Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kuolemanlaakso: Tulijoutsen (2014)

The Canada of Scandinavia

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

Kuolemanlaakso are from Finland and I'm thinking that Finland is the Canada of Scandanavia. Hear me out. (Sweden would be like the U.S. and Norway would be the Mexico, if Mexico had a killer black metal scene in the early 90s. No?) The Finns are good at hockey, right? So are Canadians? Both cold. Still no? Ok, I actually only think that Finland is like Canada because are producing some killer metal these days! Canada has Chapel and Finland has Kuolemanlaakso. (Say that three times fast).

Kuolemanlaakso are doom and death. They have a good screamer. They have great production. They have heft. They have songs with titles I don't know what they mean. They have tension and atmosphere (song 2 I'm hearing you). They have a grand funk inspired cover, even if they don't know it. (See?). And they have good songs, if they are a little long. Nothing to shake a stick at the tracks chime in at mostly around 7 minutes, so shorter than the Wounded Kings of the world but longer than your average Mastodon song. I reference the doom and then the sludge because these overlay here, and in a good way.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pet the Preacher: The Cave & the Sunlight (2014)

Denmark's Volume Dealer?

About 10-12 years ago, I was really into southern-sounding metal. Black Label Society was my jam--this was back when they were fucking awesome (and had just begun the downhill slide*). I doodled the BLS logo and "SDMF" (Strength-Determination-Merciless-Forever) on scraps of paper at my shitty night job. I even listened to Zakk Wylde's Pride & Glory album on at least a weekly basis.

To this day, I still think Deliverance-era COC is the real COC.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Impetuous Ritual: Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence (2014)

Band Next Door

If Portal's Vexovoid was too radio-friendly for you, then, well, you are one sick, twisted motherfucker. But also, Impetuous Ritual has your back with the Inquisitorially-named Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence.

Of course, Impetuous Ritual are best known for sharing two members with the legendary Portal, and every review has to mention that. (So it is written.) Fittingly, they share an impenetrable, lo-fi death metal aesthetic. But in contrast to Portal's relatively cleaner production, Impetuous Ritual still sound like the most evil band in the world playing in the apartment next door.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spirit Animal

It was my birthday today. Not much to report, except that I met my spirit animal.

While on my nightly 3+ mile walk with the dogs, I encountered a fox, about 20 feet from me. He followed us for a bit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Metal Briefs: Two by Two by Two . . . . Part Three

Duality

Two-song releases are a great way to get to know a band. Two-sentence reviews are all you need to make that commitment.

Persekutor: Power Frost (2013)
2 out of 5 stars


Persekutor was presented as the most awesome and trve underground black metal possible. Despite a pretty cool riff on "The Twitching Hour," I'm not convinced it isn't a practical joke from Brendon Small.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Nocturnal Breed: Napalm Nights (2014)

The Smell of Napalm at Night

As the immortal line goes, “I love the smell of napalm at night.” Well, not exactly, but close enough.

It’s not like I’ve suddenly started wearing bullet belts and ignoring anything with “ambient” or “avant garde” in the description. But lately I’ve developed a new appreciation for the most unpretentious kinds of metal. Maybe I’m not flying the flag 100% of the time, but I’m definitely listening to the anthem. Norway’s Nocturnal Breed fit right into my renewed love of down-to-blackened-earth metal.

Gene Wolfe: The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)

This weekend, I finished reading the first book in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun series, The Shadow of the Torturer. I'll do a full review of the series when I'm finished with it, but a few things jump out at me immediately that demand mention.

1. I can't tell whether it's science fiction or fantasy.

2. How the hell has there not been a movie made of this?

3. Parts of it are grim as fvkk.

4. The main character was raised in the guild of the torturers, which is exactly what it sounds like.

5. Like The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings, the book is ostensibly written by a major character from the book. He uses an execution as a metaphor for writing a book.

I'll be detouring from the series to read a book that was sent to me for review, but if this intrigues you, stay tuned.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Halahkuh: Desecration (EP 2013)

I'm Influenced by Bobby Flay

Review by Metallattorney. He is the law.

I'm not totally sure how a band can claim that their music is influenced by a historical figure. Maybe I just don't understand. But here we are with Halahkuh, an Indian melodeath/thrash metal band who claim that their influences are Genghis Khan and his son Hulagu Khan. I admit to being a little in the dark as to Genghis Khan's son, but I am certainly aware of Genghis.

Halahkuh take influences from extreme thrash metal bands from the 1980's and mesh them with early Swedish melodeath, prior to the softening and bastardization of the Gothenburg sound. Think heavier At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity meeting Kreator. It is a heavy and aggressive sound. Much like their historical influences the music is relentless and driven with fast-paced riffs and abrasive vocals.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Dornenreich: Freiheit (2014)

An Intimate Epitaph

I've previously expressed my admiration for Austria's Dornenreich. Freiheit will not change that, but the specifics are going to have to change.

Flammentriebe was great because it struck a masterful balance between black metal and folk music, while making excellent use of a guitar-playing technique that I've come to identify with Dornenreich above any other band. Freiheit is quite different. It's almost (though not completely) a neofolk album, more in line with In Luft geritzt but not as overtly intense. It's one of those records that lives and dies by restraint, and can't possibly be understood by hearing it in any way other than in its entirety.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Albatross: The Kissing Flies / Vestal Claret - Black Priest (2012)

Vestal Flying Albatross Priest

Review by Metallattorney. He is the law.


If you can parse this title then I am impressed. I think I represented it correctly. Essentially, this is a split album from Indian heavy metal outfit Albatross and the former vocalist of Hour of 13's new band. Now Indian metal is not something I am overly familiar with. I was not aware there was much of a scene in India. I have a lot of mental associations with India, mostly due to my first real girlfriend being from there, but metal music is not one of them. Anyway, enough of that. Only one band from this split is Indian anyway.

Albatross kicks things off with four out of the five songs on the split. Why so many? Well Vestal Claret's song is 18 minutes long, that's why. Albatross's music strongly resembles King Diamond's solo work and that seems to be the major influence. The songs generally tell some sort of horror story and feature very impressive lead guitar melodies weaving through traditional heavy metal riffs. The vocals are higher-pitched and include a lot of wailing and the occasional blood-curdling shriek. Singer Biprorshee Das does not have the range of King Diamond, but his voice is effective enough to match the horror atmosphere produced by the eerie melodies.