Lautreamont

Review: Lautreamont – Silence of the Deceased

Russian trio Lautreamont were brought to life to assault the senses, striking the listener continuously with discordant walls of pandemonium and persecution. “Evil” causes this immediate impact with extremely huge basslines and hypnotizing strident guitars before breaking. The instruments almost decline, slipping away delicately into descent before launching an avalanche of dissonant guitars and a frenzied attack of blast beats, signalling a chaotic finish. If there was ever an assertion of what Lautreamont are about this first track is surely that.

Silence of the Deceased

“Father” may be a more brutal and destructive track. Moments shatter into an uneasy state whilst others fall into a decay where its nothingness consumes your very being. Lautreamont have showcased an adept mastery of the sickening malady that this genre elicits, packing on layer upon layer of abhorrence, neurosis, and absolute cruelty as is further explored in tracks such as the title song. The unendurable pressure of its soundscapes is at times unfathomable. A song-by-song dissection is of no use, as each song displayed here pursues the same code of sweeping disarray, assembled to be music that demands to be swallowed as a whole.

Whilst not the most severe in spatial terms the drumming by Vladimir Fomenko on “Silence of the Deceased” is near perfect. Lautreamont play smartly, often settling on for ear-shattering cannonade of noise rather than counting on the blast beat to strike desolation.

The sound of “Silence of the Deceased” simply destroys; the mix is completed with as much intricacy as can be absorbed. Lautreamont can take you into contemplation and then let you down in your own decay in just a few seconds. This is intelligent metal.

“Silence of the Deceased” is out on May 7th; pre-order it here.

Nafrat

Review: Nafrat – Abnegation

Technical death metal perfection. That’s pretty much all that need be said about Nafrat’s brilliant new release “Abnegation.” From the moment that you lay eyes on the terrific album art until the final notes of album closer “The Axis of Perdition” leave you jaw agape, this album takes you on a journey through ethereal beauty and Earth-shaking brutality.

The musicianship is astounding and inventive. Even in the moments of calm in the eye of this storm, Nafrat never let you forget that this record is HEAVY in nearly every conceivable sense of the word. Stream below the full album while you’re reading through the review.

Nafrat - Abnegation

Nafrat is a Singapore-based band and “Abnegation” is their second full-length offering. Their previous releases, “Invoking the Masses” EP (2005) and “Through Imminent Visions” (2008), were nothing short of a masterful display of technical death metal musicianship. “Abnegation” ups the ante to dizzying heights. This record edges other death metal releases from 2018 due to it’s sheer inventiveness. Furthermore, I believe that it has actually accomplished the task of ranking right up there with the best overall metal album of the year.

This is where I usually list the highlights of the record. In this case, the entire record is the highlight. DO NOT miss this album if you are a fan of technical death metal and insanely great musicianship.

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Devildom

Review: Devildom – Curse of Flesh

Founded in 2012 and initially intended to indulge the band members’ love for emotional black metal, post-metal and depressive rock, Ukrainian act Devildom has since become its own monster. Releasing their debut album “Curse of Flesh” in January, they look set to take things up another level with their absorbing, genre-straddling release.

“Curse of Flesh” examines the eternal cycle of life and death by way of chugging riffs, tender interludes, atmospheric soundscapes and an impressive array of vocal deliveries.

Curse of Flesh

Atmosphere on “Curse of Flesh” is built meticulously and carefully in each of its eight tracks, with amazing attention to detail. You get pulled along on the crest of this dark and emotional wave as the songs build and fall. It really is very clever and an intense and brilliant listening experience.

Links:

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WoT

Review: War of Thrones – Conflict in Creation

Shades of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden with their self-titled debut LP, and Helloween are abound on this album, which is a throwback to the ’80s Metal that started it all. War of Thrones started some six years ago, and features heavy metal veterans Wade Black on vocals, Rick Renstrom on guitar, Rich Marks on bass, and Jason Marks on drums. Their debut album Conflict in Creation does a perfect job in enveloping that one-of-a-kind feeling that one can only get from the true Heavy Metal of old days. While the influences (of which there are many) are certainly audible within the structures of each and every track, War of Thrones manage to keep their listeners engaged throughout the record by doing what they do right.

Conflict in Creation

Conflict in Creation is rich in its falsetto rebel yells and guitar-driven anthems. In fact, the album is primarily guitar-heavy — a route rarely taken in the world of Metal today. This is a big part of what gives it success in its attempts to recapture the sound that existed exclusively in the early to mid-80s, when Heavy Metal was truly coming into its own as a genre.

From track one (“Ascending”) we get a clear picture of exactly where War of Thrones is planning on taking us: the very bowels of the bleak and dark universe where Heavy Metal saw its birth. Guitars switching tirelessly between rhythm and lead excerpts, 1980s style vocals, driving percussion, and those deep, rolling bass lines that define Heavy Metal. The lyrics are perfectly dark, and that mood is reflected in the music with little effort. The second song on the record, “Creation”, kicks up the pace with its relentless drumming and angst-ridden picking, reminding those of us who are older of those long lost days of yore where our school books were adorned with brown paper bag covers that were literally covered in the names and logos of our favourite bands and slogans oh, so long ago.

Conflict in Creation delivers this emotion throughout its entirety without fail, evoking images of long hair drenched in Aqua Net hairspray, black leather chokers, and all the things that helped shape Heavy Metal as both an image and a sound. As the album winds down with its final track, “Descending”, I am confronted by the one and only gripe I could possibly have with this record — wishing that it were just a bit longer. Regardless of its length, however, I do realize that this wonderful recording from War of Thrones is an essential when it comes to those feel-good albums that have that special something that takes one back to their own youth, giving that carefree feeling back to them that is all too often forgotten and ignored in the dull regularity that is our adulthood.

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AM

Review: Deus Omega – In Absentia of Light

As if Progressive Metal met Extreme Metal forms for lunch and the two later casually partook in rough coitus, Sydney-based Deus Omega make some heavy, heavy music. Call it progressive metal or even an incredibly atmospheric derivative of death metal, the act’s new record, In Absentia of Light is an oppressive sea of fury, and it resonates with me in a way few bands of its style manage to do. The songwriting may be solid and the production some of the best I’ve seen in metal, but it’s the ubiquitous atmosphere that has this album screaming ‘masterpiece’.

Deus Omega - In Absentia of Light

Too many bands in metal ultimately sound indistinguishable from one another, and it is a bleak statement. True enough, Deus Omega’s aka Alex Moore’s resistance from this heavy metal clone complex pays off. Although the project’s dark brand of tech metal can still find itself associated with a number of prescribed genres, In Absentia of Light feels like a natural collision of influences from across the spectrum, from black and doom metal to modern and extreme variant of prog.

As a whole In Absentia of Light relies on a sickening atmosphere of rage and fear. Although Deus Omega sticks exclusively to guitars, drums, and bass, the music sounds vast. After the short introduction “Star of Morning,” “Carved from Flesh” introduces the sinister mood that pervades the majority of the album. By the cornerstone “This Black Soul,” Deus Omega has developed its riff energy into a dense fury complete with burstfire picking. All the while, Moore layers his music with atonal atmospheric guitars. This project’s style will certainly draw a number of comparisons with other bands, but Deus Omega combines the elements and make the sound truly its own.

Although it’s not the biggest reason why In Absentia of Light has stood out to me so much, it’s worth mentioning that Deus Omega enjoys some of the richest, most organic production I have heard on a metal record for quite some time. Perhaps it’s the heavy presence of the bass guitar, but Deus Omega finds an incredible balance between a live ‘raw’ energy, and a clear mix between instruments. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Deus Omega channels its atmosphere-laden heaviness through such an organic studio execution. Those willing to set the time aside to fairly digest the atmosphere will find an incredible world to explore with In Absentia of Light, one governed by anger and chaos. I give my highest recommendation.

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Tragul

Sympho Metal Dose: TRAGUL’s “Before I Say Goodbye”

Multi-national Symphonic Metal six-piece TRAGUL released their new single “Before I Say Goodbye” on Friday, April 13th. The lyric video for the song is streaming now via the band’s official YouTube channel. “Before I Say Goodbye” presents an undeniably renewed TRAGUL, which returns with a very catchy melodic song, a rhythm halfway between the modern sound and the traditional power metal that leads to a fresh and melodic metal at its best.

TRAGULkeyboardist and founder Adrian Benegas commented: “The general concept of ‘Before I Say Goodbye’ is related to death or farewell. It could be understood as a spiritual death, a transformation towards another kind of feel leaving behind negative things for something better, a different state of the ‘being.’ Also, it could be understood more directly, specifically speaking about the departure from this world or about the death of a loved one from a first person view (as a farewell). Even if it is a sensitive subject this matter is always there, it’s like a strange feeling of nostalgia and hope about what is beyond this world, the doubt about what awaits us when we take that important step. In one way or another it is undeniable that within us is always the hope to find ourselves with something better, perhaps with ourselves in a state of “pure form”, the “true one” without the “clothing” that we use as human beings.

Benegas describes the creative process for the new single as “very smooth and natural.”

He continues to say: “I started with a rough idea about the song’s subject. Then I created like an atmosphere to support that idea and started to write the final lyric in order to start writing the main melodies. Once I had the main melodies (verses, chorus) it went very fast, I think the most important and difficult parts when you create music are the melodies, the melodies are like the ‘soul’ of a song. Once you find something you like for the melody, the rest comes easily. For the final stage (arrangements, recordings, etc), we found a very easy way to work with the guys. Once I finish the songs (main idea/demo), I send the demo so they can add their arrangements on their own instruments before we start to record the final version. Except for the bass, that is entirely wrote by Oliver, always.

TRAGUL plans to release a few more single by the end of 2018.

True to TRAGUL‘s format we will release our music in a song by song format. Which means, a song every two months with a visual support and available on all the streaming and digital stores around the world. I can’t reveal too much at this moment, but I’d like to mention that we’ve prepared a special song for Halloween (with a dark concept on it), also we will release a cover of a song from a Netflix show. That song was mixed and mastered by a great Hollywood producer who will be revealed pretty soon. I am sure the people will love it,” Benegas concludes.

Watch a lyric video for “Before I Say Goodbye” below, and follow TRAGUL on Facebook for future updates or visit their official website.

TRAGUL line-up:

Adrian Benegas – Keyboards

Zuberoa Aznárez – Vocals

Steve Conley – Guitars

Diego Bogarín – Guitars

Oliver Holzwarth – Bass

Sander Zoer – Drums

Kicking Nerve

Review: Kicking Nerve – Bipolar

Kicking Nerve from Athens, Greece put their best foot forward with their debut album “Bipolar,” an utterly relentless eleven-song set that keeps listeners on their toes from start to finish. Seamlessly blending visceral breakdowns and hardcore-isms, the four-piece take some unexpected but powerful detours in a number of the songs here.

Kicking Nerve - Bipolar

Although the album opener “Injured” serves as a forecast for a slam-centric record with its brooding two-step beats and chugs, Kicking Nerve shift gears almost immediately, dropping into “Not Dead Yet” and “Extremes” with bouncing riffs that effortlessly dip in and out of swings and blasts. Further flexing their technical prowess on songs like the pace-shifting “Circle of Hate,” the band finds inventive ways to remain engaging. This, in addition to the production sheen and perfectly balanced mix elevates the set to a level reached by very few of their peers.

Kicking Nerve run the risk of sounding scattered by deciding not to sit in one sonic space for too long and incorporating numerous metallic influences into their work, but on “Bipolar,” it only ever comes across as calculated, not to mention razor-sharp.

Stream the album on Bandcamp, and follow Kicking Nerve on Facebook.

23 Acez

Review: 23 Acez – Embracing the Madness

Brilliant is not enough to describe the third outing from Belgium’s 23 Acez. From the first ripping atmospherics of “Re:” to the eerie closing moments of “Freefall,” the energies of Embracing the Madness will grasp you and not let go. As with their first two albums, 2011’s Crossroads and 2015’s Redemption Waves, 23 Acez has again chosen to take the concept album route.

Dark and heavy, every note, chord and vocal intonation are well planned and executed, with unforgettable results.

23 Acez - Embracing the Madness

Although singer’s unique sound alternates between rasp and crystal clear, his delivery on every track is passionate beyond doubt. Tom Tas provides outstanding guitar work. Rhythm section of Mundez (bass) and Louis van der Linden (drums) provide an often complex backdrop, which fits perfectly. Rarely does a disc come around that is as powerful as this.

Embracing the Madness is easily an early treat in these introductory months of 2018. How well will it fare — let’s find out. The album is available from iTunes.

band 2

EP Review: Vikrit – The King in Exile

It’s not every day that one hears a modern day metal band produce an album that truly challenges the stereotypical sound that may be expected from contemporary metal acts. Enter Vikrit — Ranchi in Jharkand, India based metal heads who recently dropped out their debut EP. I’ve spent the last four days immersed in the experience that is The King in Exile and I can’t seem to stop listening to this incredibly versatile and talented group of musicians and this gem they’ve produced.

The King in Exile

Being active since 2010, Vikrit’s sound is a uniquely balanced mixture of Progressive Metal, Ambient, Metalcore, Djent, yet the seamless integration with which the band has brought these together is a testament to their musicianship and skill.

So let’s get down to brass tax – this EP is not for the faint hearted. Tracks like the opening Age of Despair and Drowning in my Sins, fire on all cylinders; blisteringly hard hitting drumming coupled with flawlessly executed guitar riffs and bass lines to match not to mention the quintessential growl that has mosh pits swirling in unison. It’s what comes next that makes Vikrit’s sound theirs and theirs alone.

The album holds additional treasures such as Time Machine and The Dark Crusader, both of which have a relatively greater degree of Progressive Metal evident in their composition.

I can go on for hours about this release but the bottom line is that Vikrit have absolutely nailed on The King in Exile with their song writing, virtuosity and execution. Do yourself a favour and get the EP.

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