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Thursday 26 September 2019

Reviews: Wednesday 13, The Crux, Cognizance, Mike Patton & Jean-Claude Vannier (Paul H, Matt, Liam & Paul S)

Wednesday 13: Necrophaze (Nuclear Blast) [Paul Hutchings]

“Entering the necrophaze, we take the other form, exhuming bodies from the grave, to feast upon the worms. Decomposition’s my addiction, this I must confess, coffins full of rotting flesh, grotesque by request”. Sinister words, uttered by the Godfather of Shock Rock Alice Cooper, which open album number eight from The Duke of Spook. Wednesday 13 and his merry band of ghouls. Influenced by Wednesday’s real-life night terrors, historical serial killers and 1980s horror films, Necrophaze enters the world of the bizarre, the frightening and the all too familiar. Recurring themes of real-life horror underpin the Necrophaze character but also the terrifying circumstances of sleep paralysis. But it’s not all horror, with humorous sentiment evident as well. Tracks such as Bring Your Own Blood echo the bring your own booze parties that Wednesday attended in his youth.

Guest spots on the album include appearances by Alice Cooper, Roy Mayorga of Stone Sour (who provides an eerie, authentic, 80s inspired synth soundtrack-score to the album), Alexi Laiho and Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil who adds her own inimitable style on Monster. With recording and mastering completed with Michael Spreitzer; producer, recording engineer, as well as the long-time guitarist of Devildriver, this is a slick and polished release: 41 minutes of shock rock with the bubble gum style of Cooper and Zombie. Necrophase teases and taunts, chunky riffs and throwaway choruses combining with anthemic fist pumping sections. Songs such as Decompose and Tie Me A Noose leave little to the imagination, their gory lyrics masked by the thumping soundtrack whilst a faithful cover of WASP’s Animal (I Fuck Like A Beast) concludes the album in fine style. 7/10

The Crux: Immersed Somewhere Divine (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

A bit of Norn Iron metal, we have the latest (or first depending on how you look at it) releases from The Crux. Now if you see the part in parenthesis and think what? Well let me elaborate the band were previously known as Warcrux and released an album in 2011 and after a lot of touring they decided to take a break from the band to focus on their sound. They re-emerged in 2017 with an EP called Warcrux: Circa '09-13 under the new name of The Crux. So this is The Crux's debut album but the band as a whole first full length release, written by founding members, James Boyd (vocals) and Neil Ward (guitars) Immersed Somewhere Divine is a hard rock album with some muscular riffs and a sound that shifts from hearty rock albums to thrashier tones and even some alt rock with On The Fence, which has a clip of the legendary Bill Hicks at the beginning and some funk rock bass, where as the title track has a sleazier style. Immersed Somewhere Divine is a solid heavy rock album from a band returning from exile with an album that has a lot of variation and a collection of songs that get you invested in where this band can go from here. 7/10

Cognizance: Malignant Dominion (Prosthetic Records) [Liam True]

Just by the name of the album, you can tell it’s going to be either a Prog Metal album, or a full on Death Metal battle. In this case it’s the latter. And I must say, it an absolute earache of an adventure. It’s a brilliant album that does need a few things to sharpen up on. Even in that case it’s an intrusive assault on your ears and is worth a listen. From the furious fretwork of Alex Baillie, the destructive drum work of Romain Goulon and the foundation destroying vocals of Henry Pryce, the band as a whole fly through the album in a blaze of glory, yet predictable, Death Metal. As generic as it is, it’s done so well that there are plenty of riffs to get you coming back for more. 7/10

Mike Patton & Jean-Claude Vannier: Corpse Flower (Ipecac Recordings) [Paul Scoble]

To be honest I’m not totally sure where to start with this album. I should state first off, that this isn’t rock or metal at all, without Mr Patton being involved in this I doubt a Metal Blog like this would have been asked to review it. It’s also not exactly clear how to describe this to you. Mike Patton shouldn’t really need any introduction to most rock or metal fans. He is, of course, best known as lead singer in Faith No More and Mr Bungle; but has also made music with Fantômas, Dead Cross, and Lovage amongst many others. Jean-Claude Vannier is a French musician, composer and arranger who has been making music since the early seventies. So, the music produced by this pairing is definitely Gallic in feel (not really surprising considering half the duo is French), but it also has a sense of slight strangeness, this isn’t business as usual. This has the kind of feel that artists like Frank Zappa or Tom Waits bring to their work. It feels like lounge music, but for the world's strangest lounge. The music is soulful and has elements of Jazz, blues and maybe a little easy listening of the Burt Bacharach kind, plus a little bit of Hollywood romanticism.

Vocally this is quite similar to Tom Waits, in that Patton is half singing and half talking, in a way that sounds a little like a smooooother Waits. The album has 2 cover versions, although fitting in with the style of the album they are strange versions of Chansons D’Amour and On Top Of The World. Both covers are very different from the originals Chansons D’Amour doesn’t have the irritating backing vocals and probably wouldn’t be appropriate for a Morecambe And Wise sketch. On Top Of The World is more recognisable but now has slightly scatalogical lyrics. A lot of the songs on here have very subtle, soft verses, but come alive for very melodic choruses. Several of the choruses are fantastic, stick in your head and really make the songs. Browning has a great chorus, and Insolubles has a beautifully dramatic chorus. Another stand out track is A Schoolgirl’s Day, which has a soft soulful backing to Patton’s spoken word style vocals. The track is quite reminiscent of the Tom Waits track 9th & Hennepin from the classic album Rain Dogs.

Corpse Flower is a very enjoyable album. It’s not metal in any way, but that's no reason to dislike it. It’s beautiful, intriguing, rude, soulful, melodic, effecting and fun. It’s been a difficult album to describe, because none of the musical styles featured are doing business as usual, but this is so creative and well thought out that that isn’t just ok, it’s essential. This album is odd, but in this case Odd means Brilliant. 8/10

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