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Thursday 23 March 2017

Reviews: Fen, Destroy She Said, Synaptik, Light Freedom Revival (Reviews By Paul)

Fen: Winter (Code666 Records)

It's hard to know where to start with Winter. Perhaps the most beautifully crafted black metal album for many years, the East Anglians fifth album is an astonishing mix of textured soundscape which envelopes the listener and transports them into a different place. Technically fantastic, the album ebbs and flows, ranging from blisteringly heavy black metal to delicate fragility. For a three piece to make this sound is incredible. Winter is divided into six sections, I to VI, all of which capture different parts of the season. 

They are lengthy too, with opener I (Pathway) a 17-minute epic. Each track segues perfectly into each other, providing the listener with an intertwined stunningly dramatic piece. Whilst there is the heaviness associated with black metal including blistering drumming, massive thrashing guitars and death vocals of Grungyn and The Watcher, there is so much more to this release. Part V (Death) is a perfect example. Repeated listens make this album more incredible. You should not miss one of the best albums of not only 2017 but of this century. Essential listening. 10/10

Destroy She Said: Origins Of O’Detta (Hellfire Records)

If you didn’t know, you’d quickly realise that Destroy She Said are from Australia. With a sound that combines the rawest elements of AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, the Melbourne five piece’s latest release is a gritty, raucous affair that delivers some of the dirtiest rock ‘n’ roll since Dirty Deeds dropped on the turntable. Now, it’s not ground breaking in any respect but what it does have is that filthy snarling soundtrack for the bar room brawl which countrymen Airbourne have polished out of their sound. It is blunt and crass, with tracks like Squirter (yes, really) Fat Lizzy and Hookers Don’t Kiss leaving nothing to the imagination. The Sabbath like stomp of You Might Think I Love You diverts slightly from the routine heads down approach in the other tracks, with a vocal performance from Simon McCullough that fuses Iggy Pop with Jim Morrison. Apart from that, with a band that is so adult that two of the members are called Scampers and Youngy what else would you expect. Crack open a tin, punch your mate in the face and bare your arse at the world. Destroy She Said. They certainly have. 7/10

Synaptik: Justify & Reason (Divebomb Records)

Norwich outfit Synaptik's 2nd album is a real hybrid beast. Elements of progressive metal, thrash, melodic death and power metal are all present. Whilst experimentation and incorporation of different genres is an admirable objective, the results here are mixed at best. The playing is excellent with lead guitarist Jack Murton shredding like his life depends on it. Vocalist John Knight has a strong clean voice which is a joy to listen to. In places the album is quite impressive, with some real cohesiveness, for example on the slower paced Conscience which builds majestically over its 9 minutes. However, some of the other tracks are just a bit too busy, with so much going on it's difficult to know where to listen. Human is a case in point. Huge riffs, some Iron Maiden style melody but then there is some djent type bass lines, numerous time changes and varying patterns which begin to make the listener really have to work to keep up. It sounds messy. There is some real potential here. The band are tight and talented. Whether they can push their complex sound into a saturated market is debatable. 6/10

Light Freedom Revival: Eterniverse Déjà Vu (Positive Imagination Media)

‘From the perception of the Light Omniverse, right now each of us are consciously or unconsciously, passing through quantum stargates by simply making decisions about where our lives are going, and our minds are slowly learning to use a sort of a holographic customized reality operating system, leading us into the kind of future we would like to experience. I know I’m headed towards this exit timeline, where Earth evolves to become the centre of a gigantic crystal space city of light called the Avatar that represents the point of focus for the entire Light Creation with a sealed cornucopian light society template. That is for me the true Ascension into the Eterniverse and I wanted the songs to reflect that!’

That’s the explanation from John Vehadija, Vancouver based singer songwriter about the debut (and hopefully only) album from Light Freedom Revival, with prog rock luminaries Billy Sherwood, Oliver Wakeman and Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band). I’d really like some of what he’s been taking. The album is utter shite, a horrible bastard that should have been aborted at conception. With a sound that appears to have merged the worst of Asia, Weezer and Mike Oldfield, I can find nothing enjoyable in it. Vehadija’s voice is one of the most irritating I’ve ever heard, nasal mucus soaked in saccharine and wildly over produced. With Marisa Frantz’s harmony vocals attempting to smooth the sound but accentuating it, I was reaching for the knitting needles to ram in my ears after song number one. Anyone that enjoys this needs therapy. Utter bilge. 1/10

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