Monday, May 30, 2011

Arkaik - Reflections Within The Dissonance

Another California technical death metal band? Great. A new one is formed every damn day. Arkaik are pretty much every band that you've heard before, but they execute what has become cliché very well. Reflections Within Dissonance has a bit more aggression than the most recent efforts by Arkaik's peers and is ultimately more interesting because of it.

One way to describe Reflections Within Dissonance is to look at the album art and list what you see. A myriad of colors, skulls, dead trees, and other supernatural phenomena all thrown together in some sort of bizarre collage of destructive sonic force. The album starts with the title track and moves into "Paradigm," blasting the listener with wave after wave of violent sound. "Womb Of Perception" begins with a hyperfast noodling riff and has a nice bassline set to it. After the eerie vocals (or is that a sample?) at the end of "The Divine Manifestation," it breaks into a roaring vocal section that starts the second half of the album. Despite some of the earlier songs running together, I found myself actually headbanging to the latter half of the album. Tracks like "Malignant Ignorance" which begins with a bunch of fills and the bass intro on "Elegy Of The Disillusioned" are a bit more fun than their sheer speed and somewhat wanky counterparts on the first half of the album.

The album concludes with a slower track that obviously must speed up halfway through (after all this is Californian tech death). There's an interesting bit halfway through where the song is reduced to mere drum and vocals with some intermittent chugging going on. Reflections Within Dissonance, unlike other similar albums, doesn't rely entirely on neo-classical solos when it comes to songwriting, which I feel is Arkaik's strongest asset in setting them apart from their peers. After the hundredth hammer-on and sweep picking blast-a-thon I tend to get tired. Although it blends together at times and sounds like just about every other technical death metal album from California, the way Reflections Within Dissonance is executed with such aggression really makes its appeal much more lasting.

7.75 out of 10


1. The Transcendent Spectral Path

2. Reflections Within Dissonance

3. Paradigm

4. Obscured Luminosity

5. Womb Of Perception

6. The Divine Manifestation

7. Malignant Ignorance

8. Elemental Synthesis

9. Elegy for the Disillusioned

10. Face Of Regression

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Archons - The Consequences Of Silence

Well here begins the reposts. Bear with me since it gives me some back catalog to work with here. I'm spicing them up with a few comments since most of them were written for sites that didn't exactly tolerate bias or "foul language."

Archon's The Consequences Of Silence begins with a fairly standard intro track (inanely titled: "Intro") clocking in at about a minute thirty, which is basically a collage of riffs with some industrial overtones. The first few tracks of the album are undoubtedly the strongest, with "Plague Of Corruption" being my personal favorite. The song pretty much showcases everything Archons is about: midpaced, melodic riffs with plenty of hammer-ons, pinch-harmonics, acoustic segments, and a few interesting effects here and there. There's plenty of faster segments as well, with the beginnings of tracks like "Obsolete Life Form" and the closing track, "Delusional Beliefs" being some of the fastest on the album.The Consequences of Silence is standard melodic death metal with a bit of a unique flare. It's clearly composed by competent musicians since the musicianship and songwriting is technically sound.

Sadly, after the first four tracks (excluding the intro), the album really takes a dip in quality. The transitioning seems weak on some parts, as the riffs don't really flow together and instead clash to create rather jerking transitions. There's also hardcore shouts on "The Fall Of A Dreamer" and some lame, weak sounding breakdowns which really need to be toned down a few whole steps. The production is also crystal clear, which is both the album's saving grace and downfall. It makes the solos, effects, and the rare high-pitched bassline shine through, however it also makes The Consequences Of Silence sound really wimpy, which is a problem that a lot of melodic death metal bands have to deal with these days. In fact it's like every single fucking band had to ask themselves whether they wanted to be melodic DEATH metal, or power metal with harsh vocals. Which is Archons? Hell if I know. They're all over the place thanks to the iffy production.

This album is pretty easy to put away after listening to it. In fact it's albums like The Consequences Of Silence that made me stop listening to melodic death metal in the first place. Now if it was coherent and well-structured, and if they worked on developing their metalcore elements, then they might have themselves an above average release. I've heard word of a second album coming out, and here's hoping it's sweet because the guys in Archons are clearly talented musicians. Until then you're left with another predictable modern melodic death band that really doesn't do anything to distinguish themselves from the droves of shit Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast pour out every few weeks. Listen at your own risk or if you're a melodic death fiend.

5.25 out of 10

I've never been to keen on this particular brand of melodic death metal to be honest.


1. Intro

2. Enigma of Torments

3. Of Pride and Prejudice

4. Obsolete Lifeform

5. Plague of Corruption

6. Wandering the Burning Land

7. Pulverizing Inner Toughts

8. The Fall of a Dreamer

9. Beyond Anger

10. Delusional Beliefs

Check their Myspace for updates regarding the new album if you're a fan, or if you think they've got potential.

Well, things are going alright so far...

I'm liking the way this blog is shaping up. Over the next few days I'll be bringing in reviews I've published other places (like Metal-Archives) and that I've posted on other blogs. I still need to work out the review scoring system. I like assigning arbitrary numbers to things, so I'm definitely keeping the scale, but I still need to set a distinct standard or "average." Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll see it in a few days with updated scores for all the albums I've done so far (and the reviews I'll be bringing over).

Until then, enjoy this humorous picture of Lil Wayne wearing a studded vest with Anti-Cimex (upper left) and Iron Maiden (upper right) patches.

Is Lil Wayne a closet crusty kid? The world may never know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grindhouse: Cleptocracy & The Inalienable Dreamless

In this post, I'm gonna feature some of my favorite straight-up grindcore albums. I can see the look of breathless anticipation on your face. I'll try to keep the reviews short. Gotta stick to the grind theme!

Kill The Client's Cleptocracy: nonstop aggression, pounding drums, roaring lyrics about the government, and all-too-typical grind fare. The combination of these ferocious elements leads to a monster of an album clocking in at just above twenty-two minutes. Each song is an example of the monumental amount of energy that Kill The Client puts into their music. "Bulletproof Vultures," the title track, and "The Lies" are all swarming with grinding brutality.

The production and mixing of this album is what makes it stand out from the majority of other grind albums. The loose snare and somewhat-fuzzy guitar leads to a very satisfying crunch as if you're actually stepping on the heads of government officials with your black leather combat boots. Kill The Client isn't musically retarded either (unlike many grindcore artists). They actually know what they're doing with some of these riffs, employing interesting progressions and harmonics with relative ease. Due to the high speed of the tracks, this doesn't particularly become apparent until "Downfall" which is a chugging, instrumental monstrosity. In fact the last few tracks seem to slow the pace somewhat, which is disappointing, but it allows that crunch sound to come through your speakers that much more effectively. This releases' double-edged sword (or bullet?) if this album has one.

As an exercise in aggression, the album is one of grindcore's numerous plateaus of success. The mixing and production is absolutely superb and the energy with which Kill The Client performs their tracks is unparalleled. There are some qualms with the album in that it does somewhat weaken towards the end, and the blistering speed and aggression doesn't really allow much to soak in on one listen, but that's the whole goddamn point of grindcore. Oh, and the last track is an Infest cover. Go figure.

8.25 out of 10


1. Divide and Conquer

2. Retaliate

3. Bullet Proof Vultures

4. Christian Pipebomb

5. Consumption is Intoxication

6. Cleptocracy

7. Test Tube Nation

8. Product of Misinformation

9. Dog Tagged

10. Evidence of Injustice

11. 99 Percent Turnover

12. The Lies

13. A Mockery of Guidance

14. Downfall

15. False Flag Attack

16. Red State Redneck

17. Spartacus

18. Terminal Nation (Infest Cover)

This one's a classic. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. "Oratorio In Grey" and "The Necropolitan" are some of my favorite grindcore tracks and these guys may have had a passing influence on the gods known as Crowpath. So I figured I'd give it a proper review as well since I was already reviewing Kill The Client's Cleptocracy.

Discordance Axis' The Inalienable Dreamless. What an album. This is a grindcore album that has it all - vocal range, creative dissonant riffing, aggression and energy, and a bone to pick with the world. The lyrics are relatively ambiguous compared to other grindcore albums with their "fuck the man" attitude. I found that to be somewhat interesting for a grind approach, but the whole album is seething with a unique flare. Songs like "The Necropolitan" begin with several dissonant tritones (redundancy my ass), "Oratorio In Grey" has a classic headbanging rhythm, and "Jigsaw" has a bunch of semi-melodic riffs uncharacteristic for grindcore. The screeching vocal work of John Chang is pretty sweet and his performance has remained one of my favorites in grindcore. I think the only modern band really exhibiting a similar style would be Noisear.

The only weakness of the album is the track "A Leaden Stride To Nowhere," a 4-minute conclusion to The Inalienable Dreamless. It's not an exciting track by any means and really offsets the pace and rhythm that the album had going prior. Despite this, the album is still great as a whole and pretty much required listening for any fan of grindcore. It's just such a shame that Discordance Axis had to split-up so early in their career.

8.25 out of 10


1. Castration Rite

2. The Inalienable Dreamless

3. Sound Out the Braille

4. Oratorio in Grey

5. Vacuum Sleeve

6. Angel Present

7. The Necropolitan

8. Pattern Blue

9. The End of Rebirth

10. Loveless

11. Radiant Arkham

12. Use of Weapons

13. Jigsaw

14. Compiling Autumn

15. The Third Children

16. A Leaden Stride to Nowhere

17. Drowned

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's up with this new Technical Death-Wank stuff?

As a music nerd and bassist, I love technical death metal. Ulcerate is like one of my favorite bands ever since Everything Is Fire released back in 2009 (their new album destroys too; pun intended). I love their unorthodox, angular, Immolation-meets-jazz improvisational style. Gorguts, Mithras, Crowpath, Infinitum, any technical (usually dissonant) stuff with atmosphere and feeling is awesome and right down my alley.

Then there's this new shit. Kids scream out for it all over the internet: "Brain Drill rulez dude they're so technicool and awesome!" After hearing all this praise, I go to check out what the fuss is all about, and I'm hit with a blastbeat at 250bpm and lame, mindless sweeping and arpeggios, all of it without any sort of low-end or brutality. Well, that was pretty disappointing I thought. This was back in early 2008 when Apocalyptic Feasting first released. Not thinking much of it, I forgot about it entirely.

Two years later, and I guess that style of "death" metal has exploded all over the place. New bands like Monumental Torment and even some not-so-talented solo artists dominate a certain spectrum of the technical death metal genre while their legions of down-syndrome laden fans mindlessly parade around touting their "technical" ability. I understand it takes talent, I understand it took time and machine-like reflexes to play that, but I don't get why anyone would want to hear a guitar exercise in a song. Thinking to myself "this has got to be worse than anything that ever came out of that whole deathcore scene," I decided to delve into the sub-subgenre (?) hoping to find a hidden gem amongst the clots of Necrophagist-influenced wankery.

Well goddamn. I came out with nothing. That fucking sucked. I listened to the new Brain Drill album, tore out my hair to Monumental Torment's god-awful Elements Of Chaos, and even sat through a Rings Of Saturn song. That was worse than anything I had heard from those other artists.

Listen at your own risk.

What a wasted effort. I did however come up with some interesting finds: A Loathing Requiem, Ichor, Abriosis, and some other artists like Beyond Creation. A Loathing Requiem is the solo project of Malcolm Pugh, a member of Inferi and a pretty talented musician. I'm totally cool with him playing in this style too. Being a solo artist, one expects you to flaunt your skills with a disregard to how ego-stroking they may actually be. Abriosis sounds like a young startup version of the aforementioned bands, but they seem to have more creative riffing and grooves in their songs. Hopefully they mature their songwriting abilities a bit in time for their sophomore release because they really are talented musicians (like most of the bands in this entire post, really). Beyond Creation was kinda cool. Very melodic, not very heavy, but with plenty of decent riff ideas and songs. I'll have to look more into them honestly.

Then there's Ichor, a seemingly overlooked technical death(core?) band from Germany. They really surpassed my relatively low expectations with their album, Benthic Horizon. It's very modern, fairly technical without overdoing it, and has plenty of great tracks (The Wreckage being my personal favorite). Granted I would consider them deathcore with their reliance on breakdowns and some hardcore-esque D-beat sections, but not all deathcore is bad and tags are meaningless anyway. Good music is good music, regardless of genre.

So without further adieu, I give you Ichor's Benthic Horizon.

1. The Gorgon

2. Barotrauma

3. Conquest of Darkness
4. The Wreckage

5. Among the Swarm

6. More Victims

7. The Depth Within
8. The Deepest Blue Is Black

9. Possessor of Soil

Monday, May 16, 2011

So brutal it's retarded

Do you want to keep your limbs?

If you answered yes to the above question, then do NOT listen to this album. Putridity recently released their sophomore effort, Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria, and it's only left a trail of disembodied corpses in its wake. The album pretty much sounds like the title - a churning maelstrom of brutality that slams your maggot-infested body against the wall and ceaselessly defiles it.

The album starts off with a pretty standard opener filled with staples of the album: extremely fast, blasting drums and screeching pinch-harmonics. This might turn off some of you who have no balls or listen to shit like Keep Of Kalessin (synonymous really), but in reality that's pretty standard fare as far as brutal and slam death metal goes. Whatever state your genitalia are in, there's plenty here to enjoy.

The riffing is filled with plenty of descending progressions that are altogether heavy and typical of brutal death metal. The slamming Putridity is known for is present but it doesn't become apparent until later in the album where each song degenerates from speedy downtuned riffing and blasts into crushing, hammerfisted slams. This is most apparent on the track, "Innate Butchery Aptitude," which was one of the first songs composed for Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria. There's a lot less slams overall than their previous album, but this one really has the ferocity and brutality that the previous album lacked in spots nailed down. Plus, the slams here are pretty complex and will have you shaking your head as you try to headbang to the off-time riffs

As a whole the album has a pretty general brutal death metal styIe going on, with gore and cannibalism being the key lyrical themes on the album, but it's all executed so well. Hell the song "Draining Necro Anal Disgorgement" ends with what really does sound like someone dumped their entrails out of their ass. My biggest complaint about Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria is that on the first half of the album the ferociously fast riffs and drumming mask the brutality and make the songs almost seem to blend together. Luckily that issue is cleared up with "Masturbating The Infibulated" and it continues to be a non-issue for the rest of the album.

Overall if you're looking for a new slab of brutal death metal, Putridity's Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria is the way to go. It's got all the staples and it's own thematic flare, and not to mention it's fucking disgustingly heavy. I'm sick of listening to brutal death metal albums (see: Banishment, new Deeds Of Flesh, shitty Mortician) just to laugh at weak guitars and shitty Meshuggah-esque slam rhythms. This album has neither and will rip your face off just like Defeated Sanity did for me with Psalms Of The Moribund. I definitely recommend it!

8.75 out of 10


1. Cannibalistic Postclimax Flesh Consumption

2. Sodomize Epileptic Chunks

3. Masturbating the Infibulated
4. Syphilic Menstrual Rejection
5. Wallowing in Aftermaths

6. Euphoric State of Dementia
7. Innate Butchery Aptitude

8. Draining Necro Anal Disgorgement

9. Living Decomposition

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Beginning

No I'm not this guy.
Check back soon and I'll be discussing the most interesting facets of life such as extreme metal, music gear, tattoos, denim vests, and other cool shit that you've never heard of before.

If you want further information, expect a heavy amount of brutal/black/technical death metal and a scathing swath of grind and crust. Don't mind the oddball releases such as folk and alternative albums either. I'll be covering it all with reviews and more.

Until then you'll just have to wait on the edge of your seat.