Good day all,
WOW! Finally a really great week for new metal releases! It seemed the last couple of weeks have been a bit scarce on the really good or even great releases but this week has made up for that lull. I am still only going to review four releases this week but you all really need to go out and look at the list of bands who released albums this week. I promise you; you will not be sorry. Also, is it just me or has this year been really great for new metal music? It seems like the bar was raised this year in regards to the level of new metal but I guess I shouldn’t be to hopeful because as you remember Rolling Stone Magazine already told us what the Greatest Metal Albums of All Time are so I should calm down. Now for this week’s four pack I have chosen a sludgy/stoner/psychedelic gem, a break your neck supersonic death/thrasher, a second sludge masterpiece and an epic thrash/death/folk gem I stumbled upon recently. Hopefully with that intro I have you all beaded up with the sweat of anticipation and the journey forward will now begin.
The Sword: Apocryphon
The Sword has released an album epic in scope and brilliant in execution. The long awaited follow up to Warp Riders is a solid doom tinged psychedelic ride that left me anxious for more. When this album finally ended I was weary with the thought that it may be another two years before we see another album from this band and after this one I can only imagine what the future holds. The beauty of this album is that the band did take a bit of a different approach from the previous releases allowing their doom side to filter out but still have that hard edge and sludgy down tune feel. The lyrical choices and visualizations are still as vibrant and unique as before and the vocals give these choices the needed sound to make them coherent and relevant.
Everything about this album is good. There is not a bad inclusion to be found with the slight exception of the inclusion of a cover of ZZ Top’s Cheap Sunglasses. Not that it is a bad cover but it seems extraneous and unnecessary and kind of takes away from the flow of the album in general. It is the same way I felt about Gypsyhawk covering Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo on their latest release it just doesn’t seem to fit. Just kind of out of place and lost. But regardless of that one very minute criticism this album is a must own for all metalheads. The Black Sabbath meets thrash riffs will keep this album fresh and new for a long time to come. Some of the musical highlights on this album are the title track, the opening track The Veil of Isis and the epic Dying Earth. As I said a few days ago via Twitter (you can find me at @ICHeavy) this album instantly placed itself into the top 5 of my end of the year list and I am confident enough to say it will be in yours too!
Evocation: Illusions of Grandeur
Evocations fourth album and the first with Century Media is a fast paced, balls-to-the-wall thriller. From the opening track Evocation gives you a non-stop trip of death/thrash goodness. What is most apparent on this album is the even and solid flow of the dual-guitar lead that allows for this album to become something different in the genre that is resides. It has an ability to bring a little bit something different to the table that allows the listener to feel something outside of the normal pounding of the double bass and a chugging guitar rhythm. Evocation allows for the music to flow smoothly throughout the album which gives it an angst and aggression that some of the earlier releases in this genre were missing.
Evocation breaks a little new ground in what they bring out in musical form on this album but long time fans should be satisfied with the ability of Evocation to keep their long time sound. They have matured in what they do musically and they should be credited for not getting lost in that previous sound or getting pigeon-holed in the genre as some bands seem to do. This refined, melodic, heavy album is a really nice addition to Evocations catalogue as well as the genre itself. I hope that more of these melodic/death/thrash bands would follow what Evocation was able to do with this album. Go out and get it!
Bison BC: Lovelessness
It seems lately that I have a penchant for the sludge, doom, stoner side of the metal world. With bands like High on Fire, Orange Goblin, Dawnbringer, The Sword filling my MP3 player I am starting to see a pattern of down-tuned aural goodness developing. Bison BC has just been added to that list above thanks to their spectacular new release Lovelessness! This album has a ridiculous amount of momentum to it that allows the listener to become one with the music and almost drown in all of the sludgy goodness that emanates from the speakers. Bison BC have joined forces with mega-producer Sanford Parker and from the virtual tar pits have brought forth a monolith. Hyperbole aside this album does everything right and should put Bison BC on the map right next to the bands mentioned earlier including the (my opinion) overrated Mastodon. The intricate and delicate co-vocals allows for a different take on what happen to be some of the most heartfelt songs you will hear from a band that is this manly in both looks and sound. The musical collaboration allows for the music to penetrate deep into your soul and grab on and refuse to let go. After several listens to this album it becomes clear that the layers are strong and the use of the bass as a focal point just adds to that chugging locomotive of sound that they have created. If you love your metal from the depths of the basement then you will be appropriately impressed with what Bison BC have been able to accomplish with Lovelessness.
Aeternam is a band I found from the good people at Metal Bandcamp, you can find it here http://metalbandcamp.com/2012/10/aeternam-moongod.html and by the way if you are not following @metalbandcamp on Twitter you are missing out on a lot of great metal. But I digress, Moongod is the second album from Aeternam through Metal Blade Records and it is a thrash/death folk album with some really great qualities. Aeternam brings a Middle Eastern sound to their music and they use it in a solid and unique way as not to be confused with other bands of the same ilk. What I like about this album is that it is aggressive when it needs to be but the melodies and the clean vocals that are spaced within some of the songs add to the Middle Eastern mystique as opposed to taking away from it as sometimes happens with death and thrash music. Aeternam has a solid polished sound and while this is not the greatest album I have heard from this genre it sure is a worthy representation of the good that can be found in a music genre that may not get enough notice.