Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Monday 23 May 2022

Reviews: Tableau Mort, Anvil, Zero Hour, Gronibard (Reviews By Paul Scoble, Richard Oliver, Matt Bladen & Zach Scott)

Tableau Mort - Visio In Somniis (Cult Of Parthenope) [Paul Scoble]

Tableau Mort have been making nasty music together since 2017, the five piece have made one album before Visio In Somniis, in 2019’s 1st Veil Of Sigma. Book 1: Mark Of Delusion. The band are based in London and is made up of George Topor on guitars and keyboards, George Bratosin on drums, Cristian Giurgiu on lead guitar, Marek Basista on bass and James Andrews on vocals. Tableau Mort's style can be described as dissonant black metal, but with this album that really doesn’t do what's on offer justice, as dissonant black metal is just this bands starting point.

A good example of the bands base sound can be fund on opening track Metamorphosis, which begins with some disturbing samples before going into slow dissonant black metal, nasty riffs with an echoey leads over the top and very nasty harsh vocals. The track also has some very viscous fast blasting black metal that still has that nasty dissonance throughout. Another thing you would expect from dissonant black metal is a certain amount of chaos, and this album does not disappoint, probably the best example of this is on the track Their Throats Are Open Graves which, after a suitable build up has a section that features lots of layered riffs and bass lines that swirl around your head forming a whirlwind of insane chaos, that works so well it will have you making involuntary vocalisations.

There is a little bit of Eastern influence on the album as well. On the track Idolatry there is a definite taste of more Middle Eastern feel to the melodies used, in some places it was reminiscent of Melechesh. Another thing you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a dissonant black metal album is lots of very good, very technical guitar solos, but there are loads on this album. The tracks Metamorphosis and Hope Ablaze both have very impressive guitar solos that are very technical in style, and the last track on the album, Candle In The Darkness has a great solo that is far more in a blues style, which was a surprise, but a very pleasant one.

One thing this album has that I wasn’t expecting on this type of album was trumpets. Yes you heard that right, trumpets. Don’t worry Tableau Mort haven’t tried to mix black metal and ska, it’s a bit more interesting than that. The horns first appear near the end of the first track Metamorphosis, where they are low in the mix and not obvious, but on the track Hope Ablaze they come right up the front. The song is a mix of staccato and dramatic riffs, and full speed blasting until, just over halfway through the track changes to a brass band playing at a tempo that I can only describe as drunk, the horn section sounds as if it was right out of the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone film, when I hear it I can see drunk cowboys fighting in a Mexican cantina, as a bands of horn players keep on playing whilst dodging thrown bottles. It is about as out of place as you can get and is absolutely glorious. I definitely want more Ennio Morricone influences in my black metal!

The final incongruous element on this album is a female opera singer, who makes her presence felt in a quiet passage on the song Visio In Somniis, and is also featured in a more prominent way on the albums final track Candle In The Darkness, where she is the main voice in the second half of the song, the parts that feature this operatic voice remind me a little of Into The Pandemonium era Celtic Frost.

Visio In Somniis is a stunning album. I love the way the band have brought so many different sounds into their sound. The have started with dissonant black metal, but have also grabbed influences from wherever they saw fit, so a lot of the elements on Visio In Somniis are very disparate, but meld together perfectly. The way the band have managed to make an album that in theory shouldn’t have worked, but in practice works brilliantly is so impressive, the level of creativity is off the scale. Making this album was probably a bit of a risk for the band, but in this case the risk was worth it as Tableau Mort have made a spectacular, original album that is a uniquely brilliant piece of work. 9/10

Anvil - Impact Is Imminent (AFM Records) [Richard Oliver]

Anvil are a band that epitomise perseverance. Most have seen the 2009 film The Story Of Anvil which documented a band that had fallen from favour and popularity but were doggedly struggling on to pursue their passion of heavy metal. The band have never stopped and 2022 sees them releasing their nineteenth studio album Impact Is Imminent.

Impact Is Imminent is an album, like many being released this year, that is born from the pandemic. With Anvil tours cancelled indefinitely Steve “Lips” Kudlow was holed up in his home studio but not working to any deadline he just wrote what came naturally which of course is heavy fucking metal. There is a fair amount of variation across the fourteen songs which make up Impact Is Imminent from pedal to the metal rockers such as Ghost Shadow, Someone To Hate and Explosive Energy to hard rock infused headbangers such as Don’t Look Back and Wizard’s Wand to fun instrumentals such as Teabag and album closer Gomez which features a brass section (and feels like the successor to Swing Thing off Juggernaut Of Justice). 

The band sound on absolute fire with a barrage of riffs and great solos from Lips, a rhythmic battering from bassist Chris Robertson and the jaw dropping drumming from Robb Reiner who is one of the most underrated drummers out there. His performance on this album is something else. The album also sounds fantastic with Martin Pfeiffer returning to the producer's chair and mastering handled once again by Jörg Uken. The run of albums from Anvil lately has been a bit on the mediocre side but Impact Is Imminent is a definite step up and easily their best album since Juggernaut Of Justice. It still has its flaws - the vocals from Lips are on the weak side (though they always have been), the lyrics are very basic and it is about four songs too long - but having the time to craft an album without a tour or deadline looming has done Anvil the world of good. 7/10

Zero Hour - Agenda 21 (Frontiers Music Srl) [Matt Bladen]

American prog metal band Zero Hour were put to rest in 2008 after the release of their six studio album Dark Deceiver. Influenced by Dio-led Rainbow, Dream Theater and Symphony X (who they sound a lot like), Zero Hour original members Jasun Tipton (guitar) and Erik Rosvold (vocals) have recruited some new blood, bassist Andreas Blomqvist (Seventh Wonder) and drummer Roel van Helden, ready to reactivate Zero Hour under Frontiers continuing expansion into the prog metal world. If you think that time has softened the band in anyway just press play on opening track Democide and you are grabbed by the collar, then welcomed by a 14 minute song. 

It's of course got a lot of time signature changes, shifts in tone and pace, though it keeps things nice and dark, those Symphony X, Fates Warning, Queensryche and Psychotic Waltz influences coming through. Jasun along with his bass playing brother Troy founded the band , but an arm injury prevented Troy from rejoining thus they have the technically excellent bass work of  Blomqvist who has earned his stripes in Swedish prog metal heroes Seventh Wonder, a band who have also got a lot in common with Zero Hour. Erik has a vocal that's part Russell Allen, part James LaBrie, part Geoff Tate he snarls and wails on Technocracy, giving theatricality to Stigmata as well. 

At just 6 tracks but 50 minutes of music Agenda 21 is a lot to take in, especially if you never caught the band the first time round, however Zero Hour reclaim their lost time with this first album in 14 years. Expansive, emotive, explosive, heavy prog metal from across the pond, that will appeal to anyone that indulges in the heavier end of the prog spectrum. 8/10

Gronibard – Regarde Les Hommes Sucer (Season Of Mist) [Zach Scott]

Gronibard is a far cry from the scathing politics of Napalm Death or the gruesome pathology of early Carcass; it is much more in the realm of the ever-controversial Anal Cunt – crude, self-deprecating, but ultimately fairly forgettable. The band clearly don’t take themselves very seriously at all – songs like Finger In Anus or Mon Siamois Maléfique wouldn’t be mistaken for Napalm Death by the most amateur of listeners – and all their songs have a heavy comedic element to them, which is the main aspect of their entire image and branding. However, this does mean their music doesn’t make much of an impact at all – this album doesn’t leave much of an impression besides the initial humour of listening to the songs (of which there is plenty – low hanging fruit, disgusting humour galore in this record), and the replay value is almost zero because many of the songs are almost gimmicky in nature.

That’s not to say there are no excellent moments that showcase the musicians’ genuine talent – Unholy Horses Of Evil is a time machine back to the early days of grindcore, while groovy elements of songs like Sperm Smoker and L’Enfer Des Zombites are enough to make this record stand out above a lot of grindcore. Anal Capone’s guttural is amazing, Godemichel’s drum work is very impressive, and the instrumentation is generally of a fairly high standard, if not generic. They also delve into parodies of other genres, especially in the Muzak Of The Intermerdes and the Mayhem-inspired black metal pastiche in De Mysterfriize Pomme Bananas (which is by far the best song title in this album), which further removes this record from standard grindcore.

Despite the strengths of this album, it is still clear that Gronibard set out to make a comedy record and the music itself is secondary, which is fair enough but again makes the replayability of this album very low. It just doesn’t have the ferocity and abrasiveness that makes grindcore so compelling; the raw and untamed fury of the initial crop of grindcore bands from the 80s is almost entirely absent here, replaced by comedy and self-deprecation. While, again, they are funny and it is refreshing to see a band so eager to make fun of themselves and others in a mostly serious style of music, they fall victim to the same thing Anal Cunt did; people remember the controversy, not the music. And in a style like grindcore, where the music is so intentionally fast and unforgiving, this album feels very lacklustre in comparison. The musicians are clearly capable of creating something much more memorable and impactful, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the kind of band Gronibard is, which is up to them and them alone. 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment