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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Reviews: Mastodon, Hellyeah, Protafield

Mastodon: Once More 'Round The Sun (Reprise)

Mastodon started their career as a bunch of stoner metal toting noise merchants from Atlanta and have rapidly become one of the biggest bands in progressive metal with their breakthrough coming with the gonzoid space/prog concept album Crack The Skye a theme that was continued on 2011's The Hunter which featured a myriad of genres throughout. Now with their sixth album they have dug back into their past for inspiration as much of this album harks back to the Remission and Leviathan albums with a lot more straightforward heavy metal with a few southern rock elements. With Tread Lightly you can hear the old aggression that stood them in good stead all these years but then with The Motherload the album gains a prog-pop bent with a massive chorus and some changes of pace and is the most sure fire single much in the same way Curl Of The Burl was last time. Yes the riffs of Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher still come thick and fast and the bass of troy Sanders drives the groove, see the Sabbathy High Road and as usual Brann Dailor does a stirling effort behind the drumkit. The prog is most evident on the title track which has some serious psychedelic elements to it as well as little bit of Lizzy with their sample of their Cowboy Song. The psych to  features on Asleep In The Deep. Now this album does take a few spins to unleash it's treasures but when it does you get an album that is forward thinking but also backward looking in style. There are the prog elements from the latter period the pure furious riffs of the early period but here is the major thing, as much as Mastodon are hailed as progressive metal heroes and yes they have released some great albums however Once More 'Round The Sun just seems a little safe for them. It is all a little to similar to their previous records, whereas usually they have had massive leaps between each record this one seems a little like a backward step. Still it is a technically proficient, melodic, heavy and very good record, just one that doesn't break new ground for a groundbreaking band. 7/10

Hellyeah: Blood For Blood (Eleven Seven)

Out of the bands that came after the demise of Pantera and the subsequent, much publicised loss of Dimebag Darrell, Hellyeah is possibly the one band that is closest in terms of style to the mothership. It's the band Damageplan should have gone on to be, full of Southern groove, biting riffs, Vinnie Paul's driving drums and the Chad Gray's strong, shouted vocals. Now Blood For Blood is their fourth album and there have been some chnages in the band since Band Of Brothers guitarist Greg Tibbett (also in Mudvayne with Gray) and bassist Bob Zilla have both left the group leaving Tom Maxwell as the sole guitarist and installing Kyle sanders as the four stringer. The album kicks off the the head stomping Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood) which has an industrial age but the BLS style southern riffage kicks in again with Demons In The Dirt which is like SOil if they were massively pissed off! Yep few bands do this kind of chest beating, riff fuelled metal than Hellyeah and Vinnie conducts from behind his percussive pit, and they write the kind of songs that mean even when gray sings a ballad like Moth he sounds like he could beat you to death. Blood For Blood will not reinvent the wheel but what it does do is give Hellyeah their heaviset album to date and one that is full of authentic Southern groove metal, with a modern kick. Songs like DMF short for "Die Mother Fucker!" would scare FFDP and quite rightly, this isn't the music for posers or flash in the pans, this is the Great Southern Trendkill played by the people that were there! Getcha Pull!! 8/10

Protafield: Nemesis (Devfire Entertainment/Universal)

Now humour me if you will. Protafield are what Rammstein would sound like if they came from Bridgend. Touted as an industrial/electronic punk(?) band Protafield are the brainchild of Jayce Lewis formerly of the band Losing Sun, Lewis himself has already one solo album to his name, a mega hit single (Icon) in India and a BBC documentary to his name. Now his first album was a mixture of electronic elements and metal and it showed off Lewis' talent on all instruments and also his great voice. Since then he has recruited some musicians to form a band and they are now known as Protafield, With the EDM pulse of opener God Forced the album immediately shows you what its made of with tonnes of synths and electronic drum loops being merged with the more traditional band elements of guitars (Marc James who appears on every track but one) bass and drums. Much like the Rammstein albums this album doesn't let up with every track full of rampaging electronic music that also brings to mind some Zombie as well as the legend Gary Numan (who actually appears on Redesign). Severe Sever has a club like feel with some serious drumming from Jack Slade who is part man part machine. =Pure is a song dark enough to be linked with Lewis' promoter Dave "Darth Vader" Prowse and it is followed by the uplifting Perfect Defect which has a huge chorus and again some killer drums from Slade. The most epic track on the album is Wrath which features drums from Queen's Roger Taylor, it is one of the best songs on the album along with the dub filled Make Believe and closer Revolution which has a drum duel between Slade and Lewis and features Lance Henriksen as a Droid (true story Sci-Fi fans!) For fans of industrial metal (not sure where the punk bit of their description comes from) this album is very good, but it is one that will not break any genre boundaries, if you like industrial, electronic metal then you will love it if not then you may find it a bit dull. 7/10

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