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Monday, 20 October 2014

Reviews: Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Black Moth (Reviews By Paul)

Decapitated: Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)

When it comes to technical metal you immediately think of Meshuggah, giants in the world of polyrhythmic time changes. Add the word death to the technical metal and there is no finer artist than Polish quartet Decapitated. Following on from 2011’s excellent Carnival Is For Ever, Blood Mantra elevates an already high bar into orbit. Crammed full of intricate and subtle time changes, this is a work of the highest quality. From the aggression of opener Exiled In Flesh to the atmospheric Blindness, the whole album just oozes brilliance. Blast beat drumming combined with powerhouse riffs which stick in the memory entwine with the stunning soloing from the main heartbeat of the band, Waclaw ‘Vogg’ Kieltyka. Dripping with hooks and no little dose of groove, Blood Mantra provides vocalist Rafal Piotrowski with the perfect platform to demonstrate his prowess and his growling delivery fits the bill completely. Each of the tracks are crafted brilliantly with the supporting rhythm section of bassist Pawel Pasek and new recruit Michael Lysejko on drums ensuring that the heaviness remains ever present. Just as an example, album closer Moth Defect contains an absolute blitzkrieg of powerhouse drumming. Blood Mantra is without doubt a masterclass for the genre of technical death metal. This album will definitely feature in my end of year top 10. A stunning piece of work from a band now firmly established in the top percentile. Roll on 12 December and their supporting role to Behemoth. Nergal and co had better watch out. His countrymen might well blow them off the stage. 10/10

Cannibal Corpse: A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade)

The blueprint for death metal over the past 26 years has been crafted and delivered by New York’s gore masters. With A Skeletal Domain, their 13th release, Cannibal Corpse continue to demonstrate why they are the absolute masters in their field. Granted, if you don’t like death metal, this album won’t change your view one iota; however, if you happen to like a bit of extremely fast aggressive violent bloody death metal, this album will tick your boxes. 2012's Torture was a decent release and maintained the momentum that Cannibal Corpse have built over the years. Yet whilst the subject matter remains very much par for the course, (Sadistic Embodiment or Ice Pick Lobotomy anyone?) this album is a real improvement with some excellent writing and playing. The band are tighter on this album that a bull dog clip on your nut sack; blast beat drums hammer away from start to finish, crashing down with tsunami force; riffs drop from the sky at intense speed, solos peel off at an alarming rate and as always George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fischer’s vocal delivery remains the ultimate pinnacle of death metal frontmen. Take Kill Or Become, nothing says death metal more than Corpsegrinder growling “If you want to live you have to kill or become”; and the catchy refrain of “Fire Up the Chainsaw”. This album won’t change the world but what it does do is cement the position of Cannibal Corpse as the ultimate Death Metal outfit. No band from this genre has sold more records than them and they remain the true ideal for thousands of pretenders to their crown. Top quality death metal at its finest. Now, where was that chainsaw again? 8/10

Black Moth: Condemned To Hope (New Heavy Sounds)

Leeds outfit Black Moth’s second full release is a glorious mixture of doom, gothic, indie and hard rock. In fact, it's difficult to actually put a label on them. Opener Tumbleweave displays the doom influences of Sleep and Sabbath, stomping riffs and dark atmospheric lyrics cascade around you. Set Yourself Alight has the brashness and aggression of Iggy And The Stooges with elements of many of the guitar based indie bands; think of Sonic Youth or the Breeders for example. However, what provides Black Moth with an edge over many of their contemporaries is the haunting vocal delivery of Harriet Bevan. Sticking to a doom laden delivery, Bevan’s vocal suites the dark and witty lyrics: “your eyes say rock n roll but your lips say pepperoni” (Tumbleweave). Condemned To Hope displays pleasing variations in style, memorable hooks and catchy choruses, laced with the introspection of Siouxsie and the Banshees amongst others. The biggest problem facing Black Moth may the difficulty in categorising them and trying to gain the exposure they deserve. Are they metal, are they indie, goth or as I would suggest a magnificent hybrid of all genres. Having seen them live at Temples Festival earlier this year I know they can deliver live and I'm looking forward to another viewing at Damnation in November. 8/10

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