Once again two weeks have passed since we last did a round-up of reviews on Heavy Blog. The new music you might have missed our takes on after the jump.
Jimmy Rowe offers 4/5 for the new solo record from Between the Buried and Me frontman Tommy Rogers aka Thomas Giles.
“While the project’s debut album Pulse prided itself in its widely diverse sonic palate that properly (re)introduced Rogers as a formidable songwriter, its follow-up Modern Noise has a sense of cohesion that further establishes a distinct style and flair that is uniquely his own. In the past, with both Pulse and in his work in Between the Buried and Me, Rogers would have no problem swerving between and through a myriad of styles with reckless abandon. Modern Noise is a well-focused record that is held together by a hypnotic electronic-driven rock sound that grooves and drones with more hooks than it has any business carrying.”
BTBAM is a project known for experimentation and Jimmy says the Thomas Giles incarnation does the same.
“So as it stands, while Modern Noise is not as overtly ambitious in scope as Pulse, this is the biggest statement Rogers has made for himself thus far in his career as a musician and songwriter. It is commendable that Rogers has been able to craft such high quality output in some form or fashion so frequently while compartmentalizing both his projects on top of becoming a father in recent years (a topic explored on the irreverently-titled ‘lkcvjvhljbvjΓëÑ╦£Γêå╦Ünnnjmkjijm’).”
Dan Wieten notes much has changed in the metal world since last we heard from Machine Head, a band that has long been adept and adjusting to an evolving artist landscape.
“Bloodstone & Diamonds does not wear any masks, exuding an honesty lost on much of today’s metal. In Machine Head’s case, perhaps it is a continued rebellion against their “experimental” period from 1999’s The Burning Red to 2001’s Supercharger. Despite this, the band have retained the best parts of said period while keeping the foundation they built in the beginning with Burn My Eyes, and also venturing into new territory. ‘Eyes of the Dead’ is the most representative track of their career by far, and perhaps the strongest track on the album.”
Dan notes recent personnel changes leave Robb Flynn as the only original member.
“From a performance aspect, this album marks some of Robb Flynn’s most impassioned and versatile singing in years. The airy falsetto of the verses on ‘Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones’ are simultaneously sensuous and foreboding, counteracting perfectly with the bendy groove that follows. Without a doubt the biggest surprise found here is the brooding and eerie ‘Sail Into The Black’. Parts of this song reek of Ulver’s dark ambient masterpiece Shadows Of The Sun, which is absolutely not a bad thing.”
Aly Hassab El Naby can muster only 3.5/5 horns for the eighth full-length from Irish-Celtic folk black metal mainstays Primordial
Aly says this is a band with a sense of balance.
“Primordial’s modus operandi is based on the construction of an immense wall of sound rife with subtle nuances only available to the discerning ear. The guitars complement each other with various drawn-out chord arrangements while the drums and bass do most of the muscle work in the background. In the infrequent instances where they opt to add some lead guitar work, it’s never in the flashy sense of a guitar solo; instead it’s a more measured line where one guitar shines without eclipsing the rest of the band.”
Aly says true believers in this sub-genre will likely enjoy this record while others not so much.
“The album starts and ends on a very high note but these peaks are not maintained throughout the album’s fifty-eight minute span. A couple of slow pieces do in fact weigh the album down but there’s still a lot to feast upon for the die-hard fans.”
Colin Kauffman finds the new record from Ghost Brigade falls just a half horn shy of perfection.
“There’s something about Finnish melodic death/doom metal that sets it apart from other regional scenes. Amorphis, Insomnium, and their contemporaries continue to set the standard for the subgenre. Ghost Brigade are a slightly newer and less well known group compared to the aforementioned, but they’re no less genre defining, especially on this, their fourth full length album. One With The Storm may be overlooked in favor of more high profile releases in the genre this year, but that would be a mistake.”
Colin is pleased to hear the thought that clearly went into this record.
“One With The Storm feels like a cohesive package of songs while still being stylistically diverse enough to contain the depth required for repeated listens. That the songs themselves are so well written and darkly infectious helps as well. The clean singing has even more impact now that it’s complemented by harsh vocals, and the slower songs are even more haunting than they were on previous albums.”
Kyle Gaddo doesn’t hand out a score for the Century Media release of 43 minutes of live performance featuring the Ben Sharp project Cloudkicker in concert with Intronaut
“There is unfortunately little to say that is either extremely good or extremely bad about this performance. Yes, this is Sharp’s work perfectly reproduced in a live setting. It’s wonderful to listen to, mesmerizing and evocative in all its shapes and sizes and colors and languages of notes and melodies and ambiance, and simply joyful to experience from the comfort of home. Knowing that the mighty post/progressive act of Intronaut is leading the charge alongside Sharp is blissful. Quite like a dream come true, actually, as there likely isn’t a group of musicians better suited to recreate what has only been previously experienced from a man’s house.”
For all of the joy in this show, Kyle is still hoping for something more.
” With this release by Century Media, you can experience this all-too-brief moment over and over again, but a mere 43 minutes just doesn’t seem enough. Parts of Subsume were cut down even further, likely to not exhaust the boys in Intronaut for their own set immediately after Cloudkicker. Perhaps the shortening was to not overwhelm audiences with the magnetic musical loops that Ben Sharp is so oft to use in his writing. Repetition is an entrancing way to draw audiences deeper in the music, but sometimes it is just not a viable option when performing live.”
As you’ve probably heard by now, vocalist Mike Semesky recently departed Intervals in part to focus on his other project Raunchy. Eden Kupermintz offers 4/5 for that band’s new record Vices.Virtues.Visions. Eden says it’s a sound broader than genre limitations.
“…yes, poppy is definitely the adjective for this album. Providing the meat and bones of this release are insanely infectious beats, almost EDM-like in tenacity and throbbing power. However, it’s also rife with heavy riffing and passages which wouldn’t disappoint any fan of death or power metal. This is one of the true beauties of this album: both influences don’t just play each other, bowing out when the other is prominent. They work side by side.”
Eden says Raunchy has succeeded in finding a new and power niche for music fans.
“Vices. Virtues. Visions. is simply a powerful ride. You won’t find any ground breaking moments here but the entire thing just gets you singing, bouncing and nodding. By owning the hybrid they have created here between 80’s tinged synths and more modern metal iterations, Raunchy have created something truly endearing: a sound of their own.”
With his 4.5/5 review of Allomaternal by Stolas, Ryan Castrati says the music is like re-discovering “your favorite band for the first time all over again.”
Ryan says this is clearly a band with a sense of purpose.
“Compositionally, the band have soared to new heights. Not only do these songs hold up individually, but they hold up within the context of the album. Living Creatures was a collection of good tracks, but they were just that: a collection. This album revolves around a concept and the tracks punctuate each moment within that concept properly and effectively. Nothing feels like it was thrown in just because it sounded interesting, but rather because it added something meaningful to the song and the album as a whole.”
Ryan says Stolas is a group learning from the past and growing toward a bright future.
” Every gorgeous melody or chaotic guitar part is articulated with impressive amounts of finesse and poise. For such a young group, the compositional maturity on display is highly commendable and should be looked upon as an example for a work crafted with the integrity of the art in mind.”
Eden wraps up our two weeks of reviews with a 3.5 look at the debut album from Unconsciou Disturbance
“Its catchy mix of post metal, Tool-esque riffing and varied vocals catches the ear and entertains, but ultimately it’s reined back from true greatness by several glaring deficiencies in its overall presentation.”
Eden says this is a record filled with interesting musical ideas that eventually go nowhere.
“The basic progression between quieter parts in the beginning, sometimes even spotted with tribal drumming that again hark back to Tool, a heavier C-section and then an emotional closing is one we are familiar with all too well. Instead of creating those middle parts that unravel the basic tune and play around with it, much of the album doesn’t take off. The basic structure is allowed to carry on up until the closing of the track and, indeed, the album. This is typical of debut albums: the self-confidence and assurance needed to truly dice up your basic sound are often still missing.”
More reviews are on the way as we wind our way toward the end of the year. We hope these summaries will help you find some new music to expand your horizons.