No perfection but some solid releases in This Week in Review. The rundown after the break.
As Nick Budosh notes in his 4/5 horns review of the new record from Haken, this band is now a mainstay of the progressive metal genre.
“Restoration is a brilliant effort by these Earthlings to go back to their original demo and shed some of their new and ‘Darkest Light’ on the tracks that ‘Crystallized’ them as a progressive metal powerhouse.”
Nick says this look backwards at the music that started Haken is successful where other such attempts by other bands have failed.
“When artists try to rehash old material it can sometimes end in disaster. Fans get upset and writhe at the music that has been “defiled.” Restoration does not defile the original demo that brought Haken to existence. The band took great care to preserve their original sound while improving upon it with their new, evolved sound.”
John Skibeat finds only 3/5 horns for the new effort from Sepultura founder Max Cavalera and kinfolk with the new Cavalera Conspiracy effort.
“There are no prizes for guessing the content of this third Cavalera Conspiracy album. However, if you’d expected clipped, rapid-fire verses paired with choruses repetitiously bellowing the track title then you’d be a winner. However, there are a few little tweaks in Pandemonium that might surprise. Firstly, the album has quite possibly the ugliest cover art I’ve ever come across. Within, the music is marked with an especially haranguing, bleak tone and the emphasis is on more thrash, less groove so expect this to clash heads with early Sepultura material.”
If you’re looking for innovative music, this ain’t it.
“Pandemonium isn’t going to blow your mind. It is way too predictable for that, which is a shame when you consider the exciting hardcore edge that Blunt Force Trauma offered. Fans, however, will lap this offering up and they should. Amidst all the familiarity, it has enough grunt to kickstart a pit all of its own.”
Australia’s atmospheric, progressive outfit Ne Obliviscaris is one of the most highly touted and anticipated records of the year and Geoff Smith says his countrymen do not disappoint with Citadel.
Geoff recalls the stir that accompanied the use of the violin in the band’s initial effort Portal of I.
“Nearly three years on, and the band have returned with Citadel, an album which not only showcases the devastating potential of the lead violin, but cements Ne Obliviscaris as one of the very best up and coming progressive metal bands in the world today.”
Geoff says what sets this record apart from the original is the flowering of violinist and clean singer Tim Charles contribution to the overall sound.
“Certainly, his playing on Portal of I was impressive, but its sophistication has expanded exponentially on Citadel, and never before have we seen such range from a violinist in this context, all performed with maximum control and in such a way that the instrument rarely feels out of place or in any way a gimmick. To the contrary, while it seems anathema to suggest that a screaming violin lead would sound so naturally powerful over frenetic riffing and blast beating, Charles breaches this frontier with ease, and elevates Citadel into the upper echelon of recent progressive metal releases.”
We wrap up this week with Eden Kupermintz’s 4/5 look at the new Gates. It’s a record Eden says that gives the concept of cohesion a good name.
“The secret lies in the duality present in both the vocals and the instrumentals, one belied by the album name. It’s best to describe Gates’s sound on this album as an amalgamation between post-rock and melodic hardcore. If that sounds weird, it should; it’s hard to think of another who would deserve this moniker. But Gates earn it and earn it well. The instruments at times are dreamy and delay-pedalled, creating the breathy, dreamy sound-scapes of the post rock we cited earlier. ”
It’s a mixture that might fail in other hands but Eden says works here.
“Gates could easily have botched this dangerous experiment in genre modification but have instead clutched victory from the face of danger. Bloom & Breathe also has a layer completely independent of any intellectual analysis we might have attempted here: something about its raw energy, mainly contained in the vocals, simply reaches into your stomach and twists.
Keep an eye on Heavy Blog is Heavy everyday in the week ahead for more records our reviewers analyze and give their honest opinions about.