Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Atriarch - An Unending Pathway

Atriarch have for a few years now been carving out their own niche in the West Coast heavy music scene. Nicely fitting in next to bands like Usnea, and Worm Ouroborus  these guys fuse a variety of genres to get the kind of music that leads to people beating their chests until their hearts tumble out. Their heavy riffs and unholy screams come together to create an enlightened listening experience that speaks to the soul of the listener, perhaps that is the true goal of An Unending Pathway unveiling the very humanity and simple beauty of this band.

The tracks on An Unending Pathway are special because they seem to shift and sway from genre to genre with complete ease. The mix of cleans and growls feels natural, they reflect a sort of pure and introspective aspect of the sound. Their are a lot of layers at play here too, and oftentimes things you might not catch on first listen. These songs go beyond what I think a lot of Atriarchs peers are trying to do with similar concepts, why? Well the answer is complicated. At the core of it though, Atriarch seem to just have better songwriting chops, at no moment listening to this record do you feel like the song just needs to up and end. Things have a powerful forward momentum here and will keep you engaged for many a spin.

As I gear up for a trip to Texas and a motley assortment of adventures to come, this is the kind of record that I want to take with me, holding my hand as I prepare my body to delve into a strange new world. The long and short of it is that Atriarch understand exactly what they want to do and how to do it. An Unending Pathway is ridiculously entertaining because it constantly throws curveballs in the form of tempo and genre changes and there's no telling where this chaotic beast of an album will go. Go forth, conquer, and enjoy, An Unending Pathway may very well give you a path to enlightenment.

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Liv Kristine - Vervain

Earlier this year I fell head over heels in love with Kari Rueslatten's magnificent Time To Tell I think now I have finally found a record that is not only on par with that masterwork but also brings in a metal side. Liv Kristine's new effort Vervain is a record that captures the imagination with soaring aria's, top notch songwriting, and a mix of male and female vocals that is wonderfully memorable. Vervain is the sort of record that you know will be special from the first song. This is artsy heavy metal at its finest and I don't want to stop listening to it!

I think the mix of delicate female vocals and powerful guitar parts is perfectly executed here. Whereas normally this sort of thing feels forced and contrived, Kristine manages to pull it off perfectly within the confines of her work. Songs like the eponymous track Vervain are driving without sounding pretentious making her record rather fun to listen too. The ooh ooh's and aah aah's that accent a lot of the songs also come across very nicely, adding to the majesty of the soudnscape and keeping things intricate and exciting. At the end of the day Liv Kristine has a simply beautiful voice and that's what keeps me coming back time and time again

Make no mistake Vervain is a masterpiece, and the fact that I normally despise female fronted symphonic metal and yet adore this record is evidence as to how tight Liv Kristine is. These are songs that wash over you and enhance the spirit. Kristine understands what we want out of symphonic metal and she deliver it with a profound skill that I think few of her peers could even dream of matching. Let these songs consume you, here is a woman who has done something incredibly special and along with her band are worthy of much honor and praise.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Killed A Fox

Spring Of Sloth And Haze cover art

Nifty Croatian rock with groove, Killed A Fox are a pretty cool new band who bring in a healthy mix of influences to get at something special. Their sonic attack is fairly distinct and shows the capability of the band to come forth with a bit of everything and deliver what can only be called a startling and refreshing burst of rock 'n' roll madness. While yes, there are a lot of standard modern rock influences in the vocals, you can also find touches of Primus and other slightly 'out there' acts accentuating the ringing guitar parts and gyrating bass lines. These songs are exciting and oftentimes tumultuous, twisting and turning like there's no tomorrow. When they end in moments of triumphant and glorious rock and roll redemption you have to close your eyes and smile, this is what the lords of rock would have wanted for us. Killed A Fox have a distinct sound and know what they want to do, it's just a matter of clicking 'play'.

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Russian folk metal that mixes female vocals with powerful growls, melodic violin lines with black metal riffs and darkness with light, Anabioz are the kind of band who get it. At it's core, Anabioz understand what true folk metal is supposed to be about, honoring our pagan ancestors and reminding us of the glory of blood. With lyrics in both English and Russian these guys are consistently interesting to listen too. Their new record There The Sun Falls is nine tracks of intricately composed and very unique folk metal. While they use all the traditional tenets of folk metal they don't sound generic. They do a good job of avoiding the 'white woman wailing' trope and place a strong emphasis on the mighty growls. They know what they want out of the crowd too, songs like Dance Dance prove that though Anabioz may be a serious band they know how to have fun. Anabioz are doing something special, and the world needs more folk metal. Hail their powerful songwriting and let it wash over you, this is folk metal at its finest.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Insanity Alert - S/T

Insanity Alert cover art

Insanity Alert burst onto the scene in in March of 2012 with their debut EP the masterful First Diagnosis, then in February 2013 they put out their second EP, a slightly weaker Second Opinion. Now as much I loved the second EP I was afraid the slightly more serious and even slowed down vibes of Second Opinion might plague the bands debut record. I am happy to report they have not. In fact the ten new tracks (Which are accompanied by 5 re-recorded pieces from the EP's) show the band on top of their game, cracking skulls and taking names.

The things that make Insanity Alert special are their sense of humor and magnificent songwriting. In some cases I might even go so far as to say that they are more Municipal Waste than Municipal Waste themselves. Tracks like Macaroni Maniac show that the band still have what it takes to rock and understand what makes them so distinct and special. The rapid fire delivery of the vocal lines along with tight guitar riffs is not something that you easily forget. When it's paired with memorable choruses and ripping solos that are a blast to listen too you have a record that embodies all that makes thrash metal great.

Insanity Alert is an album that will grab your attention right away and keep you moshing for hours on end. These songs are infinitely replayable. My iTunes informs me I have listened to their two first EP's upwards of 20 times and the songs on Insanity Alert are even better. Short and sweet this album gets to the spirit of thrash metal and makes you want to dance until your legs fall off. These guys can do something truly special and I think that this may very well be the best thrash metal record of 2014. So turn it all the way up and let the thrash take control. 

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