Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The World Without Us - Incarnate

We are far removed from the prog boom of the early 2010's. That being said - there are still a lot of interesting things being done in the genre by musicians out there who have outsized talent and incredible passion. Such is the case of The World Without Us, one of the most skilled prog metal acts I have heard come out of PA in a good long while. While their initial EP does certainly see them wrestling with a few growing pains, this is a fun listen that seems ready to take the bands music to a whole new level.

Incarnate is fascinating in its ability to meld ideas. While the general approach is distinctly proggy there are moments of nu metal and even classic rock ideas being brought to the fore. Meanwhile the sheer chops showcased on a track like Things To Tell The Press are stunning. The sheer level of execution that they bring is impressive. This being said - not all the production choices are what they could be, I'd love to hear a fuller rhythm section and perhaps a more balanced mix on future releases. The groovy magic of these tracks is surprisingly well delivered for a first release though, and pit starters like I Am The Mist certainly bring the circle pit inspiring madness.

The World Without Us have put together a tasty 4 song EP here that nicely documents what they are about and where they can take their music in the next few months and years. With excellent vocal delivery and top notch guitar work Incarnate proves that the band has a boatload of talent. Their generally strong songwriting sees a nice blend of cleans and growls with clear song structures. It means that when it comes down to it, Incarnate is a compelling listen, a record worth multiple spins for any prog fan.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Alice Cooper - The Breadcrumbs EP

As regular readers are aware I don't often dabble in reviewing more mainstream releases, however this one caught my attention. Alice Cooper's The Breadcrumbs EP is a fitting tribute to his roots. It finds Mr. Cooper playing alongside all manner of Detroit legends, including musicians he has been playing alongside for half a century. If that's not enough to pique the interest of your average music nerd than I don't know what is. This is what Detroit rock freaks like me dream about getting to hear though, so let's dig in.

There is a wonderful sort of sneer that defines The Breadcrumbs EP, moreso than a lot of Cooper's recent output. On this record you hear him back in the garage, tearing it up with the guys he started destroying stages with all those years ago. The blast of nostalgia that comes on album opener, 'Detroit City 2020' name checks everyone from Bob Seger to the MC5. It speaks to how far Alice cooper has come but how vibrant and exciting this music remains. It's a fun look at an era of rock and roll that I think is far too often overlooked. There is a sort of inherent charm to The Breadcrumbs EP that has me coming back begging for more.

It's rare that as listeners we find records that reek with this same level of authenticity. Especially from an artist more than a half century in. The fact that you get to hear Cooper shining a light on so many of the guys he came up with makes for compelling listening. After all this is unfortunately one of the last things we will ever hear from most of these musicians so it seems appropriate that they would go back to their origins and remind us why we all fell in love with this music in the first place. Detroit Rock City will never die.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths

Leave it to Mortiferum to deliver an absolute monster of an album in a year already dominated by great metal. these Profound Lore signees have been delivering stellar death doom since 2016. Disgorged From Pyschotic Depths is the band debut album, due to come out on October 11th. Seemingly destined to crack the skulls of all who listen to it, Mortiferum trade in sheer heaviness and crushing atmospheres that leave you gasping for breath and wondering at your very sanity. What's not to love?

The Pacific Northwest death metal scene seems to churn out no end of great bands. Mortiferum simply seem to be an evolution on the promise of groups like Torture Rack or even Vastum. Taking queues from Asphyx just as much as they are from Death, Mortiferum have crafted something here that is wholly their own. Disgorged From Psychotic Depths is a masterful offering that seems to eagerly leap from peak to peak. In many ways this album represents the culmination of Mortiferums work so far, and if these evolutions on their early demos are anything to go by then the band has a long and bright future ahead of them.

If you are obsessed with the heavy stuff then you are going to find Disgorged From Psychotic Depths to be a wonderfully addictive. With only seven tracks (And one of those a transitional piece_ the band has really positioned themselves in a way as to have infinite replayability. There is a certai nverve to the songwriting here, even as Mortiferum attempt to drag you with them to hell. Despite it all you see that these guys are unafraid to wear their influences on their collective sleeves and go head first into the world of brutal and wonderfully potent skull cracking death metal.

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Totengefluster - The Faceless Divine

When I was in high school I had a Totengefluster poster on my wall. I was mesmerized not only by their badass logo but by their  whole presentation. This was symphonic black metal that I could get behind! In the 6 years since I fell in love with their 2013 debut, Vom Seelensterben the band has only gotten better. The transcendent sonic punishment of this record is a marked improvement over their 2017 album Im Nebel der Verg√§nglichkeit. The band has only expanded the range of what they can do whilst staying true to themselves.

The Faceless Divine continues to impress because of the range of emotions the band masters on it. Tracks like The Hollow Wanderer (Cursed) sit nicely alongside straight up ragers like Grant Us Thy Blessing. It's impressive to see the ease with which Totengefluster dart across their chosen soundscape. The Faceless Divine is, as a result, a truly masterful release. It shows us a band who have spent years honing their craft only to now be at a point where they can unleash symphonic black metal hell at a level few of their peers dare match. They have crafted something darkly bombastic and inherently fascinating.

Totengefluster have been a favorite of mine since high school for very good reason - they are among the best at a very specific breed of black metal. They have taken a sound that is often viewed as oversaturated and even a little silly and been able to strip it back to its core elements to put together something impressive. Though they may lack the youthful rage they had on earlier efforts, this album still speaks to just how far Totengefluster have come in their decade plus career, it makes for compelling listening.

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

White Ward - Love Exchange Failure

I think for the metal scene as a whole when I say many of us were blown away by White Ward's 2017 full length debut, Futility Report. I wasn't entirely sure how they were going to build on that for their second record. However, now that I have been able to spend some time with Love Exchange Failure, this saxophone driven black metal seems like they made some very good songwriting decisions. Their take on contemporary misanthropic black metal is unique, but it is tight enough that any fan of the genre will find something to love.

It's been said that the recipe for success is twofold. You need one part of your product to be something people are already familiar with, and the other part to be something totally new. With White Ward this takes the form of bringing all manner of post-metal and jazz influences on top of a fairly straightforward black metal backdrop. It makes for truly fascinating listening from a band who have clearly taken the genre to a bold new level. Love Exchange Failure proves that not only are there exciting new things to be done in black metal, but that the combination of sounds required to take it to the next level isn't even that absurd.

See - White Ward could have gone fully avantgarde with this new record, building on some of the truly brainy tropes of the last album. Instead Love Exchange Failure sees the band polishing their sound into something grandiose. Now the saxophone provides more padding than anything else. The creative guitar lines are visionary and truly different in their execution. The group has found a way to paint themselves not so much as avant garde black metal as much as they are a evolution on what has always worked - and I love it.

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