likely be gasping for breath, single fist raised to open the airways as they labor out a hoarse whisper.  Those who stand back banging their heads and fists will be sure to compensate. Once the chant ends the drums take off, a little back feed and back to the shredding… and moshing. Rise of the Nephilim maintains the pace until it closes.

Holy Lust closes out Divine Chaos with a nice slow melody that takes off unexpectedly. Again, smooth transitions bridge the gaps as the songs changes speed, from death to melodic and back again. I mention them every track as I feel transitions are key in separating the average Melodic Death Metal acts from the exceptional.

With so much going on in each track, it’s hard to notice that the earworms on Divine Chaos average almost 5 minutes each. Despite being just a 5 track EP, Divine Chaos clocks in at 29 minutes. Aside from being an amazing blend of Bodom, Arch Enemy and In Flames this album has one more feature extremely attractive feature and that’s the price. Digital download of Scream of Winter’s album (at the time of this writing) is listed on Bandcamp for $4USD. Are you kidding me? $4? I could create an endless list of trivial items people piss away more money on, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m not going to. All I’m going to say is there’s links below to 4 different ways you can buy it and Bandcamp is the cheapest.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/screamsofwinter/

https://screamsofwinter.bandcamp.com/album/divine-chaos

https://play.google.com/…/a…/Screams_of_Winter_Divine_Chaos…

https://open.spotify.com/album/1Ei8nKuOBaKlqCpfpB40mB

https://itunes.apple.com/…/al…/divine-chaos-ep/id1278661776…


GoatWhore “Vengeful Ascension” Album Review + Stream..

GOATWHORE

Vengeful Ascension –Vinyl // Digital Download // CD

Metal Blade Records – Released – June 23 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Ben Falgoust/ Vocals
Sammy Duet / Guitars and Vocals
Zack Simmons / Drums
James Harvey / Studio Bass
Robert “TA” Coleman / Live Bass

Born:
December 20, 1996

Review:

GoatWhore: Just saying the name puts a smile on my face. Say it with me now: GoatWhore. Did you smile? If you didn’t I’m willing to guess you didn’t say it out loud. Maybe you’re on a bus or waiting for the doctor and afraid to be judged? Toughen up a little. PC culture would love to take our GoatWhore away. Are you going to sit back, stay silent and let them take our GoatWhore? Let me hear you! GOATWHORE!

Fuck that feels better! I sure got some dirty looks stopping through white bread America wearing my GoatWhore shirt on my way home from seeing them live at Full Terror Assault. (Check this shit out, best kept secret in American metal). Seeing GoatWhore live has been a treat each time. The energy is electric and these guys know this full well. In fact, according to their Facebook page when they recorded Vengeful Ascension, GoatWhore aspired to match the live experience as much as possible. Let me say, they 100% have the right idea. On one hand, it’s unfortunate that you simply can’t package up the energy of a GoatWhore concert so they’ll never reach this goal. On the other hand it’s fortunate you can’t simulate a GoatWhore concert because you’ll never be able to download it and that means you have to get off your ass and go see them. Each time I have, Ben Falgoust says roughly the same thing (paraphrased): “Get the album. Buy it from the merch booth, off Bandcamp or steal it off the internet BUT come out to a concert and support the band.” So just what are we stealing off the internet?

First the cover of Vengeful Ascension depicts what I believe to be their rendition of Lucifer, having fought his way back from the depths of hell and risen to the earth, clutching the sun and marking it with some sort of magic symbol. He appears to be sucking the energy out of it and into himself no doubt to power himself for impending battle. This imagery seems to hold true to the theme of the album. Straight from their Facebook page, the following is what they intended the album to be all about. I feel compelled to directly quote Falgoust, his words eloquent and clear:

“There’s that whole idea of Lucifer being the anti-hero. He’s cast out from this place in Heaven to the depths of nothing. He keeps trying to ascend to the top again but no matter what, there’s always this significant force trying to destroy him at any point and banish him back to Hell. If you look at it from an everyday aspect in life, it’s the idea of people, hitting the bottom of the barrel or you know, things just aren’t going right in life… emotion plays a huge part in how people react. Whether it’s based on love or hatred or sadness or whatever, there’s always an aspect of emotion that drives people to an extent. So the whole idea of a ‘Vengeful Ascension’ is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there’s other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well.”

I would have needed to write a 10,000 word essay to convey this concept. And for this idea alone I would buy this album and use it as a theme to my rise.

live Shot

Musically speaking, Vengeful Ascension is very similar to what GoatWhore has been offering up for the past 17 years. They somehow manage to blend elements of several different sub-genres together in order to create their own unique sound. Wikipedia lists GoatWhore as “Blackened Death Metal”, whatever that means. GoatWhore’s Facebook page list them simply as “Metal”, which I feel is more accurate. Album to album, track to track we get emphasis on different sub-genres. Vengeful Ascension leans toward black more so than any.

Track 2, “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” has elements of speed metal yet mysteriously sounds like something that might have come out of Dimmu Borgir’s playbook. This is one of my favorite tracks on this album and these jerks have not deviated from the practice of giving the most complicated titles to the earworms. Try yelling out “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” between songs next time you see them live. As if to prove my point, “Mankind Will Have No Mercy” shows up later on the album again with that speed metal feel that I can’t get enough of. This one probably has the least blackness on the album.

They follow this up with the title track, “Vengeful Ascension”. Again, this track is heavy in the black metal but thankfully not without a slightly off-key melody. Later tracks, “Abandon Indoctrination” and “Those Who Denied God’s Will”, are structured very similarly. It allows the track to keep that black metal feel without being boring.

Pro Band P

Where the “Sun is Silent” is a slower paced track, thankfully the only one of its kind on Vengeful Ascension. I’ll admit my bias right now; I want to spend my live GoatWhore experience in the pit. I’m getting a bit old so one or two slow ones is a welcome breather. I really don’t have time for any more than that.

In summation, Vengeful Ascension is another great GoatWhore album. The band wants you to hear it and it sounds to me like they don’t really care how. The one caveat is that you go out to the shows. I think that’s a pretty fair deal. For those who just aren’t in the right geographical area or for those who aren’t in a financial position: Go back and review the Falgoust quote above and use it as motivation to bring yourself into a better position where you can afford to get out to a show or maybe plan that trip to the festival you’ve always been dreaming of… where you’re sure to see GoatWhore… and maybe pick up a shirt too.


Temple Of Void – Band Overview + Album Reviews + Music Video + Streaming Music…

Temple of Void 

Demo MXIII (May 13, 2013)  – Album Review – CD // Cassette // DD

Of Terror and the Supernatural (September 30, 2014) Album Review – Vinyl // CD // Cassette // DD

Lords of Death (May 1, 2017) Album Review – CD // DD

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

Motor City’s Metal MonstersPro Band Shot

 

Line Up:
Alex Awn – Guitar
Eric Blanchard – Guitar
Mike Erdody – Vocals
Jason Pearce – Drums
Brent Satterly – Bass

Review:
Hey Metalheads, this The Ancient One, and this is my special shout out for fellow Michiganders Temple of Void from Detroit. In Michigan we have a roaring underground metal scene full of amazing bands people fail to notice. Failing to notice Temple of Void is mighty damn difficult. For more than a decade now they have been working the metal underground with their special blend of somber sounds from the early British doom and Devastating Old School American death metal. This has earned them a reputation and a large following in the underground.

 

Demo MMXIII_Album Cover

MMXIII

Not letting their acclaim go to waste Temple of Void took matters into their own hands by self  producing and releasing “Demo MMXIII” on May of 2013. Soon after the band signed on with four different record labels to distribute it across the world meeting with great success from the underground. This 20 minute 27 second Demo packs quite a punch. While it’s a 3 track offering which can be found on the bands debut album it serves as a preview of what is to come in “Of Terror and the Supernatural.” Of its 3 songs my favorite is ‘Bargain in Death’  a song I believe comes from a movie or short story about a person that tries to scam their life insurance by making people think he is dead through the use of a drug that put him in a deathlike state. Only to awaken buried alive and discover he was double crossed by his conspirators who have no intention of digging him up and sharing the loot. The 10:36 track expresses the mood of the song’s theme amazingly well. Beginning like a funeral procession with a somber plodding doom sludge riff that slows to a near stop before the tempo picks up into panicked horror while the vocalist describes what it might be like to try and dig oneself out of the grave and die buried alive.

 

Of Terror And The Supernatural_Album Cover

 
Of Terror and the Supernatural

A Little more than a year later the band released a 2nd album called “Of Terror and the Supernatural.” A 48 minutes; 8 songs of devastatingly kick ass Doomaphonic Sonic awesomeness that had me hooked after I sampled it’s first song ‘The Embalmers Art’ a demonic ditty about a murderous mortician that made art out of his victims. ‘Savage Howl’ the albums 2nd  track is a song about the terror of being hunted by a werewolf. Besides the fact I really dig the werewolf horror genre I love the heavy drums and guitar tones that create a seance of shock.

 

 

Lords of Death_Album Cover

Lords Of Death

If you enjoy these first two albums you will be happy to know ToV has released it’s 3rd album “Lords of Death” which is meeting with very favorable reviews from being called “A beastly band from the death-encrusted, doom-laden city of Detroit, MI” by Metal Sucks I’d say I agree with their assessment. “Lords of Death” is full of loud sludge and fuzz laden riffs with beastly growling vocals that feel slow until they get rolling like a tank. The best way I could describe this album is Cannibal Corpses meets Cathedral. This album is going quick so I’d recommend putting in your order as soon as you can.  Highly Recommend for the strong of heart!!

 


Serbian Gothic Doomers THE FATHER OF SERPENTS To Release New Album; Video Premiere

Serbian gothic doom/atmospheric death metallers The Father Of Serpents are set to release their new full-length album Age Of Damnation in a few days. Inspired by the likes of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Moonspell and more, the sextet have a very textured, organically appealing heaviness. You can hear, and visualize it, for yourself via their new music video for “Viral”.

“’Viral’ was the last song we did before recording the album in the studio, just a few days before,” The Father Of Serpents comment. “It was almost done in 15 minutes and it went pretty natural and straightforward. We didn’t have the time to overthought or analyze the song, so the energy of the moment when we were jamming the song is there. It is both groovy, catchy and dark.”

Age Of Damnation will be released on June 19 through Satanath Records and United By Chaos. Pre-order it here.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

SILEREOMNIA - Booklet

Tracklist:

01. The Walls Of No Salvation
02. The Flesh Altar
03. Tale Of Prophet
04. The Grave For Universe
05. Tainted Blood
06. The Afterlife Symphony
07. The Quiet Ones
08. The God Will Weep For You
09. The Last Encore

10. Viral

 


VALLENFYRE Issues ‘The Merciless Tide’ Official Video

The crushing, deathly doom band Vallenfyre, which features members of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride members, has unleashed a new official video. The clip is for the track ‘The Merciless Tide‘ from the band’s just-released third album, “Fear Those Who Fear Him”, which came out on June 2nd from Century Media Records. The band Vallenfyre is the brainchild of Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh who is joined by guitarist/bassist Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride) and drummer Waltteri Väyrynen.

Mackintosh spoke about the new song and video saying:”‘The Merciless Tide‘ is about the relentless march of time and also wishing you could be in someone else’s shoes to save them suffering. In the video, we see a man going through immense suffering over a long period of time, never being able to grasp the things he craves, whilst faceless tormentors observe in indifference. This is incredibly grim, so enjoy.”

Fear Those Who Fear Him‘ was once again produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge, Nails) at GodCity Studio in Salem, Massachusetts and mastered by Brad Boatright (Obituary, YOB, Beastmilk) at Audiosiege Mastering in Portland, Oregon. The cover artwork was created by Hal Rotter.

“Fear Those Who Fear Him” was released as gatefold LP+CD on limited colored and regular black 180-gram vinyl, as special edition digipak (international version), jewelcase CD (Canada, USA, Mexico only) and on all digital/streaming platforms.

The Merciless Tide‘ is the latest visualizer from Vallenfyre and follows the previously issued ‘An Apathetic Grave‘ Lyric Vido and ‘Kill Your Masters‘ Official Video, both are streaming below.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

vallenfyre LP

Fear Those Who Fear Him‘ track listing:

1. Born To Decay
2. Messiah
3. Degeneration
4. An Apathetic Grave
5. Nihilist
6. Amongst The Filth
7. The Merciless Tide
8. Dead World Breathes
9. Soldier Of Christ
10. Cursed From The Womb
11. Kill All Your Masters
12. Temple Of Rats 


BØG ‘JIM’ Review & Stream

BØG
JIM – CD//DD
Self-Release – Release Date: June 10, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Having just celebrated their third year of existence in April, what better time for BØG to release a new studio offering than right now, huh? Well, that’s exactly what the Melbourne, Australia-based trio of bassist/vox Dain Fewings, drummer/vox Eric Stone and guitarist/vox Tim Jacka are preparing to do. The 5-song ‘JIM‘ will be unleashed on June 10th and when I say “unleashed”, that is exactly what I mean. See, JIM is a humongous beast of a release, a densely crushing recording where terms like volatile or savagery just scratch the surface of this thing’s overall heaviness.

The trio of BØG meld some diverse elements into their music on this outing, everything from sludge, doom, and death metal to ambient, atmospheric and psychedelia. There is an underlying hellishness to the content, a deep darkness that permeates it while channeling a sense of bleak despair. Those elements are solidly represented during the opening cut, ‘Original Hate‘, as a veritable locomotive-like slow groove churns things along. Tortured, acidic vocals, occasionally guttural ones too, navigate the music and at nearly ten minutes in length, there’s some places to explore.

Exploration sums things up nicely when referring to the haunting, heady songs  ‘Fractured‘ and ‘Warm Smell Of The Dredge‘. Both seem somewhat minimalist but these are cases where less truly is more as trippy psyche nuances flow throughout the semi-funeral doom styling of the songs. I keep finding myself reminded of the genre classification “Outersound” that my friends in Swallow The Sky turned me on to last year. The music of BØG is most definitely that of the outersound nature and it does not get more outer there than ‘Siding With King Mort‘ and ‘Peat For Scars‘. These pair of back-to-back album ending tracks are two of the more experimental ones here with the former, ‘Siding With King Mort‘, being my favorite of the five.

Bludgeoning brutality with pummeling punishment derived from a truly sonic-based battery, BØG absolutely embodies such in their music. It’s relentless and constantly crushing you beneath its compacted weight, like the mass-condensing ability of a black hole. BØG are like an aural quicksand that you cannot escape from, they pull you inward and under their amplified mire. Be you doomed or damned, ‘JIM‘ is one hell of a way to go. Here’s your chance to stream it in full below…if you dare.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


FORBIDDEN NOISE ‘Distances’ EP Review, Stream & Official Video

FORBIDDEN NOISE
Distances EP – Digital Download/Stream
Self-Released Apil 11th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Metal…the forbidden noise. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Well that is quite fitting then because we are here to spotlight the unquestionable metal presence that is Szeged, Hungary’s Forbidden Noise. The band just recently issued their five-song (and an intro) ‘Distances‘ EP and the PR for it states that it is: “Five songs about the physical, mental and emotional distances within and between people.” Now, while it may be all of that and more, it is also something else…Metal. Part death metal, part power-violence, part metalcore, part Post-Hardcore and all of it is downtuned D-Beat and damaging.

After the brief intro piece of ‘Foghorn‘ sets the stage, things explode with the bruising rhythmic pulses of ‘Crowing‘. Driving pulsations pump like pistons while constant guitar manipulations are presented, all while dizzying drum work is delivered too. A multitude of vocal styles alternate back and forth from guttural bellows to piercing shriek-styled ones. Thrashing cuts like ‘From Under The Grindstone‘ (official video below), ‘Mass Production Line Of Fear‘ and ‘Release‘ send you reeling one after another. The music remains energetic and intense at all times and once again I must draw attention to the fact that the diversified vocal approach keeps things interesting. If you need a comparison, think Lamb Of God-meets-a-much-heavier-Between The Buried And Me.

My personal favorite track is ‘Amit ott találsz‘ and while I have no inkling what that means or translates to, I do know that it is a fantastic song. Melding all of the heaviness of the music with a bit more melodic elements and more importantly, abundant measures of progressive nuances. That experimentation infects all the components here as schizophrenic-like vocals unfurl one after another and the melodic, exploratory tint of the music grows more epic. The song, and Forbidden Noise‘s ‘Distances‘ EP itself must be heard to be fully appreciated and you have the ability to do so below via the Bandcamp embed.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


NOVEMBERS DOOM Streaming New ‘Hamartia’ Release In Full

Yesterday, Friday, April 14 saw the release of ‘Hamartia‘, the new album from long running Chicago heavyweights Novembers Doom. The album was produced by Chris Djuricic (Jungle Rot, Malevolence), mixed by Dan Swano (Opeth, Dissection, Katatonia) and released through The End Records. The tenth studio album overall from this atmospheric entity of despair-laden music, Novembers Doom, does well in furthering the band’s legacy. You can hear the album presented in all of its full sonic glory in the embedded You Tube stream below.

Singer Paul Kuhr commented on the new opus saying: “For the first time in this band’s existence, we have the same line up on two consecutive albums. Without the need to focus on a new element, we could concentrate on the writing process more clearly, and the synergy between the group is apparent in the end result. I actually mean it, when I say in my own humble opinion, I truly feel Novembers Doom have created our very best work to date. From the writing, to the captured performances, to the overall mix and sound of this album. ‘Hamartia’ is a logical evolution from ‘Bled White’ but adds some of the darker elements from ‘The Pale Haunt Departure’. It’s a Novembers Doom album, through and through, and hopefully others will share my enthusiasm once they get a chance to hear it.”

Hamartia tracklist:

01. “Devils Light”
02. “Plague Bird”
03. “Ghost”
04. “Ever After”
05. “Hamartia”
06. “Apostasy”
07. “Miasma”
08. “Zephyr”
09. “Waves in the Red Cloth”
10. “Borderline”

 – Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


New Album Review – Pallbearer “Heartless”

Pallbearer

Heartless – Vinyl // CD // DD

Profound Lore – March 24th 2017

Have you ever seen the expanded version of Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon?”  During the opening sequences, he expands more upon the philosophical underpinnings to his martial arts style, or no style, as he’d probably say.  He believes that the ultimate form is no-form, that a Zen-like detachment from the rigors of the overly traditional allows for unparalleled creativity, fluidity and freedom of expression.  He definitely believes that this no-form is a clear expression of intense feeling, as there’s also a poignant scene of him training an aspiring student where he emphasizes “emotional content” in the student’s strikes.  “No, not anger!!” he corrects, “emotional content.”  I re-watched this movie quite recently on one fateful night, and it got me to thinking about how these concepts played out in music.  And that got me to thinking about Pallbearer….

My first experience with Pallbearer was seeing them tear it up live.  That’s always a great place to start when you’re getting into a band, because there’s no pretense there, only direct experience. Right before I first left Black Pyramid in 2011, we shared the stage at the first Days Of The Doomed Festival in Wisconsin.  I’d actually heard quite a bit about them, as they had a demo that was much lauded in both the traditional doom scene and the broader metal community, and they had a reputation for punishing heaviness live.  I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect.  Because of the name and their rumored heaviness, I was actually expecting them to be a death/doom band, which they clearly are not.  Needless to say, they didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Once I was properly baptized in the power and glory of their glowing tube amps, there was no turning back, and you could count me among the faithful.  What impressed me the most was their mixture of the traditional and the modern; they definitely nailed that timeless classical metal influence with their twin guitar attack, which alternated between crushing down-tuned riffs and labyrinthine dueling leads, yet the tones were more modern, while the songwriting itself was forward thinking and intelligent.  It didn’t hurt them any that their rhythm section was rock solid and the vocals were soaring high (so was I).  The experience was most triumphant and I was an instant fan.  This was indeed a band of exceptional promise….

 

Live Band Shot

 

Fast forward to a year later, and the release of their debut album, Sorrow And Extinction, on Profound Lore Records.  I have tremendous respect for that label, as they have discriminating and impeccable tastes.  What a sound Pallbearer had developed on record!  It was heads and tails above their demo: emotionally charged, transcendentally structured, and as meticulously melodic as it was devastatingly heavy.  Their debut quickly brought them to the forefront of the metal world, and with their sophomore album, Foundations Of Burden, they only solidified their destiny as the new rising stars of underground metal.  They experimented more with tempo and song structure, and deepened their understanding of the emotional power of melody.

This brings us to March 24th, 2017, the date they’ll unveil their latest masterpiece, the ironically named Heartless.  Well, I’d say that it’s ironic anyways, since their music seems anything but heartless to me.  It’s chock full of emotional content; it’s over brimming in every note they pick, every chord they strum, every drum that’s struck, every word that’s sung.  Not since the much missed doom masters Warning walked this world have I heard a band that so encapsulates the concept of emotional content.  This is a seven song, hour long tour de force of angelic agony, bizarre beauty, mind-melting misery and earth-shattering ecstasy.  I’ll admit that it’s a bit long in the tooth, and this really demands active listening.  Those who have the endurance and the attention span are duly rewarded, as this is as rich and fulfilling an album as I’ve heard in recent years.

Pro Band Pic_Good

 

I heard all kinds of wild rumors before Heartless even came out: they were a post-rock band now, the new album wasn’t heavy, they’d sold out.  Don’t believe the hype.  They’ve definitely taken a more progressive stance, though it’s not a radical departure by any means.  As my friend Stephen Loverme from the bands Olde Growth and Sea sagely stated on this very day, “The new Pallbearer sounds like a doomed out Porcupine Tree.  I’m 100% okay with this.” Wiser words are rarely uttered. There’s just more going on, from meticulously layered guitar passages that twist, turn and wind down all sorts of mesmerizing staircases, to subtle acoustic flourishes and backdrops of effected soundscapes, to melancholy harmonized vocals.  There are even more tempo changes, key signature switches, the versatility in the vocals, and clever changes in tone and texture than on the previous album, and the production is even more stunning and meticulous.  What’s most impressive is how subtle and slow burning it all is, how fluid and free, like the no-form of Bruce Lee’s metaphysical martial arts.  This is a modern masterpiece deserving of every iota of praise that’s thrown its way, paying tribute to the masters like Candlemass, Trouble, and the New Wave Of Heavy Metal, yet it’s delivered with such urgency that it’s just as immediate as it is an instant classic.  I’ve always said that it’s the reconciliation of opposites that makes for great art, a little lesson I learned from Herman Hesse’s novel, Narcissus And Goldmund.  The juxtaposition and paradox that Pallbearer pull off….it’s utterly stunning.  They’re the doom metal actualization and apotheosis of what Hesse was talking about.

Often I take a listener through an album track by track, so they can get some reflection of my experience.  I’m not going to do that here.  Not at all.  The reason is, I want you all to experience this for yourself without my impressions of the album coloring your sensations and perceptions.  Take this in, savor it, remember that first time you put the needle to the wax, or the CD in the tray, or pressed play on your computer.  Remember this moment, so that you can say that you were there when Pallbearer helped to redefine the face of modern doom metal.

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Reviewed by Andy “Dingweed” Beresky