November 2017, New Releases Review

November is another month where mostly great releases arrived in our mailboxes…

Pig’s Blood - Pig’s Blood

Pig’s Blood come from US and they play Brutal Death Metal. What impressed me positively with their self-titled album, is the “proper” production (which in other words means that the guitars do not sound like an 80’s arcade game and the sound of the drums does not resemble a teenager hitting on his mother’s Tupperware). The songwriting approach is old school with the compositions being straight forward, aggressive and without unnecessary technical verbalisms. However, this sometimes functions inversely as the songs remain quite simplistic. Lovers of old school Death Metal will for sure appreciate this release.

Album Rating : 7.5 out of 10

Tides of Kharon - Coins Upon Our Eyes

Melodic Death Metal in the vein of At the Gates and conceptually inspired by the Greek mythology is what Coins Upon Our Eyes is all about. Even though not groundbreaking, the material in Coins upon our Eyes consists of excellent melodies and great riffs, delivered with high professionalism thus resulting in a highly enjoyable record whose only flaw is its short duration (4 songs)

Album Rating : 8 out of 10

Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy - Mixed Messages

Canada’s Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy’s (a name that apparently suggests more of a Hard Rock/Glam band) metal core is based on catchy melodies which succeed in avoiding becoming kitsch or cheesy. What I liked the most in the material of Mixed Messages 5 song EP, were its more emotional songs like Say it Like You Mean it - a tune which could be almost called a cover version of Change (In the House of Flies) - or Somewhere Out There and, in my humble opinion, I think that this is the songwriting direction which Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy should consider about following in the future.

Album Rating : 8 out of 10

Bloodstrike - Execution Of Violence

If you come from an old school era (like me) this album from Denver’s Bloodstrike will remind you how Death Metal was supposed to be played. With an unbelievable production (avoiding any “flatness” in the sound) and moments which bring in mind albums like Leprosy (especially due to the vocals of Holly Wedel), Execution of Violence is an absolute headbanger. Not many things to be added here, this is an ace release.

Album Rating : 9 out of 10

Nostoc - AEvum

Aevum is the debut album by Cost Rican Progressive Death Metal band Nostoc. The first track of AEvum, Path to Ascend, is a good example of what is wrong with the whole album : a bit of Djent (especially in the guitar parts), a bit of Death Metal, some tribal rhythms played by cymbals, a bit of oriental melodies, all randomly thrown-in in an (apparent) agonising attempt to comply with the “rules” of progressive. I definitely cannot call AEvum a bad album but it certainly lacks focus and direction. There are songs like Transmute where the melodies and the riffs are great, however the majority of the material is unmemorable. The best advise that I would give (as a listener) to Nostoc is to tame their musicians skills and capabilities and focus more on the song-writing.

Album Rating : 7 out of 10

Matt Chanway - Self Titled EP

The music of this EP was initially written in 2011 for a progressive metal project called Chancellor, however after leaving that band Matt Chanway gradually morphed the tracks into instrumental tunes. Compared to Nostoc, I have to say that Chanway manages a little better in his progressive : The tracks have better flow however the lack of vocals make the EP (at least for me) eventually rather boring. Maybe it can function very well as a CV in Chanway’s future endeavours - so that hopefully the tracks would be reworked as part of a full album - but as a standalone release it gets an :

Album Rating : 7.5 out of 10

I Klatus - Nagual Sun

Nagual Sun is the third full length (and fifth overall) release from Chicago’s I Klatus. Formed by Chris Wozniak (Lair of the Minotaur, Earthen Grave, Serpent Crown), I Klatus’ style is Doom metal dirty enough to be on the verge with Sludge. What actually spices up the flavour in Nagual Sun is the remedy used, which successfully combines psychedelic and atmospheric elements with Black metal and some of the most interesting melodies played. Take as an example The Alivist. The melancholic guitar melodies played in the first half of the track are enough to give you some of the most serious goosebumps you have ever experienced, then the song evolves into a Black Sabbath-style hymn before it finally returns to a slow, mourning mood during its last minute. A band that can write such songs, is entitled to be called a great band !

Album Rating : 8.5 out of 10

Last Bullet - 80-69-64

With a cover and an album title like this, the chances that Last Bullet are playing Thrash Metal with socio-political lyrics are zero. Last Bullet actually play Hard rock with many alternative and grunge influences having as reference bands like Velvet Revolver (mainly), Alice in Chains and Wolfmother. There are some traditional AC/DC influenced moments in 80-69-94 (Southern Lips), some more modern songs (Little Miss Filthy) however where I liked them the most are in their mid-tempo/heavy riff songs like Gimme time and Smoke & Ashes. Despite what the EP title suggests, Last Bullet is a band that is professional and confident enough to be taken totally seriously. I have found this EP highly enjoyable therefore :

Album Rating : 8 out of 10

Expain - Pinching Nerves

Modern Thrash from Canada which partially sounds like Trivium (check out the Maiden melodies in the guitars) and partially like Vektor (even though they do not reach the insane speeds of them). Some points are reduced due to the lack of originality, however Pinching Nerves is an EP which you can listen to pleasantly.

Album Rating : 7.5 out of 10

Valdur - Divine Cessation

Pompous words such as dark, cold, blasphemous, hideous, dirty can be used in order to describe Valdur’s Death/Black metal as delivered in Divine Cessation. None other word though, would be more appropriate that the word REAL…

Album Rating : 9 out of 10