Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nontinuum - Dwelling In Oceans - Review

Nontinuum is a relatively young Black Metal band that plays a very typical depressive variety of the genre. Like most bands of the genre, they have released their first demo the very year they were formed.

Dwelling In Oceans is a short, 3-song demo. Each song has little or no variety, but it certainly works for this band as they focus on minimalistic, melancholic black metal. The sound is mostly guitar-driven, although minimalistic, with drums and bass left out in the background with little or no purpose. Each song has only a few riffs spanning over a long time, but the band appropriately inserts acoustic passages, and transitions the songs to prevent boredom in the listener. The riffs create a melancholic atmosphere, and I cannot help but imagine the album cover with them playing. The guitars are quite distorted, and even though you can hear the riffs, there is a fairly audible wall of noise beneath everything, but it doesn't take anything away from the music.The vocals are typical DSBM - painful wails, but not high-pitched or annoying or ear-piercing, but rather similar to those of Totalselfhatred. The band even includes a section with annoying singing near the end of one song, but otherwise, the vocals are quite good. As mentioned before, the drums or bass are not noteworthy, as the drums play along with no variation at all and adds almost nothing to the music than adding a beat to it, yet, it fits the minimal and atmospheric nature of the music.

Nontinuum manages to create a bleak atmosphere, but lacks in other aspects, which I expect would be polished up in their future releases. This demo is a hit or miss. You may or may not like it, depending on whether you dig atmospheric Black Metal and can sit through long, minimalistic songs without getting bored.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tytan - Rough Justice - Review

Tytan is one of the many lesser known bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. They have released a single and a full-length, in 1982 and 1985 respectively, when the moment just began dying, which explains why the band did not get much recognition, which is surprising, as it consisted of Kevin Riddles from Angel Witch and Les Binks from Judas Priest (at least on this particular release).

Rough Justice is a very good Heavy Metal album, and my personal favourite album from the movement. The album places itself apart from other NWOBHM bands with its fairly mid-paced songs, cutting down on the aggression factor and going for an early Judas Priest-like sound, which makes it tend a little towards Hard Rock than Heavy Metal. The vocals are by Kal Swan, who was also the vocalist of the Glam Metal band Lion. His vocals are not over-the-top shouts, but powerful at the same time. The vocals dominate and stand out in most tracks. I could compare his vocals to quite a lot of Hard Rock vocalists. The guitar work is very unlike what you would expect from NWOBHM. It lacks the punk-like aggression of Tank and the crunchy sound of Jaguar or Raven, and the sound is cleaner, more akin to Hard Rock. Soloing is beautifully done, especially in the song The Watcher. The drumming is standard Heavy Metal, and is handled by Les Binks, so there's not much to say about it except that it is good, despite being simple. The bass is audible and crystal clear, which means the production job is very good. The pace varies with songs throughout the album. Some songs are slower, while some sped up. This makes sure each track stands out from one another.

The album is long enough to keep you entertained, has quite some variety and is slightly different from your run-of-the-mill NWOBHM band. Maybe I am praising this album way too much but it is definitely worth a try if you like digging NWOBHM or if you are a Heavy Metal/Hard Rock fan in general.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Austrasian Goat - Stains of Resignation - Album Review

The Austrasian Goat is a Black/Funeral Doom Metal project of Julien Louvet a.k.a. The Goat and has released a large number of splits and EPs and one full-length in the past. The Austrasian Goat is an effective combination of Funeral Doom and Black Metal, carefully combining the heavy, depressive sound of Funeral Doom metal with tremolo-picked, blast-beat-laden, Black Metal to create a truly depressive atmosphere rivaling even the best depressive Black Metal bands.

Stains of Resignation is the project's second full-length album, clocking at 1 hour and 4 minutes, this album is lengthy, and anyone without patience could get bored after a while. Though the only other release by The Austrasian Goat I have heard is the Void EP, I am assuming that The Goat has changed the overall sound. Yet, the album manages to keep a slow tempo and melancholic sound that doesn't rob it of the main element that made The Austrasian Goat different from most bands. Every song still manages to be different from the other. This is especially seen in songs like Voice of Aenima and Arrheton and the inclusion of Shoegaze and Noise/Drone elements in the music. Another addition appears to be clean vocals and acoustic sections, and an overall less Funeral Doom-y sound, and more inclined towards Atmospheric Black Metal.

The Shoegaze/Drone elements of the music are more noticeable, compared to the Funeral Doom elements in this album. At times, the album sounds like a Black Metal version of The Angelic Process. The riffs are distinct in the songs without these elements. The drums are a sidelined part of the music, as with most drone, except in songs that have a distinct Black Metal vibe to them. The second half of he album has nearly no Funeral Doom song, and is filled with drone-driven Black Metal. The album is bass-heavy throughout and that's where the Doom elements persists and doesn't die out completely. The vocals switch from shrieks/rasps to clean singing from song to song.

Attempting to experiment and keep up variety, The Goat came up with a rather flawed and imperfect album. Not that his previous works were perfect, but they surely did work really well. Maybe the shift in sound was not easy to digest for me, because I gave this a listen expecting some Funeral Doom, and the album might grow on me, but yet, the album is quite flawed in the attempted experimentation, but in no way fails to deliver good quality Black Metal. Stay away from this if you expect Funeral Doom Metal, but if you want some good Black Metal, do get it.

Note: The Austrasian Goat Self-titled CD is expensive to the limit of being unaffordable on
Piano and Stump Vinyl: