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Wednesday 15 September 2021

Reviews: Carcass, Rage, Whyzdom, Iron lizards (Reviews By Matt Bladen & Zak Skane)

Carcass - Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast) [Matt Bladen]

If you were to make a list of the top names in British death metal then Liverpudlian extreme metal crew Carcass would certainly be near the top. Having reunited in 2007, Torn Arteries is their first full length since 2013's Surgical Steel, though there has been a few EP's since then, the anticipation for a new album has been building since 2013. Especially as this album was due in August 2020, so it has delayed for more than a year, increasing the clamour for it to unleashed on the metal scene. So now it has arrived were we right to be getting so excited. I'd say hell yes we were. Torn Arteries has everything you'd want from the band formed by Jeff Walker (bass/vocals) and Bill Steer (guitars) back in 1985, and lots more. Long gone is the bands grindcore roots as Carcass take their sound into further reaches of death metal, yes the title track and Eleanor Rigor Mortis (a tribute to their hometown) are both full of battering thrashy speed riffs and stomping grinds from Steer and Tom Draper. (The band's first as a foursome since 1996's Swansong.) 

However the track wedged in between; Dance Of IXTAB (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No.1 in B) regularly veers into the stoner/blues of Steers other projects. Carcass are now much more comfortable with a more melodic, proggy style of death metal as witnessed by the frequent changes of pace in tracks such as first single Under The Scalpel Blade which beats you into submission and the inclusion of a nine minute song Flesh Ripping Torment Limited displays the virtuosity of Carcass as well as their ear for a nasty melodic hook. Sitting at the mid point of the record, the acoustic opening gives way to some traditional death metal assault, then a sludgy dirge and back to the trad death, the rest of the song moving between melody and battery across the running time. The inclusion of Draper adds further depth to the lead breaks and solos on this record. 

Walker's filthy basslines and Daniel Wilding's deft, detonating, drum patterns give The Devil Rides Out it's blissed out middle eight, as the pace comes back at the end in blast beats galore and a Middle Eastern edge in the additional percussion. Torn Arteries is 45 minutes of top drawer death metal from these veterans of the scene. I've listened to this record numerous times and it gets better with repeated plays as you hear the skill on tracks like Wake Up And Smell The Carcass and The Scythe's Remorseless Swing. Winging its way to high on my AOTY list, I can't wait to catch the band at Damnation festival on November 6. 9/10      

Rage - Resurrection Day (Steamhammer SPV) [Matt Bladen]

An album from German metal stalwarts Rage is always met with both anticipation and praise. They are also always met with a sense of mystery as there has been numerous line up changes throughout their 30 year plus career. The one consistent part of their career though is that the band continues to be lead by vocalist/bassist Peavy Wagner. As well as Rage he also collaborated with Lingua Mortis Orchestra and Refuge (classic Rage line up) but it's with this band that he flexes his creative muscle the most. After their 2020 release Wings Of Rage guitarist Marco Rodriguez left the band, but ever the evolutionist Peavy quickly recruited the talents of Stefan Weber (ex Axxis) and Jean Bormann (Angelinc) to bring back Rage as four piece for the first time since 1999's Ghosts. (Much like Carcass above)

The addition of two guitarists to the Rage sound means that Resurrection Day features a multitude of metal genres from the epic title track which is classic Rage, through to A New Land which hints at Pirate metal, the heavy hitting grunt of Arrogance And Ignorance to balladry on Black Room, Wagner and co pull no punches and take a few stylistic chances on this 25th album, the most prominent being Travelling Through Time which lights battle metal pyres. That being said the battering drums of Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos along with that full throttle bass of Wagner, powers the classic German metal sound on tracks such as Man In Chains, the two men laying down the foundation for every track here. On album number 25 Rage show no signs of slowing down, this album bringing the slick brand of heavy metal they have been known for since 1984, although they can still surprise. 8/10

Whyzdom - Of Wonders And War (Scarlet Records) [Zak Skane]

Whyzdom are a four piece symphonic metal band hailing from France, with Marie on vocal duties, Regus on guitar, Vynce on Bass and Nicolas on drums they have a brand new full length coming out called Of Wonders And Wars via Scarlet Records on September 17. When listening to this album, I have to congratulate the bassist Vynce Leff on the orchestration on this album especially on songs like Stonehenge and War where the intro and instrumental sections are very cinematic and moving at times. To a point you can imagine it being on a feature film score. I also have to give Vynce the credit for being responsible for the production quality of this album, he has made a great job in making sure that the bands instrumentation and symphonic orchestrations melded well together. 

When it came to listening to the songs my personal highlights was the second track Child Of Damnation in where the band tackle subjects of young children coming from war torn backgrounds but also writing about how they are going to be a big part of our future, I which I found is quite a contemporary topic. Another highlight on this album is Metropolis Of Light because you get to hear the band at their best as songwriters with Marie combining hard rock vocals with her operatic voice melded with chunky riffs, groovy drums and uplifting orchestration. My final highlight of this album is the second last track The Final Collapse beginning with Spanish guitars before it hits us with punchy rhythms provided by the guitars and drums. 

Overall it’s a very good produced album there’s a great marriage between classic rock instrumentation and theatrical orchestration, especially on songs like Stonehenge, Pyramids and Metropolis. The song writing is great on songs like Metropolis Of Light and The Final Collapse, the criticisms that I have with this album is that sometimes the songs don’t have time breathe and can be quite fatiguing on the ears especially on songs like Wonders And Dreamers, War and Pyramids where there’s too much going on a once. For me it's an album of two sides. 6/10.

Iron Lizards - Hungry For Action (The Sign Records) [Zak Skane]

Iron Lizards are a Biker Rock trio hailing from Paris, the band formed in 2015 with a mission statement to make music feel alive again by providing rip roaring lead guitars, screaming vocals and thundering bass and drums whist paying homage to their influences such as MC5 and The Stooges. Since their formation the band have released an E.P and have gained support slots with bands like Get Dead, Zeke and Mammoth Mammoth. Currently the band have signed to The Sign Records to release their debut album Hungry For Action which will be released on multiple platforms on the 17th September. 

The Motorhead and Guns ‘n’ Roses are very strong in this bands sound, Elio channelling his inner Slash/Phil Campbell inspired guitar chops matched with Kevin energetic drum patterns that will please any Fast Eddie Clarke era of Motorhead. The band comes out swinging with their opening track It’s About Time! greeting us with their cocktail of 80/90’s hard rock. Other highlights of from this album is surf rock inspired intro No Escape and the bass driven (provided by Valentin) mid tempo groove of Deathride

In conclusion this is a good energetic hard rock album, the 80’s influences have been projected perfectly whilst also displaying their own artistic flare. The only criticisms I have for this album is that the vocal tracks were too low in the mix and as a result I couldn’t really connect to the songs as much as I would if I was listening to a band like Motorhead due to the lack clarity in the lyrics. 7/10

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