Sunday, June 27, 2010

New 36 Crazyfists track

The new 36 Crazyfists album Collisions And Castaways is definitely one of the most anticipated albums of the summer in these circles and finally a new track has arrived – ‘Reviver’.

Brock Lindow’s vocals matured greatly on last effort The Tide And Its Takers and here it’s evolved tenfold again. Of course without fail, the chorus is massive while Steve Holt peels frantic riffs which still maintaining his familiar sound. Overall the track is heavier than a lot of their previous work and may be indicative of the record’s end result.

Perhaps the most underrated and deserving of mass success band in metal right now 36 Crazyfists drop Collisions And Castaways on 26th July.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Mastodon track

A new track, ‘Indian Theme’, has been released by Mastodon for their score EP of the upcoming film Jonah Hex, a comic book adaptation starring Megan Fox..

Unsurprisingly ‘Indian Theme’ is an instrumental opening at first with meandering melodies before the almost expected crunchy riffs kick in to maximum effect. Some angular riffs than enter which take the lead to the track’s conclusion. This remains very much in the vain of last year’s magnum opus Crack The Skye and may be emblematic of the other tracks on the EP. Of course, any new music from Mastodon, regardless of score or not, is greatly welcomed here. The EP is released next week.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pearl Jam - The O2, 22/6/10

Click HERE to read about Pearl Jam's stunning show in Dublin's O2 last Tuesday.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy

There was an air of hesitance and some trepidation amongst Nevermore fans when it was announced that Soilwork’s Peter Wichers would produce new record, The Obsidian Conspiracy. Not that it was a slight on Wichers’ abilities, he more than knew the band, having lent partial guitar and bass duties to singer Warrel Dane’s 2008 solo album Praises To The War Machine. That record was absolutely astonishing by the way, veering away from the day job (as any side project should do). It tinkered with a more alt. metal vibe and with that, it was feared that The Obsidian Conspiracy may become diluted in the trades between band and producer.

However, fear not. Nevermore have always been a no-nonsense, “proper” metal band, replete with soaring, untouchable vocals and crushingly technical but still tasteful musicianship. But while those elements have remained a constant, they’re ever evolving and The Obsidian Conspiracy sees the next step in that evolution.

If you will, metal is in many regards a genre strongly synonymous with ideas of natural selection. Trends will come and go but those with the strongest convictions and deepest burning fires in their hearts will be the ones scratching and crawling from the wreckage. Particularly since 2000’s near faultless opus Dead Heart, In A Dead World, Nevermore have proven to be one such beast. But ten years on and despite some magnificent records in Dead Heart…’s wake Nevermore must, again, ruthlessly grab us all by our throats and demand our attention and adulation – it’s rightly deserved, frankly.

The urgency of opening tracks 'The Termination Proclamation' and 'Your Poison Throne' sets the tone of sated, lavish musicality and meticulous opulence which is unravelled through the entire record.

Over the last ten years in particular, the mainstay thrash influences have gradually melded with progressive realms throughout Nevermore’s lush aural tapestry. The expressive 'Emptiness Unobstructed' is easily digestible and marks somewhat of a foray into cleaner, more accessible pastures. Meanwhile, 'And The Maiden Spoke' and 'The Blue Marble And The New Soul' presents some poignancy in their downcast passages and choruses.

Wichers’ work here passes without error. The Obsidian Conspiracy’s production is crystalline and spacious but never once detracts from the ominous sounds of Dane’s vocals or the lead guitar work of Loomis. Yet the execution remains as thriving and verdant as ever.

'Without Morals' and 'She Comes In Colors' both have that trademark Jeff Loomis guitar work in the speed and intense widdling of the former and gorgeous sprawling leads on the latter. But it’s the title track which brings the record to a stunningly heavy close with all elements, it would seem, intensified for one last foray.

8/10

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Twilight - Monument To Time End

What’s this? It’s another ‘super group’ lad, called Twilight, so sit up straight and pay attention. Featuring Isis’ Aaron Turner, Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd amongst other members of note, Twilight is in many respects a super group. Monument To Time End is the experimental black metal outfit’s second release, five years on from the self titled debut.

Calling Twilight just black metal would be inept as several doom and sludge influences interject themselves. First track 'The Cryptic Ascension' is in fact unnervingly paced. Its dirty riffs slowly seethe from whatever mire they came from. Follower, 'Fall Behind Eternity' treads on similar ground but gathers more and more in the tempo.

When discussing a metal album of any sub-genre, words like "relentless" get thrown around a lot. For 'Decaying Observer' it rings wholly true and is in fact a gross and horrid understatement that can only be fully understood when its hail of harrowing shrieks and buzzsaw riffing carnage is unleashed.

One of the most marvellous elements of Monument To Time End is its melding of varying vocal patterns from N. Imperial’s snarl to Aaron Turner’s hypnotic clean vocals. Furthermore, tracks '8,000 Years' and 'Red Fields' have an astonishingly towering presence, the former serving some blackened grandeur in its guitar work. The slower, broodier elements are then extolled again on 'The Catastrophe Exhibition' while manic, angular riffs sway with the morose din.

Monument To Time End is nothing but devastating in its harsh but cathartic stampede. The band’s membership has been integral in this with the record showing that it exceeds the sum of its parts.


8/10

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cynic - Re-Traced EP

If there’s one thing Cynic fans have it is patience. After all, the gap between first record, the groundbreaking progressive tech. death metal opus Focus and the aerated, spacious work of Traced In Air was some 15 years. The latter came out in 2008 and the band are now a full blooded band again, touring full time and gaining at least some of the more than warranted adulation that fans have been begging for, for over a decade.
Nearly two years on Re-Traced sees Cynic distancing themselves more and more from their death metal beginnings with this EP. It features one new track along with four re-interpretations of songs from Traced In Air.

'Space' is charming yet paced in its oblique atmospherics which take the smoothest layers of 'The Space For This' and give it a wholly unique new texture, including the use of many synths. Then the relaxed opening bars of 'Evolutionary' become increasingly euphoric, meandering until its crescendo. Some of its earlier passages are exemplary of the many of the shoegaze influences that have permeated Re-Traced.

'King' causes some of the momentum to wane, but only partially. These re-imaginings don’t quite scale the same heights as their originals but offer up a lighter shade of versatility in Cynic’s palette. That shade is further perpetuated by 'Integral'. It has stripped its original ('Integral Birth') down to an acoustic core where Paul Masvidal shines vocally.

But the highlight comes easily in the shape of fully new song 'Wheels Within Wheels'. The track wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Traced In Air, trading elegant guitar work with cascading electronics while Sean Reinert’s drumming adds an air of fierceness to the proceedings, only for the guitars to provide an graceful fade into silence.

As an experimental piece of music Re-Traced is gorgeously arranged and nothing but welcomed. But how about a new album, sooner rather later?

7/10

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Relocator - Relocator

German instrumental prog outfit Relocator have released their debut album, which feature a collaboration with Derek Sherinian. Click HERE to read the review.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Soulfly - Omen

Omen is Soulfly’s seventh full length album. Let’s reiterate that - this is Soulfly’s seventh album. Just think about that for a minute. Yes, that’s right! The mighty Max Cavalera has recorded more albums with Soulfly then Sepultura with whom his name remains most synonymous – six for those who are counting. So surely that monkey on the shoulder, Soulfly being Max’s ‘other band’, should be beaten off violently while a group of animal rights protesters watch on in dismay? You’d think it should be but in many ways the ghost of bands past will haunt Cavalera for years to come, at least it looks that way from this vantage point.

But stop that talk now! Soulfly are a modern metal institution not solely because of their frontman’s thrilling metal past but mostly due to some jam packed, brutal metal records. Sure there’s been trouble in paradise now and then, with a few moments we’d rather not discuss. But you’ll be glad to know that Omen is not one such moment.

The affectionately titled 'Bloodbath & Beyond' comes thundering out of the gates with a vicious immediacy and runs into 'Rise Of The Fallen', the lead single. Its riffs were custom built for the pit and by also featuring Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato adds some rasp with his knife gargling vocals. 'Lethal Injection' features another guest spot in the shape of Tommy Victor of Prong, a track which is also heaving with dancing guitar work.

Conversely, 'Kingdom' cruises in with unruly pace and gathers tempo from there. It must be noted that Marc Rizzo’s riffs violently remain an ever impressive highlight in the Soulfly arsenal. His abilities so wrongly inhabit the shadows of Max’s, granted – warranted, towering presence. But Rizzo can shred, as edified by Soulfly’s live show and his series of solo albums.

However despite each member’s more than high levels of efficiency, bombastic musical prowess isn’t a Soulfly mainstay – bringing the hook filled brutality is. 'Jeffrey Dahmer'’s title is more than enough to tell you what the track’s style is. The seeing red yet intrepid riffs and ferocity of Omen then continues fluidly through the thud of 'Off With Their Heads' as well as 'Mega-Doom' and 'Counter Sabotage' – the strength of the record is maintained.


7/10

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rush - Caravan/BU2B [Single]

Being Rush, one of prog rock’s founding fathers, and whose name will often be next to the words “truly innovative”, leaves a new album as something very much anticipated indeed. So, to sate our appetites for now we have this single, Caravan/BU2B. These two new tracks are a preview of sorts for the new record, Clockwork Angels which won’t be released until next year.
'Caravan' marks a notable moment in Rush’s history. In 2010 they sound every bit as relevant as they did in the 70s and 80s. The riffs, impeccable drumming and mind numbing basslines are fresh and vibrant but still unmistakeably Rush. They’re not trying to re-hash old glories or rest on the laurels of conquests past.

Vocally, Geddy Lee has a thrilling depth in his voice. Overall his vocals on both tracks are on fire. Meanwhile, Alex Lifeson continues to peel off majestic and tasteful riffs and rhythms while Neal Peart reminds us why he’s one of the greatest drummers of all time. And no, it’s not a clich├ęd statement when it’s completely and utterly true.

Then there’s the heavy intro to 'BU2B', it just erupts with near-violent sounding intent and accentuates the feelings from 'Caravan' into a wildly euphoric state. The chorus cruises with desirable hooks and tasty riffs.

With only two tracks and ten minute duration, Caravan/BU2B may be ephemeral. But it is still a stunning, miniature stopgap for what is now an even more (if that was possible) anticipated record from Rush.


9/10

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Stone Sour track

Stone Sour have released a new track from their new album Audio Secrecy, due out at the end of summer. The new number entitled 'Mission Statement'. The track is a thunderous package of hooky, radio friendly riffs. Corey Taylor’s edgy, ripping vocals are solid throughout, peaking on the ever important catchy chorus.

Last album Come What(ever) May marked a massive step for the band into becoming their own sole entity. Hopefully with Audio Secrecy that evolution will be fully complete.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rage Against The Machine, 02 Dublin - 8/6/10

Click HERE to read the review of RATM's stunning O2 show last Tuesday, with support from Gallows and Gogol Bordello.

***photo credit to State.ie

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shadowcast Sun - Lucid; Dreamscape; Remedy;

Ghostly dynamism is served up with fervour throughout Kildare based ambient post metal project Shadowcast Sun’s Lucid; Dreamscape; Remedy;. It’s an otherworldly meander through breathtaking ambience, meticulous melodies and at times, heaving drone. It’s an eclectic palette that never once becomes exhausting or emits a feeling of being over plotted.

First song 'Clandestine' erupts from the speakers with earth shaking vibrations and haunting ambience and surges vehemently like a rush of blood to your head. The melodies on Lucid; Dreamscape; Remedy; are carefully cerebral and despite being totally instrumental, are utterly thought provoking. Similarly, all is emotively charged to awe-inspiring levels of intensity.

On this record, the swaying beats and synths meld wondrously with abrasive drone. The apparent dichotomy of the two is, with ease, dispelled and the riveting juxtaposition is completed with no glitches. All 11 tracks from start to finish prove this with ardour in abundance.

'Thread' weaves majestically through cascading notes as 'Auric' stirs soothingly for its near six minutes. It continues its trek through the majority of 'Black Tear' before detonating into some coarse riff passages.

The expansive final track, 'Blue Pierce' comes in swiftly but gently. All the way through it exudes an inescapable air of despondency. But in a strange sense is also vibrant and effervescent in its lush and fluid delivery even in its crushing moments, this clearly a result of the heavy layering of Shadowcast Sun’s sound.

Between storms of hypnotic distortion, angular melodies and peaceful and calming ambience Lucid; Dreamscape; Remedy; maintains an immense worth of musicality and artistry, with neither of the two being sacrificed of any detail for the benefit of the other.


8/10

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Iron Maiden track

Rejoice! Not only have Iron Maiden dropped a new track, ‘El Dorado’ from the forthcoming new album The Final Frontier, but a great deal on details about the record have been announced. The album will see the light of day on the 16th August, just over 2 weeks after their Dublin O2 show.

But for the new song itself, ‘El Dorado’ surges instantly with a deafening intro, before leading into a frantic bassline from Steve Harris followed by soon-to-be anthemic guitars. Dickinson then swoops in with gliding vocals which tread eventually to a huge peak – that all too familiar wail. A series a thrilling solos then marks ‘El Dorado’’s climax. Simply put, The Final Frontier couldn’t come sooner.
Listen to the track here and scroll down for the album track listing and artwork.



1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier - 8:40
2 - El Dorado - 6:49
3 - Mother Of Mercy - 5:20
4 - Coming Home - 5:52
5 - The Alchemist - 4:29
6 - Isle Of Avalon - 9:06
7 - Starblind - 7:48
8 - The Talisman - 9:03
9 - The Man Who Would Be King - 8:28
10 - When the Wild Wind Blows - 10:59

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Altar Of Plagues - Tides EP

A stopgap? Perhaps, but that feels a bit tactless when describing Tides, the EP follow up to last year’s monolithic White Tomb debut album. In the last 12-18 months Cork’s experimental black metal outfit Altar Of Plagues have been taken to realms unforeseen. White Tomb was released to fawning adulation from fans and critics alike and they would then sign with black metal household name label Candlelight Records. They’ve played enviable spots on Holland’s infamous Roadburn festival at the request of Tom G Warrior and have supported the likes of Isis.

This new 2 track EP, Tides is an exhaustive, meticulous jaunt through darkened and emotive musical fissures. They have eschewed much of their black metal past on this release. It’s an edging towards a carving out of their own sound, a journey that has been a breathtaking one so far. The first of the two tracks is 'Atlantic Light', clocking in at over 15 minutes.

Muddled riffing with distant and agonising vocals eventually slip in to a mellow and haunting passage. The air then builds back with simple but utterly enthralling lead guitar work as the roars and screams re-enter the din to devastating affect.

Harrowing echoed vocals thrusting through to throaty and raspy scream pulsate throughout second and last number 'The Weight Of All'. There is also a relentless and impressively upheld drumming performance from start to finish.

Tides pushes some squalid and rigorous soundscapes upon you incessantly. It creates a disturbing aura, something that is becoming an expected trademark with Altar Of Plagues. While Tides doesn’t stun as much as White Tomb it is still a fully loaded, colossal monument to marvel at for long periods of time. If anything, it may just prophesise more unearthly splendour to come.


8/10

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Reptilians - The Mentalist

The best things in life are free, or so the adage goes. Well for The Reptilians and their latest release, The Mentalist, it rings overwhelmingly true. They’ve released the effort - one track, 27 minutes in length – for free and can be downloaded at this location. It may also be suitable to acknowledge another, sort of, adage. Some of the best things come from nowhere and in this case the dim, murky nowhere.

From Idaho, The Reptilians have sculpted out a towering work of art here that many will struggle to put into words which would do it remote justice. It’s a sprawling work of morose and thunderous beauty.

The first five minutes of The Mentalist are dominated by near freakish spoken word verses from Doug Stanhope’s Die Laughing which give way to meandering guitar work and haunting melodies. At 8 minutes, paced and brooding croons permeate the air.

However all takes a crushing turn for the best then. The arrival of angular but dense guitar work really takes centre stage and maintains the emphasis throughout The Mentalist.

This track is heaving with ideas and elaborate thoughts that almost cannot be held with these already vast 27 minutes. The vocals become increasingly intense and bellowing in their delivery while the whole bed of riffs grows rhythmically. The earth shattering riffs continue to punish for its majority and it’s all packaged with a passion and zeal that would make Mastodon stand up and take notice.

A gritty and swampy aura is created when The Mentalist strikes its highest peaks. The guitar leads shine again at their very brightest, unsurprisingly at the end in its devastating, surging climax sending sharp, concentrated shivers down the listener’s spine. The Mentalist lacks only that of the superfluous and really, as far as music of any kind is concerned, that is a blushing compliment to heed with the utmost of attention.


8/10