Thursday, October 30, 2014

Who'd a Thought it: Looks Can be Misleading

Prime example of a metal album cover, isn't it?
Don't let their appearance fool you: Destrose is as heavy metal as can be and perhaps even more true to their roots than bands known for shouting their "metalness" from the rooftops. These days, metal artists emerging from Japan--Destrose's home country--are admittedly funny creatures and better described as anomalies when placed within a worldwide context. Many are comprised entirely of women who look nothing like what their chosen style of music suggests and are downright feminine in presentation, which is a bit misleading with a roster of songs titled "Headless Goddess," "Sword of Avenger," and "Skykiller."

Consider, though, the widespread influence Japanese pop has had on popular culture. The adorable, bouncy aesthetic that goes along with the music has created crossover between genres and traveled as far as metal, just as Destrose, Aldious, Cyntia, and others demonstrate on a daily basis. Consider, too, that metal is recognized as a style of music where looks are largely irrelevant. Why, then, are sub-genres like black metal first and foremost known for corpse paint and traditional heavy metal for leather jackets and motorcycles?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MindMaze - "Dreamwalker"


My backlog is growing at a pace I cannot keep up with, but one record I'm specifically making time for in the next week is MindMaze's Back from the Edge. I want to keep things brief, though, so I'll tell you that the music is incredibly memorable, with the kind of chorus that burrows its way into your mind for days on end. The song, "Dreamwalker," was the track the band had lead the charge prior to the album's release, and it was an excellent choice.

Feel free to leave some thoughts below. Or, you know, enjoy the music and forget the rest.

-TMA

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wolf Blood - Wolf Blood (2014)

One of the sharpest doom-stoner combos to hit The Metal Advisor's inbox this year is Wolf Blood's self-titled full-length, a catchy, bombastic affair with all the right ingredients to make it something great. Contrary to their peers, Wolf Blood takes the path seldom traveled and, instead, ditches the plodding, substance-less music popular across metal as of late. They're a better band for it, too, because there's no dreariness or stagnation to be found--tempos only slow when necessary, and most of the tracks hover around mid-paced and measured grooves that feel wonderfully organic and natural, just as well-crafted songwriting should.

Strictly speaking, feeling (re: originality) is an essential aspect of Wolf Blood's music because, without it, their album risks being lumped in with other doom metal artists who do little to distinguish their work. As of now, fewer and fewer bands endeavor to stand out from the pack, only to ride the coattails of others in hopes of getting a sliver-sized taste of success; which is very much like the artists who rode the glam rock trend in the 1980s. B-grade bands and worse became so similar sounding to one another that they essentially were disposable after their 10-minutes of fame, which is, in a way, exactly what we're seeing with doom metal today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Liv Kristine - "Love Decay"

Photo taken from Liv's facebook fan page.
Some of you may know Liv Kristine. Some of you may also know that her last album with her main band, Leaves' Eyes, was pretty shitty, too.

Seeing as that album was released last year--November 15, 2013, in fact--it's about time that Liv put out new music. Titled Vervain, her latest solo effort hits shelves in a few days, but we have this tidbit to bite down on in the meantime as we try to hold back the anticipation (By we, I mean fans of her project. I have no opinion of her solo work--as a whole--one way or another.). And, boy, is it a weird one because the man stares emotionlessly into empty space, while Liv seems unfazed by the general oddity of the situation.

I assume the video was meant to appear this way and, if so, that's fine and dandy. But, goddamn, make the actual content interesting and worth watching. The only saving grace here is music's main melody, which is, all things considered, above average (despite being generic).

Props for being filmed in a graveyard, though.

-TMA

Friday, October 17, 2014

Aldious - Dazed and Delight (2014)

It's hard to believe Aldious is four full-lengths into their career--their first two records were absolute monsters in terms of crunchy heaviness and creativity, while the most recent two are somewhat middling in quality, largely due to vocalist Re:No (formerly of pop duo Suitei Shoujo) being ill-suited for the band. But, to be honest, it's hard to place all the blame on her because Aldious has struggled with adhering to their roots since original vocalist Rami's departure and continues to straddle a fine line between metal and rock-pop. Yes, the band's identity has been compromised for two albums now, which results in a roller coaster of ups and downs. Quality falls as quickly as it rises, and that doesn't bode well for the majority of Aldious' latest record. Let's take a closer look.

With the release of Dazed and Delight, Aldious returns to some semblance of what made their first two albums magical, but those stylistic traits are often mixed with a heavy preference for pop music. Indeed, while a handful of tracks are quality power metal rockers--"Butterfly Effect," "シャンデリア," "Imagination," "Dominator," and oddball "The Breeze at Dawn"--Aldious generally favors accessibility and simplistic chord progressions over the relative complexity of their first two records. Suffice to say, it's not inspiring to see the band take a step back for more mainstream sounds when their career looked so promising early on.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Frosty Eve - 心像领域 (2014)

As much as we hate to admit it, the dreaded sophomore slump is a very real phenomenon. Case in point: a band may release an exceptional debut record, chock full of creativity and great songwriting, but come their second effort, all will go to hell. And, for Frosty Eve, that's very much the situation they're currently faced with. .... or is it?

Frosty Eve's second full-length, 心像领域 (literally translated as Like the Field of Heart), is what any serious music listener would classify as a grower. At first listen, the music isn't particularly inspiring, owing is prosaic nature to an energy-zapping production and instrumentation uncomfortably close to a band that the Chinese five-piece calls their biggest influence. But arm yourself with a shovel and a few hours of downtime, (yes, dig deeper and spend more time with the music) and you'll see that there's much more than meets the eye. The once-unimaginative songs begin to shimmer and sparkle, the vocals pop against the comparatively dull-sounding instrumentation, and the level of memorability fostered between listener and music grows stronger with each spin.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Metal Advisor on Instagram

With TMA's Facebook page getting more useless with each passing day, I figured it was time to create an Instagram page for the blog. Follow for the latest metal happenings and buffoonery.  It'll be a good time.

-TMA

Username: TheMetalAdvisor
http://instagram.com/themetaladvisor

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sabaton - Heroes (2014)

DISCLAIMER: I realize now that I was a bit too hasty in writing this review. The album is merely good and lost its luster rather quickly. It hasn't held up to repeated listens, save for a few tracks, and while the new band membership is excellent, Sabaton still has work to do.

One aspect, in particular, makes Sabaton's latest effort, Heroes, a departure from previous albums: each track is based on individual fighters, rather than specific battles and historical events. But is the lyrical shift as radical as critics suggest? On paper, it certainly seems so, but listening is a whole 'nother story, as Heroes, like other Sabaton records, focuses primarily on WWII and related happenings important to the band's identity. Yes, there are discrepancies, but real-world experience often tells a different tale. Like in the case of a car's specifications laid out on paper, the driving experience can be a totally different animal, and the situation is usually very much the same for music.

Indeed, it's dangerous, and perhaps idiotic, to judge an album before taking a listen and, as it turns out, Heroes handily tops Sabaton's previous record without breaking a sweat. A number of highlights are spread across the track listing--opener "Night Witches, "No Bullets Fly, "Resist and Bite," and "Far from Fame"--and make the album worthy of a look on that basis alone. But what's even better is how the album flows as a complete piece, a trait far too undervalued today, as many artists focus on individual songs and independent musical ideas instead. Neglected a cohesive product goes when bands put emphasis on singles when it would be far more advantageous to their career--in the long run--to aim for quality across a greater body of work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review-ish: Coprocephalic - The Oath of Relinquishment (2014)

Brutal death metal is oft lambasted for croaked and squealed vocals, unintelligible and/or primitive song structures, and a blur of notes smooshed into as little space as possible all for the sake of being brutal.

And for good reason.

Much of the sub-genre is admittedly one-dimensional, meaning, once you've heard one band, you've heard a good chunk of them. But you'd have to be quite dense to assume that all bands play by the same rulebook and sacrifice originality for the sake of a br00tal moment.

Yes, there are exceptions.

Coprocephalic, an international project comprised of members from the United States and Taiwan, pack everything stereotypical about brutal death metal into their newest full-length, The Oath of Relinquishment. But, against all odds, the goddamn thing works. As it shouldn't be, the music is fluid. Savory. Smooth. And the vocals, like nails scraping malevolently across a chalkboard, are somehow charming in their delivery.