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Thursday 23 September 2021

Reviews: Alien Weaponry, Orbit Culture, Razoreater, Phil Stiles (Reviews By Zak Skane, Richard Oliver & Matt Bladen)

Alien Weaponry - Tangaroa (Napalm Records) [Zak Skane]

Alien Weaponry are a new Zealand based groove metal trio that have made waves with the previous album Tu which placed themselves number 5 on the New Zealand in which featured their trending single Kai Tangata. From the back of that album the band have earned world wide attention which gained them slots at Bloodstock 2018, and Download festival to name a few. This month the band have released their follow up Tangaroa.

With the bands follow up album they have continued to utilise their sound that they formulated on their previous album Tu, combing groove metal and with their native Maori influences including singing in their ancestral language. With Tangaroa the groove still strong especially on songs like Hatupatu and Kai Whatu in where the trio are taking their Maori inspired groove metal and firing it from both cylinders. But on this album you start to hear the boys treading new ground adding experimental guitar/synth manufactured soundscapes as well as Henry stretching his vocal ability with Unforgiving and Crooked Monsters. The only points in where the breaks on are on it’s opening track Titokowaru and Crooked Monsters in which the production lack any spunk especially with guitar tones sounding thin on Titokowaru which doesn’t give those bendy riffs any justice. The same goes for Blinded.

Overall this is a great continuation from the bands debut album Tu, the Maori inspired groove is still strong, but the band are still willing to grow and develop on top of it with songs like Unforgiving, Ahi Ka and Blinded. This is a strong 8/10.

Orbit Culture - Shaman (Seek & Strike) [Richard Oliver]

Following on from their Nija album last year, Swedish metallers Orbit Culture have treated listeners to a follow up E.P. with the five song Shaman. The basis of this E.P. stems from the fact that some of the songs on the Nija album don’t translate very well to the live environment so the band have come up with five songs which are perfectly suited to the environs of a live show. The band have certainly achieved that with the five songs being punchy, aggressive yet melodic slabs of metal that are very riff-centric but also have massive hooks and are going to be songs an audience can easily engage with.

Right from the get go opener Mast Of The World delivers crunching riffs that demand headbanging and this is built upon further with Flight Of The Fireflies which mixes clean vocals, a catchy chorus and some melodic death metal tinged riffs together in epic style. Carvings has a more groove metal and djent influenced approach but it is no less anthemic whilst Strangler is an absolute bruiser of a song which is also insanely catchy and one song that is definitely going to go down well with live audiences. The fifth and final song of the E.P. is the different but fantastic A Sailor’s Tale which sees the band branching into a more epic and melodic sound. It is easily the best song on the E.P. and one that is going to be stuck in my head for days.

Orbit Culture are a band that is difficult to categorize having influences from thrash, groove and melodic death metal genres all mixed together but who needs pigeonholing when the music on offer is this good?. The mix of crunchy riffs, big hooks and orchestral keys is a compelling one and I can only see Orbit Culture getting bigger and bigger if they keep releasing material at this level and quality. 8/10

Razoreater - Purgatory (FHED) [Matt Bladen]

Purgatory is the place between heaven and hell, a place of nothingness as the decision about your fate is being made. Purgatory is also the return of Cambridgeshire grind merchants Razoreater their first release in 5 years this time coming through Cardiff based FHED. Their album title is a reaction to the crazy things that have been happening the past year, social isolation, mental health and social routines all disrupted by an unknown threat, leaving most of the planet in this state of purgatory. The cult band have brought yet another 7 tracks of unmitigated fury, riffs that will peel flesh come at a speed not heard since Napalm Death while the drummer is surely looking for a charge of assault and battery. 

The band are well travelled having destroyed stages across the country for nearly 10 years, Purgatory is the sound of a band still pissed off with the world, creating pit ready breakdowns on One Last Nail and the groove heavy Vittu Saatana are counteracted by the outright chaos of End This Hell and I Despise Us. This being grindcore it doesn't hang around the 7 tracks barely make the record over 10 minutes but it's an intense 10 minutes Razoreater taking no prisoner with their brutal torrent of riffs. As the world sits in purgatory still Razoreater seem intent on dragging it to hell. 7/10 

Phil Stiles – The Anchorhold (Trepanation Records) [Matt Bladen]

The Anchorhold is a follow up to 2020’s The Anchorite, both of which are solo albums by Phil Stiles of Final Coil. The Anchorite didn’t do much for us then receiving a 5/10 and when I listened to The Anchorhold, I wasn’t really that excited by it. Born of frustration and isolation due to that big event that started last year and continues now. The Anchorhold is a collaborative album with Stiles reaching out to musicians to join him on this industrial/electronic/rock album. He contributes lead vocals, lead/rhythm guitar, synths/programming, but gave the other musicians (vocalists especially) to add their own style to this record). 

Kyle Brandt (A Light Within, Molitoth) and The Medea Project both appear on this record adding their own flourishes to their tracks while other guests like guitarist Richard Allsopp (A Distorted Utopia, Monachopsis), and a myriad of bassists including Roger Morter (Pornographic Sunset), Mark Gatland and Tomek Wolski contribute to the industrial throb of the album, building up the dense and desolate world it conjures. Lyrically too Stiles concentrates on the darker more depressing facets of our current predicament, overwhelmed by technology and also focussing on mental health along with his own insomnia. At times there are touches of Depeche Mode, or Laibach but mostly this album’s introspection makes it feel a little one note. There will be fans of this downbeat, industrial sound but not me I’m afraid. 5/10

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