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 By this time, thrash metal had fallen out of favor and had been replaced by death metal.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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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Demented (USA) – Pacification By Violence

There are many metal bands named Demented. This one in particular was a thrash metal band from Indiana. They formed in 1989, released only one demo called Pacification By Violence two years later, then broke up shortly thereafter. They existed when thrash metal was starting to die out, so it's no wonder they didn't last long. But is their music any good? Let's find out.

Since this is a demo, the production isn't the best. It's kinda muffled, but it's still better than most of the shit I've listened to. As for the music itself, it sounds closer to death/thrash. The drums mainly play mid-paced rhythms, but they also play a few blast beats on occasion, most of which are heavily inspired by crossover. Despite the muffled production, the snare comes through pretty clearly, and they make sure to throw in a few fills to make things interesting. The bass mainly sticks to following the guitars, but there are moments where things get quiet and they show off some sweet tricks, such as near the end of “Laughing Eyes”.

The guitars mainly play lots of mid-paced chugging riffs, but there are moments where they pick up the pace and play some shredding riffs that sound similar to Slayer. The patterns aren't too original, but they get the job done. They then top things off with some awesome solos that utterly tear up the fretboard and draw their energies from Jeff Hannemann and Kerry King. Unfortunately, the vocals kill it for me. He tries to imitate Chuck Schuldiner by performing a hoarse growl, but it comes off as sounding weak and cringeworthy. There are also moments where the guy applies these weird effects to his vocals which just make me cringe even harder.

Overall, the instrumentation was good, but I hated the vocals. Seriously, what was up with the vocal effects? This demo would have been great if they got a different vocalist.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Temple Of Void – Of Terror and the Supernatural

I first discovered Temple Of Void back in June of last year. I absolutely loved their demo. It was full of crushing doom/death. One week ago, I got an email from the band. They told me that they were big fans of my blog. When I read that I was all like this:

Anyway, they sent me a digital copy of their full-length debut, Of Terror and the Supernatural, and asked me if I could review it. I told them I would write up a review in a week because I was busy with other stuff. To be honest, I was spending all my time dicking around on 8chan. I eventually found the time to review this album, and I was blown away by what I heard.

First of all, the production is really thick and meaty. It definitely has an old school vibe to it. The bass is really high in the mix and its performance gives the music a powerful and overwhelming atmosphere. It feels like thick fog in an old graveyard. When it comes to the music, the band frequently switches between mid-paced death metal and slow, crushing doom/death. Drummer Jason Pearce hits us with a steady stream of strong snare strikes and crashing cymbals. His plodding rhythms guide us through that fog-filled graveyard. They stomp their feet upon the barren earth and the decaying bodies that lie beneath it.

The vocals of Mike Erdody consist of a hoarse yet bellowing growl that sounds like it's emanating from some forgotten tomb. They're haunting and seething with ancient hatred. The guitars are played by Eric Blanchard and Alex Awn. They play those dark chugging riffs that are a staple of doom/death, but unlike most other bands, they like to inject a little beauty on occasion. Accompanying the chugs are graceful clean guitars as well as some electric guitars that exhibit a great deal of melody. I love this contrast. It represents that from death springs new life. These two forces are deeply intertwined. I especially loved the all-acoustic song “To Carry this Corpse Evermore”. It's like a bed of flowers in this cold and barren graveyard. They then top things off with some technical and graceful solos.

Of Terror and the Supernatural is one of the best albums of 2014. These guys take doom/death and they pair it up with a powerful atmosphere and beautiful guitar work. If you wish to hear this awesome album for yourself, then head on over to their Bandcamp page.
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Touhou Tuesday #140

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