Coming along with quite a set of positive reviews for their earlier work, today we have Norway’s Okular and their sophomore release “Sexforce”. Playing an interesting mixture of Progressive Death Metal with some Melodic DM elements, this band is full of creative and unique ideas, too bad they can’t seem to really work them together in a cohesive manner. Besides the obvious musical quality, this release features guest appearances by Athera (Susperia) on seven tracks and Vintersorg on one song.
After many listening to this promo countless times, we are torn about not really being able to like it as a whole. The album is quite complex and has plenty of layers to it, but they mostly feel like several things going in different directions and never really coming together properly. On the one hand, we have killer guitar work on songs like “Not Separate” and “Sexforce”, but some of the tempo changes are confusing and the vocals go in different directions.
Progressive Death Metal
Making its way from France, today we have Sentence and their very crafty Progressive Death Metal. In their first full-length release “Everywhere”, the band delivers 13-tracks of brilliantly crafted technical music in the vein of Death and Cynic, but with a modern air to them. We are quite pleased with this release since it is not that often when you get a band that claims to play like Death or Cynic and they can actually pull it off graciously.
After a warm-up intro, “Birth” delivers intricate guitar structures and deep growls. This track reminds us a bit of Obscura, but with a higher emphasis on the melodic side of things rather than playing millions of notes per song. The nice pace of this song allows the band to fully explore their technical abilities while sounding interesting and not overdone, something that Cynic does to perfection. In the powerful “Solitude”, the band has really warmed up and delivers a faster paced track that will blow you away with its very unique ending. Featuring a surprise element that never expected to listen in a song of this type, the band really set the bar high on this one.
Today we have here with us a very promising Progressive Death Metal band from Belgium names Ackros, and their short but sweet Promo 2010 four song demo. Boosting powerful and yet intricate guitar work, Ackros is one of the few bands that have submitted promo/demo releases and really have impressed us with the quality of their work.
Opening with “Drop Trip”, at first the band gives you the impression that you are set to review ‘just another’ Death Metal release, but suddenly the guitar work gets interesting and hooks you immediately. While doing nothing completely revolutionary, Ackros does manage to craft pretty nifty guitar sections that keep the songs very engaging and different from each other. “Axis Antiseptia” immediately starts with the progressive influences with some brilliant guitar work paired with nicely timed drumming. The vocals are typical DM growls, and fit very well the mixture of chugging traditional DM section and the progressive elements of the music.
The man of the million riffs, Steffen Kummerer, returns with his Progressive/Technical Death Metal outfit Obscura, and delivers one of the most brilliant and aggressive releases in the last few years. “Omnivium” is a great improvement over the already brilliant album “Cosmogenesis”.
With a more focused sound, the band delivers 9 tracks of pure technical brilliance paired with solid Death Metal structures. The songs in “Omnivium” feel a bit more straightforward and do not rely (solely) on virtuosity to be well appealing to the listener. However, this does not mean that you won’t get to listen to Steffen and Christian Muenzner rip through crazy guitar sections or Jeroen Paul Thesseling ‘pounding’ his 6 string fretless bass guitar like a magician.
The all-star The Project Hate MCMXCIX is back with another crushing release of catchy Industrial and Progressive Death Metal, and with this release they sound as good as ever. With probably one of the longest album titles ever, “Bleeding the New Apocalypse” (for short) delivers over one hour of pure deranged catchiness in 6 tracks.
Featuring a new female vocalist, Ruby Roque of Witchbreed and Tobias Gustafsson as the new drummer, the band’s sound is even better than on their previous releases. For those of you wondering how Ruby vocals feature on the band, just imagine Madder Mortem with Industrial elements and you will get the perfect idea.
Hailing from the USA today we have Locusta, a band that plays an interesting combination of Death/Black and Progressive Metal. While the band does have a very original sound, they have some flaws here and there that make their self-titled debut album a very good attempt but not quite there kind of record.
The first thing we will note is that the band’s technical abilities greatly surpass their budget for this record, even if you had whatever amount the band paid to record this album changed into pennies and lugged it around on a big bag. The album’s product makes us want to cry since it sounds very bad. The drumming is extremely wobbly and sounds like when our tape player was destroying our precious cassettes back in the day. The guitars sound very weird, something we attribute to the production but it might be the ‘especial distortion’ used by the band.
Hailing from Sweden, In Mourning returns after their highly acclaimed debut album “Shrouded Divine”. The new album “Monolith” marks a very big step in the right direction from the band since they have greatly improved their sound and show great promise for the future.
While “Monolith” features more experimentation than the band’s previous album, it still features a well crafted Melodic/Progressive Death Metal sound that makes this band standout from the rest. Some of the experimentation in this album is not 100% to my liking, like the screamed vocals, but the growls and overall structure of the songs make up for this.
Five years have passed after their acclaimed album “Spectral” was released and with a re-vamped lineup the band is back to blow everybody away with “Esoteric”. This Swedish band has managed to live up to the hype, and even surpass expectations with their new album.
Simply put “Esoteric” is a brilliant album that features a very fresh mix of Melodic Death Metal and Progressive Metal that will put most bands that fuse these genres to shame. I’m a sucker for anything that is melodic in nature and this album is close to my dreams of the best combination of melody and aggressiveness with tons of more elements thrown in between.
I’m very impressed with this band from Germany. Cosmogenesis is their second full length release in 7 years, and it’s great! I usually don’t go praising bands for nothing and I’m not easily impressed either, but this album is close to perfection.
The band, as their myspace page mentions, is a team of virtuoso musicians. Most of the time bands exaggerate on their pages, but in this case, the definition is dead on. I can’t find a weak point in this band’s lineup, since all musicians contribute their skills to the album in equal amounts.