I am trying to clear out some emails here and figured since these were all shorter releases that a quick paragraph would suffice. I found myself enjoying all three releases for different reasons, so don't take the brevity of the reviews as an indictment against them.
CREINIUM: PROJECT UTOPIA (2014)
PINEAL: SMILING CULT (2014)
CRUSHING AXES: UNDEAD WARRIOR (2014)
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
Saturday, December 6, 2014
So it was with a little bit of trepidation that I dove into this three-song EP from Finnish post-metal/doom trio Ovenizer. I figured a three-track release would be easy enough to digest though without growing too painful. I am actually kind of glad I took the chance. Maybe I was just a melancholy mood when listening to it, but it really did capture my attention and I found myself enjoying it immensely.
It is true that the three song format was easy to digest, but I found myself wanting more. The songs each move freely with a significant amount of melody and swirling guitar riffs creating a trance-inducing atmosphere. The vocals are typically clean, though occasionally a death growl emerges. The vocals though are just complementary to the music. The band could have just as easily produced the same atmosphere without any vocals at all.
The songs are typically slow and depressive. The band strikes a balance between the earlier works of groups like My Dying Bride and Katatonia with the heavier works by Isis. It is a very dark and doom-laden sound that also presents some extremely strong emotions, in particular during second track "Hypnote", the strongest track on the album.
I really enjoyed this release, but the best thing that I can say about it is that it has opened up my eyes to a genre I did not previously get into.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Anyway, this is a split between two obviously extreme metal bands. You don't get a name like Hellcrawler in the pop music realm. Each band contributed about ten minutes worth of music, which does a surprisingly good job of introducing the band to someone like myself who is not familiar with either group.
Hellcrawler has taken the Entombed death 'n roll sound and run with it. The Slovenien group (that's right, Slovenian) has one full length album under their belt before this split. Their side of the split is three tracks of dirty, filthy death metal with some surprisingly catchy hooks. Third track "Green Machine" is a cover of one of the greatest Kyuss songs. They do a decent job putting their own spin on it.
Wölfe is definitely extreme. An odd mix of grindcore and blackened thrash. The band apparently does not actually name their songs, titling them with Roman numerals only. The production values leave a little to be desired as the sound is a little too high-pitched and grating. The drums have that certain St. Anger quality. The vocals are pretty terrible as well. I will likely not be revisiting Wölfe.
So, two sides, one really good and the other really bad. I will definitely be trying to track down some more Hellcrawler.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The album starts off with the track "Doom Against True Hell", which features a hefty amount of synthesizer programming to open things up before diving into a much more standard power-chord-driven riff, which is easily the heaviest riff on the release. That sound is frequently spliced with more programming, some choral vocal lines, and singer Marco Cantoni's howling vocals. This sets the stage for most of the rest of the songs, which manage to throw a number of other influences in as the album progresses.
Along the way, there are some strange moments which may be considered missteps depending on the listener. For instance, "My Kingdom for a Horse" features some vocal segments that can best be described as akin to rapping. Which is strange, to say the least. Other sections feature more of the choral style, which is typically done quite well. Much of the album relies on keyboards to drive the melody, which can be interesting when done well, but some of the more experimental sections can be a little strange. And of course the track "Feel the Essence of Blues" is much more of a blues song than metal, which is a bit of an unusual and rather courageous addition.
The members of Cyrax are clearly talented musicians, which is the only reason that they are able to pull this album off. It is a very strange and varied release that sees influences from a variety of non-metal genres, as well as metal. Is it for everyone? Probably not. But it is certainly an entertaining and interesting release.