(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Texas-based Power Trip.)
One of the worst offenders within the utter triteness that was the so called “re-thrash” movement was the rise of the whole crossover party thrash scene. I came to intensely dislike certain bands (who shall remain nameless) who seem to place all their emphasis on the energy and aesthetic of thrash but completely forsake all of the power, attitude, and uninhibited human rage that thrash encapsulates so well — while also having no good idea how to truly manipulate the hardcore aspects of their sound to give the music high-impact groove when needed.
Newer crossover thrash, however, has been seeing a YUGE renaissance. The newer Ringworm material, Iron Reagan (a band with Municipal Waste alumni), and the subject of this review — Power Trip — are producing music that is on a mission to recapture the genre and hit the turbo button, producing some of the most straight-up genuinely pissed metal on the planet.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Warpath from Hamburg, Germany, which is out now via Massacre Records.)
Warpath are an interesting musical discovery for me. Originally a thrash metal band that had some moderate underground recognition in the ’90s, the band hung it up until the culmination of a reunion that resulted in a subsequent comeback album. Vocalist Dirk Weiss is the only original member, collecting an entirely new lineup. Warpath, in name, has come back, but with a new sound and one that’s impressive. It would be a shame for people to miss out on this.
Bullets For A Desert Session is a powerful testament to hybridization in metal, and an impressive metallic golem of deathly proportions. While thrash metal is still a part of Warpath’s sound, the band have mixed in the metallic heft and drag of bands like Celtic Frost and Crowbar, the filth of High On Fire, and a style of death/thrash that sounds a lot like The Crown. Dirk Weiss’s vocals are almost like a demonic version of Lemmy Kilmister mixed with the low-end grit of The Crown’s own Johan Lindstrand.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the Finnish band Lantern.)
I’ve been eagerly anticipating a new Lantern record since I heard and reviewed their undeniably powerful debut full-length Below. That thrash/death/black combo, which personified a synthesis of early Napalm Death, Celtic Frost, and Emperor, still holds absolutely true and finds itself achieving new progressive ambition on the band’s sophomore opus II: Morphosis.
This is also a new chapter in the project’s lifespan, upgrading from an enthusiastic duo to a full-fledged five-piece, although I still suspect guitarist/composer Cruciatus and vocalist Necrophilos call the majority of the shots, if not all of them.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the Italian band Lorn, which has just been released by I, Voidhanger Records.)
Black metal has rarely achieved that truly evil, blasphemous, horror sound that many bands have aspired to. It wasn’t until the style took a more melodic, progressive, and esoterically melodic approach that I started to care about it in the early 2000s or so. I don’t like Burzum, Bathory, or Darkthrone. Emperor was where my taste for the music started, and in following suit, all of my favorite black metal comes from that Emperor school of thought… until recently.
I suppose I couldn’t help but feel that first-wave and some second-wave black metal was just rather cartoony or something. I couldn’t take it seriously. I always wanted to hear an album or EP from this genre that truly succeeded in capturing the sound of a pit of hell opening up, or being trapped inside a dank chamber with a bunch of banshees torturing you with non-stop blood-curdling shrieks until you were incapable of knowing peace, sanity, or anything but the endless wail.
Lorn has done that.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new second album by the Portuguese band Primal Attack.)
Primal Attack are an instance where the name absolutely tells you everything you need to know about the music. This is the first album this year that I can call an absolute balls-to-the-wall, no frills, uncompromisingly brutal metal album in its sheer intensity. Heartless Oppressor is exactly the sound of all the world’s major powers nuking the fuck out of each other. It’s a pretty fitting post-inauguration “I need to vent my rage at ignorance, white supremacy, and anti-intellectualism” album.
Primal Attack started out as a thrash band with their debut album, but Heartless Oppressor is a mean obsidian slab of thrash, death metal, and metallic hardcore. Think Marco Aro-era The Haunted, Gojira, Merauder/Hatebreed, and I’d say that’s a pretty fair encapsulation.
(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Immolation.)
Immolation are the godfathers of the minimalist dissonant heavy brand of death metal. I think in many ways they are the pre-cursors to the Portals, Ulcerates, and latter-day Gorguts of the world. However, those bands have all taken on a more technical, more ornamental approach, while Immolation has remained the absolute king of effective minimalism.
In the last five or so years, death metal in the underground has reveled in attempts to mimic the cavernous mixes and alien sense of melody of Immolation, but from where I sit, few have come close to getting it. In a nutshell, Immolation are one of those untouchable bands. All the major death metal players of the ’90s are, but very few bands have taken influence from Immolation and made it work convincingly. The original remains original.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Ashenspire from Glasgow, Scotland.)
I’m into a lot of really emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde metal lately, and no scene does emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde like black metal right now. Ashenspire are in that vein, and even wear the avant-garde black metal label, although they are so avant-garde that they barely even qualify as black metal.
This band is very meta. They have more in common instrumentally with bands like Opeth or Ne Obliviscarus (they seem to have a full-time violinist like NeO, or at least his presence is a full-time feature of this album) combined with some very post-black metal-y stuff going on. Combine this with a vocal style that’s… not clean singing, but is? It doesn’t particularly try to be melodic in any way but it’s kind of like a harsher version of Warrel Dane’s operatic bellowing. It’s impossible to articulate.
(TheMadIsraeli prepared this brief review of the new EP by Polarity of Life from Croatia.)
At least in terms of its global profile, Croatia seems to be a very underrepresented part of Europe, given the quality metal that its bands are always producing. Lots of the best aspects of Polish, Finnish, and German metal are fed into a blender, and the result is often killer, as well as something that seems uniquely Croatian.
Polarity Of Life are a Croatian melodic death metal band, of a more deathly, old school sort. The proper majestic, epic, sweeping melodies are present, but they exist amidst a torrid storm of heavyweight haymaker riffing with German weight and Polish military march. Insomnium meets Vader meets Heaven Shall Burn is definitely a fair assessment as references. Beginning/End/Beginning is an impressive sophomore release, and I’m eager to hear more.
(TheMadIsraeli is the author of this review of the new album by Odd Logic.)
I always try to put some serious thought into why an exception to the rule should be an exception to the rule here at NCS. I confess that sometimes it really comes down to the fact that I just like the album, and fuck the rules and the site and blah blah blah, but for the most part I believe there is an integrity that the NCS brand, as it were, has an obligation to maintain. I’ve basically boiled it down to three things that help me decide what a good exception to our rule is. Any one, or a combination, of these three:
A: The music is sufficiently heavy without extreme metal vocals.
B: The music is extreme in either virtuosity, progressiveness, pretentiousness, or eccentricity, despite the absence of harsh vocals.
C: The writing of music around clean vocals offers definitively different avenues of instrumental expression. Any band that really understands and gets this on a transcendent level is an exception.
Tacoma-based Odd Logic are B and C but not A. Effigy is their 7th record.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new fourth album by the Russian project Talsur.)
I would guess that Funeral Doom is a hard kind of metal to write. Your songs are long, your tempos are agonizingly sluggish, you’re running the risk of using hammy black metal synths and killing the intended vibe, AND you have to write captivating melodies, all at the same time. It is a style of metal that, for me, has the smallest number of noteworthy bands, yet at the same time those bands who stand out REALLY stand out. In truly capturing the essence of sorrow, despair, and the lamentation of your own fragility and mortality, Funeral Doom offers a musical experience that truly doesn’t exist anywhere else in the pantheon of the metallic arts.
Talsur is a one-man Russian project with multiple releases to his name, boasting different stylistic inclinations on each one (the samples I checked out of his last record had a sort of industrial blackened take on a doom sound), and now finds himself doing ANOTHER new approach with Slough Of Depond.