Jun 302014

(In this 49th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Send More Paramedics.)

Recommended for fans of: Municipal Waste, Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus

The early part of this new century wasn’t exactly my favourite period when it came to the underground metal scene here in the UK. Not that there weren’t some great, hard-working bands out there doing their own thing (and doing it well!), but it seemed like every other band I encountered was desperately trying to be a sub-standard version of either As I Lay Dying, or Converge, but without an ounce of originality or integrity (while also essentially trying to be as dumb and needlessly confrontational as possible).

Now, that’s not the whole scene by a wide margin, but most of what was out there just wasn’t really clicking with me. However, there were definitely a few exceptions, and one of those was the sheer bloody-minded, self-declared “Zombiecore” madness of Send More Paramedics.

Part thrash, part punk, all crazy… Send More Paramedics rose from the grave in 2001, and were sent back into their deathless slumber in 2007, leaving behind a strange legacy of blood, brains, and bile… set to a soundtrack of rabid thrash riffs and punked-up aggression. The band actually reformed for a few reunion shows earlier this year, but unfortunately I couldn’t make any of them. So, instead, here is my tribute to the heathen masters of undead disaster.

Jun 302014

photo by Yoshima Photography

(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us this interview he conducted with Jonathan Théry of the French band Ataraxie, whose most recent album was 2013’s L’Être et la Nausée, as well as the bands Funeralium and Void Paradigm.)

As you’ll be able to tell, it took a bit longer than usual to finish this interview with Jonathan Théry, vocalist and bass-player of Ataraxie, who released their new album L’Être et la Nausée in September 2013, but it was worth to wait. Here we have detailed insights into the world of a compelling funeral / death doom band, as well as Jonathan’s other projects.

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Hello Jonathan! I’m glad that you’re with us after these New Year holidays. How many days of vacation do you have in France during December – January?

Greetings Aleks. Actually it depends on your job. Fulltime workers have at least 25 days of holidays per year (that’s what is written in labour law) so that’s up to them to book these days off during the year. As far as I’m concerned, I booked 2 weeks in total ’cause my last holidays were in July and I needed a well-deserved break.

 

May I ask you – what were your best presents for Christmas and the New Year? : )

As a real metalhead, I was offered everything required to slay all hipsters and goths from my town: a new horse, armor, and obviously an axe! hahaha

Jun 302014

 

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Colorado-based Allegaeon, which is out now on the Metal Blade label.)

I really fucking like technical melodic death metal. I like melodic death metal in general, but when you’ve also got technical guitar showpieces that call to mind melodic lines written by great classical composers of old, it’s just a trip. Allegaeon have been on top of this particular game, as far as newer American blood is concerned.

I’ve really enjoyed the way these guys have played with their sound since they first began putting out music; the evolution they’ve undergone has been interesting to watch. Their self-titled EP was simply a solid, excellent tribute to the melodic death metal style as a whole, with the band wearing their influences on their sleeves. Their debut Fragments of Form and Function was a technical marvel for the style, while Formshifter took a grittier turn and turned up the focus on groove.

I have to admit, however, that while I loved Formshifter, I was slightly turned off by the heavier groove direction. While the music still had the signature Allegaeon tech-melodeath style going on, that aspect of the music was diminished to accommodate the magnification of groove. Which is why I am glad that Elements of The Infinite now exists. It proves that a band who I had honest fears might be stagnating into groove-driven drudgery were merely revealing a different shade of their sound. Returning with the technicality and full-frontal speed, Allegaeon have stormed back this time, not as a MELODIC death metal band, but as a melodic DEATH METAL band, if that makes any sense.

Jun 302014

Here are three videos that caught my eye yesterday. In each case the music is different from what we normally cover here; those of you, for example, who are into the kind of aural terrors I posted in yesterday’s two Shades of Black offerings will probably turn away quickly. I’m normally just like you, though the three songs featured here have grown on me as I’ve watched the videos more than once. Yet the main reason I’m posting them is because I thought the films were very well done and made for interesting and effective interpretations of the music.

BESTIAL MOUTHS

I saw this group described as “one of Los Angeles’s premier goth/ darkwave/ synth punk bands”.  Not an enticing description. But then I saw an article on CVLT Nation that called the video “stellar” and the best one the author had seen all month. I admit that I was also intrigued by the still photo from the video (above) that accompanied the CVLT Nation article. Plus, the band’s name is metal.

An Italian visual artist named Francesco Brunotti directed the video. On the one hand, it just shows a woman (contemporary dancer Valentina Jalali) moving to the music in an abandoned building. On the other hand, she looks a lot better in corpse-paint and spikes than this guy:

 

 

Jun 302014

 

(DGR wrote this review of the new EP by Sweden’s Volturyon.)

Volturyon are one of those groups I came to incredibly late. I had heard the name before, but my attention wasn’t directed toward them until the guys who made up the band started appearing in other projects I had been listening to — in this case, drummer Christian Netzell, who at the time was playing in In Mourning, and vocalist Alexander Högbom, who turned up in October Tide. Later, bassist Oskar Pålsson from Coldworker would join their lineup as well, but I don’t know if he contributed to Human Demolition. It was, however, one of those coincidences that make the band seem like a death metal explosion built out of the most volatile chemicals that they could find.

The timing of my discovery would prove fortuitous because the band had started hinting at new material, yet I still had enough time to explore, and genuinely enjoy, their earlier works — just so I knew what I would be in for. However, what I hadn’t expected was that when Volturyon took just enough time to put out an EP, they were going to condense the very best of their sound down into four songs and a real quick intro — and genuinely surprise me with some of my favorite material to date.

Long story short, I knew Human Demolition was going to be good, but I did not think it was going to be this good. It’s one of the few discs this year that has left me with whiplash because I couldn’t resist whipping what is left of my glorious mane up and down in rapid-fire sync with the music.

Jun 292014

This is Part 2 of a round-up I began earlier today (here). The new songs collected in both parts of this post are the result of my recent submergence in the deepest, dankest pits of black, death, and doom, from which I’ve surfaced with some kind of necrotizing disease that I feel the need to communicate to my fellow lepers. Enjoy!

INTO DARKNESS

After only one listen, I proclaimed the debut demo by Italy’s Into Darkness “one of the best death/doom releases of 2012″. After a line-up change, they then followed that auspicious start with a 7″ EP entitled Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures Into the Unknown (reviewed here), which proved that the 2012 demo was no fluke.

In between those two releases the band produced another demo named Cosmic Chaos (2013) (discussed here and available on Bandcamp), which included a rough mix of a song entitled “Shifted To the Red End of the Spectrum”. Finally, that song is going to be released on a vinyl split with San Diego’s Ghoulgotha, and today it became available inn revised form on Bandcamp.

Jun 292014

This is another weekend round-up of recommended new music. A particular kind of new music. The kind that will wreck your head on the shoals of savagery and cast your soul into outer darkness. This collection turned out to be so large that I divided it into two parts; the second part will appear soon. The bands are presented in alphabetical order, which is about the only kind of order you’ll find here.

DEATH VOMIT

NCS supporter Utmu pointed me to the first song presented here. It comes from Gutted By Horrors, the debut album of a Chilean band named Death Vomit that’s due for release on July 1, 2014, by the Spanish label Xtreem Music. The song is “Indestructible Abominations”. It’s a noxious cloud of utterly destructive black/death war metal, whose gargantuan grinding riffs spread a morbid melody like the plague while the vocalist renders inhuman echoing howls and soul-devouring roars. Attractively obliterating music.

I’m including a stream of the song in two different players. The album will be available for order on CD at the Xtreem Music site. Based on past experience, I’m guessing Xtreem will eventually put the album on their Bandcamp page (here) as well.

Jun 282014

Happy Saturday to one and all, and if you happen not to be happy on this Saturday, we offer our condolences. Perhaps some of the new sounds in the following collection will cheer you up. They sure as hell put a smile on my face.

XERATH

A couple days ago Candlelight Records announced that it will release the third album by UK-based Xerath on September 16 in North American (September 15 for Europe). The title is III, and it was produced by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Epica). The album is a mammoth one, with 14 songs and a run time of almost 70 minutes, and the cover art was again created by Colin Marks. The album also marks the appearance of new guitarist Conor McGouran, who has replaced the formidable Owain Williams. Also appearing on the album will be a live string quartet and classically trained alto and soprano vocalists.

I really enjoyed this band’s first two albums and have had high hopes for the new one. We got a first taste of the album in late April when Candlelight released a sampler that I wrote about here. The sampler included a previously unreleased Xerath song named “Sentinels”, and although I didn’t know it at the time, that turns out to be the seventh track on III. And then two days ago, a teaser of additional new music appeared on YouTube.

Jun 272014

Well, this is a damned fine way to end the damned work week — with the release of yet another free demo by Sweden’s Torture Division. This new one is named The Reaping.

As followers of the band know, they periodically release demos for free, and each time they complete a trilogy of demos they package them up for release on a compilation CD. In 2013, Torture Division released two demos, both of them (as usual) mixed and mastered by the masterful Dan Swanö at Unisound. The first one was named The Worship, and I reviewed it here. The second one was The Sacrifice, and I reviewed that one, too. And then I also picked one of the 2013 songs — “All Rise” — for my list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

The Reaping completes the latest trilogy of Torture Division releases. This one was also mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö, and in addition to providing a free download of the songs in mp3 format, this time Swanö has prepared a download file of the songs in full dynamic range FLAC format for the audiophiles out there. So go thank Mr. Swanö by liking his Unisound Facebook page, dammit!

And while you’re in a thankful mood, go throw some money at Torture Division via this link so they’ll continue showering us with the best goddamned death metal masterpieces the world has ever known (I know these are masterpieces because Torture Division says so, dammit!).

And now, for a few words about The Reaping.

Jun 272014

Display of Decay roam the badlands of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. They released a self-titled debut album in 2012 and have followed that up with a five-track EP named Outbreak of Infection, due for release on August 26. Today we bring you the premiere of the EP’s title track.

“Outbreak of Infection” is a Deicide-al rampage of fast, rapacious riffing and spitfire soloing, with gut-punching drums and a gruesomely guttural vocal performance. These dudes do a good jump injecting the music with snake venom and radiating an aura of ravenous evil. They bring the death metal brutality, spiced up with insidious melody and high-voltage fretwork.

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