Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Playlist

I am heading to my hometown for the weekend, so this is the last post before Halloween. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and being that heavy metal can sound pretty spooky, it's the right season for the music. So here's what I am listening to this weekend:

Cradle of Filth
King Diamond
Mercyful Fate

I know Cradle of Filth is not a particularly well-respected band amongst the true metalheads out there, but I find this particular season particularly appropriate for listening to them. The band blends gothic metal, thrash metal, and black metal and mixes that with a very dark atmosphere. Lyrically, Cradle of Filth covers morbid sexuality, supernatural events, and basic gothic horror. Dani Filth is a hell of a lyricist and possesses a vocal style all his own. I have been listening to all of the band's albums.

King Diamond and Mercyful Fate really need no introduction and I have covered them both extensively in the past.

I will also be listening to Incantation's Onward to Golgotha, a favorite album of mine that I have just not had an opportunity to hear for some time. The grimy riffs and spellbinding songs are just the kind of thing I am looking for this season. Excellent New York death metal.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Year in Metal: 1994

1994 was an important year for me in metal. Not because of the albums that were released, but rather that this was the year I started listening to metal.

Acid Bath was an early pioneer in the sludge metal sound. Featuring members who would later comprise groups like Crowbar and Goatwhore, Acid Bath was ahead of its time. The band blended sounds from doom metal, hardcore, blues rock, black metal, death metal, and virtually anything else. This is a fantastic album with extremely strong dynamics and range. The band only released two full length albums, of which this is the debut.

Corrosion of Conformity (C.O.C. from now on) has had many different sounds over the years. Beginning as a hardcore band and slowly incorporating more and more thrash and metal influences, the band changed a lot. This was a complete change however, with the band adding classic rock and southern influences into their more traditional metal sound. The band was one of the leaders in the New Orleans sound along with Crowbar and Eyehategod, and of course, the above Acid Bath.

Here we go, the first sign of the Swedish melodeath scene in this series. This was In Flames's first album and at this time, they had a very different sound than what they have now. This was pure melodic death metal with occasional folksy interludes, such as a soft string section. The band was also different in that Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity fame was the band's lead vocalist instead of Anders Frieden, who was fronting Dark Tranquillity at this time. Weird.

Mayhem's masterpiece is a dark and brooding album, perfect for this season. This album features Attila Csihar on vocals and his performance can best be described as manic and frightening. The album was the last to have guitarist Euronymous and bassist Varg Vikernes prior to Varg murdering Euronymous. For that reason alone, this album is far more infamous than it is famous. The music though is one of the best examples of the Norwegian black metal scene.

I kept wanting to get Testament on one of these things. Well the time has finally come. Testament was never really an elite thrash metal band, until this album, when they combined elements of groove and death metal with their thrash metal and Chuck Billy started growling far more often. This is when the band truly came into their own. This is a heavy and brutal album, far moreso than anything the band put out before it. This is the band's best album to this point, and it's not even really close.

Honorable Mentions: Black Sabbath: Cross Purposes, Cannibal Corpse: The Bleeding, Cryptopsy: Blasphemy Made Flesh, Dream Theater: Awake, Emperor: In the Nightside Eclipse, King's X: Dogman, Machine Head: Burn My Eyes, Megadeth: Youthanasia, Pantera: Far Beyond Driven, Queensryche: Promised Land.

Bands that formed in 1994: Abscess, Destroyer 666, Lacuna Coil, Six Feet Under, Strapping Young Lad, Symphony X.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Compilations: Metal Maniacs November 2008

God, I've slowed down on posting here lately. Well, let's get another compilation thingie out of the way quickly. Hopefully it won't be too painful.

Guillotine is a fantastic Swedish thrash metal band. I already own this CD and it fucking slays, so yes, I absolutely recommend this. Go get it.

Someone's looking at a lawsuit. Not really. Apparently this is a NWOBHM band whose album was reissued in 2008. It's pretty decent. I wonder how many of these bands slipped through the cracks. It's like discovering fossils.

Lots of drums, way too high in the mix. It's hard to hear what else is going on, which is a shame because this sounds like reasonably decent death metal on the opening riff, until the clean singing part. Spoke too soon. That killed it, now it's basically metalcore. Next.

More metalcore, and some progressive noodling. Yikes, this is starting to scare me.

This is the Editor's Pick. This band of three brothers from Brazil picks up where countrymen Sepultura left off. Absolutely fucking brutal, pounding intensity. Great band. I own this album too.

Pretty decent melodeath/thrash. I enjoy this. I had a bad feeling based on the song name, a word I don't understand. But the music is quite good.

Completely unoriginal. It's okay musically, but offers absolutely nothing new.

Ugh. Mental picture is disgusting. Who guessed death metal? Well, duh. It's pretty grimy stuff. I like it pretty well.

I was expecting possibly some sort of doom metal here. Instead we got some metal/hardcore hybrid. Huh, guess you can't judge a band by it's name all the time.

What a terrible band name. Sounds like a glam rock band trying to come up with something to thrill the ladies and Exciter was taken, albeit by a great band. And then the music is as far removed from glam as possible. It's death/grind. Why the stupid name?

Let's play the name game. How about "Grasshoppers of Influenza", "Caterpillars of Irritable Bowel Syndrome", "Ants of Mononucleosis", "Earwigs of Catatonia", "Boll Weevils of Juvenile Diabetes", "Stinkbugs of Dementia", or "Aphids of Stockholm Syndrome"? Musically, it's pretty good though.

I really like this band's sound. Lots of technicality and some damn impressive guitar work. This is pretty decent. This band could have a future.

The compilation ends on another strong note. This is symphonic metal tinged with death metal elements and yes, some metalcore, but it works. A great song and a great ending for this thing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not Metal Post: My Fiancee's Ipod

So, I bought my fiancee an Ipod (or however the hell it is best written) for the first Christmas we were together. It has quickly become the bane of my existence. She has, shall we say, eclectic musical taste. We were having a discussion recently about songs to clear the reception hall and I pointed out to her that many of the songs on her Ipod are objectively terrible and just as likely to clear the reception hall as Cannibal Corpse's "I Cum Blood". So, here's a list of some of the crap on her Ipod that will also chase away people:

"Barbie Girl", yes the Aqua song. It's amazingly dirty actually.
"My First Kiss"
"We Like to Party"
Some song with instructions on doing a stupid dance that I can't even name but I point out every time it comes on that it's not actually a song but instructions set to a keyboard rhythm.

This will probably be an ongoing list as I think of things. My brain isn't working this morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Recap: Oct. 17-Oct. 23

Last week was incredibly slow. Long week at work. Oh well, it's given me a chance to try to prepare for a couple of potential trials next month. Not much to say otherwise. My fiancee has been working evenings and getting home late, which kind of sucks. Not a ton going on in metal. Looking forward to the new Melechesh album. Hopefully Hastings will carry it. Not holding my breath though.

Amon Amarth: Once Sent from the Golden Hall
Artillery: Through the Years
Bathory: Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Believer: Gabriel
Bonded by Blood: Exiled to Earth
Brain Drill: Quantum Catastrophe
Brown Jenkins: Death Obsession
Carcass: Heartwork
Celtic Frost: Into the Pandemonium
Celtic Frost: Monotheist
Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion
Cephalotripsy: Uterovaginal Insertion of Extirpated Anomalies
Cynic: Focus
Danzig: Deth Red Sabaoth
Dark Fortress: Ylem
Dark Tranquillity: Fiction
Dark Tranquillity: We are the Void
Decrepit Birth: Polarity
Dying Fetus: Killing on Adrenaline
Enforcer: Diamonds
Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini
Entorturement: Descend Into Deprivation
Ex Deo: Romulus
Exodus: Fabulous Disaster
Fatal Embrace: The Empires of Inhumanity
Havok: Burn
Heathen: Breaking the Silence
Heathen: Victims of Deception
Hellhammer: Demon Entrails
Immortal: Pure Holocaust
Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Kataklysm: Heaven's Venom
Kataklysm: Prevail
Kataklysm: Shadows and Dust
Krisiun: Southern Storm
Lecherous Nocturne: Adoration of the Blade
Mastodon: Leviathan
Merciless Death: Realm of Terror
Morbid Angel: Covenant
Old Man's Child: Slaves of the World
Paradise Lost: Icon
Pathology: Legacy of the Ancients
Pyrexia: Sermon of Mockery
Sinister: Diabolical Summoning
Teitanblood: Seven Challices
The Absence: Enemy Unbound
Toxic Holocaust: An Overdose of Death...
Toxic Holocaust: Hell on Earth
Triptykon: Eparistera Daimones
Vorkuta: Into the Chasms of Lunacy
Warbeast: Krush the Enemy
Watain: Lawless Darkness
Witchery: Witchkrieg
Xenomorph: Empyreal Regimes

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Thoughts: Songs to Clear Out the Reception Hall

This one's for you honey.

Here are some songs that will drive everyone away from the reception.

Cannibal Corpse: "Necropedophile"
Cannibal Corpse: "I Cum Blood"
Cannibal Corpse: "A Skull Full of Maggots"
Cannibal Corpse: "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt"
Crytopsy: "Slit Your Guts"
Obituary: "Chopped in Half"
Cradle of Filth: "Gilded Cunt"
Mayhem: "Chainsaw Gutsfuck"
Type O Negative: "Christian Woman"
Bathory: "Satan My Master"
Dimmu Borgir: "The Devil's Path"
Slayer: "Raining Blood" (would make an excellent opening theme though)
Slayer: "Dead Skin Mask"
Morbid Angel: "God of Emptiness"
Suffocation: "Bind Torture Kill"

And that is just a small sampling. I could have made this post extremely long.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Year in Metal: 1993

Carcass is revered for being a pioneer in the grindcore genre. However, in their later years the band put out one of the all-time great death metal albums, Necroticism-Descanting the Insalubrious. Still later though, Carcass had a major hand in the formation of melodeath with this amazing album. Featuring cover art from H.R. Giger and some absolutely sick riffs and melodies, this is a great album without which we would not have had melodeath. At least the good stuff anyway.

Along with Atheist, Cynic is responsible for bringing jazz and fusion influences into death metal. Sounds like something doomed to failure, but it surprisingly works quite well. The songs often run the gamut between death metal and more ethereal, serene soundscapes. The vocoder vocals can be a little irritating at times, but it's nothing to stop listening for. Cynic did not release much after this, going on hiatus until just recently releasing their second full-length album.

One of the more well-known bands in the Norwegian black metal scene, Immortal is also probably my favorite of the groups. Immortal knows their sound and largely sticks to it, and their sound is chaotic and unholy thrash riffs played with ungodly speed and shrieking vocals. Immortal has created their own world on this album. They may be a little cheesy-looking in pictures and videos, but there is nothing cheesy about this music. Excellent black metal.

The first time I have ever heard of Morbid Angel was when the video for "God of Emptiness" was on Beavis and Butthead. I thought to myself that I had to get that album. The music was so evil and unlike anything I had ever heard to that point. Well, I was not able to find the album until I really started looking within the last few years. Now, this is one of my favorite death metal albums ever. Terrific death metal that other bands have been trying to copy for years.

You won't see a lot of gothic metal in these lists, but there will be some. Paradise Lost is probably my favorite such group next to Type O Negative. The English band helped usher in the death/doom genre with Cathedral, My Dying Bride, and Anathema, but they became more of a gothic metal band over time. This album represents the crossroads between the two sounds and the doom elements and gothic elements blend perfectly into a beautiful, but still aggressive album.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Anthrax: Sound of White Noise, Atheist: Elements, Crowbar: Crowbar, Darkthrone: Under a Funeral Moon, Death: Individual Thought Patterns, Entombed: Wolverine Blues, Fight: War of Words, My Dying Bride: Turn Loose the Swans, Overkill: I Hear Black, Satyricon: Dark Medieval Times, Sepultura: Chaos A.D., Type O Negative: Bloody Kisses.

BANDS THAT FORMED IN 1993: Children of Bodom, Dark Funeral, Diabolical Masquerade, Dimmu Borgir, Electric Wizard, Hammerfall, Melechesh, Nile, Symphony X.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Initial Impressions: Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini

Wow. Enslaved has outdone themselves on this album. I became a big fan of the band after seeing them in concert awhile back. I have enjoyed all of the albums I have heard from the band so far, but I do think this one blows even those albums out of the water.

The opening track is certainly the strongest, featuring an opening riff that is the closest thing to pure black metal that Enslaved has released in some time. The song does not continue in that vein, instead it becomes more interesting, and the band's prog influences are clearly felt throughout.

The opening track is just a brief microcosm of the overall album. This album features numerous black metal parts which blend into numerous progressive parts. The vocals run the gamut between crooning tenor and harsh blackened rasp. Indeed, Enslaved has shown more willingness to incorporate clean vocals into the mix a little more often this time around. These clean points are often peppered with the black metal vocals.

The riffs are overall impressive. Enslaved does not really sound much like a black metal band at this point, but there is nothing wrong with that. Their sound has matured and has come into its own this time out. The band has fully realized the potential of the experimentation they have conducted on other recent albums. This sound is fully fleshed-out and complete this time. This is the album they have been hinting towards for years.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Initial Impressions: The Absence: Enemy Unbound

The Absence is an American band that sounds like they come from Sweden. By that, I mean they are a melodic death metal band. However, they prefer the sounds of the early days of the subgenre. This is no In Flames or Soilwork ripoff band, The Absence goes for the more straightahead crunch of At the Gates. Unlike most American bands aping that style though, The Absence features no core influences. It's just hostile melodeath.

I picked this album up recently after loving their last album. It seems like a long time has passed since that album was released, but the wait was worth it. The Absence actually sounds a little better this time around. In my opinion anyway. Decibel did not care much for it, but I find myself seeing eye to eye with Decibel with far less frequency these days. So, that doesn't bother me.

The Absence has tightened up musically this time around. There is more precision to the riffing style and the guitar solos are sharper and more melodic. The Absence has also increased their thrash influences evident in their music. The band has continued to grow as musicians. This is an extremely overlooked band. I will be interested to hear where The Absence goes from here. This is currently the band's highpoint. The Absence is not for everyone, but if you like good melodeath, they are highly recommended.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Initial Impressions: Exodus: Fabulous Disaster

I kind of stumbled upon this rare find at Hastings recently. I was looking for some of the newer releases by groups like The Absence, Malevolent Creation, Kamelot, and others, but when I saw this, I knew I had to have it. An album by a great thrash metal band at their height? Absolutely. Plus, I have always loved "The Toxic Waltz".

This album is not quite as good as Bonded by Blood, and it does feature Zetro on vocals instead of Paul Baloff. But, Zetro's voice does fit in well with what the band is doing. Particularly on the aforementioned "The Toxic Waltz". Zetro sounds like a mix between Bon Scott of AC/DC and Blitz Ellsworth of Overkill, and he sounds great on this album.

There are some unusual moments here. The spoken word intro, the ill-advised "Low Rider" cover, and the odd Deliverance-esque opening to "Cajun Hell". It makes a little sense when you consider that Exodus has always had a bit more of a sense of humor than their more serious brethren (just look at the album cover for proof). These moments kind of derail things a little bit, but then the band comes back with a crushing thrash riff.

This is one of the better albums from the Zetro era of the band, which I still prefer to the current Exodus regime, but it's not quite as good as the band's debut. Still though, this is an absolutely neck-breaking album of thrash metal. I would pick this up anyday over most of the stuff coming out today.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekly Recap: 10/10-10/16

Another week. Ho hum. I did recently buy some more CDs, so look for Initial Impressions posts from Exodus, The Absence, and Enslaved. Hopefully this week. I've been trying to cut down on buying CDs lately to save money. So I have been making a conscious effort to only buy CDs I know I will enjoy. I am trying to make sure I can help give my fiancee the wedding she deserves.

1349: Demonoir
Akercocke: Antichrist
Akercocke: Words that Go Unspoken, Deeds that Go Undone
Alice in Chains: Dirt
Amorphis: Skyforger
Argharus: Pleitas
Baroness: Blue Record
Bloodsoaked: Sadistic Deeds...Grotesque Memories
Bonded by Blood: Exiled to Earth
Candlemass: Death Magic Doom
Cannibal Corpse: Tomb of the Mutilated
Cradle of Filth: Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder
Crucified Mortals: Promo 2007
Danzig: III-How the Gods Kill
Deceased...: Fearless Undead Machines
Deicide: Legion
Deiphago: Filipino Antichrist
Destroy Destroy Destroy: Battle Sluts
Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini
Evile: Infected Nations
Exodus: Exhibit B-The Human Condition
Fear Factory: Soul of a New Machine
Gama Bomb: Tales from the Grave in Space
Hecate Enthroned: Upon Promethean Shores
Imperial Vengeance: At the Going Down of the Sun
Judas Priest: Sad Wings of Destiny
Kyuss: Blues for the Red Sun
Laethora: The Light in Which We All Burn
Lightning Swords of Death: The Extra-Dimensional Wound
Mastodon: Leviathan
Metal Maniacs Oct. 2008
Metal Maniacs Nov. 2008
Misery Index: Heirs to Thievery
Necrophagia: Holocausto de la Morte/Black Blood Vomitorium
Poccolus: Ragana
Red Harvest: Internal Punishment Programs
Rotting Christ: Aealo
Samael: Above
Satan's Host: Great American Scapegoat-666
Satan's Host: Power, Purity, Perfection-999
Satan's Host: Satanic Grimoire-A Greater Black Magick
Shackles: Traitors' Gate
The Absence: Enemy Unbound
The Lord Weird Slough Feg: Ape Uprising!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Compilations: Metal Maniacs November 2008

Well I am a huge Enslaved fan and have all of the albums they have released in about the last decade, so of course I already own this one. Good song, better album.

Yes, this is a Christmas song. Yes it's a little odd to have a doom metal treatment to a Christmas song. Still, it sounds great. Stranger stuff has happened I suppose. I'm sure the Westboro Baptist Church would have a field day with this.

I already own this album by the Swedish thrash metal outfit. This is the best song on the entire album. The rest of it is good, but not great. That's kind of how I feel about The Haunted in general actually. This is the Editor's Pick.

Just a guess, but these guys may not be American. It's also hardcore. No thanks.

Terrible band name. Worse song name. The song also really sucks and grates on my ears. Pass. I don't even want to describe it.

Traditional heavy metal with a female lead singer and a somewhatMiddle-Eastern sounding opening riff. This kind of reminds me of Temtris. It's pretty decent actually. I would want to hear more from them.

Awful nu-metal sounding shit. I thought nu metal died? At least it's short.

This is thrash metal. This, I actually enjoy. It sounds like they're heavily influenced by Slayer, utilizing the same harsh yell that Tom Araya uses. Good stuff.

Not to be confused with Fimbulvinter I suppose. It's impressive folk-inspired death metal. I may have to check these guys out, this is great.

The technical, progressive death metal band returned with a sound that is decidedly less death metal, but still amazing. This is a great song, off a great album, which I already own.

Excellent traditional metal with a singer who sounds a lot like Rob Halford. Once again, great song. I definitely need to hear more from these guys.

More traditional/power metal. This comp is full of this stuff. Once again, another great song. Huskier vocals and heavy riffs make this a very interesting track. I have heard of Ironsword before, but now I will have to check them out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bloodsoaked: Sadistic Deeds...Grotesque Memories

I am always on the lookout for some new metal, particularly in the genres of death and thrash. Well, I did not exactly find this album through my own searching, it's more like I stumbled into it. Sort of. You see, I placed an order with Comatose Records, a label I order from occasionally when looking for brutal death metal, and one of the CDs that I ordered was out of stock. So, the label head, Steve Green from Atrocious Abnormality, called me personally to tell me this and offer to send something else instead. Since I was not currently at my computer, I asked for his recommendation and he recommended this, so I agreed. That's customer service, ladies and gentlemen.

All of that would have meant nothing though if the album was not good. But it is. In fact, this was one of my sleeper contenders for my favorite album of 2009. Bloodsoaked is an impressive band combining old school death metal influences with more modern brutal death influences, there are even a few slams in here. The music sounds fresh and really captures the listener's attention with its bludgeoning riffs and deep sickening grooves.

But here's the kicker, the quirk of this band. There is only one member. This is a one man death metal band. On the plus side, that means no artistic differences of opinion, unless he's suffering from multiple personality disorder. A fact of which I am not aware. But, he had to learn all of the instruments himself and try to track them together. I think that would be exceedingly difficult. But, Bloodsoaked pulls this off.

You can often tell when a black metal band is just one person. Something sounds off, some area of the music is not as well-written or comes across as well, but I do not think I would have felt this way about this album, had I not known about it. Everything sounds complete and well-written. This sounds like a four-man death metal band had recorded it. The drums are impressive, but are used mostly as background. There is not a lot of experimentation going on with them. The riffs sound brutal and intense. The vocals are delivered in a standard death metal growl and sound very much like those of Immolation.

As I stated before, there are old school death metal influences, such as Immolation and Morbid Angel, and even Obituary thrown into a modern death metal style. The jagged riffs and crushing grooves are evidence that Bloodsoaked know the genre well. These old school elements mesh well with the brutal death overall style.

I really enjoy this album. I will have to try to get personal recommendations from label heads more often. Thanks Steve.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top 5 Thrash Metal Ballads

Well I was going to link to an article on the Deciblog but I can't find it anymore and I get a 404 error all the time.

Anyway, as I recall, there was an article on the Deciblog naming the writer's top 5 thrash metal ballads. I only remember three of them off the top of my head: Anthrax: "Black Lodge", Metallica: "Fade to Black", and Testament: "The Ballad". I agree with one of them. Anthrax's song is okay but I would not go so far as to call it one of my top 5 thrash metal ballads. Testament has produced better ballads than "The Ballad" in my opinion.

Here's my list:

5. Suicidal Tendencies: "Nobody Hears". Highly underrated song from a band that has not achieved the fame and recognition they deserve. It's a bit more experimental than their usual fare, but still sounds great.

4. Megadeth: "A Tout Le Monde". Soul-crushing. Plain and simple.

3. Pantera: "Cemetary Gates". Excellent song with an amazing riff and incredibly sad. Pantera was basically a thrash metal band at this point, but slowed down into groove metal on the next album.

2. Metallica: "Fade to Black". I do love this song and Ride the Lightning was the first metal album I ever bought. This song was a big reason why I practically wore it out.

1. Testament: "Return to Serenity". As I stated before, Testament has done better ballads. This is my favorite song of all time.

EDIT: Death Angel: "A Room with a View" and possibly Pantera: "Cemetary Gates" were the other two on the list.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Year in Metal: 1992

Here's where we start to see traditional and thrash metal fading and death and black metal rising.

I am a huge fan of Alice in Chains. One of the earliest groups that got me interested in metal. Alice in Chains is wrongfully lumped in with grunge because it came from the same geographical area. By the Seattle connection, it's surprising that groups like Metal Church, Nevermore, and Queensryche were never called grunge. Alice in Chains owes a massive debt to groups like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple in their music, definitely metal.

I've been debating about Cannibal Corpse albums to put in here for a couple of posts now. This one gets the call because it includes the famous song "Hammer Smashed Face" which was featured in a scene in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. This was a very early exposure to death metal for me. Cannibal Corpse essentially laid out the framework for death metal for years to come: heavy riffs, pounding drums, deep guttural vocals, and gory lyrics. Bands have been copying the formula ever since.

Another band I have been trying to get into these posts for awhile. Danzig is an enigma. His musical roots lay in punk (The Misfits are still the only punk band I listen to) and 1950's rock and roll. Yet he puts out very good gothic, doomy metal albums such as this one. Yes, he still reverts back to his other roots, but the metal is undeniable. "Dirty Black Summer" is a great song, and the H.R. Giger art adds to the mystique of the album.

This is occult death metal kicked up to an insane speed. No one is quite sure just what the hell Glen Benton is roaring about, but with these songs, these riffs, and this dark, unholy atmosphere, who the hell cares? This is Deicide's second album and it set the early high mark for this band's releases. They descended into mediocrity for a long time immediately after this album, so this is still the early favorite. Still, like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide is often imitated and never really surpassed. Truly evil death metal.

Fear Factory quite possibly originated the clean/harsh vocal style mix. They also brought industrial influences into death metal. All that and this is one absolutely kickass album. It does tend to drag near the end, but the beginning is mindblowing. It's hard to imagine now, but this album created major waves when it was released. No one had heard anything quite like Fear Factory. Death metal with clean vocals and industrial influences, what a concept.

Honorable Mentions: Black Sabbath: Dehumanizer, Blind Guardian: Somewhere Far Beyond, Bolt Thrower: The IVth Crusade, Dream Theater: Images and Words, Faith No More: Angel Dust, Iced Earth: Night of the Stormrider, Immortal: Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, Iron Maiden: Fear of the Dark, Megadeth: Countdown to Extinction, Pantera: Vulgar Display of Power, Testament: The Ritual, W.A.S.P.: The Crimson Idol

Bands that formed in 1992: Cruachan, Edguy, Gorgoroth, Graveworm, Machine Head, Mourning Beloveth, Moonspell, Necrophagist.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Compilations: Metal Maniacs October 2008

I have not done one of these for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would throw one in here today.

The Swedish death metal supergroup is always good for bludgeoning music. I already own this album, so I don't really need to tell you how much I like this.

Kind of a stupid song title. It's also metalcore. No thanks.

Well-known metalcore band. They're one of the better such groups, but I don't really care for them. This song does nothing to change my mind. This song in particular sounds exactly like Killswitch Engage.

Of course I already own the damn Amon Amarth album. Who do you think I am?

I also already own this album by the Finnish symphonic metal band. Decent stuff. Lots of Tolkien references. The music is a mix of power, gothic, folk, progressive, and melodic death.

With a song title like that, my guess was some sort of stoner doom. And it appears I was right. Not too bad. I generally enjoy this genre when I am in the mood. Always good to find another band.

This kind of reminds me of later Tiamat. Not sure why. It's very ethereal and yet retains some metal riffs and harsh vocals. It frequently breaks into a melodic interlude. It's not too bad. I don't know if I would actively search these guys out though.

No idea what this is, some sort of hardcore. Pass.

It's symphonic blackened death metal with some pretty extreme vocals. I really enjoy this song. Never heard of the band before though.

Some crushing and blasting blackened death metal with some progressive elements. This also sounds pretty good. It kind of drags around the middle when it goes melodic, but it comes back.

This is industrial music kind of similar to the early Nine Inch Nails stuff. I used to like this kind of thing, but those days are long gone now. I still like industrial metal, but this does not qualify.

Metalcore again. Ever notice how all these bands sound the same?

This band kind of reminds me of Ancient. Very theatrical black metal. I do like Ancient okay, but this really isn't doing much for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Satan's Host

I hinted at a post looking at this somewhat unknown band a couple of weeks ago. Well here it is finally.

Satan's Host is a band out of Colorado that has had a little bit of an unusual career trajectory. The band started out as a power metal band and featured the vocal talents of Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin, most notably of Jag Panzer. They disbanded in the 1980's and within the last ten years or so re-emerged with a new sound, a blackened thrash metal sound with some death metal elements thrown in. The vocals have been done mostly in a black metal raspy style, but occasionally sound like a blackened death metal vocalist, such as Nergal from Behemoth. Strangely, Conklin has very recently been brought back into the fold. They have not released a new album with him, so I am not sure what they will continue to sound like, but I'm looking forward to it.

The driving force behind the band is the impressive guitar work of Pat Evil. The man can absolutely shred, although he does not do so frequently. When he does though, it is extremely impressive. He is also an impressive songwriter and riff master.

The one real issue with the band is their lyrical content and the messages of the albums. I do not personally have a problem with it, but the band is clearly Satanic and utilizes a lot of space on their albums toward preaching their Satanic invocations. Again, not a problem for me, but for others. For that reason, the band will never gain much more than a loyal cult following, which is a shame. When they want to, this band is amazing.

I had a chance to see Satan's Host and Drawn and Quartered in Omaha, but it was on a week night, I had an important hearing the next day, and I lived two hours away. Disappointing. Nebraska simply does not have enough good concerts to afford to miss them, but there must be some law that says all Nebraska concerts must be on weeknights. A bunch of crap.

This is the first album I heard from the band, although I bought both it and the next album at the same time. The album starts with a spoken word calling to Satan and then kicks right into the first shredfest, the great "Necromantic Art", with some extremely impressive lead guitar work. Despite this, the album often feels a little sludgy, doomy, and not as fast as the band is capable of being. The band is concentrated more on creating a dark atmosphere, and this goal is accomplished easily, but sometimes, I just want to hear Pat Evil unleashed. Despite this minor flaw, the album remains a truly interesting piece of music. There are plenty of moments where the band rips into an impressive thrash metal riff and speed, such as "Metal from Hell". These are my favorite moments. The bonus tracks are both terrific and should have been part of the album proper.

Their next album starts off again with a spoken word intro. Very spooky stuff indeed. This album starts off sounding more like a blackened death metal album with tremolo-picked guitar leads and a deeper growl. This album as a whole is a bit more musical than the last album. It is however much closer to blackened death than blackened thrash. The album fits in well with groups like Belphegor, Behemoth, Angelcorpse and the like. Overall that's not a problem though because Pat Evil still lets loose with an abasolutely blazing guitar solo once in awhile, with "7 Strings, Sin" being just a guitar solo.

The newest album by Satan's Host presents the band going back for a thrashier sound once again. The opening track this time features a spine-chilling melodic guitar lead setting up the first song. This album features longer, complete songs with only two interlude tracks. This album features an increased reliance on Pat Evil's guitar wizardry to drive the music, and it is completely successful. This is my favorite of the three albums I have heard by Satan's Host, mainly due to the amazing lead guitar work. The track "Dark Priest 'Lord Ahriman'" in particular features some truly outstanding leads.

As mentioned before, some changes are afoot regarding this band. I have not heard their earlier power metal material, so I am not sure what it sounded like, but it looks like I may have a chance with Conklin back behind the mic.

Weekly Recap: 10/3-10/9

Another busy week at work, another late recap post, sorry. Also, there's not much news to report.

I have been increasingly disenchanted with a couple of my metal information sources. I don't quite know why. The sources I am speaking of are Metalsucks and Decibel. I feel like they are not really covering the music I really want to know about. Metalsucks is becoming increasingly fascinated by technical groups like Animals as Leaders, Protest the Hero, Between the Buried and Me, and the like. Groups I have never really cared for. Decibel seems to be covering an awful lot of noise groups lately. Is there anything out there covering underground death and thrash metal these days? Eh, just venting.

Personal life is fine. My fiancee is still working a job she dislikes, but hopefully some positions will start to open up that will make a better use of her education.

Artillery: Through the Years
Artillery: When Death Comes
Atheist: Unquestionable Presence
Bloodsoaked: Sadistic Deeds...Grotesque Memories
Cobalt: Gin
Convulse: World Without God
Dark Angel: Time Does Not Heal
Dark Tranquillity: We are the Void
Darkthrone: Circle the Wagons
Deceased...: Fearless Undead Machines
Deceased...: The Blueprints for Madness
Despised Icon: Day or Mourning
Devourment: 1.3.8
Devourment: Unleash the Carnivore
Exodus: Fabulous Disaster
Goatwhore: Carving Out the Eyes of God
Hibria: Defying the Rules
Immolation: Majesty and Decay
Insomnium: Above the Weeping World
Insomnium: Across the Dark
Jungle Rot: What Horrors Await
King's-Evil: Deletion of Humanoise
Lethal: Programmed
Liege Lord: Burn to My Touch
Lost Horizon: A Flame to the Ground Beneath
Manticora: 8 Deadly Sins
Mors Principium Est: Liberation=Termination
Nebula: Apollo
Necrovore: Divus De Mortuus
Nightmare: Genetic Disorder
Nocturnal Fear: Code of Violence
Nocturnal Fear: Metal of Honor
Norther: Mirror of Madness
Omen: Battle Cry
Omnium Gatherum: The Red Shift
Outworld: Outworld
Overkill: Horrorscope
Sauron: Satanic Assassins
Sepultura: Arise
Sodom: Persecution Mania
Sodom: Sodom
Sodom: Tapping the Vein
Suffocation: Effigy of the Forgotten
Tad Morose: Modus Vivendi
Twisted Tower Dire: Crest of the Martyrs
Unleashed: As Yggdrasil Trembles
Woe of Tyrants: Threnody
Wolf: Ravenous

Friday, October 8, 2010

Year in Metal: 1991

I looked at one of their albums already in this series, it's time to look at a second. As much as I enjoyed the other album, this one is by far my favorite from Atheist. The band on this album further experimented with some of the non-metal influences from their previous albums. There is a very strong jazz influence present from the get-go. The band utilizes complex rhythms and unusual time signatures and even throws in some latin influences as well. This is an extremely original and thoughtful album. Atheist has recently reformed and will be releasing a new album this year. Can't wait.

The tagline on this album is "9 songs, 67 minutes, 246 riffs!" I have no idea if that's an exaggeration, but it probably isn't. There are tons of riffs on this monster of an album from this highly underrated Bay Area thrash metal band. This album is extremely intense, but it does not feel quite like over an hour of music. Perhaps that's because the riffs are coming so quickly and furiously that it beats you into submission. No idea, but this is an incredible early 90's thrash metal album.

Overkill has never put out a bad album, so picking a favorite album is sometimes difficult. This one is up there for me though. This is an extremely cohesive and powerful album from the East Coast thrash giants. Every single song is a masterpiece. Every single riff is amazing. This is easily one of my favorite albums by Overkill, and quite possibly my favorite. This is an absolute beast.

Often considered the band's finest hour, this album unfortunately finds Sepultura at the end of the road as far as their thrash metal sound is concerned. But what a way to go. The album featured the same sound as their previous album but with experimentation in industrial and latin percussion. This album features some of the major Sepultura classics such as the title track, "Dead Embryonic Cells", "Desperate Cry", as well as a cover of Motorhead's "Orgasmatron". This album helped Sepultura break into the mainstream and ultimately helped doom their creativity.

Suffocation completely changed the game in death metal. It was now becoming a race to be the most extreme, the most brutal, and the most traumatizing death metal band. Death metal has never been subtle, but Suffocation took the genre to all new levels of brutality on their debut. The band has never released a bad album, and this was only the beginning. Surprisingly technical as well, there are interesting elements to listen for if you listen close enough. This album completely changed the death metal landscape and we are all the better for it.

Honorable Mentions: Armored Saint: Symbol of Salvation, Bolt Thrower: War Master, Cannibal Corpse: Butchered at Birth, Death: Human, Heathen: Victims of Deception, Morbid Angel: Blessed are the Sick, Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tears, Prong: Prove You Wrong, Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger.

Bands that formed in 1991: Acid Bath, Angra, Behemoth, Belphegor, Burzum, Cradle of Filth, Down, Emperor, Enslaved, Marduk, Nevermore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Underrated Power Metal Albums Pt. 2 of 2

This is the last post from this series, for now anyway. As Kelly suggested, there are other genres to look at, but I won't be able to do as much with them.

Hibria is a power/speed metal band from the underrated metal hotbed of Brazil. Possessing a flair for mind-numbingly fast riffing and powerfully infectious songs, this is an incredible album that I have heard almost nothing about in the metal community. Such a shame as this is truly what power metal should sound like. Yes it's extremely melodic, but it also gets your head banging like a good metal album should. Strongly recommended.

The Swedes sure know their metal. Sweden has tons of great death and black metal bands, and even thrash metal bands. Here is yet another of the country's surprisingly great power metal bands. Like Tad Morose, Lost Horizon sees very little press in the States, and I'm not sure it's much different elsewhere. Lost Horizon is like Tad Morose in that they are extremely melodic, yet they are not as classically oriented and are much more traditionally metal than their contemporaries.

Denmark is another underrated country for metal as nearly all of their metal bands are terrific. Manticora is the only power metal band I am aware of from the country. They play a more progressive style of power metal and this album is carefully crafted into an epic concept album. Featuring sharp guitar riffs and uniquely layered vocal melodies, this is a terrific album that calls to mind early progressive/power metal expermenting bands like Blind Guardian, without the fantasy-inspired lyrics.

Yet another early band in the American power metal scene, Liege Lord had a very short career and only released three albums, all of which are extremely hard to find. Which is unfortunate as this band had some great music. Originally a Judas Priest cover band, Liege Lord took their influences and molded them into their own original sound. They were considered one of the pioneers of American power metal. This is a short, sharp piece of metallic fury, a testament to a criminally overlooked band.

I had never even heard of this band before blindly picking up a cassette in a used music store. It had the Metal Blade logo on it, so I suspected I would be getting something decent. What Lethal does is play power/progressive metal similar to the early sounds of Queensryche and Fates Warning, but with more of a traditional metal edge and more melody. The vocalist sounds a lot like Geoff Tate, with an incredible, bonechilling tenor. There is very little information out there about this release, but it is clearly a diamond in the rough.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Underrated Power Metal Albums Pt. 1 of 2

Okay, it's the last week for this series. This week, I take on power metal. Power metal has never been a favorite genre of mine, although along with doom metal it is a little closer to the traditional metal style, rising out of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences. However, there's two types of power metal: European and American. American-style power metal is a little more aggressive and not as orchestral. As such, you will see more American power metal than European in this list.

Starting things off is the incredibly underrated Twisted Tower Dire. This is American power metal at its best. It's extremely catchy and yet retaining an aggressive edge. This is very close to traditional metal, but it still keeps a general power metal sound. Their vocalist sounds amazing, with a sharp distinctive vocal style. The guitar riffs are heavy and interesting and the solos are incendiary. This is an incredible band that has not received much of any exposure at all.

Yes there will be some European power metal bands on this list. Tad Morose is a progressive/power metal band from Sweden. As far as European power metal goes however, the Swedish bands are typically a little more on the aggressive side, while remaining extremely melodic. This album is an excellent example. The band sounds a little like the American band Kamelot. Tad Morose is an extremely gifted band at writing infectious choruses, a gift they use to full effect on this album. Yes it is melodic, and progressive, and it's extremely powerful.

Nightmare is a French power metal band that plays a style closer to the American power metal style than the flowery European style. Nightmare is a band that has been around for a very long time. I have almost never seen them mentioned in any metal publications at all though. It's a shame because this is some very catchy and melodic power metal. It's also surprisingly aggressive for the style. Nightmare has been around since before the European "flower" metal style and resembles Grave Digger much moreso than Blind Guardian.

Melding elements of power metal and progressive metal, we have the mighty Outworld. The singer's air-raid siren-like vocals soar over the rather complex riffing and keyboard flourishes. The vocals are really the most important factor in this band's musical style. The music is similar to Symphony X, but harder and heavier and the vocals are significantly better as well, not to say Symphony X is bad at all. This album will definitely wake you up in a hurry.

Omen is one of the original bands in the American power metal movement. They themselves ride the border between power metal and traditional metal, but they're here because of their influence on the fledgling genre in the early 1980's. Because of groups like Omen and Jag Panzer and Manowar, we have the American power metal style. Groups on this list like Twisted Tower Dire owe a debt to Omen and others. All that praise is meaningless of course if the album itself were not as good as it is. This is a truly underrated gem for its time.

Weekly Recap: 9/26-10/2

It was another busy week at the Metallattorney homestead. I settled two cases that looked as if they were headed to trial, one of which would have been my first jury trial. I also had one case that apparently looks as if it will not settle for anything. My fiancee switched departments at her job, hopefully she will be a little happier there. Other than that, not much going on. The baseball season is mercifully over, bad year for the Red Sox.

Artillery: When Death Comes
Azaghal: Omega
Cianide: Divide and Conquer
Coffins: Buried Death
Devastator: Nuclear Desecration
Dissection: The Somberlain
Entombed: Left Hand Path
Ex Deo: Romulus
Gama Bomb: Tales from the Grave in Space
Gamma Ray: Somewhere Out in Space
Goatwhore: The Eclipse of Ages Into Black
Havok: Burn
Hour of 13: Hour of 13
Imperial Vengeance: At the Going Down of the Sun
Insomnium: Across the Dark
Isole: Bliss of Solitude
Judas Priest: Painkiller
Kreator: Coma of Souls
Lightning Swords of Death: The Extra Dimensional Wound
Lost Breed: Save Yourself
Misery's Omen: Misery's Omen
Morgion: Cloaked by Ages, Crowned in Earth
Napalm Death: Time Waits for No Slave
Nocturnal Fear: Metal of Honor
Novembers Doom: Into Night's Requiem Infernal
Obituary: Darkest Days
Pantera: Cowboys from Hell
Reverend Bizarre: II-Crush the Insects
Sadus: Swallowed in Black
Satan's Host: Great American Scapegoat-666
Satan's Host: Power, Purity, Perfection-999
Satan's Host: Satanic Grimoire-A Greater Black Magick
Sigh: Scenes from Hell
Suffocation: Blood Oath
Syrach: Days of Wrath
The Gates of Slumber: Conqueror
Toxic Holocaust: Hell on Earth
Triptykon: Eparistera Daimones
Unorthodox: Balance of Power
Watain: Lawless Darkness
Watain: Rabid Death's Curse
Watain: Sworn to the Dark

Friday, October 1, 2010

Year in Metal: 1990

I could be mistaken on this, but I think this was the first full-length album by a Swedish death metal band using the Sunlight Studio. It has the very familiar buzzsaw guitar sound on the riffs. This was just a small sign of things to come from the Swedish death metal scene as Dismember, Grave, and others began releasing albums and the guitar tone became commonplace. It's influential because it's a great album, not just the tone. Unfortunately Entombed would never put out another album quite as good.

After a bit of a period of mediocrity, Judas Priest returned in full force on this album. The songs were more engineered to sound like their 1970's output, while adding in elements of speed metal. What resulted was a frenetic and fantastic album of speed and power. Halford never sounded quite as good as he does on this album. Unfortunately, he would leave the band soon after and it would be years before he rejoined them. This is Priest's best album in my mind.

This is not a particularly special or unique release by Kreator, it's actually just them being Kreator. But the album is great anyway and was the band's last great album before over-experimenting with other styles. This album features the incredible "People of the Lie", which is one of my personal favorite German thrash metal songs. Mille's voice sounds amazing on this album. As I said, it would be years before they got back to this point.

Here we see the beginning of a powerful career in metal. Pantera had released a few albums before this, but this was the first of their groove metal stage, the most well-known part of the band's history. They had not fully resorted to mid-paced half-thrash at this point. This album still bears marks of power/thrash metal. It is my favorite Pantera album for this reason, and also because "Cemetery Gates" is an all-time favorite song. I was never quite as impressed with the rest of the band's output, maybe it's because this was the first album I heard, maybe it's because this is just simply better, in every way.

I mentioned in a previous post that thrash was finding new ways of brutality in the late 1980's/early 1990's. This is one of the lead bands from this brutal style of thrash. Sadus plays inhumanly fast. This is the second album from the band, which features Steve DiGiorgio of such great bands as Death, Testament, Autopsy, and Iced Earth. Sadus is so brutal that they oftentimes veer in the direction of death metal.

Honorable mentions: Alice in Chains: Facelift, Anthrax: Persistence of Time, Blind Guardian: Tales from the Twilight World, Cannibal Corpse: Eaten Back to Life, Danzig: II-Lucifuge, Death: Spiritual Healing, Death Angel: Act III, Deicide: Deicide, Forbidden: Twisted Into Form, Iced Earth: Iced Earth, Megadeth: Rust in Peace, Obituary: Cause of Death, Paradise Lost: Lost Paradise, Queensryche: Empire, Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss, Testament: Souls of Black.

Bands that formed in 1990: At the Gates, Cathedral, Dark Tranquillity, Fear Factory, In Flames, Krisiun, Kyuss, Lamb of God, Lost Horizon, My Dying Bride, Opeth, Satyricon, Type O Negative.