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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Reviews: I.N.C, Sleeping Pulse, Morning Dwell

I.N.C: Black Hearse Serenade (Rising Records)

I.N.C stands for Indestructible Noise Command and that really is all you need to know, the band from Bridgeport Connecticut are old school thrash with some leanings towards the extreme side of things, the band originally broke up in 1988, but they built up enough funds to finance themselves without record company help and reformed in 2010. Black Hearse Serenade is their second album since their reformation and serves up a big heaving slab of intelligent thrash metal that bursts at the seams stretching the genre to its furthest point. The album is a concept album  "Set in Southern California, about a broken man, his congregation of runaways, junkies and lost souls and a murderous path to finality. A childhood filled with embarrassment and shame, born of religious zealotry and an overbearing mother, that broken child has now become a man." A real near the knuckle experience then with the story being backed by some razor wire riffs, machine gun drums and vocals that would make Anselmo quake in his boots, in fact think a thrashier Pantera and you wouldn't be far off this albums sound; especially on the groove filled Sainted Sinners which turns into Cyanide & Whiskey which funnily enough sounds like Down with it's big beatdown verses. The music in this album is a veritable mix of thrash, Southern rock and a heap of attitude all topped with sterling musicianship ; see The Lies We Devour guitar fans and some nice snarling vocals which turn to a solemn croon on the final track the atmospheric Love Like Napalm. I haven't heard much of I.N.C but this album is testament to their ability and most of all one that will get heads banging throughout. 8/10  

Sleeping Pulse: Under The Same Sky (Prophecy)

Sleeping Pulse are a two person project from Michael Moss from Liverpudlian dark, progressive band Antimatter and Portugeuse multi-instrumentalist Luís Fazendeiro. Moss has the same, unmistakable sonorous crooning vocal that has been heard in Antimatter for all these years and he uses it to full effect on this record of anthemic, multi-layered, genre splicing piece of dark progressive music that sits alongside Anathema (who's former bassist formed Antimatter with Moss) and even Katatonia in terms of pulsating intelligent rock music that has melodic guitars and a dark electronic back beat that Antimatter fans will recognise. Lyrically the album has semi concept based on "The abysses of the human soul and grounds his lyrics on an elaborate concept about sociopathic manipulation" so high concept indeed, the complicated and indeed sinister nature of the lyrics are reflected in the music. The tribal Gagging Order is in direct contrast to the raw, acoustic beauty of Backfire which is bolstered by some beautiful string work and shows off Fazendeiro's guitar work in it's solo. Many may think that this album is a bit to 'light' and for those that like metal and rock with a bit of grunt yes this hasn't got 90mph riffs and breakdowns but it has a heaviness in both a musical and emotional sense with down tuned guitars (Noose), dark atmospherics (The Puppeteer), haunting ambience (War) and Moss's vocal work all combine to provide this album a real sense of bleakness but with a hint of light on the horizon with the final title track. Yes the album is dark, brooding and in parts miserable but it seems to reflect some parts of life. If you want instant madness then go elsewhere if you want something with understated beauty try this. 9/10

Morning Dwell: S/T (Doolittle Group)

Sweden's Morning Dwell do more than draw on their influences they downright copy them; the Intro is from Holst Mars:Bringer Of War which is, as you will all know the opening strains of Am I Evil? This moves straight into Unlock All The Doors which has the same rapid fire delivery of bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and most importantly Helloween. In fact they are almost exactly alike with fast paced guitars, blast beat drumming and lightning keyboard riffs throughout. This is Ecliptica, Visions and even Keeper Of The Seven Keys territory especially on Orange Moped. The music is fine, very generic but fine the solos are great the songs are strong but they are let down a little by Petter Hjerpe's vocals, he can hit the highs excellently and the lows too see the heaviest track on the album Predator, but his mid range is a bit sketchy meaning that he can sometimes be a little off key, the production too lets them down, it is very tinny and is most noticeable on the drums which are very trebley. The band do have some good songs on this album but pick of the bunch are The Pirate Song is a bit mad, the rampaging and cheesy as hell The Gatekeeper and the slightly epic The Story Never Ends which takes us back to The Keeper Of The Seven Keys territory. A good album let down by the lack of creativity and the issues previously mentioned, if you are a power metal obsessive then pick it up, if not then you may be a bit disappointed. 5/10  

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