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Monday, 19 December 2011

Weekly album analysis, week ten

I think it's my laziness which is causing this to become a fixture on Monday rather than the originally planned Sunday event. Ah well, here goes:

Desecration Rites - Hallowed Depravity [2009]

Blackened death metal is what you ask for with this, and blackened death metal is what you get. It's alright, and gets the blood pumping from time to time, but this is not prime sirloin - it feels all too derivative of Angelcorpse and the like to really do something special. The vocals are also all too often buried in the mix, which allows the distinctly average riffs to rear their head to far too great an extent. It's alright, but I wouldn't go searching it out unless you simply live for the genre. [5/10]

Endstille - Operation Wintersturm [2002]

It seems that the Germans do everything well - thrash metal, death metal, power metal, and a bourgeoning crust scene of late. Unfortunately, Endstille and their militaristic black metal always seem to be a band who miss the main event, and instead decided to play simply passable music. The fact that this was released in 2002, after 10 years of music like this, makes it simply inexcusable to produce an album of such mediocrity and tedium. [2/10]

Gnaw Their Tongues - My Womb Is Barren [2010]

Consisting of one sole 20 minute piece, this EP by Gnaw Their Tongues is somewhat reminiscent of Deathspell Omega's recent Diabolus Absconditus and Mass Grave Aesthetics EPs, in the sheer lack of relent in the chaos. This is certainly more noise-oriented than much GTT output, but it gains from that - riffs are hard to discern, which makes the listener really pay attention, and at times takes them into a whole other dimension. [7/10]

Horna - Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua [1998]

The Finnish black metal scene, along with all Finnish extreme music scenes, is perpetually forgotten under the weighted ominous shadow of happy, bouncy, folky shit. With the emphasis on the 'shit'. Which is a shame, since bands like Horna create dark, dank, varied pace, oppressive shit. With the emphasis on the 'awesome'. This might be a very well-known album by Finnish extreme metal's standards, but it is still perpetually underrated. Remember: it's all about the riffs, d00d, the riffs! [8/10]

Jacula - In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum [1969]

Famed, in the metal community at least, for producing a 'proto-funeral doom' song on this album in 1969 ('Triumphatus Sad', although really it just sounds like a slow version of Blue Cheer), it is often forgotten that these Italians were one of the better progressive bands in the world at their time. The cheesy keys really give this the feeling of a 40s horror soundtrack, but with natural progression to it, a feeling of structure and one of ritual. [7/10]

Oz - Fire In The Brain [1983]

Still got the chorus line to the title track bouncing around my head several days after listening to this last, I can say that this is a great album, and another album that I've been wrong to overlook for so long. I'll get the elephant out of the room: this sounds a lot like Maiden. At their prime. Really, although that seems to be barbed with accusations of being derivative (which isn't strictly true), what Oz do here is take the best bits of, say, Powerslave, remove the pointless 'progressive' parts (it's not progressive when it's been done before!), and generally make an album that could readily be called better than prime-era Maiden. It's that good. [9/10]

Parabellum - Mutacion Por Radiacion, Sacrilegio [1988, 1987]

South American extreme metal from around the first wave of black metal time is generally top quality, and this is no exception. These two EPs showcase two rather different facets of Parabellum's sound - the former is rather more slow and filthy, whilst the latter is fast, energetic, and aggressive. Both feature two tracks, and apart from some rehearsal tracks tacked on to the end of a compilation, these are all they released. Kvltasfvck, and generally awesome. [9/10]

********************************RELEASE OF THE WEEK**************************

Rotten Sound - Napalm [2010]

You all know what a massive Napalm Death fanboy I am, and considering I also love Rotten Sound, it may come as something of a surprise that it took me so long to listen to this release. Man, does it obliterate all expectations. The covers are nearly as good as the musical perfection of the originals, and the original songs are up to Rotten Sound's usual incredibly lofty standards. Get it, listen to it, adore it. That's all I have to say on the matter. [9/10]

Sabbat - Evoke [1992]

Yet another album that I probably should've listened to ages ago, this is based a whole lot more on extremity than Sabbat's more recent stuff (I should add here that this is the Japanese Sabbat). As per usual with Sabbat albums, the whole thing lags a bit towards the end, but every song is still great. It is distinctly Japanese - somehow the bands from there always manage to retain a whole lot of originality no matter how much they try to sound Western - and it seems that both black and thrash elements stay at the forefront of the music. Excellent album. [8/10]

S.O.B. - Osaka Mon Amour [1988]

This EP is a lot like the classic full-length Don't Be Swindle - distinctly Japanese proto-grind/crust which hits several spots all at once. I was once asked by someone, upon listening to a grindcore song, if the song was 'going anywhere'. This question was perhaps the most obvious example of simply missing the point of grindcore - this EP is an excellent example. It doesn't need to go anywhere, because it's already got there. The cover of 'Blitzkrieg Bop' is welcome too (and it sounds little like the original). [8/10]

War Pestilence - Godsfuck Black Attack [2010]

The riffs on this are stellar. For some people, this may blast too much, but the beauty of the riffs (or ugliness, as the case may be) is something to be beheld. Try not to blow your load when I describe this album as a mixture of I.N.R.I., Storm Of The Light's Bane, Fallen Angel Of Doom and Covenant. It's not on the same level as any of those individually, but what we have here is a very good album that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. [8/10]

Listen to samples (11 tracks, 63 minutes)

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