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Thursday 14 December 2023

Reviews: Inculter, Six Foot Six, Rage Behind, Super Pink Moon (Reviews By Paul Hutchings, James Jackson, GC & Matt Bladen)

Inculter – Morbid Origin (Edged Circle Productions) [Paul Hutchings]

Thrash metal isn’t a genre I associate with Norway. No, the frozen North always conjures up images of the Black Metal variety, such is the predominance of bands who favour the corpse paint and blast beats. But wait a minute, for Inculter have slipped through the net and are releasing album number 3, Morbid Origin, and an intriguing slab of Thrash it really is.
A quick hunt finds that the band have been plying their trade for over a decade, with their last album Fatal Visions released in 2019. For a three-piece, their sound is big and meaty, full of chunky riffs. A blend of 80s old school US style combined with the savageness of the European sound, think Metallica meets Sodom / Kreator and you won’t be far wrong.
The nine tracks here vary in tempo, strength, and style. What they all have is solid compositions. Even the opening track, simply entitled Intro has Spaghetti Western echoes, before Inculter show their real mettle as they race into Death Reigns. It’s exactly what I like in my Thrash, with a raging pace, snarled yet fluid vocals, and a band in synch with each other as they piledrive the song at frenetic speed. 

Sometimes, it’s not what is played but how it is played that matters, and Inculter demonstrate in the first five-minutes that they can bring it. The mid-section drops into a Sepultura-esque passage, think Beneath The Remains, before opening into an expansive piece that leads back into the concluding hyper speed finish. It’s within this first song that you feel every influence that Inculter have drawn from. And it continues.
The Sepultura vibe resonates deeply, especially on Child Of Demise, where the band drop the shoulder and really power out the riffs. It contrasts with the Metallica-tinged feel of Extinction which follows. The title track stands apart; an eight-minute monster that spreads its shadow over the final third of the album, it’s got a catchy riff and a chug that would make Scott Ian proud. It’s a sprawling, hefty epic, which is neatly delivered despite a little bit too much repetition in the final moments although it’s rescued by a delightful final ending.
Morbid Origin is almost an album of two halves, with the more ferocious Thrashers frontloaded, leaving room for the more expansive, brooding songs in the second part. Penultimate song Perennial Slaves is case in point, a terrific contrast to almost everything that has gone before it, using atmosphere and a slower tempo to convey the heaviness.

They may not be reinventing the wheel, but Inculter have delivered a strong and confident third album. If you like your Thrash steeped in the old school but with a contemporary twist, this may be the album for you. 8/10

Six Foot Six - Beggar’s Hill (Scarlet Records) [James Jackson]

What happens when you take the Thrash element of early Metallica and throw it together with the classic melodic heavy metal sound of Iron Maiden? Well Six Foot Six is the answer, stemming from a side project I believe, the band developed and Beggar’s Hill is their third album in approximately six years. Raise The Dead opens with a classic Thrash style riff before a very Iron Maiden like guitar melody takes over. Tears follows and I’m reminded of Gary Moore, such is the composition and rhythm of the song.
Voices Inside starts with and contains throughout the song a gorgeous Spanish/acoustic guitar melody, it also contains a riff and vocal melody that sounds similar to The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats - just listen to the track and you’ll pick it up straight away. Title track Beggar’s Hill lands in at track 4, again that Gary Moore comparison is apt, though this comes through more in the storytelling rather than within the music, lyrically it’s very Over The Hills And Far Away.
There are some interesting moments within the next few songs, the foreign language spoken word bridge in Analog Man, the rather catchy chorus of Riding The Tide and the very Motley Crue sounding intro to Fire Will Burn.

The following three songs are all part of one epic saga, subtitled A Templar’s Tale; these final songs really channel that Iron Maiden influence and particularly within The Siege (Part 2) a very Folk influence. There’s a rather odd song that follows, something about goats and cats and a fellow called Pete McOats and a troll called Grumpy Stock (I think). 

It’s an exceptionally odd but catchy track containing a tune most familiar to those who’ve been to Alton Towers, In The Hall Of The Mountain King composed by Edvard Grieg. There’s an instrumental piece that brings the album to a close, I truly did not know what to expect from this album, having not heard of the Swedish band before it was anyone’s guess as to what was in store.

Fortunately it’s been a far from unpleasant experience, the songs are catchy, full of sing along moments that are instantly memorable, the influences that have inspired the band are worn well and truly on their sleeves and there’s little wrong with that. 7/10

Rage Behind - Eminence Of Disgrace (Atomic Fire Records) [GC]

Its Christmas season so what better way than to blast away the year than a bit of a metalcore/thrash hybrid in the shape of Rage Behind’s new album Eminence Of Disgrace with this record they are promising to ‘’defend the legacy of modern groove and thrash metal titans’’ whatever that means? Suppose its up to me to find out!?

Opener and title track Eminence Of Disgrace doesn’t really sound like metalcore at all in fact it sounds EXACTLY like Slipknot and while many people wouldn’t find this to be a problem, it wasn’t what I was expecting so kind of throws me off, it all chugs away easily enough and has some decent-ish guitar solos thrown in but ultimately is a bit of an underwhelming start, things do pick up a bit on Eye For An Eye which is definitely a more hardcore/thrash crossover mix but also seems to have a bit of nu-metal influence included and while it doesn’t ruin the song, it also doesn’t improve it much, again decent enough but nothing earth shattering. 

Rage Behind starts with some eerie symphonics that are then weaved through parts of the song to add try and a bit more depth to the chugs and thuds but its already all starting to sound very one dimensional and mediocre, Season Of Blood does show a bit more promise and has some nice thrash parts mixed with a more straight forward metal mix and I can imagine that this would sound good live and it’s a relief that we finally get something with a bit of force behind it! The flow continues into Through Wrath, and it feels like they have hit their groove now as this is another snarling thrash based track with some nice chunky guitar parts mixed in and out only bit I’m not sure on are the vocals on the chorus bit but not enough to spoil the song, Dictated Freedom is probably my least favorite song on the album, its just missing something to take it from meh to decent, its just flat and a bit throw away, typical mid-track filler type of song. 

The Blind is then upon us and flies in on a huge riff and the continues with some techy and jagged guitar work there are some messy parts in this song but overall, probably one of the better tracks on the album as a whole and needed after the last track stunted the momentum that had been building. Not sure what to say about Hourglass and Revenge if I am honest? Its trying to throw in too many different styles and they all just sort of bounce off each other and don’t create a harmonious mix and again some of the lyrics and the way they are delivered just get on my nerves, Don’t Break jolts everything back into life with another thrash fueled battering and reminds that when they want to Rage Behind are capable of delivering the goods. 

Worldwide Hostility is the longest track on the album and a full minute of that is just pointless ambient noise and when it kicks in it does get the blood pumping with a more stripped back approach to prove that sometime less is more and when they concentrate on one sound, they can nail a killer track. The Reign has a nice thick groove metal vibe that goes all the way though and here the vocals actually lift the song to another level and are probably the best on the whole thing! The Hands Of Revenge finishes everything off with another groove infested chug along and while it not the worst its also not the best and they probably should have finished on the previous track.

Eminence Or Disgrace wasn’t really either of those things, it wasn’t brilliant, and it wasn’t awful either, it was good in places but then it was also very mediocre in a lot of places, I feel also that it was at least 2 songs too long. If you listen to this, you won’t be annoyed you did but you also won’t be blown away and that’s probably all I can say about it? 6/10

Super Pink Moon - Inertia (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Formed by Somali Yacht Club guitarist/vocalist Ihor Pryshliak in 2019, Super Pink Moon is a project that is perhaps more personal and more experimental than his day job. With indie shimmering, post rock emotional and shoegazing atmospheres this thrid album is conceptually and titularly linked to the idea of being in Inertia. In this case Super Pink Moon is the cause of his Inertia, low risk and easy, Pryshliak feels that perhaps that it has "lost it's relevance", so has decided to release an album of his home recordings as is, delivered with a sense of finality that this moon is setting a little sooner. 

So what's it like? Well it's got flashes of brilliance, anthemic melancholy, with the angular psychadelia of Deftones, before blasts of mechanised industrial metal appeal to the fans of Godflesh. The dynamic range is wide and cinematic, audio storytelling that will keep your head bowed and moving rhythmically. If this is the final record from his solo project Pryshliak has crafted a record that delves deep into the psyche of it's creator and the experiments with tone. 7/10

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