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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Reviews: Death Is Just The Beginning, Hundred Year Year Old Man, Goblinsmoker (Reviews By Paul S)

Death Is Just The Beginning MMXVIII - Various Artists

Nuclear Blast have been releasing Death Metal since the late eighties. Part of their output has been their Death Is Just The Beginning compilation albums. Before the internet the record label sampler was an important way to find out about bands, and a way to decide which albums to risk your hard earned cash on. Well, Nuclear Blast have brought their well loved compilation back, but is it any good?

Benediction - Tear Off These Fucking Wings (Demo) (8) Old school death/doom. Brutal, guttural and heavy as fuck. Being a demo it’s raw and low-fi, perfect sound for the material.
Kataklysm - The Awakener (Re-recorded) (7) Fast and brutal old school death metal. Nice melodic break in the middle of the song.

Hypocrisy - They Lie (Exploited Cover) (8) Death metal band covering a punk song. Sounds quite thrashy, which is fair enough. Enjoyable blast of energy.

The Spirit - Illuminate The Night Sky (8) Cracking piece of Watain / Dissection style Black Metal. Tuneful, melodic whilst also being pretty brutal. Probably the strongest track from their album Sounds From The Vortex.

Memoriam - The War Wages On (Demo) (8) Mid-paced old school death metal. Driving and powerful, with a really good sound considering it’s a demo.

Insidious Disease - Soul Excavation (Unreleased New Song) (7) Fairly melodic and tuneful track from this Death Metal super group.

Possessed - Abandoned (Unreleased Demo Of New Song) (7) Quite thrashy death metal from these pioneers of the genre. Enjoyable head banger!

Thy Art Is Murder - The Son Of Misery (7) Technically proficient deathcore. Not too bad, considering it’s deathcore.

Immolation - Morbid Visions (Featuring Max Cavalera) (Sepultura Cover) (8) Really fast cover of one of Sepultura’s best songs. Lead singer sounds very familiar!

Nailed To Obscurity - King Delusion (Unreleased New Song) (6) German Melodic Death Metal. Doesn’t flow very well, I can understand why this track hasn’t been released before!

Bleeding Gods - Beloved By Artemis (7) Fast Death / Thrash from the Netherlands. Brutal moments, separated by nice melodic parts.

Decapitated - Sane (Meshuggah Cover) (6) I’m afraid I’ve never been much of a Decapitated or Meshuggah fan, not sure why, they’ve always left me cold. So this cover of a Meshuggah track by Decapitated really isn’t my cup of tea, but if you are a fan of these bands it’s probably brilliant. But, I have to give my honest opinion, which is: Meh.

Aenimus - Before The Eons (Unreleased New Song) (7) Very technical Deathcore, clearly great musicians, melodic and tuneful.

Paradise Lost - Frozen Illusion (Previously Released Japanese B-side) (8) Really heavy piece of doom from Paradise Lost, verging on Death/Doom. Harsh vocals throughout. Similar in style to their album Lost Paradise.

Carcass - A Wraith In The Apparatus (6) Choppy technical death metal, mid-paced and a little lacklustre. Definitely not Carcass’s best.

Brujeria - Viva Presidente Trump! (Previously Only Available Digitally And On Vinyl) (7) Bonkers, Trump hating hardcore, lots of samples, lots of fun!

So, there you go, not bad at all. Lots of good, interesting music with only a couple of duff tracks. I’ll be giving the whole thing a mark based on the average of those scores (which should annoy our editor, as we aren’t meant to give scores that aren’t in whole numbers, however, that's how averages work so he’ll just have to argue with Maths about that). One observation that I’d like to make (not a criticism, just an observation) is that this wouldn’t work very well as a sampler, as most of the tracks are rarities or oddities of one sort or another, so you aren’t hearing what the bands usually do. Obviously that isn’t a problem now, as we have YouTube and Spotify to check bands out on, so compilation albums can be collections of rarities as this is. Death Is Just The Beginning MMXVIII is on the whole, a very good collection. Definitely worth a go. 7.1875 /10 (One time you're allowed it - Ed)  

Hundred Year Old Man: Breaching (Gizeh Records)

Leeds based Hundred Year Old Man describe themselves as ambient post metal, which is a label I’m not going to argue with. The bands style isn’t immediately obvious, they aren’t a band that fits easily into any predefined genre, and ambient post metal is a good description. In addition to the ambient and post metal elements I can hear some doom, sludge and drone in there as well. Breaching is the bands first full length, released only a few months after their an EP called Rei.

The album starts with a dissonant ambient intro called Breaching, which draws the listener into the album. Next track Black Fire is a huge, slow droney doom song. The pace is slow but powerful, like continental drift, with angry sludgy vocals that cut through the huge riffs. The song has a couple of very soft ambient sections that intersperse the huge crushing riffs. The Forest is a more aggressive and relentless track than Black Fire. Despite the power and aggression of this track, it also manages to have a mournful feel to the layered guitars. This song also has a softer middle section, complete with spoken vocal samples (something that happens on several tracks). Next is a short ambient piece called Clearing The Salients. It has a drone quality to it that gives the track an ethereal and minimalistic sense. Clearing The Salients has a palate cleansing effect on the listener, a brief respite from the heaviness and anger.

Long Wall starts with slow and unrelenting riffs, played in a restrained way. The song gets more and more powerful and intense as the song goes on. The second half of the song has a faster, more attacking pace to it, until the last part of the song where the layering of instruments gives it a slightly more ethereal feel. Disconnect has a mellower feel to the material that comes before it. There is more melody and the track has a floaty, dreamlike quality to it. The song does get more intense as it goes along, and the vocals are more measured, and maybe a little less angry. Cease is another palate cleansing piece of ambient, similar to Clearing The Salients but a little more dreamlike.

Final song Ascension has a similar feel to Disconnect. The track fades up slowly, with simple guitar riffs and single tones, before an uncomplicated undistorted riff comes in and introduces a drum beat to the song. The song has the same dreamlike quality that we met on Disconnect, there seem to be many layered instruments by the time we get to the last third of the song. The final two songs; Disconnect and Ascension have a less aggressive, or angry feel to them. The album seem so be moving from anger and pain on the first few tracks, to a resolution on the last two tracks, and this feels so satisfying. Breaching isn’t an album that will be rushed, all the songs take their time to get going, and the band is quite happy to fade songs out over a long time. This is a band that takes their time, but that is a great thing. The songs have time to develop properly, and this gives the album real depth. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it, if you are patient and give the album the time it deserves, you will get a lot out of it. 8/10

Goblinsmoker: Toad King (Sludgelord Records)

Goblinsmoker are a 2 piece from Durham, Toad King is their debut EP. Goblinsmoker is A (Guitar, Bass and Vocals) and C (Drums). So, what do we have from Goblinsmoker as their first try? Well we get 3 tracks of horrifically heavy sludge. First track Toad King is a massive slab of huge, aggressive sludge. The riffs are immense, with a guitar sound that is as fuzzy as it is huge. The tempo is slow, but with an energy that makes you head-bang, whether you want to or not. There is a similarity in feel to early Electric Wizard to the riffing and guitar and bass sounds. The vocals are unbelievably harsh and nasty. The vocals wouldn’t be out of place on a black metal album, the anger is visceral and rasping; or to put it another way, they’re fantastic.

Take The Dead has a long slow intro that just makes the opening riff even huger, and more powerful. The dynamics of this song are off the scale, so monumentally huge, and the vocals are even nastier that the opener. Last track Time To Ride goes strait for the enormous, right from the start. This song is off the charts in terms of how heavy and how huge it sounds, I’m genuinely impressed they have managed to fit it into the known universe. Toad King is a great EP. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it. It has the thing that all great EP’s have; I wanted more. If I get to the end of an EP and feel sad that it wasn’t an album, then that is a great sign. Superb EP guys, now make a full length so I can enjoy being beaten to a pulp for a bit longer! 8/10

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