Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Details

Recorded and mixed at Sound Suite Studio from May to June 1998. Produced by Atle Wiig, Knut Naesje and Jo Arlid Toennessen. Engineered by Terje Refsnes. Mixed by Terje Refsnes and Twin Obsenity. Mastered at DMS, Marl, Germany.

Encyclopedia Metallum

Band

  • Atle Wiig—Vocals and guitars
  • Jo Arlid Toennessen—Bass
  • Knut Naesje—Drums

Guest musicians

  • Mona Undheim Skottene—Keyboards and vocals
  • Alexander Twiss—Guitars

Tracks

  1. In glorious strife
  2. The usurper’s throne
  3. For blood, honour and soil
  4. Upon the morning field
  5. The wanderer
  6. Riders of the Imperial guard
  7. The thrice-damned legions
  8. The 11th hour
  9. Lain to rest by the sword

Review

Well, here it is… four and a quarter years after I began this project I’m staring at the cover of the final CD: For Blood, Honour and Soil the second of three albums by Norwegian black/pagan/death metallers Twin Obscenity.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this album isn’t your usual black metal release. It’s strangely melodic, and has echoes of Celtic Frost’s early work, with avante garde flourishes and female vocals weaving in and out of the riffs and solos. The guitars are strummed quickly, the drums beat and crash at a m, and the bass rumbles beneath it all. The album is dark but grand, melodic but atonal in places (there are a few solos like this), and keyboards gentle tinkle a haunting melody.

Melodic black metal isn’t really my thing, so to me this isn’t a great album, but it is played with passion and conviction. I can see why someone might really enjoy this.

Conclusion

I had hoped for an outstanding album to be my last review of this collection of CDs. But I guess you can’t have everything (I mean, where would you put it!—Steven Wright). If I was played my albums on random and this one came on then I certainly wouldn’t skip it, I’m just not certain that I’d go hunt it out.

Review score: 70%

Turrigenous—A Slight Amplification EP (2008)

Turrigenous—A Slight Amplification EP (2008)

Turrigenous—A Slight Amplification EP (2008)

Details

Produced by Chris Fasulo and Greg Giordano. Mastered by Will Quinnell at Sterling Sound.

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Band

  • Greg Giordano—Vocals and guitars
  • John Vullo—Guitars
  • Mike Murray—Bass
  • Mark “The Sorcerer” Dara—Drums

Other musicians

  • (Ch)arles Midwinter—Spoken word on “A slight amplification” (track 1)

Tracks

  1. A slight amplification
  2. Emptiness, darkness, acceptance
  3. War inside

Review

Turrigenous are a progressive thrash band from Long Island, New York: think Annihilator meets Dream Theater. A Slight Amplification is their fourth release, their first EP (18 minutes long) following three full-length albums.

The song writing and arrangements are good, the playing is flawless, and the production is clear.

The title track “A slight amplification” (track 1) opens with a bit of widdliness but soon develops into mature thrash song, with more than a few nods of the hat to Megadeth, not least the spoken part about four minutes in.

“Emptiness, darkness, acceptance” (track 2), the longest of the three tracks on the disc, begins quietly and ponderously. It bubbles and bounces before bursting into life. It stops and starts, it soars and dips. In the words of my son Joshua (7) it is “good”.

The EP closes with “War inside” (track 3) which opens with a very spacious and uncharacteristic ‘chug-chug’ riff. It is the only song of the three that introduces any growling death vocals; this track in particular could have benefited from more of them. The solo about halfway through breaks up the song nicely and takes the listener on a bit of a progressive jaunt, even if it is a bit too formulaic.

Conclusion

All in all, this is decent release. I didn’t end with a burning desire to listen to the rest of their back catalogue, but I would probably listen to this again, and may grow to like it more. It didn’t set my ears on fire, but it didn’t offend them, either.

Review score: 70%

Second Shadow—Line Up (Execution Style) (2005)

Second Shadow—Line Up (Execution Style) (2005)

Second Shadow—Line Up (Execution Style) (2005)

Details

Recorded by Hans Eidsgard at Jailhouse Studios, Vennesla, Norway in June 2005. Mixed by Hans Eidsgard and Second Shadow. Produced by Second Shadow.

Band

  • Jon Vassbø—Vocals
  • Preben Mosfjell—Guitars
  • Ramses Argento—Bass guitar
  • Stig Reinhardtsen—Drums

Tracks

  1. Torture
  2. Line up (execution style)
  3. Murder v2.0
  4. Third floor malevolence
  5. Hands of murder
  6. Mind devoured

Review

This six track EP from Norway’s Second Shadow represents their only official release, other than a three track demo in 2004. Unlike many bands their EP doesn’t rework or try to improve any of the tracks on the demo.

Their sound reminds me very much of the Florida death metal scene from the mid- to late-90s. Think: Morbid Angel, Death, and especially Obituary. There is a meatiness to the guitar tone, the bass guitar lurks just beneath the guitars, drums and cymbals rattle alongside, and Vassbø growls away in the foreground.

Like many death metal albums I’ve listened to this is quite formulaic. There’s not much that is new. They don’t seem to bring anything particularly unique on the genre. It’s solid, listenable, but probably quite disposable death metal.

Conclusion

Despite sounding a bit like Obituary-wannabes I rather enjoyed this short slab of Norwegian death metal. If it came on, I certainly wouldn’t switch it off.

One thing about this album to note, however, is that it really does sound much better played loudly. The way metal is supposed to be listened to, right?

Review score: 70%

Second Chance (NL)—Tides May Turn (2003)

Second Chance (NL)—Tides May Turn (2003)

Second Chance (NL)—Tides May Turn (2003)

Details

Produced by Dirk Miers, co-produced by Perry Seleski. Mixed and mastered by Dirk Miers. Recorded at De Studio, Asse (Brussel). All music by Second Chance, except track 13 by Sick of It All.

Band

  • Ronald Driessen—Vocals
  • Perry Seleski—Guitars
  • Jimmy Stress—Bass guitar
  • Jordy Middelbosch—Drums

Tracks

  1. Why should I care
  2. Make amends
  3. Tides may turn
  4. Straight edge is a waste
  5. We don’t care
  6. Progress or poverty?
  7. Full speed ahead
  8. Beg, steal and borrow
  9. Teenage tragedy
  10. All over again
  11. G.S.
  12. Stand up
  13. The deal (Sick of It All cover)
  14. Outro (Break up and be loud)

Review

The album cover made me suspect that I might be in for an evening of pirate metal. But no, it’s hardcore.

I think I probably say this every time I review a hardcore album: every time I review a hardcore album, I forget how much I like hardcore. I should really have got the message by now. This is hardcore album number 13 in my collection.

I’ve only listened to this album two or three times, but I’d say that Second Chance can hold their own against the likes of Poison Idea, Sick of It All, or Biohazard. The songs are short (the title track clocks in at 3′ 06″, but most don’t even see the two minutes’ mark), they are melodic and punky, and the production is good with enough bass to give the album depth.

I think my favourite moment in the album is towards the end of “Straight edge is a waste” (track 4) which switches to a very lo-fi vibe, making it sound like the track is being played from a small transistor radio.

The penultimate track is a cover of Sick of It All’s “The Deal” (track 13) which offers a nice contrast between the style of the two bands. All things considered, I think I actually prefer my fellow Europeans.

The closing track “Outro (break out and be loud)” is played on acoustic with everyone singing along. It’s the most pirate-sounding track on the album, and indeed probably in my whole collection. Yah-harr! Ye hardcore lubbers!

Conclusion

Each time I’ve listened to this album I’ve had the same uncomfortable thought: this album is a bit like own-brand crisps. It does the job. It doesn’t offer anything particularly new or exciting. While it may be rather generic hardcore, I like it. It does the job, and it does it well. It doesn’t get in the way of itself.

This band doesn’t need a second chance from me (see what I did there?). I’ve liked them first time round.

Review score: 70%

Resurrecturis—Non Voglio Morrire (2009)

Resurrecturis—Non Voglio Morrire (2009)

Resurrecturis—Non Voglio Morrire (2009)

Details

Recorded at Acme recording studio and slept upon for months by Davide Rosati (a real professionist!). Mixed and salvaged at Potemkin Studio by Paolo Ojetti and Alessandro Vagnoni (mixing assistant).

Band

  • Janos Murri—Vocals and guitar
  • Carlo Strappa—Guitar
  • Manuel Coccia—Bass
  • Alessandro Vagnoni—Drums

Tracks

  1. The origin
  2. Prologue
  3. Fuck face
  4. Corpses forever
  5. The artist
  6. Save my anger
  7. Calling our names
  8. After the show
  9. The fracture
  10. Away from the flock
  11. Where shall I go from here?
  12. Walk through fire
  13. In retrospective

Review

Straight off the bat, with “The origin” (track 1) this album has a rough and ready old school thrash feel to it. They call themselves death metal, but this definitely sounds more like thrash.

And that’s perhaps what I like most about this album: just as soon as you’ve settled on one definite genre and neatly pigeonholed them Rusurrecturis wriggles and squirms and they morph into something else. Which makes for one interesting album.

“Prologue” (track 2) is heavy song, but it’s melodic with a guitar solo played through a phaser pedal which gives it a bit of a space age feel. And beneath it is a delicate, tinkling piano. The song morphs into “Fuck face” (track 3) which is back to an in-your-face thrashing metal stab in the faccccccce.

“Corpses forever” (track 4) is a very straightforward death metal song featuring a gutteral Cookie Monster vocal. “The artist” (track 5) has a latter-days Celtic Frost feel. It is slow and brooding, it is heavy and avant-garde with melodic female vocals. Then it’s back to largely generic death metal with “Save my anger” (track 6) apart from the almost nu-metal style shouty-melodic chorus.

Track 7 introduces us to another face of Resurrecturis. “Calling our names” is a ballad, in the style of a Pantera ballad. It is fragile and melodic but heavy as.

“After the show” (track 8) initially feels like ‘proper’ death metal, in the tradition of Chuck Schuldiner and Death, but in typical Resurrecturis style they throw in a few other influences, and a melodic chorus gets barked down in a very call-and-answer way. Good stuff.

“The fracture” (track 9) is a solid metal song with mostly clean vocals, a cracking melody, and a enough kickdrums to keep most metalheads happy. “Away from the flock” (track 10) has quite an ‘acidic’ guitar intro, and it’s back to the growling vocals. This is probably the darkest-sounding song on the album.

“Where shall I go from here?” (track 11) has quite a nu-metal feel but does feature a fantastic interweaving dual-guitar duel halfway through that segues into a passionate solo.

“Walk through fire” (track 12) follows in the vein of track 9, with clean and growling vocals trading lines. This has a more traditional melodic death metal vibe to it.

“In retrospective” (track 13) opens with an ambient soundscape, like a restaurant or drinks evening. Cue acoustic guitar and heartfelt vocals. It’s not at all what I expected.

Conclusion

Never judge an album by the cover. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about putting this album on but boy! I’m glad I did.

Review score: 70%

DVD

It was only while I was adding the CD details, having already written the review, that I remembered there was a DVD with this release.  “The Fracture (videoclip)” is a bare-chested display of testosterone-fuelled metal. “Making of” is… shows a few behind-the-scenes clips of the making of “The Fracture”; I didn’t find it particularly interesting, to be honest.

There follows a photogallery and video credits, and then the DVD finishes with 17 minutes of Resurrecturis live at Luckau, Germany from 26 May 2006. More bare chests and the drummer for some reason has an elastoplast on his forehead! The playing is good enough, the sound isn’t great, and the stagemanship is a little dull but it’s certainly nice to see the band playing live.

DVD score: 30%

 

Man of the Hour—Skull Orchard (2004)

Man of the Hour—Skull Orchard (2004)

Man of the Hour—Skull Orchard (2004)

Details

Produced by Matt Justice and Man of the Hour. Engineered by Matt Maguire. Recorded at Studio 24, Edinburgh in sporadic bursts from April to July 2004.

Encyclopaedia Metallum

Band

  • Tommy Concrete—Vocals
  • Stevie Power—Lead guitar
  • Matt Justice—Lead guitar
  • Soo C Diamond—Bass
  • Engine—Drums

Tracks

  1. Friendship through steel
  2. Hey baby
  3. Enter the drug fuelled domain
  4. They’re never gonna take away our voice
  5. The crawling chaos suite part 1 — skull orchard
  6. The crawling chaos suite part 2 — beware the unseen
  7. The crawling chaos suite part 3 — quest for the unknown
  8. Spinal pressure
  9. Terminate / dominate
  10. Whip of fire (come lash me)
  11. The death throws (of choice)
  12. We all hail

Review

Judging by the “R.I.P.” on their MySpace page it’s probably safe to say that Edinburgh heavy metal band Man of the Hour’s hour has come and gone. Their legacy consists of two full length albums, this one and Destroy the Machines of Slaughter (2007), which I’ll review next week.

Man of the Hour is a band that knows their heavy metal heritage: crushing riffs, screaming Rob Halford-style vocals, and lyrical tales of drinking, sex and fantastic mediaeval battles.

Many of the lyrics are very much tongue-in-cheek, from the Spinal Tap-esque innuendo of “Hey baby” (track 2) and the Carry On style “We all hail” (track 12). But they are clearly written with a great deal of respect and love for the genre.

Metallum Encyclopaedia categorises Man of the Hour as “Doom/stoner metal”. They certainly have a bass-heavy, sludgy sound but there is huge dollop of new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM). Think Judas Priest meets Saxon meets Manowar meets Black Label Society meets Down.

Derivative it may be, but it’s written and played very well. They were clearly having a great deal of fun while writing and recording this.

Conclusion

This is the kind of old school heavy metal album that requires you to always write ‘heavy metal’ rather than just ‘metal’. It generates visions of grown men banging their head in sweaty clubs, adorned in denim and leather, singing suggestive songs of conquests (either romantic or against dragons and castles).

It’s the epitome of what many people think they understand heavy metal to be. They’re wrong. But it’s certainly a small part of it. And in this small corner of the heavy metal kingdom Man of the Hour have a self-prophesying name.

Review score: 70%

Joe Pesci—At Our Expense! (2009)

Joe Pesci—At Our Expense! (2009)

Joe Pesci—At Our Expense! (2009)

Details

Music recorded at The Afternoon Gentlemen’s Practice Rooms, Leeds, April 2009. Vocals recorded at Unit 28, Newcastle, June 2009. Mixed and mastered by Dan Pesci. Released on Bones Brigade Records. Limited to 500 copies.

Band

  • Stu Bartlett — Vocals
  • Dan Pesci — Guitar and vocals
  • Rich — Drums and vocals

Tracks

  1. Sticking my carbon footprint up your arse
  2. Stagnate
  3. I’m not a pessimist (it’s just that we’re all fucked)
  4. Scorn of humanity
  5. Beating Robert Mugabe to death…
  6. Hyper-real
  7. The old stats test
  8. Funkhouser
  9. Mindless zombified fucks
  10. Wasting your life in a dead end existence
  11. Cure vs profit
  12. Despair is setting in
  13. Brain-dead beer bong, is Stino’s epitaph
  14. Plato complex
  15. Be quick or be dead
  16. Project 2501
  17. Smelly John Pierre

Review

Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, grindcore band Joe Pesci  (I’m guessing) take their name from the American actor, comedian and musician of the same name (Joseph Frank Pesci).

I’m not entirely certain what I think about that. Surely there are an unlimited number of names they could have chosen: Plateaux DepartmentHuglfing, or Automated Refraction System for example.

Talk about grindcore and it won’t be too long before you stumble on Napalm Death who really laid the groundwork for the genre, and ex-Anthrax / ex-SOD / ex-Nuclear Assault bassist Dan Lilker’s outfit Brutal Truth. There are a couple of acts you wouldn’t want to have to follow.

It’s clear that the band didn’t have a massive budget (not a judgment, simply an observation—not everyone can pick up a mainstream record label recording studio bill). The production is quite raw, quite punk-y — which may attract some, and alienate others. It does mean, though that the volume balance between the various film audio clips that are scattered throughout the work isn’t consistent with the music that follows. It doesn’t bother me too much but I imagine that it may annoy some.

(Having got this far in writing my review I have report that the album has already finished. All 17 tracks. Back to the start again…)

I read on a blog somewhere that when the album was sent to be mastered the rough mix was burned to CD rather than the final. Sure, it might have been nice to have a little clearer production but what we have still conveys the attitude and the skill required to write and record such a technical, heavily distorted, down-tuned, throat-ripping album.

And so to the music. It’s grindcore. It’s British, high-speed, blast-beat-happy, growl-tastic grindcore. If the song titles are anything to go by then I imagine the lyrics are humorous (but all I can hear is “Waaah! Wah!”). There are no microsongs, as such, but the shortest track is 38 seconds and the longest 1′ 22″.

There are some really nice riffs like the one that opens “Funkhouser” (track 8) and “Smelly John Pierre” (track 17). And a lot of just-get-me-through-the-track blasts of noise and shouting. But hey! that’s grindcore.

Conclusion

I’d quite happily listen to this album. It’s the kind of music that I do rather enjoy going to sleep to (note: not because of). It’s a little bit ‘high-pitch shouty’ for my liking—I prefer a good solid, deep roar, but it’s not out of keeping with the rest of the music.

The one thing I don’t really get are the audio clips from films. I just find them a little distracting, but I guess each to their own.

Review score: 70%