Friday, September 14, 2012

Metal Briefs: Unsigned in 2012

I often wonder why people come here. There are probably some who like to read my reviews of the better-known releases. But I think most of you are more interested in the lesser-known. This is all about that.

The Ash Eaters: Ruining You (2012)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Hot on the heels of their fantastic Ibn Ghazi EP, The Ash Eaters have hit us with Ruining You, their first full-length. All five songs are entirely instrumental exercises in Umesh Amtey's distinctive, hypnotic riffing style. When I reviewed the EP, I made a point about how the band has mastered the EP format, and made music so engaging that it doesn't need vocals. However, I'm sad to say this is the first time the band has (slightly) disappointed me. Ruining You doesn't seem as adventurous as Ibn Ghazi, lacking such weird, subtle experiments as the choral backing vocals of "These Are the Inhabitants of the Fire." The lack of vocals is also a much tougher sell at 40 minutes instead of 13. Though it's by no means unpleasant, or even dull, it's just not on the same level as The Ash Eaters' shorter releases.

Ultra Beast: Out for Too Long (2012 Demo)
3 out of 5 stars

Ultra Beast is an L.A. band who play heavy/speed metal in the same fashion as Razorwyre. The riffs and drums are simple, the solos are obvious, the vocals are mostly shouted. The eight short songs are all verse-chorus-verse, with such silly and/or awesome names as "Heavy Metal Patrol," "Death Enforcer," and "Possessed by Beer." This kind of irreverent throwback is usually not my kind of thing, but Razorwyre convinced me to like Coming Out anyway because it was so damned good. Ultra Beast's Out for Too Long hasn't risen to that (admittedly high) bar. It doesn't help that the balance is tipped too far left in the mix, either.

They specifically asked me to write the review for Metal Archives, but I don't think the site will accept this. I guess we'll see.

Ultra Beast on Facebook

Hazarder: Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! (2012)
1.5 out of 5 stars

Multinational Balkan band Hazarder contacted me a while ago about their full-length, Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! As I’ve indicated before, I’ve gotten a little bit choosier about which records I listen to for this site, but after sampling "Scorpiopium" on their Bandcamp page, I decided to give it a shot. The steamrolling sludge/doom with Goat the Head style caveman vocals certainly caught my attention. It turns out I had randomly chosen what is marginally the best song on the album, and the rest of it fails to stand out. Well, even "Scorpiopium" doesn’t stand out much against the rest of it. Everything on the record is so incredibly same-sounding that you honestly can't tell where one song ends and the next begins. The drummer needs to find at least one different beat, or try playing at a different tempo, or something.

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