Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary

Inoffensive, over-hyped, completely generic. The melo death feels like it’s only there to get a tiny bit of an extreme metal audience, because otherwise the death growls do jack shit for this record. If you have heard any progressive metal album ever, you’ll know what to expect. It sounds like the cover and I don’t mean that in a good way.


4.25/10

Raging Speedhorn – Lost Ritual

A LIST OF GENRE COMBINATIONS I’VE NEVER HEARD, AND DON’T WANT TO

  1. Gamelan Slam Death Metal (no, it would suck and you know it)
  2. New Age Groove Metal
  3. Blackened Twee Pop
  4. Post-Disco (another one that sounds interesting, but deep down you know it would be awful)
  5. Post-Vaporwave
  6. Post-Trap
  7. Post-Any genre invented after Twitter became popular
  8. Funeral Melodic Metalcore
  9. Literal Meme Rap (No, I’ve never listened to Childish Gambino and don’t plan to for this very reason)
  10. Crunk Jazz
  11. Conscious Black Metal
  12. Swans albums made into nightcore (I lied, I’ve actually heard this, it’s just as bad as you think it is)
  13. Chopped and Skrewed / Vaporwave made up of segments of Alex Jone’s radio show
  14. Ambient Grindcore
  15. Ironic Neofolk
  16. Chiptune Drone
  17. Symphonic Miami Bass with Devin Townsend-like Prog Metal elements
  18. Caverncore Detroit Techno
  19. Caverncore Detroit House
  20. Caverncore plus the sounds of Detroit’s decades of financial suffering
  21. Meme-Djent (so basically modern djent in general)
  22. Waaam

Lost Ritual is much less of an ambitious combination, being a combo of heavy Stoner Metal and Groove Metal. What you get is disappointingly everything you would expect; monotonous, repetitive, and very mediocre heavy stoner riffs, that go nowhere, and don’t even try to. I’ll give the album that it’s heavy, but lots of things are heavy. I’m an American, as a people we’re pretty heavy, but that doesn’t mean we should all just fatten up on garbage, nutrition-less foods all the time. This album is basically just junk food that fills the gap of silence. It’s just satisfying enough to not be annoying, but is useless for anything beyond pointless (because let’s face it, metal fans don’t exactly exercise beyond walking around the house a few times a day) carbo-loading. I filler album if I’ve ever heard one.


4.25/10

Wo Fat – Midnight Cometh

You know what the worst part about reviewing is? Contrary to what most people think, it’s not listening to bad albums. Bad albums are actually part of the fun of reviewing. I mean sure, it’s a painful listen, but you get a story out of it, and more importantly, you got a lot of shit to write about. I’d say it’s actually easier to write a review of an album you hate than an album you love, at least for me. Some of my best reviews in my opinion are just me taking a giant Cleveland Steamer on an album in some interesting ways. Great albums are fun to review to, but it’s hard to actually get fun with the review itself. The fun is in finding great albums, but the review seems more like a formality, and there’s always this notion that you have to write something grand and amazing for some of the top albums of the year. Plus it’s just more fun shit talking something that praising something, I’ll admit that right here.

No, the worst part about reviewing is having to listen to boring albums. Soulless albums, lifeless albums, albums that you have nothing to say about but still have to crank a few hundred words anyway. You can get creative with how you do that, but it’s always a struggle, and you can’t even take solace in knowing you destroyed something with your words. I mean yeah, theoretically you can just not review them, but then you’re basically missing an entire section of your (or at least, my) rating scale. Plus if they’re popular enough, sometimes you literally just can’t ignore them. Wo Fat’s Midnight Cometh falls somewhere in-between, an album that I could probably ignore, but I already spent the 50 minutes listening to it, and it has enough of a following that I might as well touch upon it anyway.

As implied by my previous statements, yeah this shit’s boring as fuck. Literally any stoner band with enough of a budget could make this. I’ll give it at least some credit, some of the riffs are ok, and the occasional tribal/beat poetry-like drumming is kinda cool. But that’s all the points this album’s gonna get from me. I can’t slam it because nothing here is exactly bad, but fuck this was annoying to get through. Literally 50 minutes of nauseating sameness. I mean sameness isn’t always bad. I’ve been on a bit of a deathgrind binge (well, starting to be at least) and I’ve learned that there’s a difference between good sameness and bad sameness.

Sameness that’s easy to swallow and nice to listen to is ok. I can listen to 40 minutes of deathgrind and just accept it for what it is. Fun riffs, cool atmosphere, nothing that’s going to massively challenge me other than just being br00)))))ooooo0tal. It’s nice to listen to even if there isn’t much diversity. Midnight however is the bad kind of sameness. It’s loud, obnoxious, trying to not be same while still be awfully uneventful, basically just a chore to listen to. Essentially, one kind of sameness is easy to swallow, and the other is trying to blend different kinds of flavors together and still tasting exactly the same. They’re both bland, but at least one kind doesn’t try to shit on your digestive system. Or in this case, ears.


4.25/10

Unbreakable Hatred – Ruins ALBUM REVIEW

From what anyone would’ve guessed on an album with an actual tracks called “Natural Disaster” (because when I listen to death metal and hear all the gurgling vocals from another planet, combined with riffs that reek of disembodied heads and repulsive creatures from another dimension, I think of tropical storms), “Primitive Thoughts” (obviously inspired by their own cognitive processes), or the brilliant Pulitzer-winning title “Luxurious Sickness” (which sounds as if they just pulled two contrasting words out of a hat and made a song title out of it), this is a work of unassuming mediocrity. Lacking are the technical melodies and groovy basslines one comes to expect from genuinely good tech death. In it’s place are mindless sweeps of the fret board, chugs in place of any sort of counterpoint, and technical/not-so-technical arpeggios disguised as some sort of melodic solos. I think that’s what really puts me off about this record, there doesn’t seem to be any thought put into it at all. While yes, it’s rather inoffensive as a whole, inoffensive is not an excuse to be boring and mindless. I’m not pretentious enough to say that tech death is supposed to make you think, but I AM pretentious enough to say that it’s supposed to get your brain off of neutral. This does not accomplish that in the slightest, acting more as one small pebble at the bottom of a lake, rather than one decent sized rock skipping across the surface. Basic tremelo riffs don’t work in a genre meant to not be basic, so while this album isn’t exactly an affront to society, it is certainly not worth receiving a high score.

And for the love of god can these guys get not the cheapest artist they can find to do their cover art? If you’re going to be mediocre, at least don’t look that way.


4.25/10

Luciferian Light Orchestra – Luciferian Light Orchestra ALBUM REVIEW


You guys ever listen to 70s classic rock and think “I really wonder what this would sound like if it was done by now middle aged goth kids trying to relive the years where they didn’t need arthritis medication? Also I really want them to mention satan more, I feel that there’s a lack of devil worship in this Rolling Stones song.”? Well you’re in luck, because Christofer Johnsson, from the symphonic power metal band Therion, has created just the band for you! You see, Johnsson has been writing a bunch of songs for years that he’s felt were too retro and too edgy for Therion, and in 2014 formed a band with a so far unknown group of people to make these songs an actuality. A power metal frontman making 70s rock songs about satan? What could possibly go wrong?!

The common answer to a self asked question like that is usually “absolutely everything”, but I’m actually going to let the review answer that question rater than just type it straight out. How else am I supposed to get to over 1000 words? This review isn’t going to really be about the actually music, at least as far as notes and technical skill are concerned, because that isn’t really the issue here. What really needs to be talked about is everything around that, the vocals, lyrics, and the overall image the band projects, and in what way. Do they succeed in creating the atmosphere and image they want to create? I think pretty much anyone can guess what I’m going to say based on what I’ve written so far, but I’m an asshole who likes to waste your time, so I’ll explain it in the least brief way possible.

The first thing that stood out to me about this debut was the contrast between the vocal style and the music style. Luciferian Light Orchestra (I’m just going to call them LLO from now on, I’m not typing that out each time) is by no means the first band to do something like this, however that doesn’t mean the other bands that do this are successful. Contrast between music and vocal style is really easy to mess up, because what often happens is you give the listener conflicting messages on how you’re supposed to feel. On the one hand, we have this hard blues rock playing, and on the other hand, we have these soft female vocals. The vocals evoke this mystical temptress, luring you into the sinful joy of satan. On the other hand, we have the music your dad listens to when he tries to dance with your mom, attempting to rekindle the feeling they felt when they first met at the biker bar in ’74. The problem is they don’t realize you’ve actually entered the room, and you did in-fact witness that assgrab, making an extremely awkward situation for everyone when they see you. Now imagine that same situation, except your parents are actually all dressed in black, wearing crosses, and proclaiming satan while appearing to drink blood from a wine glass (it’s actually tomato juice, blood has too much salt for your mom’s diet). And yes, you still see the assgrab. That’s pretty much what this album is like, it’s awkward.

Of course being fronted by a power metal man, there’s going to be a bit of goofiness in it. I mean the entire atmosphere of the album is a little goofy, that’s pretty much guaranteed to happen when you combine Led Zeppelin with diet-satanism. But it goes a step further in including stuff that would be silly on any album. There’s these whispered, raspy vocals that are used on occasion, sort of sounding like a wimpy attempt at atmo-black vocals, combined with what the bad guy sounds like in a typical rock opera. Again, power metal background, it’s to be expected, it’s still bad. On the completely other side of the spectrum, they also use this booming, semi-operatic, imitation Gregorian chant voice at seemingly random times throughout the album. The good news is that it’s most used during the two songs that are mostly doom metal. The bad news is any other time it’s used. It’s not really the concept that’s bad, as much as the execution. I feel like I’m listening to some sort of amateur viking metal album every time it comes on. I really feel like a deeper, male voice (or at least a harsher, more hardcore punkish female voice) would’ve suited this album much better than the style they choose. But I also feel that once you pick a vocal style, you can’t just go to a different one whenever you feel like, especially when it’s so drastically different. Otherwise it creates not only disorganization, but a sense that the artist has no clue what the fuck their doing. Remember, randomness in music is always bad, unless it’s intentional.

Beyond vocal styles, the actual content of the vocals are pretty cringe-worty as well. They read like someone put a bunch of occult sounding words (satan, blood, sabbath, devil, sin, etc.) into a hat, drew them, stuck them to the tip of a bunch of darts, taped a sheet of the lyrics onto the wall with the nouns blanked out, and then threw the darts at those blanks, calling them the lyrics. Kinda like a frat party version of mad libs, except if everyone were drunk someone would probably get hospitalized for an eye injury. So basically just like a frat party version of mad libs. They don’t really seem to say anything significant, and are at times nonsensical. An except from Eater of Souls, reads

“Shadow scales, hissing noise
deepest down below
No return from darkness
Eater of all souls.”

It reads like a collection of phrases vaguely related to the topic rather than actual lyrics. Black metal can get away with this, because nobody can hear, nor do they actually care about the lyrics. LLO puts the lyrics at center stage, making them very audible and clear. Think of it this way, if you’re going to get naked on camera, you better hope you have nice penis. LLO has a 4 inch, hairy dick that for some reason they thought would look good with a prince albert. I think my favorite part of that excerpt is “hissing noise”. Like someone on the band thought that writing something in TV closed captioning language would make a good lyric.

As another small thing, LLO is going for a retro theme, yet decided on an extremely clean and modern production. It makes the album sound much more like a cheap imitation of 70s rock than the real thing. It creates this uncanny valley effect, where it sounds neither modern nor retro, and overall quite tacky. Of course, that isn’t saying that much, considering you could point to just about anything about this album and call it tacky.

So far I have only mentioned relatively small details about this album, and while the devil is in the details (which I’m sure is also a future LLO lyric, it has the word devil in it after all), in the big picture, this album still is flawed. The main issue I take with this is mostly in my own inhibitions, particularly in my inability to know whether this album is serious or not. Another uncanny valley on a much larger scale, it’s goofy enough to question it’s sincerity, but not nearly goofy enough to turn that questioning into serious doubt. The single best word I can describe this album with is probably “edgy”, however as we all know in the metal world, edgy is a prerequisite. The difference here is in it’s musical tone. Just like how whenever people talk they have a certain tone to their voice (sarcastic, angry, happy, etc.), so does music. The conflict is that the subject matter is quite dark and potentially serious, however the way it is presented is in a very not dark or serious way. The problem is that it doesn’t crossover into either enough. To reference a scale I made up just now, musical tone is broken up into 3 basic groups: Serious – Non Serious – Parody. This is neither serious nor non serious, nor does it float in an in-between. Instead it floats back and forth between the two, without ever being in either. So I don’t know whether to appreciate it’s light hearted take on a serious subject manner, or to take it’s message at face value. And it doesn’t ever go into the parody realm, until you actually take a real deep look at a 33 minute album with 31 ratings on RYM that was limited to 1000 copies, but only a loser with no life would do that. And even then, there’s no indication whether any of it’s goofiness was intentional or not.

It’s all around an album with a truly confusing message, which makes it so hard to judge. I can’t really rate this as low as I want to, because while I do think that all the things I’ve mentioned are bad, the surface level sound of this album is actually pretty ok. Part of that is because I don’t know that much about 70s blues rock, so I can’t really judge their playing or musicality, and another is because there are times where if you ignore the lyrics and vocals, this album sounds pretty groovy. As far as I can tell these are good musicians, which again, makes me wonder if this album is a serious or non serious album. I’m leaning towards serious, which means the rating is going to have to suffer.

If you just scrolled down to see the rating and don’t feel like reading all of this text, you’re in luck, because all you have to do is look at this picture of the band and you’ll understand everything I wrote without ever having to read it.
http://www.metal-archives….photo.jpg?4157


4.25/10

Infernal War – Axiom ALBUM REVIEW


You know, typically I’ll say that an album’s songs sound the same, and I mean it as hyperbole. There’s usually at least some variation in the album that makes it so that they don’t literally all sound the same. This album does not have that. When i say they all sound the same, I mean it. Every single track except the third and 11th track are in the exact same key. Every single song but one starts approximately the same way. I guess technically you could say it’s still hyperbole because literally speaking they aren’t the same, but practically in every manner that matters, they’re all the same. But I saw the high reviews, so I tried to look at it from the perspective of people who are giving this high scores. I figured maybe it was the atmosphere, which is usually the saving grave for albums with samey tracks. This is music that you’re supposed to go to war to, music that will pump you up and anger you. But even looking at it from that perspective, it’s extremely boring. Unless I literally am a brainless zombie who will headbang to anything with a strong beat, I’m going to listen to this and get tired of it after the first track. Even in music like this, you need at least some sort of variation to keep your audience interested, which this doesn’t have. This is mindless music in the least flattering way possible, as in you need to literally not have a mind to enjoy it.


4.25/10