Fatmate – Peneden Health Sessions

It’s sort of hard to explain, but this just feels too. basic. Like the riffs sound like they come out of a children’s album, the lyrics are uninspiring, and the atmosphere of the album is ridiculously amateur in a bad way. I’m trying to take this with a grain of salt, because even the band said this isn’t an album so much as a random recording session that the produced. It’s supposed to be more of a “snapshot as to where the band is now”. Well where they are now is in need of someone who has compositional skills. They know how to play their instruments, and they know how to produce an album well. Now they have to write songs that are a bit more complex than coming from The Children’s Guide to Stoner Doom Metal.


4.5/10

https://fatmate.bandcamp.com/album/penenden-heath-sessions

Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule

This is the ultimate album for people who think that as long as you don’t do anything drastically awful, if you put in some kooky instrumentation, you’ll make a great album. Because that’s fucking wrong. What we get here is a completely droll snoozefest that tries to make up for that fact by shoving flutes up our eardrums. And not metaphorically, listening to this actually feels like someone is shoving a flute in my ear, but in a way where they’re trying to be soothing somehow. Like the metal is poking my brain tissue, and they’re all relaxed and going “dude what’s your issue, this is a special medicinal technique the Iroquois used. It’s from the earth man”. But by the time the album is done, I’m dead from internal bleeding and they are get arrested and and charged for first degree murder. I guess I win in a spiritual sense, but it’s not worth dying for.


4.5/10

Abigail Williams – The Accuser ALBUM REVIEW

First impressions are pretty much everything in music to me. I’m super guilty of almost making up my mind after I hear the first track, then spending the rest of the album trying to change that. And believe me, the first track here hit my like a monsoon. I like to imagine the first track is like a tornado tearing it’s way mercilessly through a peaceful village, nothing able to stand in it’s way, wreaking total havoc and mayhem in it’s path. Despite being as I described, it was an enjoyable experience, and I was heavily looking forward to what the rest of the album had in store for me.

What I got instead of a complete confused mess of different styles and influences that had no cohesion or focus. At some points the album is a soft, triumphant/not-so-triumphant atmo black album that reeks of pitchfork bait. Then it comes to Godhead and it’s right back to the beginning, only not nearly as powerful. You have tracks like Will, Wish, and Desire which destroy a perfectly unique atmosphere for something I’ve heard many times before. And then it goes right back to the good part, however this time with diminishing returns.

Nuumite is one of the best tracks on the album simply because it deviates from this formula and acts as a true “rest” track, giving the ears a breather to what should’ve been a harsh climate. Unfortunately, it’s also the last track on the album, making it sort of like as if halftime was put at the end of a football game instead of the middle.

Ultimately, The Accuser sounds as if Abigail Williams wanted to be taken seriously as a band, but didn’t quite know how. So instead of deciding between being overly dramatic, yet wishful atmospheric black metal, or destructive, swirling storm of death atmospheric black metal, they chose both at different times, resulting in a complete cacophony of an album that had plenty of potential to be great.


4.5/10

Cain’s Offering – Stormcrow ALBUM REVIEW

Fun fact, I’ve never actually don a review under the influence of alcohol before. So this should be fun. Anyway, symphonic power metal has always been one of my least favorite metal genres for as long as I can remember. I’ve always thought of it as cheap and unsatisfying, kinda like the junk food of metal. However symphonic anything always has at least potential to cool because I’m a classical music guy, so if they don’t cheese it up, I can appreciate it. So did this band succeed in that?

Well first, let’s look at the positives. It’s produced well, and sounds at least like it’s made by a professional band.

Ok now that the positives are over, let’s look at the other side of the coin. The first impression was that this sounded a lot like Sonata Artctica, which upon further research it turns out this band is in fact made up of a lot of former Sonata Arctica members. That’s never a good sign. I know that synth instruments are pretty much a staple in symphonic metal bands, because most can’t actually hire an orchestra, which is understandable, except the effect is that it sounds like how I said before, cheap. In particular the harpsichord and synth pianos make it sound like one of those touhou metal remixes, which I would actually rather listen to than this. And then suddenly there are electro influences in there which just…. don’t make any sense at all. That seems to be the opposite of symphonic to me. It’s only in sparse sections of the album, but every time I hear it I just think there’s no reason for those electro synths to be there.

The lyrics are pretty standard bad power metal lyrics, though I did hear some dozies like “it’s 3 am, and I don’t know who I am”. Also the next time I hear the line “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” I’m going to hurt someone. There’s also some butchering of the english language even in the song titles like “Too Tire to Run” (and no, they aren’t talking about wheel tires, and the title doesn’t make sense even if they were). Speaking of that track, the entire thing sounds like something out of a bad romance movie. Like I can see the helpess heroine gazing into the eyes of the strong, shirtless man with long flowing hair that’s blowing in the wind. It’s awkward and uncomfortable as hell to listen to, especially since this is supposed to be a metal album. There’s a difference between cheesy and sappy, and this just crossed into the sappy territory, which metal should never even approach, even power metal.

Which actually brings me to the main fault of Stormcrow. Including the aforementioned track, this album tries to be as epic as possible, in any way except by actually using the guitar. Most of the climaxes in this lp are done with the synth orchestra, not with any sort of guitar melody. It feels like the guitars are mostly just along for the ride rather than the main point of the album, which would seem like it would be a given if it’s a metal album. For example, on Antemortem the guitars are really just rhythm rather than the driving force of the music. Which would be ok if what was supplementing their place was any good at all, but it’s not, it’s just this general symphonic noise that’s the focus. One problem is that you can’t really hear the individual instruments on the symphonic parts, so it just sounds like this mesh of symphonic sounds rather than anything actually concrete. One of my friends made a comment that power metal in which melody and riffs aren’t the focus is absolutely awful, and I agree with them. Melody is absolutely not the focus here. Even the solos are nothing more than skill wank rather than any actual musical writing. There are moments when the guitar does come out, such as on On the Shore and I am Legion, and it sounds good. But those are only moments, the majority of the album has nothing musically to offer that’s interesting. Especially on I am Legion, which despite the good guitar parts, sounds mostly like movie music rather than anything that should be on a metal album. And not good movie music, really generic movie music.

And that’s it, the album’s problems can be summed up in on word; generic. There is absolutely nothing special or anything I’ve never heard before about this. It was actually pretty damn hard to analyze, and not just because I’m a little drunk. There just isn’t much hear to talk about, which is why despite saying a lot of shit about it, I’m not giving it that low of a rating. Really I think the true main problem with this is in the way the band utilizes the genre of symphonic metal rather than anything particularly to do with Stormcrow. It’s the product of multiple generations that thinks classical music has to sound like epic movie symphonies rather than anything like actual classical music. So really you can’t fault even the band for this sounding bland and generic, that’s just what people are accustomed to hearing from orchestral works. And that’s probably going to be one of my comments for every symphonic metal album ever, because it’s just so relevant to the genre’s problems. Oh what I’d kill to hear a symphonic metal band utilize a prepared piano for their album rather than synths from the latest computer program. Until then, mediocrity will be this genre, and this band’s, middle name.


4.5/10

Entrails – Obliteration ALBUM REIVEW

Can there just be a movement to end all references to chopin’s funeral march in metal tracks? Or in pretty much anything ever? It’s played out as fuck, and doesn’t make you look any more sophisticated or cultured. Everyone knows that song. Most people even know it’s by chopin. It’s corny and makes me groan every time I hear it. Please stop. Other than that, there isn’t really anything special about this album. Obliteration feels the exact opposite of such, being quite soft and tame. The drumming is some of the most boring I’ve ever heard. The fact that i can even comment on that is saying quite a lot. The album feels really generic, but not in the good “does everything right but nothing special” way. This does nothing right and even manages to do quite a few things wrong. Bland album, definitely would not recommend.


4.5/10

Shining / Enslaved – Shining on the Enslaved ALBUM REVIEW

It’s hard to make an album that is absolutely devoid of anything interesting in it. Normally there’s at least one thing about the album, or one track that stands out. Nope, this is one of the most boring albums I’ve heard in a long time. Which is weird, because you would think two highly praised bands would come up with someone amazing, but nope, this is just nothing. It has some progressive elements to it, but nothing that actually captures your attention. Even the fast and “raw” last track that doesn’t fit with the rest of the album doesn’t stand out, as it’s like the musical equivalent of watching somebody paint a fence, it’s mundane and absolutely unspecial. Sure the overall sound is good, which is why it doesn’t have a lower score, but anything other than average would be disingenuous.


4.5/10