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Thursday 19 May 2022

Reviews: Septicflesh, Krause, Social Scream, Dead Sidewalkers (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Septicflesh - Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast)

After 31 years and 10 records behind them, Septicflesh's eleventh album is not only those first on Nuclear Blast but also their most direct. Coming in at just over 38 minutes and at 9 tracks it's a stinging, ferocious record, that has got all of the trademarks of Septicflesh's cinematic, extreme metal assault but focussed into a reasonably short run time. There was a direct effort to achieve a shorter record, that focussed on the duality of the lyrical content, something they have always played with in their lyricism, drawn from human nature and their heritage, especially if you've ever studied classics the idea of cause and effect is very prevalent in Greek culture. 

Modern Primitive then is almost conceptual, revelling in the duality/opposition that is explored from the title, the lyrics and even the gorgeous album cover by Seth Siro Anton who not only is the voice/bass of Septicflesh but also an in demand and creative album artist. Musically as per usual the, founding trio and driving force of Seth, Christos Antoniou (guitar/orchestration) and Sotiris Anunnaki V (clean vocals/guitar/12 String) insure that as much layering is packed into 38 minutes. Again teaming up with the Filmharmonic Orchestra Of Prague and the associated choirs. 

The familiar sound of a Bouzouki opens The Collector, but it's not long before the ferocious extreme metal gets going again the founding trio rounded out by Psychon on guitar and Kerim 'Krimh' Lechner on drums. The Bouzouki is actually a common thread appearing on the industrial grind of Neuromancer (the track that displays the dual vocals well) along with the penultimate number Psychohistory, which almost links things full circle to The Collector. The orchestral swells are incredibly effective, on Hierophant, the Gothic strings work against the crushing brutality of the riffs and vocals, while the choirs and chants on Self Eater bring sense of foreboding, there's a John Williams-like feeling of dread to the orchestrations on Coming Storm, a track that perfectly shows the might of Septicflesh. 

There's little time hang around so Septicflesh make sure to pack these songs with as much of their 31 years of experience as possible, syncing the interpretive lyrics with their expressive musical style. Modern Primitive continues Septicflesh's journey as innovators as the heaviness of classical and metal music again unite. 9/10

Krause - The Art Of Fatigue (Venerate Industries)

Babis Kourkoulis (guitar/vocals), Alex Vagenas (guitar/vocals), Kostas Kagkelaris (bass/vocals) and Nick Prapas (drums) are the four men that make up Greek noise rock band Krause. Based in Athens The Art Of Fatigue is their third album and it is a loud, raucous, furious expression of musical that owes much to bands like Helmet, Shellac, Melvin's and even death n rollers such as Entombed on Crowdfunded Assassination especially. All of the guitars across 11 songs are fuzzy and biting, the drum sound raw and brutal with the bass also distorted as if the amp has been punctured. 

The outright noise of their earlier tracks has been tinged with touches of punk, alternative rock and hardcore on this third album. The band themselves say that they wanted to sound like the bands on the Amphetamine Reptile or Touch and Go record labels, this means that Krause are all about attitude rather than concentrating on one musical style. The Art Of Fatigue has certainly got attitude, frenzied screams and gang chants are how these tales of urban decay, political corruption and society and financial greed are given to us. 

Bootstrap Reactionaries And Allies encapsulating this in just 2 minutes, though Ceremonial Aspects Of Everyday Bloodbaths grinding it out with a buzzing riff as Hot Bods And Prohibition shifts from punk to doom easily. The Art Of Fatigue is a record that tries to distill rage and frustration through a focussed blast of unadulterated noise. For some it'll be too much but others will get raging from the first chord. 7/10

Social Scream - Δεινον Εστί (Self Release)

Have you ever wanted to hear what Megadeth or Anthrax would sound like it came from Greece? Well Social Scream have got you covered, they have been playing technically proficient thrash metal since 2008. The band hail from Sparta and typically have no bullshit attitude in both their music and lyrics, taking aim at human and societal issues much like MegaDave, combining it with the progressive musical vision of Vlasis Diamantakos who is the vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter for the band. 

They released their last album From Ashes To Hope in 2021 and they have followed that collection of re-recordings with this brand new record entitled Δεινον Εστί (roughly translated to “Terrible Suffering”) a guitar loves dream as Vlasis is much more comfortable cranking out an almost progressive style of thrash riffs with co guitarist Kimonas Alexandros, than he is shouting down the mic, though with the type of music this is, he has a decent enough voice for it. Joining the twin guitar explorations is the back room of Foivos Andriopoulos (drums) and Alexandros Oikonomou (bass), they establish themselves on the slower paced No Pain For The Dead, grinding it out with a big drum beat and bassline. 

It's not just Megadeth that get look in mind as Luna Dark and Evilivin both have that heavier sound of both Slayer and Death Angel, the former feeling very Slayer-like. Δεινον Εστί brings a myriad of thrash styles, the songs are progressive, with lots of changing time signatures and atmospherics, the best being Lost Angel Fall. Δεινον Εστί is a throwback with a modern edge. 8/10    

Dead Sidewalkers - Ahead (Self Released)

When I read the bio around this band, I did have to chuckle when they said Dead Sidewalkers came from the practically non existent sidewalks of Athens. Having been to the city, you do sort of take you're life in your hands by going anywhere near a road as the sidewalks (or pavements to us Brits) are very, very narrow. 

That sense of danger is certainly present on Dead Sidewalkers debut album Ahead, these experienced musicians gain musical influence from punk and garage bands of both the USA and Australia (which has a down and dirty punk scene), there's flashes of The Stooges and The Ramones, along with bands like Radio Birdman and Dune Rats. Harry Gkelestathis' gnarly, raw vocals is augmented by drummer Spyros Doulgeridis lower Danzig-like tone. A bit of musical menagerie, Greenwhite Wolf has a surf rock style as Giannis Andreou's bass rumble links with the reverebed guitar of Konstantinos Kopanakis. 

Watchmen gets the head nodding, while Touch My Mind has a riff from early Kings Of Leon and there's a bit more punk rock nastiness to What's Wrong and Black Tattooed Girl is a swaggering rocker with a touch of The Quireboys. Ahead has such an amalgamation of styles that for me they sound very similar to The Pixies in terms of style, that's a massive complement as Dead Sidewalkers have made a fuzzy rocker of an album dragged from the streets of the bustling Greek metropolis. 7/10

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