Monday, May 26, 2014

Chaos Order/Werewolf Congress - Order of the Wolf (2014)

Rarely do I review anything other than metal on the The Metal Advisor, but when I do, I make it no secret.

Tomorrow, Chaos Order and Werewolf Congress are set to unleash a four-track split, Order of the Wolf, on Blasphemour Records, and the bulk of it is a nice attempt at the tried-and-true hardcore sound; meaning the majority of the material is nothing new if you've looked at hardcore with any interest. Particularly with Werewolf Congress, however, do small differences pop up, and you're sure to take notice if you've spent any amount of time with hardcore music. They feel a bit more modern--if that makes sense--with gang shouting, melodies, and the occasional riff structure that seem to probe post-hardcore, of which I'm admittedly not a fan. But even so, Werewolf Congress' music isn't entirely post-hardcore, and it shouldn't be treated as such. After all, there's enough (re: nearly all) traditional hardcore influence floating around that you'll never feel like you're listening to Silverstein or the like.

Monday, May 19, 2014

High Spirits - You Are Here (2014)

High Spirits is clearly the antithesis of modern day's metal mainstream. Skim over their latest release, You Are Here, and you'll find loads of hooks, uplifting melodies, and lyrical content applicable to every day life with little trouble.

The band has an excellent handle on what made the 1980s so great and, as part of what many coin the traditional heavy metal revival, is at the forefront the sub-genre's reemergence in numbers. Since the conclusion of the 1980s, when acts like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and others thrived, heavy metal, in its most basic form, has sat seemingly dormant underground, with releases trickling in surreptitiously until rabid fans furiously dig them up to get their fix.

Chris Black, known for his tenure in Dawnbringer and Pharaoh, has perhaps the best grasp on the sub-genre from the plethora of bands trying their hand at the style. Rocking riffs, upbeat tempos, and choruses that ripen with each listen--growing deliciously golden as they finally reach their full potentials--typify Black's songwriting and make a sound argument that traditional heavy metal never died, despite the claims in the nineties.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Narrow House - Thanathonaut (2014)

One of the better doom metal releases to hit my inbox this year is Narrow House's Thanathonaut (try saying that three times fast!), a mishmash of sounds culled from metaldom's best styles. You see, Narrow House and fans alike liken the debut, A Key to Panngrieb, to funeral doom metal with various influences, but Thanathonaut elects to take a wholly different path, incorporating everything from traditional heavy metal-like guitar riffs, to tinny-sounding saxophone, to a bow's staccato swipe across a cello. The end result is something of an anomaly and, as a result, pushes doom metal's envelope as we know it.

Thematically, Thanathonaut is an oddball as well, making use of a variety of vintage radio broadcasts and movie clips. The thing is, these aren't just any old broadcasts and clips--they're specifically focused on the United States and what appears to be World War II's thrust for new, state-of-the-art weaponry, the atomic bomb, and a bitter distaste for war. Of course, without an album booklet handy, correctly deciphering Thanathonaut's overarching message is nearly impossible, but gut instinct says that the above is correct or, at the very least, on point.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Metal Round-Up: Abysmal Torment, Morbus Chron, Hammerdrone, Snowblind

Released by Willowtip Records on April 29th, Cultivate the Apostate positions itself in Abysmal Torment's discography as their third full-length and delivers a walloping punch as one traverses the album's hour-long runtime. To make a long story short, the record is an absolutely insane and merciless ride, as it attacks with ferocious riff after ferocious riff and a shower of ruthless drumming. Multiply your favorite death metal band by, say, about 10, and out will pop Abysmal Torment and their latest offering--it's really that unforgiving and, as cliché as it is, brutal.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rant: Skull Fist - Chasing the Dream (2014)

Not every band is consistently great from release to release. Take a look at Skull Fist; their second record, Chasing the Dream, pales in comparison to their debut EP, Heavier than Metal, and first full-length, Head of the Pack, sounding awfully derivative and somehow terribly unimaginative at the same time. Together, the two just don't make for a winning formula.

Still, one would think there's a good moment here and there--and there is--but they're few, far, and between. From the album's roster, "Bad for Good" is the clear winner, because it channels 1980s heavy metal fun: big riffs, big hooks, and big distortion. Aside from the vocals, which are cringe worthy, to put it nicely, it's the perfect throwback to metal's heyday and a defining moment in Skull Fist's discography. Too bad it's sandwiched between a bunch of shit.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Delain - The Human Contradiction (2014)

Take notes. This is how pop and metal should be done.
Delain is, quite frankly, an interesting band. The cover of their fourth full-length, The Human Contradiction, reeks of gothic metal through and through, but one listen confirms that it's slightly different, with added flair best described as a theater sing-along meets heavy metal music. Yes, you read that correctly; these are extravagant, climactic melodies, and the symphonic elements, which make the music feel even bigger than it already is, wrap Delain's current crowning achievement into an explosive package of accessibility.

Falling in line with that, too, is an average song length of three to five minutes, making The Human Contradiction a joy to listen to, with nothing that overstays its welcome. Delain's greatest strength is that they know when to hang it up, all while hitting the sweet spot for track length. There's nothing so drawn out that you'll recoil at the thought of, say, an unbearably long Dream Theater song, and neither is anything so short that you'll be left wanting more.