Monday, June 18, 2012

Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis : Album Review

Owing to a recent job I got as a content writer, I haven't found the time to write music reviews. Writing four long articles on a daily basis is saturating to say the least. However, I will now dedicate some time to write about Russia's Pseudogod and their latest output, which proves to be major contribution to Death/Black Metal.

Stylistically, Pseudogod's music is not too distanced from Bestial Black Metal. Their previous releases, namely Illusion of Salvation and Triumphus Serpenti Magni and a number of other split albums / EPs dhowed a tendency towards the aforementioned style through their chaotic riffing style and relentless, pulverizing drumming. In Deathwomb Catechesis, the band expand their stylistic boundaries beyond primitive assault, focusing more on a dense atmosphere and churning crushing, yet memorable riffs. The band chose to lean more towards Death Metal while creating an atmosphere similar to Orthodox Black Metal. It is nearly impossible to dissect the album musically, since it all blends into a singular mass of musical atrocity (in a positive way, obviously). Each instrument winds itself around another in a twisted way, and although that means individual instruments don't get their own moments of glory, it all fits properly in a well-defined song structure, which is what ultimately separates an actual good band from novelty.

That is not to say that Pseudogod's music is linear or uninteresting. There are some very fine details to be heard throughout the album which a listener won't notice on the first listen, despite the non-challenging nature of the band's songwriting. The riffing is mainly fast and chaotic, but at times, slows down to a medium or slow pace to pulverize listeners with sheer heaviness. The riffing style maintains an evil and occult vibe throughout the album, never settling for an odd upbeat melody. The drumming takes a back-seat in the mix, but every drum is clearly audible, from the crashes to the kick, and creates a rather noticeable impact on the music. The vocals are deep growls with the right amounts of reverb and delay effects added to them, which adds to the overall menacing vibe of the album.

The production job was rather surprising to most fans, considering the fact that Pseudogod's earlier works featured a much thinner, rawer production with drums being as much in the foreground as the guitars. This album features a rather bass-heavy mix, comparable to that of Vasaeleth and Witchrist . The sound works very well for the album since there is no compromise in anything the band intended to offer. Deathwomb Catechesis is highly recommended for its competent songwriting and consistency in delivering powerful Death/Black Metal throughout the 40 minutes of its playing time. The album is available for purchase through Hells Headbangers. Buy & Support!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Master's Hammer - Vracejte Konce Na Místo : Album Review

The Czech experimental Black Metal legends, Master's Hammer made a comeback in 2009 with their album Mantras. After building up lot of anticipation, all their fans were let down by a sub-par release. Fast-forward 3 years to February 2012, and we're presented with Vracejte Konce Na Místo. The album, from the first minute shows the band's determination to restore their legacy as one of the most innovative Black Metal bands.

The best way to describe the album would be "a mix of band's past works". Hints of orchestral elements from The Jillemince Occultist can be heard, with the straight-forwardness of Ritual in some places. Slagry and Mantras were failed experiments, but everything they do on this album manages to blend flawlessly, and is executed well. The riffing, although not something that will get stuck in your head on the first listen, is immediately enjoyable. Heavy, thrashy rhythm guitars that play out with melodic lead guitars hint towards a Death/Thrash sound, rather than Black Metal, so complaints from clueless people about it not being "Black Metal enough" are expected. Guitar solos are added occasionally for good measure, avoiding a rhythm-dominated nature of the songs. Just like The Jillemince Occultist, the orchestral elements are played in an majestic way without being cheesy and add to the intricacy and complexity of the composition rather than creating an atmosphere, similar to what's heard in classical music. The folk elements are well-executed and arranged, to go in sync with the rest of the music, so it all fits well. The drums can tend to sound a little mechanical at times, but besides that annoyance, the drum patterns are laid out well and add a consistent beat throughout the songs. The vocals are similar to Master's Hammer's first 2 albums, and a fortunate change from the unbearable vocals heard in Mantras. In each song, the band shows it's compositional prowess, keeping the listener interested, and mixing elements from different forms of music seamlessly.

The overall sound of the album is similar to their older works, but heavier and cleaner, yet not too polished. The production job is befitting a Master's Hammer release since it emphasizes all the aspects which make the band stand out. The emphasis is not on a dark or grim atmosphere, but a heavy, majestic, yet aggressive Thrash-derived sound, which is so unique that it can no longer be placed under Black Metal, though it takes cues from their early Old School Black Metal sound.

I wouldn't recommend this to a person looking for typical Black Metal of any kind since it sways too much into an experimental direction, but I will certainly recommend it to anyone looking for something new.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Worship - Dooom : Album Review

It's not often that a band manages to create a true sense of despair, melancholy and depression, but that changed when, "Fucked Up Mad" Max Varnier (R.I.P. 2001) from France and Daniel "The Doommonger" from Germany formed Worship in 1999. After their highly acclaimed demo "Last Tape Before Doomsday", Max committed suicide, but Worship lived on, carrying forward the legacy of Max Varnier's bitter, depressed soul and released Dooom in 2007. Just like the debut, Dooom encompasses a sense of extreme negativity, depression and hopelessness.

The cult album begins with Endzeit Elegy, and the first hit of the heavy, crushing riff shows The Doommonger's capability of carrying Worship through even after the tragic loss of Mad Max, and that he has not lost his creative capabilities. The atmosphere evoked is paralyzing and absorbs you in the flow of depressive and heavy riffs. The combination of what sounds like a church bell and the powerful, crushing guitars is amazing. The riffage is also coupled with mournful lead guitars scattered almost throughout the whole album, adding a sense of despair, and also making it effectively different from Last Tape Before Doomsday. The melodies created by the lead guitar are devoid of cheesiness, yet sound depressive. The vocals are done mainly by The Doommonger, but the album also features vocals from Mad Max, recorded much before his death, on the tracks The Altar and the Choir of the Moonkult, a Solitude Aeturnus cover and I Am the End - Crucifixion Part II. Both vocalists have a similar, low, rumbling style, though Max sometimes executes screams that are often heard in Depressive Black Metal. The bass guitar is an important instrument here, since it is a Funeral Doom Metal album. Apart from adding to the general heaviness, the bass does some wonderful parts on this album. For example, the bass intro to The Altar and the Choir of the Moonkult is eerie to say the least. The drums are played in a typical Funeral Doom fashion. Slow, playing a beat every second or two, and generally drowned in the background. They do absolutely nothing, except the job of holding the riffs together, but that is okay, since the genre doesn't demand drums. Worship does a wonderful job of creating a captivating atmosphere with the minimal use of synth, and the best use of lead guitars, and wonderful vocal delivery, which includes grunts, screams and whispered and sometimes sung narration. Dooom also includes a cover of Solitude Aeturnus's Mirror of Sorrow, done in their own, slow, plodding, depressive and atmospheric style, and is probably one of the best cover songs.

Dooom, although does not match up to Last Tape Before Doomsday, almost misses out on the quality of it by inches. Meaning, it is almost as good, but might leave Worship fans asking for more, since most songs sound too similar. Regardless of that, every song has moments that make it stand out from the others, and most of all, it is an album capable of actually stirring up the listener's emotions in a very powerful way, which is saying a lot. Dooom is recommended for fans of Funeral Doom Metal, since this is one of the only bands you will ever need.

Standout Tracks - All I Ever Knew Lie Dead, The Altar and The Choir of The Moonkult, Mirror of Sorrow, I am The End - Crucifixion Part II

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Infinite Redemption - Face of Disaster EP: Review

Modern Metal is always a hit-or-miss affair for most (mostly a miss), and in a country like India, among a vast sea of uninspired, same-sounding bands, it is difficult to find a band that actually stands out as good. Infinite Redemption is among the good bands. Formed in 2003 in Mumbai, Infinite Redemption play a style that takes influences from different genres including Math Metal/Mathcore, early Metalcore, Melodic Death and Thrash Metal and Technical Death Metal, and blend it seamlessly to create a sound that sets them apart from other bands.

Face of Disaster is the debut EP of the band, released in January 2012. The opener, Abhorrence, sets the mood for the EP with a Thrashy guitar riff and aggressive drumming. Catchiness and memorability is maintained throughout the song with tastefully written guitar riffs that switch styles varying from Thrash Metal to Melodic Death and Groove Metal, accompanied by alternating Hardcore Punk screams, screeches and Death growls, all done really well. The opener is followed by the self-titled song, which begins with a nicely written, melodic lead guitar section and a mid-paced rhythm riff. The song has a Metalcore vibe, which may turn off some listeners, but the endless flurry of well-written riffs more than make up for it. The next song, Noise Edge has some textured, progressive and groovy riffs and drumming, making it thoroughly enjoyable for those who dig Progressive stuff, which is followed by one of the older songs written by the band, Shadows of Disaster, which is a straight-forward Melodic Death Metal song, with loads of melodic guitar solos and riffs, which showcases the band's ability to keep things fresh. The final song, Tyranny of the Pallid, takes cues from relatively modern Technical Death Metal, with sometimes complex, yet catchy riffs and tempo and structure changes, and a brief, but really good bass guitar solo. The assault of drums, bass and vocals continues throughout each song, and though they're mostly supporting the endless riffing fury, every element has numerous stand-out moments, and serves equal importance in the music. The drumming is very well done, with adequate amount of groovy moments as well as blast beats, the bass provides heaviness while throwing in an occasional solo, and the vocals add to the overall aggression in the music.

The production job was done by Vishal J. Singh of Amogh Symphony, so professional quality wasn't unexpected. This might turn away people who swear by old school production values and sound, but listeners who can ignore the modern production, as well as listeners who prefer modern production will surely like this, since there is very little to not like here. Being an EP, it also is very short on playing time, clocking at the usual EP length of 21 minutes 24 seconds, and leaves the listener expecting more. Infinite Redemption plant their flag in the Indian Metal scene with their impressive debut, and more material can be expected from them in the coming years.

Face of Disaster can be purchased by contacting the band at

Be sure to check out their Facebook and ReverbNation pages.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Axis of Advance - Strike : Album Review

Axis of Advance were a Black/Death band from Canada. Their playing style is similar to Ross Bay cult bands like Blasphemy, Revenge and Conqueror, mostly owing to the fact that James Read from the latter two bands handles drums. Axis of Advance play in a style similar to, but not exactly like the above mentioned bands.

Strike is the band's first full-length album, released in 2001. The moment the first epic 8 and half minute song hits, you realize that it isn't your typical War Metal affair. Unlike the chaos of Conqueror and Revenge, and directionless and mindless blasting of Bestial Warlust, Axis of Advance has some coherence when in comes to structure and riffing. Bear in mind that this, in no way means that it can be digested by your usual Black or Death Metal fan, since the chaotic quality has only been toned down a little. Imagine a cross between Revenge and Order From Chaos - the noise and violence of the former, coupled with the riffing variety and style of the latter. Like their fellow countrymen, Axis of Advance don't cut down the intensity of their assault.

The riffs vary between grinding, war metal-like and catchy, vicious Black/Death Metal riffs, which keeps the songs interesting and avoids monotony, while maintaining the ferocity of the assault. Contrary to majority of Metal, the riffs take up the role of support fire - the band's main weapon is their artillery in form of drums, and it's command undertaken by the war machine, James Read. Read pounds on the snare like a maniac, but with the timing and precision of a sniper. The drums assault the listener's ears, invoking a sense of suppression that is felt in a battle. Between those assaults, are moments with catchy riffs and less destructive drumming, creating a picture of an advancing army through the battlefield, claiming more of the enemy's territory. The drums and riffs are supported by throaty rasps and growls, that don't possess much power but do their job well. The bass guitar is hidden beneath layers of pounding drums and grinding guitars, but due to the rather straight-forward music, its exact nature of playing isn't missed much, but they do the ever-important job of making the music heavier. Some songs on the album end with samples of gunfire, which seem to fit in seamlessly and don't feel forced or put in for no reason. The weak points in the album include the difficulty in differentiating one song from another, (though the case is not as bad as Bestial Warlust), and the length of three particular songs is over 8 minutes, which is a drag for the style Axis of Advance play.

All in all, Strike is an above average album, recommended for Black and Death Metal fans who can take a vicious, relentless assault for over 40 minutes.