Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rise of the Northstar - Welcame

One thing is for sure, Rise of the Northstar could not have picked a more appropriate name for their band. The band has been making big waves in the Parisian Hardcore scene since very early on in their career, starting with few demo songs posted on their myspace page and leading to extensive touring overseas and music videos reaching 1 million views. Their success story is an exceptional one, considering that they reached this far without any help from labels or management (that is before getting picked up by Nuclear Blast recently). Today we're here to examine the band's latest step in their promising career: the release of their first full-length album, produced by none other than Zeuss (Hatebreed, Madball).

RoTNS's sound is deeply rooted the Metallic Hardcore category, but with a stronger emphasis on NY-style hardcore influences.
One of the elements that help the band stand out from the rest is their imagery and lyrical themes centered around their love for japanese culture. Nevertheless, the comparison between RoTNS and Hatebreed seems almost inevitable, especially considering the fact that the band decided to spice up their sound with thrash metal influences with this release.
Every song on this album is a soundtrack to a warzone, armed to the teeth with heaviness that will make your jaw drop. Between the rap-metal verses and catchy gang vocal sections, the band makes extensive use of breakdowns and 2 step grooves to keep your blood pumping. Unfortunately, while the first few tracks seem to hint to a record with some diversity, the album quickly falls short in maintaining the listener's interest. The sharp modern metal production on the record, while lining the band up with some of the biggest names in modern metal, only helps to make their compositions appear stale in comparison. Unfortunately, some of the lyrics on the record also suffer from the same issue, appearing uninspired even by hardcore standards.

Overall, Welcame offers some killer left hooks hinting towards the bands' potential (eg: the title track, Samurai Spirit) but has a bit too many filler tracks and song ideas that could've used a little more work. My overall feel on this album as a standalone listening experience is unfortunatly one of slight disappointment with regards to their previous singles. However, there is no doubt in my mind that these songs will prove to be extremely effective in a live setting in opening up massive moshpits. Nevertheless, I'd recommend any fan of Hardcore, Beatdown and Metallic Hardcore to give this record a spin and to catch these guys' upcoming release party show next january! (details below)


Rise of the Northstar

Official website

Next show @Le Divan du Monde, Paris (Album release show)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thorr-Axe - Gates of Winter

Every once in a while a record finds its way into my inbox that is so purely good and sounds so utterly majestic that I can't ignore it Gates of Winter is one of those albums. Crushing doom metal from Indiana, the bands sophomore effort proves that they may very well be the kind of heavy metal lords that we need if we want this genre to continue and reign triumphant. With a sound that is mesmerizing and powerful you will loves yourself in the Gates of Winter and freeze to death trying to find a way out.

Simply put, there is something about this record that sounds extremely natural, as if it is a direct line to the souls of those who recorded it. These songs resonate with me, not just because they're well arranged and exciting, but because they roar out of your speakers and into your heart. They prove that crushing grooves and powerful drums are more than enough to make exciting sounding heavy metal. That being said, the vocal lines on Gates of Winter are a pleasure to listen too and fit in nicely with some of the more black metal-tinged passages. As you seep into the colder and more frostbitten soundscapes unveiled by Thorr-Axe it's hard to be left not wanting more.

This album is an early contender for best of 2015 and shows that blackened doom metal, as an art form, has a lot left to say. These are tracks that are going to rip your face off and leave your body torn apart, a twisted husk of its former self. Gates of Winter is solid proof that Thorr-Axe are one of the best and most exciting heavy acts out there today, and they're not going anywhere but up. These are the riffs that musical movements are built on, and soon Thor-Axe will be pioneering brave new worlds, showing that they are true metal masters.

Find them on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Manilla Road - Out of the Abyss

Manilla Road are one of those semi-forgotten gems who show up every once in a while in your playlist and make you realize that there is a lot more to the old guard of heavy metal than we normally think of. Now they are starting to get some of the recognition they deserve with a series of cool reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Their latest, 1988's Out of The Abyss is another Manilla Road classic that proves the band was well ahead of their time.

The record starts out with the tasty and vicious Whitechapel which immediately sets the mood for things to come. This album has some of the heaviest stuff you'll ever hear Manilla Road do, and they do it well. Some of the tracks are borderline thrashy and dareisay that here and there we get some quasi-death growls? Out of the Abyss is simply proof of how eclectic and unique this band could be. They had all sorts of fresh ideas, even years into their career. These songs show a band who were still creative and exciting, capable of putting out some true epics that get into your head and solidify the bands place as metal legends.

Delving into this album has been a real treat because it tends to be overlooked by fans, myself included. Now that I've been able to give it a few more spins I'm realizing that these guys had all sorts of nifty ideas and songs coming out, years after most wrote them off. It makes you wonder what could have been. As you sink into the blazing fast grooves and vicious drums that characterize this album it's hard to believe that these guys got their start in the 70s. Forward thinking and dynamic, Shadow Kingdom Records have done good in re-releasing a lost classic!

Find them on Facebook!

Maybeshewill, Totorro, Flood of Red in Paris (@Le Petit Bain, 18/11/2014)

Having seen Maybeshewill go from playing in a small club in Luxemburg for 20 people to a fully packed venue as an opener for The Dillinger Escape plan, it wasn't so much of a surprise as it was a thrill to see the band finally earn their place as a headlining act on this tour.
Last night, the band was supported by 2 opening acts for a night dedicated to the sound of post-rock.

The first band on the bill was the Scottish band Flood of Red.
This Glaswegian act delivered an eclectic form of post-rock, occasionally dabbling in some post-hardcore sections and even some short instances of post-metal. Their overall sound were comparable to that of Maybeshewill, with the addition of a talented yet timid vocalist whose Thom Yorke-like vocals were unfortunately a little bit too low in the mix. Still, the band delivered a solid, dynamic half hour of post-rock with a nice twist.

The second band to hit the stage was a French band from Rennes called Totorro.
The instrumental 4-piece plays a more stripped down yet more dynamic form of post-rock that is more post-hardcore and math-rock inspired. Alternating between dreamy atmospheric landscapes and syncopated riffs played at breakneck speeds, Totorro pull off a set that is equally beautiful and adrenaline packed.
The band played their show with a great deal of precision and dexterity while at he same time displaying some great stage presence.

Maybeshewill, joined by members from Flood of Red
Finally, it was time for our headlining act to step onstage, with quite a show to follow up to. I had high hopes for my 3rd time seeing them, and luckily for me, none of the members intended to let their audience down.
From the very first song, Maybeshewill hit us hard with their sweeping melodies and hart-hitting build-ups. The bands' soundtrack-like compositions effectively pulled us into a truly engrossing experience. One only had to close their eyes for a second to be swept away to the sonic landscapes of each track. What truly brings these songs to life are masterfully composed build-ups that pick up like the rising wind and the climaxes with wailing guitars, beautiful keyboard melodies and crashing cymbals that sound like a high tide crashing unto the shore. The bands' intelligent use of electronics and samples also complement the compositions in a very nice way, adding more emotionnal depth to them.
The sound onstage, while not perfect, was very solid. Aside from a few muddy parts that lacked clarity in some of the more intense moments of the show, there isn't much to complain about. The low-end instruments like the bass guitar and bass drum had a nice strong punchy feel to them, albeit at the expense of some of the high-mid frequencies occupied by the clean guitars.
The bands' stage presence was fantastic all throughout the show, with every single band member putting everything they've got into their performance.

In short, what we got was over an hour and a half of top quality post-rock delivered by top quality musicians.

Overall, last nights' show at Le Petit Bain was one that should not have been missed by any post-rock fan. For those who missed out on the event, I highly recommend you check these three bands out and keep an eye on their upcoming tour dates in the future (I know I will).


Flood of Red 
Official website


Official website

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Decimation - Reign of Ungodly Creation

I'm not usually a fan of the more brutal metals, and I hardly think that Decimation would normally have entered my playlist if I hadn't been sent them to review. Fortunately though they did make their way onto my iPod and since then I have been suffering under the glory of these Turkish greats. Their new record, the terrifying and destructive Reign of Ungodly Creation is nine tracks of twisted death metal that will inspire circle pits and crack skulls across the globe. These guys understand the spirit of death metal and deliver it straight to the gut.

I think the frenetic nature of the riffs and high powered vocals are what really gets me into this band. When the drums blast this hard it's impossible not to get moving. The raw energy behind the Decimation sound is very impressive and evidences the groups dedication to brutality, a dedication few other bands can match. See, behind all of the demonic riffs and twisted vocals there are actually some impressive grooves that you can latch in too, making this an album that is inherently listenable. Their's a lot of replay value here too, the sound is thick and probably can't be digested in one listen. Yet just one listen can set you off, moshing around the room like a thing possessed.

Simply put, Reign of Ungodly Creation is proof that Decimation get it. They get the true core of death metal and understand how to make people thrash around until their bodies are broken. If you want a soundtrack to your demise you couldn't have stumbled on to a better album. These songs will guide you into the eternal dark, and there is a very real beauty to be had here. So let the evil seep in and try to find your way through the colossal chugs and high speed turnarounds. Reign of Ungodly Creation is quite possibly the best metal record to come out of Turkey yet!

Find Decimation on Facebook!