Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Metal Briefs: Clearing the Docket #2

Keeping Up

Have I mentioned that, so far, every band or label that's contacted me has been reviewed on the site? Well, except for the occasional item that doesn't come anywhere near what this blog usually covers. So far, I've been able to keep that up. Obviously, that sometimes entails giving a brief review and lumping two or three albums together.

Here are a demo and two EPs that I've been asked to review.

Void Forger: Ruined Demo (2012)

Hailing from Romania of all places, Void Forger play a tough-to-define extreme metal style that's sort of a crusty blackened sludge/doom. Short of defining it any more closely, I'll just say it should appeal to fans of Withered, Tombs, or (in a stretch) Dragged into Sunlight. It's heavy, and there's plenty of experimentation in how they compose their riffs. This led to the incredible "Relief"—which contains what may be my favorite riff of the year. If they can replicate that success, Void Forger is bound to be a name you'll hear a lot in the future. I give the Ruined Demo 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Only a Shadow Remains: Prelude to an Apocalypse (2012)

I've probably mentioned it two dozen or more times, but I'm not a big fan of thrash. Pre-1990 thrash, sure. Blackened thrash, yes. Death/thrash, less so. Straight-up thrash from 1990 onward, not so much. Still, Only a Shadow Remains have crafted a nice piece of thrash metal with standard thrash yells, plenty of melodicism to the riffs, and good production. I give Prelude to an Apocalypse 3 out of 5 stars. Thrash fans will probably appreciate it much more.

Agnosis: A Painful Pattern (2012)

I was a little apprehensive about reviewing this EP. I had reviewed a release from the closely-related band Archon a while ago, and didn't like it. I don't want to heap dirt on the same guys more than once, if I can help it. But they asked me, so here it is: I am pleasantly surprised. This doom/sludge record is much better. The sound is similar; the vocals are hardcore/sludge shouts, the production is heavy, the riffs are slow, and the leads alternate between following the rhythm or meandering on their own merry way. But the difference is, these songs actually go places. And there's personality to the riffs. The 13:27 "Writing by Candlelight" (which sounds like Pallbearer in places) does drag a little, but there is still surprisingly little fat. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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