Monday, October 20, 2008

EPHEL DUATH - Pain Necessary To Know

Pain Necessary To Know
Earache Records

Prog-jazz-grind sums up the epiphany of noisy bursts and binges you’ll find on “Pain Necessary To Know.”

Disconnected, jagged riffs meet a web of rhythmic shifts that combine to form an abstract sonic identity where mathematics, science and metal meet. Don’t forget art, Ephel Duath thinks art is hip.

The downside here is that you have to want to really like this type of a crazy mess of sound or it’s just not going to work out.

Tripped, flipped and well equipped with more noodles than a pot of minestrone, this record’ not necessary for most, but a certain few will delight in the bounty of aural schizophrenia found here.

Written By: Pocket Protector

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ORIGIN - Echoes Of Decimation

Echoes Of Decimation
Relapse Records

Origin stings like a swarm of angry hornets on its newest platter of blasting technical death metal. “Echoes Of Decimation” is a relentless, furious foray into musical mass destruction as the ten tracks it contains are absolutely unstoppable. Technical proficiency and sped often make for an unwelcome combination when an artist lacks the songwriting sensibilities to make it work. Origin does not seem to have that problem at all.

Holy shit! “Amoeba” is fast, utilizing tempoed sweeps and insane, flurried picking. The songs on “Echoes” sound like Cynic speed up really, really fast. When Cynic hit the scene, people thought that they were really fast. Simply put, Origin just blows that type of material away, with all due respect. Occasionally, the listener will hear a shade of Carcass influence, embellishing the grindier moments in Origin’s music and in the track “Debased Humanity”.

No doubt, fans of music delivered at blistering tempos will latch right on to this group. The speediness of Origin’s songwriting really never recedes through the course of the record. The guttural growls and high-pitched shrieks which grace “Reciprocal” match perfectly with the insane power sweeping of the guitar. Not only are Origin highly skilled musicians, they create music that remains crushingly heavy throughout the album.

Fans of technical death must own this. Now.


Friday, October 10, 2008

APIARY - Lost In Focus

Lost In Focus
Metal Blade Records

Unleashing a steady, suitably consistent brand of tech-core on their self-produced debut album, Apiary offer a decent first look into their chaotic creative mindset on “Lost In Focus.” Sound-wise, the outfit resembles something of a concoction of Converge, Paria and Meshuggah, aggressive, disjointed and possessing intense amounts of instrumental proficiency.

The major downside here is that the vocals are quite one-dimensional, an aspect that tends to not match the music during certain occasions. When the band plows into a lurching chug during “Descent,” the vocals are a fantastic match for the musical atmosphere, but during the album’s more progressive moments, it would be nice to hear the singer open up and explore different types of techniques. In particular, the drumming is noteworthy as complex jazz patterns meet blunt thumping and the scalar guitar runs are often quite impressive. “Omnipresence” shows the band at their best, hinting at a future potential to deliver mind-expanding progressions on a larger scale. When this track breaks down into a loose, jangling jam, the dynamic nature of the band is readily apparent. As the sharp, angular riffs return to batter the listener’s aural faculties, it’s quite easy to project this group as being one to keep a close eye upon in the future.

If you’re the type of metal fan that eats up anything that melds gruff, barking vocals with transcendentally chaotic musical structures, you’ll likely find much to enjoy on this initial offering from Apiary. Tracks like “Bliss In Vain” and “Extract” offer a lot of opportunities for karate-chop mosh action. If that’s appealing to you in the least, then “Lost In Focus” certainly deserves your attention.


AMORAL - Decrowning

Candlelight Records

Bottom-heavy, technical death metal bands often sound stagnant, with their inspiration stuck back in 1996 and their motivation simply being the emulation of great artists that have come before them. Amoral proves to be a exception to that rule. Although Decrowning often appears to be a collision with early In Flames and mid-career (Rust In Peace) Megadeth, a closer auditory inspection reveals that the group’s sound manifests in a similar manner to Slipknot during certain moments as well, however Amoral is certainly more antagonistic than either of those two bands.

However, the aggressive approach of Amoral is often most engaging when the group slips into a completely original domain, as the often do along the course of this solid album. Guitar aficionados will be quickly drawn to this release due to Amoral’s uncanny ability to craft memorable and categorically headbangable riffing that also is noteworthy from a technical standpoint.

Crisp guitar tones and a full mix give the instrumentation of Amoral a deadly appeal and it’s safe to say that most fans of intense precisely proficient death metal will find a great deal to enjoy here. Harsh and abrasive anti-melodies collide with astute chord voicings and dramatic instrumentation during the title track, a number that pushes the scope of the band’s voice forward and establishes a strong individual identity. For Amoral, it’s not an option to conjure up boring, patterned pap.

It’s evident these Helsinki natives are well versed in advanced metal techniques with “Tiebreaker” being weighty, but certainly non-formulaic. Harsh vocals that at many times seem more hardcore than death will fit in well with what’s commonly accepted as quality, intense metal vociferation today and the existence of remarkably skilled guitar solos effectively seal these ten tracks’ credibility with discerning metalheads.

Mandatory for fans of Mustaine and a keen idea for most others, this album is a perfect example of the direction extreme bands should look up to in the present day and age.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

HEVEIN - Sound Over Matter

Sound Over Matter
Candlelight USA

This Finnish sextet embraces melody while refusing to skimp on power, a combination resulting in a great listen on the highly original, instantly enjoyable “Sound Over Matter.” Had Fear Factory been more melodically diverse, they likely would have sounded much like Hevein. A forte of this outfit is melding wall-of-sound guitars with big vocal hooks, augmented by the cello playing of former Apocalyptica member Max Lilja. There’s plenty of examples of extremely catchy material to be found here. “Break Out The Hammers” makes for a great calling card for the group, while on the edgy, slowly-building “iOta”, vocalist Juha Immonen really shows a lot of diversity as a singer and belts out a tuneful but power-filled hook during the track’s chorus like a true pro.

Many bands strive to mash aggressiveness with melody and few are as successful as Hevein. Darkness fills the sorrowed presence of “As Far As The Eye Can See,” a song that could easily gain its share of airplay. The swelling stringwork of Lilja makes for a great accent on this monstrous modern rock foray. Why this track is not plastered on every radio station up and down the dial by now is anyone’s guess. It far outdistances the mellower efforts of ninety percent of metal bands that gain widespread exposure these days. Love that solo.

As “Bleed The Day” offers an agro-metal strike and “Hold Fast” explores “Master Of Puppets” riffery, the band’s more forceful nature takes hold, but melody is never forsaken whatsoever. In fact, each facet of this group’s multi-facted presence impresses as perfectly in place and in strong contrast in terms of accessibility than what we’re used to from the Candlelight camp. Glistening production with plenty of muscle tops the whole affair off.

For those who find Mnemic to be a tad too tech-oriented or Fear Factory to be a bit too deathly, this record will have a lasting impression. Can a group be overpoweringly aggressive and still embolden their music with strong, ear-grabbing melodies? “Sound Over Matter” says emphatically, yes. There’s no question, this group must be considered as one of metal’s brightest hopes.


VEIL OF MAYA - All Things Set Aside

All Things Set Aside
Corrosive Recordings

Veil Of Maya drummer Sam Applebaum is just freaking sick. When the group busts into the opening instrumental of “All Things Set Aside,” Applebaum fluctuates between a bizarre jazz-metal tango and a fleet-footed death beat that sounds like a person with Tourette’s syndrome giving you raspberries. Not to mention the fact that the rest of the group’s instrument-wielders, rounded out by bassist Kris Hilger and guitarist Marc Okubo are just as effectively bizarre in their sense of both time and accents.

But when vocalist Adam Clemans sets out busting deathly banter during “Entry Level Exit Wounds,” it’s obvious that what we have on our hands is an insanely talented extreme metal act that’s dead set on shredding your face off in the most imaginatively fluent fashion possible.

Jackhammer beats, blistering sweeps, staccato licks and train wreck tricks are all a part of excellent rippers like “Mark My Words,” “Indefinite Bloodlust” and “The Black Funeral March.”

Think of a burly Cynic that’s been listening to too much At The Gates while consuming massive quantities of meth and you’re right on point. Corrosive Recordings has a real winner on its hands here.