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Thursday 9 March 2023

Reviews: Viscera, 71TONMAN, Marauder, Redlight King (Reviews By Zak Skane, Mark Young, Richard Oliver & Matt Bladen)

Viscera – Carcinogenesis (Unique Leader Records) [Zak Skane]

After a gothic tinged symphonic introduction we are slapped in the face with sadness soaked power chords before a whirl wind of blast beats and tremolo picked riffs immerse us in the chaos. Jamie’s vocals haves reached new territories with from going to his classic mid range barks to ground breaking low gutturals to match the weight of the ear punishing breakdowns.

Following this is the venomous Rats With Wings, with the riffs and tempos moving up to break neck speeds to the point where it come so extreme is it just inaudible. Jamie is sounds the angriest he has ever been since Heart Of A Cowards debut album from channelling his apocalyptic lyrics through bowl trembling vocals and channelling his best Joe Duplantier impression in the choruses. 

Layers Of Skin takes the speeds down a notch to allow the instrumentation time to breath causing some hard punching grooves from its Slipknot inspired guitar riffs, melodic styled leads and tasty drum parts. There are some great technical moments on this album such as the track Omnipotence with its machine gun precise triplet chugging patterns and fast jolting riffs to their mind melting lead sections, to its more electrically layered driven Demon Queen with it’s jerky and pinch harmonic riffs and its Born of Osiris sweep picking leads. 

Another highlight on this album is the track Sungazer which I think is a great template of harnessing the bands past and future with the thrash inspired riffs that remind me of Jamie's time in Sylosis to the soaring catching choruses that we was known for his former modern metal band Heart Of A Coward.

This was an enjoyable modern death metal album. The arrangements were well constructed whether it is from the chaotic tracks like Carcinogenesis, Omnipotence and Demon Queen where the blast beats and kick drums were preformed to machine gun precision, the guitars can sway from bludgeoning punches to the face to gracefully soaring leads or to the groovier tracks such as Layers Of Skin in which the band pulls back the tempo to allow each note to be perfectly executed. 

Jamie has reached new strengths with his bowel rumbling gutturals especially on the song Rats With Wings as well as implementing his signature howls on choruses like Sungazer and Demon Queen. Even though I found the album enjoyable, I felt like the band haven’t made as of yet in the death metal community in comparison to bands like Whitechapel and Fit For an Autopsy but give them time. 7/10

71TONMAN- Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity) [Mark Young]

Polish sludge/doom metal outfit 71TONMAN release their latest opus with four tracks weighing in at 39 minutes which gives you an insight into what you can expect once you press play. It is 39 minutes of just slow, slow music that fans will love. If you like your music fast, with double bass through the roof and bpm’s off the scale then look elsewhere.

Conquest starts with feedback that runs into droning guitar with deep guttural growls and sets off on its incredibly slow, heavy journey. It shocks itself out of this stupor towards the last third where it steps up its pace, but you couldn’t call it a rapid change in velocity.

Plague just continues straight after with a momentum built from before, just onwards and onwards like a military march with the blackest riffs front and centre and just continues to make that ascent where you just get heavier as you get closer to the summit. War comes in and is like the two before it, its just slow with a back- ground guitar that is almost like an air raid siren warning you of impending disaster.

Famine brings us to the mountain top, with the weight of the preceding songs dragging you further into the ground. It just sucks the energy from you, and I can only imagine how dense this would sound live. They pick up the speed halfway with a chugging riff that stops and starts before setting back into the previous lead like tempo.

The best thing I can liken this to is a mountain climb with four stopping points. Each song represents a plateau or stopping place where you rest before making the next climb. Each one could be described as a war of attrition because there is not that much going on to engage you unless you are fan of this music. Other bands seem to have something else running within their songs that just keep you interested but not here. Its like they have written them this way, cut out unnecessary fat and keep it on the simple path. I feel as though I am doing them a disservice in saying that, because they have set out to make this as slow and as bleak as possible. 

And they have succeeded because afterwards you feel as though you have been through the wringer by just listening to it. Its heavy without being super down tuned to the point you can’t hear anything at all, its produced well and there is a great guitar tone here which has a clarity to it despite the monolithic nature of the music. It suggests that possibly it would be played live as a complete set because listened out of sequence you would possibly lose the essence of what the songs represent. It’s meant to sound like it is the end of the world and these are your tour guides, ready to darken the way. 7/10

Marauder - Metal Constructions VII (Pitch Black Records) [Richard Oliver]

Marauder are a long running heavy metal band from Greece who formed in 1990 and have several albums to their name with new album Metal Constructions VII being the seventh release from the band. Metal Constructions VII is also the first album to feature new singer Tassos Krokodilos who joined the band in 2021.

Despite all the progressions and innovations made in the world of heavy metal over the decades Marauder are a band that write and perform true heavy fucking metal like it is 1985 and they have to be applauded for that having a sound that is somewhere between Iron Maiden and Manowar.  This is pure old school heavy metal with some leanings towards power metal though power metal of the harder edged U.S. variety. 

Some of the more power metal leaning songs include Under Her Spell and The Son Of God whilst songs such as Shout It Out and The Iron Mask are in a pure old school heavy metal style with nods to the NWOBHM sound.  The riffs are big, the solos shred and the rhythms are pounding demanding that fists are raised and heads are banged.  The vocals by Tassos are very impressive and he definitely channels both Eric Adams and Bruce Dickinson in his powerful delivery.

Metal Constructions VII is an album of true heavy metal glory which has Marauder showing their influences clearly and paying homage to the glory years of traditional heavy metal. It’s a style that has been done countless times before and will be done countless times afterwards but Marauder are very good at what they do and they have been doing it for a long time. 

Metal Constructions VII is a solid album but it is not wholly memorable with a lot of songs bearing too much similarity to each other and with 12 songs and a duration of over an hour it is just a bit too overlong.  Hard to fault what is on the album but it is very solid rather than spectacular but still a great listen for any old school heavy metal fan. 7/10

Redlight King - In Our Blood (AFM Records) [Matt Bladen]

Redlight King is the project from Mark "Kaz" Kasprzyk, who formed the and in his native Hamilton Ontario. They have produced three albums before this and have been featured on lots of shows and films in North America, so he's definitely experienced in creating catchy, blue collar rock music which sits in between The Black Keys, Tom Petty and Kid Rock (!) The fuzzy Cold Killer does lean heavily on the Auerbach and Carney rhythm style. Written by Kaz and long time collaborator, guitarist Julian Tomarin, they bring Randy Cooke behind the kit to play driving rock n roll in the vein of Silvertide.

Letting it all hang out with some dirty riffs and gang vocals avoiding the slick over-produced American style of rock music that is so popular now. Drawn out of the blues, the songs sound introspective but are full of hope. The issue I have is that by having that fuzz-like The Black Keys sound, is that it's quite similar, well very similar so In Our Blood just feels like a The Black Keys record but with less R&B. It's decent to listen to, but nothing more really. 6/10

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