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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Reviews: Lunatic Soul, Deadly Carnage, Nocturnal Graves, Dream State (Reviews By Paul H & Paul S)

Lunatic Soul: Under The Fractured Sky (Kscope) [Paul H]

It would appear at times that Mariusz Duda is attempting to outdo Steven Wilson in the workaholic stakes. The sixth Lunatic Soul release, coming in the tenth year that the project has been in existence, alongside the Riverside output, is quite an achievement. Last year’s beautiful Fractured scored a 10/10 within these pages. An astonishing release, you can read my review here http://musipediaofmetal.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Lunatic+Soul

Under The Fractured Sky is a short affair but is 36 minutes of perfection. Composed mainly during the Fractured sessions, Duda worked on the album from December 2017 – February 2018 and the result is another mainly instrumental collection which is intimate, nostalgic and cinematic. The title track is a captivating acoustic number, Duda’s instantly recognisable vocal poignant against a piano backdrop. This album changes direction once more, veering away from the electronica and industrial feel of Fractured into a technical temple which enchants and captivates in a manner which few artists can. There is an Eastern feel to Shadows, whilst the lengthiest track, The Art Of Repairing is simply stunning. Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective and this haunting album demands that you sit back, relax and allow the quality to wash over you. Another superlative release from one of rock’s most interesting and talented individuals. 10/10

Deadly Carnage: Through The Void, Above The Sun (ATMF) [Paul Scoble]

Through The Void, Above The Sun is the 4th full length album from Italian band Deadly Carnage. The 9 track album, is a probably best described as a combination of atmospheric black metal, post black metal and blackgaze. The album moves from more oppressive darker atmospheric black metal, and gets more post, and gazy as it continues. By the end of the album, you feel like you’ve been on a journey. The earlier songs have an Altar Of Plagues feel to them, and as the album goes on, they slowly morph into a more Violet Cold or even Alcest attitude. The denseness, and aggression of the early songs, smooths out and becomes less hostile.

Although there are blast beats and tremolo picked riffs, the way they are played and the production gives them a velvety sheen, that stops them being oppressive. This album is all about creating a cathartic, cleansing feeling. As with the best atmospheric black metal, this album has a yearning for peace about it, the peace that comes from healing, or the cessation of pain. To be honest, I can’t really find anything wrong with this album. Great songs, well played, with nothing out of place to jar the listening experience. It’s one of those albums that when you come to the end of the album, you just want to go strait back to the start and listen to it again.

Having said all of that, I do have one problem with this album. Many parts of this album is strikingly beautiful and subtle. This band can compete with Alcest at their most beautiful and etherial. And they are called DEADLY CARNAGE! I can’t think of a bigger misnomer. When I saw the band name, I assumed they would be a Brutal Death Metal Band. I understand that bands can change over time, and a band name that was once appropriate, can end up not matching the music. But Deadly Carnage’s music is now so far from their name, I feel a name change could be called for. Amazing album, just ignore the name of the band. 9/10

Nocturnal Graves: Titan (Season Of Mist) [Paul Scoble]

This is the 3rd full length from Australian ‘Satanic Death Metal’ band Nocturnal Graves, since their inception in 2004 (although there have been several splits and ep’s). This is a blistering slice of old school death metal, firmly rooted in late eighties and early nineties death metal. There are definite Black metal influences here as well, but as black and death metal share common ancestry, this isn’t very surprising. Simple, tight riffs, thundering drums and viscous vocals go for the throat from the first track Resistance. The riffing is reminiscent of early Scandinavian death metal like Entombed (Left Hand Path and Clandestine era) and Dismember. The screaming, atonal solo’s remind me of early Slayer (before they could play their instruments well) or Altars Of Madness era Morbid angel, and fit well with the songs.

As I said before, there are Black Metal influences here as well. In fact, the second track on the album Roar Of The Wild could have come off the last Watain album. They also sound a little reminiscent of fellow Australian band Denouncement Pyre (not really surprising, as 2 members of Nocturnal Graves are in Denouncement Pyre).

This album reminded me of everything that is great about the extreme end of the death and black metal market. It also excels at the same thing that made early nineties death metal so exiting; great song writing. Each track has a unique identity, and feels like a complete piece of work, rather than just being a framework for brutal riffs and flashy solo’s. The album also has a real atmosphere of evil, and menace which is missing from a lot of modern death metal. Fantastically viscous piece of work. 8/10

Dream State: Recovery EP (UNFD) [Paul H]

South Wales five-piece Dream State recently released their five track Recovery EP. The EP traces vocalist CJ Gilpin’s journey from internal chaos to calm, with each track relating to a stage in her personal recovery. I’m all in favour of anyone getting their shit together and with the band having been announced for several summer festivals including Download, 2000trees and Slam Dunk. The fact that they are at these festivals gives you all the clues you need about the band’s sound. The band’s alt-rock post hard-core style sit perfectly with those festivals. 

I didn’t enjoy the release much at all, but that is more because my tastes sit far away from Dream State’s style. Nasally vocals, repetitive riffs and little to spark the interest. I’m sure their style appeals to the youth, but to this old timer it’s just more of the same music that I cannot abide. Good luck to Dream State. I wish my fellow countrymen well. Just play somewhere out of earshot in future please. 5/10

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