July 2017, New Releases Review

July’s lot of reviews contains several EPs. Honestly speaking, I consider this approach as a much better way of promoting a band’s material. 4 or 5 well written songs, recorded with a decent production and released under a nice cover (a “detail” which unfortunately some of the bands of this article “forgot” to pay much attention to…however, since aesthetics are a purely subjective matter I will not publish my opinion and let you judge for your self) are more likely to draw and keep the listener's attention more successfully than a 45-50 minute-long, boring album, half full with generic fillers…

Abandoned Souls - Make it Last

Abandoned Souls play American metal in the style of bands like Alice in Chains and Godsmack. Their sound is melodic and heavy, with groovy riffs at certain moments which strongly remind of Pantera. Songs like So Through, which is the album’s best song, can be even considered as Doom metal and it is exactly this distancing from a more alternative and grunge sound that makes me like them much. Therefore…

Album Rating : 8 out of 10

Era 9 - Gravity

For sure what Canada's Era9 play in Gravity, is far from anything being considered as metal. They call their genre 'TrapRock'' which, at least to my ears, is actually a mix of Hip-Hop, Electronic music and Rock played with a heavier sound and combined with incredibly addictive melodies mainly thanks to the the wonderful vocals of Laurie Normandin. After the great shipwreck that the new Linkin Park album was, I think in this category of music style we should only consider bands who manage to remain “fresh” and interesting in what they deliver. Exactly as Era9

Album Rating : 9 out of 10

The Five Hundred - The Veil

To be honest, with such cover and after the Intro song to the EP I was more prepared to listen something symphonic, melodic and gothic at the same time but what actually The Five Hundred deliver in The Veil, is metal core played impressively well. The 3 compositions of the EP (plus an Intro and an Outro) maybe not be as catchy as the ones of Parkway Drive but they are technically interesting. I would personally prefer to listen to 1-2 songs more being in the EP instead of intros and outros. Could have helped me giving a higher rating…

Album Rating : 7.5 out of 10

Tethra - Like Crows for the Earth

Tethra’s recipe for Doom metal is for sure not the most traditional that someone can come up with. Take the unconventional (to the point of being categorised as Jazz) rhythms of the first song of the album (Transcending Thanatos) and you will have a fine example of what I am writing. Add to this the vocals, which have a 80’s gothic essence, the mixture of eastern and Indian elements blended with some of the most wonderful melodies and there you have it. 7 songs plus 4 intro/interludes which make Like Crows for the Earth one of the least formulaic albums I have listened to recently.

Album Rating : 9 out of 10

Protosequence - Schizophrene

There is good and bad technical death metal. Bad, is the one which focuses only on exhibitionism thus resulting in useless jamming and unmemorable tunes while good is the one that attempts and achieves to deliver properly structured and memorable songs that can stand alone minus the technics. I am happy to say that Protosequence belong to the “good-side” and they prove it in the 4 songs of this EP. I particularly adored the melodic aggressiveness of the guitars which for once do not sound like coming from a video game (a usual trap in which many technical Death Metal bands fall). We urgently need more material from you guys.

Album Rating : 9 out of 10

Excommunion - Thronosis

Excommunion’s debut album Superion was released some 15 years ago and while not sure what took them so long to return, I will at least say that it was worth giving it another try. Thronosis (the word may sound cool as an album title but honestly does not make any sense grammatically) contains Doom-Influenced Death Metal which is slow and heavy, with songs that even though have long durations (between 6 and 8 minutes) they are not at all boring. There are some speed outbursts here and there (which remind Morbid Angel) but not that many. Personally, this is the style of Death Metal that I like.

Album Rating : 8 out of 10

1818 - Hiraeth

Groove US metal combined with Maiden-stlye guitar melodies and agressive vocals. The final result is somehow compromised by the weak production (the sound of the drums is too flat imho) therefore …

Album Rating : 7 out of 10

The Summoned - Sessions

According to the press release, Sessions is a concept album “about the journey through the mind of a troubled mental patient who is struggling to confront his own personal demons through a series of sessions with a psychiatrist. Each individual song resembles those sessions. Whether they're spastic (to give the feeling of panic the patient is feeling), or offering triggering the epiphany that is his own reality, Sessions is not just an album... it's an experience…”

Well even though pompous and exaggerating, the above statements are not far from the truth. Playing insanely technical (reminding bands of the early 2000’s Relapse roaster like Burnt By The Sun or the mighty The Dillinger Escape Plan), The Summoned manage to maintain the album’s quality just because next to being highly skilled players, they also know how to write songs which are consistent and not just collections of random notes and ideas. This makes Sessions an album that even though it deals with insanity, is far from being characterised as chaotically crazy.

Album Rating : 8.5 out of 10 (if there were more songs like Satori included in the album the final mark would have definitely been much higher)

Illyrian - Round 2 Fight

Released in October of 2016 but only sent for review now, the material in Round 2 Fight is basic thrash metal focused mainly on groove with modern and melodic riffs rather than speed. If you like bands like Megadeth or later Exodus, Illyrian are a decent choice however some extra variety in the compositions could have elevated the final result (and my rating) higher.

Album Rating : 7 out of 10

Madrost - The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh

Progressive Death Metal which is (finally) not Djent and which is supported by impressive drumming, atmospheric melodies and some really exciting guitar riffs is what Madrost deliver in The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh, proving that good progressive music does not need to be based on unnecessary musical verbalisms.

Album Rating : 9 out of 10