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Reviews From V To Z



Reviews from letters: W - X - Y - Z

V/A: "Bacteria Sour Vol. 2" - Comp. 7" (Bacteria Sour)

Yet another unmistakable cover by Pushead of a scarred tribal woman with tusk growing out of her cheeks among a unique hand-print in ink collage. This is a limited repress of a "ridiculously limited" Pushead fan club single. "In My Eyes" sound like one of those retro-youth crew bands that are still copying 411 or Y.O.T. with an arena feel. It's kind of dull, actually. STOMPEDE are from Japan and they're decent. More fast-core following in the footsteps of SLIGHT SLAPPERS and others. DEVOID OF FAITH's "Thaw" is okay, although the vocals are muddy. CLUSTER BOMB UNIT's "Genug Ist Genug" is a good dose of speed-puke. I actually enjoyed ROSWELL's moody "cat in the brain" type track "Picking On The Fat Kid"! DETESTATION's "Unheard Cries" isn't bad with violent female death-vox. To end things is an O.A.C. "Pisstake Alternate Track" that's not as good as the stuff from their previous "Bukowski" 7". An okay compilation, I suppose...
T.G.
3 out of 5

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V/A: "Beauty In Darkness, Volume 3" - CD (Nuclear Blast)

Third edition of this compilation of Gothic interest. Containing songs from all of Nuclear Blast's bands with a more or less Gothic feel and some of the best Metal-Goth bands on other labels, it shows a great variety of approaches. A few demo version, a live version is at hand while the rest of the songs are available on the band's studio album. As usual, a VHS compilation is also available. Here are the bands featured: LIV KRISTINE (THEATRE OF TRAGEDY's vocalist), CREMATORY, MY DYING BRIDE, GODGORY, HIM, SCULPTURE, EVEREVE, MOONSPELL, CRADLE OF FILTH, DARKSEED, DIMMU BORGIR, DAEMONARCH, ANATHEMA and DISMAL EUPHONY.
S.T.
Web site!
2 out of 5

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V/A: "Blackend IV" - 2CD (Blackend/Metal Blade)

This is the fourth edition of this now famous compilation. A double CD again, containing all previously released songs from the following cast: WITCHERY, MYRKSKOG, HECATE ENTHRONED, PRIMORDIAL, THORNS, EMPEROR, PROPHANITY, ODIUM, MISFORTUNE, ASHES, OPETH, LIMBONIC ART, ENSLAVED, BEHEMOTH, PECCATUM, THY SERPENT, DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE, DARK WOOD MY BETHRONED, CARPATIAN FOREST, ANCIENT RITE. Good CD to buy if you don't know of the majority of these bands. Otherwise, I would pass.
S.T.
Web site!
3 out of 5

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V/A: "East Timor, A Nation Betrayed" - 7" comp. (Spiral Objective)

This is a benefit record done to help shed some light on the exploitation and political repression/genocide o the East Timorese by the Indonesian government. The United-States and other western governments/multinationals are also complicit in the backing o the Suharto regime. Spiral Objective Mailorder has put together an excellent and informative package, including a booklet/foldout poster along with international solidarity contacts. There are five Australian bands: (1) HEAD KICKED OFF; A full-blast of extreme Punk sound that's always welcome, with good production. (2) FORWARD DEFENCE, (3) COACH, (4)UNDERTONE and (5)JAMES BROOKS are all good representations of this genre. All proceeds go to Free East Timor efforts, so this is well worth you $$$.
T.G.
3 out of 5

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V/A: "Estheticks Of Cruelty" - CD (Cold Meat Industry)

"Estheticks..." is a compilation of twenty-two Swedish Noise/Power electronics artists to give over one hour and thirty minutes of music that is not for everybody. Not for everybody because of the difficulty of getting into the record. A noise record is usually an experience in itself but in this case, we are thrown from one style to another, even with the effort of the makers of the compilation to make it more linear. On the other hand, most of the songs are so powerful in themselves that it is easier. Most of the projects presented here are very good, eventhough some are much better than others. As the bands are Swedish, most of them are close to the European noise movement (which is a lot closer to the American one than the Japanese, for your interest). Anyway you look at it, the majority of the songs are much, much, much more violent than anything a Death or Black Metal band could ever imagined.
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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V/A: Eulogy - Good Life Recordings "Budget Sampler" - CD (Good Life)

This is very good compilation... I don't usually dig compilations so much because you mostly get about one good band for every four or five bands... This one is separated in two section: The first 2/3 of the compilation are bands from Good Life Recordings... This is definitely the best part of the CD, with bands that range from Hardcore, crossover, to Thrash and even heavier forms verging on the Death Metal side. All of the bands sound good and the songs selection is well done, bringing some intense music to your ears in a wide variety of styles. The first part gets an easy 4½... The last 1/3 of the CD is a bit less interesting that the first part, but it isn't bad at all either: These are bands from Eulogy Recordings. They also are pretty varied in styles, ranging from more commercial Rock that verges on the Punk side, to sicker BRUTAL TRUTH type of Grinding stuff, to more violent Hardcore/Metal, etc. I'd say that this last part of the compilation gets a good 3½ rating... The result is... Well, just here bellow! This compilation is really worth the price! Get it!
S.B.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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V/A: "Identity Five, I Defy" - CD (Century Media)

Another chapter of the Identity series and as always, you get a very interesting compilation for the price you pay. All the bands that have released albums since the last Identity and a few that are yet to release theirs get to have a song on there. Nothing exclusive or unreleased but at 3.95 US$, you cannot ask for much more. Here are the bands: ICED EARTH, SKINLAB, LACUNA COIL, TURMOIL, SENTENCED, KATATONIA, NEVERMORE, OLD MANíS CHILD, BLIND GUARDIAN, THE GATHERING, HASTE, CRYPTOPSY, BORKANAGAR, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY, ANGRA, JAG PANZER and OPETH.
S.T.
3 out of 5

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V/A: "Japan In Decline" - LP (Six Weeks)

Kudos to Jeff (bass/vox) of CAPITALIST CASUALTIES and ATHENA (The Dread) for getting this compilation out, which features a lot of current Japan Puke-Rock bands. Different variations of a particular style, from carcinoma Grind to anthemic Punk are represented here. Good stuff from SLANG, FUCK ON THE BEACH, SHIKABANE, 324, FRIGORA, CURTAINRAIL, KUNG-FU GRIP, MASS GENOCIDE, VRYKER, SMASH THE BRAIN and DUDMAN. This is a good compilation, Jeff & ATHENA!!
T.G.
3 out of 5

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V/A: "Let's Start A Riot, Vol 2" - Double 7" comp. (Riot Records)

Why in the fuck would I want to listen to the hordes of museum-quality retro-xeroxed to to 20th generation copycats' emulate or outright steal (and rather badly I might add) the early warning shockwaves bombardments of Swedish Punk, when I can check out reissues and bootlegs like this double EP of goodies covering the years 1982-85... This comes with a really informative black & white booklet that has band lyrics, logos, photos and brief histories along with an overview of the Swedish aspect (a lot of it seemed Swedes upped the ante on this type of sound, with faster/heavier sandpaper vocals strength tracks by NYX NEGATIV, E.A.T.E.R., ANTI-CIMEX, DISARM, S.O.D. (not the US version but a protest towards them), BRISTLES, EXISTENZ, NONCENS, T.S.T., D.T.A.L., MOB 47, ARROGANTA AGITATORER. There's not a dub in the lot and the sound quality is great! It's another essential and well made compilation!
T.G.
3½ out of 5

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V/A: "Reproach" (Eight H.C. Bands Cover NEGATIVE APPROACH - 7" (Ugly Pop)

...Yet another tribute to a defunct and inspirational Hardcore band? The problem with a lot (well, nearly all) of these compilations is either:
  1. Most of the bands are ill-suited for the material.
  2. The rendition is so bland that the band doing the cover only reminds you of how much better the original was, and
  3. That it was a big mistake in the first place.
Eight bands do various NEGATIVE APPROACH covers and VORHEES (UK) seems to be the only band on the compilation to capture some of the energy of N.A. with their two tracks. SPAZZ does a somewhat interesting interpretation of "Lost Cause". Well, the other (six bands) were forgettable, to say the least.
T.G.
2 out of 5

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V/A: "The Awakening Compilation, Vol. 3" - CD (Awakening Records)

This compilation is composed entirely of Soft Rock, very FM radio type of Rock bands that would range from a Sarah McLachlan type of softness Rock, to a slightly more up-tempo, Melissa Etheridge type of Rock'n'Roll, to more country like sound to folk sounds... But nothing with real teeth here, anywhere. I did enjoy some of the bands in here, especially those with the better singer (male or female). There are are a few songs that downright boring too... All in all it's pretty cool CD for those into this type of Rock... Definitively not for close-minded, Metal-only fans!
S.B.
Web site!
E-mail!
3 out of 5

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V/A: "True Kings Of Norway" - CD (Spikefarm)

Every once in a while you need to ask yourself; does it make a point to release tribute CDs? What's the actual purpose for those? Compilation CDs are even worst, unless they don't offer anything new and unheard of for those potentially money-wasting people who are actually buying those all the time. But what about such compilations CDs which bring hard-to-get treasures (!) once more into the daylight? Items which you've been trying to hunt down for years already but without any success? "True Kings Of Norway", besides the slightly awkward title, is such a thing which you've probably been looking for: A genuine attempt to save many of us from an extra dose of tears, sweat and ultimate frustration. Containing five "now-long-gone" sold out 7 inches all in all, from the sharpest top of Norwegian Black Metal scene, this compilation offers you to get familiar with the past works of the mighty EMPEROR ("As The Shadows Rise" on Nocturnal Art Productions'94), IMMORTAL ("Immortal" on Listenable'94), DIMMU BORGIR ("Inn I Evighetens Mörke" on Necromantic Gallery Productions'94), ANCIENT ("Det Glemte Riket", self-financed EP'94) and ARCTURUS ("My Angel" on Putrefaction back in '91 already!). The EPs which have been included here really bring the listener straight into the primitive (naturally, may I add?) roots of these five bands. Don't expect anything else than raw, very unpolished, 666-supporting, profane, Christ-splitting, utterly unholy Black Metal; evil Black fucking Metal, the way it was meant to be in the very first place! The old feeling for the Devil's music proudly presented in a luxury, embossed black'n'silver package. And hey, there's a scene map of Norway enclosed too! That's been verified by none other than Samoth of EMPEROR!! ARCTURUS' "My Angel", however, was an absolute highlight out of this nicely thought out compilation, in my opinion. Definitely my personal favorite out of them all. Eerie, original and a true wet dream for all the die hard maniacs, without a doubt!! I could warmly recommend you to invest your money in "True Kings..." if:
  1. You don't have the EPs in their original vinyl format because you'll hardly find them ever, anywhere, except on this Cd-format...
  2. You are eager to find out what Mr. Ihsahn and his fellow penguins did before EMPEROR - and after EMPEROR as well...
  3. You're not too keen on bands like KORN, MACHINE HEAD, new SEPULTURA, etc...
  4. You'd like to achieve more approval and respect from your beloved mother-in-law by playing this disc at maximum in the middle of the night volume (of course!) while she's visiting you...
  5. You feel like providing some capital for a new movement of the burning of some of your favorite churches down somewhere in Scandinavia...
  6. You just want to kiss the butts of some Norwegian warriors...
  7. You think labels like Spikefarm Records should deserve to be supported by each and everyone by supporting (Finnish) underground Metal bands...
  8. You've received some golden, yet precious tips from Bill Gates on how to put your money at work...
  9. All of these answers!
L.L.
Music: 3½ out of 5
Packaging: 5 out of 5

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VILE: "Systematic Terror Decimation" - MC (Dementia Records)

This VILE killing machine is not to be confused with the US extremists. This band is from Indonesia, home of the most twisted, sick metallers on the face of the earth!!! VILE plays pure, uncompromising extreme Death Grind akin to SUFFOCATION and ENGORGED and other nightmare of bands... Sick... Massively SICK!!! Such extreme music is a joy for my ears, I cannot see anything bad about pushing the style further, what is beyond extreme? VILE is beyond extreme... This is something you must experiment for yourself, just like sex; when had some once, you NEED more... EXTREME!!!
R.C.
4 out of 5

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Reviews from letters: V - X - Y - Z

WAR: "We Are War" - CD (Necropolis)

This Swedish Black Metal "supergroup" has suffered a few line-up changes since its "Total War" debut. The original line-up, consisting of It and All of the VONDUR-OPHTALMIA fame, Blackmoon of DARK FUNERAL and Peter and Mikael of HYPOCRISY has been changed a bit to: All, Blackmoon, Impious of IN AETURNUM and Lars of HYPOCRISY. Line-up changes but not much change in the musical department, where the same old-school Black Metal is played with ferocity. This is really angry music and it is played with a passion that is incredible. Most of the riffs here are very well exploited while not being very technically challenging (even with the weight of those spiked wrist bands). The very characteristic vocals of All are displayed with all their might. Lars here gives a performance that is to be remembered. Although not the most interesting album I have heard, this album shows that a passion for the music you play is a plus. Very good.
S.T.
Web site!
4 out of 5

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WITCHERY: "Witchburner" - CD (Necropolis)

For those who don't know, WITCHERY is a side project of Patrik Jensen of THE HAUNTED, also ex-SEANCE and SATANIC SLAUGHTER, three other SEANCE members, also ex-SATANIC SLAUGHTER and Sharlee D'Angelo (MERCYFUL FATE, ARCH ENEMY). What we are presented with here is a mini-CD containing four covers of Metal legends: ACCEPT, WASP, JUDAS PRIEST and BLACK SABBATH. All of them with a WITCHERY edge. To Complete the thing is three originals. Not being a fan of covers, I must admit that those certainly have something appealing. The three originals are much more interesting, fast with bone crushing riffs that are present with perfect execution. Rooting its music in Thrash, WITCHERY adds a few more styles to create some very good songs. I can only recommend this CD! It rocks big time!
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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WITCHERY: "Dead, Hot And Ready" - CD (Necropolis)

Cheese is so good! With its third release in less than a year, WITCHERY show their dedication to take the world in their hands and show it the power of the W. What the power of the W is is catchy, fast and aggressive riffs with acidic vocals. Slower than their debut, this one is more catchy and goes into different direction than the straightforward Thrash of "Restless & Dead". In fact, this album shows a more versatile band that digs into Death Metal as well as Rock patterns to bring these riffs to life. Toxine's vocals are as evil as ever, even going lower than usual for whole songs. Some of those songs are destined to be classics but they are not as strong individually as some on "Restless And Dead", but overall it is a stronger and more complete record than "R&D" was. You really have to get this, even if it means selling your mother to the mob. It's all cheese, but one of the finest cheese I have tasted.
S.T.
Web site!
5 out of 5

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WORD SALAD: "Electric Funeral" - 7" (Prank Records)

If you live in a state renowned for Hades-like summers, the sun does strange things to people. If you come from New Mexico like these guys, you are a practitioner of metallic-melanoma Punk with scorched vocals and slightly melted breakdowns. Although I'm beyond sick to death of all these bands covering BLACK SABBATH, WORD SALAD does a respectably gloomy rendition of "Electric Funeral".
T.G.
3 out of 5

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Reviews from letters: V - W - Y - Z

XANG: Destiny Of A Dream" - CD (Galileo Records)

Here is some very interesting instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal, some type of a mix between modern Prog Metal and 70's Prog Rock... Very inspired and melodic, this music displays some highly skilled musicianship and some very apt songwriting, always intricate AND melodious. The guitars are very intense, playing riffs that are either heavy, which crunchier power chords, or more detailed intricacy, with some riffing full of notes and passes, or some pretty technical, yet always melodic soloing. Even if the synths are an important part of the melodies, the guitars are never overshadowed by the synths, having its own important impact on the melodies. The synths, like I said, are well balanced and add a lot of texture to the overall ambiences and even to the melodies themselves. The drumming is basic and simpler than most Prog band, although still very technical and intricate. The drums sound a bit dryer, kind of like a Live sound. The bass completes the rhythmics with a pretty subtle sound that also adds a bit of meat to the guitars. All in all, this is a pretty good album that I've enjoyed listening to! Check it out!
S.B.
4 out of 5

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Reviews from letters: V - W - X - Z

None...


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Reviews from letters: V - W - X - Y

None...

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