Pulczesar – Pulczesar

Absolutely fantastic album. Great riffs, creative and fantastic guitar work, and god damn I love those vocals. This is stoner doom done just about as well as you possibly could, at just about the perfect length. I feel like the last track is a bit of a waste, but Guilt Heavy as the Universe is just so fucking good that it makes up for that. I’m really surprised at how awesome this is for a free download, these guys need to start charging for music this good.


8.75/10

https://pulczesar.bandcamp.com/releases

Beldam – Still the Wretched Linger

This is absolutely the heaviest, rawest, most punishing sludge album I’ve heard this year. This isn’t purely heavy like Sumac, this has a kind of sloppiness (sometimes to a fault), chaotic, and evil kind of heaviness that you just don’t see out of sludge in the modern day. But it maintains enough different textures to keep you interested with tracks like Her Unbearing Abyss. It gives you these somber, yet ominous soft textures that constantly have you guessing as to where the album is going to go next. If Inter Arma didn’t release a near masterpiece, this would be sludge AOTY easily. It’s certainly the best non atmo sluge album this year however, and I hope other bands follow in it’s footsteps of bringin back nasty, aggressive sludge, that also has a bit of a brain to it.


8.75/10

https://beldamofficial.bandcamp.com/

Sumac – What One Becomes

They’re back and better than ever. Sumac got heavier and added more nuance to their music, creating this mathy sludge monster with a truly unique guitar tone and atmosphere that separates themselves from any other atmo sludge band around. I have to take points off for how much of a massive disappointment Blackout was. Didn’t go anywhere, felt like a long waste of my time, especially compared to how awesome the rest of the tracks were. Other than that, this was a step up from their last effort, which I also loved. Gonna be interesting to see where this band goes, I have a feeling these guys could change the game.


8.75/10

Wolverine – Machina Viva

So I’m actually going to do a first for this review. Until now, I have never given a progressive metal album that didn’t have any other genre attached to it (such as folk metal, death metal, etc.) an 8 or higher. I’ve often bagged on about “oh man,  if only get to like generic prog, I really want to like this but I’m retarded and don’t have the capacity to enjoy simple things” etc. Well fear not jaded prog fans that view my site for some reason, hope as arrived. Wolverine just made me a believer with their new album Machina Viva, a depressing and soulful look journey that made me self discover what I really want from progressive metal.

And it started when I came to the realization that I loved this and they weren’t doing anything super weird. I know, I’ve said both that prog needs to push boundaries, and that there’s nothing wrong with being generic. I feel like both are true in certain situations, but to be honest I don’t give a shit about hypocrisy, whatever helps me make my point at the time is fine. If I said something contradictory to that earlier, then well, oops I guess, things change. For my argument that being generic is fine, I’ve often stipulated that bands still need to add something for me to latch onto. I can’t just hear wanky alt/power metal for 50 minutes and be impressed. Wolverine passes this with flying colors. There is a distinct depressive atmosphere to this album that remains consistent throughout the entire work, and one I don’t remember experiencing on any other album I’ve listened to. Prog is generally a happy genre, filled with wannabe goofballs that think wacky chugs are the way to go for experimental music. There is nothing wacky or chug reliant on Machina Viva. The whole record is not necessarily immersed in any riffs or particular melodies (though they aren’t too shabby on the melody department either, the main melody to Nemesis in unf worthy), but a direct focus on providing a calm and introspective atmosphere.

There is this unique melancholy to this album that you just don’t experience often in metal, outside of maybe depressive black metal. Though to be fair, this is barely metal. I would’ve reviewed it anyway, but this is maybe 15-20% metal, and the rest prog rock and electronic. Which fuck, I HAVE to talk about the electronic synths here.

One of the reasons the whole feel of the album is consistently mellow is how subtle the synths are. They add this ethereal, alien-like aspect to the music, that contrasts so well with the extremely human sound of the guitars. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like there’s this slight impersonal tone that in an abstract way further cements the feeling of isolation and loneliness that I get from this record. You know how they say depression is a warm blanket? That’s kind of how I feel here. The guitars and vocals are the depression, the synths are the blanket. There’s this warm sadness throughout the whole album that actually made it quite difficult for me to review until multiple listens (which is tough on time, this is over an hour long). I love how sometimes I even mistake the synths for other instruments, like horns or saxophones. I say that if the synths are good enough to make me think they’re using french horns, it’s a job well done.

I do want to touch briefly on some faults however. I can’t really pick a favorite track on this album, partially because they’re all so spectacular, but also because the album is very monotone in it’s flavor. It delivers melancholy, and ONLY melancholy. There needed to be more tracks like Shed, which put a different, even somewhat happier spin on the established canon of the record. Pile of Ash kind of does this, but I see that as more the generic acoustic guitar track that I guess is mandatory in prog albums. I don’t like how that track and Nemesis just end with no conclusion. Like they just stop, there’s some silence, then they move on to the next track. Takes me out of the album for a bit, it’s jarring. Also there’s the issue of Machina just being too quiet, not as a dynimc, but just from a production perspective. The studio should’ve turned the volume up slightly, that’s all. I would’ve liked a bit more oomph in the production, I feel like no matter how good your music is, if you can’t physically feel the music at all, it can only do so much. I’ve recently bagged on bands for being too noisy in their production, but I feel like there’s a difference between not being able to hear the instrumentals, and just not feeling the music in your gut at all. You need that little love tap to make the emotional punches really count.

I think if maybe one of the tracks would’ve been replaced with something a bit more diverse in nature this would’ve been a 9 easily. Machina feels a bit weak that doesn’t have the impact the run of tracks from Our Last Goodbye to Nemesis does. It’s weird, because Machina does try to be a bit more experimental with the electronics, but it isn’t experimental enough to justify it’s place on the album, and doesn’t have some of the tension building that Wolverine does so well on this record. Before I end I do have to speak about that, because this is important as fuck. I really am impressed by the fact that these guys were able to create meaningful buildup and climax without anything feeling like a forced crescendo. Everything feels like a natural evolution of the song, rather than trying to just pile on layers of noise until it breaks upon itself. That’s a mark of top notch composition skill, well done.

Other than that, there’s not much more to say. Color me very impressed, this is prog AOTY so far and I expect that to stay the same unless something drastic happens. Just goes to show you what a bit of care and subtlety can do to turn a record from pretty good to spectacular.


8.75/10

Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us

Instead of doing a proper review of this album, I figured I would list the top 5 reasons to become a murderer:

  1. The Earth has a population problem. By the year 2100, the earth’s population is estimated to be around 12 billion. This is absolutely unsustainable. Obviously no one is going to voluntarily die (the pussies at the human extinction movement just aren’t breeding, by the time they die it’ll already be a problem), so the best possible way to solve the problem as quickly as possible is by murdering randos. People do it with deer, why not other people?
  2. Humans are fucking awful. Aside from the fact that we are killing the planet via pollution and man made global warming, aside from the fact that our world is run by politicians and corporations who shit on the less fortunate for profit, and aside from the fact that we will literally fund our sports teams before any actual education, we’re just fucking ugly. Fucking, chimpanzee, naked mole rat lookin ass niggas. That’s probably worth a few dozens of killings right there.
  3. Dream Theater exists. This doesn’t really have much to do with anything, I’m just really salty about having to review The Astonishing. Tbh if I had to listen to another 2 hour Dream Theater album, I’d probably grab my rifle, go to the nearest shopping center, and pull a Jolly Mally myself.
  4. We all kill each other anyway. The US just sends flying robots to bomb the Middle East because we haven’t met our quota of killing innocent brown people for the day. Then those brown people go to Europe (who actually welcomes them in) and bombs random places in their cities because they haven’t met their quota of killing innocent people who disagree with them for the day. The fuck does a few more dead matter?
  5. You could go your deeds while listening to this album for wicked cool vibes. But you won’t, instead you’ll just sit at your computer all day, calling people the n word on the internet, calling anyone who implies women are not perfect misogynist, all while sitting in your room eating doritos in the safest place possible. You are the epitome of all bark not bite, and forever will be a spineless coward who’s idea of evil music is fucking Weakling. Because you will NEVER, be one of us.

    8.75/10

Nordjevel – Nordjevel

So it’s 2016, and apparently, despite every notion to the contrary, there ARE still great black metal albums that don’t have any gimmicks or atmosphere, and that AREN’T lo-fi demos. This pleases me greatly. Norges Sorte Himmel was amazing, and even the Slayer cover was fantastic (said no one before this ever). Amazing work, we need more of this and less of post-black-avant-gaze-screamo metal.


8.75/10

After the Burial – Dig Deep ALBUM REVIEW

Someone send help, I like the new After the Burial record. And not just like, I fucking love this thing. Why? Because the riffs are fucking amazing that’s why. Dig Deep legitimately bats 1.000 in terms of riffs. I was actually fucking amazed that they didn’t slip up once, every riff this band attempts is great. I want to especially talk about the first three tracks, which in terms of pure hardcore djent, are just about perfection. Collapse is up there with Akroasis in terms of tracks this year that I replayed numerous times. I mean just holy fuck that opening riff. Such a powerful way to start the album, sucking you in to a world of riffage unseen from any other djent album this year.

It gets a little bit shakier when they try to be more melodic. Not because they do it poorly, quite the opposite in fact, but because it feels like much more of something I’ve heard before. One of the things that immediately sucked me into this album was that it felt like hardcore, minimal tonality djent album that wasn’t a Meshuggah clone. That’s done basically never, at least not done well. So while 4 out of the 9 tracks are more of the traditional djenty variety, the other 5 are more ingrained the melodic metalcore variety, with djent riffs scattered throughout. While I do prefer the group of 4 to the group of 5, no track on here is a disappointment, delivering great melodic and riffage goodness every time (with the possible exception of the last track, that’s the only one that maybe dips below an 8/10).

However despite how consistent the tracks are, there are two things that prevent me from going into the 9/10 territory. For one, the album has a bit of a one dimensional nature, lacking any sort of special extras that are needed to elevate an album to higher territory. Like I said, it has riffs, it has melody, but nothing else really supplementing it, not even really completing the triumvirate with any sort of atmosphere. Which leads me to my last criticism, that the album is really in an need of a final 7-8 minute “master track” to tie everything together. Right now it feels like a really well decorated christmas tree, but without the gold star or angel on top. It’s missing that extra 10% to cap everything off, where it pulls out all the stops and all the bands energy to deliver the best they have to offer. The 39 minute run time is just not quite enough for how good the music contained in it is.

Yeah I’m gonna get some looks for giving this a good score, but I like what I like, and to this, Dig Deep is a fucking awesome piece of music that deserve to be looked at as one of the top -core records of the last few years.

And yes, the air horn is awful. I don’t care, the album still rocks.


8.75/10