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Monday 25 November 2019

Reviews: State Of Deceit, Novembers Doom, Moonskin, Bad Wolves (Paul H & Manus)

State Of Deceit: Retribution EP (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

Although still in their infancy, Retribution is an EP of such massive stature that you could easily be forgiven for thinking that State Of Deceit were entering their second decade as a band. The opening, muscular riffs of Tattered Life leave no shred of doubt that the band mean business. Thunderous double bass drumming from Matt Toner, guttural roars from Pete Scammell and some crunching guitar work tick all the boxes. You want groove? You’ve got it in spades here. Clean vocals mixing with the rough growls? They are here too. Everything from Machine Head to Pantera to Architects mixes cohesively in this incendiary package. Vengeance accelerates with more cranial crunching. Riffs are raining down as the band power through. It’s catchy, it’s thrashy, it’s infectious. I’m not over keen on the sudden application of the brakes as the band slow things slightly, but it does provide Jon Russell to spill a sweet solo before the band ramp up the pace again as the track gallops to its conclusion. Two down and four still to come. This is already impressive stuff.

When Worlds Fail utilises Matt Wilson’s powerful bass lines, the deep rolling linking with powerful drumming to propel the track forward. Visceral and malevolent, State Of Deceit add social observation into the melting pot to great effect. Track four is a beast. No Solace offers a blend of Sabbath and Pantera, Scammell’s clean vocals providing an interesting contrast with his beastly howling. The simple crunching guitar work bringing all the heavy. The Black changes pace and tone, the vocals centring on clean melodies to good effect. A lighter punkish tone to this one, but it retains the meatiness that is a signature sound. Onto the final track and Vipers is set to pulverise from the off. It’s rough, tough and brutal. This is pit inducing mania, roaring vocals, a ferocious combination of blistering drums, burly riffage and maximum power, melody retained and hooks once more sinking deep.

State Of Deceit have played Fuel several times this year. They were unlucky when I saw them at M2TM with Matt Toner absent. Further reviews of the band on the blog have been favourable and if they can capture the blistering form of Retribution, I would expect them to be powering towards the final next summer. For now, ensure that you grab a copy of one of the most exciting EPs to hit South Wales in recent times. You won’t regret it. 9/10

Novembers Doom: Nephilim Grove (Prophecy Productions) [Manus Hopkins]

Novembers Doom are long enough into their career and have a steady enough input that there’s no cause for worry when it comes to a new album. The doom veterans clearly know what they’re doing at this point, and hopefully fans know what they’re in for at this point too. The chilling riffs and the duality of calm and aggressive vocals blend together incredibly throughout the record, while the intricate drumming goes beyond keeping a beat and adds another layer to the sound. The songs would translate well to a live setting, but the record is more than just a batch of songs one or two or two of will be played a live. A thorough listen and any number of re-listens to the entire record are worth it, and recommended. 8/10

Moonskin: Farewell (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

Six years since Moonskin formed, and we finally get their doom-soaked debut Farewell. Featuring the moody vocals of the enigmatic Delora, this riff-heavy album focuses on dark poetry and fantasy from the 18th and 19th centuries. Lengthy, slow crushing tracks are interspersed with short musical segments which segue each track. Dramatic and emotional, Delora bears a striking similarity at times to Harriet Hyde, singer of Black Moth. Dead Cursed Lands is switches styles and tempo several times during its near ten-minute journey. Huge riffs dominate the explosive Suffer which careers along like an angry bull before the haunting intro into Queen Of Misery switches the mood with sinister almost evil intent. Crunching guitar, variety of vocal styles and a gothic overtone which improves with every listen. Moonskin may be new on the scene but I’ll be keeping a keen ear for their future developments. 7/10

Bad Wolves: N.A.T.I.O.N. (Eleven Seven) [Manus Hopkins]

Bad Wolves is known as a band whose best song is a cover—and unfortunately, sophomore album N.A.T.I.O.N. fails to do anything to change that. Their radio-metal sound is at best derivative of Five Finger Death Punch and at worst a poorly-executed Slipknot imitation. The pop choruses that are meant to be catchy are instantly annoying, and the guitar suffers greatly due to unnecessary low down-tuning and an overly beefy tone. There’s really just not a whole lot to enjoy on this record. Listening to just a few songs gives a feel for the rest of the album, and there are no hidden gems here. What might be good news, is that Bad Wolves isn’t worse than any of the other bands making this exact music. There’s actually a scene they fit right into it despite the quality of their songs. Great work on the production, though. 3/10

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