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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Reviews: Aborted Earth, Bastion's Wake, Massive Destruktion, Rowsdower (Paul H, Lee & Joey)

Aborted Earth: Cut The Cord (Self Released) [Lee Burgess]

The new album from Aborted Earth, Cut The Cord is the kind of record most metal purists love to hate consisting of a mix of low-fi blackened grind and 80’s infused synth-pop worthy of such industrial doomsters as CROWN. Imagine if you will, the disturbing image of Bolt Thrower making friends with Enthroned and meeting local outsiders Joy Division at the extreme metal park, and you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for. The album begins with an overlong tribal intro, but once we’re in it’s a thumping ride beginning with the crushing barrage of metallic noise that is The Prurist. The violence continues through the first half of the record until a sudden shift in gear drops us into electro-pop meets grind tracks like Polygonal Planet and Pop Goes The World that make for a truly experimental trip to the art-metal world. Brilliant stuff. 8/10

Bastion’s Wake: Sea Creatures And Sky Pirates (Midland Studio Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Bastion’s Wake is a two-piece unit comprising vocalist ėVė and guitarist Derelith October. Originating from Delaware, they play an operatic, dramatic style of symphonic rock/metal which has moments which genuinely excite. The complex compositions allow ėVė to showcase her strong vocal style, whilst musically this is a combination of numerous styles. Listening opens the album, gothic overtures, big riffs and dramatic sections combining to create a soaring cinematic soundscape. It’s an album that needs multiple listens to appreciate. Claudia for example, has so much happening that repeated spins were needed to appreciate the deftly layered elements. Beneath it all, there lies two talented musicians who merge the heaviness of the riff with the drama of the operatic. The haunting Alice Dieve contrasts completely with the gentle acoustic folk style of Nyarlathotep whilst Fairwell to Midland contains crushingly heavy guitar riffs and spiralling vocals. My first listen left me unimpressed but by the third listen I had been converted. This is an impressive album. 7/10

Massive Destruktion: Mercenaries (Self Released) [Joey Watkins]

Massive Destruktion's album starts out promisingly enough with a heavy intro track, that manages to grab your attention and leave you wanting more, the guitar work leaves you in no doubt that this is going to be thrash, with the guitar tone heavily reminiscent of Slayer's South Of Heaven. As the intro fades you are hit by the first song Nations Of Doom, and when I say hit I mean assaulted, in your ears, with god awful drum tone, and out of time guitars. The vocals are great but unfortunately they are turned down so low in the mix all you can really focus on is that flabby bloated drum sound.

As someone who has spent many hours sat by a studio computer listening to the same track over and over trying to get that drum tone spot on I understand that getting it right is a bit of a dark art, but at what point did anyone in this band decide this sound was what they wanted? The guitar tone is weak, with solos never quite having the impact that they should, it's a shame because you can tell there is talent here. As thrash albums go this is not great generic song writing, baffling production choices and a distractingly bad drum tone all combine to do what is clearly a talented band absolutely no favours. I'm not saying there is no enjoyment to be had here it has its moments but they are few and far between. 4/10

Rowsdower: Michael Jordan's Of Suicide (Sludgelord Records) [Lee Burgess]

Have you ever fancied being hit by a bus, then a truck and finally being finished off by a derailed freight train? Hmm, thought not, but that’s kind of what Rowsdower will do to you. It’s slow, sludgy and very extreme in its delivery of distortion-heavy noise. It’s difficult to overstate just how hefty this album is. If you’ve got the nerve to give it a go, you will be rewarded, because this is a one of a kind experience. There aren’t many metal wrecking crews out there who are willing to push their work to such extremes and when it happens it is something to be celebrated. I imagine this won’t be for traditional fans of hard rocking NWOBHM, but if you have an open mind, or you just fancy demolishing reality for a while, then this will be music to your ears. Go on, you know you want to! 9/10

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