Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Reviews: Uriah Heep, Deicide, Aborted, The Crawling (Reviews By Paul H & Sean)

Uriah Heep: Living The Dream (Frontiers Records) [Paul H]

In an astonishing career spanning several decades, Uriah Heep continue to release quality hard rock. From their formation in 1970 with debut Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble, to their latest and 25th album Living The Dream, Mick Box and co have sold over 40 million albums, earning them every right to be called legends. Box may be the only original member of the band, but that detracts little with vocalist Bernie Shaw and keyboard player Phil Lanzon both firmly anchored in the band since 1986, drummer Russell Gilbrook occupying the drum stool since 2007 and bassist Davey Rimmer now over five years in. This is Heep’s first album since 2014’s Outsider and it sits very much in the melodic rock camp. The opening three tracks, single Grazed By HeavenLiving The Dream and Take Away My Soul are all dominated by Lanzon’s thick keyboards and Shaw’s superb clean vocals.

Grazed By Heaven fires the first taste of Lanzon’s keys, but don’t think that Box is taking a back seat as he fires back some sharp guitar work. Take Away My Soul is has a 70s prog sound but as the album progresses the unmistakable comparison is with fellow 70s hard rockers Deep Purple. Rocks In The Road for example, an eight minute epic that builds dramatically, would sit comfortably amongst latter day Purple albums, and it is not impossible to draw similarities between Purple’s Don Airey and Lanzon, both with a rich, warm and fluid keyboard style. Similarly, there is plenty of guitar and keyboard interplay between Box and Lanzon, just as you would expect with Steve Morse and Airey.

There are also huge likenesses with Shaw and Ian Gillan in their vocal style. Now that, in my book is a good thing, and whilst Purple looms large, this is definitely a Uriah Heep album. With a real 70s feel, including the quality of the lyrics, see Goodbye To Innocence as an example, this is a solid hard rock album, perfectly delivered. Whilst it may not impress the youngsters, this is an old school album with a fresh new feel. 8/10

Deicide: Overtures Of Blasphemy (Century Media) [Sean]

Y’know, sometimes I just crave a good ‘ol steak dinner. No muckin’ about, just medium rare meat (Surely rare? - Dinner Editor), a mountain of spuds and lashings of good ‘ol gravy. I think it’s fair to say that Florida legends Deicide are very much the “steak dinner” variety of death metal, you know exactly what you’re getting and would be a downright eejit for expecting otherwise. Aside from the melodic renaissance spawned by The Stench Of Redemption (RIP Mr.Santolla), there’s been only subtle tweaking to the tried and true hearty blasphemies of Papa Glen’n’Steve. Completed by guitarist Kevin Quirion (Order Of Ennead, excellent btw) and new axeman, Mark English (Monstrosity, also excellent), does new album Overtures Of Blasphemy deliver the goods? Put it this way; some old dogs don’t need new tricks. Especially when they can still bite your face off.

Overtures Of Evil can be regarded as an album of two parts, ye olde Deicide and post Hoffman Deicide. Opener One With Satan is trademark Deicide, pure and simple. Tremolo riffs! Ripping solos! Steve Asheim’s relentless blastbeats and Glen Benton’s ageless roar! This is pure fucking Deicide, what more could you want? Crucified Souls Of Salvation and Flesh, Power, Dominion offers up more thuggish basting that the Floridian heathens have perfected over the decades. Excommunicated injects a bit of thrash and Anointed In Blood chugs with wanton abandon but the core remains unchanged.

Crawled From The Shadows displays the more melodic aspects that have become a part of the onslaught in recent years, injecting some youthful vigour into the already well oiled machine. One could attribute the subtle shifts here to guitarist Kevin Quirion, shades of his previous work fitting comfortably within the overall brutish oeuvre that is Overtures Of Blasphemy. Of course, new guitarist Mark English’s input cannot be discounted either, whose dextrous neoclassical cadenzas soar with aplomb. This is revisited again on Compliments Of Christ, melody seamlessly married with brutality to great effect.

Look, this is Deicide and Overtures Of Blasphemy is a solid album and a reminder that Deicide still mean business. Could things be shaken up a wee bit more? Probably but that’s not what I came here for, nor what Deicide are all about. After 30 years of sticking to their guns, you can be damn well sure that they’ll be still be sticking to ‘em! It doesn’t differ greatly from it’s predecessor In The Minds Of Evil (TOO CLEAN, SUECOF!) but does it have to? We live on a sorry lump of blue’n’green in constant socio-economic flux, so be thankful that we can still bank on the few certainties in this life. Deicide play no-frills ferocious death metal, the Hoffman’s ain’t coming back (get over it), religion is still fucking terrible and Deicide will hate it’s guts till we’re swallowed by the void. Or nuclear fire, depends which one comes first. 7/10

Aborted: TerrorVision (Century Media) [Paul]

I remember the last time I saw Aborted at The Fleece. A 40-minute opening slot for Kataklysm at The Fleece in Bristol in 2016. Hanging onto one of the numerous pillars that are staged around the venue, it was the equivalent of a death metal wind tunnel. Numerous punters flew past me, foolish enough to think they could move through the venue relying on gravity alone. Fast forward two years and the same thing happened again. Only this time in my study as the delicate intro of Lasciate Ogne Speranza gave way to the monstrous title track. This is vicious stuff. The follow up to 2016’s Retrogore, Aborted have shifted slightly in terms of subject matter. Vocalist Sven 'Svencho' de Caluwé has opted to use 80s horror movies as a lens into what’s happening in the world today. 

He stated “This record is quite different from any we have done before. It is, more or less, about what is going on with the world right now, all in Aborted sauce obviously. There is a deeper meaning, layered thoughts in there, more so than before. Think of TerrorVision as if it were an ‘80s horror movie talking about how the media in general is some sort of evil, demonic presence that is manipulating the opinion of the masses by spreading hate, fear, bigotry, terror, racism and all those fun things that make humans the most terrible thing to have ever happened to this planet. So, there is quite some stuff going on there that is not just the typical gore lyrics.”
As punishing and massive sounding as previous releases, tracks such as Vespertine Decay, the gruesome Squalor Opera and the monstrous Visceral Despondency demonstrate not only the brutality of the Belgian outfit but also the oft-overlooked musicianship that resides within Aborted.

The drumming of Ken Bedene comes at you with machine gun pace, the guitar work of Mendel bij de Leij and Ian Jekelis slashes with visceral intent and Stefano Franceschini’s bass just destroys. With an album cover conjured up by Swedish artist Pär Olofsson and guaranteed to give you nightmares, such is the terrifying imagery. Nearly 20 years since The Purity Of Perversion hit the airwaves, Aborted continue to deliver some of the most energised and pulverising death metal around. This is an absolute crushing album. 9/10

The Crawling: Wolves And The Hideous White (Grindscene Records)

Northern Ireland’s misery riddled doom/death trio The Crawling failed to impress me with their debut release Anatomy Of Loss although I did conclude my review with the line ‘The Crawling have potential. Whether they can achieve it is up for debate.’ Well, in sophomore release Wolves And The Hideous White the Lisburn City outfit have certainly taken a giant step in the right direction with six tracks of hideously heavy music designed to cave in skulls and breach castle walls. The title track sets the scene, pummelling drums, thunderous riffs and the harrowing vocals of Andy Clarke, much improved since their debut. Clarke’s guitar work is devastating throughout, adding a sinister edge to the rock-solid engine room of drummer Gary Beattie and bassist Stuart Rainey. 

Opening with the title track, the album explodes with the force of a tidal wave hitting landfall, and for the next 37 minutes proceeds to kick you in the head. Still No Sun follows, the disgust at humanity spat with venom from Clarke’s demonic vocals. Rancid Harmony is a lesson in gothic darkness, the crushingly slow opening pace accelerating steadily, reducing speed whilst retaining all the power and then once more moving forward, all the while maintaining a heaviness which could split the sky. Halfway in and all hell breaks loose as The Crawling add even more weight and any remaining life is slowly expelled through the sheer weight of this brutality. The riffs on this track are venomous. The more complex approach works superbly throughout the album, and a mature approach is a statement of intent. Wolves And The Hideous White is a massively impressive album, all flexing sinew and pulsing muscle and one which demands your attention. 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment