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Monday 9 September 2019

Reviews: Freedom Call, Godeater, Tenebrae In Perpetuum, Culted (Paul H)

Freedom Call: M.E.T.A.L. (SPV-Steamhammer)

Few embrace the ethos of power metal like Germany’s Freedom Call. Having stumbled across them at Bloodstock in 2012, where their complete cheese filled metal was a joy to behold, their music has continued to delight and irritate in equal measure. 12 albums into their career, and M.E.T.A.L is their tenth studio release. Featuring two new members in bassist Francesco Ferraro and drummer Timmi Briedeband who join founder member Chris Bay and long serving guitarist Lars Rettkowitz this latest album is once again equally awful and splendid. Tracks such as The Ace Of The Unicorn and 111 -The Number Of The Angels are dreadful, the former amongst the worst power metal songs I’ve ever heard. On the plus side, anthemic soaring and glorious tunes like Sail Away and the title track are just epic in their delivery. 

Forever a poor man’s Helloween, Freedom Call clearly fill a market, especially in their homeland. It’s power metal by numbers, following a standard which blends lightweight metal with a sense of Eurovision into a style which relies on high pitched harmonies, fast paced guitar riffing and flat out drumming and some of the most ridiculous lyrics you’ve ever heard. Polished, smooth and extremely competent, the only thing to dislike is the fromage induced coma which you may suffer as a result of prolonged exposure. Freedom Call are hilarious, but their heart is certainly in the right place. If you love your power metal with every box on the template ticked, then M.E.T.A.L will be another album for you. If you live for black and death metal, steer away from this at all costs. 7/10

Godeater: All Flesh Is Grass (Self Released)

Glaswegians Godeater’s debut release combines technically ability with brutal viciousness which belies the band’s status as a vegetarian and vegan outfit. I say belies it due to the amount of meaty metaphors screaming to be let loose on this intense debut. Looking at one of Planet Earth's most pressing issues: climate change and its associated effects, the album opens with the track Anoxia and closes with a parting shot on the end of humanity in the ferocious Blood Moon. A combination of brutes such as Decapitated, Between the Buried and Me at their heaviest and The Black Dahlia Murder, there is much to absorb here. Comparisons inevitably drawn with other behemoths such as Cattle Decapitation and Gojira are in no way undeserved, such is the band’s approach and intensity. With several tours under their belt and an Autumn stint with Harbinger, as well as slot at the prestigious Damnation Festival, 2019 is shaping to be a massive year for the Scots and on this demonstration, well-deserved. 7/10

Tenebrae In Perpetuum: Anorexia Obscura (Debemur Morti)

A return from the grave for Italian Black Metal duo Tenebrae in Perpetuum, who headed into oblivion in 2010. Album number four, Anorexia Obscura sees not only the return of the band but vocalist Atratus handling electronics, guitar and bass alongside drummer Chimsicrin. Dissonanze Mentali immediately summons the 1980s with a primitive production style. Frantic blast beats, tremolo riffing and harrowing screams cast the mind back once more to the early rumblings from Scandinavian forests. Delivered completely in Italian this is an album designed for the underground. The production is suitably muddy, the musical style primordial Black Metal and strictly for connoisseurs. 

The title track is a curved ball with a totally different tempo and style, with the electronics more prevalent. The darkness soon returns on L’epoa oscura del caos, (The Dark Age Of Chaos) which is features a disturbing riff and equally unnerving vocals. The use of fade is welcome, an older tool rarely used these days but allowing the atmospherics of the track to slowly drift from the mind. The Italians also intersperse their intense efforts with interesting electronic effects, repetitive tones and beeps which pepper the songs, such as the haunting Nero oscuro concetto di assoluto. Seven tracks and 40 minutes, with the use of silence between songs allowing time for reflection, absorption and complete bewilderment. Such is the effect of this worm-ridden release. 6/10

Culted: Vespertina Synaxis – A Prayer For Union And Emptiness (Self Released)

Linked by technology, vocalist Daniel Jansson has apparently never met his Canadian based band mates since the band formed in 2007. This is the band’s third release, following on from 2014’s Oblique To All Paths. This is a three-track album/EP, with the opening atmospheric ambient noise piece segueing to the first of two lengthy songs. Dirt Black Chalice shakes up the foundations with a kaleidoscopic merger of several genres to provide one massive, riff heavy beast of a track. Jansson’s roar impresses, whilst the thick thundering doom and black metal merge perfectly. The concluding track, at over 12 minutes in length, is called A Prayer For Emptiness and starts with a low tone, before some industrial crunching noises echo menacingly in the background which continue with solitary down tuned chords struck with melancholic feel. As the track slowly builds, the volume and intensity increases, creating an almost hypnotic vibe. I struggle to get completely immersed in this, with the drone style not really interesting me. It’s certainly complex, but overall leaves me a little nonplussed by the whole thing. 5/10

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