Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Au Champ Des Morts - Dans La Joie

Regular readers know that Au Champ Des Morts has been one of my favorite French black metal bands for a good while now, and finally, three years after their inception the guys have been able to put together their first full length. Far more developed and evolved than one might expect from a group whose recording history is encapsulated in a solitary EP in fact. We end up hearing this band come roaring out of the gate, Dans La Joie very quickly establishes the band as perhaps the premier black metal group to come out of the country in years.

Dans La Joie is an absolute masterpiece, multilayered and terrifying, but also very aware of its own inherent drama. This is a record that uses touches of beauty to act as a potent contrast to the crushing unreality represented in the tortured screams and blazing guitars. The melodic content is surprisingly strong and the album proves again and again that traditional black metal ideas can sit nicely along more contemporary notions. By the same token they are able to use ferocious riffs worthy of Immortal alongside beautiful six string chords that resonate with the soul and remind us of the songwriting supremacy of this band.

Au Champ Des Morts is not a black metal band for the common fan, they're pretty damn cerebral and there is a lot you have t pick apart her. At the same time there is a palatable sense of beauty to what they are doing and they certainly don't have the closed off and circumspect sounds of a group like Mizmor. Rather they understand their scene and bring the songwriting to the fore creating songs that you want to get lost in and reminding us time and time again of all that black metal has been able to do in recent years.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Great Old Ones - EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy

The Great Old Ones are one of the most beautifully fucked up and incredibly heavy black metal bands of the last decade. There is something gloriously oppressive about their sound, but on the last album or two I definitely felt like the guys were starting to hit a natural limitation, a wall of sorts in their sound. That's where EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy comes in - the ultimate motherfucking statement the band has made - overwhelming and powerful, multilayered and beautifully produced, proof that The Great Old Ones are among the greatest.

EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy impresses the listener from top to bottom, it has a potent wall of sound style production, but knows when to scale it back and focus on melody. Sure there are moments that border on terrifying and The Great Old Ones will never be a 'pretty' sounding band, but there certainly is a lot more time devoted to the beauty of their music on this record than on previous releases. The Great Old Ones seem to have come to a bold new level in their artistic capabilities and remind us again and again that they are one of the best in their genre. The Great Old Ones crunch forward time and time again, reminding us of the devastating power that this music can and always will have.

It's easy to get lost in this record, it's a testament to all the band has been able to craft over the last decade or so. They have the sort of balls out aggression that many think that only the old school black metallers have but they also have a strong understanding of the profound artistry that defines the modern sound of the genre. EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy reminds us time and time again of all the potential in black metal and it's amazing to feel yourself get torn apart by the powerful waves of sound - this might be one of the greatest records to come out all year.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Patria - Magna Adversia

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Patria are one of those black metal bands who very quickly established a reputation as being unfuckwithable and then proceeded to beat that message into the heads of their fans for the next nine years. There is a grinding magic to their latest offering, Magna Adversia which reminds us time and time again of the burning passion and fiery magic this kind of music represents for so many. The songwriting on this particular offering and the crushing might behind the guitar tone is reason enough to revisit it time and time again.

I think what really gets me about Magna Adversia is the combination of sheer malice,old school aggression and new school production and songwriting. Patria never lose sight of their roots but at the same time they constantly remind us that the future of black metal is very exciting. They are the sort of band who represent the seething hatred of the South American scene but also who boil over, at times suggesting that the almighty rush of black metal is just the start of what Patria are capable of. The band has reached a point now where they have done enough that they feel like a tightly consolidated unit, proving their dominance continuously.

Patria in many way hint at the future of the genre and drive forward with the same exciting passion and rage that I think got us all caught up in the music so long ago. Magna Adversia is an album that exists in a sort of ideal state and which encourages us to continue picking apart the powerful melodic content, the devastating riffs and the blast beats the crunch all of us into oblivion. When you find an album like this one you need to sit down with it and give it all the attention you can, because there is no end to the madness.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Weltesser - Crestfallen

A lot of doom these days is very pretty, some would say far too pretty. Just look at the popularity of bands like Pallbearer and Khemmis or even Yob. The gritty roots of the gene can oftentimes feel left behind a shadow of a past that not many of us care to acknowledge. Fortunately we have bands like Weltesser on the scene to put us in our place and remind the doom loving masses that at the end of the day a colossal riff and a tortured vocalist are all you really need to create some powerful sludge and doom.

There is a sense of forward momentum with Crestfallen that is utterly mindblowing at times. The crushing power of the downtuned guitars and the chaotic high notes wreaking havoc on songs like Guide stand as a testament to the devastating magic behind Crestfallen. This is a record that pummels forward, every chord punching you in the gut and leaving you to fend for yourself. Weltesser understand the sheer brutal beauty of the genre and it's hard to not want to delve back in and try to find more. There is a sort of delicious devastation behind Weltesser that leaves you begging for more, a slave to their unyielding crush.

With surprising replay value for an album this stripped down Weltesser stands as one of my favorite new bands on Prosthetic. Crestfallen is a record that speaks to an oft ignored part of the modern doom polemic and which reminds us again and again how goddamn heavy things need to be to work in this genre. They understand the chaotic and world ending power of the music and remind us time and time again why we fell in love with all that is slow, sludgy and quasi-apocalyptic in the first place.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Xandria - Theater Of Dimensions

Xandria have always been a cut above many of their peers in the symphonic power metal field. However for a while there it felt like maybe they had reached the peek of their talents, like the band had found a maximum point and couldn't go beyond that. As luck would have it Theater Of Dimensions blows the lid off of any expectations that we might have previously had of this band and reminds us why Xandria are one of the biggest names in genre today. Multifaceted and truly epic there is a lot to pick apart with this latest offering. 

The record as a whole feels like the band moved to a whole new world. Sure there are classic elements of Xandria here, but the closing track, Theater Of Dimensions is a truly epic piece, featuring many voices and multipart construction. It's a testament to all that the band has accomplished over the years and the fitting climax to a record that sees Xandria jumping from peak to peak. Sure symphonic metal isn't usually my bag, but sometimes you get a record like Theater Of Dimensions where the sheer scale of it is so epic and the creation so grandiose that you can't help but to invest more time and energy into what's been presented before you. 

It's hard to believe that this is already Xandria's seventh record, but the symphonic metal stalwarts seem to be showing no signs of slowing down. This is an album that sees some of their strongest compositions to date and serves as a resounding reminder that not only is power metal forever ongoing but that it has plenty of space to expand. This is an album that you can't help but want to delve into, there is simply so much going on here that even the most devoted underground freak or uptight pop princess will find something to love. 

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