Suffocation: "Pinnacle of Bedlam"
- Created on Thursday, 28 March 2013 08:39
- Written by Sparky
Pinnacle of Bedlam
“The broken ways, as I walk through the emptiness. Lost souls as empty as mine...”
NYDM founding fathers, Suffocation have let loose their 7th album onto the metal world. “Pinnacle of Bedlam” marks the band's second release with Nuclear Blast Records, following their last release, “Blood Oath”.
This album does not venture too far away from the signature sound Suffocation created and nurtured for many years. And unlike Devourment's newest release (See my previous review), which came out the same day as “Pinnacle of Bedlam”, Suffocation managed to still keep it fresh and exciting.
The boys from Long Island hit us first with the track, “Cycles of Suffering”. Right out the gate with guitarist Terrance Hobbs' often imitated but rarely duplicated guitar sound. Every move in Hobbs' bag was used in this song. Palm-muted rhythm, tremolo licks and hammer-on riffs.
The drumming on this album was handled by Dave Culross (Malevolent Creation, Incantation), replacing Mike Smith, who left the band for the 2nd time, the first being after the “Breeding the Spawn” album.
Some stand-out tracks in my humble opinion include the track “ Sullen Days”. This song kicks off with a soft melodic guitar intro, something I can't say I've ever heard from Suffocation before. This track also has a pretty sweet harmonic riff that rises above the rest of the song. It's closed out with more of the clean melodic guitars.
I also really dug the title track. This song has some great guitar solos that were intelligently placed. They weren't just dropped in for the sake of having a solo. They also lay down a palm-muted break down that doesn't over do it and makes you bang your head.
This album has a more thrash sound at times. This can be heard on “My Demise” and “As Grace Descends”. In fact the opening riff of the latter sounds like a riff from Exodus.
The last track is a re-recorded version of “Beggining of Sorrow” from their Breeding the Spawn album. Mike Smith is listed as a “Guest Drummer” on this track.
As a fan of Suffocation, as everyone who has the sack to call themselves Metal heads should be, this album is right on track with what Suffocation created 25 years ago. It is more polished than the first 3 albums, but carries the same technical brutality that has garnered Suffocation respect from their fans since the days of Human Waste and Effigy of the Forgotten.
4.5 Pentagrams out of 5. Definitely a must own album.
Devourment-"Conceived in Sewage"
- Created on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:35
- Written by Sparky
Conceived In Sewage
The “godfathers” of slam death metal, Devourment, have released their 4th album via Relapse. “Conceived in Sewage” brings forth their slow, crushing sound to a more mainstream death metal label.
I've never been a fan of “slam” death metal. Both the term and the bands that make up the sub genre haven't really piqued my interest, aside from a few bands, like Devourment, Vulvectomy and Internal Bleeding. To me it started to become just a heavier and deeper version of all that god damn chug-a-lug metal core shit that polluted the metal world a few years back.
Some bands have figured it out and execute it to a T, Devourment's “Molesting the Decapitated” and “Butcher the Weak” are some of the finest examples of this. However, I think this ship has sailed with their newest offering.
There is nothing inherently wrong or bad with “Conceived in Sewage”. It just lacks...zazz, for lack of better words.
“Conceived in Sewage” isn't as memorable as their first 3 albums. Maybe that is because there is only so many ways you can construct a palm-muted, down-tuned guitar riff.
This album kicks off with a track entitled, “Legalize Homicide”. Tons of fast paced riffs in the first part of the song lead to the cliché Devourment sound.
The third track, “Fucked with Rats”, features guest vocals from Cattle Decapitation's very own Travis Ryan. Though if you didn't know this, you'd cruise on past this track with out an inkling that there was another vocalist. Ryan brought deep and guttural sound with him that matches up with Matt Majewski's. It's a shame there wasn't more depth to the this song that could of exhibited Ryan's bad ass range.
The next track, “March to Megiddo” is just a diddy with snare drums and an air raid siren punctuated with a repetitive short burst of guitar.
This leads into the track “Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill”. The vocals give me vibes of Suffocation. Coherent and audible death growls that you don't have to grab the liner notes to decipher.
All in all. This album is standard Devourment. I guess I was just wanting more, I will admit, it's grown on me the past few weeks I've been playing it. My first opinion was it was a boring, run of the mill album. It's picked up a little. At least for me.
Sparky gives this one 3.5 out of 5.
Sparky's Best of 2012
- Created on Friday, 28 December 2012 00:25
- Written by Sparky
It's time for Sparky's Top 10 Metal Albums of the Year. I'm going to do it a bit differently. I'm going to throw out 9 albums that I thought were brutal as balls in no particular order with the last spot saved for what I have deemed “Album of the Year”. You'll see I have listed a handful of Arizona bands in my list. Am I biased? Or is it that 2012 was a strong year for Arizona metal, and those bands below are the ones standing upon the heap of bodies? You tell me. Here's my list. Like it or leave it.
Meathook: “ Facing Deformity”
-In my opinion the baddest, heaviest band in AZ at the moment. No boring slams. No over the top “diddly-diddly-doo” guitar work. Just straight forward death metal performed to almost perfection.
-A 1-man Black metal project from Norway. Blodhemn conjures black metal in the vein of the second wave, evoking anything from the Immortal, Gorgoroth and old Enslaved.
Six Million Dead: “Indiscriminate Misanthropy”
-Another Arizona band, Six Million Dead brought to us in 2012 their album “Indiscriminate Misanthropy”. Packed full of bad ass riffs, lighting fast drums and brutal vocals, this album made many-a-plays at my abode since I got my hands on it.
Cave Dweller: “Terra Incognita”
-I reviewed this album earlier in the year and I stated, “Can you feel that fresh breeze in the air? No it's not the incoming autumn, it's the band Cave Dweller's new EP, “Terra Incognita”. It's not quite black metal and not quite thrash. They have a tinge of Mastodon, if Mastodon were any good. (Please send all hate mail regarding the last comment to: JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING ). They sound like, Cave Dweller and it's refreshing to hear some original sounding metal.” Well I stand by that. Great fucking album.
Fran De Mork “From the Dark”
-These fellas are the only band I gave a perfect score too this year. That being said, their ambient doom-ladened black metal sound tickled my pickle something fierce. It rightfully belongs on this list.
Incantation: “Vanquish into Vengeance”
-Old schoolers who DIDN'T produce crap. (I'm looking at you Morbid Angel and Nile). Good ol' fashion NYDM. Still bringing the 90's death metal sound well into the 21st century.
Spawn of Possession: “Incurso”
-Brutal Swedish death metal. Songwriting is tight and technical. Bass guitar is very prevalent. Great time changes and gruff vocals.
Murder Construct: “Results'
-Comprised of members from Cattle Decapitation, Exhumed, Fetus Eaters and Bad Acid Trip, Murder Construct came at us in 2012 with “Results”. Brutal grind with ever flexible vocals and interesting song composition.
Grave: “Endless Procession of Souls”
-Another straight forward Swedish death metal album. “Endless Procession of Souls” paraded right into my world and I loved it. Another old school band who is still kicking out the jams.
Cattle Decapitation: “Monolith of Inhumanity”
-I don't want to say that this album was a surprise, because Cattle Decap have tightened their shit up as of late, starting with 2009's “The Harvest Floor”. Travis Ryan really shows why in my opinion, he is the best vocalist in metal right now. Take his range (guttural growls, shrieks and tongue-out-of-mouth chanting), the band's tour schedule (upwards of 200 dates a year), and he still belts the songs out as if he's fresh as a daisy. I knew this was going to be in the top 10, but I didn't solidify it at #1 until I saw them live last month. Travis and I met eye to eye, where he pummeled me with his vocals, his microphone and his foot.
“Monolith of Inhumanity” brings some of the baddest riffs ever from Josh Elmore and some of the fastest snare work from David McGraw.
According to my iTunes, I've played this album 131 times at home, in my car and at work.That equates to 94 hours of “Monolith of Inhumanity” that I've blared since May 8th.-Sparky
Sarah's Metalifestyle Best of 2012
- Created on Saturday, 05 January 2013 18:11
- Written by Sarah
Metalifestyle Best of 2012
1. Mutilation Rites – EP & follow up Empyrean (Prosthetic Records)
After seeing Mutilation Rites crusty blend of black metal in a tiny bar in Austin back in March, I was hooked. Their four track EP – on a tape adorned with a Baphomet whose “program repeats on both sides” – has been on perpetual repeat in my shitty old Mazda truck for the past several months. Contained inside is miserable, hair raising black metal, minus the kvlt posturing and Satan worship. The four-track tape features a dose of thrash metal, rumbling doom, and sloppy crust iced with blackened screams and battering percussion. New York black metal is lame no more! To make things even better, their full-length follow up Empyrean made good on the potential that oozed from that tape.
2. Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker (Prosthetic Records)
I know: Hatred for Mankind made fankids blow a collective load. Raw, primal, and evil as fuck, the record unveiled England’s enigmatic troupe to the world. Three years later, Dragged into Sunlight came back and that subterranean merging of black, death, and crusty grind was largely gone, replaced by sweeping movements, skillful transitions, and an obvious doom influence. Widowmaker is Dragged Into Sunlight all grown up, and is it ever beautiful.
3. Grand Magus – The Hunt (Nuclear Blast)
You know the type of heavy metal – often, tunes that came from the New Wave of British heavy metal in the ‘80s – to which you pump your fist, scream along, and mosh with your buddies while beer soaks everything? Grand Magus makes music like that. Although their early days were dubbed as “doom” influenced, they’ve always featured sweeping, operatic choruses and galloping leads straight from the Iron Maiden/ Rainbow/ Judas Priest handbook. To make things better, their performance at Noctis Metal Festival was perfect. BLOOD WILL SPILL!
4. Swans – The Seer (Young Gods)
In its schizophrenic opener “Lunacy”, Alan and Mimi of minimalist rock act Low chant the soundtrack to a breakdown as Michael Gira and co. lay on the atmosphere suffocating and oppressive. “Hide beneath/ Your monkey skin/ Feel his love/ Nurture him/ Kill the truth/ Or speak his name/ LUNACY LUNACY”. It’s enough to make goosebumps rise on your skin, and sets the tone for a triumphant Swans album Gira claimed was “30 years in the making.” I believe it.
5. Evoken – Atra Mors (Profound Lore)
Doom in all factions exploded in 2012, and the marriage of death/doom was no exception. Nowhere was it done as skillfully as on Evoken’s Atra Mors. The Jersey act’s fifth full length was five years coming, and worth the wait. Crushing, dirgy, glacial paced… mmm, mmm, good!
6. Deathspell Omega - Drought (Season of Mist)
This band demands your attention. Artful, original, extremely philosophical black metal with a transcendental, yet incredibly Satanist bent, their music is challenging and nearly unreachable. They don’t play live, they don’t do interviews, and they don’t release shit. Drought is part two of the EP package that followed 2010’s incredible Paracletus; though it has sidestepped the form of it’s predecessor it features all of the rage,
7. Gojira- L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner Records)
Clearly, I like my metal with a slab of “pretty”. Gojira has always made “pretty” technical death, but with L’Enfant Sauvage they perfected their assault. Every song on the record is a groovy and precise with crystal clear production. Plus, I’ve finally found a metal band that cares as much about recycling and flying whales as much as I do.
8. Witchstone – Witchstone EP (Self released)
I’ve said it about 600 times, but for the sake of consistency, I’ll say it once more. Calgary quartet Witchstone sounds like the child of Black Sabbath and Sleep, and their live performances are consistently tight. Can’t wait to hear what comes next from this band.
9. Napalm Death – Utilitarian (Century Media)
After over 25 years of grinding it out, Napalm Death still sounds relevant. Scratch that, they’ve made their best record since 1996’s Diatribes. A saxophone solo with John Zorn, odd vocal experiments, and metronomic blast beats sweeten the deal.
10. Saint Vitus – Lillie: F- 65 (Season of Mist)
Mournful Cries was my first Saint Vitus record, purchased on a whim a couple years back due to the fanciful cover art. Dragons are always good in my books; the music contained within was perfect and incited a pre-1988 Saint Vitus buying spree. Lillie: F- 65 harkens back to a time when Vitus was still touring with Black Flag to the chagrin of hardcore punkers; this was when Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling was snorting and huffing his life away. Actually, the opening track from the record, the haunting “Let Them Fall”, could be the soundtrack to such misery. The doom progenitors are back.
11. Enslaved – RIITIIR (Nuclear Blast)
It takes about five listens for me to stop hating a new Enslaved record. Then, as it flowers, I start obsessing over it, banging out the rhythms on my dashboard, and losing my mind over the insightful lyrics and arrangements. This extreme metal band is completely unique; RIITIIR is another part of their impressive legacy.
12. Gaza – No Absolutes in Human Suffering (Black Market Activities)
Gaza makes ugly music for an ugly world. Crusty, grindy, and full of hate. Just the way I like it.
13. Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay (Neurot Records)
Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till and co. have grown up, and channel their seething anger through subtly and nuance. Despite Honor Found in Decay being quieter than most Neurosis records, the conjuring of complex and contradictory emotions has never been so poignant. Second track “At the Well” personifies this duality; raging tribal rhythms and quiet acoustic segments play side by side.
14. Ahab – The Giant (Napalm Records)
Mad Captain Ahab’s tireless quest for the white whale has been explored countless times by metal bands, but nowhere as fitting as in Germany’s Ahab. Dubbed funeral doom, the quartet slowly rumbles, as relentless and endless as a violent storm raging through the night. On The Giant, there is absolutely no progression to be found from their previous releases, but given the tiny niche the band belongs to, that’s beneficial, rather than a hindrance.
15. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction (Profound Lore)
The only reason this record is sitting this high on the list, rather than at number one, is because I listened to it too much. WAY TOO MUCH. After discovering the band in February and seeing them at SXSW, I got a bit obsessed with the “Candlemass done better than Candlemass” of Pallbearer. It seems everyone else has caught on, but I’m giving the record a rest till further notice.
16. Mares of Thrace – The Pilgrimage (Sonic Unyon)
This ferocious Canadian two-piece creates a tremendous racket. Thanks to the skillful combination of screeching noise, galloping death metal, skillful jazz percussion, creeping doomy atmosphere, and throaty howls, The Pilgrimage is simultaneously a huge step-up from their previous outing The Moulting and a huge middle finger to the naysayers who pretend women can’t rage.
17. Witch Mountain – Cauldron of the Wild (Profound Lore Records)
Uta Plotkin is what makes this classic doom band shine. Sparkling and varied, her honey soaked voice transforms from growling and guttural to soaring and clear while her bandmates crash and groove all around her. Check out “Beekeeper” and you’ll instantly understand.
18. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind (Deathwish)
If any band is a benchmark for consistency, it’s Converge. Once again, they’ve made a walloping record. I can’t say much that hasn’t been said, so I won’t.
19. The Devil’s Blood – The Thousandfold Epicentre (Metal Blade Records)
Another record that shines on the basis of its vocal gymnastics. Farida Lemouchi, who is popularly known as "F. The Mouth of Satan", has the perfect voice to accompany her brother’s occult tinged psychedelic rock. The result of a fast aging process for the band makes The Thousandfold Epicentre the most realized album by The Devil’s Blood.
20. Hammerdrone – A Demon Rising EP (Self released)
Calgary act Hammerdrone makes driving blackened death. Music to mosh to, to dance to, and to kick some random stranger’s ass to. Listen up! http://hammerdrone.bandcamp.com/
Metalifestyle.com's Best of 2012
- Created on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 18:26
- Written by Paul
20).Cave Dweller- Terra Incognita
Cave Dweller has a track on their album named Tungusta named after a region in Russia that suffered what is believed to be a meteoroid crash in a desolate forest that knocked down some 770 sq. miles of timber. The impact equaled 1,000 Hiroshima bomb blasts. If that ain't fuckin metal, I don't know what is.
19). Adorned Brood- Kuningaz
German Viking Metallers come out fully decked with themes praising heathen gods and warriors. This is their most barbaric album even though flutes and violins are throughout the album. Catchy choruses makes you want to grab your metal brethren and pillage. This album will transport you to a land nestled in the mountains where you can feel the cold air against your face.
18) Incantation- Vanquish in Vengeance
Imagining a relentless swinging of a bloodied battle-axe, a vision of prophetic destruction rains down over my initial thoughts of a ceasing war and re-ignites the blood fury pressing this song into a climax of weapon attack flurry that leaves one satisfyingly exhausted, having vanquished the supposed enemies before him/her. Incantation has still got it.
Revenge once again offers one of those albums that will bother your neighbors. This albums blows all understanding of a peacefulness out of the water with its impactful hammer of pain right on the nail of one’s psyche.The demonic groals roar over the quickly repeating drums and guitar riffs, catapulting the listener into a an aggressive state in the face of sorrow and grief. Fastest album.
16) Elysian Blaze- Blood Geometry
An aural twilight murder of one’s senses during a period of deep contemplation, crumbling mental stability, and a scorching burning of all remaining sanity Adelaide Australia's creates revolutionary black metal with a very unique sound. Beautifully crafted music.
15) Svartidaudi- Flesh Cathedral
Daemon Worship & Terratur Possessions
Out of the land of the northern lights and fjords, a mysterious band offers a slow-crawling sepulchral journey interspersed with Revengish black. This is one of the more unique black metal bands to come out of the world this year. Be forewarned though, when listening to this you will discover a level of the underworld not yet reached by most living or dead entities, save for Lucifer himself. But Svartidaudi is more hedonistic and could care less about Lucifer. I hope to interview them on a trip to Iceland in April.
14) Kraanium- Post Mortal Coital Fixation
Grindmaster Flesh, the vocalist, sounds like a violently angry warthog that has had its lunch stolen. Dark energy meets drugged serial killers wielding shop tools and on a mission to find every last hipster and be the cause of each one’s end full of suffering. Incessant noise, shock value, and devastating riffage, the championship belt of brutal slam metal has been bequefed to Kraanium.
13) Aeon- Aeon's Black
Straight up in your face death metal with dark intros. Takes me back to the late 90s when bands like Incantation, Deicide, Immolation, Monstrosity where at their peak. Except Aeon strips the composition down to primitive raw death metal. The focus is on delivery and precision. The guitar squeals on this are some of the best I've ever heard. A mix of musicality and audible lyrics that bring together a package of enjoyable heavy listening. Best listened to in the morning to rouse yourself from your lair.
The members of Sargeist and Horna reunite for one of the best black metal albums of the year and once again Debemur Morti Productions provide it. Amazing label by the way. As a response to the chanting of the crowd of thousands of warriors of the night, feasting on the pride of Finnish black metal, the crowned kings of black metal have arrived again. This album truly showcases the band's musical talent as compared to previous albums such as My Soul for His Glory. Devout followers of the unholy they understand the power of music to transform. After reducing your ears to soft mush, it is clear that Behexen's intentions are to instill their new doctrines in all the places they have reduced.
"The grand, majestic oak could not be quite happy in the midst of his enjoyment, while all the rest, both great and small, were not with him. And this feeling of yearning trembled through every branch, through every leaf, as warmly and fervently as if they had been the fibres of a human heart. The summit of the tree waved to and fro, and bent downwards as if in his silent longing he sought for something".
Go grab your headphones with this album and mosie on out to the woods, find an old oak tree and with your bottle o' spirits, escape.
9) Dying Fetus- Reign Supreme
8) Nihill- Verdonkermaan
6) Inverloch - dusk...subside
The teutonic terrorists come riding into the fray of crap metal with battle wielding badaxeness and leave us with Stalingrad This band has a guy named Wolf. Nuff said. Let me tell you this guy demonstrates his power metal convincingly. Stalingrad brings back what's good in metal with metal chanting and vintage riffs.
4) Melektaus- Nexus of Continual Genesis
Standing atop a hill one knee up on a corpse of a vanquished enemy, having just massacred an opposing army, and now spreading through the conquered city, pillaging and destroying everything. Apocalyptic technical drumming vengeance provided by Alvaro Sequeida. No others have the talent of Melektaus from Chile.
3) Astra- The Black Chord
I picked up Astra's new one in anticipation of their Roadburn performance and I also heard people raving about the Weirding, Astra's last album. Since then the album has been on repeat and it gets better every time. This is nothing but top-notch musical art at its best, mixed with a unique take on progressive music. And I'm talking progressive like Moog keyboards and double guitars It is refreshing to have a prog rock album come out during this prog rock resurgance that is not crappy like Coheed and Cambria and Between the Buried and Me. Long live old school Prog!
2) Dordeduh- Dar de Duh
I had an interest in what Hupogrammus (vocals and multiple instruments) would be putting out since separating from Negura Bunget. But I had never expected such an amazing fusion of transylvanian folk, barbarian instrumentalism, atmosphere, and black metal. I honestly thought I was over the whole transcendental black metal thing. He has created his own world and celebrates spirituality, nature, and the solstices. He created a production studio called Consonance Studios in Transylvania for Dordeduh and holed himself up to put out the most original music of the year.
1) Napalm Death- Utilitarian
Powerful, hungry, leaving no trace of timidity Napalm Death continues mesmerizing us and implanting seeds of aggression. Fusing all that is raw in a unique manner that does not sound excessive is something Napalm excels at. They are able to effectively take bits of everything and give it attitude. John Zorn's brass fits perfectly in this album that contains bits of punk, some thrash, grind, and death metal. They are able to create a certain uniformity of content. Only extreme creativity and talent make this possible. Everyday Pox and Analysis Paralysis are highlights. Actually they're all highlights. All hail Napalm.