Deathdomain Webzine

Deathdomain Webzine – Random reviews & Random rants

Against the Wall – November 2014


ALBUM: Anaal Nathrakh –”Desideratum”
LABEL: Metal Blade Records
GENRE: Industrial Black Metal/Grindcore
OVERALL RATING: 8.3/10

(BH): Aside from the occasional and nearly unbearable high-pitched screaming vocal variety, this album is amazing, which can actually be said of any AN album. However, this is by far their best record to date. It’s a devious, chaotic, mechanized cyborg of a blackened death metal album with plenty of ominous grooves and brutality. 9.5/10

(JP): For any extreme metal band it is brave to involve a DnB Dj to collaborate on your album. Unless you are Anaal Nathrakh, then it makes all the sense. From album number one this band have strived to push the boundaries of extreme metal, and they are yet to disappoint. 9.0/10

(MJ): As long as V.I.T.R.I.O.L. keeps to shrieking and screaming, instead of singing, this is a knock-out. Niklas Kvarforth makes a great appearance. 8.5/10

(WN): I’m not very familiar with Anaal Nathrakh‘s back catalog but I did enjoy this hot mess of an album. Black metal, electronica, grindcore, melodic metal, breakdowns, industrial…you name it. At least is not boring! 6.5/10

(GJ): Just… Yes! These guys know how to make it interesting. 8.0/10


ALBUM: Abysmal Dawn –”Obsolescence”
LABEL: Relapse Records
GENRE: Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 8.1/10

(BH): You can look at this album in two different ways. First, if you look at it like any other other American technical death metal album, you’ll be disappointed. It’s not very technical at all. Or you can look at it for what it is, which if a finely polished slab of mid-paced and really groovy ‘Merican death metal. I dig it. 8.5/10

(JP): From having a good balance between technicality and songwriting to overcomplicating things, and back to the perfect balance. Best Abysmal Dawn album to date. 8.5/10

(MJ): I’ve been seeing promotional write-ups for this album for quite some time, but I never thought that “Obsolescence” would be worth my time. Well, fuck me. 10/10

(WN): In a world of technically proficient but unfortunately bland and generic death metal records “Obsolescence” scores a few points above the average. Good songwriting, memorable hooks and leads and variation ensure an enjoyable listen. Minus points for the “heard this all before” feeling. 6.5/10

(GJ): This months surprise for me. This is good. Didn’t see that one coming. 7.0/10


ALBUM: At The Gates –”At War With Reality”
LABEL: Century Media
GENRE: Melodic Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.9/10

(BH): Outside of the opening riff of “Blinded by Fear” and the guitar solo in “Cold,” I’ve never liked “Slaughter of the Soul” that much. Sorry. But this one is actually far better than I was expecting. 7.0/10

(JP): At first listen I was extremely disappointed, but after a few spins, and my pre conception of “Slaughter of the soul” number two starts to fade away. I actually find a few songs on here that I really like. It is by far not as good as they can be, but they are back and they are doing on their own terms. I can’t wait for the next album as I think this is just the start on the journey back to the top. 7.0/10

(MJ): I have always thought At The Gates to be overrated. “At War With Reality” is good, but it’s not as amazing as many want you to believe. 7.5/10

(WN): “At War With Reality” sticks a 100% to the standards of a genre that is, to me, very played out and somehow outdated and manages to make it sound appealing again. It’s puzzling and intriguing. It’s that intangible quality that separates innovators from followers. Melodic death metal IS At the Gates and this album is pure identity.  7.0/10

(GJ): I am not sure what to say. Perhaps my expectations were set too high? The vocals, the songs, the over all feeling, it doesn’t add up. 6.0/10


ALBUM: Scar Symmetry –”The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Melodic Death/Groove Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.9/10

(BH): I loved this band’s first four albums, but now their last two have lost me a little. Roberth Karlsson is a world class vocalist, but something is just missing from this one that could send it over the top. The killer melodic hooks this band utilized so well in the past are just too few and far between. Still decent though. 7.0/10

(JP): Not my cup of tea, but of all the bands in the same style, this is by far one of the best. 6.0/10

(MJ): I usually have a soft spot for the music that Scar Symmetry represents, but this album doesn’t reach all the way. The clean vocals are lacking since CÄ left, but Roberth Karlsson has a monstrous growl. 7.0/10

(WN): I must say that I did had a very wrong idea about what kind of band Scar Symmetry is. Was definitely not expecting an album of the month! Excellent prog metal that balances brutality and melody in an expert way. Extremely catchy, well crafted and very addictive. Well done lads! 9.0/10

(GJ): Maybe it’s just me, but when Älvestam left this band, it became lifeless and dull. Well played and all, yet so fucking boring. Kind of sad, really.  5.5/10


ALBUM: Obituary –”Inked in Blood”
LABEL: Relapse Records
GENRE: Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.7/10

(BH): On the first spin, I wasn’t crazy about Tardy’s vocal style on this album, but did it ever grow on me. The riffs are heavy as a lead elephant, and I really, really dig the bass sound. Not crazy about the kick drum, especially through headphones, but this this is still really good and a much better return to their olden form than their previous few releases. There are probably four songs that you’ll have a hard time getting out of your head. 8.5/10

(JP): Legendary death metal that refuses to follow any trends. 8.0/10

(MJ): I agree with anyone giving this album a 7.0/10

(WN): Obituary being Obituary, no more but unfortunately a bit less. Even if there are some cool riffs and sections that bring a nostalgic grin to my face, it feels like they could have dug a bit deeper. Some more bile and better hooks could have done wonders for this album. Oh well, at least John Tardy still sounds like a badass.  6.0/10

(GJ): Well, time seems to stand still for Obituary. It wasn’t my cup of tea back in the days and I can safely say the same today.   4.0/10


ALBUM: Devin Townsend Project –”Z²”
LABEL: HevyDevy Records
GENRE: Progressive Metal/Rock
OVERALL RATING: 6.6/10

 
(BH): If you like Devin’s other stuff, you’ll like this. It’s just not for me anymore. 7.0/10

(JP): The genius that is Devin Townsend is back, and as much as I miss SYL, I love all his projects, this being no exception. I get the feeling that everything he touches turns to gold. 8.0/10

(MJ): “Sky Blue” = Completely meaningless.
“Dark Matters” = Mostly meaningless. 3.5/10

(WN): “Dark Matters” is not the breathtaking death metal space opera that I anticipated but it’s still a very entertaining album with excellent music in it. Something similar could be said for “Sky Blue”, and album chock-full of beautiful and undeniable Townsend moments. Some of the material in here it’s easy to love as a Devin fanboy but there´s also a sense of déjà vu that nags me. Since “Addicted” was released the vocals of the Anneke van Giersbergen have take a major role in the sound of the DTP. While I enjoyed this pop metal approach in “Addicted” and “Epicloud”, in “Sky Blue” I get the feeling that her vocals might have taken over the DTP´s sound a bit too much. Too much of a good thing kind of deal. All in all, two very enjoyable albums with some minor flaws. Most likely growers both of them. Combined score of 7.0/10

(GJ): The line between insanity and absolute brilliance is a fine one. Devin balances along it constantly here, occasionally slipping to one or the other side. 7.5/10


ALBUM: Vesania –”Deus ex Machina”
LABEL: Metal Blade Records
GENRE: Symphonic Black/Death Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.6/10

(BH): Quality blackened death metal that’s just as competent, bombastic, and solid as the band’s previous albums, but also just as indistinguishable. 7.5/10

(JP): This band has so much potential, and even if this album is far from the attempts on 7 year old “Distractive Killusions” it still does not live up the potential of the members themselves. It’s not bad, and things like using a trumpet on “Dismay” wins me over just a little bit more. But I’m still missing something, I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something. 7.0/10

(MJ): This is one harsh sounding symphonic black metal album. 6.5/10

(WN): Much entertaining, very circus, such trumpets, so polish…wow! 6.5/10

(GJ): I had a feeling this band was on to something, then came the parts where it all sounds like an elaborate prank. What’s the game here, guys? I don’t get it? 5.5/10


ALBUM: Revocation –”Deathless”
LABEL: Metal Blade Records
GENRE: Technical Death/Thrash Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10

(BH): Modern generic American thrash from a band with some better albums than this one. 7.0/10

(JP): This album falls a bit flat for me. I find myself drifting in and out of the songs. 5.0/10

(MJ): It’s quite fitting that Exodus and Obituary have released albums this month too, since “Deathless” is a great blend of them both. 7.0/10

(WN): Revocation completely captivated me with “Existence is Futile”, “Chaos into Form”  and “Teratogenesis” . “Deathless” is not as catchy as any of those releases were, but it’s still pretty damned good and it’s definitely Revocation through and through. Still interesting, heavy and unique.  7.0/10

(GJ): I don’t really agree with the rock ‘n roll-parts, nor do I think the vocalist should attemp the clean vocals. That aside, this is not bad. Well executed and, occasionally, really good. 6.5/10


ALBUM: Exodus –”Blood In, Blood Out”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Thrash Metal, Groove Metal
OVERALL RATING: 6.2/10

(BH): This is not a band I’ve ever truly enjoyed primarily because they can’t ever find a vocalist that I can tolerate. This one is better than a lot of their recent releases, but it’s still just not for me at all. 5.0/10

(JP): Steve “Zetro” Souza is back, and with that Exodus releases their best album since “Tempo of the Damned”. This is how they are meant to sound. 9.0/10

(MJ): Pretty thraxellent. At the very least somewhat rifftastic. 7.0/10

(WN): This was a bit too long and with some filler but man, do I love me some Exodus! Gary Holt still has riffs and attitude in spades and it’s great to have Souza back. Maybe I love the idea of Exodus more than their current material but they still sound like good friendly violent fun to me!   6.0/10

(GJ): Just… No! No, thank you. I’ll pass. Score is based on the occasional catchy guitar riff. 4.0/10


ALBUM: Mysticum –”Planet Satan”
LABEL: Peaceville Records
GENRE: Industrial Black Metal
OVERALL RATING: 3.9/10

(BH): This is just not very good. The drums are extremely lifeless and repetitious, and the mood Mysticum created back in the old days is just not there. 4.0/10

(JP): I usually defend the usage of a drum machine to my last drop of blood. This drum machine however, no. This is to me to essence of shitty black metal. 3.0/10

(MJ): O la la. The noise is strong in this one. I don’t like it. 2.5/10

(WN): According to our scoring system my verdict is that this is “Average”. According to The Guardian, “Planet Satan” is  “one of the most anticipated black metal records of all time”. Is it possible that the most anticipated black metal record of all time turned out to be just average? Or am I really that clueless about black metal?   5.0/10

(GJ): I really don’t mind drum programming,  if it’s done properly. This is not a good example. Also, I can’t really get a grip of Mysticum’s music, but it is not all bad.  5.0/10


Deathdomain ATW November 2014 on Spotify

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



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