We all seek a claim that our lives are worth living. For some, this comes from money; for others, being right or at least being cool. In order to achieve either or both, one must emit product, and far too often this product tries to flatter and pander to its audience rather than grow some balls and make a point. You could write an album about cooking an omelette with more passion than most bands approach topics like war, death, genocide, evil and emptiness. When the surface takes over from the core, the cart has come before the horse and all is lost, which is why we savor the sobbing tears of poseurs, tryhards and scenesters with Sadistic Metal Reviews…
Like a Storm – Awaken the Fire
In a flashback to the bad parts of the 90s, this album opens with a digeridoo before breaking into predictable hard rock riffs with heavier production and more basic rhythms. Then some guy starts singing in his best lounge lizard voice, building up to a pop chorus that could be straight off an Eagles album if they sped it up and did not worry about how truly incongruous the whole package would be. If you like speed metal trudge riffs paired with AOR favorite techniques and Coldplay-style vocals, this album might be for you. But the question remains: why even bother to release this as a metal album? Clearly it would be happier as country, pop, rock or even blues if they truncated the scenery-chewing vocals. It seems the music industry has found an update for nu-metal which is to channel it into this rock/metal hybrid which takes the angry parts of Pantera and pairs them with the smarmiest parts of overproduced, excessively pandering fraternity rock. These guys have a Titty Bingo sticker on their van. The scary thing is that the “inspirational” rock stylings here are a kissing cousin to much of what has infested power metal. But this takes it a step further to the point where what comes out of the speakers resembles the worst of corporate rock from the 90s and 00s to the point that heavier guitars cannot disguise the essential frat party rock tendency of this flaming turd. This goes well with a pukka shell necklace and lots of hair gel, with a NO FEAR sticker on the overly polished ‘stang next to the keg of Natty Light.
Abominator – Evil Proclaimed
Angelcorpse invoked a revelation in death metal, but not entirely a good one. The basic idea was to accelerate the rhythmic fill to the level of riff, such that the composer could use one or two chords in a charging rhythm much like war metal or hardcore punk, but then work in elaborate brachiated chord phrases to avoid the riff concluding in the stunningly obvious chord progression that otherwise must result. Add a bunch of these together in constant rhythm and the essence of that style shines forth. Abominator attempts to break up the constant charging and give songs more shape, as well as use actual fills which complement the riffs, but despite this effort and some inventive songwriting, the blockhead forward charging — like Cannibal Corpse working on the longer Bathory riff outtake that opened the first Angelcorpse album — continues and ruins any atmosphere except a constant tension that starts to resemble an eyestrain headache after a few songs. Speaking of songs, these are nearly indistinguishable, written at similar tempos with similar riff forms and while not random pairing of riffs, reliance on phrasal similarity to the point that songs sound like one giant charging riff with some textural flickering within. To Abominator’s credit, Evil Proclaims is a lot better than the other Angelcorpse tributes out there. Unfortunately, that’s about all that this album remains as and a few moments of power notwithstanding, remains mired in a sea of formless raging metal which never reaches a point.
Venom – “Long Haired Punks” (from From the Very Depths)
Venom are NWOBHM, not black metal; this fact flies in the face of what you will be told in 99% of the metal propaganda out there. The band themselves have never denied it. On this track however, Venom throws us a twist by sounding exactly like Motorhead except with more sudden stops at the end of each phrase where Motorhead would have kept a methamphetamine groove going. “Long Haired Punks” features punkish riffing combined with Venom’s archetypal primitive, broad leaps of tone and nearly chromatic fills. A bluesy solo that seems designed to be slightly abusive to key and chaotic accompanies this as do the purely Lemmy-styled vocals in what is essentially a verse-chorus two riff song with a bridge. The sudden pauses grow tedious within the passage of the song to newer listeners but then again, those grew up after metal assimilated Discharge, Amebix and The Exploited. For someone from 1979, this would seem like a slicker version of Venom with more emphasis on carefully picked chords and less onrushing punk energy, which makes the title ironic. It is well-composed within the limited style that Venom has preferred all these years, but attempts to update the NWOBHM stylings plus Motorhead of Venom have failed and should either be rolled back or the original style entirely discarded. This band is halfway between trying to be what it was, but in a post-1983 sound, and what it could be, which probably would resemble nothing like the original except for the raw “gut instinct” energy which unfortunately, attempts to modernize have limited. While I am not the world’s biggest Venom fan, it is hard to deny (1) their catchy punk/Motorhead/NWOBHM pop power and (2) their aesthetic influence on much but not all of underground metal, and it would be great to see this band develop into all it can be. From “Long Haired Punks,” it seems in doubt that From the Very Depths will be that evolution.
Unrest – Grindcore
The title proclaims this release as grindcore but a better description might be later punk styled as grindcore with a nod toward pop punk. These songs fit together nicely, but rely on two unfortunate things that doom them: repetition of classic punk and grindcore tropes as if they established something in themselves, and use of very much pop rhythmic hooks and song transitions. The vocals are great, the instrumentation fantastic for this genre, the melodies adequate and the rhythms good, but the meaning is not there. The recent Nausea album achieved a great deal more with less by focusing on having each song present an idea and then developing a basic, albeit circular looping context. Grindcore attempts instead the infamous “outward-in” composition of tribute bands everywhere where the need to include the tropes on the surface pushes out the need for internal structure based around a coherent thought, so songs end up being technique only, which is somewhat ironic in such a theoretically anti-technique genre. Most of these result in that “feel” of classic punk and hardcore but add to it the heavy technique of grindcore, which only serves to reveal how disorganized these tracks are. By the time they fall into imitating classic punk open chord picking and stop/start conventions halfway through the album, it has already been long clear that this is a highly competent tribute band but nothing more. To the credit of the label, production is flawless and clear without sounding too slick and the vocals are perfectly mixed. That cannot save Grindcore, nor can its periodically great guitar work, from being reliant on the crutch of imitating the past in lieu of writing songs. Maybe all the great hardcore and grindcore that could be written was long ago.
Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator
Much like the late days of hardcore, underground metal is standardizing into a war metal/death metal hybrid that emphasizes fast slamming rhythm without the obvious rock, jazz and blues breakdowns that make it clear that music belongs to the peace, love and happiness side of metal. Archgoat, by applying the structure of Scandinavian metal to the raw onslaught of Blasphemy/Sarcofago styled proto-black metal, stands as an innovator to this sub-genre which tends to combine Onward to Golgotha, Fallen Angel of Doom and Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz into a single style that like the bands which combined The Exploited, Black Flag and the Cro-Mags into a single voice, standardizes itself and becomes just about interchangeable. The sad fact of The Apocalyptic Triumphator is that a lot of good songwriting went into this album and some quality riff-writing, but this band remains literally imprisoned by the style in which they choose to create. About half of this album, preying on all of us who wish there were somewhere undiscovered in a vault another four hours of Drawing Down the Moon, borrows rhythms and arrangement patterns from that highly-esteemed work, as well as developing known riff types from the above influences. None of this is bad; however, it does not add up to enough to be compelling, like previous Archgoat works. This album represents the most professional work from this band so far and clearly exceeds any previous efforts, but the genericism of its riffs make songs indistinguishable both from one another and in terms of structure, creating the musical equivalent of listening to a flood sewer. For every good riff, four “standard” ones borrowed from the war metal/Blasphemy-tribute/Incantoclone group crowd them out. Periodic moments of greatness are balanced by a double frequency of moments of staggering obviousness which make it hard to get behind hearing this one on a regular basis. What I want to know is: what do these musicians actually idealize in music, outside of this style? Their work in such an artistically liberated medium might unleash the creativity that this narrow style suppresses.
Heaving Earth – Denouncing the Holy Throne
- Disruption metal. In business, the idea of disruption is that some new entrant into the market disturbs it to the point of throwing everything else out. This should simply be thrown out. Trudging riffs, squeals, chortled vocals, mind-numbing rhythms and melodic fills that sound more like video game noises than metal. An album of this would be excruciating, doubly so if you listened to it.
Ancient Wind – The Chosen Slain
- Style over substance defines this release: built on a base of melodeath, Ancient Wind regurgitates several different influences but predominantly Sodom and Wintersun. The result is a sampler plate of styles that never comes together but, because it has no topic other than the need to record something for a half hour or so, the lack of style damages nothing nor salvages anything. You are left with the typical experience of hearing something disorganized, then seeing a fat woman eat ice cream, and suddenly being unable to recall if the music had been on earlier. In one ear and out the other, if you’re lucky.
Sacrilegium – Wicher
- 1996, out of Poland. Like Graveland? A more conventional version of Graveland: less scary, more uptempo, more musically predictable. Sounds a lot like there was a Dimmu Borgir influence. While it’s tempting to like the style, the lack of substance suggests this album should have stayed in 1996 with the other proto-tryhards.
Battle Beast – Unholy Savior
- An album’s worth of that one song your junkie ex-girlfriend is really into. For Lady Gaga listeners who like the sound of electric guitars. Halestorm meets fantasy. Daddy-issues metal. I’m out of jokes, just don’t listen to this.
Tags: abominator, archgoat, Black Metal, death metal, like a storm, sadistic metal reviews, unrest, venom
21 thoughts on “Sadistic Metal Reviews 02-02-15”
about Venom being NWOBHM, yes, but genres aren’t rigid things with no crossover or transition periods. Hellhamer aren’t “exactly” death or black metal either, but only by looking at them retroactively by from the end product of the conventions that evolved over 20 years since then. Venom were basically a loud punkish heavy metal band, but they’re sure as fuck more black metal than Sargeist or something…
” genres aren’t rigid things with no crossover or transition periods. ”
Actually, they are.
The transitions may be different-sounding bands and then there is one band that really shifts the bases.
Actually, they aren’t in reality. That one band that shifted bases may fall into the next/other category; the lines are blurred at several points and one twists words and ideas to be either pro or con as one sees fit, but to deny transition periods and several line-straddling bands at vital points in metal history in the 80s is false and a denial. You can ignore them as inconvenient or argue they fall into one or the other side, but they exist.
80s Morbid Angel has more than a touch of speed metal to it, but it’s accepted as death metal because a lot of what they were doing was beyond the speed metal canon. But that part and foundation cannot be denied. Same with a lot of bands from that period, starting with Slayer. And if you get into black and death metal or death and grind then there are other genre straddling bands there, right from the early 90s at least, if not late 80s. So, the theory of what a genre is (or supposed to be) may be rigid, but the reality is not.
Exactly, “more than a touch”, but it isn’t speed metal, it’s full on Death Metal.
Did DMU (sadistically) review any Fell Voices material? Can’t find it.
In a way, this is sad but true;
“Maybe all the great hardcore and grindcore that could be written was long ago.”
Just like how metal got burned out of ideas and swamped with me-too wannabe (er, I mean tribute) acts, hardcore reached the end of its evolution in the early ’90s because the bands couldn’t develop new sounds as fast as the genre was being overrun by redundancy. Much in the same way, extreme hardcore was just too extreme to be listenable even to punks by that point because it developed more as a reaction to pussification of punk music that was happening in parallel. Too internally conflicted, that section of punk just dropped out and left everyone else to fuck themselves, choosing to make screamo or indie bands. Throwback acts in extreme hardcore (grind, powerviolence) are usually not as bad as throwback metal acts but, like this review pointed out, are sorely lacking in spirit and therefore lacking in innovative technique, which all spilled out from young angry minds who hated music so much that their music became a sort of monument (albeit one carved of ice rather than stone) of that energy.
Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator: If deathmetal.org has a few good things to say about it then it definitely must be listenable.
There was a time when I was young two traits described me: my love for Slipknot and being bi-curious that a friend of mine introduced me to Archgoat. I was appalled by the level of violence that disk contained. Ever since I think I matured and I can proudly state that I have left Slipknot behind.
I thought that was a stoned black pirate metal elf cosplay up there at first look, then I looked again.
Did she blow her brains out?
I know someone blew her mind.
I thought it was an elf or orc too lol.
hehe. I thought the same. Looked more like a silly selfshot :D
I thought this site was supposed to be attractive to a wider audience? Exactly how do gore pics fit into that vision? I like to think metal has a healthy respect for death and the dead, the use here isnt respectful at all.
C’mon dude, how many Metal songs are about digging up corpses and having sex with them or whatever? Wasn’t Slayer the one who started that with that song on Hell Awaits? The use of gore in the pic and in Metal is to show that in the big picture of the cosmos, people dying isn’t really that big of a deal…
DMU – The Family-Friendly Death Metal Site
Where everything is neutral and inoffensive.
But first we must be cleansed from the dark past from within the ANUS.
There is no way to resist an enema joke here. Maybe rail the Panama Canal up its fundament?
I think you underestimate the average persons’s morbid curiosity.
She was a SJW. She was probably cute before 3/4 of her head fell off.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_NokpJfNQ Here’s one you guys should review, despite being a bit too emotional at times. The black metal parts are kind of like kvist and later graveland.
Really? That Ancient Wind album stuck with me. Some of the riffs on there are catchy as hell, but never overly melodic or wanky. I can maybe see what you are describing as a spaghetti on the wall approach on the album, but so much of what was thrown actually sticks, it’s hard to criticize it as being in one ear and out the other. For being an underground release, it has a quality to it that brings it to another level.
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