Deicide, To Hell with God (Century Media)
U.S. Release Date: February 15th
I’m always psyched when a new Deicide record gets released as they are one of my favorite bands. I know there has been mixed reactions to their albums over the years, though I don’t think they’ve ever put out a studio record that’s been anything but awesome. And I think that here as well, however for the very first time I just wonder if they are trying too hard (or maybe not hard enough?).
Satanism. Yep, I get it.
Album title – To Hell with God. Yep, I still get it.
Track titles, “Angels in Hell,” “Servent of the Enemy.” Yep, still Satanic.
From the opinions I’ve read over the years the fact that Deicide have to make damn sure on every record that you know that Satan rules is the part that’s getting old. I think the only reason I agree with that on this album is because while I still love the record, it’s got nothing that I haven’t heard before from Mr. Benton and gang.
Sure, I realize I’m contradicting myself a bit here. I like it because it’s typical of the band and I’m bashing it because it’s typical of the band. That’s the feeling To Hell with God gives you though. You know you have that wall of flame surrounding you but it doesn’t bother you all that much now because you’ve learned how to deal with the heat.
I have to be a little disappointed because I had the expectations of it being the album of the year, which it is not. But I will be listening to it constantly for the next few months I’m sure, so maybe Deicide did the exact minimum they needed to do to put out a record that fans would enjoy.
Korpiklaani, Ukon Wacka (Nuclear Blast)
U.S. Release Date: February 4th
I really love Korpiklaani simply for their lyrics. Take these as an example;
“Tehtäväni Tärkeäni / Kuhun Synnyin, Vartuin Kasvoin / Saapi Vuottaa, Pikkät Vuuet / Saapi Kestää Kaikki Kauet.”
No, of course I have no idea what these Fins are saying – it is definitely the fact that they play upbeat drinking music that grabs me. Ukon Wacka translates to a ceremonial gathering to the Pagan god Ukko who was the God of sky and weather among other things. The contents translate into a damn good time with more melody throughout the disc than I think I’ve ever heard from them. The metal shines through on this album more than ever before but don’t think that you won’t recognize them as the violins, bagpipes and accordians are plentiful as well. “Tuoppi Oltta” (A Pint of Beer), “Lonkkaluut” (Hip Bone) and “Tequila” (Tequila – duh – not a cover but has elements of the much more famous “Tequila” tune in it) are a trio to be reckoned with. Any fan of the group should be very excited about Ukon Wacka. It’s now record number five on my early best of 2011 list.
Onslaught, Sounds of Violence (AFM)
US Release Date: February 8th
Man, I didn’t even know Onslaught was still around let alone making music again, so when Sounds of Violence showed up in my queue I was stoked but not expecting much.
Their debut was released in 1985 but it was 1986’s excellent The Force that put them on the map. After another record in ’89 they split up and thus just simply weren’t around long enough to get good recognition. But apparently they reunited under the radar and released a new album in 2007. So Sounds of Violence is the second album of their comeback. And fuck, it’s good.
This is pretty much the same sound that Exodus, Testament, Death Angel and other classic thrash bands are using these days so it doesn’t sound unique in any way. But what separates the good from bad right now with this style are hooks. The albums without the hooks seem retread, while those with hooks have sing-along, fist-pumping anthems. Sounds of Violence falls into the latter category as you can sing along to almost every tune. The power’s there on every song and the band sound as if they have the energy of 20-year-olds again. For anyone that likes the thrash revival sound these vintage bands have brought back, there’s no way you won’t find this killer.
Impiety, Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny (Agonia)
U.S. Release Date: February 15th
So, this is one of the hardest reviews I have to do. I’m in a bit of a creative rut right now and this comes along which is good enough to warrant a mention but hard to put into words. See, people ask me all the time to review their new 7″ single or stupid split CD (don’t get me started on that topic) and I say “no” because there just is no way I’m coming up with enough words for one song to make it worth my time.
And then there’s Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny — one song. But that one song is 38 fucking minutes long so it’s not like I only have 3 minutes to chat about. But still, what do you say about one song that makes someone want to listen to it? I’m not breaking this down minute by minute but what I can say is that you’ll be entertained if you can deal with the length.
I suppose you can call these dudes from Singapore, black metal though it’s not completely fair. They play a bit of a blend of black and thrash and on this album (their seventh) they put every style in the book through the ringer. There are moments early on when some mid-tempo riffs take over for a time that has you busting out the air guitar but the best points of the track are the plodding dark riffs, sounding similar to early Celtic Frost. There’s a point from around the 8-12 minute mark that this shines but then they switch on a dime to straight black metal blast beats. The biggest issue with this is that they either spend way too long on passages that don’t develop or not enough time on parts you wish you’d hear more of. And when you string your music together in one 38-minute track you’re pretty much telling the listener to like all of it because fuck if I’m going to hold in my fast forward button for 22-minutes to get to my favorite part.
That said, it’s interesting and worth a listen but in this format it’s just going to be hard for me to pick it up again.