Chuck Schuldiner Project

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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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Pineapple Thief - Your Wilderness

Your Wilderness is the kind of prog record that really makes you think. It's not lost in its own pretentious delusions nor is it trying too hard to be something that it isn't. Rather - Your Wilderness is a tasty and cinematic piece of music that captures the imagination and repeatedly reminds us of the power of music. It shows us that The Pineapple Thief are among the great rock bands of our time and their unique brand of soft rock is going to keep you fascinated - coming back time and time again for more ethereal beauty.

I can't help but to be in love with the gentle soundscapes that the band has created here. These songs are powerful, full of virility but also wonderfully subdued. While they certainly are chock full of potent ideas it's the general vibe of Your Wilderness that gets to me. It's the bands ability to touch on concepts that many of their peers would scurry away from and their willingness to take exotic left turns in their songwriting. The Pineapple Thief are more than just a rock band - they are artisans of volume cultivating the sort of music that nerds like me can't help but to sit back, relax and fall in love with. 

The musicianship behind Your Wilderness is thrilling and The Pineapple Thief leave you smiling, in love with the strangely driven sounds that they have cultivated for so long. Your Wilderness is a personal journey and one that lets you find out more about yourself than anything else. It gives you a path and a key and from there asks you to find your own way. I can't help but to love this record, I'm just curious to hear the band grow and use their bombast to its absolute finest and maybe even change the world.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016


There are great statements in rock and roll and there are great statements in rock and roll if you know what I mean. Coming up from the gutters of Brooklyn, TOWER's self titled debut is one of these statements. As a matter of fact I might even go so far as to say it is one of the greatest rock and roll statements of the decade. This is an album that I almost hesitated to review because it is so goddamn good. TOWER truly understand the spirit of the genre and deservedly have the whole world at their fingertips.

See – TOWER aren't just bombastic, they are raw and vicious. They take things we love about rock and roll and turn them up to eleven. They have huge choruses, gnarly tone and riffs upon riffs upon riffs. Toss in a vicious freewheeling solo here and there and you start to see the greatness of this band. They take the garage punk of Iggy Pop and infuse it with Led Zeppelins majesty and more than a little of Sabbath's crunch. And yet, they don't really sound like any of those bands. Rather they have created their own void – a sound that is overwhelming and beautiful, the sort of rock and roll that leaves you with a smile on your face and your fist in the air.

With every passing moment this record makes me smile a little broader. They have kickass guitar harmonies and flashy solos to contrast punk rock screams which in turn contrast some of the more virtuosic singing on the record. Simply put – TOWER kick ass up and down this albums eight tracks and have something that you want to spin again and again because, well, TOWER are the best. They are taking a genre t its logical extreme and profiting from it. This band may very well be the shot in the arm rock and roll has needed.  

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