Reviews

Record reviews

Marionette – Enemies Review

Marionette – Enemies Review

Marionette may well be Sweden’s very first deathcore band! Well, I guess there could be others, but i’ve not been exposed to them (and frankly, I’m pretty OK with that). Some trends miss Sweden, like nu-metal did for the most part, but unfortunately this one didn’t. So there are a couple of things that I need to say up front, for people not familiar with the context with which Marionette will be dealt. First, the biggest thing in the Swedish underground right now is Japanese stuff. Kids are running off and learning Japanese; everyone and their dog is listening to bands like Dir En Grey and girls decked out in lolita garb are running around in parks playing with dolls and having picnics with every piece of pink they can gather together. This is a trend, and it is a matter of conforming to specific things that are very specific to individuals in that scene. In fact, people from that scene are, in my experience, highly judgmental, obsessed with outward appearance, cliquey and lame. So something in my brain breaks when I have 5 over-dressed glam kids with too much hairspray and neckties screaming “YOU CONFORM!” at me, while playing music that sounds like a blend of In Flames and good ol’ American deathcore. That is to say: ugh.

Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites Review

Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites Review

Austria’s Belphegor are evil. Really, really evil. They have long been the darlings of the underground for a lot of people and had a reputation for being that old school brand of blackened death metal that was raw and evil as hell. Of course, as big evil pissing contests have never been my thing personally, Belphegor is a band that I have no personal experience with. This is actually the first album I’ve heard from these guys and so I’m coming at this from the perspective a total n00b. That’s right, I used the word n00b in my blog.

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

I remember the first time I heard Scar Symmetry very clearly. I was checking out some stuff on MySpace when I saw that they were going to be playing the House of Metal festival and I was blown away. Not blown away with how good they are, though talented one cannot deny they are, but how sickly sweet their melodic stuff is. I sat their and listened to it with my mouth agape thinking “really? Does this pass for death metal these days? How are these guys not a Top 40 band?” The answer to that is actually quite obvious: instead of dropping the death metal vocals, these guys have blended death metal vocals in with what I think is probably the most pop sensible writing I’ve ever heard in a metal band.

Marduk – Wormwood Review

Marduk is legendary in the black metal scene for releasing some of the most ground-breaking black metal of its time. Records like Panzer Division Marduk and especially Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered considered two of the finest black metal albums ever released; the former having been likened to Slayer’s magnum opus Reign in Blood in reference to how it changed black metal by upping the ante. However, like Slayer, few bands get a chance to redefine a genre more than once and Marduk is no different. While Wormwood is an excellent example of the fact that raw black metal can still be made and can still be compelling, Wormwood isn’t a scene defining record. It’s just a very good record.

Austrian Death Machine – Double Brutal Review

Austrian Death Machine – Double Brutal Review

Austrian Death Machine is a joke. It’s even a funny joke. With Arnold being the governor of California as well as the cheesiest movie star of our times, if not all-time, as well as a huge internet sensation, it is not at ALL a surprise that someone is doing this. (Though, according to Wikipedia there is another band that has been doing this for 7 years longer than Austrian Death Machine.)

Evile – Infected Nations Review

Evile – Infected Nations Review

Thrash revival has been a big deal of late. I mean, thrash is the biggest thing since.. well, thrash, in the metal scene right now. Bands from all over the world, particularly in the underground, are donning tight jeans, jean jackets, Kreator and Exodus patches and looking for the next big thrash prodigy. Earache is not the only label releasing thrash revival stuff, it’s coming from everywhere (Candlelight has been particularly prolific with the thrash revival). Evile is on that bandwagon, whether they like it or not, but they have a different take on it. That is: they sound a lot more like the mature Bay Area.

Evergreen Terrace – Almost Home Review

Evergreen Terrace – Almost Home Review

Almost Home is a record that was influenced by how much everything sucks right now, according to the band. It’s a bit of a dissertation on America in 2009, with a shitty economic situation, how hard it’s been to keep the band going in this kind of situation and so forth. Honestly, I don’t hear it. But that’s what the band says. What I hear is a highly melodic and poppy hardcore band doing the same things that bands of this type have been doing for years. It’s unfortunate, really, because they’ve got an alright sound, but things don’t stick.

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Before this last week I’d never heard of Cormorant[1. Cormorant: “a large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plumage. It typically breeds on coastal cliffs, and is noted for its voracious appetite.” This voracious appetite has come to be used figuratively implying “an insatiably greedy person or thing.” – Thanks OAED] or of Saturnine Media. Because of this, I was able to be pleasantly surprised by what is one of the best underground albums of the year. But if you’re reading this, you don’t have to be surprised, you can go out and buy it as an informed consumer. You’re welcome.

The Atlas Moth – A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky Review

The Atlas Moth – A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky Rating: 3.5/5.0 – A mix of sounds that works very well, but doesn’t stand out for me.. Label: Candlelight Website: theatlasmoth.com Release Date(s): EU: 21.09.2009 | USA: 10.6.2009 Sludge, and many variations thereof, have definitely been working their way into the “mainstream” consciousness of heavy metal […]

Megadeth – Endgame Review

Megadeth – Endgame Review

Megadeth became the coolest thing since Metallica the year that I turned 9. The band’s big mainstream breakthrough Countdown to Extinction was a classic record in many respects, because it took thrash metal that hadn’t been produced by Bob Rock and turned it into a mainstream thing. I still love that record and it’s follow up Youthanasia but I have a long-standing dislike for Dave Mustaine as a person, musician and I’m sure that those of you who know me or have read this blog know how I feel about Megadeth’s discography. If you don’t, I’ll clarify: Megadeth stinks. All-in-all, I think that the band’s discog is totally spotty, the writing has always been mediocre, I think that Friedman was an overrated player and I’m surprised that Megadeth didn’t go away for good after Mustaine’s wrist injury fiasco.