Paying no heed to the controversy/drama presently simmering beneath this band’s surface, the fact of the matter is Beelzefuzz do an excellent job of subverting stoner doom’s basics, making for captivating experience along the way.
Kevin Stewart-Panko's Posts
There’s a lot more going on this record than what gets actual credit for, especially from the metal underground. There are definite weak spots and this brand of metal isn’t what you'd turn to in order to experience unchecked aggression and the expression of its creator’s simmering dark side, personal struggles and full-on disgust for the ways of the world. However, there’s no doubt of the infectiousness of just about every chorus here.
The band draws instant comparisons to their peers in Holy Grail, Skelator, Monument and White Wizard, which also means they like their Jag Panzer, Vicious Rumors, Helstar, Armored Saint and, of course, Iron Maiden. And it’s this combination of past and present stabs at metal that give Spellcaster’s material a more streamlined, song-oriented feel.
The Evil Divide starts off on a nuclear-stamped note of conflagration, that being the frenetic vehemence of “The Moth,” a song that sees the all of its structural elements bubbling over with an energy that borders on fanatical anger.
In the interest of full disclosure, and as a demonstration of the transformative power that comes with taking one’s time and ignoring first impressions, when I first heard this album, I fucking hated it. Ok, maybe saying “fucking hated” is a bit of an extreme shank into the pine straw, but there weren’t a lot of hugs and kisses between myself and With Whips and Chains.
First whirl – a blah and a lazy shoulder shrug.
Second whirl – here’s where I started paying a bit closer attention.
Third whirl onward…
Graves at Sea is triumphant; sounding like a unit bristling with animated energy and freshness despite having produced a work no one would be surprised to find playing at the scene of a grizzly murder-suicide. The lifetime leading up to its debut’s torpedo landing may be unconventional, but fully justified as you can hear the musical anguish and life lessons learned being poured into the material. We’re not being melodramatic or histrionic when we say this album sets a new standard for the sludge/doom sub-genre and that the album of the year could possibly come in the form of these eight songs.
What can be said with faithful finality is that listening to Moonsorrow is a cinematic experience. Their brand of monolithic and aristocratic blackened pagan metal is suitable for lots of things, none the least of which includes depictions of bloody battles in which primitive weapon technology pierces wind-weathered skin, endless treks through snow-capped vistas and pagan ritual observers having to distract themselves from their homages to spirit elders in order to fend off village sanctuary from religious crusaders and/or rabid wolves before capping the night off with a night on the lakka-influenced piss.
Along comes album number three and, well, the Lost Society we knew, loved and described above has almost vanished into the ether. Seriously kids – and I say kids because the oldest member was born in 1993 – what the hell happened?!
In the eyes of the older traditionalist with a stunted view of musical growth and refusal to accept change, the Rotting Christ of today may pale in comparison to their origins. But as bombastic and pompous as the changes they've made may be, the truth of the matter is that what the Tolis brothers have stumbled upon and creatively executed is as singular and unique a contribution to the development of metal as anything on the table.
The issue as it stands for Exmortus on Ride Forth is that in addition to much of this release screaming prodigious talent, scholastic competency and years spent wood shedding, it’s also tempered with a discouraging lack of soul, power and testicular fortitude. Or balls, as they say on the streets.
Sacrilege isn’t a name that gets thrown around much by either today’s whippersnappers or the late 30s/early 40s set determined to let everyone know how deep their cred runs and obscure their listening habits are. This, despite being groundbreaking in their own right and with members going on to spend time in Napalm Death, Anaal Nathrakh, Benediction, Cerebral Fix, English Dogs, Cathedral, The Varukers and Morrissey(?!).
Eyes Alive sups heavily from the sound of dynamic, progressive bands with roots in the world of southern sludge (think Baroness, Mastodon, Kylesa), Sabbath-ian stoner and even bits and bobs of old school death metal kicking around to keep things interesting.
Germany’s Pyogenesis is probably most renowned, or reviled, for the drastic transformation they’ve made over the course of their existence and subsequent rejuvenation. Specifically, if you know Pyogenesis and are pissed off at them, it’s probably because of the musical moves they made throughout the 90's.
Christian Mistress is a confounding egg of a band. A half-decade ago, they took a good chunk of the metal world by storm with their Agony and Opium debut which saw them offering a solid, if not spectacular, dose of heavy metal proper. Granted, they were on the leading edge of the growing obsession with the old-school NWOBHM/80s proto speed metal sound (i.e. they never gave up wearing patch jackets and collecting vinyl after you did), so they stuck out like a bit of a sore thumb at the time.
It’s been happening slowly and stealthily over the course of the last decade or so. Insidious and incremental and bit-by-bit. It’s been so gradual that if you weren’t paying rapt attention, Forged in Fury might seem like a massive departure and disappointment. The “it” I speak of is the progression displayed by Brazilian death metal veterans Krisiun.