Well, another year is gone.
Beside its fine, pleasing moments, which were few, it was awful and most parts of it sucked. There were countless sad moments, unfortunate events, and more important than the others many great artists, many legends left us, gone forever but their memories remain, with us, eternally.
However, at the same time, many tremendous albums came alive, pleased us, left huge traces of joy and eternal pleasures carved in our souls, kept us all alive, gave us power to face difficulties, through all the ass-kicking rough times.
I’m cutting it short. I just want to mention the words of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
After two years of touring and doing shows across the country, southern/stoner metal quartet Wasted Theory are back once again, which means it took them two years to put in the finishing touches on their recent studio jams, releasing their sophomore album Defenders of the Riff, a follow-up to their successful debut album, Death and Taxes. With their second album, Wasted Theory have started where they left off with their debut and now they have brought it back to life, shape it up, a bit different sound wise, however they have kept the soundscape of the band’s music. But what’s the difference between these two records?
By skipping the first two EPs from the band, Cinco Dechado De Cancion and Godspeed that was just a collection of a bunch of cool jams and not pointing to the true face of Wasted Theory’s music, you get to Death and Taxes. This was released in 2014 and was a powerful debut from Wasted Theory’s camp and was a [bit] modern sounded southern/stoner metal, whose potent hard rock side was bold and immense, yet the production kept the sound close to the retro type of sound of its genre. But when it comes to Defenders of the Riff everything seems are in the opposite way. The album’s production is more modern than the debut album, which made the music sharper and less vintage sounding and these are riffs and melodies, delivered from ages of heavy rock music, just like the album cover the colorings of which and characters recall the old school dark fantasy / sci-fi comic books.
Date Released: 01/26/2016
Album Type: Full length
Album info: Bandcamp
There’s only one word for the recent venomous death metal wickedness comes out from that El Paso, Texas. Hortlak. And sudden death happened! These Texan death metallers have brought their self-titled debut album, wrapped in a massive musical development, which confronts the listener with tones of old school Swedish death metal to modern American death metal influences.
At first listens, Hortlak may sound like a mediocre album which has nothing special in itself. But after giving it more spins it definitely sounds a like a classic death metal release. Its sharp and definite production totally keeps the music away of any muddy, murky moods, keeping the listeners very close to the catchy riffs and groovy drums which is programmed by Mike, the bassist of the band. Kyle, the vocalist has done a perfect job. His massive guttural voice is psychotic and it completely has its own positive place in the music of the album, offers more brutality pushing the music.
Ah ok! Our job with 2015 is kinda done and it’s hard to believe that another year is over, so many great albums are released and just a few are yet to be released. The same story happened once again this year and I had enough luck and time to listen to more than 800 albums from different genres but mostly rock and metal titles! Yeah, too many titles lead you to harder decisions to make for your year-end list, but what a journey it was. The following list is coming out of that musical journey, which it was so tough but yet so marvelous and breathtaking.
Disappointments of the Year:
Ahab – The Boats Of The Glen Carrig
(Funeral Doom Metal)
I’m not sure if I’m too mean to put this album as one of the disappointments, while I still listen to this album, enjoying some parts of it. But Glen Carrig’s album somehow deals with some boring long arpeggio-driven guitar parts which don’t help too much to be the enjoyable ones, also a bit of filler songs or parts in it. Probably the biggest problem is The Giant was too brilliant and powerful album, but I think three years is a long and enough time to think about how to write a great follow-up to that gigantic album.
Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/19/2015
Band info: Facebook
It seems Deluge is a common name to use as a band name. There are around eight bands the have used this name, from all genres, all around the world. From electronic to minimal ambient, hardcore to alternative rock, dance music to even symphonic black metal musical acts. But the French Deluge has a different sound and story with the band somehow styling their name to all caps D E L U G E.
DELUGE released Mélas | Khōlé back in 2014 as their debut demo and a year later they came back with their first ever full length record Æther. This 55 minutes epic record collects everything’s best in atmospheric/post-black metal with huge touches of post-hardcore, wandering throughout these genres with purpose, thus pushing Æther as one of the best 2015 album nominees. Yes, out of nowhere it happened and this is true. DELUGE and Æther are like a torch-bearer, an excellent example of where European modern black metal scene is going, while they’re defining their own style of music and affecting other continents and countries.
Portugal’s underground extreme music scene is getting more interesting each year with bringing some new flesh blood on the dirty murky stage like O Cerco, Vizir, War Cult Supremacy, Mother Abyss and We are the Damned to name a few. These are all recent bands coming from Portugal and their most recent act is Lisbon’s blackened doom metal quartet Vaee Solis, which was formed in 2014.
Vaee Solis didn’t spend time on releasing demos and EPs and the introduction to their music was simplified to the release of their debut album, Adversarial Light. Such a filthy dark start! With a huge desire to play mid-tempo to extremely slow songs, the band didn’t go anywhere far off this basis, brining 38 minutes of pure harsh slowed down gut-wrenching sludgy blackened doom metal. If Vaee Solis intends to play their music slow and fuzzy, somehow the band’s music territory would expand to more doom subgenres such as funeral doom metal but still can’t be defined as “funeral”. They have stood somewhere close to funeral but keep going on with what the band is obsessive about: “blackened” doom, as black, dark and horrifying as your worst nightmares!
After two years of hiatus (which I’m so grateful was not an indefinite hiatus), the mighty power of depression and abstraction, Minsk decided to return in 2013. It was the right decision to make from the band to get back into the music scene again because as we all know between 2005 to 2009 Minsk had released three of the greatest and deepest sludge/post-metal albums ever created. Out of a Center, which Is Neither Dead nor Alive, The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment and With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone are representing the darker, gloomier and more dynamic side of sludge/post-metal genre. Theirs sounds are a fabulous mixture of almighty Neurosis, Isis and Cult of Luna, yet Minsk has a massive potential to add some huge sound scape that [somehow] later became the band’s own trademarked sound and music visions.
After the reformation of Minsk in 2013, some much better news surfaced when the band announced there would be a new record in horizon and after a year or so, they started to record the album, which was to be released sometime in 2015. The Crash and the Draw, the longest Minsk album to date, spanning around 75 minutes, is set to be the band’s fourth album, with four wolves staring right at you on the charming album cover. Minsk album covers are always interesting, fit for their sound of music but with this album they’ve chosen a more artistic yet dark piece of illustration for their album cover that looks the best one in their career. The Crash and the Draw album cover is done by Relapse Records’ Orion Landau. Perfect job as always Mr. Landau!
When it comes to talking about a band whose sound is a mix up of too many genres, it is a bit hard to not separate their music into pieces, defining what exactly their music sounds like. But when a band is not trying to make their music sounds so messy and weird, it allows the listener to enjoy the music, as it should be. Boulder, Colorado’s five-piece Call of the Void completely has proven this theory!
Formed in 2010, Call of the Void plays quite an interesting mixture of Hardcore Punk with Sludge Metal and Grindcore. And when it comes to be a Grindcore, for Call of the Void that doesn’t mean the music has to be under a minute long. The band perfectly has merged their Grindcore sound to Hardcore Punk basis, putting it to the songs’ undertones while they are having fun with some chunky sludgy riffs, Hardcore Punk style. Ah! Yes that sounds a bit complicated, in spite of everything I said in the beginning of the review. But let’s see what Call of the Void have done in their sophomore album, a great follow-up to their bone-wrenching debut Dragged Down A Dead End Path, back in 2013.
The United States has seen so many Atmospheric Black Metal bands through the past few years. From the darkest ones to the bands who came up with pink sunshiny album cover which wanted to break the dark and kvlt boundaries of Black Metal, and to define some new imagery.
Some of these bands are coming forth with a more artistic outfit, which is a bit rare now in black metal business, like Wolves in the Throne Room, who is not playing black metal anymore, at least at this period of time.
With a closer look there’re a lot of bands who are trying to represent a huge combination of both artistic and dark vision and one of them is Illinois, Chicago’s young-blood quartet, Vukari.
After releasing the brilliant debut album “Matriarch” in 2013, the band has returned to release the four-piece EP “En To Pan” as their second effort. “En To Pan” comes up with an eye-catching album cover, done perfectly by the band’s drummer/keyboardist Mike DeStefano, which covers the artistic part of the band’s vision so well. “En To Pan” starts with a seven minutes powerful opener “Din Of Consciousness” with a one minute and thirty seconds hypnotizing intro attached to the beginning of the song, which clearly shows playing stylish Post-Rock is still one of the band’s musical hobbies and they’re not afraid to put some of those Post-Rock parts in-between the song(s). “Din Of Consciousness” has enough time and mesmerizing atmospheric parts to take you away, to an adventurous meditative journey.