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Friday, 7 April 2017

Reviews: Darkest Hour, Evocation, Crystal Viper (Reviews By Paul)

Darkest Hour: Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora (Southern Lord)

Over 20 years and on album number 9, Washington DC's Darkest Hour return with a chaos filled battering which takes their death metal influences and once more mixes them with brutal metalcore. It's hardcore stuff from start to finish, John Henry's death vocal unrelenting whilst the duel guitar of original member Mike Schleibaum and Michael Cardigan split the eardrums. What's most impressive is the pace of this monster. It just comes at you like a runaway truck. Knife In The Safe Room, Those Who Survived and Another Headless Ruler Of The World all crush. The instrumental pause for breath, Widowed, is welcome respite from the carnage mid-album but also shows off the guitarists gentler side. With blistering speed, intensity and energy that you could power a city from, this is a monster of a release. 8/10

Evocation: The Shadow Archeytpe (Metal Blade)

More death metal from Scandinavia , this time it's Boras, Sweden and the throbbing pulse of Evocation. Heavy as the proverbial bag of anvils, the fifth release and first since 2012's Illusions of Grandeur is an absolute beast. Thomas Josefsson's guttural roars mix with the huge sound of Per Moller Jensen's machine gun drumming, Gustaf Jorde's rampaging bass lines and the slicing guitar work of Marko Palmen and Simon Exner to create a sound that assaults indiscriminately. Condemned To The Grave, Modus Operandi and the sheer monsterous size of Children Of Stone open the release with no mercy provided. This is solid, assured death metal which melts your face off. Children Of The Stone in particular is a huge number, giant slabs of riffs cut across land masses and rip continents apart. If you fancy an aural pummelling then get a bit of this bad boy on the CD player. 8/10

Crystal Viper : Queen Of The Witches (AFM)

Unless you are the Ed there may be a strong chance that Katowice's Crystal Viper may be slightly left field of your metal radar. Pick up a copy of their sixth album, Queen Of The Witches and that might change. Playing traditional heavy metal with a power metal edge, There is a straight forward approach which is straight out of the 1980s. Several tracks unashamedly plagiarise the Iron Maiden riff locker. I Fear No Evil and the Charlotte The Harlot pinched riff in Burn My Fire Burn are just two examples. Add in a bit of Judas Priest circa Painkiller and you have a pretty good understanding of what to expect. Having said that, it is well played and composed, and if you like your metal in the meat and two veg section with some incredibly powerful vocals courtesy of Marta Gabriel then this may be right up your street. It certainly isn't original and you could get a bit peeved at the clear theft of many riffs. However, I'd crack open a beer, put on your bullet belt and battle jacket and raise your fists to the air in celebration of all things metal. 6/10

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