Jun 072017

 

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Suffocation.)

If you ask me, at the end of the day there’s only five bands in the technical and brutal death metal circles that truly matter: Dying Fetus, Anata, Spawn of Possession, Martyr, and Suffocation. Suffocation is such an anomaly that it’s like the cosmos decided to manifest through humans the perfect mix of atonal grime, neoclassical melody, pulverizing groove, and eviscerating speed, all under the command most prominently of Frank Mullen, who in my book is THE death metal vocalist, and Terrance Hobbs. who writes some of the most intricately crafted incantations of despair and death on this planet when it comes to riffs.

Suffocation had a really fucking strong outing their last go around with Pinnacle Of Bedlam. It was their most energetic record to date, with a much more melodic focus than anything before it, while maintaining the proper amount of disregard for human value or opinion with some atonal off-road expeditions. It also contained a monolith of a closing track with a stellar re-recording of “Beginning Of Sorrow”, which worked better as a closing song than on the album it opened.

Jun 052017

 

(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the Ukrainian one-man project Arphael.)

I’ve always agreed with Andy’s assertion that at the end of the day, Meshuggah is a death metal band. They created their own nebula of brutality, especially when Nothing came out, pushing the sonic limits and revolutionizing the very concept of groove in extreme metal as we knew it. Meshuggah, a top-10 band for me, have always been about a defiant, transcendent minimalism that hits you like an asteroid to the soul.

While we saw the djent movement come and go, mostly a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon that produced very little quality music with staying power, more extreme-minded death metal bands have tried to take what Meshuggah did to the next level. In-Quest and their phenomenal last record Chapter IIX – The Odyssey of Eternity was a great attempt at a Catch-33-style, super-long song that saw the band adding new elements of intensity and stylistic diversity around the Meshuggah framework. At that point, It was the best I think Meshuggah had ever been riffed on by someone else.

But then this guy came around, this fucking lunatic Ukranian who goes by the name Arphael.

Jun 022017

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Body Count.)

 

Say what you want, but in concept the mixing of rap/hip-hop and metal is something that makes complete fucking sense. A lot of music from both genres encapsulates a lot of the same angst, rage, and darkness, depending on where you look. I don’t know if I can explain why nü-metal to many people was an abomination of a music genre, although I think it’s the cornball excessive whiteness of it, how much it diluted down the metal aspect to relatively inoffensive minimalism, and how faux edgy it was. Thing is, early nü-metal was experimental and ambitious and found a good middle ground between the two styles. Rage Against The Machine is a favorite band of mine actually, and I think they’re the primo example of this being done to its maximum potential.

Body Count is the other most notable example. I like Body Count’s entire discography and I’ve always felt they were shamefully unsung heroes of thrash/metallic hardcore. I think it’s interesting that in the fifth track on this album, a pretty fantastic cover of “Reign In Blood”, there’s a monologue by Ice-T preceeding it where he talks about Suicidal Tendencies having a gang-banger from the streets vibe about their music and how it influenced Body Count. I’ve always liked hardcore that had this same vibe, which is why bands like Biohazard come to mind, who unashamedly had this vibe going in a way that was authentic.

May 162017

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote this review of the new album by the Spanish band Moonloop, released in March.)

Moonloop are one of those bands whose existence feels like a justification for the underground metal scene. I’m not talking about underground in the mainstream sense, of course — not the Suffocation’s or the Immolation’s of the world — but the really obscure “you have to be a sad sap who does nothing but scour the Internet for cool album art and weird-sounding band names to judge your listening off of” sort of underground.

We’ve sorta mentioned Moonloop on this site once or twice back in 2012 courtesy of posts Islander made, but we haven’t ever given these guys their due and just coverage, and their newest record Devocean, which came out back in March, is as good a place as any to start.

Apr 172017

 

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Sweden’s Cut Up.)

As someone who is a complete fucking nerd who enjoys analyzing nuances, subtleties, patterns, and periods within art, or the examples of all those contained within a particular artist’s body of work, I find few things more fascinating within the realms of music than the phenomenon of the extreme metal sophomore album. Mostly I’m impressed by its power to either make or break bands. If you release a killer debut and then a shitty sophomore album, or just one that doesn’t capitalize on the steam of the debut, you can absolutely tank your traction and name right then and there and never recover. Some bands can release a terrible debut and get away with it, but a band who start well take a big risk if they release a sophomore album that is anything less than excellent.

This subject may be worth a digression into a deeper conversation about what a sophomore album should accomplish, and maybe I’ll do an article on that alone someday, but for now the context is Cut Up.

Mar 172017

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new fourth album by Colorado’s Havok, which was released by Century Media earlier this month.)

I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Havok. These guys are the quintessential example of what an excellent re-thrash band sounds like. Old school energy and attitude, but new school song-writing, technicality, and slight tinges of hybridization with other borrowed styles.

Thus far, Havok’s got what I call a pretty flawless discography. The EPs, while underdeveloped, were great; Time Is Up was the best thrash album of its year; and the band’s last release Unnatural Selection was definitely up there in its year, too.

It’s been four years since Havok released anything, marking the first time the band have gone more than two years between major releases since their inception. While they’ve certainly been gaining recognition (rightfully so) and touring like fucking madmen, the band have clearly been working on their sound, and where to go from here.

Mar 162017

 

(The MadIsraeli reviews the new album by Warbringer, which will be released on March 31 by Napalm Records.)

Warbringer are a band who up to now never quite hooked me. They’re no doubt talented, and they are definitely in the upper echelon of the old school thrash revival. I should’ve liked these guys more. They were essentially more aggressive Twisted Into Form Forbidden, but I always felt they played it too safe, enough so that it kept me from being enthralled by their music. Having said that, I’ve always been willing to give the newest Warbringer album a listen when one comes out, because I WANT to like these guys more than I have.

The main thing that really makes these re-thrash bands any good is when they know how to blend the old school with modernity, and in the past Warbringer were too busy living in the past and imitating it rather than emboldening it with a new-school spirit. That is, until Woe To The Vanquished.

Mar 142017

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the second album by Once Human, which was released in February by earMUSIC.)

As much as I like to talk shit about bands who are bad or try too hard to be edgy (though not on this site), I’m ALWAYS open to bands changing or making dramatic improvements in their sound. It’s always possible for a band to redeem themselves, and sometimes it’s possible for a band to release an album so good that the detractors have to concede the improvement lest they be convicted of perpetual intellectual dishonesty.

We all had that laugh at Once Human, a metalcore band featuring most notably Logan Mader of Machine Head fame. They released that embarrassing “You Cunt” song that not only wasn’t anything special, the name itself just lacked class and really felt like it was going for cheap nü-metal levels of shock value. We laughed this band so hard into oblivion that they removed any promotional traces of their debut. You’ve got to do some digging now to even realize that Once Human HAS a debut album. But something dramatic has happened to this band.

Mar 102017

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the second album by the Ukrainian black metal band Devilish Art, independently released at the end of January.)

 

I really love it when black metal meets the harshness and chill of the heavier side of industrial. Khonsu has done a good job of this, and of course there are bands such as Mysticum. Mysticum suffers, though, from that same rythmic stagnation issue I mentioned in my recent Cirith Gorgor review. There still needs to be dynamism, interesting transitions, and tasteful incorporation to really drive the elements home together in a way that feels alive and organic.

Devilish Art’s Temple Of Desintegration is my first exposure to them. They have a debut, but I haven’t listened. Devilish Art play a very riffy style of black metal that reminds me a lot of Naglfar and Old Man’s Child mixed with harsh industrial and electronic elements in an impressive cohesion. Engaging in both its hybridization and in its pure, singular stylistic moments, this is an album in the black metal realm that’s going to stick with me.

Mar 082017

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new EP by the Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor.)

I’m really picky when it comes to black metal as of late. I mean, I’ve always been picky, very specific about what I like to hear in any sub-genre of metal, and I have my own views about what I think works and doesn’t work musically. I’ve been on an avant-garde and progressive kick in regard to the blackened arts lately, but I also immensely enjoy straight melodic black metal that’s just fucking belligerent and relentless. Naglfar, Old Man’s Child, and Nordjevel are common staples in my black metal listening, when it’s not Dark Fortress, Khonsu, or most recently Lorn (whose new album I reviewed here).

Cirith Gorgor, Dutch blackened legionnaires, are damned good at writing scorching melodic black metal that provokes windmills and whiplash while knowing how to incorporate great, technically inclined, layered riffing that evokes that arcane sense of mystique that black metal has really leaned toward in the last few years.

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