House Of Atreus: From The Madness Of Ixion (Iron Bonehead) [Paul S]
House Of Atreus are a Minnesotan death metal band. The four piece have been going since 2011. From The Madness Of Ixion in the band's second album coming 3 years after the band's first album The Spear And The Ichor That Follows. Most of the material on this album would fit loosely into a melodic death metal template. There are some blast beats, but not that many, and they aren’t that extreme when they do arrive. This album is far more concerned with great riffs and melody, rather than extremity for extremities sake. First track The Madness Of Ixion starts with a short section of blasting before settling down to a more mid-paced feel. Great riffs and lots of melody. Oath Of The Horatii has a faster harder more aggressive feel. The riffs are a little more thrashy, the drums have more snare, giving the song a slightly more purposeful sense. The slightly thrashy feeling is also present on the track Call To Thee, Concubines.
This track has an almost black thrash feeling, maybe a little like Skeletonwitch. The melodic death metal is there on all these tracks, but the band temper it with little tastes of other styles. The track Ad Hominem has a slower, more measured feel to it. Although the track is slower, the quality of the riffs, combined with a innate sense of melody and tunefulness make this a really great track. Not a standout track on a first listen, but it’s understated musicality grow on the listener, the more the album is listened to. Bonded Beyond Supremacy finishes the album off nicely, another measured piece of death metal. This album isn’t very immediate, I’ve had to give it a few listens to really get into it. However, if you give it a little time it becomes a really great album. The albums strengths are in strong songwriting, based around very well written riffs. The dynamics of the album are very good as well, the songs build and diminish, ebb and flow really well. A very well realised death metal album that does not rely on gimmicks or extreme for extremities sake histrionics. 8/10
Mother Feather: Constellation Baby (Metal Blade Records) [Paul H]
Constellation Baby is the sophomore release from NYC’s Mother Feather, a chaotic amalgamation of rock, pop and punk. Led by Anne Courtney, Mother Feather’s line-up is completed by vocalist/keyboardist Elizabeth Carena, guitarist Chris Foley, Seth Ondracek on bass and drummer Gunnar Olsen. Crammed full of feisty anthemic tracks which lay bare the emotions of the band. Empowering, defiant and most of all catchy, there is a range here which should appeal to those who want their rock n’ roll served with something a little different. There is a feminist angle, such as the title track which Courtney has stated carries an important message. ‘Ultimately it's a feminist prayer of super-connection. It's a wish for myself and others. I want women to be free and I want to be an example’.
Recorded and produced over three months in Brooklyn, there is something for everyone here. I love the rockabilly feel of Snakebite, whilst Shake Your Magic 8 Ball is a contagious dance track with a filthy grungy undercurrent. A little further away from our usual offerings, there is nevertheless something here which would allow most of us a nibble without feeling guilty. Mother Feather have already completed a Warped Tour, a Radio 1 Rock Show Session and some sell-out UK dates. Ten tracks, 33 minutes long; they may not be playing BOA anytime soon, but I’d wager that Mother Feather will be a household name before too long. 7/10
Ashes Of My Memory: Raptures///Disillusions (Self Released) [Paul H]
This is the debut EP from four-piece melodic death/progressive metal band Ashes Of My Memory, who hail from South Tyrol, Italy. Although the group has been around for nearly a decade, having formed when most of the band were mere teenagers, much of that time has seen them on hiatus before a self-made demo We Are Ghosts surfaced in 2012. With influences that spread wide from The Ocean, Opeth, Omnium Gatherum and Mastodon, the two tracks on offer here are unsurprisingly lengthy and complex beasts which range from thundering blast beat riddled passages with death growls through to gentle clean harmonies which soar with crystal clarity.
The Cycle is slightly the longer of the two tracks, with The Decline falling a mere 14 seconds shorter. Both tracks ebb and flow like a tributary forging its way through the frost coated countryside. Delicious ethereal sections juxtapose with heavier parts to produce an interesting and impressive release. Ashes Of My Memory are Lukas Niederwolfsgruber on drums, Felix Niedermair on guitar, Sebastian Kuen on bass and vocals and Michael Berger on guitar and vocals. This EP is a super taster of a band that will hopefully hit us hard with a full-length release before too long. 8/10
Rezn: Calm Black Water (Off The Record) [Paul S]
Rezn are a Chicago based four piece who have been active since 2016. This is the band's second album, only one year after their debut Let It Burn. The band play a particularly huge brand of psychedelic doom. The doom parts have a certain resemblance to stoner metal gods Sleep (could I get away with saying they are a little ‘Sleepy’? no probably not). When the doom riffs come in they are huge, just massive head nodding lazy stoner riffs. The other sound this band is great at are blissed out psychedelic sections that are dreamlike, floaty, hypnotic and ethereal. The psychedelic sections, tend to have great bass-lines going that keep the energy flowing.
Opening track Iceberg starts with a huge doomy section, that has a towering riff. It’s impossible to not bang your head to, I can imagine whole dance-floors bouncing in time to this track. The song then goes into a floaty psychedelic section with echoey vocals and interesting other noises. I can hear sitars, saxophones and several other instruments in these psychedelic sections (although one band member is down as playing ‘Modular Synth’ so these could be software instruments rather than real ones). Mirrored Mirage is psychedelic the whole way through, it’s a blissful, beautiful track. The counterpoint between the heavy as fuck parts and the softer more ethereal elements is what makes this album. This is ably demonstrated by the track High Tide which has a massive, slightly aggressive heavy riff juxtaposed with a very soft almost ambient psychedelic passage, before the immense riff returns. Bottom Feeder is a faster track, with a driving bass-line and ends with some really interesting drums.
The album ends with the track Sunken. This has probably the heaviest riff on the album as an opening riff. The track is heavy all the way through, and has a lot of what I think sounds like a saxophone, making the track a little reminiscent of 5 The Hierophant. The song ends with feedback, noise and fury, making it a very satisfying end to the album. This a great psychedelic doom album, as with all psychedelic doom albums it’ll take a few listens to really get into it, but this album is definitely worth the effort! 8/10