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Friday 10 March 2023

Reviews: Unfelled, Otherwise, Håndgemeng, Suicide Silence (Reviews By Mark Young, Simon Black, Rich Piva & GC)

Unfelled - Pall Of Endless Perdition (Season Of Mist) [Mark Young]

Unfelled offer their debut full length album and looking online for information on their sound, they note that they are Pagan Black Metal, from Australia and concentrate on the three tenets of any good metal song: Bloodshed, War and Death.

Here we go…Track 1, An Epoch in Bloodshed.

It’s exactly as you might have expected with an almost standard arrangement of fizzing guitars with a lighter arrangement in the back-ground. Everything is present and correct here with chord progressions you have heard before but there is some melody present here and they have avoided constant blast beats which does add a nice touch. I think the issue is that there has been some really strong black metal released so far, which elevate the form and offer something new. So far, this is ok.

The Opposer goes flat out from the off, barely pausing for breath and again it’s fine but you have heard this before. Weathered Wings is next and again it’s a 1000mph start that is almost a carbon copy of the preceding track but luckily they pull a nice slow crawl with a cracking riff that then runs into more familiar ground but this works really well, adding tension to the song and almost some emotion to it. This is more like it.

Veil Of Perdition starts like the end of the world and enters a controlled tempo which allows the song to breath and for you to become invested in it. There is a lot to appreciate here, none of it feels forced or tired which bodes well for the final three songs.

YES!! Transcendent Legacy sounds like they have found their range here, and almost sounds like a different band. It feels fresher and has a certain zip within it that drags you along with it and then into Evanescent, which is the albums melancholic instrumental, which is perfectly functional but could have killed the momentum built. The final song, A Diadem Embattled just sets fire to that notion, with a juggernaut of a song that comes and crushes the ones before. It’s the stand-out here and scorches out of the speakers with a vitality that is missing from the album opening tracks.

There is a lot to like here, once you get past the first two songs it really opens up into a grand album and considering this is their first full length offering, there is a lot more to come from them. In reviewing this, I have to say that they left the best to last as track 7 is a brutal end to an almost brilliant album 7/10

Otherwise – Gawdzillionaire (Mascot Records) [Simon Black]

There are a few moments in this game when you listen to an album for the first time and realise that what you’ve just experienced might about to be something huge given the right opportunities, support and hard work. It’s not the sort of thing I would normally plump for, but my editor knows me better than I do myself, and the consequence is this one has been listened to a lot over the last few days.

This isn’t some high-bowled debut from a band with a shit ton of energy, but album number five from an act that have been grafting at it for twenty years. But having been plagued by a revolving door of staff behind vocalist Adrian Patrick, that’s like doing an uphill mountain climb carrying an extra 10-ton rock someone you met at the bottom asked you to hold. I’m none too familiar with their back catalogue, but with a mash up of hard rock vibe, alternative metal angst and modern metal groove these twelve songs are hard, angry and brutally emotive.

But they do have a shit ton of energy…

The songs don’t hang around either, with nothing over the four-minute mark, and that really keeps the focus and energy to the front, with Patrick snarling, roaring and ripping his way through the material with an energy and power missing from many a much younger frontman. Whereas many acts at this point in the career are struggling to keep the writing up to the standard of their debut’s, what we have is the perfect melting pot of experienced combined with fresh new blood to keep things absolutely on their toes. These songs are full of so much infectious energy, anthemic hooks and sheer darned anger fuelled by events of recent years.

Rage Against The Machine kicked the door down for politically fired alternative metal 30 years ago, but in real terms burned out too early once success became a bit of a contradiction to the message of their material, but Otherwise have been building this for two decades and have a shit load to say, whether you consider them a success or not. This album certainly deserves to be. 9/10

Håndgemeng - Ultraritual (Ripple Music) [Rich Piva]

Ripple brings the heavy with the latest release from Drøbak, Norway’s, Håndgemeng. Is there such a thing as StonerCore? The answer is absolutely. So, what is StonerCore? How about a band that has the riffs, the stoner groove, and the odes to the sweet leaf that you can also start a circle pit to. A band that has songs that worship the might Iommi but has killer hardcore breakdowns halfway through. A band that has a song called Cro-Magnon VS Neanderthal. This is what you get on the band’s new full length, Ultraritual, and I am here to say look out or this is going to run you down and leave nothing but dust and a corpse in your wake.

Right of the bat you get a killer stoner riff and a hardcore scream with the head smashing opener, The Astronomer. The vocals remind me of Damian from Fucked Up, which to me is a good thing but will not be for everyone (if you never heard David Comes To Life by those guys you should change that immediately). But who doesn’t like both hardcore and stoner rock? Who I ask you??? The aforementioned Cro-Magnon VS Neanderthal is probably the best track on an album filled with slabs of heavy awesomeness. If Helmet went in the other direction after Meantime I think this would have been what it sounded like. This track has an almost psych feel to it before the pace picks up with that stoner groove and that urgent hardcore scream. 

Visions Of Fire is a straight up slow burn head smasher reminiscent of last year’s release from Behold! The Monolith. It almost reminds me of the old hardcore band Integrity. Temple Of Toke is the obligatory weed worship to keep the stoner side of StonerCore and is probably the song most leaning in that direction that you get on Ultraritual. Oh, and yeah it also kills, with its groove and clean and scream call and response. 

The title track is more of the same awesomeness, this reminds me of something like Unsane, which is a high complement if you are a fan. Tales From The Tundra is the perfect song for where these guys dwell. It has a killer bass track, riffs, and a killer chant like chorus (?) that brings you right to the snowy plains of their homeland until towards the end with that pit starts to form and you are thrown about like a militant vegan at an Earth Crisis show. 

The closer, Occultation Of Mars, is an almost ten-minute epic journey with the best of all I described previously (and some female vocals, oh and some crazy freak out moments too), and it will be in the running for closing track of the year.

As a guy who really digs both hardcore and stoner rock, this is the perfect meld of both. Riffs, screams, urgency, danger, and everything you love about both genres wrapped into one 45-minute slab of heavy. Last year I mentioned that the releases from Mother Iron Horse and Behold! The Monolith were the heaviest releases by Ripple. Add Ultraritual to that list. A killer release that scratches all the itches for me. Excellent stuff. 9/10

Suicide Silence - Remember… You Must Die (Century Media Records) [GC]

Deathcore royalty for me this week with the new Suicide Silence release, the cheerily titled Remember… You Must Die. Suicide Silence has been on the scene for over 20 years now and has a massive back catalogue that is both loved and hated in parts. I have never listened to them before and that’s just because I’m lazy really, but that is about to change!

Skipping past straight past pointless album intro Remember… and straight into You Must Die it’s clear that time and age have not mellowed Suicide Silence in any way, its full of energy and rawness and has a definite death metal feel, before we are greeted with a more familiar beatdown infused stomper and the squealing guitars and mixed nicely into the big beefy riffs and sludgy groove filled sections, Capable Of Violence (N.F.W) interjects more of a black metal pace to start with and that urgency mixes into the main verse which is more thick and groove infused death metal, although I will say I think the end minute or so of this track could have been binned off, just feels a bit like it was added for no reason!? 

Fucked For Life has a mix of slow hardcore stomping and full on blasting death metal and in theory I should love this song but, I don’t? It just feels a bit forced and sort of just meanders for 4 minutes and doesn’t last in the memory, Kill Forever re-establishes the death metal pace, and the hardcore influences are felt more in this song and shine through better than previously, only issue 4 songs in is the variation is not really there enough for me, its all very samey and for a band who have about 72 albums you would think they might know how to mix things up a bit. God Be Damned fairs a little better and does have an edge and is packed full of savage, serrated riffs, thunderous drums and a nice droning and atmospheric verse towards the end is the real highlight of the whole song.

Alter Of Self introduces and almost funeral doom element because it is a precise and vicious assault and not because its fast and brutal but because its paced and measured to really push the point home. Endless Dark has more of the slower pace mixed with the raw and bruising deathcore breakdowns you expect but again it doesn’t really stand out and is just sort of there, seems there may be a few fillers on here! The Third Death though is an absolute beast of a track and has everything you want big riffs thrown together with blasty death metal and mosh sections are a plenty in this song and there’s also some nice BLEARGHS in there as well! 

Be Deceived doesn’t really fall into any style and just sort of happens, its not that its bad it’s just doesn’t have an identity and you aren’t particularly bothered when it’s over, Dying Life is a bit too mid-paced for me and doesn’t really grab you like they would want it to and just really sounds a bit of a mess in places but, album closer and longest song Full Void does once again pick up the pace and show some sort of urgency that is much needed it’s a classic deathcore track that combines the chug riffs with double bass drums and manages to mix in some depth that has been missing in some of the previous songs and its needed just seems to be a little bit late to be giving a shit now?

I really wanted to like this album and for Suicide Silence to show me why I should regret not ever having listening to them before, however I didn’t really like it very much, sure some songs were good and I enjoyed them but that’s it really, they were just good not awesome and for a band with so much experience I guess I was just expecting more? Would this convince me to dive into their back catalogue? No. Would it make me want to listen to more in the future? No. overall just not enough there to interest me or make me want more. 5/10

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