Sadistic Metal Reviews 05-19-14


What are Sadistic Metal Reviews? We enforce the reality the metal community runs in fear from: music can be judged objectively, but most people “prefer” junk. They want their music to make them look cool to their nitwit social groups, so they deliberately select moron music. Falses, don’t entry!

triptykon-melana_chasmataTriptykon – Melana Chasmata

You do not hire the Navy SEALs to remove your fire ant infestation. Similarly, there is no point telling Tom G. Warrior to “make an album like all those other ones.” It’s the wrong tool for the job. This album is atrocious because it relies on very familiar and predictable ideas with no density, and then Warrior tries to shoehorn some depth into it but achieves on oil on water effect, like someone trying to layer Beethoven over Pantera. The result just dumb and painful. Run like hell.

lacuna_coil-broken_crown_haloLacuna Coil – Broken Crown Halo

This isn’t even metal. It’s the same smarmy cheesy shit that they sing in lounges for drunk bluehairs in Vegas, but they shifted from open chords to power chords. There isn’t even any particular focus on riffs here, just some blithe chord progressions shifting in the background while the vocals take it. But even worse, the music is entirely predictable. This is different from being “basic” in that it’s not derived from simplicity, but a generic version of the same stuff everyone else does. But that “everyone else” aren’t metal bands, and these entryists are trying to sneak that moronic garbage in through the back door.

aborted-the_necrotic_manifestoAborted – The Necrotic Manifesto

People are not bands. Bands are (composed of) people, but are not people. Even a band with good people in it can end up making music as interesting as poured concrete. “Oooh, look how flat it is!” But that’s kind of the problem here: Aborted is flat. It’s straight-ahead pounding death metal/grind hybrid that tends to like one- and two-chord riffs that shape themselves around a basic rhythm. Songs tend toward straight-ahead structures as well. The whole thing feels mentally hasty, like they aimed for a simple goal and then did one take and called it good enough. The highly compressed production just makes it excruciating to hear.

kill_devil_hill-revolution_riseKill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise

Some bands you don’t want to be noticed listening to lest people think you’re an imbecile. Kill Devil Hill is warmed over 1980s Sunset Strip glam “metal” (i.e.: hard rock) with some alternative rock stylings and occasional Rob Zombie infusions. That’s it, and the style tells you the content. In addition to mind-numbing repetition, like all rock music this dunce material focuses on the vocalist and some imagined fantasy mystical “power” to very cheesy vocals emphasizing very obvious emotions. It’s like watching Shakespeare done by a troupe of brain injury patients. Even the attempts to be “edgy” by working in oddball found sounds and minor techno influences falls flat because the whole package is so blindingly obvious and equally as plainly designed for thumb-suckers.

blood_eagle-kill_your_tyrantsBlood Eagle – Kill Your Tyrants

At least this has some balls, but metal needs both a warlike outlook and an interesting musical development. The latter is where Blood Eagle falls down: too much downstrumming, repetitive riff forms, repetitive song forms and reliance and skull-shakingly basic rhythms that involve a slamming conclusion makes this music no fun to listen to. It is like hearing a constant pounding with Pantera-style angry ranting in a death metal vocal over the top, but the plot rarely changes. When the band gives itself a little room for melody, as in the end of “Serpent Thoughts,” we see how much better this could have been. Instead it sounds like road rage stuck on repeat on a forgotten late night TV channel.

eyehategod-eyehategodEyehategod – Eyehategod

The New Orleans hit factory just keeps cranking them out. WAIT — that’s not what you want to hear about underground metal. Could the writer be implying that this trivial drivel is actually just pop music? Yes, yes he is. Eyehategod started out with a slow punk/grind mix that was boring but kind of aggressive. Then they made it with great production for Dopesick, which was a mildly interesting record. Since then, they’ve gotten closer to the hipster zone. Eyehategod makes me feel like I’ve stepped back into the early 1980s. Punk had just lost direction and every band was recycling old ideas or trying to be “different” with tricks that amounted to little more than stunts. The emptiness was staring us in the face, and no one was talking about it. This album is stereotypical hollow man hardcore with a bit of southern fried bullshit and a couple metal riffs. Why not just go listen to the failed albums by burnt-out and aged punk bands, because they at least have more consistent. This is just an odds ‘n’ ends drawer with a high production budget. You can sniff out the hollowness by how many times they hit you over the head with their image, working in every southern trailer failure term they can, and then performing their party act of ranting vocals over hard rock riffs. It breathes staleness and marketing like a home remortgaging plan.

day_of_doom-the_gates_of_hellDay of Doom – The Gates of Hell

Metal bands should know by now to avoid the formula where the entire song is based around a vocal cadence, with guitars trying for a really basic pattern the vocals can play off of, and drums in perpetual fill mode. This means that the simplistic plodding patterns of vocals define everything else, which means everything else clusters around the lowest common denominator, and you end up with music whose sole (no pun intended) purposes is to make you tap your feet and wave your head to an undulating rhythm. This works great if you’re a sea anemone, but not so good for anything else. Day of Doom is one of those slow-strobing-strum bands that clearly intends for the whole audience to bounce at the same time in trope, but forgets that this is mindlessly boring when you’re not in a concert setting. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with these guys, but what they’re trying to do is wrong (as in unrealistic and stupid).

on_top-top_to_bottomOn Top – Top to Bottom

Mixed hardrock/punk, On Top has a clever name but otherwise is exactly as predictable as you might imagine. Lots of bouncy riffs, melodic choruses, angry vocals that specialize in repetitive tropes. If you derive a lot of value from doing the same thing others are doing at the same time, this might be your thing. It’s super-catchy like Biohazard or Pantera were, with plenty of syncopation in vocal rhythms to give them some kick, and songs even develop one level past pure circularity. It basically sounds like something you would expect the rebellious character to listen to in a movie as he drinks his whisky and drives fast. Other than this one-dimensionality, this is one of the few things in this review batch with any musicality. It’s just applied in such a way that people who aren’t drunk and sixteen will rapidly tire of.

howls_of_ebb-vigils_of_the_3rd_eyeHowls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye

Howls of Ebb adopt an interesting strategy, which is to hide a Maudlin of the Well style quasi-prog in the midst of a dirty modern heavy metal band. At its core, this is heavy metal of the late 1980s variety, but this is carefully concealed under fast death metal riffs and whispered vocals which expand into dissonant chording and riff salads of the post-jazz-fusion era. The catchiness of the basic heavy metal riffing and the tendency to use tempo changes which fit in that model remain, but the weirdness accentuates it. If you can image Powermad adopting a bit of grunge and progressive metal, then slowing down half of its parts in a melodic jazzy style reminiscent of Absu crossed with Maudlin of the Well, you have the basic idea. The result is not only not bad but stands up to repeated listens. It will probably stay B-ranked in that its compositions make sense on a musical level but convey little else, and often the riff salads meander off-course enough to leave an impression but not a clear one. Still, this is more thoughtful than almost all of the metal at this commercial level and while it’s not underground, it’s much preferred to the usual tripe.

personal_device-microorganismos_del_malPersonal Device – Microorganismos del Mal

First there was the faux 80s crossover thrash revival with party retro-thrash bands like Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste, then bands like Birth A.D. bounced back with actual thrash and reformed the genre. Now Personal Device take it a step both further and in a different direction by being a classic hardcore band that informs itself with early speed metal like the first Metallica and Nuclear Assault albums. The result is bouncy fast and precise punk like Ratos de Porao or even middle-period Bad Brains that is thoroughly enjoyable with riff breaks that resemble “The Four Horsemen” or maybe even “Live, Suffer, Die.” Their guitars are remarkably precise which creates an unusual sound for punk that by making it mechanistic makes it seem more inexorable than like protest music, and the result is a more testosterone-fueled and warlike approach. Mix that with the surging chord changes of speed metal and the fast repetitive chanted choruses from thrash, and you have a high-energy band. Its flaws are that experienced listeners may find this a bit too transparent, and that many of its rhythms are similar, but the band has administered its style with an editor’s red pen handy, cutting out any lesser parts, which gives it more staying power than all but a few albums in this stylistic range. This was a pleasant surprise to find in the review pile.

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24 thoughts on “Sadistic Metal Reviews 05-19-14”

  1. EDS says:

    I was wondering when we would be handed another edition of SMR. I keep looking at the picture of the dude hanging and thinking “Hey! that looks like Tom Araya!”

    I was wondering, do you guys actually receive all of these albums in the mail from people looking to have them reviewed? You get some real curious albums sent to you if that is the case. Who the hell would send DMU Lacuna Coil and Kill Devil Hill albums?

    1. trystero says:

      I am going to guess it’s label promo packs.

      1. EDS says:

        Yeah I would guess that to. Question still stands however. What label would send their non metal album, to DMU to get trashed and smashed in an online review?

        1. It might be them trying to piggyback off the site’s known reputation as highly critical. These labels send in a pack of albums, find a few getting not completely bashed, and perhaps hope their viewers think “Hey, those old crones in the corner didn’t completely hate it, so it must have merit!”

          This is not what I would call an effective or intelligent marketing strategy (and I have no evidence for it), but there’s a lot of room in the metal world for bizarre, incoherent, stupid marketing.

          1. Promotion is more of an industrial process. Find 10,000 blogs, zines and magazines; send them promos; see who reports in with favorable reviews and buy ads there. No promotion team on earth would have time to analyze and categorize all those blogs, nor would it be to their advantage. In the same way, you send out to the “metal list” anything remotely like metal because there’s a lot of overlap, for example Killing Joke or Clannad.

  2. Nito says:

    Some review suggestions:

    Afflicted – Prodigal Sun
    Godflesh – Messiah
    Thorns – Thorns
    Wings – Diatribe
    Napalm Death – Fear Emptiness Despair

    1. Nito says:

      Also, please defecate all over Pitchshifter’s Infotainment and Extreme Noise Terror. Those earache samplers made me want to cut my ears off.

  3. 1349 says:

    Dear rabbi Stevens!
    I’ve found myself listening repeatedly to late Neurosis albums (2004, 2007, 2012) and to Mekong Delta’s “Lurking Fear” lately. Are these things kosher enough to listen to more than once? Or i am a hipster and should kill myself?

    Also, have you heard anything by the Lithuanian band Dissimulation? What do you think about them?

    1. trystero says:

      I don’t understand this, why do you need Brett Stevens to tell you whether certain music is up to some kind of par? If you understand music at an intuitive level, an understanding which develops from listening to any kind of reasonably accomplished music for a while, surely you should be able to decide this for yourself? Also, what about the enjoyment you get from the music? Will this be diminished if these albums are not in fact kosher? If there is some other purpose to this that I haven’t caught on to I would appreciate clarification.

      1. 1349 says:


        an understanding which develops from listening to any kind of reasonably accomplished music for a while

        See, you introduce objectivity yourself.
        I mean, so how do i know what is reasonably accomplished and what is not?

        Before stumling upon ANUS/DMU, i actually listened to Pantera from time to time. I didn’t like most of their songs, in terms of music (i kept listening to them for certain irrational reasons); and didn’t quite understand what kind of mental state (proletarian rage) stood behind their lyrics, for i’m not an English speaker.
        Before ANUS/DMU, i disliked Cannibal Corpse, but for reasons that were different from what was explained here…
        So i’m interested in synchronizing my understanding with someone who can be called an expert.

        1. trystero says:

          Fair enough, but to clarify; when I say “reasonably accomplished” I just mean that it is musical. Meaning that there is an expectation of the actual music being the substance unlike say hip hop beats or pop music where it is background or secondary. So metal music, western and indian classical and other art musics from around the world qualify. Not that it is any good necessarily from an artistic point of view. Once you do that for a while you know what to listen for, the language of music begins to make sense.

          This website is a great resource in that regard because it has a very convenient list of excellent metal albums. I believe once someone is familiar with most of them they will have developed a decent ear. Of course it’s possible that someone may still miss the point and listen passively, focusing on the wrong things or remain unable to articulate what is good but with the reviews that isn’t a concern.

          1. 1349 says:

            “Of course it’s possible that someone may still miss the point and listen passively, focusing on the wrong things”

            This is what, i’m afraid, could be happening to me.

            “but with the reviews that isn’t a concern.”

            Even the reviews are of little help here, as long as they often seem too abstract and ambiguous. (I used to write reviews myself so i know well that it’s very hard to write objectively about music. You could write a review of an album; then wait a year or two; then listen to that album again and understand that the old review was inadequate.) Add to this the language barrier and there you go…

            1. fenrir says:

              I don’t think they are vague or ambiguous. They just describe something in he substance more than a typical superficial “it has three saxophones and it sounds so cool because in tracks 3 and 5…”.
              I find them far more useful than the average review. Then again, this also took some time.

    2. Count Ringworm says:

      I don’t care for later Neurosis but their earlier works are exceptional. Equal parts hardcore punk and Godflesh with Skinny Puppy’s philosophical use of sampling. Through Silver and Blood is a soundtrack for the apocalypse.

      1. 1349 says:

        Heard an opinion like this several times. But i suspect that Neurosis themselves might consider their latest albums more important and closer to their own ideal of music.

  4. asdfgh says:

    Eyehategodbeing described as a “punk/grind mix” is a bit bizarre, since grindcore is basically just extra-fast, extra-extreme hardcore punk (which doesn’t describe EHG’s slow bluesy sound very well). They’re just a HC punk take on Black Sabbath, really.

    I’ll second wanting to see a review of Thorns’ s/t. I think it’s crap, what’s the verdict here?

    1. trystero says:

      I am surprised anyone wants an opinion on Thorns – Thorns, it’s intolerable garbage!

      1. Nito says:

        Yes, but I’m sure it’ll be amusing.

  5. eman says:

    Well I’ll be… HoB was moderately-well received! Truthfully I would not have listened to that album for more than a couple of minutes if the semi-clean guitar sound hadn’t arrested my attention. The band succeeds where others fail by not hiding behind production-determined aesthetic. For that they gained my respect and their songwriting capabilities hold up under scrutiny.

    1. Deaf Today says:

      Indeed, if not for the transparent sound, they’d have been, and I’m sure in many circles, are being, dumped into the occultwardeathblack metal pile of dumbness floating around. Quite wrongly too. The songwriting does hold up and I’ve been coming back to it across the last couple of months.

  6. Hey guys from Death Metal Underground, Alejandro here, bassist for Colombia-based band Personal Device.

    I wanna thank you for the awesome review you’ve given our first album Microorganismos del Mal. Such an honor lml

    Keep on thrashing!

    1. tiny midget says:

      Sol – ano ? wow is that your last name really? like in golden anus? awesome!
      in the band photo, who is the chubby guy with glasses?


    The Howls of Ebb indeed stood up to more than one listen. Not bad for a debut.

  8. Hi, Brett. I think you should review this release from this recent mexican black/folk band in the future:
    Xipe Totek Kalpul – Utsnauatlampaj.

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