Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 07/13/17
July. Heat. Melting. Need. Cool. Music. Reviews. Small. Immediate. Relief. Ears. Soon: Edguy, Burning Ground, Saccage, Sinnerangel, Igorrr, Cavernlight, Mental Architects, and Karkaos.
If you’re really into that late 90s /early 2000s style of power metal, and somehow not familiar with Edguy, Monuments may be the comp album for you. Some may argue that one of their previous comps, Hall of Flames, may be better, simply on a “old albums are better” basis, but this comp includes not only brand new tracks, but also more recent songs, giving the listener a more complete idea of Edguy and their evolution over the years. Describing this is basically just describing Edguy as a whole. There are some brand new tracks, which, for the most part, are great examples of Edguy’s melodic and fun sound. If you love generic European power metal that’s basically just hard rock and you aren’t already a fan of Edguy, maybe give it a shot? FFO: Gamma Ray, Avantasia, Masterplan – Randall Thor.
Despite being from a nation full of flamboyant symphonic metal bands, Burning Ground clearly takes inspiration from the riff-tastic style of 80’s US Power Metal. This album does nothing new, and isn’t necessarily outstanding in its class, but in this style of metal, no one is really looking for groundbreaking or life changing when it comes to new artists and albums. We just want good heavy metal, and this completely delivers. Of particular note are the excellent vocals by Maurizio Meloni, and the production job that gives the band a modern sound without compromising the classic tone. The six songs featured are all in the 5-7 min range, but never feel repetitive or derivative, despite the anachronistic nature of traditional heavy/power metal. The only thing lacking here is classic hooks. After the first couple listens, I could not recall very much about the album except that I enjoyed it. If you’re into traditional heavy metal, you may find something fun here. FFO: Attacker, Wulfhook, Helstar – Randall Thor.
So filthy. So fun. So French. Well, French Canadian, anyway. Saccage (yes, that probably sounds funny pronounced in English) won me over with their unabashedly fun blackened crust debut from 2012. In the course of an EP and a split with countrymen Hellacaust, a decent amount of maturing has happened. The playing has become somewhat tighter, the overall sound a little cleaner, and the crust is dialled back a bit in favour of more metal elements, creating a melange that often resembles a younger Goatwhore. Despite the growing up they’ve done, Saccage are thankfully still far from totally shedding their youthful ways, so the album is light on its feet, mostly barreling along with a punkish, alcohol-fueled attitude, commiting the occasional misdemeanor in the form of gang shouts, and generally not giving much of a shit. Not too short, not too long, a good slab of light-hearted entertainment – regardless of whether you’re squatting in a derelict building or just dropped off your kids. – Hans.
Sinnerangel is described as a “Melodic Death/Black/Power” band and I didn’t know what to expect about it. But, hailing from Medellín I had to push myself to listen, since the Colombian scene is regarded as one of the cornerstones of the latino scene of extreme music. Sinister Decálogo is not only a novelty, the power and heavy metal gallops runnings in the middle of the album sound killer with the harsh black metal influenced vocals and the piercing old-school melodeath riffing. Listen to “Fuego en Mi Alma”, “Abysmal Visions” and “Banshee” to read my thoughts, this band is really aiming to do the impossible as blending these extreme worlds together. Sinnerangel is on my radar right now, and so it can be for the melodic seekers around here. – Link Leonhart.
You know that one profoundly messed up dream you’ve had a few times after a long day? The one where you were trapped in a room with no walls and no echo? The one where strangers dressed up like old-timey mimes came up to you and started screaming in your face as if their life depended on it? The one where the mimes then changed their outfits with the snap of a finger and revealed themselves to be industrial-techno-goths at a damagingly loud European designer drug rave? The one where the rave club was raided by classical music buffs who put an opera singer on the stage to start singing along to blastbeats and guitar riffs? You remember the one, right? Well Savage Sinusoid is that, but in album form. – Moshito.
Cavernlight – As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache
Gilead Media | June 16th, 2017
Are you happy? Feeling good about yourself? Looking forward to stuff? Cavernlight just might make you reconsider your outlook with some dense doom of the extremely slow variety that lets very little light seep through. The album name is a mouthful for sure, and song titles aren’t always more concise (“Constructing a Spire to Pierce and Poison the Infinite“ is probably my favourite). If that reeks of pretentiousness to you, fret not. This record is not concerned with pretense, with keeping up appearances. It’s here to tell you the truth, straight from the heart, and it turns out that it’s not too pretty. Like most of the music that fascinates me lately, there are some elements of noise and sludge in here. The vocals alternate between caustic shrieks and harsh growls, but they’re somewhat buried in the mix, as if futilely struggling against the wall of despair the rest of the music creates. While no stranger to actual riffs, guitars spend a lot of time letting droning, mournful notes ring out. The wonderfully sad synths on the opening track could be borrowed from a depressive black metal album. The final song, featuring guest vocals by Rachel N. from False, employs sparse instrumentation before building to a violent crescendo like a dying person’s last burst of energy before they succumb to their malady. I hesitate to describe Cavernlight’s music as “crushing“ or “pummeling“, since that kind of implies an intent that I don’t think it really has. They aren’t out to get you. They’re not so much creating this for you as just showing you what’s already there, within them, within you, within life. If you don’t look away quickly enough, the immensity of it grabs you, sucks you in, and might indeed crush you in the end. – Hans.
I’m not sure what to make of the album notes here, which claim this album was composed and recorded as the band ascended and then descended a mountain, but either way, this is excellent instrumental math-rock-style prog metal. Coming all the way from Bulgaria, Ascend is made up of 12 very short tracks that refuse to dwell too long on any riff. There is a certain out-in-the-wild flavor to the music, but less worship and more of a struggle against the elements. There are some pretty wild tapping solos and excellent grooves all over this thing. It’s also not afraid to slow things down, maybe for a little too long, before jumping back into a frantic pace. Does it do anything in particular to stand out from the pack? I’m not really sure if it does. But if you like the pack as-is, you will like this album. – Joaquin Stick.
Canadian metallers Karkaos‘ second full length goes full pedal in the frontier between the symphonic metal framework of dual beauty and the beast vocals and some modern melodeath influences. Pristine production puts the huge wall of keyboards to the front, without overpowering the rest of the instruments or sacrificing the guitars. Meanwhile the riffing and rhythmics are kind of metalcore-ish, the guitar tandem can squish some good solos that work in a good functional way along the cool vocals of Viky Boyer. Listen to the title track. – Link Leonhart.
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