Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

14
Nov
07

All Metal Resource Finds New Home!

I have finally upgraded to our own domain and a higher level of bandwidth. I will be creating an RSS feed and the works for all who are interested in that. Please update your bookmarks to the following new and improved All Metal Resource:

http://www.allmetalresource.com

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24
Oct
07

Review: Mortal Sin – An Absence of Faith (2007)

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Once upon a time, a little Australian thrash band by the name of Mortal Sin were beginning to make a name for themselves in their land in Europe. They garnered a mild following overseas by touring with some mainstream acts, but after a U.S. tour of only a few shows, the band finally disintegrated. Various members of the band had trouble staying apart based on the cult following they had developed following their untimely demise, which culminated into a short lived reunion in the late 90’s. However, in 2004, the band name was once again revitalized with some new blood, and a new album entitled An Absence of Faith was released this year.

So, what is the significance of an upstart Australian thrash band reuniting? Well, besides the fact that they fucking rip your face off and have developed some of the best thrash riffs, I guess nothing. Mortal Sin, while not gaining vast amounts of noteriety outside of their native land, have had the post-mortem effect on the world by having some of their earlier albums re-released on CD after years of accumulating dust as vinyl gaining them a newfound set of ears in far off lands. The metal community, single handedly, revitalized this band, and I can say I had been waiting in eager anticipation for this 2007 release, and Lord was I not let down.

To any metalhead who appreciates thrash, An Absence of Faith can wholely by understood and enjoyed, but, much like a fine microbrewed lager, Mortal Sin is savored much more succinctly when you have listened to their previous works when a reunion really wasn’t even a glimpse on the horizon. For me, being an undying thrash fanatic, An Absence of Faith isn’t the be all end all of modern thrash, but it is quite an achievement for a band that was once composed of relative youngsters, to come back as grown men, and compose a brand new set of songs that could have easily been transplanted from 1987 (which, for a thrash band, is about as good of a compliment as you can get).

The highlight of the album for me is Part 2 of one of my favorite thrash songs of all time, “Lebanon”. Entitled matter of factly as “Lebanon Pt. 2: Tears of Redemption”, this song takes us back to the politically driven piece about Middle Eastern chaos. Originally focusing on the 1980’s conflict in Lebanon, this second dose of political reality is a return 20 years later that is a sparse commentary on the conflict that continues to this day in the region. I don’t feel I should take liberties defining exactly what the lyrics entail about such a subject, but feeling the anger, and the importance of such a topic is very well done. Unlike Slayer who take controversial subjects straight to the bank as the KISS of the thrash world, Mortal Sin seems to sincerely take this subject to heart, and write some brutal riffs around some telling lyrics. By far the best song on the album, and one of my favorites from the band. Great comeback!

The rest of the album contains songs that absolutely fit. Either the album is one almost entirely of filler, or there is no filler to be had, either way, it doesn’t matter, because the flow from one song to the next is smooth with a great feel (I feel like I am promoting an Ex-Lax commercial) which creates a great modern thrash album. I sincerely hope Mortal Sin decide to stick it out this time around, because I for one am still a fan, and I am willing to bet I am far from being the only one.

VERY GOOD

Top Tracks: Tears of Redemption, Say Your Prayers, Lost Within, Eye in the Sky

Similar Artists: Death Angel, Exodus, Overkill

1. Out of the Darkness 03:38
2. Deadman Walking 05:45
3. Tears of Redemption 08:53
4. Before the Bough Breaks 04:53
5. Rise or Fall 03:53
6. My Nightmare 03:48
7. Say Your Prayers 04:24
8. Lost Within 04:09
9. Eye in the Sky 04:36
10. Broken Promises 03:42

Mat Maurer – Vocals
Nathan Shae – Guitars
Mick Sultana – Guitars
Andy Eftichiou – Bass
Luke Cook – Drums

Riot Entertainment
http://www.mortalsin.com.au/
http://www.myspace.com/mortalsinners

19
Oct
07

review: demiricous – two (poverty)

My first exposure to Demiricous was at the 2007 New England Metal and Hardcore festival. I had never heard of them but had been told that they were a solid modern thrash band by my fellow bloggers, Nate and” WARGLORY.” The performance was short, as most are at festival shows but I was really impressed. I got their first album, One (Hellbound), and after listening was instantly a fan. Their sound on that album was of the “death-thrash” style, most comparable to recent Slayer releases with more guttural vocals. In their sophomore effort, Two (Poverty), Demiricous has found their true sound and style. From start to finish each of the 12 tracks has a great flow and a gritty, in your face style that beckons you to bang your head. It strays slightly from their previous release in that the vocalist, Nate Olp, has changed his style. Instead of the raspy vocals used on One (Hellbound), Olp pulls back on the raspy style and pushes forward with a more straight forward bark which is extremely similar to that of Human Furnace from the Cleveland metalcore pioneers, Ringworm. I also notice other similarities to Ringworm in the overall sound of the album, especially to Ringworm’s latest release Justice Replaced by Revenge. The riffs and beats are very similar and the songs seem to follow the same pace (The difference is that I was not a fan of Justice Replaced by Revenge.) The reason why I love this new Demiricous album is because unlike Ringworm, Demiricous has pushed this album in a direction in which they needed to go: Thrash. Their previous album was a great start but it wasn’t spectacular. If they had continued with the sound off of “One,” they would have had a small run and faded into obscurity. “Two” takes every good piece from “One” and runs with it and pushes it away from the Death side of Thrash and more towards pure Thrash without sporting ripped jeans and Nuclear Assault concert tees. The album is crisp, rugged and fast; just what every Thrash fan should want from a young band in 2007 (not named Municipal Waste).

Two (Poverty) is a huge accomplishment and step forward for Demiricous. This album cements them as one of the top Thrash bands today. In addition to that honor, it could very well push them to the next level in terms of popularity. The album is catchy and palatable enough for the casual metal fan to really enjoy. Its fast paced and an overall entertaining listen. While it may not be the 80’s when Thrash was hugely popular in the metal scene, with releases like Two (Poverty) and The Art of Partying by Municipal Waste, Thrash is still alive and banging its head in 2007.

VERY GOOD

Top Tracks: Never Enough Road, Engineer, Knuckle Eye

Similar Bands: Slayer, Blood Tsunami, Ringworm

  1. “Never Enough Road”
  2. “Expression Of Immunity To God”
  3. “Knuckle Eye”
  4. “Leprosaic Belief”
  5. “Language Of Oblivion”
  6. “Tusk And Claw”
  7. “Appreciation For Misery”
  8. “Engineer”
  9. “Celebration Of Damage”
  10. “Acid Lung”
  11. “Stress Festish”
  12. “Blackish Silver”

Scott Wilson- Rhythm Guitar
Ben Parrish- Lead Guitar
Nate Olp- Vocals, Bass
Dustin Boltjes- Drums

Metal Blade (2007)
www.demiricous.com
http://www.myspace.com/demiricous

 

Reviewed by: Cole

 

16
Oct
07

Review: Circus Maximus – Isolate (2007)

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Progressive metal is one of those sub-genres where you really can do no wrong. The basic definition of progressive metal is metal with odd time signatures with musical influences that are virtually limitless. In this day in age, you come across many progressive bands that have their basis in alternative forms of metal, but use progressive techniques to further their sound (i.e. Sigh, Death, Atheist, Meshuggah, The Red Chord) which makes for a rich tapestry of different sounds that really get their influences from bands like RUSH, Dream Theater, and Pink Floyd amongst an assortment of others. Still, for many traditionalists, the “traditional sound” of progressive metal (if that exists) has its roots in standard heavy metal with progressive influences enfused. The modern stalwarts of the progressive metal movement starting in the late 80’s are Dream Theater who most metal and hard rock fans will know. However, an assortment of bands which have taken Dream Theater‘s lead, have offered some uncanny albums of excellent progressive music. In 2005, I had the fortune to discover one of these bands from the Norwegian scene, Circus Maximus and their debut, The 1st Chapter.

Likening Circus Maximus to Dream Theater is very easy and obvious because Circus Maximus has obviously great respect and admiration for the latter. From start to finish The 1st Chapter is an ode to Dream Theater, but to say they are copycats, or a glorified cover band would be criminal. Circus Maximus, an unknown band with an unknown group of musicians to Americans released an album that quickly gained them enormous respect in the metal community and made The 1st Chapter my favorite album of the year. In fact, I would go as far as to say that 2005’s Octavarium, a great album from Dream Theater, paled in comparison to The 1st Chapter. This year, Circus Maximus has decided to grace us with their sophomore release, entitled simply, Isolate. Does it live up to the first, or will it fall into the slump that so often happens with second records?

I can safely say that after a number of spins, Isolate is no where near being a disappointment. At first, being a huge fan of this band, I found myself being very critical from song to song and wanted another 1st Chapter, but then I realized that Circus Maximus is not Iron Maiden, and a natural progression from album to album should be expected from a band like them! I then began to focus my attention away from the 1st Chapter and realized that Isolate is the perfect follow up piece. Circus Maximus gives us yet another taste of their incredible skills, ranging from Michael Eriksen’s vocals (which one can closely compare to Roy Khan of Kamelot) to Truls Haugen’s drumwork all brought together with out of this world song structure. Perhaps what is the most impressive about Isolate, is its distance from Dream Theater‘s sound! I would never criticize Circus Maximus for writing music that can be likened to Dream Theater, but the fact that they can compose with their own sound in favor of anyone else’s is an important leap forward.

Thus far, Isolate, with its tight formations from musician to musician with catchy as hell hooks, is just as good as The 1st Chapter in every way, and even earns extra points for finding its own identity. I challenge any progressive act to write music as good as Circus Maximus; even the mighty Dream Theater, Symphony X and Pagan’s Mind cannot touch these maestros of the progressive. If you are a fan of this music, you are doing yourself a grave disservice by not purchasing this album. Give these boys international attention, they deserve it!

AMAZING…

Top Tracks: Sane No More, A Darkened Mind, Ulimate Sacrifice
Similar Bands: Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind, Threshold, Sun Caged, Symphony X, Kamelot

1. A Darkened Mind 05:33
2. Abyss 05:00
3. Wither 04:46
4. Sane No More 03:55
5. Arrival Of Love 04:10
6. Zero 04:50
7. Mouth Of Madness 12:42
8. From Childhood’s Hour 04:28
9. Ultimate Sacrifice 09:17

Michael Eriksen – Vocals
Mats Haugen – Guitar
Glen Mollen – Bass
Truls Haugen – Drums
Lasse Finbroten – Keyboards

Sensory Records (U.S. distribution)
www.circusmaximussite.com
www.myspace.com/officialcm

06
Oct
07

Review: Abigor – Fractal Possession (2007)

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As a brand new listener to Abigor, I must give longtime fans of this genre advanced warning, I will not be treating their 2007 album Fractal Possession like their previous works because I simply haven’t been exposed to them. So with that said, let’s get to the review.

Abigor is one of those black metal bands who recognize themselves as artists first and foremost. They can take music and mold it to exactly how they are feeling or what they think will sound good at that time. Their 1996 album Opus IX is referenced as being one of their best releases by their mainstay fanbase, and from the breif exposure I have had to it, I can understand why. It is a classic black metal album, but it is incredibly memorable with some wicked riffs. Now, fast forward to 2007 with their May 2nd release of Fractal Possession, and you’ll likely hear a completely different sound from them. Gone is the traditional Fisher Price recording studio, replaced by some great production that adds a high level of depth to the music. The production though, I doubt is the major problem many fans may have with this release. You see, contrary to their original sound, Abigor has instigated changes in their music that include catchy breaks, strong industrial overtones and some great progressive riffs (and on top of that having very clear production). For long time fans, this change is paramount to the disdain they may have for this release; personally, I love it!

Being a very critical fan of black metal, I have to find something in the music that seperates them from the pack. With Fractal Possession, Abigor shows some incredible songwriting that often plays like a technical progressive rock album (no, it doesn’t sound like Rush). Perhaps even more impressive, is that Abigor doesn’t fall into the trap of orientating too much death metal, too much industrial, and too much folk. Too many black metal bands these days are attempting to find a niche by absorbing over sub-genres into their music instead of simply evolving their black metal sound. Abigor on this 2007 release has created a motley sound that orientates some incredible offbeat riffs and industrial overtones, but is still undoubtedly black metal in its most basic form.

Abigor is no Darkthrone, in fact, they are the exact opposite of all the Darkthrone‘s and Gorgoroth‘s of the world. Abigor do not have to fall into the elitist Nordic black metal niche that plagues so many in the scene, it is possible to be black metal, stay black metal, and be original! Fractal Possession has made me an Abigor fan, and their traditional fans should embrace this sound, because I doubt it is going anywhere anytime soon.

AMAZING…

Top Tracks: All of them!

Similar Bands: Sigh, 1349, Absu

1. Warning 01:53
2. Project: Shadow 05:38
3. Cold Void Choir 06:13
4. Lair Of Infinite Desperation 06:07
5. 3D Blasphemy 05:43
6. The Fire Syndrome 05:51
7. Injection Satan 04:25
8. Liberty Rises A Diagonal Flame 05:05
9. Vapourized Tears 05:10
10. Heaven Unveiled 06:39

A.R. (Arthur Rosar) – Vocals
P.K. (Virus 666, Peter Kubik) – Guitars, Bass
T.T. (Thomas Tannenberger) – Drums, Guitars

End All Life Productions
www.infernalhorde.com/abigor
www.myspace.com/abigorhorde

05
Oct
07

Review: Battlelore – Evernight (2007)

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Battlelore‘s 2007 album Evernight, is yet another unbridled take on epic power/symphonic metal with a flare for the cheese that would put a lactose intolerant into a coma. However, for Battlelore fans, this is the name of the game, and Evernight delivers as much as ever.

Battlelore is an interesting combination of music for those who have never heard them. They take strong influences from traditional power metal, but there are also huge influences from goth stalwarts Lacuna Coil (especially in the female vocal department) and some very effective male death growls courtesy of Tomi Mykkänen. Overall, Battlelore is a cheese fest, yes, but there is also a dynamic juxtaposition between aggression and sadness in the music. Tomi and female lead Kaisa Jouhki definitely have a good chemistry together that seems to seamlessly drive the background music. Because of the broad range of emotions in this music, this band may surprise some of those individuals who may not normally be too privy to symphonic metal (i.e. viking metal enthusiasts might quite enjoy the Nordic epic vibe). The biggest downside on this album is the lack of variety. Many of the songs have a similar approach to melodies and choruses (clean vocals, harsh vocals, clean vocals), which while not completely detrimental, can sometimes cause the listener to skip tracks.

Evernight is a niche album that will achieve its most success with the ardent power metal fanbase. Battlelore is not poppy enough to be mainstream (esp. in America), and not aggressive enough to be mainstream (weird how that works eh?), but to those who hate soy products, enjoyment and satisfaction will be fulfilled.

GOOD

Top Tracks: Mask of Flies, House of Heroes, The Cloak And the Dagger, Beneath the Waves

Similar Bands: Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Ensiferum

1.    House of Heroes    04:06
2.    Ocean’s Elysium    04:16
3.    Summon the Wolves    04:34
4.    We Are the Legions    03:58
5.    Into the New World    06:32
6.    Longing Horizon    04:35
7.    Mask of Flies    04:51
8.    The Cloak and the Dagger    04:35
9.    Beneath the Waves    05:23

Tomi Mykkänen – Vocals
Kaisa Jouhki – Vocals
Jussi Rautio – Lead Guitar
Jyri Vahvanen – Guitar
Timo Honkanen – Bass
Henri Vahvanen – Drums
Maria – Keyboard, Flute

Napalm Records
www.battlelore.net
www.myspace.com/battleloremusic

01
Oct
07

Review: Agent Steel – Alienigma (2007)

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Often, old school metal bands who attempt a resurgence in popularity are sometimes held back by the mentality that they need to conform to modern standards in order to achieve a new level of popularity with a new breed of listeners (i.e. Metallica, 90’s era Megadeth, In Flames, Soilwork). And then there are those bands who become bored with their sound, so they attempt change with results that leave a bad taste in the listener’s mouth (i.e. Flotsam and Jetsam and Extol). However, every once and awhile a band is able to not only find a resurgence in quality music, but also an evolution in sound, this is evident with Megadeth‘s last two albums. However, deep in the underground, a band that once “was” in the 80’s, is now making a similar comeback as Megadeth has done. This band has retained the basic essence of their original sound, but has found a new heart and soul in modern metal. This band is Agent Steel.

Agent Steel‘s 2007 album, Alienigma, can best be described as a cross between old school Agent, with modern influences from Nevermore, modern Overkill for the thrashy bits and traditional vocals, as well as some blackish metal styled growls thrown in to add some additional attitude. While Alienigma features a great, fresh take on speed and thrash metal, Agent Steel‘s comeback has been a bit rocky for this reviewer. 1999’s Omega Conspiracy took the band’s sci-fi theme to a whole new level…in fact, in went inter-stellar to the Planet of Cheese. The attitude that was prevalent in their first two albums in the 80’s at the height of thrash and speed’s popularity wasn’t as apparent, leaving an over-abundance of badly written power metal. However, the band received some good feedback I guess, and released Order of the Illuminati which was a step in the right direction. In 2007 though, Agent Steel has found their new niche, and their proper sound. There is a heavy dose of Nevermore in this album, which is entirely appropriate, as well as more thrash than has been heard in a long while by this band. And, of course, what is Agent Steel without a healthy dose of traditional speed metal?

Alienigma represents a fantastic leap forward for this band. Now, if they can only market this album to the masses with some music videos on Headbanger’s Ball and the internet, these guys can get some major label attention and really find that popularity that bands like Exodus, Overkill and Annihilator are beginning to feel with the newer metal fans. Agent Steel has made me a fan all over again, and many bands lose heart before they can achieve that again. Good luck boys, and keep making proper metal!

VERY GOOD

Top Tracks: Wash the Planet Clean, Extinct, Tiamat’s Fall
Similar Bands: Nevermore, Overkill, Exodus

1. Fashioned From Dust 04:44
2. Wash the Planet Clean 05:25
3. Hail to the Chief 06:37
4. Wormwod 06:08
5. Liberty Lying Bleeding 04:59
6. Hybridized 06:06
7. Tiamats Fall 05:37
8. WPD 05:23
9. Lamb to the Slaughter 04:08
10. Extinct 03:53

Bruce Hall – vocals
Juan Garcia – guitars
Bernie Versailles – guitars
Karlos Medina – bass
Rigo Amezcua – drums

Mascot Records
www.agentsteelonline.com
www.myspace.com/agentsteel




WarGlory’s Top 10 of 2007 (so far)

BEST

1. Circus Maximus - Isolate

2. Abigor - Fractal Possession

3. 3 Inches of Blood - Fire Up the Blades

4. Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying

5. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos

6. Threshold - Dead Reckoning

7. As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us

8. Behemoth - The Apostasy

9. Megadeth - United Abominations

10. Agent Steel - Alienigma

WORST

1. Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon

2. Aria - Armageddon

3. Kruger - Redemption Through Loooseness

4. Machine Head - The Blackening

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