Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Battleaxe - Power From The Universe

I've always loved reviewing re-issues, especially of fairly obscure records, thus Battleaxe's masterpiece, Power From The Universe is basically perfect for me. Twelve tracks of hard hitting New Wave of British Heavy Metal madness, Power From The Universe is nothing if not fun to listen to. Songs written by a group of guys clearly enamored with the power that the genre had at the time, Power From The Universe is cheesy, but in a good way. Still it's hard to believe classics like Metal Rock and Radio Thunder came out the same year as the first Mantas demos.

These songs are a lot of fun to listen too and seem to come more the Judas Priest-y side of things. There is a distinct sense of Midlands pride and this band shows a strong affinity for a lot of the other bands who were coming up at the time. I think Battleaxe specifically are good at getting in big anthemic choruses with powerful hooks. Some of these songs even had me singing along from the first go. In today's world of throwback bands and tribute albums I think that a hidden gem like this will get a lot of traction, these guys were doing it alongside the best back in the day and that gives their music a million times more legitimacy than any modern imitators.

If you want a collection of feel good metal anthems that will make you shake rattle and roll until you drop then search no more, this is the album for you. Power From The Universe is a blast to listen too and will have you banging your head for hours on end. These songs are brilliantly constructed and speak to the ancient magic of that demonic force called rock and roll. Let these songs seep into your bones, because if Power From The Universe doesn't tickle your fancy enough to give it an honest spin or two then you might as well be deaf.

Find them on Facebook!


The Way of the Berserker cover art

Viking black metal from... Spain? Some might say these guys are missing the point, but whem the music is this good can you really complain? Itnuveth play epic and powerful music that truly reflects The Way of the Berserker. Here is a band who understand the raw and beautiful majesty of their preferred lyrical topics and deliver it to the listener in a uniquely high volume package. There is something extremely entrancing about the music Itnuveth have put out thus far, truly hearkening back to the might and lore of our pagan ancestors. The battle cries and triumphant melodies that characterize songs like Black Henbane prove to me that these guys have what it takes to succeed. Though the vocals aren't quite where they should be in the mix, Itnuveth are still a lot of fun to listen too and when they bring the storm, it comes hard. This band refuses to be vanquished and though they may play on traditional pagan black metal tropes, they are still exciting to listen too, so get out there, and get headbanging!

Find them on Facebook!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mothership - Mothership II

It's hard to believe that Motherships full length debut was only last year. In an incredibly short time they've lined up all sorts of cool tours and have taken the world by storm. Now as they sit back, having just finished their second record, the masterful Mothership II I feel obliged to take a moment and honor the glory of their travails. With epic jam sections and powerful grooves, Mothership have built on the firm musical basis of their first record and proved that they can truly ratchet things up to the next level. This is no sophomore slump, this is another step towards the throne.

You'd think that a record that features so much jamming might be hard to really get in too, but in fact, it just gets at the soul of the band. When the vocals do come in they are proud and oftentimes triumphant. They give a sense of rock and roll grit. While it would be cool to hear the band pounding forward, this more laid back approach is fun too, and actually feels more true to the spirit of what Mothership is all about. The crunchy riffs and pentatonic solos slot together nicely and work out wonderfully in a live setting ( I had the pleasure of seeing this band in late September) These grooves are of the sort that many would say are worth dying for, so don't deny yourself, let the bottom end desecrate your bones.

Mothership know how to write a goddamn song, and when they want they have a sense of forward motion that is to die for. This band isn't going to stay at just a few thousand facebook fans for long, they are on a rapid upward trajectory that I feel no other rock band going right now can truly match. They've got the world ahead of them and the chops to dominate it. Are Mothership going to live up to their name and be the new Led Zeppelin? Probably not, but they could still be our generations rock and roll saviors, come down to earth just in the nick of time.

Find them on Facebook!

Laika - Somnia

Laika are a death metal band with a bass heavy sound that barrels fast and loose through your speakers and out onto the floor. A fun listen, these guys are not going to stop kicking ass and taking names anytime soon. The magic of their new record, Somnia is that it seems to be unafraid of taking all the aspects of what a death metal record should be and putting them into one nine track record that will resonate with any death metal fan. Sure the production may be off and some of the growls spotty, but Laika seem to have found a formula, and in fact a whole mindset that works for them.

The thing about Somnia is that while it might not blow your mind with new ideas, every riff is innately satisfying. The band pulls off tight chugs as well as more high powered technical parts all in the context of songs that work. The touches of keyboards that accent songs like Predictions (Tide Bearer) help to give the sound a nice amount of padding to keep things from getting too terrifyingly brutal. One thing I like about the growls is that despite a clear penchant for the more death metally side of things, the bands singer is does not shy away from the occasional Immortal inspired grunt, or high pitched shriek that seems tor from the pits of hell.

Somnia is an album with a lot of energy and passion behind it that makes it simply fun to listen too. Though it's not quite as polished as it could be, a lot of those imperfections help to make the sound more poignant and human. This record proves that the band have no issue with songwriting and know how to use every instrument to its maximum potential. The thudding bass on Somnia is just one example of this, keeping you engaged from start to finish. Laika have the potential to grow fast and draw a lot of fans. The real question is, will you hold on for the ride?

Find them on Facebook!


Elabrynth cover art
Every once in a while I stunble across a band and I'm like, "How are these guys not well known by now?" Such is the case with Arkansas doom lords Torii. An esoteric two piece that seems to create transcendent and oftentimes beautiful doom with ease, Torii have a wonderfully clear artistic vision. The songs on the bands latest record, Elabrynth are often long and winding, glorious paeans to the almighty power that doom metal rightfully holds over us. I think a part of the appeal for me is the bands ability to mix magical acoustic sections with crunchy doom parts. While I personally prefer the acoustic bits the heavier portions help to create a sense of balance and show that Torii is not some one dimensional melancholic act. These songs speak to the human condition and have come forth from a land that seems to be producing some very cool music these days. If you're at all into what is heavy, bleak, and magically esoteric, then Torii is the band for you!

Find them on Bandcamp!