Monday, October 31, 2011

Iron and Wine- Kiss Each Other Clean(2011)

Iron and Wine- Kiss Each Other Clean

Sam Beam, better known by his performace moniker Iron and Wine, is without a doubt one of the most influential modern American Folk artists to ever strum an acoustic guitar. His string of highly influential releases, starting in 2002 with his debut LP The Creek Drank The Cradle, led to an army of imitators and was the stepping stone for dozens of modern Folk artists to enter the semi-mainstream. His legendary "whisper Folk" sound perfectly evoked the feeling of listening to a light wind rustle a Georgian oaks branches as dogs barked in the distance.

Yet since Beam released his most successful album, the unforgettable Our Endless Numbered Days, in 2004, he has done everything in his power to completely abbandon the sound he pioneered and the sound that made him such a legend. When Beam dropped the truly incredible The Sheppards Dog on his unsuspecting fanbase, it was met with as vicious a reprisal as any album has ever received from a belegured fanbase. The Sheppards Dog was so massively different from anything Beam had done before: no longer was Beam strumming a guitar or banjo as he whispered poetry over the fleeting notes. Now, with a full band of musician, Beam went into a smokey, psychedelic Country Rock direction, and many of his long time fans were disgusted. Which of course was insane, as The Sheppards Dog was an adventerous masterpiece the likes of which has not been seen since(opinions are grand, no?).

Now four years later, Beam is back with Kiss Each Other Clean, and the neon-colored and LSD-influcence cover art was to many a grim foreshadowing of what was to come for Beam, who seemed to delight in angering his original fanbase. But the glory of Kiss Each Other Clean becomes evident from the first track: loaded with synth, electric guitars, layered vocals and keyboards, "Walking Far From Home" would seem to be yet another slap in the face to the old fans while high fiving those fans who embraced The Sheppards Dog. But it isn't. In fact, much of Kiss Each Other Clean is a synthesis of Beam's early work and his new, progressive style. "Walking Far From Home" is the perfect example of this: a soaring, high volume love-letter to the lo-fi solo folk of days gone by.

Throughout Kiss Each Other Clean we see this stark, beautiful contrast. One minute Beam is mastering soft rock with "Tree By The River," then returing to his solo Folk roots with "Glad Man Singing," right before upping the Funk to 11 with "Big Burned Hand." Beam no longer whispers his cryptic poetry however: his vocal strength is better than ever on this album, and no Beam's mild falsetto has the power and emotion that his earlier work was missing. Beam is never more haunting then on the final track, "Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me" as he declares "we will/become/become" to a crescendo of static, saxaphones and blaring electric guitars. This is not the Beam you discovered back in High School.

Despite an eternally grim chorus of detractors, Beam has easily shaken his past and embrace a future eterally bright with possibilites. No longer limited by his own innovation, Beam is free to explore whatever he wishes to explore, and we are all invited along on his journey. Consider me one of those ready to follow him to wherever his path takes him.

Rating: 10/10

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Krypts- Krypts EP(2011)

Krypts- Krypts

As insane as it sounds, I really was not enthralled with Krypts 2009 demo Open the Crypt. You may not know me that well, so let me explain how insane this is. I love Death/Doom and I love Finnish Death Metal. I worship the mighty disEMBOWELMENT and place Finland only behind The United States as the best scene in Death Metal history. Open the Crypt should have been like injecting sweet, sweet eggnog(I FUCKING LOVE EGGNOG) right into my veins. But I just could not get into it: something about the whole demo seemed lacking. Compared to acts like Hooded Menace and the sadly defunct Ascended, Krypts had the look of a second fiddle bandwagon jumper in a Finnish scene loaded with talent.

Still, my blood oath to listen to anything from Finland behooved me to give Krypts new s/t EP a serious listen. Not that this was hard: Krypts has only two tracks, while clocking in at a solid 12 minutes. Not a major investment of time or effort, and Krypts was worth it: I found this solid little release a major step up from the listless, carbon-copy demo. Krypts continue to invoke the Old Gods of Death/Doom: Autopsy, disEMBOWELMENT, Thergothon, early Demigod. Dense and highly polluted with crushing riffs and coffin crushing vocals, Krypts is a solid foreshadowing of the future for the young Fins. Some impressive leads also evoke fond memories of Transcendence Into The Peripheral ,which is always a wonderfully dreadful feeling and one I have not had since Ascended's Temple of Dark Offerings EP.

There is not a whole lot more to say about such a short and very straightforward offering. I still do not consider Krypts one of the elite: not even close. Two solid tracks, neither of which bring anything new to the table, is not enough to convince me this band is the next Hooded Menace. But Krypts has at least given me a window of some understanding into the incredible fanboyism the band has evoked so far in such a short career.

Rating: 7/10

Anti-Extreme Week Coming Up

To be honest, I have no idea if anyone is reading this thing or not. Regardless, a reminder that after this weekend is Anti-Extreme Week. I will be reviewing some of my favorite Non-Metal/Punk/Noise albums from this year. So be on the lookout for reviews of Iron and Wine, Bjork, St. Vincent, Feist, Fleet Foxes and all the other stuff.


Young And In The Way: V. Eternal Depression(2011)

Young And In The Way- V. Eternal Depression

Blackend Crust Punk is a relatively new phenomenon in Punk music right now, and one that is frankly spawning some of the best Punk on Earth. Hitting it's apex in popularity last year with Kvelertak's self-titled debut, the logical and natural mix of Crusty Swedish and American Punk with very early Second Wave Norwegian Black Metal is all the rage. I say logical and natural because one only needs to listen to Mayhem's legendary Deathcrush EP, or the recent work of Darkthrone to see how much Crust Punk and early Black Metal have in common. This correlation shines through even on recent, pure Black Metal releases(Ravencult's Morbid Blood is about as true to the early Norwegian sound as it gets, and I felt like skunking my way through most of the record and throwing Molotov love letters at cop cars.) Young And In The Way, a very young group from North Carolina, are firmly entrenched in this movement. Yet their most recent release, V. Eternal Depression, sounds like no BlackCrust I have ever heard.

With an obvious ode to Depressive Black Metal, V. Eternal Depression is a pitch black little LP. There are no rainbows, high school sweethearts or big eyed Golden Retrievers bringing light into your life. Instead, there are gnarled trees, dead birds being picked to pieces by armies of black ants and overcast skies foreshadowing an even bleaker tomorrow. The tortured shrieks of Kable Lyall do not evoke a desire to mosh and fuck shit up, but to hang out in the bathroom with a bottle of sleeping pills and some Sylvia Plath collections. The opening track, "Descending the White Mountain," never moves faster than a crawl, and ends with a somber piano piece. Right before exploding into the next track "Times Are Cold" with all the fury of a drug addled and depressed rage.

Young And In The Way clearly have a higher, more somber purpose for their music. Not that there is anything wrong with the Kvelertak or Martydod method of mosh pits and 30 packs of domestic brews: an admirable mission if ever there was one, I assure you. But Young And In The Way are seeking to push an already fairly new and only recently popular genre in new directions. I never thought the words would cross my lips, let alone be typed on my keyboard, but Young And In The Way have managed something incredible: an atmospheric, multi-dimensional and layered Punk Rock album.

This is a tremendous feat no doubt, and V. Eternal Depression has become one of my favorite albums of this year. Everything about it is finely crafted and perfectly tuned: each track flows into the other, creating a constant flow of sadness and carnage few albums can compete with. How unfortunate it ends so quickly: the whole album is over in 23 minutes, with an incredible 11 minutes taken up by the last song. True, this is the bands second major full-length this year(the other titled I Am Not What I Am, which I have not heard yet.), but the whole thing ends too quickly. The last track, "The Gathering," is mostly ambient noise and drumming, and although it is sufficiently atmospheric and fits the album, I can't shake the feeling that the band could have delivered a few more tracks here.

Length aside, V. Eternal Depression is a must own album. What these young, obviously unhappy North Carolina natives have accomplished here needs to be heard by any fan of music period. No album this year has taken me to such dark places, places sealed in the confines of the mind, as this fantastic LP. You will be touched: the question is, how will you react to it?

Rating: 9.5/10

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Antediluvian- Revelations In Excrement EP(2011)

Antediluvian- Revelations In Excrement

As if there was never another Death Metal band to ever exist in the genres history, Incantation have become the most imitated band in Death Metal over the past few years. Spewed forth form the mighty loins of a New York scene in the early 90's that also spawned to more infamous -ations, Incantation were doing something just a little bit different from their peers in 1992 when they unleashed their magnum opus Onward to Golgotha: excruciatingly thick with distortion, choked into Doom-laden grooves and crusty with blackend, blasphemous filth, Onward to Golgotha was for its time the most extreme Metal album ever. While Suffocation mastered their brutality and Immolation implemented the discordant, Incantation sought only to drown you in suffering and death. This aesthetic has been the driving force behind the Old School Death Metal Revival that stared around 2005-06 and kicked into high gear in 2009, with Incantation, or more accurately their various immitators(and a few innovators), have been the flag-bearer of this movement.

Antediluvian are another in an increasingly large group of Golgotha's, or newer artists adhearing to the sounds of Incantation, who are making waves in the Death Metal scene. Last years compilation CD Watcher's Reign got the hype train rolling for these corrupted Canadian cadavers, whose aesthetic(this has been coming up a lot lately) is spot on and whose sound is a dead ringer for Golgotha style Incantation. Revelations In Excrement is the bands new EP, and it is 3 tracks of Antediluvian doing what they do: play Incantation.

Revelations In Excrememnt is short, no non-sense worship of New York's reviled blasphemers, as well a less than subtle wink-and-a-nods to earlier purveyours of the sound before it became popular, like Dominus Xul and Molested(one of the few classic bands who were able to match Incantation atrocity for atrocity without mindlessly imitating them). Cavernous, demonic ritual Death Metal with hints of Doom Metal groove and Black Metal imagery, textbook style for a soild A+ on the grading scale. If the scale was merely getting the sound and style right anyway. Revelations In Excrement is, for lack of a better phrase, well worn and played out. These tracks have the smell of "been-there, heard-that," delivered with a deadly serious attitude and as little joy or exploration as possible. With bands like Mitochondrion, Witchrist and Adversarial doing so much with the basic concepts and expanding them into something new and exciting, it is hard to get up and feel the evil here. There are only so many cavernous, Lovecraftian static-fests with Craig Pillard impersonators one can absorb before the whole thing grows a bit stale.

I am a huge Incantation fan, and the inherent enjoyment I get from that sound rubs off on me with Revelations In Excrement. Despite my somewhat tired stance, I still got up for this one and still found some primal comfort in the bands brutal and primitive style. If you are a hardcore fan of this sound, I would recommend Revelations In Excrement to you in a flash. The rest may be better off with the original, while we of less discerning taste deploy our cookie cutters and shape our own little piece of Golgotha.

Rating: 6.5/10

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Altar of Plagues- Mammal(2011)

Altar of Plagues- Mammal

A full disclaimer: I am not really all that familiar with the whole "Blackgaze" or "Hipster Black Metal" or whatever the fuck it is called. Weakling and Wolves In The Throne Room are the only acts connected to this scene I have ever listened to(and very much enjoyed), and beyond the whole Hunter Hunt-Hendrix debacle that was impossible to ignore as it exploded across the internet at speeds that make celebrity sex tapes jealous, I was largely unfamiliar with the players. But this whole review blog thing kind of forces you to open up your musical world a bit, so I thought I would dive into the scene with an album that has been getting a lot of buzz, Mammal, from Ireland based Altar of Plagues. I really had no idea what to expect going in.

Color me impressed... and confused. Confused because I don't hear any Black Metal here.

Mammal consists of four tracks, and all are finely crafted, musically adventurous mixes of Doom, Sludge and Math Rock. The guitars have an eerily distant and dissonant quality; in fact, all the instruments sound slightly away from the listener, creating a unique effect of distance without being too soft or sounding terrible. All of the instruments are also expertly played, with a nice attention to detail that is greatly appreciated. There are also some wonderful, and often times beautiful, ambient sounds and noises that add to a dark, foreboding atmosphere.

None of this praise equates to Black Metal however, and I continue to struggle with this: I just don't hear any fucking Black Metal here. Not in the guitar tone or the riffs. Not in the drumming style, nor in the song composition. And certainly not in the vocals, which are more akin to the Post-Sludge screams of acts like Isis than Varg or Atilla. In fact, when listening to Altar of Plagues, I hear far more Isis than Emperor, and much more Neurosis than Burzum. This does not detract from the album in any real way, but leads me to question whether Black Metal suddenly left me behind and evolved into something completely different from what I understood it to be.

Mammal is not perfect. The first song, "Neptune is Dead" drags on near the end, and the vocals never elicit the level of emotion of depth that they seem to be attempting. By far my favorite track "When The Sun Drowns in the Ocean," features several female vocalist singing in a languages I don't recognize, while the yells of vocalist Dave Condon are absent. And while Mammal is certainly impressive and inventive, not all of the various ideas mesh or gel the way the band intended and some fall rather flat.

My confusion will persist for now, as Mammal is both very good and yet devoid of any discernible Black Metal aspects. The sheer vitriolic hate that some in the Black Metal community have for bands of this ilk is quite hilarious and alarming, but from my time with this album, may in fact be severely misplaced onto a band not deserving of it as well. Perhaps Altar of Plagues claimed some affiliation with Black Metal in the past, or toured with Liturgy or something. Regardless, as an inventive progressive Metal record, Mammal has the goods.

Rating: 8/10

Bastard Priest- Ghouls of Endless Night(2011)

Bastard Priest- Ghouls of Endless Night

Everything about Bastard Priest screams "credibility." The Entombed inspired logo, the perfectly blasphemous and anti-everything song titles, the horror-inspired cover art. The bands moniker? A slightly immature fuck you to Gods and The Man. Even the bands photos are appropriately black and white, grainy, and the band are decked in more scuzzy leather than a biker bar hooker. In an era of Death Metal hungry for a return to the late 80's, Bastard Priest can generate hype and cause uncontrollable salivating from sheer aesthetic alone. Not that the music diverges in any way from the look and feel of it: Bastard Priest are old school, extolling the virtues of buzz saw guitar tone and a time when blast beats were not a part of the formula. This is all an equation for mega-hype, and Ghouls of Endless Night(more of the damn aesthetic) was a wish-list topper for a large portion of the Death Metal community.

And if effort, attitude and style was enough to carry your record, than Bastard Priest would be the greatest Death Metal band on Earth, and Ghouls of Endless Night would be a once in a lifetime masterpiece for the ages. As it is, this is merely competent early Entombed fellatio with a few d-beats. Short and to the point, Ghouls of Endless Night waits for no man or beast. Or idea for that matter, as good riffs are either ditched in an effort to speed up the process or mercilessly hammered home to the point of diminishing returns, while weak, breathless and monotone vocals grunt their exhaustion over the tracks(and struggling to keep up with the songs). While sloppily hammering neckbeards in a mosh pit with 10 beers in your gut would make any of this a moot point, in the wrong setting(ie, not doing what I just described), Ghouls of Endless Night feels like well tread territory.

Which is not to say that this album is a complete waste of time. At times, like on the self titled track or "Last Scream," the old phrase "when it works, it works" comes to mind. Ghouls of Endless Night is also short and filthy, with the standard production all the kids love today: no triggers, no pitch-shifters, no fluff. And I have no doubts that Bastard Priest live is a whirlwind of destruction and beer unlike any other. But since my only experience with Ghouls of Endless Night is sitting in my home or heading to work, the feel of sweat and cheap domestics elude me.

It should be noted that the level of enjoyment one would get from Ghouls of Endless Night hinges largely on how much you love Swedish Death Metal. If Left Hand Path, Like an Everflowing Stream and Into Your Grave are your top 3 favorite Death Metal albums, in any order, than stop reading this now and purchase Ghouls of Endless Night right away. My bloviating on the band will mean jack shit, and my complaints will fall on deaf ears. For the rest, Ghouls of Endless Night is not without redeemable qualities and fails not from a lack of effort, but from a lack of ideas. And with bands like Trap Them playing a similar sound, only with far more brutality, creativity and adventure, Bastard Priest remains the cool kid that is only cool because he copies the other cool kids. Who are not so cool anymore.

Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Archgoat- Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites)

Archgoat- Heavenly Vulvua(Christ's Last Rites)

To describe my excitement for Archgoat's new EP Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites) as unbearable might be an understatement: I will openly admit to being a huge fan of these Finnish blasphemers. They were, like many, my first Bestial Black Metal band, and along with Blasphemy and Beherit, helped breed my demonic fascination with bands who play this style of crusty, inhuman and Death Metal-influenced Black Metal. So I will admit right now, that being objective about Heavenly Vulva was not easy for me. But after spending plenty of time with this EP, I can safely say that not only have Archgoat settled on a sound that allows them to stand out amongst the crowded scene of Bestial Black Metal(or War Metal as some of you might refer to it),they have mastered it with satanic purpose.

Archgoat, unlike many of their peers, were never one to mindlessly ape Blasphemy(who we can credit for creating this fusion of Death Metal, Black Metal and Grindcore that is Bestial Black Metal) at every turn to fill a CD: this band had a unique purpose and have always delivered, and whether it was their brilliant Angelcunt(Tales of Desecration) EP or their first full length Whore of Bethlehem, Archgoat sought to separate themselves from the legendary Canadians. But starting with the unbelievable Light Devouring Darkness(their first full length after a long split), Archgoat set out to create a sound that was uniquely theirs, to decidedly mixed reviews. The addition of unique, Demilich-style vocals and a heavy emphasis on mid-paced, groove-laden songs turned the historically fast Bestial Black Metal genre on it's head. Heavenly Vulva is a continuation of this sound, and a further refining of its madness.

Heavenly Vulva is loaded with plenty of fast, Blasphemy-esque sections of insanity, but continues to showcase the bands ultimate strength: mid-paced, head banging riffs that create a dense and demonic atmosphere. These mid-paced sections are the highlights of the album, and on songs like "Goddess of the Abyss of Graves" they are short, sudden shifts in between the blistering speed riffs that adds a level of depth to the music. This is helped greatly by the production: this is the most balanced and heavy sounding production Archgoat have ever received. Heavenly Vulva is thickly produced, with rumbling bass and a nasty kick drum keeping things low and dark. The vocals are also more powerful and inhuman than on Light Devouring Darkness, which will please many. Heavenly Vulva is by far the bands most full sounding, powerful and brutal release so far, a big compliment considering the bands formidable back catalog of some seriously vile material.

About the only problem with this EP is the length: including a frankly worthless intro, Heavenly Vulva last only 16 minutes, and considering it has been a while since the bands last release, there was hope for more content to this long awaited new EP. The whole thing is over so quickly, it leaves you wanting more, something no album should do. I know that EP's are rarely as long as LP's, but 16 minutes of Archgoat is frankly not enough, and left me disappointed.

Despite its short running time, Heavenly Vulva is still one of the finest Black Metal releases of this year, and certainly my favorite EP released in 2011. Archgoat have never sounded so evil, so vile, so disgusting as they do on this short, not-so-sweet EP. The future is pitch fucking black for Archgoat, and hopefully we won't have to wait long for more.

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Hill To Die Upon- Omens(2011)

A HA Hill To Die Upon- Omens

Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way first: Illinois Black/Death band A Hill To Die Upon are indeed a Christian band. For the most part, it is not hammered down your throat, but it becomes pretty obvious quickly(a song titled "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down" pretty much spells it out for you).

This is me not giving a fuck.

Anyway, Omens is the new full length from AHTDU, and it is surprisingly solid, if mostly forgettable. The band, which consists of brothers Adam and Michael Cook and whoever else they can get, have gone through various and massive sound changes throughout a very difficult career, before finally settling on technical Blackend Death Metal with their first full-length Infinite Titanic Immortal in 2009. Omens is a continuation of this sound: technical, dissonant riffs that remind one of Deathspell Omega with bursts of Angelcorpse and Bolt Thrower type speed. These riffs are complex and interesting enough to hold your attention, and the solid production has everything sounding good.

There is nothing I would describe as "life-changing" here: this band is not doing anything you have never heard before, and they are not doing anything better than anyone else. The talent and desire is obvious, but the execution is lacking to an extent. Omens has the needed pieces to be something special, but the bands inexperience with this style of music shows in the rather lackluster moments when picking out specific riffs or concepts becomes difficult.

If you can deal with the whole "Jesus" thing, I would still recommend giving Omens a listen. There is nothing here for the die-hard or elite, but for everyone else, Omens provides a mildly entertaining listen for a few spins, and puts A Hill To Die Upon on my list of bands to watch out for in the future.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jungle Rot- Kill On Command(2011)

Jungle Rot- Kill On Command

I am not sure I would have ever considered Wisconsin Groove Death purveyors Jungle Rot to be "legendary." They are certainly old enough and certainly prolific enough to garner such praise, as many old bands do(often without deserving it). But Jungle Rot were never one of those "must listen" acts that changed the face of Death Metal forever. But damn it all if they were not fun as hell: punishing grooves, vicious vocals and catchy rhythms have been Jungle Rot's M.O. for a long time, and they always delivered.

Which is why the knuckle-dragging idiocy of Kill on Command is so fucking baffling.

True, Jungle Rot have never been the smartest band in Death Metal, but Kill on Command is completely devoid of brain cells: a night of binge drinking has produced more intellectual results. Take the absolutely stunning lyrical prowess of "I Predict a Riot":

"bodies flailing round, human flesh surrounds
abyss, torture bound, beaten to the ground
violence without fear, getting quite severe
distress offered, learn to persevere

I predict a riot

raging is your goal, you jump in the hole
furious, darkened soul, losing self control
savage, fists held high, take one in the eye
victims, weak they lie, you cannot deny

twisting, turning
dervish whirling
vortex taking
souls consuming

tramples, best shake it off
broken, weak brittle bones
crushed by the weight of human walls
down in the pit, you can't escape

assault, no constraint, and make no complaing
savage, not a saint showing no restraint
rampage, storming through, skin is black and blue
brutal fucking zoo, what'd I get into"

I posted the entire thing, since bits and pieces don't quite do this song, or this album, the justice it so deserves. A "brutal fucking zoo" indeed, only the chimps are running the show it seems.

Some will say I am being too hard on Jungle Rot. I mean, they are Jungle Rot, not Ulcerate. This is not thinking mans Death Metal. This is music meant to be experienced live, in the mosh pit, while smashing into some large drunk Metalheads. Too bad Kill on Command lacks any of the fantastic grooves that made Dead and Buried or Fueled By Hate such rock solid releases. This album is barely coherent: a few solid Death/Thrash riffs lost in a mass of chugs, "motherfuckers" and crystal clear production that robs any visceral edge the music might have had when the band actually wrote the damn album. If they even wrote it: to be entirely honest, a drunken jam session at the local practice space comes up with similar results. The whole thing reeks of amateurism that one would never expect from such a long running, professional act.

My first instinct is to somehow blame Victory Records for this mess, but the record label had no impact on Pathology, so sadly Victory are a poor scapegoat. In truth, the fault must lie with the band: Jungle Rot have flat out mailed this one in, something they have never done in the past. Maybe they lack passion for what they are doing. Maybe they are out of ideas. One thing is for sure though: Kill on Command is a disaster.

Rating: 2/10

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pathology- Awken the Suffering(2011)

Pathology- Awaken the Suffering

Although I grew up in the hay-day of Brutal Death Metal, I was never a fan of Slam Death Metal. I preferred the blast-heavy, guttural machinations that Deeds of Flesh and Krisiun spewed out than the chunky, snail paced gurggle non-sense of Devourment. There have been a few exceptions: the Space-Slam-Jazz-Grind of Wormed is nothing short of perfect, and Technical Slam Acts like Embryonic Devourment and Dripping have been good. But bands like Cephalotripsy, Katalepsy and Abominable Puridity do very little for me, and at its worst(Waking the Cadaver) it crosses over into War Crime territory.

Pathology, a younger band who are coming in during the Old School Death Metal resurgence(they released their first LP in 2006, near the end of Brutal and Technical Death Metal's reign over Death Metal as a whole), are intriguing though. Although firmly rooted in the realm of Slam Death Metal, Pathology do some cool things: melodic and technical riffs pop in from time to time, and the band write riffs with meat on the bones, while the vocals have actual power, unlike many inhale vocals that sound pathetic and wimpy. These Slam butchers are not the light squishing of bowels, but closer to a chainsaw slicing through a torso. They may still hem to closely to Slam Death for me to ever love them, in small doses Pathology deliver more than most Slam acts not named Wormed.

Awaken the Suffering is another rock solid release from the band, and by now they have mastered their sound: Tech Death riffing with a heavy dose of chunky breakdowns and the occasional moment of melody. There has been very little deviation from this sound over the bands 5 LP's(and impressive number in 5 years). And it works: this is far from the finest composition or most masterful stroke of genius, but in the right situation, Pathology hit hard and with purpose. The production is thoroughly modern: the click click click of drum triggers, the silky smooth guitar tones and the perfectly pitch shifted(slightly, thankfully) vocals are all present, but at least the bass is audible, a nice plus. It is still over-produced, but at least not maddeningly song.

Haters need not apply: there is nothing for die-hard haters of Slam Death, who at the very possibility that a breakdown MIGHT have been played will instantly begin bashing and bashing until they are blue in the face. Pathology might play this style with more authority, talent and song writing skill than most, this is Slam Fucking Death, and it offers few compromises.

I was plenty entertained by Awaken the Suffering. I admit, I am not as picky about my genre's as others might be, but I know shit when I smell it. This is not shit. This is rock solid, fun Death Metal that entertains, not amazes.

Rating: 7/10

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Demo: Artificial Brain- Demo(2011)

Artificial Brain

Fuck, I missed my deadline for my new review. Oh well, I got a quickie demo for you guys anyway.

Artificial Brain is quite literally a Technical Death Metal super group, featuring members of Revocation, Biolich and Cyanide Breed. Those are some serious technical chops, but these are dudes from some of the best Technical Death Metal acts ever. My love of the might Biolich is well known(I FUCKING MISS YOU!), and Revocation are as solid as any act in around. Have not heard Cyanide Breed, but I will be checking them out asap, especially after hearing this awesome 3 song demo, which is free for download from both the bands Bandcamp page and their page.

This demo is fast, inhumanly technical and fairly modern, but the band avoid the Nintendo-esque guitar wankery that ruins a lot of modern Technical Death Metal. These riffs are nasty and have plenty of meat on their bones. The drums are triggered, but the fantasic production(this demo sounds more professional than most full lengths) gets rid of that nasty clicking sound that ruins a lot of modern acts(unless you are Mithras.) This demo is over fast but kicks you right in the teeth, and has plenty of hidden depth to keep you coming back.

Needless to say, I cannot wait for a full length from these cats. Be sure to support this band by getting on this demo and sharing it with your friends.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cloak of Altering- The Night Comes Illuminated With Death(2011)

Cloak of Altering- The Night Comes Illuminated With Death

Another release from Mories de Jong, the sick mastermind behind Gnaw Their Tongues and De Magia Veterum, Cloak of Altering is a fairly unknown project from the Mad Man of Black Metal. Yet for its relative obscurity, Cloak of Altering may be Mories best musical endeavor to date. That is a tall claim, considering the vast and powerful catalog Mories has put together over the years. But Cloak of Altering is something different from anything Mories has done: there is a sense of direction and wonder not quite reached by his previous efforts.

The Night Comes Illuminated With Death is six of Mories most complete and fully realized songs. Musically, the closest thing to this album would be the inhumanity of De Magia Veterum. However, unlike De Magia Veterum, who seek solace in complete chaos, Cloak of Altering are perhaps Mories only band to have identifiable song structure. While one should never expect a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, the tracks have a clear beginning and ending, and do not devolve into a mass of notes and shrieks of anguish. Each track on this album is meticulously crafted with a deeper, darker purpose at heart. The riffs are almost entirely tremolo picked, but the extensive use of dissonance and melody(yes, that thing) keep the music fresh and exciting from riff to riff. It helps that the production favors the haunting and powerful guitar work, allowing the bass to pulsate ominously in the background while the drums play their part quietly and effectively. As for the vocals, if you have listened to any of Mories projects, you have the expectations of grief riddled moans of suffering, but The Night Comes Illuminated With Death surpasses any expectations you may have had. The track "Cloak of Altering" in particular has some of the most maniacal vocals every put to music.

But what makes The Night Comes Illuminated With Death such a success is the use of keyboard and ambient sound to amplify the inner... beauty(there is really no other word for it) of each composition. I know what you are thinking: fucking keyboards? But remember, Mories is a master of electronic music, and it shows here. The expert use of orchestral elements, electronic noises and chanting vocals create an incredible atmosphere of blindingly bright dread. Occasional electronic interludes also add another layer of compositional complexity to each track and help each song feel like a complete journey through a fully realized concept.

A fully realized concept. This is something so lacking from much of Extreme Metal today. Yet Cloak of Altering so completely nail every single idea in every single track, it is a marvel to behold. In such a strange twist, while creating one of the most insane releases I have ever heard, Mories has created by far his most accessible and human music to date. The shee beauty of the compositions is so overwhelmingly awesome, so fucking complete, they are impossible to ignore. All I can hope is that this small masterpiece is not lost to time and obscurity like so many others. A must listen and a must own.

Rating: 10/10

Monday, October 10, 2011

Prosanctus Inferi- Red Streams of Flesh EP(2011)

Prosanctus Inferi- Red Streams of Flesh EP

Boiling over from the pit of filth and semen that is Columbus, Ohio, Prosanctus Inferi is yet another spawn of Jake Kohn, the man behind Father Befouled and the legendary Black Funeral. If you have ever listened to those bands, you have some idea of what to expect here, and Prosanctus Inferi deliver in all their nonsensical fury.

Red Streams of Flesh, the bands new EP, is so straight forward in its blasphemous intentions as to be admirable: songs take no longer than needed to reach the point, are always going at 120 miles per hour, and cast away concepts like melody and harmony like used condoms. I keep making allusions to bodily fluids for a reason: listening to Red Streams of Flesh is akin to filling a crusty black cauldron with shit, piss, semen and the tears of children who just got their dogs run over by a drunken mall Santa Clause in a Geo Metro, then having sex with Cuthulu in it. There is absolutely no compromise for the listener in this mess, and in a way it is certainly endearing. Fans of inhuman Bestial Black Metal like Archgoat, Blasphemy and Revenge will certainly enjoy this, and elements of early Morbid Angel and Incantation peek through the mess from time to time to add some rare dynamic elements to the grinding. The production on Red Streams of Flesh is also surprisingly accessible, even more so when compared to the strangely quiet Pandemonic Ululations of Vesperic Palpitation, but I would not call this sucker "over-produced" by any stretch of the imagination. This stuff is as filthy as ever.

The whole thing is over in exactly 19 minutes, and for what it is, Red Streams of Flesh is a solid little EP. Prosanctus Inferi are unlikely to ever be more than the some of its parts however: the total lack of humanity also leads to a lack of imagination and adventure. I understand that this is the point: you are meant to be lost in the brutality of it all. But even when compared to their peers, Prosanctus Inferi are not the most adventurous band around: even Archgoat have done a few different things with their music, while it appears Prosanctus Inferi can't be bothered.

Regardless of my qualms, Red Streams of Flesh is still worth your time. It's too short to ever get boring, and the bands sound remains as ferocious and uncompromising as ever. So grind forth, and slaughter all that is good. Or pink. I bet the guys in Prosanctus Inferi hate pink things.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Morbosidad/Witchrist- Split(2011)

Morbosidad/Witchrist- Split

Thought I might as well knock out another split, this time a split from Bestial Black Metal demons Morbosidad and Occult Death Metal monsters Witchrist. Both acts have seen a huge spike in popularity over the last few years. Morbosidad are one of the busiest and most talented purveyors of Bestial Black Metal on Earth, and unlike many of their peers don't merely comp Blasphemy every other song to fill up albums. Witchrist's impressive full length Beheaded Ouroboros has made them one of the hottest up and coming bands in Death Metal. So a split from these two acts seems like a great idea.

And it works on this very uncreatively titled Split. The two Morbosidad tracks, titled "Plagarias Ceremoniales" and "Horda Del Apocalipsis" are both under two minutes and are fairly straight forward Black/Grind tracks, but they are a ton of fun and very much up to par with the blast beat heavy aural assaults Morbosidad are known for. The two Witchrist tracks on the other hand are a bit different from what we heard on Beheaded Ouroboros: the production is still very cavernous and thick with distortion, but more balanced. The songs themselves(titled "I" and "II" in another fit of anti-creativity) are much more straight forward Death Metal romps. Seeing as this is a split with a band as no nonsense as Morbosidad, it makes a lot of sense and the Witchrist tracks are actually pretty bad ass. This more stripped down machine Witchrist are running with this release, but it's still pretty interesting.

All told, this four song split is actually shorter than the split I just reviewed(clocking in at barely 8 minutes, with the Witchrist track "II" taking up most of the run time), yet I found it much more satisfying. These are two of the best bands in their respective genres, and hearing them together on the same release, even a mostly insignificant one, it still a blasphemous delight.

Rating: 7/10

Cruciamentum/Vasaeleth- Eroding Chaos Unto Ascendant Flesh(2011)

Cruciamentum/Vasaeleth- Eroding Chaos Unto Ascendant Flesh

Cruciamentum and Vasaeleth are two of the more solid young acts involved in this Old School Death Metal Revival that is in full swing. Vasaeleth's debut full length Crypt Born & Tethered to Ruin was well received by many, and Cruciamentum have generated a lot of excitement with their Convocation of Crawling Chaos demo. Both acts are heavily influenced by Incantation, but load their albums with plenty of tasty riffs to keep listeners tuned it. I was pretty excited for this split, mostly for new material from Cruciamentum.

Unfortunately, Eroding Chaos Unto Ascendant Flesh features only two songs, one from each band, and neither are world breakers. Vasaeleth's track, "Profane Ceremonial Exudation" is a fairly standard affair: distortion choked, primitive Occult Death Metal with a strong Doom Metal influence. It would have been the weakest track on Crypt Born & Tethered to Ruin, but it's still a solid song. The Cruciamentum track is more interesting, if only because we don't have a full-length from this young group yet. The track, titled "Rites to the Abduction of Essence," it a bit of a departure from Convocation of Crawling Chaos: the track is more cleanly produced, although it remains cavernous and heavy. The riffs are still excellent, and it is clear the guys in Cruciamentum are skilled song writers. The vocals are perhaps the biggest change however: no longer indiscernible guttural growling, the vocals remind be more of Bolt Thrower, a mid-low growl that is much louder in the mix. Overall, it is little more than a taste of what to come, and not enough of one to really get wild about.

I fail to see the purpose of releasing a split featuring only 2 songs, but I suppose there is nothing wrong with the idea. It does make grading something like this difficult. In the end, neither track is awe-inspiring, but neither are bad. A decent little split, and a window into the future of Cruciamentum at the very minimum.

Rating: 5/10

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Disma- Towards the Megalith(2011)

Disma- Towards the Megalith

Bubbling up from the depths of a swamp littered with the corpses of the lost and the screams of their damned souls, Disma's Towards the Megalith is thick with suffering and death and almost completely suffocated in a horrifying cloud of distortion and bass. The legendary vocals of Craig Pillard, the man who made the mighty Incantation one of the most beloved Death Metal acts of all time, acts as the demonic and insane Greek Chorus to this blasphemous drama. A veritable super group of Death Metal musicians, which also includes Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahn of New Jersey Devils Funebrarum, Disma have summoned one of the most incredibly sludgey and Doom ridden Death Metal albums in years, much to your listening delight.

Musically primitive and simplistic, Towards the Megalith will instantly remind listeners of the early days of Death Metal: one hears elements of Autopsy, Incantation, disEMBOWELMENT and even all female Death/Doom "what-could-have-been" legends Mythic. Incredibly distorted riffs and gut wrenching bass drive each riff, while expert use of creepy melodies and leads give the album an atmosphere of dread and bleakness that few can match. The band almost never head into blast beat territory, and instead seek to smother the listener in their evil as slowly as possible, often to deliciously demented effect. As for the vocals of the masterful Pillard; all one can say is "wow." The man who made guttural growls look almost too easy, Pillard superhuman grunts are as deadly as ever.

It's hard to imagine that this was once the norm for Death Metal in the early 90's, considering the incredibly technical direction the genre started going in for the late 90's and early 00's. If you are looking for a Tech Death hater here, you won't find one in me: I love the inhuman precision of Necrophagist as much as the sloppy and distorted riffs of Disma. But after Tech Death's unfortunate slip into the realm of absurdity over the past few years, Death Metal needs a band like Disma: one that does not merely recycle Old School Death Metal cliches over and over for internet credibility, but one that expertly crafts original works inspired by the rich history of Death Metal so that future generations don't miss out on what makes Death Metal the genre that it is: the fucking blasphemy of it all.

The fucking blasphemy of it all. That is by far the biggest take away from this brilliantly designed piece of Satan worshiping insanity: this is not for the faint of heart. Towards the Megalith is so claustrophobic with the evil stuff it hardly leaves any room to breathe. We would not want it any other way.

Rating: 9/10

Friday, October 7, 2011

Demo: Angelcrust- Pet Sematary


We here at the Curse love Crust Punk. We also love Black Metal. Combine the two, and we are creaming ourselves with uncontrollable sexual pleasure. So we have Angelcrust to thank for our now very "crusty" underwear.

These Philadelphia scuzz punks have their new demo, Pet Sematary, available free for download from, so I jumped right on the chance to check it out. I was not disappointed. Pet Sematary is a acidic mix of Disrupt and Deathcrush-era Mayhem, with a dash of His Hero is Gone for good measure. Pet Sematary is 12 minutes of unmitigated street punk blasphemy that fans of Martyrdod, Naked Whipper, or early Mayhem would be proud to jam. Some of the shorter tracks are so short, the real Black Metal influence may be lost in the fuzz, but the 2 best tracks, "Sneer" and "Dissonances of Exquisite Morbidity" take a few minutes to flesh out the blackend crust and gives the band some distinction amongst the crowd.

You can get your free copy of the demo at the bands Bandcamp page, and if you are in the Philadelphia area, make sure to head out to a show and create some hell in the pits.

Bandcamp page

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Lows- Harvest of the Carcass(2011)

New Lows- Harvest of the Carcass

Part of the new wave of Metallic Hardcore bands inspired by legendary acts like Integrity, Earth Crisis and early Hatebreed, New Lows play crusty, filthy and extremely heavy Hardcore Punk mixed with elements of Death Metal, Thrash Metal and Grindcore. Thick with distortion and bowel-rumbling bass, Harvest of the Carcass is one of the most flat out heavy releases from this year.

If you have listened to any of the recent stuff from Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die or Nails, you have an idea of what to expect with this one: guitars so crusty you can hear the grime on the guitar strings, bass so low it rattles the rafters and drums so punishing the band might as well come over and kick in you the face, since they both feel about the same. Few acts can match New Lows pure aggression: the band expertly shift from two-step tempos to sludgey breakdowns to blasty Grindcore sections and back again, often all in the same song. The album moves at full speed, although the bands best tracks like the opener "Stagnant Strides" takes time to reach their extreme apex and reward the listener in full for it.

And if you have listened to any of the recent stuff from Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die or Nails, you have heard this all before. Which is not to say Harvest of the Carcass is not worth checking out: but the complete lack of originality is bound to turn some people off to New Lows well worn brand of Metallic Hardcore devastation. In truth, other than maybe the Grindcore heavy Nails, all of these modern Metallic Hardcore acts owe their sound to the work of the mighty Integrity, who were not only one of the first bands in Hardcore Punk to embrace Death and Thrash Metal, but were one of the first bands to embrace Metal's imagery, much like New Lows do with Harvest of the Carcass. That feeling of "been there, heard that" is perhaps the only issue with Harvest of the Carcass, because as a piece of entertainment this album is about as well crafted as it gets.

In the end, quality wins out over originality with Harvest of the Carcass. New Lows may not be "new," but the level of polish and intensity on this album surpasses many of the releases this year. The sheer, grimey intensity of Harvest of the Carcass is more than enough to give this album a listen, as long as one tempers their expectations.


Fukpig - Belief Is The Death Of Intelligence [2010]

Sharing past and present members with Anaal Nathrakh andMistress, one can predict the level of ferocity to be provided by this, Fukpig’ssophomore album, before going anywhere near the ‘play’ button. Although thedisdain for religion shown first by the album title is getting a little old,the musical ideas, which I assure you are nothing original, are not.

My point here is that although much of this is in a similarvein to guitarist/drummer Mick Kenney’s ‘day job’ Anaal Nathrakh, there residesan altogether crustier, and even a more vicious feeling to this. Blastbeatsgalore permeate the album, and riff-wise, there is a clear crustcore influence,although two of the most recognizable riffs on the album, the opening ones tothe title track and ‘This Is The News?’ respectively are evidently borrowedfrom two of the most famous tracks within extreme metal – Mayhem’s ‘DeMysteriis Dom Sathanas’ and Slayer’s ‘Angel Of Death’.

Not that anyone minds. Even if you’ve worn your LPs of thoseto death, bought a replacement CD and somehow worn that out too, those two fitin so snugly here that it wouldn’t seem at all out of place to someone whoinexplicably had found Fukpig without being aware of those two. Also ‘borrowed’is the Sunlight Studios-esque guitar tone offered – and this sounds right athome too. We’re all aware how heavily the Stockholm bands borrowed from theSwedish hardcore punk scene of the time, and this is a chance to hear theirtone given back to an altogether punkier context.

What I’m not saying, however, is that this album is a rehashof ripoffs. No, there are plenty of original factors – although mathematicsdictates that all three-chord riffs must have been used by now, the bassiertone used here makes them all seem highly original, as they cut through the mixlike a hot knife through butter. Relentless aggression here is done well – the usualtedium factor that starts to kick in after 25 minutes or so is not present hereat all.

Drum-wise, the patterns alternate between blasts and d-beats– this is a grindcore album after all. The production lends the drumming a niceorganic sound, which should please the crusties around to no end. As a point ofcomparison for the drumming in particular, but also for the vast majority ofthe album, imagine a combination of Disfear and Anaal Nathrakh.

One of the main things which makes this album appeal to methan many other black metal/grindcore hybrids is the way in which each individualsong has hooks within it to make it stand out from the rest, despite them allbeing stylistically similar. I’ll point you in the direction of the gang chantswhich start ‘This Is England’ (which are followed by one of the most frenziedvocal performances I’ve ever heard) and to the desolate feeling, borrowedequally from crust punk and black metal, which is particularly apparent in ‘DawnOf The Dumb’.

Altogether, I’d say that although it’s completelyderivative, Belief Is The Death Of Intelligenceis a fantastic album – marginally better than Fukpig’s first effort Spewings From A Selfish Nation, andcertainly way above par within its genre. Although it’s long been sold out,this is an album worth seeking out at most costs. One of the best of last year.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nightbringer- Hierophany of the Open Grave(2011)

Nightbringer- Hierophany of the Open Grave

As caustic and demonic as anything released this, year Hierophany of the Open Grave is an unstoppable mass of swirling black carnage that is immediately haunting and intense. Nightbringer have always flirted with greatness in the past, but it was often a shortage of ideas coupled with songs too long for their own good that doomed solid albums like Death and the Black Work and Apocalypse Sun into the dreaded, "good but not great" category. At most, Nightbringer had been a furious, albeit under-achieving, young act still trying to find its way in the American Black Metal scene.

Hierophany of the Open Grave leaves no questions about where Nightbringer stand amongst their US peers now: they have arrived as one of the finest and most powerful young acts in Black Metal today. By taking the classic Norwegian sound and adding the dissonant, technical leads popular with French(and French sounding) Black Metal acts, Nightbringer stand apart from any of the Orthodox Black Metal acts that are all the rage right now. The guitar work on Hierophany is something to behold: almost completely tremolo picked, they are technical and dissonant, but not without some meat to them. Thankfully, Nightbringer also tone down the blast beats on this album: they will still cut loose hammer through dozens of notes and beats in seconds, but Hierophany shows a new maturity in song writing that was not on previous albums. Ideas and riffs are given enough time to work their black magic and hook listeners in for the long haul. Song lengths remain extended on Hierophany, but now songs are not running out of ideas 3 minutes before the end of the song.

The atmospheric elements of Hierphoany are the strength of this record. "Eater of the Black Led," easily the strongest track on the record, begins with an acoustic interlude before heading into a slow, demonic riff that layers on the evil before things speed up. But they never get too fast, and the fantastic vocals keep the air thick with darkness. To think that this is the same band that released 7 mintues songs on Apocalypse Sun that were entirely driven by blast beats is pretty hard to believe.

Every band has to "grow up" to reach that next level. Nightbringer have done just that with Hierophany of the Open Grave. But not only have Nightbringer grown-up, they have shown wisdom beyond their age with this release. Without a doubt the finest Black Metal release of the year, Hierophany of the Open Grave is the kind of album that transcends its own era and stays with listeners well past its initial listen like all truly great albums do.

Rating: 9.5/10

The Beast of the Apocalypse- Henosis(2011)

The Beast of the Apocalypse- Henosis

While the bands poorly chosen moniker might lead to a few raised eyebrows, the quality of the work will outshine the oddity. TBotA's newest release, Henosis, is one of this years finest experiments in the occult. Reeking of evil and the stench of Brimstone, the ritualistic ramblings of Henosis are immediately fascinating and all consuming, while repeated listens bring more depth and intensity to the forefront. There is a certain comfort in the bands bestial barrage, but at the same time Henosis is unafraid to challenge listeners with a thick, static laden production and blasphemous noises straight from Hell.

On the surface, TBotA is straight forward enough to be instantly accessible: a healthy does of early Beherit and Archgoat is apparent from the first riff, and provides the demonic lubricant for Henosis to really get its engine moving. Once sucked into the blackness however, Henosis is filled with nice surprises: snippets of melody, crushing rhythms, effective use of symphonic elements and hypnotic use of riff repetition create a level of immersion unmatched by most albums released this year. Clearly influenced by Mories various projects, particularly in the manic vocal attack, as well as acts like Mitochondrion and Ulcerate, TBotA channel their various influences in such a way as too be greater than the sum of its parts.

The level of accessible complexity in this album is what makes it stand out from a lot of bands in this newly crowded genre of Occult Death and Black Metal: unlike other bands in this vein, TBotA have the songwriting chops to draw you in instantly and keep you interested, as opposed to merely challenging the listener every step of the way and depending on their endurance to get something from the album. A truly great feat for a relatively young and unknown band.

Part of the reason this band may be so unknown is that in a crowded genre, they fail to stand out in certain areas: from the bands awkward name, to their cover art which seems lifted from various other bands(Henosis has cover art that looks almost exactly like the cover art for Parasignosis, Swarth, and the Aethyrvorous demo), to their Deathspell Omega/Mitochondrion-esque song titles, TBotA have done a terrible job selling themselves to fans who would gladly eat this stuff up if they knew about it.

Truth be told, nothing about Henosis is inherently original: all of its disparate elements have been done and done very well by countless bands. What makes Henosis so damn good it that the band have found a way to present all of these well worn aspects in interesting new ways. TBotA are not inventors: Henosis is not the work of men looking to bring forth something we did not know we wanted. Henosis is the product of a master-craftsmen, using the ancient techniques handed down by those in the past to create something viable and quality.

Rating: 9/10

Monday, October 3, 2011

De Magia Veterum- The Divine Antithesis(2011)

De Magia Veterum- The Divine Antithesis

Mories de Jong is on a mission. A mission to see the human race, that which he so obviously despises with all of his shriveled heart and blackend soul, completely and utterly wiped out of existence. His increasingly popular Black Noise project Gnaw Their Tongues has been a fantastic and brilliant start to his mass genocide of humanity, but with his side project De Magia Veterum, Mories is going into Total War mode.

Almost completely devoid of song structure and human feeling, The Divine Antithesis is the definition of inhumanity; the ultimate artistic expression of misanthropy. Each track blasts through millions of nearly indecipherable riffs, drums and vocals. It creates a wall of pure destruction that comes erupting out of the speakers, decimating all in its path. Complete sonic devastation is all this album offers. This is both a positive and negative for this fascinating but ultimately limited release.

To talk about this album as specific tracks would not only be doing a dis-service to the album, but also would be a bit pointless: taken as individual tracks, The Divine Anthithesis is not much to talk about. The constant, unending tremolo picking and relentless blast beats are more hypnotic than head banging, and there are few truly memorable individual riffs. Occasionally, demented hints of melody peeks it's desiccated hand from the black soil, and often in brilliant and fascinating ways. But the blast beat rules the day here, and the guitars are trying to race them for most of the record.

But when taken as a whole, The Divine Antithesis is something of a hypnotic, swirling mass of hatred: an endless sea of tortured souls screaming out for release. The guitar playing at times is very technical, and those aforementioned moments of melody and slower tempos allow for seriously awesome listening. The vocals are fantastic, and the bludgeon of sheer dread this album hammers your skull with is impressive and worthy of any listeners time. At the very least, this should be a curiosity listen for anyone looking to discover something totally unique and wholly demented.

As a work of art, The Divine Antithesis is something of a flawed masterpiece. But like any work of art, the visceral nature of the work lessens with time. Without a truly classic concept hidden beneath the surface, it becomes something of a curious novelty as opposed to a timeless work. A painting too impressive to ignore, but not too impressive to end up under a horse-blanket in the attic.

Rating: 8/10

Mitochondrion- Parasignosis(2011)

Mitochondrion- Parasignosis

Perhaps because of the fact I was rather unimpressed with Mitochondrion when I first heard them, I didn't fall into the hype train a lot of people did with this album. I listened to it once when it first came out and never gave it another thought. But after I got very into Archaeaeon a few months ago, I decided to come back to this album and give it another listen. And my second impression of Parasignosis was much better, but my insulation from the hype have given me a clear view of this album. While impressive in its own right, Parasignosis is a flawed record, one that is at least a mild regression from Archaeaeon.

Mitochondrion became such a big deal by doing something different with the Incantation Occult Death Metal sound that is very popular right now. They added a strong technical and dissonant element similar to Immolation along with the heavy use of Ambient Noise and samples. With its raw production, complex riffs and suffocating atmosphere of evil, Archaeaeon made this band a big deal. Parasignosis has many of these same elements, but they are presented in a far less exciting arrangements. Parasignosis is still heavy on the atmosphere: the extensive use of Ambient Noise and occult chanting creates a thick miasma that makes penetrating to the meat of each song an exciting and active listen.

But the riffs on Parasignosis are not as interesting as those on Archaeaeon. The riffing style is much closer to pure Incantation on this album and adds far less of those Deathspell Omega-esque dissonant leads and riffs. There are still those epic moments of inhuman complexity and dissonance, but the are fewer and farther between. "Trials" is a fine enough track, but it often grinds ahead at maximum speed and rarely gives the ideas in the song a chance to breathe: sadly, there is no "Into the Pit of Babel" on this record. The production is also a bit more impenetrable then on Archaeaeon, which actually proves to be a detriment to the album: Mitochondrion are heading into Portal territory with the production on this album, and that is a bit aggravating. And even the use of Ambient Noise is not as effective on Parasignosis: the final track(titled "Ambient outro") is a total waste of time that does nothing to improve the atmosphere, only to detract from the quality of this album.

Parasignosis is a solid, enjoyable listen that still finds ways to excite and entice listeners to hang in for the sometimes rough ride. But Mitochondrion, a band of obvious talent and ability, took a step back rather than forward. In an attempt to become even more atmospheric and occult than before, Mitochondrion lost some of what made them so powerful. Fans of this style of Death Metal must listen to this, but the hype seems to exceed the product.

Rating: 8/10

Welcome The Curse

Welcome to Curse Of The Great White Elephant.

This is a blog for reviews of Extreme Metal, Extreme Punk and Noise, the primary genres I listen to(outside of Pop, Folk and Country Music). That's really about it: I came up with this blog to share about my favorite albums and practice my writing skills, while hopefully entertaining and informing a few people. I will also be doing some more creative stuff from time to time, so be on the look out for that sometime in the near future.

I hope to have a few more contributors to this blog very soon, so stay tuned for updates.

shureshot24 is the technical brains behind this blog. He likely won't post anything in the near future, but he might so keep an eye out. He created all the artwork for this blog, and was instrumental in its design, so make a comment in the ShoutMix if you dig the art.

Enjoy the blog.