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Monday, 30 July 2018

Reviews: Epica, Powerwolf, Sodomized Cadaver, Axis Of Despair (Reviews By Stief & Paul H)

Epica: Epica Vs Attack On Titan Songs (Nuclear Blast Records/Ward Records) [Review By Stief]

Quick question; How do you make an animé about a group of trained soldiers flying around like spiderman, taking down giant creatures by slicing their necks open even more metal and epic? By throwing Epica at it of course.

This EP, the second by the dutch Sextet, is a collection of covers of the soundtrack to the popular animé Attack On Titan. From the opening of Crimson Bow And Arrow to the closing of Dedicate Your Heart, Epica are going in with all pistons blazing. Simone Simmon's operatic tones are perfect for the already epic music of the show.

Overall, it's a fun thing to hear from a band such as Epica. The songs from the show are already fast paced, operatic metal pieces, but in the hands of Simone et. al it takes it to another level. A veritable  feast of strings, growls from Mark Jansen and excellent solos from Isaac Delahaye. The EP also boasts instrumentals of each song, just in case you wanted to hear each song without the vocals. It's great when worlds collide, and it'd be great to see an EP this from similar bands. 7/10

Powerwolf: The Sacrament Of Sin [Deluxe edition] (Napalm Records)

(Disc 1)

It's been 3 years since Powerwolf's last full album and boy is it a corker. Right from the outset, you can hear the improvements in both vocals and production. Atilla Dorn's voice has come on leaps and bounds since the early days of Lupus Dei and Bible Of The Beast. The rest of the band sound a lot tighter and it feels Powerwolf are at the top of their game with this latest offering. There are some genuine stand-out songs from the album, one being Stossgebet, sung in Powerwolf's native German, it's obvious from the almost military rhythm that Powerwolf has definitely been influenced by fellow power-metallers Sabaton. Album opener Fire And Forgive has all the Powerwolf staples; Tolling bells, dramatic strings, choral singing, chants in Latin and excellent harmonies from the Greywolf brothers.

Falk Maria Shlegel's keyboards paired with the machine-gun drumming of Roel Van Helden all meld into pure power metal. Powerwolf also try their hand at power ballads with Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone, slower than what you'd normally be used to with Powerwolf, but it works nonetheless, Atilla's vocals working well with the different style. Essentially, if you're a Powerwolf fan, you're probably going to have this in your collection as soon as possible, and for those just looking for some excellent power metal, then you can't really go wrong with this album 10/10

(Disc 2)

But wait! there's more! We here at the Musipedia don't do things by halves, and we listened to the deluxe edition of The Sacrament Of Sin, which gives us Communio Lupatum, 10 Powerwolf tracks covered by various bands.  Not satisfied with covering Animé themes,  Epica also appear on this album, covering Sacred & Wild. It's a great take on a great song and as with the rest of the songs on the bonus album, each band gives their own unique twist on Powerwolf's music whilst still retaining the sound of the original song.

Some of the stand out covers for me are the aforementioned Sacred & Wild along with Battle Beast's cover of (personal favourite) Resurrection By Erection and Kreator's Mille Petrozza working with Caliban's Marc Gortz giving Amen And Attack a thrash twist. Some of the covers are hit & miss, Caliban's dark/industrial take on Kiss Of The Cobra King is a required taste. Amaranthe and Eluveitie also make an appearance, both giving interesting takes on Army Of The Night and a very folky swiss version of When The Saints Are Going Wild respectively. Definitely worth the extra money if you're thinking of picking the deluxe edition. 9/10

Sodomised Cadaver: Verses of Vorarephilia (Immortal Souls Productions)

I was surprised when this arrived for review. A compilation of the Welsh Death Metal outfit’s first two EPs, 2014’s Vorarephilia merges and 2016’s Verses of Putridity into one handy sized bollock crushing release. Released in late 2017, this is a timely reminder of the power of one of Welsh metal’s most extreme bands. This release features drummer Gavin Davies, guitarist Ryan Howes and former vocalist and guitarist Ray Packer, now leading the chaos with Cranial Separation.

Tracks such as Cannibal Butcher, Visceral Shredder (I think I had one of them once; brutal machine), Skull Fractured Massacre, Perseverance and of course the (semi) legendary Raped By Ebola all stalk and then strike. Now with a revamped line-up of bassist Charlie Rogers, Desecration/Extreme Noise Terror’s Ollie Jones alongside Howes and Davies. You should get your ears wrapped around this before cramming into the Sophie Tent to see them scorch the earth at Bloodstock in a few weeks. 8/10

Axis Of Despair: Contempt For Man (Southern Lord)
Axis Of Despair is a new grindcore band from Sweden. The first incarnation of this four-piece slab of brutality dates to late 2013 and the line-up and name finalised in 2014.  The band feature former and present members of band such as Nasum, Livet som insats, Coldworker, Nervgift, Overtorture, Infanticide and Volturyon. Contempt For Man is their debut release and follows a couple of Eps released in previous years.  The band line-up is vocalist Joel Fornbrant, Oskar Pålssonon bass, drummer Anders Jakobson and Kristofer Jankarls on Guitar. Grindcore rarely does much for me but this 33-minute, 20 song release just kicks you in the nuts.

Fornbrant’s grizzled growl fits the aggression of the band’s music perfectly. The rest of the band descend into utter chaos as they plough through track after track, most of which are around the minute mark. Huge riffs (Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike), massive grooves (The Pain Maze) and some pogoing punk edged chaos (A Brutal Truth) all blend into a maelstrom which would get your neighbour’s BBQ ablaze within seconds. This is incendiary stuff which will appeal to grindcore fans and metal heads alike. Flytand Död and Crush The Empire, both of which are around the three-minute mark go full throttle, the later bringing this great chunk of easy listening to a close. 7/10

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