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 Chroniques Albums

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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Lun 11 Nov - 20:41

STRYPER

No More Hell To Pay
(Frontiers)

Reviewed by : Carl Begai
Rating : 8.5

Gotta admit, with all the online babble from the band about how No More Hell To Pay would be the heaviest STRYPER album ever, it’s something of a disappointment being eased into the proceedings rather than cracked in the teeth by a wall of aggression. Not that tracks ‘Revelation’ and the title track (tracks 1 and 2) are weak by any means – quite the contrary, actually – but I was expecting riffs in the spirit of ‘Makes Me Wanna Sing’ and ‘The Way’ to kick things off. Along comes track three ‘Saved By Love’, however, and it’s clear the band was not in fact blowing holy smoke, just biding their time before giving the fans a righteous ass-kicking. No More Hell To Pay is loaded with guitar shred – riffs and solos – from top to bottom and frontman Michael Sweet’s high-end vocals are as strong as ever, with brilliant production to match (as in bassist Tim Gaines can actually be heard for a change), making for one of Stryper’s best albums to date.
‘Legacy’, ‘Te Amo’, ‘Renewed’ and ‘Saved By Love’ are instant standouts as the fastest / heaviest tracks on the record (even though the titles read like a bloody chick flick soundtrack), and the songs where Sweet offers up a welcome rougher edge to his voice. They’re a stark contrast to the brazen ’80s flavour of ‘Water Into Wine’ and ‘Sympathy’, which probably would have saved the sadly over-STYX-ified In God We Trust album (1988) had they been written way back when. Fulfilling the expected To Hell With The Devil-ism requirements are ‘No More Hell To Pay’ and ‘Sticks & Stones’ (the album’s ‘Calling On You’), while their cover of THE ART REYNOLDS SINGERS’ 1966 gospel hit ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’ kills their 1990 rendition of EARTH, WIND & FIRE's ‘Shining Star’ dead. Additional credit where it’s due, lone ballad on the record, ‘The One’, is a solid track – grudgingly admitted – that’s thankfully devoid of the sickly sweetness of previous Stryper odes of love and honour. And the chest-thumping ‘Marching Into Battle’, which had the potential to be a dumb-as-a-stump MANOWAR call to arms, is the album’s anthem and already on its way to becoming a staple in the band’s live set.
After two glorified cover albums – everyone else, then themselves – and the over-the-top tease of ‘God’ that closed out The Covering, it’s nice to see that Stryper are still capable of delivering the original goods, especially considering the strength of the reunion album Reborn (2005) and Murder By Pride (2009). They’ve had a good run since reuniting; here’s hoping for several more records in the vein of No More Hell To Pay.
Oh yeah, congrats on FINALLY having some kick-ass artwork gracing the cover. Just waiting for the religious groups to get their God-blessed briefs in a bunch and move to have it banned like they did with To Hell With The Devil’s original look.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:36

MYSTIC PROPHECY

Killhammer
(Massacre)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 8.0

Despite the German pedigree, have never been a big fan of MYSTIC PROPHECY, but this album is a great combination of commercial 80s metal and latter day power metal: simple, albeit bold singable choruses, strong melodies and vocal harmonies. Following the opening title track, a mighty roar launches a proto-thrash ‘Armies Of Hell’, a double bass hammering sing-along from… well, you know where! It’s just the first to feature tons of spirited guitar shred. Despite the title, ‘To Hell And Back’ recalls radio-friendly hard rock, minus any syrup. A more modern, staccato riffing ‘Kill The Beast’ shuffles on a repetitive, headbanging-worthy beat. (Middle?) Eastern rhythms introduce the deliberate hammer on anvil paced ‘Hate Black’. ‘Children Of The Damned’ and ‘300 In Blood’ are solid, if unremarkable, giving way to the stellar end portion of Killhammer. ‘Angels Of Fire’ recalls the aforementioned beefed up, modern sound, without loosing tonality. No easy feat to master. Historical epic ‘Warriors Of The Northern Seas’ changes tempo a couple of times and ‘Set The World On Fire’ bounces on short guitar riffs, until a blistering solo overrides. The closing cover of Ozzy’s ‘Crazy Train’ is a no-win proposition, especially when slowing down such a well known (beloved) scorcher. At least the original material is top notch!
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:36

DEICIDE

In The Minds Of Evil
(Century Media)

Reviewed by : Jason Deaville
Rating : 6.5

Vanilla. Fragrant. Earthy. Fruity. Romantic. Simple. Be it milkshakes, pudding, cake, yogurt, or laundry soap, vanilla is simply delectable. Hell, if shit were vanilla scented and flavoured, I'd be the first one packing my swim trunks, lunch, beach blanket, snorkel, fins, and sunscreen for a day trip down to the local sewage treatment reservoir. But, unlike vanilla, shit should always be repulsive and repugnant (unless, of course, you are a chocolate loving scheisser connoisseur). Now, I'm not sure about you, but, death metal, like shit, should be the furthest thing away from the humble, folksy, deliciousness of vanilla. Death metal is never humble; nor is it ever folksy. To let it become either of these things is to ignore every rule the genre was founded upon. Yet, here I sit writing another review for a new DEICIDE album, this one entitled In The Minds Of Evil, that is all those aforementioned things that it shouldn't be; beyond, of course, the obvious platter of indigestible, christ-hating hymns we have all become accustomed to. To be fair, what else can Deicide do at this point in their career? There aren't many paths open to them. That said, 2006's The Stench Of Redemption was just as the title implied - a redemption from all the naysayers and shit-slinging the band had endured with almost every release post-Serpents Of The Light. It's obvious TSOR was a band filled with a renewed passion and desire (definitely a result of the Owen/Santolla shredding duo, replacing the ousted Hoffman brothers). Just over seven years (four albums) later, and we have yet to see the same vehemence, ingenuity, memorability, and excitement as we did back then - even with the recent addition of full-time axe-slinger Kevin Quirion, whom replaces Ralph Santolla. There are, like every album, a couple of outstanding tracks, in this case being 'Kill The Light Of Christ' and 'End The Wrath Of God' (the former a perfect example of a band whom is at its best when infusing melody and mid-tier technicality). Let's face it, we are never going to see anything close to the genius of the first few Deicide albums - that ship has sailed long ago. We can either blame the band for allowing themselves to become completely vanilla; or we can place the blame where it's rightly deserved - upon the shoulders of a genre devoid of passion and new ideas. Fuck it. I'll always have vanilla milkshakes.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:36

BEASTMILK

Climax
(Svart)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 9.0

Wholly inspired by the brand of darkness that encases the lands of KATATONIA and KILLING JOKE circa its mind-altering Night Time, Helsinki's BEASTMILK understands, fully, that rage and despondence are the but different sides of the same coin, as the lonely frozen moons of DARKTHRONE so nostalgically attest and confirm. With Climax, its debut full-length, Beastmilk has written what is one of the most immediately listenable melancholic records since Katatonia's Viva Emptiness was released a decade ago, and that's not hyperbole: in a 2013 that has seen an absurd number of candidates for album of the year, Climax has stood out through the affecting qualities only grey days can bring, this LP a well-written testament to urban alienation and a sense of generalized malaise that draws heavily from Manchester circa 1980 and then hints at a vaguely familiar, post-apocalyptic future where Beastmilk is the house band at only the bleakest of underground goth clubs.
JOY DIVISION's death disco and THE CHURCH's blackened spires are also huge catalysts here, and Beastmilk effectively uses its obviously very deep record collection to its advantage, this group the most elite students THE CURE's Robert Smith ever schooled (i.e. the album is called Seventeen Seconds, and if you've never heard it you must immediately). Isolating Climax's highlights is a useless endeavor due to this album's strength and fortitude, but let us speak highly of 'You Are Now Under Our Control' and its soaring chorus, an apex moment that is wide-eyed, electric and cathartic, Beastmilk knowing exactly where it wants to take the listener and how to get there, everything else be damned. The only negative element associated with this project is the terrible band name but, hey, VOMITORY and GOATWHORE aren't exactly tributes to poetry either, and they're favorites around these parts.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:37

MASTODON

Live At Brixton
(Warner Bros.)

Reviewed by : Greg Pratt
Rating : 7.5

This 23-song live digital-only release, available in both audio and video formats, looks and sounds great, the guys in MASTODON getting a full "proper" live album treatment for the first time (2011's Live At The Aragon was them playing Crack The Skye in their entirety as well as a few extras). And like most live albums, fans of the band will enjoy this look at their prog-extreme-metal heroes doing their thing, while casual listeners are better directed to the studio albums for a shinier and altogether more enjoyable listen. But, man, if you get the video, it's a hoot watching these guys go to it, tackling their insane workouts of songs with zero effort. The drumming of Brann Dailor is, as always, a particular treat to listen to, and to watch him in action is always worth the price of admission alone. No one ever said those grunting/singing caveman vocals ever sounded perfect, and that shines through loud and clear here, as does the fact that their older material packs more heft as far as energy levels are concerned. Indeed, the addition of a few classics near the end definitely serve as a wake-up call after their more difficult, progressive material, which is amazing to see them pull off live, although it occasionally ventures into blank-stare-and-confused-expression territory; it's easy to see why they wanted to simplify things a bit on their last album, The Hunter. It's extremely impressive watching and listening to these guys go for it for a solid 90 minutes, so, yeah, fans, dive in; this is one live album worth checking out.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:37

HELL

Curse & Chapter
(Metal Blade)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 7.0

After much fanfare, the resurrected (and admittedly, obscure) NWOBHM outfit HELL (best known for theatrics and guitarist-turned-famed-producer Andy Sneap) return with a sophomore effort. Like the saying goes, “You have your whole life to write the debut and only a year or so for the all important follow-up.” Following a spoken word intro, ‘Age Of Nefarious’ plays on the well known 70s pop song from THE FIFTH DIMENSION, particularly the titular chorus. David Bower‘s near off-kilter falsetto is part of the charm. The music is more moderate and not as wild. Always ones for grandiose introductions, a brief symphonic swath cuts into ‘Darkhangel’, ‘Harbinger Of Death’ rides in on an aggressive guitar passage, while ‘End Ov Days’ begins and ends with ominous Middle Eastern rhythms/chants, before picking up, into a lively romp, with an orchestrated chorus that owes a debt to BLIND GUARDIAN. Believe it or not, ‘Death squad’ has a progressive, keyboard section and cool dual guitar interplay. Who would have guessed, from that title? ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ is already a live staple and ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ is a little comical, sing-songy in, ahem, delivery.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:38

VARGA

Enter The Metal
(Vargantuan Music)

Reviewed by : "Metal" Tim Henderson
Rating : 8.5

Full disclosure … VARGA and I grew up on the bad side of Hamilton mountain in the '90s when metal was on on the fence of being cool. Of course we all knew it was cool, and the band's label RCA/BMG believed it until Seattle (METAL CHURCH excluded) took matters down a different path. Varga ended up releasing two well-received albums in 1994 (Prototype) and 1996 (Oxygen).
Not certain how to term this return. Reunion? Well the band really never broke up … their paths have just crossed again as the planets have suddenly re-aligned after 13 years.
But get this straight, Varga are back in the game and make it no secret that their mission is 100% full-on aggressive power metal with plenty of thrash tendencies and the forward-thinking vision of band's like ATHEIST and CYNIC.
And its like the four-piece - Joe Varga (bass and vocals), Adam Alex (guitar), Sean Williamson (guitar), and Dan Fila (drums) - never left the garage! To The Metal is most certainly a lesson in the art of jamming, shredding, bashing and screaming for vengeance. Not that the lads are over the hill, but their youthful vitality is shocking. And yes, their influences shine, particularly IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA, and they proudly wear it on their sleeve.
Despite the fact that Enter The Metal is a re-working of old songs from an unreleased album that the band recorded before their major label deal, each track is its own riveting adventure, hardly dated, Varga in ultimate rebirth, kicking and screaming.
At times Varga's vision is a bit hard to follow (envision Jack Nicholson working through the labyrinth in The Shining), but you'll be able to find your way out, albeit a bit bruised and battered!
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:38

DETHKLOK

Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem — A Klok Opera
(Williams Street Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 9.0

Doomstar Requiem — A Klok Opera is the soundtrack to the hour-long special from fictional band DETHKLOK of the animated series Metalocalypse, which aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim in October. Consisting of 21 tracks, the disc features a 50-piece orchestra and special guests Jack Black, Mark Hamill, Malcom McDowell and CANNIBAL CORPSE’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Mastermind Brendon Small handles bass, vocals, guitars and keyboards while journeyman drummer Gene Hoglan mans the skins and Bryan Beller carries the low-end. Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, Walking Dead) conducts the orchestra arrangements superbly.
This is a rock opera in every sense of the word and it's far from a full-on death metal album like previous Dethklok releases. The musical concept is somewhat comparable to Small’s 2012 solo project, GALAKTIKON. There are so many varied influences contained within from such bizarre sources such as Sesame Street, MICHAEL JACKSON’S Thriller (see ‘Givin’ Back To You’), Jesus Christ Superstar, A Nightmare Before Christmas and Star Wars. A bevy of great QUEEN moments consisting of various choir vocal harmonies also pop up regularly.
Even if you’re not familiar with the series or the characters in the “band,” the storyline (although way too massive to discuss here), is humorous, playful and believable. Every song consists of captivating melodies, splendid vocal harmonies, catchy choruses and yes, silly but believable humor. The majority of the tracks are under two and a half minutes and with the exception of the 23-plus minute orchestrated finale, the album clocks in at 52 minutes. There’s quite a few memorable guitar solos as Small is an accomplished guitarist; underrated even. Check out ‘Some Time Ago …’ and ‘The Duel’ for examples of his prowess, with the latter being one of the most memorable trade-off, harmonized guitar solos you’ll ever hear.
Comedy, a strong storyline, dynamic music and vivid art all blend together in one stellar package. It’s a highly entertaining musical and the players have done a commendable job. Diehard fans of the animated show might be a little more critical of the plot, but as a standalone rock opera, I think it flows rather well. Come with an open mind, as the album is funny yet emotionally-driven. Well done Mr. Small & Co.
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MessageSujet: Re: Chroniques Albums   Jeu 5 Déc - 21:43

RUSH

Clockwork Angels Tour
(Anthem Film & Television Productions Inc.)

Reviewed by : Martin Popoff
Rating : 9.0

You know, at this point in the life of RUSH and their superlative run of lush, cinematic DVDs what is there left to prove? Clockwork Angels Tour is simply more quality live material, with nice touches, like the sound check intro, the usual short film to kick off the show and... man, to kick the party off proper, my fave Rush song of all time, ‘Subdivisions’. Then we’re into the colourful, steampunk gorgeosity of the thing, blessedly with slower cuts from scene to scene that has become the norm for these things. And yes, given the steampunk theme to the recent studio album in focus, this just might be the classiest looking stage show the band has ever mounted of many, with all that color reflecting super yummy off all those polished parts. The second half of the show is the Clockwork Angels album in its entirety, with string section. Usually this kind of thing is a risky proposition, but first off, it’s a great, kerranging album, and then it’s a concept album, there’s the strings to keep it interesting, and Rush fans... well, they’re not the type to wish upon a greatest hits set, particularly. As well, the literally awesome decorative and lighting propositions continue unabated, while the video entertainment pumps along, the hardest working screen in show biz. Onto the extras and again, more than you would ever care to know, shot with utmost professionalism, black and white, colour, fans, band, behind the scenes, welding, photo shoots, cartoons, costumes (oh man, the costumes... worth it for this alone), and a couple of creepy, funny, steampunky short films. Again, just like that whole decision made over 30 years ago to keep headlining, keep pouring it all back into the shows, no expense is spared for this stuff two-DVD set. There’s a level of respect reflected out into the base, and the dollars spent back means that the next DVD will be just as silly and sumptuous.
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