Reclaiming Elysium – A Decade of Silence

I really want to like this, but the band runs out of ideas after track 2. There’s some really awesome solos here, but the metalcore elements get annoying the further you progress into the album. The band is a nice reunion story, and the title refers to the fact that the original band (named Elysium, hence the new name) never finished their first album and broke up a decade ago. But as cool of a story as it is, they brought some questionable help from some questionable bands (namely Solipsist). No matter how cool the melodic solos are, the constant chugging is annoying, and the random acoustic guitar passages don’t add anything and seem more like pointless wank than anything else. It’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be, but not really worth a second look.


Carnifex – Slow Death

Legitimately one of the darkest and heaviest deathcore albums I’ve ever heard, and also probably the best. I went into this with every expectation that it would be trash, and I was proven drastically wrong. It’s one of those things that takes some getting used to in order to really appreciate, as when you first hear a breakdown you immediately react to it as being trash. Only when you open your mind do you realize that the breakdowns here are actually really fucking good and ADD to the atmosphere of the album. The muted, down-tuned guitars actually make sense, and the black metal tremolo riffs just add onto how dark this fucking album is (at least for deathcore). In terms of being the most sinister deathcore album ever, I’d say it lives up to the hype, and then some. It’s still deathcore, so it comes with its own issues, but I would highly recommend this to anyone who believes that all deathcore albums are made equal.



Lord of War – Suffer

Surprisingly decent techy deathcore. The breakdowns are generally not too obnoxious (with the exception of Carbon Based Genocide), and some of the chug riffs are not bad. I like that much of the technicality isn’t just sweeping, there is some actual riffing. The extremely edgy “kill all humans, alien lifeforms rule the world” theme is executed on a high school level of authenticity, but it’s deathcore, what do you expect? It’s not amazing, but I’ll take what I can get in a genre this deprived on anything remotely resembling quality.


Slice the Cake – Odyssey to the West

So in choosing a band name that above anything epitomizes the trend of “deathcore band that’s going to release one extremely shitty album that’s ripe with memes, then crabwalk their way through 3 failed redemption albums to the hall of shame”, Slice the Cake set themselves in a pretty big corner. And to be fair, their first two records actually got some pretty good acclaim for their genre. But then, for whatever reason, the band just got together and decided “fuck it, we’re going to create the greatest deathcore album ever made”. On a list of achievements no one is going to care about, that’s pretty up there. Deathcore is far and away the most made fun of, and probably overall worst metal subgenre. I mean spoiler alert, they do in fact succeed in creating the greatest deathcore album ever made (at least from what I’ve heard). But the bar wasn’t set too high to begin with. Even After the Burial’s attempt at this feat felt lackluster at it’s very best. To put the cherry on top, the rad english dudes at the cake slicing factory decided to make the album almost 80 fucking minutes. I mean why not, if you’re already going to try to make a fucking deathcore album as pretentious as humanly possible, why not go the extra mile to cement that fact?

The biggest indication that I was in for a true Odyseey of sorts (as the title implies) was in my first listen of this record. I was going through it with the general thinking of “this is pretty good, but I feel like it’s a bit over the top”. I was somewhat satisfied, but at the point of which I thought was the end of the album, there was this strong sense that Slice the Cupcake was trying way too damn hard to be epic. The first half listens as this opus to prove just how not deathcore they are, trying to be emotional and epic tech death with breakdowns that, while sounding overall ok I guess, are extremely samey and feels like one giant song that wasn’t really worth listening to. I will say though, the overall flow of this album is really good. It does feel like one track, but for the most part, that’s more because every tracks flows so smoothly into each other. I’ll give credit where credit is due, I try to be fair like that.

So I’m about done with what I thought was the end of the album, and I’m thinking “alright, this wasn’t amazing, but kinda solid, this is around a mid to low 6”. Then I look at the track listing and I realize “what the fuck, I have 7 more tracks to go”. That was a big red flag.

But now, get ready for this, here’s the kicker. The second half of the album (which is pretty distinctly split into too halves) is clearly the band trying to over do it on the pretentious and “no really guys, we’re more than just a deathcore band”side of Cutting Cookies for Kids. There’s african drums, more acoustic guitar, some ambient, other shit that makes it much more diverse, but infinitely more high than thou. Not to mention they get rid of most of the tech death side and go full deathcore for the majority of the tracks. But, BUT, here’s the shocker: it’s infinitely better than the first half.

Riddle me this, in what possible world does the part of an album that meekly tries to give a handy to both deathcore bros and art students, while mostly getting rid of one of the only well liked genre it’s influenced by (let’s me real, prog metal has taken a bit of a beating over the years) the best part of the album? Let alone best entire HALF? It’s demonstrates this phenomenon where something can be pretentious, but still down to earth and relatable. In one of the most odious comparisons I’m going to make all year for sure, I’m reminded of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Rite of Spring is pretentious as fuck. Like full stop, this is the kind of shit Stravinsky almost certainly thought “god I’m so fucking smart” while writing it. I mean he thought that about everything, because he’s Stravinsky, but even so, this is some high brow shit. But at the same time, ya’ll can relate to earthy rituals and the connection humanity has to ways of their ancient ancestors. Well, maybe not now, because modern society jerks off over being progressive and unlike the savages who lived, oh , 20 years ago. But subconsciously it’s there. That’s why it’s such a loved work.

Obviously Odyssey to the West is not a Stravinsky piece, nor am I implying they even approach the same quality. But there’s something more believable about a deathcore band being a deathcore band. I’d much rather Chopping up the Sweet Stuff for Birthday Parties do an epic tale in ways they know best, than try to be something they honestly aren’t. These guys aren’t a tech death band. They are prog deathcore. Not everyone can be Job for Cowboy, sometimes you just gotta live with the fact that you chose to make music in a shitty subgenre. And surprise, when they embrace themselves as just a deathcore band that’s trying to make good deathcore, the results are great.

The closer, The Holy Mountain, is a fucking holy shit track. It shares a lot in common with the first half of the album actually, but the difference is they got rid of some of the unnecessary technicality, and timing for the track was much better. I don’t want to be blasted with epic deathcore prog tech shit fuck for 8 straight tracks to open the album. But as a finale? Fuck yeah, that sounds dope. And sure enough, the finale is indeed, dope as fuck.

However, as dope as fuck as this album can be at times, it’s still 77 fucking minutes long. And there’s really, really no reason for that to be. Want the biggest improvement I could possibly suggest for this album? Here, just take out the first 5 tracks of the album. Just delete them, don’t even think about it. There, you have a pretty solid high 7 album and you have permanently left your mark on the deathcore scene forever.

Of course, “leaving your mark on the deathcore scene forever” is essentially being on top of loser mountain. You’re there but…. you’re there, and not on top of winner mountain, where they get to grope breasts and drink good beer. You’re on loser mountain where you get a sloppy, probably herpes infected kiss on the cheek from a 4/10 girl and drink natty light for your efforts.

Odyssey to the West is the best deathcore album I’ve ever heard, bar none. If Fuck It I’m Just Going to Stuff My Face With This Shit, Slicing is For Losers, I’m Really Sad and Want Sweet Things to Fill the Void Where Companionship Should Be shortened the albums length a bit, this would be a great release. But nigga, 77 minutes. If I wasn’t forced to have time for that, I wouldn’t.

Oh, and to people who hate the vocals, I don’t give a shit, they’re fine. If you can’t handle corny story telling you really shouldn’t be listening to metal. And no, lyrics about eating out Satan’s asshole isn’t much better.


ERRA – Drift

Ok fine, I’ll stop playing league to post something, but only because I’m on tilt and don’t want to get demoted.

Imagine Periphery, except 10x more generic, with superficial technicality (because I guess they wanted credibility or something????), and a vocalist that somehow manages to be even more generic than the music the band produces itself. I actually amazed, normally when I go into a record thinking I’m going to like it, I have a hard time giving it a bad score. But fuck me sideways, these guys pulled it off. I guess the later half of the record is “better”, if I can really call it that, but that’s more to a testament to how mind mindbogglingly boring the first half is. If you have heard a progressive metalcore album, you have heard this album before. The djent aspects seem to be there just because apparently that’s a requirement if you’re going to have -core and progressive in your genre tags. The djenty riffs have no real rhyme or reason to them, sounding more like they’re just trying to give a vague sense of trendiness, than any sort of actual rhythm or structure any good djent band creates. To be honest I just looked at porn the entire second half of the album, because I figured I wouldn’t get through it any other way. But I couldn’t actually find anything good, so I basically just spent the time looking at shitty deviantart tier r34 drawings while listening to music I hated. So congrats ERRA, you made looking at porn a miserable experience. Now please chug somewhere else where nobody can hear you.


Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows

I don’t know how a Post-Hardcore band turns into a fantastic black metal / mathcore blend band, but I’m enjoying every second of it. It’s just dirty black metal with some mathy riffs, but it works so god damn well. Don’t be a plebeian, give this a spin.


Shortstacks – 3/3/2016

Only got two for you guys today, I’ll see if I can do more tomorrow. One of them was almost a full review, but I figured it was just a bit too short to warrant a spot. The batch today doesn’t really have any stinkers, just complete mediocrity, and one band that has potential, but hasn’t quite realized it yet. So without further adieu, here’s today’s Shortstacks.


Mouth – Mouth

I feel like there’s a lot of potential for greatness here, but some things just hold them back. Mouth shows they have a fantastic knowledge of riffing in the first two tracks, but that doesn’t show up anywhere else on the album, offering instead of put out very droney, sludgy tracks. During those tracks they also demonstrate they can build an atmosphere, but especially on From Room / Communion of Her it just goes on way too long.

The shorter tracks are definitely the strengths here. They mostly consist of forward moving, muddying tracks that you can bob your head to, coupled with absolutely fantastic drum work. The drums really are the best aspect of this album. When used right, beyond having finesse, they move the pieces forward, to the point where every beat feels like one giant step, creating a driving force. However the guitars are more inconsistent. While yes, there are some pretty good riffs to behold here, the guitars mostly drone on one chord / “riff” (if you can really call it that). That can work in many circumstances, but in an album where half of its length is basically dedicated to those drones (over half actually), and the fact that in many cases they’re coupled with these softer vocals make the whole thing sound more lazy than atmospheric.

I enjoyed this, however I think the band has some growing up to do. This is only their debut, so I’m sure if they continue they’re grow into a fantastic sound. For now Mouth has potential, but is still largely an obviously amateur production.



Typhus – Typhus

You know an album is gonna be good when one of their track titles spells fixation with two Xs. Basically just generic deathcore with djent shit thrown in so that the band can call it “progressive”. It’s got this pseudo Egyptian thing going on that I don’t really get, but it doesn’t matter because it’s never visible on the album for more than a few seconds at at time. Inoffensive, but not worth anyone’s time.




After the Burial – Dig Deep ALBUM REVIEW

Someone send help, I like the new After the Burial record. And not just like, I fucking love this thing. Why? Because the riffs are fucking amazing that’s why. Dig Deep legitimately bats 1.000 in terms of riffs. I was actually fucking amazed that they didn’t slip up once, every riff this band attempts is great. I want to especially talk about the first three tracks, which in terms of pure hardcore djent, are just about perfection. Collapse is up there with Akroasis in terms of tracks this year that I replayed numerous times. I mean just holy fuck that opening riff. Such a powerful way to start the album, sucking you in to a world of riffage unseen from any other djent album this year.

It gets a little bit shakier when they try to be more melodic. Not because they do it poorly, quite the opposite in fact, but because it feels like much more of something I’ve heard before. One of the things that immediately sucked me into this album was that it felt like hardcore, minimal tonality djent album that wasn’t a Meshuggah clone. That’s done basically never, at least not done well. So while 4 out of the 9 tracks are more of the traditional djenty variety, the other 5 are more ingrained the melodic metalcore variety, with djent riffs scattered throughout. While I do prefer the group of 4 to the group of 5, no track on here is a disappointment, delivering great melodic and riffage goodness every time (with the possible exception of the last track, that’s the only one that maybe dips below an 8/10).

However despite how consistent the tracks are, there are two things that prevent me from going into the 9/10 territory. For one, the album has a bit of a one dimensional nature, lacking any sort of special extras that are needed to elevate an album to higher territory. Like I said, it has riffs, it has melody, but nothing else really supplementing it, not even really completing the triumvirate with any sort of atmosphere. Which leads me to my last criticism, that the album is really in an need of a final 7-8 minute “master track” to tie everything together. Right now it feels like a really well decorated christmas tree, but without the gold star or angel on top. It’s missing that extra 10% to cap everything off, where it pulls out all the stops and all the bands energy to deliver the best they have to offer. The 39 minute run time is just not quite enough for how good the music contained in it is.

Yeah I’m gonna get some looks for giving this a good score, but I like what I like, and to this, Dig Deep is a fucking awesome piece of music that deserve to be looked at as one of the top -core records of the last few years.

And yes, the air horn is awful. I don’t care, the album still rocks.