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Saturday, 19 May 2018

Reviews: Feral Chaos, Perfect Plan, Coltsblood, Svalbard (Reviews By Rich & Paul S)

Feral Chaos: Mankind In Ruin (Self Released) [Review By Rich]

Mankind In Ruin is the debut album by Finnish grinders Feral Chaos. Although not known for it there is some quality grindcore to be found in Finland with Rotten Sound being the prime example and Feral Chaos are another great band to add to the list. Mankind In Ruin is as to be expected an absolutely furious album with 15 songs spread over 30 minutes all of which are chaotically violent and heavy.

The songs range from  straight up grindcore to those which have a more crust punk leaning to those which veer almost into death metal territory. The HM-2 pedal is utilised on the album giving the guitars an ultra filthy sound. Whoever started using the HM-2 pedal with grindcore is a genius as the filthy guitar distortion totally suits the music. This is a bit of a repetitive album but as with nearly all grindcore albums it doesn't outstay its welcome and whilst nothing special is a very nice album of dirty grinding madness. 7/10

Perfect Plan: All Rise (Frontiers Records) [Review By Rich]

All Rise is the debut album from Swedish melodic rockers Perfect Plan and another in a long line of AOR and melodic rock bands with albums being released by Frontiers Records. Perfect Plan don't deviate from the tried and trusted AOR/melodic rock formula utilised by countless other bands but Perfect Plan demonstrate great songwriting, magnificent performances and bags of energy.  Nearly all the songs on All Rise are on the harder side of the AOR/melodic rock spectrum which means we don't have any irritatingly sappy ballads dragging the album down.

Songs such as Bad City Woman, Stone Cold Lover, Too Late and 1985 are hard rocking earworms which demonstrate the talent of the band and the amazing voice of frontman Kent Hilli. All Rise is for all intents and purposes another AOR/melodic rock album released by Frontiers Records but what Perfect Plan lack in originality they make up for in passion and integrity.  This isn't gonna change your mind if you cannot stand AOR but if you are a fan of the genre you will find much to love in this album.

Coltsblood: Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness (Black Bow Records) [Review By Paul Scoble]

Coltsblood’s second album Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness, is a massive slab of oppressive, nasty funeral doom / sludge. The Liverpool based band, describe their sound as being ‘unfathomable doom’ which fits very nicely. The 5 tracks on this album all fit into slow, menacing, extreme doom format that is a little reminiscent of Lycos or Void Meditation Cult. In places it also feels like Asphyx’s slowest material, but with a more black metal feel to the production.

The album does have some faster parts to it, which are pure nasty black metal. Intense, claustrophobic tremolo picked riffs and blast-beats, which reminded me of a looser, less dense Abyssal. This album is heavier than a million elephants stepping on your foot all at the same time, it is not for the faint hearted. But, if you like an album to beat the living crap out of you, then you need this in your life. Wonderfully viscous. 8/10

Svalbard: It’s Hard To Have Hope (Holy Roar Records) [Review By Paul Scoble]

Svalbard are a Bristol based post metal band, It’s Hard To Have Hope is their second album. The title of the album is unfortunately very apt. It features 8 tracks of rather poor Deafhaven style post metal. Part of the problem with this album is the production. Most of the rhythm guitar is drowned out by a continual tremolo picked melody guitar track, that never lives up to it’s prominent place in the mix. The riffs, when you can hear them, are a little staid and hackneyed. The drumming is also a problem. The blastbeats, when they use them, are a little weak, but the biggest problem is that they don’t really fit with the music. The time signatures are right, but stylistically the drumming feels more like hardcore drumming. Massive overuse of the snare drum starts to grate after a couple of songs, and when the songs slow down the drumming is lumpen and unimaginative.

But the music is only the start of this albums issues. The vocals are just terrible. Most of the vocals on here are supposed to be harsh, but are in fact subpar screamo style vocals, that set my teeth on edge. It sounds like a petulant teenager screaming in your face about not getting enough pocket money. The song titles suggest the band have a left wing / liberal stance (which I would usually like, being a left wing commie type), but trying to concentrate on the lyrics is so hard when the voice is this bad. The only places where this isn’t a problem are on a few passages where the vocals are clean, and these are the only places where the album works. The track For The Sake Of The Breed is a great example of where clean singing really helps the album. It’s probably the only standout track on offer here, if they can try to develop what they got right on this song, then they might have a future. A small amount of promise, in an otherwise disappointing album. 4 /10

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