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Friday, 19 May 2017

Reviews: Seether, Sabbath Assembly, Apocalypse Orchestra

Seether: Poison The Parish (Canine Riot)

I like Seether I really do, but the last few albums have been a bit too lightweight moving away from their Nirvana-like grunge stylings they favoured in their early work. But with Poison The Parish they have said goodbye to the radio for a darker heavier approach, Mr Seether himself Shaun Morgan has said that this record will have "heavy guitars" and "loud drums" and he's right tracks such as Something Else has a grinding riff with the light and shade of Fragile but also features a reverb drenched solo with Morgan playing some of the best guitar of his career.

I'll Survive starts slow and gives way to the chunky riffs of its latter part and the creeping Let You Down makes things darker. However it's also got lighter moments with the anthemic Against The Wall and the angst ridden Let Me Heal both moving more towards the radio-friendly rhythms until the riffs lumber back in on angry Saviours. Shaun Morgan clearly hasn't chilled out at all with most of the songs rallying at something or another but for old school Seether fans this record takes them back to their heavy roots with Dale Stewart and John Humphrey the thick as steel engine room (see Nothing Left) they have added lead breaks to most of the songs to give them a more classic metal sound. After lingering in the doldrums of the alt rock seen for a while Seether are back, bigger, badder and more pissed off than ever. 8/10  

Sabbath Assembly: Rites Of Passage (Svart Records)

So what do you think they sound like? This review could write itself really as Rites of Passage is the fifth album from psychedelic/doom band Sabbath Assembly and it once again has lighter end of Iommi and co stamped all over it with Kevin Hufnagel and Ron Varod riffing, David Christian (drums) and Johnny DeBlase (bass) contributing the low end to the slabs of heavy doom. The swirling psych touches really give a woozy feel to the album highlighted by Jamie Myers' bewitching vocals on the trippier tracks such as Angels Trumpets and I Must Be Gone. Its occult mystery from the get go on Rites Of Passage the band straddle the line between crushing doom and Hawkwind-loving space rock with lyrics from the book of Crowley. It's nothing new from the band but for those that ascribe to the alternate spiritualism Sabbath Assembly will soundtrack your next coven well. 7/10

Apocalypse Orchestra: The End Is Nigh (Despotz Records)

Never has a band had a more suitable name than Apocalypse Orchestra, their fusion of devastating doom metal and medieval folk, the 8 minute plus The Garden Of Earthly Delights opens the record with low bagpipes serving as a base layer and creating a discord for the rest of the song to build on, it's disconcerting stuff alright and it allows the band to build layers of bass, drums, guitars and other authentic medieval instruments such as cittern's, lutes, hurdy gurdy etc. The drama of the opening builds until the heavy doom riffs are unleashed halfway through, it's a mostly instrumental track but the low vocals do appear howling out the cries of anguish, Flagellant's Song is another creeping doom riff but with Latin chants, plenty of hurdy gurdy and a chamber feel, it's like Ghost if they were more morbid. Lyrically we're in HELL territory with Plague doctors, fire and brimstone but these Swedes forgo the NWOBHM for a doomier vibe but it's suits giving this record the feel of a soundtrack to Armageddon (no Aerosmith or Bruce Willis here). The End Is Nigh I hope is a starting point for this band (it is their debut after all) their folk metal sound is authentic and merges well with the lumbering doom making for an interesting listening experience. 7/10

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