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Saturday 22 June 2019

Reviews: Teramaze, Rogga Johansson, Fuming Mouth, Casto Volor (Reviews By Matt & Paul H)

Teramaze: Are We Soldiers? (Mascot Records) [Matt]

Having always delivered the goods on record Australians Teramaze are now here with their sixth album are we soldiers, their second fro Mascot records. It's a weighty record that delicately balances progressive metal density with a pop mentality something founder, guitarist, producer Dean Wells is immensely proud of. He believes that the album "captures the true essence of what (the band) is artistically and lyrically" and you can't really argue as Are We Soldiers? brings together all the years of work Teramaze have under their belts on to an album that is full of complex yet accessible music and thought-provoking lyrics that deal with the pressures of life and what we choose to believe. It builds on the foundation of 2015's Her Halo and embellishes everything. It's an album that saw the band going through a few changes bringing back original vocalist Brett Rerekura replacing there previous singer who appeared on Her Halo.

Shimmering guitars and rippling keys give way to big djent-like riffs on the title track with a thick rhythm section kicking out the grooves for prog metal feasts such as Control Conquer Collide but also giving space on melodic numbers such as excellent Weight Of Humanity layered with acoustic guitars and a lot of piano it shifts itself into one of the best solo sections on the record. Are We Soldiers? is the sound of a band who are reaching the nadir of the talent, having been at the forefront of Aussie prog metal, along with Karnivool and Cog, for a while now and with acts like Voyager nipping at their heels Teramaze have once again displayed how good they are! 8/10

Rogga Johansson: Entrance To The Otherwhere (Transcending Obscurity Records) [Paul H]

Entrance To The Otherwhere is the second full length death metal album from the prolific multi-instrumentalist Roger Johansson. One glance at the Swede’s discography on Encyclopaedia Metallum (www.metal-archives.com) and you wonder why the hell you’ve never heard of the man. And the reason is because the majority of his work is solo stuff: see Humanity Delete; Eye Of Purgatory; Dead Sun and The Cleaner and Mr Filth’s Van Murders. Most of his other work appears to have him shouldering the majority of the guitar, bass, keys and vocals. Anyway, taking Entrance To The Otherwhere on its merits, what do we get. Well, opening song The Re-Emergers starts at blistering pace, tremolo riffing and double layered guitar front and centre, punishing drumming, a pulsing bass line and some gravel soaked vocals all wrapped up into a tasty combination. Additional subtle synths are probably unnecessary as the song rampages along. A chunky stomp on Till Bergets Puls appears routine but appeals massively with its crushing heaviness, albeit with the riff apparently transferred from track one. Again, the keyboards add little and sounds a little lightweight.

When The Otherwhere Opens is a pulsating and exciting track, a blend of power metal and death metal, blast beats driving the whole song forward and by now I’m warming to this album substantially. Massive riffs propel track four, the pulverising Giants Walking At Night. You can indeed imagine the huge creatures thundering across the landscape. Whilst I rarely warm to solo projects, Johansson has created a fine death metal collection which purists may well dismiss but it floats my boat. As Evil Seeps Out is a blistering tune, his roaring vocals and memorable hooks pulling you closer and demands involvement. And then a curved ball. A simple atmospheric keyboard instrumental called Berget Vaknar, which allows breath to be caught. It’s back to full steam ahead though with the title track next, underpinned by a single keyboard note and some frenetic riffing. With two tracks to finish the album, Johansson goes for the pulverising finish and hits hard with the bone crunching A Journey Into Fear before rounding off a really enjoyable album with the doom filled In The Grip Of Garpedens. This album has restored my faith in solo projects, such is its high quality production and compositions. 8/10

Fuming Mouth: The Grand Descent (Triple B Records) [Paul H]

Milford, Massachusetts, United States of America. Home of Fuming Mouth, a death metal with crustcore edged band. I have no idea if anything else has ever come from Milford but with a population of 28,000 folks according to Wikipedia, and the most interesting sites listed including Ted’s Diner, then it’s likely that the ferocious noise that this three-piece deliver may have been born out of frustration. 12 songs of sheer aggression, the odd bit of atmospheric build up (Visions Of Purgatory), and a death inducing battery which is virtually relentless in its delivery, with the exception of Distant Voice which veers into industrial territory. Put your head into the path of this brute and you are likely to find yourself immediately detached from the rest of the torso. Transfiguration is just one of several absolute beasts which could peel paint. Short, sharp and punishing, Fuming Mouth won’t be for everyone but should you like your metal disgustingly angry, snarling and played at balls out velocity, you may find your new favourite band comes from Milford, Massachusetts after all. 7/10

Caster Volor: A Prelude To The Freakshow (Self Released) [Matt]

Remember the 80's? Well it seems Castor Volor do as well. Billing themselves in their hyperbolic pr as a mixture and also the natural successor to bands such as Alice Cooper, WASP and Judas Priest. From the opening simplistic riff, to the scream and abysmal vocals, which I'm not sure whether they are trying to be gruff or indeed death grunts, this whole EP just screams pastiche letting them sound like a sub-par Lizzy Borden. The production sounds as if the album was recorded into cassette and the songs here are basic and lack much imagination. If you're a die hard American sleaze/schlock rock fan then this might have you reaching for you can of hairspray but I turned it off after 2 songs. 4/10

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