Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trap Them - Crown Feral

Trap Them sure are angry. I know that sounds silly given their status as y'know - a hardcore band - but god damn do the guys in Trap Them know how to rip! Crown Feral, their latest offering is wonderfully vicious, dark and twisted - a reflection on the evil realities found within the bands discography. The thing is - Crown Feral shows an impressive step forward for the bad, taking hardcore as a whole to the next level with powerful riffs but also technical frills that many of their peers could never compete with.

There is something about the inherent evil of Crown Feral that has me head over heels in love. I think the way that the band has tempered their trademark crunch with chaotic lines higher up on the fretboard has opened up new dimensions for what they can do. The open strings and ferocious playing are perfectly balanced, storms of volume fall in place wonderfully reflecting the magic of the band and what they are capable of. The neverending forward motion showcased in these songs is terrifying to say the least. Crown Feral goes for the throat and once it clenches down it refuses to let go.

Trap Them is the sort of band who are at this point totally unstoppable. Crown Feral represents something new in hardcore but still plays by a lot of the rules. It simply takes the previous limitations of the music and pushes them to their logical extremes. Every few years hardcore has an album that takes the genre a few steps forward, that shows us the potential the genre has always had. As far as I can tell Crown Feral is one such album - and years from now hardcore kids in suburbs across America will genuflect at the power and the rage of Trap Them.

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Saint Vitus - Live Vol. 2

Man - I can't help but to love Saint Vitus - which makes me all the sadder that I'm missing their upcoming US tour with The Skull and Witch Mountain because I myself will be on tour. That being said - their latest offering Live Vol. 2 is a fitting representation of what the band is and what they can represent. Live Vol. 2 is one of those potent doom metal statements that makes you curious for more and reminds you what doom is all about. Coming off a weekend like the one I just had at Psycho Las Vegas I need stuff like this to get through my day.

I think the reason that Saint Vitus has always appealed to me is how demented hey are. There is something inherently twisted about this band and their take on the human condition - which is exactly why they have been so popular for so long, it's not just because Wino is a god. Their tendency to fade away into a wall of pure noise and use demented solos to reflect a sort of internal torment is stunning. It shows us that even today these doom legends have the sort of control that bands half their age dream of. Saint Vitus are a band who reflect the human condition with loud guitars and twisted vocals - making it obvious why so many big name musicians worship them.

Live Vol. 2 is a perfect reflection of why I love Saint Vitus. It's why when my buddy called me in the middle of writing this review I immediately started raving about the album. It's why the band has resonated with so many for so long. When you get to that final cathartic wall of noise that defines that all time classic, Born To Late you take a moment to revel in the sheer volume of it all. So perhaps we were born to late but at least we can still enjoy the magic of Saint Vitus - this is the band that has saved us all.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sisters Of Suffocation - Brutal Queen

Holy shit this is some vicious death metal. I'd never heard of Sisters Of Suffocation before today but I'm sure glad that I have checked them out. This all-female death metal band is over the top and twisted, cracking skulls you didn't even know where there.  The EP is an oft misused format to the point that it makes a lot of people distrust it. This shouldn't be the case though. Brutal Queen is perfect evidence for that - death metal that works well in a short format, and then doesn't last a minute longer than it has too.

There is a sense of urgency behind the music of Sisters Of Suffocation that makes it strangely addictive. These songs stampede forward, trampling posers in their wake and reminding you o the enduring power that this sort of music should have. The demented screams that ring out on songs like Tales Of A Martyr are perfectly executed and hint at so much more to come. Meanwhile, these gals can write a breakdown like no other, when they want to get heavy you feel the crushing assault in your bones. This balance and overarching power behind the songwriting starts to suggest that there may be a lot more than meets the eye with Brutal Queen. 

Most death metal these days is pretty boring to me since most of it revolves around the same handful of tropes and is frankly a little bit frustrating. Sisters Of Suffocation aren't necessarily doing anything revolutionary, but they are executing brilliantly and they are coming out of the gate with an assault that will leave you gasping for air. This is exactly what death metal should sound like and Brutal Queen is a fitting testament to all the band has accomplished. It's rare that I say this - but I'm excited to check out more from this band!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Infernal Diatribe - Videha Mukti

Videha Mukti (Occult Black Metal) cover art

Poor drum tone, subpar mixing, and the ferocity of a thousand monsoons - such is the formula for some of the greatest Indian occult black metal. Videha Mukti is the latest and greatest of this  school. It takes the raw and twisted magic of the genre and distills it into four fucked up tracks. This is music that doesn't necessarily expand what the genre can be but it shows us that black metal is still exciting and prone to moments of true depravity. Infernal Diatribe understand the power behind their music and harness it to its fullest extent.

Of course - having the dungeon level production that it does Videha Mukti runs into some natural limitations. It's pretty clear to see that the band might be better served with tighter instrumental sounds and more polish. That being said - in many ways the subpar production is part of the appeal. It's almost as if the band has added another instrument and showed us the blazing might of what they do can be distilled into its purest form with the fortunate nihilism inherent to this type of music. Videha Mukti scratches an itch for twisted black metal and it does it well - playing to its strengths and using the weaknesses to its advantage.

There is a lot to dig here if you're into this very niche and specific side of the black metal spectrum. While Videha Mukti certainly isn't for all fans of black metal - those who are truly in love with the genre will be sure to fall in love. Infernal Diatribe perfectly understand what their niche of black metal fans want, blazing riffs, a few harsh solos and tight frostbitten riffs that last through the ages. At the end of the day none of their limitations matter because god damn - this is some enjoyable stuff! 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Steve 'n' Seagulls - Brothers In Farms

It's weird to me how a band like Steve 'n' Seagulls can blow up. What started as a joke, just some Finnish dudes dressed up as hillbillies performing a cool arrangement of an AC/DC song turned into a major record deal. Their latest offering Brothers In Farms is a lot of fun but faces a lot of the same limitations that the bands previous material has seen. As is, this is a rather enjoyable and wonderfully bouncy record - but even from the first song you have to wonder if the joke has started to become played out.

While I still love a lot of the arrangements, some of the songs feel a bit too long and make the idea seem played out. While I definitely appreciate the musicality and creativity behind the band, the idea doesn't necessarily have that much behind it. Similar artists over the years have counteracted this problem by adding more originals - which Steve 'n' Seagulls have started to do with an excellent original track. I am genuinely excited for the future of this band - Brothers In Farms is an interesting halfway point for the band which hints at exciting new things to come but isn't quite where it needs to be.

Long story short - Steve 'n' Seagulls are a fun listen and when they are on they are great. It's just that for much of the record you find yourself thinking that a shortened version of the songs would do better - just look at how well the cut down version of November Rain paid off! I'm excited to watch this band develop, past a one note joke and into heavy metal history. The amount of talent and passion on display is admirable - it makes me incredibly curious to follow the next steps of these metal masters.

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