Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Magrudergrind - II

Magrudergrind have always strck me as devastatingly heavy, terrifyingly bleak and generally just a band you do not want to fuck with. Loud, proud and incredibly intelligent their latest record II is a testament to all that the band has stood for over the years. Intense, absurd and over the top this record has certainly been worth the 6 year hiatus. From start to finish this is an unsurprisingly rapid listen, and beyond that it stands out as  record that burns. The sheer intensity of songs like Relentless Hatred is maddening and leaves you coming back constantly for more.

A huge part of what gets me about II is the sheer quality of the riffs. The punchiness an the demented groove of each and every one of these songs makes II a very memorable release, and beyond that an album that has actual songs. The mastery of punishing aural abuse though is perhaps best personified through the devastating vocals of Avi Kulawy. The way that they feel like a natural extension on the singer and are so evidently full of raw energy makes me want to get up and hate mosh across my parents kitchen. Coming across in crushing staccato bursts you barely get a gasp for air, meaning that when the record ends you find yourself panting and begging for more.

There's been a bit of a to-do about how II debuted on NPR, but after repeated listenings here is the conclusion I have come to. NPR is meant to cultivate culture that is relevant to the nation and as I pick apart II I have to say - I don't think that there are any other hardcore bands out thre right now that are quite as relevant to the United States and the world at large. Margudergrind are proving that hardcore is high art and II is perhaps their crowning achievement. This is an album that only gets better and forces us all to bend the knee - Magrudergrind are the new kings of grindcore.

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Himinbjorg - Wyrd

Alright France you win. You have the best black metal. Here we have Himinbjorg with their seventh full length release entitled, “Wyrd”. The main focus of the music is black metal with strong Viking metal influences with melodies and vocal styling. They have lyrical themes of Scandinavian Mythology and Viking wars.

Nothing is more soothing than the refreshing sound of running water in the midst of nature. This is the imagery created from the intro to “Wyrd”. Although this is abruptly halted by the animalistic beckoning of man. “The Sword of Dignity”, this is an awesome drawn out track. It’s not over saturated with lead harmonies. There is a nice blend of clean vocals as well. The clean vocals definitely make the music stand out more and another dimension to the already great sound of Himinbjorg. “The World of Men Without Virtue”, is a great progressive track with amazing harmonies. This song also has a mesmerizing clean section with a fantastic solo. “Initiation”, has a more traditional black metal feel to it. They also incorporate killer double bass and a sweet folk metal solo. “The Mirror of Suffering”, starts off with a clean intro but becomes very driving with all the double bass. The folk instrument they use on this record is extremely well placed within the mix and doesn’t over power the guitars. I’m unsure how much Middle Eastern music has influenced Viking and or Folk music but to me I hear that type of influence deep seated in the cadences here on “Wyrd”. “The Eternal Light”, stands out stylistically because it’s the slowest track out of the record. It has more of a melodic death metal feel to it, due to the slow groove with melody and the deep growling vocals. This track somewhat reminds me of Moonspell.

Over all this is an extremely solid release for the black metal encyclopedia. It’s nice to have some black meta that is more focused on nature and other universal subjects. The main thing that stood out to me with this record was how well Himinbjorg use the Folk and or Viking aspect to their sound. They infuse it so well as to not overpower the great black metal song writing movements. Himinbjorg should be playing metal festivals if they aren’t already. 




Record Label: European Tribes

Monday, February 8, 2016

Product Of Hate - Buried In Violence

A lot of people might call Product Of Hate straight Lamb of God worship - and that's an easy comparison to make. It's not really true though. Yeah, Product of Hate play groove centric and fairly entry level death metal - but there's a whole lot to this band than initially meets the ear. Gently incorporating touches of Meshuggah and other progressive death metal bands into a pretty straightforward sound. Buried In Violence is a grower, an album whose real triumph doesn't really resonate until a few listens in.

One of the cool things about Product Of Hate is how simply immaculate they sound their is something wonderfully polished they sound - meaning that every riff comes down at you with sniper like precision. Even when the band tries to expand the sonic palate in ways I might not normally enjoy (Especially in regards to the cleans on Revolution of Destruction) What I'm trying to say is tat Product Of Hate manage to take some fairly traditional ideas but present them in a rather new and refreshing way making for some surprisingly exciting music. It speaks to the depth of Napalm Records that they would sign a band like this - one that has all the potential in the world but can still play massive crowds.

So yeah - Product Of Hate still need to grow a bi and here are a few bits and pieces here that I don't fully agree with - but that doesn't detract from the fact that you can sense the hard work pt into this album. Product Of Hate are all around badasses and digging into their performances is surprisingly fun. Not a lot of bands deliver sheer riffs the way Product Of Hate do without relying on silly pentatonic bullshit. Instead this is a band who understand their own distinctive style and play music that will last for generations.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The New Roses - Dead Man's Voice

When it comes to revivalist rock and roll it's always a fine line between mastery and self parody. The New Roses fall just barely on the mastery side - but are sufficiently self aware (And badass) to help make the sound work. The high energy Guns 'n' Roses inspired guitar riffs and over the top guitar solos come together to give everyone a good time as you let your hair blow in the wind and enjoy a hard hitting sonic experience. Yeah - The New Roses don't break new ground on Dead Man's Voice but by God are they fun to listen to.

With energetic lyrics that seems to focus largely on the struggles of being a fast living kind of guy Dead Man's Voice is a  testament from a forgotten era. The New Roses' dedication to hedonism, chaos and sheer rock and roll madness is admirable. It speaks for a band who with every crashing chord reflect the burning joy that this kind of music can be imbued with. Beyond that - there is a very real sexiness to what The New Roses are doing on this record - and in a genre that seems to lack a lot of sexual energy in its modern context The New Roses make for a refreshing listen - even as their bluesy riffs make you shake rattle and roll all over your house.

The songs on Dead Man's Voice are very well written and speak to the sort of chunky riffing and dramatic choruses that make this kind of glam metal so much fun. The grit here is the sort of LA bitterness that comes from years of smoking and drinking whiskey - or at least that's the aesthetic that The New Roses seem to embrace. So sure - they are kind of derivative of bands like LA Guns, Guns 'n' Roses and Skid Row - but guess what - they do it really fucking well, and if that doesn't grab your attention then this kind of rock simply isn't for you.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Castle Freak - Human Hive

The East Coast death metal scene has been killing it lately, and the latest comes from the thrashy repulsion worshippers in Castle Freak. After an extended hiatus and a whole bunch of drama the band is back with what is easily their best release to date. Human Hive represents the promise of the band with all of its chainsaw guitars, tortured vocals and pumping drums. There is something endlessly exciting about Human Hive as if you are tapped into a high speed coked up nightmare, a rock and roll apocalypse brought by the harbingers of hell.

One thing that really gets me about this record is the use of samples. I mean yeah - it's a pretty traditional horror themed death metal trope, but Castle Freak make careful (And frequent) use of them to help accentuate exactly who they are. There is a sense of cosmic terror with each and every riff, the at times hectic playing only adding to the madness. The counterbalance of chaos and order that defines so many of these songs is strangely addictive. As the band blasts forward with a sort of primordial rage it's hard to not want to bust into a circle pit and bust the skull of your follow East Coast metal freaks.

There is a certain pulse behind his album that keeps it just on he verge of exploding at any given moment. The new members of the band (Sebastian Phillips of Noisem and Ben Anft formerly of Necropsy, a precursor to Noisem) manage to bring in their own touches to the sound and help Castle Freak to be perhaps exactly the band that their scene needs right now. Ferocious, violent and endlessly exciting Human Hive hints at great things to come from these metal freaks, now we just need to wait and see them follow up.

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