Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lantlôs - .Neon

The stark intimidating colours of black and red which adorn the album sleeve of Lantlôs’ .Neon are wonderfully indicative of the melancholy within its 6 songs as well as the knife-edge sharpness of its delivery. Though based in Germany Lantlôs features France’s finest purveyor of post and black metal experimentalism; Neige, the man behind Alcest and a former member of the now defunct Amesoeurs.

His rasping shriek is his contribution to this record with project head Herbst manning all instrumentation. Neige’s vocals and Herbst’s abilities all complement each to near flawless effect. Much like their brethren in Alcest, Lantlôs’ .Neon is black metal with a post rock execution and vibe focusing on the atmospherics of it all. There’s even an accentuation of those shoe-gaze influences on .Neon which has permeated so much into Neige’s body of work in the past. The multitude of styles implemented means that black metal merely becomes the blueprint and eventual foundation for which the rest of the album is built upon.

'Coma' lays testament to this veritable diversity, bursting through the speakers with a heavy accessible pace but in an almost post hardcore-like riff, all topped by deafeningly cut-throat vocals. But it’s the opener, 'Minusmensch' that sets the magnificent tone, as any album opener should. Then after leading into the towering and scaling aura of 'These Nights Were Ours', it becomes clear that .Neon is a waveringly cathartic record indeed.

It’s also a record that fully utilises the common art of the blastbeat. While in many extreme metal bands it can become tiring and clichéd, on .Neon it’s used ever tastefully and necessarily. Its lithe melding with softer edged influences like indie is seen on the cavorting melodies of 'Neige De Mars'. That said, .Neon is at all times harrowing and dauntingly dark as well as lushly beautiful, perpetuated by the clean vocals wrapped in a bluesy vibe found on 'Pulse / Surreal'. Similarly on the instrumental title track which just oozes despondency and is emblematic of .Neon as a strikingly emotive and superbly arranged record.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Melvins / Isis - Split Release

Click HERE to read the review of the new Melvins / Isis split release, the last release Isis will put their name to now that they have broken up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New tracks round up

Comeback Kid – Crooked Floors
Comeback Kid struck in gold in 2007 with career best Broadcasting…, so it’s about time we got a follow-up and this is the first appetizer. ‘Crooked Floors’ erupts with insane energy and a sense of urgency. Imagine the frenzy of previous tracks like 'The Blackstone' multiplied – ‘Crooked Floors’ does that. If this track is indicative of the new record Symptoms + Cures, then it may very well trounce its predecessor.

Avenged Sevenfold - Welcome To The Family
Avenged Sevenfold’s news album Nightmare is released next Monday and is one of the most talked about metal releases of the moment, considering the circumstances under which it was recorded. ‘Welcome To The Family’ is the third track to make its way online now. The track has that usual A7X swagger to it as well as the ever Maiden worshiping lead guitar work from Synyster Gates; however it loses a lot of pace in its deflating chorus sounding just too similar to every other Avenged Sevenfold chorus. That aside, it would be fair to say that Nightmare will be a highly emotive record but this song stresses the band’s harder sharper edge in its verses and emphasis on lead guitar.

Listen to the track in this promo for Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Wish You Were Here - 5 Parsecs To Home EP

I Wish You Were Here’s EP 5 Parsecs To Home does many things in its five tracks but on the initial listen, it surprises you. Have a glance at their myspace and their genre is listed as Grindcore, Screamo and Experimental and there’s an altogether mysterious vibe surrounding these Russians, it leaves you ponderous as to what cacophony is about to be unleashed.

Opener 'Mothership' is a divertive work to say the least considering its subsequent tracks. It is frantic and convoluted with torturous vocals running on a bed of grimy riffs. It’s an abstruse barrage, which is putting it lightly. So, it comes with somewhat of a shock that the aura plummets into a calm soothing cadence in the band’s title track – 'I Wish You Were Here'. It then flows into 'Nebula'’s gentle twists and turns eventually colliding with towering riffs – its crescendo is akin to that of Red Sparowes at their most broody.

Another instrumental, 'Glimmer' continues the eerie pace for just over another two minutes – creating, again a vaporous post rock hued backdrop. But then, 'To Home' sees the return of vocals, again recklessly and erratically placed. In many ways it brings the proceedings back around to its commencement. However this time all is more thick textured with emphasis placed heavily on the atmospheric instrumentation, which in turn, weaves in and out of math-laden eruptions only to be brought to a close with hypnotic, restful fretwork.

For a substantial chunk of 5 Parsecs To Home, i.e. the middle 3 songs, there’s just a spectral ambience that’s ever relaxing. It’s merely introduced with a gushing, violent opener that hurls the listeners into a land of extremity only to be quickly spun a 180 to the EP’s preponderant themes.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Poison The Well going on hiatus

Another unfortunate news piece. Influential metallic hardcore noiseniks Poison The Well have decided to go on indefinite hiatus and may have called it a day after 12 years together. The band released this statement:

So, after twelve years of being a band, countless tours around the world and records being released, we have made the decision to take some time to explore other interests in our lives. We’ve all reached a point where we feel like we need to take a step back from the band and pursue other things. PTW has been an all encompassing, full time thing for such a long period that this isn’t an easy thing to do. We want to thank everyone who has supported us in anyway, whether it be buying a record or a shirt, to the occasional robbery from time to time. Once again, thanks for everything and we couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Love, PTW

Poison The Well enjoyed some notoriety with some visceral stunning records. To say 1999’s The Opposite Of December was before its time would be a vast understatement. Similarly with You Come Before You and all records prior and after, PTW’s quality never fell below impressive. However they never quite reached the high level of repute they so richly deserved. Here's hoping they return and if so stronger than ever.

Watain - Lawless Darkness

'Waters Of Ain' is the last track on Watain’s new record Lawless Darkness. At 14 minutes it is by far their most ambitious work to date and is emblematic of what Watain are as standalones in black metal, based on output quality. The track culminates, rather appropriately, the album as a whole which, put frankly is Watain’s finest hour. They have in many regards become an enigma to themselves in black metal over the course of their previous two albums. That grandeur is perpetuated across Lawless Darkness’ sprawling and avant-garde 70 minutes, all done so with absolutely no give or let up.

The record is obliquely extravagant but never once exudes any kind of portentousness or arrogance. No expense is sacrificed and while it’s a divisive issue the record’s production is pristine and shimmers with just the right amount of studio sheen, an strangely appropriate dichotomy to the music’s dark, daunting nature.

That said, no amount of brutality or bile spewing aggression is sacrificed. If anything it’s augmented from 2007’s opus Sworn To The Dark. This predecessor set an unruly standard for Watain to attempt to top and Lawless Darkness certainly erodes any expectations or indeed doubts. The record is a foreboding presence entirely, one that will click almost instantly with fans and indeed lure in new ones, and that is not a bad thing at all.

Whether it’s Erik Danielsson’s shredding vocals, the album’s showpiece that is buzz-saw riffs found on every track or the towering lead guitar work completely taking control like on 'Malfeitor', Lawless Darkness is everything it promised to be and more.

In 2010 when black metal’s definition has changed greatly with bands like Wolves In The Throne Room and Altar Of Plagues but conversely the return of Burzum, Watain can safely lay claim to raw, yet oddly grandiose, black metal’s throne. Lawless Darkness is the Swede’s glorious coup de grace; an otherworldly and lofty height is where the “bar” now lies.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Iron Maiden track + video

Presumably the release of ‘El Dorado’ wasn’t enough to sate your appetites for Iron Maiden’s fast approaching new record – The Final Frontier. Well, have no fear the new video for the album’s title track is here!

The Final Frontier - Director's Cut

Iron Maiden MySpace Music Videos

The track maintains a similar tone to ‘El Dorado’ but with more emphasis on Dickinson’s higher vocals from the get go. Then, it’s all replete with those expected Maiden guitar leads. It’ll be interesting to hear the full, album version of the track when The Final Frontier arrives on August 15th.

Maiden play the O2, Dublin on July 30th.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Relocator interview

Click HERE to read an interview with German prog outfit Relocator over on Drop-D

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mastodon - Jonah Hex: Music From The Motion Picture EP

Now, this was an interesting proposition to say the least when it was announced, Mastodon scoring new flick Jonah Hex. First off Mastodon dropped their magnum opus last year Crack The Skye and were subsequently asked to write some of the music for this comic adaptation of a western anti-hero. Oh yeah, and Megan Fox is in it.

For this EP the meandering riffs of Crack The Skye are all intact. The frantic but methodical wall of sound is bulging with lush tempos and grand vibes, but still crunchy, sludgy and frenetic where it needs to be. But for 'Death March', proceedings begin slow with an uneasy thudding pace that scales only somewhat, maintaining a shivering calm for its near nine minutes.

The soothing passages of 'Clayton Boys' however give way to vicious distortion and the tempo boosts continuously through 'Indian Theme', portraying incessantly sharp guitar work and unrelenting drums.

'Train Assault' bursts from the speakers at its highest points with a myriad of cascading fret work. Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher have once again earned their chops with these effervescent angular riffs underpinned by Troy Sanders’ thick ominous bass. The instrumentation of this EP is paramount as it creates familiarity with what is now the Mastodon sound without the aid Sanders’ distinctive bellow.

The important thing to bear in mind with this EP is that it was written for scoring a film. The melodies and riffs may make more sense when accompanied by the visual aid of the film. But even standing alone the EP is six new tracks that more than tick a few boxes from one of metal’s most riveting contemporary acts.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

New Animals As Leaders track – Wave Of Babies

Last year’s debut self titled from Animals As Leaders took a staggering place in The Grind That Annoys’ top 10 albums of the year and rightfully so. It was a dazzling jaunt of technicality from guitarist Tosin Abasi melded beautifully with cascading electronics. Over a year on from its release Animals As Leaders have released this new single, just one track – ‘Wave Of Babies’.

Unsurprisingly there’s no shortage of grandiose fretwork. It launches heavily with massively crushing riff that would make Meshuggah blush but it’s the lead guitar that of course shines the most. They’re dizzying in their delivery and at times sporadically placed. ‘Wave Of Babies’ marks another stunning moment for Tosin Abasi which begs the question – new album soon?