Acheron — Those Who Have Risen (1998)

09.11.2008  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Ser Berg :. Нет мнений >

Стиль: Satanic Doom Metal with touch of heavy metal
Музыка: 4,0/6; Стильность: 4,5/6; Впечатление: 4,5/6; Общая: 4,4/6
Общая оценка подсчитывается по формуле: sqr((музыка+стильность)*впечатление/2)

Вот что мне всегда нравилось в музыкальном оплоте сатанизма лавеевского толка ACHERON, начиная с их дебютного альбома 1992 года, так это то, что их музыка всегда естественна, лаконична, идет, что называется, от души, имеет идейно-композиционную законченность: музыкальные линии и темы, построение композиций, гармонии, исполнение — все это сделано без натуги, без лишних деталей, без надуманно-завернутых поворотов и наворотов и при этом никогда не создается ощущение, что их композиции явились результатом мучительных творческих поисков. Поэтому слушать их всегда легко и приятно.

Вообще мне кажется, что компания, состав которой менялся от альбома к альбому, но неизменно возглавляемая преподобным Vincent’ом Crowley, через свою музыку и лирику доносит до слушателя лавеевские идеи и заповеди более убедительно, чем многие black metal группы, априори олицетворяющие своим творчеством сатанизм, одинизм, язычество, борьбу с христианством и т.п. взгляды и убеждения.

Что касается последнего альбома американцев, то на нем они продолжают развивать линию Satanic Doom Metal, начатую на мини-альбоме «Satanic Victory» 1994 года — таким образом, группа окончательно ушла от death metal составляющей своей музыки, которая была доминирующей на 1-ом альбоме «Rites Of Black Mass» 1992 г. и равноправной с думовой во 2-ом полноразмерном альбоме «Lex Talionis» 1994 г.

Основные характеристики музыки ACHERON 1998 г. — простые, но убедительные музыкальные темы со своим мелодическим и ритмическим рисунком для каждой песни, сочетание в большинстве композиций размытой куплетной формы и наличия нескольких взаимосвязанно развивающихся тем (в частности, прием с возвратом к основным темам и их повторы по ходу песни) , тяжеловесные гитарные риффы, имеющие CANDLEMASS’овские и Old-CELTIC FROST’овские корни, торжественные клавишные, часто проводящие темы в унисон с гитарами и (реже) с вокалом, неторопливый размеренный темп, возросшее время, отведенное под захватывающие, затяжные, иногда сделанные не к месту, но обязательные в каждой песне heavу metal соло лидер-гитары, мощный и грозный growl-бас Crowley, четко и акцентированно передающий лирику, злобный хрипло-визгливый back-вокал, иногда идущий в дуэте с основным.

Конечно, музыка стала менее тяжелой, менее выразительной, менее злобной, чем в 1992 — 1994 гг. Ритуальные интро с речитативными проповедями Кроули перед каждой песней куда-то исчезли — вместо них затянутое и монотонное клавишное вступление ко всему альбому. Ну и естественно таких хитов, как «Seven Deadly Sins», «666», «Ave Satanas», «Voices Within» или «Purification Day», которые по прошествии стольких лет до сих пор не выветрились из моей памяти, на этом альбоме не услышишь — в этом плане ACHERON, по-моему, выдохся. Но несмотря на все это, группа по-прежнему гнет свою индивидуальную линию, не занимаясь подражательством и плагиатом.

P.S. Взгляды и положения Церкви Сатаны Ла Вея мне равнодушны — для меня на первом месте музыка..

Написано: 1998-1999 гг.

Tetsuo — Malmohrahkign (2004)

17.06.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Andrey Kugaevskiy :. Нет мнений >

The year 2004 was a pretty ambiguous one for the metalcore and hardcore scenes. In this case, I am using the term «hardcore» to mean modern -core bands ranging from Bane to Hatebreed; not the brainless three-chord twenty-year old stuff which is still being barfed out by «old-timers» and scenesters whose musical development came to a halt a lo-o-ong time ago. On the one hand, an unprecedented number of releases were issued by bands well-known in the extreme music scene, from Zao to ISIS. On the other hand, most of these releases turned out to be meaningless, and seemingly purposeless.

Прочесть полностью >

Exploding Meth Lab — Supplicant (2005)

03.06.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

Only in the fertile grind-gardens of Virginia can one expect to uncover a noise project that claims the likes of Merzbow and The Gerogerogegege as influences. Enter Exploding Meth Lab, a duo whose members were previously affiliated with such acts as Enemy Soil, Blower, and The Index. After one listen, it becomes obvious that EML has effectively transcended such genre tags as «harsh electronic noise» and «power electronics» (and whatever else the art students are listening to these days). Forgive my penchant for alliteration, but «Supplicant» is best described as an eight-minute mind massacre that drops megaton blasts of free-form static over semi-musical passages and swirling interference patterns. Occasional death-belches rise to mark key moments in this cacophonous firestorm, but EML keeps the distinctly «human» elements to a minimum. For added effect, samples from the speeches of L. Ron Hubbard are littered throughout the mix to lend a sense of contextual eeriness that is incredibly stark and unsettling.

While my sharp criticism of Fantomas’ Delirium Cordia may have suggested that I.m not a fan of avant-garde sound experiments, I can certainly appreciate EML’s forays into said territory. Where Patton and Co. seemed to be coaxing their way into listeners. heads (before raping them from within), EML cuts the sweet talk and jumps straight to the sodomy. For more info, e-mail Mason at: mcarlton8174[AT]netzero.net

Indigent — Indigent (2004)

20.02.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

One-man projects can be difficult to review, as determining their legitimacy is a bit of a task. While most reviewers would make a sharp distinction between self-accompanied recordings and group efforts, there are some artists who do much to obscure such definitions. For instance, take The Thrones. Despite being anchored on the heels of a single musician, this is one project that effectively took on a life of its own. Through the use of multiple backing tracks, its progenitor was able to rehearse, record, and even tour without any outside intervention. Other examples abound, but the bottom line is that many true solo projects are every bit as convincing (in the studio, at least) as those which employ a more traditional line up.

It is here that Indigent enters the picture. Fronted (and self-accompanied) by one Richard Tomsett, this is one of those projects that deserves a lot of credit. Tomsett has taken some of the more rudimentary aspects of blackened death metal and sanded down the rough edges to produce five songs that are brutal, yet strangely accessible. The latter adjective may raise a few eyebrows, as most of the genre’s practitioners have garnered a reputation for punishing (rather than comforting) the listener. But strangely enough, the songs on this disc induce more contemplation than sensory overload. Opener Disgust features some nice chord suspensions which gradually become infused with more straightforward (and sometimes groove-laden) progressions. The result is a track which does much to put Indigent a step ahead of the pack in terms of maturity and (perhaps) even originality. Picture follows in a similar fashion, but with a certain attention to detail on the percussion tracks that might elude the less meticulous listener. The initial bass line of Poison suggests the same technical framework that graces most of the tracks on this disc, with interplay between the guitar and drum tracks that harkens back to Chuck Schuldiner’s earlier days. The remaining cuts follow in much the same fashion, although I tend to think that Tomsett goes a bit overboard with the cheesy Euro-melodies on Mirror and Dust. However, my gripe with these tracks is really just a matter of personal taste. I’m one of those folks who happens to be bored with the shamelessly cliched formulas that taint all but a few members of the so-called melodic death metal scene, and getting around my bias is no easy task. But in the end, I will be looking forward to Richard Tomsett’s future exploits. The last time I checked, a fairly informative website was available at http://www.indigent.co.uk. Be sure to look it up.

Nova Lex — Resurgenic (2004)

20.02.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

Touting themselves as a progressive industrial death metal duo, New York’s Nova Lex can at least take pride in their strong sense of ambition. Only time will tell whether it leads them to greater artistic accomplishment, but I have to admit that this EP excels in many areas that haven’t been touched by their peers. The most striking feature they are bringing to the table is their willingness to experiment with different vocal styles. Not content to settle for the usual death growls interspersed with clean operatic sections, this band prefers to balance their infernal grunts with weird 80’s progressive pop sensibilities (think Soft Cell or Depeche Mode), thus creating an atmosphere that is almost disturbing in its uniqueness.

In the course of listening to this disc, it became apparent to me that Nova Lex will likely draw as much contempt as adoration for the simple fact that they are marching to their own beat. While their approach isn’t as heavy or complex as many of prog metal’s frontrunners, it is distinctive and (above all) interesting. When one considers the powerful melodies that make up a song like Internal Truth against this scene’s most recent offerings, it’s hard to even count Nova Lex as a band that occupies the same territory. These guys aren’t playing it safe by any means, and it’s unfortunate that they will be overlooked by those who just don t get it. If you happen to be one of those prog metal fans (and there aren’t many of you) who can rise above the trends that have been imposed upon you, then Nova Lex is a band that might just change your musical limits. But if you think that Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, and Symphony X are the only bands who have successfully melded heaviness with melodic sensibility there was never much hope for you in the first place.

Just in case all this talk of strong vocals and melodic structure have alienated some of you, let it be known that tracks six through nine of this disc are extended forays into the depths of experimentation and ambience the likes of which will provide a nice backdrop for your next contemplative excursion or suicide attempt (whichever comes first). Get in touch at http://www.testingpointrecords.com to find out what you’ve been missing.

Hutt — Sessao Descarrego (2004)

20.02.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

It’s not likely that my review of Hutt’s self-titled 2003 release left anything up for interpretation. While impressed with their barbaric approach to the sacred art of grind, I have to admit that their penchant for hyper-speed rhythms and low-end guitars was pretty much par for the course. A good number of bands follow in this tradition, most of which succeed in maintaining the genre’s legitimacy without breaking any new ground. It is here that Hutt enters the picture, with Sessao Des Carrego proving that they can hold their own among the more established acts while surpassing the unrepentant clones.

The musicianship here is tight and professional, but without the polish that tends to emasculate others of their ilk. In fact, what I m finding most impressive about this disc is its rawness. The grindcore genre is rife with bands who take its more primitive aspects to ridiculous extremes, and I m glad to say that Hutt resides in different waters. Every riff and drum fill is sharp and discernable, even while immersed in a sea of speed and distortion.

Among the disc’s highlights are the pulverizing HC-style breakdowns of Dia Normal and Quem Ama Espanca, the seemingly alienated melody of Cabelo De Jabu, and the Carcass-inflected sadism of Toxico E Logico. The horror theme of this album is another plus, as many of the sound samples play off the campier aspects of said films. In the end, all but the most jaded of grindcore purists will find something noteworthy in this band.

Potential Threat SF — 2002 Demo (2002)

02.02.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

From what I can ascertain, San Francisco’s Potential Threat SF is a trio of thrash fanatics whose original line-up materialized in 1985. Despite their persistence over the past 19 years, little (if any) recognition has come of their efforts. Rather than proceeding to blast these guys into oblivion (which is what I’m inclined to do), I ve decided that an exercise in positive thinking might help me to cope with what I’m hearing on this disc. With that in mind, allow me to offer three reasons for not bashing Potential Threat SF right out of the starting gate.

1. They’ve been around for so long!

What better excuse can I possibly give for taking it easy on a painfully mediocre band that records an equally insipid demo? Nineteen years is long enough to elevate most bands to veteran status within their respective scenes, and I m willing to bet that Potential Threat SF gets plenty of respect in that area. What is truly boggling, however, is the fact that two decades worth of rehearsing, writing, and playing live has left this band with little more than a heap of uninspired songs which easily qualify as some of the genre’s worst. Are you among those who think that Exodus hit rock bottom with Force of Habit? Believe me when I say that Exodus low points are nothing compared to this disc. I would much sooner listen to sellout crap like Count Your Blessings than the mundane drivel of Testify or Done Days of Sorrow (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean).

2. They’ve opened shows for some of the biggest names in thrash!

That’s right some smooth-talking agent has managed to put Potential Threat SF on the same bill as Overkill, Slayer, and Testament. But we’ve all had the displeasure of sitting through an endless stream of local bands while waiting for the decent ones to take the stage. Thus, I don’t see how such a distinction works in their favor.

3. They’re upholding the thrash metal banner look, they re even from San Francisco!

It has been over twenty years since thrash began its ascent from the pits of the west coast, and it can’t be denied that Potential Threat SF is doing its part to keep the memories alive. There are moments in which Potential Threat SF’s sound vaguely mirrors that of the original pioneers, but this fact alone hardly saves them. The songs on this demo are so inert and lifeless that they utterly negate the mild sense of conviction that is implied on their promo sheet. I genuinely feel bad about giving this band such a hard time, but I can’t justify doing it any other way. My recommendation is to avoid this stuff at all costs.

Thirteen And A Half — Demo 2004 (2004)

13.01.2005  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

While a good number of music critics place appreciable emphasis on a band’s originality, there are some cases where such considerations are rendered pointless. Chicago’s Thirteen And A Half present such a scenario, as their retro leanings and back to the roots sound necessarily resemble that of the hardcore scene’s pioneers.

Based on the background info I’ve been able to dig up, it seems that frontman Mike Repel is rather content with the oldschool tag; a fact which is readily apparent throughout the four songs on this demo. I was actually somewhat surprised to find myself enjoying much of this disc, as my interest in the hardcore scene all but died out in the early 90’s. But upon further examination, I realized that Thirteen And A Half’s appeal is largely in their ability to shun the modern sound of those bands/lemmings who presently share the same space and march to their own beat.

Sure, these songs contain many references (intentional or otherwise) to the New York hardcore scene of the early eighties. The riffs and vocals all contain bits and pieces of Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, and Killing Time, and such similarities are probably a little more obvious than was intended. But when you consider the vast number of bands who try to get past these prototypical icons and slide right into the stomp-core/tough guy style of Bury Your Dead or Throwdown (with results that are painfully unmemorable), you start to gain a newfound respect for Thirteen And A Half and the fitting tribute they offer to the bands who were doing it back in the day.

Check out http://www.thirteenandahalf.com for more info, and a couple of free downloads.

Fantomas — Delirium Cordia (Surgical Sound Specimens From The Museum of Skin) (2004)

16.04.2004  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

Those who have already been exposed to Fantomas through their self-titled 1999 debut and/or 2001’s collection of theme song covers (entitled «The Director’s Cut») will pretty much give up trying to predict the band’s direction on «Delirium Cordia». For the most part, this would be a very sound choice. It has always seemed (to me, at least) that this project is simply an excuse for Mike Patton to piss on every musical convention ever created just for the sake of doing so. While he has certainly come up with some interesting (if not brilliant) displays of aural extremity, Patton often succeeds in annoying the listener to the point that his more exhilarating moments are regrettably compromised.

Прочесть полностью >

Ion Dissonance — Breathing Is Irrelevant (2003)

02.02.2004  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano :. Нет мнений >

If the sheer number of bands operating under the technical metalcore banner hasn’t started to bother you, it should. Since the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan exploded onto the scene in the mid to late 90’s, it seems that everyone and their mother has put out a CD to document their attempts at capturing the aforementioned band’s dissonant riffs and twisted rhythmic schemes. Few were successful, until Drowningman came along. They succeeded where others failed, but their achievement was not due to the photogenic mimicry that plagued their contemporaries. What set them apart from the pack was the smooth addition of new elements (i.e., emotional melodic phrases) to an old formula. To the credit of their peers, Drowningman was not the first band to experiment in this manner. However, they were one of very few to make a truly significant contribution to the genre, which had become mediocre on its best days, and painfully listless on its worst.

Enter Ion Dissonance: a French-Canadian quintet that has almost saved the day with their debut album for Willowtip. An immediately noticeable difference between these guys and others of their style is the level of enthusiasm they portray, which comes across nicely on all of this disc’s nine tracks. Additionally, the band members seem to realize that they are at a stage of the game where nothing less than absolute tightness and technical precision will suffice. In response, they flaunt their instrumental skills at every turn. The intricacy of their riffing combined with the flawless time-keeping skills of drummer Jean-Francois Richard is enough drive most DEP clones into early retirement.

As highlights go, I found the all-around craziness of «The Bud Dwyer Effect» to be especially invigorating, although «Failure in the Process of Identifying a Dream» (which shows a moodier, more melodic side to ID’s repertoire) is certainly a standout track as well. «Binary, Part II» is easily my favorite cut, as it alternates harsh screams and malevolent guitar licks with eerily quiet jazz sections which contain mumbled dialogue and echoing laughter in the background. My final pick would be «A Regular Dose of Azure», which starts out with the same punishing fervor that is displayed on the other tracks, but ends with a dual guitar-solo that reminds me more of Armored Saint than the influences one would expect from a band of this sort.

I must commend Willowtip on their decision to sign Ion Dissonance, as their method of aggression is somewhat different from the likes of Sadis Euphoria or Kalibas. There are few out there who are operating at this level of calculated chaos, and I dare say that even fewer will arise in the near future. If you are among those who think that the technical metalcore genre has shown all it has to offer (and I must admit to having felt this way a mere week ago), think again.