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 Chroniques Albums

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 28 Mar - 17:49


CORPUS MORTALE


FleshCraft


(Deepsend)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 7.5



Denmark-based death metal guys CORPUS MORTALE are on their
fourth album, and the band certainly has the ol' death metal
stomp-und-burn down pat, as if it's 1992 and JL America/Turbo USA just
won't stop signing bands that sound just like this. It's so bass-heavy
it's practically taking root in the soil (at the very least, making the
rats in my crawlspace a bit nervous), the tempos are firmly rooted in
mid and fast, the double bass is pounding, the state is Florida... you
get the drill. There are moments that stand out a bit, though: 'Feasting
Upon Souls' features some raging, and classy, lead guitar work, for
example, and lots of the tunes operate in a comfortable zone where they
don't try to go too too fast, which is kinda refreshing. But, pound for
pound, this is firmly what was once known as “generic death metal” and
is now known as “good, solid death metal,” given that it is indeed no
longer 1992 and we're not all inundated with this stuff 24/7 anymore.
Now, it's kinda refreshing, and when it's done as tight as this, it
sounds good... even if we've heard it a thousand times before.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 28 Mar - 17:51


PINK CREAM 69


Ceremonial


(Frontiers)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 6.0



Odd that long-running German outfit Pink Cream (once home
to current HELLOWEEN vocalist Andi Deris) is now almost an afterthought
to some of its members (at least financially, hence this being the first
release since In10sity, back in ‘07), with bassist-turned-power metal
producer extraordinaire Dennis Ward garnering praise for his studio
wizardry (as well as moonlighting in UNISONIC), ditto singer David
Readman, who can be seen fronting VOODOO CIRCLE. Apart from the
keyboards and occasional odd synth guitar squawk, this is hard rock, in
the late 70s English tradition, (not as odd as it sounds, given the
aforementioned gents are American and British, respectively), Ceremonial
is comprised of a dozen easy on the ears tunes that rarely touch the
metallic, yet always verge on commercial/balladry (see ‘Wasted Years’,
just one title previously used by bigger bands: ‘Land Of Confusion’,
‘Superman’
, ‘Big Machine’, etc.). The heaviest moments come all too
infrequently (‘Big Machine’, the guitar driven ‘I Came To Rock’ and the
VAN HALEN inspired ‘Let The Thunder Roll’). Speaking of VH, guitarist
Alfred Koffler wants to be Eddie Van Halen. Sadly, the MTV staple
(‘Panama’, ‘Jump’, ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’) not the one who played on
the first two albums.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 28 Mar - 17:51


CLUTCH


Earth Rocker


(Weathermaker Music)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 8.0



Forget whatever negative thoughts you’ve had in the past
about CLUTCH. On its tenth studio release, Earth Rocker, the Maryland
quartet attack with a renewed vigor. Fat grooves, heavy-hammered drum
beats, sludgy as hell riffs and commanding vocals are all on display
here. The 11 tracks are simplistic, straight-forward, non-pretentious,
blues-based dirty rock ‘n’ roll jams. The band’s musical contributions
are exceptionally commendable in its simplistic but powerful approach.
The huge, in-your-face, snare-smackin’ sound and the steady shuffle-beat
rudiments from drummer Jean-Paul Gaster will slam the hell out of you.
Guitarist Tim Sult launches his sludgy, thick as mud guitar riffs like
scud missiles, and bassist Dan Maines lays down plenty of heavy-handed
basslines. Fallon’s ferocious vocal delivery is reminiscent of a
Southern Baptist preacher or an old-time traveling sideshow salesman
unleashing his angst toward the listener. Once that infectious riff of
CD opener title track kicks in, you’re hooked. And look no further than
the line “I will suffer no evil/My guitar will guide me through” to get
your endorphins rising and your fists pumping. This is a very balanced
album; the songs are streamlined, concise and consistent. I think a few
people will be a little bit surprised at how good Clutch sound on Earth
Rocker.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 28 Mar - 17:52


ROTTING CHRIST


Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy


(Season of Mist)


Reviewed by : David Perri

Rating : 8.0



Athens' ROTTING CHRIST has been a constant and consistent
underground presence for more than 25 years, this Greek band acting as a
creative pillar in its country's scene and helping to shine
international metal attention onto the one-time city state whose most
famous resident, Plato, still retains a cult following of his own (I
kid...). On this, its 11th record, Rotting Christ continues to write in
strong, erudite ways, the band evidently taking the lessons (and scars)
from its quarter-century of experience and putting them to good use,
which results in potent, well-written compositions, much in the way
MOONSPELL's extensive experience (and scars) helps that group write at
summit points more than 20 years into its career. The SLASH-esque solo
in 'Iwa Voodoo' or the classic DARK TRANQUILLITY-ish solos in 'Rusalka'
are prime examples of Rotting Christ's use of hindsight as foresight,
the collective adept at surrounding its traditional symphonic black with
the sorts of flourishes and winding alleyways that allow for more than
just simple DIMMU BORGIR retreads. At its core, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
is an exceptionally written record, one that could only be the product
of this many years of toil in an underground that rarely rewards its
citizens with the type of success they deserve: listen to the epic
nature of the fantastic 'Ahura Mazda-Anra Mainiuu' and marvel at the
levels of depth, subtlety and craftsmanship Rotting Christ has achieved.
Debut records written by hungry bands with everything to prove have
their infinite appeal and after-burn but so do latter-day albums we're
learning, and Rotting Christ is at the forefront of that charge. Just
don't tell DAVE MUSTAINE. (If ya don't get it, look it up.)

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 28 Mar - 17:52


SIX FEET UNDER


Unborn


(Metal Blade Records)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 7.0



Death metal titans SIX FEET UNDER, led by the distinctive
gurgling of vocalist Chris Barnes, is about to release its tenth studio
album, Unborn — not even a year after 2012’s Undead. As with every SFU
release, you know what you’re getting — brutal death metal. However,
this might not be the SFU you were expecting. It’s still brutal in most
places, but there’s also quite a bit of groove-based elements,
progressive guitar melodies and acoustic segments within its 11 tracks,
most notably on CD opener, Neuro Osmosis. It gives the band a dynamic
they might not have had in the past, and some of these newly-founded
elements may be due to the contributions of new band members, guitarist
Ola Englund and bassist Jeff Hughell, as well as guest guitarists Jari
Laine (TORTURE KILLER), Ben Savage (WHITECHAPEL) and Rob Arnold (ex-Six
Feet Under). Snagging drummer Kevin Talley in 2011 was a brilliant move
by Barnes, as his powerful dexterity and relentless double bass prowess
keeps the rhythm section slamming. Barnes’ malicious barking is mostly
decipherable — even by death metal standards — but it’s not as guttural
as on his previous releases. The production is thick and clean and cuts
right through like a razor-sharp machete. It’s not too over-polished and
certainly doesn’t contaminate the death metal formula. If you thought
SFU were down and out with nothing else to offer, or you just got tired
of the umpteenth Graveyard Classics, then Unborn might change your mind
about the band
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:22


AXEL RUDI PELL


Live On Fire: Circle Of The Oath Tour 2012


(SPV)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 9.0



Has it really been a decade since the German guitar whiz
issued his last live album (2002’s Knights Live)? True, there have been
two live DVDs in that time, the audio for One Night Live being available
as a bonus CD with the extended version of The Crest. Actually, this is
the companion piece to a (yet another) dual live DVD (which includes
the Oct 18, 2012 gig, as well as a virtually identical setlist/festival
appearance, from July of the same year). Damn shame the guy’s never
played in North America. Like previous ARP offerings, in addition to the
usual hits, either in their entirety, or as part of an extended medley,
there’s the odd solo spotlight (drum/keyboards) and three numbers off
Circle Of The Oath (as well as the instrumental that begins both
albums), making this 110 minute show the Axel Rudi Pell’s definitive
live collection. ‘Ghost In The Black’ is a storming opener, but its the
emotional stuff, like ‘Masquerade Ball’, backed with ‘Casbah’ (a
monstrously long, 18 minute piece that includes also includes ‘Dreaming
Dead’ and snippets of LED ZEPPELIN), that allows American singer Johnny
Gioeli (HARDLINE) to shine. He’s probably the most
underrated/unappreciated (outside ARP fans) voice in hard rock/metal.
Between songs he likes to joke with/heckle the crowd and have fun: “My
Deutsche est scheisse. 14 years and all I can say is ‘Hello.” ‘Mystica’,
with a slight mid-song departure into DEEP PURPLE’s ‘Mistreated’ allows
Pell to go off on his cream colored Stratocaster, much like his mentor,
Ritchie Blackmore. ‘Fool Fool’ and ‘Tear Down The Wall’ are big closing
number, energetic and great sing-alongs. As close as you’re likely to
get to a live show, without hopping on an airplane. Great stuff!

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:24


RAVEN LORD


Descent To The Underworld


(Mausoleum Records)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 7.0



Six-headed heavy metal beast RAVEN LORD’s debut studio
release, Descent To The Underworld, contains neo-classical influences on
its 11 tracks. Classic metal elements in the likes of DIO, RAINBOW and
SABBATH
also are on tap here. The band boasts the high-piercing banshee
wails and metallic snarls of vocalist Csaba Zvekan (KILLING MACHINE) and
the blazing guitar solos of six-string shredder extraordinaire, Joe
Stump
(HOLY HELL/REIGN OF TERROR). The rhythm section is solid (Larry
Paterson’s double bass rudiments kill), and the keyboard melodies help
the overall feeling and atmosphere of the songs without overpowering or
stepping into European power metal territory. As good as the
musicianship is, it becomes a bit of the same ol’ same ol’. There’s not
much variation or memorable musical transitions, almost every song has
the same kind of slow to mid-paced tempo and almost every guitar solo
has the same Malmsteen neo-classical technique. Although the songs are
good in their own rite, nothing really stands out as truly memorable.
Descent To The Underworld will appeal to die-hard Yngwie and
neo-classical metal fans only.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:24


EWAN DOBSON


Acoustic Metal


(Candyrat Records)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 7.5



Cool idea here, Canuck acoustic six-stringer Ewan Dobson
stripping metal down to an unplugged format that is not wimpy, hokey, or
horribly demo-quality. And it works, most fascinating aspect being how
much acoustic metal sounds like something you'd hear on the sidewalk in
Mexico or late at night in L.A. or something, the Latin sounds that
happen when you take thrash riffs and play 'em fast on an acoustic
humorously awesome. This double CD breaks down as such: the first disc
is 15 tunes, including two IN FLAMES covers, and a cover of the
Halloween theme song; the second CD has everything from the first CD
without the drum tracks so you can really pop a boner over the guitar
playing, plus seven more (!) tunes, including a JASON BECKER cover, a
cover of a Mega Man 2 song (hey, is that a girl over there? Get out of
here, now!), and a song based on the Nightmare On Elm Street theme.
Okay, it's all a lot to handle, so here's what I say: put on disc one,
listen to it for about 20 minutes at a time, on headphones, and let it
soak in. There's a reason that Dobson is known in the
fingerpicking/classical guitar scenes, and it's very cool that he's
taking some time to get back to his metal roots here.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:25


ECLIPSE PROPHECY


Days Of Judgement


(Maple Metal Records)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 7.0



Montréal-based power metal band, ECLIPSE PROPHECY, has
just released its ten-track debut album, Days Of Judgement. Led by
vocalist/guitarist David Mc Gregor, the band’s sound is steeped in
European power metal influences similar to bands such as HAMMERFALL,
FREEDOM CALL and GAMMA RAY, but due to their prominent use of keyboards,
are more akin to STRATOVARIUS — only heavier. The keyboards are used as
an accompanying melody to the splendidly crunchy guitar riffs, which,
combined with the brilliant lead guitar work of Martin Machado, are
probably the best part of the album. McGregor sings his parts with great
conviction, boasting a gritty, mid-range vibrato bellow with an
occasional falsetto. The lyrics are fantasy-based and typical power
metal fare filled with tales of fire and brimstone,Thor, and demons and
dragons. It’s glaringly cliche, as power metal sometimes tends to be.
Days Of Judgement treads on familiar territory, but if you already enjoy
power metal as a whole, then Eclipse Prophecy has something good to
offer.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:26


PRETTY MAIDS


Motherland


(Frontiers)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 7.0



A great album can carry a band forever, or so it would
seem. Usually they soar to loftier heights than PRETTY MAIDS have been
able to muster, although the Danes have toured the world (finally making
it back to the States in 2012) for more than three decades! The
eponymous ‘83 Ep (sometimes referred to as Shelly The Maid Ep, for the
song and female cover art) got the ball rolling, but Red Hot & Heavy
solidified the Maids (who have ironically, never featured a female
member) as a metal band, although the sound never fully returned to that
level of urgency, nor aggression. During the dearth of guitar oriented
hard rock in the Nineties, PRETTY MAIDS became a continental BON JOVI,
surviving solely on the Japanese market. Never forgotten, but ultimately
rediscovered by Europe, via oldies catalog festival appearances, it led
to signing with Euro labels once again. So do any of the latest
approach the likes of ‘Back To Back’, ‘Cold Killer’ or even ‘Yellow
Rain’? Come on… A dozen songs (plus spoken word ‘Confession’
introduction), most of the smoothly polished, mid-tempo variety,
including a modern, slightly staccato ‘Hooligan’. That’s not to say
Motherland isn’t worth the time. If you’re already a fan, it offers few
surprises, from the keyboard laden ballad of ‘Infinity’ to the brooding
‘Who What Where When Why’ or politically tinged ‘To Fool A Nation’. With
an ear to yesteryear, the upbeat, bass rumbling ‘Motherland’ blows the
dust of the kick drums, delivering the most spirited performance herein.
‘Iceman’ and gritty ‘I see Ghosts’ also get the head bobbling. Those
intrigued by the re-emergence of a seemingly (albeit an incorrect
assumption) long dormant name, would be better served by checking out
either of the live albums issued in the last decade, or, naturally the
earliest stuff. Truthfully, any excuse to have PRETTY MAIDS out there
promoting/playing live is OK in my book.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:27


ANTHRAX


Anthems


(MRI/Megaforce)


Reviewed by : "Metal" Tim Henderson

Rating : 7.0



Let's be honest here; didn't the cover tune/tribute album
phase really hit a peak with Nativity In Black in 1994?! Seriously, this
stuff comes through in waves and really after the first listen - to see
if the band botched it or built upon the legacy - that's it, it
disappears. And most don't live up to the hype. Tell that to the
(literally) hundreds of compilations collecting dust in my collection.
Anthrax has been talking up these covers for ages like it was Among The
Living part II. Damn, I'd rather see the band re-do the entire first
album and bill it Fistful Of Memories or something. Even invite John
Bush to the party! But here we have Anthems, New York's mighty moshers
pledging allegiance to RUSH, THIN LIZZY, AC/DC, BOSTON, CHEAP TRICK and
JOURNEY. So is this history lesson worthy? Let's check it out
track-by-track:
Rush's 'Anthem' (from 1975's Fly By Night) - This is sacred ground, but
Charlie Benante steals the show, no-doubt he's spent his youth (and
adulthood) trying to figure out this genius named Neil Peart. But sadly
Joey Belladonna tries to play catch-up with Geddy Lee's falsetto voice
and kinda struggles. Some bands are meant to remain untouched as they
hover so far above our heads! Rush is one of them.

AC/DC's 'TNT' (from 1975's TNT or 1976's High Voltage) - Scott Ian in
his glory with the ultimate infectious Angus Young lick, while the blood
brothers Benante and bassist Frank Bello hold down the fort as images
of Bon Scott's rape and pillaging dance in your head. Oy! This is top
notch!

Boston's 'Smokin'' (from 1976's Boston) - I love what Charlie Benante
said: "If ever there were a perfect first album, it's Boston's first
album. The harmony leads they did would later be heard by IRON MAIDEN,
which of course would lead to thrash metal." Late vocal legend Brad Delp
is smiling in his grave as Belladonna finally fits the mold like a
glove with his soaring melodies and lush harmonies. And those keys?
Canuck-born session man Fred Mandel mimicking Tom Scholz clavinet (an
electro-mechanical piano) with ease. A smokin' cover to say the least!

Journey's 'Keep On Runnin'' (from 1981's Escape) - The AOR Gods are
appeased with this hidden Steve Perry gem … once again Belladonna's
voice is perfect for this tune and genre. Uplifting, soul-injecting and
edgy, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano duelling the Neal Schon licks until
Benante injects his patented double-bass with passioned precision.
Another wise choice.

Cheap Trick's 'Big Eyes' (from 1977's In Color) - I will admit this late
'70s tune seems a little out of place. But this is where such tributes
can shine; it's one of your legends directing you to their moment of
inspiration. It unites generations and fills your collection for a good
reason as you seek out the original and perhaps get into the band
itself, for those who've only heard Cheap Trick for their 'I Want You To
Want Me' or 'Dream Police' pop triumphs.

Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak' (from 1976's Jailbreak) - Man, I wish they
woulda dug a little deeper, as Phil Lynott has so many overlooked
treasures. Don't get me wrong, classic tune, but it's kinda like 'The
Boys Are Back In Town' - totally overkilled and overshadows gems like
'Angel Of Death', 'Waiting For An Alibi', 'Dedication', 'Renegade',
'Cold Sweat' etc... Next.

The remix of one of the many stand-out tracks on Worship Music (review here)
- 'Crawl' - is palatable in kind of a haunting
orchestral-meets-COLDPLAY manner, maybe adding a bit more drama to the
track. But if it ain't broke don't fix it.


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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:28


SEVENDUST


Black Out The Sun


(7 Bros./ADA-Music)


Reviewed by : Aaron Small

Rating : 7.0



Atlanta, Georgia’s SEVENDUST chose to self-produce their
ninth album, Black Out The Sun, and managed to complete the 13 track
effort in 31 days. Beginning with the lovely instrumental introduction
‘Memory’, which transitions into ‘Faithless’ – a start/stop number that
alternates between staccato riffing and harmonious melodies, Sevendust
seem to be right on track. But the musical train derails on ‘’Till
Death’ when guitarist Clint Lowery begins barking ultra-aggressive death
metal vocals. Main vocalist Lajon Witherspoon is more than capable on
his own, and if it’s a duet they were after, an outside singer should
have been brought in. Thankfully things are righted with ‘Mountain’ and
‘Cold As War’, both rather catchy tunes in their own right. The title
track serves as a tribute to Lowery’s father who passed away last year.
Then the album enters a bit of stale territory as ‘Nobody Wants It’
sounds too much like KORN, and ‘Dead Roses’ starts off promising but
quickly becomes uninteresting. First single and video ‘Decay’ packs some
heavy groove, yet ‘Dark AM’ and ‘Picture Perfect’ are rather
forgettable. However, the acoustic ballad ‘Got A Feeling’ easily ranks
in the top ten Sevendust songs of all time! Never before has melancholy
sounded so beautiful. And album closer ‘Murder Bar’, named after the
watering hole across the street from the recording studio in New Jersey,
is standard Sevendust fare.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 7 Avr - 19:28


KVELERTAK


Meir


(Roadrunner)


Reviewed by : David Perri

Rating : 8.5



It's a good thing Meir isn't KVELERTAK's first record. If
it was, this Stavanger, Norway collective might not have made the
massive, fire-on-fire impact that it did in 2010 and 2011 with its out
of control self-titled debut. Kvelertak's initial LP is the stuff of
manic-addled legend and, in its caustic, blackened-punk wake, it was
completely conceivable, and probable even, that Kvelertak would write a
follow-up that disappointed. So, yes, let's be honest, because we should
be: Meir is a let down on first listen but the disappointment, one
realises, is precisely because Meir is not the debut. And, like all
other processes that necessitate human adaptability, Meir rewards
greatly if you let it, the album still a loud, abrasive,
attitude-obsessed record despite having the supreme misfortune of
competing directly with its predecessor. Once Meir is listened to in its
totality, an exacting singularity becomes very, very clear: four songs
on Meir are on the incendiary level of the debut's greatest moments, and
if the snarl and switchblade-to-the-skin immediacy of 'Snilepisk',
'Manelyst', 'Nekrokosmos' and 'Trepan' don't affect you, you might not
be among the living, at all. All four songs are testaments to scathing
truculence done immensely right, these tracks the sort of scorched hymns
that THE HELLACOPTERS, TURBONEGRO, ENTOMBED and SCUM have circled in
their own blaze-in-the-northern-sky stratospheres. First single 'Bruane
Brenn' and album opener 'Apenbaring' are effective as well, both working
as anthems to attitude (at dusk), Kvelertak tapping into the sort of
sixth sense zeitgeist that comes rarely, and only for those with the
don't give a fuck hedonism and candor of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, DEATH
FROM ABOVE 1979 and TRIGGER EFFECT. Meir means 'more' in Norwegian and,
even if this album isn't as spiked Jäger intoxicating as the debut,
let's hope Kvelertak has meir on the way for, like, a decade to come
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Sam 13 Avr - 20:02


OCEANS OF SLUMBER


Aetherial


(Independent)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 8.0



Even though this Houston-based band features the drummer
for INSECT WARFARE, I was warned, explicitly, going into this to not
expect crazy grind. And I'm glad I got that heads-up, because what you
need to do is throw away any preconceptions before spinning Aetherial.
Crazed grind it is absolutely, resolutely not: atmospheric, progressive,
and difficult, it absolutely, resolutely is. So think MINDROT without
the crushing heaviness or INTRONAUT without quite as much wandering prog
parts. But they're there: the title track gets super progressive, and
also super technical, but then also shows a great sense of simple
dynamics. 'Primordial' gets wacky: suddenly I'm thinking about MR.
BUNGLE or at least some kind of '90s alt metal. The alt reference shows
up again during the soaring vocals, which show up throughout the album;
they work well, except when they get a bit too CREED-y. On 'Only A
Corpse', the band shows they can get simple, busting into a big groove,
while closer 'Great Divide' is a super ending, combining groove,
dynamics, melody, and atmosphere. While the long song lengths and
intense amounts of forward-thinking technicality and progressiveness
might be a bit much for some people, those looking for the latest
boundary-pushing band just found it (and the great production, which
really makes the drumming shine, only helps make the listening
experience that much better). Couple next to the new Intronaut for the
best one-two mind-melt punch of the year.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Sam 13 Avr - 20:03


VICTOR GRIFFIN’S IN-GRAVED


Victor Griffins’ In-Graved


(Svart/Veritas)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 8.0



After three frustrating decades playing second fiddle to
drug addicted/unreliable PENTAGRAM/DEATHROW frontman Bobby Liebling,
guitarist Victor Griffin announced his departure from the legendary
(infamous?) Maryland based outfit, to concentrate on this new entity.
While the name changed, many of the participants will be familiar to
doom fanatics, including a batch of bass players who have been in the
likes of TROUBLE, PILE OF SKULLS, GOATSNAKE, EARTHEN GRAVE, THE
OBSESSED, as well as the six-stringer’s previous outfits. Former TROUBLE
drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson is onboard, as Hammond organ keyboardist!
Standouts include the opening ‘Digital Critic’ and ‘Thorn In The Flesh’.
However, while generally heavy and retro sounding, the music contains a
unique element. Witness ‘Fading Flower’: more a slow, bluesy 70s number
than outright doom: widdly, fuzz tone guitar, complete with wah wah
pedal and heavy accent of the ubiquitous Hammond organ. As if to drive
the psychedelic flower power motif home, there also a cover of JETHRO
TULL
’s ‘Teacher’ amongst the seven originals (40 minutes total running
time). Otherwise, it’s bludgeoning riffs accompanied by the regal air of
the vintage keys. The concluding ‘Never Surrender’ parts from the
formula, infectious, upbeat and almost pop, compared to its
surroundings. Purists might balk at a feel good ending, but somehow it
works and never feels forced or out-of–place.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Sam 13 Avr - 20:04


SCENT OF DEATH


Of Martyr's Agony And Hate


(Bloody Productions/Pathologically Explicit Recordings)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 9.0



I'm probably not the only knuckle-dragging Canucklehead
death-metal fanatic getting SCENT OF DEATH mixed up with STENCH OF DECAY
and CHAPEL OF DISEASE right about now; seriously, how can anyone
remember which band is which with names like those? Well, we manage, by
making weird-o notes in our palms that say things like "Stench =
Autopsy" and "Scent = Immo/Incan," and it totally, absolutely makes
sense (also, "Chapel = don't forget to listen to sometime") (sorry,
guys). Anyway, SCENT OF DEATH are a Spanish death metal band who
released their debut album eight years ago and now are back with their
second. What were they doing in the meantime? Apparently, crafting and
creating death metal perfection: this sounds like the best of
INCANTATION and IMMOLATION (from the sludge to the grind, and all sewers
in between) combined with a frantic, blasting edge like DEICIDE on
their second album, a sound that actually sends shivers down your spine
just a bit, thanks to those amazing guitar riffs ('Ego Te Provoco' and
'The Father's Sins': that's what it's all about). I'm floored that this
full-length is put out on a micro indie, yet has production qualities to
kill for and pure, horrible, ugly, extreme death metal to die for. I
mean, I'm having a hard time finding anything bad to say about this...
the intro was boring? The font is a bit hard to read? With one hand on a
ASPHYX cassette and the other caressing FUNERUS MP3 file names with my
cursor, I swear this one is worth picking up.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Sam 13 Avr - 20:05


VANDROYA


One


(Inner Wound Recordings)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 8.0



To some degree, Brazilian female-fronted bands seem to be
popping up more and more, what with SOULSPELL and SHADOWSIDE gaining
recognition and now VANDROYA takes the spotlight with the release of its
infectious debut studio album, One. Led by the soaring vocals of Daisa
Munhoz, who also participates in Soulspell, the band inject some
progressive elements into its traditional power metal flavor in the vein
of GAMMA RAY, PRIMAL FEAR, STRATOVARIUS and DRAGON FORCE. Throughout
the album, the guitar work is fluid — often times breaking into some
dual harmonized leads. The song structures show great dynamic and the
use of keyboards come into play at the right moments; 'Within Shadows'
and 'The Last Free Land' are a good examples of this. Drummer Otávio
Nuñez is like a human metronome, slaying with his lightning-quick double
bass rudiments. The chugging guitar riffs of Marco Lambert and Rodolfo
Pagotto cut through like razors while bassist Giovanni Perlati does a
commendable job, but his bass is a little low in the mix and seems to
follow the guitar rhythms most of the time. Munhoz holds her end of the
band up well in the vocal department; her highs are operatic and
theatrical while her multi-layered vocal harmonies really shine come
chorus time, and ballad 'Why Should We Say Goodbye' shows off her
melodic, softer vocal side. 'No Oblivion For Eternity', with its Middle
Eastern-tinged riffs, is one of the highlights of the disc. One is a
pleasing slab of traditional Euro power metal done the Brazilian way.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:26


HAMMERDRONE


Wraiths On The Horizon


(Independent)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 8.0



Calgary's melodic death bunch HAMMERDRONE impressed us
with their A Demon Rising EP from last year, now they're back with a
single (literally: one tune) to tease for their upcoming full-length. I
love the chops, especially during the Gothen-riffic guitar solo. Make
that solos, actually; why stop at one when they're this good? The sense
of building drama is all over this thing; their last EP made me think of
early '00s Century Media Records bands, but now I'm leaning a bit more
towards heavier Metal Blade fare, the death in this coming through
louder and clearer than the melodic, which works for me. I'm not sold on
that drum sound, coming across a bit too mechanized, especially those
bass drums, and the low vocals are five times better than the higher
pitched fare. And speaking of building drama, check the last minute of
this five-minute gem, where it just builds and builds and goes and goes
and ends, like a great track on a compilation, leaving you wanting more.
Hard to rate a single song, but the 8 reflects what a whole album of
songs of this quality would get.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:26


PSYCHOTHERMIA


Fall To The Rising Sun


(Independent)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 8.0



San Diego modern metal foursome PSYCHOTHERMIA have just
self-released its 12-song full-length debut, Fall to the Rising Sun.
There’s an undeniable merging of genres that gives the band a dark yet
accessible and almost radio-friendly quality as bands such as RAGE
AGAINST THE MACHINE, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, TOOL and DISTURBED. Johan
Maldonado’s vocals is one of the biggest charms and he’s clearly the
mastermind behind the band’s songs, which are loaded with fuzzy,
down-tuned guitar riffs. The mood, atmosphere and melodies are captured
well within each song. “Slash & Burn” is a SLIPKNOT-inspired tune
decorated with a lone acoustic guitar and gripping vocal harmonies. The
creeping melodies and Tool-ish harmonies of “Don’t Look Back” sink into
your head. On “Here’s to the Angels,” the band’s inner Disturbed and
KORN influences rear its ugly head with a slightly rap-ish, nü metal
flavor. The album drags a little bit toward the end, starting with the
slower “Orlando,” but it picks back up on CD closer “The Fight” with its
Rage Against The Machine meets JANES ADDICTION vibe. Fall to the Rising
Sun is a decent album with some great experimentation worthy of your
time.


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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:27


TERVEYSKESKUS


Omat Koirat Puree


(Svart)


Reviewed by : Chris Tighe

Rating : 8.0



Originating in the 1980s, but with a limited discography,
this Finnish unit has deemed the world worthy of another blast of
hardcore punk noise. Totally true to the old school sound, the
thundering bass acts as the catalyst for the barbarous, high speed
assault of the eleven tracks over a sweaty 20 minutes. Vocally, most of
this is of the spittle-in-yer-eye, pissed-off shout variety, very much
suitable to the aggressive stance of the accompanying music. Considering
that the lyrics are sung in their native tongue, it's impossible to
tell what they're going on about, but the CD's title translates to "Your
Own Dogs Will Bite You", perhaps providing a glimpse into their lyrical
intent. Those who have invested time and money in their record
collections toward bands such as DISCHARGE, THE EXPLOITED and FINAL
CONFLICT should seek this out.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:28


AVANTASIA


Mystery Of Time


(Nuclear Blast)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 7.5



As ‘Spectres’ kicks off, with its grandiose, orchestral
fanfare, I’m thinking, “NIGHTWISH, what have you wrought,” but there’s
no bombastic follow-up. In the battle of the sometimes pompous and
overblown compositions, count me firmly in the Finns camp, even though a
big fan of Tobias Sammet’s original band/alter-ego EDGUY. As with the
entirety of this band/solo effort’s output since the second part of
Metal Opera, energy is an element in short supply, instead preferring a
meandering, slow to mid-tempo progressive bent, complete with lots of
keyboards, piano, synthesizers, etc. Given my affinity for the
aforementioned female fronted platinum sellers, that’s not inherently a
problem, if handled correctly. Backing Hammond organ gives an enlivened
‘The Watchmakers Dream’ something of a 70s classic rock vibe, filtered
through Sammet’s power metal upbringing. One of the big draws with
AVANTASIA, especially live, is the gaggle of guest stars the diminutive
singer is able to assemble. This time is no exception, beginning with
former RAINBOW vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, who’s on the first two songs. A
traditional dose of galloping metal (complete with guitar solo, an
otherwise almost forgotten instrument) turns up, in the form of ‘Where
Clock Hands Freeze’, featuring the high-pitched Michael Kiske
(UNISONIC/ex-HELLOWEEN), who appears on no less than three tunes, either
alone, or in concert with other voices. ‘Sleepwalking’ is a short
duet/ballad with female singer Cloudy Yang, who has previously recorded
with Sammet, in both AVANTASIA and EDGUY, as well as KAMELOT and EPICA.
At 10:20, the epic ‘Savior In The Clockwork’ utilizes not only the
gentlemen above, but SAXON throat Biff Byford. However, the most
aggressive slice of metal on the disc is reserved for PRETTY MAIDS’
Ronnie Atkins, who does a fine job on the last true rocker herein,
‘Invoke The Machine’. MR.BIG’s Eric Martin joins the Sammet for the
commercialize piano/synth paean to The Beatles, ‘What’s Left Of Me’,
while ‘Dweller In A Dream’ bounds on a lively keyboard rhythm. Another
10+ composition, ‘The Great Mystery’, wraps things up, in Broadway
closing number fashion (with a nod to METALOAF), ultimately ending in a
crescendo, almost all the contributing voices “onstage”. All in a days
work for the modern king of the rock opera!

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:28


JUNGLE ROT


Terror Regime


(Victory Records)


Reviewed by : Kelley Simms

Rating : 7.5



Kenosha, Wisconsin’s JUNGLE ROT continues its meat and
potatoes American death metal formula with 11 brand new tracks of
bone-crushing riffs and gargantuan grooves on its eighth full-length
album, Terror Regime. Since its 1994 inception, the band has basically
put out the same album each time, which is what we’ve come to expect
from Jungle Rot. However, there’s something new afloat on Terror Regime;
more guitar solos, more catchy, chant-able choruses (“Utter Chaos,”
“Rage Through the Wasteland”), and more faster songs. Vocalist/guitarist
Dave Matrise spits out his trademark vicious barks and the band is
tighter and more direct in its musical execution. The songs are mostly
short and succinct with only one, “Pronounced Dead,” over the
four-minute mark, however, some songs get a bit monotonous and
repetitive and begin to overstay their welcome. Jungle Rot has remained
consistent (not an easy task) within a genre that has been
over-saturated in recent years. On Terror Regime, you’re treated to some
new elements that will surely please the die-hard death metal
contingent.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:29


COMMON DEAD


Allegorize


(Independent)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 7.5



Chicago dude Andrew Laurenson and his one-man project
COMMON DEAD
released Diatribe last year, and made us take notice with
his great riffing skills, held back by some flat vocals and the
one-man-ness of it all. He's back now with Allegorize (love that name),
and while the vocals still aren't exactly leaping with life, the overall
delivery is getting better. The drum programming is sounding more
varied and interesting, too. I'm still campaigning for this guy to focus
on his riffing and get a full band backing him up: songs like
'Enlightenment' are pure old-school melodic thrash, while 'Outer Harbor'
has an almost post-hardcore guitar sound happening. Shame that 'Most
People' is placed prominently in the coveted track-three position, as it
sounds like the battle of the bands guys taking on PANTERA; all rage
but ending up sounding like an immature burst instead of controlled
chaos. Overall, like last time out, this album makes you think of
ANNIHILATOR, especially with the weird-guy variety ('Venture In Blood'
nears pogo-happy punk, or something) and the Canadian underdog feeling
that this guy, despite totally not being Canadian, has all over his
stuff.

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:29


CANCER BATS


Bat Sabbath - Bastards Of Reality


(Distort/Metal Blade Records)


Reviewed by : Greg Pratt

Rating : 7.0



No huge surprise here, Canada's cool hardcore screamers
CANCER BATS dropping an EP of BLACK SABBATH covers, and doing it pretty
straight. A painfully predictable track listing ('Iron Man', 'War Pigs',
ugh) makes trepidation high going into this, but the solid delivery and
heavy production sound make up for it immediately; the near-rapping
vocals on 'Into The Void' then threaten to take that back (BIOHAZARD
pulled it off because they're Biohazard). But it's all fun, all good,
the band's love of the drab four's sludgey rock clear and apparent, the
riffs delivered with pure homage and joy. 'Children Of The Grave' and
'N.I.B.' round this one out, slightly more refreshing tracks to hear
covers of, especially the former, which opens up this EP with a good
kick and scream, just how it should. Too bad those predictable song
choices just end up suffocating the proceedings with that same feeling
you get when the Sabs start up 'War Pigs'... love the tune, but you know
just know it's a long slog ahead, right?

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Dim 21 Avr - 15:30


ICED EARTH


Live In Ancient Kourion


(Century Media)


Reviewed by : Mark Gromen

Rating : 9.0



Even though mainman/guitarist Jon Schaffer and drummer
Brent Smedley are the only returnees, there must have been sort of a
déjà vu moment, in recording another live album/DVD in the Aegean region
(temperatures in Cyprus topping 100). Listening to the audio portion,
on headphones (guitars recorded on separate channels), there are moments
where one forgets Matt Barlow is no longer in the band. Singer Stu
Block stamps his own brand on the massive length set (24 songs on two
CDs, complete with pre-recorded intros), covering all aspects of
Schaffer’s vision, and the vocal gymnastics, from bellow to sustained
high pitch within seconds, is something of a marvel. In addition to the
expected hits (‘Angels Holocaust’, ‘Stormrider’), there’s the long
forgotten (especially on these shores) and rarely aired: entirety of
‘Dante’s Inferno’ and the tumultuous half-decade of the
Barlow-Owens-Barlow carousel, surrounding the Something Wicked concept
albums. Six selections from Dystopia are also included. Even though it’s
almost fifteen years since Alive In Athens, about half that content is
reprises here and from the five studio albums since, only ‘Declaration
Day’ comes off The Glorious Burden, an album still viewed with askance
overseas. While a few Barlow classics, either penned during his tenure,
or songs identified with him, like ‘Travel In Stygian’, ‘Last December’
and ‘Vengeance Is Mine’ are absent, the show was already 2 ½ hours long
and all are available on the earlier live package.

It easy to see/hear why Schaffer picked this locale, apart from the
rustic historical setting, the fans go ape from word one, even singing
the guitar melodies during instrumental bits. Of course that’s not the
only place on the globe where that happens, but the exclusivity
virtually guaranteed an over-the-top response. With a trip around the
kit, staccato riffs and explosion of pyro, a rousing ‘Dystopia’ opens
the chaos. Tolling bells and audience sing-alongs greet ‘Burning Times’,
but by the aforementioned ‘Angels’s Holocaust’ the crowd’s unamplified
voice rivals the band’s sound level. Block does an admirable job with
crowd direction and minimal between song banter. No need to waste long
wind-ups on non-native English speaking throng. ‘When The Night Falls’
shows a more emotive side, even morseo than ‘I Died For You’, which
follows. Block screams are piercing and powerful, particularly on ‘V’,
‘Dracula’ and ‘Days Of Rage’. The pre-recorded chanting (‘Invasion’) and
invading noisescape (‘Motivation Of Man’) that precede ‘Setian
Massacre’ on disc, are reprised here, as are the backing tapes in the
18:03 ‘Dante’s Inferno’. With a trio of Dystopia material, ‘Damien’ and
the massive ‘Inferno’ amongst the ten proper tunes on the second disc
(also the encore introduction and 87 second, acoustic ‘In Sacred
Flames’), definitely the weaker sister of the two, but ‘Melancholy’,
‘Watching Over Me’ and the concluding pair are some of the most
recognizable ICED EARTH material. Although they typically end with their
signature tune, Schaffer reappears afterwards, talks to the crowd (“Two
and a half hours isn’t enough for you?”), before offering ‘The Hunter’,
as a second (unscripted?) encore. Maybe this one should have been a
triple disc too! Now it seems time for a tour with The Dark Saga in its
entirety.


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