While metal continues to explode in popularity and becomes an ongoing joke for the mainstream while being adored by countless anime fans who fawn over prepubescent boys dressed as girls, both the underground and the mainstream metal world remain stagnant. Here is a quick glance into what one can expect.
King Diamond – “Masquerades of Madness”
The King returns after a 12 year hiatus from the studio to continue the mediocrity shown on Give Me Your Soul….Please. The song seems to follow the concept of the previous album in both story and musical quality. The band tries to channel some Mercyful Fate in the opening riffs but doesn’t do much with the flat chord progression as it jumps into the forgettable and vocally dominant chorus. Even Andy Laroque’s solo sounds tired as it eschews all the flair he once had for a “by the numbers” solo. The ending solo is somewhat decent but at this point no one should care as the whole song revolves around two boring ideas. There is no reason for him to continue as he is ruining an incredible legacy.
Liturgy – “PASAQALIA”
The recent trend in the Post-Black metal style has been to incorporate the Myspace Metalcore movement with elements of Post-rock in very long songs. The main influence is As I lay Dying as the whole song is mainly comprised of a short progression of three chords that is played in a very jumpy rhythm while a lead highlights the minor chords within the major scale progression. This is a tactic used to convince people that the music is very emotional while in reality it is effete. The vocals are weak and sound like a cheap imitation of Fenriz doing siren sounds. The drumming is so pretentious here that it makes little sense within the song. Have Liturgy gotten worse? Probably not but this is the sound of a band begging for attention in the most obvious way.
Wilderun – “The Tyranny of Imagination”
Somewhat decent opening idea that builds tension but is then dissipated for a bouncy Hard Rock riff. While the good guy/bad guy Opeth vocals do their thing. The Death growls are fairly convincing showing even distorsion and more power than most OSDM bands who barely push the sound out of their throats. The baritone voice is well performed but nothing particularly exciting as the melodies ressemble children’s music more than actual metal. The synths lead this song with some occasional melodies while the guitars accompany by just providing backing with dumbed down riffs. The arrangements are random and the transitions are nonsensical as they shift from a heavier section to an acoustic guitar in a jarring way. There are no repeating sections, just the same two note minor scale arpeggios that form every idea for this overly long collage of ideas. This is incredibly aimless and has no redeeming qualities except for the vocals. Does the world really need another Opeth?
Beithíoch – “My Flesh and Blood Shall Feed the Earth”
Playing a form of Death/Doom from the diSEMBOWLMENT school but informed by a sense of melody taken from Black metal. Long minor scales phrases take their time into developing as much as possible before being slowly broken down with the introduction of dissonance as ominous leads played complement the slow decay. The song then leads to a Death metal part as chromatic tremolo picked riff rises towards a beautiful layered Black metal passage. After that the song breaks down into a lamenting break typical of the eurodoom bands before concluding on a somewhat positive note. The song was extended to meet the long running time associated with the genre but the band didn’t have enough ideas to maintain the liner form of arrangement. What was needed was the recycling of previous ideas and to not fall within basic tropes. Beithioch should develop the Black metal ideas more and figure how to reuse them to maintain the song’s momentum. An interesting start but let us see what the future has in store for Beithioch
Ben Crosland – “Tethered”
Slowly progressing with a circular left hand melody that takes its time in creating tension while the right hand aptly progresses to highlight the left hand. The song eventually reaches a high point just before the halfway point and slowly introduces itself while it is complimented with a lower bassline which accentuates the fleeting chord progression. The right hand goes much higher during the song’s brief climax before slowly breaking down in descrescendo before concluding and ending. A soothing song that shows an understanding of composition but lacks in emotional content. The song needs a bit more urgency and feeling as the melodies feel too restrained and don’t stray from known intervals and don’t have enough tension. A much more thought out idea to convey with some passing tones or brief flashes of dissonance to contrast the calm would add the contrast for this to truly captivate the heart.
Freudz Couch – “Dragonfly”
Starting off with a typical Hard Rock take on later Ozzy Osbourne material before eventually breaking off into more interesting melodies.The vocalist stays very close to Ozzy’s style despite having good range and showing it during the interesting parts. After the standard verse/chorus, the band then proceed to utilize a very intriguing melody that would benefited a better context but leads to a decent minor scale passage before the basic pentatonic riff returns. The band dance around multiple genres and are held back by copying other bands yet when they allow themselves freedom by listening to their own voices, they show the potential necessary to make dark progressive music.
Goat Terror – “Unholy March”
Simple riffs that are parodies of Incantation follow basic chromatic shapes before the Nu-metal breakdown cuts up the monotony. The band then jump back to their dumb riffs before the song ends. Are the riffs audible? Unfortunately yes. Goat Terror claim to hate every single thing within the universe, inanimate or not, well everything in the universe hates Goat Terror and they should use that hatred to throw everything used to make this into the sink.