CD Review: A Six-Pack of Metal

Written by CD Reviews, Music

I’m finally getting around to reviewing a mess of albums that have come out in the first half of 2010 that I just couldn’t find the 1000 words needed to devote an entire piece to. That doesn’t mean I let my opinion go to waste though, so instead let’s pack a shitload of metal into a tiny little space.

Suicidal Angels, Sanctify the Darkness (Sonic Union)

This album has been out for quite a while around the world, but as many metal bands have found out cracking the US with your record can take a little while. We finally got graced with the presence of Sanctify the Darkness on June 22nd.

I suppose there can be two schools of thought on this album. This Greek band creates old school thrash very true to the 1989 sound. Precision chainsaw riffs and perfectly matched vocals take you back to the heyday of Kreator making you wonder what these metalheads would have sounded like had they existed way back when bands were really playing this style of thrash.

Then I guess there’s the group of people who think this sounds very dated and not pushing the genre in any way. In fact, if there’s a true drawback to this album is that it sounds almost the same as their last one, 2007’s Eternal Domination. The album length is even almost identical and even the number of tracks are the same.

As much as I enjoy the groups that create something fresh and new, I still get the feeling that Suicidal Angels have accomplished their goal with Sanctify the Darkness – staying true to the music that influenced them and because of that, this album will keep me thrashing tonight.

Pick up Sanctify the Darkness now at Amazon.

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Kingdom of Sorrow, Behind the Blackest Tears (Relapse)

Kingdom of Sorrow is an interesting mix of styles. They are a supergroup of sorts featuring Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed (“of Hatebreed” is kind of mandatory since he hosted Headbanger’s Ball) and Kirk Windstein of Crowbar – two groups and men with very different styles.

KoS isn’t as sludgy as Crowbar and doesn’t approach the hardcore elements of Hatebreed, falling somewhere in between the two. The vocal stylings of the two men however, don’t change. Jasta is still growling angry and Windstein’s clean vocals may be a bit too clean this time around.

Unlike Suicidal Angels, here’s a group that should be breaking new ground coming from bands that go down as some of the best in their respective genres. The guys trade vocals back and forth on the title track, neither of which work with what is almost groove metal. And many of the other tracks sound relatively uninspired.

Jasta and Windstein are friends in real life – but just because they are pals doesn’t mean they need to make music together (Windstein didn’t learn this from his collaboration with pal Phil Anselmo in Down). That’s not to say the album doesn’t have any moments, because musically it can be fun listen at times. But overall it’s a pretty average record from guys who are too talented to settle for average at this point in their career.

You can buy your copy of Behind the Blackest Tears now at Amazon.

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Danzig, Deth Red Sabaoth (Evilive/The End)
I really wanted to give Deth Red Sabaoth its own post as I’m a huge fan of Danzig, but since its release on June 22nd, I’ve listened to it probably ten times and still don’t know what to make of it.

I certainly believe that I come from a much different place than most Danzig fans and critics at this point as I thought his last two records, I Luciferi (2002) and Circle of Snakes (2004) were both excellent despite being pretty much the same record. So many people shit on him for the industrial turns and the distorted vocals forgetting to listen to how damn hard the songs rocked.

So Glenn Danzig took 6 long years to get Deth Red Sabaoth out as a follow up to Circle of Snakes and with this he flips the script back around to his early days under the Danzig moniker. The album is very organic. Simple, solid riffage takes the forefront over electronic manipulations. If you thought Glenn’s vocals were getting worse over the years, he comes back with the cleanest tones he’s put out since Danzig III. And then there’s the return of the blues which had been missing since Danzig 4p. The fucker even drums on “Black Candy”.

The reason I’m torn on this one is not due to the quality of the music. It’s a good record and it rocks. But it rocks in a totally different way than you’ve heard Glenn do in 15 years. So as a fan of his last two records, the drastic change in sound is throwing me for a loop. A change was absolutely necessary though as he wasn’t selling any records and bringing in any new fans. I don’t know if Deth Red Sabaoth will do either of them but if you were one of those people that stopped listening after he released Blackacidevil in ’96 (and who would blame you?) you might be pleasantly surprised at what is being deemed as a return to form. If nothing else, check out the epic “Pyre of Souls”, a two part song worth the price of admission. And do yourself a favor and get a hard copy of the disc. As seems to be the norm with Glenn lately, the artwork is pretty shitty, but has boobs everywhere – so hey, it’s all good, right?

Hop back on the Danzig bandwagon and pick up Deth Red Sabaoth over at Amazon.

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Children of Technology, It’s Time to Face the Doomsday (Agipunk)

A very limited release through Agipunk records, Children of Technology are a bit of chaotic crust punk. Crust punk usually is not my cup of tea, but songs like “Nuclear Armed Dogs” and the title track are catchy as hell thought not unlike most other bands in the genre.

The Italian accent of the lead singer makes him sound a little like Lemmy – which of course adds a slight motorhead feel to the sound. And you have to love that the guitarist plays the “speedstrings of acid”. Sure, if you say so.

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Skull Fist, Heavier Than Metal (Self-Released)

Frankly, this is just ridiculous. Ridiculous fun that is! Okay, so that’s pretty cheesy but I kind of feel I have to be that way about Skull Fist. Every promo shot of this band looks like it was taken in 1983 from the background to the personnel and the music, well “Heavier Than Metal”, “Ride the Beast” and especially “No False Metal” should easily tell you what metal altar these guys worship at.

There is nothing that isn’t over the top about this band, from the group name which is just a perfect traditional power metal moniker, to the ridiculously speedy riffs, to the awesomely perfected falsetto by singer Jackie Slaughter. I’m not sure if they all are, but at least some of the members are still teenagers and they have a hot drummer, which means if they get any recognition at all, Revolver magazine is sure to have a “hottest chicks in metal” piece on them since that’s really all they do these days. I mean really, if you have a hot girl in your band you haven’t really made it until some middle aged metal wannabe spanks it to your Revolver magazine spread. I’m just assuming that is.

Unfortunately, this album is only a 5-song EP. But if the resurgence of traditional power metal keeps up, these guys could have a nice career. Pick up the album over at the Skull Fist website. And it looks like you can buy hot women in their T-Shirts for the same price as the record. Or maybe just the T-Shirt.

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Mammutant, Atomizer (Massacre)

Mammutant’s MySpace page says their sound is them “gnawing on human testicles”, which is certainly odd enough to peak my interest. I however cannot confirm or deny that they sound like chomping down on nads. Sorry if you were expecting that.

If you do a search on the group, the first thing you notice is that they are mutants alright. With costumes that are gwar-ish in nature (maybe I’m being lazy, but when I say “gwar-ish” you certainly know what I’m talking about) this German group certainly are not unique in taking this route. And while they aren’t quite Gwar status, Mammutant have something going for them that Gwar doesn’t – they really have their shit together technically.

They seem to be getting lumped somewhere between thrash and death metal – which is probably a pretty decent call. They don’t really fit what I feel is the death metal mold, but they aren’t totally thrash either. But you can hear the Morbid Angel and Celtic Frost influences in their guitar onslaught and a little Songs of Love and Hate period Godflesh in a track like “Atomizer”. The riffs are monstrous and the power of the four beasts together pack a fucking wallop like you wouldn’t believe.

This is getting torn apart on the web, which is part of the reason I felt the need to chime in. I know my tastes can be different at times but forgetting the fact that wearing a monster head is probably more laughable than shocking these days, the album is fucking killer and one of my favorites of the year.