Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blood Stain Child - Last Stardust (2014)

Yep, this band has officially gone down the shitter.

Since losing their previous clean vocalist, Sophia, Blood Stain Child has essentially done a 360 for heavier modern rock with their newest single, Last Stardust. Never mind the fact that the b-side ,"Over the Galaxy," has remnants of Epsilon's fruity trance metal sound; instead, the overwhelming majority of Last Stardust sees the band favor generic song structures devoid of decent guitar riffs and discard much of the uniqueness that set them apart from the crowd in the first place.

Replacement clean vocalist Kiki further sours the experience, and lacks Sophia's recognizable tone and range, too. Her accent tends to be unbearable and nearly impossible to understand, which doesn't do Blood Stain Child any favors. When songs written in English meet a thick accent, any chance of a worldwide audience is considerably lessened, not to mention an enjoyment factor of about zilch.

Demetori - Le Grimoire De Reve (2013)

Obscured by nearly every "best albums of the year" list, Demetori revealed their ninth full-length as 2013 drew to a close and quietly went about their business, never drawing attention to their newly-released music. Like other Demetori albums, Le Grimoire De Reve puttered along unnoticed but was still critically acclaimed, at least by diehard fans of the band. The record handily topped Begierde Des Zauberer as a supposed return to form and put the two-piece back on the map, but one question naturally entered curious onlooker's minds: is Le Grimoire De Reve really another winner?

One listen tells all--Demetori's songwriting has not changed, for better or for worse. At the core of each composition is a passionately arranged interpretation of Touhou music that hundreds, if not thousands, of Japanese bands dedicate their careers to, as a tribute to their favorite video games. The idea is truly foreign to the majority of new listeners, but the final product is often nothing short of brilliant and translates well into a heavy metal setting.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

LoveMachine - Свет Звезды (2010)

As a general rule of thumb, brilliant music is crafted behind closed doors. While Russia is not closed off to the rest of the world per se, very little creativity escapes from the country's borders, and listeners are left to painstakingly seek out treasures, though not without worthwhile results. LoveMachine is no exception to this rule and, in 2010, released one of the best EPs of the decade (so far), a three-track collection of music that spans the better part of the eighties and classic heavy metal.

Although Свет Звезды covers no new ground, the basic idea is one every metalhead should be able to stand behind: catchy, well-written songs that are easy to identify with after only one listen. Indeed, a blend of traditional heavy metal and hard rock makes for a product that's accessible and, at times, even tasteful--the guitar solos are among the best of the last ten years. Solos only shred where necessary--often as a lead-in to a rich, creamy, memorable section--and the restraint is quite admirable. Craziness isn't one of this EP's traits; it gets straight to the point, without being over the top.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Burial Hordes - Incendium (2014)

A staple in recent years, Deathspell Omega's influence on modern black metal is essentially unmatched when one begins to consider the number of dissonant, chord-clashing bands currently churning out new music. Burial Hordes is, of course, no exception with their latest offering, Incendium; many times, the material recalls the French act's downright vicious nature and pitch bending aesthetic, but one slight difference surfaces with extended listening: a sprinkling of blackened death metal that stirs the pot and helps to differentiate Burial Hordes from other clones.

...occasionally.

Despite the combination of the two sub-genres, Burial Hordes' music is still heavily stepped in the Deathspell Omega blueprint, particularly the earlier era. Looking back to Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice--arguably one of the most notable black metal albums of the past decade--"Path of Bloodshed's" initial resemblance to "First Prayer" is uncanny, though it may take a careful ear to catch. A few words come to mind when comparing the two: "Homage?" Rip-off?" "Tribute?" Describing the similarities can be tough, but for the sake of giving Burial Hordes benefit of the doubt, unintentional is a better choice.

Check Out: Volbeat - "Room 24"

My dad recently shared Volbeat's most recent record with me, and I was pleasantly surprised to see King Diamond guesting on one of the tracks. He has writing credits, as well, so I'd bet money that he wrote the majority of the song--it sounds distinctly King Diamond.

Anyway, I'll just leave the cut, titled "Room 24," here. My first listen through the record has been interesting, in that I had no idea what to expect from Volbeat and got something different than what the cover suggests. I'm not sure how I feel about the vocals yet, but time will tell.

Happy listening, and long live the King.

-TMA

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hogbitch - Hogbitch (2013)

Silly stuff, indeed.
Enduring temperatures well below zero takes proper preparation, in that one needs to plan accordingly by bundling up with a warm cup of tea and a great record to pass the time. After all, common sense would have it that icy roads are dangerous, and it's much preferable to wrap up with a dozen tracks, instead of putting one's life at risk.

Enter Hogbitch, the perfect companion for a frigid night of music listening. The four-piece's self-titled debut arrived at my doorstep last month and was met with eager anticipation, as I tore open the package and immediately copied the album to my computer. But even though I've spun the album regularly since then--note that this night is no exception--the cover art still leaves me scratching my head.