Tag Archives: Groove Metal

Jeff Loomis – Requiem For The Living(2013)

Taking a break from Nevermore in 2005 has given guitar player Jeff Loomis a chance for artistic freedom, but while he can and has created instrumental works that can stand by themselves, he continuously chooses to work with vocalists. The result is, his recent releases are all about this really cool balance between his role as a shredder and as a riff-writer; and when those two are equal in strength, you get a really heavy thing going on. I’m talking of course about Jeff’s most recent EP released on April 16th, “Requiem For The Living“.

So, let’s talk about the music. The title track on this short release was actually featured on Loomis’ previous album – why? I have no idea. It’s a classic heavy metal\shred piece, but the real beatdown begins with track 2 “A Liar’s Chain“. Moving in an even more new-school direction than before, this song is such groove metal attack! you’d think Lamb of God are playing(including the snarling vocals) if it weren’t for those later melodies and solo section.

Speak of Nothing” continues in a similar but sped-up fashion, more than bordering on melodic death metal with those aggressive drum patterns and the super-melodic chorus! It can only be described as riff-tastic hybrid, combining the straightforward attitude of a killer metal band with Jeff’s recognizable guitar tone and intelligent composing style. Oh and it’s catchy as hell..

The last track on “Requiem For The Living” seems to just go all out melodic DM, it’s brilliant. Not sure if this was intentional, maybe Jeff just wanted to write a heavy song? But the whole thing just crawls with a sick vibe reminiscent of Carcass‘ “Heartwork”, especially due to Jue Nurre’s work on vocals(and guitars). Such a splendid track, here is “Glass Roots“:

This short EP is packed with great heavy and melodic music by some super talented folks, making me wish it was a longer, full album! Jeff Loomis‘ collaborations with other musicians always deliver, and as usual I will be following up on any future releases by him. This killer EP gets a definite score of 9/10 from me! And hey, if you like what you hear, you can get it on iTunes at such a low price it’s ridiculous.


Destrage – The King is Fat’N’Old(2010)

More melodic, more “core”,  and more shred! “The King is Fat’N’Old” is overall a much more progressive album than its predecessor, 2007’s “Urban Being“. While the older album seemed to cater mainly to the Thrash\Groove Metal crowd, this 2010 release branches out genre-wise, resulting in a really diverse record!

Luckily, the band achieves this without losing their trademark heaviness; guitar player Matteo Di Gioia still got a lot of tricks up his sleeve, which he executes in a hyperactive manner, notably adding a lot of shred to the more faster tracks. Combined at times with top notch “Core” elements, the contrast between these sonic forces is brilliant and reminds me of Ex-All Shall Perish guitarist Chris Storey’s studio work on their second effort, 2008’s “Awaken The Dreamers“.

All this is not to say that “The King is Fat’N’Old” lacks oldschool killer speed or downtuned grooves. It’s all here, intensly packed together with the force & discipline of a Death Metal record, though Destrage constantly diversify their music and therefor can’t really be labeled so easily(initially I wanted to call them “modern metal” but it’s actually an insult when you think about it). Check out the video below to hear Track number 2 – “Twice the Price“:

Had enough pinch harmonics?(; On the lyrical side, these guys still confuse me quite a bit. Considering their intentional nonsensical & abstract style, trying to find meaning in their sentences is a pretty surreal mission, more exhausting than fulfilling. This makes the vocals feel a bit monotonous after a while, and I guess this is the only disadvantage to “The King is Fat’N’Old” .

Things end with the instrumentals “Way Out” and “Back Door Reprisal” which are good but can be seen as overdoing it in the creative sense. I mean, for god’s sake, the entire album is already instrumentally challenging. Well what can you do..In short, this one’s a damn heavy album with tons of guitar chops & pounding drums with double bass! Having just toured Europe with groups like TesseracT, Sybreed and Chimp Spanner, I’m obviously not the only one who thinks Destrage are a sonic success!

Favorite tracks: “Backdoor Epoque”, “Smell You Later Fishy Bitch”, “Collateral pleasure”

The band’s Facebook page

Destrage – Urban Being(2007)

Italy’s Destrage use a groove-oriented thrash metal rhythm as backbone to their music on “Urban Being“, but only in order to set the scene for a more progressive use of their instruments, achieving a brilliant result that crushes the borders of sub-genres as well as the band’s competition. They render the traditional mediocre and surpass it, musically reaching a higher ground.

First worth mentioning is guitar player Matteo Di Gioia, who’s brimming with talent and bursting with ideas on this release. His riffs & choice of chords seem to always have a twist to them – a hint of shred, a dissonant chord – these always utilized in a tasteful manner. The guy’s obviously influenced by Pantera‘s Dimebag Darrel, but he has a trademark sound & style of his own. Combine his guitar acrobatics with the rest of the band and you got one explosive effort!

“Urban Being” starts with the tracks “Trash For Sale” and “Art For Free”, and just by comparing between these two titles you can tell this album doesn’t hail modern society, and is all about mocking it. Though saying art’s for free is not automatically a negative statement eh? Food for thought, but more to the point – these two songs are just a blast, and while initially sounding solely aggressive, the band also has a knack for powerful, addictive melodies.

As you can hear, Vocalist Paolo Colavolpe’s raspyvoice is excellent for Destrage’s style – The guy also does some fine cleans and the variation is welcome. Next up we have more competent metal in the form of “Self ID Generator” and “The H Factor“, and at number 5, “Joker The Fast” shows the band seriously raising the level of intensity and speed. This track’s structure is pure chaos, making it perhaps the best one on this release.

The truth is every song on “Urban Being” has been throughly thought-out, planned and executed, the only visible flaw being the lyrics. The guys obviously had a lot to say but it seems to me like their message got a bit lost in translation. Sonically speaking it doesn’t matter, but seems like a weird choice considering these guys’ general uncompromising artistic approach. Don’t let that stop you from giving this impressive effort a listen since it is one hardcore ride! Destrage have since released newer material on 2010’s “The King Is Fat’N’Old”, and I’ll be sure to check out what they have been up to!

The band’s Facebook page

Sybreed – God Is An Automaton

On “God Is An Automaton”, Switzerland’s Industrial\Groove Metal band Sybreed combine industrial aesthetics with Djent-y Groove elements, creating an album that hits you with A. Harsh vocals & excellently broken rhythms and B. melodic & catchy choruses. This is not your popular combination often rightfully dismissed by metal fans, but a unique one that works great due to the ever-present industrial vibe, a dark sonic aura covering the rhythmic parts and giving them the needed meaning most Djent\Core and Industrial music lacks.

Sybreed‘s atmosphere is just good. Homogeneous yet with enough vocal and instrumental variation to evade the traps of bland repetition. Vocalist Benjamin Nominet does a brilliant job, his growls and cleans alternately channeling both blackened\gothic industrial\EBM and pure metal. It should be mentioned that while these guys are considered industrial, they keep the electronic elements mostly in the background, coloring or empowering the music without entirely taking over.

With 12 groove-based tracks my say is you are bound to hit a bit of a creative wall and quality > quantity but the numerous tracks on “God Is An Automaton” are diverse enough, serving as options to choose, so no harm done. At the end of the day, while this album has a lot to do with synocpation, it’s more melodic than most modern metal releases and can teach many a djent band how to successfully fuse together polyrhythms, melody and electronic music.


Fave Tracks: “Posthuman Manifesto“, “Destruction and Bliss“, “The Line Of Least Resistance” and the BM influenced “Into The Blackest Light“.

Sybreed’s Bandcamp page

Vexxus – Binary Reflection

Vexxus are a rather new US groove\thrash act. They have a good rhythm section and some Phil Anselmo worship going on, all which successfully managed to catch my attention and make a good first impression. You might be asking yourself: does the world really need another thrash metal band? But thanx to Vexxus’ groove tendencies, as you can hear in “Skies Roll Back“, they don’t exactly fit with the recent trend of (mostly)tired retro thrash. Its a cool track which left me wanting more, and so the only question left is: did the rest of the album live up to my expectations?

First things first, me addressing the singer’s vocal approach as “Anselmo worship” is a bit problematic. I’m pretty sure about the imitation thing but a comparison between the two guys does not do good to Vexxus’ vocalist. Forget about it and it won’t bother you. However, regarding the music itself, I must say Binary Reflection is a bit inconsistent. The riffs first draw you in using a great sense of groove and rhythm, but these qualities do not remain for long and are thinned out and watered down gradually .

These guys are clearly good at what they do and because of that, I get the feeling this album was simply recorded and released way too quickly. They didn’t wait for more good material like “Amram” and “I am Crisis” to naturally surface, and so the following tracks feel a bit like fillers with B-quality riffs. Getting this vibe, I continued to listen with a pretty pessimistic mindset, but the band did surprise me with the clean guitar playing in the ballad “The Last“(which is not the last song, by the way, pun intended).

Overall I am a bit disappointed with Binary Reflection, and pretty sure it could have been a better album. I also really hope Pantera’s legacy is not just chugging away at open strings, since this album has a lot of that going on. Still, some tracks here are awesome and refreshing, meaning would I love to hear Vexxus churn out new material with higher production values. If you enjoyed the music you can follow them on Facebook.