Monday, October 16, 2017

Single Review: PARAGON COLLAPSE The Stream

The Stream
From their upcoming debut The Dawning to be released by Loud Rage Music
Entangled amidst a web of nine atmospheric minutes lies the heart and soul of blossoming Romanian doom group PARAGON COLLAPSE with their newest single release ‘The Stream’ taken from their upcoming debut album which is set to be released via Loud Rage Music. The group's overall sound is one of conventionality not without its occasional quiddities. At the beginning of the song you really get the sense that it owes a great deal to the pioneers of the doom genre although those comparisons are diminished a tad upon hearing the vocals which, quite frankly, are probably of a better quality than your traditional doom singer. Chunky guitar delay and operatic vocals are the main focus for the first three minutes until the track pacifies itself into a haze of cushioned dreaminess. Such changes in velocity, volume and ambience are indubitably a regular occurrence in what the group have to offer from a creative standpoint, which is why for the rest of the song you do notice a lot of these changes throughout. Another key factor of their sound is the usage of violin, (probably for orchestral sensibility above anything else) and I have to say I was impressed with the sonic quality of the violin. Upon hearing it initially I suspected the operatic quality of the vocals would clash with the stripped-back style of the instrumentation but the addition of the violin balances it out quite nicely, - in fact I'd like to hear a violin solo on one of their other tracks. Nonetheless the track continues its perennial thud until around the sixth minute mark where one is intrigued to hear march-style percussion upon layers of droning acoustics. Upon regaining its original pace and volume the track maintains its credibility as a doom song and ultimately an artistically decent release. -Jaime Regadas

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Full length: PESTILENCE Consuming Impulse (Reissue)

Consuming Impulse (Reissue)
Release date: October 13, 2017
More than thirty years after their inception in 1988, Holland’s Pestilence are being honored as having spawned the finest recordings of death metal’s formative years, according to Hammerheart Records. From their 1987 demos Dysentery and The Penance to Malleus Maleficarium their debut full length in 1988 to 1989’s Consuming Impulse) their inspiration from German and American thrash evolved into early death metal. Consistent, unrelenting touring helped to secure their status as innovators of the genre. This was when death metal was not yet mapped out completely, many chapters of its book had yet to be written and anything was possible as far as where it could be taken. On their sophomore release Pestilence carried the technical wizardry of Evil Chuck & Death to the next level, adding the heaviness of Sepultura and the immeasurable desolation of bands like Paradise Lost. Also, improving upon thrash metal’s diatribes of being mortally wounded and facing one’s impending decease, penning lyrics that were more descriptive and personalized. Perishing of thirst in the desert, choking to death under skies replete with pollution and having your body succumb to an unknown disease after a lengthy struggle and other themes were there to experience in graphic glory. Even the cover art suggested great mortal peril brewing inside, right to the horrified expression of a nameless someone being devoured alive by fire ants. At this point their thrash influences were still prominent in their songwriting, only more downtuned and more primal. Pestilence were furthermore one of the first bands to enhance their songs with occasional keyboards and contribute a horror element to the imagery cited above. In all these ways this disc is a classic and a must have for newer DM fans who were just recently introduced to it. Hammerheart is re-releasing Consuming Impulse with remastered production, a demo track for the 1989 release, and finally songs borrowed from live shows in 1988 and 1989 for all you veteran tape traders out there. The label has obviously taken pains to compile this reissue and give DM fans more for their hard earned money, so show your appreciation by giving the hits to the album’s Bandcamp link and picking up a copy. Hammerheart is offering the reissue on CD and various shades of vinyl via online ordering, in addition to shirts and other merchandise. -Dave Wolff

1. Dehydrated
2. The Process Of Suffocation
3. Suspended Animation
4. The Trauma
5. Chronic Infection
6. Out Of The Body
7. Echoes Of Death
8. Deify Thy Master
9. Proliferous Souls
10. Reduced To Ashes
11. City Of The Living Dead/Antropomorphia (Live Veghel 1989)
12. Parricide (Live Veghel 1989)
13. Echoes Of Death (Live Veghel 1989)
14. Subordinate To The Domination (Live Veghel 1989)
15. Commandments (Live Veghel 1989)
16. Out Of The Body (Live Veghel 1989)
17. Chemotherapy (Live Veghel 1989)
18. Cycle Of Existence (Live Veghel 1989)
19. Suspended Animation (Live Veghel 1989)
20. The Trauma (Live Veghel 1989)
21. Subordinate To The Domination (Live Bochum 1988)
22. Cycle Of Existence (Live Bochum 1988)
23. Extreme Unction (Live Bochum 1988)
24. Chemotherapy (Live Bochum 1988)
25. Bacterial Surgery (Live Bochum 1988)
26. Systematic Instruction (Live Bochum 1988)
27. Consuming Impulse (Demo)

Video Review: SUMMONER'S CIRCLE Become None

Become None
From their upcoming full-length Tome
Video shot and edited by Thomas Mortveit.
Produced by Yanic Bercier at Wavetransform Studios.
Starring: Summoner's Circle, Morgan Brooke McCarty, Summer Salmon, Larry Bainum, Charles Dyson, Travis Bainum, and Brant Chastain.
Doom-metal; a genre frequently criticized for its repetitiveness and over-reliance upon sludge-driven riffs has potentially managed to redeem itself in the wake of a ten minute concept video epic by SUMMONER'S CIRCLE. The song is titled 'Become None' and it is probably one of the most captivating metal songs I've heard in a while. If repetition is what gravitates one away from listening to doom-metal then I'd strong suggest reevaluating. This track is a whirlwind rollercoaster of ever-changing riffs, atmospheres, moods and time signatures. For the first two minutes the song is a brooding instrumental until bursting into cacophonous rage at the first utterance of words, meanwhile the video depicts a young woman in a library of sorts, enchanted by the presence of what appear to be Satanic-esque verses. Upon reading the book thoroughly she starts to get followed by Ghouls, some of whom are masked and some of whom are upholstered in elaborate theatre makeup. The chorus kicks in at the fourth minute and you hear the first real 'climax' of the piece. Guitar solos reign throughout the ordeal while swirling Hammond organs permeate the vanguard. The Ghouls depicted in the video begin to make more of a prominent statement with their presence as the music shifts to a 9/8 setting. Upon this daunting time signature you get the first real glance of daunting imagery as the protagonist begins to experience a level of demonic possession as she removes all the attire she's wearing and is then immediately gruesomely murdered by one of the Ghouls. The epic drama suite of keyboard-laden doom ends with a striking image of the young woman paralyzed in stagnation in funeral attire whilst in the presence of a dimly-lit chamber. -Jaime Regadas

Full Length Review: OSCULUM INFAME The Axis Of Blood

The Axis Of Blood
Release Date: May 22, 2015
Usually not my cup of tea but decided to try something new, after all, life is always great when trying new things musically speaking for me…
ApokalupVI: It is the intro of this interesting album. It’s honestly a great mood setting piece that flows smoothly from beginning to end.
Cognitive Perdition of the Insane: It’s a dark vocal style with some heavy drums and great guitar riff, while it’s not my style I do dig the instrumentation.
Kaoïst Serpentis: I disliked the high pitched sound for the start, but it was quickly fixed with the speed-drumming and the guitar riff those were both intense.
Honestly the break part, to call it somehow- was… a bit confusing although that might be because I’m not used to the genre. The fading from the break to the last part was cleverly designed.
My Angel: The guitar riff with the drumming is interesting, keeping the attention of the listener. The whole song kind of made me think of those good old boss battles with a dark touch. All in all it can be considered as an epic tune.
Absolve me not!: The intro is interesting, a bit psychedelic in my opinion and for some reason I thought of a nuclear wasteland when hearing it. Short and intense, would probably use it on a Fallout-esque movie.
Let there be darkness: A bit of a play with the guitar, wasn’t bad but wasn’t memorable either. It however, has a mysterious but energetic vibe; probably I’d use it for suspense… or for a chase, depends of context.
Inner Falling of the Glory of God: One of the memorable things of this track for me is the feeling of falling due to how the instrumentation was arranged other than that I must praise the drummer’s precision.
White Void: The melodic line over the guitar and drum was something that caught my ear, made me feel it was a Tim Burton movie, like those scenes where the villain tells the protagonist why they went to the dark side and so on, felt a bit nostalgic on this one and it’s what I could consider my favorite of this album.
Asphyxiated Light: I liked the guitar line; it wasn’t boring and felt dynamic. The vocals were a bit sad in my opinion; in general it’s a solid track.
I in the ocean of Worms: A very energetic opening with the drums and the guitar, felt it was a bit re-used but other than that it’s a good start. The track itself I don’t feel fully solid, felt some doubt on the guitar, as a guitarist myself, I can relate, sometimes we just aren’t “in the place” really, physically we are but our minds are elsewhere.
Solemn Faith: Loved this intro in particular, while it does stick to the drum/guitar combo it has an interesting touch on the riff, makes me think it could be used a theme for a character in a show; more specifically the bad ass guy that really isn’t the one you want to mess with. The track itself made me remember of snakes for some reason. It is the second and last favorite for this album. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Track List:
1. ApokalupVI
2. Cognitive Perdition of the Insane
3. Kaoïst Serpentis
4. My Angel
5. Absolve Me Not!
6. Let There Be Darkness
7. Inner Falling of the Glory of God
8. White Void
9. Asphyxiated Light
10. I in the Ocean of Worms
11. Solemn Faith

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Song Review: AXEMASTER Black Dungeons

Black Dungeons
Remastered track from Blessing In The Skies (And Other Cuts From The Chamber), released on Pure Steel Records October 6, 2017
Originally appearing of the 1991 demo 5 Demons (Imperative Is Their Demise)
Ohio, USA’s Axemaster returns with two offerings for autumn. Their new full length The Crawling Chaos is scheduled to come out late November, but advance copies are reportedly getting enthusiastic reviews. In the meantime you have Blessing In The Skies (And Other Cuts From The Chamber) to listen to. Having been active since 1983, Axemaster are survivors of the thrash movement that aboveground labels failed to notice. It’s a shame since many worthwhile bands emerged from that era including Whiplash, At War, Hirax and Blessed Death as well as this band. Thanks to social media and the business savvy to found independent labels of their own, those bands and others are still leaving impressions on extreme music. It’s an appropriate time for Axemaster to continue releasing their work for the new generation of thrashers, who have much to catch up on here. Their demo cut Black Dungeons was uploaded to Youtube late September to treat longtime fans. 5 Demons (Imperative Is Their Demise) may have been released five years after thrash and power metal’s underground peak, but the classic feel is forever represented and it’s commendable for the band to remember where they were musically after all those years of releasing singles, splits and full lengths. Axemaster make a point that their material has been refined and improved upon since the glory days of thrash and power metal. Still this is a fitting preview for the Halloween season and for new fans seeking a full history of the band from ’91 to today. From the Vincent Price/Hammer Horror-esque spoken word intro to the malevolent opening riffs to musicianship reminiscent of Nasty Savage and Armored Saint. This combination admittedly might be considered badly dated to some listeners, still you don’t have to be a record collector to appreciate a piece of the band’s history to see how far they’ve come through the 1990s and 2000s. The song is part of a conceptual tale the band devised for the demo, in which each song is about a demon who seeks to destroy society. I personally liked the song’s horrorific narrative, the mental pictures the lyrics called to mind and most of all how easily the musicianship took me back to the mid-80s. My sole complaint was that the guitar solos tended to sound slightly sloppy, but aside from that the playing is solid and most importantly honest. Black Dungeons and Blessing In The Skies is a decent tide over until The Crawling Chaos comes out next month. -Dave Wolff

Friday, October 13, 2017

Full Length Review: THE LONG LOSTS To night…

Release date: October 1, 2017
There is a new voice in punk and gothic music, thanks to this New York City based duo. The Long Losts were formed in 2012 by Anka and Patrick who compose songs inspired by their mutual devotion, the intrinsic grace and refinement of the season between summer and winter when nature prepares for slumber, and the one night when the barriers between worlds is at its most translucent. Their two full length releases Scary Songs To Play In The Dark and To night…, available for streaming at their Bandcamp profile, are statements that goth is more than wearing black, worshipping the devil and telling everyone to fuck off, as many superficially presume about the lifestyle. Much of the most picturesque, visionary, mournfully dramatic music I have heard came from goth culture (bands like Voltaire, Dead Can Dance, London After Midnight, Sisters Of Mercy) and anyone who has been part of it for a long time will tell you it has more to offer than you would expect. A theatrical ambience runs through their albums adding color and texture to their songwriting, making the songs feel like narratives. The Girl With The Haunted House Tattoo, To Be Like Lily (an ode to The Munsters) and I Love Him For His Horror Movies are fine examples from their debut. If you ever wondered how Blondie and Bauhaus would have sounded if they collaborated it may have sounded something like Scary Songs To Play In The Dark. There the duo evince commercial potential without trying to brighten their instrumentality. Three years between their debut and their latest effort To night… gave them more than sufficient time to increase their histrionics to directly involve the listener. This is perceptible in Big Dark Room, To____, Baby Fangs, Your Grave Eyes, Tonight and One Night At A Time. In those songs Anka and Patrick (joined by bassist Bret Calder and drummer Brian Shonen) are introducing you personally to the horror they capture on paper and the warmth to be found in mutual solitude. Their straightforward openness makes the visuals of cemeteries, haunted houses and monsters all the more tangible. The Blondie and Bauhaus influence is still present; you can add Sonic Youth and Diamanda Galas in some places. Anka in particular has been compared to Siouxsie but it sounds like she has been finding her own voice since the beginning. You might want to consider adding The Long Losts to your next Halloween mix as anything from either of their albums would work alongside songs by any other goth band. While you're at it check out their videos on Youtube. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Big Dark Room
2. Shiny Objects
3. Fritz Throw the Switch
4. To____
5. Baby Fangs
6. Your Grave Eyes
7. Skeleton Thief
8. Tonight
9. Bishop's Grave
10. One Night At a Time

Lyric Video Review: ASPHODELIA Welcome Apocalypse

Welcome Apocalypse (official lyric video)
From their upcoming debut album "Welcome Apocalypse" (Metal Scrap Records)
Mixed and mastered at 16th Cellar Studio
Video and graphics by Dark Light Digital Arts
If 'cinematic metal' was an apt sub-genre then I really feel such a title rightly belongs to Italian group ASPHODELIA, whose distinctive brand of symphonic arrangements and stattaco-fueled guitar lines are becoming an essential factor to their blossoming sound. Their new video 'Welcome Apocalypse' is not far from extraordinary and the standards of artistic perfection. The song itself is good as it owes a lot to a catchy chorus, melodic verses and high displays of rhythmic intensity but the actual lyric video itself adds to the cerebral and emotional impact the track has to offer. With each accentuated snare / double bass hit the video begins to shake and quiver in unison, partially to add drama but also to demonstrate a point of just how epic the mood is supposed to be. The vocals are superb, the keys are always present yet not to the degree of ubiquity and the bass remains a consistent factor of continuity in itself. For fans of existing symphonic-inspired metal groups a la LACUNA COIL and EVANESCENCE this will definitely be of major interest. -Jaime Regadas

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Single Review: SKINNED We Are The End

We Are The End
First single from their upcoming full length Shadow Syndicate
Blasting, brutal death metal at its most outstanding, with an additional hint of black metal. The Colorado band has been pounding their way to infamy since 1995. As indicated by our first taste of their next studio effort, they endure as vehemently torturous as ever. I had just been watching Silence Of The Lambs and its sequel Hannibal; thus I was in the proper frame of mind to sample what the band is cooking up for the soon-to-be-released Shadow Syndicate. I wasn’t disappointed as We Are The End opened with accelerated hyper blast from Jonathan Valdez, who pushes the track with the abandon of Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy. I’ve invariably drawn that comparison to Cryptopsy since being stirred by None So Vile back in 1996 or ‘97. Valdez’s finesse at surmounting the quickest blast is unhindered by his time and diligence in the band. Observing his performance through the tempo changes, he dispenses impermeable transitions as guitarists Travis Weickum and Matt Ackerman and bassist Greg Keenan present clever guitar progressions that range from barbarous to dissonant and back again, then on to crunching and on to hypnotic. Not a trace of groove to be heard, just straightforward commanding aggression where it proves hard not to pay attention to the band’s expertise. The low-pitched death metal vocals and caustic black metal vocals are apt at complementing each other without fighting for attention; this reminded me of what I once heard about the lines between those two genres having thinned over the years. The lyrics aren’t as hard to make out as one might reckon. At three minutes and forty seconds it seemed a little too brief for me, but you could say it’s to be expected when you evaluate the endurance the entire band shoulder through the song. Updates on the release of We Are The End are at the official Skinless website. -Dave Wolff

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Film Review: Black Snake Moan by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Date of release: December 9, 2006
Companies involved: Paramount Classics, New Deal Productions,Southern Cross the Dog Productions
Director: Craig Brewer
Produced by: Stephanie Allain as producer, Ron Schmidt as executive producer, John Singleton as producer
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Christina Ricci
Plot: An abused and broken girl found in the road beaten and battered almost dead by a God-fearing blues musician that will eventually cause their fates to intertwine, the journey; has begun.
Review: What happens when you mix empathy, blues and kindness? That’s right you get the reagents for a movie that is quite solid in my humble opinion. Good old Sam actually learned how to play guitar so you can see his grade of commitment. Sometimes, even the lost ones have redemption. Sometimes, even the broken ones have a bit of a fix. It’s just a matter of not giving up and a strong will. Sometimes, the little acts of kindness are just half the battle. Honestly I’d love to see a sequel telling us what happens with the happy couple or prequel to this story, where we can see Lazarus’ past. It’s one of those movies where the acting, the script and the music is quite solid from the start; also I’d say this is one of my all-time favorites. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Full Length Review: CEPHEIDE Saudade

Release Date: October 4, 2017
I kind of liked the fact the band has very curious name. What is my favorite track? I’d have to say “Madone”; it has that mix of mystery, melody and rhythm that tells a story. My second favorite, I’d say is “Le cinquième Soleil” since it has that atmosphere of melancholy and darkness in my ears and finally third and last, “Auréole” for the mood setting guitar intro. One interesting thing about this band is that they recorded, mixed and did the art for the album nowadays I haven’t seen many do that really, must just pay a sound engineer and drawing artist to just focus on recording which personally speaking is a bit of a “it’s my baby but I’m letting someone else raise it” to an extent. The most memorable thing about this record in general I’d say the guitar/drum combo, if felt complemented quite interestingly. The only thing I didn’t liked about the album is the vocals; honestly I had issues hearing them and most of the time it felt like just random coyote howling to say it somehow. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Track List:
1. Une nuit qui te Mange
2. Madone
3. La lutte et l’Harmonie
4. Le cinquième Soleil
5. Auréole