Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Chthonic Track: "Next Republic"

After an impressive trilogy--Seediq Bale, Mirror of Retribution, and Takasago Army--Chthonic return for yet another full-length, BĂș-Tik, and wet collective taste-buds with a teaser called "Next Republic." Excitement runs rampant for this record because it seems to be a logical follow-up to Takasago Army, which was good but could have used work. I absolutely adore the folkier, melodic death metal-like elements floating around "Next Republic." Chthonic's black metal era is clearly over, but that doesn't mean they can't churn out a vicious mess of music.

Listen to the track below.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black and Colored Vinyl: A Study with Cold Blue Mountain

Nine times out of 10 colored records produce poor sound quality. I've ranted about the downfalls in the past, but the average listener is unlikely to notice the slight sonic differences, if I'm being honest with myself. My biggest beef with colored vinyl is that these releases aren't subject to the same manufacturing processes as their black brethren and often emit irritating fuzziness as surface noise mixes with music.

Recycled materials affect sound regardless of color. Black, purple, picture disk--the appearance really doesn't matter because a turntable needle will quickly break down shoddy material in place of the strong base found in well-made records. Reprocessing PVC isn't the best option--particularly for delicate audio reproduction--and affects the medium's purity, speaking strictly on the subject of playback. On paper, a piece of wax culled from the rainbow's palette can theoretically sound better than a release pressed in black. Unfortunately, the situation is usually the other way around, with colored records receiving the short end of the stick as black vinyl retains the tried-and-true formula mastered after decades of development.

No post is complete without eye candy.
But back to my main point: colored vinyl, more often than not, sounds worse than the standard that has dominated the industry for years. Since I slapped my first record on the turntable, I've preached the benefits of sticking solely with black, even if it doesn't look as pretty. In my experience, colored variants seem to break down faster, suffering sonically after each play and typically only last a handful of spins before a discernible difference in quality can be heard. A number of factors are at work, particularly if the turntable's needle is not in proper order, or if exceptionally revealing speakers are used during playback. Provided the audio chain is kink-free, then the pressing quality matters most because other pigments generally aren't as resilient. Colored wax can sound as good as a black piece, but the industry, as a whole, has no desire to develop an improved formula because these records fill their role as collector's pieces (re: a fallback), if the standard pressing doesn't sell well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Look at French Death Metal

France is not normally a nation associated with death metal. In fact, the country lacks a presence in much of the metal world, barring bands like Gojira (and Deathspell Omega to a lesser extent) who have steadily built up a following since their inception nearly ten years ago. In spite of that, digging deeper yields interesting, almost unexpected results. Offending, for example, are an act one would never guess was from the land of bread, cheese, and wine because they sound distinctly American in their approach to the sub-genre, leaning toward old school dinosaurs like Morbid Angel.

Most of Offending's material is beautifully crafted and an excellent interpretation of the United States' initial death metal movement over 20 years ago. Intricate, sprawling riffs traverse the guitar's fretboard, making the music similar to an aural labyrinth, but the band occasionally veers off in an opposite direction and sprinkle their tracks with modern touches like tapping. Nevertheless, in almost every other instance the five-piece feel positively primitive in their songwriting and album art work.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Megadeth and Sodom's New Tracks

One of the most notorious men in metal, Dave Mustaine, is back at it, this time with a sneak peak from the upcoming Megadeth record, Super Collider. Admittedly, initial impressions aren't strong, and the bland artwork continues the streak of forgettable album covers since Countdown to Extinction. Of course, I should let the music speak for itself, but "Don't Turn Your Back" sounds uninspired and like a second-rate leftover from Dave's archives. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Like MegaDave, Sodom is back with a new track called "Stigmatized," and these Germans sound absolutely vicious and revitalized. As one of my favorite bands regardless of metal subgenre, Angelripper's vocals left my jaw on the floor and are a welcome change from other recent output, sounding more like something from the Tapping the Vein era than the pure thrash churnned out on Agent Orange. If the song is any indication of the what Epitome of Torture will sound like, hopefully we'll see more death metal influence injected into Sodom's music.

Let 'em rip,


Monday, April 8, 2013


Posting will likely be sporadic for the next few weeks while I wrap up assignments. Until then, enjoy some classic Maiden.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Ghost B.C. and Remnants of the Fallen Release New Videos

Impressive as Ghost B.C.'s video for "Secular Haze" was, "Year Zero" fails to live up to expectations. Typical of these Swedes, cringe-worthy Satanic imagery is done with excess, and the tasteless nudity is tough to take seriously. I totally understand the band's obsession with shock tactics and tongue-in-cheek sorcery, but I'm not buying into the madness this time around. At least the eery music is as good as it's ever been.

After a recent interview with Jin Lee, I've been watching Remnants of the Fallen closely, hoping for a visual medium that showcases the band's professionalism and the impact they've had on the eastern metal scene. For a group so new, the production is a media wonder and looks about on par with the metal giants emerging from the United States and Europe. It's damn good to see the guys rising to stardom so quickly.

Check 'em out,