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Thursday 13 June 2019

Reviews: Degrees Of Truth, Extrema, Gorilla, Litterbox Massacre (Rich, Matt & Paul H)

Degrees Of Truth: Time Travel Artefact (Self Released) [Matt]

Italian band Degrees Of Truth have released what is probably the most cinematic album of the year, fronted by breathtaking vocals of Claudia Nora Pezzotta along with some soulful male vocals from one of the members who I haven't been able to find the name of, Time Travel Artefact is their second album and has had a long gestation period but when you hear the scope you will hear why. This is some brilliant progressive metal, with the melodic crunch of Dream Theater coming in on tracks such as The Remedy which has intertwining guitars and keys and a metallic edge. However they are not one dimensional, in fact Degrees Of Truth are a multi-faceted band who really show their potential on this record by incorporating all manner of styles, it's sort of like Celine Dion fronting a metal band who play covers of Meat Loaf, Pink Floyd and Dream Theater with numerous styles coming through.

Take for instance the four part Dream Suite that takes up the bulk of the album, Compass is very Latin flavoured opening that builds on the back of  Gianluca Parnisari's keyboards, leading to some ascendant guitar playing from Andrea 'Boma' Boccarusso. It's a dramatic opening to this mini opus where they can dabble with any sounds they want to, from the Middle Eastern strings on Dream II: Long Way Silk Road which is backed by the traditional metal rhythm section of Luca Ravezzani (drums) and Samuele Di Nardo (bass). It moves into the epic 14 minute Dream III: Lithos which is theatrical, stirring and heart pumping in equal measure, now as the album progresses there are more songs that take a slower pace with Love Me, Protect Me a song so saccharine that it must have been written for a Disney movie. Time Travel Artefact has been worth the wait, a symphonic progressive metal album that will hopefully see these Italian's playing a stage near you soon. 7/10

Extrema: Headbanging Forever (Universal Music Italy) [Rich]

Extrema are an old school band who have been going since 1986 with Headbanging Forever being the seventh album from the Italian thrashers. Despite more recent albums by the band being forays into groove metal territory Headbanging Forever is very much a thrash album with an old school feel and sound. As well as the clear old school thrash influences there is a degree of influence from old school heavy metal especially in the melodic leanings and hooks throughout the album. There are moments of groove throughout the album but these are few and far between. There are plenty of tempo changes throughout from moments of speed and fury to a more mid placed solid headbanging rhythm. Headbanging Forever is a solid thrash album but held up to some of the fantastic thrash albums already released in 2019 this is a bit underwhelming in comparison. There are plenty of savage thrash riffs, solos galore, furious drumming and snarled vocals but not much stuck with me. Headbanging Forever is solid and fun thrash but ultimately fairly disposable. 7/10

Gorilla: Treecreeper (Heavy Psych Sounds) [Paul H]

You’ll not hear a filthier, fuzzed up album all year. 12 years since Gorilla released Rock Our Souls, the hard n’ heavy trio of Johnny Gorilla (guitar and voice), Sarah Jane (bass) and Ryan Matthew (drums) punch the lights all over the place with 47 minutes of riff heavy tunes. Imagine Blue Cheer, Motörhead and St Vitus all playing in one room at the same time. That’s what Gorilla sound like. Tracks such as the raging opener Scum Of The Earth, the psychedelic meander of Cyclops and the balls out thunder of Gorilla Time Rock n’ Roll, which is as close to old school Motörhead as you can get all contribute to an album that fairly much grabs you by the scruff of the neck, swings you around and then tells you to get the beers in! It’s gritty, it’s gnarly and it’s heavy. Embrace your Gorilla (but only after asking their permission of course). 8/10

Litterbox Massacre: Welcome To The Scratching Post (Alex Sevigny Audio) [Rich]

Two of my great loves in life are cats and extreme metal so what happens when you combine those two worlds - Litterbox Massacre that is what you get who are a two piece brutal death metal band themed around our feline friends (or furry overlords). Welcome To The Scratching Post is the debut EP by the band and the question is did it have me purring in delight or hissing in disgust? I have a general hatred of gimmicky bands but my dislike of this EP didn’t stem from the gimmick as it’s a silly side project by members of Artificial Pathogen and clearly isn’t to be taken seriously. My dislike of Litterbox Massacre stems from the brutal/slam style they perform which really isn’t to my taste being made up of overbearing vocals and slamming ‘brootal’ breakdowns.  I’m an old school death metal guy so this sort of style I find repetitive, grating and puerile. This just wasn’t for me and not even the cat theme could save it.  Now if someone wants to form a death metal band centered around cats but sound like Asphyx or Obituary then I’m all ears. 3/10

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