Aug 142018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Finland’s Mors Subita, which was released by Inverse Records on April 6th of this year.)

Mors Subita are a peculiar band to me, but one that scratch a lot of itches. While they’ve always embodied everything great about energetic, riff-driven European melodic death metal might, their embracing of the more metalcore elements of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal bands like Chimaira, Lamb Of God, etc., has always caused them to stand apart from a lot of their current peers. These guys love the ’90s and early 2000s at their core, which resonates with me considering that a lot of my favorite metal in my formative listening years came from those eras.

The thing is, this Soilwork-meets-Chimaira-ism of Mors Subita produces some pretty compelling, consistently driving piston-pressure metal that includes the epic melodic scope and guitar work of melodic death metal as well as the beefy sense of groove and emotive sensibilities of their metalcore influences.  It’s junk food metal at its purest and finest, and I mean that as no insult whatsoever.  Into The Pitch Black is one of the year’s best records in my book, both addictive and engrossing. Continue reading »

Aug 122018
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new third album by the French death metal band Exocrine, which will be released by Unique Leader Records on August 17.)

There’s a sort of hyper-manic, throw-in-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink school of death metal that, while adopted by few bands, has always been really appealing to me. The main two bands I think of when this approach comes to mind are the legendary hydro-grinders Cephalic Carnage and Cattle Decapitation since their reinvention, starting at Monolith Of Inhumanity. Cephalic Carnage have been out of the album-release game a long time especially, and I feel like they’re a definitely missed icon in extreme metal right now.

Exocrine, however, appear to be a band who’ve been working on usurping the throne of the legendary progressive technical death/grind behemoths by not only doing a convincing spin on the band’s sound, but taking the template Cephalic established and propelling it to an over-the-top extreme. Continue reading »

Aug 102018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the second album by the Finnish band Paara, released this past February by ViciSolum Productions.)

I personally feel like 2018‘s black metal game has been a bit lacking compared to 2017, which was a pretty stellar year.  Yeah, there’s been Horizon Ablaze and Shining, both two of the best albums of the whole year for sure, but at least for me my perusing for black metal has mostly turned up disappointing results — typical blatant first- and second-wave worship that drags on with repetition, horrible mixes, awful vocalists, relying on the novelty of the genre’s beginnings. For me, black metal is one of the most exhausting genres to explore because SO MUCH of it sounds the same and fails to pay tribute to the best aspects and results of the style.

Paara, on the other hand, is a very pleasant discovery. Continue reading »

Aug 092018
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli returns to us after a hiatus with this review of the new album by Brood of Hatred, which was released on May 4th.)

I’ve returned from the abyss, and I’ve brought some artifacts from within.  Extreme metal with a melancholic slant has really been my jam this year. I loved the Barren Earth record, Horizon Ablaze delivered a titanic serving of despair and ferocity, and Obscura have released their best record to date, which incidentally in my mind also happened to be their most lamenting, melancholic release yet, while still being brutal, fast, and technical.  So, my first review returning is well… another offering on the morose melodic tilt. Continue reading »

May 042018
 

 

(Here are brief reviews by TheMadIsraeli of three 2018 black metal albums that have caught his ear.)

I’ve been busy with life, but it doesn’t mean my metal consumption has slowed down.  Let’s talk about some killer black metal that’s come out this year thus far. While the number of great black metal albums this year has been smaller than in 2017 in my mind, what has come around is top-tier and I’ve picked a pretty diverse selection of three very good records.

INFESTUM

Infestum are long-running, but for those still unaware, this Belarusian band play a style of riffy, technical, tight, and concise black metal in the vein of say, Keep Of Kalessin or Old Man’s Child, with a hint of Vader. Les Rites De Passage is a fantastic record with some diverse song-writing thanks to a very Khonsu-esque sense of industrial inclusions. The riffs of Infestum are top-notch, with a pristine sense of phrasing and drama combined with a very esoteric style of melody that I quite enjoy and vocals that definitely will bring ex-KOK vocalist Thebon to mind. Continue reading »

Apr 242018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Berlin-based band Age of Arcadia.)

All of my reviews this year are probably going to come some time after an album’s release.  I’m really looking to emphasize what sticks with me long-term, that just won’t let me go no matter what.  Today I want to talk about a band who’s gone very much under the radar, shamefully so, whose debut is quite possibly one of the best thrash albums ever conceived in the 2010‘s.

Age Of Arcadia are from Germany, but their music at least on this album has a very pronounced Hellenistic thematic approach, based on the song titles, lyrical content, and album art, while musically capturing the mythic titanic might of Greek mythology.  Their debut Eleysis (Έλευσις) is one of the best albums I’ve encountered this year so far, although it’s technically a re-release according to the band despite the fact I can find no record of any previous releases. Continue reading »

Apr 022018
 

 

(The fourth album by Finland’s Barren Earth was releasd by Century Media on March 30, and TheMadIsraeli gives it a very positive review here.)

 

What IS metal exactly? Or rather, what is metal as expressed on a metaphysical level? I’ve always felt that metal is consistently the expression of the beauty, the angst, and maybe the anger that come with the nihilistic realities of life. This powerful music exists as a product of man’s attempts to transcend the complacent, but also to lash out at those who are comfortable with the mundane, or even worse, who seek to enslave or oppress others to maintain their mundane complacency and to satisfy their own whims. In a sense, life should ultimately be beautiful, and the truest anger and despair is directed at that which seeks to prevent, snuff out, or degrade that beauty however nebulous it may be.

Barren Earth have always been a band who’ve followed very intensely in the footsteps of one of my musical heroes, Dan Swanö. Their music is dedicated to a nihilistic fusion of past, present, and future metallic complexity and bite, ’70s progressive melodic ambitions, and a sense of despair and anger that seems timeless, future-bound forevermore. Continue reading »

Mar 212018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new 10th album by Swedish stalwarts The Crown, which was released by Metal Blade on March 16th.)

Look at that fucking gorgeous cover art….

The Crown is a band that should be a go-to staple for any true hot-blooded metalhead. The band’s iconic blend of thrash, melodic death, death’n’roll, and straight death metal has been distinctive and, in this writer’s opinion, never really equaled. Johan Lindstrand has one of the most unique bestial voices in metal, the very materialization of a priest turned psychopath, preaching sermons of death and sickness. Marko Tervonen’s riffs feel like getting grenades lobbed at you constantly while you sprint for your life.

I’ve also always felt that over a long stretch of years The Crown have managed to release a pretty consistently baller discography. I don’t think you can classify a single album of theirs as mediocre, or even only “pretty good”. They have set a high standard… but have somehow surmounted it with this latest release. Continue reading »

Feb 162018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Seattle-based Stealing Axion, which was released on February 13 and is available now on Bandcamp.)

 

Stealing Axion appeared for all intents and purposes finished once the band announced a more-than-likely-to-be-permanent hiatus after the release of the phenomenal Aeons, an album that was one of my absolute favorites of 2014. Ever since their debut EP, I’ve been a devoted and avid fan of the band’s unique blend of progressive metal song structuring, death metal vocal approach, and Meshuggah/Textures-inspired angular rhythmic and melodic strategies. They became one of my favorite bands to emerge from the 2010‘s, a hallmark of what new-age meets old-school transcendent genius sounds like. I guess I’m really hamming it the fuck up here, but I do adore this band.

Stealing Axion announced last year that they would continue without vocalist/guitarist Josh DeShazo, with no real news to speak of after that. As it turns out, Josh DeShazo ended up rejoining the band, and Eternities is a four-song EP born from this reunion. It brings back everything about this band that made them great. Eternities isn’t particularly ground breaking, nor does it see the band exploring new territory per se, but it is definitely a mish-mash of the more energetic direction of the debut Moments combined with the introspective melancholic approach of Aeons, one that forecasts a direction for a future release that I’m eager to hear. Continue reading »

Feb 072018
 

 

(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the UK’s Bloodshot Dawn, which was released on January 12, 2018.)

 

Bloodshot Dawn as a concept was at an existential crossroads after everyone but frontman, founder, and guitarist Josh McMorran left the band. The departure that hurt most, though, was that of lead guitarist and co-writer Benjamin Ellis, who went on to join Scar Symmetry. I would have to imagine that there was some hesitancy on McMorran’s part about continuing on; the lineup, while only two albums old, had already become iconic in the underground, and the sound of Bloodshot Dawn had already established in definitive terms. Combine this with Demons becoming an extremely successful sophomore record that garnered them lots of acclaim, and I think the idea of trying to continue would have been intimidating.

But McMorran, not content to hang it up, decided to push forward. The new lineup now consists of guitarist/vocalist Morgan Reid, bassist Giacomo Gastaldi, and Vader drummer James Stewart. Now, in Reanimation, we have Bloodshot Dawn’s first offering since this new lineup formed, and of course the question is, how does it stack up against the band’s previous output? Continue reading »