Oct 272015



(TheMadIsraeli returns to NCS with reviews of 2015 albums by two instrumental maestros — Mendel Bij De Leij and Paul Wardingham.)

Of the instrumental metal albums I’ve listened to this year, these two are definitely the top tier out of the bunch so far. There will be more multi-album reviews coming, in the spirit of clearing the way for the super big/important releases I’m also stoked about.


Mendel is one of the most enjoyable instrumental metal listens you can partake of next to Jeff Loomis right now. Part Yngwie, part death metal, and all regality, Oblivion is an interesting listen that is so full of ideas it can also be rather exhausting — but in a good way. Continue reading »

Apr 222015


(TheMadIsraeli introduces our premiere of another new song from the forthcoming album by Mendel, the solo project of Aborted guitarist Mendel Bij de Leij.)

Time to serve up another tasty morsel courtesy of Mendel. His new album Oblivion is coming soon and it’ll blow you away. We premiered the first single “Discover” earlier (here), and now we bring you the second track, “Horizon”.

This song is more of a display of Mendel’s riff-writing capability. This song lacks any notable lead playing, and instead is a technical riff showcase. There IS a solo in this song, but it’s a sax solo and it fits quite nicely with what he’s got going on. Let us know what you think. Continue reading »

Apr 132015


(TheMadIsraeli introduces our premiere of a song from the new album by Mendel, the solo project of Aborted guitarist Mendel Bij de Leij.)

Mendel, as some of you may be aware, is Aborted’s current lead guitarist.  For a while now, he’s also been doing guitar-centric instrumental solo material that is quite good, and for me has been elevating him into the ranks of players like Jeff Loomis and Paul Wardingham.  He plays a purely neoclassical style of metal drenched entirely in modern aesthetic, which puts a new spin on this approach to guitar exhibitionism.

The guy not only has chops, he has phrasing, borderline poetic, and knows how to write a central motif unlike many others I’ve ever heard.  His new album Oblivion will be released May 17th, and we’ll be streaming it on or before that date.  Today, I’m presenting the first single, the album’s opener “Discover”. Continue reading »

Feb 022014

(TheMadIsraeli wrote this review.)

Mendel Bij de Leij, or simply Mendel (to use his musical output moniker), is currently doing the heavy-lifting ax duties for Aborted.  I mention this because his solo musical endeavors show a completely different side of this Dutch guitar virtuoso’s musical palette.  When Mendel isn’t cranking out the death metal riffage with Aborted, he likes to spend his time composing instrumental metal of a heavily neo-classical variety.  Mendel’s sound may be metal, but his sense of composition is heavily rooted in both the Baroque and Romantic periods.  While the songwriting itself and the melodic character is Romantic, Mendel fully epitomizes Baroque’s tendency for pure unadulterated excess.  This is very true for the music contained on Shaking Hands with the Devil/Subliminal Colors.  Breathing room is an extreme rarity, and there are often layers of three to four guitar tracks present when the need arises, which is quite often.

This is a guitar album, make no mistake about it.  As a showcase of Mendel’s instrumental skill, as well as his songwriting talent, it’s mind-blowing to me.  Other than Mendel, only Jeff Loomis and Keith Merrow are making instrumental extreme metal this exciting to listen to.  The neo-classical leanings are conveyed through a combination of thrash, melodic death metal, some Meshuggah-esque, jarring, syncopated grooves, and a lot of solos.  The music on this album is pretty consistent, which also is to say that if you’re expecting a flagrant display of diversity wank, then this isn’t the album you want to hear.  It’s pure, utterly bathed in its influences, and does little to stretch those boundaries, which is perfect.  Not one song is bad across these sixteen songs, not one solo is uninteresting to listen to, and that’s true even of “Absolution”, the twenty-five-minute closer. Continue reading »

May 202013

I concede that I may get more excited about metal on a daily basis than most fans because my tastes are perhaps more wide-ranging than average. The diversity of metal is one of its great attractions to me, and so today I’ve gotten excited about the three items in this post that are dramatically different from each other. As the French say, Vive la différence.

This post includes two new songs (one captured on video) and one new video for a song released earlier this year. The bands are A.M.S.G. (Canada), Dreamshade (Switzerland), and Mendel (The Netherlands).


A.M.S.G. (“Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam”) are a “Holocaustik Canadian Terrorist Black Metal” band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. If you couldn’t guess already, they are not your friend.

The mastermind behind A.S.M.G. is Angelfukk Witchhammer, a member of Gloria Diaboli as well as the now-defunct Rites Of Thy Degringolade and Ouroboros, and the band also includes drummer Kaos Abhorrer. I happened upon them last fall and reviewed (here) their 2010 EP, The Principle Of Evil Becomes The Ideal Of The Promethean, which I liked a lot. Continue reading »

Aug 062012

I didn’t hear all the songs in this post today, because my nuts are clamped in a day-job vise and I’m spending more time squirming with the agony than I am listening to new music. Actually, that’s been true since Friday. But even though my listening time has been viciously pinched, I have heard some tunes over the last three days that I wanted to pass along — from Norska (U.S.), Obscenity (Germany), and Mendel (The Netherlands).


About two weeks ago I came across the name of this band for the first time (and mentioned them in this post) because they were listed as participating in a new tour headlined by YOB and also featuring Cormorant. What I knew about them then (which was not much) I put in that earlier post: “Norska features YOB bass player Aaron Rieseberg and his brother Dustin and is described as a ‘progressive tech-sludge rock band.’”

Well, guess what? Today, MetalSucks premiered a song from Norska’s self-titled debut album, which is due for release on September 18 by Brutal Panda. The song is called “Nobody One Knows”, and man, I’m diggin’ it. Listening is like being beaten . . . slowly . . . with sledgehammers . . . wielded by a crew that’s staggering relentlessly toward the brink of insanity. Continue reading »