Wednesday, March 26, 2014


So the trial is over.  Unfortunately now my computer has now died on me, further delaying my return.  Sorry.  I promise to return shortly.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Impending Trial

Tomorrow is the beginning of my two-day custody trial.  It is the major reason things have been quiet around here lately.  I hate custody cases with a burning passion.  I am definitely looking forward to getting this thing over with.  Things will pick back up afterwards, though this weekend I need to help my dad with a big remodel project.

Kelly in particular, I will get back to work on stuff very soon.  Thank you all for your patience.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Little Update

I know I have been a little slow on getting things up lately.  Work has been busy once again.  I had a civil trial early in the month, a big hearing on a Motion to Suppress a statement in a stabbing case this week, and then a two-day custody trial next week.  I will be back on a regular posting schedule soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dementia Senex: Heartworm (2013)

Huh.  Where do we begin?  Dementia Senex is a kind of odd band from Italy with quite the disparate influences.  Ulcerate is probably the most accurate reference point for Dementia Senex's sound.  The band draws from brutal death metal and post-metal weirdness to form a dissonant, chaotic sound.

Despite the wildly different styles, like Ulcerate, Dementia Senex seems to know what they are doing, which makes all the difference in the world.  It is a little difficult to combine two seemingly wildly different styles like these into a cohesive sound, not to mention one that actually sounds good.  The songs are generally on the longer side which allows for a lot more time for experimentation.  The music is marked by frequent tempo and riff changes with some sections driven by dissonant chords and screaming and others by more typical death metal-styled riffing.

Dementia Senex is an impressive mix of atmosphere and aggression, the two major elements they draw from their varied influences.  What is consistent however is that the production brings these two seemingly diverse sounds out perfectly.  Despite the unusual combination, the band sounds great.  All of the instruments can be heard clearly, with the stunning guitar work the big highlight.  The vocals are agonized and strained, yet intense adding to the dark atmosphere.

Dementia Senex shows an unusual mix of styles, but it works for them.  This is recommended for fans of Ulcerate and other weird death/post-metal hybrids.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Terrifier: Metal or Death (2013)

And we finally come to the end of the VladPromotion stuff that has been sent to me over the last year.  It was a huge number of thrash metal, and the occasional traditional metal release, from a variety of countries.

This is Canada's Terrifier.  I have heard a little bit from this band through the stuff that has been sent to me.  They used to be called Skull Hammer which I remarked that I would have stayed with as it is a little bit more of an unusual name than Terrifier.  But to each their own I guess.

This is a short three-song EP that sounds even shorter due to the fact that it is so fast.  In fact it's too short.  The music is surprisingly good so that it made me want to hear more.  Unfortunately that just is not possible.

The bass is definitely an important instrument here.  We have come a long way since Metallica turned Jason Newsted's bass way down in the mix on ...And Justice for All.  The bass is playing a lot of the riffs alongside the rhythm guitar and is so high in the mix that it gives the sound a thundering, rumbling feel.

This is definitely a fun, fast-paced thrash EP that is just too short.  Looking forward to more, Terrifier.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sanity's Rage: You Are What You Swallow (2012)

Belgium is not a country well-known for its metal scene.  I had to look back at my post from 2011 to find what I listed as my favorite band because I could not think of anyone off the top of my head.  Enthroned and Aborted have been the only metal bands I have had much exposure to.  Which brings us to the thrash metal band Sanity's Rage, just the third Belgian metal band I have heard.

I'm not really sure of the album title.  Sounds like something that could be a little juvenile, disgusting, or something.  The album cover though has little or nothing to do with the album title, so maybe I'm wrong.  It's never happened before, but I suppose anything is possible.

Sanity's Rage is a fairly impressive mix of Bay Area thrash, Iced Earth-style galloping power metal, and a little bit of German biting thrash thrown in for good measure.  The music is very fast with lightning-fast riffs, jackhammer-style drumming, and impressively fast staccato vocals, somewhat similar to Sabbat's Martin Walkyier.  The riffs fluctuate naturally without feeling forced, which is noteworthy given how fast these songs move.  It is amazing how much you can cram into a five minute song when moving so quickly.

This is Sanity's Rage's first full-length album even though the band has been around since 2002.  You wouldn't know it was a first album based on the crisp production and the tight instrumentation.  This is a band that sounds like seasoned veterans of the thrash metal scene.

If fast-paced, relentless thrash is your thing, this fits the bill.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mad Agony: Chernobitch (2013)

Mad Agony is another of those bands that have recently re-formed even though precisely no one was clamoring for a return.  They previously released a demo in 1992 before disbanding in 1993 and then returned in 2011.  This is their first full-length album.  I do not really know what lead to the re-formation of this long-dead Italian traditional metal band.  All I know is that they have re-formed.

The album starts off with the intro track, "Industrial Waste" building into the title track "Chernobitch", which I think misses the point of what Chernobyl was.  Musically, Mad Agony bears a strong similarity to German heavy/power metal bands such as Primal Fear, Sinner, Accept, and others.  The songs are melodic, but the riffs definitely have a heavy, razor-sharp edge to them.  Vocalist Max Zanetti has a powerful, wailing voice that furthers the comparison to Matt Sinner.  It fits the music very well and calls to mind metal vocalists from the early 1980's.

The big problem with this release is that a lot of the songs tend to drag at times.  Mad Agony is trying to do a little too much musically at times and the band loses focus and the songs suffer.  There are a few songs that could be a minute or two shorter and would be much better for it.  They are at their best when they are playing fast and heavy, loud and proud.  The straightforward material is the best material here.  Mad Agony even succeed with the much slower and acoustic-driven "Eclipse of a Friend", particularly during the remarkable guitar solo work.  The ultra fast, thrashy section in the middle of "The Poetry of Rage" is another triumph.

The album is a tad on the long side, but it is interesting and entertaining enough.  For those looking for some real 1980's-style German heavy metal, Mad Agony fits the bill.  Or you could just turn on those well-worn Accept albums instead.  Your choice.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FMA: Vardan: The Woods is My Coffin (2013)

Originally reviewed here.
As a metalhead, I try to immerse myself in as many different types of metal as I can. I find there are styles I like more than others of course, but I usually try a little bit of everything. One style that I have done only minimal exploration of is depressive black metal. I have heard Xasthur, Leviathan, Silencer, and a few others, but that's really about as far as I have gone. Most of it is a little tedious to listen to, long and very slow songs without a lot of direction. So I was a little reluctant to look into Vardan when the first song started.

Vardan is a one-man black metal band from Italy lead by Vardan, of course. This is as basic as black metal gets, minimalist riffs which are typically very slow, drums doing little more than keeping time, and tortured wailing vocals. The songs are quite long, with the shortest being just over six minutes. Vardan does do a decent job at changing up the riffs to keep things from becoming too monotonous. There are only five songs so it makes the length of each song a little more bearable.

Vardan is not, as it turns out, a depressive black metal act, despite the extremely slow-moving opening track. He does slow things down frequently and there is a little bit of depressive influences in the music, but he also throws in the occasional faster-paced riff just to keep things a little more interesting.

Ultimately this is probably a little too raw and simple for me. I like my black metal to have a little more going on than a couple of endlessly repeating riffs. I could see being able to listen to this in the dark alone, but it is not something that would have frequent playbacks in it.