Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine (2015)

Unleashed - Dawn of the Nine (2015)
There is no real difference between Dawn of the Nine and an album from a more mainstream Viking themed death metal themed heavy rock band (which, at this point in the history of the universe, means Amon Amarth). Sure, Unleashed is less consonant and theoretically more chromatic, but you’re still listening to an especially standardized and formulaic pop music product, even if Unleashed arguably sticks closer to their original sound than the rest of Nihilist’s progeny. Still, Dawn of the Nine is at least one way to feed metalheads the infamous “death’n’roll” sound without them complaining… at least not immediately.

On this album, like others before it, Unleashed sticks to the arena rock end of the pop sphere. Consonant, monophonic melodic riffing over generic drumming, no real bass, and unvarying vocal technique probably brings to mind many of the other generic, basal Swedeath styled albums we’ve rejected over the years. The songwriting here, though, is unusually fixated on the repetition of simple choruses to a degree that few bands dare approach, even when they’re just as obvious. Therein lies the tragedy of Unleashed, at least in the present – the guitarists have developed a sense of melody and rhythm that would be well suited towards writing good narrative (albeit probably more traditionally styled) metal. At points, there are some genuinely interesting musical elements being thrown around, but rarely if ever are they developed upon because, shockingly enough, it’s time for the song’s chorus. Other times, the musicians toss around extremely basic musical ideas for what are presumably commercial reasons, but that at least is common throughout the industry, and even then you can justify the occasional basic break in the middle of a track as part of an effort to write a more dynamic and interesting song.

What particularly strikes me about my own opinions on Dawn of the Nine is how close they are to previous site writings on new Unleashed recordings. The emphasis on tired, overly basic rock tropes weakens the entire album beyond what its also predictable strengths of musicianship and production can recover. It’s usually not this incredibly obvious on the recordings of this band’s contemporaries, though, but someday they too may need to pander especially hard to the blockheads to retain their underground cred.

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Carnage – …Left to Suffer in the Aftermath…

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In my view, the premiere Swedish death metal releases were Therion Beyond Sanctorum, At the Gates The Red in the Sky is Ours and Carnage Dark Recollections. Those who appreciate the latter may enjoy this disc of a live set from 1990, a soundcheck from 1989, and the “The Day Man Lost” demo from that same year.

This compilation/re-issue is exactly what it purports to be: a highly competent live set of the songs in the form you remember them from Dark Recollections, a brief glimpse of the more chaotic earlier live performance, and the classic demo that is mostly similar to the album. For this reason, …Left to Suffer in the Aftermath… will be essential for no one except death metal historians and those who want a less-detuned and slightly faster version of these classic songs for the “live experience” feel. The 1990 set dominates the release with its uptempo take on the Dark Recollections songs, with little if any deviation from the album, where the demo shows the details of the crustcore plus death metal fusion barely beginning to come together. The 1989 sound check shows an interesting glimpse of this band in a more vicious mood, but peters out when it gets going, and could easily be forgotten. The demo is faithful and a pleasurable rough listen.

For almost any occasion, it makes more sense to throw on Dark Recollections, especially since the re-issue contains this same demo. The live set however conveys a certain energy that studio recordings can never hope to duplicate and is a great listen for afternoons outdoors when you want something loud and chaotic but structured, sort of like the reason that people still treasure Mayhem Live in Leipzig despite the microphone-in-Satan’s-anus sound quality. Obviously, if you are still reading, you are a Swedish death metal and/or Carnage fanatic, and you probably need this on your shelf.

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Supuration releases video for “Reveries of a Bloated Cadaver” from upcoming compilation Reveries

Grindcore/alternative-rock/deathmetal/progressive rock band Supuration released a track “Reveries of a Bloated Cadaver” from their upcoming re-envisioning of earlier material, Reveries. The band has taken its style of technical death metal and unconventional progressive rock and used it to re-imagine these older tracks in newer form, but has done so without losing the distinctive energy of the earlier material.

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Pestilence to release The Dysentery Penance compilation of demos

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Legendary Dutch death metal band Pestilence is re-issuing its two demos from 1987 on a compilation entitled The Dysentery Penance, out in CD/digital on November 30, 2015 with the vinyl to follow in early 2016. The two demos, “The Penance” and “Dysentery,” show the formative years of the technical death metal style later to evolve from Pestilence.

To be released on Vic Records, this new release shows yet another death metal band reaching into the vaults so that new generations can experience the sense of possibility and discovery as these bands forged ahead in uncharted waters to create the new death metal style.

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Grave previews new track from upcoming album

Out Of Respect For The Dead is in my review queue by virtue of its artist being at least semi-famous. While Grave’s reputation on DMU is something less than stellar, the fame they achieved as part of the early (Stockholm) Swedish makes their latest work worth looking at, at least in terms of comparison to their past and other bands’ present output. “Plain Pine Box” is admittedly not a particularly interesting song, being an extremely simple and basic track reminiscent of what would happen if you simplified Celtic Frost and added extra distortion. A previously released track from this upcoming album (“Mass Grave Mass”) resembles more the band’s stereotypical sound; overall, I expect competence from future Grave if not necessarily must-have or even particularly inspiring albums.

Out Of Respect For The Dead will be available on October 16th, 2015.

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Nunslaughter drummer Jim Konya to be removed from life support

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Nunslaughter drummer and vocalist Jim Konya, who once famous ran for a local political office with a quasi-Satanic platform, and fueled Nunslaughter through almost a dozen full-length releases and nearly infinite 7″ EPs, experienced a stroke three weeks ago and recently worsened. He will be taken off life support today, October 7, and is not expected to survive.

Konya, whose output with the band was matched by his fierce loyalty to the underground metal scene, will be remembered by many as a generous and committed persona who along with several others created one of the longest-running and most prolific bands in death metal history.

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California Death Fest supports SJWs, boots Disma from lineup

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Although neither the fest nor the band have confirmed this, users are reporting that the California Deathfest (presented by the Maryland Deathfest promoters) has caved to demands by social justice workers, or SJWs, to dis-invite New Jersey old school death metal band Disma.

Disma, who boast a vocalist of Jewish heritage and write songs about slow melancholic death, are being attacked for the perception that vocalist Craig Pillard’s side project Sturmführer had right-wing overtones. Despite the utter lack of any political content in Disma lyrics, some SJWs — feeling emboldened by recent mass events and cucking by mainstream media — have urged California Deathfest to deny Disma for some time.

As this story develops, more will be posted. This incident represents the type of lynch mob mentality that Metalgate rebelled against in the first place: an intolerance for any speech but the SJW-approved, Soviet-style repetition of certain key issues as a means of seizing power.

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Desecresy posts cover, tracklist for Stoic Death

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Old school but innovatively nocturnal doom-death band Desecresy has released the cover adn tracklist for its forthcoming album Stoic Death to be released on Xtreem Records on November 1, 2015. The tracks are as follows:

  1. Remedies of Wolf’s Bane
  2. The Work of Anakites
  3. Passage to Terminus
  4. Abolition of Mind
  5. Sanguine Visions
  6. Funeral Odyssey
  7. Cantillate in Ages Agone
  8. Unantropomorph

The band also released a preview track, “Abolition of Mind,” which can be experienced in the video below. More information about Stoic Death can be viewed on the label page.

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Autopsy to release After The Cutting on November 13th

Autopsy - After The Cutting (2015)
Before Autopsy properly releases their upcoming full length (Skull Grinder, which is deep within the stygian pit of the review queue here at DMU), they will first offer listeners this compilation with the help of Peaceville Records. After the Cutting is an enormous 4 CD compilation of old demos, rehearsals, random selections from previous studio albums, and interestingly enough, the entirety of Skull Grinder two weeks before its official release. The inclusion of new content on compilations is nothing new for Autopsy, although their early demos and EPs have been repackaged again and again throughout the band’s career.

A proper analysis of this compilation’s merit may very well ride on the quality (or possible lack thereof) of Skull Grinder, but the sheer volume of previous content from the band and the promise of further exclusives may very well make it worth a look for collectors.

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Slayer Repentless over-analyzed

Slayer - Repentless (2015)

Only one can lead: guitars, voice, bass or drums. Whatever takes the lead will compel others to follow because lead means sketching out the structure of the song. The classic metal albums all lead with guitars and vocals catch up while drums provide accents and bass does whatever it feels necessary.

Repentless reverses this formula. It is built around Tom Araya’s mostly fast-spoken or chanted vocals, and guitar keeps up and drums frame the whole thing. The bass doubles the low notes and does little else, but Slayer has always used that technique. The problem is that in a desire to make catchy choruses and compelling verses, Slayer has relegated its most powerful aspect — the lead rhythm guitar — to a supporting role.

Despite a number of good riffs that call to mind material from the Seasons in the Abyss era, on this album Slayer has had to contort itself to fit around the vocals like a rock song, which de-emphasizes guitar and consequently cramps it and, in its reduced role, forces it to show off and simultaneously keep itself restrained. This keeps the worst of metal guitar and throws out the best. In addition, this reduces songs to minimal song structure based more around a lyrical narrative (or topic of a video) than development of melodies or patterns in the riffs.

This is far from a bad album. The problem is that it is the wrong sort of album. Metal escaped from rock by minimizing the human, especially vocals and feelings, to create a gritty realistic confrontation with the nihilism of existence — the knowledge that events do not depend on feelings or mythological beings, but cause and effect. Slayer expanded its audience in the 1990s to the present by being more centered on vocal hooks and foot-tapping rhythms, and does well at this, but at the expense of what made this band great.

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