Friday, October 24, 2014

Bombers From Burundi – Bombers From Burundi

Bombers From Burundi was a crossover thrash band from Germany that released only a single self-titled album near the end of the 80s. I had no idea what Burundi was, so I did some research. Turns out it's an African country that's stuck between Zaire, Rwanda, and Tanzania. I'm pretty sure these guys chose that name because it sounded cool. Doesn't matter. Their music's still good.

Although these guys are German, the music sounds very American. The only exception is the vocal performance. They consist of this deep, harsh shout that sounds similar to bands like Kreator. Although they're not the type of vocals you would typically find on a crossover album, they still work really well. They're aggressive and energetic. The band also performs a lot of gang vocals. This is a common crossover aesthetic, but they do it nicely here.

The rest of the music is great as well. The drums play a lot of simple and hard-hitting blast beats. They also play lots of punkish mid-paced rhythms that utilize a great deal of double bass. I especially like that solo it performs at the beginning of “Screams”. The bassist mainly follows the guitar, but there are times when it pulls off some sweet tricks. As for the guitars, they're just splendid. They have a crunchy sound which produces a buzzsaw effect when they play their shredding riffs. They also play lots of catchy chugging riffs that help to break up the pace. There aren't that many solos on here, but they utterly tear shit up.

This album maybe short, but the music is excellent. It's fast and energetic and it's imbued with that classic German aggression.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saffar – Mandatory El Arshy

Saffar is a brutal death metal band from Bandung, one of the main hubs of Indonesian brutality. I first heard of them via their 2011 demo Your Fear Your Enemy. I didn't really think much of them back then. They sounded pretty generic. Three years later, they released their full-length debut, Mandatory El Arshy, and I must say I'm really impressed by what they did here.

I'll just point out the most glaring problem straight away. The snare has that annoying pinging sound that has plagued so many Indonesian brutal death metal bands. I wished they spent the extra time to iron out that kink. As for the music itself, it sounds quite similar to bands like Jasad. Their music is fast and relentless. My favorite part is the bass. In brutal death metal, the bass either just follows the guitar or is ignored entirely, but on this album the bass is extremely prominent. There are even moments where they pull off outstanding solos similar to what Orestes did.

The rest of the music is great as well. The drums play constant blast beats that are somewhat catchy at times. They also play a few mid-paced rhythms that are all topped off by intricate fills. The vocals consist of a deep and harsh shout that sounds more akin to grindcore than brutal death metal. Doesn't matter. They still put on a great performance. The guitars put on a great performance as well. They play a lot of crunchy shredding riffs that pay homage to Jasad. They also throw in a few pulverizing chugs and even a few tremolo riffs that sound similar to Cannibal Corpse.

Perhaps I was wrong to have low expectations of these guys. They put out an awesome album this year. They're extremely talented and brutal. I especially loved the bass. I wish more bands cared about the bass as much as Saffar.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Explicit Hate – A View of the Other Side

Explicit Hate was a thrash metal band from Brazil. They formed in 1986 and released their only full-length album, A View of the Other Side, on the legendary Cogumelo Records, in 1988. Apparently, they still exist, but they have yet to release anything new. Cogumelo Records is famous for releasing albums from awesome bands such as Sepultura, Sarcofago, and Holocausto. Explicit Hate may not be god tier, but they're still pretty sweet.

The music these guys play is much closer to death/thrash. The production has that raw, crunchy quality. This production quality would later become commonplace in the early death metal scene. The music itself is wild and energetic. The drums are played by Rod Santoro, and he hits us with a constant blast beat assault. These blast beats are similar to those played by Dave Lombardo. They're simple but vicious. He also plays some more standard mid-paced rhythms that are complimented by plenty of fills. The bass mainly follows the guitars, but it still adds extra force to the musical attack.

The guitars are played by both Victor Kelly and Gus Santoro. (I'm pretty sure Rod and Gus are brothers.) These guys play a lot of fast shredding riffs that bring forth darkness and destruction. They sound like a corrosive mix of thrash metal, death metal, and black metal. They also find the time to play lots of crushing chugging riffs. They then top things off with some wicked solos that scream like a horde of ravenous demons. My favorite is the one on “Insanity Future”. The best part of this album is the vocal performance of Gus Santoro. He lets loose these evil screams that sound like they were heavily inspired by the German thrash scene. He sounds like a madman who has uncovered truths that no mortal is supposed to know. Now his mind is collapsing in on itself. His tormented screams are the end result.

This was an amazing thrash metal album. Sure, it might not top the early works of Sepultura or Sarcofago, but it's still brimming with diabolical energies. Don't let the lame cover art fool you. The music is a merciless assault on your feeble senses. The riffs will rend your flesh and the vocals will skewer your soul.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Eternal Khan – A Poisoned Psalm

Last year I reviewed A Primitive History, the first EP from Eternal Khan, a blackened doom metal band from Rhode Island. I loved it. Earlier this month, I got an e-mail from the band. They told me that they loved the review I wrote of their EP and asked if I could review their full-length debut. I agreed, and I was pleased by what I heard.

Whereas most other black metal bands prefer lo-fi production, Eternal Khan utilizes a clear sound. Despite this, the music still manages to sound amazing. Instead of going for a cold and desolate sound, Eternal Khan aims for something that is grand and enveloping, like the vastness of the steppes. The music itself is just as grand. It sounds like the approach of the Mongol hordes. Drummer D. Murphy mainly plays mid-paced rhythms, but the snare hits you with the force of superheated iron raining down from the sky. I especially loved the pounding militaristic rhythms at the beginning of the album. He really knows how to set the mood. And although the music is primarily doom oriented, he still plays blast beats on occasion.

The vocals are performed by N. Wood, and he still does a great Tom Warrior impression. His shouts are gruff and have a commanding aura to them. The guitars are played by T. Phrathep and mainly consist of creeping tremolo riffs and crushing chords. They're dark but they feel mighty. When they pick up the pace, they sound like stampeding cavalry. They are also moments when the riffs are imbued with piercing melodies, such as those on “The Tower” and “Into the Twilight Abysses”. These riffs sing triumph and glory. They sing of how wonderful it is to crush the enemy beneath your feet.

This was an amazing debut album. It's a fantastic combination of black metal and doom metal that features grand production and excellent musicianship. It's dark. It's mighty. It's a fitting tribute to the great khan himself.

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Touhou Tuesday #141

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Explicit Fate – Explicit Fate

Explicit Fate was a thrash metal band from San Diego. They had the misfortune of releasing their only demo in 1992. By this time, thrash metal had fallen out of favor and had been replaced by death metal. The band sort of knew this was the case, so their brand of thrash metal is a bit more aggressive than the usual.

The brand of thrash metal Explicit Fate plays sounds similar to what Slayer played on Seasons in the Abyss. It's mostly mid-paced and features a great deal of groove, which reflects the major changes in the metal scene back then. The drums play lots of mid-paced rhythms that feature a powerful snare sound, but there are moments where they launch into blast beat assaults. The bass is extremely prominent on this demo. It plods alongside the guitars and makes the music heavier and more powerful. I wish more modern bands paid attention to the bass.

The guitars mainly play a lot of mid-paced riffs that feature quite a bit of groove. If you've listened to Seasons in the Abyss, then you already have a good idea as to what these riffs sound like. These riffs are simple but they're aggressive. They also make sure to play some wicked solos. I especially like the ones on “Death and Taxes” and “Social Hazard”. The instrumentation is fantastic, but unfortunately the vocals ruin it for me. They consist of this gruff shout that tries to sound all angry and whatnot, but the guy's performance comes off as really cheesy. They become even cheesier when his vocals become high-pitched. He ends up sounding like Bobby Ellsworth's less talented little brother.

Overall, I liked the instrumentation, but I hated the vocals. It's a shame because it's obvious that these guys were talented.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

One Sentence Review: Legiah - The Haze

Sloppy, horribly produced piece of putrid, talentless shit. Share on Tumblr

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eulogy (Can) – Three Dead Sheep

There are several bands named Eulogy. The most famous is a death metal band from Tampa, Florida. This one was a death metal band from Quebec. They existed from 1990 to 1995 and released only a three song EP called Three Dead Sheep in 1993. I was delighted to discover that unlike most of the other early death metal bands from Quebec, these guys are actually good.

The best part is the extremely prominent bass played by Frank Bonneville. You know how I often complain about how death metal bands neglect the bass? Well these guys crank the bass up to ridiculous levels. It plods along so menacingly and gives the music this filthy, slimy atmosphere. It sounds as if it crawled out of a sewer that was clogged with gore. The rest of the music is awesome as well. Drummer Brian Craig plays lots of mid-paced rhythms that feature a powerful snare sound as well as plenty of pounding blast beats and double bass sections.

Guitarist Ivan Westley churns out a constant stream of crunchy mid-paced riffs. It's a musical meat grinder. There are also times when he hits us with some dark shredding riffs. The only part of this album I don't like are the vocals provided by Shawn Wilbur. Why? Because he uses a pitch-shifter, that's why. He tries to make himself sound demonic and shit, but he ends up making me cringe. As I've said countless times in the past, pitch-shifted vocals are only suitable for goregrind. If you use them outside of goregrind, then people will think you're a lazy asshole who's unable to perform a proper growl.

Overall, this was a pretty sweet death metal EP, save for the vocals. It's a shame they never released anything else. They had a lot of potential.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Acridity – For Freedom I Cry

After Metallica hit it big with Master Of Puppets in 1986, many thrash metal bands tried to do the same. There were lots of good thrash metal bands in that crowd, but unfortunately, most of them never made it big and died out. Acridity was one of those bands. They formed in Victoria, Texas in 1987 and in 1991 they released their only full-length album called For Freedom I Cry. To call it a buried treasure would be an understatement.

These guys sound like a mix of Metallica and Testament. Drummer Mark Soto primarily plays mid-paced rhythms that are frequently interspersed with fills. These rhythms are competently performed, but I don't like the sound of the double bass. It sounds like they're pounding on wet cardboard. At least he makes up for it by playing some great simple blast beats that remind me of Dave Lombardo. Just like most other bassists, Mark Cox mainly follows the guitars, but he makes the music sound thicker and more lively.

Vocalist Darin Carroll essentially sounds like James Hetfield. It's not the strongest performance, but it still gets the job done. The guitars are performed by Mel Langenberg and Anthony Pedone. They're the best part of the album. They play a lot of fast and crunchy shredding riffs similar to what Slayer played on Show No Mercy. They also play some mid-paced riffs that feature a great deal of melody, such as near the end of “Denied Right”. They then top things off with some brilliant solos that are both fast and burning with passion.

Like so many other thrash metal bands in the late 80s, Acridity hoped they would become the next Metallica. They hoped they would achieve metal stardom. Unfortunately, their dreams never came true. At least they made some excellent music in the process. I recommend this to any collector of great obscure thrash.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nosferatu (Idn) – Visible But Untouched

Nosferatu was a thrash metal band from Indonesia that existed during the early 90s. They formed in 1993 and existed only a year. The only thing to their name was a full-length album called Visible But Untouched. The cover art is unassuming, but the music is definitely great.

The production is fantastic. The snare is really strong, the bass is prominent in the mix, and the guitars have this sweet crunch to them. This is a production quality that has sadly become very rare in modern times. As for the music itself, it's heavily influenced by both British heavy metal and punk. Drummer Mark Bistany primarily plays simple upbeat mid-paced rhythms that feature a great deal of double bass. He also spices things up with plenty of elaborate fills. Bassist Ricky Wolking plods alongside the guitars and gives the rest of the music more of an impact. His performance sort of reminds me of Cliff Burton. No surprise given how influential Metallica was on the Indonesian metal scene.

Vocalist Agus Lasmono's performance consists of low-pitched singing similar to James Hetfield. They're not the strongest vocals, but they still get the job done. The guitars are played by Tjahjo Wisanggeni. He mainly sticks to churning out crunchy mid-pace riffs that are heavily influenced by the works of Kirk Hammett. Most of these riffs sound like they came from ...And Justice For All. Not only does he play metal riffs, but he also lightens the mood by throwing in lots of clean guitars. Best of all are his solos. He utterly tears up the fretboard with his rapid string-picking assaults. They screech to the heavens and conjure forth a lightning storm of glory.

Overall, Nosferatu played some pretty sweet thrash metal. The production was amazing and the music itself was heavy and infectious. It's a shame that good bands like this have to die so soon. They could have made a name for themselves.
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