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COREY’S APRIL 2011 BLEEDERS’ DIGEST

Rating
1110

Last year (and the year before) I got way too busy with this thing called life and missed out on a lot of quality music. I am here to rectify the error of my ways, month by month.

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?

 

Signo Rojo – promoalbum2011

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.


APRIL ’11 MEH’ERS

Good points throughout the record, but not enough to make we want to revisit it.

ArkanSalam; ArtilleryMy Blood; Asking AlexandriaReckless and Relentless; BelieverTranshuman; BermudaIsolationist(s); BetrayalAbandonment; Between the Buried and MeThe Parallax Hypersleep Dialogues (disappointing…); BurzumFallen; CapsuleNo Ghost; CynthesisDeEvolution; DiabolicalArs Vitae; Duff McKagan’s LoadedThe Taking; EndwellPunishment; Glen DroverMetalusion; Hope For the DyingDissimulation; KampfarMare; Kingdom ComeRendered Waters; KralliceDiotima; NortherCircle Regenerated; Otep Atavist; PeripheryIcarus EP; PrimordialRedemption at the Puritan’s Hand; Red FangMurder the Mountains; Sarke Oldarhian; SepticfleshThe Great Mass; Sons of SeasonsMagnisphyricon; Vicious Rumors Razorback Killer; WolfLegions of Bastards


APRIL ’11 BLOWERS

Not even worth selling on eBay. Do people still do that?

Foo FightersWasting Light; Last Chance to ReasonLevel 2; Madam Adams/t; Negura BungetFocul Viu; Nightshade Lost in Motion; PentagramLast Rites; ShamanOrigins; SymfoniaIn Paradisum; Texas in July One Reality;  VintersorgJordpuls; Winds of PlagueAgainst the World


APRIL ’11 MISSES

Was not able to get my grubby little hands on these platters.

A Life DividedPassenger; Above SymmetryRipples; Aerial RuinValleys of the Earth; Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise YouAnd On and On split; Annihilation TimeII; A.N.S./Rammings/t split; BatillusFurnace; Blood FreakMindscraper; Bodyfarms/t; ConflictedNever Be Tamed; CypherseerOrigins; DestrophyCry Havoc; Faithsedges/t; FeralDragged to the AltarFormer ThievesThe Language That We Speak; FoundationWhen the Smoke Clears; GravitonMassless; Haeresiarchs Of DisIn Obsecration of the Seven Darks; HeirsFowl; Hero In ErrorThe Highs of New Lows; HyperboreanThe Spirit of Warfare; IndiansGuiltless; KickerInnit; Negura BungetPoarta de Dincolo EP; The New BlackII: Better in Black; No Turning BackTake Control; OvoCor Cordium; SinisterAltered Since Birth; Solar FragmentIn Our Hands; Summon the CrowsOne More For the Gallows; TaletellersRadicalizer; Too Late the HeroStatement of Purpose; Turbocharged – AntiXtian; VictimsA Dissident; Young WidowsIn 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)

 


Signo Rojo promoalbum2011 (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)

 

YEAR-TO-DATE TALLY:

Metal Releases Listened to – 183

Bleeders – 47

Meh’ers – 80

Blowers – 56

Top 15′ers – 9

 

PREVIOUS MONTHS’ BLEEDERS

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

 

**Some of these releases are possibly late 2010 sets, first-time U.S. releases, or sneak peeks of upcoming albums.**

-CM

Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books.

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