Tag Archives: Metal

Persefone – Spiritual Migration

Spiritual Migration” is an album that has rightfully caught many people’s attention with its unique twist; bear with me here: It’s Death Metal about Buddhism. Yeah you’ve read that correctly. we’re talking about a feel-good extreme metal album. Sounds off? But the concept seems to work surpisingly well, thanks to epic arrangements and a seriously powerful vocal delivery; witnessing these “enlightened”-type positive lyrics being combined with growls is one of the refreshing things I’ve heard all year.

Now add to this bold concept an insane technical prowess that many guitar players will envy (I really don’t understand how anyone could play these riffs, let alone memorize them) and you got huge amounts of potential here. It’s a goddamn riff goldmine that’s what it is! All you gotta do is hack away, it’s all gold. Well..theoretically.

The problem is that this really-awesome-in-theory idea quickly falls flat on its face in reality, mainly because the album loses itself in its own complexity. And though there are countless technical acts who’ll bore you to death with their “musical” endeavours, I was especially disappointed this time around because the premise as I described is at first so epic and promising. Why? Why should we be tortured like this? When all we crave is a few catchy riffs, a killer rhythms section and memorable song structures?

I really don’t have an answer. I don’t know why this band decides to go breakdown on me every few minutes. Is that trend never gonna let up? And I don’t know why they complicate everything, disjointing their riffs into a labyrinth of frequencies and puzzling syncopations that no listener could possibly remember. These two issues seem contrasting but they share something being the most obvious, biggest traps bands can fall into, composition-wise. No matter how good the album’s concept is (and it is very good), the aforementioned frantic composition style quickly becomes obnoxious to my ears.

To offer an example demonstrating a possible opposite direction, as always when speaking about melodeth we can use At The Gates‘ “Slaughter of The Soul“, with its memorable but intelligent melodic guitar-playing, its uber-solid rhythm section and furious vocalist. Of course this is not a review of ATG and I am not saying all bands should take their path, I only imply that metal music is better off being to-the point and should not obsess over the hyper-technical on such a ..stupefying level !

Still, if you are by chance a tech-freak or devour djents for breakfast every day(that is a good idea for a new cereal isn’t it ?), “Spiritual Migration” just might be up your alley. However, if you happen to listen to this band in an actual alley, please choose the street furthest from this oldschool headbanger right here.

6\10 

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The Very Best Of Progstravaganza 13 – PART I

Today’s post will be quite a different one – Instead of covering one album, we’ll be taking a look at a very interesting promotional catalog of songs by different artists published by prog-sphere.com – entitled: Progstravaganza 13 !

Yes, “interesting” will be a fittingly objective word to describe this prog-ish catalog which contains such musical broad range both in terms of its quality(ranging from amazing to downright ridiculous) – and the numerous sub-genres. Anyway, since reviewing all 76 songs makes for a ridiculous task, a better idea would be to tell you only about the very best of this tracklist. Let’s get to it!

This very, VERY long listening experience starts with couple of cringe-worthy cheesy openers, but quickly enough, we arrive at few notably creative groups like Omb, Ornithos, El Trio and Telergy.

Israel’s Omb are an impressively frantic band instrumentally and vocally, immediately reviving this list with a vibrant wild & colorful composing style that includes almost zero repetition. You’ll ever love it hate it, Here’s “An Ordinary Caveman Sings Ode to Obsession“:

Next up at number six we have Ornithos who play quite quirky & surprising heavy music, their unorthodox approach bringing together female vocals, a saxophone and a flute. They do so without losing their metallic edge, and the result is just a lot of fun, grabbing your attention, and also not overstaying its welcome, which is good since the vocals are a tad overbearing.

Less heavy n’ all straightforward, at number eight we got El Trio introducing to us a more playful jazzy style . These guys do a good job balancing their experimental and jammin’ side sound with a coherent song structure on “Descontectar“.

At ninth we have the coolest song so far, by the band Telergy. This instrumental’s intro is such a slow, long buildup its funny, but the wait is well worth it, finally concluding in a brilliant entrance of raw riffage and powerful orchestration. This one literally pulls out the inner prog metal nerd outta ya! A Killer song, solid and diverse, and it’s well mixed too. Here’s “Rumors”:

Follower “Once More With Feeling” by Traffic Experiment may come across as something you’ve heard already, and yeah I’ll agree it’s more retro than original, but the song grows on you, and channeling the classics, it serves as a soothing prog rock break. This might also be a good place to take a break ourselves! ‘Hope you enjoyed Part I of The Very Best Of Progstravaganza 13.


Cursed – One

I got introduced to Cursed through a friend who sent me some online “Ten Best Canadian Metal Albums of All Time” list. Now, I do know the Canadian scene has been prolific in producing quality efforts from both old and modern bands such as Gorguts, early 3 Inches of Blood, and the legendary Cryptopsy. But I did not know about Cursed’s “One” and was curious to hear what some call Canada’s best Hardcore/Metal release. Time to get inside this sick album!

"One"

Being far from a hardcore or punk fan, I wanted this album to somehow surprise me and I’m glad to say it did. Released in 2003, It’s a heavy listen that isn’t defined as hardcore\metal for no reason – the rhythm section’s fast-paced chord strums you expect intersect with downright metal riffs, dissonant breaks and vicious drum patterns, resulting in this untraditional uncompromising beatdown that embraces Hardcore fundamentals but is unafraid to take the genre to the next level; The band infusing their music again and again with newfound layers of sonic aggressions that are very sludgy. Add to that Chris Colohan’s harsh voice and you got a real violent thing going on sound-wise, but not to an overbearing level, since “One” is mixed well.

While I could discuss all tracks, my two favorite here reside at the album’s middle point – the lengthy doom-filled heavy metal-esque instrumental “How Great Things Happen When You Give Up Hope” and its follower “1947“. Kind of a personal anthem, angry and screaming, the latter includes some incredible, instantly memorable moments that define Cursed; a band of ferocity and integrity whose song structures constantly vary but are also always solid.

You could maybe say the band bridges genres on this effort, but at its heart “One” is still a total hardcore album – its just heavier in sound and syncopation more than many metal releases.  The strongest tracks on “One” beside those I already mentioned are probably “Polygraph“, “God and Country” and the lyrically intriguing, frantic “Bloody Mary“. The band’s lyrics in general are never a bore. So whether you’re a fan of the genre, or have a momentary interest in it , I recommend trying this classic release. 8/10

Next time I need a dose of hardcore music, I’ll be sure to check out Cursed‘s other material on their second and third album, fittingly named “Two” and “Three“.

Whales and Aurora – The Shipwreck

On “The Shipwreck“, Whales and Aurora give birth to a sonic landscape that conjures the metaphoric image of a person lost in the bleak, blackness of a solemn night sea, post-storm. A physical, or rather, emotional place where one sees “darkness as a visible noise and not as something you cannot define“, and the “absence of light as a presence of darkness“. Whales and Aurora certainly know how to weave these nocturnal lyrical truths of theirs into dense yet flowing walls of sound, and while the expression is certainly painful, it also achieves a soothing quality by enchanting the listener to take part in the catharsis that lies within.

The above is musically achieved through downtempo, atmopheric post-rock, starting with the brooding piece “Refused Recounting Words”, where vocalist Alberto Brunello belts out the most despairing screams, fittingly accompanied by a doom-ish riff. Equally important is the band’s ability to tone down all that’s violent, reaching a calm mid-song – as if diving into depression, only to rise up again with fiery misery. The harsh and the subtle meld into each other with satisfying ease, making this song a perfect opener for the album.

Above you can hear Track 2, titled “Achieving the Unavoidable”, which is perhaps my favorite song off “The Shipwreck“. It is fantastically musically layered, the harsh bellows and riffs colliding with clean, melodic guitars, and the combination is simply sublime. The lyrics I previously quoted are from this song, and they succeed because they reach out to an abstract meaning of pain that can be universally identified with. I mention this creative approach because it is left out on later tracks like “Abandoned Among Echoes” and takes away from them.

The lyrical issue is minor however, as Whales and Aurora‘s music, just by itself, is brilliantly expressive in tone and atmosphere. Three of the seven songs on the album are actually instrumentals that separate the track list, helping to set the mood and accentuate the album’s existential theme. “The Shipwreck” will drown you in it all, from the initial burst of angst(“Refused Recounting Words“) to the finding of awareness through emptiness(“A New Awareness“) , until finally reaching self-acceptance(“Floating On Calm Waters”). Oh, and you’ll like it!

To hear the band’s entire album head to their Bandcamp page or Facebook page

Lion Splicer – Holiday In Dystopia

Lion Splicer are a metal\punk rock NY group comprised of the “Splicer” brothers, Danny(drums) and Max(vocals\guitar). I remember getting an email from them earlier this year about the release of an EP, but must admit the musicianship on it felt too unpolished back then. However, Listening to “Holiday In Dystopia” it sounds like these two fellas have seriously upped their game!

The album starts with “Jezebel” and you can right away tell Lion Splicer’s metal isn’t so modern in style, leaning more towards the retro oldschool/punk side of the genre. This doesn’t mean the record isn’t heavy, but it often does concentrate more on being a fun, sing-along kind of listen. Audible bass? check! good vocals and the gang shouts add a lot – a cool track overall.

“Whip” is the second song on here and while its lyrics’ meaning evades me entirely, it’s still pretty awesome and right to the point clocking at no more than 3 minutes. There’s a solo section to this track with wah-wah flavored leads, giving it a lot of positive “retro” points.

The title track is pretty solid but I can’t say a lot more for its sake. The guitars aren’t doing a lot it here, which left me to concentrate on listening to Danny’s drumming and the guy does a good job. “Little Conquerers” & “Forgotten Cities” are two instrumentals, with the second being longer, actually showing significant progression in the riffs! interesting piece.

Among the different tracks, “Watchtower” is definitely my favorite. Following a King Diamond-esque frantic intro it hits you with a menacing black metal(!) riff, then slows down for a low-key chorus that’s totally horror punk in the vein of Samhain. Not a formula you commonly hear these days!

Near the end of the album we meet the third and probably the best instrumental here – “Utopia in Regalia“; a very easy-going & bluesy piece, with more wah-wah leads & good bass playin’ that periodically conjure a RHCP-meets-Hendrix vibe. A surprisingly serene piano part arrives just before the track ends in quite a progressive fashion. So glad to hear the guys experimenting a bit with the instrumentation – it works great each time they go for it.

Lion Splicer clearly wanted to make a kick-ass metal album here, and could have just come up with some cool riffs, but they did something a bit different by adding a good amount variation and creative freedom to “Holiday In Dystopia“. This easily saves the album from being mediocre, and lifts it up, making it a refreshing and enjoyable listen! To check out this release yourself simply head to the band’s Bandcamp page.

Lion Splicer’s Facebook Page