About Court In The Act.

No albums are hosted here. All files must be deleted 24 hours after download, as they are for review and criticism purposes only - provided you follow this guideline, downloading from Court In The Act is legal as per s30(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. If any copyright holder has a problem with their material being posted here, get in touch and I will remove it. Let me know if any links are broken, I'll remove the post to prevent future annoyance, and will attempt to re-upload the file.

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

Undead Creep - The Ever-Burning Torch [2011]

I am taking a small break from my series of 2009 releases I missed because my life has been rocked by this kick ass new release from Italian Old School Death Metal Revival act Undead Creep.

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.

320 kbps

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2009 Re-Visted: Ascended - Temple Of Dark Offerings EP [2009]

To be completely honest, I have always been a "late to the party" kind of guy. Within my group of friends, I am seen as some kind of music visionary, but in truth compared with a lot of people I am way behind the curve when it comes to discovering new bands and artists. There are multiple reasons for this: I am a tireless researcher, hate risk, and above all hate wasting time and energy. Your "first on the scene" type person will scour the internet, find som random band and go "huh, never heard of them. Oh well, I will buy/download/purchase a digital copy anyway." That's how they get on the ground floor of a musical movement: the very thought of doing something like makes me ill.

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.

160+kbps

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Friday, 29 July 2011

Riot - Fire Down Under [1980]

Did I hear someone say good old-fashioned heavy metal? No? Well have some anyway; I recently discovered this gem on my travels through heavy land while trying to listen to an album from every genre of metal. Needless to say I failed in this quest but I did pick up this beautiful album in my attempt. Riot were an American band from New York formed in 1975, they never really achieved much success despite releasing two or three great albums at various points across the '80s. No, I haven't got a clue what the fuck they were smoking when deciding on album artwork but apparently that 'thing' is a man with a seal's head called Johnny. It's supposed to be their mascot, you know, like Eddie but no where near as cool... but it's all about the music, right?

.mp3 @ 320kbps

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Alice In Chains - Dirt [1992]

Alice in Chains are the best grunge band. Yep, I just said it - sorry Nirvana, but this band chews you up and spits you back out faster then you can say "but what about Nevermind". This is the second album from AIC and due wanting a heavier and darker direction for the band lyrically they jumped stright back into the topic (which is a common theme on this album) of addiction which featured on the previous album but now has been "turned up to 11" so to speak. For thoese who did not know AIC's singer Layne Staley was a herion addidict and this addiction he never overcame as he died a recluse in 2002. This album takes the dark sound of grunge and gives it a metal feel with heavy riffs, interesting solos and a unique vocal harmony between Staley and Cantrell (guitarist and backing vocals). Highlights for me would be "Them Bones", "Angry Chair" and "Junkhead" but these are gems in a sea of gold as, for me anyway, only one of these songs is a tad sub-par (God Smack) but is nothing to bring the album much. For a different take on metal and grunge listen to this catchy, heavy, dark album - you will not be disappointed!

MPED-4
128 kbps
Now once I get back from my trip to Holland, I'll get posting some music by The Cure.

Persona 101: Edited for spelling and grammar.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Bloodbath - Breeding Death EP [2000]

Ah Bloodbath, this is the album that got me into Bloodbath and Bloodbath are the band that got me into death metal. Being a massive Opeth fan, even more so then than I am now, when I heard about a supergroup death metal band that included both Mikael Åkerfeldt and Martin Axenrot I had to check it out. This extended play was the first thing I listened to and I was hooked. I then went on to the full spectrum of death metal but less about me.

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

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I also just realised the .zip file is incorrectly labeled as being released in 2002.

Gabriel Fauré - Requiem [1890]

This is the one piece of choral music that I have found to my liking. And it is superb - it builds atmosphere in a way that is almost untrue, such is Fauré's mastery of tonality and dynamicism. I'll add here that the artwork is not correct - I have no idea who is on this sound recording (I believe that this makes this a legal download, as it is not possible to find the copyright owner).

160 kbps

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Court In The Act Presents Death Metal: A Slow Demise

This is another part of the death metal series; from here on in, the parts are not ordered. This aims to expose the quality in the realms of doomy death metal, which naturally means long songs, thus a large filesize.

Tracklist:

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.

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Monday, 25 July 2011

2009 Re-Visted: Vengeful- The Omnipresent Curse[2009]


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.

320 kbps

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Tom Waits - Mule Variations [1999]

Tom Waits.You may not know this old american singer, you'll never forget his voice, described as sounding like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car. Singing since the seventies, he composes all his songs himself, or sometimes with his wife, and he is not afraid to explore some experimental sounds, usually evolving in a sort of gloomy blues, sometimes rock influenced or jazzy. What about this album? It marks the return of Tom Waits after seven years of silence. Apparently, these long years have saddened the old man... As shown in the cover, the mood is not conducive to smiles. This album sweats sadness, darkness, and melancholy. However, even if it sounds sometimes disturbing, uncomfortable, you'll always find a kind of beauty trough the songs...A masterpiece.

MP3, 320kb/s

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Arkhan - M.A.C.H.I.N.E. [2006]

Best album from this incredible technical death metal band, destroying everything from Switzerland for a few years. The aim of the three swiss musicians was to combine their wide background of influences (death, black, thrash and Rock'n Roll) to create a heavy, groovy and powerful music. Uncompromising, brutal, fast but also sometimes old-school influenced, with great guitar solos, ... Arkhan is not pioneering in the genre, but they play what we expect from a death metal band : some headbangable stuff, some destroying riffs, some hoarse vocals, what could we ask after that? Are you ready for some hyper speed drum aggressions, intense and groovy guitar riffs and devilish vocals? Are you ready for the death metal M.A.C.H.I.N.E.? Faultless, brillant!

To buy the album (moreover, it is not very expensive...), mail to arkhanmetal@gmail.com.

MP3, 320kb/s

The Alan Parsons Project - Eye In The Sky [1982]


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".

MP3, 320kb/s



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Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick [1972]

The Second 'Tull album I'm posting today is technically one song, split into two parts only due to space restrictions on vinyl records. "Thick as a Brick" is a whirling maelstrom of music you'd expect from Jethro Tull. And although it perhaps begins to grate a little bit towards the end (there's only so much you can do with a 44-minute album), it remains an absolutely essential piece of progressive rock for you to listen to.

Mp3, 320 kbps

Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

Jethro Tull - Aqualung [1971]

Well if it isn't everyone's favourite band of angry prog hobos, Jethro Tull! Regarded as one of the essential prog rock bands (which is ironic, because the band often claimed to be parodying the genre), many of their albums are considered classics, such as this: "Aqualung".

An album of two halves, side one is about the character 'Aqualung', a disgusting vagabond and his daily activities. Side two for some reason is about religion, although I'm not entirely sure why. Either way, this is a folky/bluesy/proggy blast of an album, with frontman Ian Anderson's flute at full throttle throughout. A must for any prog fan.

M4a, ~320 kbps (VBR)

Court In The Act Presents Death Metal: Masters Of Death Part II

The second part of the death metal series. This is the next tier of DM bands (with some overlap with the premier acts - not on quality, but exposure), but they're all still hugely respected with the DM sphere, hence the continuation of the title.

Tracklist:

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.

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ravencult - Morbid Blood [2011]

And I am back from my nice, quiet weekend away from all the bullshit.

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.

Kudos off the bat to the excellent cover art, which is what first drew me to the album. It's the perfect color, form and overall level of evil we expect from a Black Metal band. And so is the music: this is classic Mayhem worship, just with better musicianship. At times, it has a strong Punk Rock feel(like the opening track "Sacrilege of Death"), which helps prove my long standing argument that Black Metal was intended to be Norwegian Nationalist Punk Rock before all the real Metal musicians took the genre away from Varg and his cohorts. The production is classic Black Metal: very loud and every instrument and the vocals can he heard, but it's also very distorted and dirty. I love the guitar tone on this record in particular.

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?

320 kbps

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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun [2000]

Now then, my first post, apologies for any faux pas. Right, you may be aware that some of us on this blog are fans of the band Porcupine Tree which is why I was surprised when my colleagues didn't like this album. This album is found at a crossroads as after this album "heavy" Porcupine Tree came into being, so this is an end of an era so to speak. First off, this album is darker than Stupid Dream which cane before this album and makes use of acoustic guitars often and while some songs are very catchy ('Lightbulb Sun', 'Four Chords That Made A Million'), others are a bit odd ('Russia On Ice' 'How Is Your Life Today?'). The best way to get a feel for the album is to look at the cover. It is a world mostly drained of colour expect for some light of beauty somwhere out there. That does sound a tad faggoty but for me this is a very strong album with a different feel to its neighbouring albums and, for me anyway, this album surpasses both of them.

256 kbps

Court In The Act Presents Death Metal: Masters Of Death Part I

After the surprising success of the thrash series, I thought I'd do another one. Except this one is going to be longer. Many thanks to Teekylee for her beautiful artwork - it's a lot better than the one I did for the thrash series, that's for certain! This first part is a very basic introduction to the legends of death metal.

Tracklisting:

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.

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Dio - Holy Diver [1983]

When I say R.I.P. this time, it's a statement echoed by millions around the world; when Ronnie James Dio, one of metal's figureheads (even if one couldn't see him in a crowd) succumbed to the clutches of death, the genre lost one of its most talented exponents. I know, therefore, that I am more than a year late with this tribute, but I find it fitting to mention it, as I post this, Dio's most famous, and to me, best, solo album.

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).

128 kbps

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Friday, 22 July 2011

His Hero Is Gone - Fifteen Counts of Arson [1996]

Sorry to be gone so long. Life has been... hectic. Aside from a few forum posts here and there, I have been spending most of my time working and fighting with The Government over my fathers disability eligibility (3 amputations is not enough for a person to be legally disabled it seems).

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.

192 kbps

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Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond [1992]

Power metal. Often doesn't do it for me, but I will say that the German variety, which often holds more than a little speed metal influence, and not so much... faggotry, appeases me more often. And I love this album - bombast, speed, choruses, and a cover of Satan's 'Trial By Fire'. What more could you ask for?

128 kbps

Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

1349 - Hellfire [2005]

Although 1349 are far from being my favourite band, this is as good an example of hyperblasting black metal as you're likely to hear. Opener 'I Am Abomination' is also a semi-famous festival song. The term 'norsecore' is bandied about, but it's one I refuse to use.

~220 kbps VBR

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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Enslaved - The Sleeping Gods EP [2011]

This EP, which is available for free download direct from the band, is something of a surprise. Sure, it has Enslaved written all over it (they even steal their own riff from 'Kvasir Blod' in the opener), but one could call it more experimental than openly progressive, especially with electronic, droney tracks like 'Synthesis'.

320 kbps

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Enslaved - Ruun [2006]

So, with the three albums of theirs I've already posted, you can probably gather that I'm something of an Enslaved fan. This is the first album of theirs where progressive elements began to outweigh black metal elements, although BM is still very much present. It's a little harder to get into than much of their other output, but it is therefore more rewarding.

~250 kbps VBR

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Gustav Mahler - Symphony #1 In D ('Titan') [1888]

In direct contrast to the noisegrind I just posted, Mahler's first symphony is one of my favourite pieces of classical music - his use of dynamics is astounding. This is an excellent recording (once again, I'm not sure who by), and it's recommended to anyone.

320 kbps

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Anal Cunt - Morbid Florist [1992]

Seth Putnam, the man behind noisegrind pioneers Anal Cunt died a month or so ago - whilst he was undeniably a sociopathic individual, this album is a piece of brilliance. Without having to resort to the wackily offensive song titles shtick of their later career, here, AxCx created a short journey through aural perversion.

320 kbps

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Anaal Nathrakh - Passion [2011]

This is Anaal Nathrakh's most recent release, and although it's not as good as their previous, career high In The Constellation Of The Black Widow, it does experiment more. And 'Tot Huetet Uebel' - you'll either love it or hate it.

320 kbps

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Anaal Nathrakh - Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here [2007]

This is Anaal Nathrakh's slowest album, and also their weakest full-length release. Still a solid album, but its only moment when it is truly on par with their other material is opener proper 'Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen' (which I think loosely translates to 'Hell's Vengeance Burns A Fire In My Heart').

~200 kbps VBR
Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

Anaal Nathrakh - When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Shall Reap As It Has Sown EP [2003]

This EP of Anaal Nathrakh's is the release of their that I'm least familiar with, but I know it well enough to know that it adheres to their high standards. It shows the start of a shift towards a cleaner, more DM-influenced sound.

128 kbps

Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

Anaal Nathrakh - Total Fucking Necro [2002]

This is a compilation of Anaal Nathrakh's three demos (Anaal Nathrakh, Total Fucking Necro and We Will Fucking Kill You), and although the production is a bit impenetrable at times, it is a sign of things that were to come. It also includes a spectacular cover of 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas'.

192 kbps

Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

Anaal Nathrakh - The Codex Necro [2001]

Anaal Nathrakh are one of my favourite bands; the fact that this is possibly their most ferocious release says a lot. More industrial elements here than on most of their other albums, and little to no DM influence, but it's a brilliant album nonetheless.

N.B. This has demo versions of 'Submission Is For The Weak' and 'Pandemonic Hyperblast' as bonus tracks.

192 kbps

Link taken down. Comment to see a reupload!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Cynic - Focus [1993]

Well, this is one of the most influential progressive metal albums of all time. Although it took them 15 years to record a follow-up which fell a bit short (Traced In Air), this is itself very good. The synthesized cleans that would take greater prevalence later may annoy some, but to me, they don't detract from the sheer brilliance present in some of the songs here.

~210 kbps VBR

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REVIEW: Yes - Fly From Here [2011]

The first thing I heard about "Fly From Here" was when I was looking up Yes tour dates, and I thought 'Wait what, Jon Anderson left? That sucks.' I then thought 'Huh, their current singer is from a Yes tribute band? That's weird.' And then I thought 'What, they're making an ALBUM with him? Oh dear lord.' It seems Yes truly have come full circle by getting members for their band from bands that were made to celebrate the music of their band. Yeah. Nevertheless, "Fly From Here" is a Yes album and I will review it as such, but expect my two cents on their vocalist situation a little later on.

"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?

Well.

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.

6/10

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Arkhon Infaustus - Orthodoxyn [2007]

When I first heard of Arkhon Infaustus and saw one of their stupidly kvlt pictures, I wrote them off right away as some bullshit bedroom trve Black Metal band who practiced in their mothers basement and had fully planned out their first church burning but will never go through with it. I openly admit to stereotyping this band, and laughed them off and went back to jamming the new Bowerbirds(you guys just missed my Folk and Country music faze). But as a moved back toward listening to primarily Extreme Metal, one of the first bands I ended up hearing from was Arkhon Infaustus. It was then that I re-learned one old life lesson while also learning a brand new one:

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)

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Hell - Human Remains [2011]

Well, this one is, as we say up in Yorkshire, 'fucking sweet'. A NWOBHM band who only released a handful of demos and a single before splitting up due to the death of Dave Halliday, they've returned to release this, which is one of the albums of 2011. It has everything that one could desire from such an album - it's laden with hooks, has unique vocals and is epic.

320 kbps

Link was taken down. Comment on this if you would like to see a reupload.

Opeth - Orchid [1995]

I love Opeth and unlike the owner of this blog, who would probably tell you otherwise, I believe they are yet to put out an essentially 'bad' album. There are many who believe that and most when asked "So what's their worst then?" would bring up this one... not that I understand why. Yes, the songwriting isn't as strong as pretty much anything else they've done and each song does kind of feel like it's throwing ideas at you constantly that aren't linked as well as they should be, but this doesn't mean these ideas aren't brilliant. There are some great moments in this album, pretty much all of 'Forest of October' for example. This is one of the two Opeth albums where Mikael Åkerfeldt sounds like his balls haven't dropped and uses higher pitched growls, personally I prefer his lower ones, but you may not. Anyway I've rambled on for long enough now, download and listen. Enjoy.


.m4a @ 320 kbps VBR


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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Azarath - Blasphemer's Malediction [2011]

It has been an incredible year for Old School Death Metal. Initially, it seemed the movement was largely a reactionary one against Technical Death Metal, which at first was the biggest thing in Death Metal before the predictable backlash against it. To me, it was a bunch of pissed off, fat neckbeards (like me) who were mad they could not play "Stabwound" despite all the practice at it, gave up, and formed a bunch of Incantation and Morbid Angel worship bands. A few brilliant new acts and legends stood out, but most of the demos and bands were crap. 2011 has given legitimacy to this movement in my opinion. The sheer quality of the releases this year has changed my opinion on this classic revival for good.

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.

320 kbps

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Mithras - Behind the Shadows Lie Madness [2007]

If you have not heard Mithras yet, then do yourself a favor and start now. This is some of the very best Avant-Garde Technical Death Metal on the planet. Mithras are a band that makes heavy use of repetition and dissonance to create a dark atmosphere, but unlike Ulcerate, they play a much more old-school sounding form of Death Metal. You can hear the early Immolation and Morbid Angel in each track. The riffs, while heard a lot in each song, sound incredible and are very complex and unique. I also love how each guitar solo feels GIGANTIC: they are the highlights of every single song as they soar over the riffs. The vocals are refreshingly old-school, and the production is perfect: every instrument and note is clear, but it's not too clean. It really is, for me anyway, a perfect album, except for perhaps the few filler tracks of ambient noise and orchestration that kind of break the oppressive, space-y evil of every song. This album is a must have for fans of forward thinking, progressive Death Metal.

320 kbps

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Abysmal Dawn - Leveling the Plane of Existence [2011]

Quick Note:Somewhat contrary to what Persona 101 wrote, I will not always be posting found links. That was originally the plan, but it's really not great policy.

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?)

320 kbps

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Eminem - The Eminem Show [2004]

Whoa, whoa, slow down! Am I seriously posting an album by EMINEM, one of the most reviled popular artists of our time? Yes, I am, and that's because it's excellent. Lyrically and rhythmically, it has all the key aspects required to make good rap (although he could calm down on the swearing a bit), and is possibly the only worthwhile Eminem release.

160 kbps

Link removed due to DMCA complaint.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Crass - The Feeding Of The 5000 [1978]

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.

128 kbps

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Welcoming some new contributors to the blog, part II

NO LONGER! I felt that my cry for help a few days ago was perhaps a little pathetic, but apparently not, for it pleases me greatly to welcome three new contributors to the blog. All of them will be part-time, it seems, but any expansion of either knowledge or musical taste is always welcome. Therefore, I introduce:

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,

Persona 101

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

In desperate need of new contributors

As you may have noticed, the speed of my additions to this blog has slowed down somewhat recently. This is not due to a lack of motivation - indeed, I love posting on this blog and watching it expand, but due to the fact that I'm not happy posting an album that I'm not particularly familiar with, or that I don't particularly like. I'm becoming acutely aware that my supply of albums which fill both of those qualifiers is drying up somewhat - despite the number which may appear to be present on the 'Requests' post, the truth is that I haven't heard around 300 of those yet, and so can say nothing about them, and there's roughly another 1000 that I either don't like or am not comfortably familiar with to the extent that I can post them. At 17 years of age, and only having been a music fan for 4 years or so, there is very little possibility that I could be aware of more.

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.

Cheers,

Persona 101

Trash Talk - Walking Disease [2007]

Some more solid modern hardcore here; this is claimed to be a full-length, but it's absurdly short for such a status, despite its 9 minutes containing some of the best punky aggression in recent years.

192 kbps

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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ministry - Rio Grande Blood [2006]

Ministry were sadly mourned upon their demise - they released one more album after this, but I haven't heard it. This is certainly more thrash metal-oriented than their earlier stuff, which suits a metal fan like me.

160 kbps

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Monday, 11 July 2011

Triarii - Muse In Arms [2008]

And now for something completely different.

The music made by Triarii is often referred to as 'martial industrial' - basically industrial music with a militaristic feel to it. Featuring orchestras, battle choirs and lots of clunking chains, grinding gears and army shouting, it's the kind of soundtrack you'd expect a war to have.

"Muse In Arms" is perhaps Triarii's best-known album, containing the haunting "Birth Of A Sun" and the epic-sounding "Europa". I'll have to admit I'm not much into martial industrial so I can't recommend it over other, similar works, but if this concept sounds interesting to you, give it a shot.

Mp3, 320 kbps

Yes - Drama [1980]

There are tons of Yes albums that I could post that you prog fans will have listened to countless times before (such as "Relayer", "Close to the Edge" and the hilariously poncy "Tales From Topographic Oceans"), but - and I'm going to sound like a massive hipster for saying this - their lesser-known works are among their best.

Here we have "Drama", the first of only two Yes albums not to feature Jon Anderson on vocals (the other being newly-released "Fly From Here"; expect a review soon). It instead contains Trevor Horn of The Buggles fame. And instead of keyboardist Rick Wakeman, we have another Buggles member: Geoff Downes. Continuing from the musical direction begun in 1978's "Tormato", this album is a mixture of agressive riffs, chilling instrumental passages and extremely well-pulled-off singing from Horn. The result is perhaps Yes' most under-appreciated work. Definitely listen to "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit".

M4a, ~320 kbps (VBR)

(n.b. This version is the 2004 re-issue, which contains tracks recorded for the album by the previous Yes lineup with Jon and Rick before they left the band, that are also worth checking out.)


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

REVIEW: From The Minds Of Madness by Blair E. Gibson

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.

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