HUMAN CULL “Split Second Extinction”

HUMAN CULL
“Split Second Extinction”
(Goatprayer Records)
I am not the greatest connoisseur of grindcore. I really don’t understand this whole 30 seconds blast of intensity. I want my songs at least 2 minutes long. Why should I sit through 40 songs that last only 30 seconds each when I can have an album of 2 minutes songs to enjoy thoroughly? Human Cull are by no standard bad but once you’re through the 11 tracks on this record the commercial break in your fave TV-show has just ended. I might be very Swedish in saying this but I feel that it’s a waste of space to do 11 songs in 10 minutes and then leave the rest of the CD empty. Whatever. I do enjoy the racket that Human Cull creates on this disc. It’s like a warm cosy feeling of wetting yourself. You get beaten to a pulp from the word go and ten minutes later you wonder what the hell just happened. That’s the way I like my grindcore. Anders Ekdahl

NORMAH “Darkest Is The Hour Before Dawn”

NORMAH
“Darkest Is The Hour Before Dawn”
(-)
Oh what a pleasure it is to get sent a record by a Greek band. I have a special spot in my heart for bands from Greece. There is something to the Greek metal scene that appeals to me on more levels than is healthy. Normah might not be the most well known name on the metal scene but that should change after the release of this EP. There is a groove to this that makes me think of a mix between the best of L7, grunge and the more molten ends of the metal spectra. The guitars totally rip open wounds that are so deep that they bleed profusely. And in between all this they throw in some more somber moments just to torture us some more. This has quickly grown to be this weeks favourite record. I like to be this surprised each week. Anders Ekdahl

SEPTEKH “The Seth Avanlanche”

SEPTEKH
“The Seth Avanlanche”
(Abyss)
Swedeath has come to mean a thing in the international metal scene. And with each new generation it is re-invented to mean something new. Septekh may hail from the Stockholm area and they sound nothing like Entombed or Dismember but still just as them. Know what I mean? But raw and basic it is. Just like Nihilist and Autopsy sounded once upon a time. Throw in some Repulsion in the picture too and you get a pretty good idea of just how raw and basic this is. Septekh could very easily be the next contender for the Swedeath throne. An opponent for the throne. Tribulation look out! I can’t help tapping my foot to this. It is just so cool to hear more and more bands going back to basic these days. It almost makes my eyes tear up. Cool stuff from yet another Swedeath exponent. Anders Ekdahl

TARANTULO “S/T”

TARANTULO
“S/T”
(Metalscrap Records)
This one started promising. I saw images of old Swedish death metal before my eyes. And it continued in the same style. This is heavy and intense death metal in that same school as early Entombed or Autopsy. I like it. I don’t know what it is but there is something appealing to a band that are as heavy as Tarantulo are. You get a slow rumbling in your nether regions. It’s like a very pleasant bowel movement. No, I’m not comparing Tarantulo to taking a dump. It’s more like when you feel comfortably full after a very nice dinner. Tarantulo is like a very nicely composed death metal meal on the heavier side. For all of you who like your death metal on the heavier side of the stick. Anders Ekdahl

Fear Factory – “The Industrialist”

Fear Factory – “The Industrialist” (AFM Records)

“….They said that the world was coming to an end. Well… it ended and it was caused by our own hand. The world just kept on turning….”. Fear Factory have never been afraid to experiment. Since their genre creating inception in the late 80s, this industrial death metal band have been blending various styles with the common thread of mixing fearsome brutality with melodies. With the experimentation extending also into band members’ personal careers – and not without friction – their previous opus “Mechanize” did little to dispel any doubts given the departure of OG drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers. Well, “The Industrialist” is not without controversy, given that it is essentially a joint effort between vocalist Burton C Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares, who has handled all the instruments including drum programming. Ironically based around the concept where a machine becomes human and realizes its own humanity, songs like ‘God Eater’, ‘Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed’ and ‘Difference Engine’ feature perfect rapid fire brutal precision drumming, soothing atmospheric keyboard harmonies, industro-synth melodies and raw shredding guitar from Cazares, while Bell’s diverse vocals provide the equivalent matching style be it raw throat strained to soulful to roaring. This might be Fear Factory’s most perfect album to date, that much of it is fabricated using machines is what needs to be rationalized….

Empires Of Eden – “Channelling The Infinite”

Empires Of Eden – “Channelling The Infinite” (Music Buy Mail / Cargo Records)

EOE is a collaborative project orchestrated by Australia’s Stu Marshall (ex-Dungeon) featuring an amazing array of vocalists ranging from Udo to Steve Grimmett to Cage’s Sean Peck to Metal Church’s Ronny Munroe – to name but a few! While Stu composes and plays all the music, which is stylized to each of his guest vocalists, they retain the freedom to write their own lyrics and incorporate their own melodies, thus making for superb songs that reflect the heavy, power and melodic genres that each of them are associated with. From the heavy riffs of ‘Hammer Down’ that feature Udo’s trademark air raid siren screams to the soulful guitar melodies on ‘White Wings’ on which Ronny Munroe’s epic vocals soar to Sean Peck’s shredding vocals on the majestic and intense ‘Born A King’, Stu Marshall has done a superb job on “Channelling The Infinite” which does exactly what it says on the tin!

The Cory Smoot Experiment – “When Worlds Collide”

The Cory Smoot Experiment – “When Worlds Collide” (Metal Blade Records)

Aka Flattus Maximus, the guitarist from GWAR, Cory Smoot had just finished this solo album before sadly passing away last year. Originally intended to feature a number of guest vocalists from GWAR’s own Dave Brockie and Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe, when scheduling conflicts meant that fell thru, Cory simply took up the handle and did ’em all himself! “When Worlds Collide” is definitely experimental, incorporating a wide range of styles but thankfully all heavily played from deep rumbling bass to double bass drumming from the Crowbar like ‘Fortunate Son’ to the thrashing ‘Mandatory Purgatory’. Cory’s guitar work itself covers the metal spectrum from his Spanish style on ‘Brainfade’ to the funk / death of ‘The Gauntlet’ and elsewhere shredding on the Fear Factory like ‘Religion Is Friction’! Vocally, his work isn’t as strong although it’s definitely suited to the dark metal he has created here, again trying to incorporate a variety of styles. “When Worlds Collide” is a fitting epitaph to him, probably showcasing much more than what the world knew of him and definitely sounding like he’s had a lotta fun doing, the proceeds of which will go to his family, so what more could he ask for?

Arstidir Lifsins – “Vapna Laekjar Eldr”

Arstidir Lifsins – “Vapna Laekjar Eldr” (Van Records)

Possibly one of the most ambitious packages I’ve ever seen, Arstidir Lifsins is a 9 piece German / Icelandic / Norwegian collaboration who play Norse / Pagan / Black metal mixed in with folk sung in old Icelandic! The brainchild of Stefan who studied Medieval Icelandic while in Iceland, no doubt influenced profoundly by its timeless, primordial, volcanic landscape as well as the strong Norse culture, Arstidir Lifsins itself roughly translates to ‘seasons of life’ and is strongly connected to the different seasons. “Vapna Laekjar Eldr” is again deeply rooted in Iceland’s history of the later half of the 10th century AD, continuing the story from the first album “Jötunheima dolgferð” also set in the Westjords (Vestfirðir) and telling the harsh tale of survival and struggle of farmers based on the family sagas of Norwegian and Celtic settlers. Pressed in a special dark red coloured vinyl and presented in a gatefold is an extensive art book with 48 pages, including nine exclusively painted pictures by singer Marsél, English translations of the lyrics and a special chapter that is designed in the way of 14th century Icelandic illuminated manuscripts. If the packaging is superb, then the music is nothing short of epic: centered around a Norse black metal core come Nordic choirs, strong Scandinavian folk melodies, as well as a range of instruments from violins to organs to harps to piano. Dark, melancholic and at times violent, while elsewhere ambient and atmospheric Arstidir Lifsins have accurately captured Iceland’s wild and unforgiving nature, but also its majestic beauty in a superb album whose energy goes beyond music and into a complete cultural immersion!

Ahab – “The Giant”

Ahab – “The Giant” (Napalm Records)

Ahab are a German funeral doom death band with a fascination for grim seafaring tales like ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Essex’ (where adrift whalers resort to cannibalism) on which they base their woeful albums. This time around they are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym’, which contains even more gruesome tales of cannibalism, as well as shipwrecks, mutiny and being attacked by island natives! Inspirations aside, musically “The Giant” certainly lives up to its name: massive, crushing riffs mixed with the hoarse, tortured vocals of Daniel Droste weighed down by leaden rhythms. There is only the slightest hint of melody in Christian Hector’s solos but that too is melancholic and only adds to the depressing tones of songs like ‘Fathoms Deep Blue’, ‘Aeons Elapse’ and ‘Antarctica The Polymorphess’, which could easily send someone over the edge. Definitely not an album to take to the seaside!

Vladimirs – “The Late Hours”

Vladimirs – “The Late Hours” (High Roller Records)

If you’re a fan of original Misfits, then you’re sure to also know Vladimirs. These Cincinnati horror metal punks had been going since the mid 90s, but after a 5 year slumber following the departure of original bass player Doug Nevels in 2007, have recently been resurrected. Playing fast, bottom heavy punk-a-rola with Marquis Thomas’s Evil Elvis-ish vocals on songs like ‘Synthetic Happiness’, there is definitely more of a metal influence compared to Misfits on songs like ‘Quiet Room’ featuring double bass drumming and also in Brian Day’s metalized guitar work. However, the overall theme defined by songs like ‘Zombie Eyed Youth’ still remains the same of short, fast, fist banging songs that you can give a big shout out to while partying on!