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Thursday 15 December 2022

Reviews: Mos Generator, Green King, In Which It Burns, Moral Corruption (Reviews By Rich Piva, David Karpel, C Hunter & Matt Bladen)

Mos Generator - Time//Wounds (Pale Wizard Records) [Rich Piva]

Tony Reed may be the most underrated man in rock and roll today. His contribution with all his bands, his production and mixing credits, and from what I understand just being a great dude and an amazing ambassador for the music that I love makes him a legend that more people need to become intimately familiar with. The announcement of a new album from his most prolific band, Mos Generator, is a nice Holiday surprise, and dare I say Christmas miracle, given how amazing their new record, Time//Wounds, is, given the shift in styles and how long these guys have been putting out quality proto/stoner/heavy rock and to have maybe their best record this far in is nothing short of said miracle.

This is the most prog Mos Generator album that they have released for sure, but Time//Wounds goes in so many directions and has so many influences leveraged here, but never does this album go off the rails or sound too scattered; it is a perfectly cohesive listening experience even with all the places it wonders to. You have catchy as hell 70s classic rock with the opening track Aja-Minor (I have heard some Steely Dan references thrown around). The track (Don’t) Wait Until Tomorrow sounds like a Pink Floyd and Genesis mash up that is played by Cave In. You have some 90s punk vibes sprinkled with some of the heavier Kyuss/QOTSA stuff with Getting Good At Revenge. Burn Away The Years (also catchy AF) that has 90s alternative/grunge dripping from every note.

Only Yesterday sounds like Rush at times in the best kind of way. Until We Meet Again (Parts I-IV) is a fifteen-minute opus that is a 70s prog rock epic journey and is the closing track of the year (a tie with Big Scenic Nowhere track The Long Morrow). The playing on this album, from the drum work by Sean Booth that is next level, and of course the amazing everything that Mr. Reed brings to the table, is something to behold. The production is top notch as well but given who is involved this is par for the course. An end to end perfect album.

A new and amazing Mos Generator record released in December that is an album of the year candidate was not on my 2022 music bingo card but no matter, we have all won the jackpot with this one. Tony Reed and company have maybe released their best record which is saying a whole lot given all the amazing output we have seen from them, but Time//Wounds is a Christmas miracle indeed. Everyone should experience this record. 10/10

Green King - Hidden Beyond Time (The Sign Records) [David Karpel]

It’s important to keep in mind that Hidden Beyond Time is Green King’s debut album for two reasons. First of all, the band’s tight as all get out and they’ve produced a ripper. Secondly, they sound a lot like the bands they love. The Helsinki four piece kicks out the NWOBHM jams like nobody’s business, immediately bringing to mind Maiden with their twin guitar attack and galloping martial rhythms, and makes any ffo references outside of 80s metal nearly impossible or at best a waste of time. 

I love that this album kicks open with a pair of songs like Gates Of Annihilation and God Killer, with those guitars playing off each other immediately in both. It’s a statement of knowing their roots and influences and giving their heroes their due respect. While this is evident throughout the album, the opener sets the tone well. In just under 4 minutes, they squeeze in a lot of Maiden love. Besides the guitars and the solid drums, the bass playing mimics Powerslave-era Steve Harris with panache. Eliel Salomaa sounds nothing like Paul, Bruce, or the other guy, but he does have a sinister Blackie Lawless-ness to him. So by Steel On Ice we know the territory. Can Green King maintain the listener’s interest beyond novelty? 

A Maiden fan since 1982, my answer is yes. Salomaa’s gravelly yowl gives their dark lyrics the edge they need over the clean guitar interplay and all-around tightness of the band. Oftentimes, he sounds like he’s got too many lyrics to sing, that he’s on the verge of losing control, but he always seems to keep it from going over the edge. When he sings “Strike to Kill!” in Steel On Ice the words cut through the blaring with an urgency that matches the driving bass and drums. 

Tervaklituri is the darker Green King, bringing to mind some of the more growling moments of Master of Puppets-era Metallica, incorporating some awesome duelling solos and doomy tones. Meanwhile, Where Speedian Dwells, a Motorhead like banger, will break your neck and you’ll love it. Closing the album, Lifetakers maintains all of these themes, but brings more doom, more solos, and more jam time at just over 8 ½ minutes. While Green King aren’t doing anything really new–and this is something I’ve criticised in other bands who I believed didn’t pull it off–but they’re earnestness pays off. Yes, they sound a lot like Maiden, sans Bruce or Paul or the other guy, and bits and pieces of an entire classic metal genre, but they’re good at it and add their own flair to it, especially with Salomaa’s voice and style. Green King is hard to resist, especially played loud. 7/10

In Which It Burns - Consume Kill Repeat (Creature Sound Records) [C Hunter]

Former Metal To The Masses runner ups In Which It Burns, the four piece metal band from South Wales release their second feature length album, and first with their new line up. Consume, Kill, Repeat was recorded by Creature Sounds Records and tackles abuse, anti war, male suicide, poverty and politics 

Consume opens the album with a soft lulling of acoustic guitars, the rhythm a pleasant Opeth vibe and an overlaying lead that sounds like Kirk Hammett trying his hand at flamenco. A satisfying beginning, excluding a slight tuning issue. 

Once Peaceful Minds Now Slaughter brings in the metal! thrashy, heavy and with the groove of Lamb Of God. A powerful start, and I’m especially fond of the diminished stops. A proper headbanger . 
Dead and Rotting starts with the feel of some of Slayer’s slower dark works. With black metal sections into chuggy nu metal riffs and a tasty guitar solo of tremolo arm work and speedy diminished runs, ending with the chaos of an early slipknot number.

Replicate once again replicates the mood of early Lamb Of God and Slipknot garnished with some old school swap over leads. Your Undoing is pure late 90s/early 2000s metal with vocalist Wayne Stretch Mayhew practically rapping in growl. Wayne, If you are reading, I’d like you to know that my laptop tried to autocorrect Mayhew to Mayhem…Something to think about . And lead guitarist Steven Flynn taps harder than Hector Salamanca on a meth binge.

How Became The Rules is another headbanger, making it easy to picture walls of death and circle pits. Bringing back memories and a desire to return to the pit. A good solo is unfortunately damaged by recording problems that I can’t quite pinpoint, whatever it was, it removed me from the song. Strangely enough, this isn’t an issue on the second solo of the track. Love that bass drop though!

Kill is such a beautiful dark riff, taking note from Slayers Dead Skin Mask with a haunting echoing voice of a child mirroring the spoken vocals. Lies For War continues with a spoken word performance and 10 year old Brandon's metal album debut. With lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place in a System Of A Down album; Those who have more rally the poor, Those who vote war don’t know the score, Those who are poor fight in your wars, Lie for the war, DEATH TO THE POOR.

The Eyes Of My Enemy (They Are Mine) tackles self loathing, the antagonist; the enemy In the mirror. Which I think is a great metaphor and probably my favourite lyric in the album. Musically the song contains all the hallmarks of late 90s metal. A lead of Kerry King-esque wankery that doesn’t really give the song anything extra but neither does it take anything away. Perhaps a necessary brief respite for Stretch Mayhem’s stretched orifice/vocal flaps.

Hands That Cup The Blood Of Innocence rides the riff line between Machine Head and Slipknot once more. One of the weaker songs on the album and both guitar solos sound a little like they weren’t tuned for the take. They do pull it back together at the end though. Using more fake outs than the most prolific porn stars. Keeping the listener on their toes as they tease out the big finish.

Rotting And Dead is heavy as bears, which is great! The vocals are so indecipherable though, it also sounds like a recording of bears. Dean Hopson gets his moment, beating his skin unashamedly for a short and punchy drum solo. Repeat repeats with an altered Consume, effectively ending where we began. A satisfying way to wrap up an album, and much like the abuse, anti war, male suicide, poverty and politics tackled in this works, we’re seemingly back where we started… A depressing thought.

Mate Feed Kill Repeat is an ambitious album, Full of impressive experimental and prog elements that Slipknot are still yet to weave into their newer works. As an early album in their career and without the financial backing of a major label, it’s not surprising that it falls short in the production department.

Consume Kill Repeat also suffers in the production department; with a lot of the nuances, vocals, drums and bass becoming lost in the mix. In Which It Burns are at their best with their early 2000s hard moshing riffs, perfect for a live experience. 

At times, they are a little too derivative of the likes of Lamb Of God and Slipknot, but I’m sure they’re more than capable of adding flavours of their own over time, as they clearly know how to play their instruments. The lyrics read like a slayer song, with a barrage of lines usually ending in rhyme. The social and political angle is a good touch, a necessary outlet for the disenfranchised and with the odd bit of poetic flair. Alas, I did find myself craving a little more depth than what the majority the liberal minded already believe. 

Regardless of my nitpicking, I’m going to recommend In Which It Burns Consume, Kill, Repeat for what they stand for, and their pit friendly riffs that should take any metalhead in their 30s back to those teenage years of watching people throw themselves around in jumpsuits on Kerrang TV. Regardless of what I said about the production; I must state my appreciation and the importance of grassroots studios and that they are an essential and hard working part of the music community, regularly working with passion ahead of financial gain. That being said, I’d be interested in hearing what In Which It Burns could accomplish within better facilities. 

Brutal and Groove laden sounds from the metal underground. 7/10

Moral Corruption - Reborn (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Greek band Moral Corruption's last album Divided was recorded when they were barely teenagers in 2017. But now they return with their new record Reborn and it's nine tracks of breakdown fuelled metalcore/groove metal, and they are an older, meaner unit determined to start some pits. Kicking your head in with Dogma, this socially/politically motivated record starts as it means to go on with croaking vocals, punishing drums and weighty riffs. Next comes Insomnia which brings a bit more thrash, as they have some Lamb Of God ferocity to them. Moral Corruption are the sort of band that would make small venues erupt into spontaneous violence. 

The drumming on this record is particularly very good, giving grooves to the energetic Imp Of The Perverse while they bring some deathcore pace shifts on Fragments, which is where the guitars are used the best as there's fret slides, palm muting and dive bombs, though Wrath Of Heaven has a tasty solo section in the melodeath vein. Cactus comes back to being fierce death while also having some Gojira like fret slides, Moloch. Nearly 40 minutes of Athenian intensity Reborn is the sound of young band making their mark on the music world, it's more mature and focused than the debut, a modern 'core' album that will definitely get the crowds going. 8/10

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