Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, July 3, 2015

Powerwolf - Blessed & Possessed

Powerwolf have long been something of a guilty pleasure of mine. Their anthemic choruses and over the top songs always captured my imagination. The moment they break into their first legendary cry of "Hallelujah" on their latest offering, the almighty Blessed & Possessed you know that you're in for a good time. This is power metal at the highest possible level - clearly meant for festivals yet destined to leave you pumping your fist with a giant smile on your face. Yeah Powerwolf are silly and at times kinda stupid - but that's the point - the beautiful fucking point.

With each album Powerwolf seem to only improve as songwriters. These tracks are tasty - never overtly alienating or cerebral but instead at times borderline poppy. The way the songs are put together seems engineered for maximum cheese, and it is glorious. With more than its fair share of huge choruses and corny synthesizer lines you find yourself falling ever deeper in love with the over the top poetry that defines the bands sound. Powerwolf are masters of their craft unleashing blazing solos and chunky riffs one after another to get the kind of aural triumph that far too few of their peers would even bother to emulate.

Powerwolf fill a crucial void in the modern power metal scene. Self aware but gleefully brash you find yourself holding on for dear life as Powerwolf carry you through a majestic musical journey. Don't try to take this record seriously, outside of perhaps a songwriting perspective (Let me emphasize - the songwriting here is truly world class) but instead let the music capture your imagination and let you raise your fist. This is power metal for the true believers, go forth into the pit and spread the word, Powerwolf are here to bless and possess you.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hope Drone - Cloak of Ash

Nearly eighty minutes long and filled with all sorts of stunning starts and stops - musical mastery for the modern age Hope Drone's second record, the mind bending Cloak of Ash is perhaps the best intellectual metal record of the year. In the vein of acts like Cult of Luna or, dare I say, Downfall of Gaia these guys have been able to craft a stunning and intense sound that will capture the imagination and keep your mind twirling time and time again. The fact of the matter is Cloak of Ash does what Altar of Plagues did with Teethed Glory And Injury in 2013, it reshapes paradigms.

Cloak of Ash is endlessly fascinating to me because it manages to interweave complex melodies within a structure that is often dense and hard to pick apart. Hope Drone have been able to carve out a very distinct sound for themselves with a colossal bottom end and blazing guitar parts that leave you scraping your jaw off the floor. The black metal sensibilities that define this record only serve to provide a backbone for whatever else Hope Drone might want to do. There is something utterly mesmerizing about Cloak of Ash too, the fact of the matter, is once you start hitting those twenty minute long songs you find yourself getting lost in the music, and trying not to fall to hard in love.

Hope Drone prove the enduring power of extreme metal with a sound that is remarkably fresh and endlessly engaging. Every time I spin this record I find myself picking apart new layers and becoming ever more charmed with its seemingly endless world of ideas and musical patterns. Master songwriters and top notch musicians Hope Drone are crafting something inextricably human, something that you can't help but listen too time and time again because it opens up a window to the soul.

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Aversion - S/T

There has been a pointed lack of thrash tinged black metal in my life. The thing is the truly evil stuff has always captured my imagination and big burly riffs that accentuate ungodly vocals make for a beautiful and life changing combination. The fact of the matter is that Aversion have been able to invoke the old masters on their self titled debut whilst simultaneously finding their own place in a crowded scene. A delicious mix of old and new these guys prove that good things can come from Canada!

The blazing ferocity of the guitars strikes you from the first. Sure not all the melodic lines are at 100% but honestly that just adds to the punky magic some of these songs have. The raw anger and corpse painted oppression that provides a delicious veneer to Aversion is also what keeps the record from fading to oblivion. Though Aversion may play off old tropes they are able to keep them fresh by constantly invoking tasty new ideas and remembering exactly what made us fall so deeply in love with their musical ancestors in the first place. It essentially means that Aversion is a sort of modern old school black metal release.

Aversion conjure up profound emotions and there is something deeply meditative about many of their tracks, despite the unchecked aggression that defines so much of the music. You hear these guys roaring forth with speedy riffs whose might should not be underestimated. The fact of the matter is that songs like Flesh of the Maggot prove that Aversion understand the unholy heart of black metal and they tear it out to present to the masses. In a world where bands like Kvelertak and Deafheaven are making us wonder what the genre can really be, Aversion show that the old ways still work wonders.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Locrian - Infinite Dissolution

I very clearly remember listening to Locrians Return To Annihilation when I was 17 and being blow away by what the music represented for me. The thing is - they seem to have only gotten better since then. Whereas Return To Annihilation might have just been a little too abstract their latest offering, Infinite Dissolution is perhaps their most exciting yet - showing the band delivering a soul encapsulating release that embodies a wealth of emotions and carries the listener on a musical journey that they won't soon forget.

With more discernible riffs and a much more clear sense of forward motion on Infinite Dissolution this record might seem a little less cerebral. Yet what I've found as I increasingly dig deeper into the sound is that Infinite Dissolution has more to unpack than any other Locrian release. These guy have always made me ask "Can this even be called music?" And I mean that of course in the nicest possible way. Locrian force me to re-evaluate my stance on a whole bunch of things and make you look at the true nature of art. Yet beyond that Infinite Dissolution contains some pretty killer tunes that will open up fascinating soundscapes and give you a taste for the bands avant garde fury.

What I'm trying to say is that Locrian are always going to give you cool stuff to dig into, but with Infinite Dissolution they may have just hit their peek. It's rare that I find a record that is as hands-down mesmerizing as this one. It's almost impossible to stop the roaring and ambient might that Locrian seem to carve out. Utterly unique and always ready to challenge old perceptions I get the impression that Locrian can't help but make the listener smile. They are post-music at the highest level and they will blow your mind.

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Damien The Cat

The Acosmist cover art

A kind of Me Bungle-esque extreme metal band you say? Well then - I guess I'm off to a good start with Damien The Cat, whose latest release The Acosmist is the kind of thing that takes many a spin to pull apart. Though it is held back by lower production values the ideas maintained by Damien The Cat on this release are admirable and they speak to the bands ability to create intense, varied and truly weird music. With musical changes coming straight out of left field The Acosmist feels strangely cohesive, speaking to the bands ability as songwriters. The vicious sense of hunger that these New Jersey natives seem to communicate is fascinating and their bass heavy sound leaves you begging for more. Damien The Cat understand the true meaning of extreme music and push boundaries in every possible direction. All that stands now is for you to get in here, let out your manky hair and turn it up to eleven.

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