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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Reviews: Oceanwake, Bobby Kimball, Benighted (Reviews By Paul)

Oceanwake: Earthen (ViciSolum Records)

Finnish doom metallers Oceanwake’ third full release is possibly their most ambitious. Consisting a mere two tracks, the progressive side of the band has come fully to the fore with A Storm Sermon clocking in at 21 minutes in length whilst track two, the megalodon sized In Amidst The Silent Thrones a mighty 24 minutes. Hugely atmospheric, hauntingly eerie and strangely mesmeric, A Storm Sermon builds gently with elements of death metal mixing with doom, prog and industrial shades to provide a Gothic track of some magnitude. Eero Haula’s strong voice, supported by the echoing backing vocals of guitarist VV Laaksonen sit perfectly whilst the intricate guitar work of Martti Koski and Laaksonen weave a spell around the listener. Comparisons are inevitably made with the vocals of Aðalbjörn "Addi" Tryggvason from Icelandic outfit Solstafir as the track progresses. The track ebbs and flows, swirling like mist. Repetitive chords and rhythms are used to great effect. In Amidst The Silent Thrones maintains the ethereal feel, with chopping power chords crashing over the start in the style of the great German outfit Ahab; in fact it’s Ahab who spring to mind when you listen to this piece of quite schizophrenic chaos. Earthen isn’t an easy listen; in fact it takes repeated attempts to get through it. The reward? Well, two hugely intense pieces of progressive doom, hanging like masterful art in a gallery. Not to everyone’s taste for sure but if you like your metal to work for you, it’s worth a spin. 7/10

Bobby Kimball: Mysterious Sessions (Purple Pyramid)

Sometimes the Ed throws you such a curved ball to review that the only response is to call him a right fucking bastard! (Thank You! Thank You -Ed) Bobby Kimball is the voice of Toto, the soft rock AOR giants of the 1980s who came to prominence with the awful Rosanna and even more puke inducing Africa. Mysterious Sessions, which raises plenty of questions, mainly why and what the actual shitting fuck? is a combination of the aforementioned Toto tracks plus the inevitable Hold The Line, as well as a number of completely random cover versions of tracks you’ll never be able to listen to again. Although the musicianship on this release is of high quality, to be expected with the likes of Mike Porcano (Toto), Yes members Billy Sherwood, Alan White and Tony Kaye, Patrick Moraz (The Moody Blues) and former Dream Theater and Black Country Communion keyboardist Derek Sherinian, the choice of tracks is bewildering. Pink Floyd’s Have A Cigar is only rescued by some breath-taking guitar work from Bruce Kulick. It’s very hard to improve on anything The Beatles delivered and Get Back is a bizarre choice with little to commend it. Add in the most gut wrenchingly bad cover of 10CC’s I’m Not In Love, Who’s Crying Now (Journey) and it was hard not to reach for the off switch. Astonishingly, the version of Aerosmith’s What It Takes drops this album to even lower depths; truly awful and comparable to some of the worst karaoke I’ve ever heard. Pure dog shit. But no, it doesn’t end there with the wild card of Level 42’s Something About You sufficient to get the needles out and start ramming them in the ears. If you can still hear anything by now you don’t deserve the finale of Please Come Home For Christmas, on an album released in February for fuck’s sake. If there is a worse album this year I don’t want to hear it. The only point is for Kulick’s guitar work. Avoid at all costs. 1/10

Benighted: Necrobreed (Season Of Mist)

If you fancy having your face ripped off by thirty tons of gravel fired directly at it at 150mph then I strongly suggest you stick the latest offering from Saint Etienne’s deathgrind masters Benighted up your chuff. Necrobreed is possibly the most brutal album you’ll get in the lugholes this year. Crammed with the most obliterating riffs, extreme drumming and the voice of Satan’s arsehole after a vindaloo at The Mahal, the French outfit don’t give a second’s rest. After the sinister Hush Little Baby opens the album, it’s mayhem all the way with Reptillian, Psychosilencer and Leatherface all battering to submission whilst the slight change of pace in Forgive Me Father merely allows you to grab a breath before being pulled back under. If there is a more disturbingly disgusting song than Cum With Disgust, then it can only be on a Cannibal Corpse album. Julian Truchan’s vocals are quite astonishing, the guttural swamp growl quite something. With a double cover of Sepultura’s Biotech Is Godzilla and Mayhem’s Christraping Black Metal bringing the album to a close, this is aural assault with the impact of an oil tanker crashing into the harbour wall. Listen to this album. Feel your organs move. Urrggghhhh!! 8/10

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