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Wednesday 24 July 2019

Reviews: Thy Art Is Murder, Control The Storm, Lingua Ignota, Cold Kingdom (Liam, Paul H, Lee & Alex)

Thy Art Is Murder: Human Target (Nuclear Blast) [Liam True]

Aggressive. Destructive. Barbaric. Just a few words to describe Human Target. This has been my most anticipated album of 2019. And it did not disappoint. The build up to the record started in April with the release of the title track, and album opener, Human Target. As soon as the album starts, you're treated to the classic TAIM sound. The unrelenting in your face Deathcore destruction with the signature snarls from the tectonic plate sounding throat of CJ Mcmahon. The entire album is just a flawless masterpiece through the current state of the world. Including songs about drug addiction (Chemical Christ) the power of social media (New Gods) and various other real-life scenarios. While being a brilliant album, it is the first to feature new drummer Jesse Beahler after the departure of Lee Stanton. Beahler's debut with the band is impressive in its own right.

While keeping to the style of the band he does bring his own unique feel to the kit and destroys the wonders of if he'll live up to the hype by tearing down all boundaries of what a drummer is capable of. It also has the addition of a slower song, which is still heavy as fuck might I add, Eye For An Eye, showing the versatile nature of the band. This record is showing the band is never giving up hope for Deathcore and are more than capable of holding their own in the current state of music right now. If anything, this record will bring bigger tours, better production and soaring popularity for the band. And with a main stage slot at Bloodstock Festival this year (Where you'll find me when the Aussie titans hit the stage to decimate Derby) they'll easily win over a new generation of fans. 10/10

Control The Storm: Forevermore (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

Winners of the 2012 Reading Metal To The Masses, Control The Storm is a melodic metal band. Opening their sophomore release is Darkest Fantasy Fix Master, an impressive seven-minute epic which showcases everything that is good about this band. Powerful double kick drumming, banks of symphonic keys, killer riffs and solos and vocals that soar above in a crystal-clear style. Above all, a melodic style that retains the metal edge with hooks that keep you engaged from the opening bars. Strike To Defend complete with fighter plane sound effects intro is next, a racing power metal beast with duel guitar harmonies and Radeon Mac’s delicious keyboards that are ever present without dominating. Once more the vocals of Firouzeh are superb, reminiscent of one Krissie Kirby at her Triaxis best. New Era changes direction, but in a quite fabulous manner, the feel quite majestic. Heavy riffs underpin the metal credentials whilst the keyboards duel with the vocals for centre stage. This is one epic song, almost soundtrack score in its majesty. 

The quality of this release is substantial, and whilst I rarely get excited about the female fronted melodic metal bands, this is something to really enjoy. Follow Me is another sweepingly enticing song, full of rapid pace, excellent harmonies on the choruses including an appropriate couple of death growls which are not out of place. The mood slows for In The Night, a power ballad which allows Firouzeh and Mac showcase their talents. Everything reaches a fantastic climax with the 13-minute title track. A folk style entrance, Celtic drumming, bagpipes and keys are joined by acoustic guitars as the momentum slowly builds before a huge wall of sound crashes in and we accelerate with some crunching guitar work. A feisty first section ends with a calming return to the Celtic feel, the folk flavour very much in evidence once more. The male narrative adds to the feel of the song before the track builds again towards a stunning crescendo. In Forevermore Control the Storm have delivered a superb follow up to 2015’s Beast Inside. This is a beautiful release. 8/10

Lingua Ignota: Caligula (Profound Lore) [Lee Burgess]

When you’re listening to Lingua Ignota for to review her new record Caligula, and your good lady wife asks what you’re listening to because it’s really good, you know you’re onto a winner. I am a fan of 60’s/70’s European Gothic horror and in a nutshell, this is essentially what this lovely bunch manage to evoke with all their sadness, singing and wailing. This is beautifully miserable. Each epic track sounds a bit like Florence And the Machine, if Florence Welch was locked in a medieval dungeon and continuously tortured by the Witchfinder General. In short, think the aforementioned band, then think of them again in a blender with Kate Bush a little bit of Sunn 0))) with a pinch of Ghost Bath and you kind of get the idea.

However, this review comes with a warning. The misery within is real. It is the result of untold pain and abuse, and in this way, it is a thing of both beauty and bravery. Scratch beneath the surface of the theatrical incantation-like tracks and you will soon realise that this music comes from a place of real suffering. This ladies and gentleman is what you get when you take a survivor of abuse, and give her classical training. She comes back at the world with full force. This is dark, beautiful, painful and harrowing. Even more impressive is the fact that this woman creates these sounds of insanity performs by herself as a solo artist. I cannot overstate how profound this music is in both scale and source. Staggering. 10/10

Cold Kingdom: Into The Black Sky (Self Released) [Alex Swift]

A lonesome piano sound before a splicing guitar riff hurdles in, like a truck screaming past you in the dark. In many ways Into The Black Sky is a quintessential alt-rock album. The choruses are huge, the guitar riffs massive, and there is an overall sense of discontented angst present from start to finish. Take Desire, where the hook is certainly an earworm, the bass has a thunderous present, and there is a stampeding sense of passion. Devil In Me charts a similar path, yet has more of a lumbering stomp, which lends the track a moody yet simmering stance. On a slower note, Left Me Haunted brings the pianos back in powerful fashion, pairing them with synths, adding to the melodramatic backbone of the song and indeed, the entire album.

Not that I begrudge Cold Kingdom for that. I have always believed melodrama to be preferable to mediocrity, and towering anthems like Ammunition and Volatile, only help to validate that opinion. There is a fair amount of generic copycatting to be found here as well. While I enjoy all the features on show, I wouldn’t exactly call any of them original or ground-breaking. Invisible and In Your Shadow are two prime examples, with the instrumentation serving largely to create an atmosphere, while the lyrics croon about being outcast and lonely – innovative, right? If you can see past the cut and paste elements however, there’s a decent alternative record to be had here. All the musicians are undoubtedly skilled, and the band clearly have a passion for performance. In some cases – especially those when an act is early into their career - that’s all it takes to merit my respect. 7/10

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