Devildriver ‘Winter Kills’ Album Review

Tags

, , ,

Devildriver to me have always been considered one of the ‘gateway’ bands for access to heavier music, once upon a time ago I was presented with 2007’s ‘The last Kind Words’ and it paved the way for my interest in extreme music. Six years and two records later Devildriver are back with their brand new record entitled ‘Winter Kills’. Does this new offering continue the slick groove found in Devildriver’s music or does it fall short on expectations?

One thing is certain with ‘Winter Kills’ there is plenty of slick grooves and intricate guitar play to keep one certainly entertained throughout. Devildriver built their name and reputation on offering breathtaking guitar solos, and consistent riff mastery and groove all reinforced with frontman Dez Fafara’s iconic vocal style. For example the excellent solos and twin guitar play performed by Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer that were so ever present on ‘The Last Kind Words’ return on ‘Winter Kills'; ‘Curses and Epitaphs’ features an extensive closing solo that bears so much resemblance to earlier material and ‘Gutted’ features slamming riffs that just encourage heads to bang.

Before ‘Winter Kills’ was released Devildriver did release two tracks from the album in order to build anticipation for the record release, ‘Ruthless’ and ‘The Appetite’ were the two tracks in question. However these two tracks are easily the weakest tracks from ‘Winter Kills’. ‘Ruthless’ is your standard bog of the mill track that you can now expect from Devildriver that was so ever present on 2011’s ‘Beast’ and ‘The Appetite’ whilst significantly better than ‘Ruthless’ does lack that special hook that made Devildriver’s earlier records such titans in the groove metal genre.

This leads to another point I have to make about ‘Winter Kills’. You know from the offset that it’s a Devildriver record. Everything you have come to expect from the American groove lords is present here, from consistent riffs, to steady consistent drum work and roaring vocals throughout. Now that is certainly not a bad thing as if the formula isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Right?!

Devildriver have brought another consistent and solid record to the table. As record number six, it certainly maintains the musical quality the band have established since their formation 11 years ago. Whilst significantly better than 2011’s ‘Beast’ ‘Winter Kills’ does not rise to the same immense high standards of quality like 2005’s ‘The Fury of our Maker’s Hands’ and 2007’s ‘The Last Kind Words. That said though, ‘Winter Kills’ is still a solid release from Devildriver providing plenty of fresh groove and riffs to encourage a good dose of whiplash.

8/10

Entombed Announce New Album

Tags

, , ,

Swedish death metal pioneers Entombed have announced their brand new studio record, the follow up to 2007’s ‘Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments”.

Entitled ‘Back To The Front’ the band promises to deliver their usual slab and style of death metal that propelled Entombed to the status of one of the pioneers of the Swedish death metal movement.

‘Back To The Front’ will be released on October 28 in Europe and October 29 in North America via Century Media Records.

Stay focused on Entombed’s Facebook page for updates on the new record.

Born of Osiris ‘Tomorrow We Die ∆live’ Review

Progressive deathcore act Born of Osiris certainly established their finely crafted sound on 2011’s The Discovery, blending the progressive polyrhythmic chugging riffs of djent, the musical proficiency of technical death metal, and heavy use of keyboards and electronic elements. The result was a unique take on the deathcore genre, and the album’s successor, confusingly dubbed Tomorrow We Die ∆live. Yes, the triangles are indeed necessary.

Immediately, it is noticeable that there has been a slight shift in style. With the departure of lead guitarist Jason Richardson, the band has chosen to revert to a style closer to the band’s earlier efforts. However, the similarities end there. The album’s opener and lead single, Machine, displays an apt showcase of the album’s strong points. The chugs are heavy, the leads are sweepy, and the keyboards are oh so catchy.

With the album’s second track, Divergence, in the the rear view mirror, it’s clear already that this band knows its way around the blend of catchy and heavy. These hooks are as meaty as they get.

The production on this effort is nothing short of superb. The djent elements of guitarist McKinney’s sound have been increased, giving the riffs far more impact. The band utilizes a heavy bass presence once again, although not to such great effect as on the album’s predecessor, as there is far more chug this time around. The keyboards are far more present on Tomorrow We Die live, swirling around the riffs to create some of the most obnoxiously catchy songs this year. The vocals, a duty provided by both keyboardist Joe Buras and standalone vocalist Ronnie Canizaro, are expertly mixed. Ronnie’s lows see a lot of double and even triple tracking, which mixes perfectly with Joe Buras’ highs. The drum production is once again phenomenal. There are few snares that can match this.

But, by halfway through the album, one can’t help but notice the gaping hole where shred extraordinaire  Jason Richardson once stood. His input on The Discovery, while not huge, was expert, culminating in the unparalleled masterpiece that is the album’s closer, XIV/Behold. The track’s complex blend of speedy riffing, crushing chugs, and beautiful soloing was one of the album’s high points. Here, Lee McKinney includes some of the neoclassical elements present on the last album, though they fail to match the extremes Richardson took them to. Tracks such as Illusionist and closer Vengeance exhibit  some excellent sweep picking focussed leads. Unfortunately, the amount of actual solos is limited. Only Exhilarate sees the return of the free-form shred the graced The Discovery.

However, this album is constructed eleven very strong tracks, rather than the six masterpieces and ten alright songs that made up the previous record. There is no filler present, no interludes or electronic tracks. This is a stripped down, razor-sharp groove-based machine. And the band works the sound with brilliance.

Yes, here is a record that is relentlessly heavy for 42 straight minutes. This djent-filled pot of chug surprisingly entertains throughout, simmering with a unique blend of deathcore and electronic elements. The dubstep breakdown during Divergency’s outro is a prime example of such. While we’ve all heard chug before, here is a unique and original take on the discipline of the open note. Truly marvellous. – Henry

9/10

Facebook

Exhumed ‘Necrocracy’ Album Review

Tags

, , , ,

For a band like Exhumed who’s career has spanned an impressive 23 years new studio records can often be difficult to bring something new to the table. By then a band’s sound has been firmly established and often new releases just tend to grind down the same formula. Two years on from 2011’s ‘All Guts No Glory’ Exhumed are back with their brand new studio record entitled ‘Necrocracy’. Does this new album grind the same formula we’ve come to expect or does it offer some delight for the death metal community?

A major strong point of ‘Necrocracy’ is the incredible musicianship to be found on this record. Exhumed’s blend of grindcore and death metal is stronger than ever on this record, through pummeling riffs that encourage serious cases of whiplash and excellent solos that showcase Exhumed’s talent. Unlike most bands associated with grindcore that just stick to the traditional formula Exhumed’s blend creates something truly unique here. For example tracks like ‘Necrocracy’ and ‘(So Passes) The Glory of Death’ are prime examples of the formula done perfectly; note slick riffs accompanied by excellent drumming and solo work.

Whilst commonly on most grindcore records that feature around 30 quick fire, adrenaline surging tracks ‘Necrocracy’ balances time structure brilliantly. Sticking to the average four minute duration it gives each track plenty of time to be enjoyed to maximum effect. It also allows the album to flow nicely, for example ‘Dysmorphic’ features a brilliant diversity of pace, easing the carnage for a short duration to then unleash back into a ferocious riff accompanied with easily the best solo on the record. This really allows each member of the band to showcase their talent. However the real noticeable improvement here is Matt Harvey’s vocal work, his range of high and low growls have improved greatly and ‘Necrocracy’ is easily his best work to date.

Production wise, ‘Necrocracy’ excels on this front as well. Unlike earlier releases the production on ‘Necrocracy’ is simply fantastic allowing a truly devastatingly immersive listening experience. Exhumed have really outdone themselves with ‘Necrocracy’, making it easily one of the most enjoyable yet incredibly heavy albums of the year and will only further boost their popularity in the death metal scene.

9/10

Introducing: Iraqi Death Police

Tags

, , ,

Originating from South Africa Iraqi Death Police present a solid slab of grindcore mixed with elements of progressive metal. The result is pure aggression accompanied with experimental guitar play. With influences from the likes of Pig Destroyer, Nile, Decapitated and Insect Warfare clear in their style of music Iraqi Death Police are a excellent band to add to your library.

They currently have one album available, via soundcloud.

R.I.P Joey LaCaze

Tags

, , ,

We here at Extreme Metallum are saddened immensely to learn of the passing of Eyehategod’s drummer Joey LaCaze who died on August 23.

Eyehategod had just returned from an extensive month long tour in Europe and were gearing up for a 25th year anniversay tour.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

You can leave your condolences on Eyehategod’s official Facebook page.

RIP Joey LaCaze

Death To All Announce European Tour

Tags

, , , ,

The former members of death metal pioneers Death who geared up under the name ‘Death To All’ who previously undertook a North American tour last year are gearing up again for a European tour for late 2013. Entitled ‘Death: DTA Europe 2013′ the former members of Death will cover a extensive 21 date European tour. Support comes from technical death metal act Obscura and DarkRise.

The line up for these shows will consist of Sean Reinert (Cynic) – drums, Paul Masvidal (Cynic) – guitar, Steve DiGiorgio (Autopsy, Testament, Iced Earth) – bass and Max Phelps (Cynic) – guitar & vocals. The setlist will feature mostly of tracks from the album ‘Human’ and other Death classics.

Tour dates are as follows:

Nov 11 Hamburg, GER   Grunspan
Nov 12 Aarhus, DK   Voxhall
Nov 13 Berlin, GER   BiNuu
Nov 14 Warsaw, POL   Progresia
Nov 15 Krakow, POL   Kwadrat
Nov 16 Vienna, AUS   Szene
Nov 17 Prague, CZ Nova Chmelnice
Nov 19 Romagnano Sesia, IT  RNR Arena
Nov 20 Colmar, FR   Grillen
Nov 21 Jena, GER   F-Haus
Nov 22 Munich, GER   Backstage
Nov 23 Zurich, SWZ   Dynamo
Nov 24 Eindhoven, NL   Distortion Festival
Nov 25 Paris, FR   Trabendo
Nov 26 London, UK Forum
Nov 27 Dublin, IR The Academy
Nov 28 Manchester, UK Sound Control
Nov 29 Essen, GER Turock
Nov 30 Louvain-la-Neuve, BE Mass Deathtruction Festival

Deicide Unveil New album Title and Track Listing

Tags

, , ,

American death metal titans Deicide have announced the new title and track listing for their brand new studio record, the follow up to 2011’s ‘To Hell With God’

Entitled ‘In The Minds of Evil’ the brand new studio record is set for release later this year available via Century Media Records.

The track listing is as follows:

01. In The Minds Of Evil
02. Thou Begone
03. Godkill
04. Beyond Salvation
05. Misery Of One
06. Between The Flesh And The Void
07. Even The Gods Can Bleed
08. Trample The Cross
09. Banished By Evil
10. Kill The Light Of Christ
11. End The Wrath Of God

Kataklysm European Tour Announced!

Tags

, , , ,

Fresh off their appearance at Bloodstock Festival Canadian death metal titans Kataklysm have announced a European tour for early 2014. The tour will be in support for their upcoming 11th studio record entitled ‘Waiting for the End to Come’. Support will come Brazilian death metallers Krisiun and Italian technical death metal act Fleshgod Apocalypse

Fleshgod Apocalypse ‘Labyrinth’ Review

Tags

, , , ,

Technical death metal has always been a noted bastard of both the twisted, maniacal ugliness of traditional death metal techniques, and the pompous deliberation of classical disciplines. Very few bands fully realize the true neoclassical dream within the confines of death metal’s genre brackets. Necrophagist and Obscura certainly reinvigorated the metal community’s love for heavy doses of classical elements. However, in recent years, one name has resounded throughout as going above and beyond the traditional levels of classical input; Fleshgod Apocalypse’s daring blend of a churning death metal freight train and a sweeping orchestral score has captured the metal community’s attention.

While the blend of orchestra and metal is nothing new, Fleshgod surprised the world by unleashing Agony in 2011, pertaining some of the fastest, most ridiculous technical feats yet to be slapped over an orchestra. Labyrinth follows where the stellar Agony left off.

The band’s second record containing a full orchestral score, Labyrinth immediately appears to be of much wider scale than its predecessor. Where Agony had speed, Labyrinth has breadth. The songs feel as though they peak and trough far more dynamically than previous Fleshgod writing has showcased. Yes, the songs are still mind-bogglingly fast, but here the speed feels far more balanced. The writing itself is far less repetitive within individual song structures. We are no longer repeatedly greeted with the same verse/chorus layout that Agony fell prey too.

Labyrinth also includes a new member to Fleshgod’s line-up. Soprano singer Veronica Bordacchini, whom previously lent her vocal talents to a notable performance on Agony, rejoins the band in a much larger capacity this time around. She has apparently become a full member of the band, completing the line-up for their current tour cycle. Her input is extremely refreshing. Agony received a lot of flak for the heavy inclusion of bassist Paolo Rossi’s high-range clean singing. While I was personally fond of his input, this studio effort sees his clean vocals take a back seat to Veronica’s. The change is a surprisingly welcome one.

But what have Fleshgod learned from Agony? Well, the immediately noticeable change is the production value. While Agony was far from poor production, excelling far above many of its peers, it did feel a little cacophonous and confusing at times. Here, we are treated to balance. Balance and focus. The guitars are extremely clear, lacking the irritating muddiness captured on previous Fleshgod studio outings. The orchestra feels wider than ever, taking full advantage of the dynamic range to allow for far more intricate interplay between instruments. It feels far less like a death metal act competing with an orchestra, but rather a death metal act conducting one.

The guitar tone surprisingly in places harbours a resounding djenty twang, allowing the low end of the mix to remain clear and unobstructed by the tail end of open notes. This, coupled with the expert drum production and orchestral mixing, creates Fleshgod’s best sound to date. The drum production in particular is worthy of note. The balance between bass pedals and snare is impeccable.

Yes, the record sounds great, but how do the band live up to the huge silhouettes left behind by their last record? Confusingly, quite similarly. It’s hard for any band to live up to any previous benchmark they may have set themselves. Agony is quite a mountain to climb for the band. First and foremost, drumming virtuoso Francesco Paoli returns to his throne with a brand new attitude to playing: go faster. While one might expect the ridiculousness of his input to be slightly monotonous, the flow of the album expertly complements his frenetic blasting.

Guitar-wise, this album has changed direction from typical Fleshgod directions, and I feel it is one of the album’s few flaws. While the riffs are the strongest they have ever been, capturing the perfect blend of the band’s more traditionally tech death début, Oracles, and the streamlined speed of Agony, the band seems to have abandoned the art of shred. While before, Fleshgod solos were generally a technical affair, this time around they are far more simplified. The sweep picking and alternate picking runs of yesteryear are pushed aside in favour of brilliantly phrased but disappointingly slow leads. True, they are masterfully written and expertly performed. However, they seem to lack the velocity of the rest of the record. It almost feels as though, while with the record of the tracking they took the time to push the boundaries, the leads did not receive the same attention, and I personally believe this is one of the few factors marring the album. Lead guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, while previously provided some of the highlights of Agony, now takes a slight breather, it seems.

But, aside from my own complaints, the album exceeds its predecessors on all accounts. Indeed, the album’s penultimate offering, Under Black Sails, is something to be marvelled. It is an utterly breathtaking seven and a half minute list of reasons why Fleshgod should be drafted in to compose Hollywood film scores. While Labyrinth certainly won’t capture quite as many new fans as Agony did, it most definitely will satisfy everyone who’s already here. A thoroughly epic journey indeed.  – Henry


8/10

Facebook

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.