Category Archives: Reviews

fayne-02

Review: Fayne – Journals

Hailing from Montreal, Fayne have been around since 2004. In the period from 204 until 2008 the band put out two EP releases, “You Took It All Away” (2004) and “Delivering the Final Blow” (2016), before they went on a hiatus in 2008. Five years later Fayne regrouped and in 2014 they launched their third EP “The Queen of Kings.” Last year Fayne returned with their debut full-length album entitled “Journals.”

Fayne play a brand of djent/progressive metal, combining ambient elements and delicately played clean layers over top of the stuttering and stabbing rhythms set in place by Meshuggah and SikTh. The difference is, the music feels much more lush and organic, setting themselves apart from the very mechanical sounding contemporaries who follow a similar formula. While the melodic djent thing isn’t new, Fayne manage to sound unique and fresh, thanks to the atmospheres and singing.

The vocal work, courtesy of Justin Furtado, on “Journals” is superb. The soaring vocal melodies and lyrics will definitely embed themselves in your memory. The screaming vocals are few and far between, but when they show up, they are in the right place.

Fayne - Journals

The guitar work is split between the dry and low polyrhythmic chugs and clean and melodic layering for ambiance. These two styles fit together in perfect harmony and create some wonderful soundscapes and textures. The bass is also very present in the mix, which is an added touch of brilliance. You can hear it slapping and popping along throughout the album, even taking a few moments here and there to be the focal point of the music from time to time. Listen to numbers like the opener “Grimspeak” or “Prototype”, and you’ll catch it. Oh, and the drumming is actually real, which is a nice change of pace for a genre that likes to program everything or play it through an electronic kit. This is one of the contributing factors for the EP not sounding like an overproduced machine.

As for the musical composition, “Journals” does feel like one song and flows through tracks logically when things take a change in pace or theme. Fayne can definitely demand the attention of the listener without having to drop a solo every few minutes. These guys know what they’re doing.

With the release of “Journals”, Fayne have moved out of the periphery (no pun intended) and into focus.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

CHINE_PROMO_2018_FINAL

Review: Chine – Like Vultures

Chine is a Swedish progressive death metal band with elements borrowed from Swedish death metal and progressive metal. They are about to launch their new EP entitled “Like Vultures” on March 2nd. Both musically, and lyrically “Like Vultures” has its dark side but never forgets to be melodic from the beginning to the end.

CHINE - Like Vultures

Singer Tintin Andersen has a great voice especially when it comes to clean vocals. A thick voice, ready to sing any kind of high pitched parts in a song. Which brings the release its power. Passages between growl and clean vocals are very well designed and executed. And more importantly they sound very tasty.

There are four tracks on the EP. Another highlight here are great and imaginative guitar solos. They are carrying the songs on a closer level to progressive metal and display the band’s influences, which range from old Opeth, Between The Buried And Me and Dark Tranquility.

It is hard to say that Chine bring something new to the scene, but without hesitation it can be said they brought a tasteful release, very well composed and executed. It highly satisfies the expectations from a listener.

Links:

Website

Facebook

Acidiun

Album Review: Acidiun – The Coalescence

I was admittedly late to the Acidiun party, and it was by my own design. I found that the band’s overall sound is right in my wheel house of technical, tight, and aggressive deathcore. Upon the first listen I was sold, and I immediately devoured “The Coalescence” again. I was greeted by a band that seemed content making their own rules, traversing the slippery slope of sub genre alphabet soup and doing it with style. At times mind-numbingly complex, and at others focused on speed and aggression, they made metal that is forward thinking and diverse, while still being unapologetically heavy.

Acidiun - The Coalescence

The more I listened to this record, the more I enjoyed the sounds coming out of it. Make no mistake, the record is a slab of crushing deathcore/metalcore. Impeccably played and impeccably produced, it comes off as another notch on the rich scene. Sonically, the record is tight, fast and heavy with crunchy guitars that have heft and an overall crispness to the sound that allows the instruments to shine. The riffs are heavy, there are odd time bridges, feel changes and tasty leads that fly by in abundance. In short all of the boxes are checked.

Although nominally not a prog band, these guys are talented enough to do whatever they want. They have seemingly found a formula that is working for them for the time being, and only time will show where and how they deviate from it. I will be very curious to hear where they go with the next record, and whether or not they will stay this course they embarked upon.

So at the end of the day, “The Coalescence” is a solid outing from Acidiun. As a fan of metal, I can appreciate what they have done here. I just hope that more of that original mentality creeps its way into their next release.

Stay tuned with Acidiun via their Facebook page.

Diagoras

Review: Diagoras – Enigma

Progressive death metal is a genre that can be quite difficult to appreciate at times. It took me some time to get my head around some of its intricacies. I would now consider it to be one of my favourite sub-genres. Enter Diagoras, one such band hailing from Sweden, who have been active for over a year. Back in October last year they launched their debut EP titled “Enigma.” Straight off the bat it is clear that Diagoras have a bit more to them than some of the more generic progressive death metal bands around.

Diagoras - Enigma

The music is essentially a riff soup that is continually stopping, starting and changing tempo. There aren’t any direct comparisons to be made to other bands though there are plenty of influences including Hate Eternal, Immolation, Between the Buried and Me and Meshuggah. The sheer intensity of this release is something to behold. It has all the characteristics of a band that have been playing and recording together for years, although this is their first release ever. It is a credit to their musicianship and provides a glimpse and a hint towards what they may be able to achieve in the future.

Not only is “Enigma” extremely heavy, it is ultra technical also. There isn’t a moment where the entire band are resting on their laurels. While the guitars are shredding away, drummer is putting in one of the most spirited performances I have heard for some time. Though he isn’t the fastest drummer I have ever heard his choice of beats and fills is really interesting and creative. When it comes to production, everything is audible and certainly doesn’t lack the bite and the punch that would push the sound to the next level.

“Enigma” is out now and is available from Bandcamp.

Wroht_band

Review: Wroht – Worship Rot

With their debut album, Bay Area death metal quintet Wroht are only going to reach new heights for themselves and garner an ever-growing fan base due to the quality of this debut.

news-wroht-worshiprot

What stuns you upon a first listening of “Worship Rot is Wroht‘s great maturity in structuring a song, considering that this is their first full-length. In a year where we saw and are about to see tons of great death metal releases, these Americans have added a great value to the genre, all while keeping the flag flying high. Word of warning though as this is not for everybody and the weak. Only those who can withstand brutal, uncompromising, chaotic, and destructive and a horrific extreme metal need apply.

Across the record’s twelve tracks, Wroht show what they’re capable with controlled chaotic force and malignant intention. It’s cavernous, monstrous, claustrophobic, and downright nasty. Mixing together groove metal with straight-up death metal, while adding elements of crushing doom here and there, this is music that’s not for the unwary. Steeped in the aesthetics of black metal’s corrupted skin, while having a certain atonal death metal power, Wroht merge these two styles together seamlessly. The grim doom elements here are comparatively less-used, but enhance the music when they appear with further levels of darkness.

Grab “Worship Rot from Bandcamp here. For more info about Wroht you can follow them on Facebook.

Rainburn

In Focus: Rainburn – Insignify

Indian prog rockers, Rainburn, have taken on an ambitious project for their second ever release “Insignify,” tackling a concept that deals with “issues of existentialism, the significance of human life, narcissism, craving importance, insecurity, and the search for reason.

Rainburn - Insignify

Musically, while “classic prog” certainly fits, the album draws in elements from across the contemporary prog scene. Mainman Vats Iyengar’s versatile and engaging voice is ideal for this type of storytelling and there are catchy hooks galore across the album, from the refrain of “Merchant of Dreams” through the gentle harmonies of semi-ballad “Mirrors” to the riff-laden “Suicide Note.” The band can wig-out a bit too, as they prove towards the end of “Someone New” and “Elusive Light,” in the explosive choruses of the otherwise jazzy album closer “School of Atlantis.”

Links:

Facebook

Instagram

Third & Delaware

Review: Third & Delaware – Generations

“Generations,” the first EP by metalcore act from Dallas, THIRD & DELAWARE, has invoked multitudes of emotion through my ears, to my heart, and back again. Despite the overproduction and the always-hated clean vocals, this record turns out to be more passionate and sincere than I could have imagined.

Third & Delaware - Generations

Closely contained by singles “Innocent by Association” and “Ardor”, “Generations” packs a number of tasty tunes. From the start of “Heart of Fire,” the screams are more hardcore, the guitar meatier, the wall of sound thicker. This continues throughout the EP.

People will always be picky with their clean vocals and I can understand that, but sit down and not only hear, but feel the music running through you. In addition to the great message this album holds, it is really heartfelt, and I can never get enough heartfelt music. These guys have plenty of talent, and even with the problems of overproduction, this release will really speak to a lot of people, because it’s a trip that may heal your heart.

“Generations” is available now via Bandcamp.

Salvation's End

Album Review: Salvation’s End – The Divine Wrath of Existence

Just when I thought all of the fresh talent in prog metal was hiding towards the more extreme side of the spectrum, I am introduced to this band, the Detroit, MI based Salvation’s End. Although I was expecting SE to fall into the same rut of Dream Theater or Symphony X that so many melodic prog metal bands do, the change of pace here is refreshing, and while not an entirely new breath of fresh air than what I have already heard in the style, Salvation’s End do plant themselves as one of the last vestiges of hope in a style that I personally think got tired over a decade ago.

Salvation's End - The Divine Wrath of Existence

My personal cynicisms for melodic prog metal aside, Salvation’s End are a truly impressive act, and the fact that I find myself so endeared to them with all things considered should be a testament to their strength as an act.

Musically, Salvation’s End’s music is heavy at times, but always melodic, and resists the temptation to become an overly technical wankfest a la Dream Theater. Instead, Salvation’s End bases their debut album, The Divine Wrath of Existence, around the long lost art of proper songwriting; their music uses sometimes complex musicianship, but it is always based in a tight composition, and this really grabs my attention. The vocals here are often the center of attention atop tasteful instrumentation, the atmosphere is kept somewhat melancholic throughout, and — coming as a surprise to someone that was expecting a metal album — tastefully mellow. Salvation’s End is instead heavy prog rock throughout most of this, although I would have to say that the vocals keep a metallic tinge to the music. The vocal delivery by Rob Lundgren on The Divine Wrath of Existence is something refreshing.

The songwriting here is generally the highlight of the release. Everything is beautifully produced and polished, but the sound stays organic; a sure sign of a successful studio job. The songwriting really caught my attention from the first listen onwards though opening “Death of Reason” and its follow-up “Languorem” are two of the most memorable tracks here, using some lively riffs to create a hook. The title track makes perfect use of those mid-to-high-register vocals that Lundgren does so well The highlight moments on The Divine Wrath of Existence are brilliant. The album is one of the most consistent releases I have heard since the beginning of the year. It gets me excited to see what else that the band has in store.

Get The Divine Wrath of Existence from Bandcamp.

Peter Royburger (Devcord)

Album Review: Devcord – Dysthymia

Devcord is a progressive death metal project from Austria, founded by composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Royburger. September 1st, 2018 brought the release of a debut album Dysthymia.

Many of Devcord‘s songs here enter incredibly melodic acoustic passages and give the listener a break from the huge metal riffs that pound eardrums. Royburger screams intense, powerful metal growls and still shows his ability to sing clean, beautiful vocals when needed. 

Devcord - Dysthymia

As far as the death metal section of the Devcord formula goes, the riffing is original, powerful, and tight. Often, the bass will follow the guitar riff if it isn’t a chordal riff. Lead guitar parts harmonize and create an extremely evil and dissonant aura about them. The harmonizations are mixed much better and often sit on top of the guitar riff, not heard unless the listener tries to find them. Typically, Devcord allows the riff to be heard by itself for a few repetitions with the lead guitar soloing before Royburger enters with his powerful metal growling. When it is time for a full out guitar solo, he lets all hell break loose. He covers the entire fretboard and plays tastefully. Unlike so many metal guitarists, Royburger knows how to make an enjoyable solo rather than playing as many notes as possible within 3 seconds. They usually extend the color tones (3rd, 7th, 9th, etc) of the chords and create jazzy melodies, or as close to a jazzy melody that a death metal band can get.

The melodic acoustic side of Devcord is in some ways better than their metal sound. The guitar patterns, again, are the instrumental theme, but the bass often creates a hidden countermelody with the guitar. Peter sings beautifully, and if Devcord produced an album entirely made of these dark, brooding acoustic passages, he would never be expected to be able to scream, let alone scream well. His tone is dark, warm, and round, like the perfect euphonium. The chord progressions are often dissonant and dark. 

Putting these two formulas together creates a full, epic release that sets the stage for the follow up and breakthrough album. Each song on Dysthymia comes with a new energy and aura about them. Song formats never follow anything typical, and listening for the first time is often mind-blowing because of the unexpected climaxes, transitions, and virtuosity in every second of the album. 

Dysthymia has a potential to put Devcord in the direction of becoming one of the greatest metal projects in the coming years. My recommendation would be to treat the album as a single unit, under which circumstances it plays best, although individual songs can be satisfying. Each time I listen there is something new to discover — all in all, a story worth rereading.

Stream Devord‘s Dysthymia here, and follow the project on Facebook.

Wayward Dawn

Album Review: Wayward Dawn – Soil Organic Matter

Soil Organic Matter is the second full-length release from Denmark-based band Wayward Dawn, providing ten tracks of uncompromising and very much 100% death metal.

From opener ”Requiescat in Pace” to closer “Thy Name Is…,” this outfit plies the listener with agonised strains which develop into gruelling yet melodic heaps. Imagine a thicker, denser mixture of Lamb of God and Bloodbath in those thrashier segments as each track builds with suspense to become a hammering tool of brutality where you’re force fed those vocal gargles and accessibly yet gnarly structures.

Soil Organic Matter

As one would expect, there’s very much a groove death metal feel throughout. The vocals range from snarling rasps to deep, guttural coughs. And there’s a great variation of pace too, the title cut being a prime example of the band and their flexibility as they race with haste and aggression, melodiously carving grating strands of death / thrash and coating them with those sickly vocal smears.

Soil Organic Matter is a solid effort throughout, although the flavour isn’t necessarily old-school; at times there’s more of a mid-to-late 90s style of gushing death metal.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

YouTube