November 29, 2013

Rogue Empire - Overlord (2013)

Regardless of the band abstaining from classifying their music to any other branch than metal, Chad Hanish (guitars/vocals) described this album to us as Symphonic Deathcore, and while I´m grateful that he took the time to explain this, I don´t think it was truly necessary.

That´s simply because I have absolutely no clue as to what to expect when reading those words; what I do happen to recognize are some electronica bits fused within the structure of the songs, which at times reminded me of early Chimaira, however distant that may sound. I can also hear some Fallujah buried in the background, while the vocals eerily resemble those of Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying. 

Influences left aside though, Rogue Empire is not like any of those bands, as the music has its own identity and will probably make me forever associate them with this weirdly satisfying term that is Symphonic Deathcore (hey, that´s a win there, right guys? :) ) 

As I´m writing this, I have kicked up the volume from the speakers and I can say that I´m enjoying the hell out of this record, and while I´m not really one of those guys that go searching for breakdowns, the one in ´Ghost´ kind of took me be surprise. Female vocals are also a nice touch, they arrived at just about the right time to add some variation to the songs.

One itsy-bitsy-tiny suggestion though: will you please, in the name of our Holy Metal Lord, work on your guitar solos? Because at this point they feel more like exercises on the fret board than actual melodies, and it kind of takes the whole fun out of the songs…

November 24, 2013

BEASTMILK "Climax" (2013)

Finland's BEASTMILK destroyed everything I knew about post-punk when I got to hear their sold-out 2012 "Use Your Deluge" EP. Catchy, cold, refreshing, dead; All in one amazing and sharp release that everyone should hear, regardless of musical orientation. The thing with this band is that they're constantly one fart away from falling into hipster/indie punk, yet so far they've maintained a very unique sound, with the post-apocalyptic themes and all. When news broke out of the finns recording an LP I pooped everywhere in pure excitement. It was going to be damn good.

As it is with many albums I listen to for the first time (even some of my all-time favourites), my first time hearing it left me kind of confused. It was sort of a hit-and-miss. I was pretty clear that I had lost my feel ring and did not know what to feel about "Climax". After replaying it several times, it hit me: 1.There are some tracks here that really sound like a hipster's wet dream and 2.There are some tracks here that send me to the very depths of the post-nuclear wasteland. On one hand we have "Ghosts Out Of Focus" and "Strange Attractors", something that sounds like it was released by Robin And The Backstabbers, while on the other hand we have "Wind Blows Through Their Skulls", "Death Reflects Us", "Fear Your Mind" and one of my soon to be favourite tracks of 2013, "Genocidal Crush".

No doubt the weaker songs are the minority here, but that doesn't mean you can unhear them. Even with that, this album has amazing tunes that are going to stick with you for quite some time. Also, the cover art is pretty cool.


SHOW REVIEW: Void Forger / Drip of Lies (live @ Underworld Bucharest)

Well, it finally happened: I was at last present at a Void Forger show, the band in which our very own Volo plays drums and screams. Two weeks ago, I hopped on a bus to Bucharest with the sole purpose of attending this show and eat a cream mushroom soup at a local eatery. The eatery was full so I ended up at KFC instead, but luckily, I managed the incredible feat of telepathically finding Volo deep in the Bucharest subway system, holding his drums and a chicken sandwich. So it began...

The hours before the show were spent mostly on the street outside the venue, drinking cheap vodka and even cheaper wine (it came in a carton, just to give you a hint) until riding around on the street in some abandoned office chairs seemed like a terrific idea. There was even office chair jousting! Sometime around then, the guys from Drip of Lies also arrived in their tour van, so that was good. 

As time passed, the hours bent, and at around 10PM, Void Forger took the stage as the opening act, while I took my place front and to the right, just under Jay's guitar, so I could take in every distorted note he played. Yeah,  I was already pretty drunk at the time, but man, did they put out an awesome show! Tons of energy from all the band members, lots of feedback, lots of volume and, best of all, an assortment of old and brand new tracks. The new stuff sounds fucking incredible, to be quite frank. The doom is still there, the crusty attitude is still there, but now I could feel an additional sludge-bluesy vibe to Jay's guitar playing, so I'm definitely excited for them to hit the studio and record an album. Shoot for the stars, guys!!

Shortly thereafter, Drip of Lies started their set. I had listened to some of their stuff on Bandcamp before, so I was only vaguely familiar with their music, but their raw energy, excellent musical skills and anti-fascist message really did it for me last night, so I went crazy. Luckily, I wasn't the only one - people seemed to legitimately love the show and there was a lot of moshing going on. My favorite part was definitely the last song they played, called Heart & Mind, which began with a superb guitar intro and progressed into all-out sonic war - loved every minute of it! 

All in all, we all spent an enjoyable evening of noisy hardcore punk and drinking beer and various other alcoholic beverages, after which Volo and I crashed on our good buddy Radu's couch and had some delicious cheese pie. Great story! 

That drunken idiot in the white Mortal Torment shirt is, in fact, me, wandering like a retard on stage for no good reason. I'm sorry for everything.

November 15, 2013

Proiectul Tivodar - The Works

A little while ago I attended an anniversary concert of an up and coming romanian band founded by a couple of fellows that I´ve known for quite a while now. Yes, you can say this was supposed to be a show review, but it´s not going to be. The reason is simple, though: what they play is not the kind of music that you can describe accurately, since it relies heavily on a personal approach, the energy (or the calmness) that applies on stage and the crowd interaction being just a few of the decisive factors that make their tunes ´click´ for any listener; classic definition of the ´felt rather than heard´ music.

Their roots are in romanian folk, however the current lineup takes things to another level. While still retaining the basic underlying of the genre, the band has shifted away towards acoustic/progressive rock territory, and dare I say this is one case where I´m not throwing that last word around aimlessly. Comprised of six members which run a gammut of instruments (two acoustic guitars, two violins, two electric guitars, drums, shared vocals), the need for complexity here is not just for show, as every song is carefully engineered to emanate a particular feeling, tools being switched on the fly according to any given particulars.

So, in order to avoid the case of over the top subjectivity, I´m going to let the music speak for itself; here´s a small taste of how they sound like, if any of the above words have piqued your interest (with the note that unfortunately, this is the only video that is correctly portraying the full force of the current six piece line up; you can always scour around for more if you feel the sudden urge to discover the history of the band):

P.S: They are currently running a crowd funding event for the release of their first LP; for anyone interested to contribute, here be the link:

We Are Here - Proiectul Tivodar

The page is in romanian, but if any of you foreigners to our language wish to know exactly what you´re getting for your money, you can always contact them on their band page to ask for more info.

November 14, 2013

Culto de Uroboros

South Americans definetely know their metal. After Uaral and Mar de Grises, this is the third band to surprise me with a good mix of original songwritting and untamed riffs. The fact that they do so by taking a death metal aproach to things is also something to uphold, compared to the doom outfits I listed above.

What´s more interesting about Uroboros is that they´re a two man band, thus having to rely on only drums, guitars and vocals to make their point, but oh boy, do they manage to do knock it out of the park! Their songs are angry, their riffs - dirty as hell and they have just the right production to make their instruments sound as ´ugly´ as they can get, which speaks even more to the quality of their songs. 

They have two EP´s, which you can listen to in any order you like, as they basically form a fuller template more akin to a complete LP. Personally, I chose Herejía & Exilio first, as the more subdued and doomish outro (again, I´m a sucker for slower and more melacholic songs) fits very well before Misantropía & Blasfemia takes hold and pummels you deep into nephilim territory. 

All in all, Uroboros delivers a good forty one minutes of quality death metal, ocassionally mixed with some sludge/stoner/doom elements, because why the hell not! If it sounds good and make you want to headbang, then who am I to deny their right to do so?

November 12, 2013

Loungerie II - Devaro (2013)

Yes, yes! I've made it! The first band ever to listen to my feedback! Or maybe it's just a coincidence and I'm narcissistic fuck. For those of you who don't read my stupid reviews, Loungerie II is a jazz band hailing from Bucharest, Romania. And when I say ''jazz'', I mean ''jazz influenced experimental electronica neo-noir with some bits of psych-indie thrown in the mix just for the hell of it''. Sounds confusing?

Well, don't worry, because Devaro is a big improvement over their 2012 EP. Gone are the rap segments (which were okay but felt totally out of place) and the sudden shifts in pace that have the potential to confuse the fuck out of a person who has the attention span of a newborn puppy like me. It's more focused, structured and straightforward than their previous release, but that doesn't mean they've shied away from experimenting with different sounds.

The opening track, Slow Burner, is a 17 minute long pysch piece that I wouldn't even dare try to describe without ingurgitating the right amount of drugs. Now listen to Late Hours and please tell me how come they've been included in the same damn album. One minute I'm listening to Funkadelic after a bad week at Woodstock, and the next minute Diana Krall is singing about sweet nights spent in the city. Songs like Mite People and Violet follow the same formula as Slow Burner, except for certain segments where the guys start jamming and riffing and drumming the songs into the Oblivion; these two are clearly the most atmospheric and well crafted songs of Devaro because, somehow, they've managed to add a subtle post-rock flavor-thingie and yeah, I know, I have no idea what I'm talking about but just trust me on this one, okay?  On the other end of the spectrum, Continental Night Shift kicks off with what I asume to be a distorted guitar riff, Tom Morello style, followed by some weird ambient sounds and then... funk. And jazz. I'd label this under the ''neo-funkadelia'' genre (a genre which I totally didn't invent on the spot), because it has psych, jazz and funk elements mashed together into a single 15 minute song, as if they've summarized the whole damn album into a single song to help out the ones that are too lazy or maybe don't have the time to listen Devaro from start to finish. If you're not familiar with Loungerie II's stuff, I highly recommend this track, it's a good starting point.

All in all, Devaro is a great debut album that combines jazz, psych and other styles that I've probably never heard about into one trippy motherfucker of an album that I'll be having on repeat for a while.

November 10, 2013

ENFORCER "Death By Fire" (2013)

Everything amazing is happening in Sweden.

I am a long time Enforcer fan, and I consider their 2010 LP, "Diamonds" (which I happily own on vinyl) to be a very strong and ripping heavy metal album without looking like a shitty retro-wannabe band (a.k.a White Wizzard). When news hit of the new Enforcer album I was very glad, but got to be pretty dissapointed when I saw that the band had changed their lyrical themes from gambling, Jappanese culture and adrenaline to more occult and satanic stuff, as that was not the Enforcer I knew and loved.

Yet somehow, "Death By Fire" managed to top off "Diamonds", be extremely catchy, fast and well-written and earn its place as one of the best albums of the year. Simple as that. The guitar riffs are even better on this one, and the choruses are just pure gold. How can a freaking instrumental track ("Crystal Suite") become one of the best things on this album? and that's saying a lot. EVERY SINGLE TRACK (except for the last one) pack an amazing punch and are just perfect swedish heavy metal. 

The single off of this LP, "Mesmerized By Fire", has gotten its own music video which is beautifully constructed and filmed. I hope they make it big enough to tour Romania, yet small enough to not be like Ghost. I do not want to see any Enforcer-brand butt plugs. :^)