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Monday 11 September 2017

Reviews: Masterplan, Progenie Terrestre Pura, Incantation, Impalers (Reviews By Paul)

Masterplan: Pumpkings (AFM)

The world is awash with power metal bands. Some are excellent, some are shite and the majority churn out routine music which is neither sac-grabbing or vomit inducing. It’s just routine. So it is with album number 5 from German power metal outfit Masterplan. The difference is that Pumpkings, as you might have twigged from the title, is a collection of tracks written by main man and guitarist Roland Grapow while he was in Helloween. There a couple of decent tracks tucked away here; check out Step Out Of Hell and opener The Chance. Avoid the seven-minute pain of Mr Ego, which does vocalist Rick Altzi no favours as it stumbles to a finale. In fact, it’s the shorter tracks on this release that stand strongest. The grandeur of The Time Of The Oath requires the might of Ronnie James Dio to carry it off; indeed it would have worked fabulously with the legendary vocalist. Take Me Home, a five-minute rampage with a quite thunderous bass line rescues the tail end of the album but unfortunately, it’s too little too late. 6/10

Progenie Terrestre Pura: OltreLuna (Avantguarde Music)

Atmospheric black metal from the Veneto no less in this captivating and quite astonishingly good second album. I can count on one finger the bands I’m aware of from this region of Italy it’s a blisteringly good one. OltreLuna (Over The Moon) is a complex, multi-layered composition and it almost defies description. As well as ambient black metal, there are jazz passages, ethereal haunting female vocals which contrast splendidly with the death growls of Emanele Prandoni and more time changes than a Cardiff Bus timetable. It’s a lengthy piece of work, 55 minutes for six tracks means some extensive episodes, but it doesn’t feel boring at any stage.

Opening track [. Pianeta.Zero.] flies by, whilst the crushing heaviness of [.SubLuce.] is balanced with some incredibly delicate passages. Having flown solo for the first EP and album releases, Davide Colladon (guitars, drums, synths) is joined by Prandoni and bassist Fabrizio Sanna for this release. Repeated listens enhance the experience. Ensure you allow time to immerse yourself in the release though, especially the 11+ minutes of the title track which starts with a tribal tempo which calms and sooths the furrowed brow before the pace increases with evocative pipes blending in with a choppy guitar and ever rising drumming which quickly explodes into full out blast beats and howling gravel edged vocals. This may be one of the albums of the year. Get it and submerge yourself into a different world. Quite magnificent. 9/10

Incantation: Profane Nexus (Relapse)

In a year where fellow New York Death Metal legends Immolation and Suffocation have already released fine albums in 2017, it’s good to report that Incantation, although not now based in New York, have made it a hat-trick with album number ten. Uncompromising throughout, the band, with sole original member John McEntee’s traditional indecipherable death growl is front and centre, mix it up to great effect. The blistering opening of Muse and Rites Of The Locust are followed by the initially slower paced Visceral Hexahedron. The variety of the tracks on Profane Nexus is significant, such as the segue from Stormgate Convulsions from the Thunderous Shores Of Infernal Realms Bey into the crushing Messiah Nostrum. It remains disgusting gut piercing death metal throughout with slicing lead work from Sammy Lombadozzi whilst long time drummer Kyle Severn relentlessly abuses his kit. It’s filthy, its guttural and dripping with malevolence. 8/10

Impalers: Celestial Dictator (EvilEye Records)

Not to be confused with the horror metal outfit Impaler who first stalked the earth in the 1980s, Impalers is a four-piece thrash outfit from Denmark who’ve been active for close to ten years. Celestial Dictator is their third album but the first I’ve heard by the band. It’s a bit of a schizophrenic record because although it’s fast and furious thrash metal, it is a real mix of styles which lead to some confusion. We get the obvious chug of Anthrax on Color Me White and Sun, the Metallica heavy Into Doom, the snarl of early Slayer on Believe with bits of Megadeth, Morbid Angel, Kreator, Armored Saint and just about every other thrash legend in the mix. Now, I’m hugely partial to a nice wedge of thrash and Celestial Dictator is not a bad album. It just does little to raise the heart rate above resting pulse level and if a thrash band can’t get the blood pumping then there is something wrong. A little on the average side. 6/10

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