Thursday, May 17, 2012

Colossal Supremacy

Now, I've been anticipating Koloss like the fucken second coming of Christ. Never have I been so pumped about an album as with this one. Were my hopes too high? Hell no, they weren't even close . Fuck me sideways, upside down, backwards, pretty much any fucken way you want. God help us all. This is what will make the world end in 2012.

The band themselves said that this album would be a bit more "straight forward" than, say, ObZen. A bit more back to their roots, if you will. Something I'm sure is welcomed by many a fans. Because this is what Meshuggah are the undisputed kings of. Yes, they sure as hell know how to absolutely fuck things up beyond mere human comprehension, but I don't think that's what they are truly about and most certainly not what they do best.

I'm gonna sidetrack a little here, but hear me the fuck out, will you? No? Well, fuck you.

obZen felt to me like an experiment from the band. And people who got into the band through that album might have got the wrong impression of what they truly are about. (I'm mainly looking at you, "djent"-people). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love obZen as I love every other album they've done. But it's not about how fast or technical you can go with Meshuggah, it's how heavy, or with this album, colossal you can get. They are, in the end, about creating mindbending sonic experiences. Cosmic greatness. And since obZen, unfortunately, spawned this absolute fucken pile of manure people call "djent", I couldn't be more happy with their direction on Koloss. Thank you, Meshuggah. You have just absolutely ass-raped the "djent"-scene silly. I love you even more than I did before.

I just felt like I had to clarify that. Hatemails from djentsters are expected and by all means more than welcome. I could use some free entertainment. Ha! You've got nothing on me.
Now let's get back to Koloss, shall we? Right.

With their two released tracks, "Do Not Look Down" and "Break Those Long Song Titles", I had mixed feelings about what to expect. "Break....." is one hell of a monster track, alright. Relentless, goddamn straight to the point bulldozer heaviness, right there. Not much to discuss, really. "Do Not Look Down" is, on the other hand, ridiculously groovy and it pretty much makes me want to dance the fuck out to it. Well, not really dance, that would just look plain retarded. You wouldn't want to see me dance, trust me. There are enough awful things in this world as it is. I don't even know where I'm going with this myself.

Anyhoo, I was not really sure what to expect, but I thought it'd be wise to wait until I've heard the entire album before my verdict, naturally. Well, duh.

Well, those tracks definitely shows two sides of the coin, alright. but they certainly do not show what the entire album actually has to offer. This is like all of their previous albums had sex with each other, and Koloss is the sick, demented and dark offspring that came out.
This is heavy as fuck, it's groovy and it's fucken evil. In other words, they focus on all the things that they can execute like no other band out there. It's safe to say that they are back, and they're fucken pissed off. This blows obZen right the fuck out of the water.

What I like the most is the production. It all sounds like actual instruments again. Everyone shines through so well on this album. Rather than having a compressed-to-clusterfuckness sound like on obZen they went for a more organic and alive sound. Best point of reference would be the Nothing album, but warmer. You can actually hear how an amazing drummer Tomas really is again. Also, Fredrik and Mårten has to be two of the tightest goddamn rhythm guitarists out there.

The bass is there sometimes, sometimes it just blends in completely with the guitars, but this is because when they play the low 8-string stuff, Dick plays in the same octave as the guitars, thus giving them that characteristic guitar sound. As far as I'm concerned, he is a damn fine and way too underrated bassist. He even gets some spotlight in "Break..." with a kind of a drum and bass interlude, something you haven't really heard since DEI, more or less.

But what probably struck me the most is Jens. His vocals sound so much more inspired and pissed off than on obZen. Something or someone must have pissed him off before entering the studio. He is definitely back in the shape he should be. Which is something you can't say that often about vocalists, so this is a huge plus. Few people can compete with his badassness and he definitely puts the icing on the cake, the cum on the face, and the grädde on the mos on this album. His live facial expressions alone should be enough to have people fucken throw all kinds of awards at them.

The musicianship is just out of this world. But this needs no further ellaboration, I'm pretty sure most people are familiar with their skills at this point. Just listen to the damn albums if you don't know what I'm fucken talking about.

Another point worth mentioning is the lyrics. Tomas writes pretty much all of them, and he is a natural talent at it, too. They make you think, they are interesting, and they all have meaning to them. They give the songs further dimensions and fits them like a glove while at it. Do yourself a favor and put on some good headphones and listen to this while reading along in the booklet. Fantastic.

At first I decided that to write about each track was a good idea, but it just proved to be pointless and it turned out a little too long to keep the read interesting. I'm pretty sure that you don't have the same feelings about the tracks as I do, anyway... So fuck that shit.

Koloss is heavy, it's atmospheric, it's groovy, it's evil, it's apocalyptic, and it's pretty much everything that I absolutely have come to love about this band over the years. It is a mix of what they've done in the past and it is a perfect representation of what they are. It's the soundtrack to the entire galaxy being crushed into a black hole. And the final track of the album, an instrumental clean guitar interlude (which is also something they are fucken excellent at, Catch 33 would be a perfect example of this), is the emptiness and dead silence of space that is all that remains afterwards. This, folks, this is what Meshuggah are all about and are the unmatched masters of doing.

Considering all of this and the overall good flow that this album has, I cannot give this anything less than a full score. Call me a fucken fanboy if you want to. I totally am, so I'm all fine with it. Like, I don't even care. Koloss certainly lives up to its name.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Groove gods reaching a new height!

First of all, let me set the record straight. Many have compared Gojira to Meshuggah and I think that's not accurate. Sure I guess in the same heavy experimental odd time signatures and bizarre chord using way, you could call them similar. However what this album demonstrates is how far apart the two bands are and given time listening to this album, you forget about Meshuggah all together.

This is not metal for the simple minded and one quick listen won't do it justice. Gojira fans will be expecting this complexity and they will also tell you that's exactly what they love about them. Some bands chug along but Gojira kind of stutter along. This sounds quite bad but it's this stuttering that makes them so unique. Previous albums have impressed me but I think this album is where they really hit their straps. There is something about The Way Of All Flesh that is so familiar yet so fresh at the same time that after 30 or 40 listens you're still not bored.

"Oroborus" is an unusual opener. It starts with a strange riff of hammer-ons and pick-offs which sets the scene for the entire album because you know you're not going to listen to a straight forward metal album. Many songs from other bands have several ideas that change and progress as the song goes on. Yet on this track it seems Gojira have done the opposite, in fact keeping the same idea and vibe then adding and taking away from it. It's a technique Gojira has used many times before but I think this could well be the archetypal track.

They back up the incredible opener with "Toxic Garbage Island" which starts out with the stuttering along that I described earlier. That is until it gets to a moment of sheer power with the chorus. At mezzo tempo and with Joe growling "Pain is killing me", it's one of the highlight moments of the album. The whole track has a painful feel to it which seems to reinforce their deep belief in enviromental issues.

The album continues with many awesome tracks until it gets to "The Art Of Dying". This track is probably one of my favourite songs of 2008. Starting with a "The Link" feel of a deep groan underlining the snare tapping, it builds and builds until it explodes into a melee of drums bass and guitar fighting against each other until the drums bring it all together with a pounding beat. There are several breakdowns and change of directions in the song. The most notable is the second and final breakdown after which one of the most epic riffs of the 00's starts. It's so good they repeat it for nearly 3 minutes straight but it never gets boring. You can't help but bang your head everytime you hear it.

It's an all round incredible effort from the Frenchmen and I hope it's not a carrer peak. I'd like to see them get better and better with every release. I think they have it in them because even though all albums have common themes, no two are alike and that makes a perfect band. One that can release quality after quality.


Friday, May 11, 2012

French people made this?!?!

I've long awaited this release, ever since I first heard their last effort; Insane Cephalic Production, which was a pure and everlasting masterpiece - i still enjoy every track on that very album.
It's hard to describe what this band is about...Their music contains so many different elements. Yet mostly very brutal they still manage to influence some melody and even harmony right in center of pandemonium without losing momentum in this destructive force.

The riffs are all excellent and fits beautifully into the whole picture. Very versatile riffing, one riff always fades into another. It's a rare thing these days, that the guitar work is not monotonous. Aswell for the vocals that vary along with the riffage and contributes to a very satisfying symbiosis of sound. It's thick and indestructible.
Julian Truchan is a very sick man I tell you. He range from disturbing screechs to more ordinary growls and from time to time even pig like kind of growl. You know that really obscure guttural grunt. I hate it, I always hated it but here it suddenly makes sense. Because it fits so well into the music. Sick music needs sick vocals... You can't sing like fucking Bruce Dickinson in a brutal and obviously sick death metal band. It would just sound completely and utterly wrong.

And now for the drums, what can you say? It's not overly done in a technical matter, though Fred "Fight" Fayolle (pity he decided to depart) drumming is technical he puts more effort in different rythms that he constantly change along with the music.
Sure he can blast away your face from time to time but that's not important. Because this band is not focused on speed. This band is all about riffs, rythms, subtle melodies, obscure segments and sick sick breaks.
Every part of this band, even the base combines in a flawless way. Making this absolute and incredible sound...And the best thing is, it's completely original, I've heard infinite numbers of different bands but nothing sounds like this, nothing!

Compared to their last effort "Identisick" proves a more mature and definite sound. The music sounds more confident in every aspect. The madness starts out with "Nemesis" and this track is so characteristic for this band. It's fast, versatile and of course, sick as hell. It contains all elements that makes this band what it is.
And this massacre of fast, brutal sickness continues to the last second, it never ceases to break your bones. You will always beg for more because the album improves, it grows successively along with every track.
Just listen to the sample in the beginning of the second track "Collapse", it's so simple and out of the picture it gets irresistible.

Aswell as the last effort this album has no weakness. All tracks has something that makes them stand out. How many albums out there contains that balance?
This is definately one of the best albums I've heard, it's even better than it's predecessor and that concludes everything. So if you haven't heard this band I suggest (read; force) you to get your hands over this release along with their other efforts. If you're into sick brutal madness, that is. All I can say, you won't regret it - this music is completely rapturing.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's darker than you think

Ah, the strife I went through to actually get my hands on a copy of this album when I first got into black metal at the beginning of this decade. Ordering it and not coming through, then on back order and again ordering it and finally coming through to my dealer who accidentally sold my copy to another customer, then to finally arriving again and it did not end in vain the third time. Carpathian Forest's "Defending The Throne Of Evil" is truly an evil, dark, and immensely entertaining release and is probably their best to date. All of their previous work has finally led up to this point, their high point, with two Nattefrost solo albums on the side to boot (which really have nothing to do with Carpathian Forest at all). The cover art appears to be four goat heads at each corner of the CF logo with a forest in the background, a mausoleum on the tray with the words "Spill The Blood" and "Carpathian Forest Wants You Dead!!" on the side tray, and the Carpathian Forest ten commandments in the center of the booklet to let you know who's in charge here. Twelve songs clocking in at fifty one minutes and not one stale track, along with Terje Refsnes' killer clear production which works great here and makes "Defending The Throne Of Evil" an exception among third wave modern black metal releases.

"It's Darker Than You Think" starts off with a creepy symphonic introduction with the violin strings crying tears of blood to an ambush of TNBM blasting you straight out of your skin. "Skjend Hans Lik" contains badass riff after badass riff to only stop in the middle to blow you off your chair again while "The Well Of All Human Tears", my second favorite song here, is an absolute headbanging masterpiece of sorrow and torture that draws you in with its layers of ultimate brutality. "Put To Sleep Like A Sick Animal" is a straight forward hellish tune with no compromise and a violent onslaught of paranormal musicianship. "Hymne Til Doden" is dedicated to the one who carries a sickle and is a slaughterhouse symphony of vile hate while "One With The Earth" is my favorite song on "Defending The Throne Of Evil" and is by far the shortest, most straight to the point track ever created by Carpathian Forest besides "Carpathian Forest" on "Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods" and "Morbid Fascination Of Death". You must hear this for yourself to fully encompass and enjoy the sheer genius of it.

The other songs on here are good as well and not boring in the least. The one song I have not spoken of but I will mention is "Cold Murderous Music", a truly grimy, filthy, and morbid piece. Motorsen again appears with his tenor saxophone, destroying all doubters by creating a strangely cold trip-hop track along with Nattefrost's vocals beckoning the listener to commit suicide in several different uniquely fun ways. The guitars, bass, and drums on "Defending The Throne Of Evil" are the best yet out of the whole Carpathian Forest discography. Nattefrost's vocals are at their most misanthropic and vicious while the synth and keyboards on here are fresh, intriguing, always surprising, and never leaves you hanging.

"Defending The Throne Of Evil" is my favorite Carpathian Forest release next to "Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods", though I cannot compare the two as both are very, very different from each other. The one thing I will say is "Defending The Throne..." will leave your neck aching more. Even to you metalheads who don't headbang, you cannot but help it here whilst "Through Chasm..." will have you contemplating whether your life is worth living in all its claustrophobic glory. If you enjoy "The Divine Comedy" and want more visuals to go with Dante and Virgil's exploration, then you will love this album. If you love hating human existence, wish to eradicate Judeo Christianity, and are a bitter person, then this is your ticket to Hell, and if you're like me and need to own every single album in a band's discography, then you probably own this already and I have to say no more. An excellent, enjoyable, and vibrant listen to accompany your journey to the underworld.


Probot the superband

Sorry. I can't fault Dave Grohl. I know a lot of my fellow metal head brethren would be the first that see this as not being tr00 enough (I own albums by Blasphemy, Beherit, and Inquisition....go listen to Manowar faggots!) and that would be their own fault. Yes this isn't the perfect album that makes everyone hold hands and essentially sing a song/tale of forgive and forget. Obviously metal heads have a hard time dropping grudges and getting over the fact that their shit don't stink, I mean if it was a perfect universe we would still be stuck in 1989 listening to Mordred clones and wearing acid-washed jeans....sorry. Like we really needed another decade of pissing and moaning of why "Bounded By Blood" never got the same video airplay as say fucking Poison or Nelson. Do we really want that bad of a stgnation or was Nirvana actually needed in order to air out the castle so to speak? Nirvana didn't survive. Exodus and all of the GOOD thrash acts are still touring in their twilight years of their careers even if their music quality has dropped. But regardless of how one man literally changed everything and provided some much butthurt for metal heads, the shocking fact of the matter was that he was a metal-head himself all along. This album proves it more than anything he has done with his other 2 bands.

First thing's first: the collaborations. I don't know if many people remember how fucking DISMAL the year 2004 was. The tail-end of Nu-metal and the commerical success of Metalcore/scene music. Next to that everyone was still in their Pop-Punk phase with baggy Dickies shorts and were witnessing the rise of...and I will say this....Emo music. It was bleak. It was probably bleaker then than in the mid 90's when Metal was going through a major identity crisis as far as what genre of music would conquer not only the underground, but give hopes to the mainstream. And for Dave Grohl to come out with an album that featured Cronos of Venom, Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost, King Diamond, Lemmy of Motorhead, Mike Dean of C.O.C., Wino of Saint Vitus, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Napalm Death, etc.....that was possibly the most epic thing any major MTV superstar could do. It's not a million fucking blastbeats, it's not uber-satanic, it's not technical guitar wizardry that resembles nothing short of stroking yourself and thinking your shit don't stink, it's not angsty(thank-god), it's not anything that is so overly-redudant within the metal universe that hasn't been done a million times over. It's basically Dave Grohl's musical vision and collaberation with some of his favorite musicians. And for what it was, at least least 15 minutes of the summer that this album came out was damn good. It was FUN. It was enjoyable. It was groovy, dark, heavy, it essentially felt like listening to a Black Sabbath album and feeling like a kid again and having summer vacation off. And fuck off to those who think that's EVER a bad idea.

Now the main thing with a lot of metal heads including myself was that....what would it sound like? Would the songs sound exactly like those Dave had on the tracks sound like the glory days of their former bands from a decade that everyone is still trying to out-do? Yes and no. Yes in that SOME tracks sound what you would expect and others are a slight let-down like for example the tracks from Tom G. Warrior or Max Cavalera. The tracks with those who have fallen far from their once reigning thrones(NOTE: Since this album, Tom G. Warrior has long since atoned for his sing with Celtic Frost and Tryptykon, where as Max Cavalera still hasn't.), but other than that...the rest of the songs are fucking good. They rock.

First song up is "Centuries of Sin" that features Cronos of Venom which really starts the album off on a killer Venom almost and I stress the word "almost" a very heavy D-Beat/Discharge edge. Not bad. Cronos is singing and Dave is pounding the shit out of his drums in the background. There's also this creepy-sounding outback-type Aborigine sounding howl that makes it sound somewhat diabolical sounding. Good effort on setting the atmosphere and tone. The following song just takes away that cool 'good' feeling of the opening and flushes it down the toilet. You would think that Dave would beg Max to pull something ala "Beneath The Remains" or fucking "Arise" at LEAST but no, we get another modern-day Sepultura/modern-day Soulfly song with Max Cavalera damn near rapping with that fucking annoying "WATCHYOBACKWTACHYOBACKWATCHYOBACKWATCHYOBACK!!1!1" part. Max you are fucking hopeless when it comes to getting away from your stupid bushman/wigger hybrid persona. Hate this song. Next song features Lemmy "Shake Your Blood"....guess what? It's sounds just like Motorhead. No surprise there. Not saying it's bad, but it's Lemmy and you know what to expect from big guy himself. "Access Babylon" features Mike Dean of C.O.C. and here we get back to the good groovy shit where it sounds a bit like "Technocracy" e.p. "Silent Spring" is the catchiest song off the entire album with Kurt Brecht of D.R.I. fame and that is sounds more Sabbathy than D.R.I. It has that bottom-end heaviness you might have gotten the pleasure from D.R.I. songs such as "Under The Wheel" or "5 Year Plan" during their "4 Of A kind/Crossover" days. "Ice Cold Man" with Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Napalm Death sounds exactly like Cathedral. "The Emerald Law" featuring Wino of St. Vitus...sounds more like The Obsessed. Another damn good one, where it actually starts with a trippy psychedelic/stoner vibe in the beginning and the burst into a wall of feedback and driving distortion. Great song....and now we have an intermission.

Why? Because of the next track. This one specifically. As I write this, when this first came out, I was majorly fucking disappointed. Of course as I mentioned previously, it's been a number of years but when this song promised me a CF fan a possible return to that sound, it failed. It's a half-assed doom/industrial/pop track in the vein of Apollyon Sun. Fuck me for not being open-minded enough, but this is boring. Just flat out sucks. This song ranks up there next to "Red War" with Max Cavalera as the worst song on the entire album.

....back to the show.

After the shit fest of "Big Sky", we get to the song "Dictatorsaurus" featuring Snake of Voivod, and we're getting back to that comfortable spot where songs sound like they should. Snake sings his little heart out and the song even fucking sounds like Voivod....not so much like "Killing Technology", but take the best of post-"Nothingface" and it's what you have. Eric Wagner on "My Tortured Soul"??? Oh fuck yeah! Sound just like Trouble. Never a bad thing. And we come to the final track featuring none other than the king himself.....King motherfuckin' Diamond. The track is titled "Sweet Dreams" and it's a snoozer. It's a bit boring for the most part. Don't expect anything Andy LaRocque-ish here. Don't expect "Abigail", "Them", "Conspiracy", "The Eye", "Voodoo", or even "The Graveyard" for that matter....King Diamond and heavy Sabbath-sounding riffs don't tend to go together. You know what I mean, King Diamond's vocals only go with a certain sound and this song just doesn't cut it for me as a major fan of the King for both his solo and days in Mercyful Fate.

So a total sum-up for this album would be good. It's just good. It's not a must-have, must-own, nothing that would make it something worth shilling over $10-$15 over(oh hell, I'm sure you can find a used copy for cheaper these days), but it's one of those albums that you can listen to on Youtube and check out if you have some down-time. As far as Dave Grohl is concerned, he made up in my book at least. And I'll leave it at that.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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Old school death metal

Deicide is most definitely one of my favorite death metal bands. Glen Benton is an incredible front man and behind him is an arsenal of metal gods. Deicide has always been one of the most Anti Christian bands on the face of the earth if not the most. Most albums are incredibly solid except for 2008's album Till Death Do Us Part. To Hell with God though, is a fantastic comeback album that shows that this band still has what it takes be to a leader in the death metal genre.

Every song on this album is for the most part pretty solid. The title track and How Can You Call Yourself a God would most likely be my favorites. Each song has very solid riffs and great musicianship as far as death metal goes. Benton's vocals have in a way changed in a tiny way. The Stench of Redemption was a deeper growl then the past two albums and the change isn't necessarily a bad thing. These vocals sound a bit more complex and they are easier to listen to for longer periods of time. If you have been a Deicide fan for a long period of time and respect what they do then you're going to love this album. It has everything that a Deicide fan enjoys, heavy riffs, dark lyrics, and complete brutality.

There are however though a couple problems. First the album is very predictable. Deicide has accomplished no new ground lyric wise so if you're looking for something different then you might as well just skip this album. Music wise it is very basic which you really can't just blame on them; it's the problem with all Death Metal. If you are into bands with more complexity like with Thrash Metal then this album really isn't going to impress you. What I really would like Deicide to try is change some lyrical content to mix things up a little bit. They remind me quite a bit of Cannibal Corpse. Both bands use the same lyrical content album after album and it would really be nice to see something new.

All things aside this is a very solid Deicide release. To Hell with God is the strongest release they have had since Legion or Once Upon the Cross. Content and music wise nothing has changed but Deicide still continues to be a very dominant force in the Death Metal genre. If you don't mind repetitive lyric content and music then you will definitely enjoy this release. Any Deicide fan will enjoy this record and it is definitely worth picking up in stores. I give props to Glen and the guys putting up another solid release.