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Wednesday 20 September 2023

Reviews: Necrotted, Samurai Pizza Cats, The Holy Ghost, Feral/Crawl (Reviews By Mark Young, Alex Swift, Rich Piva & Paul Scoble)

Necrotted - Imperium (Reaper Entertainment) [Mark Young]

Necrotted bring their fiery brand of death metal that takes influence from a ton of different places for Imperium, their latest release for Reaper Entertainment (Physical media at least). What I want this to be is just some unashamed death metal that comes in and just crushes.
Veiled Awakening opens things up, with a clean intro taking off with a crushingly solid riff, the drums are already in full pelt. This is a direct statement of intent from Necrotted; No quarter given just straight into the metal. Its brutally simple and effective and there is not an inch of fat on this, its lean and has that precise feel that only certain bands can do.
A grandiose riff arrangement sees Reich Der Gier come in, it's super tight, possessing some rapid trem picking and some cracking fretwork without losing sight of its brutal core. The tone is monstrous without any loss of clarity. Two in, two absolute stormers and this is shaping up to be one of those reviews where I scramble for suitable descriptions of just how ace this is. 

Sow Sorrow For Victory picks up the heavy baton, continuing the most guttural growls (main vox Fabian Fink) and drumming that just fits, and they drop a cherry on with a fantastic solo that comes in, melts faces, and goes. You could argue they feel too short, they just flash by, and Artificial Truth comes in as if to say, You thought the others were good, try this one. There is a bar here that has been set, and they continually pass above it. It's just weapons grade death metal, just what is wanted.
Ignorance Is Fear bounds in with a noticeable change in sound, the guitar seems a bit looser but is still on point. It’s a scream down with joint vocalist Tomas Klar / Simon Müller taking part in a death metal face-off, whilst around them riffs are burned, and double bass is thrown down at a rapid pace. They find space to add a touch of heavy melody to close it out and we are over the halfway mark.
I don’t think I’ve reviewed anything this instant in ages. It just hits and hits and when Round X: Freedom V Security with one of the grindiest riffs / vocal combinations ever it still sounds so tight, it's just fantastic to behold. It's not fast for fast sake, or to show off the skills of the band, it’s just start – destroy – finish – next. Imperator brings a groove to proceedings whilst mixing in the blasts, keeping that moving melody underneath an urgent vocal phrasing. This one reminds me of Nile, and that cannot be a bad thing, surely?
And they keep the good stuff coming, Older Beyond All Bounds is just a monstrous thing, stomping its way with a keen mix of tempos and some low chugging. I think I am doing them a disservice by calling it that, but it's just spot on as here, with the others they have got the song lengths pitched correctly.

My Reign Come, My Will be Done closes off proceedings with a clean that is flattened by the main song structure. It's heavy yet manages to allow room for the clean intro to repeat and be flattened once more. Shout out to Markus Braun here, because he is playing an absolute blinder here, anchoring the song, and providing the artillery to drive the song home. It’s the same for all of them, and I keep saying that it's super, super tight, and would love to see this live. Just phenomenal stuff.
This album is released around their 15th anniversary and is a testament to their ability that with album 5 they sound as vital as they do. Each of the songs has been refined to an inch of its life, it's just so precise in attack there is nothing wasted. And I love it because they have made good on their promise of this being a face-melter of an album. If you haven’t heard these, rectify it immediately. 9/10

Samurai Pizza Cats – You’re Hellcome (Easthaven Records) [Alex Swift]

Named after a Japanese anime series, Samurai Pizza Cat’s name alone speaks for itself. The band music is brash, ridiculous and cartoonish, yet in a way where you can evidently appreciate the skill. Like Electric Callboy or Fall Of Gaia – two acts who the outfit share members from – they occupy the space between parody and seriousness. Sudden tempo alterations, frenetic genre switches and a whiplash divergence between brutal and melodic sections are all core aspects of their sound, and this album is all the more fascinating for that!

The Wolf In Me begins with blaring rave synths, before pummelling guitars and blasting drum rhythms take hold! Telling a nightmarishly odd story about a werewolf who falls in love with a vampire, you’re immediately introduced to the gothic theming of this album. This is by no means a unique concept within this genre and yet proves a delightfully gory twist on the trend of hype music via the medium of extreme metal! Outcast plays out like a crazed pursuit scene from a horror movie, the galloping rhythm and shifting electronics, giving a tension to the song that shows the bands command of atmosphere and theatrics.
Pizza Homicide is perhaps the greatest example of how these musicians use contrasting styles that shouldn’t work together and yet somehow do, with the brutality of the verses, and the glistening hook of the chorus, working against each other to make for an experience that is both invigorating and musically absorbing. Later, Alpha throws a curveball with a europop inspired keyboard line and German language rapping, as Daniel Haniß and Nina Chartier exchange braggadocios, yet incredibly amusing quips. I certainly wasn’t expecting a song like this. That said though, I didn’t know what to expect from this album at any point during its duration!

The three tracks that close this album feature some of the most technically intricate instrumentation and fierce performances on the entire record! Freakshow is a two minute assault, yet manages to still be incredibly beguiling and danceable in spite of its ruthlessness! Welcome To The Fightclub combines elements from tap and grind core, while the closing title track of You’re Hellcome welcomes the opportunity to combine a myriad of metal styles, demonstrating an impressive and unrestrained approach to genre fusion!I’d like to end this review on a word about comedy in music. 

Some people might feel that Samurai Pizza Cats not taking themselves seriously, diminishes the value of their music! And certainly, if you’re looking for deep lyrical insight, I wouldn’t start with albums like You’re Hellcome. However, when a band demonstrates a willingness to take risks, and the technical versatility to back that up, they deserve to be viewed as serious and dedicated musicians! In cases like this, humour is not providing an excuse for diminished quality, but rather, being used a mechanism to be as adventurous, and outrageous as possible! 8/10

The Holy Ghost - Ignore Alien Orders (Lovley Records) [Rich Piva]

I may write a lot about stoner, doom, hair metal, and whatever people are calling glam today, but my other sweet spot is 90s post punk and indie rock, so throw band names at me like Dinosaur Jr., Rites Of Spring, Husker Du, and The Replacements and of course I am going to take notice. The Swedish duo The Holy Ghost do just that in their bio, and I hear it for sure and I am here for it for sure as well. Jangly post punk pop tunes that scratch an itch I didn’t even know I still had.

The Non-Dual is our opener and Bob Mould looms large as an influence for these guys, think Warehouse Songs era Husker Du, executed excellently. Robot Creeps is in the similar vein, but more solo Mould material than the Du stuff with a J Mascis style solo. Pattern Breaker is a nice two-minute blast of Mould inspired goodness, and this seems to be the trend here, which works if you dig his stuff, but on occasion it is almost too spot on. I like Worker’s Curse, as it brings the promised Dino Jr. vibes I was promised. But a Mould/J hybrid indie rock supergroup vibe. Alienation Blues is fun too, a sort of “I am sick of everything” anthem that works given the source material.

This was a quick blast of Bob Mould worship that stayed for a while and left as fast as it came, making me want to pull out my Husker Du and Sugar albums, which I think is good and bad for The Holy Ghost. On the one hand it was familiar to me and brought back a time when I could not get enough of all things Bob Mould, which I still can’t, so I enjoyed it. On the other a little too on point, where I can grab Beaster or Candy Apple Grey and get my fix of the real thing. Either way it is worth the listen for at least the stroll down indie rock memory lane. 7/10
Feral / Crawl - Made As Those Who Are No Longer Alive (Transcedning Obscurity Records) [Paul Scoble]

Made As Those Who Are No Longer Alive is a new split Ep from two nasty old school death metal bands hailing from Sweden. The bands in Question are Feral; who formed in 2007, have released three full length albums, and are made up of Viktor Klingstedt on bass, Sebastian Lejon on guitars, David Nilsson on vocals, Markus Lindahl on guitars and Roger Markström on drums.

The other band in question is Crawl; who have been active since 2014, they have released one album before this EP, and are made up of Amir Batar on drums, Martin Sjögren on guitars, Ragnar Hedtjärn Ullenius on bass and Joachim Lyngfelt on vocals.
The EP contains four songs, two from each band, and comes in at a brisk eleven minutes. The EP kicks off with From The Ancient Tombs by Feral, which is a mid-paced piece of old school death metal it stays at the same pace throughout, but the song feels powerful and unstoppable, it drives forward and never looks back, a great headbanger of a track. 

Feral’s next track is Released From The Bondage Of The Earth, this time it’s old school blasting with fast and frantic riffs and pummelling drums that have a bit of a D-Beat feel to them. There is a wonderful screaming guitar solo that is beautifully unhinged, the song is full of energy and drive, it’s super fast and super fun.
Now we get to the two Crawl tracks; first up is Where The Dead Flesh Whispers, which opens with mid-paced crusty death metal, before dropping us into a savage crusty Blast Beat, this then goes back into the punky mid-paced death metal, there is one more grinding blast before a slow and very heavy ending. Crawl’s second track, Vanity, is a sub two minute blast of savage crust death metal. It turns up stomps about the place breaking the furniture and stamping on heads before almost immediately running away laughing, perfect!

Made As Those Who Are No Longer Alive is a cracking EP, it’s only eleven minutes long, but full of fantastically enjoyable old school death metal that will put a huge smile on your face, who could want more than that, cracking good fun! 8/10

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