Sunday, 27 November 2011

Music my fiancé hates (part 2)

     "From Enslavement to Obliteration" is my favorite Napalm Death album, by far.  When I first heard this release it blew me away.  This is one of the few examples of a perfect album.  This album is brilliant from start to finish.  It is unfortunate so many people think of Napalm Death as "that band with the 5 second song olololololololol."  The songs "Dead" and "You Suffer" are actually an ingenious idea for this type of album.  After listening to over 20 1:00 long grind songs you start to get a little bit bored so ND bust out 5 seconds of shear intensity that wakes you up in a heart beat and then blasts you again with another!  After that there are a couple more songs until the album finishes off with a doomy outro.  It truly is amazing.   My fiancé said that she doesn't like it because: "it makes me angry and sad at the same time, it sounds blahhhhhhhhhhh."   Needless to say, I love it.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Music my fiancé hates (part 1)

     I was going for a drive with my fiancé a couple of weeks ago.  We were listening to some starbucks metal band like Alcest.  She told me; "this sounds way better than the horrible stuff you normally listen to."  I asked her what she was referring to when she said "horrible."  She listed off 3 bands, the first one was: Wormphlegm.  

     I love this band!  They only have one album and one demo.  The demo is the first thing I heard from this band and I found if pretty interesting.  The demo inspired me to check out the album, which was way better by far.  This is probably one of my favorite funeral doom albums ever.  It is excellent background music for reading Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft.

     The album "Tomb of the Ancient King" only has 3 songs, all of which are brilliant.  The shortest song is the one posted and the longest song is over a half hour.  These songs are long, even for funeral doom but they are more than 100% effective in portraying an atmosphere of shear torment (in a good way.)  Listening too this music makes me feel like I'm in a hot sweaty dungeon filled with human excrement awaiting my execution. I know that doesn't sound like a good thing but I love it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Aortic Regurgitation - Aortic Regurgitation (EP)

     Aortic Regurgitation are a brand new thrash metal band hailing from China.  They show a lot of promise on their first release, but like any debut release it suffers from a few draw backs.

     This is Thrash, which is good and it is also bad.  There is a reason that thrash virtually disappeared when the 90's hit.  Thrash is a very limited genre and is in itself a means to an end.  If thrash metal gets too melodic it turns into power metal and if it become too brutal it becomes death metal, thrash metal is a transitional genre that thrived before heavy metal met its logical extremes.  Although thrash metal is limited in its ability to diversify, it has many branches.  There is a huge difference between Sarcofago's "INRI" and Anthrax's "Among the Living."  Aortic Regurgitation is among the more extreme variety of thrash and borders on death metal, in a similar way to early Sepultura, Kreator and Sodom.

     You have heard this release before and if what I stated in the first paragraph is true it is impossible for you not to have (assuming you are a fan of thrash metal.)  The riffs on this album vary between the German and Brazilian scenes, but every now and then I hear some good ol' mid-paced "bay-area-thrash" palm muting.  The fake drums are brilliantly programmed, they sound like the person behind the computer had just as much experience behind a real drum set because they sound like something a drummer would actually play.  The bass playing is a highlight for me as the bassist seems to understand that it isn't always necessary to mirror the guitarist and strictly play root notes, the bass playing really shines on "Alien Worlds" and "Dementia."  The vocals are good if not fairly stereotypical for extreme thrash (not that its a real problem.)  The real problem is that they are mixed very poorly, and sound like they were recorded on a very poor microphone contrasting the good guitar tone.

     Since I have decided that it is virtually impossible to record a unique thrash album in 2010 the only way to judge a thrash album is the memorability of the song writing itself.  None of the songs on this album are really overtly memorable, the best song would have to be "Dementia," the melody that comes in at the half way point really sines and shows the band's skill as song writers.  "Silent Night" is a great closer and very enjoyable.  That is all I can really say about this EP, other than that it all just kinda blurs together into a homogeneous mass of thrash metal.  I don't know why the longest song on this release is an instrumental, it doesn't make much sense and it reminds me of Metallica (it always bothered me that they did that.)

     This is a good thrash album, and is above the bar for a debut release.  The problems with memorability will no doubt be resolved on future releases that I would be very interested in hearing.  This is also worth checking out if you are interested in extreme metal bands with female vocalists.

Curt's Review: 81%

Download this shit for free and bang your head!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Agga - Agga

     Agga, are a gimmick metal band from Florida.  Being a Gimmick metal band isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it takes away from the possible artistic integrity of the artist.  Agga's gimmick is incorporating middle eastern folk music with black/thrash metal and lyrics exclusively about Babylonian mythology.  It is a unique take on an old trend (mixing black metal with folk.)

     Whilst this band isn't as painful to listen as Orphaned Land, there are a few problems with the music that need to be addressed.  The most prominent problem would have to be the thin guitar tone, it sounds a lot like Forest's guitar tone, which would be a good thing if they were playing ambient black metal... unfortunately they are not.  I think that if this dude wants to take his project seriously he really needs to increase production value.  A self produced album can sometimes make the album sound more personal in a positive way (Transilvanian Hunger/As a Song in the Harvest of Grief.)  At other times it can strongly distract from what would otherwise be a good album (Spheres/Reek of Putrefaction.)  As much as I hate modern production values; this release is in dire need of them.  If this was kvlt-as-fvck black metal the production would be perfect, the production is really the only thing that makes this sound like black metal.  The riffs seem more along the generic palm muting  variety that has been in metal since Black Sabbath.  There are a few droning tremolo sections that fit the black metal bill but they are not prominent enough to truly call this black metal. The guitars are mixed on different levels on each song which takes away from any atmosphere that may have otherwise been created.  The harsh vocals are pretty week although I don't blame this on the vocalist as much as I blame it on the microphone.  The last problem I am going to bring up is the fact that every song on this album has a fade-out ending... any atmosphere that wasn't killed off by the production was destroyed by the fade-outs.

     The previous paragraph makes me sound like a hater, I'm not a hater.  I actually dig this release, even though it isn't thrash metal or black metal.  The clean chanting vocals are really cool, even though they are cheesy as nachos and only semi on-key.  They sound very hypnotic and succeed in the creation of a dark and mystical atmosphere, which is the ultimate goal this album strives for.  The fake drums sound good, even though they are at a different volume level on each song.  Although Agga have a painfully cheesy gimmick in a conceptual sense, the project portrays the ancient civilization of Babylon in a very convincing way.

     Now that I have gone through my list of "likes" and "dislikes" of the outward aesthetic, I will proceed to through my arbitrary opinion at the music itself.  The song writing is very good.  This dude knows how to write convincing, unique and memorable melodies.  I get parts of these songs stuck in my head days after hearing them.  The only problem with the actual song writing is that the choruses are repeated far too frequently (especially on the song "The Lord of Babylon.")  Despite what I said about the production and the lack of song endings destroying atmosphere, there is plenty of atmosphere left on the album due to the brilliant song writing.  I have to say that every song on this release is very good (in my opinion.)  My only significant complaint is the production.  I would like to hear these songs the way they are intended to be heard!

Listen to Agga for free!

Curtis Review" 78%