Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rotting Christ: Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού (2013)

I really have no idea what I managed to cut and paste up there.  I am not even sure what language it is, but due to the fact that Rotting Christ is from Greece, I can take a wild stab in the dark.  I could look it up, but it's late as I am writing this and I just finished mowing the lawn.  My motivation to do anything is pretty low.  Someday I will, but not today.

Rotting Christ has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them on Theogonia back in 2007.  This is the second full-length they have released since then and I have also picked up almost all of their past albums.  They have yet to disappoint me.

This one is a little different though.  There is not a lot sonically different from Rotting Christ's last couple of albums.  It is still the same gothic/black metal with symphonic elements.  But the songs feel less complete.  The best way I can think of to describe the music on this album is that it sounds as if it is the soundtrack to a Greek mythology-based movie.  Think Clash of the Titans or something of that ilk.  The hooks are not as present.  None of the songs really sink in like they have on past albums and they all sort of run together.

None of this is to suggest that this is a bad album.  It just is not quite what I was hoping for.  The music still has the same sinister quality that has been such an impressive element in the band's sound for so long.  Sakis Tolis's vocals still sound amazing after so many years.  If anything, this album makes some terrific background music.  It just does not rise to the same level as past releases.    

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FMA Reviews: Power Trip: Manifest Decimation (2013)

Originally reviewed here.
If there is one style of metal that has kind of passed me by to my regret, it is crossover. I just do not have a lot of experience listening to the subgenre. But that is slowly starting to change. It all started a few months ago when I was listening to my Skullcrushers compilation, which has tracks from Exodus, Megadeth, Celtic Frost, Voivod and more, when all of a sudden this track came up that I had heard a million times before, but it just stuck with me. That song was from Nuclear Assault and it was called "Critical Mass". Corrosion of Conformity's "Loss for Words" and Prong's "Beg to Differ" also appeared in the compilation and grabbed my attention. All of a sudden, crossover clicked for me.

Obviously I would not be telling this long-ass, boring story if there were not some connection to this review. Some day I will tell a boring long story that has absolutely no relevance to the review just to keep readers on their toes.  But that will not be this day.

Anyway, Power Trip is a crossover band whose sound shows a very strong Nuclear Assault influence. It is an incredibly harsh and chaotic sound. It is aggressive, biting, and angry. And most of all, it gets the blood pumping. This is terrific music to listen to while working out because of its speed and intensity. It is just a vicious album all the way through. A lot of people may think of Suicidal Tendencies or other bands who use a lot of humor and light-hearted party attitudes toward music. This is definitely not in the same ballpark. This is angry, much more like Nuclear Assault.

For some reason this came from Southern Lord, which is very surprising. That label is well-know for doom, black, and sludge, so this album really stands out.

The only complaint that I have about this one is that it flies by so fast and once it is done, it is hard to think of any real highlights, other than the crushing "Crossbreaker". But it is a hell of a ride.

VladPromotion Quick Reviews Pt. 1

I have a ton of Reader Submissions to slog my way through.  So in an effort to catch up, I am going to do some of these together in kind of a quick hits sort of way.

BETRAYER F.T.M.:  No Life Till Fury (2010)
I have no idea what "F.T.M." means.  Fuck the Mormons?  Full Throttle Mongooses (Mongeese?)?  Forging the Mississippi?  No idea.  But it does not really matter.  Betrayer F.T.M. are a thrash metal band with some punk influences shining in.  It is more of a retro sound.  Think early Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies, etc.  The vocals are a little too high in the mix and threaten to take too much focus away from the music.  Musically, this is pretty decent.  If you are a fan of early party-thrash-type stuff, this is definitely for you.  It is a fast and intense record that I found myself tapping my foot to quite a bit.  Tough to bang my head when I am at my workdesk.  I love the cover art too.

D.A.M.:  Human Wreckage (1989) and Inside Out (1991)

England actually had a decent thrash metal scene in the late 1980's/early 1990's.  It is mostly overlooked these days and Sabbat is probably the best-known band from that scene.  D.A.M. also produced a couple of albums in this time period.  D.A.M. was mostly forgotten, even on their own label due to the presence of standouts Coroner, Helloween, Voivod, Celtic Frost, and others.  So it is not shocking that few people remember them.  These two albums are another example of the oversaturation of re-releases into the metal market.  Not every single metal album really deserves to be dug up and resurrected.  These albums are okay in their own right, but they are certainly not exceptional.  These are not exactly lost gems.  They are fine, but there are a lot of other bands with a similar sound out there.

Demise Awaits: 2009 EP (2009)
Demise Awaits is a newer group without a lot of recorded material to their name yet.  This is their first EP and they also have a demo out.  The Pennsylvania band plays a 1980's-sounding hybrid of thrash and heavy, American power metal.  They have a very raw and primal sound, helped out significantly by the lower quality of the production.  What results is something similar to the early Metallica recordings prior to Kill 'Em All.  I am not going to come out and say this is the next Metallica or anything like that, but they have a decent sound.  It's not one we have not heard over and over though.  A good effort.