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Deathdomain Webzine – Random reviews & Random rants

Against the Wall – March 2013

 Suffocation – “Pinnacles of Bedlam”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Brutal Technical Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 8.0/10 (7,7)*

(TK): To be brutally honest I haven’t really paid that much attention to Suffocation after the “Despise the Sun” EP (1998), but the things I’ve heard after that has always sounded like quality stuff. “Pinnacles of Bedlam” is no exception as it offers 38 minutes of well-produced technical, yet not too technical, death metal with catchy riffs and nice bass-lines. 7.0/10

(MJ): Suffocation! Here’s what you do: CLICK ME! I won’t though, because this album is a bit of a let down. “Pinnacle of Bedlam” is too off the map of Suffo-land for me. 5.5/10

(CÄ): In the words of Gandalf The Grey: “A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!“. 8.0/10

(JP): Listening to a new album with Suffocation is always a big pleasure. These guys are the starting point of technical death, and the music style that is closest to my heart. I have nothing bad to say about this album. You know what you get, death metal perfection the Suffocation way. 10/10

(VS): I had my doubts with the songs that streamed before the entire album, since they are now flirting with the modern sound. However, it turned out to be a heavy and blasting album. Exactly what you would ask of them. 8.0/10

Rotting Christ
 Rotting Christ – “Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού”
LABEL: Season of Mist
GENRE: Extreme Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10 (6,6)*

(TK): Oh south spirit, remove the sea wind..Recall the first flame, awake the beast under the snow!” // The Sign of Evil Existence (1993). A lot has happened with the Rotting Christ I grew up with, but I guess it’s inevitable for a band not to progress in 20 years. I really like this, but I have one big problem and that is the way too polished and sterile production. First world problem? Oh hell to the yes.  7.5/10

(MJ): I found that “Sanctus Diavolos” didn’t live up to its hype, but this black metal and Weird Al/Devin Townsend-hybrid is actually rather pleasant. Simple, yet bombastic, and extremely effective. I can’t understand a word of the titles though. 8.5/10

(CÄ): Rotting Christ has always been one of those bands very hard to label, which of course is a good thing. What can be heard on “KTDE” is no exception and I really enjoy the feeling of not knowing what will come next. This is truly a breath of fresh air! 7.0/10

(JP): Greek black metal, well not so much black metal anymore. This album isn’t all too bad and I find myself nodding along to the songs. The sound is big and very cinematic, like something from the movie 300. I like it, however it can become a bit too much and halfway through I need a breather. Song for song it is mighty and epic, but as a whole it becomes as I said a bit too much. The songs tend to melt together. 6.0/10

(VS): From a band of this caliber, you always expect a release above average with new things to offer. However, I was deeply let down when I realized that the new Rotting Christ album is only studio effect after studio effect, weak and limited riffs, ugly titles, an over-hyped mediocre album. 4.0/10

 Soilwork – “The Living Infinite”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Melodic Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10 (6,3)*

(TK): First world problems once again. Whilst “The Living Infinite” to me is the best thing Soilwork has produced since “The Chainheart Machine” (2000), one of the biggest gems of Swedish melodic death metal , 84 minutes of music is just too much. Stupid fucking complaint? Well, yes. “Spectrum of Eternity” is though absolutely one of the best songs that I will hear in 2013.   7.5/10

(MJ): Soilwork really do sound like Soilwork. At first I thought this 2-CD project was a hella nice idea, but the more I thought about it, I started to have doubts about the quality of music that we’d find on the discs when delivered. I still bought the album a few weeks back, but while it hasn’t reached my door yet I can still say from listening to the album for this ATW that Soilwork really do sound like Soilwork, but they are becoming bland, and they never reach the bar again after the first track. They never will. “Spectrum of Eternity” is one of the best songs ever! 5.5/10

(CÄ): A really strong effort, from one of Sweden’s finest, with its killer songs, exquisite musicianship, great production and evident rekindling. Also, I think Björn Strid pulls off the performance of his career, on these two discs. Impressive stuff, to say the least! Kudos guys! 9.0/10

(JP): Once upon a time there was a band called Soilwork. They went their own way when everyone else was riding the band wagon in the wake of At the Gates and even more so In Flames at the time newer albums. They released two albums that defied the current wave of bland carbon copies. However by their 3rd album something happened. They fell for the group pressure and jumped on the band wagon. I lost my interest and left them in a dark corner of my mind. The first few tracks on this album made me believe that they grew into their new style, that they found something to call their own, but after a few more tracks I realize it wasn’t so. There are a few strong tracks on this album, and by far their best since “The Chainheart Machine”. But it disappoints me.  6.0/10

(VS): I really don’t like the road they’ve followed with their sound and it gets worse and worse with every release by them. I don’t know, it’s far from my taste, to a level that I find it unlistenable. 3.5/10

 Enforcer – “Death by Fire”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Heavy/Speed Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.0/10 (6,1)*

(TK): My first written verdict of this album was rather harsh. Then I drank some beers and guess what? This is an album that goes superbly with beer. Without the beer it just have some nice Iron Maiden-vibes, but also sadly some Mötley Crüe-vibes (Me and Mötley have never been friends). The instrumental piece “Crystal Suite” is brilliant with or without beer. Final verdict is 8.0 with beer, without it -> 6.0/10

(MJ): The tradition of getting pleasantly surprised by heavy metal continues in ATW. Swedish Enforcer (there are more than a handful bands with that name) bring fast paced heavy/speed to the table (not James Hetfield) with the classic 80’s charm. It’s nice, even if some of the songs sounds like they were written at some different session. 7.5/10

(CÄ): Death By Fire” you say? More like “Death By Enforcer“, if you ask me. Horrible! 2.0/10

(JP): Based on what I’ve heard from this band previously, I pressed play with a lot of skepticism. Much to my surprise, I quite like this album. It got great hooks, it’s entertaining and it flirts a lot with Motörhead. And that is never a bad thing! The only thing that doesn’t bring the record a homerun, is the vocals. They aren’t bad, just a little on the thin side, a little more balls and I would have been knocked off my feet. 7.0/10

(VS): Solid heavy metal with a touch of the 80s popular scene. There are no bad songs here and it’s well-produced and well worked. Catchy riffs and easy to remember chorus parts make it quite enjoyable. 8.0/10

GENRE: Melodic Power Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.0/10 (6,0)*

(TK): I used to be a big fan up until “Visions” (1997), but I lost interest after that. “Nemesis” had me hooked with the first four songs, but then it just dies out. Kotipelto’s Finglish is still somewhat irritating at times. 5.5/10

(MJ): This takes me back to when I was 15. Me, then, would have swallowed this hook, line and sinker, but me, now, have taken more than a few steps away from power metal and will not go back. Still, as far as power metal goes, this is a great album. Even more symphonic than I remember the genre to be, but it sounds good. 6.5/10

(CÄ): Besides having recruited my buddy Rolf Pilve as their new drummer, a while back, I don’t know that much about this band. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard any of their previous stuff. Then again, I’ve never been a power metal guy, so go figure! With that said, this release will not convert me, but I do know hard work, talent and effort when I hear it! 6.0/10

(JP): As always when it comes to Stratovarius this record is power metal overload. It contains everything you could want and need in a power metal record. It is super melodic, epic, headbanger friendly, it has harmonies on everything, loads of crescendos and it has lyrics that makes your skin turn inside out from the cheesiness. Even though this is far from my cup of tea, I have to give them respect for sticking to their guns all these years. Extra points for that. 5.0/10

(VS): Not a bad album, only that I am not into this band a lot. It’s a solid album with lots of interesting parts. It will not be on my playlist, but it has its moments and deserves a listen, especially if you are a fan. 7.0/10

 Eternal Tears of Sorrow – “Saivon Lapsi”
LABEL: Massacre Records
GENRE: Symphonic/Melodic Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.0/10 (5,9)*

(TK): Around “A Virgin and A Whore” (2001) I used to spin EToS pretty much on a daily basis, I still love that album. Sadly one of the weaknesses has always been the harsh vocals and now that the band doesn’t really manage to hook me with their riffs, this issue is even more prominent. 5.5/10

(MJ): Melodic death metal, the symphonic way. It’s not unique, though EToS have a nice approach to it. But the guy who opens up “Sound of Silence” (most noticeable) have the most awful accent. Still, I guess that is to be expected from bands from Finland and Italy… 6.0/10

(CÄ): Smells like Finnish spirit! Having an unmistakable sound has its good points and bad points. In this case, I’d say it’s a tie! 6.0/10

(JP): This album starts off good, and my initial though was to give it 7/10. But by the time I reached track 5 it decreased, by track 6 a little more. Symphonic death metal with horror movie sounding melodies is a good combo in my book. I can even go along with the clean vocals if they are done right. But when you turn parts of the songs into something that would fit the Eurovision Song Contest you have lost me. 5.0/10

(VS): Another quality album by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. The blend of synths, solos and melodies is wonderful here, you do not get bored at any moment. I could live with less clean vocals, but that’s just me. 7.0/10

 Vreid – “Welcome Farewell”
LABEL: Indie Recordings
GENRE: Black Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.0/10 (5,9)*

(TK): I never really managed to get into Vreid and I still haven’t really figured out why not? “Welcome farewell” doesn’t help either since I find it pleasurable and really fucking  catchy at times. This is really good, but I miss something. I just can’t put my finger around what it is? 7.0/10

(MJ): A friend got envious of me getting to hear the new Vreid album for this ATW. I have played it a few times, but I don’t remember anything about it, so I guess it wasn’t that good…  3.5/10

(CÄ): Hi, bye! 4.0/10

(JP): Post-Windir black metallers Vreid celebrates 9 years into their career by releasing their 6th offering “Welcome Farewell”. This album keeps in line with their previous work. Norwegian black metal with a hint of folk music cleverly hidden. I like this, I like it a lot. They have always been a good band that delivers just what you want to hear from them. I grab a beer, sit back and enjoy. 8.0/10

(VS): This release places itself somewhere between the best and the worst Vreid albums, it has its moments and it will satisfy fans and not only that. Still, I don’t think anyone will be really amazed by the music in there, surely the band has offered better pieces. 7.0/10

Darkthrone-"The Underground Resistance" 2013
 Darkthrone – “The Underground Resistance”
LABEL: Peaceville Records
GENRE: Punk/Black/Heavy/Speed Metal
OVERALL RATING: 5.0/10 (5,1)*

(TK): LEAVE…..NO…..CROSS…LEAVE NO CROSS UNTURNED! Full review here8.5/10

(MJ): “Leave No Cross Unturned” is one of the best titles for a song, ever! About the music, Darkthrone just isn’t Darkthrone at all anymore and they now play a rather weak blend of speed/heavy and punk/black. 3.5/10

(CÄ): It is true that development and progression are necessities if you want to surive the keen competiton, that is trying to stand out as a band today. However, Darkthrone‘s new take on their once established primitive sound does not do anything for me, at all! 2.0/10

(JP): I don´t think Darkthrone has released a good album since “Goatlord”, I also think that their best album is “Soulside Journey”, and no it’s not one of those “I am so true I only like the first album”-statements. It’s just I prefer death metal to black metal, and they made damn good death metal on that album. ”The Underground Resistance” however is pure and utter shit in my ears. The only good thing on this album is the drums. 2.0/10

(VS): The very definition of the underground extreme sound, this album is tearing heavy metal bands apart. The perfect meal for old school metalheads of any genre, I loved it from the first riff to the last falsetto. 9.5/10

Mourning Beloveth
 Mourning Beloveth – “Formless”
LABEL: Grau Records
GENRE: Doom/Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 5.0/10 (5,0)*

(TK): I like Mourning Beloveth. I’ve done so since that day in 2001 when I got the “Dust” album in my hands. But, however much I like them this album I have problems listening through it all (almost 1½ hour long). The track “Theories of Old Bones” clocking in on 14:51 minutes is masterful though! 7.0/10

(MJ): When will this damn album end? I’m still on the second track!? Fuuuuuck! The clean vocals helps a lot on this album, which otherwise would have been too much snooze in the doom. 3.0/10

(CÄ): In the words of Gandalf The Grey: “You shall not pass!“. 1.0/10

(JP): Beautiful melodies and epic vocals, what else do you need on a doom album? More than once early Katatonia comes to mind during the journey of “Formless”.  They are as pitch black as a pint of Guinness and sound just as good as the famous Irish stout tastes. Not for everyone, but then again doom isn’t either. 8.0/10

(VS): The music is very nice and it provokes a unique melancholic atmosphere. I know it’s the concept of the genre to create long songs but i could not get into it this time. Also, I admired the vocalist’s growls, but not the clean singing, even though he has a strong voice. It’s a good release in general. 6.0/10

 Portal – “Vexovoid”
LABEL: Profound Lore Records
GENRE: Experimental Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 4.0/10 (3,9)*

(TK): What JP said↓. Plus all I can picture in my head is a guy with a clock on his head. If death metal was a cake, this particular cake’s been covered with diarrhea.  3.0/10

(MJ): Damn, this is a stupid album. I hear Portal (not the game) are pretty popular around the globe and I appreciate that some music needs to come slow to the listener, but I just don’t find any musicality in this mess. I tried it, Portal sounds like airplane noise. 2.0/10

(CÄ): Congratulations on winning this edition of ATW, for the crappiest production, by a landslide. I wish I could say the music makes up for it, but then I would be lying, but hey, at least they managed to get the music and the production to go hand in hand. 3.0/10

(JP): Portal is one of those bands that I never understood. Everyone seems to praise them, but I am yet to see what the fuzz is about. To me it sounds like when you are having a rehearsal with your band, and between the songs you’re rehearsing you kick off in a spontaneous jam. Not everyone is playing the same song, the drummer has to stop and find the beat every now and then, the lead guitarist adds a very unfitting lead here and there, the vocalist doesn’t really know what to do so he adds a small growl once a while and the bass player is more than unimpressed by the performance, so he stands in the corner plucking the thickest string every 4 beats waiting for the chaos to stop. 3.0/10

(VS): This stuff cuts flesh like blade, nothing less than drowning and chaotic death metal that aims straight at your soul. They evolved their experimental sound even more with this album, that makes it a bit difficult to swallow, but it still is remarkable. 8.5/10

*= We decided to include the actual final score this month since it was such a close call on many of the albums.

Deathdomain ATW March 2013 on Spotify

Categorised as: Against The Wall | | JP | MJ | Reviews | TK | VS

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