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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Weekly album analysis, week seven

This one's a bit (read: very) late, and as such I have something to actually write about this week. Without further ado, let the skimming commence!

Asphyx/Hooded Menace - Split [2011]

You've probably gathered, if you've been reading my blog for a while, that I love the split format, and this is no different. Ultimately a combination of two similar but contrasting in essence bands, this displays the more martial approach of Asphyx well, whereas Hooded Menace's plodding style seems to fall a little flat afterwards - although maybe that's because I don't really like the main riff of their track. [6/10]

Dälek - Absence [2004]

I like to think of myself as quite open-minded about music, and I love this. Far from the 'bitch nigga' approach of most modern rap, this is a sociopolitical commentary done in an intelligent manner. It has a little bit of an industrial backdrop instrumentally too, which adds intrigue and ultimately aids the dystopia that I believe their metaphors warn against. [9/10]

Dead Head - Dream Deceiver [1993]

Can't believe it's taken me this long to hear Dead Head - bloody excellent is what this album is, and it shows that not all thrash released in the 90s is bollocks. It does have some variation on the usual thrash 'hit-fast-shout-loud' theme in its slower parts (most notably the main part of the opener). That said, the standout tracks, and in particular 'Unholy', are the faster numbers. [8/10]

Evile - All Hallows Eve [2004]

I like Evile, and this, one of their first releases, is a good example of why. Only one of these tracks ('Killer From The Deep') would make it on to their first full length Enter The Grave (since which their albums have not been as good), and to be fair, it is the standout track. That's not to say the rest isn't solid, and this EP set the Huddersfield lads up well for a good thrash career. [7/10]

Haus Arafna - Butterfly [2003]

Haus Arafna is a German extreme electronic act - I don't want to be more specific as the influence from various forms of electronic music is quite apparent - for most of it, it would seem that the most obvious point of reference is Throbbing Gristle, but there is also a lot of influence from digital and rhythmic noise, power electronics, and even some drum and bass. Vocals range from tortured to clean to an almost shamanistic Swans-like approach, although they are almost always semi-drowned in swathes of feedback. A wonderful and truly original release. [9/10]

Hellnation - Dynamite Up Your Ass [2002]

Hellnation are probably best described by one of the song titles on this 'ere disc - 'I Love Punk I Love Thrash'. Their brand of thrashcore, obviously influenced by all the legendary 625 bands, is just about right for a quick dose of the stuff. It's not exemplary, but what it is is a good (quick) bit of fun that is actually quite well-known by now. Give it a pop if you like that kind of thing. [7/10]

Iskra - Bureval [2009]

I'm a fan of crust, and a fan of black metal. However, often when the two are mixed, they lose some of the repressed, desolate feeling inherent to both - and that's exactly my problem with Iskra. They're well-received in both communities, but I just don't see the appeal, as their approach feels at best good but repetitive and at worst simply vapid. [4/10]

Joe Pesci - At Our Expense [2009]

Powerviolence is a genre I like quite a bit - the problem is that this is just an average example of it. Sure, the song titles and samples are often hilarious, and the addition of a little grind influence is much appreciated, but the production is often poor and at times Last-Days-Of-Humanity-impenetrable, which ruins what could have been a very strong release. [5/10]

King Crimson - Lark's Tongue In Aspic [1970]

Progressive rock is a favourite of many writers of this blog, but not one of mine. There are, however, some albums I love, and KC's In The Court Of The Crimson King is one of them. This disappoints a little - it's far from the quality of the above. However, that's not to say it has no redeeming factors - it does. Namely one, the opening 13 minute instrumental track 'Lark's Tongue In Aspic Part One', which is brilliant from start to finish. The rest of the album is unfortunately quite lame in comparison. [5/10]

Masonna - Frequency LSD [1998]

This is indeed some crazy shit. But what would one expect from Japanoise? This is a lot more chaotic than most noise - harsh it certainly is, but a wall of noise it is not. Masonna includes some... odd vocals (or at least that's what I think they are), and even some (gasp) quieter moments, in amongst the naturally deafening approach of the rest of the album. This is art of the truly avant-garde. [9/10]

Merzbow - Merzbeat [2002]

If there was an accessible Merzbow album, this is it. Ultimately it uses far more standard drum patterns than most of even his later work, and actually plenty of melody (although moreso in a droning sense than in a conventional sense). Naturally, there's still lots of deviation into harsh madness over the top, but it's done in a predictable way which actually accentuates its contribution to the album as a whole. I'm pleasantly surprised. [8/10]

Sancta Poenas - De Dekadentas Dikter [2008]

I was attracted to this after either Hyperborean Cake or Waves Explosions, I can't remember which, described it as 'depressive rock with a little black metal'. Yeah. Also known as 'essentially Konkurs-era Lifelover with a bit more rock thrown in it. It's good, but not great. Recommended obviously for fans of Lifelover, but also later Shining and LIK. [6/10]

Sheol - Painting Black On The Sun [2007]

Melodic death metal that's not half bad. Sure, it does nothing new - in fact, it's very similar stylistically to Dark Tranquillity's Fiction album - but what it does do is make the listener excited and happy like melodeath should. Remember those days when you were just getting into metal (assuming, like me, you're pretty much a newfag)? This is those days. [7/10]

Ultra//Negative - Finally, I'm At Peace [2011]

Ultra//Negative are another project from one of the members of one of my favourite discoveries of this year, Ramlord. Unlike the blackened crust of them, however, this EP is powerviolence in excelsis - it seems the man can do no wrong. Any fans of powerviolence should enjoy this, although I'd recommend it particularly to fans of the more guitar-based stuff than the likes of Man Is The Bastard. [8/10]

xBrainiax - Deprogrammed [2010]

Fuckin' 'ell, this is FAST. 31 tracks in 28 minutes, or 30 in 17 if you discount the 11-minute closer, and not once does it become unpleasant or overwhelming. That in itself is an achievement, but it is astounding when you consider just how little time the band have been honing their craft. This is fast powerviolence/thrashcore, and very good at its style too. [8/10]

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