Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Defiled - Towards Inevitable Ruin

Defiled are one of those weird gems of the underground who I doubt I will ever properly understand. Their unique mix of technical death metal with gutter punk and their trademark lo fi production, DIY ethic and incredibly forward thinking idiom makes for some of the most bizarre death metal you will ever hear. So now, five years in the making, their latest record Towards Inevitable Ruin sees the Japanese metal maniacs driving towards a new and bolder future that few of their peers dare to emulate.

This is a band who have always been hard to get into and Towards Inevitable Ruin is not doing the band any favors. However for many of us it is precisely that, the secretive cultish nature of the bands following that make them so appealing. After all, how many bands do you know who eschew touring the states in favor of counties like Nepal, China and India? So yes, Towards Inevitable Ruin oftentimes sounds rather chunky an hard to get into - but that's part of the point. If you were easily able to embrace what this band was about then the apocalyptic demented magic of their music would be utterly meaningless.

Towards Inevitable Ruinis an old school death metal fans modern death metal record. In other words it features all of the harsh madness that the classics featured but showcases a ton of the crippling might that modern death metal is known or. Defiled have never fit into an y real paradigms and to try and force them to would be frankly ridiculous. Rather one needs to embrace this weird, world changing band for who they are and realize that at then of the day it's the records like this one that truly matter .

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Dawn Of Disease - Worship The Grave

Dawn Of Disease are one of those wonderful death metal bands who seem dedicated to helping us to see the future, past and present of the genre simultaneously. While there are moments that seem to fall into the melodeath category, the band is not afraid to mimic Morbid Angel at time, and at others hint at some of the ideas proposed by some of the most forward thinking death metal bands to have put out records in recent years. Beyond all of that though, there is an overarching sentiment that Dawn Of Disease rock.

These riff are oftentimes monstrous in scale, and this band is clearly turned on to some wonderfully dark shit. The thing is – unlike so many of their peers who seem to becaught up in the same death metal circle jerk Dawn Of Disease have taken the time to focus on things like songwriting. So yes, there are moments of insanity, but they are tempered by a band who understand the importance of balance in a record. In many ways – the sheer quality and execution of what Dawn Of Disease do on Worship The Grave is only truly comparable to a band like Amon Amarth. They still aren't quite batting on that bands level – but they seem to be in a position to get awfully close.

Worship The Grave isn't always tightly polished. If we're being honest thee are a few moments that feel a little clunky. That's okay though, because it all contributes to a greater whole that is relentlessly addictive. In a world where so many bands are simply emulating the last big trend, Dawn Of Disease stand as a proud product of their scene, fresh, exciting and ready to rumble. Rather than pussyfoot about with standard death metal tropes they embrace the darkness of the music, grab you by the throat and prove that they are doing their best. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Scour - S/T

Another day another Phil Anselmo project. I mean you have to love how prolific the man is. After all - this really isn't a Phil Anselmo project either, it was written by members of Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer. Phil just happens to be on vocals, just as Chase Fraser and Jesse Schobel contribute their own parts to round out the lineup. Scour could very easily have just been big name musicians coming together to put out subpar music - and yet it isn't. Scour is fifteen minutes of ferocious grinding black metal quite unlike almost anything else.

While the old school black metal sentiment is certainly there, the band also emphasizes the grinding nature of the riffs on songs like Clot. In many ways Scour is a record defined by the guitar tone. Some of these riffs wouldn't feel out of place on a Cattle Decapitation record if the tuning and tone were very different - and that's part of the beauty of Scour. This is a band who build on a healthy variety of ideas - be it the trudging slaughter of Crooked or the massive chorus and throat wrenching grimace of Tear Gas. Sure - Scour may never tour, or even put out a new album, but this is a hell of a record. 

Scour is a beast on its own. I get the weird impression that it, like many other side projects from all of these bands. I simply don't think that the people involved are going to have the time to make it go as big as it needs to be. That being said - Scour is a hell of a ride and makes me curious to hear more of the bands mainman, Derek Engemann and his clearly brilliant compositional abilities. Scour is a testament to the enduring power of old school grinding black metal, even in 2016, and by Thor is it good.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be'Lakor - Vessels

Man - there isn't a lot of great symphonic melodic death metal out there these days - Be'Lakor seem destined to reverse that trend. The band has been pushing for years now with their folky brand of melodeath and this latest offering, the triumph that is Vessels sees the band pushing forward with their trademark grit and evolving their sound into something much greater which at times borders on transcendent. In other words - Vessels is the sound of absolution and the reminder of greater things to come.

In the frequently monochromatic world of death metal it can be extremely reassuring to be abl to dive into something that has much more easily definable melodic content. Such is the case with Vessels which uses some potent, if straightforward, progressions to guide you on into a sense of sonic absolution that few of the bands peers can match. To see how far the band has come one need look no further than Withering Strands an 11 minute epic that suggests that Be'Lakor have started to become just as much a progressive death metal band as they are a melodic one. This evolution has been a pleasure to track and hints at so many great things to come.

Be'Lakor are some of the most potent songwriters in extreme metal. However unlike many of their peers who in the modern context emphasize the importance of riffs upon riffs upon riffs Be'Lakor want you to step back and enjoy the larger whole. There are riffs here to be sure, and they help to give the album form, but what matters more is the overall statement, and it's a statement of freedom. One that will have you coming back again and again because this band have finally ascended to their throne.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Earth Ship - Hollowed

So I'm back from Hellfest and it's time to review another band from the almighty Napalm Records. The monstrous sludgy sounds of Earth Ship have guided me home, and in many ways their ban name perfectly reflects what the band is all about. There is something extra terrestrial about Earth Ships music, but at the same time its grounded in a very human sense of heavy metal thunder. Listening to the band crunch forward with their devastating bass grooves is far too much fun and  fitting reminder of all that they, and the genre as a whole, stand for.

With their trademark crush, Hollowed represents a step forward for the band. Th driving sense of momentum that we hear on songs like Monolith is absolutely monstrous and hints at all that this band is capable of. Sure they aren't especially breaking new ground here, especially not for Napalm Records but they are excellent songwriters and in an increasingly crowded scene it seems ever more obvious that that is all that really counts. What's fascinating though is that Earth Ship don't make their name on hooks or any other traditional pop elements, rather they capture the imagination with bone crushing dedication to all things heavy.

Hollowed is an exercise in refined control. At times they let the chaos seep forward, but only so that you can understand exactly how good they are and let you roar back into place as they re-emphasize the crucial importance of the riff. I think Earth Ship can be so much more though. As their occasional melodic guitar lines show, the men behind Hollowed have an impressive understanding of the instrument and an expansion on their use of contrast and development is only going to bring their world forward.

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