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Monday, 15 April 2019

Reviews: Subservience, Priest, Mork, Dychosis (Paul H & Paul S)

Subservience: Ascending From The Abyss (UKEM Records) [Paul H]

There’s something instantly appealing about a band that open this EP with a track entitled Neurotic Imperfection. That title combined with some broodingly aggressive death metal from the Crawley based outfit rips at the skin on your face instantly helps to focus all the senses. Subservience have been ripping up a storm since 2010, with this EP the follow up to 2017’s well received Forest Of The Impaled. Flesh Of The Dead is an onslaught of noise with sledge hammer blows and crushing riffs. What I really like about the band is their ability to marry a huge groove with some skull splitting death metal which strikes right between the eyes. 

Dan Lofthouse carries exactly the right level of malevolence in his vocal delivery, hideously grotesque in all the right places. The Deceit Epidemic, a true statement of these disturbing times batters relentlessly, with some unholy drumming and vicious riffing ensuring that the cranial lobes throb; utilising pauses to maximum effect, this track carries an immediate impact and must be devastating in the live arena. Closing track Pathogenocide continues in much the same vein, flattening all in its path as it races towards a volcanic conclusion. A lesson in violence that all should take, Ascending From The Abyss is blistering. 8/10

Priest: Obey (Lövely Records) [Paul S]

Priest are a 2 piece based in Stockholm. Both members of the band (Alpha and Airghoul) are ex-members of Blue Oyster Cult copyists Ghost. The connection with Ghost is probably the reason why this EP has been sent to Musipedia Of Metal; as there is no rock or metal on this at all. Priest are an entirely electronic act, all the material on this EP could broadly be called dance music of one sort or the other. I must admit, I’m not that into dance music, I’m a metalhead, which is why I write for a metal blog. This means I’m a little out of my depth when it comes to reviewing this. I was quite into the Trance and Hard Techno scene in about 1998 - 2003, when Nu Metal was ruining heavy metal. If I’m being honest, I was far more into the drugs and dancing all night aspect of clubbing, than I was into the music. I’ll do my best to review this, but I’m not totally sure I know what I’m doing.
The EP opens with the title track Obey. What we get is 50% early eighties electro (Depeche Mode, Gary Newman, Human League etc), and 50% late nineties techno. The track has a standard dance 4/4 beat, that is a little reminiscent to Dead Or Alive. The track features some nice clean vocals which sound a little like Andy Bell of Erasure. Next is Neuromancer, which is the most poppy track. in some ways it reminds me of the Lady GaGa track Bad Romance (this could be because of the linguistic similarity of the titles and chorus, however there is a backing vocal that seems to reference the GaGa song). Ceremony seems to signal a less pop direction. The track is slightly more minimalist, has an interesting rhythmic style and a bit of an industrial feel to it. Next we get a cover of Street Spirit, the Radiohead song. The opening riff, played on keyboards sounds quite like a Philip Glass composition. 

The overall sound is quite like a trance track, and the vocals are heavily Vocoded, which actually fits quite nicely with the feel of the song. Final track Tria Prima 2 continues the trance from the preceding track. It’s a nice trancy instrumental, that builds up slowly, it reminds me of some of the material on Danial Avery’s album Drone Logic. Obey is a nice little Ep. I’m not that into, or particularly knowledgeable about dance music, but I did enjoy it. If I can enjoy and appreciate this, then someone who is into electronic music should really enjoy it. 7/10

Mork: Det Svarte Juv (Peaceville Records) [Paul S]

Mork is a Norwegian one man band, the man in question is Thomas Eriksen. The project has been in existence since 2004, Det Svarte Juv is the 4th album produced by Mork, coming 2 years after 2017’s Eremittens Dal. The overall sound of this album is orthodox black metal, so fuzzy, nasty sounding guitar, bass, drums, a little keyboards but only for atmosphere. There are similarities in sound to early Darkthrone and those other lo-fi second wave bands. The material is a little more melodic than than the sound might suggest. Although the sound of the album is lo-fi, the actual songs are mainly mid to low paced; only a couple of tracks have blast beats and fast tremolo picked riffs. However, don’t take that as a criticism, Mork might not be savagely blasting, but they do a great line slow, powerful, relentless and hypnotic. When Mork do blast, they know what they are doing; there might only be two main tracks that are fast and frenetic, opening track M¢rkeleggelse, and probably the fastest track on here I Flammens Favn, but when they do it is well written and has a real feeling of inertia and speed. The two fast tracks are fairly simple, but are extremely enjoyable, fantastic savagery that leaves the listener breathless. 

The slower tracks take a little bit longer to get into, but are worth making an effort over, as they are probably more rewarding than than the fast ones. Da Himmelen Falt is mid-paced and feels a little punky. På Tvers Av Tidene is slow and relentless, there is a hypnotic quality to the song that I loved. The chorus is very strong and features some exquisite chanting sections, that are just great. There is a similarity in some of the slower tracks to the band Nidingr, although with radically different sounds. Det Svarte Juv is one of the tracks that reminded me of Nidingr. Karantene is probably the best of the slower songs. It has the same relentless, hypnotic feel that a lot of the other material has, but that is coupled with a brooding, maybe even threatening feel to it. The track gets into your head, and is definitely one you will end up humming.

Det Svarte Juv is a fantastic album. It stands out in a field where there are so many bands with similar sounds. The fact that the material is different from what you would expect from a band with a second wave guitar, bass and drum sound, make it feel like a very different beast from a lot of Mork’s contemporaries. This isn’t just blasting, it’s much more sophisticated than that. There is a very interesting, mesmeric feel to so much of the material, this album takes you to different places to most orthodox black metal; and that is very special! 8/10
Dychosis: Sadistic Killing Machine (Self Released) [Paul H]

Formed in 2015, Dychosis is a brutal five-piece death/thrash metal outfit from Wakefield. This is a four-track EP which opens with the ferocious title track, razor sharp guitar work complementing the bludgeoning assault which hit likes a tsunami. Vocally it’s not the best, but the delivery, which is a little on the croaky rather than growly side, fits with the sound neatly. Sinister Rage is a nasty, blood curdling track, slower paced but no less heavy, shrieking guitar work once again slicing and stabbing, and a nice change of pace to accentuate the underlying groove gives the song a kick. Narcissistic continues in similar vein, with the screaming vocals once again slightly off kilter with the brutal assault. This track is for me the weakest here, although the bulldozing Chemical Straight Jacket which closes the album runs it close. Dychosis give it heavy, they give it hard and at times this is steamroller metal which refuses to stop. Plenty of potential but not yet the finished product. 6/10

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