Chuck Schuldiner Project

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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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hour Of Penance - Cast The First Stone

Hour Of Penance are the sort of death metal band who seem designed for the modern polemic. With powerful tech-y riffs, devastating vocals, intense drumming and a generally balls out sense of sonic destruction Cast The First Stone is an album that will keep pummeling into your gut time after time and reminding you of the simple nihilism of the genre. There's a lot to pick apart with Hour Of Penance, and with their seventh (!) studio album it's time to come to terms with the fact that they might just be that good.

I think ultimately the issue Hour Of Penance face is that though they are damn good they also adhere pretty strictly to standard death metal ideas. While on the hand that's sick, because the riffs on these tracks is oftentimes insane it also sometimes leaves you wanting a little more. That being said there has been a really incredible forward progression with this band. The atmospheres conjured up here are beyond the vast majority of their peers. The imagery and chunkiness of the riffs on Cast The First Stone creates something that you really want to sink your teeth in and dwell within. Hour Of Penance have come to understand all that death metal is and remind us of the power it has even at the roots.

Cast The First Stone is very much a meat and potatoes death metal record and also one that you will find yourself coming back to if you love spiraling riffs, manic blast beats and crazed rhythms. These guys have refined something rather unique and worth taking the time to properly digest. After all - Hour Of Penance have been doing this for a really goddamn long time, they've figured out at least a little bit of what makes this music special. This is a record you're going to want to dig into and which will remind you death metal is only getting better.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Vipassi - Sunyata

Incredibly dense, delicate and full of strangely eloquent guitars Vipassi have always been known as one of the weirder bands in the technical metal genre. This is a band who fuse the darkness of metal with moments of jazz and pure prog - it makes sense that they are, in many ways, a Ne Obliviscaris side project. The elegant chords and lyrical playing stand as a testament to a band who constantly impress and regularly remind us that there are far weirder things in the world than pure and simple heavy metal.

Vipassi fascinate me because even though, yes, they very much fit into the polemic of bands like Atheist they have managed to fuse the more abrasive elements of those bands with the subtle beauty of Animals As Leaders. Sure it's not as immediately startling and never quite so pretty, but in many ways the avantgarde nature of Sunyata is what makes it so goddamn enjoyable. While this is an album that definitely takes a spin or two to properly understand it is also an album that encourages the listener to take time to pick it apart and try to come to terms with a weirder side of the music we all love.

So yes, at times Sunyata is dizzying and paints sonic expanses of the sort I'm occasionally not comfortable with. This is just a part of the trade, a part of the bizarre self inflicted suffering heavy metal encourages in all of us. The bass playing in particular swirls in magical circles, hinting at ethereal futures and constantly dancing around the ear. Sunyata is a motherfucker of a record and one that certainly won't make sense on the first listen. However it will keep you in awe, constantly looking for that next high.

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