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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Reviews: Antimatter, Psycroptic, Thorium, Cadacus (Reviews By Paul H)

Antimatter: Black Market Enlightenment (Self Released)

2015’s The Judas Table was a beautiful album. It’s been three years of patient waiting but finally Mick Moss returns with the seventh album and it is just as stunning as the previous six. There are few crashing riffs with Antimatter, but that doesn’t detract one bit. Acoustic guitars, ethereal piano and harrowing melancholic subject matter hauntingly echo but there is still enough steel to add backbone. Wish I Was Here exploding into a crescendo of intensity before a flute takes up the lead. And it works perfectly. Compelling and moving in equal measure, Antimatter’s music requires time and investment with tracks variable in both style and delivery. This Is Not Utopia and Between The Atoms have a harder edge than poignant songs such as What Do You Want Me To Do? It’s clever, complicated and worth every second of the 55 minutes of progressive rock. 8/10

Psycroptic: As The Kingdom Drowns (Prosthetic Records)

Another full-bore technical death metal album which melts your face within seconds of hitting play. Hobbat’s Psycroptic return for their seventh album, an offering which is as ferocious as their previous six. I’m resisting the urge to compare in any way with their countrymen Parkway Drive but think of the Carlsberg advert and you should get my drift. There is a definite antipodean feel to this release.

Opening with immense speed with We Were The Keepers, the technicality immediately grasps your lapels before the brutal growling of vocalist Jason Peppiatt slides in to take out the legs. The pulverisation of your senses is maintained during Frozen Gaze and the groove laden Directive, which neatly slows pace midpoint to allow Joe Harvey’s repeated tremolo picking and the double kicking of Dave Haley to wrestle to the front. The guitar work envelops like a mist, swirling around but tantalisingly never quite allowing the opportunity to get a real handful. Deadlands changes pace multiple times, covering the whole gambit of thrash styles as well as an almost Metalcore style before deciding that thrashing riffage is the better option. 

 The title track is a beast, a crushing doom filled opening segues into more patterns and abrupt time changes which maintains the interest, leaving the listener hanging on the edge of the seat. This is the soundtrack to a nasty old school wooden roller coaster ride, jerking your head from side to side, slamming your body against the ‘G’ Forces and generally administering a harsh beating. By the time you crawl to the penultimate track Momentum Of The Void, muscles should be flaccid, the chest heaving and the whole body should be shaking; your energy at a minimum. This is an aural workout you can’t purchase in a sweat filled gymnasium … but if such a thing existed, then I’d place money on Psycroptic being part of the soundtrack. 8/10

Thorium: Thorium (Rock N Growl)

Not to be confused by the Danish death metal band, Thorium are a new band formed out of the ashes of Belgian outfit Ostrogoth. The band play a mediocre style of power metal which is totally marred by the dreadful vocals of David Marcelis whose voice grated on me from the opening notes of Ostrogoth through to the final ghastly 15 minutes of Four By Number, Four By Fate. Yes, 15 minutes on one track which drifts from banal acoustics to ordinary heavy metal. You owe me 47 minutes of my life which I wasted listening to one of the worst albums I’ve heard this year. This is bland, awful stuff and whilst the music is perfectly competent, listening to yet another band who think that sounding like Iron Maiden is brilliant is more like having a tooth pulled. Having to struggle through the wailings of a singer who really needs to find another role in life require more anaesthetic than I had to hand. 2/10

Cadacus: Virtual Salvation (Self Released)

A hard rocking outfit from Swansea, Cadacus is a five-piece who play an old school style traditional heavy metal with more than a nod to the stoner scene. Virtual Salvation is their debut release. Vocalist Tom Gapper is the weak link here, his vocals struggle to hit the higher notes that the music demands whilst his tuning is often out of kilter with the rest of the band. It’s a shame because there is definitely potential hidden in this release with Rhyddid Ar Y Gorwel (Freedom On The Horizon) with its retro Maiden feel a pleasing find. However, I struggled to get past the likes of The Triggerman due to the vocals which detract from the competent playing. Virtual Salvation also possesses one of the most abysmal album covers I’ve ever seen. I’m afraid this was a real struggle. 4/10

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