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Sunday 25 June 2023

Reviews: Structural, Forged In Black, Crepitation, Polymearse (Reviews By Matt Bladen, Rick Eaglestone, Charlie Rogers & Rich Piva)

Structural – Decrowned (ViciSolum Productions)

Israeli tech death mob Structural return after a long gap with their sophomore album Decrowned. Having supported the likes of Semblant and Fleshgod Apocalypse after the release of their debut album Metacognition in 2018. Decrowned sees the band again bringing the wow factor for anyone that likes their death metal full of intense heaviness and brain melting virtuosity and guttural roars from the bowels of the earth. Angular, extreme metal riffs come from guitarists Shani Friedman and Tomer Dembinsky, after an orchestral intro to build atmosphere, as Your Damnation hits, Shani and Tomer trade six string wizardry, settling into a groove for the first track proper.

As My Grass Is Greener showcases the mechanical drumming of Vadim Sergyenko against the fluid leads. So far so tech death as they don’t stay around in one groove for too long, Koren Esco’s basslines the lynchpin for the furrows ploughed by the riffs. Having drawn comparisons to Obscura, you’ll know what you’re going to get; complexity but with brutally simplistic guttural vocals from Nadav Zaidman. Tech death can be quite hit and miss with me, if I was a guitar player I’d be salivating over this record, but there are a number of bands in the genre that I’m a bigger fan of. Structural’s music will incite pits and get you throwing odd shapes in the living room so they can’t be all bad right? If you have tech death tattooed on your heart then you’ll love Decrowned. 7/10

Forged In Black - Lightning In The Ashes (Fighter In The Ashes) [Rick Eaglestone]

After four years Forged In Black return with their second album Lightning In The Ashes.

Energizing opener Be One With Fire not only incorporates various styles in the genre but is a re-introduction to Storozynski’s impressive vocals diversity which flows into the album’s title track Lightning In The Ashes. Prominent bass lines lead the band down a doomier side with Dusk Breather which then morph into more of an upbeat tempo laden with atmosphere and purpose – Early contender for track of the album right here.

Dominant drum patterns penetrate Dark Lord Requiem which has a nice flowing chorus, but the short sharp tempo changes are a little off putting, fortunately the acoustic start of War Torn Skull then turns into pure 80’s thrash more than redeem it, absolute gem of the album. The album moves into Chains Of The Damned which has a very Maidenesque undercurrent into Building A Beast and Brother’s Keeper which all blend into each other effortlessly creating an unholy trinity which really is the heartbeat of the release.

Penultimate track Hellucinator gallops into final offering the surprisingly atmospheric Detonation Ritual encapsulates the aesthetic and ties in the fab Dan Goldsworthy artwork perfectly forging another remarkable release. Bringing down the heavy metal hammer with purpose. 7/10

Crepitation - Monstrous Eruption Of Impetuous Preposterosity (Vicious Instinct Records) [Charlie Rogers]

Northern noise peddlers Crepitation have long threatened us with a second full length album, a follow up to 2015’s Violence Of The Slams, and what better time than 2023 when the world seems to be getting as absurd as their appropriately titled Monstrous Eruption Of Impetuous Preposterosity. What does it mean? Not a clue, but that’s going to be the theme here.

Setting the scene for the 37minutes to follow Carcinogenital Space Hopper opens the album with a sample, followed by a brain blistering combination of frantic technical riffing, machinegun drumbeats, and furious yet wacky vocal duelling. Smearing themselves over the borders between technical death metal, grindcore, and slam, Crepitation occupy a truly unique place in the heavy universe, and their approach to naming tracks while disregarding any attempts to write lyrical content is testament to this. What is Molecular Testicular Spectacular Dracula Vernacular about, for example? Again, no idea. Good song though - unless you’re the type that likes heartfelt singing and meaning in your music.

It’s hard to understate the scale of absolute chaos that the band put into sonic form with this record, with very little in the way of recognisable song structure, and the absence of lyrics to grab the listeners memory makes for a very high bar to entry into the old noggin. Often when I’ve sat down to listen critically to the album, I find it very easy to get lost in the aural maelstrom, while barely remembering how any of the tunes went barely an hour later. Ironically the main parts of the record that stick to the memory are the amusing samples, in particular Matt Berry’s amusing anecdote at the start of Priapismic Whisking Of Mucilaginous Concrete Slurry.

That’s not to say the songs aren’t enjoyable in the moment, because if you’ve got the palette to enjoy high effort nonsense there’s definitely a lot on offer here. Small doses might be key however, as by the time Superkalifragelisticexpibabyshakeus closes the album, I’m definitely in the mood to listen to something with a more obvious melody. 7 dictionaries out of 10. 7/10

Polymerase - Dreams & Realities I & II (Sliptrick Records) [Rich Piva]

So, Polymerase is a one or maybe two-man project from the Philippines who in their Bandcamp bio says, “Just some dudes trying to jam and create stoner music.” That kind of bio makes me what to like these guys right off the bat, but parts of their Dreams & Realities series is a really tough listen. Like really tough.

Why is it so tough? A few reasons, but the number one this is the vocals. The vocals are off the charts bad. I am sorry, I hate being so negative, and musically these guys are alright, but please find a singer. I am not sure I can properly explain why I feel so negatively but give it a whirl and tell me I am not right. Painfully bad to the point that I cannot believe they are not hearing it themselves. The good news (if there is any) is that on both albums they include instrumental tracks of all the songs, which is a much more enjoyable listen, but still with some issues, like the very, very obviously programed drums that makes Dreams & Realities sound like someone’s Pro Tools failure. There are some cool sounds and guitar work on the track Dreams And Reality, but it is impossible to get past the vocals. They should have led with the instrumental tracks because they are unlistenable with the singing.

I really feel bad writing this, but this is not good. The vocals are terrible, and this sounds like amateur hour. Polymerase seems to have a passion and love for music, but this one should have been kept on the hard drive instead of shared with the world. I feel like a bad person but would feel worse if I asked you to check this out for any extended period. 2/10

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