A Bend Through Space and Time
Label: Ripple Music
Style: Stoner Rock/Doom/NWOBHM
Country of Origin: USA
Manipulating the finest aspects of a slew of genres, namely stoner rock, heavy metal and doom metal with a healthy splash of NWOBHM Devil to Pay have pulled off something that is truly remarkable. I will state for the record however, that the album starts off a tad on the slower side (for my liking anyway). But when it picks up, boy! It has the power to grab you and toss you back a few decades, to an era when melody, creativeness and talent was appreciated and bands didn’t have to rely on record label hype, gimmicks and well-proportioned blonde torsos to help them sell their wares.
From the opening track I’m somewhat reminded of a release I covered last year from an act named Mutoid Man. At times the rhythms are somewhat familiar but the vocals lean more towards the traditional side of the rock/metal arena rather than the more aggressive style the aforementioned act employ. Steve Janiak has an impressive set of pipes, boasting a range that would be more than comfortable in a number of genres and more impressively than that a quality which could well be heralded throughout metal’s illustrious history.
The music flows remarkably well, with nary a note that appears out of place. The word mellow comes to mind, especially if, like myself, the listener enjoys primarily more of the brutal, malevolent side of the metal spectrum. Although with that in mind there are a few tracks that gallop sporting more of a doom and or a NWOBHM vibe. Laughingstock sports a great vibe relying more on a stoner rock/doom edge (ala Mutoid Man) whereas The Meaning of Life has a toe-tapping, epic themed Southern rock groove that rarely lets up, admittedly one of my favorites.
Recommended Daily Dosage is a ‘barn burner’ and brings to the album to a faster paced plateau, an addictive track in which the listener may their limbs fighting an urge to whip the torso around like a ragdoll.
Another highlight, within an album that is in essence from end to end one continuous highlight, is Your Inner Lemmy. This track screams homage to Lemmy (RIP - a legendary - genre defining - metal God) and strangely has, as well an obvious Motorhead feel, an early Rainbow edge. A great tune with fantastic dirty rock n roll lyrics to boot to make one wanna’ raise both middle fingers to the mainstream music scene.
The last track pulls the album together nicely showcasing the bands masterful ability to blend numerous genres whilst keeping the fluidity aspect intact, front and center. I detect Candlemass themed riffage throughout this track but I don’t mind in the slightest as it fits very well and only adds to the overall addictive nature of the album. An album that is a likely contender to top my ‘best of list’ -16’.
Label: Co-release- Satanath Records(Russia)
Evil’s Records (Panama)
Country of Origin: Venezuela
Style: Death Metal
In showcasing riff structures and constantly shifting rhythm structures Evil Reborn display the power to transfix the listener as this album delivers, constantly and throughout I might add, everything a demanding fan of the genre yearns.
All the tracks found here are tight, brutal without degenerating into mere chaotic noise, exciting, melodic and never once drag on into boredom territory.
The percussion, drums and vocals meld seamlessly, accentuating each other, never once seeming out of place or vying for superiority in their co-existence.
In instances I’m reminded of stand-out tracks by Black Dahlia Murder though not to the point where I would even deem Evil Reborn plagiarists but rather an act who have very clear influences. An element which will work well in garnering them support as the style is somewhat already familiar and respected.
As if you haven’t already guessed Throne of Insanity is an album I am pleased to highly recommend, though am more than inclined to bogart all to myself. Meticulously created by an act who need kept tabs on from an area I wouldn’t even associate with the metal genre but rather with exotic fruit or even perhaps a talented soccer team I’ve seen featured in a World Cup or two.
Label: STB Records
Country of Origin: Canada
Style: Stoner Rock/Doom/Sludge
Shallow Graves opens with Absurd Condition an amazing introduction to what Olde offer, if like me you are a true virgin to the band’s musical output, a heaviness infused with just the right amount of fuzz and plenty of attitude.
Shallow Graves sports a vocal style, courtesy of Doug McLarty, in a similar vein to ProPain, in essence a hard core edge which does naught but complement the music perfectly.
Endless crawls from the starting line on a sludge and distortion powered vessel it maintains a lazy tempo throughout but delivers everything a fan of the genre wishes topped with addictive groove and riffs that do naught but get stuck in your head for hours to follow.
The next track, Limb from Limb, has instantly leapt to one of the year’s best for me mostly by way of its origin and the excellent way in which it’s performed with attention to detail. Lemmy (RIP) would, I believe, be more than proud! The original version has long been a favorite Motorhead track that still remains mostly unappreciated. This version screams NWOBHM (albeit soaked in sludge) and has the power to lift the original from its obscurity and propel Olde to a much larger, deserved, audience. An amazing homage (more than by virtue of the fact that it isn’t either Ace of Spades, Orgasmatron, We are the Road Crew or Killed by Death) and fitting tribute that I can’t seem to be able play loud enough!!
Bringing Shallow Graves to its climax is a thunderous track entitled The Turning. Infused with flowing melody passages and a slight progressive vibe this track proves Olde are a force in the genre to be reckoned with.
Show these guys your support. Throw a few coins their way, own this masterful musical concoction and enable them to continue to craft more of what the eager metal masses scream aloud for!
Label: Lord of the Flies Records
Country of Origin: Italy
Style: Death Metal
Released: February 2016
In moments Daniele Lupidi’s vocal style reminds me of John Tardy (Obituary) and overall has an impressive vibe that fits the music very well.
In essence Valgrind offer what only a small portion of the death metal community does. Speech of the Flame is an album that seethes with menace and dark effective atmosphere without resorting to a black (metal) or even a grindcore edge saturated with blast beats and hyper speed that many acts have recently employed.
Favorite tracks; The Abyss I am In, Obscure the Sun and the atmosphere drenched introduction old school fueled Watery Grave.
Label: Get Pissed Stay Pissed Records
Country of origin: USA
Style: Stoner/Blues rock/Doom metal
An album that’s far removed from the grunts, groans, brutality and crimson coated carnage that’s more often than not associated with a wide radius of releases within the vast metal universe. As the name suggests Blunt play a slower form of rock, a style that’s melody driven and dripping in distortion, or if you prefer a more widely used term; ‘fuzziness’.
The album opens with a galloping pace, a raw production, an addictive groove laden pleasing little track entitled Cast Your Dreams Away. One of the first things you realize about the vocal style is that it strangely takes a little getting used to. At first it appears not to ‘mesh’ with the music but after only a short while the style becomes a tad more cohesive especially when experienced by an open-minded audience. With that in mind however, there are moments of screamed discontent (for want of a better term) more often associated with darker genres.
Did You Get What You Paid For is another intriguing track. Sporting an introduction with roots better suited in the speed metal/fantasy genre it soon falls victim to stoner rock sensibilities. Catchy melodies and a fun feel make this one a winner. A track I’d assume could only be better if enjoyed while surrounded by great friends and plentiful shot glasses filled with whisky.
Godspeed brings the album to a close. A journey of a track at over nine minutes in length it runs a full gamut of emotions making full use of shrieks, screams and an insanely lazy tempo.
Country of Origin: USA
Style: Technical Death Metal
The rhythms from the very first border on grindcore, are exciting and fluid enough to give your collective, docile, limbs an irresistible, near uncontrollable, urge to do something. The vocals are outstanding, courtesy of Jai Benoit, I can’t put into words how much I like his style although I will endeavor to try. A perfect accompaniment to the music, in fact a marriage made in mosh pit hell to not put so fine a point on it!
The constantly changing rhythm passages are seamless, take for example The Crippler (the first track) at the 1:14, 2:08 and 3:14 marks I can imagine mosh pits exploding with whirlwind ferocity. The second track, Cold Packing (a euphemism, for intercourse with the dead), is no different though more chugging in nature it still delivers what many acts could only dream of creating.