Rekuiem—Time Will Tell (2006)

Rekuiem—Time Will Tell (2006)

Rekuiem—Time Will Tell (2006)

Details

Recorded at Outta Space Studio, Birmingham, England and Dragon’s Lair Studio, California. Mixed in Madhat Studio, Wolverhampton, England. Produced and engineered by Steve Slater and Karl Wilcox. Mixed by Mark Stewart with Steve Slater and Karl Wilcox. Released on Majestic Rock Records, 2006.

Encyclopaedia Metallum | Website (WARNING: auto-plays track!?)

Band

  • Paul Parry—Vocals
  • Steve Slater—Guitars (and keyboards on “Nightmare”)
  • Brian Tatler (Diamond Head)—Guitar solo on “Werewolf”
  • Gordon Denny—Bass
  • Karl Wilcox—Drums

Tracks

  1. Nightmare
  2. Wildfire
  3. Sinners
  4. Time will tell
  5. Werewolf
  6. Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)
  7. Black death
  8. In your keeping
  9. Angel of sin
  10. Sacrificial wanderer

Review

First off, I’m just going to ignore the dodgy spelling of ‘requiem’—we’ll just agree to let that one go. They were originally spelt correctly, when the band formed in 1979 until they split in 1984.

Time Will Tell is the band’s first full length album and I’ll be honest I wasn’t entirely hopeful when I stuck it in my CD player. But, you know what, it’s not bad at all. I mean, it’s not brilliant, it’s not exactly original, but it’s not bad.

I was a bit dubious when I read on Encyclopaedia Metallum that they were categorised as ‘heavy metal’. That seemed a bit generic to me. But nope! That’s exactly what they are. There are discernible elements of a lot of classic metal bands in this album: Iron Maiden, Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Diamond Head (of course), and even Swedish doomsters Candlemass.

The album opens with an organ, that actually put me in mind that this might end up sounding like a Morbid Angel album. But soon the keyboard pads out a strings chord and the guitars crunch in. It’s classic NWOBHM-style metal.

“Wildfire” (track 2) is another slow starter that builds into a Dio-style track.

“Sinners” (track 3) has yet another slow beginning, not really getting going until about 45 seconds. And then it’s more or less a pastiche on Rainbow’s “Stargazer”, at least for the verses. So much so that I found myself unconsciously singing along using the Rainbow lyrics: “High noon, oh I’d sell my soul for water / Nine years worth of breakin’ my back / There’s no sun in the shadow of the wizard / See how he glides, why he’s lighter than air.”

The title track “Time will tell” (track 4) reminds me of the ballads of 80s Christian rock band Triumph.

“Werewolf” (track 5) is probably the best track on the album. It unsurprisingly has a very Diamond Head feel to it, with Brian Tatler guesting on it.

Track six is a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” where the band have totally made it their own. Gone is the heavy-hitting simplicity in favour of something that sounds like it’s taken from Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time (1986) sessions. I appreciate what they’ve done but it doesn’t really do it for me.

“Black death” (track 7) has a very doom feel that initially reminded me of Candlemass’s Nightfall (1987) album before it morphs into something a lot more mid-era Sabbath.

There are a couple of fairly generic heavy metal stompers before the album closes with “Sacrificial warrior” (track 10) that begins as a ballad before throwing off that cloak and revealing itself as a Helloween-style power ballad.

Conclusion

It’s a decent album this. The musicianship is solid, the production is well balanced, the songwriting is well… classic. There’s just not enough that’s new or innovative. The album rests very much on the laurels of a lot of other bands.

If I was in need of something distinctly NWOBHM and didn’t have any Dio, Rainbow or Deep Purple to hand then I’d certainly put it on. If it came on again through random play then I’d certainly not switch it off. Whether I’d go seek it out or not is another question. I’m not entirely sure I would. If they were playing live locally then I’d probably go see them: I think they could be fun.

Sadly, though, that’s really not enough to recommend them very strongly.

Review score: 65%

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Details

Performed and recorded May to August 2008 by Neil Jendon. Released on BloodLust! (Chicago), 2008.

Band

Neil Jendon—Everything

Tracks

  1. First invisibility (2:32)
  2. Second invisibility (18:38)
  3. Third invisibility (5:28)
  4. Fourth invisibility (21:58)

Review

While I was listening to this album I asked two of my kids what they thought of it. “Is this music?” I asked. One replied yes, the other no. It’s definitely art, then.

This is very much an experimental electronic album, in the same ballpark as Mike Patton’s 1996 album Adult Themes for Voice. It’s a fusion of noises.

This is the sound of the apocalypse. It is noisy and confusing, it is jarring and relentless.

“First invisibility” made me feel like I was in a submarine, silently passed through a battle that was raging outside. The calmness is rudely interrupted by “Second invisibility”, an exercise in white noise that resolves to a hum, like the ringing of a handful of Buddhist prayer bowls.

“Third invisibility” sounds like how I imagine being trapped in a storm in Antarctica. It is relentless white noise.

And lastly “Fourth invisibility”, which lasts for a little over 20 minutes, is the most experimental and internally varied of all the tracks. It bubbles and pops and gurgles through its duration. This is the soundtrack for crash-landing on an alien planet. Though, to be honest, if I chose to do that then I think I would prefer to listen to Mozart or Palestrina while doing so.

Conclusion

This isn’t an album for every day listening. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s an album for any day listening. Still, it has structure and dynamics and I do find it rather intriguing.

Each time I’ve listened to it, when it has finished and the silence returns like the tide rushing in, I do know that I’ve listened to something. It’s not easily forgettable. That has to say something for the impact of this work, I guess.

Review score: 65%

Gravehill—Metal of Death / Advocation of Murder and Suicide EP (2008)

Gravehill—Metal of Death / Advocation of Murder and Suicide EP (2008)

Gravehill—Metal of Death / Advocation of Murder and Suicide EP (2008)

Details

Recorded, mixed and engineered by A. Vorgaloth at Helheim Studios from March–April 2008. Released on Enucleation Records.

Band

  • Mike Abominator—Vocals and Bass
  • Bodybag Bob—Guitars
  • Vorgaloth—Guitars
  • Thorgrimm—Drums

Tracks

Tracks 1–3: Metal of Death EP
Tracks 4–5: The Avocation of Murder and Suicide EP

  1. A promise made in heresy
  2. Purifier of flesh
  3. Ravager
  4. Murder
  5. Suicide

Review

I’m running behind this week, on the run up to Easter. It seems somewhat wrong to be reviewing a black metal album in Holy Week, but here we are.

I seem to be on a run of black metal albums these days, in my alphabetical stomp through the yet-unplayed 195 metal CD collection. I’ll be journeying through ‘G’ for the next month or so.

But this ‘G’: Gravehill, is a death/black/thrash metal band from Anaheim, California, USA. This is a compilation album that was put out a couple of years after the band reformed.

It’s a decent enough album, but nothing particularly groundbreaking, which is ironic given that’s literally what you need to do to dig a grave.

In many ways it’s extreme-metal-by-numbers. The first few songs have the production-feel of a slightly modernized Show No Mercy (Slayer, 1983) or Hell Awaits (Slayer, 1985) with some elements of Obituary thrown in there too for good measure.

The last two songs “Murder” and “Suicide” have a slightly different feel. “Murder” reminds me a bit of Gorefest for the most part, until it hits a groove around 2′ 30″—definite headbanging fodder.

“Suicide” sounds like Gravehill have swallowed the Celtic Frost back catalogue. That said the ‘chorus’ sounds like it was lifted from Testament’s “COTLOD” (Curse of the legions of death).

Conclusion

This compilation seems to get better the further down the track listing you find yourself. I’d like to hear some of their newer material, because this early stuff shows definite promise.

Review score: 65%

Devil Sold His Soul—A Fragile Hope (2007)

Devil Sold His Soul—A Fragile Hope (2007)

Devil Sold His Soul—A Fragile Hope (2007)

Details

Produced by Jonny Renshaw and Devil Sold His Soul. Engineered and mixed by Jonny Renshaw. Recorded at Bandit Studios, Gloucestershire. Mastered by John Dent at Loud Mastering, Taunton.

Website | Twitter

Band

  • Ed Gibbs—Vocals
  • Matt Elphick—Guest vocals on “Awaiting the flood” and “The coroner”
  • Jonny Renshaw—Guitars
  • Iain Trotter—Bass
  • Paul Kitney—Samples
  • Dave Robinson—Drums (on album)
  • Alex “Leks” Wood—Drums (listed in sleeve notes)

Tracks

  1. In the absence of light
  2. As the storm unfolds
  3. The starting
  4. Sirens chant
  5. At the end of the tunnel
  6. Between two worlds
  7. Awaiting the flood
  8. Dawn on the first day
  9. The coroner
  10. Hope

Review

I asked my three children, just based on the look of the album cover, “Does this look like it’s going to be a good album?” All three (aged, six, six and four) said “No”. I think they were only partly right. But it’s not the music, once again it’s the vocals I take issue with.

The music is interesting. It has depth, it has dynamics, it has other things that begin with ‘d’. The music is built around the guitars: big chords, big strumming, a nicely overdriven sound. In places the guitars are clean and picked which produces a nicely layered sound. The bass is punchy, the drums sit beneath it all cutting though in all the right places. I love the music: it’s bold and modern.

In places the lyrics are sung; Ed Gibbs has a nice tenor voice. But for the most part everything is SHOUTED. But it’s not the good kind of shouting. This isn’t the gruff vocals of a Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, ex-Bloodbath) or D. Randall Blythe (Lamb of God), it’s the uncontrolled shouting of a worse-for-wear girlfriend bawling at her drunk boyfriend at 1.00 am outside a nightclub.

And that’s where my issues lie with this album. To my ears, I would go as far as saying, the songs are ruined by this style of vocals. And that’s a real shame.

I have to say that I realise that there will be people out there who love this style of vocals. I accept that, and I want to be clear in saying that the vocals aren’t rubbish they are just in a style that is not for me.

That said, I want to hold on to this album. The music is great and where the lyrics aren’t completely shouted from start to finish (like in the final track, “Hope”) I really enjoyed it.

Conclusion

They often say that the devil has all the best tunes. Well, clearly here he’s sold his soul or something. A great pity.

Review score: 65%

Spoonful of Vicodin—Bursts of Rage at the Speed of Hate (2008)

Spoonful of Vicodin—Bursts of Rage at the Speed of Hate (2008)

Spoonful of Vicodin—Bursts of Rage at the Speed of Hate (2008)

Details

Tracks 1–18, 23 and 26 were recorded by Kyle and produced by Danny Lilker in October 2007. Tracks 19–22, 24 and 27 were recorded by SFOV in July 2008.

Tracks 1–13 are from SFOV’s 7″ out on HIDE THE BODIES and KEEP SCREAMING RECORDS; 14–18 are from a 4-way split with LOADED FOR BEAR, REPUBLICORPSE, and DECEIVER out on BACKGROUND NOISE MEDIA; 19–22 are from the ROTCORE tape comp; 23–27 “random ass shit”.

Released on Bones Brigade Records.

Band

  • Tim—Blasting and ranting
  • Sarah—Shredding

Tracks

  1. One more second and i’ll explode
  2. Stages are only good for stage dives
  3. I’ll sew with floss till all my teeth rot
  4. Grind is good for acne
  5. You smell like a bag of rotting dicks
  6. Carful of potheads
  7. Sacrificed for the thrash
  8. Cycle of desolation
  9. 357 channels of widescreen perfection
  10. God wins at everything
  11. My idea of anarchy is taking a dump at company time
  12. Roadkill in the lunch line
  13. Tapeworms in punk, a documentary
  14. Law enforcement perk-a-thon
  15. Starbucks revolutionary
  16. Confession booth gloryhole
  17. The 60’s changed the world, i’m sure you will too
  18. Whatever happened to fubu?
  19. Paved paradise
  20. The charles whitman anthem
  21. Library grind freaks unite
  22. B.I.Y.
  23. Don’t support sketchy fucks
  24. Controlled by fear
  25. Serial griller
  26. Fossils of humanity
  27. Totally brutal news exposure

Review

It would be very easy to simply dismiss this album with a phrase that my mum used about a lot of the music I listened to in  my teens: a lot of noise and shouting.

This album is a lot of noise and shouting. But with an album entitled “Bursts of rage at the speed of hate” what else would you expect?! Unless they were being amusingly ironic.

Actually, what else would you expect from a grindcore album?

Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks.” (Source: Wikipedia)

This album of microsongs (the longest song is 1:19, the shortest song is 0:12, the average song length is 0:30) only lasts a total of 13 minutes 48 seconds. That’s even shorter than Slayer’s Reign in Blood! I’m not sure it’s more aggressive, simply because the songs are so short. There’s something to be said for a more sustained attack.

What I quite like about this album is the variety. Twenty-seven different ways of bursting with rage. Some songs are thrashy, others more akin to punk or hardcore; some begin with sampled vocals; some start slowly and build in speed. There’s a lot of squeaks and squeals from the guitar, a lot of gutteral vocals. I don’t think there’s a single lyric that’s clear enough to understand, though. But it’s all brutal. Obviously the most obvious comparison, if you want one, is with Napalm Death, not just from Scum but later albums too. Maybe a bit of Gorefest too, particularly on a song like “Controlled by fear (fear of God)”.

If I could wish for one significant improvement for this album it would be for better production. The drums sound like they were recorded under the stairs in our hallway. But it all adds to the feel in the end. This isn’t supposed to be a happy-sounding album. I wonder if ex-Anthrax/ex-Nuclear Assault/soon-to-be retired Brutal Truth bassist Danny Lilker was thinking that when he produced the album.

Conclusion

I’m not sure I’d like this album quite so much if it wasn’t sprinkled liberally with samples. They add a much required sense of humour to this music, and something to rub up against for contrast.

That said, there are some nice (extreme) musical ideas in here, and the short song format allows the band to explore them without playing it to death. Bursts of rage, indeed.

If this album came on while on random play I certainly wouldn’t switch it off, but what will be interesting over the next year or so will be whether I listen to this album again of my own choosing.

Review score: 65%

Video

 

Drowned In Blood—The Warfare Continues (2005)

Drowned In Blood—The Warfare Continues (2005)

Drowned In Blood—The Warfare Continues (2005)

Details

Recorded in Mexico City, Esfera 3 Studios in September 2004. Mixed and masterized (sic) by Raul Rodriguez Lagunez and Antonio Farfan. Engineered by Raul Rodriguez Lagunez. Produced by Drowned In Blood. Music by AntonioFarfan Angeles. Lyrics by Jorge Gonzalex Avila.

Band

  • Antonio Farfan—Bass guitar
  • Troll—Drums
  • Jorge Gonzalez—Vocals
  • Enrique Daniel—Guitar

Tracks

  1. Warfare Graves
  2. Brutal Execution
  3. Grind Down Enemies
  4. Born To Kill
  5. Warlike Canibalism
  6. Fire Discipline
  7. Troops of Chaos

Review

If you are in any doubt, having just read the band, album and track names, this album does not contain particularly happy music. But do you know what? I rather enjoyed listening to this debut album from Mexican death metallers Drowned In Blood.

Elements of the album took me back to the kind of extreme noise terror that I listened to in my late teens in the early 90s, and there is certainly more than a nod to death metal pioneers Morbid Angel. So, oddly comforting then.

Unsurprisingly, with the words “more brutal than war” splashed across the centre pages of the CD booklet the music matches the music rather perfectly. This is the sound of a brutal, mechanical war, an unrelenting bombardment of twisting, turning riffs; machine-gun drums; screams and guttural, grunting vocals. It is 35 minutes of wall-to-wall metal. What energy! It is almost exhausting to listen to.

The opening track “Warfare Graves” opens with an audio clip from the movie Black Hawk Down, which listened to out of context sounds horrific. But then, I guess, it is. A soldier has been shot and in his desperate screams realises that he is dying. “Leave me alone, leave me alone,” he pleads. Riff! Crash! Riff! Crash! Drums! Chuga-chuga-squeal!

The lyrics wouldn’t win any literary prizes and they seem to have made up words too:

Bloody looks, the fauceses (sic) of the earth
Swallow the meat full with lead
Gnarled the odies (sic), sinister punishments,
Great suicidal flames covering everything.

But this kind of music is never about the words. They simply add, through texture and suggestion, an additional layer of horror to the extremity of the music. And to be fair they do it very well.

Conclusion

The sleeve notes end with this dedication:

This piece of brutality is dedicated to all people that has been lived the war in his own flesh.

Is this album a tribute to those who have fought in war, or an artistic interpretation of the experience? Perhaps it’s both. Whatever the truth, this is a solid example of death metal. Drowned In Blood should be proud of their debut.

Review score: 65%

G//Z/R—Plastic Planet (1995)

Close-up of an insect with globes of the earth for eyes.

G//Z/R—Plastic Planet (1995)

Details

Produced by Geezer Butler and Paul Northfield. Engineered by Paul Northfield. Recorded at Long View Farm Studios in 1995. Music by Geezer Butler and Pedro Howse. Lyrics by Geezer Butler.

Band

  • Geezer Butler — Bass / keyboards
  • Burton C Bell — Vocals
  • Deen Castronovo — Drums
  • Pedro Howse — Guitar

Tracks

  1. Catatonic eclipse
  2. Drive boy, shooting
  3. Giving up the ghost
  4. Plastic planet
  5. The invisible
  6. Seance fiction
  7. House of clouds
  8. Detective 27
  9. X13
  10. Sci-clone
  11. Cycle of sixty

Review

After a hiatus of almost a month due to a couple of trapped nerves in my neck which left me with C6 paresthesia, I’m back now that my right arm doesn’t immediately ‘go to sleep’ when I’m anywhere near a keyboard.

While I’ve not been able to type very much during the last four weeks I’ve still been listening to the next two albums in this project: Paradise Lost (85 tracks in the last month) and this album from G//Z/R (60 tracks).

I’m not a great lover of insects, I have to be honest. So the cover of this, Geezer Butler’s first solo album, kind of put me off from the word go. That’s a drop of 10% on my review score for a start!

When I first put this album on I was quite surprised. I hadn’t read any reviews. I hadn’t even read the CD liner notes. I had no idea that Burton C Bell from Fear Factory, for example, was the vocalist. I just wanted to hear the album afresh, without any preconceptions.

Except, I realised, that I had one major preconception: I had expected something in the doom metal vein of Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler‘s day job). But why should it be?! Surely one of the points of solo projects is to branch out and explore other areas of music that don’t fit in with the day job. Take Andreas Kisser’s Hubris I & II (2009) albums for example, a world apart from Sepultura.

Just like the early days of Sabbath, Butler wrote all the lyrics for this album. And just like Sabbath he doesn’t get to sing them, handing those duties to Burton C Bell whose performance on this album is exemplary. I’ve not listened to much Fear Factory but I can say that I definitely enjoyed these vocals more than any FF record I’ve heard. A combination of singing, barking, growling and almost whispering. Variety is where it’s at.

The music is a hybrid of industrial and sludge metal, it’s heavy but melodic. There are to my ear elements of Black Sabbath (the opening track reminds me of the “War Pigs” riff) in there (how can there not be?), as well as Fear Factory, Clawfinger, Megadeth (track #2 “Drive boy, shooting” reminds me of the main riff in “Kill the king”) and even Adam and the Ants (“Detective 27” reminds me of elements of the Kings of the Wild Frontier album).

Conclusion

I’ll be honest, it took me a few listens to get into it but get into it I did. It’s a solid album, with some good melodies and catchy lyrics. But it’s not an outstanding album. If I was playing my MP3 collection on random play and this album came on I wouldn’t skip it, but I’m not sure that I’d seek this album out to listen to it. I guess time will tell.

Review score: 65%

Bonus

This looks like the official video for track #2 “Drive boy, shooting”, although the audio quality isn’t great.