French Death metal stalwarts Catacomb return with an underwhelming single after a twenty year break. Hoping to capitalize on the fading “OSDM revival” trend but only managing to catch it during its dying days. “The Great Dreamer” features obvious riffs taken from more recent bands, simple cyclic arrangements and a weird synth lead break.
The big three of French Death metal were Massacra, Agressor and Loudblast. Behind them and unfairly discarded were Mercyless. The band’s early output featured Death metal of a spontaneous nature that took the high octane elements of Pestilence and Morbid Angel and pushed them against dissonant chords that culminated into soaring melodies. Their late 90s material saw the band experiment with various sounds in a confused Post rock derived mess. The band has somehow managed to return to form and continues to release a slow stream of enjoyable yet confused albums.
Even if the main part of the work was composed between 1822 and 1824, the Symphony n°9 is the fruit of a long maturation which lasted more than thirty years. Thirty years for the idea of a symphony with choir to progressively take hold in the mind of Beethoven. Thirty years during which the music and the text of the “Ode to Joy” will evolve in parallel, each one gradually taking shape over the course of Beethoven’s compositions, before finally being reunited in their last symphony.
La Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) took the world by surprise in the late 1950s with its defiance of what was referred to as Cinéma de Papa (fatherly cinema). The innovations in both technique and narration changed the face of cinema. The “New French Extreme” appeared in the early 2000s and like La Nouvelle Vague challenged the notion of French cinema that revolved around ideas and relegated the body to a metaphor for an idea. The body was now the central theme and fantasy that was once avoided was now openly embraced. All this is shown through acts of incredible violence and sexual debauchery. Irréversible is one of the more popular films of the movement and is commonly referred to as “the most shocking movie of all time”.
Eucharist A Velvet Creation straddled the line between the metal of old and the “melodic death” metal that would ravage the Scandinavian scene. Intelligently the band still remained enough grit and the compositional maturity of the better genre while not being afraid to integrate an overt admiration for Iron Maiden and the occasional rhythmic tool. “Alone and Wounded” is a bonus track that manages to shape Melodic Death metal into what it should have been. The opening sequence however is so remarkable that it merits a closer look.
In the modern metal lexicon, European metal has often been used to denote bands that relied extensively on Iron Maiden harmonies, keyboards, pseudo-classical melodies, female vocalists, tremolo picked riffs and overall less influence from Pantera and Metallica. Septic Flesh have come to epitomize this style despite adding a lot more Metalcore elements to keep with the times. Before the name change, the band were once an overlooked force and presented many ideas that metal as a whole was never fully able to capitalize on. Ophidian Wheel is the summit of the band’s creativity and pushes the romantic qualities of metal even further.
Master’s Paul Speckmann is known for taking an idea and squeezing everything he can from it through repetition and then utilizing the most direct route to return to that idea. Though this mentality would fail many bands because the riffs didn’t have the necessary urgency and creativity to work. Bolt Thrower on the other hand took this approach and pushed it to the logical extreme as each individual riff became the central focus while narrative development was relegated to an afterthought despite somehow still being present. What made Bolt Thrower so intriguing was that they possessed powerful riffs that were caveman like and more often than not completely idiotic yet the band managed to soar where others failed miserably.
Gene Palubicki from Angelcorpse notoriety returns with a new album that continues within the tradition of Black metal informed Floridian Death metal. Perdition Temple bring a level of technical acumen that has been denigrated by fans and practitioners of this style in recent years without falling into the pitfalls of Modern metal.
Cirth Ungol have awoken from a twenty nine year slumber to preview the song “Legions Arise” from their new album Forever Black set to be released on Metal Blade on the 24th of April. The band ended on a sour note with Paradise Lost and the revival is sounding even worse. The vocals have been toned and layered to sound more conventional. Guitars stick to a few simple riffs and some arpeggios. The song is lackluster and has none of the passion or energy that the band once had. Metal Blade have been very good at killing old bands recently. It’s incredible how well Angel Witch survived this. If this is what the band have to offer, the album is set to be a very dull affair.
French Death/Black group Necrowretch return for their fourth full length that attempts to break out of the limited confines that have defined them for the entirety of their twelve year existence. Though there is valour in trying fix one’s errors no matter how late. Necrowretch strive to do this in the worst way possible.