28 Aug 2013

Cryptodira - Recursions [EP] (2013, Self-released)

From Long Island, New York, hails a four-piece band named Cryptodira. Their style includes many elements from different genres and as such could best be described simply as progressive metal. The band is a young one, having been created in 2011, they've already managed to put out two EPs with a professional sound. In January 2013 they released their second EP, "Recursions", which has an astonishingly good production for a self-released EP.

Recursions greets you with a pounding piece of progressive death metal, machinegun drumming, roaring hardcore-inspired vocals and heavy riffing and melodic melodies over the djenty rhythm-section all included. Continuing in a more melodic style "Either Fly or Fall Faster" comes on in continuation of "The Birth of a King", and while this is a good track in itself the entire last minute feels completely out of place and stupid. The bass and drums are keeping some weird rhythm while someone shouts incredibly inane lyrics with a voice that can be described as little else but annoying.
The rest of the EP continues with 3 additional tracks of varying melodic disposition, but the rest of the material is generally more centered around melody rather than heavy rhythms.

They strike me as a band that want to be a few things too many. There's some death in there, some djent, metalcore and progressive melodies. They do some of these elements alright, but ultimately the Recursions EP seems a little too schizophrenic. There are times where a part of a track will stand out, but the merrit of these parts is overshadowed by the weird way the parts are pieced together. It's a shame, because the entire EP is produced really well and sounds exactly like it should, but in regards to the songwriting itself there's still a way to go. Not a long way, but a way nonetheless. I'm missing some uniformity, thereby not saying all the songs should be the same, but there aren't as such any recurring "Cryptodira elements" to keep it all together. 6/10 guitars.

1. The Birth of a King
2. Either Fly or Fall Faster
3. On Sleepwalking
4. Allies to Ignorance
5. The Affirmation

CRYPTODIRA on Facebook
Buy Recursions for pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp

24 Aug 2013

Old Stuff: Excision - The Drowning Tear [Demo] (1993, Self-released)

For some reason there aren't many Dutch bands in the international metal world. The few that have made it are mostly great, but the Netherlands has a virtually untapped reservoir of awesome underground metal. A band such as Excision never really got an international break and as such are more or less completely unknown to the vast majority of metal fans around the world despite the vast quality of their material. The few that do know them most likely do through Excision's split with Paul Speckmann's Master from 1996.

Excision only had a few demos, an album and a split under their belt, and the release in question here is the last demo before releasing their only full length "Dreamality". The demo is entitled "The Drowning Tear" and in congruency with that title does have some minor melancholic doom influences, but for the most part the four tracks on the demo consists of semi-progressive death metal - Progressive for the early 90's anyway.
The demo has unusually good production for a dutch demo tape from '93. Do you expect a dutch demo tape from '93 to be any good? Hell no you don't, but Excision hit the nail right on the head with tracks like Melancholy and My Black, Shining Sun. They had a pretty heavy sound and a unique mix of melody and death metal for their time, rivalling most of the contemporary American bands in brutality.

It is the little things on in the big picture that makes Excision's demo stand out. The little things such as in The Burning Mirror where they gradually increase the speed. Unfortunately it is also the little things that in turn subtract from the greatness of The Drowning Tear. The Dutch band has a small tendency to put in some pretty cheesy stuff amongst all the goodies, such as a bland piece with clean guitars in Melancholy (which are luckily screamed away by the masterly growls of the lead singer after a short time), and My Black, Shining Sun took some getting used to with the cheesy synth intro. Again, Excision comes through by sporting some seriously groovy death metal riffing that they made their trademark on The Drowning Tear. Definitely a hidden gem worth checking out if you're into early Deicide, Morbid Angel and Nocturnus.

1. A Light Without Shadows
2. The Burning Mirror
3. Melancholy
4. My Black, Shining Sun

Listen for yourself

19 Aug 2013

Malichor - Ancient Brew [EP] (2013, Dead God Productions)

2013 marks the 6 year anniversary of Malichor, previously known as Myth. Having released 3 demos and 2 EPs at the time of writing Malichor from Australia, a band that I have previously lauded for their extremely well-written EP "Lurkers in the Crypt" from 2012, return with yet more blackened thrash in the vein of Deströyer 666 and Desaster on their newest EP "Ancient Brew".

The EP starts out with a track of the same name, and we are greeted with a torrent of feverous power tapping, courtesy of guitarists R. Malice and A. Abominatus. There can be no doubt: This is indeed Malichor. The Marduk-esque vocals of lead singer D. Defiler going hand in hand with the aggressive blasts of the drums of R. Morturus, the booming bass of B. Fleshripper and the afforementioned guitars are easily recognizable especially because of the riffs. These are no ordinary riffs. These riffs will stay with you forever.

There's not much negative stuff to put a finger on. The main thing is that the EP would benefit a lot from a clearer production. True, a gritty production can work in a band's advantage in regards to atmosphere, but with Ancient Brew the production seems a little muddy making it hard at times to decipher the riffs.

The most admirable thing about Ancient Brew is the fervor with which Malichor deliver their material. Though not as grimly uncompromising as Lurkers in the Crypt, the Ancient Brew EP has its own thing going primarily because Malichor on this release dare experiment a little more. It doesn't have the same epic riffs as "Demonic Power to Infinity" off the last EP had or the same easy to follow choruses as "Jackal's Spell" did, but stuff like the down-tempo part in "Morbid Intoxication" and . It's not that the 2013 EP is just a pile of experimenting riffs. It has its fair share of barbarous riffs, raw vocals, speed and face-melting solos, perhaps even more so than the previous EP regarding the last bit. 8/10 guitars.

1. Ancient Brew
2. Morbid Intoxication
3. Delirium
4. Black Dog's Lair

MALICHOR official Facebook
Dead God Productions official site

12 Aug 2013

Anatomia - Dead Bodies in the Morgue [Compilation] (2013, Memento Mori)

Anatomia. The very name reeks of death and gore. To connoisseurs of Japanese metal and death/doom Anatomia should be synonymous to great metal. Though not as widely known as Coffins they have for over 10 years now - since 2002 - produced some of the heaviest, most filthy death/doom in the world with a couple of albums and quite a few splits, demos and EPs under their belt.

For those too late to pick up their demos or those just hungry for more gut-wrenchingly sick death metal in the most gory doom-laden way, Anatomia's two demos - Demo 2003 and Human Lust from 2009 - as well as a few songs from various splits and a few live tracks are collected on the 2013 compilation "Dead Bodies in the Morgue".

The music on Dead Bodies in the Morgue are every bit as brutal as other well known bands like Autopsy, Asphyx, Undergang, Coffins and early Carcass. It's churning, heavy death metal with the gory aesthetics of Carcass' Reek of Putrefaction and the putrid, crawling atmosphere of doom metal. If you can't tell, I'm loving every second. The songs picked are probably more aimed at collectors rather than people wanting to get to know the band, and in that way the tracks might scare some people off. They are mostly pretty low quality, and while some dislike this element I think it only adds to the gruesome putresence of the music.

Knowing the band's other material I can't help but feel that this compilation doesn't really do them justice, but then again Dead Bodies in the Morgue isn't a greatest hits kind of deal, but rather a collection of rare tracks for gorehounds already familiar with Anatomia or the Japanese death/doom scene. Also given the nature of the release there are huge gaps in recording quality between some of the songs, but it all fits together to form a picture of the band. 7/10 guitars.

1. Morgue of Cannibalism
2. Funeral Feast
3. Drowned in Sewage
4. Suicides
5. Dead Body Art
6. Human Lust
7. Dying Agony
8. Carnal Mutilation
9. Severed Infant Waste
10. No Way to Live
11. Oozing Child
12. Charred Remains
13. Fiend for Blood

ANATOMIA official Facebook
Memento Mori official website

10 Aug 2013

Minus One World - Sewage [EP] (2013, Self-released)

Finland has a long and proud tradition of doom-laden death metal centered around the gloomy and atmospheric aspects of death metal. Many great bands portraying this style has emerged from Finland in both the 90's and more recent times, but leave it to Minus One World from Salo to break the traditions. Minus One World was created in 2008, but we would write 2013 before hearing any actual releases from them.

Where tradition dictates that Finnish death metal would be filthy and abrasive, Minus One World are upbeat and almost pleasant. When traditional Finnish death metal is slow and churning, Minus One World are fast. Among the thrashy riffs and roaring vocals there's really only a few things tying them to the Finnish scene. Obviously all regional scenes have deviations and new tendencies, but with Minus One World's first EP "Sewage" it is primarily the thick production that lets the mind wander to the gloomy forests of the land of a thousand lakes.

It may sound strange to some that the young Finnish band have waited 5 years before releasing anything. But this has a certain benefit; The Sewage EP doesn't really have those inferior, juvenile and undesirable qualities that many young bands have on their early material and as such feels a lot more polished, something that is clearly evident in the material they present on the EP. It doesn't suffer from many common birth defects like shitty production, half-assed songwriting and riffs that go nowhere.

But even so there are a few unsavory things present on the EP. Minus One World focus on a more melodic and groovy approach than many other bands, and especially when you throw in thrash riffs you really have to make sure your riffs are rock solid, and unfortunately they aren't. The fledgling band deliver their material with much energy and fervor making it hard not to get dragged in and carried away and just enjoy the music, but I think that it is an EP one wouldn't be enticed to return to. It has its fast and slow parts, it has groovy parts and more brutal parts, but overall Minus One World's Sewage EP is an uninteresting effort when compared to other bands of the same type. 6/10 guitars.

1. Kalli Halki Maahan
2. Target
3. Empire Strikes Back
4. Sewage

MINUS ONE WORLD official homepage
MINUS ONE WORLD official Facebook

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4 Aug 2013

Old Stuff: Redrum - Power Corrupts [Full lenght] (1989, Self-released)

Redrum from Sacramento, CA, though not a band with a very original name, are by connisseurs considered to be a classic underground American thrash band. They only ever released a handful of demos of varying quality, but the main attraction here is their one full length album "Power Corrupts", which was re-released in 2007 by Evil Legend with new artwork (and thank god for that, 'cause the old artwork was terrible).

Redrum is as 80's as they come. Thrash riffs coming out the ass, d-beats aplenty and raw vocals with affinity for USPM-esque screams aswel and powerful basslines. All in all a great recipe for political thrash metal straight from the states. Unfortunately the otherwise classic songwriting gets a proverbial kick in the groin by one of the most tinny and flat productions I've ever heard. Many thrash bands of the mid 80's had terrible production, and often this added a certain flavour that connected all the American bands of the time, but with Redrum it can sometimes be hard to focus on anything but the hihats which are being brutally punished repeatedly. It's a terrible shame because the riffs and solos are fantastic. The band's genuine thrash riffs could pull teeth, and songs such as the title track Power Corrupts and Greenhouse are well worth a spin.

If you feel a need to get back to basics with thrash and you can get around the shoddy production, Power Corrupts is a gem of American metal often overlooked.

1. Frontline
2. Into the Ovens
3. Commando
4. M.I.A.
5. Power Corrupts
6. P.T.L.
7. Greenhouse
8. Smear
9. Disarm and Survive
10. World War III
11. Aftermath
12. Random Violence
13. Evil's End

Listen for yourself