Saturday, January 2, 2016

Single Review: Killswitch Engage - Strength Of The Mind - 2015

Genre: Metalcore
Country; USA
Year: 2005

A few weeks ago, Killswitch Engage released their new single titled “Strength Of The Mind”. KSE is one of the most important bands in the Metalcore scene, so we wanted to give a brief look to this new song.

After the return of Jesse Leach James as vocalist in 2012, we were very excited about a new album release. However, “Disarm the Descent” was a big disappointment. The composition was dull and predictable because of the lack of any innovative idea. The audio was also unimpressive, as well as the lyrics. However, we weren’t too worried at that time because we knew that Jesse was participating principally as vocalist and not as composer, due to its late inclusion in the producing process. Then, we had just to wait for the true next KSE album, finally the sequel of one of the best albums of all times, “Alive Or Just Breathing”.

Too bad for us, this new single isn’t what we were expecting. It closely trails the style shown in the last album and it doesn’t bring anything original or brilliant. It follows the classic pop song structure, it has the usual melodic metalcore vocals dynamic, the audio lacks deepness and strength, the chorus isn’t catchy and the riffs aren’t powerful enough. The result is boring up to the point that’s very hard to remember this song. Really, we just finished listening to it a fifth time and yet we can’t retain any melody of it.

Overall, this new single feels generic and unimpressive. It’s like the band has been recycling melodies and lyrics over and over again, since their album “The End of Heartache”, until only this undistinctive conjunction of sounds remains. How much more juice can KSE squeeze from this Metalcolre formula of theirs? Not too much, it seems. 

And about the lyrics... again that self-aid crap? 

It’s very frustrating to see that KSE won’t deliver again what its fans have been waiting for so much time. It seems that there is no turning back for the band in this path towards mediocrity. 

By the way, if you didn’t know, Jesse’s side project “The Empire Shall Fall” is far better than this shit. Their two released works may be the only spiritual successors of Alive Or Just Breathing.

Rating: 5/10

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Album Review: Denigrate - Hollowpoint - 2015

Genre: Gothic Metal/Dark Metal
County: Finland
Year: 2015


1. Engraved and Hellbound
2. Am I Facing Hell
3. Erased Pagesl
4. Death Reflection 
5. My Corrupted Sou
6. Liar 
7. Taken Away
8. Into Demise
9. Meitä ei enää ole

Twelve years have passed since Denigrate released its first and, up to now, only studio album. At the time when “Dismal Euphoria” was released, in 2003, bands like Sentence, HIM, Charon and To/Die/For were a lot more popular than they are today. They were part of a today decayed Gothic Metal subgenre, and of a special time in the music history. One of those bands was Denigrate, a Finnish musical group that managed to stand out briefly thanks to its first album. Their musical style was clearly influenced by those bands, mostly by Sentenced, but they also managed to innovate. “Dismal Euphoria” was, and still is, an outstanding work that every metal fan should listen to. That’s why, “Hollowpoint”, is surely one of the most expected albums for those who had the good luck to listen to that first album many years ago.

For those ones who were eager to listen to a new release from Denigrate, there is good and bad news. The good one is that this is a good album, with plenty of new and interesting ideas; the bad one is that, sometimes, it moves far away from that old Gothic Metal style we were talking about, what may be a serious letdown to some people. Either way, it's hard to say if this is, or is not, a better compilation than "Dismal Euphoria". Both albums differ in style, sometimes so substantially that it may be hard to see them as part of a same band's discography. It's safer to say that this is a unique release, and then it can't be successful compared with any other.

The occasional use of harsh vocals, Doom/Dark-Metal-like tunes, and different musical styles make of this release an entertaining, interesting and original one. Because of the many different styles it contains, this work can surely please a wide array of metal and pop listeners. The absence of heavy riffs may however be a serious drawback to some metal heads, specially for those who enjoyed songs like "Exit The Lake Suicide" or "The Romance". For the most part, the strength shown in the first album is gone but, in its place, Denigrate has put original melodies. For example, in songs like “Meitä Ei Enää Ole”, the band's link with Rapture (a Finnish Dark/Gothic Metal band) is obvious.

Throughout just nine songs Denigrate succeeds in delivering a nice amount of different and strong experiences. There is no need of 9+ pieces if they're shit. If you remember albums like "Ride The Lightning", you know that 8 songs may suffice if they are good enough. Still, the album length is acceptable, it plays for 47:05, which is in the average. It's composed only by full length songs (no intro or whatsoever) but serving some of them as pace changers. The opening, middle and closing tracks are the right ones to form what you may see as a sine wave.

We were quite impressed by the overall album structure since it delivers a great sense of progression. From the first to the last track, the band draws a path downwards a dark atmosphere, what one can easily perceive through the increasingly often use of darker tunes and harsh vocals. Within that path, every song feels different from the other, having each one distinctive elements like tempo, riffs, vocals and even musical style. It's refreshing to find this kind of release where one can actually identify each track not only by its lyrics. Every piece feels unique up to the point where one could think this is VA compilation. Let’s talk a little about them.

The first track is a good one but it also doesn't feel like a Denigrate's song. It retains most of the old gothic metal style we were talking about earlier, but it ditches most of the band own style. It was the only single release ahead of the album, and a good choice for that thanks to its neutral style (somewhere between the Pop and Metal worlds). Compared to the others, this is the album's most genetic track. The second song replicates those two styles but innovating at some point. It could have perfectly be part of "Dismal Euphoria". This is a great song that will surely please old fans and new comers alike.

The next song "Erased Pages", not only has a different vocalist but also it includes some harsh vocals for the first time in the band's history. We didn't like the guest singer clean vocals but the harsh vocals are awesome. The band's link with Rapture starts to show up.

The next track marks the end of the album's first part with one of the most boring composition the band has ever shown. It could be paralleled with "Guardian (Of The Bitter Sea)" from the previous album, as they share similar tunes, album place and rhythm. 

"My Corrupted Soul" is right at the middle of this compilation and marks a new peak in it. At this point, one can start to see the album structure as a sine wave where the opening, middle and closing tracks form peaks and, songs like the previous and the following one ("Liar"), valleys. This sine form works very well here, marking, along with the different composition styles, good pace changes and preventing the listener to get bored or lost while listening to the album.

"Taken Away" is one of our favorites pieces. It feels like a mix of Gothic, Doom and Dark Metal that will surely blow your mind away. With this song and the album's last one, "Meitä Ei Enää Ole", Denigrate gets very into Dark Metal. Yes, they are very different from the band's gothic metal style, but they are also some of the band's best songs ever released. "Meitä Ei Enää Ole" is a great closing-track.

The audio is maybe the lowest point in this album. It's not the worst we've heard, for sure, but it's not to be praised either. The loudness is ok, and there is a decent separation between instruments. However, there is almost no contrast, making the audio feel rather bland. It's a step down from the crispier and pounding sound of "Dismal Euphoria".

In sum, Denigrate's return is more than welcome. The band blends different musical styles throughout the album and into each song, resulting in a varied, consistent and appealing compilation. From the bright tunes of the first song, to the dark and melancholic melodies of the last one, this work is awesome. We truly hope this work reaches a lot of people and we would love to hear more from this reborn band. They have done an outstanding job this far, and it seems there is more to them to delight the world. These twelve years have not passed in vain.

Rating: 8/10

Monday, October 5, 2015

Playlist: Melodic Death Metal Core

For a while now, we have been building up this tracklist from the best Melodic Death Metal (and alike) bands out there. Some of them like Scar Symmetry are very popular, but others are pretty much unknown, so you may discover some great musical pieces here.

We added just one song by band, the one we like the most, of course. There will be for sure some songs that you may consider crap, others missing, etc; we don’t claim this is the best tracklist on earth, but we hope we can help some listeners to find great tunes to remember. We will be adding new ones as we catch them!

Tracklist: (Song Name - Band)

1.- Farewell Song - The Duskfall
2.- The Glow Of The Setting Sun - Nightrage
3.- Claw The Clouds - Satariel
4.- Hymn To Silent Soldiers - Fallen Joy
5.- The Loquid Everithing - Harasai
6.- Forsaken - Callenish Circle
7.- Across The Rainbow Bridge - Amon Amarth
8.- Continue From This Point - Disbelief
9.- The Eye Of The Serpent - Divine Souls (the only song from this band on Spotify)
10.- The Single Part Of Two - Dark Tranquillity
11.- Return - Dark Age
12.- Prophetian - Eternal Tears Of Sorrow
13.- The Last Relapse - All Shall Perish
14.- Fall - Dark Lunacy
15.- Chariots Of Thunder - The Kovenant
16.- Deep Silent Dead - The Wake
17.- Neohuman - Scar Symmetry
18.- Long Snap To Zero - Gardenian
19.- Sirens Of Black - Neaera
20.- Morte Noir - Universum
21.- Hold This Woe - Swallow The Sun
22.- Riders Of The Plague - The Absence
23.- Fire At Will - Deadlock
24.- Screaming From The Heavens - Mercenary
25.- Las Of All Winters - Wolfheart
26.- The Hatred That Was To Come - By My Fear
27.- Beaty In Passing - Words Of Farewell
28.- Mechanical Babylon - Septicflesh
29.- Coast To Coast - Disbelief (we had to add this one just because it's too awesome)
30.- Transfixion - Rapture

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Album Review: Five Finger Death Punch - Got Your Six - 2015

Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2015


1. Got Your Six
2. Jekyll and Hyde
3. Wash It All Away
4. Ain't My Last Dance
5. My Nemesis
6. No Sudden Movement
7. Question Everything
8. Hell to Pay
9. Digging My Own Grave
10. Meet My Maker
11. Boots and Blood
12. You're Not My Kind
13. This is My War
14. I Apologize
15. Jekyll and Hyde

FFDP repeats its wining formula once again. These guys have been perfecting it since their first album, released many years ago, and it seems that now that they have it ready, they'll stick to it as much as they can. "Got Your Six" feels then, more like a third volume of the previous compilation "The Wrong Side of Heaven...", than an independent work. They are so close in composition and sound that it'd be hard or impossible to distinguish one album from another, if you're listening randomly to their songs for the first time. So, there you have the first and biggest let down: the absence of novelty. 

Still, there are some bits with which one can differentiate this album from the others. Some of them are, for example, the tweaked sound (yea it seems they have made it even better than before), and... Well, there you have it! Really there is not to much difference, which is a real shame. Even more, some melodies seem to be a rip-off of tunes from previous albums. Just check out the similarities between "Question Everything" and "Diary of a Dead Man", between "Digging My Own Grave" and "The Wrong Side of Heaven", and between the starting tune from "Got Your Six" and the one from "Far From Home" to see of what we're talking about. This is not the first time the band recycles old tunes. Check the riff from "Dying Breed" and the one from "Wicked Ways". The evolution and change that this band has been needing since many albums before hasn't come this time. 

We have therefore some mixed feelings about this album. On the one hand this album packs great songs of high technical quality in both audio and instrument play, but on the other hand there is no surprise about it... or about anything really. The good audio quality and song writing is present once again but nothing additional or new is there to make feel this release different or special. This work will surely please every FFDP's fan, but surely it won't attract new ones. Maybe, and just maybe, the band has stayed for too long too fixed in its own style.

As said before, the band has tweaked the audio a bit. Now, it sounds louder, clearer and crispier than before, being today, without any doubt, one of the best sounding works out there because it matches perfectly the band's musical style. It makes you almost believe that every heavy metal group should sound like this. However, some sacrifices had to be made to achieve this spectacular result. Some instruments tend to be shaded by others (for example, the atmospheric guitar through the chorus on "Question everything" and on "My Nemesis", is constantly tending to disappear), but that's better than having a flat audio (like the one of Soilwork's "The Ride Majestic"). Because most of the time just the basic instruments play together, it's not a big issue. The fewer instruments, the easier to distribute them through different audio frequencies.

The album length is of 48:39 in its physical "Deluxe Edition", or 49:21 counting the 15th hidden track, and priced at $19.98 at Amazon. We believe it’s a bit pricy, not only because of the rough amount of content but also because of the production value of this work. Even if in its own right this is a fine compilation, this is not an outstanding (FFDP's) album, and other great releases with more content, like Amorphis’s “Under The Red Cloud” or Soilwork’s “The Ride Majestic”, are priced lower than this. The "Deluxe Version" is however a must have, if your going for the physical copy, that is. Why would someone go for the cheaper version with 3 missing tracks? We really don't know. If your out of money just go for the digital purchase, priced at $12.49, but don't go for the "Standard CD Edition"! Even if there is a hidden 15th track only included in the physical deluxe edition, it doesn't worth it.

We won't be stopping for too long talking about the album and song structure. If you have already listened to any previous FFDP's release, you know what's the scheme... just pop. Therefore, every song has an AABA form, that works fine most of the time. In some pieces, like in "Ain't My Last Dance", "My Nemesis" and "Meet My Maker", there is some discordance between the riff and the chorus. Even more, in those pieces, the chorus sucks and the riff rocks (it's supposed to be never like this, that's why the chorus exists). Also, no track has an impressive bridge, which is a shame and a result of the absence of fresh ideas. About the album structure it must be said though, that even while there is no intro, coda or interlude, the songs seem well ordered giving the album a good pace.

We feel there is a big void in this work: the absence of a truly memorable song. Maybe it's because the style is so worn-out, or because previous songs like "Cold", "The Pride" or "No One Gets Left Behind" and others, were too good and groundbreaking at their time, but the loss of thrill seems undeniable. "No Sudden Movement" and "Jekyll and Hyde" might have been those great songs, but at this point in the band's history, they just don't stand out like other tracks did. 

All in all, we have here a good but unimpressive release. It’s not the best one nor the most original or groundbreaking one, but it will be a nice addition to anyone’s metal collection.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, September 7, 2015

Album Review: Subsistence - Portrait Of A Dying World - 2015

Genre: Metalcore
Country: New Zealand
Year: 2015


1. Pretentious
2. Visions
3. Reaper
4. Portrait Of A Dying World
5. Wasteland
6. Back To Life
7. The Fear
8. The Demons
9. Brick By Brick
10. Heart Of Hatred
11. The Rain (ft. Matt Murphy)

Subsistence is a new and promising self-recorded, self-produced, female fronted metal band from New Zealand. It is, for now, a pretty much unknown Metalcore band, but I’m sure not for too long. Before starting to shit all over this album, it's important to say that this is a good work, and one that every Metalcore fan should listen to. It shines thanks to an outstanding composition, despite some flaws. It's such a good album that I can't help but to try to spread the word of its existence. I'm sure that any help is well appreciated by the band. Because my intention is only to contribute to create better music, I truly hope the following critics will be well received, if they manage to reach any of the band members.

“Portrait Of A Dying World” is like breathing fresh air in the middle of an oversaturated metal scene. Today, there are so many bands out there, maybe more than willing listeners, and so many of them are so much alike, that discovering this special work is awesome. Yes, it is Metalcore, there is no doubt about it, but within the boundaries of the genre, the band’s style excels thanks to good and fresh ideas. Then, if you are reading this and haven't already listened to this album, click one of the links below to do so, you won't regret it.

This awesome album has eleven full-length songs and plays for about 51:37. It has then, a very good amount of content. Considering its quality and its price (about $6.45 in, physical CD), I say it's a great deal. So, there should be no pretext to not buy this work, unless you don't like it, of course.

The song structure is something to be praised. Even though it obviously follows the pop scheme, and therefore there is always a chorus in every track, it varies sometimes substantially. For example, in "Pretentious" the chorus repeats only two times and the riffs are something more like two bridges. Something similar occurs in "Visions", "Reaper" and some others. In general, it's hard to see clearly the AABA song form, which may be a little confusing or even non catchy to some listeners, but for me it's just great.

The album structure however is not as interesting. As already said, there is no intro, interlude or coda, just full songs. This may be a good thing in terms of content amount but it also may be a downside in terms of pace variation. Also, there is no track that may serve as a pace changer, besides the middle track "Wasteland". This is a direct consequence of the absence of deep contrasts from one song to another. This is the only let down in composition. While it brings an overall novelty to the genre, it remains too fixed on a single style.

This compilation reminds me so much of the first and self-titled Killswitch Engage’s album. Not because of its style, sound or composition, but because of its big implied potential. Just like in the KSE’s work, the sound of “Portrait Of A Dying World” is crappy, and the musician’s performance is not as polished as one could hope. In both works, the package is not as pretty as its content. KSE released maybe the best Metalcore album of all times, “Alive Or Just Breathing”, two years after, mostly using polished songs from, precisely, their first one. It's surprising the difference that a good audio and a good vocal and instrumental performance can make. So, what I’m trying to say here, is that this album seems like a rough diamond that may shine like few, if it is properly polished. I truly hope to listen to some of these tracks revamped, in the future. What are those rough edges? Let's see.

The most evident problem in this compilation is the sound. It's just bad, feels cheap and ruins, up to some point, the otherwise nice experience. The drums are flat, undefined and sometimes very shaded by the other instruments (what is very extraordinary in a Metalcore production). The guitars are lacking crispness and the vocals clarity. Thus, I can say there were surely some issues in the mixing process, but it seems that some ones occurred throughout the recording also. The volume is too low for today standards, so the mastering was also poorly done. I know, many things can go wrong producing music, but in this case, some extra care (money, maybe) was needed. Of course, we are talking here about an independent and self-produced band, so these problems are not to be taken too seriously. Even more, I'm sure that someone will like the audio as much as I dislike it.

Other problems are related to the clean vocals. While the growls and screams are OK, the clean vocals, both male and female, are constantly missing the right notes, sounding dissonant. They also lack technical brilliance and strength. One could say that they fit the special Subsistence's musical style, and they do up to some point, however I can't but think they represent a missed opportunity of better music. This may be a bigger issue than the previous one because of its wider impact. 

Those are the most evident issues that this album suffers from. They may be unforgivable to some listeners but behind its imperfect face lays a much richer and better work than some of the most iconic Metal and Metalcore bands out there. Above all, it's an enjoyable work. Even if there are still many problems that need to be fixed in order to make this work shine as it should, right now, it's a great piece of art.

I congratulate the band members on this work. It's hard to self produce and publish, but they did it, and in a great way.

Bancamp (Full Album)
YouTube (Full Album)

Rating: 7/10

Monday, July 6, 2015

Album review: To/Die/For - Cult - 2015

Genre: Gothic Metal
Country: Finland
Year: 2015

1 - In black
2 - Screaming birds
3 - Unknown III
4 - Mere dream
5 - You
6 - Straight up
7 - Let it bleed
8 - End of tears
9 - Dying embers (Demo)

After 4 long years, the iconic Gothic Metal band To/Die/For releases its seventh studio album. It is one of the most anticipated works for this year 2015. Right up I want to say that this is a good album, and a lot better than the previous crapy one “Samsara”. So, if you haven’t already, give it a chance and listen to it.

Before going any further, let me get this clear, the style and brilliance from the first three albums is forever gone, and it won’t comeback. Those are the best albums in this band’s life and that’s how is going to forever be. It’s better to deal with this facts right away to not make too big expectations and to allow us to appreciate this new release by its own merits.

So, this new work comes after “Samsara”, which was just a mediocre album. The band has been struggling hard since their fourth album “IV” to achieve the high standards of the first ones, but they have not succeeded in that task. This time they might have got the closest possible. 

The albums has only 8 songs, plus a bonus track, making a total play time of 41:47. That’s a bit less that what one could expect from any LP album. This is a letdown, of course. But quality is what really matters… however this work is of a mediocre one. Strangely, the albums doesn’t pack the single “Dear Delirium”, released in 2014, which is a shame because it’s a good piece, even better than others included in this work. For the price of almost 15 euros, the content is too scarce and too mediocre. 

The version that I’m reviewing here comes with a bonus track. It’s “Dying Embers”, in its Demo 2001 version. It was a good choice for a bonus track. Even though it is a known song, this version is very different from the one released in Jaded. It is a different song, indeed, that everyone would be happy to have and listen. The remastering process was good enough to give an extra added value to the piece.

The album hasn’t any intro or coda, but what it has is a kind of interlude of about 2:35, titled “Mere Dream”. It’s hard to call it a song, not just because of its length, but also because of its lack of any depth and identity. It just serves as a kind of link between “Unknown III” and “You”.

The first two songs are the best ones. For sure, that’s why they were chosen by the band as singles. From there, it’s downwards. The third track, “Unknown III”, pretends to be a sequel of two excellent songs from the albums “Epilogue” and “Jaded”. However, besides the name (without “The”), it’s hard to link this new track with the previous ones, just because they are so different in both composition and quality. It’s almost a disrespect towards them. Surprisingly (in a bad way), this album version of “Unknown III” is much worse than the demo version released some years ago. By the way, you can listen to it for free here

The fourth song is “Mere Dreams”. As said before, it’s just an interlude that doesn’t shine in any way, thus there is not more to say about it. The piano tune from the fifth Track, “You”, reminds maybe too much to a Crematory’s song titled “The Fallen”. Just listen to them both and surely you’ll see the resemblance. “You” is by far from being a great song but it’s good enough to listen to it a couple of times. The cover of the song “Straight Up”, from Paula Abdul, is not as good as the original one, and it feels like a big missed opportunity. The female vocals in this track add a little spice, but nothing too remarkable. The next song is “Let it Bleed”. It doesn’t bring anything new or especially memorable. Finally, the last song “End of Tears” is the weakest point in this compilation (besides the interlude) and really makes you wonder “what they were thinking”.

The sound is acceptable but nothing more than that. The drums are lacking presence and the guitars seem not powerful enough. It feels just bland and unimpressive, even though the mixing processes was good enough to reach the due volume level and sound separation. The audio quality shown in “Epilogue From The Past”, five years ago, is a lot better.

Even with its highs and lows, this work is a good one. Not brilliant, not superb, not bad, not shit.

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Album Review: Lindemann - Skills In Pills - 2015

Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Germany
Year; 2015


1. Skills In Pills
2. Ladyboy
3. Fat
4. Fish On
5. Children Of The Sun
6. Home Sweet Home
7. Cowboy
8. Golden Shower
9. Yukon
10. Praise Abort
11. That’s My Heart

And so… Rammstein releases a new album. Yes, it is, and don’t fuk with me telling it’s not. It sounds like Rammstein and the lyrics are the ones from Rammstein, so it must be it… Even if the band is called otherwise, even if it’s not composed by all Rammstein's members, even if all the songs are in English, it is fuking Rammstein!

So, how good is this new Rammstein album? Better than the previous four ones, no doubt. However, it's not as good as the three or maybe four firsts Rammstein's albums. So yes! Go and pick this one… if you can accept a work a bit more than mediocre. 

I've already talked about the single “Praise Abort”. I was quite disappointed at that time because of the lack of new or good ideas. I believed then, that the upcoming album was going to be shit. I was, however, wrong. The album is far superior than the load of crap I was expecting, but it’s not a gem neither. 

This work doesn’t bring anything truly innovative, nor in its composition, lyrics, nor in its structure. Maybe the only distinctive element is the relevance of synths and other industrial metal instruments (relevance that seemed a bit forgotten since Mutter), and the use of some vocal choruses (also synths). Just listen to the song “Cowboy” and hear it for yourself. The album structure is one proper of any pop song (AABA), so you won’t find anything that excels here, besides the sense progression that Rammstein always imprints on their songs . Of course, as it's usual to the band, the composition lacks any technical brilliance. 

The participation of Peter Tägtgren in this project isn’t shown very much. It really seems like this is a Lindemann's solo project, and not a band. That's a shame. One could think that the ex-Hypocrisy and Pain member would contribute with some element from those bands… but no.

Throughout the eleven full tracks that compose the album (no coda or outro here), through the lyrics, the band seems to try too hard to make a strong impression on the listener. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, that must be a common goal to all lyric writers. The bad and tiresome thing is the way Lindemann tries to achieve this goal. Graphically, it is like watching time and time again the video from the single “Praise Abort”. Thus, it tends to get disgusting. After hearing ten songs alike in both lyrics and rhythm, it can get boring. That’s why the change of pace marked by the tracks “Home Sweet Home” and “That’s My Heart” (the album’s best one) is more than welcome.

The sound is good enough for any respectable studio album, but it appears to be a bit over-saturated or near saturated always. Because of the extensive use of background synths, it’s almost “atmospheric”. The guitars, synths and drums sound like they should on an industrial metal album. It is not superb but more than OK.

This album shines thanks to its catchy tunes, which are present in every song. That’s fundamental to any song, and Rammstein achieves it very frequently through this work.

Paradoxically, Skills In Pills seems more faithful to Rammstein’s style than Rammstein itself, and better also. It’s a lengthy album, with a respectable quality, but that doesn’t worth the almost $15 that they are asking for.

Finally, the worst song: “Praise Abort”. Why they decided to make it a single? It’s a mystery. Maybe it was just because it resembles so much to “Pussy”, which was a big success as a single.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Album review: Thornskill - Demo EP 2015

Genre: Nü Metal/Alternative Metal
Country: Spain
Year: 2015


1. My Motivation
2. Sexy Erotic Karma
3. Crying Blood
4. Retiro
5. Hysteric Coprolalia
6. Surprise MF

A few days ago came to my knowledge the existence of “Thornskill”, a recently created Alternative Metal band from Spain. They released a six song Demo, free to listen and download for everyone… and free music is always welcome. As a thank you, I want to give my honest opinion (not that anyone should care about it anyway) about this work.

Thornskill recognizes itself as a Alternative/Nü Metal band. And that’s just right. I don’t know where the Alternative Metal ends and the Nü Metal begins, I don’t fuking know if it is the same thing, and I don’t care. But, what i know is that this style has many shades. So, what kind of “Alternative Metal” this band plays? The answer is: a complex one. Thornskill mixes many little bits of different styles over and over again in an almost progressive style, but maintaining every song as a coherent and original piece. Because of this, their music feels fresh and interesting at every time, even though the band uses a pop song structure. This work may remind the NüMetal's golden years, around the year 2000, but enriched with new ideas and complexity.

This complex mix brings an original composition most of the time, others not. For instance, some riffs present in the second song reminds me to System of a Down. (Maybe to the song "B.Y.O.B." or "Forest". In fact, up to a certain point, one could perfectly think it’s a System of a Down song. 

Melodic tunes and aggressive riffs are making love through all the demo and in every track. The result is more amusing than beautiful, and more than interesting enough to please anyone. Certainly the style is not a melodic one, but it's neither an aggressive one.

As a Death Metal fan, I welcome the use of harsh vocals and screams, so I’m glad to hear them in this Demo. Impressively, I think that, because of the special way they are used, and because of the lyrics, even listeners that are not used to listen this vocals, or are not fond of them, may welcome them as well. The occasional use of female vocals are also welcome. They add even more spice to the already tasty mix.

Finally, Thornskill is indeed a Nü Metal band, but its style reaches a lot more than this only genre. This Demo will be a good addition to my bulky music collection, and not just another work lost among many. I send my best wishes to this promising band, and I hope to hear some new songs soon.

Rating: 7/10

You can also listen to them through their Youtube channel and check their web page at

If you want to download their Demo EP, here is the link.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Single Review: Lindemann - Praise Abort - 2015

Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Germany
Year: 2015

1. Praise Abort
2. Praise Abort (Clemens Wijers Remix)
3. Praise Abort (Ostblockschlampen Remix)
4. Praise Abort (Hedberg & Larsson Remix)
5. Fat (Jonas Kjellgren Remix)
6. Fat (Oliver Huntemann Electronica Mix)

Till Lindemann and Peter Tägtgren (ex Hypocrisy singer), released the first single from their new Industrial Metal band “Lindemann”, titled “Praise Abort”. As a former Rammstein fan I can’t help to say a few words about this song.

To begin with, I want to point some similarities with Rammstein. First, and as you may have already noticed, the cover reminds to one of Rammstein’s albums, “Mutter”. Second, it sounds like a Rammstein’s song. Third, it replicates the same formula used in the single “Pussy”, in lyrics, composition and instruments. So, if you haven’t listened to Rammstein, this may be a good chance.

The song itself isn’t bad, but it’s unremarkable despite of being catchy. The composition is the one of any pop song, and the instruments are the same ones of any mediocre industrial band. The participation of Tägtgren doesn’t bring anything new or good and the video sucks like the song does.

The Single comes with 5 more awful songs that happen to be remixes from “Praise Abort and Fat”, another piece (of crap surely) coming in the band’s next album.

Rammstein has lost its shine since their third album “Mutter” and it seems that this is NOT a comeback.

Rating: 4/10

Friday, May 8, 2015

Album review: Sirenia - The Seventh Life Path - 2015

Genre: Symphonic Gothic Metal
Counntry: Norway
Year: 2015


1. Seti
2. Serpent
3. Once My Light
4. Elixir
5. Sons Of The North
6. Earendel
7. Concealed Disdain
8. Insania
9. Contemptuous Quitus
10. The Silver Eye
11. Tragedienne
12. Tragica" (Tragedienne Spanish Version- Bonus Track)

“The Seventh Life Path”, is, well… the seventh Sirenia’s studio album, and the one we are going to review right now, in its Limited Edition format. 

It is priced today at $11.99 at and at 13,99 € at Napalm Records. This seem to be a fair price for an album just released and more than ok if you consider its content. 

The compilation is extraordinary lengthy. It has twelve songs (included a bonus track), where one of them is an intro, but a total play time of more than one hour and ten minutes. That’s a big amount of content for any LP album. That would be great if it also were of acceptable quality or more than acceptable… And it is! Indeed, it is superb. Behold one of the best albums this band has ever conceived! 

For better or worse, the band’s style has changed, of course, since their debut album in 2002. Strangely (not really), the biggest change coincided with the same album which Sirenia debuted in Nuclear Blast Records. “Nine Destinies And A Downfall” is a good album but a very different one from its two predecessors. It has a closer approach to the pop genre and so it dropped most of the Death Metal elements. Strangely again (seriously, not really), with “The Seventh Life Path”, the band has returned to its birthplace, Napalm Records, and, at the same time, to its old style, at least partially. So, it’s great to have them back to where they can do what they like, the way they like. 

By listening to the album firsts minutes, this change I’m talking about, is perceived right away. Back are the Death Metal vocals, back are the heavy riffs, back is the dark atmosphere, and back is Sirenia. This release is very close to the Gothic Death Metal the band exhibited in their first albums, but it also retains some of the essence of the last ones. Thus, this work blends the best of two different styles. Being fair, we can say that this album has some of the best of Sirenia. 

As said before, the harsh vocals are back, and the riffs that come with them. It’s good to have them back with more relevance and not as a bridge-only-instrument. In a couple of songs they don’t appear at all, but in the others they have, more or less, the same importance as the female clean vocals. However, they are used in the riffs only, being the choruses reserved for Ailyn. 

The novelty is also a big positive part. The band has maintained its particular style almost intact. Since “Nine Destinies And A Downfall”, it has suffered some variation obviously, but not at its core. Fortunately for us, this work brings some original elements. Which ones? I won’t tell you! But, besides the inclusion for the first time of an intro piece, they seem obvious in songs like “Elixir”, “The Silver Eye”, and throughout the album. The composition now feels richer than ever and entertaining. 

About the audio, I have to say it’s a refined version of the one used in the previous release. Still it is flat enough to let every instrument be heard, but this time it gives also the right and due relevance to some instruments, at the right time. As a consequence, the drums now sound deeper and more defined, the guitars more powerful and the vocals clearer.

In sum, a great work. Let’s hope the group stays in this path.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Album review: Apocalyptica - Shadowmaker - 2015

Genre: Metal?
Country: Finland
Year: 2015


1. I-III-V Seed of Chaos
2. Cold Blood
3. Shadowmaker
4. Slow Burn
5. Reign of Fear
6. Hole in My Soul
7. House of Chains
8. Riot Lights
9. Come Back Down
10. Sea Song (You Waded Out)
11. 'Till Death Do Us Part
12. Dead Man's Eyes

It has been a long way for Apocalyptica. Several albums and almost 20 years have passed since "Plays Metallica By Four Cellos". A part of its style and even its genre has mutated into something completely different and, by doing so, the band has gained new fans but also lost some others. 

Oddly, that change, besides the inclusion of drums, doesn’t reflects itself in every song. In their last album, “Shadowmaker”, the one we are reviewing here in its Limited Edition, the band set only three songs that can be identified as an “old” Apocalyptica song, and all the other, as a “new” one. The difference between them is obvious and goes far beyond the use of vocals; it’s a change of genre, being the “new” ones of some kind of generic pop-rock or Nü Metal, and the “old” ones, of the band’s special mix between classic music and metal.

So, two different styles and songs coexist in a single album, like from two totally diverse bands. Just compare any song from their album Cult with any of Shadowmaker and you will see what I’m talking about. There is nothing wrong in such coexistence, the problem is the quality from the Popalyptica’s songs, let’s see why.

First, those pieces aren’t something that one may attribute to a particular band or style. They are too generic in its composition, and the only aspect that may differentiate them is the use of cellos instead of guitars. Indeed, the songs seem to be composed mostly to be played by an electric guitar, rather than by cellos. In other words, the cellos aren’t used as cellos, but as guitars, for most of the time. Even in their first album, the cellos shined more than here.

“Apocalytica started playing Metallica and now look at what it has become!”

Second, related to the above said, the song structure is a rigid AABA one. There is no variation at all. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but since the composition is too simple and uninteresting, it just adds more shit to the latrine. It’s just generic music for the masses, a simple and easy-listening style that may be of the liking of most of the people, but no to a metal fan.

Third, Franky Perez voice are nothing to be proud of, as a band. There is nothing bright about it, and nothing that may justify its inclusion besides the willing to include lyrics. Its vocals are ok, but nothing more than ok, thus they add not even a bit of spice to the music, and they don’t contribute to create a special band identity.

This crap isn’t new. It started, but not in full strength, with their homonymous album and it’s first song “Life Burns!” (a good one), and then it kept growing album by album till this shity pop... yes, Popalyptica. 

“Shadowmaker”, the album titled song and first single, is catchy at some point but it doesn’t excel in any way apart of its nice four minutes bridge. 

“You Waded Out” is one of the exception where the cellos are used as… cellos. It’s a simple but nice song. “Dead Man’s Eyes” is a similar piece but not as good. 

Three songs (only two if you buy the standard edition), are part of the second and old genre we have already mentioned, and they have no lyrics at all. They evoke the band’s best of, and are interesting pieces worthy of being appreciated by any music lover. Don’t miss them! (“Reign of Fear”, “Riot Lights” and “Till Death Do Us Part”)

The sound has improved since the previous release, being specially noticeable in the drums and plates.

Finally, this resulted in a disappointing album, where just a few songs are good enough to be willing to listen to them more than once.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Album review: Ideogram - Life Mimics Theatre - 2015

Genre: Gothic Death Metal
Country: Italy
Year: 2015


1. Life Is Pregnant of Death
2. The Art of Bleeding
3. Evil (in Her Hands)
4. Falling Snow
5. Trembling Hands
6. Geisha for My Demons
7. Invisible Again
8. Reflections
9. Rain of Stars
10. I Am Candle
11. In a Cobalt Ocean
12. Death Is Pregnant of Life

The Gothic and Death Metal genres are some of the oldest Metal subgenres, and thus, they are very worn. In fact, it's hard to find something truly innovative in any composition, almost everything is already done and written. But what’s really disturbing is the lack of good ideas in new releases. That's why this debut work from ideogram deserves special mention. It’s not truly original, but it’s truly exceptional.

In this work, the melodic style, can be attributed to Gothic Metal rather than to Melodic Death Metal. It would be forced to say that there is a Melodic Death Metal here, at least in a predominant way. Just a few riffs can be attributed to that genre. Some riffs also are taken from the black genre. Above all, the title “Life Mimics Theatre” is just right to describe what to expect from Ideogram’s music style: a musical theatre play, by a metal band. The style deserves well the title of “Avant-Garde”.

The sound is above standards, without been superb. Sometimes the instruments tend to overleap each other but it’s nothing too significant. In general, every sound has its own band and the right volume, so it’s easy to hear every one separately paying at the same time. The kick sounds deep and defined enough, the voices always clear and guitars powerful when they must. The audio fits the musical style perfectly and that’s what matters.

The album has 12 tracks. One of them is a short intro and another a coda, so only 10 of those are full songs. It’s an ok length for a LP, but because of the superb song quality you will of course want more. The intro and outro tracks aren’t superfluous at all. They seem almost necessary for a work almost operatic and classic like this one.

The song structure is to be praised. There is no rigid AABA scheme and every song feels like a complete piece, with an intro, development and conclusion. The bridges are awesome most of the time. As said before, it's more like an opera than a pop music work. 

The composition is the best element present in this work. The number of voices is big. Just to make it easy, here is a list:
- Clean male vocals
- Clean female vocals
- High pitched harsh male vocals
- Low pitches harsh male vocals

Besides, every voice is used in different ways throughout the album. Sometimes singing, others talking, screaming or growling. It's just rich.

The use of different instruments makes everything even more interesting. Again, a small list: 
- Classic instruments, like piano, flutes, strings, harpsichord, accordion, etc.
- Modern instruments, like guitars, bass, etc.
- Electronic instruments or synths.

These elements alone are nothing if the composition itself isn't right, and, in this album, of course it is. As said before, the music style (Gothic Death Metal) isn't completely new but it seems very mature and solid. It's complex, varied, entertaining, original and beautiful, everything one may want from a musical piece. 

Some pieces are better than others, but the gap is not too big. Every song differentiates enough from the others and the whole album has a beginning and an end.

In sum, this debut album is a delight and only makes you want for more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Album review: Diminished 7 - The Regal Chapters - 2014

Genre: Gothic Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2014


1. When the Heart Consumes the Soul
2. Love Erased
3. Malice Gloom
4. El Ayo Ri La
5. She Destroys
6. Demons of Cast
7. Into Dying Eyes
8. Stigmata Dolls
9. Where There Once Were Walls
10. Worm?
11. (S)unravelling
12. My Insatiable Heart

There are more Gothic Metal bands than mushrooms on a rainy forest. But, a few of those aren’t mushrooms, at all. Some of them are great bands with its own identity and particular style. Diminished 7 is one of those few bands, thanks mainly because of its last released album, “The Regal Chapters”.

The sound is average at most. The volume is below today standards, the mixing wasn’t very well done so some instruments overlap each other, and some decisions about how every instrument must sound like could be criticized. It would be unfair, however, to say the album sounds like shit, because it doesn't. 

The album structure doesn't bring anything new. It has a decent intro, an insignificant interlude, and an ugly coda. The number of songs gets then reduced to nine of the twelve tracks. That's not enough for any long play album. 

The song structure isn't to be praised neither. It's as rigid as it usually is in any pop piece, with an AABA order.

All that, summed with plain vocals and some lack of technical instrument play, should result in a bad musical product, right? But, what about the composition? It's the only star in this sea of darkness... and it shines bright.

Thanks to an almost progressive style, the band achieves to enrich largely the genre, and, while doing so, to drive far away from what may be otherwise a generic gothic metal. Every song -besides the three pieces already mentioned- is complex and entertaining in almost every segment while carrying attractive and interesting melodies. The result is then, above all, an amusing album filled with original and catchy tunes.

Harsh vocals are present in some songs (like in "Where There One Were Walls" and in "Demons of Cast”), just to add a bit more of spice to the already saucy composition.

About the audio, beyond all the flaws, the sound gives a special feel and atmosphere to the whole work that matches very well the band's particular heavy gothic metal style. 

Of course, this is an album filled with highs and lows. Some songs are better than most of the melogoth ones out there, but some others are inferior. Thus, the gap between them is huge. The best ones are “Love Erased” –the album’s first song and a good choice for it-, "El Ayo Ri La", “Demons of Cast” and "Where There Once Were Walls". The other ones aren't bad, but just not notables.

So, even though the package isn't the prettiest, the content is worthy of attention.

If you like the gothic metal style, you must be glad: the genre still lives and evolves, and some bands like Diminished 7 are the ones that make this possible.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dowload pick - The Birthday Massacre - Superstition - 2014

Since its first album, released in 2002, this music group has been outlined as an original gothic rock band, full of distinctive melodies and a unique style. It’s a very good band but not without its issues

Their best work to date is the 2004' album, "Violet", which contains some re-recorded songs from the first album and new others.

After that, the forthcoming albums were lacking of new elements and the composition wasn't too bright. So, let’s hope this time it’s different.

The best of: Helltrain

Genre: Death 'n' Roll
Country: Sweden

So… Death 'n' Roll? Entombed, Carcass and The Cumshots are said to be bands of this genre. However, the name fits better Helltrain’s special style, the same that matches perfectly the very band’s name. Songs like “Jisei”, “Mr. Cooger”, “Route 666”, and of course, “Helltrain” make you feel really inside a “Death 'n' Roll helltrain”.

The influence of The Duskfall is evident, and it’s not a surprise. Three of the four band’s members participated in The Duskfall project, and as a result, the vocals, sound and composition are quite similar. This is not a Melodic Death Metal band, but it has for sure some elements of it. After the death of The Duskfall, Helltrain seems to fill up some of the void left behind, and it does so by mixing hard rock riffs, rock 'n' roll rhythms and lots of metal.

Helltrain’s albums aren’t what you may call “expectacular”. The sound isn't top notch, there are lots of highs and lows, and the simplistic style can get a bit boring. But, more than a few jewels are to be found in every one of them. 

"Rat Pack", and "Rot 'n' Roll" are maybe most catchy pieces of all the discography, and every metal fan should listen to them. Also, the bridge from "You Are The Man" is something worthy of attention, as well as the chorus and lyrics from "My Little Stars".

A few great songs are missing from this tight best-of list. So, there is more to enjoy from this awesome band.

You can go to to listen this songs, or follow us through Spotify.

01 - Rot'n'roll (Route 666 - 2004)
02 - Ratpack (Route 666 - 2004)
03 - Helltrain (Route 666 - 2004)
04 - Rock 'n' Roll Devil (Rock 'n' Roll Devil - 2008)
05 - My Little Stars (Rock 'n' Roll Devil - 2008)
06 - You're The Man (Rock 'n' Roll Devil - 2008)
07 - Burning... (Rock 'n' Roll Devil - 2008)
08 - Mr. Cooger (Death Is Coming - 2012)
09 - Slay The Beast (Death Is Coming - 2012)
10 - Jisei (Death Is Coming - 2012)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Download pick: Soilwork - Beyond The Infinite - 2014

After a nice comeback in 2013, Soilwork releases this 5 song EP. It follows their previous work very closely.

It's not yet on Spotify but you can go to our group to check it out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Album review: Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity) - 2014

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: Sweden
Year: 2014

1. The Shape of Things to Come
2. Neohuman
3. Limits to Infinity
4. Cryonic Harvest
5. The Spiral Timeshift
6. Children of the Integrated Circuit
7. Neuromancers
8. Technocalyptic Cybergeddon

...And so, after the longest pause this band has ever taken, Scar Symmetry releases another album on its way down to an unattractive progressive and melodic style.

There's no doubt about the quality loss the band's
last disks have suffered. It's been a non-stop fall from the awesomeness of Symmetric In Design, and it seems that there's no way to stop it.

But, don’t be mistaken. This new album, as well as all the last previous ones, isn't an awful work; however, this is not one more mediocre piece of crap. Despite a few sweet spots, there’s nothing really mind blowing, no landmark or inflection point, but the quality and variety in composition have improved greatly, as well as the audio and technical complexity, even though it presents a modern song structure with little or no variation at all. The three years that the realization of this work took, were worth it… more or less. 

Paradoxically, the choruses are the weakest point, and the riffs the strongest one, followed by some decent bridges. This has been recurrent and increasing in the last albums, but in “Cryonic Harvest”, it’s too much to bear, it’s just disgusting and ruins the whole song. If you like Melodic Death Metal, and you are listening to a Melodic Death Metal band -a bit progressive but not so much-, to hear that kind of awful shit AS A SONG CHORUS!!.. is like to be kicked on the balls (or tits)... by a racing horse! C'mon! That’s something that should never happen, there is a reason for the “chorus” to exist. Still, it occurs and more often with every new release. The other songs, but “Neohuman”, have the same issue of having no good refrain, so you’ll have to listen, at least three times per song, to a crappy melody

This band has always characterized because of the mix of heavy riffs with harsh vocals and melodic choruses with clean vocals, brought from the Nü Metal. That’s not necessarily compatible with a Melodic Death Metal style, it depends on how it’s executed. Bands like Deadlock and Crematory have done it flawlessly in many occasions, and so it did Scar Symmetry in its firsts two albums. But now, some of their melodies aren’t compatible anymore with the liking of a death metal (of any kind) fan, and the melodic or the progressive style aren’t the problem. Check out the bridge in the song “burn” of Septic Flesh; it’s very melodic and calm but also it fits perfectly with the dark and aggressive band’s style, breaking the song while doing so.

These childish tunes, used more and more often by Scar Symmetry, are incompatible with the Melodic Death Metal style and even with the same song in which they are. It goes something like this: you start listening to a decent melodeath song, nice riffs, nice vocals, and when the time for the chorus arrives… PAFF!! a slap in your face! you hear Kinder Garden music! It’s so joyful, so childish, so nice and tender, you don’t know what you are hearing anymore. A melodeath song? Or a kiddy song about fantasy, stars and other shiny things (lyrics's recurrent thematic).

The number of songs infected by this tenderness is too big, increases with every new album, and drives always anyone who listened in awesomeness to their first disk. “The Anomaly”, “Domination Agenda”, “Fear Catalyst”, “Cryonic Harvest”, “Sculptor Void” and “Frequencyshifter”, are just some of the most lovely (in the worst of ways) songs of this decaying music group.

This, in conjunction with the predominant use of the flat and untalented Lars Palmqvist’s voice (clean vocals), produces one of the worst human emotions ever.

Some bridges deserve also special attention. The one from “Neohuman”, is more than three minutes long, it’s awesome and justifies the whole song (more than the chorus does). It’s complex, varied, and at some point beautiful. It’s really the album's life saver. Other one is from “The Spiral Timeshift”; it’s not as good as the previous one, but still it has variety and contains a very nice guitar solo. At last, the one from “Neuromancers” also shines.

About the album structure, it’s nothing like what the band has shown before. It has an introductory track, as well as an instrumental interlude (which is strangely the second best song). In addition, the other tracks are very lengthy, two of them surpassing 8 minutes of playback time. It’s refreshing, of course, to have this kind of variation once in a while. However, the last song “Technocalyptic Cybergeddon”, could have been very easily divided in two different songs, with no musical link between those two parts.

Even though this work has just 8 tracks, of which one is a short intro, and another one is an interlude, this isn’t an EP, but a full-length album. In fact, it has an acceptable play time of a bit more than 43 minutes. For this amount of content and quality, the price of $10 bucks at, is bearable.

What undoubtedly has been improved in this release is the audio. The results of the equalization and the mixing are far better than in the previous work, delivering a deep sound but also acoustic balance. The bass sounds powerful but clean, the guitars strong enough, and the drums always good enough (however, it’s obvious the decision of not make them a relevant instrument). Besides Symmetric In Design and Pitch Black Progress, this is work has, without any doubt, the better sound of all the discography.

In sum, the first album of the announced trilogy is far better than Dark Matter Dimensions and The Unseen Empire, maybe being close to Holographic Universe, but it’s also far from being this group’s best one. The ensemble has freshen up its music a bit, with a good audio, some awesome bridges, a different album structure and a more technical and complex composition.

The best song: Neohuman
The worst song: Cryonic Harvest

Visit our comunity at to listen to this crap, and join us in Spotify.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Download pick: Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity) - 2014

Yep, another Scar Symmetry's álbum. While the review gets ready, here is a dowload link from

...Or you can listen to it through Spotify

Enjoy! (if you can)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Album review: Crematory - Antiserum - 2014

Genre: Gothic Metal/Industrial Metal
Country: Germany
Year: 2014


1. Apocalyptic Vision
2. Until the End 
3. Shadowmaker
4. If You Believe
5. Inside Your Eyes
6. Kommt näher
7. Irony of Fate
8. Virus
9. Back from the Dead
10. Welcome
11. Antiserum

It has been more than 20 years since the release of Crematory's first album, being remarkable its slow but awesome evolution

Some elements have changed substantially, like the use of synths and the melodicity, which have both increased a lot, and the album structure. Others have endured, like the harsh vocals -which are exactly the same-, the German and English mix in the lyrics, and the style at its core. The progression has been slow, in general, but still each disk has its own feel, being easy to link any song to its album, only by listening to it.

Normally, this German band doesn't take more than two years to launch a new compilation. Indeed, the only exception to this has been, until now, because of the four years pause the band took on the year 2000, before releasing its best and more revolutionary album, "Revolution". This time, also four years have passed since the last compilation ("infinity"), and so, one may wonder if this time the revolution from "revolution" -so redundant- could happen again...

And yes. Antiserum innovates greatly respect to its predecessors. It's what a new Crematory album usually is, and more. It doesn't bring something significantly new, it maintains the band's essence intact, but refreshes it by the introduction of extra elements.

This time, the most obvious new element is the dissonance present in most of the tracks, except in "Irony Of Fate" and "Kommt Näher" -which has, by the way, the most catchy melody-. It kicks you in the ears from the very beginning of the album, till the end of it. It's present through all of it, in almost every song, and in almost every chorus. Most of the time it's ok, sometimes it's more than ok, but other times it's less than ok. In "Virus", the dissonance is unpleasant, in "Welcome" it just ruins the chorus, but in "Until The End" it makes the song interesting and attractive. It's clear the band's intention to make this element a distinctive one in this release, but it didn't work too well with a non-progressive style.

Another element added is the use of vocoder (as voice fx filter) in some songs, along with a more extensive use of trance music like instruments and effects. Sometimes, the band almost reaches an industrial metal style. This gives to the album a different and fresh vibe that separates it from its predecessors. However, this doesn't bring necessarily a good result.

The songs have a stiff modern structure, thus there is no novelty here. The album structure however is another matter. The band keeps changing it from time to time, sometimes just once after various albums. This time they've put once again an intro piece, and for the first time, as last track, the album title song. These changes may not seem too much, but they mark the band’s special vision of a particular composition style, in a particular epoch of its history. You can check through the discography the obvious similarities between a certain album structure -shared by various compilations- and a certain style in composition.

That first intro track matches the next one ("Until The End") more than it matches the whole album, feeling like part of that song. That takes away most of the relevance that an intro song must have in a compilation.

The first real song is, then, Until The End. It's a good song, one of the album's best ones. It has nice catchy tune in the riff, but it's weak at the chorus. In fact, the riff is better than the chorus, and the bridge has nothing to remember.

"Shadowmaker", the second song, suffers from the same disease, and the following pieces aren't better neither, till "Kommt Näher", which marks the album's climax. After that, again, the power and the composition quality descends up to "Welcome", which is a not-so-good song, ruined at some level by the dissonance present in the last chorus's segment.

Generally, in every release, Crematory puts as last track a melodic song. This time it's not the exception, however now this is the homonymous song album, and a bit heavy too. It's one of the best pieces in this work and a great way to end it.

About the price, we have to say it seems a little high for an eleven song compilation. Even more when one of them is just an unremarkable intro, none plays for more than five minutes -and for more than 4:30, in average-, and this is no way the best full-length release we've heard from this band. It's at $15.89 at and at €15.99 at

The Digipack version, as well as the Boxset edition, comes with two remixes of "Shadowmaker". If you have already listened to any Crematory's remixed song, released in the past, you may not be surprised by the poor quality of these new ones. So, don't get over excited about them and rush to get the more pricy album versions just because of these. It's better to just listen to them through a music stream service and save some bucks, because these don't worth the money they are asking for. The other goodies included in those sets, like posters and other shits, may be more interesting for a fan, though.

The audio isn't the best ever displayed by Crematory. It isn't superb but it's good enough to enjoy the powerful guitars and bass. It's a little tweaked with respect to the previous work, noticeable mostly in a deeper bass, even though it's hard to say it's superior. Here, the guitar has lost some relevance and the kick's bass seems too loud and overcharged, producing an unbalanced sound.

Overall, this band made another good but not excellent release. The album and every of its songs are lacking the consistency shown in disks like Revolution or Infinity . Even though some of them, like "Until The End", "Kommt Näher" and "Antiserum", are good ones, none will be remembered as one of the band's best ones. Some other tracks, like "Inside Your Eyes" are mediocre, at best.

As final comment, Crematory has always been a great and talented band, despite some unfortunate songs and Pray (2008' album). From its first album the band has improved in every aspect of its music, managing to leave its essence mostly intact. That's something pretty unique for a music group with more than twenty years of life. Of course, this can be attributed to the almost no line-up variation that the band has experimented through its history, but it's still something worthy of attention.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Retrospective: Killswitch Engage - Alive Or Just Breathing - 2002

Genre: Metalcore
Country: USA
Year: 2002


1. Numbered Days
2. Self Revolution
3. Fixation On The Darkness
4. My Last Serenade
5. Life To Lifeless
6. Just Barely Breathing
7. To The Sons Of Man
8. Temple From The Within
9. Element Of One
10. Vide Infra
11. Without A Name
12. Rise Inside
13. In The Unblind

Every music style or genre has a complex and slow genesis. It takes more than a few steps to form a new and distinguishable one, steps made through years, songs, albums, and different bands. Because of this, it's impossible to award to just one band or album the creation of an entire style. However, what can be done is to identify some milestones in its generation. For example, the Trash Metal wasn't invented out of the blue by Anthrax or Metallica, but they perfected and made it known to the masses. 

The "Metalcore" isn't the exception to this rule. It wasn't made from one day to another, but its success and most of its core can be attributed to a single band, and to a single album: In 2002, Killswitch Engage released its second and greatest work, titled "Alive Or Just Breathing". 

At that time, more than ten years ago, MTV wasn't full of stupid teen shows like it is today, and you could actually watch... guess what... yea! MUSIC VIDEOS! (it's not too freakin crazy for a so called "Music Television" channel, or is it?). It was there where I discovered this band, in a late-night program, by its first album single and video, "My Last Serenade". I was astonished right away by the never before seen aggressive but melodic style, by mix of the singing, screaming and growling, by the exquisite composition, the catchy melody, and by the outstanding sound, all together in a thrilling and accord music video. It was like the waking of a new part of the brain... It was one of the biggest musical discoveries in my life. 

I put my hands on the album the very next day, and fell in love with it the same day, as I realized that My Last Serenade was only the tip of an enormous iceberg of amazing songs. However, some of those tracks weren't completely originals, but re-recorded songs from the previous work. 

Killswitch Engage made its first full-length release two years before, in the year 2000, self titled "Killswitch Engage". The album didn't produce too much hype at that time, even though the composition was great and unique. The band however made the right decision of salvaging some tracks, re-record them and improved every aspect but the composition. In opportunities like this, it's easy to see the relevance of every element that composes a music piece. The first album had great songs, but they sounded like shit. So, the composition isn't all; the audio and the instrument and interpretation quality are equally indispensable to deliver a good musical product. All the potential within the first album was enclosed in an ugly package, but within Alive Or Just Breathing it was finally brought to life. 

So, Alive Or just Breathing wasn't groundbreaking by itself, but it was good enough to bring Killswitch Engage to the fame, along with the genre. It's thanks to that album -not completely but largely- the fame that today the Metalcore has, and yes.. that the Metalcore bands are spreading everywhere like mushrooms in a rainy forest (which isn't very good). 

Even though no music prodigy is to be found behind the instruments, the creativity in the composition makes every song different, and hard to identify identical choruses or riffs, moving away from those tracks that seem to be actually played by only one minute, while the other four are filled by a "copy-paste" procedure. 

The audio is another strong point. Years had to pass before I had the chance to listen to another album - Satariel's "Hydra", released 2005 - with a sound close to be as powerful and clean. Even for today standards, the sound is top notch, only beat a few times. 

There is much more to say about this band, maybe another time.

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