Goatwhore: Vengeful Ascension (Metal Blade Records)
NOLA supergroup Goatwhore are back with their seventh album Vengeful Ascension which is another 41 minutes of blackened death thrashing. Goatwhore have been one of the most consistent bands in extreme metal over the past 20 years whilst never releasing anything groundbreaking have always released albums which are great fun and are guaranteed to get you banging your head and 'Vengeful Ascension' is no exception.
Like previous records the bands sound is a combination of black metal, death metal and thrash metal which takes all the best elements from each and merges them to something which is an ode to all their old school influences whilst at the same time sounding very contemporary. One thing guaranteed on a Goatwhore album is aggression and there is bagfuls on this album from the opening attack of Forsaken to the vicious velocity of Chaos Arcane. The band also add in some influence from their NOLA sludge background slowing things down for Where The Sun Is Silent and the title track.
Vengeful Ascension is a fun and enjoyable album but there are many times throughout the album where you feel the band are going through the motions and many of the songs don't have much staying power. It's definitely worth a listen but is also a bit of a drop in quality in comparison to their last few releases. 7/10
Bison: You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient (Pelagic Records)
Bison or Bison B.C. (I've lost track of what they are calling themselves these days) return with new album You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient which is the fourth album by the Canadian sludge metallers.
With it being three years since the bands last release it seems Bison/Bison B.C. are on a mission to cave some skulls in with this album as it contains some of the most ferocious material the band have released in years such as Anti War and Raiigin. As well as plenty of ferocious riffage this album also contains the strongest songwriting from the band to date especially evident on atmospheric album closer Water Becomes Fire.
With You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient Bison/Bison B.C. have crafted a fine enjoyable sludge metal album. It doesn't stray from the sound the band have previously established but combines elements from their previous albums with some strong songwriting. 7/10
Critical Solution: Barbara The Witch (Crime Records)
Norwegian thrashers Critical Solution are back with their third album Barbara The Witch which is a concept album based around a story which involves an evil forest, a dark priest and the main character of the story Barbara The Witch herself.
The music on Barbara The Witch is very much old school thrash metal with some influences from classic heavy metal. With this being a concept album there are plenty of theatrics on display with narration and spoken word parts. These parts aren't overbearing and are generally consigned to the intro and outro of the album. With this being a thrash metal album there are plenty of meaty riffs on display with the songs ranging from fast, frantic thrashers to more mid paced stompers.
The playing throughout is very good indeed but unfortunately the songwriting does not match with many of these songs being forgettable. The vocals throughout are generally poor with the majority falling into the category of a monotonous shout. Despite there being many fine moments throughout and an interesting story being told, a combination of poor vocals and bland songwriting makes Barbara The Witch a fairly pedestrian and forgettable thrash album. 6/10