Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spawn of Possession - Incurso (2012)

Hitting the proverbial nail on the head, Spawn of Possession return with their third full-length feeling renewed and refreshed. Since their first two records, the band’s lineup has shifted significantly, but for the better--Incurso is the most addictive culling of spiraling riffing and chaotic song writing since Gorod stepped up to the metal plate with Process of a New Decline in 2009. 

The band takes seemingly unapproachable technicality and transforms it into something appealing for even the fussiest of metalheads. Technical death metal has only recently been in great commodity, and with the spur in popularity comes a flood of groups lacking writing finesse. Nonetheless, Spawn of Possession has good qualities; particularly ease of access, and Incurso remains one of the better releases for the subgenre, thanks to memorable and proficient compositions.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Goatwhore - Blood for the Master (2012)

Goatwhore's latest, Blood for the Master, continues down the rock solid path they have been trodding since Carving Out the Eyes of God. The act's first three albums carried a heavy black metal aesthetic--creating a sort of identity crisis with death and thrash metal--but but what shocks fans most about the record is the polished production many groups dislike, if only for one reason: black metal must be raw. But despite that, Goatwhore manage to hold their own, reaching an unmatched level of popularity as interest rises in their music.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Check Out: Deluhi

Essentially unknown to the masses, Deluhi broke up last year, the four members leaving little behind as they moved on to pursue solo ventures or team up with other projects. Their music leaves me scratching my head because it merges various metal subgenres (and hard rock) with a light dusting of hardcore; the mixture hardly works for every band that forces the two together, but, for the most part, it pans out in the Deluhi's favor. The group released a number of singles and one album, which is sadly their entire discography but quite a feat for a quick three years of existence.

So far, the track that gets my stamp of approval is "Departure" because it has a very old school hard rock feel, but with a zest that makes it accessible for contemporary music fans. Unfortunately, the vocals are terribly fragile and not the throaty, hairy variety that fit well with eighties-influenced shred rock. Despite its shortcomings, though, the song reminds of a time when metal was about something other than technical ability or heavy just for the sake of being heavy. In my book, that makes Deluhi and the rest of their discography worth a look, in spite of the differences their material may have across the board.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Testimony - Transcending Reality (2012)

Home-grown Indiana thrashers Testimony combine elements of thrash and progressive metal, yielding a sort of spacey travel that rips like any other band from eighties. The band's first release, Transcending Reality, borrows heavily from what came over 20 years ago, but places a lengthy twist on the music, often with drawn-out sections and technical frills. I can't help but be reminded of Pestilence's material when I give Testimony a spin because of the jazzy, fusion-like sections that dip into other musical genres.

Surprisingly, Testimony are a rookie band, and while that may not cross your mind upon first listen, the real hint is in the production which is like a step back to thrash metal's heyday. Although Testimony don't quite fall into the trap, they feel like a second-tier band in terms of songwriting and their ability to create a memorably hook. Melody is decent enough that you might be able to find something to enjoy, but a sense of direction is missing that is absolutely essential to reel in an audience. As far as I'm concerned, progressive does not always mean extended song lengths, and a portion of the EP would benefit from a good trimming.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unisonic - Unisonic (2012)

Legendary ex-Helloween team, Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, along with Pink Cream 69 accomplice, Dennis Ward, are back at the game called rock with a new project named Unisonic. Their debut, cleverly sharing the same name, pokes fun at Kiske and Hansen’s time in Helloween, but never awakens the power metal beast that emerged when the two unknowingly influenced thousands of bands. Conventional for the subgenre were soaring choruses, floating melodies, and harmonized leads--and, for Unisonic, most of that sticks, but the change is with the inclusion of poppy chorus hooks and hard rock-type songwriting. Nevertheless, Helloween’s softer Euro-based power metal sound, an alternative to the thrashier U.S. aesthetic, has always been about catchiness, so perhaps the existing direction is less surprising.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Metal Advisor Interviews Cleaver

One of The Metal Advisor's most exciting moments on the glorious metal journey [so far!] has been interviewing Cleaver, who are, simply put, a looney group of guys. The Metal Advisor had the chance to hear from Andreas (guitars), Espen (drums), and Øyvind (guitars), three of the five band members, who not only provided insight as to what's going on in their world but highly opinionated and amusing thoughts on all things metal. As with any good interview, the questions and the answers do the talking--just make sure you check out Cleaver's newest album as soon as it hits cyberspace. We're in for a monster. 


Hello, Cleaver! What is the band's status right now?
Still tired after four days of metal and beer at the Inferno Metal Festival where we shared the stage with Magister Templi and Solstorm. We have also been celebrating, and celebrating means more beer, how the Easter bunny died on the cross for our sins. In Cleaver, we try to sin a lot so his death won’t be for nothing.

How and when did Cleaver form? Why did you decide you wanted to play thrash and death metal?

It all started up one or two years ago when Øyvind and Espen were performing satanic rituals before a rehearsal with the death metal band Chton. A great demonic voice told us to create Cleaver. We did what we were told, and since we had made a lot of killer riffs that didn’t fit into Chton, it all felt like the right thing to do. In Cleaver, we do our blasphemy more inspired by heavy, thrash and old school death metal, while Chton is more dark and brutal death metal. To us, at least, they sound like two completely different bands, and we haven’t heard complaints from the dark demonic voices of the underworld so far.

Cleaver has two songs recorded right now. Are they digital-only or do you have a physical release?

We actually have a complete album of satanic tunes ready for our debut album called When There’s No More Room in Hell..., but so far, we’ve only spread two of the songs on the internet. We would encourage metal labels out there to perform satanic rituals in near future. We know there’s at least one demon, if not Satan himself, that will recommend Cleaver, but if we don’t get a deal with a label soon, we will release the album by ourselves as a physical release. We’re old school metalheads, and a physical release is the only thing that counts. Fuck downloading and mp3s. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Metal Advisor Interviews S.L.U.R

Unfortunately for the majority of metalheads, Japanese metal stays relatively unknown to the outside world, save a few select groups, and as you would expect, S.L.U.R is no exception to the rule. The band is composed of a mere two members: Tappi, who takes on axe-wielding duties, and Avenger, who fills in the bottom of the mix with her clanky bass lines. The duo hit the ground running earlier this year with the release of their first EP, Invisible Sun, and are poised to make a splash throughout Japan as they begin to spread their name by playing live shows. Let's find out more.


All right, I always begin interviews in a similar fashion--and for good reason! Can you give us some background on S.L.U.R? Did you two meet through a shared passion for metal?

Yes, we met through a shared passion for metal. We noticed that our favorite musicians are very alike, so we were able to head in the same direction of heavy metal music. We basically formed together to realize an ideal metal music.

What drew you to heavy metal?

Tappi - Beautiful melodies, gorgeous performances, and the feeling of emotion from musicians' hearts. That's what grabs me about the music.

Avenger - An elevated, high feeling, tremendous level of skill, and being a leader in every part. And because metal puts together fieriness and heaviness.

S.L.U.R ready to take on the metal world.
Sadly, I'm not fortunate enough to be able to understand much Japanese, but I love the language all the same. Is there any hidden meaning behind your song titles? "On the Motor Bike" seems like it falls in line with what classic artists use as subject matter for their music.

Yes, you are right. "On the Motor Bike" is conscious of Deep Purple's "Highway Star." "Highway Star" is a song about a car, but "On the Motor Bike" is a song about a motor bike, which makes our track like a bike version of Deep Purple's song. We don't really have any other hidden meaning behind song titles. This is the first and only one so far.

What's the story behind S.L.U.R.'s name? I've been very curious about that since I discovered your music through Metal-Archives.

The official name of S.L.U.R is Seventh Link & Ultimate Ray. Seventh is used in various countries' myths, and it is our lucky number. Link expresses the bond of our companions who help us, and ray is taken from Gamma Ray because we love them. We were born into the metal scene with the ultimate ray.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Carcinogen - Unholy Aggression (2010)

Part of the reason I love Carcinogen's Unholy Aggression is because it remembers the olden days of death metal. Although the group's third release sports an immaculate production, it makes a great case for the sound, mostly because the bass's clank is at the heart of the mix--something sadly unheard of by today's producing standards.

Carcinogen's music recollects on primitive times--the late eighties and early nineties--when extreme metal was emerging as a prominent force in the underground and, by doing so, pays homage to what came beforehand. Slayer, Morbid Angel, and Pestilence-type riffs are easily picked from the murky, yet morbid, aesthetic and bear slight resemblance to the Swedish death metal guitar tone popular over 20 years ago. While I ordinarily write music like this off as a sort of tribute, these Long Islander's material is a much welcomed modern interpretation of death metal's long-lasting heritage.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lezlie Paice - Fightin' Man (1983)

The cover of Lezlie Paice's lone release Fightin' Man is puzzling because it resembles the product of a child's imagination and not that of a heavy metal band. Looking at the art, you'll see a crudely drawn monster--which I assume was their mascot--against a spacey, bottomless backdrop that goes well with the uninspired nature of the music. I suppose Lezlie Paice makes me bitter because I wanted to uncover a heavy metal gem, but their single is not the revelation I hoped it would be. Instead, these Swedes' music treads dangerously close to hard rock and backhands innovation in favor of playing it safe. The end result yields an unfortunate combination of forgettable and lackluster songwriting.