Monday, November 20, 2017
Their first album was darker falling somewhere between death rock and shoe-gaze. Their sophomore release finds the band now growing up through the 80s into new wave. You can here touches of Flock of Seagulls on the opener, then on the second the synths take over. It bouncy and upbeat, detached but happy. The vocals show signs of improvement as the melodies slide smoother over the arrangements and they are singing out rather than allowing the vocals to lose themselves in the murky mix. "Ursula" is more Gary Numan like in it's dance floor pulse. I like how the vocals were produced on this album and they also got some pretty crisp clear guitar tones that let the melodies ring out. The drums could stand to come up some though.
Some of the old familiar sounds like the Cure inflected guitar tone returns on "the Lowly People", though it's largely a more electronic affair with the vocals staying in the calm Gary Numan range. Things go in a more New Order direction with "Perfect Direction". Vocally it owes more to their shoe gazing other band. There is a more organic feel to "Quai d' Orsay" that falls somewhere in between The Church and the Cure. The chorus has a more understated melody either of those bands typically employs. The vocals also more detached in their plaintive plea. The guitar solo in this song is pretty cool. They make a slight retreat back to the shadows with the bass line of "Divine Song" that is a return to their darker past sound, though more reflective than brooding.
The sax solo tagged onto "the Absolute" is a nice touch and helps break things up, for some reasons this song makes me think of that band Vhs or Beta. I'll round this down to a 9 since it's not as dark as the first album. I might round it back up you never know how an album is going to grow on you and it might just need a few more listens. Obviously to as high as it did it's not shabby and I plan on giving it the chance to ride for a few weeks and my iPod which is one of the biggest compliments I can give an album since those gb's are landscape in high demand.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Justin Broadrick's flag-ship project has been many things over the years some heavier than other's . Some incarnations paved the way for Jesu more clearly.The opening track with please fans of the earlier incarnation as it is heavier. The vocals have a snarl to them. It carries more of a drone while "Parasite" that follows has more of a groove and militant barked growl.The first to songs moved with more of a metallic stomp, leaving "No Body" as the first song to strike me as industrial. It's also the first song that caused the involuntary head bob. The vocals are gruff but muted under the beat. This is the best of the three opening tracks it blends atmosphere and machine driven heaviness.
There are some really cool effects on the chant of the vocals on "Mirror of Finite Light". This places the song closer to Jesu. Then there is the throb of a more apocalyptic darkness on "Be God". The atmosphere gets almost shoe gaze like going into "the Cyclic End". The vocals are more sung, there is a lower moan to them so they are more punk than how he normally sings. It is very dark, though more of drone that something you can see yourself jamming out to on the way to get beer. This album does drone more than his work, though it is a few shades darker so I can deal with that compromise. The title track find the vocals sitting back and dissonant slabs of guitar creating the pounding pulse.I can appreciate the more experimental touches but think this band works best when driven by beats that sound like a giant robot stomping through a city. The effects on the vocal on "Mortality Sorrow" only further this comparison. Thicker layers of synths coat this song.
There are some great hefty bass tones on this album. One of them is the back bone to "In Your Shadow". The overall production on this album is great. Very created and spacious, yet able to crush you when things need to retract and get more in your face. The vocals come in under blanket of effects to sound more like another instrument. The album closes with the aptly titled "the Infinite End". This one is thicker on the atmospheric with the vocals buried under the swirl of drifting sound. Another song to fly away to on your bed after popping some pills , but not for being out in the world, unless you are driving around stoned as a bat. I'll around this one up to a 9.5, it might not be their best album , but it's a damn good one.
Friday, November 17, 2017
We know this is always hard for me, as the expectations for some one of his magnitude in my life is out of this world. Things are very different on this album.The production is weird it sounds like this album was recorded on a space ship. Vocally the first song is a mixed bag as it it is not crooned as smoothly, though he even goes up into a falsetto, perhaps not as easily as he once did. Despite the accents of the horn section that song is pretty dark despite the skip in it's step. Some kind of of yelling in the background when it resolves and fades out. "I Wish You Lonely" automatically feels more like classic Morrissey despite the weird surrounding the production and some of the songs that sound like they are from a St. Vincent album. But this song has a groove I can get down with and sign off on.
The producer of this album also produced "World Peace Is None Of Your Business", along with this year's Cherry Glazerr album. The lyrics teeter on melody of "Jacky's Only Happy When She is Up On Stage". The narrative seems to be the focal point. There are some interesting guitar tones.His vocals get back to smoother place I want from him on "Home is A Question Mark". There is a surf rock reverb on the guitar in the last 2 minutes of this song. I had heard the single "Spent the Day in Bed" and was all right with it even though it is strangely upbeat. His voice sounds great here and that is the most important part of this. Lyrically this is a very politically in your face album, but he is not taking a side when it comes to American politics , but makes fun of the sheep who put stock in things like the news.
At almost seven and a half minutes "I Bury the Living" is the album's longest song. There is too much atmosphere on the front in which could have trimmed a minute of its run time. The vocals are more spoken than sung. He is not fond of war either. I guess this is a good veterans day song. The little "Funny how the war goes on..." part seems like a different song than a coda/ refrain. "In Your Lap" is piano based ballad that meanders. The piano part in "the Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn't Kneel" works much better as the song has focused melody and movement.There is a collision of disconnected lyrical themes on "All the Young People Must Fall in Love". Musically it reminds me of one of Ringo Starr's song which sounds like it should be in a parade. This is counter balanced by "When You Open Your Legs' which throws in an strange mix of musical styles that some how work in the way they are stirred together. There are almost as many horns on this album as a ska band might have, just used more wisely.
After the opening movies Moz plays live with clips of police brutality " Who Will Protect Us From the Police" is no surprise. It's always a pretty decent song, despite the groove of it's new wave bass line. "Israel" is another ballad , but this time it is a more compelling middle finger to religion that I can get down with too.Not his best album, but it is still better than the best from most so I 'll round it up to a 9.5, as I might have been a little hard on certain parts.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
The Swedish doom band who is no stranger to this blog is back. The lines between death metal and doom are much clearer on this album. In fact this would border that where doom and sludge meet more than death metal .The vocals are low and gruff , but not totally growled going into the ten minute opening. It does build into more of a moving rumble, but stays pretty satisfied in its own shadows. "Hunter" has more movement and gets closer in it's throb to sludge. Though there is a very depressing energy to it's melody. The vocals are more of a growl here, though this song is more melodic than the first.
The heaviest most death tinged moment comes midway into "Path to the Altitude". This album is very spacious. In a bleak atmospheric manner. It doesn't press down on you with the weight some doom bands might. There are some dissonant black metal like chords in places that provide a nice dynamic touch and give the album varied shades of down trodden gray to chose from. The title track is pretty dark once they get into the meat of the matter. It's the kind of darkness I always speak the virtues of . The kind that proves being dark is just as effect manner of being heavy as the more blunt force methods used by death metal bands. The vocals are lower and do have more menace to their growl on this one. Sung vocals also come in. They are low and kinda gothy.
The flange laden guitar tone opens "Autumn of Life" . The vocals have more of a Neurosis like gruffness to them. They churn into a more solid pound of simmering sludge. Not as melancholy or dark as the preceding song. The close the album with "Dawn Without Sun". It has more of a doom like lethargy about it. I'll round this album up to a 9, it doesn't end with what I consider the strongest song , but hits some really awesome moments up until that point, thus the 9, not perfect before moments are stunning.
What's impressive is aside from drummer Scott Preece this is the same line-up from 1978. The album opens in similar vein of metal as Motorhead. Too aggressive to just be rock n roll, but closer to metal than punk despite the gang vocals that chime in. It does sound good. The production is more organic and rock in roll. The second song does go in a more punk direction, though heavily rock influenced and not as aggressive. Granted these guys have been playing for almost 40 years so if they don't know how to play their instruments at this point there would be a problem. Of course with these guys being a punk band the songs are very compact and stream lined. Vocalist Colin Abrahall sounds great somewhere between punk grit and the kinda rock snarl that Taime Downe from Faster Pussycat carries.
The chug of "Population Bomb' finds them back between Judas Priest like hard rock and punk. It's also one of the album's better songs. "Enemies" has more of the straight forward punk riffing. However I don't think it's as solid of a song as some of the more thoughtfully written songs on their more rock side. "Us Against the World" confirms this theory, though it balances out both sides of the band. The tempo picks up for the aptly named title track that falls well within the bounds of being punk. Granted some of the more punk riffs just sounds like all the other punk riffs you have ever heard , but that is the nature of this beast.
"The Perfect Storm" finds Colin's sneer retaining a sense of street sleaze. For punk this is more mid tempo though for rock it would be considered brisk. There is more of the 80s LA shuffle to "50 What" which must be about being an aging punk rocker. Though they sound almost as young as the did in the early 80's when they were more charged. The tighter riffing on "I Never Asked For Any of This" sets it apart from the earlier songs. "Blue Sky Thinking" starts off with a fanfare that would not be out of place on a Poison album. Not as aggressive as they once were, they make up for it with the catchy choruses and guitar solos, which you may or may not want from these guys. I have never really that invested in them to get my feelings hurt either way. I do like the ode to the woes of drinking called "Liquid Paradise " they close they album with it has a slightly Stooges like swagger to it .I like this album I'll give it a 8.5, as the more straight forward punk moments can be a little boring with the 1,2, 3, go style of punk. It comes out this week on Hellcat Records.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Originally did this interview for No Clean Singing, but figured this would give me another chance to edit it, and for those of you who don't read that blog, then here is your chance to catch it here. I reviewed the new Morbid Angel "Kingdoms Disdained" last week and it continues to grow on me, so I am glad I got to catch up with Steve Tucker and get some further insight on the album's creation. It went like this...
Not only does the album have big sound but it’s very dense, sonically closer to blessed are the sick , what did you guys do differently in the studio this time around ?
We worked with Erik rutan. Erik just delivered a lot of very real sounds. It’s a bit old school but with high quality. The older stuff like “Blessed “ had that live feel, which is what we got here.
Scott Fuller seems to have a more powerful style of playing than Tim’s what has it been like working with him what sets him apart from other drummers ?
Scotty is great . He has years of playing of drums under his belt even though he is a young. As a drummer he is very well developed. We have a good dialogue talking about different kinds of beats. He understands what we need. The best thing is he is capable of anything, yet doesn’t insist on over playing. He serves the song can play in the pocket or flashy. It's a hard combination to find. Scotty is technically sound and knows when to back off.
Was Dan involved in the making of the new album?
Not so much. It was just the three of us . The way we did for formula and heretic.The line of communication was short so there was never any misunderstanding. I felt like anyone else it would have been undue work . It would be unnecessary stress in the equation.
Vocally your best work, harsh vocals can take on uniform stereotypes but there is a lot of emotional nuance in this performance, what do you attribute that to ?
I think it's working with Erik he is somebody who I trust when. If you have seen any of his behind the scenes videos then you know, when he feels the need to give his opinion he doesn't pull punches. It allows everyone to perform up. i think the topic is so deep and dark at the end of the wick passion was called for.
Which leads right into my next question, the lyrical theme of the old gods awakening to find the world in it’s current state has a more confrontational feel and less of the escapism when this is given a more occult perspective, is this the mood meant to capture and how did this theme come about?
That is absolutely what it felt like it was happening. This is something we have always talked about sumerian gods and mythology. To us it seemed like it has come to head. These prophecies being fulfilled. CivilizationS across the planet from different time frame come together now. What was once hypothetical is now more realistic, this idea of chaotic order . The whole earth is heaving with volcanoes and tidal waves. There is serendipity to the things we speak about . This sickens the gods.
Things like mass shooting becoming so frequent must fall into that
That would be one of the things. Bred off of an outsider mentality. Society builds the molds. It becomes a spiritual thing. It affects their souls and psyche’s ability to see right and wrong. How can people be shocked with all the negativity. Elections all across world shifted in the more conservative direction. For the government's Middle East this means muslims. In the United States it falls back to christianity. England the more conservative is Brexit wanting to break away from United Nations. When things are forced upon you, when you force change people snap. The song “Righteous Voice” is about how people never really see the truth. They see what is righteous. These people doing mass shootings have the righteous voice in their head. So all these individual rights are based on what is going on their life. So 8 billion individuals wanting this , it’s ridiculous. The Earth was never meant to sustain that many people. These people want rights and willing to die for what seems right. It affects the planet . Being more that disruptive more negative. The upheaval is there is getting to be more natural disasters coming with more force. The hurricane this fall was more violent. Some say it’s the greenhouse effect, it could be the overall hatred and selfishness of people. The average person that works in high rise would mock that. Well I mock what they do, the 9 to 5. Why live under someone's thumb like that ?
In his marketing p/r of Kiss ,Gene Simmons said said Kiss was not anyone person but a bigger concept. On you new album you can hear the bigger concept of Morbid Angel, you can hear more of the classic Morbid Angel signatures was that part of the mission statement when you guys were in the writing process of these songs ?
Honestly the chemistry of Trey and Myself creates a pretty gluttonous monster of music. Morbid has had a few different entities. They had their own chemistry and vibe prior to when i came along. Then when I came on board we did some albums that were dark and mean. David came back with a different vibe. What I want to do musically, my drive and goal has not changed. It's not different from 15 or 10 years ago. It is not that I rely on the same ideas. I have grown , have been playing more playing guitar and becoming a better musician. What I want out of the music is nt different than when i was 17. I want people to head band, throw horns, yell and get out hatred and aggression. Trey and I might follow a similar spiritual path so that also creates a unity .
What can fans expect going forward from you guys live ?
They can expect to see Morbid Angel and hear songs from all different times. We are changing the songs a lot , not playing the same exact set. Not sticking to the same songs. Trey said to me “Come on Dude, I love these songs, I don’t want to get bored playing them.” Some songs are coming back with a renewed excitement. Morbid Angel has some big songs, but we are going to play a lot more of the catalog. There are a few that haven't been played as much. We want to pull those out. We want you to be able to see us twice in the same year and not get the same set.
How has the current state of tensions in the world affected you guys touring?
Now everything is scrutinized. There was an issue with passports and it took six months to get things done cus of a mistake . Everything is scrutinized, there is a lot of shit going on. In Poland Behemoth got in trouble for representing the polish flag in some way. There have been a couple bands that have gone to Russia and been arrested. Extreme views clash with the uptight views. This tension is a good thing for us as people turn to metal for relief .
“Yeah I mean death metal came about under George Bush senior “
Every one felt oppressed , we have been at war for thirty years. theory testing young dude who are bad i respect them now a lot more diversity takes on metal didn't exist it feeds this people are looking for controlled aggression metal been an outlet for that.
Funny you brought that up as my next question was going to be...How do you feel about where heavy metal as a whole is heading in 2017 ?
It’s great a lot of great diversity. One good thing internet has done is made a generation of musicians that are phenomenal. They are learning arpeggios online it’s amazing. I was listening to XM Radio Liquid Metal and hear this band Kyng. They kicks ass, good to hear a band that is just heavy metal and not much different than Dio. Then on the rawer side there are great bands like battle cross and goatwhore ,
Haha well Goatwhore is the band that is duking it out with you guys on my iPod for death metal album of the year.
Thanks , man it means a lot coming from you. When finally got a chance to sit down and listen to our new album I was like holy shit it takes you on a journey
What are plans for 2018?
Going back out, a lot of touring States in the early spring, and now that we got everything worked out rest of the world in the summer.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
This band from the Netherlands plays a fairly straight forward death metal influenced version of black metal. They have enough sonic depth and emotionally charged melody to qualify as black metal. Many of the riffs are pretty hooky. It is clear these guys care about the songs. This might seem a little false to some who just want to be blast beaten to death. The vocals have some rhyme and reason to them working around the guitar much lie sung vocals would. They head into an even more melodic direction going into "the Martyrs Ascension". The bass has more drive , but it is in the same realm of melody as Dissection. It takes almost four minutes before they get into the galloping meat of the song. The guitar carries the melody most of the type here as the vocals maintain the typical role of growled vocals in melody though offering as much dynamic variance as they can without singing actual notes.
The centerpiece of this album is the 15 minute "Blood of the Pelican". This raises the question as any song of this length... can it keep my interest for 15 mins. Anything is possible , but not everything is likely. Two minutes in and I can hear where fat could have been trimmed off the intro. It's a cool melancholy melody that could have done without dragging on. The bass player of this band is really good and throws in lots of melodic fills. The opening riff doesn't build until two and a half minutes in. On the previous song they ran into a similar struggle with the winding opening . They don't have to get to the point, but it's a case where it would have been cool for six measures rather than sixteen. At the four and a half minute mar the double bass kicks in and the meat of the song is underway.
The title track is more along the lines of Goatwhore, who are the main band that seems to influence these guys in terms of how they vocals are traded for from a death growl to a higher scowl. Not as heavily influenced by death metal as perhaps newer Goatwhore, there is more of an epic thrash feel closer to the snow capped mountains of Immortal. The clean vocals surface show up at the end of this song and give it more of a viking metal feel. Overall this album is really well done I'll give this album, which would almost be more like an ep if it was not for the 15 minute song an 8.5. It's well played and dynamic, doubtful I will get a great deal of extended listening out of this since it possess many of the same qualities derived from other bands I already have in my iPod, but if you are looking for some accessible black metal that blends other sub-genres seamlessly this is a good album to pick.