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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Reviews: Electric Wizard, Dave Kilminster, Emergency Gate

Electric Wizard: Time To Die (Witchfinder Records/Spinefarm Records)

Electric Wizard have always been the flag holders pure British occult doom and on their eight album Time To Die they show no signs of lightening up, this is yet another album of bowel punching, ear bleedingly heavy doom metal hailing Satan in a psychedelic, narcotic induced fug. There has been four years since their last album and in that time frontman/guitarist/general misery guts Jus Oborn has not mellowed at all in fact Time To Die's overarching theme is that of humanities destruction, mixed with usual occult imagery, B-movie samples, murderous intent and huge helping of abject hopelessness. So this is not going to be a barrel of laughs, but Electric Wizard have never claimed to be, a band that have always delivered their brand of metal with the poest of po faces and as the rain falls on first track Incense For The Dammed we are greeted with news reports of drug fuelled Satan linked murders, before the down-tuned brain punching fuzz and feedback filled guitars of Oborn and Liz Buckingham plough their way through a 10 minute funeral dirge backed by Mark Greening's concussive percussion and Count Orlof's (name is from Nosferatu fact fans) belly of the beast bass playing, as the drug worshipping track comes to it's conclusion there is no let up in the aural battery with the title track shorter but no less terrifying with yet more reverberated heavy doom guitars, howled vocals some backing organs all set to a lyrical pastiche of mankind's eventual self inflicted demise, the first half of this record ends with possibly it's heaviest song, the nearly 12 minute skull splitter of I Am Nothing which just beats you into submission with it's huge repetitive riff. The song is then followed by the instrumental and retro news report filled Destroy Those Who Love God which splits the album into two halves, digging on the analogue vibe that Wizard have always indulged in. It's not all Sabbath (see Funeral Of Your Mind) and leaf worshipping doom though the Wizard's have widened their sleeves a little on this record encompassing some blank knee gazing noise and general audio disruption on We Love The Dead before things get all Iommi again on Sadiowitch. Yet again Electric Wizard manage to both compel, terrify the faithful and bludgeon all the competition. 9/10 

Dave Kilminster: ...And The Truth Will Set You Free... (Killer Guitar Records)

Dave Kilminster is a still unfortunately a relative unknown, well that is to say his solo work is, the man himself has been seen numerous times, most recently atop Roger Water's Wall taking the role of another Dave, one Mr Gilmour (on the highest grossing tour by a solo artist ever). Kilminster has been in Water's band since 2006, he has also toured with prog greats such as Keith Emerson (ELP), John Wetton (Asia/King Crimson) and Carl Palmer (ELP). So then the man has honed his guitar chops with the best meaning that he is an immeasurably talented guitarist in the same category as Guthrie Govan, who is currently part of Steven Wilson's band. Kilminster is a guitarist of the highest calibre and his previous release Scarlet is on heavy rotation in my house, I love the mix of styles, the consummate playing and the intelligent song writing on it so I was keen to hear what his latest release had in store. Messiah is the first track and starts with just a single acoustic guitar and Kilminster's breathy, soulful vocals, around 2 minutes in everything gets electrified and Kilminster's guitar is accompanied by Pete Riley's drums and Phil Williams bass, this gives the band an honest feel with just the three instruments blending together allowing for lots of harmonies and the occasional contribution from the Larkin Quartet which means that the first track builds into a hell of a crescendo that opens the album with aplomb, it's also on this first track that you hear the talent involved, Kilminster's guitar playing amazing but is also understated. He also has a keen ear for genre bending and drawing influences as Addict has a dark, percussive world music feel driven by a slide guitar and some tribal drumming which weaves it's way around your brain before he really lets rips with the guitar, albeit as a backing to the rest of the song, this again sums up the reserved style of Kilminster he doesn't need to show off and doesn't let his virtuosity get in the way of the songs. Well until Thieves that is where the funky mid-paced song is interrupted by a searing guitar solo in the middle. Circles is a laid back ballad, with some sublime musicianship and an emotional heart, the acoustics come out again on the raw Save MeCassiopeia is a great set piece encompassing everything that has come before it and distilling it into one excellent track (possibly the best on the album) that ends with a sublime guitar solo; it is followed by the rocky, funky driven The Fallen which ends with The Beatlesesque outro and the finale of the sparse, Floydian Stardust which ends the album brilliantly. This is a strong album that is a not as immediate as it's predecessor but he is emulating Messrs Wilson, Wesley and many others that are aiming for an album's overall feel, this is not a singles record, it needs to be heard in it's entirety and over a few listens it grows into something truly excellent. Seen the face? Now hear the music! 9/10             

Emergency Gate: Infected (Bob Media)

When you think big, ballsy chest beating metalcore you think the US of A, Emergency Gate play the kind of music FFDP have made their own with massive groove riffs, snarled/clean vocals and battering ram drumming, however Emergency Gate are from Germany and as such add a European flavour to the massive American style metal. As The Sons Of The Second bursts to life in flurry of blast beats, big guitars and a synth backing we are in straight Killswitch, FFDP and even LOG territory as vocalist Matthias Kupka moves from shouted to clean vocals as the song erupts into short sweet guitar solo. Kupka's voice is good but has a European tinge which betrays their nationality, the guitars of Udo Simon and Vladi Doose bring the headbanging fist pumping riffs and solos, the rhythm section of Mario Lochert and Chris Widmann bring the groove and power, it is Daniel Schmidle's keys that are part of what sets them apart from other bands in this genre, meaning that songs like Revelation sound like a huge club banger with the synth backbeat. I first heard of Emergency Gate when they released a cover of Haddaway's What Is Love? which featured the man himself, but Emergency Gate have been releasing albums since 2000 and theur own songs are just as catchy as their infectious cover. The band have the right balance of brutality and melody to endear themselves to both fans of European and American metal, yes there are some weak songs; We Wanna Party is an absolute stinker I'm afraid, mainly because it is bookended by the excellent relentless riffage of Crushing Down and the Howard Jones era Killswitch sounding Infected Nightmare. Still with some of the fat trimmed this album is great blast of European metalcore from a band that are more than just a crazy cover. 7/10

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