Jun 012021
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the latest album by the UK band Evile, which was released in April by Napalm Records.)

I think the story going on with this album and band right now is pretty cool: Matt Drake stepping down from Evile due to health issues, only for his brother, who’d left the band previously to pursue other endeavors, to come back and keep the band going.

Matt and Ol Drake both worked hard on this band. Evile is undoubtedly at the absolute top of the thrash resurgence hierarchy if ever a band deserved it. Their immaculately calculated mix of technicality, precision, speed, melody, chaos, and brutality is something a lot of their contemporaries just lack in some form or another, Moreover, Matt and Ol Drake are one of the most comprehensively synergistic guitar duos in modern metal. Ol Drake is, frankly, probably the only shredder in the modern thrash metal space worth paying attention to right now.

So, considering what just happened — the Evile we knew didn’t unify; it just changed forms again with only half of the core that defined the band still present — what do they do from here?

They write the best thrash metal record of 2021, past, present, or future. Continue reading »

Apr 292021
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli returns to NCS with the following recommendation of a new album released by Chocobo Band from Italy.)

I’ve been working on a big project for the website (hence the lack of activity, but trust that I’ve been keeping up with the music), and I’ve been gaming a lot, so I had a real excuse to just sit down and listen to music. I’m currently replaying through Blasphemous (great game btw) while I check out all the albums I personally give a shit about. I wrote an article this year about the relationship and instances where video games and metal intersect, but I was covering it from the perspective of the video games including the metal and not vice versa.

Todays subject of review, Tales From Other Worlds by Chocobo Band, is the inverse. This is a group of metalheads wanting to express their love for one of the most important landmark gaming franchises of all time, and to pay fitting tribute to Nobuo Uematsu, one of music’s greatest compositional virtuosos of ALL TIME.

A proper attempt by people who understand metal covering Final Fantasy music has rarely been attempted, especially this convincingly. Sure there’s one-man cover guys on YouTube, but it’s just never the same. There is always a disconnect between Westerners’ understanding of metal and translating Japanese works into it that feels like the one covering the music just doesn’t quite “get” it. Continue reading »

Feb 152021
 

 

(We’ve already published one review of Nervosa’s new album (here), but now take the unusual step of presenting another one by long-time NCS writer TheMadIsraeli, who has pursued an unusually exhaustive approach to assessing it.)

This year I’ve decided to take an unorthodox approach to reviewing.  Any album you see me review this year, for the most part, will have been bought for money with me basing my purchase decision purely on the available singles, even when we have promos.  So far I am enjoying this odd “put my money where my curiosity is” approach to checking out music in a critical perspective on 2021. It’s also allowing me to approach metal I otherwise might not take a second glance at.

I am also trying to make a commitment to upping the quality of my writing.  A benefit to reviewing Perpetual Chaos long after it was released is it gave me the ability to assemble a full spread of materials to consume surrounding the album.  Just for this review I listened to the album ten times in a row, not counting listening in the car or as background during gaming sessions and the like.  That’s 44:30 x 10, which comes out to four hours and forty-three minutes.  I also consumed the band’s entire track-by-track video (here) and watched all four parts of the Perpetual Chaos recording documentary.

I also did a once-over pass-through of the band’s previous work, that being 2014‘s Victim Of Yourself, 2016‘s Agony, and 2018‘s Downfall Of Mankind.  I further used my sense of perfect pitch and my skills as a guitarist to learn to play every song on Perpetual Chaos so as to become immersed in the composition approach and riffing mindset of guitarist and founder Prika Amaral.  I recommend watching all of the aforementioned videos before reading my review in full.  The record also contains two surprising left-field but fantastically implemented guest appearances, with “Genocidal Command” featuring Destruction’s iconic banshee wailer Schmier, as well as Flotsam And Jetsam‘s Eric A.K. on the track “Rebel Soul”. Continue reading »

Feb 052021
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Ektomorf from Mezőkovácsháza, Hungary, which was released by Napalm Records on January 22nd.)

I plan to take a step back from doing normal reviews for the most part in the name of doing bigger more ambitious projects for the site in 2021, but I’ll definitely still be popping in to review something here and there.

I’m picking this as an initial 2021 review choice because it is actually pretty related to the project I’m currently working on for the site, but also because, with no shame, I proclaim to you now that I not only love Ektomorf, but in the world of absolute shithead aggro metal that mixes thrash, hardcore and a bit of that nu metal angst, Ektomorf are one of the absolute best at it and have been almost since their inception. Continue reading »

Jan 112021
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote the following essay, which connects two of his favorite pasttimes.)

Besides being a devoutly obsessive-compulsive audio consumer of the style of metal and all of its extremities I’m also an obsessive-compulsive consumer of interactive video games.  I have been all my life, and in a lot of the same ways as metal, video games are just as responsible for saving me from struggles with mental health issues and helping me cope with life.  I find this funny, because if one really breaks down and examines video games, especially modern ones, at their cores…

They are essentially just interactive metal. Continue reading »

Dec 312020
 

 

(Along with Andy Synn and DGR, TheMadIsraeli has been on the NCS staff the longest, and although a tough year reduced his writing, he didn’t stop listening, and here we have his 2020 year-end lists.)

This year was a tough one for me personally.  Quarantine sending the flow of time into a perpetual state of flux, my father passing away this year, and struggling against some tough times that have faced many of us, including threats of eviction, not being able to make bills, etc, this year was a brutal one to say the least.  Metal got me through it as always, but I will admit that this year I wasn’t able to be as tuned into the musical landscape as I’d have liked to be.  I still managed to encounter some releases though, and I still listened to (by my count) 170+ albums this year, although trust me when I say that for me, Andy, DGR, and Islander, that’s honestly child’s play numbers.

This will, I THINK, change going into 2021.  Things have stabilized and I honestly found a refreshed vigor in my life of heavy music with how it helped me survive this year.  I have some more ambitious projects planned or in progress, including a new Higher Criticism series set to arrive approximately by late January/early February.  Enough about all that though, let’s get to my picks this year. Continue reading »

Sep 222020
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote and packaged together this series of mini-reviews of 2020 albums he wants to recommend.)

So many albums I’m trying to catch up on and reviews I’m still trying to pump out, but I figured in the meantime I’d offer this collection of mini-reviews of albums I recommend.

STATIC-X

Static-X I think are a pretty niche band, but I personally loved their brand of dance groove industrial metal.  I thought Wayne Static was a great vocalist, and except for a couple of questionable albums, their discography was always reliably good, assuming you liked the premise of their sound.  Project: Regeneration Vol.1 is the first in a series of two albums that Wayne Static had started demo-ing prior to his death in 2014.  Helmed by the band’s OG lineup of bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay, the band decided they’d try to pay tribute to their departed friend and bandmate while doing something for the fans, and finish what he started. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Icelandic band Cult of Lilith, which was released on September 4 by Metal Blade Records.)

It’s rare any more that modern attempts at technical death metal impress.  A lot of the bands who are producing good stuff were around at least five years ago, if not longer.  So when a band come around who are complete newbies, absolute new blood, and they come out swinging with a debut that crushes the status quo of the hum-drum of bad Beneath The Massacre worship, I have to give credit where credit is due.

The thing about technical death metal that a lot of the zoomers (for lack of a better term) don’t get, is that it’s about demonstrating instrumental virtuosity while still maintaining compelling songwriting chops.  Suffocation has this, Necrophagist had this, Exocrine has this, you get the idea.  It’s hard to find technical death metal bands nowadays who write real songs with definitive elements of progression and logical structure and cohesion while also writing crazy complicated riffs or sections that push both technical skill and endurance.

That brings me to today’s subject, Icelandic upstarts Cult Of Lilith. Continue reading »

Sep 172020
 

 

(In this writeup TheMadIsraeli provides an enthusiastic recommendation of the new album by the Swedish band LIK, which will be released by Metal Blade Records on September 25th.)

For a good decade now old school Swedish death metal throwback bands have been milking a long beaten-to-death style and aesthetic until it was stripped of the ferocity and angst that gave it have its appeal to begin. Very few of these bands are good.  The style has become victimized by a corporatized sort of nostalgia aping. Instead of bands trying to do things with the style that are forward-thinking or… dare I suggest it… trying to write actually captivating songs full of killer riffs, killer melodies, and a powerful unhinged vocal front, a lot of the music just feels really cynical and pandering.

LIK aren’t one of those bands.  As a matter of fact, I would tell you that since their debut Mass Funeral Invocation in 2015, they have become one of the very few old school Swedish death metal bands that are worth your time.  They have passion, brutality, technicality, drama, and a deep respect for the roots of their sound that so many bands that do this shit just do not have. Continue reading »

Sep 162020
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the forthcoming third album by the Swedish band Repuked, set for release on October 9th by Soulseller Records.)

One of my favorite death metal bands of all time are Austrian grime lords Pungent Stench.  They were a band who were all about writing some of the most grotesque, shamelessly filthy, and perverse death metal possible from both a lyrical and sonic standpoint.  They had a sound that was really all their own. Bands tried to imitate them, but no one has ever quite reaped their influence and managed to make it work well.  I always felt they were kind of the next step up from legendary death masters Autopsy, an evolution.

Repuked is the equivalent to that in relation to Pungent Stench.  A lot of things about their sound line up the same way.  Super-grimy, sludgy, yet buzzsaw guitars, a dedication to a mixture of doom, D-beat and atonal fast-as-fuck viciousness combined with a love of absolutely perverse over-the-top lyrical subject matter.  They offer a kind of death metal that is pretty hard to come by nowadays, the shit that is all about reveling in the darkest aspects of the genre.  Dawn Of Reintoxication, the band’s upcoming record, is quite possibly the most disgustingly impactful brutal death metal record of the whole year. Continue reading »