Canadian Extreme Death Metal masters return after three years with the devastating “Waiting for the End to Come”. Being one of the most representative Metal bands in Canada, Kataklysm returns in full force with one of their most brutal releases in over a decade. Filled with 45 minutes of neck-snapping music, this release will surely bring back memories of the band’s heavier and more extreme beginnings, but with their more modern and more polished elements from their latest releases.
The album starts on a high note with the pummeling “Fire”. In this song we get a melodic intro that slowly progresses into full-on destructive mode with incisive riffs and punishing drums courtesy of newcomer Olivier Beaudoin. The Kataklysm signature sound is intact with hyper-fast sections and the killer vocals of Maurizio Iacono. Blending proficient songwriting with technical abilities, the band cruises through intense tunes like “If I Was God – I’d Burn It All”, “Like Animals”, and the brilliant “Kill the Elite”.
Being huge fans of Ihsahn, we finally made the pilgrimage this year to watch him play live at the Afterburner in the legendary Roadburn Festival. Having surrounded himself with the extremely talented musicians of Leprous as his ‘backing band’, he delivered quite an impressive performance by nailing almost all the songs with brilliant technical perfection. Anyways, on his latest release, “Das Seelenbrechen”, he pushes the envelope even further with a lot of experimentation and a few of his signature elements. If you are expecting another “After” or “Eremita”, you might find yourself scratching your head a bit with this one.
Enlisting Leprous drummer-extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen for this release, Ihsahn as always handled everything else. Things seem to open in a very traditional way with the beginning of “Hilber”, a seemingly straightforward track that starts getting crazy as the odd keyboards come up. While this track is quite engaging, the weirdness is still manageable for all fans of Ihsahn. “Regen” takes a turn for the dramatic with clean vocals and a very dark vibe. The ballad-esque opening nicely builds up to some very epic moments as the song progresses. This track is one of our favorite ones thanks to the brilliant mood progression and dramatic climax.
Pretentiously called Extreme Progressive Art, the statement is actually pretty darn close when it comes to describe the challenging music of Deconstructing Sequence on their debut EP “Year One”. Feturing three songs and over 23 minutes of Extreme Progressive Metal music, this duo delivers quite an intricate release filled with little nuisances that make it even more enjoyable after a couple of spins.
With a very ominous start to “Departure of the Stellar Fleet Marks the Year One” the band sets a very epic mood since the beginning. The keyboards reminded us of late 90’s bands (in particular Nile) giving a high atmospheric charge to the incisive guitars and crafty drumming. The growls are quite crushing and elevate the brutality of the music without obscuring the technical abilities lurking in the mist.
Finally returning to their days of glory, today we have Children of Bodom and their most cohesive release since “Hate Crew Deathroll”. With “Halo of Blood” the band returns to their playful and skillful entertaining music that is both technically proficient and quite catchy. Having tanked their last 3 releases, it is quite refreshing to hear the band going a bit back to their roots and re-capturing the elements that made them the successful band they are now.
With the opener “Waste of Skin”, the band instantly delivers their signature CoB sound with catchy keyboards and excellent lead guitars. Once the rhythmic guitars come in, the song already hooked you because of its catchiness. Alexi Laiho’s solos are as good as in the past, and the overall musical experience greatly brought us memories of when we first listened to the band in the past.
Delivering one of the most surprisingly awesome albums of 2013, today we have The Black Dahlia Murder and their imposing release “Everblack”. We have long discarded this band as one of the vanilla Deathcore bands since their earlier days, but today we are shocked in the excellent quality and brutality behind their latest release. Mixing elements of Melodic/Technical Death Metal with some Deathcore influences, the band has managed to craft a very powerful and devastating sound of their own over the years.
Exploding with the technical “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me”, the band immediately showcases their excellent mixture of melodic elements with brutal DM/Deathcore sections. The music is quite intense and makes you immediately want to start headbanging. “Goat of Departure” continues the riffing onslaught with catchy melodic sections and inhuman growls. The band’s sound has surely come a long way since their earlier stuff and they now sound like a million dollars.
Robin Staps and company return with another impressive and monumental 53-minute concept album that is intended to be played as one whole piece. In “Pelagial”, the bands ambitions are high than ever with an album that nicely builds up in momentum, just as the layers of the ocean are entered in a voyage to the sea floor. The Ocean are famous for their highly complex and multi-layered releases and this one is not an exception, keeping things very intricate and beautifully arranged for all fans to be blown away since the opening song.
“Pelagial” was also originally intended to be mainly an instrumental release, and it is provided as both in the regular version of the album, so we will go back and forth in how the tracks feel different and transmit different feelings both with lyrics and without them. Opening with the very relaxed and dreamy “Epipelagic”, one even feels a certain sense of relief with this lush and simple track. Things start getting a bit more ‘heavier’ as the voyage continues going deeper and with “Mesopelagic – The Uncanny” we get the first taste of heavy guitars and the combination of clean and harsh vocals. We do think this track works a lot better on the instrumental version since it sounds cleaner and sets the mood a bit better.
Hailing from the USA, today we have the debut full-length release Lifeforms, an up-and-coming Progressive Extreme Metal band that mixes influences from band like Meshuggah to Deathcore bands like The Black Dahlia Murder. With an emphasis of excellent technical skills and brutality, this band has constructed 10 excellent tracks that while a bit repetitive, are actually quite enjoyable.
Opening with the expectation builder “Descent into Madness”, the band starts warming up the riffing machine in this short intro. “Multidimensional” fully explodes with excellent Meshuggah styled guitar work and potent drumming. We love the technical aspect of things but they still sound a lot like Gojira and similar bands with that Progressive/Groove sound. The band’s extra similarities to bands like BDM and such Deathcore acts makes them sound more brutal than your average bands, gaining them extra points in our opinion.
Total aural destruction is probably the best way to describe Anaal Nathrakh’s latest ear-piercing sonic abuse of a release titled “Vanitas”. As one of the band’s that constantly keeps improving their abilities to abuse the listener through their extreme music, Anaal Nathrakh has done it again with this release and delivers ten punishing tracks that will make your head fall off after headbanging for almost 40 minutes.
Blasting this release wide open with “The Blood Dimmed Tide”, the band opens with some Industrial-ish passage before heading to full-blown chaos. The vocals are as crushing as always, and the drumming is as intense as ever. The traditional deranged screams nicely make this piece very memorable indeed. Blasting into “Forging Towards the Sunset”, we are barely given any time to mellow out when the abuse returns. This track has some cool clean vocals that add a bit of an epic feeling to the song in the same way that Emperor did back in “In the Nightside Eclipse”.
After the astonishing “After”, Ihsahn returns with the even more impressive “Eremita”. With an impressive list of achievements behind him, Ihsahn delivers an album where he builds up on the sound he crafted for “After” and delivers nine brilliant tracks of Extreme Progressive Metal in his trademark style and a nice dosage of sexy saxophone, just what the doctor ordered (at least for us).
Being backed by his ‘live band’ the super talented guys from Leprous, Ihsahn actually had the band’s drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen handle these duties for the recording of this release. Featuring the characteristic Ihsahn approach to things, he again pushes the boundaries of his musical explorations and delivers a very rich experience that has so many layers it takes more than a few spins for “Eremita” fully sink in, and be completely enjoyed.
With the powerful opener “Arrival”, the funky psychedelic keyboard nicely sets the tone for the excellent guitar layers. The traditional harsh Ihsahn vocals open this release in a very direct manner, nicely shifting into the more harmonious clean sections. The atmosphere is very similar to “After”, but it has that extra funky psychedelic edge to it that makes this song very intoxicatingly appealing. “The Paranoid” keeps things rolling with a very aggressive opening and whacky guitar sections, this track nicely jumps up and down in terms of tempo, and the horn-like sounds near the end are just outstanding.
The more mellow “Introspection” features a nice combination of psychedelic keyboards with a hefty dosage of powerful guitar riffs, all packaged in a very moody track that reminded us a bit of old Ulver, Borknagar, and Arcturus in some points. This release by far has been more aggressive than the previous one, and we are only on the third song. The brilliant sax of Jorgen Munkeby makes “The Eagle and the Snake” a very sexy piece that feels very deranged in nature with some awesome melodic and Doom-like passages, making this song one of our favorites of this release. In “Catharsis” the mood is toned down a bit, and feels like a very exploratory track that features very interesting drum patterns and melancholic vocal sections.
As many of Emperor’s and the more Black Metal fans of Ihsahn are expecting, “Something Out There” starts very aggressive and Emperor-like, but it nicely switches back and forth between the old style and the more refined Ihsahn signature style, a very interesting and well-constructed song we have to add. After the very theatrical “Grief”, “The Grave” bleeds out of it, and with a nice layer of saxophone it delivers a very dark and mysterious atmosphere. This song is quite caothic and a bit disturbing since it is more of an atmospheric piece than a full-on riffing assault track, making it a bit hard to process at first, but quite an exciting piece once it sinks in.
Closing with “Departure”, this atmospheric piece features a very interesting drum track, kind of free flowing and loose at first, before moving into more razor sharp sections. The progressive elements in this track are very solid, and the experimental stuff featured is quite intoxicating and weird at the same time. The pace is quite weird and very convoluted, creating an excellent song that goes in many different directions, but it is nicely held back by the heavy atmosphere it creates.
Overall, Ihsahn has done it once more; he manages to push the boundaries of his sound to even further and more complex spaces. This release features nine tracks of brilliant progressive music that is both extreme and melodic in nature. The guitar layers are just magical, and we can only imagine him bringing them into the live setting. If you are hesitating on buying this release, give yourself a slap in the face and get it, it is better than any of his previous albums by a metric ton of brilliance.
Coming back after an intense four years of touring since their last release back in 2008, today we have Moonspell and their most ambitious release yet: Alpha Noir / Omega White. In this double CD release, the band delivers one complete CD with the aggressive side of the band, and another with… we don’t really know since we didn’t get that part of the album, but Fernando Ribeiro says is more mellow, dark, and deep.
Opening with the powerful yet enigmatic “Axis Mundi” the band shows no signs of slowing down and delivers a typical catchy Moonspell track. With a very ritualistic feeling, the vocals are very commanding and the guitar riffing is excellent. With no need for excessive guitar layering or studio trickery, the band delivers crystal-clear sounding rawness in a very Moonspell fashion.