Thursday, November 20, 2014

Articulomortis – Deklarasi Dunia Baru

Articulomortis is a brutal death metal band from Samarinda, a city located on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. They formed back in 2010 and released their first EP, Deklarasi Dunia Baru, last year. It's pretty sweet.

The production is kinda muffled and the snare has a bit of that pinging sound that I find annoying, but the music itself is stellar. The drums play a lot of rampaging blast beats that feature great cymbal work. They also play lots of strong mid-paced rhythms. Sure, the double bass has that annoying clicking sound, but they're still played really well. There are even moments where they play rhythms that are slow and creeping.

The vocals consist of an angry hoarse growl. They're clearly influenced by the likes of Siksakubur. I wish the vocals could have been more brutal, but they fit the music just fine. As with most other Indonesian brutal death metal bands, the best part is the guitar work. They play lots of shredding riffs that are intricately crafted. They're brutal but also technical. They then spice things up by throwing in a few pinch harmonics. But then they throw us a curve ball by playing a few clean guitars that sound like they were pulled from atmospheric black metal. They then top it all off with some chaotic solos that really show off their abilities.

This EP was fantastic. I especially loved the guitar work. I hope to hear more from these guys because they have real talent.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recipients of Death – Final Flight

In 1988, Recipients of Death released their self-titled EP. It was violent and chaotic, and it was pretty fucking sweet as well. Two years later, they released their last EP, the appropriately named Final Flight. It's... not as good as their first.

The production sounds way cleaner, but this unfortunately means the music now sounds more sterile. The guitars no longer sound as gritty and the drums no longer have that strong punch. The music also seems tamer. Drummer Chris Broguiere still plays those simple blast beats, but they don't sound as raging and vicious as they were on the first EP. This time around he prefers to play a bunch of mid-paced rhythms.

Rich Gonzales still plays bass, but it's no longer as prominent. I blame the clean production. As for his vocals, he still performs those angry shouts, but they don't feel as powerful this time around. It almost sounds like he's weak and tired. Zac Taylor and Albert Gomez are gone. The guitars are now played by John Lisi of Bloodlust. Structurally, it's still the same. The guy plays those fast shredding riffs that were a staple of the fist EP. Unfortunately, these riffs just don't feel very exciting or energetic. They just feel like lukewarm rehashes of what they did in the past. Even the solos sound lackluster. It just sounds like he's flailing at random strings. There's a distinct lack of focus to his performance. The only part of his performance I like is the noodling he does on “F.O.A.D.”.

Overall, this EP was a real disappointment. If their first EP was like a big fancy meal, then this EP is like their cold and stale leftovers. It's a shame they so quickly fizzled out like that. They had a lot of potential.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Urzeit & Akatharsia – Split

Two of my favorite new black metal bands are Urzeit and Akatharsia. They both play lo-fi black metal that is brimming with vile anger and hatred. They get to the core of what black metal is really about: pure misanthropy. Imagine my excitement when I heard that these guys released a split together. I went to Bandcamp to hear it for myself, and I loved what I heard.
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Touhou Tuesday #145

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Recipients of Death – Recipients of Death

Recipients of Death was an obscure death metal band from Los Angeles. They formed in 1986 and released only two EPs before splitting up at the beginning of the 90s. Both of these EPs were released on the legendary Wild Rags Records. Being signed to that label usually means the music is awesome. Sure enough, it is.

The music on this EP can best be described as Slayer worship. Coincidentally, these guys also come from the same city as Slayer. Drummer Chris Broguiere is heavily influenced by Dave Lombardo. He plays a lot of fast, simple and violent blast beats. He also likes to break things up a bit by playing some mid-paced rhythms. Both the snare and the cymbals sound really powerful and help to make the album even more violent.

Both the bass and vocals are performed by Rich Gonzales. His bass work is rather prominent and helps to make the music sound thicker. His vocals consist of an angry shout that sounds like a cross between Venom and Slayer. They're vicious and spiteful and they show no mercy. Then there is the guitar work of Zac Taylor and Albert Gomez. They play a lot of fast and violent riffs that sound like they were pulled from Reign In Blood. They also play a few mid-paced solos that sound like approaching destruction. Best of all are the solos. They screech and howl in a way that would make Kerry King proud.

Although this EP is really short, it's fucking sweet. It's an excellent tribute to Slayer. Their music is fast, violent, and chaotic. It's music fit for maniacs.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Haiku Review: Cadavera - Brutalidad

Shitty French death/thrash.
Muddy sound. Dreadful music.
Waste of hard drive space.
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Arum (Ita) – Black Majesty

There are two bands named Arum. One is a blackened death metal band from Brazil. The other was a black metal band from Italy. This review is about the black metal band from Italy. It was formed in 1993 by one guy named... Arum. He released only one demo in 1994 called Black Majesty before quitting music and getting a real job. It's a good thing he did too, because this demo sucks ass.

Since this is a black metal demo from the early 90s, the production is bound to be bad, but the production here is exceptionally bad. Everything is horribly muffled and it's extremely hard to make out any of the elements. It wouldn't even matter if the demo had good production because the music is atrocious. The drum machine just plays a bunch of bland and uninteresting mid-paced rhythms. The snare has no punch to it at all, the cymbals are pitiful, and the kick drums sound like he's banging on wet cardboard with a newspaper.

The guitars are just fucking dull. They spend the entire album playing unoriginal and mediocre mid-paced riffs. The performance is so sloppy and the riffs are so boring that the guitars just sound like indecipherable static most of the time. Worst of all is the vocal performance. He performs a dreadful and uninspired rasp. That's bad enough as it is, but then he accompanies it with these laughable pitch-shifted vocals. He tries to make himself sound all evil and demonic and shit, but he ends up making himself look like a tryhard. This is especially obvious on the title track. Pitch-shifted vocals belong in goregrind, not black metal. If you use a pitch-shifter outside of goregrind, then you're admitting to the world that you're a talentless hack.

The only good thing I can say about this demo is that I like the clean guitars at the beginning of “Death's Wind”. Other than that, this demo is a pile of shit. I especially hated the vocals. I don't think I'll ever know why the man thought it would be a good idea to use a pitch-shifter in black metal. I'll just assume he's an idiot.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Dhwesha – Sthoopa

I don't really review a lot of metal that comes out of India, mainly because most of the stuff they make doesn't really appeal to me. Luckily, I finally managed to find a band that interests me. Their name is Dhwesha. They formed in Bangalore in 2008 and released their full-length debut, Sthoopa, eight years later. This album is a great homage to death metal's early days.

The music these guys play is mid-paced and crushing. It sounds like a mix of Bolt Thrower and Morbid Angel. The bass is played by guest musician Avinash Ramchander. His performance is really high in the mix, which means the rest of the music sound dark and gritty as a result. Many modern death metal bands don't pay attention to the bass. It's good to know that the Indians are holding true to the old ways. Drummer Tushar Bajaj eschews rapid fire blast beats in favor of steady mid-paced rhythms that sound like a wave of cataphracts charging across the plains. The snare sounds like hammer blows and the cymbals sound like the clashing of steel. He also spices things up by playing a few elaborate patterns and fills that are influenced by traditional Hindi music. This influence becomes most apparent at the end of “Yuddhabhumi”. I loved that song.

The vocals are performed by Ajay Nagaraj. He belts out growls are dark and cavernous. He sounds like an army of ancient soldiers that had been risen from the grave. The guitars are performed by Somesha Sridhara. He has no interest in shredding your face off. Instead, he chooses to play lots of crushing mid-paced riffs that sound like the stomping of elephants from hell. These riffs possess a dirty, old school sound that would make the death metal gods smile. These rhythms eventually give way to piercing, high-pitched riffs and solos that radiate grace and beauty, a perfect contrast to the meaty old school riffs that dominate the album. As with the guitars, they also take the time to play a few riffs that are inspired by traditional Hindi music. This can be seen on songs like “Sabhe”. I love it when foreign metal bands spice up the recipe by mixing it with their culture.

These Indians have made something special here. Whereas most modern death metal sounds squeaky clean and sterile, these guys play it the way it originally was: dark, disgusting, and evil. They pay homage to legends like Bolt Thrower while also throwing in bits of their own culture into it. The end result is music that is powerful, aggressive, and unique.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Demigod (Idn) – Birth of the Damned

Demigod hail from the Indonesian city of Sumedang. They formed in 2008 and released their first EP, Birth of the Damned, last year.

These guys play equal amounts of slam and technical stuff. Drummer Rizalu Ramadhan plays lots of blast beats as well as some hard-hitting mid-paced rhythms. He utilizes a lot of intricate cymbal work and he spices things up with plenty of intricate fills. Unfortunately, the snare has that annoying clanging sound that seems to plague so many other Indonesian brutal death metal bands. Hopefully, they'll be able to fix that problem on later releases. Bassist Freddy Mulya Purba mainly follows the guitars, but there are moments where he pulls off some cool tricks.

The vocals are performed by Aghy R Purakusuma. They consist of a deep and hoarse growl. Though not original, they're still performed well. The guitar are performed by Hamzah and Reduan Imanuel. They play plenty of really heavy slam riffs, but they also spice things up with some fast shredding riffs. They also take the time to play some more technical riffs as well as the obligatory pinch harmonics. They even play a few kickass solos. My favorite is the one near the end of “End of Breathiness”.

Overall, while the material they play may not be completely original, it's still pretty sweet. I especially like the technical guitar work. I'm interested to see what they will offer us in the future.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Intolerance – Emotionally Mangled

Intolerance was an extremely short-lived thrash metal band from Detroit. They released a single EP called Emotionally Mangled in 1989 and played only one live show before splitting up. This means the band is either really, really good or really, really bad. Only one way to find out.

One thing I really like about this EP is just how prominent the bass is. It's extremely prominent. It's almost punkish in its prominence. Not only that, but it plays a lot of groovy riffs that make the music sound extra heavy. The drums are pretty sweet too. They play a lot of straightforward blast beats and hard-hitting punkish rhythms. They also play a lot of really elaborate fills, so it's obvious that the guy has a great deal of talent.

The guitars play a mix of shredding riffs and mid-paced punk riffs. They're played really well and they're quite catchy. They also take the time to play some slow riffs that remind me of Black Sabbath as well as some chords that feature a great deal of melody. All the instruments are great, but unfortunately the vocals kill it for me. The guy sounds like a cheap ripoff of Steve Souza. His voice is high-pitched and extremely annoying. Luckily, he doesn't open his mouth that often.

Overall, these guys play some great thrash metal, but it's ruined by the vocal delivery. I can understand why they played only one show. People probably hated the vocals.
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