COREY’S APRIL 2011 BLEEDERS’ DIGEST
Here are the April 2011 releases that got under my skin, burrowed their way into my brain, made my ears bleed, or simply tickled my unmentionables:
APRIL ’11 BLEEDERS
These are the keepers. I expect to spin these throughout the year and longer.
Blut Aus Nord – 777 Sect(s)
These French black metallers are no Deathspell Omega, but they sure try hard to eclipse them. This first of a trio of releases scheduled for 2011 features alternating frenetic blastbeats transposed with Godfleshian elephant tramples. It’s the latter experience that wins me over. The former, not so much. Too many of the blasty parts come enveloped in those annoying ass bumblebee swarm guitars that drive me batty, batty, batty. But on tracks such as “Epitome 4” and “Epitome 6,” BAN recalls Mind the Perpetual Intercourse-era Skinny Puppy or Death on the Installment Plan-era Numb. When they slow things down and hit their industrial grind, BAN is morbidly beautiful.
Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe
Finally! Folk metal that doesn’t suck! Okay, obviously there are a few decent bands that play this style of music (Finntroll, Tyr, Goat the Head), but usually the raise-your-steins genre leaves me bored and uninspired. BOTBR, however, infuses more black metal ala Enslaved and latter-day Satyricon into the mix, strips away the cheese-ball, throws in some old-school Metallica riffing, and the growliest, yet entirely decipherable vocals. By stripping away the cliched trappings of folk metal, Cruachan has created a powerful, riff heavy head nodder of the highest order.
Deafheaven – Roads to Judah
This San Francisco duo’s debut mashes together black metal and post-metal (“shoegaze” also gets tossed around a lot — I think somewhat incorrectly) in only four songs. Of course, these four tracks last more than 38 minutes long, with the shortest clocking in at just under seven minutes. Imagine if Explosions in the Sky distorted their guitars more, added a skronk wall of BM vox, and switched gears from moody molasses to blasty fast on occasion and you get where they’re coming from. Not the most memorable of tunes, but a strong debut collection nonetheless.
Flame – March Into Firelands
Though these Finnish blackened thrashers have been around for nearly 15 years, this is only their second full-length record. Super lo-fi production adds to the retro 80’s feel on display with emphasis on Razor riffs, Bathory atmospherics, Hellhammer crunch, and Possessed-like evil vocals. Definitely not a brilliant album, but would make an excellent companion to a Jim van Bebber Satanic short film.
Graveyard – Hisingen Blues
Those of you who appreciate your retro rock but find The Sword way too derivative or are finally coming to realize that Ghost are horrible, need look no further than Gothenburg, Sweden’s Graveyard for your bell-bottomed shaggy mutt hairdo killer rock and roll. The lo-fi affair comes off sounding like the bastard lovechild spawned from a slippery threesome featuring Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Clutch. But instead of merely pilfering the bloozy rock sounds of the aforementioned bands and adopting an analog driven, Pro Tools-free production, Graveyard seems genuine. Not merely content to wear their influences on their paisley sleeves, but rather to absorb such classic sounds, ingest them into their digestive system, and spew forth an honest, head bobbing killer rock record.
Ravencult – Morbid Blood
Yes, more damned blackened thrash. What an incredible year it has already been for Black Metal. I must have been supremely pissed off this past month as there are so many killer bands of this murderous ilk on my list. This Greek four-piece is thrashing bitterness wrapped up in putrid intestines of bile and deceit. Perfect soundtrack for slaughtering chickens or playing over Condeleezza Rice’s voice as she attempts to steal credit for the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Please don’t slaughter chickens, unless that’s your actual job. Okay?
Goddamn, these guys smoke! See my post about these Swedish post-crustcore dudes from when I took over the MetalSucks Mansion last month.
Sylosis – Edge of the Earth
This album doesn’t quite Fuck My Face Off™, but it would bounce its balls off my chin, if I were into that. Sylosis, now with lead guitarist Josh Middleton handling vocal duties, comes across like a more technical DevilDriver. That, of course, is a good thing. Mix in some Matt Heafyish vox, some God Forbid-like harmonies, and a little Unearth for good measure, and you have the recipe for a quality melodeathcorethrash experience.
Vomitory – Opus Mortis VIII
As you may have gathered over these past several months from my album reviews, I’m definitely a steak-and-potatoes kinda guy. I much prefer a killer slab of cooked beef over some froo-froo gourmet version that panders only to the elite. Similarly, I prefer my metal the same way. Technical wankery bores me to no end. I’d much rather hear crushing, straight-ahead thrashing riffery than another Yngwie/YankMe masturbatory self-indulgent noodler. Thus, when it comes to Death Metal, look no further than Sweden’s Vomitory. This, their eighth release, does not reinvent the DM wheel, but it does offer up 37 minutes of pummeling, galloping good(evil)ness. Think Deicide, Death, and Slayer (for the slower parts) and you’ll have one satisfying meal.
Good points throughout the record, but not enough to make we want to revisit it.
Arkan – Salam; Artillery – My Blood; Asking Alexandria – Reckless and Relentless; Believer – Transhuman; Bermuda – Isolationist(s); Betrayal – Abandonment; Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax Hypersleep Dialogues (disappointing…); Burzum – Fallen; Capsule – No Ghost; Cynthesis – DeEvolution; Diabolical – Ars Vitae; Duff McKagan’s Loaded – The Taking; Endwell – Punishment; Glen Drover – Metalusion; Hope For the Dying – Dissimulation; Kampfar – Mare; Kingdom Come – Rendered Waters; Krallice – Diotima; Norther – Circle Regenerated; Otep – Atavist; Periphery – Icarus EP; Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand; Red Fang – Murder the Mountains; Sarke – Oldarhian; Septicflesh – The Great Mass; Sons of Seasons – Magnisphyricon; Vicious Rumors – Razorback Killer; Wolf – Legions of Bastards
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light; Last Chance to Reason – Level 2; Madam Adam – s/t; Negura Bunget – Focul Viu; Nightshade – Lost in Motion; Pentagram – Last Rites; Shaman – Origins; Symfonia – In Paradisum; Texas in July – One Reality; Vintersorg – Jordpuls; Winds of Plague – Against the World
Was not able to get my grubby little hands on these platters.
A Life Divided – Passenger; Above Symmetry – Ripples; Aerial Ruin – Valleys of the Earth; Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You – And On and On split; Annihilation Time – II; A.N.S./Ramming – s/t split; Batillus – Furnace; Blood Freak – Mindscraper; Bodyfarm – s/t; Conflicted – Never Be Tamed; Cypherseer – Origins; Destrophy – Cry Havoc; Faithsedge – s/t; Feral – Dragged to the Altar; Former Thieves – The Language That We Speak; Foundation – When the Smoke Clears; Graviton – Massless; Haeresiarchs Of Dis – In Obsecration of the Seven Darks; Heirs – Fowl; Hero In Error – The Highs of New Lows; Hyperborean – The Spirit of Warfare; Indians – Guiltless; Kicker – Innit; Negura Bunget – Poarta de Dincolo EP; The New Black – II: Better in Black; No Turning Back – Take Control; Ovo – Cor Cordium; Sinister – Altered Since Birth; Solar Fragment – In Our Hands; Summon the Crows – One More For the Gallows; Taletellers – Radicalizer; Too Late the Hero – Statement of Purpose; Turbocharged – AntiXtian; Victims – A Dissident; Young Widows – In and Out of Youth and Lightness
BEST APRIL ’11 RECORD
Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe
“I am warrior. Ready to fight!”
BIGGEST APRIL ’11 SURPRISE
Interesting month with all kinds of surprises. The amount of top quality black metal albums (or ones with blackened edges) this year is incredible. I am especially enjoying the variations and permutations of the sound.
The next biggest surprise is Signo Rojo, an unsigned Swedish band that out Mastodon’s Mastodon. Their promoalbum2011 blows away nearly 90% of the releases I have heard this year. As I said before, a record label needs to step up and sign these guys now. Hey, I knew what I was talking about when it came to Iron Thrones last year.
BIGGEST APRIL ’11 DISAPPOINTMENT
Time to revoke my MS privileges — I cannot stand Djent!! It’s soulless, songless, and incredibly boring. Yes, the TesseracTs and The Human Abstracts and Peripheries and Obscuras and Neuraxis’ and Last Chance to Reasons et al do absolutely nothing for me. If I want heavy, proggy, technical metal with high-pitched vocals, I’ll throw on Watchtower. If I want it with death growls, I’ll listen to Meshuggah. BTW, Meshuggah is NOT Djent. At all.
Oh, and the Pentagram LP was a major disappointment as well. Especially after how much I loved the documentary, Last Days Here, about Bobby Leibling.
2011 TOP 15 EARLY INCLUSIONS
Let’s see if they make the final cut.
Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe (Apr. ’11)
American Heritage – Sedentary (Mar. ’11)
KEN Mode – Venerable (Mar. ’11)
Of Legends – Stranded (Mar. ’11)
SubRosa – No Help For the Mighty Ones (Mar. ’11)
DevilDriver – Beast (Feb. ’11)
Horned Almighty – Necro Spirituals (Jan. ’11)
Tuck From Hell – Thrashing (Jan. ’11)
Metal Releases Listened to – 183
Bleeders – 47
Meh’ers – 80
Blowers – 56
Top 15′ers – 9
PREVIOUS MONTHS’ BLEEDERS
**Some of these releases are possibly late 2010 sets, first-time U.S. releases, or sneak peeks of upcoming albums.**
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books.