Review: As A Conceit - Frown Upon Us

Everyone can agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new talent in today's modern metal scene. In recent years, ...

Review: Increate - Void

As if Progressive Metal met Technical Death and Djent for lunch and the three later casually partook in rough coitus, Portland-based Increate make some heavy, heavy music. Call it progressive metal or even an incredibly atmospheric derivative of death metal, the band’s debut record, Void is an oppressive sea of fury, and it resonates with me in a way few bands of its style manage to do. The songwriting may be solid and the production some of the best I’ve seen in metal, but it’s the ubiquitous atmosphere that has this album screaming ‘masterpiece’.

Too many bands in metal ultimately sound indistinguishable from one another, and it is a bleak statement. True enough, Increate’s resistance from this heavy metal clone complex pays off. Although their dark brand of tech metal can still find itself associated with a number of prescribed genres, Void feels like a natural collision of influences from across the spectrum, from black and doom metal to modern and extreme variant of prog.

As a whole Void relies on a sickening atmosphere of rage and fear. Although Increate sticks exclusively to their guitars, drums, and bass (you guessed it right - Void is a fully instrumental adventure), the music sounds vast. “Depths of R’lyeh” introduces the sinister mood that pervades the majority of the album. By the cornerstone “Interstella Displacement,” Increate have developed their riff energy into a dense fury complete with burstfire picking. All the while, Portlanders layer their music with atonal atmospheric guitars. The band’s style will certainly draw a number of comparisons with other bands, but Increate combine the elements and make the sound truly their own.

Although it’s not the biggest reason why Void has stood out to me so much, it’s worth mentioning that Increate enjoy some of the richest, most organic production I have heard on a metal record for quite some time. Perhaps it’s the heavy presence of the bass guitar, but Increate find an incredible balance between a live ‘raw’ energy, and a clear mix between instruments. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Increate channel their atmosphere-laden heaviness through such an organic studio execution. Those willing to set the time aside to fairly digest the atmosphere will find an incredible world to explore with Void, one governed by anger and chaos. I give my highest recommendation.

Void is out on February 3; pre-order it from Bandcamp.

Review: Burnt City - Resurgence EP

Burnt City is a prog-power metal project by guitarist and composer Aydin Zahedi hailing from Sydney in Australia. Zahedi has gathered quite a line-up for Burnt City’s debut EP "Resurgence" which was released on the first day of 2017. He teamed up with singer Gus Monsanto (Revolution Renaissance), keyboardist Bob Katsionis (Serious Black, Firewind), bassist Mike Lepond (Symphony X), and drummer George Kollias (Nile) to create quite a powerful synthesis of genres.

Musically very rich, "Resurgence" is not easy to understand at the first encounter, but I immediately discerned some obvious qualities. The vocal performance from Monsanto is very convincing; he owns such a powerful voice and charisma to deliver.

As the record passes by, "Resurgence" expands further, in a precise and clever way little by little, a long process to fully enjoy it in its fullness. The identity of the album is based around a dark Progressive Metal sound with some Melodic method and some intricate harmonic arrangements, more dramatic in the ambiances than it seems, while the smartness and the complex shape of their creative ways are updated by an evolutive style in a thick schema of heaviness.

Songs on "Resurgence" are of same quality throughout the record; this quality is uniform and goes gradually all the way from the opening intro to the closing piece “Armageddon.” 

"Resurgence" is a great release; the talent of Aydin Zahedi accompanied by masterful execution of collaborators is evident on every step. I hope that this record is just an indicator that this project has a lot more to say.

Get a copy of "Resurgence" here.

Listen: the Flight of Sleipnir - Skadi

I have been a long time fan of these guys, I own t shirts, posters, signed prints, cds, you name it, I got it. There is just something so ethereal about their music, a balance of darkness and light, a battle of emotion and an atmosphere quite unlike any other. Am I looking way too deep into this? Probably. Though somehow the Flight of Sleipnir makes this kind of introspection come with such ease that it is hard not to delve deeper and deeper while letting the music wash over you.

I urge literally everyone in the world to listen to these guys, start with any track from their catalog, they are all worth it. Below you will find their latest album 'Skadi' named after the Norse goddess of winter, skiing and hunting. It is beautiful and I can not get enough of it.

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Listen: Dopelord - Children of the Haze

Dopelord are a stoner/doom band from Poland who were founded in late 2010 in Lublin. Smoking, rehearsing and touring ,their main inspirations are: old movies, 70s music and magical herbs. Seems like a great combo if you ask me. Dopelord just released 'Children of the Haze' which you can find below, its 6 tracks of fuzzed out crushing doom. Make sure you turn your volume up to eleven for this one!

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Review: Farwatch - Transmigrated

"Transmigrated" is an album by US Progressive Symphonic Metal group Farwatch, independently released in December 2016. With four lengthy tracks – "Library of Empyreus," "Water Turns the Wheel," "Viridian Pearl," and "Behold the New" – this is album is a good exemplar of the genre, developing harmonies that evolves from very subtle, lucid and poetic melodies, that has in beauty a very mature element that constantly revolves and adorns the harmonies, as a resilient broken hearted universe, trying to fix its overall emotions in a more theatrical, but ethereal consignation of truth. 

An interesting genre work, consolidated by a very solid line of interchanged rhythms absorbed in an inadvertently sensorial musical definition, "Transmigrated" departs from a very symbiotic pattern of cohesive harmonies, that relies constantly in beautiful melodic overtones, and all around the sonorous shapes of its contiguous abundant poetic stature, also inserts into the creative outlines convoluted and surprising electronic elements, precisely combining interesting components to create and develop a very peculiar style of their own.

With interesting passages, designed to fulfill and comprehend a more magical and indefinite musical cosmogony, that aligns several different sonorous elements into an unusual style of ambitious artistry, "Transmigrated" is really focused in a very antagonistically complex, but cohesive musical proposal, that never departs from absurd or overall commonalities: developing their own colossal and monumental concept of Symphonic Progressive Metal, "Transmigrated" is really absorbed in an interesting pattern of poetic diversity and creativity, being a lot more ambitious and solid than other works on the genre. They truly develop a new concept, being so vigorously original, that is impossible not to recognize the new values they present to the genre, as a whole.

"Transmigrated" is a very colorful and versatile album, filled with beautiful, precise and delicate harmonies that, despite the fact that widely explores several different layers of musical shapes at all corners of symphonic / progressive metal, does fully secure a lucid and vivid sonorous cohesion, all the way through. Destined to become a powerful reference to the genre, this work really opens new possibilities, as well as consecrates a true evolutionary road for the genre, in each and every possible aspect. Farwatch is a band of enlightened logic, poetic versatility, unusual fulfillment, musical beauty, and artistic ambition, destined to take Progressive Metal to the next level. Until them, the genre was inclined to a very monotonous decline and stagnation. Now, we can see a revival, an upheaval and a vigorous rebirth in the horizon!

"Transmigrated" is available now from Bandcamp.

Review: Second Horizon - Albdruck

Albdruck is the debut studio album from German experimental band Second Horizon. The band employs wide spectre of elements in their music, and if you are a fan of bands such like Cult of Luna, Enslaved, Isis, Tool, Mastodon and more, I kid you not, you will make a room in your heart for this album. 

Albdruck consists of modern day, relentless, in-your-face riffs, and pounding rhythm section. The drums really shine through over the thrashing, heart-pounding tracks with insane sound quality and wicked speed that are easily to focal point in many of the songs. 

Second Horizon add this ear-popping and near hypnotic distortion to their heaviness which really adds character to the album. Although there are no vocals, the band makes up for it by a mind blowing performance. Their heavy take on the already heavy genres is what makes this record a very pleasant discovery.

You can get yourself a copy of the album here.

Frost Giant Show That Amon Amarth Arent The Only Ones Who Can Do Viking Metal

If you couldn't guess from the title, Frost Giant play their own fusion of viking metal inspired by Norse mythology punk rock and american hardcore. Their latest album, 'When Myth and History Merged Into History' is not just a mouth full, but a pretty solid release featuring 5 original tracks which are full of lore and brilliant viking hall sing along moments and 4 cover songs. One of which being 'Song of the Dragonborn' from Skyrim which is the perfect track to go alongside viking inspired music.  Check it out below.

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Sweet Lich Will Satisfy

Sweet Lich play a pretty sweet style of classic rock, with elements of stoner and doom sprinkled throughout. Musically the band is on point and have created a strong outing, though the shining light of Sweet Lich are the vocals. Now I'm sure there are different technical terms to describe the vocals but I don't know any, all I know is that they are bad ass. Below you will find their debut album 'Never Satisfied' and if you're anything like me, you will leave it feeling very satisfied.

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Review: Althea - Memories Have No Name

Althea is a relatively new name on the Italian and worldwide progressive metal scene. They have been around for a few years and ever since then they released an EP “Eleven” in 2014, and are ready to launch a full-length under the name “Memories Have No Name.” The quintet based in Milan features Alessio Accardo on vocals, Dario Bortot on guitar, Fabrizio Zilio on bass, Marco Zambardi on keyboards, and Sergio Sampietro on drums). Their music blends elements of melancholy, the spirit of American progressive metal, and British progressive rock. All of this is true; throughout this record there is surely an omnipresent feeling of melancholy, which is mostly carried by the vocal harmonies and a variety of keyboards-related stuff.

“Memories Have No Name” is divided into 16 songs. The main instrument on this record is the guitar, played masterfully by Bortot. The sound of guitar is well-rounded, the riffs are melodic, but heavy, guitar solos are executed flawlessly. The interplay between guitars and vocals is another highlight of “Memories Have No Names.” The term “virtuosity” has been a synonym for progressive rock for a while, but this release is focus on melody over the technicality. 

The craftsmanship and musicianship are top-notch. As the album flows by Althea are even more prolific; they are like a flower that opens up slowly. With “Memories Have No Names” these guys hint that they have the knowledge and potential to make something good. At least, this record is far from being categorized as a “hobby album,” it surely needs to be listened and is not one of those “skip-over” releases. Give this album a chance and let the music speak to your heart, rather than your brain!

For more info about Althea visit their website here.

Hey, Listen! to A Sense of Purpose and Their Epic Zelda Covers

Based out of Akron, Ohio, A Sense of Purpose is a 5-piece outfit consisting of determined and ambitious musical-minds. Formed in 2013, the band has sought to blend the emergent themes of the metalcore and progressive metal genres with their own musical products.

These guys just released a very fun ep, a must hear for any Legend of Zelda fans. 'Hey Listen!' is a metal cover ep of popular compositions from the Zelda series. 'Lost Woods' is particularly bad ass and 'Song of Storms' is simply epic. Check it out below if you're into this kind of thing, otherwise jump straight through to their bandcamp page and check out the rest of their material.

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Review: As A Conceit - Frown Upon Us

Everyone can agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new talent in today's modern metal scene. In recent years, there has been a huge rise in the number of so called 'metalcore' bands (half the time I think that people are misinformed as to what metalcore actually), with bands left, right and center ripping one another off, bringing nothing new or exciting to the table.

However, Italy based metal/hardcore quintet As A Conceit are far removed from the trends that plague the current metal scene. The band recently put out their debut album Frown Upon Us via Famined Records. The best way to describe their sound would be something that fits in between the style popularized by bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch with a mix of melodic passages. The fusion of hardcore and metal is quite astounding; the amount of talent these guys possess is utterly ludicrous at points, leaving listeners wondering what the hell just happened (and possibly whether the band can pull it off live; in answer to that, yes - they bloody well can).

Each of the ten tracks present on this disc (with a running time of just under 40 minutes) showcase the immense talent and songwriting skills of the band. The guitars especially are very interesting; album opener “Boneheads” is a rollercoaster of technical riffage and crazy time signatures. The drumming at first seems to follow no logical pattern but after one has become accustomed to this style of technical metal, the effects are astounding. The bass is also heard quite well - the lines do stick to the guitars quite a bit but at this pace and level of technicality, it is still downright impressive.

Guitarists utilize a huge array of techniques in their guitar playing; tapping is in abundance on this album but is always used tastefully. Album closer “A Should with a Must” highlights this wonderfully - the outro is simply splendid.

There is a strong metalcore influence throughout the album but don't let it deter you. Breakdowns are present but most definitely are not in abundance. “Hindered” and “Modern Day Heroes” are tracks that highlight this perfectly — the riffs used are incredibly catchy too.

The vocals are in pretty much the same style throughout. Fabio Bullo has a very competent scream and for the most part is quite understandable. But he does some really cool things with his voice.

What sets the band apart from most other Dillinger or Botch copycats is their inclusion of wonderfully epic melodic sections. The use of those dissonant Botch-esque chords are in full force (although not to the extent of a band like Norma Jean for instance) but songs switch from chaos to epic within seconds.

Overall, the band's debut album is nothing short of phenomenal. Every one of the ten tracks is excellent and a running time of 40 minutes is perfect. The metalcore scene may be plagued by some ridiculously poor acts, but acts such as As A Conceit demonstrate that the scene is far from bad.

A definite recommendation to any fan of technical metal, hardcore or metalcore.

Listen to "Frown Upon Us" on YouTube.

Teethgrinder Have Mixed Up an Extreme Dose of Metal

"Teethgrinder was founded early 2013, its origin lies in combining the shared history, experience and influences of its members´ previous endeavors; DrDoom and Greyline.

 Influenced by a broad variety of extreme music genres, they mix the fury of Grindcore with Black & Death metal in a crusty fashion, while making sure touches of Hardcore, Post-metal and even some Drone and Stoner shine through."

Check out their latest full length 'Nihilism' streaming below.

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