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Tuesday 26 July 2022

Reviews: Kirsiun, Funeral Chic, Lessmann/Voss, The Lord (Reviews By GC, Matt Cook, Matt Bladen & Quinn Mattfeld)

Krisiun - Mortem Solis (Century Media Records) [GC]

After a couple of years of inactivity because of a certain worldwide pandemic that had forced them to put their career on hold Krisiun are back with their TWELFTH album! Now, this really is a testament to them that they can keep a career in extreme music alive for 32 years and still sound as aggressive, angry, and determined as they did at the start of their journey. Kicking off with Sworn Enemies you should be under no illusion at all about what is going to happen for the next 11 songs, here you are listening to death metal played with an unrelenting intensity and anger, it’s all blast beats, uncompromising guitars, and guttural vocals, but don’t think that this is all there is on offer here as Krisiun can throw is some crushing mid-tempo grooves within all this insanity as we hear on Necronomical, the groove here is a beast and the first real ‘slow moment’ on offer until the trademark violence is re-unleashed upon us on next track Tomb Of The Nameless which is a brutal and non-stop slab of ferocious death metal. 

We are treated to a small break in the pummelling with the short instrumental Dawn Sun Carriage and the eerie and slowly menacing beginning of Temple Of The Abattoir before its right back into the barrage which reaches peak brutality on As Angels Burn and then continues right up until the end of album closer Death To The Sun. You can tell that the enforced break has really laser focused them in terms of how they want to put their message across musically and lyrically because there is no letup in the sheer force of brutality here and I did enjoy what was on this record but my issue with some ‘old school’ death metal is it can’t really go off in many unknown directions as it’s all or nothing and sometimes you need to let songs expand and surprise you with what is coming round the corner but here you 100% know what is coming but, on the whole this is a solid offering for a band putting out their 12th album and will definitely please fans of death metal and at the end of the day that’s the point!! 6/10

Funeral Chic – Roman Candle (Prosthetic Records) [Matt Cook]

There are times when a band will take the very notion of genre specification and dump it in the toilet. In fact, it can be reassuring when a musical group dares you to categorise their work by using a single, simple label. For those who desire simplification, Funeral Chic are considered blackened punk according to Prosthetic Records. But the musical output the North Carolinian foursome present with third full-length Roman Candle nearly creates its own sub-genre, if it even desires to do so. It starts with Ryan Lockhart, who has a uniquely authoritative vocal delivery. It’s gruff and groovy, coarse and confident. To call it blackened punk is in fact fitting, however the slower tempo allows for a more approachable style. 

An inherent cavernous production value gives Carpenter leeway to project his burly voice without limiting the musical accompaniment. Spit And Crawl is a firm example of such technique before a groovy section bops to life while Lockhart poses the question “God dammit why the fuck am I still alive?” Don’t let the passivity of some parts of Roman Candle dissuade you, though. Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere carries a ferocious punch while Satisfaction and Last Line Blues unveil a saxophone of all instruments, the former doing so in a chilling dichotomy with unnerving noises and a bell tolling in the background. The saxophone melts and droops like Dali’s clocks in the iconic painting The Persistence Of Memory. Not quite avant-garde, Funeral Chic are uncompromising in their style and at the same time garner a sturdy listenability that is undeniable. 

There is something about the borderline arrogance of Lockhart’s hoarseness that drives the entire record home. It might be difficult to fit the band’s sound into a crisp genre because Funeral Chic go their own way. But that merely allows them to push the nonexistent boundaries further, experimenting and concocting never-before-heard elements that fit both into the metal zeitgeist and its own high-ceiling cathedral of cacophonous venom. 8/10

Lessmann/Voss - Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records) [Matt Bladen]

Consisting of renowned vocalists/multi instrumentalists Claus Lessmann and Michael Voss (who also produces) this is surprisingly not a Frontiers Music crossover but a new band on the Atomic Fire Records label. It has all the hallmarks of a that other label's project though, two renowned but perhaps overlooked artists, combining their talents with a trio of drummers for some radio friendly melodic rock/AOR that draws from the 90's era of the melodic rock sound with a blues influence and perhaps a grittier sound than the fluffier 80's style. Both men are great vocalists, complimenting each other well, making me think a little of bands such as Night Ranger or Def Leppard (the title track for instance) where the multiple vocal approach as Voss handles nearly all of the instrumentation, Lessmann contributes some acoustics ala Jon Bon Jovi. 

It's evident from the strutting opener Medicine Man to melodic Take My Heart And Run, that this songwriting duo know each other well as both men have been writing together since the 90's. It's slick, but not too slick, bluesy but not too bluesy and with a lot of Bon Jovi-isms, taking you to early 90's New Jersey on Runaway Days, Fight For Our Love and Slow Dance, though the latter has a lot Michael Bolton/Journey style as well (Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'). Not content with their own songs, they also throw in a cover of Sister Golden Hair from the band America for a bit of difference as we head back to the 70's. Rock Is Our Religion is a great hard rock record and if you enjoy any of the bands mentioned earlier you'll be nodding your head along with in no time. 7/10

The Lord - Forest Nocturne (Southern Lord) [Quinn Mattfeld]

Oh no… No, no, no. What is this? I thought that first track was just an ambient synth intro and I was good with that possibility because it was kind of ominous and the title was just the word THEME in all caps but now I’m listening to the second track and it’s also ambient synth. There couldn’t be two ambient synth intros, could there? The third track is called Lefthand Lullaby I and—oh, shit… It sounds like an actual lullaby that’s supposed to be… creepy? I think? Wait, now this next track is Lefthand Lullaby too? Oh, no. It’s Lefthand Lullaby Two. I guess the “I” was a Roman Numeral… How do I get out of this? Can I tell my editor the rest of the album didn’t download? DAMMIT IN ALL CAPS!! 

Think, Quinn- think! Wait, Forest Wake is the fifth song and—is that a guitar? Is this song actually going somewher—Op, no. Nowhere… again… for the fifth time. You know what? There’s only three tracks left. You can make it: Deciduous let’s do this! Light this candle! Did I skip back on accident? Another ambient synth track?! Why are you doing this to me, The Lord? What do you want? I have to write about this album and I have no idea if this is even music! It’s like asking me to review a dial tone… Song eight: Old Growth… Okay, trees- trees- trees. Maybe I can say something like “The Lord really branches out on their new album”? …That is fucking awful. Branching out from what? 

It’s one note for 40 minutes. Are they branching out from abject silence? I’m a bad writer... THIS SONG IS EIGHT MINUTES LONG?! …End. Just please end. Okay, last track Triumph Of The Oak… A riff. Oh my God. I think I just heard a riff. And now there are lyrics. And they are going… nowhere… It’s over. Oh, thank you, Cheez-Its, it’s over. Time to write the review: The Lord really branches out on their new album Forest Nocturne… IN ALL CAPS! 1/10

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