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Thursday 2 March 2023

Reviews: Entheos, Giffromgod, Connor Selby, Kardinal Sin (Reviews By Mark Young, GC, Matt Bladen & Simon Black)

Entheos - Time Will Take Us All (Metal Blade Records) [Mark Young]

Good Lord!! This is something else. Belting off with a deep growl and a spidery guitar line and some fierce drumming, Entheos come straight for you. There is no messing, no quiet moments of introspection, they are here to kick you all over the place. This is their second release, the first as a two piece and it is just…GAK...it is absolutely spot on. I have no idea what you could call it except exceedingly heavy. Luckily, we have social media to assist: Technical / progressive death metal.
I just know It demands your full attention from the off.

Absolute Zero just pummels you from the off, taking cues from what appears to be a myriad of that is not limited to death metal as the song just moves through different genres just because its what they felt would serve the song. This theme continues right the way through as every possible type of heavy music is ripped apart and rebuilt to serve them. This is especially apparent at the end of The Interior Wilderness where growls and clean vocals are combined to give it an almost mechanical feel that then runs into Oblivion where the acoustic line continues but twinned with later stage Death bass lines. 

It is an absolute mind wipe because it is just so different, there is everything you expect from a “death metal” record but this so far away from the traditional style It feels closer to Mastodon in the way the songs are constructed. There are complex passages where you are scratching your head and then just brutal parts, often in the same song but they sit together so well its not until the song has finished that you go What did I just listen to?

Did I mention the vocals? These are something else, courtesy of Chaney Crabb. In one song she navigates old school death vocals, clean singing and black metal styles which is some of the strongest stuff I’ve heard anywhere as she just spits the lines out with total conviction.

Music wise, it is wild, just absolutely wild. If you have ever tried to write music, you will understand just how difficult it to write something unique to you and to possess your voice. They have done it here and it is special. I don’t think I can do it justice other than to recommend it to you, especially if you lean towards the more technical side because it delivers that in aces. Brutality? Yep, that’s covered too. Bonkers song arrangements? Naturally. We are being really spoiled this year in terms of releases, there has been some absolute crackers come out and this is one of them. 9/10

Giffromgod - Digital Red (Prosthetic Records) [GC]

Screamo, that word always reminds me of times back in the mid 00’s when everyone wore clothes that were 2 sizes too small for them, had white studded belts, converse all-star shoes and hairstyles that prohibited them from seeing what was directly in front of them, basically everyone looked like a grade A twat and most bands had song titles that were almost a paragraph in length to deter form the total shitness of the content! It does however also remind me of some fucking amazing albums that are still on rotation today so, swings and roundabouts I suppose?? Anyway, with that ringing endorsement of the screamo scene today I have the new EP from up-and-coming and award for stupidest name winning sextet Giffromgod.

Knife Goes In Guts Come Out (Excellent Simpsons reference I must say), starts with wailing feedback before some big beefy down tuned guitar lumbers into view and collides with a snare that sounds so tight its might only be one hit away from snapping, it all then descends into chaos with stabbing and sharp guitars mixing into very raw production and that snare sound is just everywhere but despite the dirtiness of the sound it’s all just on the edge enough to not be a letdown. 

A Kiss For Every Hornet continues the chaotic approach and the down right disregard for song structure its more noise than screamo and it’s a joyous and savage noise with the vocals really cutting through and taking center stage before fading out with a melodic and sparse guitar BUT that snare is a bit much, it’s not St Anger levels of annoying but it is still annoying none the less! The Cows Meow is an unruly whirlwind that mixes beatdowns with almost grind like intensity and has some Djent patterns and on this song seriously the vocals are mad, they absolutely are the standout part for me there is even a mid-section bass led part that lets you gather your thoughts and prepare for the final onslaught which adds a decent depth and mixes it up nicely. 

Youth Medium Child Psychic is my least favorite of all things a pointless noise interlude that offers sod all and on an album it would be annoying but on an EP? Leave it out!! Meet_Man Meets Man continues on with the ‘’wacky’’ song title theme and is a decent mix of grindy style chugga chugga and the chaotic unstructured nature of what has preceded and has a deliciously unhinged breakdown that really gets under your skin and the fade out is just a full-blown glorious nightmare of horrible sounds! Closing us out is Dream Features and it is crammed full of off kilter breaks, and big juicy riffs that carve their way into your brain and manage to twist and contort and then it’s all over.

This was a decent little EP, and I enjoyed the mentalness of it all and would be interested to see how they pull it off in a live setting, it’s not ground breaking or anything but it is certainly worth your time if you enjoy your music to be ugly and chaotic and have a suitably lo-fi and dirty production than this is for you! Well worth a listen. 7/10

Connor Selby - Connor Selby (Provogue Records) [Matt Bladen]

British bluesman Connor Selby has already had a glittering career and he's really just getting started. In the last few years he's supported The Who and was at Pearl Jam's Hyde Park gig along with Stereophonics and Johnny Marr, and it's this sort of eclectic mix of music that Selby imbues his music with.

I said bluesman but Connor has been immersed in all facets of American Roots music no matter where he was in the world, and he extensively travelled in his younger years. Selby became obsessed not just with the music but the history with artists like Clapton, Dylan, Sam Cooke and even Ray Lamontage all influencing his songwriting.

This album was originally released in 2021 by Connor himself but signed to Provogue, the UKs premier blues/roots music label it now has four additional songs, three new and one cover, the cover of Ray Charles' parping My Baby Don't Dig Me is given the right amount of stank, while Love Letter To The Blues is exactly that, I Shouldn't Care a frustrated piece of Chicago blues while The Deep End closes out the record with a bit of slick blues rocking.

The original album though is just as good as the bonus tracks from the Fender Rhodes based gospel of Falling In Love Again, to the brass driven soul of If You're Gonna Leave Me which along with Show Me A Sign there's a lot of Stax influences. Selby is a bit of a blues troubadour but as I alluded to earlier it's not just the blues he deals in the acoustic singer/songwriter style on Hear My Prayer.

From here the blues dissipates into different styles, the laid back Waitin' On The Day while the original closer Starting Again feels like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac with it's washing guitars and keys. Having been played on mainstream radio and with a support slot to Beth Hart confirmed for this year, Connor Selby is a star on the rise and his passionate, authentic style of songwriting will definitely make him huge. 8/10

Kardinal Sin - S.A.L.I.G.I.A (Massacre Records) [Simon Black]

It’s been six years since Swedish melodic power metal outfit Kardinal Sin released their sophomore record Victorious, so this one has clearly been cooking for a while. The most noticeable thing from opener They Crashed In The Storm is that this is a step into a darker and moodier direction, adding some moody Symphonic strains to their overall sound whilst still retaining the accessibility of their traditional heavy and power metal influences. And let’s face it, the genre needs it, given that the thousands of bands currently active within it are sometime a little pushed when it comes to originality.

What that means here is for everything where the envelope is pushed a bit more technically such as the opener, then equal space is retained for some traditional fist-pumping anthemic material to get a live crowd going. As is so often the case, the record is a concept piece with a post-apocalyptic story line no doubt influenced by recent global events, which to be honest is a lot easier to unpick than some of the forced and strained epic fantasy/pseudo historical stuff that crosses my desk. More importantly the songs stand on their own two feet individually independent of the larger arc, which is a sign the band have thought about this a little more carefully. That accessibility is one of the overriding reasons why this piece works quite so well as it does, as the story arc is an extra layer for the more patient listener, rather than a barrier to the more casual one.

The band gel well together as a cohesive whole, but the keyboard work from Thomas Geson needs drawing out, as it’s complex whilst deceptively accessible and subtle yet structural fundamental. In addition, the vocal performance of Danne Wikerman stands head and shoulders over many of the genre. Whilst I love some good clean singing, the Power genre just has too many operatic clean voices in it, but Wikerman’s voice is more also has a more gutsy and rock ‘n’ roll touch to it as well as being able to hit and scale the high and clean notes, and when he has a chance for a vocal duet on Siege Of Jerusalem things jump up a couple of notches further, and it’s definitely one of the strongest songs on here. 

There are some obvious power tropes too though and Reveal The Sinner’s Soul is the most blatant attempt at a catchy anthem in the Axel Rudi Pell mode, but to be honest it works because it’s as catchy as fuck and relentlessly heavy to boot (well, for the genre). Strong and reliable and a welcome return to the fold 7/10

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