Ēōs – Third Demo

Absolutely fantastic demo. The main theme is present, but there’s enough slow evolution to keep your interest, which is really difficult to do in funeral doom. I especially love that opening synth, and really wish they would’ve done a bit more with that, other than play it in the background. It’s this cool moog like synth that sounds like it came right out of a black church service. Obviously it’s hard to comment on something that’s just a demo, but I’m extremely excited to see this band’s first album, moreso than I’ve been for any other band I think. It’s rare to have quality funeral doom outside of major bands, so it’s so inspiring to see it from such an obscure band, especially one that makes a demo that’s this ridiculously well produced.


8.5/10

https://eosdoom.bandcamp.com/

Undertale is Cancer but goatmom is kinda hot tbh

I’m pretty drunk, so I figured I might as well go for this. There is this special meme going on that toby fox is a great composer that is god’s gift to video game music. That he has amazing melodies and should like make symphonies or do some sort amazing thing that some random awful Undertale fan thinks he should do because he’s somehow on par with professional composers. Here’s the thing, Toby Fox isn’t just a mediocre composer, he is literally incapable of creating a full song. For an example, I’ll go with megolovania because everyone jacks off over that (even though it’s literally just a rehash of his song from homestuck, like literally just about note for note). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcoqR9Bwx1Y Now it’s all fine and fappy until about 1:20. Now look at 1:20 and notice what happens through the rest of the song. Look at it more. See any development? No? You mean he’s just rehashing the first theme the entire fucking 4 minutes? Gee wow, that doesn’t like good composition. No shit it’s awful composition. He can’t create a full song. There is no end to that track, it ends because he figured he had to end it somewhere, so he’ll just restate the main theme until people grow tired of it. And it works, because in game nobody cares about the composition of the song, and out of game nobody of youtube listens to a track for more than a few seconds, so they don’t know that he actually doesn’t know how to make more than half a song. “but Lizard-kun-chan-husbando, what DOES a good video game composition look like?”. Here I’ll fucking give it to you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_F6hCvmzVE
Notice how there is a main theme, development of a main theme, and an actual end. Like, wow, a song and not just an amateur composer jerking off around one theme. Yes, this is from a yugioh game and it is just about half the length of megolovania, yet says about quadruple as much as toby fox could ever hope to produce from his tiny, tiny fingers.
No go to just about any other toby fox song and you’ll see the exact same thing. He is actually incompetent at writing music beyond a frame of 30 seconds, but modern video game music is essentially shitty movie music (at least in the popular games), so anytime people here a melody they freak out like it’s the god of video game music.

In conclusion, fuck everyone who like this, they are what makes modern video game music the cancer that it is today. Have some good shit to cleanse the pallet of this grabage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPl-ns-yIUE


2/10

Ahab – The Boats of the Glen Carrig ALBUM REVIEW

Full disclosure, Ahab is my favorite band. I even went so far as to get an Ahab shirt for Christmas, one which I’ll gladly show off for years to come. I’ve been saving this review for the end of the year, as I feel like it would be a nice closure to 2015. However I found that I really just don’t have a whole lot to say about this record.

It follows the familiar Ahab sound, with crushing doomy riffs (albeit at a slightly more brisk pace this time), coupled with beautiful calming clean vocals, and acoustic passages. On previous Ahab records I felt that they were exploring the notion of wandering at sea, with the waves crashing against your vessel, creating a struggle of man vs water. On The Boats of the Glen Carrig, I feel like Ahab has finally dove into the water, as the cover indicates, giving off a more atmospheric and lighter approach, rather than being sloth like in their riffs, which makes me feel like I’m exploring the vast, colorful landscape of the ocean floor that’s filled with life, rather than the bleak, desolate surface. Ahab has almost totally abandoned the funeral doom aspect of their music, making this much more a post-death doom record than anything else.

It goes without saying that this is a fantastic record, though that’s more due to the fact that I’m not sure if Ahab can produce something that’s not amazing. But, hold on a sec guys. Nalpam Records. The second in command of the Legion of Shitty Entry-Level Records (also know as L.O.S.E.R) right behind Nuclear Blast. So of course they gotta make this more accessible to the avant-teen. In this case, while the tracks are fantastic, they follow an extremely predictable pattern of acoustic intro, buildup, crushing doom section, outro. Every single track does this without fail. There’s none of the subtle variety of the previous Ahab albums. While the sound is great, it overall feels sterile and catered towards mass appeal.

So yes, I feel like this is Ahab’s worst output yet. That isn’t really saying much however, as Boats is still a marvelous record that even when tainted by big industry, manages to stand out above the rest of the Napalmed metal jungle as one of the best doom albums of the year.


8.75/10

Horrendous – Anereta ALBUM REVIEW

Been a while since I did one of these, let’s see how my time off served me.
It seemed like a perfect storm. A mixture of all the things I love in music. Sophisticated harmony, technically brilliant, melodically well thought out, and rough around the edges. Everything I could possibly want in an album. Horrendous’ Anereta seemed like a surefire AOTY candidate from me. And at the start, it sure seemed that way.

What struck me first about the album was how each song was structured around one super catchy riff. And not just based around, but evolved from as well, having beginning, middle, and ends that seem to be in some way tangently related to that one riff. Every chord seemed to be there for a reason; to exert a certain emotion, or to move along the song to the next stage. The music in this record is intelligently constructed by extremely well practiced composers. No, not just musicians. That would imply they only know how to play. These guys know how to write good music as well. I loved how despite mostly standard chord progressions, they threw just enough spicy chords in there to keep you on your toes. It’s a much understated aspect of this album, but things like the major seventh mini resolutions on The Nihilist, and the arpeggio on Siderea, just… unf, you know? It’s the kinda thing that almost gives you pseudo-sexual pleasure by listening to it. Not quite eargasms, but more like ear-edging. They’re little things, but important things.

And there’s plenty of those to go around throughout the album. Even my wishes for a rougher sounding track were answered on Acolytes, which is much more a traditional head-banging death metal track that then eases its way to a post-metal like climax in a major key, to which the rest of the song had been in this typical metal mixture of minor and atonal. And of course, just in case you weren’t excited enough, it ends in a completely unrelated key to which the song began, a moment that I’d call random if I didn’t know better.

However, as the album began, it grew a very server case of diminishing returns. I began to realize that even though on a technical level, all the tracks were quite different, they all seemed so much the same. I mean this in that even though they all had distinct structures and melodies, they all conveyed the same thought. They were all synonyms for “technical progressive death metal”. Great to listen to at first, but after a while I felt I wanted something else, something the album hadn’t already shown me yet. The only time Anereta really seemed to change things up was on Sum of All Failures, which resulted in an extremely forced sounding acoustic intro that ended not having anything to do with the rest of the track. It’s almost as if the band knew they needed something else, but didn’t know what else to give that others hadn’t already done.

The album went from a solid 9.75 to around the 8.5-8.25 range. Finally however, I got my wish, as The Solipsist sent the album off with a bang. Taking a totally new spin on the acoustic intro trope, they instead use this muted electric guitar, which sounds more like it belongs in a jazz fusion album than a death metal one. But god damn does it work. This calm, yet sorrowful reflection slowly builds into a crushing, slow, and titanic finale that couldn’t have been a better closer if it tried.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit too little too late. Despite mending the wound slightly with its final breath, Anereta is a fantastic record that just doesn’t quite have enough variety in it to mingle with the elite, showing that songwriting skills alone can only get one so far before our mere human attention spans wish for something different.


8.75/10

Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs ALBUM REVIEW

Often music has the ability to transport the listener to other places, be them earthly or cosmic. I can feel like I’m in the amazon rainforest, or floating through the cosmos, or even in the pits of hell. This is what people often called transcendence, where the music transcends physical being and places your consciousness in another realm entirely. In the case of Aria of Vernal Tombs, the destination was medieval Europe. Through the use of period instruments and scales, Obsequiae creates an ethereal dream like soundscape, which makes me feel as though I’m at the crossroads of time, the in between space between years, traveling but never quite arriving at my destination. It’s a unique atmosphere, but one that I feel ultimately fails the assumed goal.

While yes the period instruments do help create a literal creation of medieval Europe, it’s never quite implemented as a fusion, but rather in interludes between songs. The album follows a distinct formula of song, interlude, song, interlude, etc. I don’t have any trouble with the format itself, however the way it is executed leaves a lot to be desired. Every song and interlude sounds essentially the same, with the occasional key difference. The interludes are more noodling improvisation than song, reinforcing the notion that you’re in limbo rather than in the physical world. It’s light, it’s airy, it’s calming, however quite frankly it’s boring. The same can really go the metal tracks, which have the same dreamy atmosphere, albeit more structured as songs rather than improvisation. However the notion that they all sound the same stands. There is very little if any variety in this album whatsoever, so if you’re no enamored with the first two tracks, you’re going to have a tough time with this record.

I feel like the atmosphere it does bring is very unique and wonderful in it’s own way. However Aria is simply a one trick pony, lacking in substance, and is ultimately relegated to nothing more than background study music. Mediocre study music at that.


5.5/10

My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery ALBUM REVIEW

My original experience with My Dying Bride was not a good one. I felt like they overdid it on the gothic aspect, creating something cheesy rather than dark and beautiful. In their latest record, Bride rejects their roots somewhat and goes with a much more straightforward, and down to earth sound that baths you in a sea of despair, engulfing you in unrelenting melancholy and sadness. The sound is quite clean, but it never feels plastic, as I’d describe it more as modern and forward thinking. Listening to the album, you wouldn’t think it would be made at any time other than the present, however the mood transcends dates and years. The lyrics are a bit on the obvious side, but in my mind that’s part of the charm. Fell the Misery is upfront about what it’s about and how it wants you to feel, and what’s amazing is that Bride managed to do this without alienating the listener. I feel like when an album is too upfront about its intentions it leaves all the mystery out of it. I like to make my own interpretations of music and how I want to feel about it, I don’t need the band to tell me what to feel. However hear I don’t think it matters. The intent of the music on this album is to have its content accessible, universally understood, yet lovable all the same, which is succeeded in scores. I feel like just about anyone could listen to this, no matter what their background, and instantly understand, yet nothing here feels dumbed down, rather to put it simply, this is all around good shit.

I feel like the death vocals are completely unnecessary and ruin the mood a bit however. I know that’s a part of My Dying Bride’s sound, but I’ve never been married to that aspect of the band. It’s not that vocals of intense pain can’t coincide with soft depressive music, but I don’t think the death vocals are utilized enough to be a constant force, and utilized just a bit too much to be a special treat. I feel like if Bride had been on the latter side, it would’ve made more of an impact on me, while still keeping part of their traditional sound.

Gothic metal is a hard act for me to be pleased by, but My Dying Bride, against my previous notions of what they were, managed to do just that. Feel the Misery really makes you quite literally FEEL the misery, pronouncing itself as one of the better doom metal albums this year, if at the cost of the listeners hearts sinking into their stomach a few dozen times.


8.25/10

Zieler – ESC ALBUM REVIEW

Everyone has that one perfect album that they want to make. The one album that’ll change the game, get high scores, become a classic, and be basically perfect. Everyone has that master piece album that they envision in their head. Finn Zieler is no different, and I very much envision that this is what he had in mind when crafting a perfect creation. It would be an album that would be heralded throughout the ages as possibly the greatest album of all time, an album that musicians for years would aspire to try to even come close to replicating. At least, that’s what I think was going on in his head. In reality, it’s not the greatest album of all time. Nor is it even the greatest album of the year. Or even in the upper echelon. Or top half. Actually it’s not even good. Or average. Or bad. The reality is that ESC is an awful album that ranks among the worst I have reviewed this year, due to a fundamental disconnect between vision and actuality.

For starters, I was able to determine Zierler’s vision because it’s so damn obvious how hard this album is trying to be amazing. It throws the kitchen sink at you, and then adds a couple dozens more sinks just because. And it’s not just that this album has a lot, it’s how over the top it is. The piano in particular goes above and beyond reason, sounding more like one of those ridiculous, program made touhou piano remixes rather than a professional album. It makes it hard to take the music seriously. I’d say it even sounds goofy, like it’s from a cartoon. The way these guys blaze through notes like Paula Dean goes through butter makes this especially so, trading any kind of thoughtful song construction into “hey let’s see how many notes we can fit into here!”.

What’s worse is that there isn’t even any backup melody to offset this, it’s done almost entirely through chugging and rhythm guitar. It makes the music severely lacking in the depth department, often making the vocals the focus, despite them also being over the top and ridiculous. I’d even say they’re cringe worthy, and not in the fun power metal “let’s velveta on this track” way, but in the way where the band wants to be taken seriously, but they try so hard to get that result it ends up being laughable. One moment in particular that epitomizes this is on No chorus, where towards the middle end of the song they go into this spoken word rant about normality. It’s the typical shit some 16 year old would say on facebook as some sort of revelation, with the whole “normal doesn’t exist, it’s a construct of our society, I’m different and weird because I watch naruto and play pokemon in high school” etc. It makes me wonder if these guys actually think their music is weird. That would explain a lot about how they can think people would take them seriously. If they think this shit is weird, I’d love to hear what they would think of something like Beherit.

But the absolute worst part of this album is how god damn musically nonsensical it can be at times. The best example of this is on Dark to the Bone, specifically towards the middle end of the track. Normally I can write down what the riff/melody is on a song no problem. I couldn’t do that here, because there wasn’t any sort of main riff of logic behind the notes played. It’s essentially shitting around on the notes C D Eb G and Ab. Go back and listen to that, you’ll see what I mean. It sounds like essentially random notes. And that’s a constant throughout this record. Instead of going with distinct melodies and themes, it’s just fucks around on the keyboard and fret board as fast as they can, hoping something good comes out of it.

It’s a shame, because there are good sections on this record that display that this band has talent. The end of Evil Spirit is extremely beautiful, and god damn if it didn’t give me goose bumps and chills listening to it. And it happens because this is one of the only times on the album that this band slows down and gets musical. The background guitars play melodically. The solo guitar slows down. The pianist doesn’t piss all over the keyboard. Its good fucking music. If only this happened for the rest of the other 95% of the album, maybe this would’ve gotten a good score.


2/10

Serpents Lair – Circumambulating the Stillborn ALBUM REVIEW

A towering and dark album. There was a bit of hype in certain circles for this record, and I say it absolutely delivers. There isn’t any one particular thing I love about this, but I was hooked the moment the archaic choir opened this album. The atmosphere is tense and doesn’t let up, throwing in some dissonant chords to build tension, and very guttural black metal vocals that border on death metal at times, just to keep things more sinister. Sinister would probably be the best way to describe this work, as aside from the almost calming intro, there is never a moment where the listener feels like they’re in a safe place. There is a constant sense of dread through almost every second of this. I’d describe this album as violent in nature, constantly on the attack, relentless pounding the listener with blast beats that don’t let up.

If anything, I wish this album would’ve actually utilized more of what I saw in the intro. I’m not saying they should’ve gone full on Deathspell Omega, but I think just a bit more of some extracurricular would’ve helped bring a little bit of variety into here. As a whole I feel like the album is a bit samey, which made it a bit hard to fully evaluate exactly what I liked about it. I came to realize that the fact that I can’t point to anything specific is a bit of a problem, as there really isn’t much to distinguish each track from one another. It made it so that I tended to tune out the album a bit, and there were times where I lost track of where I was in the album, having to back track and re-listen just to get oriented.

Circumambulating the Stillborn is still a great album with a fantastic atmosphere, but I feel like it avoids a higher score because of its one dimensional nature.


7.75/10

Mestis – Polysemy ALBUM REVIEW

Remember Animals as Leaders? Remember how so many people complained that they relied on an excessive amount of notes, and were just a pure wank band? Well imagine all of that minimized, and played in an almost trip-hop format. What do I mean by that? I mean every song is structured literally like a trip-hop beat. You got a grief intro, then the introduction of an idea, repeat it a few times, expand on it, and then repeat back to the main theme. It doesn’t sound to different from a traditional song the way I’m explaining it, but trust me, listen to the album and it’ll make sense.

So how does this work? Like pure fucking magic. Mestis took everything good about Animals as Leaders and then corrected all of their flaws. Too many notes, it’s too technical! Bam, got down to the bare bones without taking off all the meat. It jumps around there’s too many ideas! Bam, simplified it to one main idea per song. Djent sucks, this isn’t trve Norwegian NS raw blackened death crust avant-doom slam-hop! Well fuck you, that black robe and skull cod piece is probably protecting your tiny wiener from shriveling in the sunlight. Point is, this took an already fantastic band, and made them better in every single way.

I initially thought of this as simply a great record, mostly as fun background music. I imagine listening to this while walking down a Florida beach at sunset, feeling the waves softly crash against my feet. However I couldn’t help but notice as I was listening to this that I was enjoying this record a lot more than what my original proposed score (around 8.75) would indicate. Like, REALLY enjoying this. I started to realize that I was grinning cheek to cheek from listening, and that all my anxieties and worries I had for today had simply vanished. I was transported to another world. A world of pure tranquility and joy. And I got that same feeling in me. That same feeling I get when I feel like a record is an AOTY candidate. A record that should go on my pantheon of great records. I spent a lot of timing thinking about these feelings, debating with myself whether an album with what I would consider relatively little depth (the record is below 40 minutes and every song is less than 5 minutes long) could reach this pinnacle. But I realized this doesn’t need depth. If this record were 55 minutes and had some 10 minute behemoths on it, it would lose so much of its appeal. It would lose impact, and it wouldn’t make me feel so god damn happy listening to this. I’ve determined this album is in fact my AOTY so far, due to one simple fact: I simply haven’t enjoyed listening to an album more than this in years. And what is music but a vehicle for enjoyment?


10/10