June 2017, New Releases Review

This month’s lot of new releases includes some of the best promos this blog has ever received. Read our reviews, together with some thoughts regarding creativity and innovation in today’s music scene….

This blog is not a professional one, meaning we make no profit out of it or in other words we are in it only for the fun. A big portion of the music releases and concerts we review here has been paid by our own means (salaries and this to the dismay of our families) while a smaller part comes from promos. We receive 2-3 of them per week which we try to listen and review showing the greatest respect possible to the artists. This blog has less than 500 followers out of which only a 20-25% visits the Facebook page and the blog website on daily basis, therefore we do not consider that we have any significant influence in order to affect sales or increase popularity. Luckily, this gives us the “freedom” to approach the material we review primarily as fans and in a sincere and objective manner.

I felt I had to write this intro paragraph since the promos I have reviewed this month generated some thoughts to me. Below you will read the review of 10 newly released albums, which are all mostly GREAT or very good and with some of them being even better than the most recent releases of the artists that have been the main influence behind them. However there is one issue with most of these albums : None of them is really revolutionary innovative. Today’s mostly saturated music scene where a huge number of new releases are coming out every Friday and where a smaller and smaller number of listeners invests money in buying records in physical format, needs bands who can really bring innovation and fresh ideas. Groups like Metallica, Mastodon, Pantera etc. were revolutionary at their time. We do not need new bands who can play again the same things as them, EVEN IF THEY DO IT IN A BETTER WAY. THE RECIPE HAS TO BE REINVENTED AND NOT IMPROVED…

Insanity - Toss a Coin

Insanity is the first Hardcore band I have heard that comes from Switzerland and without intending to use (at least too much) stereotypical cliches, I will say that their album is pure Swiss quality. Excellent production, textbook hardcore rhythms, catchy gang vocals, positive message lyrics and a couple of some of the best hardcore tunes I have heard since long time (Find a Way, All I Need). If you are a hardcore fan and you like bands like Hatebreed, Terror, Madball, Biohazard this record is for you. Hardcore done in the right way.

CRNKSHFT - CRNKSHFT

Vancouver based CRNKSHFT, play modern alternative metal in the vein of bands like Disturbed, Alice in Chains, Seether. Their self titled EP has the right production and some great melodic tunes with the only negative point being its duration (4 songs out of which at least 3 can be classified as great). I would definitely be interested to listen to a full length release from them in the future.

Invasion - Destroyer of Mankind

A Death Metal concept album regarding World War II, with some incredibly catchy songs (if such a term can be used for a Death Metal release) is what Invasion deliver in Destroyer of Mankind. If you have felt devastated by Bolt Thrower’s demise, then this album is for you as here you will find songs like I Am the Enemy which has one of the best riffs you would possibly listen in a Death Metal album this year.

Divinity - The Immortalist

12 track full length which is actually a compilation of Divinity’s two previous EP releases "The Immortalist, Pt. 1 – Awestruck" and "The Immortalist, Pt. 2 –Momentum" plus their new 3rd EP "The Immortalist Pt. 3 - Conqueror" which finalises The Immortalist trilogy. All the tracks on the album were re-mixed and re-mastered by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy, The Grid Productions) in order to make the songs more cohesive and consistent. Featuring Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid of Soilwork on guest vocals for the song ‘D.M.T.’ (best song of the album), The Immortalist is a fine example of progressive melodic Death Metal with its only negative point being the mediocre album front cover.

Karkaos - Children of the Void

A general comment I have to make about this album, is that Karkaos know how to write nice songs which do not sound boring. This gives to their Melodic Symponic Death Metal a great advantage against the (literally) hundreds of bands who try to be the Arch Enemies of tomorrow. Great melodies, wisely balanced aggressiveness and outstanding female vocals are the main elements that make Children of the Void a highly enjoyable album.

Decrepit Throne - Traitors Grave

33 minutes of old school Death Black Metal from US band, Decrepit Throne. Their recipe is focused more on building atmospheres by incorporating slow and melodic parts rather that using speed riffs and blast beats. A less clear production would have possibly enhanced the old school feeling, however Traitors Grave is still a very good album.

Murkocet - Digging Mercy’s Grave

Listening to Digging Mercy’s Grave, one band that comes immediately to the listener’s mind is none other than Lamb of God. Some nu metal elements are also present (Slipknot) however the overall groove which is present in the compositions and the riffs of Murkocet make the album much more interesting than anything that has been released under Lamb of God’s name in the recent 5 years. Digging Mercy’s Grave is a great album but the certain lack of originality stops me from calling it a triumphal release.

Kalopsia - Angelplague

New Jersey Kalopsia’s Death Metal is following a more old school approach thus meaning the super technical guitar work is absent and their tunes are rather built on fast and aggressive riffs. Two things I have found as low points in Angleplague :

  • The production in drums which sounds annoyingly “plastic” - I believe a deeper sound could do them more justice

and

  • The vocals which I believe should have sounded a bit more louder in the mix.

Other than that, the album is a very good proposal for fans of US Death Metal.

Woodhawk - Beyond the Sun

Woodhawk fromAlberta Canada were the band who mainly triggered the introduction paragraphs of this post. What we listen in Beyond the Sun is absolute first class stoner doom rock which balances between two main references : Black Sabbath and Mastodon. Woodhawk do not hide their influences and being helped by a great production deliver a flawless album which during all its duration makes you bang your head and play air drumming. Tunes like Chrononaut (the references is obvious here) and Living in the Sand are amongst the best that Sabbath have (n)ever composed however as already written in the first paragraphs of this post, I see no reason to improve something that has already been played well in the past.

Terrifier - Weapons of Thrash Destruction

Similar case here. A band who has composed and played perfectly an album that had it been released in 1985 would have been placed in the All Time Thrash Metal Hall of Fame next to Bonded by Blood and would have been characterised as equally classic. Relentlessly aggressive songs with the groove being entirely absent (well, except in Drunk as Fuck), some of the best thrash riffs recorded in the recent years, gang vocals in the choruses, a singer which could have easily filled the shoes of Paul Baloff, all these elements combined create a thrash metal dynamite which is certainly not to be listened while driving. The year is 2017 though and albums like Weapons of Thrash Destruction can only serve as a respectful tribute to the past.

As written in the beginning, my comments are published with the utmost respect towards the bands who trust my opinion by sending me their material and are representing mainly the standpoint of a music fan who in the previous 27 years has invested a large portion of his time and money in buying music and attending concerts and who seriously embraces any kind of new and fresh idea in art and life generally.