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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Reviews: Lucifer Rising, Withem, Dissector

Lucifer Rising: Beyond The Ninth Gate (Broken Bricks)

If you name yourself after a Candlemass album (as well as a cult 1984 movie) then you can only really settle with one kind of music and that is occultist doom rock with Sabbath/Candlemass riffs galore and songs about Satan and all his works, all the good stuff then. Lucifer Rising are an occult doom laden rock band with touches of psychedelic meandering and a hefty blues base. The band hail from Kiev in the Ukraine and is the brainchild of guitarist Valeriy Vitomskyi and drummer Max Tovstyi who after numerous line up changes have settled with Max Savitskyi on bass and Ira Avdiyenko on vocals meaning that the band have a sound akin to Swedes The Blues Pills and Lucifer as well as Blood Ceremony and other female fronted 'occult' bands. Lucifer Rising are not just copyists though they add their own mark to the genre laying on some clean stoner infused licks underneath Avdiyenko's, beguiling gruff vocals conjuring a black mass atop of the fuzz below. The band are not as heavy as some of their compatriots they are very much rock with melodic guitar lines the majority, although My Devil Was Blind has crunch to die for. With tracks such as the slinky Ninth Choice, the tribal drum driven Pain and the jazzy Chaser all showing the bands groovy psychedelic Sabbath-like sound with which has bluesy undercurrent beneath it. Yes the spirit of Candlemass is ominously present on Beyond The Ninth Gate however with psych touches and slab of retro-ism it is an impressive debut album from the Ukraine band that is the perfect soundtrack to a late night session with your favourite 'plant' and a copy of Crowley. 8/10

Withem: The Unforgiving Road (Frontiers)

The Unforgiving Road is Norwegian progressive power metal band Withem's second record and it is a musical tour-de-force, Exit opens up after the Intro with some heavy guitars, cutting fuzz filled electronic synths and a technically progressive power metal sound filled with melody that's very similar to fellow Norwegians Pagan's Mind and Circus Maximus, much of this is due to the dual guitar/keyboard riffage the frontman's soaring vocals and a keen ear for a more melodic almost AOR sound on tracks such as the anthemic In The Hands Of A God (check out the underlying bass on this track) and Riven which is cheese-tastic in its 80's glory a massive chorus and synths abound. Withem are a powerful band, queue the impressive drumming and guitar playing on the glorious The Eye In The Sky and they play intensely technical metal music that has a radio friendly sound that they share with their countrymen mentioned earlier. If you're a fan of progressive melodic metal you are going to find a lot to love about Withem as they seem to have the knack of mixing complex instrumentation with accessible songwriting, take a track like Arrhythmia which gets the heart racing (maybe that's the point) while Unaffected Love has sound akin to Dream Theater or Brit's Haken. The Unforgiving Road is a progressive near masterpiece and with the major label backing of Frontiers hopefully it will see Withem progress an make many take notice. 8/10          

Dissector: Planetary Cancer (Mazzar Records)

Dissector are a melodic death metal from St Petersburg, the three piece ply their trade with thrashy death metal of Vader, Kreator and Destruction. From moment one of the record they devastate their instruments with double kick drums galore, rumbling bass ferocity and rapid guitar riffs, in fact rhythm is big part of Dissector's sound as many of the solos on this record comes from guest guitarists meaning the core trio concentrate on just thrashing the hell out of their instruments on the title track and Rebuild On Better Days. Despite the band having a majorly thrash taste to their sound, it does change throughout the record; Perfect Smile has synths running through giving an industrial style Fear Factory edge, First To Burn meanwhile has big breakdowns throughout, The Shape Of Things To Come is more in the classic thrash as The Hate Inside and Exit Humanity brings the speed back in droves. The final track Invisible Lives is probably the most different as it's a female fronted ballad that shows the bans slower more tender side with no speed or fury just power and passion ending the album on strong but unusual given whats come before. Still Planetary Cancer is a very good album from the Russian three piece if you're a fan of melodic death metal that doesn't doggedly stick to it's boundaries then it'll be for you. 7/10     

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