четвъртък, 17 октомври 2013 г.

Acolytes of Moros - Illusions of Progress (2013)



I hope you're not really expecting me to tell you what kind of genre of metal this is. With Swedish Acolytes of Moros you have stepped into the extremes of traditional doom. "Illusions of Progress" sounds like a lost demo version of not so unexperienced Reverend Bizarre. And for such a young band this is quite an immense achievement.

I guess a lot of people would find this album kind of boring, because really - it does not discover the dark side of the moon. It's more or less something you have heard in one form or another. However, if you're an oldschool lover you'd probably be really pleased to hear the release. Even these days when doom metal has reached its biggest popularity you don't meet stuff like Acolytes of Moros around the corner. The music here is really pushed to the extremes of slowness and nihilism. 

"Illusions of progress" consists of 4 tracks, one being a very short intro, so let's say three full-blooded tracks. As every proper doom metal recording should - you receive a banging awesomeness with song length no less than ten minutes. Yes right, ten minutes long is the shortest track. So if you're some confused person waiting for a happy fast metal song, pack your suitcase quicker and leave the hall. The production of this baby here is top notch for a small budget. Actually, I would prefer that kind of stuff over overproduced modern crap anyday. So really, even if it's a little low production "Illusions of progress" is completely listenable and in no way sounds like a garage recorded doom (even if it is).

I will proceed with the singing, because the vocals are my favourite part in this EP. You can easily imagine the singer chanting from a high mountain. Damn, he sounds like leading a funeral procession. Finnish and Swedish singers know their doom. As honest as I always am, no one does these types of chants better than Scandinavian people, there must be some spell behind it. Take Horse Latitudes as an example, damn fine stuff. The singing goes from this high as fuck type of epic way of pronunciating the words to angrier gutteral almost black metalish type of singing. Don't really think of black metal shrieking or something, it's just an association. 

Bass guitar is quite audible and this gets and instant plus. Real long guitar solos are not present, the guys have sticked to more straightforward stuff which is one reason I can't seem to fully dig this release. The last track is really atmospheric and does sound to me like a low tuned bassy atmospheric black metal. As lucky as I am to have read some of the lyrics, I got to say I am impressed with them as well. As cold as the music is, the ideas that stand behind the lyrics are so as well. As the name of the EP suggests itself, don't hope to find any rays of sunlight here. But since lyrics are kind of something you should interpret for yourself, let's leave that here.

To sum up my overall impressions, "Illusions of Progress" is a very successful effort, though still lacking some elements. It's more or less an introvert kind of album, sad but not really angry. It doesn't get you for the balls and throw you to the other corner of the room. I think there is a lot of potential to be developed here and will surely check what goes on with these folks. Doom on.

събота, 12 октомври 2013 г.

Bloody Hammers - Spiritual Relics (2013)




I was a little dead these recent months.. partly because of university work, partly other shit but here we go again.

Bloody Hammers is one of the bands that has the ability to make a few really really good songs, but then their overall work kind of sucks at some point. This variation in quality can be very tricky for the listener. You say to yourself "wow, this stuff is really good, how come I don't know these guys" but then you hear the whole album and disappointment knocks on the door. And I can honestly say that it's pretty difficult for me to rate their second album "Spiritual Relics".

The sophomore release of the quartet from North Carolina is hard to define. It doesn't really fall between the boundaries of classic traditional doom. There is a lot of leaning towards gothic rock, specifically in "Science fiction", "Shiver" and "The Transit begins". There are a lot of elements that remind me of famous gothic bands, maybe mostly because of the vocals. Illogically, after a few strong doom riffed songs and powerful choruses follows a mellow cheesy gothic song. No idea why, I can only guess that the musicians wanted to produce a varied album. It surely works for a lot of people, but my "cheesiness" tolerance is not that big. There are some good moments when the bass enters in to introduce some variety to the songs. Also the keyboard part is quite awesome, but you can hear it too rarely.

Here comes again the duality of this album. The vocals are really cool in some of the songs, but then again the ones that suck the most do so exactly because of the vocals. Maybe one of the reasons I'm really hooked to some of the songs - "The Well of Nazareth" is one such example, is because the singer so reminds me of Dax Riggs's singing in Acid Bath. In the faster and in the slower songs likewise. "Night of the long knives" is mediocre. It would have been a fine song if it wasn't for the stupid chorus which makes it sound like some modern idiocy.

Something really good about this album it that it has this darker, almost "horror movie"-like feeling to it. Doom or not, gothic or not, it has this weird dark feel to most of the tracks. Unfortunately, the mellowness of the bigger part of the tracks will repel the hardcore doomsters as it did repel me. I am writing this review because this band deserves to be checked out. Even if you're gonna skip some songs, there are a bunch that are good. If you haven't listened something that would remind you to the Southern stale, sick feeling of Acid Bath, there is a grain of music on this record that could remind you of it.