Deathdomain Webzine

Deathdomain Webzine – Random reviews & Random rants

Against the Wall – September 2014

Some of you might have noticed that we had no ATW for August, this has to do with two things. First of there’s the summer vacation and secondly July wasn’t really that exciting when it came to new releases. ATW is however back in full force as of now and as you might see we have featured albums both from July and August this month. Hope you enjoy the read!


ALBUM:
 Wolf – ”Devil Seed”

LABEL: Century Media
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL RATING: 7.7/10

7

(TK): This months winner in the Heavy Metal-category without a doubt. Judas Priest in all honour, but “Redeemer of Souls” does sound tired. That is not the case with “Devil Seed”8.0/10

(BH): If you don’t like Wolf, then maybe heavy metal’s not for you. Try something else. This yet is another great album of catchy, exciting riffs and pure heavy metal attitude from these guys. I applaud them for staying so true to metal. Suck it, Manowar8.5/10

(JP): Boys and girls, this is how you do heavy metal! 8.5/10

(MJ): The album starts out great, and ends on a high note. The songs in between tend to blend together for me, though. 6.5/10

(WN): If you like traditional heavy metal you will love this album, that´s pretty much a guarantee. Wolf sticks to the formula that works best for them and it´s easy to tell why. “Devil Seed” is carefully crafted no frills heavy metal. Plain and… simple? Yeah, the swedes know better than to try to reinvent the wheel. Good songwriting, very strong vocals, fantastic riffs, melodies and leads do all the work, no need for more. Wolf are true defenders of the faith…amen to that!  7.0/10


ALBUM:
 Sólstafir – ”Ótta”

LABEL: Season of Mist
GENRE: Post-Metal/Rock 
OVERALL RATING: 7.6/10


(TK):
 Me liking Sólstafir, and with that this opus entitled ”Ótta”, has probably everything to do with me cathing them live back in 2009. This is not everyday music, but indeed music for those days that just feel a bit more gloomy than others.  7.0/10

(BH): Surprisingly, I’m digging this. It’s essentially a crusty, dark atmospheric soundtrack of noise to a lousy winter day. You’re not going to jam out to this or anything, but you may like it if your into the ambient thing. 6.0/10

(JP): This album is the true meaning of epic. So beautiful at times that I almost lose my breath. 9.0/10

(MJ): Artsy rock is not my thing so my frame of reference is quite limited, but doesn’t this sound like a Muse/Kent/Deafheaven mole-scraping, singing in some made-up language? With a little patience at least it turns out OK 6.0/10

(WN): Moody, beautiful, raw, quiet, strange, grand, delicate, ambitious, introspective, harsh and then some. Metal?…Not really, just in its attitude. Definitely recommended if you are into post pop/rock/punk/shoegaze and just overall icelandic gloominess. A perfect autumn album. 8.0/10


ALBUM:
 Fallujah – ”The Flesh Prevails”

LABEL: Unique Leader Records
GENRE: Progressive/Technical Death Metal/Deathcore
OVERALL RATING: 7.1/10

(TK): Sure is delivered with a nice precision and I can’t really complain about the compositions, but yet somehow I feel empty and blank after the 41 minutes have passed. 6.5/10

(BH): Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what this is, but it’s definitely neither abysmally bad nor something I would willfully spin often. It’s a weird mishmash of deathish, blackish, partly atmospheric -core something. I’m just as confused listening to it as you are reading this. 5.0/10

(JP): I have avoided this band due to them being categorized as “Deathcore”. Shame on me! This is how Cynic should have evolved, rather than the lap around space they took. I am loving this! 8.5/10

(MJ): My first contact with Fallujah was when they warmed up for Suffocation on their last European tour, touching Sweden. I was really impressed with their atmospheric technical death metal, and this new album is their biggest achievement yet. 9.0/10

(WN): The guys at Fallujah are obviously very proficient and there are some fantastic moments in this album, but even if I enjoy the genre I can’t say that I’m particularly impressed by this release. It’s hard to construct a unique sound when you are following in the steps of already highly individual musicians. As a result of this the music in this album suffers from “musical name dropping”. Spacey guitar leads ala Cynic/Allan Holdsworth, electronic and spiritual pieces with female vocals ala Agora, intricate jazzy melodies ala Exivious etc… It´s all just too familiar. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the album, but I’m sure there´s still room for this guys to evolve and work on a more personal sound. 6.5/10


ALBUM:
 Belphegor – ”Conjuring the Dead”

LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Death/Black Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.7/10

(TK): This is competent and at times it gets me really hooked, but I can’t sadly shafke of the feeling that something is missing. Maybe it’s a slow grower? I hope it’s a grower.  7.0/10

(BH): If albums were Dungeons & Dragons characters, “Pestapokalypse VI” would be chaotic evil. Belphegor have cleaned things up a little and tightened down the screws to make this one sound a little cleaner and more listener-friendly. Whatever. It’s pretty good. 7.0/10

(JP): When the track “Gasmask Terror” first hit internet, I was disappointed. And to be honest I have been with almost everything they have released after “Lucifer Incestus”. But after listening to “Conjuring the Dead” a few times, I keep finding myself liking it. 7.5/10

(MJ): This album gave me close to no listening pleasure in the beginning, but now it’s at least average. 5.0/10

(WN): Well apparently Belphegor can do everything and do it right. “Conjuring the Dead” is a textbook lesson in blackened death in the best possible way. There´s grinding, blasting, melody, fantastic leads, groove and tons of nasty, evil sounding riffs. Not unlike some of the other bands in this list, Belphegor manage to stay true to their genre while managing to sound fresh. Kudos for that! Just try not to bang your head to the opening of “In Death”…I told you. 7.0/10


ALBUM:
 Judas Priest – ”Redeemer of Souls”

LABEL: Sony Music Entertainment
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.7/10

(TK): The music on this disc should be sped up with about 33%….I’m yawning here….. 5.5/10

(BH): It’s Judas Priest. It’s 2014. You probably know what this sounds like. It’s very decent.  7.0/10

(JP): You might think you are metal, but you are nothing compared to Judas Priest. 4 points for the songs, 4 points because of my respect for the band. 8.0/10

(MJ): Halford’s vocals doesn’t come through quite as strong anymore, but he’s excused because he’s still so cool at 63 years of age (I thought he was older). Someone really deserve a five fingered slap for that guitar sound though. But other than that… Judas!  6.5/10

(WN): I went in on this album with no expectations whatsoever and that was probably a good thing. After a couple of spins I was actually quite impressed, who knew that Priest could sound this good at this stage of the game? Halford‘s best years are obviously behind, but he still pulls a very solid performance that manages to warm my teenage metal heart. Soundwise this is a pretty good sample of Judas career and I particularly enjoy the more “Painkiller” oriented songs like “Redeemer of Souls” or “Metalizer”. Richie Faulkner does a great job filling in K.K´s shoes and it´s great to hear some fresh leads revitalizing the sound of the band. Very pleasant surprise! 6.5/10


ALBUM:
 The Haunted – ”Exit Wounds”

LABEL: Century Media
GENRE: Melodic Death/Post-Thrash Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.7/10

(TK): Never really did get hooked on The Haunted, always was more of a Carnal Forge guy. “Exit Wounds” doesn’t convert me, but it does although entertain me for 30 minutes or so. 6.5/10

(BH): My favorite albums by this band are “The Dead Eye” and “rEVOLVEr” in that order, and the former is one of my all time favorites. I think Peter Dolving with his immense emotion and range of personality took this band to a level that no one else out there can. Without Dolving, I feel like “Exit Wounds” is just another boring modern thrash album. 5.5/10

(JP): Parts of this album kick my thrash loving ass, and parts of it bore the living hell out of me. More no-nonsense thrash attack, less attempts to “artsy fartsy”. 6.5/10

(MJ): Yes! Now, just let’s hope that the new At The Gates is a proof of power at least as great as this album! Well, in honesty, I’m a bit disappointed. But I had VERY high expectations. 8.0/10

(WN): I never cared much about The Haunted in the past but they certainly did get my attention with “Exit Wounds”. There´s just and unquestionable quality about swedish melodic death/thrash that sets this country apart from the rest of the world. What stands out in bands like Darkane, The Forsaken or obviously At the Gates is the combination of brutality and melody while managing to keep thrash metal´s intensity and attitude. Songs like “Cutting Edge”, with a very Slayer-esque riffing or “Infiltrator” are prime examples of this. I could do without slightly boring filler like “All I Have” but overall this is a very consistent album with a lot of replay value. 7.0/10


ALBUM:
 Entombed A.D – “Back to the Front”

LABEL: Century Media
GENRE: Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10

(TK): Better than everything released after “Wolverine Blues”, but still I’d wish this tickled my balls at least a litte bit more. Has some groovy tunes that probably will work miracles at live-shows. 6.0/10

(BH): I absolutely love the opening track on this one, but sadly the album can’t hold that momentum for the whole length. Otherwise you’re probably looking at a 10. Instead, it clocks in at a rock solid. 8.5/10

(JP): If your first two albums are your best (so far), it has to be hard to live up to the legend. And to be fair, those two are some of the best albums ever to come from Sweden. And that is saying a lot! Entombed or rather Entombed A.D after a legal dispute has always managed to write at least two or three good songs on each album. Much to my disappointment I can’t even find one on ”Back to the Front”.  It is by far not a bad album, it just doesn’t make it for me. 5.0/10

(MJ): I get why some people think that this album is a return to the good old “Wolverine Blues” days, but I really wish that Entombed (whichever) would beef up the sound somewhat.  7.0/10

(WN): “Back to the Front” is nothing too groundbreaking for Entombed. Mid tempo death rock, hardly a surprise. Even if there are no novelties here the swedes prove why they are the godfathers of the genre. With heavy and groovy riffing working as the meat and potatoes in this record it´s hard not to enjoy the drive and the craft displayed in songs like “Kill to Live”, “Eternal Woe” or “The Underminer”. Ultimately a entertaining but forgettable album. 6.0/10


ALBUM:
 Opeth – ”Pale Communion”

LABEL: Roadrunner Records
GENRE: Progressive Rock
OVERALL RATING: 6.1/10

(TK): I’m not a big listener of progressive rock so I can’t really tell whether this cuts it as a great album in that genre or not. What I do know though is that this album is hell of a lot more interesting than “Heritage”, which in a way doesn’t really say that much. Opeth of Metal R.I.P. 6.5/10

(BH): More like NOpeth. Amirite? I’ll never understand why Opeth went from having a fantastic and original sound to trying to imitate obscure unlikable prog bands from 40 years ago. I liked Opeth when they were trying to be Opeth and not this garbage. This band has lost me for good.  3.0/10

(JP): I bet this is one of those albums I can come back to in a few years, when I have accepted that there will be no more albums like “Still life” or “Ghost Reveries” and actually appreciate it. Until then I am going to sulk a little. 6.0/10

(MJ): I wouldn’t have listened to this music, were it not Opeth. I prefer the deathier incarnation of the band, with “Ghost Reveries” and “Watershed” as peak albums, but this is what Opeth is now. 7.0/10

(WN): So, should a metal webzine review an album from a band that is not metal anymore just because they used to be the poster boys for their respective genre? Sure, why not? (This’ll be the last time Opeth is featured in a ATW unless hell freezes over and they go back to playing metal. /ed. TK) We all know how much the metal community loves on hating bands that dare to evolve from the genre and Opeth has certainly gotten their fair share of that. In the end  musicians should do whatever the hell they want and Opeth have actually turned into a badass, well oiled prog rock machine. The songwriting in “Pale Communion” is fantastic and works for me in a much more organic way than the one in  “Heritage” did. Less hesitant and patchy. Mikael has embraced the prog and gone all the way with it, good for you man! Also, dat Goblin tribute, nerdgasms galore! 8.0/10


ALBUM:
 Goatwhore – ”Constricting Rage of the Merciless”

LABEL: Season of Mist
GENRE: Black/Death/Thrash Metal
OVERALL RATING: 5.5/10

(TK):  Primal- in your face metal for the reptile-brain. Unlike an album such as Fallujah’s “The Flesh Prevails” that crave a lot of concentration, ”Constricting Rage of the Merciless”  simply just delivers a diverce and high dose of easy-listenable black/death/thrash metal goodness. 7.0/1o

(BH): I know these guys are loved by many, but I’m sorry. They are one of the most boring bands I’ve ever heard. Nothing about anything them is even remotely exciting or interesting in any way. It’s not you. It’s me. Cool name though. 2.0/10

(JP): This album makes me want to jump into a car and drive really fast, while headbanging and drumming on the steering wheel. Health and safety VS Goatwhore 0-666. 8.0/10

(MJ): I was taking a walk around the track when first listening to this album, and I started to feel physically ill. I’m not saying it’s 100% because of Goatwhore, but when forced to put down a score for “Constricting Rage…” it’ll have to be a 4.5/10

(WN): Not too fond of the generic death grind Goatwhore. Thrashy, black n roll Goatwhore on the other hand…that I like! Throw more songs like “Baring teeth in revolt” and “Schadenfreude” in the mix and it would make for a more cohesive and enjoyable listen. Even if this feels like a melting pot of genres, or maybe a big bowl of gumbo (ba dum tss) I’m still digging this album and I have a feeling that I will be giving it several more spins. 6.0/10


ALBUM:
 Hammerfall – ”(r)Evolution”

LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL RATING: 4.6/10

(TK): The winner of this months “misheard lyrics” goes to Hammerfall. “His erection will show you direction” is NOT what the lyrics sheet says. Never been a fan, but this is still the most solid HF album since their early days. 5.0/10

(BH): I enjoy everything Hammerfall has ever done to some extent. I like Cans’ pipes, the epic riffs, everything. This is far from the best Hammerfall album out there, but it’s good mindless power metal adventure and fun for little while. 6.5/10

(JP): This is probably the best album Hammerfall ever released…and it’s still shit. 3.0/10

(MJ): I got pretty interested in this “comeback,” but there are two better heavy metal albums in this ATW. Out of three.  4.0/10

(WN): I’ll be honest here. Even if I know that this confession might tarnish my non-existent reputation as a music writer I´ll still say it… This mini review is the fruit of ONE half assed spin to “(r)Evolution”. Yes, apparently I had been unconsciously postponing the listening of this album to the very last minute and I found myself with the dread of having to write about it on a saturday afternoon. So take what I’m about to say with a bucket of salt (as you should always do). “(r)Evolution” is power metal in all it´s ridiculous glory. When done right, this genre is pompous, absurd and blush-inducing. When done EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD, power metal can be uplifting, exciting and noble. “(r)Evolution” is not exceptional, it´s just a generic record with a few glimpses of  distinction. Do not approach unless you are a templar knight or a wizard. 4.5/10

 

Deathdomain ATW September 2014 on Spotify


Categorised as: Against The Wall | BH | JP | MJ | TK | WN



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