Wednesday, December 26, 2018

ASEDIO - Mi nombre es legión (2018)

III: I Am Legion

Six years. Six long years have passed since releasing the second album of Asedio, the album that completely wrecked my senses. Its destructiveness and mental addiction forced me to worship this cult of rebellion. It was back then and you know what? Nothing has been changed so far and nothing is going to be changed. „El orígen de todos los males”, as a natural follower of crushing debut „Somos nada”, is still one of the best recordings spat into the underground this century. Yep, nothing has changed if quality of music is concerned, however there are things that should be mentioned right now. The band now is four piece as Andrés took the vocal duties, they went through some line-up changes, cut their hair and altered a bit own logo. Of course all these elements don't mean the band followed the way of Paulina Rubio. Fortunately, Asedio is still on the proper trail. I mean, their smeltery is active and delivers metal goods incessantly...

… however the front-cover made me a bit wonder as it reminded Golden Dragon of Unity that appeared in Mulan part 2, but I don't think the whole concept of the album has been based on Chinese history in a something way. As for production side, they threw dirty underground brand aside and offered more clean and orderly tunes. And for sure bass lines are the winner in this sauce with the best example in the title song. Musically the opener haven't got such a clout as compared to „Batalla contra la esperanza” or „Morbosidad del alma”. Moreover, this beginning with a bit faster „Pensamientos asesinos” disappointed me after first meetings. In addition, an instrumental acoustic piece that divided the sequence stiltedly didn't convince me at all. And yes, that's true the band doesn't offer complex ideas and completely broken rhythms, but I needed many, many careful listens to get the point of the third. Precisely, with an uncountable amount of hours I can write righteously (damn, as always!) „Mi nombre es legión” did not beat their previous works. After two splendid albums my expectations were extremely high...

All right then, let's start once again... I wrote about general impressions concerning two first tracks. „Árido infierno” starts in a slow way being some kind of answer rather to melodic death metal than thrash itself. Undoubtedly, there are catchy riffs, tempo changes, brand-new guitar lead and Spanish only roars. What's interesting, the song ends with an „infierno” word, just like in „Morbosidad del alma”. The next one shows different opening tunes, initially it's played more mechanical way, but it is clear evidence Asedio tries to find something new. I could compare this situation to Sepultura's „Arise” where Brazilians proposed new sounds in comparision to „Beneath the Remains”. The Asedio way is a bit shy, yet it is a good prognostic for the future. Admittedly the start wasn't a piece of cake and giving myself a short summation, I have been convinced by these two songs eventually. Simply I had to give them a chance. You know, something like 'patience is a virtue'.

And finally the third one in the family is the reason to write: all kidding aside! „Sangre inocente” is not only the best one here, but one of the best songs I have heard during this century. Fantastic portion of riffs in pure thrashing madness style with a stamp of sorrowful melodies take my heart without any mercy. There's a time for memorable slow down, there's a time for killing guitar lead in definitely Asedio style. But the best is yet to come: this mentioned leads turn into sounds in the vein of British masters like Paradise Lost (especially some similarities to „True Belief”) and finest moments from Bolt Thrower's „The IVth Crusade”. All mixed in perfect way made this track a real highlight. I just love such kind of mournful, melancholic yet catchy tunes. Genius!

That's not the end of new stuff or surprises. For example „Contra la muerte de la luz” with its beginning fitting to Running Wild's „Death or Glory” album – phenomenal thing! In a flash it stuck to mind bringing another pirate memories. For sure very interesting melody parts in the middle with dominant bass are worthy of note. As for structures and riffs „Anarquía” with rousing leads, re-recorded „Días de furia” (it sounds absolutely better) and „La horas violentas” which falls like a wall after aforementioned „Los crímenes del amor” keep the old Asedio genetics. And if we are one foot in biomolecular dimension, the closing title song has got some modifications in Asedio DNA strand. The four Mexicans obtained entirely new musical sample. Of course, it's still hot metal, yet served in a very intriguing manner.

I found verdict earlier, but it doesn't mean Asedio recorded a weak album. For sure it's not equal and its weaker mark results from differences in song qualities. There is an excellent leader, there are great songs and just good as well. The band explores unknown areas, doesn't avoid experiments, and what's more, all their efforts work in a good way at least. It is good evidence that balancing on the edge of melodic death metal and thrash, gives an opportunity to create fantastic tracks. I didn't expect „El orígen de todos los males” replica and I didn't get such a record fortunately. The newest one is a bit different but this fits to the whole musical Asedio message. I can feel the music flows smoothly, without any obstacles or barriers, I enjoy the record from start to finish, giving it pretty high mark in the end. Six years have passed, it seems they're just good friends with passion, vigour and ingenuity. Good metal is still detectable. Ah, and one more thing, there's no „Victimas de la prohibición” and „Vastagos del miedo” case as all tracks are finished. Finally.

90/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in December, 2018)



Sunday, October 21, 2018

LOVEBITES - Battle Against Damnation (2018)

Higher and Higher!

Only few months passed since the Lovebites splendid debut album has broken down the door to my world and overturned a fair amount of titles on the shelf. The ladies seem to follow 'make hay while the sun shines' adage and do it a serious way, furthermore, giving a live show at Wacken Open Air on August of 2018, they became the first Japanese all-female rock band to visit this German festival. And even if another European performances have been scheduled for this year, four new songs managed to complete their third offer. The magic of „Awakening from Abyss” provoked extremely high expectations for new Ep, and as compared to the full-length, one thing should be mentioned at first: three songs have been written by Miyako („Break the Wall” with a help of Miho). For me it's pretty clear, she is becoming a musical leader in the crew. The first one called „The Crusade” was also chosen to be a promotional video piece and... I liked it instantly. Being a modern version of Iron Maiden's „Be Quick or Be Dead”, it's like a war hammer hit in my occiput. And if this heavy song confirms the whiteness is still in great condition, Asami left me speechless. That's true she showed herself as a volcano of true emotions, but in „The Crusade” (during chorus in particular), she is full uncontrollable vitality when she sings „... break free, fight to live on, forever strong...”.

After such an optimistic yet furious opening Lovebites craft „Break the Wall” which is described in the booklet as the fastest and most aggressive song in band's short history. Very mechanic, with almost thrash-based portions of riffs it does a havoc. But, wait, not all the time, there's a surprise, an unexpected guest in the middle: after the duo leads, one-minute lasting fabulous calm break appears. This great balance of emotions shifts the song into something spectacular. In turn the second part of the Ep has been influenced by Rachmaninoff. If „Above the Black Sea” is concerned, „Piano Concerto No. 2” is the main reason Miyako wrote that song and payed the homage to his work. Her vision worked here perfectly, it's worthy to mention amazing guitar leads from both guitarists. And just as on the debut, one track belongs at least to Mao as a music writer, however „Under the Red Sky” seems to be the answer to European power metal, especially when it comes to bombastic chorus. Based on mentioned Russian, it is very optimistic song in musical form, sometimes, in the second part, even fairy-tale with seraphic voice of Asami.

So, is there anything to complain about? Seemingly the Lovebites machine looks impeccably, but I'd like to hear louder Miho lines in the final mix on next recording. Yep, exactly, as the new album called „Clockwork Immortality” has been announced to be released on 5th December 2018. This year! That's absolutely incredible, however I'm not fully surprised at the news as they're just toiling Japaneses. And I am not afraid of the result: the band is in very good form providing fascinating piece of music since its beginning. It is young vivid and modest (just take a look on liner notes from the booklet) organism with absolutely fanstastic cooperation, especially in Midori and Miyako performance. In conclusion, these twenty-one minutes are totally worthy to fight against (musical) damnation and looking at the song titles with their four definite articles, I can write: The Lovebites.

88/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in October, 2018)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

DESULTORY - Through Aching Aeons (2017)


Now, the Aching Aeons

You know, their previous album „Counting Our Scars” was something spectacular bringing lethal sounds after many years of dry spell. Still having in mind the terrible number three, I am somewhere in the middle, torn between joy with a new title at last and unimaginable regret, because 2017 year seems to be most significant date in their career being just the last one as they announced it seriously. With such an attitude towards these forty-four minutes I proceed to face the thing. And to put it briefly, they didn't fail. If the front cover isn't a strong point right now, the production from Necromorbus depths is a highlight here, but as compared to the predecessor it got rawer sound with more readable bass lines. The first song couldn't be better way to open the album up: „Silent Rapture” confirms extremely good condition of Swedes even though seven long years have passed since I was counting my scars. Using the same methods of execution, musicians delivered me fantastic death metal once again. Although it is natural follow-up of the number four, the Swedes put emphasis on simplicity describing it in one word. The album is way faster, and such paces dominate. At first spins mentioned speedy marks were the first thing that made my senses open wide and even they do not play technical stuff, I needed many careful meetings to know what the album is all about. Anyway, there is no song similar to „The Moment Is Gone”, yet everything the band is known for, is served here in killing proportions.

As the whole „Through Aching Aeons” is incredibly equal, I cannot choose the leader. And I really don't want to do it, I just absorb the music from the first to the last second. That's the way it works fully and I always try to listen in such a way, completely absent to reality. Like their classic titles. again nine songs that left me speechless, no matter if I listen to the simplest vulcanoes of all-consuming energy in „Spineless Kingdom”, „In This Embrace” and „Slither” or songs containing absolutely splendid layers of catchiness in the opener, title track or „Beneath the Bleeding Sky”. In this dish, the band managed to stick compelling parts of acoustic guitars in „Beneath the Bleeding Sky” as well as desolation-bathed opening piano tunes in „Divine Blindness”, both as something new for them definitely. But giving all the tracklist isn't my purpose, each track is made of Desultory stamp and their musical madness I've admired breathless for so many years. And if both music and lyrics feature pervasive sadness, despair, woe or lack of hope, the last „Our Departure” merges all the feelings up, multiplies it and makes a speech to me that this is the inevitable end...

Waiting for this album seemed to have no final releasing date. Soon after distressing news appeared and somehow changed the way I felt this last band's work. In any case, Desultory left the scene excellently bringing me another fantastic title: with no weak moments, musical dullness, stagnation or copying the sounds once created. Every single while beams with genuine and passionate music created by mature musicians and their off the chain visions along the way. I fully understand the band says the final farewell to the scene in best possible way, just delivering the goods one more time, yet being at war with my thoughts I am now prone to write that „Through Aching Aeons” is kinda Pyrrhic victory. Even if every band will reach its end and put the instruments to the grave, it is too early for such a band Desultory is. Oversimplifying: extremely good music, many souls broken... Anyway, I don't wanna bawl my eyes out and pour my heart to anyone. Desultory has brilliant releases on its deathly trail, it has become one of the best musical forms since I've listened to the debut for the first time while deflowering pirated tape with wrong song order. The newest one is nothing but a real confirmation of their domination in my metal world. And still, our journey through those aching aeons has been lasting since 1993... into eternity!

(...your trace will never fade...)

98/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in May, 2018)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

XIPE TOTEC - Axomimitl (2017)

Mexicayotl Equals Mexicanidad

After my four reviews of Xipe Totec titles, it is challenging task to write anything new I haven't already done earlier, as Martin and Alex still ride in the dimension once created during „Eztlacuani” session times. I can't imagine any changes of style, I do not expect any changes of style and I got what I was asking for. Surely, three long years between „Miquian” and „Axomimitl” were something new for the band and I do not need to write how I was curious about Martin's new ideas and visions. The album brings eight tracks with an ending mostly acoustic outro, becoming one of the best records released last year. That means the band didn't let me down once again. Starting with the best front cover so far done by Alex and again with MAT studio sound realization placed somewhere between „Eztlacuani” and „Miquian” providing really energized bass lines, the two opening songs are just pure killers that leave my thoracic cage open and bleeding. Besides the things I have known the band for years there is a room for some kind of a breather: bass passage and drums solo (similar to Dew of Nothing song „Doomed by Omen Circus”) in „Cihuateteo” and rhythm section display in the title song. And mind you that this second track after slow almost forty second beginning mammocks the senses in a flash with ravaging paces and delivering slight melodic influences from Dissection's second album. Yes, Xipe Totec couldn't serve better opening for the album!

Even if Martin is absolutely faithful to his clearly defined musical visions, it's easy to hear through the sound avalanches there are some new things put here and there. Songs are longer and what's the most interesting, I have an impression that using prehispanic instruments has been cut a bit. Two tracks „Tonalyecantoc” and „Cuahxicalli” consist of atmospheric gruesome parts reminding me about similar fragments on Nile's „In Their Darkened Shrines”. For sure some melodic lines from „In Mimiqueh In Tlahtol” (an ending part), „Miquihtotl” and „Tlachihualiztli” are absolutely fresh air to the structure making the whole more interesting. Then, as an introduction to the first song, some samples from „Retorno a Aztlán” movie (to be more precise, it isn't anything new in Martin's career, just take a listen to Miquian's album „Tlaltecuhtli”), a short chat with archeologist on Xipe Totec cult in „Ahneli Tlahtolnemiliztli” or the complete novelty: mostly acoustic last song...

Thus, is there anything I should grumble about? Well, after maaany meetings with the album, my 'problem' concerns two mentioned tracks. The opening riffs from „Tlachihualiztli” don't convince me at all, the last one seems to be ill-thought out (spoken intro, prehispanic intruments and acoustic tunes given separately), although guitar catchiness is major-league in this blend. Of course, I do not treat it as a serious mistake, just like „Roots Bloody Roots” cover on „In Moyocoyani”, yet it drags „Axomimitl” down a bit. All right then, so how do I treat this album? My regular blog reader (hm, if there is anybody like that) should notice without any problem Xipe Totec belongs to one of my all-time favourite crews and with The Chasm and Desultory to the best death metal trinity in my collection. And summing the things up, this album is yet another proof that Xipe Totec music is still extreme and still extremely fantastic: riffs, leads, drum works, indigenous instruments, Alex bestial growls and Nahuatl lyrics. Martin surprises all the time with his great talent, there is neither time for boredom nor depletion even if they breathe death metal genre only. Changelessly, it is vivid, fresh, gory, sense devastating and with Mexica national heritage mighty spirit. Simply, this is Mexican metal of death keeping the glorious past alive...

95/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in April, 2018)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

EXIST - Get Your Own (2017)

Thrash Sells... But Who's Buying?

The thing was simple: I bought the newest issue of Metal Up! magazine, read an intie with enthusiastic review, and purchased my own copy of the debut Exist's Ep. Well, this is how it works, doesn't it? Modestly released in an independent way as digipak it struck my tired eyes with terrifying sentence 'all lyrics available on our Youtube channel' placed down under the band's photography. I avow you, after reading the last word, I fell my chair off. And I'm asking you right now: what the hell is that? Is this a complete PHYSICAL release? You can call me a geezer and I might know nothing about our modern metal times, but believe me, it's not the proper way. You know, all or nothing. Damn, of course, the fact I didn't get your own lyrics in the booklet doesn't mean I would throw this into fireplace (well, it's fake, I have gas heating...). So, I got up quickly and put cd into the deck without delay.

Anyway, thumbs up, as the band made my blood run definitely faster before the first second of the music. But fortunately, the whole musical content brings positive emotions only. Supported by faultless sound realization being so far away from nowadays Sneap template, those four rookies don't follow the way of Fokus Group, DJ Rodrigo, DJ Jacek, Etna and the likes, and execute thrash metal in the vein of the biggest dinosaurs from the States, including Bay Area movement unaffectedly, with a pinch of madness of „Beneath the Remains” / „Arise” authors. But their flirt with such paradigms enforces high technical skills and precise ideas on the members. Otherwise, it sucks. Luckily, both elements work fine during the clocking time. They know how to handle their own instruments (three of them know Szosa Chełmińska street by heart, I guess), and there's nothing to complain about. The band concocted four tracks, two of them with running time over seven minutes. The opening title piece surprises from the very start with pretty long but very interesting introduction-like. A couple of memorable guitar leads, tempo changing, and seven minutes turn into three or four. But, if the vocal lines are concerned and especially when the debut is on the table, Kacper doesn't scream his lungs out. His middle range fairly convinces me, however adding more harshness and venom to the pharynx should him teleport to something better. I hope, it's the only matter of time.

To get things absolutely straight, the second song „Lawlessness” is a fantastic example how to obliterate poor lambs during the gigs. Extremely good riff-driven, a bit with Exodus lick, it mashes my tissues, giving a breather at 2:54 when short slow-down appears. It seems to be the fastest in the family and the most neck-breaking, and if the first duo is with thrash sigil exclusively, the next „On Your Own Accord” shows the narrow entry to heavy metal dimension. Maybe not so obvious and not the whole piece, but guitar passages starting at 4:12 and 5:27 take a deep bow to the heavy legends from the eighties. And as opposed to the rest, the closing one is fully heavy stuff, scandalously catchy it makes my brain cells rolling all the time, just take a listen to the fragment starting at 1:48 and admire Exist's fascination with title track from the fourth Running Wild album. Man, with my vivid imagination I can see Rock 'n' Rolf Kasparek chiming with them and shouting „they fuckin' rule!”. But wait, it's not over, there's also Steve Harris casting a smile at 5:40 and saying „Rolf, you're fuckin' right”. All in all, adding such tunes determines this song to be the softest, although I do hope Exist will be exploring thrash dimension obstinately.

We live in crazy world and it's almost impossible to keep a watchful eye on every day titles and even if band's name wasn't completely unknown for me as I found their drummer to be live Savior's musician, I didn't decide to listen to anything on Youtube (you know, the place where the lyrics live...) and just followed Tomek Woźniak opinions about „Get Your Own”. Without any expectations back then, now I'm totally amped up listening to this four-piece thrashing insanity. The next thing is the first case on the beginning of the mentioned interview broaching speedway issues in Toruń and Bydgoszcz. Well, I wouldn't be myself ignoring such topic here as I have had methanol in my veins for forty years. In a nutshell, leaving the shameful last season and comparing Exist and its debut shot to the present Toruń's situation, it's a polar opposite to Jason 'I don't need my legs to ride a bike' Doyle, Niels Kristian 'the porky cat' Iversen and Rune 'I want to ride for Częstochowa till my last breathing day' Holta mercenary spirit. Exist seems to be like Paweł Przedpełski, maybe not yet from his best performance as being under 21, but with all chances and hopes to reach similar level. Simply, the youth is coming from the city of Copernicus. But I should take a notice of „Get Your Own” is still underground execution, kept within the genre canons, and done in a right way. I know that statement 'the best metal comes from the eighties' or, as translated into modern Polish 'kurła, kiedyś to było' is quite stock today, however absolutely unfounded are the charges tagging the band an unoriginal one. This stuff simply kicks my thrashing ass, there's a speed, metal madness and catchiness, sometimes Exist goes straightforward, sometimes more complex. It's great they want to play it and they can do that but I'm really far from claiming their parents give them meldonium to the school breakfast every single day. Youth is coming, I repeat once again...

Paraphrasing a bit Britney Spears song „I'm Not a Girl, Not yet a Woman”, Exist exists somewhere in the middle of the road, I would say. The first step towards glory has been done: there is cd, there is a truck for carriage as shown on the front cover, there are stage performances. Now it's time to record a full-length, I do believe with more technical touch served completely without restraint and with lyrics in the booklet. And summing the thing up, let's summon the mighty Sesame Street for a while: surely three letters 'o', 'w', 'n' are major sponsor for my review. Three letters, three combinations: 1. own, as they already have own stuff, 2. now, as this is their time, their chance, 3. won, as definitely they won bringing me such a killing release. A little bit childish and funny, but the whole is very serious. Can't wait for your next move, youngsters!

85/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in March, 2018)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

HAEMORRHAGE - Live Carnage: Feasting on Maryland (2013)


Baltimore Festers

It took me three long years to get this title to torture my gramophone. There were always another things to purchase, yet I didn't lose my favourite gore pathologists and their live performance from my radar. Yes, browsing Haemorrhage large discography, „Live Carnage” becomes the first proper live piece released on black wax, not counting „Grind over Europe” split from 1996 and „The Kill Sessions” executed live, but in Cata Studios. Anyway, no matter what kind of the release is, the new stuff extracted by these Spaniards is a big affair for me.

The note from the gatefold clearly declares: sound taken directly from the soundboard, no mix, no effects, no edits... this is Haemorrhage in its rawest form. And I agree with that in a full extent. Recorded at Maryland Deathfest X in Baltimore, 2012, it provides really crude murderous tune exclusively. Maybe sometimes, in guitar raging conflagration, drums disappear for a short while, on the other hand, bass lines sound fantastic, especially in „Hospital Thieves” and „911 (Emergency Slaughter)”. As for track list, it's obvious the band was promoting their last album „Hospital Carnage” at the time and the first strike consisting of three tracks comes from it. Although there are eleven tracks only, each album has its own representative, pity that my beloved „Anatomical Inferno” has merely closing „I'm a Pathologist” flagship song... Pretty interesting is fact that they shortened „Deranged for Loathsome” keeping the first slow part only, then becoming imperceptibly another song, very short „Putrescent Necromorphism”. Well, I don't think they wanted to have any ballad, yet it seems to be a breather for wrecked audience.

This is just great as it delivers me everything I expect from such a release: eleven gore highlights bathed in sonic pathological madness, with no needless introductions, just pure musical bloodbath I have known for twenty years. And of course with classic question to the maniacs: „How many pathologists...?”. Do I need more to enjoy the music in general? No. 28 minutes runs extremely fast, curt words on the end „see you next time good people” and the carnage is done. So let's face it once again as I've been a pathologist since „Grume” old times. Simple.

85/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in March, 2018)

Monday, January 29, 2018

VOMIT THE SOUL - Apostles of Inexpression (2009)


Expressing the Soulvomiting Mechanisms

This album has been on my unending must-have list since the first sound contact with. Well, many years passed and I have finally bought it last year. It means the music and its indisputable quality isn’t any surprise for me. And if their homeland Italy wasn’t a cradle for such outfits, our present century brought many positive changes with 2000 year as a date of creating Lecco based Vomit the Soul. And as regards the band’s name, it has been taken from the Cannibal Corpse’s „Butchered at Birth” track list, though American creation isn’t the main determinant of the things to come. The Italians shows more complex sounds not forgetting about unrelenting brutality and, for sure, they are much closer to Dying Fetus, yet it is impossible naming reviewed trio Italian fan boys of Gallagher’s child.

The blast avalanche isn’t the only key to devastate the listener. What’s more, they offer medium or slow and slamming tempo most of the time. Yes, the opener „Prototypes of Values’ Incarnation” with „Unrecognized Elements Presence” are probably the only exceptions showing fast paces through the song predominantly, on the other hand most of the title has nothing in common with a word ‘speed’ at all. The important thing is the Italians are able to maintain the proper balance among changing tempoes and it works till the last seconds: the whole is perfectly crafted and arranged, offering so many goods to worship the album for aye. There’s no time for a breather, no time for introductions, with relentless clash of guitars and bass works. That’s true the album has great production and with a help of Stefano Morabito everything is served in a way it should be. Just take a listen to fantastic Andrea’s performance. He’s a real beast with the most astonishing moments in killing „Self Perception Veil”. In turn, Max provides multitude technical riffs, at first it’s not easy to swallow the thing and follow the unceasingly changing ideas as the whole is snagging, turbulent, completely broken with pervasive groove touch. But, the grinding wall of the eight isn’t murderous all the time, yet there are fragments with catchy melodies (it sounds pretty ridiculous, I know) with examples in mentioned second track or the title one. As for vocals parts, Max belongs to the elite of the genre, no doubt about it. For sure powerful gutturals dominates, but he tries not to be onedimensional, spitting high-pitched screams and squeals to the air. Mind you, his great efforts are perfectly put to the immane sound wall.     

The main goal is to hold the listener by its incredible intesity and the Italians did it. Being rather ‘love it or hate it’ choice and very hard to go through even for any metal dude, for me these almost thirty-three minutes brought in such a spectacular form are just a musical banquet for my ears. As compared to the debut released in 2005, the band made a significant progress and now I may only mourn Vomit the Soul has been dead since 2011. „Apostles of Inexpression” triumph: starting from very successful Marco Hasmann front cover, through absolutely awesome portion of music to the final last impressions of deathly expression.

95/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in January, 2018)

      

Sunday, January 14, 2018

LOVEBITES - Awakening from Abyss (2017)


Towards the White Light

I won’t reinvent the wheel claiming that many things in my metal adventure happened by coincidence. The reviewed band isn’t an exception in that matter, however I would come across this Tokyo based quintet eventually. As an every day visitor on Encyclopaedia Metallum, I just saw enthusiastic review of „Awakening from Abyss”, and one glance was enough to be pole-axed for a really long time. Yes, „Shadowmaker” was the track that made me speechless and it’s obvious that the album is in my collection now along with their debut four piece Ep.

But choosing „Shadowmaker” as a promoting music video hasn’t been done by coincidence. Well, what we’ve got here? Expressive vocals, sticking melodies, furious riffs, mind-blowing lead attacks with prepossessing Midori’s smile and senses devastating rhythm section. Ha, typical description, I guess! But what can I do if the song is just one of the best power tracks I have heard recently (this century, I mean…)? One could say that the first impressions should be intensified these women are real belles. Yes, they’re beautiful but it doesn’t count as long as their music is first-class absolutely catchy metal…

Anyway, I got it with the previous Ep as well and all the songs from it have been recorded one more time. As compared to first versions, there are additional parts of keyboards („The Apocalypse”, „Scream for Me”), changed leads („Don’t Bite the Dust”), elongated closing lead in „Scream for Me” being a guitar duel between both guitarists. The last noticeable thing concerns the ending track „Bravehearted” sung in English, not Japanese this time.

The opening piece „The Awakening” is an instrumental introduction actually and divided into two parts, the first one symphonic and the latter with hard riffs giving a birth to ruthless „The Hammer of Wrath”: fantastic thrashing guitar parts supported by rampant duo Miho/Haruna with wild Asami shriek at 0:25… but this beast isn’t fully kept in thrashy way (just as „Scream for Me”), then it becomes mostly power style decorated by incredible fast lead. That’s right, first minutes really kick my ass, luckily this is not the end to worship the album which should be called just a bag of (splendid) ideas. Although the base here is rather power genre, infleunces from different kinds of metal mix collectively without restraint. I got more heavy oriented songs with Dio’s mighty spirit in „ Warning Shot” or „Burden of Time” and own interpretations on melodic side of Iron Maiden and touch of progressive licks in „Don’t Bite the Dust”. In turn, „Liar” has some references to Sentenced „Crimson” era in guitar melodies. Interesting that in all these 61 minutes, the Japanese didn’t decide to record any ballad song. True, „Liar” has wonderful balladic opening lasting forty-five seconds only and „Edge of the World” has much more such tunes (almost four minutes), but afterwards it becomes a power madness. But naming songs in this section would be meaningless without „Inspire”. Composed and arranged by ARAKEN (no idea who is it), uncannily catchy, it’s a bit different due its, let’s say, theatrical facade, and being the softest in the family, this track is a realm of Asami proving she is a singing angel. (listen to her sigh at 2:29…)

To put it briefly I do not listen to female fronted bands with clean vocals except some Japanese ones. But in the case of Lovebites Asami drew my attention in the blink of an eye. I’m just very pleasantly surprised, she can sing in many different ways, from gentle to aggressive, from passionate to furious, and in every second of her performance she is all out. That’s really great becauase, as the liner notes inform, Lovebites is her first meeting with metal music ever. I liked a lot her style of writing lyrics as well, she gives a conscious image of our world, however her heart is full of positive energy and hope for others. It helps, believe me. Asami, or better to write As-am-I (‘as’ in Polish means ‘ace’)? Yes, you are! And if I’m writing about energy, the mad M guitar duet appears on the stage. They simple rule serving killing riffs, catchy melodies, impressing leads mostly played by turns. And if Midori and Mi-Ya did a really fantastic work, I cannot omit the rhythm section. Both Miho and Haruna were once in Destrose, now their skills have been pumped in the new band fortunately. And it does work perfectly through the whole. For sure the crystal clear production helps to enthuse all the Miho wall-grinding avalanche with the best moment in the first stanza of „Don’t Bite the Dust”. Simply brilliant!  

Yes, the beginning of the album is just a nail striking my poor senses, the aforementioned penultimate „Edge of the World” seemed to be kinda ataractic drug in musical means, but Asami lyrics till the first lead of Mi-Ya are just bitter vision of current reality. Written by keyboardist Mao Yamamoto known from Light Bringer, a real supporter of the band, the sounds create tension with every second giving a rupturę at 3:50 when power fuel reach the lovebiting engine. The last one „Bravehearted” rams me with no a breather being a true power anthem. Composed by Haruna and consummately arranged, I found this six minute firecracker one of the best songs in the power genre. The opening part of riffs is a real hammer of wrath in contrast to dreamy middle slowdown. Only bravehearted can comprehend its gist.   

I didn’t light upon anything that would be poor or to reject due to my musical taste, what’s more, there’s no possibility to choose the leading track as the whole is maintained on the highest equal level. It is no problem for me to feel their heads and hearts are full of fresh ideas and hope and it’s absolutely great seeing Mi-Ya a permanent member at last. Their frank words from liner notes surprised me, but this is how the album works: just like the words the music is straight and frank. Supported by powerful sound realization, mixed and mastered at Finnvox, it appears as superbly composed and arranged, offering many various kinds of emotions. And antidepressant is another adjective I could describe it. The album became one of the best releases coming from 2017 no matter what kind of metal I’m talking about and definitely the best one with novice subtitle. Despite such a genre Lovebites execute wasn’t dominant in my last months, easily it found its right place in brutal death and gore grind detonations. It’s simply sensational and my review isn’t anything new, just another piece of writing adoring „Awakening from Abyss” in such an enthusiastic way.

And there’s one thing on the end I do not understand: why their names have been written using lowercase letters only? No my ladies, it’s a serious mistake. See it given properly: ASAMI-MIDORI-MI-YA-MIHO-HARUNA…   

97/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in January, 2018)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

HAEMORRHAGE - Punk Carnage (2012)


No Time for a Rest: Extracting Punk Organs

Such a release isn’t anything new in Haemorrhage long lasting gore crusade as they released „Loathesongs” Ep in 2000. This time, however closely related to their previous „Hospital Carnage” full-length (title and front cover), the mad pathologists decided to dissect few bands from Spanish punk scene which had a great influence on them. Beside two tracks served here as bonus tracks „Zu Atrapatu Arte” and „Canarios y jilgueros” that I knew before from „Haematology” compilation and split with Embalming Theatre, „Punk Carnage” offers nine covers of bands I had no idea about. Of course I hadn’t, as I do not listen to such music at all. Well, I can name few Polish punk crews, but since now, my knowledge in Spanish punk scene is bigger I guess. But this tape didn’t force me to know all the original versions. Haemorrhage verions are enough for me.

After many listens, there are two complaints. I mean, the vocals of Lugubrious should be more in his base manner, more with general band’s style. Musically, „Anti-Todo” due to very infantile parts of singing is the worst piece here. Otherwise, the opening „Suzio policía” is pretty good, then the latter shortest one „Somos presos”, really fast with even some parts of blasting Jose. The second side has killers too, „Eskoria” reminding me of Toy Dolls with the best vocal parts or awesome „Sakrilegio”. In turn, „Kualkier día” could be a good song for all Alestorm fans.

Those aforementioned bonuses don’t fit a bit in track order. They have been taken from totally different sessions, and it would be great to hear it in re-recorded versions, they are just good songs, especially Kortatu cover slays. Anyway, the whole is a nice musical journey, something different for me, being an interesting title in Haemorrhage discography. Simplicity, vibrancy, pure punk and Spanish language only. Yes, it does work. And for sure this tape made by Morbid Reality Records in 2016 proves one thing: nobody is safe in this hospital. Nobody, even punks…

70/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in December, 2017)     

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ABHORRENT FUNERAL - Ugly Tales (2017)


Our Brains Aren't Safe


To write the review in a proper way, there’s a need to mention something about… the green. It’s not the case this colour is between blue and yellow in the spectrum. No. I always associate it with serenity, calming the senses and nervous system down and somehow with hope. But here something is broken, something went wrong, though its absolute domination on the front cover. It doesn’t fit because „Ugly Tales” has nothing common with aforementioned things. Read it: no love, no safety, no sanity. No sunshine, no twittering all the morning, no zephyr’s puff. This is about horror. About sick trinity named fear-dread-fright disturbing the peace.
  
All right, let’s use their bandcamp and call mathematics out: if counted well, the debut lasts 25:42, plus 2:49 for indroductions, not composed by the band itself, but taken directly from horror movies. Yes, I touched the essence here: all the concept behind Abhorrent Funeral has been based on such moving pictures being just a homage to everything that may be scary and ominous. Well, my knowlegde of the issue is rather feeble as compared to Disney’s world for example (I always prefer to look at Pocahontas than Pinhead), yet one of the most important thing is the band didn’t come the acid and, thankfully, it flows without any impediment. As for music created by these experienced musicians, the genre has been described as a (troglodytic) mixture of death and doom with some punk influences giving few more famous ‘in the vein of’ bands. And for sure Chicago rooted Cianide should be mentioned at once. I don’t know how it happened, but „Ugly Tales” became really good variation on „The Dying Truth” crushing debut, although Poznań offers are a bit shorter, and what’s more, the drums sound resembles me Kabella’s performance a lot. Of course, simplicity, plainness and some morbid catchiness are the key factors here but the most important impession is the band has… time. They do not hurry anywhere. Yep, it results from the old school death and doom (mainly) stylistics, you know, this is not FXX Evoluzione, rather Jelcz PR110, without valid servicing, clapped-out, with leaky oil pan and coming off paints. But still ready to hit the road and crumple the bones.

Tracks are varied and I cannot write I recognize them by the intros only but with helpful adjective: catchy as mentioned above. As punkish aura is concerned, songs like „Why You Don’t Want to Come with Me to Crystal Lake?” (great title to elongate this review) or „Tommy, Get Your Saw!” are one the simplest songs I have ever listened to in my whole metal life. But they both slay without any mercy, I admit! In turn, „Braindead”, the shortest in the crazy family, but the fastest one is like a pure contradiction to doom rhythm layers. Vast majority of the songs is maintained in mid pace or even doomy being extremely good stuff to bang the head out, sometimes it gets more speed („Creature from the Swamp” or „Brains!”). Or my beloved „They’re Coming to Get You”, slow start, faster second part. However „Cannibal Attack” (what a beautiful title!) made me file a complaint. This track should be faster, obliterating but it sounds like a ballad when placed at its title. But I do really liked M.V. singing in here (if I can call it in such a way…), he mixed two kinds of it: gutturals and shrieking, and all served in undead form, needless to say. Pity a bit he didn’t use these shrieks more often.  

Paraphrasing the song number ten, I can’t avow: „Death to some, doom to others”, as both styles fit perfectly each other. Well, the band’s target was to keep it ugly, dirty and completely ahead. And believe me, they did it without bothering to be irritating, complex or duplicating blindly antyhing I heard before. Those deranged heralds of interminable horror prepared eleven putrid rotten tracks devouring my cerebrum and, to put it briefly, that’s all I can really ask for. Simple to the core but splashy, effective and killing, with no chance to run away. In closing… forget for a while about modern technology, Sneap-like production and fucking smartphones, just listen to „Ugly Tales” playing splendidly released tape all the time till you fukkin bleed…

78/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in November, 2017)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

LET THEM HANG - Human Macabre Icon (2015)

The Sky Is Dying over Gothenburg Habitations


Getting any tapes from Till You Fukkin Bleed label is like a time machine teleporting me to the first half of the nineties, still with glow on my cheeks, trembling hands and shuffling legs, nothing has been changed through all these years. All right, let’s see at the item shown to the world few months ago: modestly and neatly released with printed lyrics and band’s photography. What do I need more? Of course, the only thing that counts is music, doesn’t it? Right, and I tell you that my first meeting with this Swedish trio is a really good sonic journey. Yes, their location is Gothenburg, but do not be misled, as „Human Macabre Icon” is another… instrument that turns time successfully back, though it is definitely more precise taking me to the 1993 year when a certain band called Entombed released its third album called „Wolverine Blues”. And this last (so far) stuff of Let Them Hang I would place somewhere in time when the final seconds of „Out of Hand” reverberate.

This Swedish characteristic sound which comes out of the tape is like an air to breathe: I need to it to live. Yep, I got addicted maaaany years ago and there’s no matter if the underground / mainstream is overcrowded by such bands. There’s no matter as long as I’m able to discover another killing bands like Let Them Hang. Comparing to the sound realization of „Wolverine Blues”, the band didn’t decide to turn up the bass lines so much. Anyway, the persons of Isak Edh and Anders Lagerfors did a good job providing absolutely macabre sound, especially when played at maximum volume. The rest? I cannot be wrong. Three tracks, ten minutes, Swedish death included. For sure the band doesn’t expose melodic parts like in „Hollowman”, „Heavens Die” or mentioned „Out of Hand”. No, they put special emphasis on general direct moving rhythms and grooving intensity. And it’s hard to choose the best one as they stick to mind at once, but maybe the final song with two kind of vocals? Just take a listen on slowdown appearing at 2:00. Yep, I can feel like crawling in entrails, guys. Add not so fast neck-breaking pace, catchy portions of riffs and recipe for a gig firecracker is ready. It’s not possible to stay fixedly.

If the second song in the family is the fastest yet with some doomy parts, „Network in Blood” has really strange (but I’m not saying it sucks) slowing down, influenced by any doomy / sludge crew I guess. And summing it, those tracks mean they do not want to invent anything as everything has been invented in this kind of music. But! If the band doesn’t want to be forgotten, the essence is to find own place in the nowadays infinite similarity flood and the trio definitely did their duty. Band’s bandcamp declaration predicates that the music should be fun, loud, intense and made by and for fans. Believe me, all is correct for these mad Swedes and I buy it in such a form: simple, hard-hitting and bloodboiling. So guys, it’s a good time for a full-length, especially when „Human Macabre Icon” saw the rotten light of day in August, 2015. I only do hope they will try to keep it as it has been sereved here, not trying to jump into „To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth” ooze. It wouldn’t be nice. 

75/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in October, 2017)