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Tuesday 16 July 2019

Reviews: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Riot V, Sorcery, Corpseflesh (Paul H & Scott)

Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown: Truth And Lies (Snakefarm Records) [Paul Hutchings]

One of a plethora of guitar virtuosos who has emerged in the past decade, Tyler Bryant first caught the eye and ear with 2013’s Wild Child. A mere 17 years ago, that was an album of blues-soaked rock which displayed a maturity beyond his years. 2017’s Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown cemented his position and numerous tours and festival slots endeared him to the classic rock crowd at Ramblin’ Man Fair and similar. Although he appears to have been around for many more years than the six since he first arrived on the scene, the man doesn’t half know what to do with a guitar and rarely overdoes it; less of the flashy and more about the songs. With a solid and settled trio in Caleb Crosby on drums, bassist Noah Denvey and guitarist Graham Whitford cemented in around him, Bryant has now come back with album number three, Truth And Lies.

The formula is applied. 13 songs, the majority under three minutes in length, the mandatory smouldering slow one (Judgment Day in this album’s case) balancing out rocking tracks such as the title track, Ride and the crunching Drive Me Mad. Bryant doesn’t show off, despite being an absolute beast of a guitarist, allowing limited flashes of brilliance but on Truth And Lies it’s the sum of the parts which really makes it worth a listen, with Crosby and Denvey locking everything down tightly. It’s a little standard in places, but so much rock music is these days. If you like a bit of fiery blues rock, I’d highly recommend a listen of Truth And Lies. 7/10

Riot V: Live In Japan 2018 (AFM Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Live albums huh? Often an exercise is self-indulgence, occasionally a record of something special. Riot are one of those bands who promised much, sit high in the echelons of the pantheon of heavy metal and who always sound reasonably good when you listen to them. History has not been kind, with several members no longer with us, including founder member Mark Reale. Recorded in Club Citta in Japan where Riot V retain one of those inexplicably loyal fanbases, this is a marathon double CD which captures the current line up of the band in blistering power metal form. Last year the band put out their 16th album Armor Of Light which I found extremely enjoyable. 

This event was recorded in March 2018, prior to the release of Armor Of Light and features the sixth album Thundersteel in full, along with a plethora of the band’s back catalogue. It’s fast, it’s furious and unfortunately the fade after each track is one of those irritating characteristics which spoil live albums completely. Whilst the tracks individually are solid, 23 songs, 110 minutes long is probably more than enough for those who have only a passing interest in the band. If, however, you are a diehard, then this glorious CD and DVD package will probably be extremely exciting. 6/10

Sorcery: Necessary Excess Of Violence (Xtreem Music) [Paul Hutchings]

Originally formed in 1986, Swedes Sorcery were initially influenced by hard rock but moved to the Swedish death metal sound by 1989, with their first 7” EP Rivers Of The Dead and debut album Bloodchilling Tales released by 1991. Although the band continued until 1997 nothing more was produced, and all went quiet until 2009 when the reunion became a reality. The return was finally confirmed in 2013 with Arrival At Six, the first studio album in over 20 years. The album received positive reviews, with most noting that Sorcery had delivered a modern sound whilst retaining the old vibe. Having followed this with their first US tour as well as several home shows and festivals. 2016 saw the release of Garden Of Bones, a solid follow up which enhanced their reputation. That brings us to 2019 and album number four, Necessary Excess Of Violence. Sorcery has undergone some line-up changes over the years. Two members remain from the original line-up; Ola Malmström on vocals and Paul Johansson on guitar. Johan Vikholm on guitar joined in early 2015 and drummer Tommy Holmen a couple of years later. Last heard on Arrival At Six, bassist John Falk has returned to the fold and the band have reunited with producer Tomas Skogsberg whom was responsible for Bloodchilling Tales and Arrival At Six.

So, what do we get? Well, if you want the simple review, 45 minutes of bone splintering, dominating old school Swedish death metal which does the simple stuff correctly. But that’s not to say this is simple. Oh, no, this is well drilled brutality. Massive, thundering riffs, double kick drumming and Malmström’s guttural vocals all combine cohesively to create one impressive release. The pace varies, with Of Blood And Ash a powerful, crushing tune whilst the pace increases considerably for other tracks such as I’ll Be Gone In The Dark and the punishing Language Of The Conqueror. Duel down tuned guitar work slashes with malice whilst the concrete heavy rhythm section is locked tight. Soaring solos emerge from the maelstrom, nothing flashy but enough to remind you that this band has the chops to augment their frenzied onslaught. Elements Of Slayer surface from time to time, noticeably on the intro to opening track The Stellar Circle and the shrieking guitar work on the pulverising acceleration of Death Is Near but for most of the album, it’s the likes of Entombed, Unleashed and their cohort that spring most readily to mind. There is little to complain about; it’s solid, well produced and punishes from start to finish. 8/10

Corpseflesh: Rearranged With A 12 Gauge (Self Released) [Scott Price]

Corpseflesh (not to be confused with Corpse Flesh from Russia, I sure did get confused) flying high, or shall I say, through gorey swamps are here in 2019 with another album. This one being your classic, meat and potatoes brutal death metal album. But just because I call it that, doesn’t mean this album is bad or boring. It’s in your face, brutal, disgusting and just totally insane. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. This album has the best name for an album I’ve ever heard in my life. Rearranged With A 12 Gauge. What as just cool ass fucking name. But just the name tells you everything about this album in just a simple, but effective sentence. It’s to the point, and it doesn’t fuck around. Get in, fuck em up, get out. All the releases before this LP have been pretty standard, basic brutal death metal. But there’s just something different with this album, I can’t put my finger on it. But in the best of ways. I enjoy this album thoroughly. I cannot express how much I love the track Chains Of Despair. The heavy footsteps dragging in the grotesque and mangled body that is this song. 

The fast intro riff and the blood curdling vocals just make it obvious that this monster is a force to be reckoned with. On this album, I feel like I’m in some kind of abandoned swamp, with thick fog, putrid waters and with a population of cannibalistic inbred inhabitants. Like this would be the sound track to a torture scene, only to be taken into the shed afterwards to be Rearranged With A 12 Gauge (See what I did there? Sorry) But, as with all albums. They have 1 or 2 duds for which I do not care for. Barbed-Wire Beatdown being the only song that I will admit, do not like. The riff in my eyes is annoying and just sounds pretty bad. Like they took a bunch of notes that are out of key and just mashed them together, then played fast. I love ugly riffs, but it’s a pretty annoying ugly riff. Other than the intro riff I find the rest of the song pretty uninspired. Usual old brutal that you could hear from pretty much any brutal death band. But the tracks Grotesque Imbreds and Bathing In Acid have a slight flavour that could be more Slam or slamming death metal inspired. A welcome change that’s for sure. If you like bands like Amputated, Devourment and Disfiguring the Goddess, you should give this album a listen. 7/10

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