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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Reviews: Godsticks, Myrkyr, Kinasis, Kroh

Godsticks: Faced With Rage (Kscope)

Cardiff progressive band Godsticks have been playing progressively tinged metallic rock for a while now, regulars to the local scene I've seen them perform live numerous times and I've always been impressed by their idiosyncratic music, the songs they play are heavy, chugging pieces with an accessible bent. Frontman Darran Charles has said that Faced With Rage is a lot more progressive than it's predecessor, that being said they don't indulge in many elongated pieces keeping the majority of the track lengths short but packing a lot of technicality in them.

The record opens with the aggressive start stop stomp of Guilt, but in true Godsticks style they slow the pace with the more alternative Hard To Face, there was/is a band called Ra from the USA and I've always found Godsticks have similarities to them, there is a definitive light and shade to their music driven by Charles guitar and melodic vocals, (check out the groove on Avenge). The aggressiveness of this record is due in part to the addition second guitarist Gavin Bushell and new drummer Tom Price who ably slot into the band with Charles and bassist Dan Nelson who's bass playing is very sweet indeed.

As with any 'modern' prog band the go to comparison would be Porcupine Tree and both Open Your Eyes the chunky Everdrive have lots of over-arching Wilsonisms. On the other hand the beautiful We Are Leaving and Revere both have the expressiveness of Pineapple Thief, who Charles plays with live and also recorded with on their last album Your Wilderness. Progressive, interesting, heavy but with a common touch Faced With Rage effortlessly mixes dark and introspective lyricism with heavy prog rock. 8/10

Myrkur: Mareridt (Relapse Records)

Danish musician Amalie Bruun released her debut full length album M in 2015, she was hailed as the saviour of the post-black metal genre and her record was given ridiculous amount of coverage and critical acclaim, after extensively touring the USA and Europe she returned to her home country of Denmark, upon doing so she experienced nightmares and episodes of sleep paralysis, to cope with these nightmares, she used a notebook to document all the details and symbols in the dreams using these images as inspiration. In a notable difference to her last album many of the songs were written and composed on a small string instrument in a forest near her home, she channeled the nightmares and her own fractious mental state (partially caused by the significant levels of online abuse and death threats) into this album.

It means that the black metal flurries that cut through her ambient soundscapes are balanced out by the doom textures of The Serpent, replaced by pastoral ethereal Gothic folk on Crown which has the dark vibes of Chelsea Wolf (who appears on Funeral), with the black metal extremists causing of much of the abuse (apparently women can't do Black metal) stepping away those sounds for a more organic one means that you get a new side of Bruun. The music contained on Mareridt has a purity an almost ecclesiastical quality to it, you can hear Bruun's soul coming through on the opening but the riffs kick in on Maneblot but it's still not 'cvlt' so I'm sure some basement dwelling Burzum fan will criticise it, not that it matters as this record acts as the culmination of Bruun's career to now it's a supremely deep record, textured and involving, it doesn't matter that it moves between English, Danish, Swedish and Icelandic, you feel every song as it plays and it's an experience that is still so much more than you may think it is. 8/10  

Kinasis: Pariah (Self Released)

Here's some technical extreme metal from Somerset, Kinasis have got one full length under their collective belt, this EP is designed to be the follow up that album and it's yet more blast beat friendly, Strapping Young Lad extremity that is a barrage of 7-string riffs, fat grooves and harsh vocals. Black Dog sounds like KoRn at their heaviest the low end pounding the grooves. The music here is technical but this five piece carry it off with ease, there are precision riffs, percussive battery, grunts, roars and soaring cleans. This Somerset band play with noise as much as Devy did when he was Hevy, the music is precision modern metal with a level of vehemence that will push frontiers. 7/10

Kroh: Pyres (Devizes Records)

Having seen Kroh supporting Memoriam I knew what to expect when I pressed play on our decks of death here at MoM Towers. I did however have to drop the volume bit to save my speakers from blowing due to the heartstopping bass and down tuned riffs Kroh play. It's doom folks, gloomy, discordant and unsettling on headphones, the vocals of ... immediately grab the attention wailing the sinful lyrics of Rigor Mortis and the like with an otherworldly reverbed howl. As you'd expect you can hear Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Pentagram and Cathedral in their music, this EP has a supernatural obsession with the percussion driven middle 8 of Nemertean Girl having a disconcerting effect with his ghostly sound sliding into the evocative Moriah. At 5 tracks you get what you want from Kroh, they may want to buy some more effects for their full length as the guitar tone sounds exactly the same throughout and it doesn't need too, other than this small matter though Kroh impress on their debut. Doom at its gloomiest. 7/10

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