Kadotettu – Ihmisyyden viimeiset askeleet

Too much black metal honestly. When working as this blackened, surreal and somber funeral doom (though, more just very slow and depressive black metal) record, the artists intentions of creating a look into suicide and evil is realized in a fantastic way. I love the piano, I love the relaxed and cold guitars, and I feel like I’m getting a unique experience. There’s just too many blast beats. I feel like the middle two tracks are just sort of there, more as filler than anything else, and when it gets aggressive, it loses all of what makes the music so enjoyable. The vocals are also a bit subpar, trying just a tiny bit too hard to be harsh I think. The album is a bit uneventful, but when it works, it works well, and I can truly say it’s the only one of it’s kind I’ve listened to this year.


7/10

https://kadotettu.bandcamp.com/

Donggripper – Immeasurably Bummed

If you ever just want to have heavy, fuzzy, riffy metal, with none of the other bullshit that comes with it, this is the album for you. Donggripper doesn’t do anything fancy, or add anything necessarily unique, or create anything you haven’t heard before. But damn they know how to make some good heavy fuzz. I wouldn’t even say it’s that riffy honestly, the riffs themselves are not amazing, but those dirty, fuzzy chugs get me every time. This band has got their sound down, and I hope they keep it up. If they can maybe add some vocals (not too much, just enough to add some textural variety) this’ll be a band to look out for. I can’t really score this super high because of how one dimensional it is, but I’ve always said that I’m fine with one dimensional if you’re one dimensionally superb.


7/10

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ZE3o1dluE&feature=youtu.be

https://dickcrushrecords.bandcamp.com/album/immeasurably-bummed

Whispered – Metsutan: Songs of the Void

Yeah, a lot of this is campy as hell “naruto metal”. But there’s some good shit amongst all the forgettable tracks. Strike! is just fucking godly (as well as the music video), and Tsukiakari certainly holds it’s wait. And for an en epic finale, Bloodred Shores of Enoshima does the job as well as any other cheesy, nerd fantasy metal concept album I’ve ever heard does. I wouldn’t call this great, but if you can get past how “fake” the japanese folk elements sound at times, there’s some pretty damn great music here, with some Killer riffs when the band isn’t jerking off over it’s own theme.


7/10

Deceptionist – Initializing Irreversible Process

When it comes to reviews I’m definitely one for laying down arguments and describing exactly what I did and did not like in an album. Kind of. Ok I mostly just say shitty metaphors for 1000 words, but you get the idea. I try to make my reviews have at least some logic to them. It’s been a while since I just threw that out the window and said “fuck, I just like this album”. Imma bust that shit out for this romparoo.

Deceptionist’s Initializing Irreversible Process is about a stereotypical as you can get in terms of aesthetic. Lots of tech death bands go for that monstrous, mechanical, apocalypse by machine approach that is cliche to the point of annoyance at this point. And I can say plenty of bad things about this album. The machine gunning guitars, while sounding wicked cool at first, sort of like someone drilling the mechanical components onto the body during the process of turning man into machine (which is I assume the irreversible process here), they eventually start drilling into your ears a bit too much and get annoying. The riffs, I’ll be honest, are just not great. Mediocre I would say, which means on a scale of microbrew stout to Iron City, is around Rolling Rock, if that. It’s also a tad repetitive, though I do enjoy Sunshine and Operator No.3 for having a bit more of a melodic focus, which is not to be unexpected for a brutal tech death album, but still is a negative.

But frankly, I don’t give a shit. I like it. It really executes the mechanical machine aesthetic better than almost any other tech death album I’ve heard. That machine gunning guitars feel like bolts being filled in. The riffs feel like artificial intelligence being programmed into the new abominations. The vocals even have this perfect balance between human and slightly inhuman. It’s hard to describe, but there’s this slight stoicism to the vocals that that makes it work. It doesn’t feel like some void creature is singing, but rather some flesh/steel hybrid beast, squealing both in pain of the process, yet declaring the glorious victory for the machine race.

This album doesn’t really do anything technical that I haven’t heard done before, and done better. But sometimes you don’t need that. Sometimes all you need to make an enjoyable album is to go with a theme and use music to fill the listeners imagination with that theme as much as possible. And for all of their faults Deceptionist does this in style, marking maybe not a milestone in death metal this year, but certainly a marker for how aesthetic is crafted in death metal albums for the rest of the year.


7/10

Inverloch – Distance | Collapse

If anything, I’ve now found the record I will always lead people to the next time (read; the first time) someone asks me “hey I want to get into death doom / funeral doom, where should I start?”. Inverloch’s debut album takes their experience from diSEMBOWELMENT and uses it to create a much cleaner, listener friendly experience. In a way, this is a massive disappointment. Personally speaking, funeral doom and death doom are genres that, at least speaking for myself, their fans enjoy because of it’s oddball nature. I don’t have a massive amount of experience with death doom outside a few classics, but I do know from what I’ve listened to that it has a certain bit of oddness in often being guttural and monster like, but in a much more subtle and calm way that fans of traditional death metal might not always appreciate. Funeral doom, of which I have lots of experience, takes this even further. Aside from the obvious aspect of slowling doom metal to a crawl, you have bands like Thergothon, early Esoteric, early Funeral, Fungoid Stream, Sketicism’s Stormcrowfleet, fucking Mordor, and other artists who push the boundaries of what could be considered sane music, even by metal standards. Even Ahab’s Call of the Wretched Sea, which is considered to be THE starting point for an aspiring funeral doom fan, is a pretty weird album to someone who isn’t familiar with the genre. The almost whispered vocals and unapologetically low budget synths would be strange to anyone who didn’t really know what to expect out of funeral doom. In a way, I feel like in order to be a great funeral or death doom record, you need a bit of weirdness to give your record personality.

There is no weirdness to be found on Distance | Collapse. It seems like this record was tailor made to be funeral/death doom for people who had never heard either of those genres before. On all levels, this is a textbook example of every genre this album includes (funeral doom, death doom, death metal). Fuck, they even separate which genres they use at which times. Sometimes they’ll be death doom, then transition over to pure death metal, then transition over to pure funeral doom, etc. It’s like that one Benjamin Britten piece A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, where they separate all the instruments from each other to give the beginning as sampler of what each instrument sounds like. That’s basically what this album is, a sampler of all 3 genre’s involved. It’s even less than 40 minutes to boot, because you know, who has time to actually get into a genre, let alone 3?

Now I want to make this clear, what I’ve been saying is not necessarily a criticism of the album as much as it is a comment on how it works in my mind. Even as by the book death doom, this is about as good as you can get by only following the guide in the imaginary book of metal genres. It’s like cooking a recipe exactly by the book (god, why the fuck do I use food in my metaphors so much, I only eat like 2 meals a day, what the fuck?). It’s going to be fine doing it that way, but it’ll lack personal touch, and often that’s what separates a good meal from a fantastic meal. Distance | Collapse sounds like a very impersonal album, as if these death doom veterans were going through the motions, rather than trying to create a unique masterpiece such as Transcendence Into the Peripheral. It’s still a good piece of music that I absolutely enjoyed listening to, but it’s clear that some (maybe a lot) of creative spark is simply gone.


7/10

Fejd – Trolldom

So originally when I was going to review this I was going to listen to just this album and review it on it’s own without the context of their other albums. This is standard practice for me, as I don’t know every band I review before reviewing them, and I only have so much time in the day to review things that I can’t listen to their whole discog before getting to their current album. However after I finished Trolldom, I couldn’t escape the fact that every possible complaint or even praise mentioned the lament over how Fejd finally “went metal”. Now I still could’ve just ignored that and gone on to review the album anyway, but quite honestly, the only thing I had to say about Trolldom was “it’s nice”. Nothing really profound, just that it was a pleasant listen that I enjoyed but couldn’t really say anything beyond that fact. So I decided that in an effort to have a more meaty review, I would listen to their debut album Storm, just so I get some context.

Unfortunately, despite my added context of where the band is coming from, my opinion stays relatively the same. I agree, they were in fact better when they weren’t a metal band, if only because I feel like they used a bit more of nordic folk influences in their music back then. It sounded a bit more organic than what they have now. However scorewise, that’s a different around .25 – .5 at MOST. The only real thing I can say about Trolldom is that it’s “nice”. And that’s mainly because it really is a gimmick album. You hear track 1, you’ve heard the whole album. Variety is absolutely non existent here, which isn’t exactly too bad as what you get is still really nice folk melodies and some pretty cool heavy metal-like guitar solos, but again that can only take an album so far.

I’ve decided mid reviewing this album that I’ll bump it up to a solid 7, mainly because despite only being just a nice listen (to which I normally give a high 6 for), the concept is pretty unique, and I feel like it’s worth listening to. Just don’t expect something that’ll blow your mind.


7/10

Insane Vesper – Layil

Can an album be generic without being generic? Or rather, can an album simultaneously be nothing more than pretty good, while containing elements of an absolute classic for it’s genre? On the surface, Insane Vesper’s Layil is much like any other modern black metal for it’s time, albeit a decent album in that category. It has all of what you want in a black metal album, however with added aspects that draw the listener in on closer inspection. Some of the drumming patterns sound more like they belong on a post-rock or math rock album, and there’s dissonant, sinister riffs that honestly are part of one of the better attempts at dissonance in black metal that I’ve heard. As well, you got some seemingly random (though not necessarily ineffective) moments of mathy chugging that sounds more like it belongs in a djent album sans guitar tone. However for the most part, this is just decoration that rises a 5/10 record to maybe a high 6/10. Except for a few, very special moments. The very opening of the album on Blood of the Moon opens in a seemingly standard way for a few seconds, only to break apart into a groovy baseline and space rock guitar effects. You then suddenly get this soaring, atmospheric euphoria enveloping your ears that makes you think “hot damn, this is gonna be my fucking jam”. Then silence. The guitar comes back in and there’s this mini buildup with the drums slamming away at increasing fervor, climaxing into these dissonant riffs of purely evil modern black metal. And I’m like “holy fuck how can I get better than this?”. Good question, and the answer is it can’t, because it doesn’t. There are 2 other times during the record (on Sink The Ark of Knowledge and Scorned Ascension) where the music breaks into this dark, post-rock like, 1-2 minute sagas, only to return to whatever the fuck they were doing before, or on the case of Scorned Ascension, just end the track with no resolution. But overall none of what is great about this album is built upon into something more.

Layil is a record that has all the tools to become an all time classic, but never uses them to be anything more than just interesting, or at it’s worst/best, a massive fucking cock-tease.


7/10

Sunless – Sunless (Demo)

I feel like these guys have lots of potential. In the 9 minutes I was able to spend with these lads I saw a band that had a good concept that just needs a bit of direction. They have great tone, good vocals, and good riff structure, but the two tracks didn’t really have a direction. I felt like they were just an aimless clump of riffs, lost in the sea of dissonance. Then again, that’s kinda what a demo is supposed to be, a general glimpse of their sound rather than a full album (that’s why it’s called a demo, not the full game with day one DLC). These guys are like a new born baby. They just need to eat lots of smushed bananas and they’ll be a great band.


7/10