Opening with a piano tune that reminds me of my days of playing Dragon Quest for hours and hours, Heritage begins elegantly and beautifully. The song itself, Heritage is very soothing and calming. Leaving the listener rather clueless as to what will come next. Well, if you’ve been paying attention you know what is next. Opeth’s first single off of the album, The Devil’s Orchard kicks on and it’s very old school styled metal meets Opeth charm. This sets up the tone for the rest of the album, no doubt about it. Heritage is an album released this year that sounds like something you would hear on vinyl 30 years ago. Just listen, you’ll agree it has that old school vibe from the 70′s.
The song is done really well and it’s been stuck in my head for days now. While the rest of the album is quality as well, I feel as if Opeth blew their load quite early opening with this song. I mean the bass gallop riff at 4:53 alone is catchy enough to get stuck in my head for a couple of days. After enjoying this song so much, it’s hard for the rest of the album to catch up. I feel The Dark is a good song however I’m still blown away by the last song that it doesnt even compare….time after time. Which is sad because it truly is a good tune to listen to and enjoy. It has that signature Opeth sound to it, very genuine. The next two tracks Slither and Nepenthe collectively are boring and I constantly lost interest in the album during these two songs every time I listened to it. Slither just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album. The tempo is faster and the song is just forgettable. Nepenthe was just boring and I felt like I was listening to some jam band at a coffee shop play together with no real sense of purpose or reason to be playing at all.
Häxprocess brings me back though with it’s subtle guitar playing and ambient feel to it. Almost feels like an Agalloch track in the beginning. The song flows gracefully and transitions into great section after great section. I really enjoyed the musicianship on this track. Famine is next and it’s really not my cup of tea until the slow jam at 4:57. That shit makes you headbang, even with the flute trying to ruin the moment. The Lines In My Hands is meh with the exception of some good bass riffs. Folklore is a good track with great composition and structure. Some catchy guitar playing and some classic Opeth elements added in. I love how the piano leads us into the second half of the song. Followed by a badass bass riff and into a strong finish. The song breaks out into an almost Muse type of thing (Knights of Cydonia comes to mind) and I gotta give it to Opeth, they pull it off nicely. Ending the album is a track called Marrow Of The Earth and it’s just as elegant and beautiful as the intro was. Finishing off the album with class, style and emotion.
I did enjoy this album, I think at times the band plays really good music. Some times it just feels like a jam band playing nothing catchy or remarkable. I appreciate the different angle they came at for Heritage. I understand what they are trying to do and I must applaud them for nailing it on the head in terms of execution. However, I feel there are only a couple of truly amazing songs on this album and the rest of them are only OK at best.
Pros: Some great gems on the album, love the use of piano throughout the album
Cons: Most of the tracks are forgettable, if you’re an old school Opeth fan….you may wonder what the fuck they are trying to pull
3.5 out of 5
Best Tracks: Heritage, The Devil’s Orchard, Häxprocess, Folklore, Marrow Of The Earth
Vader’s 9th studio album Welcome to the Morbid Reich is ominous, evil and a hammering experience of death metal greatness. 12 tracks: 2 instrumentals and 10 true songs, Vader does not disappoint the listener. Even after nearly 30 years since it’s creation, Vader moves ahead strong without slowing down. Producing some of the greatest death metal tunes yet, Welcome to the Morbid Reich delivers exactly what you’ve come to expect. Intense drumming, great guitar riffs and solo’s as well as amazing vocals from the last standing original member, Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek. These 10 songs on this album are skull crushing. Production values are clear and crisp, capturing every single cymbal crash, bass kick, chord and pitch harmonic. This is possibly the best production value on a death metal album I’ve heard this year. Besides the production value, the songs themselves would invoke an entire country to mosh and headbang their asses off. The music is fast and the album moves really well. This album holds your interest, makes you move your head. I wish I was seeing Vader live right at this very moment!
The only thing I can see being a problem for somebody is the fact there are no other gimmicks or anything else going on. That may bore the tech-death, electronic nerd. This album is straight up death metal so if you have a problem with that, then this album may not be for you. For those looking for nothing but fast and heavy music, this is the album for you.
Pros: songs are fucking intense, production is great, guitar tone is amazing and drumming is furious
Cons: Nothing really. If you need more than just death metal then this may be a problem for you. Some of the orchestral stuff sounds exactly like something Dimmu Borgir would do
4.5 out of 5
Best Tracks: Each song is crushing and has something to offer.
Origin released a furious album earlier this year entitled Entity…it’s probably the most intense release this year. Incredibly fast technical guitar playing and non-stop double bass/blast beats make for one wild ride. Head phones will explode and speakers will melt, Entity is merciless and fast. The musicianship is so tight and well done that it’s almost not human. Origin know how to impress. The intensity of the vocals and music is a rush of fire within the bloodstream. Most of the songs are shorter with only 3 of them being of some decent length. Which is good because it keeps things interesting and to the point song after song.
While the music is brilliant and talented, some of the songs seem soulless. There is no emotion behind it besides seeing how fast the fingers on the fret board can move. Which is fine for some but it leaves me wanting something more than just fast metal. Very little on this album is catchy and the only real thing making me headbang is the intense drumming. Impressive musicianship from these talented artists, I just think their “constantly go go go as fast as fucking possible” mentality goes against them a little bit.
Pros: Fast, brutal, technical, furious….
Cons: the song “Committed” is pure garbage…vocals and guitar are incredibly annoying, nothing super catchy that caught my interest
3 out of 5
Staind has released an album this week and to be honest, I was interested in it but afraid what was going to be inside. I haven’t given a shit about Staind since 2004 when I heard 13 Shades of Grey…what a bullshit album that was. Right from the get go though, it’s typical yet classic Staind. The music and vocals are actually really good. Riffs on this album are done well and they are catchy. The Staind formula is still there and nothing has really evolved with the band, however this album is more of a “back to their roots” effort. Aaron Lewis definitely has that angst and harse vocals present on this album, it’s just weird that he is trying to do this again after all of these years. Sometimes it works, however sometimes it sounds like his voice is going out. He is either out of practice or his “harse” vocals are going out.
I did headbang during this album. The guitar work is done well, nothing too technical or innovative but it gets the job done. You’ll understand this when you listen to songs like Eyes Wide Open and Not Again, good songs and you move your head. Some tracks sound like Lewis is trying to channel his inner Alice In Chains…close but no cigar. The lighter songs are good too, They are definitely a step up from Outside or Home. All in all this album is surprisingly good and it was totally unexpected. If you’re looking for a Staind that has soul and pain like Break the Cycle but some angst in it like Dysfunction, then this is the album for you.
The only truly negative thing I have to say about the album is the garbage as fuck track Wannabe with Snoop Dogg on it. Did Fred Durst write this track? This song ruined the ending of the album for me and all in all it reminded me of how a good band can write awful bullshit like they are stuck in 1999. This song is juvenile and adding Snoopy Snoop Poop Dog on it made it worse.
Staind released a good album, it’s nothing entirely new or outside of the box for them but they know what their fan base wants. As always, most of the album is average with a few gems that will get rotated more than a couple of times. (Something to Remind You is fucking great)
3 out of 5
Pros: decent music, vocals are sung well
Cons: Same shit, different album – angry vocals are rookie
Best Tracks: Eyes Wide Open, Not Again, Something to Remind You, Throw It All Away
If you REALLY want to know what happened during the recording of this album, Staind has released a documentary.
Victory Records own Pathology has released a crushing album today called Awaken to the Suffering. It’s a true showing of what modern death metal is: being as brutal as possible. Musically, it’s a good album. Awaken to the Suffering offers some sick ass riffs and rhythm work. Lot’s of scary effects with the lead tone, very ominous at times with a murderous riff underneath it. Drumming holds it’s own, not substantial but it gets the job done. This album is the perfect blend of death metal, deathcore and technical metal. Not too much core or tech, but just the right amount for the listener.
Awaken to the Suffering does have it’s downs though. Vocals are the main offender. I’m sick of these bands who think cookie monster raping a pig with it’s throat slit sounds good. Not only is it just laughable, it’s not brutal. Not only that, there is no range…the only thing other than “breeebreegrgrgrllgrlgrlbregrlgrlrrll” is the sound of someone gagging on a cock at the end of a verse. Not only is that not cool nor brutal, it takes the seriousness out of any song. I mean my two favorite songs on the album are the INSTRUMENTALS.
Dear bands: quit with the “brutal gutteral” vocals, they are a joke. You sound like an idiot. I bet it’s fun to be on stage and do that and all but you ruin it for the rest of the band. Pathology is a talented band whom creates some headbang inducing music. Either stick to instrumentals or find a new vocalist.
Pros: Quality music and production, fine death metal, songs are fast and heavy
Cons: Vocals, vocals, vocals
3.5 out of 5
Best Tracks: Prolonging The Suffering, Revocation Of Earth
This is a triple decker review with cheese. True Qreview….to the fucking point. Whether you like it or not.
Born of Osiris unleashed The Discovery earlier this year and I’m just now catching up to it. The Discovery is furious with the guitar chug to drum double bass aspect, just like Fear Factory in that sense. Over that chug-tastic riffing is some great lead noodling and vocals. the riffs and breakdowns are done well on the album. The keyboard is hit and miss on the album. Sometimes it adds a nice ambient/organic feel to the track. Other times it just feels like a Britney Spears dance off…which ruins it for me.
Pros: Great guitar playing, love the guitar riff/drum synchronized brutality, keyboard adds a cool element to the songs
Cons: That same keyboard is unnecessary at times
4 out of 5
Chthonic’s Takasago Army is a great album. It’s heavy, it has that Taiwanese touch to it with the instruments and it’s powerful as fuck. The vocals are a mix of Nergal, Max Cavalera and Dani Filth….all while making it his own; it’s monstrous! The music is good and songs like Takao and Southern Cross had me headbanging like crazy. The drumming is intense and I love the chorus that sings along on the songs.
Pros: great music! Powerful vocals
Cons: May remind you of a Mortal Kombat soundtrack at times, which took the seriousness away a little bit.
4.5 out of 5
Septicflesh was an album that had my interest for awhile now but it fell behind due to all of the epic releases. However, one morning Nergal recommended it on his Facebook. So if Nergal likes it, I should like it. The Great Mass is a heavy album, full of orchestral tracking and other vocalists. However, at times I did not like that vocals….sometimes hating them. Wanting to turn to the next track. Honestly, listening to this after Fleshgod Apocalypse is a bad idea….because while this is good. FA just know how to do it better. It’s still a good listen through.
Pros: quality musicianship, something a little different than the usually balls out furious brutality
Cons: a little boring at times, vocals here and there annoyed me
3 out of 5
Beyond Creation is a band I’ve never heard of before. I was browsing through Heavy Blog’s review catalog and noticed this album. So I listened to it, not knowing what to expect. Beyond Creation is a technical death metal band that is still about creating heavy rhythm instead of just focusing on diddling all over the fretboard. Which I love about the band…The songs are heavy and catchy as fuck. I love how layered the music is but they are so well produced that all of the instruments levels are perfect. You can hear the guitars, drums and bass as well as the vocals all at the same time and clearly. Nothing is over one another and since it’s a tech-death album you would think this would be difficult…not at all. Each song is done perfectly. Each having their own power to them but you can expect this everytime: you will headbang. I couldn’t help myself. The songs are truly magnificent!
We are all waiting for Necrophagist to release new material….they haven’t released anything new since 2004. But like I tweeted last week, many many bands have come out since then and are better than or atleast on par with them. Beyond Creation is very much so on par if not better than Necrophagist. The music is done well and at times it’s just chilling. I absolutely love the bass guitar work done on the album. Guitar leads are insane and drumming is fucking brutal. Every track is a masterpiece on it’s own…and to get 10 of them (even the super short instrumentals are insanely brilliant) is a fucking treat. Besides just the well done tech, the songs rhythms sections and verses are fucking heavy and make you want to punch the next person you see.
They need to play this shit in a gym, fuck that poppy techno shit. Beyond Creation is an adrenaline pumper. Not just with fast music but with intense music…powerful music. The Aura is a killer album that I did not see coming and I am sure glad I listened to it. I highly recommend it if you’re into death metal or great musicianship.
Pro: perfect production quality, songs are brilliant, instruments are fucking pro, catchy parts, heavy rhythm and brutal riffs
Con: lol…there are none.
5 out of 5
Death metal brought to you in part by the band Abysmal Dawn: Leveling the Plane of Existence is a pummeling assault of metal. I constantly banged my head and got into it. The drums are great, vocals are not too high nor too low and fit in with the music perfectly and the guitar tone is fucking heavy. The writing is great and it’s done flawlessly, Abysmal Dawn knows how to put out a quality death metal album. Even beginning the album with a creepy piano performance with a weird keyboard effect in the background, The Age of Ruin sets the menacing evil tone of the album.
From then on it’s nothing but extreme metal with some of the best guitar tone I’ve heard this year. From soloing to pitch harmonics, guitars on this album fucking wail. The riffing done on this album is great too, tracks like In Service of Time and Leveling The Plane of Existence show off this talent. Abysmal Dawn are also really good at slowing down the pace and making crushingly heavy tracks like Perpetual Dormancy and My Own Savior. Not only is the guitar work great, the drumming and drum production is done really well on this album, it’s probably the best I’ve heard all year. Closing the album is a track entitled The Sleeper Awakens and even with super subtle musical verses, it’s very dark and the riffs are evil.
Pros: Music is done well, production is good
Cons: While the guitar riffs are really good, nothing was super catchy or extraordinary
4 out of 5
Best Tracks: Pixilated Ignorance, Perpetual Dormancy, Leveling the Plane of Existence, My Own Savior, the Sleeper Awakens
Benighted’s Asylum Cave is a monstrous endeavor of death and grind. The music is fucking awesome. Guitars are heavy and fast, drumming is blast-tastic and full of double bass and bass guitar keeps the lows a rumblin. Asylum Cave is a great example of what extreme music should be. The musicians are amazing.
It’s the vocals the ruin it for me. Pig squeals are ugly and annoying, lows are average, screams are alright and the high pitched black metal screeching is just not fitting with the music. At times the vocals are tolerable…..then some random fucking gang vocals come in. This shit ruins any song it’s in…everytime.
The music is good; on par with Cannibal Corpse, Troglodyte and Dying Fetus (Just not on the tech side). Vocals ruin it, they are laughable just like Haemorrhage’s were. I like the music, unfortunately vocals are a major part of my judgment on what I like and dislike.
Pros: music is fucking METAL
Cons: vocals are garbage
3 out of 5
Best tracks: They are all good, ignore the vocals.
Technical riffing, progressive style song writing, intense keyboard video game soundtrack and ultra nerdy: Last Chance to Reason have achieved something special with their latest release Level 2. This is the soundtrack to my childhood. Usually I’m not into tech/prog metal but I cannot help but relate to this. I mean it’s great music with influence from Super Metroid, Final Fantasy and Contra. Besides the ultra nerdy nostalgia, the music is really good. There are some catchy hooks to Level 2.
Each song is good. Each song seems to have been done with care, because they all have their own power to them. Either musically or lyrically, somehow each track is exceptionally brilliant. Vocals range from almost whiny (but not whiny) clean singing to demons under the bed gon’ eat you growling. Guitars are both chuggy and riff oriented with interesting leads that go with the keyboards melodically. The keys illuminate ambiance into each song, they are done really well. Drumming is phenomenal, lots of timing changes with the beats and breakdown-esque patterns keep it heavy and finally, a metal album where you can clearly hear the bass guitar!!! The bass playing is friggin’ awesome, I love how audible it is and it’s used more than just a rhythm keeper; he shreds on that thing.
This album doesn’t over do it in many areas…and there is so much going on that you would think there would be too much of something. Nope, the back and forth with the clean singing and growling is a perfect combination of stability and insanity. The guitars/bass/keys are frequently changing, keeping you on your toes . There is so much going on yet they keep it all together and create some of the most interesting music I’ve heard this year. Each instrument is clear and has defining points on the album, making you want to listen to Level 2 over and over again.
Pros: awesome tech that is actually good (not showboating), great sound, songs are amazing
5 out of 5
Best Tracks: All of them