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Reviews From A To D



Reviews from letters: B - C - D

ABOMINATOR: "Damnation's Prophecy" - CD (Necropolis)

What we have here with ABOMINATOR is some pretty basic Black Metal, pretty much as in the early MAYHEM style. There is not much to chew on however. The songs are long and have the same riffs all along. The singer is really bad, not able to growl, neither able to do those high screaming that Black Metal bands have used us to hear. Some songs are pretty good but most of 'em are pretty boring. For once, the drums are all real and not studio enhanced, but I wish they were because they sound awful. This isn't up to the standards that Black Metal has been these past few years.
S.T.
Web site!
1 out of 5

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AC/DC: "Stiff Upper Lip" - CD (Elektra)

Let's make a few things clear; there are a number of things belonging to our everyday routine which never changes, like washing our teeth every night, our car needing normal service, each of us eating and shiting every day... That same kind of unchanging philosophy can definitely be linked to the Australian Hard Rock veterans AC/DC. Having been rocking since the beginning of the 70's, without starting reinventing, recreating, or reprocessing the most well known soundworld, heavily based on the simple Hard Rock riffs and tight guitar working of the Young brothers and Brian Johnsson's hoarse singing style. AC/DC is a perfect example of the Hard Rock institution, which kicks ass on every album and above all, on their new album "Stiff Upper Lip". For a reason or another, "Ball Breaker" never appealed to me that much and basically, it had a few suitable and listenable tunes. During a-five-year-break, the Young brothers sat down to pen the real catchy tunes like "Safe In New York City" or "Hold Me Back" and a bunch of other ones. "Stiff Upper Lip" is the perfect evidence of AC/DC's capacity and skills to write the stuff of the hardest Rock and it may be unnecessary to say that AC/DC is the tightest, hardest Hard Rock combo of the world at the moment.
A.L.
3½ out of 5

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ADRAMELECH: "Pure Blood Doom" - CD (Severe Music)

The trio of ADRAMELECH is a bunch of unhappy souls... They've been beaten down by a considerable number of setbacks and have constantly learned their lessons in the hardest of ways. Every time though, the band has risen on its feet. So we are talking about persistent survivors here. And I consider "Pure Blood Doom" as a kind of a survivor as well for it is one of the last of its kind, in its own genre. Purely bloody piece of Death Metal!! With a new line-up (Jarkko Rantanen on drums, Ali Leiniö on guitar and vocals and Jari Laine on second guitar), the guys have come up with their best material to date. This time around, ADRAMELECH has concentrated on all those essentially vital elements of Death Metal; even more than ever before. Grinding, punishing riffs, fast licks, brutal domination, murderously short solos (off which DEMIGOD's past heritage came into my mind at times!), catchy choruses... Trying to make it sound like a real Death Metal album and kind of excluding all the other sharp tunings out of other genres and yelling justice for their uncompromising thing, like the last warriors of infernally brutal Death Metal. This is aggressive in its brutality... Brutal in its aggressiveness! A perfect slogan for an album like this could go like: "We'll beat the shit out of your chest, fuck all the rest... Show no mercy, kill the wimps, bang your head, etc." Plain and simple. Simplicity, in fact, is what the true lovers of old fashion Death Metal will like here most. Others may find this maybe less entertaining and enjoyable, I'm afraid. Nothing outstanding nor spectacular but still listenable and in many ways stimulating in the terms of pain and pleasure, depending on which side you're on.
L.L.
Web site!
3½ out of 5

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ALGHAZANTH: "Thy Aeons Envenomed Sanity" - CD (Woodcut)

Woodcut Records, from the West Coast of Finland, is really establishing its name as the leading force for releasing CDs with up'n'coming Finnish Black Metal bands. According to the words of the label manager(!) Mikki Salo: "This is ONLY the beginning...". I must believe better days are yet to come, as neither THYRANE nor this ALGHAZANTH stuff can match the sharpest top leaguer of this "black-on-white" genre... Not yet, to be more specific. Sure, these deathbringer spirits sound like they love and are truly devoted to play their ravishing blackish grimness with relatively convincing skills for stopping blood in our veins for a short while. But they do not kill... They don't even fatally wound us. So they really should find tougher weapons to give that lethal strike in their own hateful assault, otherwise this devilish "alghazanthianic(!)" terror patrol will be killed by its own hands in the long run, I'm afraid so. "Thy Aeons Envenomed Sanity", on the other hand, is spitting out more venom than many of today's Black Metal releases. To prove that for yourself, check out such tracks as "The Unbounded Wrath" and "He Awaits..." and feel how life starts to slowly vanish from your body... (-EH?) Well, use your damn imagination anyway! This ain't that bad of a start after all! Sad, it's only a sign of budding promise...
L.L.
2½ out of 5

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AL SIRAT: "Signa Tempori" - CD (Metal Storm Productions)

Here is a pretty interesting Thrash Death act that has quite a bit of stuff to offer. I did not get hooked on this CD on the first listening, but it is an album that will grow on you, starting from the second pass... And then some... The guitars are pretty intense and the riffing is of a classic Thrashy type, although there are parts where the riffing is even more brutal than that, verging on the Death Metal side. But for the most part, the riffing is varied and pretty intricate; the Thrash way to do things. Some of the solos are pretty surprising! Very melodious and technical, they offer killer melodies to the rest of the songs. The guitar, however, does not sound very large or heavy... A bit more bottom would do lots of good to their sound. The bass does the job well, offering a good support to the rhythmics and also adding some elements to the main main riffing here and there. The vocals are raw, mid-range growls; kind of reminding me of the type of vocals Thrash Metal bands had in the late 80's/early 90's... They're almost narrative in nature in some parts of this recording. The drumming is pretty intense and to the point, not overly technical but holding its ground in that category. The playing is also tight. The drums are a bit low though, especially for the snare drum, which lacks a bit of the attack because of the reverb it has. But that is nothing major... Overall, the sound is pretty clear but lacks a bit of bottom heaviness, as I said before. The musical arrangements are well done, the melodies well crafted and the playing precise and tight. It is not very innovative or original, but very well done! I enjoy this record as much as the other guy! To look for...
S.B.
3½ out of 5

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AM I BLOOD: "Agitation" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

Now here is something slightly different. A bit like old METALLICA with some STRAPPING YOUNG LAD mixed in. A bit hard to define with its mix of heavy guitars and near popish melodies but I think that was the idea from the beginning. They have been compared to STUCK MOJO, DEFTONES and others of that ilk but I would think that before long, these Finnish Metal heads will be the standard for comparison. Very interesting indeed, Dr. Rockston! If you are looking for one number to sum up what the band is all about, you should fast forward straight to "Segregated Holocaust" for it contains all of the group's promise within its four minutes and thirty-eight seconds. The final analysis? Palatable to many, exciting for some and downright amazing for a few.
S.T.
3½ out of 5

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AMON AMARTH: "The Avenger" - CD (Metal Blade)

I really like this Thrash revival. Bands like WITCHERY, DEFLESHED, THE CROWN, CARNAL FORGE and DARKANE have put out some really interesting records and revived this almost dead genre. AMON AMARTH, on the other hand, had some nice songs on their last album, "Once Sent The Golden Halls", but they were a lot more Black Metal than the five I mentioned before. Now, with "The Avenger", AMON AMARTH are stepping towards a much more Thrash sound, without much success. On the other hand, the songs or part of songs that ressembles more their of earlier style are much more effective than in the past and they should've stick to that. Fortunately, the Thrash sounds don't flood the record. Therefore it is still a decent release. Very well produced and sounding full and powerful, as it is required to be. Good record but stick to your guns guys.
S.T
Web site!
3 out of 5

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AMORBITAL: "Invidia" - CD (Shock Wave Records

This is great Death Thrash Metal. Not the most original in history but they hold their ground when it comes to play in your face, brutal Death Thrash. The guitar work is intense, varying from rougher hard chords to more intricate, noteful riffs. Some of the riffs may even remind me of the late 80's type of almost Crossover stuff. The guitars sound very heavy and pretty large. They are also pretty clear, offering the riffing with intensity and clarity. There also is a good emphasis on memorable melodies that will stick in your head! The bass is pretty loud but mostly whatever the guitars do. But it has a lot of snap and complete the guitars well, adding a low overtone that makes all of this sounding pretty heavy! The drumming is pretty good, for the most part, but not always perfectly tight; there are a few parts that do not fit squarely, but nothing major. The playing is still decent. The drums sound a bit flat and pretty pounding and quite clear. The tempos and the breaks are always changing, a credit to this type of Metal. The overall sound is intense, loud and very brutal. This is a great album that will make your desires for brutal, yet classic Metal, come to life... Though, Death is the main business here, with lots of rough pounding riffing and tempos. The vocals are pretty rough growls, very Death-like and sometimes verging on the side of older Thrash-like vocals. A few high pitch screams complete the picture of this horrid music. And a few leads complete the whole thing with some very melodic soloing that adds a lot to the overall melody of this awesome Death combo. Get this!
S.B.
E-mail!
4 out of 5

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AMORPHIS: "Tuonela" - CD (Relapse)

Over the years, AMORPHIS have become a force into the Death Metal scene, in the beginning, and now within the Rock-Doom scene. Combining the elements that made "Elegy" a success, AMORPHIS enter a new phase of its life. The most noticeable change made on "Tuonela", compared to "Elegy", is that Tomi doesn't growl anymore; all vocals are done by Pasi and the absence of "lead" keyboards. The latter being the thing that makes me think that they have lost some of the magic with Kim Rantala departing. The riffs are good as they were and maybe a bit more catchy. Problem is that there are some overdubs missing on guitars that could have helped a lot to the depth of the record. I don't like the way the guitar tone is either; it is too clean for a 70's inspired band. In clear, I guess I don't like Simon Efemey's production. I am pretty sure that if you liked "Elegy", you will like "Tuonela" but I really doubt that you will find it better. Still a damn decent album.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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ANCIENT WISDOM: "And The Physical Shape Of Light Bled" - CD (Avantgarde Music)

Well, at least Avantgarde's release got better in quality! This band is right into the latest bandwagon of emotional ambiant Metal, but they do have some good stuff to offer... Their brand of melodic Metal take some influences from the Black Metal genre, but only for the slower melodic parts of this aforementioned style. All of this is arranged in some well structured and pretty long songs that pretty much offer all of those things in one package. The guitars are heavy and offer some pretty melodic riffing, the trade mark of this one-man-band. But some of the riffing is still pretty heavy, but the majority of it are large, power chords in low or high keys. I couldn't find if there was a drummer or not on the promo sheet I got, but if it is a drum machine, it's a pretty darn good one because it doesn't sound very mechanized at all. The vocals are in the mid-range half-growls/ half-narrative style, fitting the genre well I might add. Now there is a little thing that bothers me a bit; much of the music off this record pretty much sounds alike in its structures, riff-writing and arrangements. The formula seems to work well for Marcus Norman, but a bit more diversity wouldn't hurt either. All in all, this is a pretty decent album, the first one I've ever heard from ANCIENT WISDOM (there are two other albums)...
S.B.
E-mail!
3½ out of 5

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ANGRA: "Fireworks" - CD (Century Media)

Angra is apparently one of the most respected player in this new melodic-power-traditional Metal scene. They are doing their stuff since 1993 and this being their third full length. The stronger part of this record is the orchestral arrangements, which are exquisite. But since I can't stand the music, it does not save the record for me. The music is Warrior-JAG PANZER-like with a more progressive feel and annoying vocals. I sincerely hate almost everything off this record, except some pretty nice bluesy guitar leads in some songs. I really don't think so.
S.T.
Web site!
1 out of 5

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APOPHIS: "Heliopolis" - CD (Morbid/Pavement)

I have been receiving and buying hundreds of CDs in the past few years. Some of the most interesting ones that I've heard are the ones where bands are mixing styles to create something new. Unfortunately, originality is something totally useless without good songs. APOPHIS have an interesting style but their songs simply suck. Combining the brutality of Death, the speed and keyboards parts of Black Metal, the leads of Power Metal and the heaviness of Hardcore, they certainly have a sound that is refreshing. However, the songs from these four germans are basically not well written. Some of the riffs are good, but do not work well with the others of the same song. The songs just don't flow. The fact that they are extending all their songs over five minutes doesn't help either. They sound is a bit (just a bit) like OPETH; they certainly don't have OPETH's talent to stick to a song for ten minutes.
S.T.
Web site!
2½ out of 5

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ARCH ENEMY: "Burning Bridges" - CD (Century Media)

ARCH ENEMY's "Stigmata" made an incredible impression on me: It was just great music! Even better than that was the feeling of greater things to come. That feeling was fully justified in hearing "Burning Bridges". They once again combine the traditional Metal dual lead attack of the Amott brothers with Thrash/Death riffings and throaty vocals. Although I am not such a fan of leads in general, the two guys are doing it in such a classy and effective way that I can't do anything else but to like it. They also add so much melody to their otherwise brutal songs. Vocalist Johan Liiva has improved quite a bit, giving out a much more emotional performance than on the previous two. The songs are much more focused and yet diverse than before. Those songs show a much more composed songwriter in Mike Amott, who shows that he can write great songs without going to far in the stylings. This is one great album, showing exactly what this band is able to do and that simply write and play great songs. You are required to at least listen to it by any means possible!
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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ARKANGEL: "Dead Man Walking" - CD (Goodlife)

What if SLAYER decided to make a 180 degree shift to Hardcore??? How would it sound like? Well, aside from sounding like their "Undisputed Attitude" CD, ARKANGEL can possibly answer this question... And god damn, this is killer!!! Heavy, metallic Hardcore Thrash in your face is what this band is all about. This is my very first encounter with this quartet and hopefully not my last one. I want more of this stuff!!! The Hardcore scene is definitely healthy... Get this.
R.C.
5 out of 5

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ATOMIC BITCHWAX: "Atomic Bitchwax" - CD (MIA/Tee Pee)

ATOMIC BITCHWAX is a side project for MONSTER MAGNET's guitarist Ed Mundel, Chris Kosnick of GODSPEED on bass and vocals and drummer Keith Ackerman, formerly of SLAP ROCKET. They play a happy retro-Rock close to what MONSTER MAGNET does but a lot more happy and more instrumentally based. There is a lot more solos on this than on any M.M. songs and a few drum solos as well. The instrumentals are, hands down, the songs for the whole. It is a great rocking record and the songs are all of quality. The production is very good and the guitars have the crunch they need. A great performance from all the players is lifting this CD above the pack.
S.T.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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Reviews from letters: A - C - D

B.G.K.: "Dutch Feast... The Complete Works Of..." - 2LP (Alternative Tentacles)

And what a fucking treat this is... All of the recording by this important Netherlands hard-politic-puke Rock band! Both LP, their "White Male Dumbiance" EP plus two compilation tracks are included, which represents their 1982-88 existence. They had a perfect combo of blinding speed, musical chops, gurgling emotive vocals and lyrical insights into social ills. Some of the lines might come off a bit as sloganeering, but unlike a multitude of today's uninspiring knock-offs who simply regurgitate whatever they heard off a D.K.'s or MINOR THREAT album, these guys had some real insights of the 80's era of nuclear proliferation, social stagnation and multinational violation! It helped that they weren't so bloody serious because there's some humor to be found in the lyrics. This was a total buffet for me to get this very essential double album! Includes lyrics sheet and button.
T.G.
4 out of 5

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BJORN LYNNE: "Wolves Of The Gods" - CD (Cyclops Records)

Finally a new album from this one-man-band master of emotional Dark wave Progressive music. A thing I do enjoy a lot off this record is the fact that there may be a little more structured, Progressive Rock elements to this music, while most, if not all of the basis for this music is rooted in synthesizers, with dreamy moods and classic arrangements. There is some guitar on this CD, mostly clean classic guitar, which adds to the sound's dreamy and very emotional moods. But, like I said, this music is highly dominated by synths... All sorts of sounds and ambiances are being created with this record and I enjoy every opportunity toi relish and analyse the intricately arranged sounds, riffings and moods. As on the previous album (and probably all of Bjorn's material), there are no vocals aside from the passing narration written by Allan Cole, of all people... The tones and moods of their music, just an in their titles and sleeve concepts, will also have you visit the epic eras of Kings and Knights, Dungeon and Dragons, etc. There are definitely more tempo to this album than it had on the previous one too... Once again, highly recommended!
S.B.
Web site!
E-mail!
4½ out of 5

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BK49: "Zombified" - CD (Indie)

This German combo plays a "straight-in-your-face", "jump-to-the-throat" type of old school Thrash Metal that also have a few hints of Hardcore here and there, especially in a track like "R U Morbid?". This is very rough and basic Metal that has all of its roots in such acts as SLAYER, SODOM and these types of Thrash acts. The guitars are a little bit low in the mix but are pretty heavy and very crunchy, with classic riffing that are heavy and full of rotative picking, just like in the old days. The riffing is not the most original ever by any means but they are played with precision and intensity, making this CD a classic of the 80's Thrash sound. The one bad point I find about this CD is the drum machine... Although it does sound a bit better than most drum machine, it still clearly sounds as a drum machine, with its mechanized sounds and lack of feeling. There is a drummer in the band but I guess he came in too late to be on this recording. The same drumming patterns with a drummer would have been great! The vocals are very rough, mid-range half-growled, half-shouted Thrash singing, almost narrative in some parts and with lots of screams and stuff. Very classic style there too. The vocals are mixed very high on the mix down though. All in all, I like this CD quite a lot... It is an improvement from their demo and I can now see some very interesting and promising things from them in the near future! This debut is a good step in the right direction! Heavy stuff! Get it...
S.B.
E-mail-1!
E-mail-2!
3½ out of 5

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BLACK ARMY JACKET: "222" - CD (Reservoir/Chainsaw Safety)

Sixteen songs, 26:58 min, a drum god and a shitload of Hardcore! This is a pretty decent output from those Hardcore-power violence merchants. I would have liked a few more blast beats from a man known only for those; Dave Witte, formerly of HUMAN REMAINS. Ranging from pure Hardcore to Grind and Sludge, the album is very diverse and not too many songs are alike. Fitting right into the South-Californian power violence scene, they have a lot of similarities with bands like SPAZZ, BENUMB, CAPITALIST CASUALTIES and so on, although they are from New York. They have a pretty decent sound, which is often a rarity in this type of music, which sound like shit on record. Fortunately, it is not too long... More than that would have been too much. If you like good aggressive Hardcore, then I cannot do anything but to recommend it to you. Really good!
S.T.
4 out of 5

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BLINDED BY FAITH: "Veiled Hideousness" - CD (Century Media)

This is the first time I hear a decent Black Metal band from the province of Québec. They remind me quite a bit to CRADLE OF FILTH, which is logical considering that C.O.F. is so popular around here. The song writing isn't the most original on the planet by any means, taking some influences and elements from the well established bands from Europe, yet still being able to make it their own by adding a few twists. The guitars are very razor-like, sadly not very heavy... But the riffing varies a lot in styles, even in the same song, which is pretty cool. You'll find it all: The rapid rotative picking, the high-note riffs, the power chords and some high pitched chords... Like I said, the formula isn't new at all but the end result is still interesting enough. The synthesizers are a bit too high in the mix, often blinding the guitars, but they are well played and add some Gothic textures to the whole deal. The vocals are extremely CRADLE OF FILTHish, mega-high pitched screams and growls. The drumming is very rough, precise, fast and tight. But we always loose parts of the drums, especially in the blast beats, where the snare simply disappears from the whole mix. All in all, it's a very decent debut from these guys and I think that many will find them surprisingly intense and entertaining! Check it out!
S.B.
E-mail!
Web site!
3 out of 5

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BLIND GUARDIAN: "Nightfall In Middle Earth" - CD (Century Media)

I hate to say it but this is a great album. This is just some quality music from a band at the top of their form and its art. They are just blazing through these songs with so much passion, it's crazy! Inspired by JR Tolkien's The Silmarillion, the whole album follows a path dictated by this novel. Combining traditional NWOBHM with Medieval themes and a shitload of different choir vocals, they create an epic and grandiose album that is as cheesy as it can get. Yet so well executed and with such passion that it becomes good, very good. This album totally kills any album of this new wave of Power-NWOBHM bands coming out (and HAMMERFALL's "Glory To The Brave" doesn't count because it was an IN FLAMES side project at the time). I am a bit ashamed of saying so but this is an album to get.
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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BLOOD RITUAL: "At The Mountains Of Madness" - CD (Moribund)

Satanic Death Metal is here with BLOOD RITUAL. I really don't care about the lyrics here, so I won't comment. Brutal-fast-slow are all qualities that can be attributed to BLOOD RITUAL's music. It actually sounds a bit like a mix between early OBITUARY and latter-day DEICIDE. The slow and groovier parts of OBITUARY with the fast-go-for-broke parts of DEICIDE. Some decent leads can be found as well as a few Black Metal-Thrashy riffs. Mainly, the music is fairly typical of any Death album, with decent riffs and decent musicianship. Neither good or bad but just okay. I think it might please any Death fan but not me.
S.T.
2 out of 5

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BONECRUCHER: "Working For Nothing" - CD (Indie)

If you're employed full-time and can barely make ends meet (which, by the way seems to be the rule nowadays), this CD title says it all. Don't look for saccharine, dumb-ass pop-pill-Punk ditties/suburban bro wanna be hipster jack-off/low-intellect Metal-mush with solo cheese guitar because the calcium marauders won't compromise! Rough city-boy puke-Rock with the fat trimmed... Admittedly, the first track didn't go off like rocket in air but it's still solid razor anthemic puke. Raybo sounds like he's been eating some road kill parfait! I was hoping that they would bring it up a notch speedwise, but it's still a lot better than a lot of other bands who copy this style! Good production that's not mega-budget. This is a pretty good beating!
T.G.
3 out of 5

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BONGZILLA: "Stash" (Relapse)

Her is your guide to marijuana in the original chapters and one covered in a 1972 guide to Sabbath. Everything said here is about weed and nothing seems to be interesting to the authors. The substance of this is slow, drowning sensation of ones' joint. Filled with excerpt from famous pro-marijuana spokesmen, it is total propaganda. This is very boring as it is very repetitive and slow paced. Hardcore voice of the narrator gives a different feel to the guide than other stoner work. The rhythm narration has been very poorly captured, which is very surprising as it has been supervised by the very qualified Billy Anderson. To me, it is a very uninteresting read and I really cannot recommend it.
S.T.
2 out of 5

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Reviews from letters: A - B - D

CAPITALIST CASUALTIES: "Subdivisions In Ruin" - LP (Six Weeks)

They've been aggravated for over 12 years and there's no let up so far after hearing "Subdivisions...". One of the few bands who can continue the proud tradition of non-apologetic political Punk with migraine tempo, laceration dual vocal vomiting, guitar terrorism and drum/bass dragdowns. They also write intelligent lyrics and they still haven't gotten their due because the derivative fashion-zombie museum Punk revivalists with lesser substance get the crowds. However, the trends will come and go while C.C. has the last laugh! This one plays like an EP, over in less than twenty minutes, so I'll play it again!
T.G.
Six Weeks, 225 Lincoln Ave., Cotati, CA, 94931, U.S.A.
3½ out of 5

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CARNAL FORGE: "Who's Gonna Burn?" - CD (War/Relapse)

I am starting to like this new Thrash incarnation that bands like DEFLESHED, THE HAUNTED and now CARNAL FORGE are creating. Much more aggressive and interesting than its eighties predecessor could ever imagine, they take the whole style to new heights. Carnal Forge are just as good as the aforementioned two but closer to DEFLESHED's Death Metal delivery than the more Hardcore ways of THE HAUNTED. The leads are more interesting than anything Kerry King or Jeff Hanneman could imagine with aggression much more focused and to the point. Vocals of Jonas Kjellgren are VERY similar to the one's of their fellow countrymen, Dellamorte. All the songs are hymns to mosh to, except for the very dull "Confuzzed", which ends the record on a bad note. This record will surely often be in my CD player. Aren't you happy that Relapse has this licensing deal of War's material?
S.T.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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CAVITY: "Somewhere Between The Train Station And The Dumping Ground" - CD (Rethoric)

I was introduced to these Floridians through the "Fiesta Comes Alive!" Compilation of Slap A Ham and didn't know what to expect from this. What I got is eleven slabs of heavy as hell Sludgecore classic that easily is better than anything GRIEF as ever produced. The songs are drowning slow and heavy, while remaining amazingly aggressive in their own respect. The bass work on this record is amongst the heavyset and catchiest I have heard. The songs recorded in studio have a good yet raw sound and the ones recorded at this radio show are very decent sounding. I like the way they get repetitious without being redundant (if that makes any sense at all). This is an album to get if you like your Hardcore slow.
S.T.
4 out of 5

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CENOTAPH: "Puked Genital Purulency" - MC (Indie/Hammer Müsik)

Well, I must say that I've heard some more inspiring Death Metal than this... This is basically a cheap version of INTERNAL BLEEDING, SUFFOCATION and the likes. They do have some stuff that catch my attention... For a few minutes anyway, but then it remains so much the same, being so repetitive that I rapidly loose interest. The riffing is pretty intense, with lots of noteful riffs and power brutal chords, all mixed together and played with great intensity and full speed. The guitars are the best part of this band. But the riffs will kind of repeat themselves, with the occasional riffs that will stand out. The drumming is full speed ahead, power bashing blasts. The snare drum is way too thin, with an annoying reverb in it... But most of the drums parts are pretty clear, but do lack some depth and texture. Now the very low point of that band has to be the vocals... Come on guys, this type of linear ultra gory, mega low growl has been done fifty million times before! You cannot distinguish one single word out of the entire album and it gets boring very fast... The overall sound is pretty compact but very heavy though. Not the worst thing ever but I do hope that they will work more on putting a more personal identity to their songwriting... If not, well you already bought that album a few dozen times in the past... from other bands, that is! Also available on CD...
S.B.
E-mail!
Web site!
2 out of 5

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CEREBROCIDE: "Seeming Paradise" - CD (Cudgel)

What about that?! Extreme Metal here again!!! This is a band I had never heard off before but they are great. Tight, brutal Death with "fuckin' A!" blast beats here and there and an excellent growler. The album sounds like a ton of brick falling onto your head! HEAVY!!! Throughout the album, you can hear some Thrash elements interlaced with great melodic bridges... A very complete album. Musicians are tight and the production is great! Impressive!!! You can get it from Great White North Records.
R.C.
3½ out of 5

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CEREBROCIDE: "Delusion" - CD (Cudgel)

This is their second CD release and you can feel, from the first minute of the very first track, that they improved and got their shit together to produce one hell of a Death Metal joyride!!! Brutal, with melodic interludes thrown in good measures... Overall, the album is faster than the previous outing and yes, more brutal. Again, the production is killer and showcases the band at its best, which is something not to be missed! You can get it from Great White North Records.
R.C.
4 out of 5

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CHAMPS: "III" - 2LP (Frenetic Records)

I read a couple of reviews lauding this disc as a totally amazing Progressive Rock band who take the genre into another level. So I bought it and well... I'm underwhelmed! They got all the production atmosphere but the forty-eight tracks studio treatment (I'm only guessing) seems sterile at times. The immediacy is lacking and a lot of the playing comes across as the annoying virtuoso exercise! There are a few nice interludes but I could definitely follow the somewhat economical time signatures because they tend to overplay the main riffs. I want something challenging, yet instinctive. They also babble with the electronics (the 'blips' and 'beeps' of Pong mostly), which made me think of guys in thick plaid shirts and flair jeans playing on their Odyssey computer game (circa 1980) with open-paged issues of Popular Mechanics lying around with crushed up cans of Mello Yello. This just didn't make the cut for me.
T.G.
2 out of 5

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CHILDREN OF BODOM: "Hatebreeder" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

Before I bought this, I only had heard great things about this release. Let's just say that I don't agree with any of them. This album is by no means bad, but it certainly is not as great a some people say it is. CHILDREN OF BODOM, if you don't know, are playing a mix of Black Metal (the one with keyboards; EMPEROR, DIMMU BORGIR) and IN FLAMES-type of Metal with guitar harmonies. My biggest problem with it is the pretentiousness of it all. Songwriter-lead singer-lead guitar player Alex Laiho went to the Yngwie J. Malmsteen school in everything he does, except for the vocals. He plays such similar leads as if he were stealing some riffs from him. The keyboards, when they are present, are either cheesy or too high in the mix or both. Most of the songs are pretty good but nothing to call your mother over. It is a strong record but has far too many things that annoys me to be on my recommendation list.
S.T.
Web site!
2 out of 5

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CIVIL CARNAGE: "Abomination In The House Of God" - CD (Discorporate)

Brutal? Amazingly! Their is a "new Renaissance" for extreme Death right now and I enjoy it! Killer bands are popping up here and there and CIVIL CARNAGE should gain legions of fans worldwide. This debut album is all that you would expect from a band of this style: Guttural vocals, heavy as fuck guitars, wicked blasts of violence and so forth... extreme? You bet! Although not totally convincing originality-wise, CIVIL CARNAGE will kick your ass with extreme brutality... Good enough for me! This album comes with a great packaging and production is good too. You should check this out if you are into bands such as ETERNAL SUFFERING, DISGORGE, etc. Extremely brutal shit. You can get it from Great White North Records.
R.C.
3½ out of 5

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COAL CHAMBER: "Chamber Music" - CD (Roadrunner/Attic)

COAL CHAMBER were one of the first bands that I destroyed in a review and one of the few that I regretted. Their first album finally grew on me and ended up in my CD player quite a few times. This sort of situation won't happen this time because "Chamber Music" sucks so terribly that there is no chance I will like it. COAL CHAMBER went deeper into their Goth influences without any success. The only reasonably good songs are the ones (one or two) that have no DEPECHE MODE sounds in them. They simply don't have the talent to pass the pretentiousness of Goth-Rock without any bumps. They fail miserably in making DEPECHE MODE heavy... Instead, they end up making a collage of their own music and DM's, which doesn't make any sense. This sucks so bad...
S.T.
Web site!
Web site!
1 out of 5

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C OF E: "Protect Me From What I Want" - CD (Indie/Van Den Berk Music Productions)

Here's some pretty cool, pissed off Hardcore! That's the kind of Hardcore that I really enjoy... You know, the style of Crossover Hardcore they play and their sound reminds me very much of the type of stuff SLAYER did on their "Undisputed Attitude" release. Some of the stuff also reminds me of some of the stuff AGNOSTIC FRONT did... But there are also a few places where it becomes a bit more stop-and-go type of Metal, which is not as intense as the rest of the stuff, but it does add some power to the music. Definitely Crossover type of riffing, with a mixture of simplistic Hardcore riffing, just a few chords played with intensity and agressiveness and some more crunchy, technical Metal riffs. The guitars sound very Metal with an intense sound that crunches and offers great heaviness to the music. The bass is there but well overshadowed by the guitars... It still adds some depth to the guitars. The drumming is pretty good, varying from faster Hardcore speed tempo to slower part, with great effectiveness and intensity, always very tight and precise. The drums sound a bit dry and could have been a bit more present in the mix, but it's all quite decent the way it is anyway. Plus, I think that the dry drums sound fits the genre pretty well, adding to the rehearsal/Hardcore side of this music. The vocals are mostly very angry Hardcore screams with the few notes thrown in here and there. But mostly, it's Hardcore pissed-off screaming! That is good! I think that there's only the last song, with its Techno-Rap stuff that I don't like. All in all, the sound is pretty well balanced and the songs flow rapidly and without a break! Get this dude!
S.B.
E-mail!
4 out of 5

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CORE: "The Hustle Is On" - CD (MIA/Tee Pee)

Since the took over of MIA, the label clearly stated its allegiance to Stoner Rock. CORE is one more of of these bands in the MIA roster. They really dig deep into the seventies' sound to create some decent Psychedelic Rock. Ranging from IRON BUTTERFLY to the GREATFUL DEAD, the songs have some interesting Blues influence in the guitar work. Most of the songs have long instrumental parts and that is where the band really shines. However, when the vocal parts come in, the band seems to fall into simplicity and laziness as these parts are very generic. Not very heavy compared to others of the genre such as label mates SOIL. They compensate with great melodies and improvisation-like parts. This album is nothing too spectacular but certainly is interesting and easily listenable.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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CORPORATION 187: "Subliminal Fear" - CD (Wicked W.)

When you were just a kid, what band had the most effective impact on you? SLAYER! When you started to make some noise by yourself, what band influenced you the most at that time? SLAYER!! What about nowadays, when you've got more perspective towards the whole music scene and seen more shit... SLAYER!?! Again? Seriously?! ER(!)... So let that be so, if you say so... CORPORATION 187 started out as a SLAYER cover band and one could easily claim that they also continued as a SLAYER covering band; Those "SLAYERish" influences keep on shining throughout "Subliminal Fear", very clearly and mercilessly indeed. In fact, it would be very easy to paint a picture and say: "We have a bunch of SLAYER rip-offs here, who just aren't capable of coming up with their own aural assault of things thrashing, bashing and lashing. I've been a big SLAYER fan ever since I heard "Show No Mercy" back in 1983... I have to say that I don't mind if CORPORATION 187 want to remind us of the existence of SLAYER's enormous impact on the whole Heavy Metal scene. It's incontestable anyway! And songs like "Paralyzed", "Frustration" and "Hypnotic Illusion", for example, remind us of what once made SLAYER so special for all of us. Savage, hypnotic riff bursts, excellent hooks, incredibly catchy song structures, haunting melodies and such SLAYERish things are like a replica from a repackaged notebook of CORPORATION 187. Many will surely love them due to their masters' dominating influences on "Subliminal...". Then some will expect more originality and unprompted uniqueness from them in the future. I like them just as they are right now. Relentless and so devoted to things of all holy and sacred: SLAYER, SLAYER and even more SLAYER, within every living cells of theirs!! One more question, though; what's wrong with SLAYER anyway...?!
L.L.
4½ out of 5

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CRACK UP: "Heads Will Roll" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

I believe that this is is their third album and the first to be heard by yours, truly. The bio mentions PUNGENT STENCH, MONSTER MAGNET and ENTOMBED and I must say that the label is dead on (a feast not often seen). A mix of the three is there and a successful one in a few places. The album is a bit too long and a few songs should have been thrown out. There are some very good songs and others that are very plain. Also, a problem here is the guitar sound: It is not sludgy enough, they have a Death Metal tone. A much more SABBATH-Doom tone would have been preferred here and would have complimented the songs better. A few adjustments that a good producer would have seen and solved. It lacks a bit of direction.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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CRANIUM: "Speed Metal Sentence" - CD (Necropolis)

CRANIUM is a serious Speed Metal band that started in 1986 and reformed in 1996, pretty much as a joke/retro band. They basically play a mix of SLAYER-DESTRUCTION with AC/DC vocals and some high pitched screams. Now that may sound okay but it is really tiresome because there is not much variety. However, with song titles such as "Nymphomaniac Nuns", "Full Moon Fistbangers" and "Pestilential Penis", you cannot do anything but smile. The vocals really bother me; I really hate them. All in all, the music is decent, even if not original or anything else. This can be enjoyable if you can get pass the vocals.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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CREMATORY: "Act Seven" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

As I have mentioned in another review (that I did earlier, obviously), this is my first encounter with CREMATORY. I am not that impressed although it is quality music. The transitions between the slow Gothic parts and the faster, heavy parts are really bad and should be worked at. More often than others, the heavy parts blows away the Gothic ones with their power. The keyboard work is very strange and more interesting than most of in the scene, much more eighties-New Wave influences than the others that have more classical approach. A song like "Fly" shows the way the band should have done all the songs: Mid paced, heavy and including the atmospheric elements right into the song instead of cutting it to add atmosphere. Most of the songs are good but not great. This is just good music and I'd recommend it. See for yourself.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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CRIMINAL: "Dead Soul" - CD (BMG/Metal Blade)

CRIMINAL is a Chilean band that released this album on the Chilean division of BMG some time ago. If their endorsements are any indications, I'd say that they are pretty big in their home country. They play music that is somewhat similar to the "Arise" era of SEPULTURA. Anton, the rhythm guitar/vocalist, has the same kind of growl that Max had in those days. Throw in some MACHINE HEAD style Thrash in some parts and you have a pretty good album. Guitar player Rodrigo is a very good guitar player and plays leads that only Andreas could only dream of. I have to say that the album is pretty good, although a bit ripped off on some other bands. Still, very aggressive and well played, you cannot really complain about the sound quality. It should please your old SEPULTURA needs. It IS quality music.
S.T.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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CRO-MAGS: "Revenge" - CD (Cro Mag Recordings)

CRO-MAGS!? Hell yeah!!! I was having problems opening the damn CD case when I found out I was receiving a promo of the new CRO-MAGS!!! A band I've worshipped from their very first album until today... Yeah, after the very first song, I was ready to go to the store and buy new fuckin' Dock Marteens again!!! My wife was okay with that and just before I actually went to my car, I've heard the second track "Jones"... Oups! Well, I guess I'll wait for the Docks after all... The album is split in two: Godly, old CRO-MAGS type Hardcore, in your face, angry and pissed... The other half gives me pimples: Sounds like the new girlie Punk shit playing on the radio with happy riffs and choruses. Like my partner Stéphane once said: "Happy Punk, fuck off!!!" Okay, it's not BLINK 182 (although not too far!) but it has this RAMONES feeling of déja vu, which I really hate and despise. Half the album is pure CRO-MAGS and I'll stick with it... For the rest, I must say that I am very disappointed in the band for making this kind of shift in sound and (hopefully not!) direction... BLINK 182 sucks!
R.C.
Web site!
2½ out of 5

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CRO-MAGS: "Before The Quarrel" - CD (Indie/Cro-Mags Recordings)

Man, was I pleased when I realized that this CD was a collection of the New-York Hardcore legends' old demos! Yes, you read this right! So now I'll be able to hear their old demos on CD with a better sound and all the other advantages a CD brings. Those old demos were what Hardcore was all about: Sheer aggressiveness, pissed off power and anti-social shoutings and lyrics... Some of my all time favorite Hardcore songs are all there with their original version's sound (man, I missed that demo... I've played it so many times in the past that the cassette is all screwed up...) and their original strength and power; "World Peace", "Malfunction" and "Sign Of The Times" are just three example of the effectiveness of this CD. The sheer amount of great songs from that era of NY/HC was (and still is) staggering! The sound is also very good since I believe it has been re-mastered and restored... Man, their sound was oven more powerful back then! Just listen to the intensity of the bass sound completed with the crunchy guitars!! Of course, telling you in more details about CRO-MAGS' music and describing their sound would be an exercise in futility since we all know that they are one of the biggest Hardcore band ever! And there are many tracks that are well known from their subsequent albums. So all I'll say to finish this is, if you respect this music as much as you respect yourself, then you owe it to yourself to get your hands on those great (until now) lost tracks and feed on the band's past heaviness and brutality! This is a win win situation! BUY!
S.B.
Web site!
4½ out of 5

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CRYPTIC REVELATION: "The Truth Is Out There" - CD (Deathtortion Records)

Wow, this is a very different type of brutal Metal than what we are used to hear from Japanese bands. Usually specialized in the most extreme of Grindcore, this Japanese combo decoded to play a brand of very brutal, heavy and intense Death Metal that has a lot of common points with American Death Metal acts such as DYING FETUS and these types of bands. I can safely assure you that if you did not know these guys were from Japan, you would think they're from Florida or something... Their brand of Death crush has a lot of tempo changes, speed changes and intense riffing with lots of squeaks and hooks and power chords. The guitars themselves sound very loud and compact with low tones. They are pretty clear but sometimes a bit low in the mix... But it's really not that bad. The bass plays the riffs with intense power, sometimes following the guitars but also often playing parts of its own, adding colours to the riffing. The drumming is very intense and brutal with lots and lots of breaks, stop-and-go's. Tomoki is also very tight! The blasts vary from square tipping to power thunder strikes à la old SUFFOCATION. The drums sound a bit dry though. The vocals are not that original of course, with the usual ultra low Death growls, with a few scream calls here and there. The overall sound is pretty good and defined, although the guitars and drums may use a bit more power. But, as I said before, these are minor concerns that will undoubtedly be resolved with their next release. If you are into American Death Metal, you must get this CD at once.
S.B.
E-mail!
Deathtortion Records: 3-24-19 Hori Kaizuka-City, Osaka, 597-0015, Japan.
3½ out of 5

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Reviews from letters: A - B - C

DALI’S DILEMMA: "Manifest For Futurism" - CD (Magna Carta)

Magna Carta, the home of Progressive Rock, presents DALI’S DILEMMA. Guess what you get with D.D.? Progressive Heavy Rock in the vein of FATES WARNING. As with most Prog Rock nowaday, there is no average musician in the line-up, only top quality! The guitar solos are very much Yngwie influenced, with some touch of Jazz Fusion. The drums work is Bill Bruford style, without much changes. As for the bass, he has some nice things going on and the best comes out when he lets loose. The keyboards might be the most interesting I have heard, combining more traditional keyboard sounds with techno and industrial sounds with a lot of ease. The songs are mostly Prog-Rock songs with some Metal riffs here and there. Some are good, some are not. If you like the style, then go for it.
S.T.
3 out of 5

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DARKANE: "Rusted Angel" - CD (Relapse Records/War Music)

Holy freakin' damn!!! I know that this album has been out for quite a while now (1998) but it's just now that I put my hands on it! And I should say that it was about time! This piece of Techno Death Thrash greatness explores pretty much all that I love about Metal: Technical, challenging, musical, melodic, brutal, fast, furious, intricate, original, name it!!! I think that it reminds me a bit of an old legendary band from Texas called DEVASTATION, making this sound as some sort of a cross between the Texans and bands such as (the also deceased) AT THE GATE with even more challenging Thrashy riffs that complete the Death Metal power riffing very well, with total intricacy and accuracy! The riffing can get from harder power chords to noteful, rotative technical riffing in a heart beat without ever braking the flow of the songs. The guitars themselves sound crystal clean, large, powerful and very heavy, making the riffs sound as if they were thrown at you with a catapult. And there are those parts where the guitars will stop-and-go, following the tempo punches with such intensity and accuracy that it sounds as if a giant was kicking your door in! Then there's the top notch drumming of mister Peter Wildoer: Technical, precise, well constructed to make it flow naturally and as tight as a virgin's ass! He easily mixes the power tempo with more intricate technical parts, and gets from slower to faster beats as easily as if it were child's play. The vocals are, for once in this genre, darn original. They are in the higher gears of the growlings and screamings, while other parts are almost narrative in nature, another thing reminding me VERY MUCH of DEVASTATION's singer Rodney Dunsmore. To put the cream AND the cherry on top of this chocolate sunday, the overall sound on this record is top quality, crystal clean, large, very heavy and intense... And (as if it was not enough) the cover's lay-out and its booklet are very nice with some great graphics and drawing effects and stuff! Please do not be a fool like me and don't wait so long before you get this great piece of a Metal chef-d'oeuvre! Get this CD as soon as you're done reading this! FIVE THUMBS UP!.. My hand's, my feet's and my... ;-))
S.B.

Web site!
E-mail!
5 out of 5

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DARK SANCTUARY: "Royaume Mélancolique" - CD (Wounded Love Records)

This is a very dreamy, flying emotional type of music that usually isn't really my cup of tea... But this one is done with such emotion, such strength and with such beautiful and harmonious melodies that I can't do anything else but enjoy this one very much. All of it is supported by piano, the main instrument in here. But there are some synthesizers that adds some depth to the music. There also are some violin and acoustic guitars that can take part in the main melodies. The other major element of this music are the soft, dreamy female vocals that form the other half of the melodies and harmonies. Her voice is full of echoes and reverb, making it sound as if she were singing in a cathedral or something. But her voice isn't just a soft whining thing; she does have a good voice, always on key! Pretty cool! The whole thing is well mixed, although mixing a piano and a voice certainly isn't as hard as mixing a full load Metal band. The lyrics are in French, from what I can decipher... But it doesn't really matter; although it is a music that has a major part to do with the vocals for melodies, there are so many effects on the voice that we can't really hear the lyrics that well... Well, I could get a few words in French (my mother tongue) here and there... So this is great stuff but be advised; if you are into nothing else than brutal Metal, do not get this! There's nothing for you here. I guess that Loreena McKennitt would be a good reference for you to compare with... So if you like this emotional type of music, get this now!
S.B.
E-mail!
4 out of 5

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DARK TRANQUILITY: "Projector" - CD (Century Media)

DARK TRANQUILITY and the GOTHENBURG sound have been two entity living side by side for a few years now. Just like AT THE GATES and IN FLAMES have. As with many bands, evolution from an already successful style is a hard thing that many fail to achieve. A path that a few choose to go is modifying the style you have to include new influences. DARK TRANQUILITY decided to include Doom Metal to their sound. Although that sounds like they wussed-out on us, they really didn't because most of the songs are still of high velocity and harsh vocals. They do slow down and strip down the layers of guitars in some part but only to enhance. Vocalist Mikael Stanne shows us a good "clean" vocal that fits very well. The whole thing does gel sometimes but doesn't in many others. I believe that this album is more of a transition that could bring us to a very different DARK TRANQUILITY than what we are used to.
S.T.
2 out of 5

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DEATH OF MILLIONS: "Frozen" - CD (Dies Irae Productions)

This is a band that has been together for five years and that never stoped improving. This album is a good piece of heavily Thrash influenced Death Metal that cannot be labeled as very original but which is still pretty effective, talented and pretty powerful. The guitars are a bit dry and compressed but the playing is very solid and crunchy. Like I just said, the riffing has a strong basis in crushing Death Metal heaviness and also borrows elements from the more technical and intricate aspects of Thrash Metal. The drums sound a little bit flat but it's nothing to serious. The drumming itself is very tight, intricate and quite skilled! Good drummer! The bass is somewhere under the mix and we can't really hear it, aside from the few parts where the bass plays alone. But we can still make some of its work, which mostly follows the guitars' work. It adds a good depth to the music though. The vocals are very rough extreme low grind mixed with some higher screams and growls. Nothing new here but it's pretty effective though. The overall sound is pretty heavy and intense with most of the parts being clear in the mix, although a bit dry like I said before. The arrangements are well done and will take you from slower, powerful Thrashy brutality to the faster insanity and death strikes of Death Metal. I can safely recommend this one... Not the best album of the year but certainly a good one!
S.B.
3½ out of 5

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DEATHWITCH: "Monumental Mutilations" - CD (Necropolis)

Here is a guy that is quite busy. Nicke Terror is the drunker of SWORDMASTER and SACRAMENTUM but to relieve his artistic pulsions, he decided to have another band: DEATHWITCH. This album being their third and Terror being the sole original member, the album presents a fairly interesting Black-Death mix. My biggest problem with this album is that the songs are so much alike that they seem to copy from each other. But it contains some pretty powerful parts and that's saving the record for me. Much like early BATHORY, the music is fast and uses every trick in the book to get inside your head. The drums are much too high in the mix and it annoys your reviewer greatly. Andy Larocque produces most of the songs and I don't think he is a great producer, after hearing the few he has done. In clear, he sucks. Not too bad of a listen.
S.T.
Web site!
2 out of 5

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DECAPITATED: "Winds Of Creation" - CD (Wicked World)

The Polish Death Metal commandos DECAPITATED's highly talked-about(!) debut, "Winds Of Creation", on WICKED WORLD has its ups and downs. Apart from these youngsters age (which is respectively well under 20!), I want to sincerely confess, the guys literally kick ass!! Oh dear, they DO kick some serious butt in the sense of playing downright sinister, ferociously brutal Death Metal that isn't too far removed from their land mates, VADER´s package of Death and Metal. In fact, it's almost inescapable to say, where the elder goes, puppies will follow and the fellows of DECAPITATED do just that. The music is full of twists and turns, it keeps on moving determinedly fast forward, reaching its dead-end until next song starts an overwhelming rumpus all over again. Young hearts full of relentless energy and a relish to rip the world apart like no one could control these chaosbreeders any longer. So, maybe we should credit them for these merits? At least by achieving a guttural voice like a bellowing, horny bull should be awarded by Pavement´s back catalogue of brutal US Death Metal releases in my opinion. Many congratulations Sauron! Maybe you'll be one of our nominees next year again unless the rest of your favorite killing team doesn't grow out of brutal, heavy Death Metal (HEY! Believe me, they do - EVERYBODY does!!). DAMN! I wish there could be a handful of up'n'coming, young bands out there that couldn't walk on well-trodden paths too much and constantly. DECAPITATED are as safe as an EU-standardized condom, which doesn't provide too many surprises for anyone too often. Screaming for more? That cover song from SLAYER's "Mandatory Suicide" unfortunately maximized the overall safe feeling for "Winds Of (un-)Creation", which is kinda sad, too. Oh well... Not exactly dead-boring, but honestly quite boring anyway. Therefore...
L.L.
2½ out of 5

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DEMENTOR: "The Art Of Blasphemy" - CD (Qabalah/Repulse)

Brutal Death Metal here with DEMENTOR. DEMENTOR is a Slovakian band that is trying very hard to be CRYPTOPSY; they also fail with vigor. They do have a pretty strong songwriting going on but it obviously falls short to be original. Nonetheless, they achieve to create a few good songs and that is an accomplishment in itself. The album is still one of the best Death Metal release of the past year (certainly kicks SIX FEET UNDER's bull). A better produced drum would have made a substantial difference. Pretty damn good, but tiresome after five or six songs.
S.T.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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DEPRAVED: "Sexual Depravity... And Pleasure To Suffer" - CD (Indie/Self Produced)

This band hails from France and to be honest, I don't know many good bands from the land of my ancestors... DEPRAVED just blew me away with their intense Death/Grind, sweating NAPALM DEATH/TERRORIZER all over... Highly explicit lyrics of sexual nature are just natural when you go around under the name of DEPRAVED. So I won't say more on this particular aspect... This is cool to have in hands because it isn't just mindless noise without any real purpose. The drummer is killer and musically overall, the band is impressive. Get this.
R.C.
4 out of 5

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DEVILYN: "Reborn In Pain" - CD (Listenable)

These Polish dawnbringers are striking hard and without any mercy!!! The poor fan that I am just can't get enough of the guttural vocals and the MORBID ANGEL meets VADER meets GORGUTS type extremity... Ok, DEVILYN is not really innovating, but at least they do their shit with enough anger and conviction to burry half the scene deep in the mud!!! My only complaint will go for the drummer, whose blasts aren't always too precise, unfortunately... I say loose the drummer and conquer the world!!! Well it's not that bad, but improvement is necessary on this particular aspect. Otherwise, the music, riffs and arrangements are just pure Death Metal... Get it and enjoy!!!
R.C.
4 out of 5

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DEVIN TOWNSEND: "Infinity" - CD (Hevy Devy)

At first, I really liked this album. After a while, I started to not like it at all. Then it kind of sank in and I am appreciating it more and more everyday now. This is the child of Vancouver, Canada's own musical genius, father of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, OCEAN MACHINE, once member of the WILDHEARTS, IR8 (Jason Newsted's side project), FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and STEVE VAI. How's that for a résumé? Described by him as the closest thing to being inside his head, I think it is a good representation of his different influences and moods. It certainly sounds like a Devin album: The production is like everything he has done, deep and with so many layers it becomes a new listen each time. His voice is unmistakable, powerful and diverse. Musically, it goes from straightforward Thrash to Funk, taking roots in metallic Rock with industrial flavours. It is very hard to describe as it is very diverse and yet very focused. Some very funny moments are here and there as well as dramatic ones. I really have problems describing and letting you know what to expect. If you liked OCEAN MACHINE, then you probably will like that but it is still very different. Better buy it than taking a chance.
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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DEVIN TOWNSEND/INFINITY: "Christeen" + 4 Demos - MCD (Hevy Devy)

INFINITY having somewhat of a commercial potential, the next step was to release a single. Well here it is: Add four "demos" and you easily have twenty-five minutes of music, so more of an EP than a single. The demos in question are simply song that were left unfinished in the studio as the deadline for the record was closing. So the songs are now finished and are sounding just as good as the ones on the "Infinity" full length. In fact, they are some of the best songs from the project. The fourth demo, "Love Load", is in fact a "remix" of a UNIT:187 song that Devin changed so much that it became one of his song, so to speak. This is something to get for any Devin Townsend fan. Get it!
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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DICHOTIC: "Lowest Common Denominator" - CD (Discorporate)

Once again, Discorporate Music (a Canadian Label, hey! Support it!) crushes everything on its way to success with the new extreme release from one of the most brutal Canadian band to surface from the underground; DICHOTIC. Well, let's go right straight to the point; This band is, or at least sounds like it's influenced by bands such as KATAKLYSM and CRYPTOPSY while other moments sound similar to INCANTATION meets SLAYER... This is true Death Metal in the most brutal sense of the word... Dripping with blood and highly disturbing! You've been warned... Oh and by the way, this is an enhanced CD; it comes with videos (live, studio...) and some very cool shit about a certain Yoda... Get this! You can get it from Great White North Records.
R.C.
3½ out of 5

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DIM MAK: "Enter The Dragon" - CD (Dies Irae Productions)

Underground DIM MAK, featuring ex-members from RIPPING CORPSE, are back with an excellent debut album for Singapore's indie Dies Irae. This cool plate of blast Metal/Hardcore might not be as convincing as RIPPING CORPSE but they surly rock and kick butts with the amazingly twisted shrieks of God Scott Ruth and a drummer beyond amazing... DIM
MAK
is more moderate than its predecessor but is still something the old fans will enjoy... I do!
R.C.
3½ out of 5

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DIMMU BORGIR: "Spiritual Dimension" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

I honestly never understood all the fuss around DIMMU BORGIR: Good or bad... Even if they are looked up by new Black Metal fans, they are looked at as posers by everybody close to the Scandinavian scene. I personally couldn't care less about the politics of it all. What I do care about is the music and that is not all that good. They do have a pretty powerful mix of Black Metal but it doesn't do the trick for me. It just doesn't sound honest to me. In many parts, they sound like they want to play Doom Metal and because Black Metal is popular, they jumped on the bandwagon. They play music that EMPEROR basically created and don't add much to the mixture. Sure they do execute it with ability but this is not beating "Anthems"... or "Nightside"... This is some good music, at best. The worst thing off it is Shagrath, the vocalist, whom is very poor and gets his ass kicked by Sylmen Hestnaes (BORKNAGAR, ARCTURUS...) in the few songs that he appears in. I still can't see what the fuss is all about.
S.T.
2 out of 5

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DISFIGURED: "Prelude To Dementia" - MCD (Sevared)

I got this by trading with my pal Phil of Brutalized Distro... I wasn't expecting too much but to my surprise, it's one of my fave releases for this new issue!!! They are from the american school of violence (which includes CANNIBAL CORPSE, DYING FETUS, etc.) and as most bands of the style, they JAM!!! Wicked riffs, squeals, nutty tempo changes etc. Hard to follow by times when you are not use to it but it gets to a point where you just can't get enough... DISFIGURED is a new amazing band to discover... Fuck MCDs, I want a full length!!!
R.C.
4 out of 5

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DISMAL EUPHONY: "All Little Devils" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

Female vocals seem to be the only way to go now if you are a Goth-Metal band. I agree that it adds to the atmosphere in some bands but bands like MOONSPELL, MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST are the living proof that you can do without it. DISMAL EUPHONY have equal part of female and male vocals. The females ones are really annoying in a catholic choir-classical approach. What is even more annoying than the voice itself is the fact that they are almost all overdubed and that really hurts the ears. The male vocals are much more in a Black Metal shrieks most of the time. The music is up-tempo Goth and very keyboard oriented as the guitars are buried in the mix, often even lower than the drums. In some parts, the music is kind of a slow Black Metal as the riffing is much in that style. Most of it is pretty good if you can get past the vocals, something I obviously cannot.
S.T.
2 out of 5

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DOCTOR BUTCHER: "The Demos" - CD (Indie)

This was a project that was by the famous Jon Oliva from famed SAVATAGE back in the early 90's. This piece of dirty classic Heavy Metal obvious has some moments reminiscent to the early SAVATAGE material ("Dungeons Are Calling") but it also has a dirtier Rock'n'Roll aspect to it that takes it apart from the great SAVATAGE. The concept seems to revolve around horror/Halloween stuff. The music is all that you can expect from classic Heavy Metal/Rock'n'Roll: Some savage riffing with lots of notes, some harder, large riffing and intense solos. All of the melodies are are very catchy and invites you to intense head banging! The guitars sound pretty large, heavy and kind of dirty! The bass works well and adds as much bottom as it adds to the riffing itself. The drumming is pretty classic: Simple, intense and very tight! The drums sound loud and pounding but just a little bit flat... Nothing major there, though. Of course, Jon high pitch singing, with its little gritty edge, simply rules! Well, in the places where he sings loudly and with obvious intensity, those are the parts that really stand out... The other parts where he trie to sing more quietly are not as good as the rest. The overall sound is well balanced, pretty heavy and clear... All that you would expect from classic Heavy Metal! This is a great piece of collection, including two rare Live tracks! Get this now if you are into 80's Metal!
S.B.
4 out of 5

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DOCTOR BUTCHER: "Doctor Butcher" - CD (Crook'd Records) This album was recorded in 1992 and 1993. It features Chris Caffery and Jon Oliva... What a surprising release, it sounds like SAVATAGE! It's good Metal, hard and heavy with the usual SAVATAGE-type hooks and licks... I'd say it's something avid fans of Oliva would enjoy. I'm personally enjoying it a bit, but I prefer the original band... Its okay.
R.C.
3 out of 5

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DREW BARRETT: "The Strolling Minstrel" - CD (Skyward Productions)

Here's some material that doesn't totally catch my attention but that still has a lot to offer... I do like a wide range and variety of Rock but there has to be a minimal amount of groove to the music to really appeal to me. Drew's music is very well crafted and full of melody but a bit too commercial for my liking. Plus, I'd say that the music lacks a bit of groove, like I just said before... All of the songs seem to be played and executed in a sort of depressed fashion. This could be a good thing if there was a certain degree of brutality somewhere, somehow in the sound... But the sound is also very clean and quite controlled. Their brand of Rock do have some very good moments to offer: The vocals are well thought, solid and flow pretty well with a good emphasis on memorable melodies and good choruses. But most of this is sang in some sort of "depressed ballad" way... Very good musicians is another one of the assets of this band! Certainly not bad, but not totally my cup of tea...
S.B.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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D-RIVER: "Kinpads Hachibei / Death River" - CD (Noiseworks)

I really have to get into this Japanese Grind scene if they are all as good as this. There is a BRUTAL TRUTH tribute on the album and I can clearly see the influence. The influence is in pushing the boundaries of an otherwise stale genre that is Grindcore. They play one of the most powerful Grind and enhance it with chanted chorus, Funk guitar parts, Death, old-school Hardcore, Blues... Hell, whatever you can think of! There is even a pretty cool lounge part on the fifth song (don't know the name of the song because it is in Japanese). This album is simply amazing because it grinds like only a few can and yet brilliantly combines outside influences without losing the heaviness of the whole. I like this record like I have not liked a Grind record since NASUM's "Inhale/Exhale". Man, this rocks!
S.T.
5 out of 5

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