About Court In The Act.
Comments make our work worthwhile. If you really enjoyed an album, tell us about it, we'd love to hear from you. If you hated it, tell us why.
Although music is a major part of all of our lives, we all have some form of external life. If there are periods in which no posts are added, I'm sorry, but that's how things happen. Even though I love blogging like this, sometimes I can't muster up the desire within myself to write about yet another album.
I'd like to say too that Court In The Act will never be run for personal profit. This means no advertisement, no premium schemes, and no LinkBucks. Megaupload is used because it strikes a fair balance between ease of upload and ease of download.
Saturday, 30 July 2011
I was drawn to this sucker from it's brilliant, old-school cover art, but stayed for the bands mix of Swedish Death Metal and American Death/Doom: think Dismember mixed with Autopsy. The production is dirty but clear enough for everything to be heard, and the riffs are just good old-fashioned awesome. I also like the vocals: they are nowhere near as inhuman as other vocals that you might hear, but they are strong and dripping with hatred. This is just a rock solid release, one that I am enjoying maybe more than I should, considering that while the band bring their own unique energy to the record, it's a sound that has been done before. As nn aside, the last group of songs on this album are actually from the bands early demos, so this one is a comprehensive collection of the bands work. I love that idea.
Check this one out, you won't regret, unless you are sick of the OSDM Revival.
So to be totally honest, even if I wasn't learning to play the banjo and listening to Willie Nelson back in 2009, there is a very good chance I would have missed Temple of Dark Offerings, from the now sadly defunct Ascended. And even if I had not been debating Joni Mitchel vs. Joan Baez with my folk friends and father(answer: JOAN BAEZ) and was still fully invested in Extreme Metal, I would still have probably just discovered this brilliant, brutal and dark Death/Doom EP this year.
Regardless, this one is a must listen for any fans of the Old-School Death Metal revival that is in full swing right now. Temple of Dark Offerings is filthy, dark and heavy: each of the 4 songs are loaded with skull crushing riffs, nasty bass work and thundering drums. There are also some cool disEMBOWELMENT type parts throughout the record, and the vocals are a high-point: the expected guttural growls are found throughout the record, but there are some vocal parts that remind me of Exhumed, and the use of a high shriek is always welcome(and too rare in modern Death/Doom in my opinion).
They say "better late than never." And after checking this EP out, I could not agree more. Hopefully the members of this band find a way to make music again, because Temple of Dark Offerings, despite its length, stands toe to toe with any OSDM Revival release made so far.
Friday, 29 July 2011
.mp3 @ 320kbps
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Persona 101: Edited for spelling and grammar.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
This first EP was just a taste of things yet to come with Bloodbath, recorded after Dan Swanö (Yes, the god of side projects: Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, Nightingale), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) and Anders Nyström (Katatonia) decided that they should form an ultimate death metal tribute band at a party, that's what you get; straight up Swedish death metal and while it's nothing super special, it's just pulled off really well on here and that's why I love it. Enjoy.
.mp3 @ 320kbps
I also just realised the .zip file is incorrectly labeled as being released in 2002.
1. My Dying Bride - A Sea To Suffer In (from The Angel And The Dark River)
2. Anathema - Cerulean Twilight (from The Silent Enigma)
3. Paradise Lost - Gothic (from Gothic)
4. Opeth - Demon Of The Fall (from My Arms, Your Hearse)
5. Katatonia - Brave (from Brave Murder Day)
6. diSEMBOWELMENT - The Tree Of Life And Death (from Transcendence Into The Peripheral)
7. Sorrow - Human Error (from Hatred And Disgust)
8. Swallow The Sun - The Justice Of Suffering (from Hope)
9. Cenotaph - Larvs Of Subconcious (from The Gloomy Reflection Of Our Hidden Sorrows)
10. Dragged Into Sunlight - Boiled Angel, Buried With Leeches (from Hatred For Mankind)
The second half of this one is a lot more extreme than the first half, which has a tendency to gothic doom.
Monday, 25 July 2011
Man. 2009 was a great year for me.
Bowerbirds released Upper Air.
Iron and Wine dropped the brilliant compilation album Around the Well.
Neko Case gave us the criminally under-rated Middle Cyclone.
Megafaun released the best album of the year in Gather, Form, Fly.
Bon Iver continued his evolution by handing us the Blood Bank EP.
Indie gods The Antlers released Hospice, of which my opinion is very well known(its the greatest thing ever.)
There is more( a lot more), but I listed off those fucking amazing albums to prove a point: in the year two-thousand and nine, I was flat out uninterested in Metal of any kind. I was fully absorbed in the glory and majesty of true American music: Folk and Country. I still love those styles of music with a burning passion. But early in 2010, I came back to my first, and true, love: Extreme Metal.
Sadly, 2009 was a lost year for me in terms of Extreme Metal. And it is only this year that I have begun to dig back in time and check out all those albums I miss. So for the next few days, my posts will focus on those brilliant 2009 releases I completely missed as I played my banjo and wrote folk songs with my dad(who was a folk musician who never took off.)
One of the first releases I checked out was Vengeful's The Omipresent Curse. A quick tl;dr version: Vengeful are a mix of Odious Mortem and Ulcerate. If that interests you, you can go ahead and stop reading. But as an internet blowhard, I feel obliged to give you a more complete write-up.
The first thing that stands out about this record is the sense of darkness: this is a heavy, heavy record, and is very, very dark. The band is capable of playing fast, but often focus on mid-paced and slower paced technical flourishes ala Ulcerate. But the albums guitar tone, general production and vocal attack sound a lot like Odious Mortem's Cryptic Implosion. Those are two pretty badass bands to be compared to, and for the most part the band lives up to it. This is a solid record, and one I am glad I was able to re-visit.
Strange band from United Kingdom, formed in 1975 by Alan Parsons and now split up for twenty years. Except Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, the other musicians were just guests, through the years, in every albums of the band. Playing a sort of progressive rock pop-influenced, they eyed different musical directions, sometimes approaching a sound more medieval, sometimes more easy-listening. Many see this album as his masterpiece. I could recommend it to you for the two amazing songs "Old and Wise" and "Eye In The Sky".
1. At The Gates - City Of Screaming Statues (from Gardens Of Grief)
2. Darkthrone - Sempiternal Sepulchrality (from Soulside Journey)
3. Pestilence - Deify Thy Master (from Consuming Impulse)
4. Incantation - Golgotha (from Onward To Golgotha)
5. Immolation - No Jesus, No Beast (from Failures For Gods)
6. Asphyx - Last One On Earth (from Last One On Earth)
7. Grave - ...And Here I Die... Satisfied (from ...And Here I Die... Satisfied)
8. Malevolent Creation - Systematic Execution (from Retribution)
9. Carnage - Death Evocation (from Dark Recollections)
10. Master - Funeral Bitch (from Master)
N.B. Where there is not yet a link to an album or a band does not mean that there will not be that band on the blog by the time you read this.
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Feels good man.
Anyway, since I am back behind the keyboard in an official capacity, it's time to get back to the contributing.
What I have for you today is one of the few truly solid Black Metal releases of 2011, which has been a terribly slow year for the genre. Morbid Blood, by Greek Black Metal warlords Ravencult, is not one of those "By the Dark Lords, Black Metal has changed forever!" type albums: that is not how these guys roll. But it is just rock solid, fun as hell and very honest traditional Black Metal.
Any self-respecting fan of Black Metal is going to dig this. Honestly, if you claim to be a Black Metal fan and don't like this record, you are either a poser or a cynical Black Metal hipster. Which is it?
Saturday, 23 July 2011
1. Death - Evil Dead (from Scream Bloody Gore)
2. Possessed - Death Metal (from Seven Churches)
3. Morbid Angel - Maze Of Torment (from Altars Of Madness)
4. Autopsy - In The Grip Of Winter (from Mental Funeral)
5. Carcass - Incarnated Solvent Abuse (from Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious)
6. Obituary - 'Til Death (from Slowly We Rot)
7. Bolt Thrower - World-Eater (from Realm Of Chaos)
8. Cannibal Corpse - A Skull Full Of Maggots (from Eaten Back To Life)
9. Entombed - But Life Goes On (from Left Hand Path)
10. Deicide - Revocate The Agitator (from Legion)
Please note that just because a link to the album does not exist on this page, does not mean it does not exist on the blog. Indeed, as time goes on, it is more likely to exist elsewhere, as this page will not be updated.
The Killswitch Engage cover of the title track is execrable, don't listen to it (felt it inappropriate to mention that in the same paragraph as a tribute).
Friday, 22 July 2011
Anyway, enough of my shit that you don't give any fucks about. On to the music, and in this post I have for you one of the single greatest slabs of Powerviolence ever created, Fifteen Counts of Arson. To me, His Hero Is Gone are the single best Powerviolence band of all time, and this record completely and utterly proves it. Between the excellent vocals, the thundering bass production and the sheer intensity and brutality of the songs(like a mix of early Napalm Death, Infest and EyeHateGod) Fifteen Counts just flat out dominates. This is music for taking on The Man, which is the exact kind of music I need right now.
Hand me the gasoline so I can burn this mother fucker down.
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!
~220 kbps VBR
Thursday, 21 July 2011
~250 kbps VBR
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
~200 kbps VBR
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!
N.B. This has demo versions of 'Submission Is For The Weak' and 'Pandemonic Hyperblast' as bonus tracks.
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!
Monday, 18 July 2011
~210 kbps VBR
"Fly From Here" is the first album by progressive rock gods Yes since 2001's "Magnification", an unexpectedly jazzy album which made use of a full orchestra. However, the big thundering trumpets have been dropped for their 2011 effort, and instead the title track is a largely reworked and expanded version of a demo track that was floating around in 1980, when half of The Buggles were part of the band. The reason this track has been used, though, is because those two Buggles - Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn - are back along with Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White, returning the band to what is essentially the "Drama" lineup. Well, "Drama" is one of my favourite Yes albums, so "Fly From Here" should pick up where that masterpiece left off, right?
As far as 24-minute progressive epics go, "Fly From Here" is far from epic. Yes, the instrumentation is very nice, the various choruses are almost catchy and the song sounds very good, but it just doesn't feel big. If I were to listen to, say, "The Gates of Delirium", it would be an experience that would take me on an adventure, leaving me mentally and emotionally drained at the end. "Fly From Here" on the other hand feels more like three 6-minute tracks bookended by an overture and an outro. And furthermore, certain parts of the song (particularly "Sad Night at the Airfield") are very tepid, and somewhat lack the trademark Yes energy that we've come to love over the years. I'm sure that could be attributed to the simple fact that Yes are getting old, but even as recently as "Magnification" the band have sounded youthful and energetic.
And speaking of energy, the singing. When "Drama" was released, most reviewers made a point of the fact that Trevor Horn sounded a bit like Jon Anderson anyway. And given that new singer Benoit David was from a Yes tribute band, it stands to reason that he will too. And he does. David is certainly a good singer (I've listened to live versions of older Yes songs and can attest to that), but his vocal performance on "Fly From Here" sounds somewhat uninspired. The only songs on which he puts any real "Oomph" into the vocals are "Life On a Film Set" and "Into the Storm". And in places on the album, his singing is almost drowned out by the backing singers, Squire and Horn.
Which brings me onto another point: Trevor Horn produced the album, as he did on "Drama" and subsequent releases. He contributes backing vocals to most tracks. He wrote about 8 of the 11 tracks on the album. He's even in the band photo in the liner notes. Why didn't he just join the band? In performing backing vocals, he clearly proved his singing voice was still intact, so why did the band feel the need to recruit a completely new singer for the album? Although I don't think David particularly harmed the quality of the album, he didn't exactly contribute much either (your writing skills are bound to be stunted somewhat when you've been singing other people's songs for 20-odd years).
As for the tracks I haven't mentioned, there isn't really much to be said about them. "The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be" is a rather un-Yes ballad, as is "Hour Of Need". Solitaire is a Howe solo guitar piece reminiscent of "Mood For A Day". "Life On A Film Set" is good once the chorus gets going (the backing vocals contributing a lot to the sound of the 'Riding a tiger' line), and "Into The Storm" sounds like a continuation of the title track (the central motif of 'and we can fly from here' even making an appearance.
Overall then, this 'new' Yes (except the title track is 30 years old) sounds like a much calmer version of 'old' Yes, but without the energy and simple craziness which made old Yes loveable. If you're a Yes fan, go for it. Otherwise, ignore.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
1. Never judge a book by it's cover.
2. Arkhon Infaustus are fucking amazing.
Orthodoxyn is by far one of the most evil, brutal, uncompromisingly dark albums ever produced. Despite their image and connection to the French Black Metal scene(which is the best Black Metal scene on Earth right now), Arkhon Infaustus are as much Death Metal as Black Metal: this album makes heavy use of guttural growls, crushing riffs and even some groove from time to time. But it's also filled with plenty of dissonant, complex Black Metal that the French scene has become famous for. The vocals and production are the highlights of this album: the band makes use of the previously mentioned guttural growl, a mid-pitch, raspy, pained scream similar to Glorior Belli, and a larynx-piercing shriek, often all at the same time. And the production on this album is filthy, nasty and ugly: perfect for ugly music like this. Just check this one out guys: it's utterly brilliant for both Death Metal and Black Metal fans.
232 kbps(means nothing on this record)
Link was taken down. Comment on this if you would like to see a reupload.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
One of those releases this year is Azarath's Blasphemer's Malediction. Azarath have been churning out very solid Angelcorpse worship for over a decade, but Blasphemer's Malediction is their finest work by far. This is some very high quality, old-school Blackend Death Metal, filled to bursting with evil riffs and furious double bass. This album is very fast, only occasionally dropping to mid-tempo's for some flavor. The vocals are brilliantly old-school, and the production is excellent. This is the album we were all hoping Morbid Angel would release this year (my second dig on MA today. Good day). Also, the song "Deathstorms Raid the Earth" is fucking brilliant.
Anyway, glad to be on-board Court in the Act! I'll save all the introduction stuff for another time(probably never). Our readers will learn more about me as time goes on.
One thing I do like is competent, catchy Technical Death Metal that is not loaded with mindless wank. That's exactly what you are getting with Abysmal Dawn's Leveling the Plane of Existence. It's and album chock full of satisfying riffs, satisfying songwriting and satisfying production. I say satisfying only because Leveling the Plane of Existence is not one of those "Oh my fucking god! This is the greatest fucking thing I have ever fucking heard!" kind of Death Metal albums. It's merely good, which is a damn good thing. In fact, after listening to this album, I am convinced the California based Death Metal crew could write and release a competent, fun Death Metal album every three months. They make it look way too easy(and yet we have to wait 8 years for a Illud Divinum Insanus. You mad, Morbid Manson?)
Link removed due to DMCA complaint.
Friday, 15 July 2011
In stark contrast to the Sex Pistols’ more populist, violent way to anarchism, Crass were a band who promoted pacifism and peaceful protest, whilst still having the anarchic quality to their beliefs and their music. This is their debut, and it is often similar to the style that the Subhumans would later develop - its shorter songs and rhythmic vocal delivery being far more pleasing than John Lydon’s forced accent. Whilst later albums would see more experimentation (but not in a bad, London Calling-esque manner), this is quintessential to all punk fans. The later Thatchergate scandal only adds credibility to the band.
Jericho, the man behind the excellent blog Hyperborean Cake, and a contributor to the also-excellent Waves Explosions. He'll be posting one or two albums a week due to time constraints with his other blogs.
HeySharpshooter, who has already posted some guest reviews here; he will only be posting found links from other websites, but crediting the sites they were found on.
Finally, randerson1893, despite his name, is not 108 years old. He aims to post the odd bit of alt-rock, and if I know him, probably some prog. It can't harm to have another JohnRCC around.
Cheers to all of you,
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
So this is my plea to you, the readers of this blog, in the interests of long term sustainability (I think I can personally keep going at 2-3 a day for about another 3 months before I have to start posting shit) that I get some more offers to contribute, lest this turn into yet another blog which has fallen by the wayside. I've seen a few, some of my favourites (aside from the inevitable DMCA takedowns - I have a backup should this happen), and it's always a sad occurence. Even if you don't fit the categories which I ask for at the side (knowledgeable about OSDM or noise), then any time you can offer would be appreciated, even if it's only 1 post a week. My current other contributors, bless them, do a wonderful job, but they're all hampered by the age restraint in addition to various other problems too - JohnRCC's been into music for an even shorter time than me, and Xylem recently deleted his music folder (accidentally, silly fool). Demigod1993 has serious time constraints on his posting recently.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Monday, 11 July 2011
Persona 101: Link is not currently active. It will come back if JohnRCC feels like it - this is more likely if email shows demand for it. 13/7/11
Sunday, 10 July 2011
The concept behind From The Minds Of Madness, written by Blair E. Gibson, is to collate the reasoning behind the choice of band name for various metal bands. For this, the author must be complimented. It is truly an original and interesting concept, which is certainly to be applauded in the stagnation of today where anyone can write any old shit and pass it off as a book.
However, the problems are manifold. I’ll begin with the cover. Featuring a photo of a screaming fellow’s head with cartoonish pictures of a brain, guitar and bulletbelt haphazardly thrown on the top, the whole thing reeks of amateurism. Gibson claims the art to be ‘killing’ – I’d have to agree, but probably not in the sense that he means. Now, I know that one must not normally judge a book by its cover, but in this case, it is aptly reflective of the content.
After a truly heartwarming dedication to the author’s father, the author has a few things to say. Unfortunately, I have to say that reading what he had to say was at times painful, due to the incredible concentration of spelling and grammar mistakes, which along with the overly informal nature of the thankyous and introduction set a negative tone for the actual content of the book. He also includes a contents page. Said contents page details where the ‘other stuff’ (i.e. introduction, foreword, appendix etc.) lies in the book, but for the actual content, it is quite possibly the least useful contents page I have ever seen. It consists of a list, of letters, from A to Z. Page numbers? Don’t be silly, that would be too useful.
Despite the appalling first impression that the book gives (it could truly do with being sent to a decent editor), from Aaron Stainthorpe’s foreword onwards, things begin to look up. This foreword is witty, interesting and at times enthralling, its only downside being its all-too-short length. It’s truly testament to Stainthorpe’s intelligence how he manages to make this little morsel feel like it’s not enough.
The main part of the book is automatically made to look ugly by the ill-considered choice of logos for bands (simply black on a white background would have been best), and the horrific string of brackets after each band name. Said brackets state the band’s genre, location (brief niggling annoyance – Wales is NOT in England) and year of formation – all very well and good, but that is information that can easily be found on the metal archives, rather than the exhaustive process that the author claims. Still, it’s good for a brief introduction to the band, so I won’t flaw it.
What does irk me somewhat is Gibson’s use of genre descriptors. Personally, I’m something of a fascist like this, but there are several aspects of them which annoy me. Firstly, the use of genre names which are either gimmicks or simply do not exist – just because a band claims to play in a style, does not mean that that style exists! These are pretty much the descriptors which happen to describe the band’s activity (stoner metal, which is essentially another way of saying happy sludge in general), or lyrical content (Christian metal). Also, there are many, many non-metal bands included, mainly under the tags ‘hard rock’ or ‘glam metal’, but at times others (the one inclusion of a metalcore band is Coalesce, who are undeniably closer to the hardcore end of the spectrum). This wouldn’t be a problem for me, had Gibson not said in his introduction that it was a book about ‘heavy metal’.
Pedantry aside, serious formatting problems persist throughout the book. It’s not rare that there are entire pages left blank, for no obvious reason other than it happened to be so. Even the short introductions to bands (the ones with bracket diarrhoea) occasionally have spelling mistakes, usually of band names – which might be acceptable with a band who are named after an uncommon word or whose name is not a word, and whose logo is difficult to read, but ‘Athiest’ is unacceptable. The author also seems to be unable to decide on a standard for changing page – at times, he leaves a large blank space at the bottom of a page where a band’s description is too long to fit, but at other times, he spreads said description over two pages, although the former tends to be for moving on to the next letter in the alphabet. Just small things, but they add up.
The descriptions themselves are fine, despite some being woefully short (Stephen O’Malley says that Burning Witch was ‘named after the sound of suffering’... and nothing else), and often quite interesting – as I said, the concept is very interesting and original. They do have the odd spelling or grammar mistake in them, but when you consider the introduction, it’s probably for the best that the author hasn’t attempted to correct them.
My problem lies in the choice of bands – the author seems to have been stuck halfway between taking an encyclopaedic approach (which would have been very difficult, especially with some bands being very difficult to contact), and writing a book which one might read from cover to cover. As it stands, it lies uncomfortably between the two, neither being a book which one can easily read, nor being one which is assured to contain the information for which you search.
This means that there is a haphazard assortment of bands, with many major players in the metal scene left out (although this may be due to difficulty to contact them), and few bands from outside the US, and even fewer from non-English speaking countries, present. This means that whilst there are some who many people would be interested to know about, there are many who are of little more than regional importance (the book starts with a band called ’18 Speed Tranny’, for fuck’s sake), and who I’m sure have few people who care about them.
One area where the author has excelled is extracting information from some bands from whom information is unfortunately rare. It stands to reason that he must have some journalistic beguiling qualities, it’s just a shame that his journalistic ability appears to extend little further. It is a very nice concept, one which had me excited to read this book, but it is done so poorly that it leaves a hollow feeling afterwards.