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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Reviews: Atrocity, Tomb Mold, The Chapter, Tad Morose (Reviews By Paul H)

Atrocity: Okkult II (Massacre Records)

It’s been five years since the German death metal legends Atrocity released any music. Take one listen to Shadowtaker, a skull crushing bludgeoning assault and the second track on their latest release and you will release why this band remains an essential addition to the scene. Whilst only Alex Krull remains from the original line up that fought its way out of Ludwigsburg back in the mid-1980s, there is sufficient here to sate even the most demanding metal head. With the addition of Pete Streit on guitar in 2015, the duel guitar work which emerges from his work with long-standing member Thorsten Bauer, who also delivers the bass lines to great effect. There is still the symphonic keyboards and choral samples but for the main part Okkult II kicks your ass and then hands it to you in a paper bag. With the death metal icons LG Petrov from Entombed AD and Ex-Morgoth man Marc Grewe also making appearances on the album, tracks such as Infernal Sabbath and Devil’s Covenant have added feel, groove and flavour. This is a strong release which should be made mandatory to listen to. 8/10

Tomb Mold: Manor Of Infinite Forms (20 Buck Spin)

Within seconds of the opening title track I knew I’d like this album. Massive riffs, huge drums and guttural growls left me in little doubt that this was a bloody gore fest of a death metal album. The sophomore release from this Canadian four-piece, Manor Of Infinite Forms is a brutal release which leaves everything in its path flattened. Thunderous grooves, variations in reverb and speed allowing the band to change pace with ease, with a neck snapping nuclear holocaust style approach which should please purists. Interestingly it is drummer Max Kiebanoff who also provides vocals, a challenge when playing live I’m sure but he does this superbly. This is disgustingly organ ripping death metal which really holds nothing back. Powerful and aggressive, but stunningly delivered, tracks such as Blood Mirror, the spine shattering Abysswalker and closing epic Two Worlds Become One demand high volume and the kind of impact that you receive after repeatedly smashing your face with a dinner tray. Dazed but grinning like a madman, this album just pulverises. Get it. Listen to it. Then patch up your bleeding orifices. 9/10

The Chapter: Angels & Demons (The Chapter)

Gothic doom from Portugal visits us in the shape of The Chapter, A five piece who provide the haunting melancholic akin to Moonspell, Katatonia, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. Angels & Demons is the band’s first release in 12 years. Pedro Rodrigues has a vocal delivery that resembles Jonas Renkse and Nick Holmes, albeit with slightly less tune at times. Dark riffs are supplied by the duel guitar work of Pedro Almeida and Joao Gomes and it is when the band accelerates away from their somewhat ponderous doom that they are at their best. However, with misery and despair the mainstay of the band’s themes on tracks such as To Live For and Shattered Emotions, there is little light here. It does become a little predictable and by the time you arrive at closing track The Past Is Dead, the formulaic approach becomes rather stale. 6/10

Tad Morose: Chapter X (GMR Music Group)

I’d never heard of these Swedes until Chapter X arrived. Formed way back in 1991, with their debut album Leaving The Past Behind arriving two years later, the band now contains only Christer Andersson from the original line-up. Andersson plays a slicing guitar and works in tandem with Kenneth Jonsson in a duel attack that at times reaches a blurred frenzy. Tad Morose began as a progressive rock band but have morphed into a more routine power metal outfit as time has passed.

With 14 tracks on offer the quality on offer is variable at best, with the racing speed of tracks such as Apocalypse, Deprived Of Light standing out far more than the lumbering Leviathan Rise which challenges singer Ronny Hemlin to the point of struggle. Unfortunately, the more the album progresses, the more of a trial it is to accommodate Hemlin’s vocals. Nemesis for example, is a jumble of styles, with Hemlin all over the place. A snarling opening to Turn To Dust offers hope, and it is this approach which brings the greatest reward when the band accelerate and allow the thundering drumming to compensate. Overall though, despite the odd nugget, this is largely average at best. 5/10

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