(TheMadIsraeli reviews the forthcoming debut album by Sunlight’s Bane from southeastern Michigan.)
Sunlight’s Bane is the sort of pure vitriol I need in my life. TBVLATEWB (also known as “The Blackest Volume: Like All The Earth Was Buried”) is both an unrelenting powerhouse of feral ferocity and carnage and also an interesting exercise in sub-genre hybridization which, as you may know, is my fucking shit.
An interesting combination of death metal, black metal, hardcore, and grindcore, this album accomplishes a grim and unrelentingly belligerent attack that sticks out from the pack. If you like bands like Anaal Nathrakh, Nails, Dark Fortress, Portal, and/or Incantation I think this album will speak to you inevitably on some visceral level. I’m quite a fan of what this band are doing, and very glad I gave it a shot when I got the promo.
(TheMadIsraeli brings us this premiere of a song from the new album by NYN.)
In the interest of full disclosure, the man behind the NYN project (Noyan) is both a fellow blogger (he’s a heavy hitter over at Heavy Blog Is Heavy) and a very good friend — but he’s also an insanely talented death metal maestro. Under the NYN alias he’s put out two albums so far. I keep meaning to write a feature on him and maybe I will sometime soon, but today I’m bringing you a song titled “Embrace Entropy” from NYN’s next album. The album itself is called Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt.
Both the song and the new album feature two notable collaborators, one being lead guitarist Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger, who was also a lead guitarist on Obscura’s latest album Akróasis, as well as the man behind Fountainhead, and Jimmy Pitts of Eternity’s End and Pitts Minnemann Project on keyboards.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Destroying the Devoid, the solo project of Deeds of Flesh guitarist Craig Peters.)
So… I’m going to have to confess something here.
I really dislike the Unique Leader style of death metal.
I know that’s heresy since they are a popular label now for the genre (and one whose bands NCS has featured regularly), but I’ve never been able to get into the super-machine-tight, super-technical, turned-up-to-11 all the time brand of death metal they are known for pushing. It just isn’t my thing, which is a shame because one of their flagships, Deeds Of Flesh, are obviously a great band — I’ve just been unable to fully appreciate them. I do have great respect for that band’s guitarist and composer Craig Peters, who has immaculate technique and does write interesting riffs from a guitar player’s standpoint.
I will also admit, though, that the subject of this review is making me consider going back and checking out Deeds Of Flesh’s discography in its entirety.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by the band Oni.)
Some of you old-timers might remember that I was super-hyped on Black Crown Initiate. I enthusiastically reviewed their debut EP and while I didn’t review their first album, I absolutely loved it. 2016 rolled around, and Selves We Cannot Forgive rolled around and it was… not the BCI I was hyped on. The album was a complete disappointment in fact, and I was extremely, extremely dismayed that the band had already seemingly fallen off the horse. We’ll see what the future holds, but as to what made me lose faith in the band, it was their conversion to a rather directionless, meandering style of songwriting combined with riffs that were barely riffs.
Oni are poised, already, to kick Black Crown Initiate off their own throne where they once brandished a distinctive brand of technical, groovy, yet poppy and melodic progressive death metal. The two bands share many similarities, but with Oni taking it a step further and adding even more influences and elements. I don’t think you can say Oni sound like BCI, but to my ears they have definitely taken the BCI formula and brought it to the next level, whether doing so consciously or not.
Tell us about yourself, about Khonsu and what made you decide to start this project?
Well, to go really far back in time, my father has always been a hobby musician and when growing up me and my brother Arnt “Obsidian C.” Gronbech from Keep of Kalessin played around with his instruments and recording equipment from a very young age. He had several guitars – both acoustic and electric — a keyboard, and piano, and I think I was 6-7 when I first recorded some of my own music on my his 4 track tape recorder. So listening to music and the joy of making music has always been a part of my family, and without this early environment I would probably never have been a musician today.
My father also felt it would be important to keep learning to play instruments by going to professional lessons, but I didn’t like it very much and he more or less had to force me. I have never been interested in learning to play something someone else has already made, so I came to most lessons unprepared and had not rehearsed. So eventually I quit. I’ve always preferred to improvise and be creative on my own. So I actually have very little knowledge of music theory, and most of the time I have no idea what the chords or scales I am playing are even called.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by A Sense of Gravity which will be released tomorrow — along with our premiere of a full-album stream of the music.)
A Sense Of Gravity, like Khonsu (whose new album was also reviewed here recently), are one of those bands with a sound that is so multifaceted and “all their own”, so ambitious in scope and gripping from beginning to end, that it deserves acclaim. They may very well be one of the most important bands metal has to offer right now.
Atrament is my second album of the year, with this and Khonsu’s The Xun Protectorate being pretty much tied. Between them, my longing for heavy, dynamic, emotionally turbulent musical experiences has been well satisfied. A Sense Of Gravity are looking to the future, rooted in a post-modernist realm where Pain Of Salvation and Dream Theater’s progressive ambition and expression are met with the progressive metalcore stylings of Sikth, Textures, and Protest The Hero. It’s a sound brimming with both sophistication and boundless energy.
(TheMadIsraeli wrote this brief recommendation of the self-titled debut album by Serpentine Dominion.)
Serpentine Dominion is a curious side project for Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage fame to be engaging in. This debut release is a great album, a shattering hammer blow to the back of the skull of caustic death metal, combined with metalcore’s melody and energy in only the way Adam D knows how to do best. With the weight of drummer Shannon Lucas and vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher alongside him, the album should certainly raise eyebrows and magnetize people toward this self-titled debut with a great deal of force — and as far as I can tell, it has.
While the music is excellent, and this is an adrenaline-rush-inducing gut-punch of a record that everyone who likes metal in general should pick up, I also can’t shake the feeling that it should’ve been just a KSE album. It would’ve worked just as well.
(Earlier this month we published a review by Andy Synn of the new album by Norway’s Khonsu, and now we present a second one, written by TheMadIsraeli.)
I had this review already written, then Trump won the election and I thought I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate music and its significance to us, especially in the coming time. Things have changed, more than likely for the worse, and metal has a newfound place in my heart and soul in light of this. I’m angry, I’m pissed, and I wish I lived in a different world or dimension altogether, but here we are. It’s albums like Khonsu’s The Xun Protectorate that provide the kind of metallic excess of rage, sorrow, and apprehension that help quench my current emotional turbulence and leave me finding peace. It is also the closest it gets this year to transporting me to a different dimension.
And it’s also the best album of 2016.
(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Boston’s Revocation.)
Sometimes regression is evolution. While I haven’t kept up with the press surrounding this album, my friends who have tell me that this is supposed to be Revocation’s most progressive record. It certainly, in my estimation, isn’t that at all in the conventional sense you’d suspect. “Progressive” is also a word that’s been pretty butchered in the world of metal. When we live in a world where TesseracT is considered progressive, that shows how much water the label holds.
Revocation’s Great Is Our Sin is interesting, in that it indeed contains elements that might be considered progressive (extreme amounts of stylistic inclusion/blending and nuance brought about by that inclusion), but the music itself isn’t really what I’d call progressive. It’s fantastic technical, thrash-driven death metal that switches gears among just about every variation on the style, and Davidson’s guitar playing in and of itself is certainly progressive in ways that perhaps could only be explained to other musicians or the super-musically-inclined.
Revocation’s music, especially on this record that follows Deathless, which was also played it very straight, is largely devoid of any sort of meandering, exploration, or head-turning twists. It’s all pure, unrestrained brutality and darkness with eccentricities sprinkled throughout.
(TheMadIsraeli delivers our premiere of a full album stream for the debut full-length by Germany’s Betrayal, along with a review.)
Betrayal is a promising melodic death metal new-blood hailing from Aschaffenburg, Germany. Their new album Infinite Circles is one of the most impressive debuts I’ve heard this year, mixing the technicality and high/low vocal attack of The Black Dahlia Murder, the venom and dynamism of Arsis along with some proggy undertones that call to mind bands like Extol, all firmly rooted by a very The Absence-esque dedication to the best of tried and true melodic death metal convention.