Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My reviews for Metalspree

I've been reviewing metal albums for the metal ezine Metalspree since March. I've been reviewing a bunch of albums in a variety of subgenres, from black metal to stoner/doom and here's a round up of what I've done so far:

Kongh: Sole Creation: Kongh’s third full-length has all the ponderous poise and earth-shaking presence of its cinematic part-namesake, King Kong, perhaps in a freeze frame, caught leaping from one skyscraper to another in a doomed race for freedom.

Imperium Dekadenz: Meadows Of Nostalgia : This isn’t pig-heads-on-a-stick black metal of the raw variety, but it isn’t really artsy black metal either. It’s a very stark, even one-dimensional kind of sound, but with enough atmosphere and finesse to appeal to audiences outside the hardline black metal contingent.

Spektr: Cypher If you’re at all into the more experimental side of extreme metal, you’ll want to spend many sessions with this album trying to unravel its Cypher and decode its arcane secrets.

Tombstone Highway: Ruralizer This is a good album, but it’s generic. Your appreciation of its merits will depend on how committed you are to that genre and how willing you are to listen to a band that brings nothing new to the table, but knows its craft

Birth A.D.: I Blame You Eschewing the unearned populism of so many wannabe thrash bands, frontman/bassist Jeff declaims ‘we won’t write any songs about thrash/or put it on our t-shirts for easy cash/we’ll never tell you to get in the pit/we don’t give a shit’.

Bovine: The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire  Bovine is a band that has a lot of buzz about it at this point, and I can see their mix of sludge, stoner, grunge and modern rock influences finding favour in a lot of places. Perhaps it’s a measure of my own preference for the more trudging, misanthropic aspects of the sludge idiom and my lack of enthusiasm for the linear qualities of modern rock that make me somewhat less sensitive to this album’s charms.

Samsara Blues Experiment: Live At Rockpalast 2012 It’ll sound equally good as part of a marathon session with the second Blue Cheer session, a later Hendrix compilation album like South Saturn Delta, an early Can or Amon Duul album, Hawkwind’s Space Ritual, Sleep’s Dopesmoker, some Electric Wizard, a selection of Mountain and Ten Years After jams, or best of all, a combination of them all.

Victor Griffin's In-Graved The tone is thick and juicy – vintage Griffin – and the riffs are everything you’d expect from one of the most legendary hard rock/doom metal guitarists in the scene. Griffin’s vocals are assured and powerful, making Bobby Liebling only the third best vocalist of the classic Pentagram line-up.

High Priest Of Saturn A few more stand-out melodies and some vocal hooks would have gone a long way towards creating a more memorable debut, but if you’re in the mood for mystery, melancholy and things seen from afar in half-light, you could do worse than spin this album.

Cerekloth: In The Midst Of Life We Are In Death Tunes that would not be out of place on an ABBA record or at a polka revival, with ruddy-cheeked accordion players in their hordes and big-bosomed dancers in dirndls in attendance, are somehow passed off as metal and blared out to clueless fans who mosh along blissfully and imagine they’re actually into heavy music. Those aren’t the kind of melodies Cerekloth deals in; instead, they take us back to Slayer in their heyday, to Autopsy at their most morbid, dealing out melodies that unnerve and forebode.

Cultes Des Ghoules: Henbane Highlights include the rank ululations and simple yet darkly insinuating guitars of ‘The Passion of a Sorceress’ and the acolyte-march riffage and swooning vocal invocations of ‘Festival of Devotion’

Hexvessel: Iron Marsh Make no mistake, Hexvessel are still playing psychedelic folk music, but they’ve moved from being a potential novelty act into something that has the power and scope to appeal to fans of seminal neofolk acts like Current 93.

Anciients: Heart Of Oak Perhaps the prog aspirations will prove to be Anciients’ saving grace, compelling them to move away from the fortuitous but somewhat shallow pool of zeitgeist influences they’re currently channeling.

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