There were quite a few albums that came out this week, but i’ve been busy and only got to write about two in particular, but they are both doozies for sure. I didn’t want to leave out the other releases this week so i included bite-sized reviews of them below. If the release schedules continue like I think they will, it’s going to get rather busy soon and I can’t wait!
Cannibal Corpse are one of those bands whose name and reputation are so iconic, that even people who wouldn’t know Obituary from Nickelback have heard of them. They are infamous for their incredibly violent song titles, manical lyrics, and some of the most technically proficient death metal ever crafted. You’d think that after having released 11 albums and sold millions of records, that these guys would just rest on their laurels, but instead they managed to release one of the best sounding metal albums of 2012 so far.
Torture is Cannibal Corpse’s twelfth full length, but it seems that they have been on an incredible hot streak ever since 2006′s “Kill”. Before 2006, Cannibal Corpse were looked at merely as a legendary death metal band whose name was used in jest by people who know nothing about metal, but it seems that once Rob Barrett joined the band again and they began recording with Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel at his studio in Florida, they evolved into an incredibly relevant,
devastatingly sharp, machine of death. The overall tone of this album is incredibly sick; I know that word is used alot to describe heavy music nowadays, but that’s the best way for me to describe their incredibly heavy, yet violently raw guitar sound that is heavier than 99% of the bands these days that call themselves death metal. Musically, the album features plenty of songs that fit perfectly in the Corpse discography like “Scourge Of Iron” which features a brutal groove, and plenty of fast parts that give it the classic CC sound. The album also has songs like “As Deep As The Knife Will Go” which a more standard headbanger, but it’s also got that signature groove. The thing that really seperates Cannibal Corpse from other death metal bands, in my opinion, is the fact that, even though they are incredibly fast and pummeling, you can tell that they are also incredibly proficient at their instruments, especially drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz whose frantic drumming gives each song an atmosphere that feels like you’re being chased down a dark alley by a butcher knife-wielding maniac with no pants on.
Simply put, the new Cannibal Corpse album sounds very similar to “Kill” and “Evisceration Plague”, but the tone and songwriting on this record are absolutely fantastic and help separate them from their competition once again. I think alot of the credit for the album’s sound will be going to Erik Rutan, but they also spent some time at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas which has recorded artists such as: Hanson, Mudvayne, At The Drive-In, Tesla, and Explosions In The Sky…that would certainly explain the little extra “mmmbop” their sound has on this album. “Torture”, like their last album “Evisceration Plague”, has managed to bite, scratch, claw, and stab it’s way into major album of the year consideration and is certainly worth your time if you like death metal, and if you don’t like death metal, it’s still fun to play to aggravate your neighbors when they are loudly getting their freak on
Spawn Of Possession are a Swedish technical death metal monolith, and “Incurso” is their first album released by Relapse records, and their third in nine years. I’ve always had a soft spot for technical death metal bands like SoP, in fact, when I first heard their 2003 album “Cabinet” I was completely awestruck. Through the years they’ve gone though numerous member changes and, in fact, this is their first album in six years, but this album will finally gain them the attention they deserve.
Technical death metal is a genre that’s immensely over-populated by guitar geeks with too much time on their hands, but every once in a while a band comes along and washes the wannabes away in a tide of blood. With the release of their Relapse debut, Spawn Of Possession have a newly beefed up lineup, which includes Erlend Caspersen of Blood Red Throne, and Deeds Of Flesh on bass, and Christian Muenzner of Defeated Sanity, Necrophagist, and Obscura on lead guitar. The inclusion of these two technical monsters has solidified the lineup and this album is easily their strongest to date, featuring blisteringly fast, and incredibly proficient drumming from Henrik Schönstrom and a dizzying and neverending array of riffs from Muenzner, Caspersen, and founding member Jonas Bryssling on guitars. The thing that separates this album from their last album, apart from the incredible veteran musicians they acquired is the return of Dennis Rondum to vocals, his incredibly deep vocals are a lot more interesting than those of previous vocalist Jonas Renvaktar. The main reason I like this album so much is it’s ever-changing pace and atmosphere, which goes from blistering death metal riffs, to jazzy soloing, to a very creepy piano which comes in occasionally to give the album an unsettling “serial killer in the fog” kind of vibe. The album is full of break-neck riffing and incredibly shreddy solo’s but the songs that exemplify this the best are “Bodiless Sleeper”, and the very creepy-yet-brutal album closer “Apparition”.
It’s very hard for me to listen to technical death metal albums more than once, but something about this record just grabs me and forces itself to be heard numerous times, and the best part is you’ll always hear something new you hadn’t heard before. Alot of it’s standout moments are thanks to the incredibly vertiginous guitar work of Christian Muenzner and Jonas Bryssling and their ability to never ride a particular riff or rhythm for too long, and the overall teamwork of the band creates some genuinely creative, and enjoyable songs. If you are a fan of bands like Gorguts, Obscura, or Necrophagist, or if you just want just a generally brutal death metal record, this album is certainly worth your time.
This album is a fantastic mixture of stoner doom/sludge mixed with math rock. They remind me alot of Big Business, but they also mix in an influence that slightly reminds me of bands like Don Caballero. There is also a decidedly heavy Melvins influence on this album. This record is a very weird amalgamation of genre’s but it’s definitely worth checking out.
Okay, so i’m a big fan of black metal, and i’ve enjoyed Sigh’s music in the past, but i’m going to admit…I don’t really get this album. I mean, it’s got some interesting songs like “Transfiguration Of Fear” which have a very epic, semi-power metal vibe to them, but alot of the songs on here are more classical music than black metal. The vocals on this album are also very strange and the sound quality is horrid. I wouldn’t call this album horrible, or even bad, it’s just very weird and i don’t really get it.
I kind of anticipated this album to be a little more atmospheric, and actually have some unique things going on, but it kind of let me down. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s got some cool stuff on it, but for the most part it’s just a subpar black metal album. At times it reminds me of Agalloch’s “Marrow Of The Spirit”, only it’s riffs aren’t near as catchy and the production isn’t as good. My favorite part about this album, honestly, is the fact that the bass drum at times sounds like his pedals are hitting raw meat instead of a drum…it’s the most distracting drum sound i’ve ever heard.
A couple of days ago, I posted my list of the 10 albums that didn’t make it onto my top 25 favorite metal albums of the year list, but who should have. Today i’m posted part 1 of that top 25 list. If you feel the need to listen to any of these bands based on my description, i’ve included my favorite song from each record to give you a reference point.
Part 2 of this list, featuring my ten favorite metal albums of the year will be released on new years day, and it will also be in the January issue of the Spazzine, which should be on newsstands around the first week or two of January.
Please enjoy, and if you think i’m stupid for ranking something too low, too high, or not at all, please comment.
11. Absu – Abzu
This album is a full on black metal assault. Traditional black metal riffs and rhythms are abound, but it has a little something extra, namely a king diamondesque howl on the first track, and a barrage of skin-charring riffs that make it my favorite black metal album of the year. Favorite song: Earth Ripper.
12. Havok – Time Is Up
I don’t usually like thrash revival bands because there’s no sense in re-inventing a perfect wheel, however, Havok have released one of my favorite thrash albums i’ve ever heard, and that’s saying alot. This album is full of bonecrushing thrash riffs, and solo’s and songwriting ability that would make Dave Mustaine smile. Favorite song: Fatal Intervention.
13. Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand
An incredible sludge machine from the creators of the new orleans sludge sound. Plenty of awesome signature Crowbar moments on this album that will make you want to break everything you own and then re-think your entire life. Favorite song: Cemetary Angels.
14. Helms Alee – Weatherhead
This album is beautiful. Lots of shoegazey parts and a crushing guitar/bass tone courtesy of amps made by their guitarist Ben Verellen. Definitely one of the best albums put out by Hydra Head in a while. Favorite song: 8/16.
15. Exhumed – All Guts, No Glory
I love death metal with gory lyrics and this album brings that by the boatload. Matt Harvey is a fantastic guitarist and this album absolutely crushes. There are more than a handful of memorable riffs and lyrics on this album and it is definitely more than just a comeback album. Favorite song: Your Funeral, My Feast.
16. Burzum – Fallen
Very weird album full of non-traditional black metal elements, but this album it also has some amazing signature buzzsaw black metal guitar riffs that completely rule. Favorite song: Jeg Faller.
17. Craft – Void
Very angry, anti-social black metal with a bit of thrash and death thrown in to make it sound even nastier. Very crusty black metal album and perfect for jamming on a bad day. Favorite song: I Want To Commit Murder.
18. Hate Eternal – Phoenix Among Ashes
Erik Rutan returns with another solid, brutal as hell death metal album. Most death metal bands these days get boring after 5 or 6 songs but not this album, it has enough flavor to keep every song fresh and awesome. Favorite song: The Art Of Redemption
19. Vallenfyre – A Fragile King
Members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and At The Gates created a masterpiece that perfectly mixes doom with swedish death metal. My favorite guitar tone ever. Favorite song: Cathedrals Of Dread
20. Dark Castle – Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
This album is a smorgasbord of atmosphere and crushing riffs with a bit of a doom flavor. Even more amazing is that this band is only 2 people. Favorite song: Surrender to all life beyond form.
21. Macabre – Grim Scary Tales
Death metal songs about serial killers sung with hooks ripped straight out of nursery rhymes. This album is terribly sick and twisted, but the vocal hooks are so infectious that they stay stuck in your head forever, particularly their renditions of “The Big Bad Wolf” and Venom’s “Countess Bathory”. Favorite song: The Dark Knight
22. Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka
Incredible spanish grind in the vein of Napalm Death or Brutal Truth. My favorite part of this album is when the singer growls and it sounds like he’s making fart noises with his mouth and growling at the same time. Favorite song: Campo De Exterminio(but listen to the song before it for the sweet growls leading up to this song).
23. Batillus – Furnace
Super doomy and droney. This album is full of incredibly heavy riffs, but also has some Isis-esque post-metal swing at times. Favorite song: …And the World is as Night to Them.
24. Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage
Spanish goregrind songs about death in a hospital. Best songtitles ever and the dude growls with a pitchshifter at times so it sounds like a demon growling about flesh devouring pandemia. Many very memorable and catchy riffs on this album make it certainly standout amongst most other death metal albums this year. Favorite song: 911 (emergency slaughter).
25. Wormrot – Dirge
These Singapore grind warriors completely destroy. 25 songs and most all of them are a minute or less. Incredibly mean record with many testicle-shattering riffs. Favorite song: Compulsive Disposition