Reviews, December 2009
ABYSMAL TORMENT’S bio starts off by saying, “Rising out of the island of Malta, ABYSMAL TORMENT emerged as a violent death grind bullet destined to spread ear crushing brutality.” “…violent death grind bullet…”, indeed! Epoch of Methodic Carnage blends everything you loved about early DYING FETUS, INTERNAL BLEEDING, and SUFFOCATION perfectly, while maintaining a sound all their own. They are technical, yes, but not in a way that would lose the listener. Nothing gets blurred here, even when they are at their most manic. I appreciate the guitar tone on this. While the guitars are of the typically downtuned and churning variety, damn near every note is decipherable; a feat in and of itself in this genre. The breakdown passages are where ABYSMAL TORMENT truly shine, however. The band may be from Malta, but these breakdowns are pure New York death metal.
Epoch of Methodic Carnage is impeccably produced, with every instrument clear in the mix. Drummer Wayne Vella is one drummer to keep an eye on! There is not one trigger to be heard on the whole affair, and he pulls off feats that would be difficult for the most seasoned. If there is any one thing to bitch about, it would be the use of two stand alone vocalists. While there is a hair of variety to be heard in the vocal department, I don’t see enough to warrant two vocalists. They just sound too similar to me. However, this is the only miniscule quibble I have for an otherwise stellar release. Fans of the above, you have a new favorite band.
Eat Clit Or Die is an excellent example of what grind should sound like. Coming off as some wretched bastard child of SANITY’S DAWN and INGROWING, CLITEATER comes out of the gate seething. This Dutch five piece are excellent at keeping everything catchy and memorable, while maintaining the absolute sick sound and feel of it all. Clocking in at just over 37 minutes for 19 songs, you know you are in for a beating, and CLITEATER definitely deliver the violent goods.
Aurally, Eat Clit Or Die is an onslaught, pure and simple. The vocals of Joost are just insane. They remind me a lot of the vocalist for Illdisposed: deep and full bodied, but not so deep as to render them unlistenable. Add in his occasional belch, and you have the perfect grindcore vocalist. As far as the songs themselves are concerned, be prepared for a maelstrom. As mentioned before, it is extremely catchy. I attribute this to the fact that they seem to have held a firm grasp on grind’s punk roots and exploit them to the fullest extent. Check out the midpaced chug to “Incarcerated” for evidence of this. Definitely a welcome addition to my collection.
Black Lotus Records is garnering quite the impressive roster of talent. From legends such as MANILLA ROAD, NECROMANTIA, CRIMSON GLORY (Yes…They are fucking back!!! About time!), and ACHERON to newer names such as ABSOLUTE STEEL, THE AERIUM, THUNDRA, and the excellent NAER MATARON, this is one label that shows tons of promise. What is interesting is that Black Lotus doesn’t stick with one or two genres. They are all over the metal map, which is quite refreshing indeed. The downside to labels like this is that when they do a specialized genre like black metal, quality control seems to slip. Not so with Black Lotus. They definitely know what they are doing, and seem careful in who they bring to the family. Hence, NAER MATARON as a prime example.
Having been around since 1994, NAER MATARON are a powerful black metal force that hearkens back to the early days of black metal’s second wave. They have managed to capture the feeling, the mystique, and the sound of that era so well, one would think that Discipline Manifesto was pulled from a long-buried time capsule. Opening with the 9+ minute “Extreme Unction”, I instantly thought of SATYRICON’S “Mother North”, and was hooked. This is no keyboard driven “symphonic” black metal, but there are elements of said subgenre scattered throughout, i.e.- acoustic guitar passages, clean male vocals (Isahn’s clean vocal parts from “Anthems To The Welkin” come to mind), and loads of melody. At the same time, blast beats and high-speed tremolo-picked melodic guitar runs are rampant. I even hear traces of NEFILHEIM and BEWITCHED tinged blackened thrash in some of the riffs. That said, they are not a complete re-hash, as they do a good job at creating their own identity. Discipline Manifesto is diverse, but not so much so as to stray away from the blackened realm they inhabit. An incredible body of work from this band that I look forward to hearing more from.
Naer Mataron: http://www.naermataron.com
I guess this is what reviewers felt like the first time they heard Neurosis, Cop Shoot Cop, etc. They didn’t know exactly how to describe them. All they knew was, these bands were heavy, genre-defying, and infectious. I will do the best I can, and hope that I can do a bit of justice here.
NORIEGA are doomy, but not in a groovy, rocking kind of way. Their definition of Doom lies in the thick, oozing guitar lines that work their way through the songs like molasses in January. For the sake of comparison, think Coffins, instead of Trouble in terms of musical composition. NORIEGA is faster, musically than Coffins. But that should give you an idea for a basis in mood and tone. Add a Jazzy flair, droning guitar lines, Hardcore vocals and a feeling of complete and utter despair. You should be getting close to the ballpark of what NORIEGA is looking to accomplish.
The Jazz feel that crops up every now and then is not in a mathematically laid out pattern, the way you would normally think of Jazz. But, neither is it the random scatter of free Jazz. NORIEGA’S Jazz lies somewhere in between, and comes in just long enough to tease you before throwing you headlong into the abyss of drone and bleak feedback. Hell, the first track, “You Are God Songs” starts off with a bass intro that I could see Les Claypool writing, had he spent his life suffering from depression.
Strangely enough, four out of the five songs on here are short, averaging 3 minutes or so. Track 5 however? Different story entirely. “Ballacaust” weighs in at a hefty 12:23. On this track, NORIEGA run rampant on your senses. Don’t get me wrong. They still keep it slow and plodding. But the structure of the song goes through so many changes that the structure is almost unimportant. Instead of a mere song, “Ballacaust” is a soundscape.
NORIEGA’S “Desolo” is the first release for fledgling label Viable Records. I simply cannot wait to hear more. Fans of bands such as Neurosis, Today is the Day, Warhorse and even Eyehategod and Buzzoven should eat this up. I hear all of those influences here. NORIEGA manage to crush and mesmerize all at once. Great job.
Viable Records: email@example.com
When members of legendary bands get together for a project, I tend to grab up on said projects like a kid presented with a bowl of the sweetest chocolate. BLOODBATH, LOCK UP, and BLOOD RED THRONE all come to mind as winners. In this case, we have an incredible album from THOU ART LORD, comprised of Sakis and Themis of ROTTING CHRIST, and The Magus from NECROMANTIA. Add another winner to the list! This will be stuck in my player (and my head) for quite some time.
This is catchy, thrashy black metal with an almost rock (!) feel to it in spots. I was surprised to hear the distortion pulled back a bit on the guitar end, which adds a slightly darker feel and keeps every note clear. THOU ART LORD show themselves to be quite the cohesive unit, able to cruise from steady mid paced rhythms, to more grim territory and back without losing a step. The vocals are a bit lower in the mix than I would have liked, but they are still audible, and pretty much stay in the mid range rasp area with the occasional throaty growl mixed in at just the right times. The band have completely mastered the art of songwriting on this one, even rendering their cover of ONSLAUGHT’S “Power From Hell” their own. Gorgeous packaging and cover art round out a perfect release from THOU ART LORD.
Thou Art Lord: http://www.thouartlord.tk