Monthly Archives: July 2009

Review: Endstille – Verfuhrer [2009]

Amazon EndstilleWarmongering German black metal squad Endstille attack once again with VERFUHRER, a scathing and abrasive nine-track affair. Incessantly blasting your skull with pounding percussion and decaying your ears with blood-curdling vocal rasps, this maliciously militant outfit doles out diabolical doses of mid-paced malevolence (“Symptoms”) whose razor sharp buzzsaw guitars cut to the bone (“Depressive/ Abstract/ Banished/ Despised”). Assuredly exhibiting a keen sense of dynamics by implementing slower waves of intensity to its arsenal (“Endstille”) while maintaining the band’s trademark penchant for administering skull-crushing barrages of monolithic crust-laden fury (“Hate Me…God?”), Endstille ‘s blackhearted single-minded approach conveys intense waves of blast beated and tremolo picked madness with just the right touches of innovation to shape this release’s belligerent battlefield aura. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

3.5 StarsEndstille is Iblis (Vocals), L. Wachtfels (Guitars), Cruor (Bass), & Mayhemic Destructor (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Of Disorder”
  2. “Hate Me… God?”
  3. “Depressive/Abstract/Banished/Despised”
  4. “Ursprung”
  5. “Monotonusn”
  6. “Symptoms”
  7. “Suffer In Silence”
  8. “Dead”
  9. “Endstille (Verführer)”

GOR Recommends: Destroy Destroy Destroy – Battle Sluts

Review: Deceiver – Thrashing Heavy Metal [2009]

Amazon DeceiverThere’s nothing deceptive regarding the 10-track lean and mean high-grade meets lo fi old school assault Sweden’s Deceiver lays on the ears, as this trio’s tumultuous din captures the darker nuances of the golden age of thrash without sounding rehashed or forced. Whether it be the tortured vocals and primitive skin bashing tandem heard on “Dead to the World” and “Machinery of God” or the grimly grandiose feel emanating from “Graveyard Lover” and the instrumental “Legacy,” even though THRASHING HEAVY METAL yields a strange sensation that you’ve heard this all before if you own a Priest, Entombed, or Mercyful Fate album or two, this squad’s inspired interpretations rise above usual reference points to provide an enjoyable travel back through time. Tacking on a vicious streak laden in vitriolic vehemence, this unit’s display of vintage metal will get the job done for fans of the rawer side of extreme metal’s first wave. www.pulverised.netMike SOS

3.5 StarsDeceiver is Pete Flesh (Vocals/Guitar), Crille Lundin (Bass), & Flingan (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “The Tail’s Of Whom In Shadows Fall”
  2. “Ghost Of Souls & Inner Hate”
  3. “Graveyard Lover”
  4. “Coma Of Death Toxication”
  5. “Machinery Of God”
  6. “Blood Of The Soul”
  7. “Dead To The World”
  8. “The Dungeon”
  9. “Legacy”
  10. “Thrashing Heavy Metal”

GOR Recommends: Mantic Ritual – Executioner

Review: Arise – The Reckoning [2009]

Amazon AriseSwedish death thrash outfit Arise provide 10-tracks of straight from the textbook Gothenburg-style metal on THE RECKONING. Despite this nimble quintet’s far from groundbreaking delivery, the spot-on fury (“No Memory of Light”) and enormous arsenal of breakneck riffs and melodic breaks they employ are cleverly composed with a well-proportioned mix of familiar twists and meat and potatoes mashings, which effortlessly fuses The Haunted and In Flames (“End of Days”). Exhibiting metalcore sensibilities with a reverence for the genre’s pioneers in mind, the latest from Arise is a solid and satisfying affair whose unwavering by the numbers approach rings out with sinister sincerity. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

3 StarsArise is Patrik Johansson (Vocals), Sternberg (Guitar), L-G Jonasson (Guitar), Kaj (Bass), & Daniel Bugno (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Adrenaline Rush”
  2. “No Memory of Light”
  3. “Blindead”
  4. “They Are Coming for You”
  5. “Pitch Black”
  6. “Reckoning”
  7. “Reclaiming the Soul”
  8. “Fury”
  9. “Dead Silence”
  10. “End of Days”

GOR Recommends: Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know

Review: Orcustus – Orcustus [2009]

Amazon OrcustusAn authentic blast of malefic black metal arrives from the depths of depravity courtesy of Norwegian troupe Orcustus, whose eponymous full-length debut comes some seven years after this troupe’s initial introduction. Serving a barrage of vintage buzzsaw riffs (“Jesus Christ Patricide”) and hellacious vocal rasps that wouldn’t sound out of place from lauded black metal affairs of yesteryear (“Of Sophistry, Obsession, and Paranoia”), this unit (who can’t seem to keep a lineup intact) project grim ideals direct from the bowels of the abyss. Featuring ex-members of groundbreaking outfits Gorgoroth and Enslaved, this squad’s display of volatility and viciousness renders a bleak and raw old school assault (“Conversion”), conjuring an ominous sense of hatred and dread with every drum blast and bombastic bass reverberation (“Death and Dissolution”). Perfect for those who flock to the darkness, Orcustus has made a simple yet effective album cloaked in chaos and evil to the bone. www.southernlord.comMike SOS

2.5 StarsOrcustus is Taipan (Vocals/Guitars), Tormentor (Guitars), Infernus (Bass), & Dirge Rep (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Coil”
  2. “Of Sophistry, Obsession and Paranoia”
  3. “Conversion”
  4. “Jesus Christ Patricide”
  5. “Death and Dissolution”
  6. “Ego Sum Chaos”
  7. “Asphyxiokenisis”

GOR Recommendation: Wolves In The Throne Room – Black Cascade

Review: Ensoph – Rex Mundi X-IIE [2009]

Amazon EnsophIndustrial Italian act Ensoph create a chaotic cybermetal experience on the 12-track REX MUNDI X-IIE, setting their apocalyptic visions to a frenetic soundtrack that chillingly juxtaposes harsh electronic noises, Gothic overtones and metallic aggression (“Shame on You!”). Tracks like “Dance High and Shine, Shiva!” shares as much in common with the eeriness of Marilyn Manson as it does the synthetic throb of KMFDM, while “Thir(s)ty Pieces of Silver” sounds like a Dream Theater track defiantly trapped in a Tron-like maze. Championing a futuristic tone chock full of Front Line Assembly-esque mechanical madness leading the charge, this sinister shapeshifting unit’s presentation is far from fresh yet it yields enough intriguing moments (their cover of “Would” by Alice in Chains in particular) to keep the middling PVC-donned EBM and darkwave contingent content. www.cruzdelsurmusic.comMike SOS

3.5 StarsEnsoph is N-Ikonoclast (Voice), Xraphæl (Guitar), KKTZ (Bass), Next-X@nctum (Keyboard), & Xenos (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Evil Has Found a Servant”
  2. “Dance High & Shine, Shiva!”
  3. “Shame on You!”
  4. “Splendour & Majesty”
  5. “In Cinere et Cilicio”
  6. “Whore & The Ashetist”
  7. “Thir(s)ty Pieces of Silver”
  8. “…and I Hear a Voice”
  9. “9xs”
  10. “Disciplina Arcani [un Canto Per l’Esilio]”
  11. “Come in Uno Specchio”
  12. “Would?”

GOR Recommendation: Moonspell – Night Eternal

Review: Destroy Destroy Destroy – Battle Sluts [2009]

Amazon Destroy Destroy DestroyDestroy Destroy Destroy’s sophomore effort showcases a multi-faceted metal attack that blends Viking metal might and symphonic black metal grandiosity with a perpetual classic metal vibe running throughout this unit’s 12-track affair entitled BATTLE SLUTS. Meshing the styles of 3 Inches of Blood, Manowar, and Children of Bodom within the confines of a war-torn battlefield, this battle-hungry sextet bash out a histrionic blast of fantasy metal that goes perfect with a pair of 12-sided dice and a stack of Conan the Barbarian novels (“Agents of Hypocrisy”). Borrowing a chunk of their style from the epic and power metal fields (especially referenced via the atmospheric keyboard presence permeated throughout) while slaying with a convincing twin guitar battering (“Born of Thunder,” “The Wretched Forrest”), those who enjoy metal with a medieval twist will have little problem tuning into this band of warrior’s theatrical offering. www.blackmarketactivities.comMike SOS

4 StarsDestroy Destroy Destroy is Bryan Kemp (Vocals), Way Barrier (Guitar), Jeremiah Scott (Guitar), Adam Phillips (Bass), David Shaw (Drums), & Brian Shorter (Keyboards).

Track Listing:

  1. “The Second Coming”
  2. “Battle Upon the Arctic Plains”
  3. “Beyond the Scorpion Gate”
  4. “Realm of Ancient Shadows”
  5. “Born of Thunder”
  6. “To Die Without Honor (Interlude)”
  7. “The Winged Panther”
  8. “The Wretched Forest”
  9. “The Berserker’s Field of Whores”
  10. “Agents of Hypocrisy”
  11. “The Return of the Geishmal Undead”
  12. “Battle Slut Drinking Song”

GOR Recommendation: Brother Von Doom – Relentless

Review: Mothra – Dyes [2009]

Amazon MothraPolish metalcore quartet Mothra present a succinct seven-track excursion on DYES. This offering blends a potpourri of extreme styles together to form a math-y, sludgy monster that channels death metal aggression and hardcore abrasiveness with hints of grindcore madness (“Squant”) and dastardly dissonance for an extra bite (“Hooloovoo”). Creating a sonic atmosphere where brevity and brutality go hand in hand, this unit fuses a slew of off-kilter elements from all corners of the extreme metal paradigm forming a brash offshoot of band reminiscent of the likes of Poison the Well, Entombed, Gojira, and Botch, making this act essential for those who champion a heavy hybrid spirit. www.selfmadegod.comMike SOS

3.5 StarsMothra is Egon Warynski (Vocals), Pawel Stefan Rosiak (Guitars), Andrzej Burzynski (Bass), & Daniel Szwed (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Squant”
  2. “Hoovooloo”
  3. “Octarine”
  4. “Grue”
  5. “Bleen”
  6. “Fullgin/A”
  7. “Fullgin/B”

GOR Recommendation: Gojira – The Way of All Flesh

Review: Sugar Ray – Music For Cougars [2009] & Our Lady Peace – Burn Burn [2009]

Amazon Sugar RayLet’s begin this double review with a quick (and disturbing) confession: when I was in college some years back, I was a fan of both Sugar Ray and Our Lady Peace. To this day I am still unsure of why I hid my Slayer and Maiden flags during that time period in exchange for mainstream pop rock. Was it just to meet girls, enjoyment of juvenile guilty pleasures that I finally grew out of, or a little bit of both? Whatever the reason, it is nostalgic to some degree to see both of these bands offer their first new releases in at least four years.

Frontman Mark McGrath has put his TV hosting duties on hold to record the 12-track Music For Cougars with Sugar Ray. You may have already heard the summer radio single “Boardwalk” equipped with a feel similar to “Fly” and “Every Morning,” hit songs in a time when Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” dominated mainstream airplay.

On Music For Cougars Sugar Ray also dabbles with 80’s pop (“When We Were Young”), Michael Jackson inspired beats (“She Got The (Woo Hoo)), and West Coast reggae (“Girls Were Made To Love). In other words, the lyrics are not written to make you think and the guitar riffs will not make you want to learn to play the instrument. This music is written to permeate your brain, make you smile for several seconds, and then annoy you when you can’t get the hook out of your head.

Amazon Our Lady PeaceOur Lady Peace is a more talented rock band than Sugar Ray, although the singer-turned-producer Rain Maida has a whiny voice that takes time to warm up to. The 10-track affair Burn Burn has less predictable rhythm patterns (“Monkey Brains”) than Music For Cougars, courtesy of drummer Jeremy Taggert who still kind of looks like South Park’s Matt Stone.

The single “All You Did Was Save My Life” opens the album strong, but some of the softer songs blend into each other too much. None of the songs on Burn Burn are as strong as OLP classics such as “4 AM” or “One Man Army,” but are better than 2002’s Gravity, which was over-produced by Bob Rock, and about the time when I lost interest in the band.

Between the two records, Burn Burn demolishes Music For Cougars in song writing prowess, musical depth (“Paper Moon” on Burn Burn), and overall listening pleasure. Unfortunately, Music For Cougars will receive more radio attention and album sales because of its strict adherence to the mainstream formula and insouciant repetition. –Meds

2 StarsSugar Ray is Mark McGrath (Vocals), Rodney Sheppard (Guitar), Murphy Karges (Bass), Stan Frazier (Drums), & Craig Bullock (DJ Homicide).

Track Listing (Music For Cougars):

  1. “Girls Were Made to Love”
  2. “Boardwalk”
  3. “She’s Got the (Woo-Hoo)”
  4. “Love Is the Answer”
  5. “Rainbow”
  6. “Closer”
  7. “When We Were Young”
  8. “Going Nowhere”
  9. “Love 101”
  10. “Last Days”
  11. “Morning Sun”
  12. “Dance Like No One’s Watchin'”

3 StarsOur Lady Peace is Raine Maida (Vocals), Steve Mazur (Guitar), Duncan Coutts (Bass), & Jeremy Taggart (Drums).

Track Listing (Burn Burn):

  1. “All You Did Was Save My Life”
  2. “Dreamland”
  3. “Monkey Brains”
  4. “The End Is Where We Begin”
  5. “Escape Artist”
  6. “Refuge”
  7. “Never Get Over You”
  8. “White Flags”
  9. “Signs of Life”
  10. “Paper Moon”

GOR Recommendation: Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Review: Devil's Whorehouse – Blood & Ashes [2009]

Amazon Devils WhorehouseDevils Whorehouse unashamedly mimic virtually every significant nuance from the Danzig playbook, starting with the rebel punk of The Misfits, bridging into the experimental discord of Samhain before culminating with a hybrid of the multitude of sounds from Glenn’s eponymous offerings through the years, so if you’re looking for something original, you’ve been warned. If you want to hear worship and tribute done to perfection (by a band who were once a Misfits/Samhain cover band no less) however, this Swedish squad’s admirable affection of the works of the Evil Elvis is spot-on, covering all eras faithfully while producing an uncanny vocal likeness that this lot (featuring members of Marduk) nail down with howling furies intact. In fairness, this crew conveys a bit more than blind Danzig homages, as their admirable death ‘n roll packs a wallop here as well, but BLOOD & ASHES‘ most glaring point of reference precariously sits as its biggest strength and crippling weakness. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

2 StarsDevils Whorehouse is Valentin Maelstrom (Vocals), Makko (Guitar), Morgan Håkansson (Bass), & Hrafn (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Oceans Turn To Blood”
  2. “Wicked One”
  3. “Speak the Name of the Dead”
  4. “The Cult of Death”
  5. “Werewolf”
  6. “Demons of the Flesh/Tight White Ropes”
  7. “Shadows Never Change”
  8. “Smell of the Ancient Ones”
  9. “Face the Master”
  10. “Werewolf Nation”
  11. “Snakes Out the Mouth of Hell”
  12. “Let The Day Begin”

GOR Recommendation: Hatebreed – For The Lions

Review: Oceano – Depths [2009]

Amazon OceanoChicago-bred quintet Oceano stake a claim of being the most pissed-off band on the planet, and if you could decipher the cavernous musings of vocalist Adam Warren and what he was screaming and growling about, they may be right, as the viscous racket adorning cuts like the slow-churned “Disgust for Your Kind” and the frantic fury of “District of Misery” do work as evidence for a lively debate. Make no mistake, the vocals (despite hard to comprehend) are a strongpoint, solidifying this outfit’s abrasive viciousness with a twist to rival peers like Emmure, Misery Signals, and All Shall Perish for the new heavy crown. The 15-track debut DEPTHS firmly stands its ground with a batch of rote yet bombastic low-end grooves, keeping things both excruciatingly bottom-heavy and brutal, yet resonate with an all too standard delivery within the deathcore paradigm. Luckily, Oceano picks up momentum as the album rolls along, managing to venture a bit off the threadbare path of palm-muted breakdown bliss in key spots to implement nuances such as symphonic black metal texture and crisp solos, yet ultimately fall flat in relying on prototypical old hat genre maneuvers that undoubtedly score big in a moshpit of dayglow shirts and bad haircuts yet yield overwrought results on disc. www.earache.comMike SOS

2.5 StarsOceano is Adam (Vocals), Andrew (Guitars), Tristan (Guitars), Jason (Bass), & Daniel (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Descent”
  2. “Inhuman Affliction”
  3. “A Mandatory Sacrifice”
  4. “Samael The Destroyer”
  5. “Fractured Frames, Scattered Flesh”
  6. “Disgust For Your Kind”
  7. “Depths”
  8. “District of Misery”
  9. “With Legions”
  10. “Slaughtered Like Swine”
  11. “Empathy For Leviathan”
  12. “Plague Campaign”
  13. “Abysm”
  14. “Involuntary Demoralization”
  15. “Orificial Execution”

GOR Recommendation: All Shall Perish – Awaken The Dreamers