Monday, December 31, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 55

ARTIST:  Various
ORIGIN:  Various
TITLE:  Metallurgy
LABEL:  Volume Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Heavy Metal, Groove Metal, Hardcore, etc.
FAVORITE SONG:  Sepultura: "Refuse/Resist (Live)"
NOTES:  This one is kind of odd.  It is a compilation, but a lot of the tracks are not terribly representative of the bands' sounds.  Faith No More and Kyuss in particular have less-than-impressive tracks.  The album did help introduce me to GZR, Fear Factory, and Napalm Death as well as further catch my attention with Sepultura.  There are a lot of hardcore tracks on it though, which I do not care for.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Most Acceptable "Glam" Metal Band

Digging through my collection recently, I have come across several albums by bands that have been lumped into the "glam" metal category.  I do not have a lot of these albums, but a few.  Many of the bands I do have are much closer to metal than glam.  Of course the style has a similar footing in metal as nu metal and metalcore.  It was a mainstream style similar to the underground forms that was largely looked upon with scorn by the underground.  Many of the bands categorized as metal in the 1980's were really just rock bands.  Warrant, Van Halen, Poison, and Ratt had little to no characteristics in common with heavy metal.

That is not to say that there were not some decent bands from the genre who were actually metal bands.  Motley Crue put out some decent material early in their career.  As did Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Dokken, and others.  Skid Row was definitely more of a metal band, in particular on their second release.

One band though seems to be held in fairly high regard amongst metalheads even though they were largely a part of the "glam" metal scene.  W.A.S.P. led by maniac frontman Blackie Lawless has consistently released quality albums throughout their career, now spanning thirty years.  Their early releases were certainly metallic, but melodic enough that they were able to be played on rock radio.  Their sound was largely rooted in traditional heavy metal but they occasionally veered into more hard rock territory.

W.A.S.P. achieved a level of notoriety early on with their single "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" which was actually released prior to any full-length albums.  It was intended to be released on the band's debut self-titled album but was removed due to record company pressure.  The cover of the single featured a close-up shot of Lawless's circular saw codpiece.  The song was partly responsible for the creation of the P.M.R.C. and the advent of the warning labels on albums featuring explicit lyrics.

Their uncompromising attitude drove their music and the band continues to release albums to this day.  Their albums have generally been pretty decent too.  W.A.S.P. has done concept albums in the past and generally met with acclaim amongst metalheads for them.  They have released their share of ballads, something that seemed to mandatory for rock/metal bands arising out of Los Angeles in the 1980's.  But they also released some fantastic metallic songs.

W.A.S.P. is certainly one of the most acceptably metallic bands to be a part of the "glam" metal scene.  They are a band that has fans among traditional metalheads and for good reason.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 54

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  The Ultimate Sin
LABEL:  Epic
YEAR:  1986
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Secret Loser"
NOTES:  For some reason Ozzy does not ever play anything off of this album live anymore.  That is a shame because I believe that this is one of the Ozzman's greatest and most underrated albums.  There is no filler on this one.  Every single song is heavy in its own way.  It also has some terrific riffwork from Jake Lee who took over the reins from Randy Rhoads.  He definitely has his own style.  Ozzy sounds great too.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Mrs. Metallattorney

It was actually yesterday, but I was away all day.  So this a day late.

Wintersun: Time I

Wintersun's long-awaited follow-up to their highly acclaimed self-titled release is probably the most hyped album of the year.  Every year for the last few years there have been rumors that it was finally going to be released.  There have even been release dates set in the past when Wintersun's new album was going to be out.  And each year there has been nothing.  Well no longer.  Wintersun has finally released Time I, eight years after the self-titled album.

With that much time and hype could the album possibly live up to its expectations?  Well sadly, no.  The album definitely is a victim of its own lofty expectations.  That is not to suggest that the album is really bad in any way, in fact it is a very good release in its own right.  But all of the build-up over the years had fans of the band frothing at the mouth for the Finnish band to finally release this album that it could not possibly succeed.

Well enough of all of that.  Wintersun is the project of Jari Mäenpää who created the band originally as a side project while he was still in folk metal stalwarts Ensiferum.  He chose to leave Ensiferum while working on the first album because the schedules clashed.  Wintersun is Mäenpää's project.  He recorded most of the instruments on the debut album.  He has since brought in other musicians but still retains much of the creative control.

This is a fairly short album, made up of only five tracks, but the songs are epic in both length and sound.  Wintersun's music is difficult to categorize.  Elements of melodic death metal, black metal, folk metal, symphonic metal, and a variety of other styles all mix together. Mäenpää himself describes it as "Extreme Majestic Technical Epic Melodic Metal", which seems as apt a description as anything else really.

The songs flow well together.  The compositions are seemless.  There are faster-paced parts which are offset by serene and tranquil segments.  The vocals run the gamut from soulful crooning to harsher rasping shrieks.  There is a lot of influence from folk music from other countries, most notably Japan.  The use of symphonic and orchestral elements fits in well with the more aggressive metallic approach.  As stated, the songs flow together remarkably well.  The prior album was a collection of individual songs, while this album is a much more complete and cohesive piece of music.

All of this suggests that this album is a well-crafted and impressive release.  And it certainly is.  Unfortunately it is somewhat anti-climactic.  There is not a lot here that was not present on Wintersun's prior album.  There are some experimentations with other cultural folk music but there is nothing here that is mind-blowingly original.  With as much time as has passed between albums, there was some hope that the new album would be incredible.  It is very good, just not as good as it should have been.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 53

ARTIST:  Motley Crue
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA
TITLE:  Dr. Feelgood
LABEL:  Elektra
YEAR:  1989
GENRE:  Heavy/Glam Metal, Hard Rock
FAVORITE SONG:  "Dr. Feelgood"
NOTES:  Yet another of the albums that was a hand-me-down from my older brother.  There are a few very good songs on this, and a whole lot of really embarrassing ones too.  Quite simply this is the quintessential glam metal release with some hard rocking tracks ("Dr. Feelgood", "Kickstart My Heart"), some sleazy rockers ("Slice of Your Pie", "Sticky Sweet"), and ballads ("Without You").  I do not listen to it very much and don't have anything else from the band.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reader Submissions: Final Dawn: The Crown of the Dead Eyes

I have been a big fan of the Finnish melodic death metal scene since I discovered it existed.  This is an area where melodic death metal has been able to continue without the backlash that has attached to the Swedish scene.  This is due mostly to the fact that bands in Finland still sound impressive and put out worthwhile releases.  Finland is definitely a hotbed for some incredible metal.

Enter Final Dawn, a band that has been around for about twelve years or so now and put out a number of small releases in that time.  This is a four track EP that the band recorded live in the studio and features three brand new songs and one re-recorded one ("Martyrs of Vanity").  It is my first exposure to the band.

Final Dawn is a melodic death metal band in the same vein as Amon Amarth.  That is, the sound is far more geared towards death metal than it is In Flames and other Gothenburg groups.  It is death metal with a lot of melody.  There are also strong elements from thrash metal and black metal present in the group's sound.

This is an impressively dynamic release from the Finnish trio.  Three of the songs are mid-paced, crunching and unrelenting tracks with strong riffs holding them together.  The other track, "The Crown of the Bled Eyes" starts out slower and builds into a truly powerful song.   It is the longest track on the release and definitely the most interesting because of the build and the ever-shifting dynamics.  The vocals are typically delivered in a somewhat raspy growl.

This is a decent EP.  I would have liked to hear the band really let loose with something really fast, but this was definitely entertaining.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 52

ARTIST:  Fight
ORIGIN:  Phoenix, AZ (United States)
TITLE:  Mutations
LABEL:  Epic Sony
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Nailed to the Gun (Live)"
NOTES:  This is an EP from Rob Halford's band after leaving Judas Priest.  The first half is live versions of tracks from the band's first album with the second half being industrial/electronic remixes.  It is kind of an odd little EP but it sounds pretty decent.  This is for completionists only, but is an intriguing listen.  Rob Halford sounds terrific on it, with particularly menacing vocal style.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 51

ORIGIN:  New Orleans, LA (United States)
LABEL:  Elektra
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Southern Metal
FAVORITE SONG: "Stone the Crow"
NOTES:  A side project featuring members of Pantera (Phil Anselmo), Corrosion of Conformity (Pepper Keenan), Crowbar (Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange) and Eyehategod (Jimmy Bower).  This has been one of my favorite albums for a long time.  Each song is incredibly catchy.  Each of the members brought their own unique style to the proceedings.  I have seen Down live once opening up for Metallica.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 50

ARTIST:  Dream Theater
ORIGIN:  Long Island, NY (United States)
TITLE:  Awake
LABEL:  Atlantic Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Progressive Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "The Mirror"
NOTES:  This is actually the only album I own by Dream Theater.  I remember "Caught in a Web" being all over The Blaze, the hard rock radio station in the city I grew up in.  I liked the song quite a bit but was not quite convinced about buying the album.  Eventually I found it used, and I think it was the first used album I ever bought.  I like this album quite a bit but there are some less-than-impressive songs.  I am very impressed with the musicianship on this album though.  I do not really know why I never picked anything else up by this band.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Here is a King Diamond song for you.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 49

ARTIST:  Judas Priest
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  British Steel
LABEL:  Columbia Records
YEAR:  1980
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Breaking the Law"
NOTES:  My first Judas Priest record.  This was picked up mostly because of "Breaking the Law" which I believe I heard for the first time on Beavis and Butthead.  It's possible that is incorrect, I have no real idea.  This is a classic album, though it took a little while to really gel for me.  Probably because it was a little lighter than some of the other bands I was listening to at the time.  Once I did fully appreciate it though, I became hooked on the band.

Monday, December 24, 2012


I was lurking around on the Encyclopedia Metallum forums a little while ago and a band called Timeghoul was mentioned.  Finding the short descriptions of the band I found to be interesting, I decided to seek them out.

Timeghoul was around for quite a long time, emerging out of Missouri in the late 1980's.  But they only have two demos to their name and one release compiling the material.  So there is not a lot of recorded material out there to seek out on this band.  There have been a few bands that have released some incredibly influential demos without much else to their name.  Slaughter Lord and Necrovore certainly come to mind, and until recently there was Von.  I have not heard Timeghoul's name mentioned in the same circles, which I think is something of a shame.  It is possible I have simply not been paying enough attention though.

All that being said, Timeghoul certainly have an interesting sound.  I would probably equate them closely with Finnish underground death metal legends Demilich.  Timeghoul have an otherworldly style with spacy, angular riffs and science fiction-inspired lyrics.  The structures of the songs themselves can certainly not be called typical either.  As such, the length of the songs themselves can be quite long.  Timeghoul brought a lot of creativity into play in their take on death metal.  Much like the aforementioned Demilich.

The vocals are perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Timeghoul's sound.  Going from a creaking grunt, to a full-out roar, to some bizarre chanting is not out of the ordinary in these songs.  In fact some moments sound very much like a barbershop quartet is performing them.  It sounds completely odd, and yet fantastic at the same time.

It is a shame that Timeghoul was only able to put out a couple of demos.  It would have been nice to see if they could have brought the same level of creativity to a full release.  At the same time, I do not think it would be worthwhile for the band to reunite at this point to try it.  It might be too late.  These are certainly impressive demos but far too much time has passed.  It may feel like a cash grab.  Just look at what happened when Von finally released a full-length album and the backlash it caused.  It would be better for Timeghoul to stay where they are.  They certainly have an impressive legacy.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 48

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Vol. 4
LABEL:  Warner Bros. Records
YEAR:  1972
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Supernaut"
NOTES:  This is another Black Sabbath album that I always thought was a little bit underrated.  It is not one that you hear much about when people talk about Black Sabbath but it had some absolutely crushing songs on it.  "Snowblind", "Supernaut", "Tomorrow's Dream", and "Under the Sun" are all terrific tracks.  Of course "Changes" is a well-known song and was even re-recorded with Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne performing a duet.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 47

ARTIST:  Megadeth
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Hidden Treasures
LABEL:  Capitol Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Angry Again"
NOTES:  This is a compilation of tracks Megadeth contributed to various soundtracks and other harder to find material.  There are three covers on here and five original tracks.  Surprisingly most of the tracks are pretty decent and probably should have been on one of Megadeth's full-length releases.  Of particular note are "Angry Again", "99 Ways to Die", and "Go to Hell".

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 46

ARTIST:  Megadeth
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Megadeth Live
LABEL:  Capitol Records
YEAR:  1993
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Symphony of Destruction"
NOTES:  This is a live EP that was attached to the Countdown to Extinction album at some point.  It is a short release with only six tracks, but the sound is pretty good.  This is not an essential release but it does prove that Megadeth is a very impressive live band.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cerebral Bore: Maniacal Miscreation

Brutal death metal is not supposed to be catchy.  It is supposed to make eardrums bleed and heads bang, but it is not supposed to infectious.  Someone apparently forgot to notify Cerebral Bore.  Now this is not to suggest that Cerebral Bore is like the Katy Perry (or some other catchy pop singer) of brutal death metal, but this is definitely an album that will stick in your head.

Cerebral Bore is from Glasgow, Scotland and recently achieved some measure of notoriety when they hired Youtube mini-sensation Simone "Som" Pluijmers as their brutal vocalist.  It is not nearly as unusual these days for a woman to handle vocals in a metal band, but brutal death metal is a genre that has not seen a lot of this.  Cerebral Bore saw a way to make an impact and they grabbed it.  It certainly helps that Som really does sound incredible.  She has a surprisingly deep register, making her voice even more guttural than a lot of male brutal death metal singers.  I do not want to turn this into one of those "whoa this band is unique because it has a female singer" reviews, but she really does have an impressive voice.

The music is clearly influenced by Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and other leading bands in brutal death metal.  Yet it is accessible and surprisingly melodic.  Cerebral Bore does a fine job of mixing the more modern brutal styles with the older, more melodic styles of death metal.  What results is a shockingly palatable album for old school fans and extreme fans alike.

I really enjoyed this one.  I like some good brutal death metal now and again, and this one definitely sounds like one I would listen to a lot.  Unfortunately recently Som left the band.  I am not sure we will see another album quite this good from these guys as the vocals are a large part of why I like this album.  I guess we will have to wait and see.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 45

ARTIST:  Megadeth
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Countdown to Extinction
LABEL:  Capitol Records
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Sweating Bullets"
NOTES:  This is another one that my older brother originally owned that he eventually gave to me.  This was Megadeth's response to Metallica's Black Album, but it is generally better-received among metal fans than the Metallica album.  Yes the sound had slowed down quite a bit, but the songs were all catchy as hell.  It is a surprisingly good album.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 44

ARTIST:  Danzig
ORIGIN:  Lodi, NJ (United States)
TITLE:  Thrall-Demonsweatlive
LABEL:  Def American
YEAR:  1993
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "It's Coming Down"
NOTES:  My first exposure to Danzig was the live version of "Mother" off of this EP in 1993.  My older brother originally had this one and he gave it to me when he grew out of it.  This features three new songs, including the incredible "It's Coming Down" and four live tracks, and then a re-recording of "Mother".  This is far from an essential release, but it has some good stuff on it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Satan's Host: Metal from Hell

I first heard Satan's Host a few years back.  At that time, they were more of a black metal band with occasional thrash metal riffs.  Their singer had the fairly typical black metal style rasp.  I actually liked them quite a bit.  I bought two of their albums right away.  Their next release was decidedly more melodic and thrashier, yet retaining a lot of the black metal aspects that caught my attention.  It was my favorite yet.  I was aware that Satan's Host had once been a power metal band, but had not heard anything from that period at that point.  Then came word that the band was reuniting with Jag Panzer vocalist Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin.  That album blew me away and was the Album of the Year on this site.

I recently made the decision to try to check out the band's debut album, a highly-regarded, but often overlooked gem from 1986.  The band went on hiatus soon after and did not re-emerge until the late 1990's.  By that time, Conklin was firmly entrenched with Jag Panzer and Satan's Host took on the black metal style they had when I first heard them.

This is an incredible album.  It is a shame that so few people know about it.  The music is fast with some very aggressive riffing.  It is significantly more intense than a lot of the power metal bands of the time period.  There is also some hints of tremolo riffing here and there.  Patrick Evil has always been a vastly underrated guitarist and that is even evident this early in his career.  The songs are all catchy as hell, pun intended.  The big star of this album is Conklin, who went by the pseudonym Leviathan Thisiren on this release.  His howling and soaring vocals complement the music perfectly.  

This is an album begging for a reissue with better production.  The sound is definitely a 1980's production job, so it is a little thin in places.  It is not bad for the time, but the guitar riffs could stand to be beefed up a little bit.

This is a gem from the 1980's.  It is great that Satan's Host has decided to revisit this sound.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 43

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Ozzmosis
LABEL:  Epic Sony
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "I Just Want You"
NOTES:  The last of the four CDs I got in Christmas 1995.  This was the year that I got my first CD player.  There are some decent tracks on this one, but there are a lot of ballads, making this a somewhat trying album to listen to.  The first half is decent, but the second half really drags.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kamelot: Silverthorn

It is always tough to tell what a band is going to do after a particularly noteworthy member leaves the band.  A band risks alienating their fanbase if they do not find an adequate replacement.  Such was the situation that Kamelot found themselves in after longtime vocalist Roy Khan left the group.  Khan was not the band's original singer, but he had quickly become one of the most distinctive features in the band.  I probably would not have cared much for the band without Khan's crooning vocals.

As it is, Kamelot did not have a whole lot to worry about.  New singer Tommy Karevik sounds a lot like Roy Khan.  In fact, if I did not know that Kamelot had a new singer, I probably never would have guessed this was not Khan.  Maybe that means I do not pay that much attention, or maybe it is because Karevik is doing a damn good job trying to sound like Khan.

Musically, the last couple of Kamelot albums have been a little bit lackluster.  Kamelot has never really been the most aggressive American power metal band.  In fact their sound is far closer to the Scandinavian power metal bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, and the other so-called "flower" metal bands.  The music is dark and romantic, instead of powerful and aggressive.  This trend has gone a little far in Kamelot's recent output to the point that it barely seems metallic at all.  But that is where this one differs a little bit.  Granted it is not a complete change in the opposite direction.  This band is never going to sound like Grave Digger or Hibria, but the more aggressive riffing style is back and a sound similar to their earlier works is present.

The songs are once again quite catchy.  That is something that Kamelot has always brought to the table.  And yes the dark, romantic vibe is still present.  Kamelot is one of the few bands that my wife approves of and even really likes.  She usually requests me to bring Kamelot on any roadtrips.  That will not change with this new album.  If you have enjoyed Kamelot in the past, you will likely enjoy this too.  Some bands do not change that drastically.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 42

ARTIST:  Ozzy Osbourne
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Diary of a Madman
LABEL:  Jet Records
YEAR:  1981
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
NOTES:  To this day, this is my favorite Ozzy Osbourne album.  The problem that I have with a lot of Ozzy's albums is the filler tracks, and this is one of the few with no real filler tracks.  There are also some really great tracks on this with the title track, "S.A.T.O." and "Over the Mountain" being the most noteworthy songs.  Ozzy sounds great on it as well, as does Randy Rhoads.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cataoguing My Metal Collection Pt. 41

ARTIST:  Megadeth
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  So Far, So Good...So What!
LABEL:  Capitol Records
YEAR:  1988
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "In My Darkest Hour"
NOTES:  I got this one for Christmas along with the next two.  For some reason this has never really been one of my favorite Megadeth albums.  It definitely has some good songs on it, but some bad ones too.  I have never liked the "Anarchy in the U.K." cover, perhaps because I do not care at all for the Sex Pistols.  Other than "In My Darkest Hour", this album just feels rushed without as many of the classic tracks that Megadeth has become known for.  That being said, it is a decent fun thrash metal album to listen to.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 40

ARTIST:  Alice in Chains
ORIGIN:  Seattle, WA (United States)
TITLE:  Alice in Chains
LABEL:  Columbia Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Head Creeps"
NOTES:  This was my first CD.  I got it for Christmas Eve my freshman year of high school.  Of course it kind of spoiled one of my upcoming presents because I did not have a CD player yet when I opened this.  A lot of metalheads are kind of revisionist about their views on the grunge scene and claim that they were only ever into Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.  Those really were the only bands I cared for much from that scene.  They are certainly the only ones out of the big four of grunge that I ever obtained albums by.  Although I did have some other groups like Bush and Candlebox for some odd reason I never got Nirvana or Pearl Jam.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 39

ARTIST:  Spinal Tap
ORIGIN:  East London, England
TITLE:  Spinal Tap
LABEL:  Polydor Records
YEAR:  1984
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
FAVORITE SONG:  "Stonehenge"
NOTES:  This is the soundtrack to This is Spinal Tap, one of the greatest movies of all time.  This is another one that was in the box of cassettes that my parents found by a lake one day, so I did not spend any money on this.  There are some okay songs on here, but a lot that are not terribly good as well.  These are the fake songs that the "band" played throughout the movie.  Notice the cover is none more black.

Friday, December 14, 2012

FMA Reviews: Nunslaughter/Abigail: Fucking Satan

Originally reviewed here.
Japan's Abigail and Ohio's Nunslaughter share some things in common, not the least of which is their prolific output of recordings. It was only a matter of time before these two bands, who each manage to put out a dozen new releases every year, paired up. Well here we have it, with the none-too-subtle title Fucking Satan. I am sure we are in for a hell of a ride with this one (pun not intended, but definitely appropriate).

Nunslaughter kicks things off and we are immediately treated to their style of punk-inflected death metal insanity. The first track is actually one of the longer ones Nunslaughter has done, a much more complete song than the usual one quick riff with some Satanic lyrics and done. It actually goes on for a couple of minutes and is one of the better Nunslaughter songs I have heard. The second track is much more typical Nunslaughter and lasts about 30 seconds.

I was not familiar with Abigail before this split but I can see why they would work well on a split with Nunslaughter. The blackened thrash metal maniacs have quite a bit of punk influence as well, as can be discerned from their second track. Their music bears a resemblance to fellow blackened countrymen Sabbat. It is closer to first wave black metal where thrash riffs could still be identified in the music. The vocals are mostly blackened shrieking.

I like splits because of the chance to hear a couple of bands vying for attention. I definitely came away more impressed with the Nunslaughter side here, but Abigail caught my attention.

This is a very short, but filthy and raw split with both bands doing their best to make eardrums bleed. They both succeed.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 38

ARTIST:  Corrosion of Conformity
ORIGIN:  Raleigh, NC (United States)
TITLE:  Blind
LABEL:  Relativity Records
YEAR:  1991
GENRE:  Thrash/Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Dance of the Dead"
NOTES:  This is kind of an unusual album for Corrosion of Conformity.  It was a bridge between the band's more hardcore leanings of their early years and their sludge/southern metal sound.  This is much more of a thrash/heavy metal album and featured Karl Agell on vocals, with Pepper Keenan singing one song.  It was the first album for both Keenan and Agell.  This is an energetic and highly underrated album.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reader Submissions: After Oblivion: Stamina

One of my favorite albums by Death is The Sound of Perseverance.  This is important and relevant to any discussion on After Oblivion's newest release Stamina.  Because if I were to play this to someone without telling them who it is, they would probably guess Death on their long-awaited follow-up to that album.  I am very sorry for the bad joke there.  But seriously this album sounds almost exactly like the Death swansong.  It is certainly not unusual for a band to try to copy a sound, bands do it all the time.  It is just weird how closely this band came.  The only thing really missing is the overwhelming feeling of loss that Death had on that final album.

After Oblivion is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, not exactly a heavy metal hotbed.  I think they may be the first band I have heard from there.  This is the band's debut album after a couple of smaller releases.  It is a very good debut if you can get around the whole sounds-exactly-like-Death thing.  They definitely play up their influences on this release.

If you had not already guessed, After Oblivion play a kind of progressive death metal with some thrash metal riffs thrown in from time to time.  The music is fast and melodic with riffs and leads that seem ripped directly from Death.  Even the vocals sound very much like Chuck Schuldiner on the last few Death albums.  There are frequent tempo changes, again a throwback to Death.  After Oblivion never let one riff last too long before they are off to the next one or completely shift tempos.  The result is an ever-changing album that is very easy to get lost within.  The one word that comes to mind over and over to me to describe this is incendiary.

The songs tend to fly by in the blink of an eye.  And with the fact that the band is never really content to sit still on one riff or melody for very long, it seems like it goes by even faster.  The songs also feature unusual structures, not your typical verse-chorus-verse structure.  This leads to a little bit of a problem when it comes to the memorability of the album and individual songs.

After Oblivion have some things to work on.  It would be nice to see them grow out of sounding so much like Death, and writing some more memorable material would also be helpful.  But this band has a ton of talent and it must be remembered that this is only their debut full-length.  That is shockingly impressive.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 37

ARTIST:  Pantera
ORIGIN:  Arlington, TX (United States)
TITLE:  Far Beyond Driven
LABEL:  Eastwest Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Shedding Skin"
NOTES:  This is quite possibly the album most people think of when they think of Pantera.  Well it's probably between this one and the one preceding it.  This is mostly due to "I'm Broken", one of the band's most well-known songs.  For the most part though, this is not one of the band's better albums.  It does contain a lot of filler tracks, including the dreadful "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills".  Nevertheless there are some decent songs on here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reader Submissions: Amputation Spree: Koyaanisqatsi

In the Hopi language, "Koyaanisqatsi" means "unbalanced life".  I cannot think of a better description for this twenty minute long track, the latest from "thinking man's slam" band Amputation Spree.  Just as any good twenty minute song should, this track covers a broad spectrum of sounds and tempos.  It is unsettling and noisy, and yet oddly charming.

This is the third time I have reviewed something by Amputation Spree and the band always seems to surprise me.  The last time around, I commented that "Amputation Spree continues to push the boundaries of slam death metal, forcing the genre to evolve somewhat away from the simplistic style it has largely become known for."  This is once again true with this track.  There are not a lot of slam moments, as Amputation Spree relies mostly on progressiveness and unusual structures, but slam moments do still shine through once in awhile.  It is becoming increasingly tougher to categorize the band though, especially as this song really moves away from the mostly predictable slam death metal genre.

For the most part though, this is a haunting and harrowing track, alternating between extremely heavy moments and more psychedelic and trancelike moments.  There are even some clean vocals thrown in from time to time to keep things very interesting.  The song reminds me of Edge of Sanity's masterpiece Crimson in that it is a lengthy single track that manages to retain interest throughout due to a constantly shifting narrative.  The end of the song bears very little resemblance to the beginning as the song ebbs and flows constantly through several movements.

Amputation Spree continues to impress me.  Their sound is constantly shifting and constantly evolving.  Maybe one day they should be signed to Relapse Records, despite what their Bandcamp page says.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 36

ARTIST:  Various
ORIGIN:  Various
TITLE:  Skullcrushers
LABEL:  Relativity Records
YEAR:  1993
GENRE:  Various
FAVORITE SONG:  Suicidal Tendencies: "You Can't Bring Me Down"
NOTES:   This is without a doubt my favorite compilation album in my collection.  As you can tell I was picking up a lot of these things in my early years as a metalhead.  Much of the reason for that was to discover new music.  This one definitely helped.  I eventually picked up albums by every band on here with only the exception of Nuclear Assault.  And it is not as if I have been avoiding that band.  This one featured great songs by Exodus, Celtic Frost, Voivod, Death, and Obituary among others.  A terrific compilation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wormphlegm: Tomb of the Ancient King

Readers might have guessed that I have been on a bit of a funeral doom kick lately.  Wormphlegm is yet another example of this.  I checked them out particularly after noting that members in Tyranny were also involved in Wormphlegm.  Wormphlegm's sound though is quite a bit different than the music of Tyranny and the other funeral doom metal bands I have been checking out lately.

The music of Wormphlegm is terrifying, even moreso than the typical music from the genre.  There is a certain cold atmosphere to Wormphlegm, similar to black metal, that is missing in other funeral doom metal bands.  The songs are all extremely long, but they are suffocating and spine-chilling.  The music is slow but crushingly heavy and tortuous.  The production is similar to black metal, being somewhat thinner than many other bands from the genre.  That adds to the colder atmosphere however and adds to the darker feel to the album.

All of the typical hallmarks of a funeral doom metal album are present on this release.  The music crawls along at a snail's pace.  The riffs are alternately extremely heavy or droning.  The vocals are deep and guttural roars.

Wormphlegm have definitely succeeded in crafting one of the most dark and disturbing albums I have personally ever heard.  The band takes the oppressiveness of funeral doom and the cold atmosphere of black metal and combined them into one disgusting mass.  The result is not something that should be listened to in solitary darkness.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 35

ARTIST:  Various
ORIGIN:  Various
TITLE:  Tribute to Black Sabbath: Eternal Masters
LABEL:  Priority Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Various
FAVORITE SONG:  Exhorder: "Into the Void"
NOTES:  Yes another Black Sabbath tribute album.  I own three actually.  This one features some, shall we say unusual performances.  We have death metal versions of "Zero the Hero" (Cannibal Corpse) and "Sweet Leaf" (Cadaver).  We have an industrial rock version of "Paranoid" by The Clay People.  Some strange choices definitely.  I don't listen to this a lot, but it did help me discover Sacred Reich, Exhorder, and Cadaver.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FMA Reviews: Paragon: Force of Destruction

Originally reviewed here.
If I had to think of one genre that Germany is particularly well-known for in the metal world, I would probably have to pick power metal. Not to suggest that other genres are not done well, obviously I am a huge fan of German thrash, but the country really produces a lot of good power metal bands. And not the overly flowery types like Sonata Arctica, real power metal. With groups like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, and Running Wild among others, Germany is definitely a hotbed for power metal.

Paragon is a German power metal band that has apparently been around for more than 20 years but has heretofore escaped my notice. I do not seem to be alone in this respect as a cursory glance at their discography on the Encyclopedia Metallum indicates only one or two reviews for most of their full-length albums. This is the band's first release on a more recognizable label.

This is definitely high-quality power metal without any of the elements that have caused the genre to come under scorn. There are no symphonic elements. There are no hapless ballads. There are no overly-wrought vocals. This is just straightforward power metal. It is fast and exciting. Paragon live up to the reputation of some of their more famous power metal countrymen here.

Paragon sound a lot like Grave Digger. The music is fast and intense and infectious as all hell. The guitar riffs are clearly influenced by giants of the genre like Judas Priest and Accept. The vocals are even harsh and gritty, sounding much more like Grave Digger's own Chris Boltendahl. This is no-frills, take-no-prisoners power metal. If that sounds good, then this should definitely be checked out.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 34

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Live at Last
LABEL:  NEMS Enterprises
YEAR:  1980
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Children of the Grave"
NOTES:  The first live album I ever bought was by the great Black Sabbath.  This was a very cheap buy as I recall.  A couple of bucks maybe.  It did a pretty decent job of capturing most of the great Black Sabbath songs from the first five albums, even though "Iron Man" is conspicuously absent.  "Wicked World" turned into an extended jam session, complete with drum solo, pretty boring.  They make up for it with an absolutely ripping version of "Paranoid" though.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 33

ARTIST:  Anthrax
ORIGIN:  Yonkers, NY (United States)
TITLE:  Stomp 442
LABEL:  Elektra Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Random Acts of Senseless Violence"
NOTES:  Anthrax's second album with John Bush singing is one of the band's most reviled albums.  I never quite got why.  It definitely does not hold a candle to their early material with Joey Belladonna, and it is not as good as their first album with Bush, but I do not think it is a terrible release.  There are some pretty good tracks here, such as the song listed above, "Tester", and a few others.  That being said, I do not listen to this as often as some of the band's albums.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Top 5 Favorite Bands Right Now...

I have said it before and I will say it again, my tastes change all the time.  I have long been hesitant to tell people my favorite band, because in a couple of weeks it could be someone completely different.  There are certain albums I always come back to, but bands may change over time, and quite drastically.  I will always love the early Metallica and Black Sabbath albums, but neither of those two bands are considered favorites of mine right now.  So without further ado, my top five favorite bands at this moment.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 32

ARTIST:  White Zombie
ORIGIN: Haverhill, MA (United States)
TITLE:  La Sexorcisto - Devil Music Vol. 1
LABEL:  Geffen Records
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Welcome to Planet Motherfucker/Psychoholic Slag"
NOTES:  This is the album that put White Zombie on the map.  It was the release of "Thunderkiss '65" that garnered the band a lot of attention and it was well-deserved.  This is a very energetic album that was most notable for its sense of campy, yet sinister, fun.  The most impressive aspect of this release is that it is something that could be danced to, odd in the metal universe.  Not that I ever danced, mind you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 31

ARTIST:  Various
ORIGIN:  Various
TITLE:  Monsters of Rock Vol. 2: Metal Masters
LABEL:  Priority Records
YEAR:  1993
GENRE:  Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
FAVORITE SONG:  Scorpions: "Rock You Like a Hurricane"
NOTES:  Yet another compilation album, this one features songs from metal bands Scorpions, Accept, and Krokus.  There are also tracks from hard rock groups like Kiss, Vixen, Warrant, and some extremely regrettable hair bands.  This is not one of my favorite albums in my collection.  In fact I rarely listen to it at all.  I do like the Scorpions and Accept songs but that is it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Your Hard Rock/Metal Grammy Nominees Are...

Anthrax: "I'm Alive"
I actually really like this song and I like the latest Anthrax album a lot.

Halestorm:  "Love Bites (So Do I)"
I have never heard of this band.

Iron Maiden: "Blood Brothers" (Live)
The live version of a poor song originally on an album released twelve years ago.

Lamb of God: "Ghost Walking"
Have not heard it.  Nothing from Lamb of God has been worthwhile in several years.

Marilyn Manson: "No Reflection"
See Lamb of God.  I had no idea Marilyn Manson was still around.

Megadeth: "Whose Life (Is is Anyway?)"
I did not care much for this track, though I do love Megadeth.

Now I am not going to claim I really give much of a damn about the Grammys.  That being said, Anthrax would be my preference to win based on these tracks, but I would guess it will go to Iron Maiden or Megadeth.  Possibly Halestorm if I had any fucking clue who they were.

FMA Reviews: Plector: Punishment Day

Originally reviewed here.
This is apparently it for Plector. According to the promotional information, Plector will be no more after the release of this album. A lack of forward progression apparently led to the decision to end things for this band. So this, their second full-length, will also be their last.

Plector's sound is mostly thrash metal with the occasional death metal influence creeping in at times. The riffs have a lot of bottom end to them and are heavy and muscular. Coupled with the commanding and deep vocals, Plector has a meaty sound with a lot of crunch. This is Swedish thrash metal in the vein of Carnal Forge and early The Crown. It also has a very modern feel to it. This is not retro thrash metal.

The band seem to play music because they genuinely enjoy it. Tracks like "Postal" have something of a playful feel to them. As if this is a band made up of a couple of friends who just want to play to have a good time. There is nothing overly serious here, no real message to glean, just some guys having fun playing metal. There is something to be said for that. It is kind of a rare thing these days. There is not a lot musically that makes the band stand out. They are a fairly typical Swedish thrash metal band. There are some decent tracks and some good riffs, but it is not anything that has not been heard before.

Through the entire album, there is an air of finality. Plector knows that this is the last gasp for them and the final two tracks show that. Obviously the titles "The Ending" and "Devotion" betray some sense that the band is done after the last note has been played. This comes across through the music. "The Ending" is an instrumental track with a somewhat somber tone, even though it is hardly a soft song. "Devotion" is a tale from the band about how this is their life and it is coming to an end. The song ends abruptly and the sense of loss can be felt.

This is it for Plector, but it has been a fun ride.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 30

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
LABEL:  Warner Bros. Records
YEAR:  1973
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "A National Acrobat"
NOTES:  For a long time this was my favorite Black Sabbath album.  It had some heavy tracks, but it also had some of the most ridiculously catchy songs in the band's history.  Notably "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath", "A National Acrobat", "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Spiral Architect" are incredibly infectious, sing-along songs.  There is some filler here of course, but this is still one of my favorite releases from the band.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flashback Song: Anthrax: "I am the Law"

This is the song that inspired my subtitle.  Yes the whole song is about Judge Dredd, not really a character I am well familiar with.  I have never read the comics and I have only seen parts of the Sylvester Stallone movie.  I do plan to check out the Karl Urban movie released this year.  But no, I am not greatly familiar with Judge Dredd.  That said, I do love Anthrax, especially the early stuff.  And "I am the Law" is one of my favorite Anthrax tracks, and a great subtitle for a metalhead lawyer.

Reader Submissions: Arkham Witch: Legions of the Deep

One thing that never fails to grab my attention for albums is Lovecraft-inspired artwork.  So of course the cover of the sophomore album from the U.K.'s Arkham Witch jumped out at me right away.  Of course the name Arkham Witch also contains a Lovecraft reference, as do several of the song titles.  So it was with great anticipation that I looked into this album.

Arkham Witch is a very traditional-sounding metal band combining 1980's style metal with doom metal.  Oftentimes, the band sounds like a cross between faster-paced Reverend Bizarre and Iron Butterfly.  Think about the Reverend Bizarre covering "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and that's probably an accurate representation of Arkham Witch's style.

This is a very entertaining and varied album with a lot of highlights.  The album features some slower-paced and epic, plodding doom metal tracks (e.g. "David Lund"), some mid-paced, crunching stoner doom tracks (e.g. "Infernal Machine"), and some angrier, fast-paced tracks that border on thrash metal (e.g. "On a Horse Called Vengeance").  The variation in the individual tracks make this a highly interesting album.  It is never boring and captures and holds attention.  The album sounds like it would have made a terrific soundtrack to 1970's horror b-movies.  And yes that is a compliment.

The instrumentation is well-done, with a heavy, crunchy sound to the riffs.  The production is clear and allows all of the individual instruments to come out cleanly.  Arkham Witch does a terrific job of catching the sound and feel of heavy metal in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

The only complaint that I have is with some of the spoken vocal lines.  Particularly with the mostly forgettable "We're from Keighley".  The opening line in that track is regrettable and mars an otherwise highly impressive album.  But then I just rewind it to the rocking "On a Horse Called Vengeance" and all is forgiven.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 29

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Paranoid
LABEL:  Warner Bros. Records
YEAR:  1970
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Electric Funeral"
NOTES:  This was my first actual full-length album by the original metal band, Black Sabbath.  This is the band's sophomore album and is arguably their biggest album from a popularity point of view.  It features "Paranoid", "Iron Man", and "War Pigs", three of the band's most well-known songs.  This was the album that really put Black Sabbath on the map.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tyranny: Tides of Awakening

Well since it is unclear whether Catacombs will ever release another album of Lovecraftian-inspired funeral doom metal again, I was concerned about what to do.  Luckily I found Tyranny.  Tyranny specializes in Lovecraft-inspired funeral doom.  Sound familiar?  Tyranny is a little bit different than Catacombs of course. They are from Finland and there are two members in the band, whose roles are a little mysterious.

As I have stated in my review of the Catacombs album, I cannot imagine a more fitting style of music to accompany Lovecraftian imagery.  The album cover is what drew my attention to the band, and the song titles certainly helped.  The song titles read like Lovecraft, though are not direct references as far as I am aware.  "Coalescent of the Inhumane Awareness" and "In the Arcane Clasp of Unwritten Horrors" are two great examples.

Tyranny is made up of members of Wormphlegm (a band I will cover soon) and they play a style of funeral doom very similar to the aforementioned Catacombs, somewhat different than Wormphlegm.  The music is harsh and epic, with an incredibly powerful atmosphere.  It is slow and extremely heavy, obviously, as that is essentially what makes funeral doom.  The album is made up of four highly impressive longer songs and one moody instrumental at the very end.  The album is difficult to listen to as background, it demands attention and takes some time to absorb.  Again, this is typical of the genre.

This is not a vastly different album than other funeral doom releases, but it is always good to have some more Lovecraft-inspired funeral doom.  It creates an oppressive atmosphere and is uncomfortable to listen to, which is the sign of a good funeral doom album.  This is a good funeral doom album.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 28

ARTIST:  Danzig
ORIGIN:  Lodi, NJ (United States)
TITLE:  How the Gods Kill
LABEL:  Def American
YEAR:  1992
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Left Hand Black"
NOTES:  Danzig is another band that I was familiar with due to my older brother.  He had the Thrall-Demonsweatlive EP and the live version of "Mother" was all over MTV for a while.  I picked this one up as my first album by the band mostly on the strength of "Dirty Black Summer".  I had also heard a live version of "Sistinas" on the aforementioned EP.  I love the H.R. Giger artwork, he is one of my favorite artists.

Monday, December 3, 2012

FMA Reviews: Skálmöld: Börn Loka

Originally reviewed here.
Well with the opening track on this one I was once again a little nervous that I was going to strongly dislike another album from Napalm Records. The first track is extremely cheesy and sounds like the kind of overly-wrought opening anthem that Manowar would put out. But just when I was getting prepared for some ridiculous Manowar-covering-Bathory ludicrousness, the opening of the second track started.

"Sleipnir" kicks things into high gear with a galloping riff and leads into the harsh vocal style. Everything is still kind of upbeat and sunny but at least it is not as over-the-top as the opening intro lead me to believe it would be. Of course then it went all happy and flowery again on the next track. Many of the rest of the songs continue with this more happy-sounding style.

I think the problem that I have here is that I was expecting Viking metal. This is much more akin to groups like Finntroll and Korpiklaani than it is to Einherjer, Enslaved, Thyrfing, or any of the other Viking hordes. This is much more a bouncy folk metal album with some thrash metal riffs thrown in than a serious and solemn viking metal album anchored in black metal coldness. There are a lot of keyboard melodies shining through along with some moments of almost choir-like group vocals in addition to the bounciness of the riffs. Not even the harsh vocals are able to convey enough darkness to overshadow the light.

Once I got past the issue with what kind of music this was, this was a very enjoyable release. My expectations may have been for something serious, but after that was over with I was able to let loose a little bit and revel in the music which the band clearly had a blast playing. Now I need a beer.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 27

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Greatest Hits
LABEL:  NEMS Enterprises
YEAR:  1977
GENRE:  Heavy Metal
NOTES:  My first album with the original Black Sabbath lineup was a Greatest Hits package.  This has a lot of the big songs, such as "Iron Man", "Paranoid", "War Pigs", and of course "Black Sabbath".  So it was a decent introduction to the pioneering metal band.  I could have done without "Laguna Sunrise" and "Changes" personally, as I do not care as much for those tracks.  This was just a taste of the band though and I definitely had to get more.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 26

ARTIST:  Type O Negative
ORIGIN:  New York, NY (United States)
TITLE:  Bloody Kisses
LABEL:  Roadrunner Records
YEAR:  1993
GENRE:  Gothic Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Blood and Fire"
NOTES:  I bought this at the same time as the Black Sabbath album from yesterday and a Monster Magnet album that featured a naked woman on the cover.  On a church trip.  I had wanted to get the album for months but always avoided it because of the album cover and the introductory track of a woman moaning.  Yet I got it finally on a church trip.  It is still my favorite album by the band.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top 10 New Thrash Metal Songs

Recently Lich King posted a question on Facebook asking users to name their top ten favorite songs from thrash metal bands that have formed since 2001.  Since I love thrash metal, I will list mine.  Youtube clips are after the jump.  Some of these are not pure thrash metal bands, with some black, death, or speed metal influence, but they will all lead to broken necks.

Goddammit Decibel

Today I picked up Decibel's Top 40 of 2012 issue.  I had a feeling I would have complaints.  Boy was I right.  I will not mention who took the top spot.  I will not reprint the list.  If you want to know, check it out.  Suffice to say I don't see eye to eye with Decibel about a lot of things, and their pick for the top spot is probably the biggest one.  I have tried listening to this band over and over again just trying to see the point and I can not.  I even tried to listen to this album earlier today and I still do not get it.  I certainly do not see making this album their top album of the year, their last album was album of the year if I recall and one of their albums was the magazine's album of the decade.  I don't get it.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 25

ARTIST:  Black Sabbath
ORIGIN:  Birmingham, England
TITLE:  Forbidden
LABEL:  I.R.S. Records
YEAR:  1995
GENRE:  Doom Metal/Heavy Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Shaking Off the Chains"
NOTES:  To date, this is the last full-length album of new material that Black Sabbath has released.  It features Tony Martin once more on vocals.  This however is not a terribly noteworthy album.  It only features Tony Iommi from the original lineup on it and features a guest appearance from Ice-T.  Yeah.  I actually bought this one on a church trip with a couple of other albums.  All of which had inappropriate album covers for when I bought them.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Cadaverous Condition

Last January, I was sent an album to review by the Austrian band Cadaverous Condition.  I was asked about the possibility of an interview at the time, but due to my own busy schedule was not really able to put one together.  Until now.  I sent some interview questions, dealing with the band's progression from death metal to death/neofolk hybrid and the scene in Austria, to founding member and vocalist Wolfgang Weiss.  After the jump, you can see the interview.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 24

ARTIST:  Megadeth
ORIGIN:  Los Angeles, CA (United States)
TITLE:  Rust in Peace
LABEL:  Capitol Records
YEAR:  1990
GENRE:  Thrash Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Tornado of Souls"
NOTES:  My favorite album by Megadeth, this is also one of my favorite albums of all time.  Top five even.  It is that good.  This is when it all came together with Megadeth, the speed and intensity is there, but it is melodic and quite frankly epic.  There are a ton of great songs on here, including live favorites "Holy Wars" and "Hangar 18", both of which were played at the concert I saw just this year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Evoken: Atra Mors

I have listened to this album over and over again today, just taking in the sound.  It is an extremely intense album and definitely takes some time to fully absorb.  That is what I have been doing today.  This is my first experience with Evoken, and what an experience it is.  This is an incredibly dense and challenging album, but once absorbed it is definitely worth it.

Evoken is about as bleak and desolate as music gets.  Fitting for funeral doom of course.  But the somber tone that Evoken has mastered is incredibly dark even for the genre.  The songs are all long epics with an atmosphere of desolation and pain.  But it is the clean vocals and clean riffs that really capture the listener's attention.  Many funeral doom bands utilize a wall of sound, oppressive and intense, but Evoken are able to convey the same misery and hopelessness with even their cleaner moments, soulful wailing and acoustic melodies.

It is extremely difficult to talk about this album.  I am not going to waste space talking about why you should check this out.  It is an all-encompassing experience.  It is truly something that one has to pay full attention to and interpret for themselves.  This is an incredible album, quite possibly one of the best albums in the funeral doom genre.  A modern-day masterpiece.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 23

ARTIST:  Testament
ORIGIN:  Oakland, CA (United States)
LABEL:  Atlantic Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Thrash Metal/Groove Metal
FAVORITE SONG:  "Legions (In Hiding)"
NOTES:  This was a very extreme album for me at the time.  Testament used a much more gruff vocal style than anything I was used to.  Nevertheless, this album really clicked for me.  I loved it from the first time I heard it.  "Low" had been played on the radio quite a bit which lead me to check out the album.  Testament was a favorite band of mine throughout high school and I even got to meet the band.  Unfortunately I was too young to see them in concert at the time.  Some day I will.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Corrosion of Conformity: Megalodon

Corrosion of Conformity did not waste much time following up their self-titled reunion album.  The band just this year released an album as a reformed trio made up of the three original members.  Pepper Keenan, quite possibly the driving force of the band over the previous fifteen years of the band's existence, is gone.  So the band's sound reverted to more of a sludgy hardcore, the sound that the band first rose to prominence with.

As I have previously mentioned Deliverance is where I got on board with Corrosion of Conformity.  As far as I am concerned, the band has never done better than that album before or since.  But I did enjoy some of their other work, including on their self-titled album released earlier this year.  So I did not really have any qualms about checking this one out.  Especially since it was free.

There are a couple of moments on this album where the band really does sound like Deliverance-era C.O.C.  "Feed On" and "The Megalodon" both really have that Southern metal swing to them.  The only thing missing on those tracks are the vocals of Keenan.  Not to say that the three members of C.O.C. (I honestly do not know enough about them to tell their vocals apart) are not fine vocalists, a couple of them anyway.  I just do not think they quite have the same charm.  Again, perhaps that is due to when I got into the band and I might have felt differently if I had gotten into them earlier.  Most of the songs on this EP would have fit in reasonably well on Deliverance, so I am definitely liking it, at least musically.  My only real complaint is with the vocals which do not grab me as much.

For a free EP, I am definitely not complaining.  This is a pretty good release from C.O.C. and is shockingly even better than the full-length from earlier.

Cataloguing My Metal Collection Pt. 22

ARTIST:  Soundgarden
ORIGIN:  Seattle, WA (United States)
TITLE:  Superunknown
LABEL:  A&M Records
YEAR:  1994
GENRE:  Heavy Metal/Hard Rock/Grunge
NOTES:  I was getting into music when grunge was popular, but the two bands associated with the grunge scene that I loved most were Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.  And no, that is not revisionist history on my part trying to claim I never really liked grunge and only liked metal.  My older brother had albums by Nirvana and Pearl Jam and I recorded songs off those albums, but only certain songs and I never owned any albums by them, though I did have Bush and Candlebox.  I had Soundgarden and Alice in Chains though.  This album was huge when it was released.  It had at least five big songs, including "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ahab: The Giant

One look at the cover art of this release reveals that this is going to be a little bit different than Ahab's previous works.  Where the past two albums had stunning and realistic paintings for their covers, this one features more of a psychedelic and mythological artwork.  It just did not really look like the Ahab I had grown to love.

But it's not just the cover art that is different.  Ahab has changed things up in the sound department as well with this release.  Where the past two albums were morosely slow and monolithically heavy, this one has moments where it veers dangerously close to traditional doom metal and has a much cleaner overall tone.  It is still slow and heavy, but not in the same bleak way that their past albums were.  This is by no means a complete departure for the band, but there is enough of a change to make it quite obvious.

The album starts off with the very typical slow and haunting build.  Ahab has always used this.  But instead of a crushing riff immediately, the acoustic music continues on for awhile and the singing is done in sorrowful clean manner rather than the gruff roars done in the past.  That heavy riff does kick in eventually.  As do the deep vocals, but the cleaner parts are there to stay, popping up frequently throughout the album.  Ahab definitely focused their attention on adding some melodies to this one.  The riffs are cleaner as well as the vocals.

This album is not nearly as bleak as Ahab's previous works.  There is almost a glimmer of hopefulness with each track, something lacking on their other albums.  Oh it is still very funereal at times, just not as hopeless.  I do not want to give off the impression that I dislike this album.  I like it very much.  It just does not measure up to the other albums in my eyes.