July In Metal, Part V: Kadavar, Unconsecrated and Windfaerer
Well look, so you know I like reviewing the new metal albums before they are released because by this point you’ve probably heard a ton about this new German band, Kadavar – but their self-titled debut is so damn good that every time I tried putting the proverbial pen-to-paper I found myself getting too lost in the record wishing with all my might that I was stoned and drunk off my ass at that point.
Christ, Kadavar is special man. Truly something special. They have very effectively done what every doom metal band since the Ozzy days of Sabbath has tried to do and that’s wear the influence on their sleeve without sounding like a tribute band. Over the course of six long tracks, they are somehow able to blend all the great doom and stoner moments over the years into one very modern yet vintage sound. There’s no doubt they worship at the altar of Sabbath but even more so at the alter of Geezer Butler. The basslines across the whole record remind you why you thought the Geez was the shit to begin with. The blues-rock riffs of “All Our Thoughts” could have been on either of the first two Sabbath records – catchy as hell and with bass that makes a statement somewhere between Butler and the lick from “My Sharona.”
But Sabbath isn’t the only influence. “Black Sun” conjures up visions of Hawkwind and the Doors and “Purple Sage” of course is going to immediately put you in a Hendrix state of mind by the title but then also features some ridiculous psychedelic spacey atmospheric noise over top of haze filled goodness. And “Creature of the Demon” may be the heaviest fucking track of the year. At the same time you can hear the influence of Pentagram and certainly the work of Matt Pike in Sleep. Bands like Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard – great representations of modern doom and stoner metal – are going to listen to this and wonder why they have never been able to make something this good. And check out the cover art. I mean, these guys look like 1975 and the guy on the left – I mean look at that fur. And not Kid Rock douchebag fur either. Like, I rock like a motherfucker now pass the bong type fur. And rockin’ like a motherfucker is something you’ll do while listening to this masterpiece of a disc. Fuck yeah.
If you are familiar with the short career of Unconsecrated you might think you’ve heard the title of the album before. But you haven’t, at least not like this. This Spanish death metal trio is no longer together making this a compilation of their history. I wouldn’t normally be a fan of this sort of thing with such a limited catalog to pull from but Awakening in the Cemetery Grave contains all the material they recorded while they were together so it makes it a damn cool package. And the reason you might know the title is that it’s a combo of their three releases, Unconsecrated Cemetery, Dark Awakening and Slave to the Grave.
Despite being Spanish these guys go the route of the Swedish chainsaw sound like it was right out of a manual. Enjoyment of the band really depends on if you like the genre or not. There really is very little variation from band to band within it, with the differences only being the quality of the players within the band. Fortunately, Unconsecrated were a damn good band. Sure, there’s 18 tracks on this that sound pretty much the same but you get to hear their maturity from the first demo in 2006 to the EP in 2010. The comp. starts off with the most recent material as well so you get started with the really good shit right up front. But you soon realize that the older material was fantastic as well, just a little under-produced.
Fans of the scene can find 100 bands that sound exactly like this so I guess it’s a matter of personal preference if you bother with Awakening in the Cemetery Grave or not but to get the entire career of one band this good on a single disc is an amazing value.
When I get an album by a group named Windfaerer in my inbox, I really don’t think of headbanging material but Solar is just that. This trio from New Jersey alternate between atmospheric folk metal and a blackened folk style quite possibly creating the sound for your next say…trip across the Atlantic?
Vocalist, guitarist and bassist Michael Goncalves is the leader of the group and while the other band members help form the music, it’s really his vision. The definition of the word Windfaerer means “one who travels with the wind” like a captain sailing along the seas of his dreams. Goncalves’s journey also includes drummer John Paul Andrade and violinist Benjamin Karas which of course is the person that brings in the folk element to the group. The seven track EP is based in heavily layered black metal with killer hooks and a definite epic folk feel. Goncalves barks out (and sometimes screams) his lyrics about travel, nature and light like a man possessed and the productions values are pretty great for not only black metal but a self-released disc. A song like “Blackened Voids” is truly representative of the band as a whole. Catchy but dark. Pummeling riffs over soaring violins. There’s also a couple acoustic tracks playing out like the soundtrack for the captain that’s lost his sense of direction.
For an EP, it feels quite complete and thankfully includes no filler at all. This type of music doesn’t normally come out of dirty Jersey which makes Windfaerer a bit of a rarity. Whether they ever achieve greatness or not is yet to be seen but this is definitely the type of band that can help get USBM to a respectable level.
Albums currently on the potential best of 2012 list:
Baroness, Yellow & Green
Christian Mistress, Possession
Denial of God, Death and the Beyond
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Human Toilet, Human Toilet
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock To the Land
Mongrels Cross, The Sins of Aquarius
OSI, Fire Make Thunder
Satanic Bloodspraying, At the Mercy of Satan
Terrorizer, Hordes of Chaos
Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Primum
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light