This is a “best of the month” list for this month, but making the title “Best of May 2015″ sounds like giving too much of a spotlight for such a short span of time, and devaluating the word “Best of” somewhat, in my opinion. Therefore I chose a title to reflect reality more clearly: these are the only albums we heard of on this website this month that were decent enough to not be considered utter disgraces to the metal genre (those were in the SMRs or were ignored). The “decent” are those that show consistency in style, coherence, a direction and a clear artistic voice and goals. The “rescuable” are those that are still confused in their composition — unclear, or that seemed to be impeded from development by their own approach to music-making (or that of their own genre).
Paradise Lost has finally officially released their 14th album, The Plague Within, in North America. The band has also announced exact tour dates along with the release.
“The Plague Within” – European tour 2015
27.09 – IE Dublin, The Academy
28.09 – UK Belfast, The Limelight
30.09 – UK Manchester, Academy 2
01.10 – UK Glasgow, Garage
03.10 – UK Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
04.10 – UK London, Koko
05.10 – DE Cologne, Live Music Hall
06.10 – BE Antwerp, Trix Muziekcentrum
07.10 – NL Utrecht, TivoliVredenburg
09.10 – DE Berlin, Huxley’s Neue Welt
10.10 – SE Malmö, KB
11.10 – SE Göteborg, Sticky Fingers
13.10 – FI Helsinki, The Circus
15.10 – SE Stockholm, Debaser Strand
16.10 – NO Oslo, John Dee
17.10 – DK Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
18.10 – DE Hamburg, Gruenspan
20.10 – CZ Prague, MeetFactory
21.10 – PL Wroclaw, Alibi
22.10 – PL Gdansk, B90
24.10 – CZ Ostrava, Barrak
25.10 – SK Bratislava, Randal Club
26.10 – HU Budapest, Barba Negra
27.10 – HR Zagreb, Vintage Industrial Bar
29.10 – SI Nova Gorica, Mostovna
30.10 – DE Munich, Theaterfabrik
31.10 – AT Vienna, Arena
02.11 – IT Milan, Live Club
03.11 – CH Solothurn, Kofmehl
05.11 – ES Barcelona, Salamandra
06.11 – ES Madrid, Sala Arena
07.11 – ES Bilbao, Sala Stage Live
08.11 – FR Bordeaux, Rocher de Palmer
09.11 – FR Paris, Le Trabendo
10.11 – FR Strasbourg, La Laiterie
12.11 – Liverpool – O2 Academy 2
13.11 – Nottingham – Rock City
Nu-thrash band Gomorrah has revealed one track from their upcoming album to be released later this year. The single is called “Phantom Sun” and bears unmistakable resemblance to modern acts like Sylosis.
Guitarist Colton Deem says:
This song is but a sample of the new refined Gomorrah sound we’re trying to encompass with the new record. A lot of the new tracks are a bit more diverse in their flow and construct than our prior work. “Phantom Sun” is one of the first songs we finished writing for the album and it’s a good representation of what’s to come.
Skillfully bringing together doom/death, modern atmospheric and war metal styles, Unorthodox Equilibrium is more than a fitting name for describing the musical approach used in this album. Bands playing in any of the aforementioned styles have typically fallen prey to different misconceptions. Some have failed by attempting to adopt an orthodox position simplified to the precept that genre cliches guide songwriting and that the result will be good if it “feels good”. Others have taken a route that attempts to bring more original ideas into the mix but whose ultimate goal is still that each section gives them a certain feeling, an “atmospheric/ambient” effect. We can summarize the cause of these blunders by saying that their approach has been too pleasure-oriented.
In Unorthodox Equilibrium we can hear familiar voices bearing the mark of Worship in Last Tape Before Doomsday, Disembowelment (I refuse to follow ridiculous indications as to what letters should be written in uppercase format) in Transcendence into the Peripheral and Esoteric in Paragon of Dissonance. Unlike them, though, Shroud of the Heretic only slightly avoids falling into complacency with the immediate effect of their arrangements and instead channels these as methods used measuredly. The band manages to promote a sense of movement in each section while maintaining atmosphere without depending on stagnating in the harmony within one section or getting anchored to one kind of texture or intensity level for too long. This makes the album an incredibly varied experience within the non-restrictive but focused confines of a florid and eloquently coherent language.
Independently of whether this was a conscious decision or not, the heterodox and non-monolithic composition route taken by Shroud of the Heretic avoids this atmospheric metal trap and represents an excellent indicator of an artistically healthy direction for this subgenre of metal.
Perversor play a fast and ripping minimalist death metal which some would be tempted to encase in the line of primitive South American so-called black metal were it not for the strong structural development so strongly evident in the detail-intense songs which defeat any accusations of purely atmosphere-oriented thinking. In fact, Anticosmocrator gives us the opportunity to contrast their more musical approach to that of bands with a more vague and atmosphere-building composition mindset. This difference lies in the importance of keeping a balance between evocation and solid musical construction.
While Perversor fills all the requirements to be classified beside any atmosphere-minded bands like those playing war metal, for instance, it far outdoes them by virtue of achieving solid development of ideas in the composition of their songs. Typically, Perversor will take a fast riff and develop both variations on the riffs or transitioning into riffs that are easily recognized as being related to the previous ideas by virtue of the interval relations in the patterns used while the rhythms and register is changed. This is a formula that is easily summarized which nonetheless requires great skill to apply and expand to create convincing songs that both take the listener from a beginning to a distinct ending yet do not exceed the natural reach of the riffs and ideas used.
This is the sort of release that is excellent but will not turn the heads of those who are always on the look out for bands thinking “out of the box” as if that were the whole basis of good music. Perversor compose songs on a solid basis and while not diverging or breaking any limits, create evocative, musically competent and whole music that should be at the top of any discerning metalhead’s list for 2015 .
Attempting to create an atmospheric kind of death metal, Mefitic build their style on alternating sections of slow, assertive chords in simple rhythms and droning/fluttering, tremolo-propulsed, slowly-advancing melodies and motifs, both usually played in low registers to maintain the aura of heaviness. Unfortunately this is all that there is to say about this album. The description of a superficial traits is all that can be said for it, as the music construction is based on it and therefore paper-thin. The reason why it still deserves a review of its own is twofold. First of all, it gives us the opportunity to point out the deficiency of this songwriting approach, and second because Mefitic remains consistent and coherent throughout the whole album, which is more than can be said of the vast majority of releases.
While we must acknowledge the focus that Mefitic has displayed throughout the whole album, the overall result must be judged and its limitations pointed out. The consistency in color and expression is laudable and should be emphasized as an example of consistent songwriting. The limitations lie in the music being too riff-oriented and the goals remaining superficial, being completely bent on a sort of evocation and heaviness, leaving the musical composition as secondary. While in metal we consider that this is generally ideal, solid and effective composition should not be disregarded in favor of writing atmosphere-oriented sections that are lined up one after another. Solid composition gives a clear direction, an intricate picture to be discovered through subsequent listens. Forgetting about it leaves you open to the danger of painting a confused or too-general a picture that remains too mystic, indicating a way but not undertaking it.We condemn Woes of Mortal Devotion because this is all it achieves: the building of a foggy and general atmosphere that doesn’t solidify into a clear picture of anything.
Sporting the grindcore label, Maruta try very hard and not altogether without failure to insert technical deathcore riffcraft into a grindcore overall approach. While the technical abilities of the band is not in question as the musicianship in this album is superb and clinically precise, and neither is their creativity challenged, as they remain in focus in terms of style and approach through and through as they bring distinct ideas into the album, the premise of it all is not entirely convincing. The reason for this is that the carnival approach that the technical deathcore, although not completely incompatible with grindcore, is deficient by nature, bringing down the music against the effort of a talented band like Maruta.
Grindcore is known for short songs with abrupt beginnings and endings. The genre is characterized by spasmodic outbursts of madness with ventures into heavy and slightly groovy mid-paced sections whose focus remains on the brutality and aura of the music. All this is achieved by Maruta on Remain Dystopian, however, this is only the superficial description of the genre, the first impression it gives to an audience, and this is where most bands, including this one, get trapped. The grindcore of early Napalm Death, Blood or Repulsion can be described in that way, each with different percentages and variations of said description, but there is something that sets them apart from the crowd and it is that at the construction level, the relation between riffs is still carefully maintained. In Impulse to Destroy, Blood remains fluid through riff transitions even when the they switch between speeds or intensity levels, the smoothness within the song is maintained. At the risk of sounding contradictory, I would venture to say that even relatively abrupt transitions remained smoothed out through execution of small fills or very brief affectations that are characteristic of Blood. Maruta, on the other hand, obfuscate the music with the carnival approach of modern metal bands, creating interest through surprise instead of coherence and build up.
All in all Remain Dystopian is a far more accomplished effort than the vast majority of its contemporaries and fans of the genre should keep one eye on them. While fans of modern metal call this incoherence of the music “experimentation” and “nonconformity”, it all boils down to a lazy gimmick. Maruta has the technical chops, and they definitely have the vision as their focused compositions show us, but the chosen direction is perhaps not the best. Were Maruta to correct this direction and it is possible we would have a modern giant of grindcore in the making.
Gravestone is an old school death metal band that go back more than a decade but have only been able to crystallize their effort into an album publication until now, despite the material being written for a very long time already. The style approaches the more melodic expression of Mexican (or other Latin American) death metal bands who are more reluctant in the use atonal solos and maintain a controlled dosis of chromatism in their riffing.
After parting ways with Rhapsody of Fire, legendary mastermind Luca Turilli started his own project officially called “Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody”. The style of this new Rhapsody echoed the style that Turilli was recognized for in his own solo projects.
The project saw its first release in 2012 with Ascending to Infinity. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody is now set to release a second album on June 19th.