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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Reviews: Ursinne, Earth Electric, Running Death (Reviews By Paul)

Ursinne: Swim With The Leviathan (Transcending Obscurity)

What happens when you allow two death metal legends to combine on a project? Absolute brutality and one of the best old school death metal releases of the year, that’s what. Dave Ingram (Hail Of Bullets, Bolt Thrower and Benediction) has joined forces with Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, SYN:DROM, Ashcloud) are Ursinne and Swim With The Leviathan is their debut release. It is, as you’d expect, crushingly heavy, huge swathes of bludgeoning riffs smash down relentlessly, with Ingram’s guttural delivery essential to the sinister sound.

From opener Talons to the absolute raging The Chimes At Midnight, this is vital listening. A monster of an album, with the bonus of some of the best curved ball covers I’ve ever heard. Death metal versions of The Osmonds’ Crazy Horses, QOTSA’s Monsters In The Parasol are brilliant but when you get to The Vapors Turning Japanese I defy you not to lose your shit. Throw in Siouxsie And The Banshees’ Spellbound and you pretty much have the ultimate death metal party album. Blisteringly heavy. Thoroughly brilliant. 9/10

Earth Electric: Vol 1 – Solar (Seasons Of Mist)

The combination of Norwegian guitarist Rune Eriksen and an Italian stable consisting the impressive operatic voice of Carmen Simoes, Alexander Ribeiro on bass and Ricardo Martins ferocious drumming has delivered an intriguingly and enchanting debut release. Full of driving psychedelic hard rock, interspersed with dramatic time changes and the keyboard wizardry of Messenger’s Dan Knight, this is a breath-taking piece of work. At only 35 minutes it must get its message across sharpish which it really does.

There is no pause for breath as the tracks whirl by. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the manic yet perfectly controlled Solar, which envelopes into a cascade of trippy guitar work. It’s not all hippy shit though with some of Eriksen’s guitar work mesmerising. Simoes’ vocals are haunting, eerie and yet compelling at the same time. The stomp of Sabbatical Moons, enhanced by some chunky keys and retro guitar work challenges you to get involved; it’s irresistible. Quite a fantastic release. Well worth your time. 8/10

Running Death: DressAge (Punishment 18 Records)

Running Death are a no-nonsense thrash outfit from Kaufbeuran, Bavaria. DressAge is their second release, following on from their 2015 debut Overdrive. It’s functional thrash, with chunky fat riffs cascading over the usual pummelling drums and hyperactive bass lines. What is apparent from opening track Courageous Minds is that whilst guitarist/vocalist Simon Bihlmayer and Daniel Baar can shred, Bihlmayer really can’t hold a note.

Unfortunately, this distracts from the overall songs because I couldn’t get past the cat wailing that soars over each song. It’s not too bad on the Megadeth style of Delusive Silence, but when there is more focus on the vocal, such as the bizarre DressAge, then it’s oh so evident. It’s clear from the off that Running Death are influenced by Dave Mustaine’s lot alongside Testament and other heavy weights such as Annihilator. They just are not as good and the album cover, oh my god. What were you thinking? 5/10

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