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Wednesday 18 October 2023

Reviews: October Tide, Entierro, Salacious Gods, An Angry Auroch (Reviews By Erick Willand, Rich Piva, Jeremy Silverman & James Jackson)

October Tide - The Cancer Pledge (Dalapop ) [Erick Willand]

October Tide dropping an album in October seems right but also kind of like a gimmick. The band's insistent brand of Swedish audio gloom clearly fits the season of falling leaves, ghosts and hoodies. An early day Katatonia spin off that originally died young and was resurrected a good decade on once Fred Norman exited previously mentioned, now legendary band. The second outing of October Tide shortly dropped 2010’s A Thin Shell and stepped right into a Death-Doom suit tailor made in Sweden.

Through line-up changes and stylistic flares the band has maintained a certain gloomy sound that always makes me think of black and white photos of empty city spaces. Peaceful, Quiet, Safe is the first track on The Cancer Pledge and it does not disappoint on that vibe. With intense drum work and a mean vibe it’s a proper album opener with a cool ending bit, “Now we both are surely aware, how this is going to end!” hits just right. We are then granted witness to Tapestry Of Our End, a clear and pointed step into melodeath territory here for October Tide as there is no doom present, replaced with somber urgency, gravel and sweet guitar work. I know I say this kind of thing a lot in my reviews but this is how I think, this will be a live crowd favorite for sure, both in the club scene and the festival scene.

This is like a long lingering storm head that has been threatening downpours and lightning strikes suddenly bursting open. By the time Unprecedented Aggression ends it has become clear to me that something in October Tide has shifted, the growled out “Fuck Me! Fuck Me! Fuck Me!” set against the rocking drums marks it like a depth tag on a diving line. There are layers here and as we get into the meat of this album it becomes even more evident. 

Blodfattig is a proper Swedish Melodeath song, deep grumbling vocals and crunchy speedy riffs and it’s sung in Swedish. Title track The Cancer Pledge brings back a slow, doomier groove to the proceedings with some sweeping, and so far most epic guitar worship right up front. I Know Why I’m Cold comes back around to Katatonian dead city vibes, Alexander Hogbom is in top form here with a low menace that gives the song life. That said, this one could have used a time trim as it’s just not that lively to keep kicking past the 4 minute mark. 

It’s a stumble but a quick recovery to close the album out with a slick 1-2 punch up, Season Of Arson comes racing up and riff heavy and I’m back in for the end run. It’s a ripping good song, and again short on Doom, long on the Melodeath but still has that October Tide sound, I don’t know how else to put it. Breathe The Water is the closer, a more clear line to the band's past albums, capturing that October Tide brand gloom perfectly and could have easily come from either of the past three albums. Keeping in mind of course, that is not a bad thing. This is the kind of audio melancholy you come to this band for.

This is October Tide in ascendant, bending their signature gloom to a quicker, gravel filled pace with tight production and still fresh logo design, I’m in. If the band throws in a bit more Doomy, slow groove again, the next album could be legendary. Now as always I have to mention the cover art, while this silhouette of a weird insect is creepy I feel so under-whelmed by this, it feels lazy and does not do the album justice. Having said that, I'm not sure how I would have approached that album title either. It is a bit creepy the longer you look at it. 7/10

Entierro - The Gates Of Hell (Self Released) [Rich Piva]

Entierro are here to fly the flag of Heavy Metal…and by Heavy Metal I mean the classics; Priest, Mercyful Fate, and Rainbow are all called out in the description of their new album, The Gates Of Hell. The Connecticut band bring their biggest and fullest sounding album with their latest release, a real step forward that will bring these boys some serious new exposure and fanbase.

The title track right off the bat calls out to King Diamond and crew with the opening riff and sweet metal chug that you would expect from a band listing MF as an influence. Vocally this is on the other spectrum, a lower voice with a bit of a growl to it, all clean vocals, but just the opposite scale from Mr. Diamond. The guitar work is killer on The Gates Of Hell, case in point Walk Away, which reminds me a bit of the Midnight Spell album from a couple of years ago (a very good thing). The Priest dual guitar action is on point here. 

I love the band doing a full doing in Spanish in an ode to the Latino roots in the band, and Venceran happens to kick ass too. More trad metal goodness with The Lord Of Rock And Roll, where the Rainbow but heavier of the band comes out. Love the NWOBHM vibes on this one too, and that is the most trad metal title for a song I have seen in a long time. Under The Eye reminds me of Anthrax or maybe Sacred Reich, or maybe Armored Saint, or maybe all three as you can’t go wrong there. You lose zero quality or metal goodness with the closer, Umibozu, with those dual guitars, reminding me of the killer band Wolftooth. The solo

Metal lives with Entierro. If you are looking for some no screwing around traditional heavy metal, then look no further than The Gates Of Hell. Entierro will be a force to be reckoned with in Metal for several years to come. 8/10

Salacious Gods - Oalevluuk (Hammerheart Records) [Jeremy Silverman]

A few things struck me about this album: the art, the vocals, and the drums. Starting with the art, these guys know how to make something unique enough to draw your eye. This cover immediately made me think about how heavy this album is. Salacious Gods’ marketing team or artist did an absolutely excellent job with this cover, getting the vibes as well as a masterful art piece.

I think the vocals were brutal in the best way. It is not easy on the ears at all, to say the least, however they fit the harsh black metal sound the album exhumes. I think some people may consider this a bit too extreme for their tastes. Personally, I must be in the mood for this type of vocals, but you cannot deny how skillful this vocalist is. He is clearly incredibly talented and emotive with his words.

Finally, the drumming on this album was amazing. As a drummer, I have absolutely no idea how this man has the stamina to play 9 minutes straight of blast beats. My forearms would have exploded even attempting such a feat. What really stood out to me was how the snare sounded. It was unique and opposed to the fat snare sounds most people attribute to metal. It was extremely choked sounding with each note being short and tight. I assume it was to increase rebound, but I think it made the record sound more atmospheric with just a simple switch of the snare sound. 8/10

An Angry Auroch - A Fire Too Quiet (Self Released) James Jackson]

I needed to know what an Auroch was before I knew whether an angry one was a good thing or a bad one, turns out an Auroch is a now extinct species of cattle, with horns that reached a span of 80cm; so an angry one could have been catastrophic.

So with that band name and the visual my mind has now conjured up, I braced myself for an onslaught of something brutal, something that sounds like the aural equivalent of being beaten in a dark alley by a whoop of rabid chimpanzees. I couldn’t have been any further from the truth if I tried as what I’m actually presented with is an acoustic guitar led four track EP from Manchester based multi instrumentalist Andrew James Reid.

He released an EP in 2020 after years of touring and playing with a variety of Punk/Doom bands, deciding to follow a more personal route with Folk music as an inspiration. Playing instruments such as the acoustic guitar, banjo, double bass and drums is an immense talent in my opinion, I own a bass guitar and after owning it for over two years can easily say I can’t play a thing on it, so I take my hat off to anyone who has the ability and talent, patience and perseverance to learn an instrument, let alone be confident enough to play four.

And that is where I draw the line, I take no enjoyment out of this unfortunately and I’m not really sure who this would appeal to, I presume that there is an audience for this. I like the sound of an acoustic guitar but generally as an intro, or bridge, or part of a bigger production, this is quite raw in places and not as strong as it possibly could be.

There are only four tracks on this EP and I skipped them all, I think that sums it up. Can’t win them all and I’ve had some great albums to review recently, this just isn’t one of them. For the history lesson on Holocene Era cattle. 2/10

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