Abyssal – Antikatastaseis ALBUM REVIEW


This has been heavily hyped and spammed on my corners of the internet, which is probably why I put this off for so long. Generally if an album is talked about as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, and it’s posted over and over and over again until you get tired of it, that’s generally an album you want to avoid in my experience. But I went ahead and listened to this anyway in my attempt to catch up on this years releases, and I must say I’m relatively pleased. Abyssal does a great job of buildup and creating tension. The drum intro to The Cornucopian gave me goosebumps of the scared kind and perfectly setup what came after it. That’s a unique aspect of this album. Lots of albums are good at creating tension and buildup, but more often than not the setup doesn’t actually compliment what comes afterward. They can individually sound great, but together they don’t necessarily fit, or feel like a logical step. Every setup to the knockout punch feels natural and logical, which is a great strength about this album. Unfortunately, this is done in a clear pattern that goes along the lines of *uuuuuuuuuu with fuzzy noises**ambient section* and repeat. It sounds more like a bunch of individual ideas rather than flowing together. While not all albums have to be a coherent string of evolving tracks, I feel like variety in the way they went about these ideas would’ve greatly helped. What I will give Abyssal credit for is by having variety of different ways to use that pattern, be it the building drum intro I mentioned before, or the setup on the last track. The final track Delere auctorem rerum ut universum infinitum noscas (is it really too hard for this band not to make every title word vomit?) is built up by basically just noise getting louder and louder. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s simplicity is what makes it so unnerving. It’s so impersonal, so unnatural, not like something someone would consciously create. And the craziest thing about it is what follows, which is tonality of all things! Cavernous dissonance is what you previously think is everything to do with this album. But then you get thrown a very well deserved bone at the very end and you get to hear something most people feel like they should hear anytime they listen to music, which is tonal harmony. I really feel without that this would’ve been a tiring experience not worth listening to. Antikatastaseis still has that issue even without the one bit of tonal music. It feels like for the most part it’s a one trick pony, and while that is a good trick, you can only watch it do that trick so many times before you want to move on to the next trick, no matter how many variations of that trick they do.


7.25/10

Guardians of Time – Rage and Fire ALBUM REVIEW


In theory, power metal should be a genre that is relatively easy to get right. You take popular chord progressions, some heavy metal riffage, some cheesy but fun lyrics, and then just a touch of the ridiculous and over-dramatic, and you got a good power metal album. However in practice, it’s one of the most botched genres in metal, mostly due to the continuous addition of outside influences like symphonics, progressive elements, and just about anything else you could think of without thinking too hard. And the problem isn’t that these influences are added that’s the problem, it’s that they are often fucked up harder than Charlie Sheen at… well, pretty much any moment in his entire life. The most common mistake comes from the erroneous belief that it is ever ok to directly input sibelius midis in any professional album, but this is by no means even close to the source of every generic power metal band fuck up. I say all this because I’m going to admit that I am giving this album a higher score than it deserves, simply because it managed not to fuck up. Sort of like how a 5/10 women becomes a 9/10 women in the gaming world, since there are so few good power metal albums, the ones that are good, or at least not bad, have their score increased due to how they compare to the rest of their brethren. Power metal inflation, if you will. What isn’t inflated about this album however, is that has some pretty dang good solo and riff work. If cheap symphonics are the most common power metal mistake, than power metal that doesn’t focus are anything melodic is the second, and Rage and Fire absolutely avoids this. While none of them are going to be solos that you’ll remember for weeks to come, they are all very enjoyable at first listen, and still enjoyable multiple listens afterward. This fact came as a very pleasant surprise, as I had low expectations to the start of an album whose intro sounded like the intro music of a marvel super hero movie. While in the beginning I felt as if every track was different, after about track 4 I started to realize that the difference between each one was generally quite small. Enough to be significant to notice, but not large enough to engross me in the album. I feel like the majority of the tracks sort of blend together, until each solo and major riff comes up, which as I mentioned before, is definitely the strong point of this album. There are brief moments of uniqueness that perked up my ears, such as the bluesy outro riff to Tomorrow Never Comes, but generally I just kept waiting for that solo. This isn’t to say that anything in-between the solos and riffs is bad, just nothing particularly worth mentioning. While the title track is certainly what Guardians of Time aimed at being the pinnacle of the album, I feel as though Core, the track before that, is the superior song. While they both feel like emotional and epic ballads, Rage and Fire drags on a bit too long. I feel as if the last minute of that track is sort of like the band wanted to finish, but realized that they still had a minute left in the song time. Despite my comment about power metal inflation, this is a fine album, and certainly one of the top power metal albums of the year. One of the few power metal albums this year that I would recommend to someone who is not necessarily a fan of the genre.


7.25/10

Norilsk – The Idea of North ALBUM REVIEW

This is instrumentally a great album, which gets better and more interesting as the album progresses. The only thing really holding this back is the fact that the first few tracks have serious problems with vocals in that they’re way too whispered and soft, especially for death metal vocals. The title track is legitimately great.


7.25/10

Melechesh – Enki ALBUM REVIEW

A truly unique album in that it manages to make arabic inspired metal without it being too corny or phony. Unfortunately, it’s pretty standard aside from that. I did love the arabic folk music track that didn’t actually contain any metal in it at all, that was a nice break. I just wish there could’ve been something more, to say a word I really shouldn’t say, “epic” about the album to make me like it more, because the concept was really great.


7.25/10