Oct 102019
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli introduces our premiere of the new EP by the Norwegian band Fleshmeadow, which will be released via Bandcamp on October 11th.)

I try to avoid hyperbolic statements about how a new or new-ish band to the scene are paving the way for their style or how they’re the sickest fucking thing I’ve heard in forever, but Fleshmeadow are one of those bands to me.

I reviewed and we premiered the band’s debut album Umbra back in 2016‘s final days, and it was one of my favorite records that came out that year.  Their uncanny mastery of technical black metal mixed with touches of ritualistic death metal and a bit of deathgrind really hit a note in my soul that screamed with feral ecstasy.  I’ve listened to Umbra regularly since I discovered it and have eagerly awaited what I would hear next from these blasphemous Norwegian carnage mongers. Continue reading »

Oct 032019
 

 

(Accompanied by a full stream of the album, this is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the Swedish band In Mourning, which will be released on October 4th by Agonia Records.)

I’m kind of in a strange place when it comes to In Mourning. As far as melodic death metal goes, they are one of the genre’s best exports and one of the best bands of the style in a modern era extremely lacking in such. However, I feel that with the band’s last record, Afterglow, they started to make a very deliberate departure from what defined them and revealed an interest in expanding their horizons. I loved Afterglow, but it became impossible not to notice the band engaging in a little more ’70s prog death, and adopting some black metal and more post-y elements into their sound. In Mourning aren’t what I first looked to them for any more, not that that’s at all a bad thing, but the new path they are treading feels like it’s a work in progress.

That isn’t to say the band’s new album Garden Of Storms isn’t good. It’s fantastic, and it’s a super step up from Afterglow in just about every way, but it also definitively signifies that the band are done with their take on the doom-driven melodic death metal style and want to be more of an amorphous progressive band with a death metal foundation. Continue reading »

Oct 032019
 

 

(In the penultimate installment of a series devoted to a retrospective chronological analysis of the discography of Slayer, today TheMadIsraeli addresses the band’s last album, 2015’s Repentless. Links to all preceding segments of the series are at the end of the writing.)

After the absolute disappointment of World Painted Blood, Slayer would undergo a massive tectonic shift upon the death of founding member, guitarist, and key song-writer Jeff Hanneman.

This was a tragedy to be sure. Hanneman was responsible for many of the band’s best songs and he was a half ‘n’ half of a song-writing duo with Kerry King.  There were obviously concerns among fans that any future material would be heavily impacted by his absence. A lot of people at the time claimed Slayer should just hang it up, with a solid enough catalogue to go out on, and despite my feelings on World Painted Blood I agreed at the time.

I think on some level though, they knew World Painted Blood was a bad move, because the band’s final album Repentless may be unapologetic in its core message as a record, but it is definite repentance for the album that came before it. Continue reading »

Oct 022019
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli has reached an ugly point in his chronological series on the discography of Slayer, with the subject now being the band’s 2009 album World Painted Blood. Links to previous installments in the series are at the end of this post.)

World Painted Blood was heavily marketed as a “return to form”, a throwback album to Slayer’s glory days, and the fanbase seemed to eat the PR campaign for this album the fuck up.  Lots of music journos at the time heaped endless praise onto this album. I was excited for this record, because while I had enjoyed Slayer’s more modern direction I had faith the band could reproduce something as good as Reign In Blood or South Of Heaven.  I pre-ordered the album, received my copy, popped it in and began listening.

I wish I could get that money and time back. Continue reading »

Oct 012019
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli continues his retrospective chronological analysis of the discography of Slayer, moving into the band’s 2006 album Christ Illusion, which saw the return of Dave Lombardo.)

So after two albums that proved rather controversial, I think a lot of the fans displeased with Diabolus In Musica and God Hates Us All suspected the band would go back to doing the old sound that they were attached to.  But I think those people were in a minority, especially naysayers of God Hates Us All, where we can see in hindsight that quite a big swath of the Slayer fanbase likes the album.  And in any event Christ Illusion was Slayer digging their heels into their new thrash-meets-metallic-hardcore direction with renewed vigor, but with a dialing back of the modernity in favor of something much more ’80s and ’90s slanted.

Christ Illusion is one of my favorite Slayer albums, and I think it’s the last great album the band made. Continue reading »

Sep 302019
 

 

(Forging ahead with a series devoted to a retrospective chronological analysis of the discography of Slayer, today TheMadIsraeli has made his way to the band’s 2001 album God Hates Us All. Links to all preceding segments of the series are at the end of the writing.)

God Hates Us All is a great album.  If you disagree, you’re wrong.  If you are the type to make assertions that it’s nu-metal or Slipknot-esque, wrong again.  If you disagree that this is the most brutal and unrelenting Slayer have been in their entire career (yes really) you are wrong one more time.

You can dislike the more personally grounded lyrics and the degree of profanity, sure, but no sane person who likes metal should dislike the music itself, and if you once did, maybe it’s time to revisit and reconsider.  God Hates Us All is about the most bitter, belligerent, and intense album the band have ever written.  It certainly isn’t their best, but it’s a fantastic record with an uncompromising dedication to being as violent and oppressive as possible, and I love it for that.  Tom Araya has never sounded better than on this album, and it includes some of the band’s best material, period. Continue reading »

Sep 272019
 

 

(This is the ninth installment in a series by TheMadIsraeli devoted to a retrospective chronological analysis of the discography of Slayer, and today’s subject is the band’s 1998 album Diabolus In Musica. Links to the preceding installments are at the end of this post.)

While people point to God Hates Us All quite often, I’ve always felt that the real black sheep in Slayer’s body of work (even more so than the album covered yesterday) is this album right here, new logo and all.

I actually have a soft spot for Diabolus In Musica. I like MOST of it.  It has some awful songs, but the good songs on it are VERY good.  What I respect first and foremost about this album is just Slayer’s willingness to try new things.  I will say, the fact that the album plays to the particular bents it does shouldn’t be a huge surprise, looking at the band’s preceding discography. Continue reading »

Sep 262019
 

 

(The Dutch black metal band Asagraum released their second album digitally on September 13th and Edged Circle Productions  will release physical editions on September 27th. What follows is a review of it by TheMadIsraeli.)

Over the last few years I’ve really made a turn-around on black metal as a style and have come to love it, but I’ve only settled on a particular bent. It has to really engage in that very meta-spiritual vibe of melancholic and enigmatic melody while retaining a sense of brutality and mercilessness.  This has led me to more concise, more  “lean” (for the lack of a better word) riff-driven black metal like Old Man’s Child, Nidingr, Naglfar, Dark Fortress, and so on.  I like my black metal to definitely strive for peak musicianship, instead of relying on the gimmicks and the edginess the style sort of has a reputation for.  If you can channel the sensation that your music is an attempt at invoking some kind of ritual or summoning, then that’s even better.  That’s the sort of ritualistic take on black metal I’m very fond of.

Which brings me to Asagraum. Continue reading »

Sep 262019
 

 

(This is the eighth installment in an extensive series of posts by TheMadIsraeli devoted to a retrospective analysis of the discography of Slayer, and today’s subject is the band’s 1994 album Divine Intervention. Links to the preceding installments are at the end of this post. Our plan is to continue posting the remaining Parts on a daily basis until the series is completed.)

I’ve always perceived Divine Intervention as Slayer’s black sheep sort of release.  It’s an odd album to be sure, seeing Slayer write more tempo-complex songs, explore more death metal sorts of sounds, and adopt some of the other sounds they themselves had inspired in others.

But I like Divine Intervention quite a bit.  It’s weird, and Slayer have always been pretty good about being weird the few times they’ve done it.  There’s something unhinged about this album, and that lines up with a lot of the really bleak and depraved lyrical content.  There’s a lot of shit about serial killers on this album, and the album SOUNDS like the subject matter it addresses.  It’s sick.  It also helps that Tom Araya just sounds PISSED on this record, a tonality he’s never had before. He also sounds unhinged. Continue reading »

Sep 252019
 

 

(This is the seventh installment in an extensive series of posts by TheMadIsraeli devoted to a retrospective analysis of the discography of Slayer, and today’s subject is the band’s 1990 album Seasons In the Abyss. Links to the preceding installments are at the end of this post. Our plan is to continue posting the remaining Parts on a daily basis until the series is completed.)

If you had asked me five years ago or more, I would’ve told you that Seasons In The Abyss is my favorite Slayer album, and the best of them all.  Nowadays, frankly, I look back on it with some fondness but I also wonder what I was smoking.

Seasons… has some of Slayer’s best SONGS for sure, but as an album it’s extremely uneven. It finds the band for the first time re-treading old ground in an uninspired manner and suffers from an awful mix, even by the varied degrees of Slayer. Continue reading »