CD Reviews: February In Metal, Part I
Let’s get this out of the way right now. Goatwhore is the best band on the planet. I worship the ground they walk on and want to have their babies. Okay, so maybe not. But that’s the feeling I get from every mainstream review about this band.
Blood for the Master is easily one of the most anticipated records of the year and in turn Goatwhore has been on pretty much every metal magazine cover in the univers garnering all kinds of ass kissing praise. And let’s face it, it’s kind of sexy to use the word “Goatwhore” on the front of your rag. But I ain’t fucking doing it. No way, not me. I’ve got my own opinion and am just not following the trends…or, wait, shit. I do actually love this record.
In my book Goatwhore was a pretty generic band until 2009’s Carving Out the Eyes of God when they incorporated some thrash-like moments within their black metal sound. With Blood on the Master they stuck with what worked and created a record very similar to its older brother. There’s more fantastic thrash moments mixing in nicely with the core black metal sound and the repetition isn’t there as much this time around. It’s a dirty, grimey record but catchy as hell and well worth the attention it’s getting. So yeah, I’m just like everyone else and tossing this one on my short list for best album of 2012.
“Collapse in Eternal Worth”
Heavens. Earth may be a pioneering drone-doom band but right now they may be the least metal, metal band on the planet. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II was recorded at the same time as the first installment was but is quite different. The first disc wasn’t the heaviest thing they’ve ever done for sure, but II strips almost all the metal away and focuses on long winding improvisational pieces with a heavy focus on the cello tones. Even more noticeable is that the drone element of their sound has been scaled back a bit as well which tends to eliminate the repetitiveness that was the only real downfall of the previous record. The 12-minute “The Rakehell” is both the most repetitive and most intriguing song on the record with the best riff present on the disc. The rest of the album is incredibly mellow and almost folkish. There’s no doubt it’s a beautiful record but if you’re expecting something like Earth 2 or Phase 3, then you’re in for disappointment.
“His Teeth Did Brightly Shine”
Unbelievably this is Drudkh’s 9th LP since 2003 and with it, a return to their true heathen metal sound. Fans of the band will surely love Eternal Turn of the Wheel as it sounds nothing like 2010’s Handful of Stars. That record alienated a lot of people by taking an almost post-metal turn to the ever changing sound of the group. Many people loved the progression of the sound but even more people didn’t.
With this record, all the post-metal is gone. Instead, back to the forefront are the black metal guitar tones and the vicious screams of Thurios. The production is still polished and better than most black metal records, so we’re not going back all the way to the beginning but this is still the first album from Drudkh that feels like a step backward instead of forward. With most bands a step backwards is a bad thing. With Drudkh it’s the best thing that could have happened.
“When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls”
Holy shit, it’s only been six short years since the last Terrorizer record! For those of you that anticipated the last Morbid Angel record and then promptly deleted your stolen copy from your hard drive, head this way. The Angel’s Pete Sandoval and David Vincent decided they wanted to once again destroy all senses with some brutality and thus Hordes of Zombies was born. Terrorizer gets labeled as grindcore and there’s an element of that for sure, but this is a death metal record first and foremost with brain melting riffs from start to finish. Anthony “Wolf” Rezhawk growls with a brutal fierceness while new guitarist Katina Culture rips shit apart with both speed and melody. With 14 songs all in the 2-3 minute range, you can get in, get beat to shit and get out only losing three or four teeth in the process. Hordes of Zombies is definitely going on the potential list for top albums of 2012.
Pilgrim formed in 2010 to create menacing doom metal and they live up to their promise on their debut record. Over the course of six tracks, four of which are 10 minutes or longer, they slow down and then slow down some more with some bowel rattling low end maniacal riffs. The Wizard, Count Elric the Soothsayer and Krolg, Slayer of Man have put together a quality traditional doom metal album. The problem with the record is that there’s nothing unique about it at all. Even the album title – Misery Wizard – combines the two most used words in doom metal. They are from Rhode Island, so that’s a little different at least. But otherwise, you’ve heard this record 1,000 times before. If you love the traditional sound, then you’ll love this, it’s as simple as that.
An unidentified group of central European underground black metal artists got together to form Aus Der Transzendenz. With Breed of a Dying Sun they both take black metal a step forward and backwards at the same time. The overall sound is typical of the old-school – raw production and hollow vocals. But they weave in a lot of different chord changes and melodies within their sound, incorporating what feels like a more modern slant to the black metal of yesterday. It ends up being five tracks of dark and dirty black metal that both reminds you of the vintage years and excites you for what is still to come.
Albums currently on the list for top record of 2012:
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Terrorizer, Hordes of Zombies
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light