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Monday, 7 November 2011

Weekly album analysis, week six

There's been some delays with this one due to recovering from Damnation Festival in Leeds (a review of which is yet to come), but I hope you'll all forgive me my insolence.

Appalachian Terror Unit/Oi Polloi - Profane Existence [2011]

Both of this bands really fucking get crustcore. Combining standard d-beats with non-standard patterns (y'know, just to mix shit up a little), they create one of the more exciting splits of this year so far. Oi Polloi I knew before - and enjoyed considerably, I must say, but as the more impressive band on this excellent split, I will certainly be looking into Apallachian Terror Unit some more. [9/10]

Ava Inferi - Onyx [2011]

I don't usually like much gothic metal, especially of the female fronted sort, but this, like To-Mera, is an exception. There is an added complexity and panache which is not annoying 'symphonic' elements, and that is what truly sets this album apart from the pack of shit. Whether this is in part due to the legend Rune 'Blasphemer' Eriksen's involvement is debatable - it is certain this sounds little like his other projects past or present. [7/10]

Devil - Time To Repent [2011]

Pure Sabbath worship on offer here - Devil really can craft a riff, and they do so with aplomb throughout this album, which, unlike much retro-rock stuff now, is a reasonable length at 36 minutes. The best track of the album is undoubtedly closer 'Howling (At The World)', in which all the riffs fit perfectly to create a wonderful reminder of just why Black Sabbath are so fucking great. [8/10]

Enslaved - Thorn [2011]

This is Enslaved's second EP of this year, and is supposedly a 'return to old Enslaved'. Is it fuck. Gone are still the epic semi-folky melodies, and to be honest, the whole things feels like a slightly cleaner produced version of 2001's awkward Monumension. [5/10]

Evo-Algy/Taake/Sigh/The Meads Of Asphodel/Thus Defiled - Swine Of Hades [2011]

Although some of these one wouldn't normally associate with black metal (namely Evo/Algy, the ex-Warfare duo), the five bands here fit together very well. It's apparent the varying levels of quality here - Sigh fall well below their usual standards and Thus Defiled are simply boring - but this is a split worth a download or purchase. [6/10]

Fifteen Dead - NecroCrust [2011]

Fifteen Dead play a kind of blackened crust which is quite common nowadays, perhaps its most famed practitioners being Iskra, but they do it in a slightly more aggressive way, including some blasts and the like without losing any of the desolate feel of the wonderful genre mash-up. This EP has three songs and is 13 minutes long, but should sound good to any fan of the style for its duration. [7/10]

Gnaw Their Tongues - Per Flagellum Sanguemque, Tenebras Veneramus [2011]

This is different to all the GTT I've heard so far - it's got far more of a creeping industrial/ambient vibe to it. I certainly feel this will be a grower, but it hasn't leaped out at me yet screaming 'This is a brilliant album!'. I hope repeated listens will reveal more of its mysteries. [6/10]

Hat - Vortex Of Death [2011]

Fairly standard black metal to tell the truth. Hat are certainly one of the less hallowed of the Norwegian black metal pantheon - probably due to their lack of a release back when 'this shit was real' when they formed in 1993. You get what you'd expect - harsh, but listenable production, raspy vocals, a buzzsaw guitar sound, and a mixture of faster and slower riffs. Sounds like a mix of A Blaze In The Northern Sky and Dark Medieval Times. [5/10]

Nuclear Torment - 8 Bit Death [2011]

Videogames are a topic that surprisingly haven't been touched on too much by thrash bands, but Nuclear Torment manage to mix well-written lyrics (at times laugh-out-loud funny) with well-written music here. Within the three songs spread across eight minutes, they showcase many different types of thrash from Sodom to Cryptic Slaughter, but the best part is how well they write a hook, best shown on the title track opener. [8/10]

Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar [2011]

I'm impressed. This is the most I've liked any new folk metal in a while, and it's a DOUBLE ALBUM, for fuck's sake. Solstafir, already well-known to many as one of the biggest metal bands from Iceland, really have excelled themselves here, defining 'epic' well without forgetting the definition of 'interesting'. Expect swathing melodies and shamanic vocals without sounding like Mr. Folk Metal from down the street. [8/10]
Terrordome - We'll Show You Mosh, Bitch! [2011]

Despite the woefully embarrassing title, this is actually a solid thrash album. Certainly ahead of a large number of more recent thrash bands by virtues of the neck-snapping speeds they hit alone, my one main gripe with this is that there aren't really any supernaturally good songs. Good effort from these Polish upstarts. [6/10] 
Today Is The Day - Pain Is A Warning [2011]

I'll admit to being totally new to TITD, and this album didn't leave a great first impression. Sure, it's better than the vast majority of metalcore, due to more interesting riffing styles and more varied vocal attacks (I even sense some black metal in some of the tracks), but I see nothing which really sets the album alight. Maybe longtime fans will enjoy this; I'm afraid I certainly didn't. [4/10]

Vile Intent - Regression To The Mean [2011]

Short, fast, loud, powerviolence attack. It has the slower sections which make bands like Weekend Nachos and Spoonful Of Vicodin more interesting; that's not to say it's yet on the level of those two, but these six songs spread over ten minutes suggest that this band will be able to create violence miracles. [6/10]

Winterwolf/Disma - Split [2011]

Despite the underground pedigree of both of these bands, this split simply isn't all that good. The main problem is the wafer-thin production both sides of the split have, but neither band makes a large impression within their six-minute songs. Winterwolf are usually good, Disma usually great, but if it's recent Incantation worship you're looking for, get Towards The Megalith.

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