NECROVATION: BREED DEADNESS BLOOD
Necrovation is a throwback. The band is clearly influenced by early death metal acts such as Morbid Angel, Immolation, Incantation, and others. They wear this influence proudly on their sleeves. They play old-school grimy, muddy death metal with an occult twist. This makes them a highlight in a somewhat stale, modern death metal scene.
The production is thick, which makes this album sound that much better. The riffs and drums are powerful and thunderous. The solos are crisp and clear and come from the Slayer school of cramming into them as many notes as possible. The vocals are delivered in a painful rasping growl. The vocals are the only thing somewhat lost in the meaty production. Necrovation's songs fly by quickly, relying on speed and power.
It's hard to believe that this album came out last year. It sounds so much like the aforementioned bands, one would think it would have come out in the early 1990's. Necrovation is in a class with groups like Thornafire in that respect.
GODLESS RISING: RISING HATRED
I received this CD as a throw-in along with my Necrovation order off of Amazon. Pretty cool actually. This is just the promo CD although everything is here and probably unchanged on the official album. Not a big deal.
Godless Rising features a couple of former members of Vital Remains, back when they were a more legitimate band and not a Glen Benton sideshow. Guitarist Paul Flynn and vocalists James Gruslin made the leap to this band. The band's sound is similar to that of Vital Remains, old school death metal with an emphasis on pounding riffs and ferocious vocals. The production is clean and clear, allowing the listener to hear everything going on in the music.
This album is incredibly short, which makes it an easy, fast listen. It is a very good album and hopefully the band will follow it up with some more material in the near future.
ANACRUSIS: MANIC IMPRESSIONS
I went to the used music store in my hometown while my fiancee and I were there last weekend. She remarked to me that she would be surprised to see me find anything interesting. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. That day, I found a lot of stuff. Underrated bands that have been basically forgotten, other than by the most ardent heavy metal fans. This album, along with Cadaver Inc., Deceased..., The Crown, and Inner Thought, were all found that day.
Anacrusis is often credited with being one of the first bands to try to blend thrash and progressive metal. I'm not sure how accurate that credit is, but I am sure they did it fairly early on. As such, they were a very important part of the American thrash scene in the late 1980's/early 1990's.
The music is impressive. Starting out as a basic thrash metal band, but often changing into a more progressive metal interlude, almost jazz-like at times. The songs often change tempos and time signatures repeatedly. The vocals are a little tough to get used to, very high-pitched and often shrieked. But, if the listener can get over the sometimes grating vocals, the music is extremely rewarding.
My fiancee pointed out that the album cover is horrible. It is, just look at it. But still, this is a great album.
CADAVER INC.: DISCIPLINE
I first heard this band, known simply as Cadaver at the time, on a cheap Black Sabbath tribute album. The band covered "Sweet Leaf". The music was close to Black Sabbath, albeit with more distortion, but the vocals were completely different: death metal growling. That album also included the first songs I had heard from Cannibal Corpse (other than the Ace Ventura appearance), Exhorder, several others. The band changed their name after their reformation because another band was already known as Cadaver.
Cadaver Inc. is a death metal band from Norway. Norway does not have a real strong death metal tradition, so it's hard to pinpoint what exactly Norwegian death metal sounds like. Darkthrone of course was more of a death metal band in the late 1980's/early 1990's before becoming a black metal band. Mayhem was the same way. If one had to form a comparison for Cadaver Inc., it would be like a combination of Darkthrone and Mayhem in their early death metal form.
The music is raw and primal, with fast riffs, crashing drums, and near-black metal shrieking on the part of the vocalist. This band captures the spirit of early black metal but encompasses it in death metal riffs. It's really a shame that this band was not more well-known.
DECEASED...: BEHIND THE MOURNER'S VEIL
Somewhat of a disappointment as this was an EP released solely to satisfy a contract with the label, therefore it is short and there are several covers on it. Deceased... is another extremely underrated band. Most people have never heard of them. They initially played death metal, but soon changed their style to more of a tradition 1980's thrash/traditional metal with death metal style vocals. At this point in time, they were more of a death metal band.
The first couple of songs are original and pretty much give the fans of the band what they want. Aggressive, primal death metal with incendiary guitar solos and King Foley's manic barks. The first song is based on the hilariously awful move It's Alive about killer babies. The next few songs are covers of Tankard, D.R.I., Warfare, and Anthrax. None of the covers are particularly noteworthy, other than the one by D.R.I. is 37 seconds long. Holy shit. The final song though is the most interesting. It is a ten minute, five movement opus regarding the West Memphis Three, three individuals accused of brutally murdering three little boys in a trial fraught with problems. Perhaps I will discuss this trial in greater depth at some point. It's fairly popular in metal as the three Defendants were fans of the genre and they were seemingly railroaded by the prosecution facing heavy pressure from the town residents to find the killers.
The album is good, but I probably would not have purchased it had I known that it was essentially a filler album. Deceased... is becoming one of my favorite bands. I just wish their albums were easier to find.
THE CROWN: POSSESSED 13
Don't ask what the title means, I have no idea. The Crown is an awesome band, extremely fast and brutal. They are one of the fastest, most powerful bands in Sweden. They recently reformed too, which takes the sting out of some of the other band reformations this year (I'm looking at you Creed).
This one is fairly standard for the band: not their best, but certainly not bad at all. The album starts off with some horror movie samples, then some eerie tone-setting riff, and then it launches into a lightning fast riff. The band employs its trademarked brand of death/thrash in full force on this one. The album is not as memorable as the incredible Crowned in Terror, but it certainly comes close.
This album also features a bonus disk which includes demo recordings from when the band was known as Crown of Thorns. I have the band's debut album under that name so the bonus disk is a little superfluous, but it's a nice feature.
This is a decent, fast-paced Swedish death/thrash album and while it is not as good as other by the band, it's definitely worth hearing.
FATES WARNING: NO EXIT
This is another of the bands that I have recently latched onto in my ongoing quest to discover more 1980's metal bands. Fates Warning is one of the earlier progressive metal bands and came out of Seattle, along with fellow prog-metallers Queensryche. Fates Warning doesn't just share a hometown and genre with Queensryche though, FW sounds very much like their earlier material. Vocalist Ray Alder sounds extremely similar to Geoff Tate, completing the comparison.
Fates Warning is a little more on the progressive side of things though, whereas Queensryche had quite a few albums that were more straightforward heavy metal. Particularly when it comes to the nearly 22 minute closer, "The Ivory Gate of Dreams". The rest of the tracks, comparatively, fly by the listener. Even to the point of not really knowing when one ends and another begins.
The music is extremely melodic and Alder's vocals fit in very well. The guitar solos are masterfully played and the riffs are definitely influenced by groups like Judas Priest and other metal icons.
I knew a guy in law school who was a huge fan of Dream Theater even though he really did not care for the metal genre as a whole. However, he recognized that I knew a little about Dream Theater and would frequently push me for more suggestions similar to that band. I pushed him in the direction of Symphony X and Queensryche, but I wish I would have known about this band at that time. Without Fates Warning, Dream Theater probably would not exist.