Hailing from Italy, Fleshgod Apocalypse has stormed the Symphonic Metal scene with their highly refined orchestral brutality. Perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with complex Death Metal elements, this band delivers some of the most extreme melodic music ever written. With “Veleno”, the band further expands on their heavier side with brutal passages, and on their more melodic and theatrical side with very dramatic vocal arrangements and mellow interludes.
Opening with the ravaging brutality of “Fury”, the band makes their skills do the talking since the first song. Perfectly delivering crushing Death Metal riffs and growls in between dramatic choral arrangements, this track is quite a way to start the release. Moving on to “Carnivorous Lamb” and “Sugar”, the band showcases their dramatic orchestral layers and vicious guitar leads in yet another brutal piece. The combination of male harsh vocals, mad male clean vocals, and sweet female clean vocals works quite well and adds extra contrast to these tracks.
Luckily for those of us unfortunate to Waste of Space Orchestra at Roadburn, Svart Records releases a perfect quality recording of this event with “Syntheosis”. For the uninitiated, this project is a collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, two of the most exciting genre-bending bands to ever come out of Finland. Clocking in at 65 minutes, this a unique musical exploration that transports the listeners to a bizarre plane of existence.
Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.
As the first review of 2019, we are quite glad that it is Soilwork’s latest opus “Verkligheten”. Featuring a more melodic and catchy edge, this release continues the band’s musical progression into more engaging and innovative territories. Picking up where they left us with “The Ride Majestic”, the band delivers heaps of superbly catchy chorus sections, expertly crafted vocal melodies and lush instrumental arrangements that will have you hitting the repeat button more than a few hundred times on this release.
Immediately after setting the mood with the mysterious album title track, the band hits the gas with a furious combination of blistering drumming and a harsh vocals. This opener is definitely quite heavy and very fitting as the song transforms back and forth between harsh and brutal to more melodic thanks to Björn Strid soaring clean vocals. After catching the listener by surprise with the intensity of the previous song, the band keeps things hectic with the hard rocking riffing of “Bleeder Despoiler”. This track provides an interesting combination of some Heavy Metal-esque influences mixed together with the band’s brand of Melodic Extreme Metal they have refined over the years.
Delicately balancing between Progressive and Extreme Metal, today we have the legendary Ihsahn and his seventh full-length release “Àmr”. For over 43 minutes, the master deliver some very unique and forward thinking music that stills retains the hunger and incisiveness of Ihsahn’s earlier work with Emperor while exploring newer and more complex musical directions.
Unleashing an incisive array of keyboards and harsh screams, the album perfectly kicks off with the hectic “Lend Me the Eyes of the Millennia”. This track follows more of Ihsahn’s early work structures, but with a modern and cutthroat edge that no other band has in Extreme Metal. The album’s first single, “Arcana Imperii” with a perfect blend of funky tempo changes and playful drumming that leads to dramatic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. We highly enjoyed the moody clean vocals that give the song a more accessible (to non-extreme metal fans) side while enjoying Ihsahn’s brilliant song writing skills.
Pushing the limits of what is defined as extreme; today we have Anaal Nathrakh and their latest crushing release: “The Whole of the Law”. Ever since the band moved to Metal Blade Records, they have been on a warpath of destruction and insanity. Delivering over 42 minutes of brutal aural devastation, the band cranks up eleven of the most chaotic and abusive songs we have ever heard.
After the slow atmospheric intro, the band opens their portal to hell with the crushing “Depravity Favours the Bold”. This track is filled with atmospheric arrangements paired with Dave Hunt’s multi-faceted range of vocals. The release continues to punish the listener with the brutal Grindcore onslaughts of “Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion”, the eerie Industrial elements of “We Will Fucking Kill You”, and the totally deranged vocals and Death Metal vibe of “So We Can Die Happy”.
Multi-instrumentalist one-man show Ihsahn makes a surprise 2016 return with another unique release titled “Arktis.”. Considerably less experimental and out of whack than his previous release, this album delivers 11 very interesting song that while pushing the envelope, they consolidate the signature Ihsahn sound.
Opening with the Proggy “Disassembled”, Ihsahn crafts a very catchy song with a killer chorus section. With some additional vocals by Einer Solberg (Leprous), this is one very melodic and engaging opening piece. Things turn quickly dark with the sinister “Mass Darkness” and its crafty atmospheric guitar work. This track is quite unique as it features some funky tempo changes and epic vocal arrangements (featuring Matt Heafy), all within the Ihsahn realm.
Delivering the most brutal release of 2015, today we have Cattle Decapitation and their seventh opus “The Anthropocene Extinction”. Nearly putting Anaal Nathrakh to shame in terms of sheer brutality, this release features twelve tracks of in your face riffs, crushing vocals and inhuman drums. With over 45 minutes of devastating music, this album will leave you sore just by listening to it.
Slowly warming up with the melodic opening of “Manufactured Extinct”, the band suddenly busts out the Death Metal riffs and before you even know it, Grindcore and Brutal Death Metal elements have arrived. This level of intensity is perfectly continued by the neck snapping “The Prophets of Loss”, which features Phil Anselmo as guest vocalist. Using Author and Punisher’s intro in “Plagueborne”, the band has managed to deliver a huge opening trio of tracks that only scratch the surface in terms of brutality.
Better late than never, today we have Switzerland’s Almøst Human with their super catchy EP titled “Ø”. Featuring five tracks and around 25 minutes of music, this is a great business card from a band that has a highly refined sound and a the attitude to deliver Heavy songs with a certain modern flair that makes them comparable to bands like Stork, Amaranthe (minus the female vocals), and even some of the most recent Coal Chamber stuff.
Blasting things wide open with the blistering “Living Wreck”, which starts off a bit like a mixture of Linkin Park meets Devildriver. The vocals are quite engaging and very fitting for the musical style, allowing the track to go from heavy to brutal in seconds. The band settles in a bit after the killer opener with the melodic “Obey, Consume or Disappear”, which showcases a mellower and cleaner side of the band thanks to the solid vocals and guitar leads.
With the tons of so-called Modern Metal releases coming out these days, we can easily make a 10 ft tall pile of albums that sound alike. Lay Siege is here to defy this trend and unleash the punishing “Hopeisnowhere” upon the world’s population. Featuring 11 tracks of Post-Metal/Sludge/Groove brutality, the band goes beyond being heavy and catchy, and delivers one of the most engaging and clean sounding Modern Metal releases of 2015.
The groovy “Irebot” quickly sets a very harsh tone with its pummeling riffs and Meshuggah-esque vibe, and this intensity continues with the funky “Glass Veil”. The vocals and some of the tempo changes have a certain Deathcore-ish vibe, but the overall structure of the music is much more than that. The oppressive “Hollow Hands” has some tight drum patterns that when paired with the crystal clear production, sound like a million bucks.
One of the most brutal bands in Metal finally returns with their 8th full-length release titled “Desideratum”. Constantly striving to destroy your speakers, this British duo has made some of the most disturbing and massive sounding releases in history. In this album, we see the band shift gears a bit, and while there are still plenty of ridiculously brutal sections, there are also some more melodic and separable passages in their music. This results in a very well balanced release that is both brutal and melodic, making them more approachable for other people that might want something a bit tamer to their earlier efforts.
The band opens with the highly atmospheric instrumental “Acheronta Movebimus”, a song that has an odd mixture of Industrial with Djent-style percussions paired with some evil Black Metal riffing. After the perfect mood setter, the onslaught of brutality quickly rolls in with “Unleash”. This track is quite intense and diabolical, but what stands out the most for us is the clean vocals and the melodic edge to it. As the punches keep coming in with “Monstrum In Animo”, we also notice that as “A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair” and “The One Thing Needful” rolls in, there is a certain focus on the Industrial/Electronic elements that shifts the momentum a bit from the Extreme nature of the music. However, this last track has some superbly sinister guitar work that made it one of our favorites of the release.