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Tuesday 22 January 2019

Reviews: Carnal Forge, Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy, Desert Fear, Jinjer (Reviews By Paul H)

Carnal Forge: Gun To Mouth Salvation (ViciSolum Productions)

Now this is more like it; the welcome return of one of Sweden’s most impressive thrash outfits some 12 years since 2007’s Testify For My Victims. Founder member Jari Kuusisto quit the band “because I was just fed up with the music industry and everything about being in the band.” Luckily for those who like their thrash with a good dose of death metal style, the band emerged from hibernation in 2013 and finally Carnal Forge are back. Having released seven studio albums since their formation in 1997, there is quite a history to the band who are one of several outfits named after Carcass songs. With almost as many personnel changes as any team managed by Claudio Ranieri, the current formation is led by original founder Jari Kuusisto on rhythm guitar, new vocalist Tommie Wahlberg, long suffering Lars Lindén (bass) and Petri Kuusisto (lead guitar) completed with Lawrence Dinamarca on drums.

Gun To Mouth Salvation leans heavily on the groove of Lamb Of God and the roasting ferocity of At The Gates, a raw combination that works far better than it might. With Dimmu Borgir style harmonies on the backing vocals on the opening Parasites and Reforged, there is plenty to explore. It’s bone shatteringly heavy, with Wahlberg’s guttural roar enough to break paving slabs, the heaving riffs crunch with an intensity usually reserved for the finest peanut butter and as for the speed; let's just say there is some insane drumming and explosive acceleration. King Chaos and Endless War are both explosive, all power and drive combining with some blisteringly vicious guitar work. This album kicks, it punches and above all it pulls the listener close and threatens nasty things to kittens in your ear. Listen to it at all costs. Otherwise it’ll be your fault. 8/10

Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy: The Lord Ov Shadows (Sliptrick Records)

The Dark Mirror Of Tragedy was the mirror in which Nostradamus saw the dark cruel future. An apt name for a black metal band who hail from South Korea. With lyrical themes of suicide and death, their symphonic sound is all enveloping, reaching far from the abyss with tentacles of despair that wrap around the listener in a magical but sinister manner. Formed in Seoul in 2003, this is the band’s fourth full length release and it’s a pretty impressive aural assault. Sweeping symphonics vie for space amidst the thunderous blast beats, huge riffs and soaring keyboards.

The opening two tracks pale into insignificance when you hit Chapter III: The Annunciation In Lust. At over 13 minutes in length it’s a brooding hulk of a song but it is merely a warm up to the massive lurking beast that is Chapter V: I Am The Lord Ov Shadows which brings this five track release to an astonishing crescendo at just shy of 21 minutes. With Material Pneuma handling the raging vocals, the other five members of the band cope comfortably with the intricate time changes and ferocious increases of pace and power. At times haunting and ethereal, at others as blunt as a builder’s hammer, The Lord Ov Shadows seems to be as good a place as any to get to know a band that had been a mystery to me prior to this release. 7/10

Desert Fear: Drowned By Humanity (Century Media Records)

Formed in 2007, Deserted Fear spent the first three years preparing and reconfiguring. The core of the band— Manuel ‘Mahne’ Glatter (vocals; guitars), Fabian Hildebrandt (guitars), Simon Mengs (drums) then released Demo 2010.  Two years later, with F.D.A records having offered them a deal, death metal legend Dan Swanö helped produce the band’s debut album, My Empire. With Swanö at the helm once more for follow-up album, 2014’s Kingdom Of Worms the band began to create interest across Europe. In 2016 Century Media Records offered Deserted Fear a new multi album deal and in 2017 the band delivered album number three, Dead Shores Rising. That brings us up to date and to album number four, Drowned By Humanity.

Produced by Henrik Udd (At The Gates, Miasmal) at Studio Fredman, Drowned By Humanity is indeed a hefty chunk of thrash and death metal. However, to class it as sitting at the “very top of the Germany—no, European!—death metal heap”, as pronounced by their press release is complete bollocks. It’s solid, it’s brutal, and tracks such as All Will Fall, An Everlasting Dawn, and A Breathing Soul are ferocious death metal. But, and it’s a massive but, there is little here which suggests that Deserted Fear can really stand out from the herd. Violent aggression may be the essence of this release, Glatter’s broken glass growl fits perfectly, whilst the melody and groove which underpins Sins From The Past and Scars Of Wisdom adds to the listening pleasure but I’m not convinced that this promotes the band into the arena of the behemoths of the European death metal scene. Plenty of promise, and some meaty portions to get your teeth into but still some way to go before the summit can be attempted, let alone conquered.  6/10

Jinjer: Micro EP (Napalm Records)

I’ve got to be honest, the Jinjer juggernaut has passed me by in recent years. Massively touted by those who run Amplified Festival, to the extent that they are top of the bill this year, there is clearly something that people see in the Ukrainian outfit. Personally, I’m not so sure. It’s certainly different from some of the more run of the mill stuff out there now, and their intense mix of progressive hard rock, death metal and metalcore will surely attract an audience. The irregular changes between clean and growling vocals of singer Taitana Shmailyuk which sounds like a hybrid of Angela Gossow and Christina Scabbia on most tracks but especially Dreadful Moments are confusing and chaotic.

I struggled with the nu-metal Teacher, Teacher! with its constant changes of direction and style and overall this must be one of those bands I’m always going to stand there and say, “I just don’t get it”. If you like muddled and inconsistent metalcore merged with the arse end of Arch Enemy then you may well dig this but it’s all a bit meh to me. 5/10

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