Electric Lizard’s Shortstacks – 2/29/2016

Preface: So I’ve been thinking of ways to combat my eventually exhaustion from reviewing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest reason this happens is because I tend to feel like I have to write a master piece for every review. That includes when I simply don’t have much to say about an album. I’ll get “stuck” on an album that I feel like I should have a lot to say about, but I don’t. Simply put, I really don’t want to take an entire post for a review that’s not even 200 words long. So my solution is every day I’m going to take the albums that I don’t have much to say about, and put them in one post. That way I can get through a lot more albums much quicker, and without the pressure of having to write 700+ words. So without further adieu, here is the first ever edition of Electric Lizard’s Shortstacks.


Eissturm – The Oak

Really solid work. I love the intermixing of the acoustic guitar sections with the straight atmo black parts. It gives it so much more of a melancholy feel. It doesn’t feel repetitive and monotonous, more just relaxing and reflective. It even has some really soothing flutes on the first track Falling Snow, which I felt was a really unique addition to the music that I don’t here in black metal much. You would think with the whole winter theme that flutes would run rampant (sounding just like a cold winter wind), but alas. The production is also in that sweet spot of clean enough to not sound like shit, and fuzzy enough to make you feel warm inside. Granted, it still ultimately sounds like an amateur work, but it’s a solid amateur work that’s worth listening to. I was expecting this to be total shit, so I’m pleasantly surprised. Good stuff.



Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc

Really not a fan. The guitar work and riffs are just mediocre, if inoffensive. But the vocals are a squeaky, annoying piece of shit. It basically sounds exactly what a grindcore band transitioning to sludge metal for some reason would sound like: they don’t know what they’re doing, and traces of their previous genre are still laden throughout the work, to ill effect. It’s not awful, but I certainly won’t be playing this again anytime soon. A major disappointment.




Bosque – Beyond

Wow what a disappointment. I was really hoping the second funeral doom album I’d listen to this year would be a real hit. Unfortunately, this isn’t so much funeral doom metal as much as it is regular doom metal extended over 13 minute tracks. The album is really monotonous and boring without any of the charm or atmosphere of traditional funeral doom. Bosque decided to ditch the synths, ditch the death growls, and everything that gives funeral doom it’s quirky charm, instead deciding to just play slower standard doom track 3 times in a row, for 40 minutes straight. Beyond is beyond boring, don’t bother with this snoozefest.



Primal Fear – Rulebreaker ALBUM REVIEW

What a sorry excuse for an album. Beyond the insipid lyrical content, which I can excuse somewhat for a power metal album, the songwriting and solo work are beyond the acceptable levels of mediocre. The solos are either glorified scale practice, or generic, nonsensical “shredding” (if you can even call it that). The main musical content itself is actually not a mix of power metal and heavy metal, more an either or. Each song is either an extremely uninspired butt metal piece, which abuse of rhythm guitar and chugging instead of any actual song material, or an actually pretty ok, but generic power metal track. Their split about 50/50 throughout the album, so the most excitement you’ll get out of this album is gambling on whether or not you’re going to feel unclean listening to the next track or not.

Riffs? What riffs? Oh you mean those basic bitch melodies that Primal Fear is calling riffs? Yeah those are here, what about them? Honestly, Primal Fear is probably too old to give a shit, they’re making money off this, why bother making any effort? There’s no other explanation to the tracks We Walk Without Fear and In Metal We Trust. We Walk is essentially a Powerslave era Iron Maiden wannabe, without any of the talent that made Iron Maiden good. It seemed like the track just started, then I look back at the song timer and I’m 8 minutes of 11 into the track, and nothing fucking happened. In Metal We Trust is just a travesty. Beyond the fact that no band makes a metal tribute song like that without being a massively washed up heavy metal band, the lyrics themselves are so damn insincere and obviously pandering to their fans it’s disgusting. I don’t think I would believe any band takes metal to heart if their song proclaiming so featured one repeated riff the entire song.

Rulebreaker is lazy, stupid, and a waste of space, made as a cash grab by a dying band who desperately wants to be relevant. Well, not entirely. If they were desperate they would actually put effort into things. Primal Fear just doesn’t give enough of a shit for something like that.


So Hideous – Laurestine ALBUM REVIEW

Complete cheesefest. Goes for all the obvious chords at the obvious times, tries to maximizes it’s “epic” sound while only succeeding in sounding dull and uninspired. The more I listen to this wave of post-black that’s sweeping the hipster scene of it’s fair trade, hemp shoes, the more I’m getting to think the harder a band tries to be beautiful, the more they fail. That is certainly the case here. Music isn’t a formula, just because you technically hit all the theoretically right buttons, doesn’t mean it’s going to create the right result. And here the only result is a mess of major sevenths and misguided intentions.


Wind Rose – Wardens of the West Wind ALBUM REVIEW

First off, as an aside, am I the only one who sees the cover of this album and immediately think of World of Warcraft? They got the font color, color scheme, medieval theme, the whole shebang. All they need are pandas and it’d be perfect.

Anyway, Wardens of the West Wind is painfully average in almost every way. Like, shockingly average. It has all the tropes you could expect a power/folk metal album to have, with none of the things that helps an album separate itself from the pack. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, power metal albums without riffs and melody lose all of their impact. Instead this album replaces it with relentless chugging and synth instruments that lack any sort of emotion whatsoever. That’s really the main issue with Wardens, there’s absolutely no emotion behind any of the music, it all seems so artificial and boring. In fact that’s actually why an album which I describe as average actually gets a much lower score, because normally even an average album has some redeeming qualities about it, while this has none and only has things that bring it down.

All in all, just another drop in the ocean of average, soulless power metal. Not worth considering unless you get off to anything remotely medieval related, in which case you’re better off just listening to actual medieval folk music, you’ll actually learn history that way.


Terminus – The Reaper’s Spiral ALBUM REVIEW

I was drawn by the high rating, hoping to look for something good that was overlooked. I haven’t seen a lot of heavy metal releases this year, so I was surprised when this had over a 4 rating after 15 ratings. That must mean something good is up right? Or it could just be heavy metal fanboyism, which it in fact, is. There is absolutely nothing worth listening to in this album, it generic heavy metal that trades any sort of melody or progression with abusing the rhythm guitar. Strumming the chord progression without any sort of actual melody, followed by occasionally a shitty solo, that’s every track on The Reaper’s Spiral. That’s actually what surprised me the most, the solos weren’t even remotely good. That’s one of the hardest things to fuck up in heavy metal and somehow this band manged to do that. I’m actually giving this lower than a generic score, which is what you get for fucking up things that should be pretty much impossible to fuck up. There’s not even any showmanship to make up for it, these sound like the solos someone would come up with in beginner high school jazz band. Extremely disappointing album, especially after I looked forever to find it.


Thou & The Body – You, Whom I Have Always Hated ALBUM REVIEW

I get it, the album is supposed to be a musical representation of pure hate. And I will admit that there is a place for wall of sound metal in the world. But I can’t help but listen to this album and hear it as a pretentious doomy Gnaw Their Tongues, except not as good. It’s lo-fi production, but nothing about the album is lo-fi at all, which makes it seem forced as hell. It’s trying for a dark atmosphere but I can hear where it holds back so that people who aren’t really into metal can get into it. The entire album is trying to be something that it’s not, and that I have to give it a low score.