Oct 162018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Aborted, which Century Media released on September 21st.)

Aborted have evolved in quite a fascinating way over the years.  They are, in my mind, one of death metal’s most essential bands, especially in the brand of more chaotic, panicky, fast-as-fuck brutality, and they have developed a pretty diverse discography as they’ve moved from album to album.  The MOST interesting thing about Aborted, though, was how a band whose only original member is the vocalist and almost couldn’t seem to keep a steady song-writer or writers for more than a single album, finally succeeded in cementing not only a definitive sound but also one that’s paid off in dividends ever since Global Flatline.

They did that by locking in a song-writer and guitar virtuoso in the person of Mendel bij de Leij, who was dedicated to preserving a previous sonic direction for Aborted, a first for the band.  Believe it or not, until Global Flatline, Aborted  underwent a change in both guitar players every other album, with one always getting changed out in every album. And that’s not counting the rotating gallery of drummers and bassists the band has had.

Mendel wasn’t in Aborted when Global Flatline came out, but I think it’s pretty cool that he’s helped steer the band toward preserving a sound, rather than writing an entirely different type of album again, especially since what Aborted are doing now is pretty multi-faceted.  I’m sure, though, that vocalist and only remaining founding member Sven de Caluwé has also steered the direction toward this more focused sound as well. Continue reading »

Sep 142018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the multinational collective Sinsaenum, which was released last month.)

Sinsaenum is a weird band, in the sense that I think supergroups usually end up being failures, but Sinsaenum are not.  The music they write is good, but they also serve as a case study for one of the bigger problems that comes from forming a supergroup in the extreme metal world:  When the membership of a supergroup is diverse, and when efforts are made for each member’s background to be represented sonically, that can lead to albums that are… fragmented, to say the least.

Sinsaenum, the brainchild of Joey Jordison and Frédéric Leclercq, boasts alumni and current members of Dragonforce, Mayhem, Dååth, and Slipknot, just to rattle off the big names, and their new album sounds like they don’t know what they want to be, even if the resulting product is still in my mind fairly excellent.

The thing is, even the fragmented, stylistically inconsistent nature of Repulsion For Humanity isn’t even consistent. Among the various pure death metal metal, pure black metal, and straight-up groove and nu-metal-bordering tracks on the album, there is a blackened death metal mix on songs in the latter part of the album that very distinctly stands out, and sounds like something the band could make an identity out of. I enjoy all of this album, but I have no doubt that many people will have a hard time finding a baseline to dial into. If there is one, it’s on those latter tracks. Continue reading »

Aug 222018
 

 

(Our Rearview Mirror series, which used to be an NCS fixture on Sundays, has been eclipsed by black metal, but has been temporarily revived today as a vehicle for this retrospective by TheMadIsraeli.)

This is one of my favorite albums of all time.  I’ve never heard anything like it, not before it and not after it.  Nu metal was a weird, kooky-ass genre but it produced some gems, and this is one of them. For me personally, this is probably the best record ever made during nu metal’s reign.  The passion and the weird inter-sectional nature of the elements involved made this album, for me, basically perfect.

American Head Charge themselves are a weird band, releasing a 1999 debut (an underground, very rare release that mostly had songs from this album with much worse production and less fleshed-out sounds), this album where they hit an unreal stride, followed by a detour into just… kind of plain nu metal.  I’m not sure why they didn’t continue what they did on this album; it’s a mystery that bugs me to this day, but I genuinely do believe that The War Of Art is one of the best albums made in metal’s history, in addition to being the best of its entire sub-genre. Yeah, I said it. Continue reading »

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 »