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Thursday 23 May 2013

Reviews: Alice In Chains, Kylesa, Invictus

Alice In Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Virgin/EMI)

So this is the second album in AIC post Layne period and its a case of if it ain't broke don't fix it, this follows on immediately from Black Gives Way To Blue (which itself was a continuation of the AIC heavy grunge sound). From the opening downward dirge of Hollow all of the hallmarks are present, the dual vocals of Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall, Cantrell's excellent lead work working it's way over the doomy metal rhythm, which is backed by Sean Kinney's drums and Mike Inez bottom heavy bass. Cantrell has been quoted as saying this album is unique in it's delivery but maybe I'm an idiot but to me it sounds like AIC of old, which is by no means a bad thing, but apart from the occasional Sabbath reference or hard rock tendency this is AIC's own brand of grunge with some classic rock leanings with the stirring guitar solo on Stone which surprisingly comes from DuVall not from Cantrell. This is an album full of some excellent songs like the aforementioned Stone as well as the atmospheric title track which builds to a massive crescendo before returning back to just stripped down guitars and the amazing and progressive Phantom Limb (which features another solo from DuVall). This is the second album of AIC's new age and if they continue in this vein then it looks to be as good as their original incarnation good stuff indeed 8/10

Kylesa: Ultraviolet (Seasons Of The Mist)

Sludge Metal masters Kylesa return with their sixth album and unlike their previous effort this album is more introspective and darker both lyrically and sonically. The band still have their own unique musical style with the twin vocal, twin guitar and twin drum assault leaving just bassist Chase Rudeseal as the only single instrument member. The dual drums work well on the bands sonic attack as they can bring a haunting percussive vibe to all the tracks and is especially prevalent on Long Gone. The drums are topped by the hazy and riff heavy guitars of Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasant's, both also contribute vocals however Pleasant's has the monopoly on vocals this time around with the album based on her personal tragedies, she does an excellent job having a wounded wail that infects the slower restrained tracks and also an aggressive Maria Brink-like roar on the more biting tracks like We're Taking This. With tracks like the full on chant of Unbroken the Lizzy-like dual guitars of Grounded and the punk rock styling's of What Does It Take. The band are clearly have taken their mantra of making every record different seriously as they have managed to make this one a dark, brooding, atmospheric record full of lazy psych, merged with some heavy metal riffage bolstered by some strong vocals and song writing. 8/10

Invictus: Unconquerable (Self - Released)

The first thing that strikes you about Invictus' debut E.P is that it is strong in terms of song writing and also from the production standpoint (debut production job from Seven Deadly's Archie Wilson) from the opening melodic guitar lines of Master Of My Fate (which have a similar sound to InMe). Then it builds into the double kicks and heavy breakdowns of modern metalcore. The band are a six piece and feature two vocalists both handle screams the one providing some black metal screaming and the other some more metalcore based growls and roars. However on the clean vocals they fall down a little with one having quite a good clean delivery but the others is a little flat in places which is noticeable at most on Lazarus. However the that aside the rest of the band have a good sound with some technical guitars laying beneath the heavy riffage and skull smashing drums they even have some progressive tendencies on final track Cimmerian. With a bit of refinement and some more experience the band could do well as it stands they have a good musical backing but are let down slightly on the (clean) vocal front. 6/10

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