28 May 2014

Sporadic Slaughter - Thoughts On Our Significance [EP] (2013, Self-released)

Sporadic Slaughter have been lurking in the British scene around Yorkshire for about ten years now, and in celebration of their ten year anniversary chugging out death metal riffs their name was shortened to just "Sporadic" in 2014. Their latest release, the EP "Thoughts On Our Significance" landed on my desk in the summer of 2013, emanating a sense of cosmic purpose, the cover art suggesting a theme of science fiction and astronomy.

Most bands aim to distinguish themselves from similar groups or from any obvious trends, whether they're following them consciously or not. But in that way it seems almost as though Sporadic Slaughter are doing everything in their power to just shoehorn themselves in a spot right in between most half-technically alligned modernized death metal bands, with especially the closing track Devolution of Consciousness bringing to mind something along the lines of Carnifex or Ingested. But time and time again it has been proven that being different isn't necessarily a sign of quality, or vice versa, and in that regard the British quintet excel in their chug-feting brand of death metal. Their sound is crisp and warm, their grooves appealing and their rhythms tight. As it should be.

During my first listening session I had inadvertently listened to the EP four or five times without even realizing it. The formularic nature of Sporadic Slaughter's songwriting makes it harder to discern the songs from each other, groovy as they may be. The dense production also makes details not stand out as much as what would be preferable, meaning that the chugging grooves and grooving chugs of Thoughts On Our Significance prevail in their domination of the soundscapes presented. This only further cements the notion that Sporadic Slaughter's latest EP is a bit "run of the mill" in regards to songwriting, enthusiastic execution or not.

By the time I had written this review I had listened to the EP in its entirety about nine times, and by now certain features of familiarity become apparent, but still only in the sense that it sounds so bloody similar to so many other groups out there. As mentioned earlier the British band play with adequate enthusiasm and dynamics within the band, as is custom and necessary within the genre, but in the long run it's not quite enough to keep things afloat all by itself. 6/10 guitars.

1. Astral Advancement
2. To Become Stardust
3. Progression Through Regression
4. Devolution of Consciousness

Visit Sporadic Slaughter on Bandcamp and listen to their musics

18 May 2014

Rozamov - Of Gods and Flesh [EP] (2013, Self-released)

In 2011 a gathering of four created Rozamov, and since then two EPs have been released. Since the release of the latest offering, Of Gods and Flesh, the group has been reduced to a trio with guitarist/vocalist Liz Doom no longer being a part of Rozamov.

Atmosphere ranks highly on the list of aspects to the EP. The massive walls of distorted guitars, bass and drumming provide the solid core of the manufacture, formed with mood-setting gusts of ethereal vapors around it. Rozamovs boons of bountiful distortion are like sludgy mires of doom metal infused with the thick musk of stoner metal. The simplicity of the songwriting doesn't reflect a lack of talent or will to play within the band, but is moreso a statement bent on dense heaviness. No, their craftsmanship as musicians more than adequately becomes apparent through the massive appeal of the mastodontic nature of their cro-magnon riffs.

Even so the EP is more or less the very definition of hit-and-miss. Basically what you've got is four tracks, two of which are fantastic doom-laden sludge-mounds, the other two being easily written off as boring fillers. Rozamov convinces even the most elitist sludge freaks with their beseeching hymns of disaster, but take a few unnecessary detours down Tradition Avenue on the way there. They're not reinventing anything, nor are they trying to. In that way their 2013 EP is a well spent 20 minute experience into Sludge Country. 7/10 guitars.

1. Famine
2. Empty Sky
3. Shadow of the Vulture
4. Of Gods and Flesh

Visit Rozamov on Facebook
Listen to Rozamov on Bandcamp

9 May 2014

Karonte - Paraíso Sin Fe [Full length] (2012, Self-released)

Since 1994 Karonte have unleashed a slow but steady stream of death metal upon the Spanish masses from their homebase in Cantabria. Except from one change of drummer back in their demo days, Karonte has had a highly stable lineup.

The quartet is most often labeled as melodic death metal, so it may come as a shock when you're met with a fat, simplistic and grooving guitar as opposed to the squeaky clean hyperactive wankery that has been made a custom by especially the Swedish scene. Karonte strive to meet the genre in the old school way, meaning exactly what it is: Death metal with a slightly more melodic tinge. As such they aren't as susceptible to the weaker elements of the genre, namely overly melodious solos and riffs that border on metalcore.

On Paraíso Sin Fe flashy melody comes second to groove-laden passages where guitars, bass and drums go hand in hand. But there are times on their second album where it only seems suitible to go a little more overboard on the whole spectrum. Even when the tide is high their grooves feel a bit too controlled and as such it seems like they're restraining themselves. I get that it's not all about speed and brutality, but Paraíso could stand to benefit from just a tad bit more in that department.

I wouldn't offend Karonte by putting them in a box neatly marked "melodic death metal", because they are much more than that. Tracks like Falaris and Carme show their affinity for the heavier aspects of the genre, while Mercado Infecto's marching pace brings back memories of certain death/doom groups.

Paraíso Sin Fe feels like the product of a band sure of what they wanted to do. It adequately mixes enough different elements to keep things interesting for the almost 40 minutes the album consists of. It seems sincere and doesn't follow modern trends. But even so, with the little variation in tempo evident on Paraíso does as times make it feel like a long journey. With the arguably fastest track starting things off, each songs is more or less a step down, culminating in the bluesy closing track, Gris. I found myself often tempted to take a break from the album because it felt like nothing exciting was going on anyway, and without the promise of a greater track later on the album, there's little reason to listen to the album in one sitting. There seems to be only little thought-process behind the tracklisting, because the flow feels uneven and weird. The title track serves nicely as an album closer as Gris (the actual album closer) is too unlike anything else heard on the album and therefore feels like more of a bonus track or intermission. 6/10 guitars.

1. Carme
2. Mercado Infecto
3. La Piedad De Los Débiles
4. Falaris
5. Repta Humano
6. El Día De Las Alabanzas
7. Paraíso Sin Fe
8. Gris

Visit Karonte's official website