Tag Archives: 2011 metal album releases and reviews

album review : Of Love and Death (2011) – Crom

album : Of Love and Death

artist : Crom

genre : Viking/Power Metal

year : 2011

I only have praises for this one man German band named Crom for the sheer determination with which he performs tragic songs that can be tagged under metal on any given day. On Of Love and Death, Walter Crom Grosse does not give a fuck, and procreates an uncommon world where not everyone is going to feel comfortable. He gives you power metal without sounding inspired by some biggie from the same genre, and he also splashes out oodles of viking metal on you.

Surprising how the album’s pace is slow and within no time you feel the eight songs have come to an end. Acoustic notes mark the beginning of most of the epic tracks on Of Love and Death. The songs aren’t loud but are able to convey that something is seriously wrong with love, life and death. It’s a non-competitive rat race between viking and power metal where in the former flourishes. For good. And, the whole blend brings out a very sorrow-driven melodic result.

Walter "Crom" Grosse

Strong rhythms, soothing passages, simple yet believable lyrics make the whole record a pleasing voyage. This man is definitely having a hard time coping up with something he has been through. You’d want to revisit portions and try to get into the musician’s mind. The music displays real despair or he is a master of his art. Either way Crom‘s second full-length Of Love and Death is far from being a bad album. But remember, even for the slightest connection with this album you need to have something called as a heart, and it will be interesting to observe how people who carry their heart up their sleeve would react to these songs.

Rating : 3.5/5

album review : Fallen Angels (2011) – Venom

album : Fallen Angels

artist : Venom

genre : NWOBHM/Black/Speed Metal

year : 2011

Influential metal band Venom are back with their thirteenth release, and the copyrights for the term ‘black metal’ still remain with them, courtesy of their 1982 album that is still fresh in our minds. I hope so, for your sake.

We’re here in 2011, and on Fallen Angels, the band appears laid back and I think they wrote their lyrics while strolling in a park. Loud bass scold the listener to reciprocate with respect, as Venom comes out with another album that rightfully classifies to be a part of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). It’s been a while since they kept quiet, and three years later the band sounds refreshed and is wanting to be on the crest of the wave all over again.

They’ve rolled the speed/thrash dice on the album in ways that attempts at only producing the maximum count. There are patches on songs where the speed is faster than what we would normally associate with Venom. I’d remember the album also because of the solos, as Venom has written some scintillating ones. A raw sound to take you back to where they began, and the band makes it tough for the dust to settle down. Fallen Angels has a character of it’s own.

Out here, on Fallen Angels, it’s a dark rock ‘n roll party along with some noticeable hard rock. The band is known for talking about Satan and taking the listener to hell all the time but on this particular one you will hear Venom referring to ‘Satan’ so many times that the first person you meet after hearing the album is bound to get introduced to the supreme Satan himself! Relax, relax… Fallen Angels doesn’t touch the finishing line but even today, after all these years, Venom is hard to catch up with. They had a hindsight ahead of time, and they maintain their eminence even today.

Rating : 3.5/5

album review : Resurfaces (2011) – Goddess Gagged

album : Resurfaces

artist : Goddess Gagged

genre : Progressive Post-Hardcore

year : 2011

Post-Hardcore is exclusive, when weighed against any other genre of music. There is a hint of every aspect of life being touched upon. It’s music for the strong, for the weak, for the deprived, for the heartbroken, for the aggressive, and for the emotional lot. Many might be dampened by progressive music, for the way it reeks of twists and turns, doesn’t let the music to settle down. A combination of these two super-adverse genres is what Indian band Goddess Gagged plays. With élan.

Let’s keep aside my love for post-hardcore (my new muse, by the way) and how I love experimentation in the music I listen to. The first time you play Goddess Gagged‘s debut record Resurfaces, it assists you in taking away the claustrophobic limitations that many a times is experienced by listeners. Questions like “why did this just happen?“, “why did they do this bit?“, etc., are answered, one by one. The double guitar effect, as i would like to call it, ensues.

Very few post-Hardcore groups believe in having an intro, and the reason being they cannot wait to communicate. The outburst of riffs is deliberate so you don’t have to zoom into the happenings. Modern Machines is a torch one can use to find out the band’s hidden influences. From what they already are playing, they even touch jazz, for starters, and hence they easily tackle hurdles of amalgamating different aspects of music.

If you’ve got a bizarre fetish of grooving along with the music, even that is fulfilled by the quintet. They’ve got Rosemary’s Baby, which makes you tumble by getting into your head, banging itself and the track’s groovy. So is Sink or Swim with an innate depth in the words. There are soft moments that leave you buzzed. I love this track!

Oh, what they’ve done with Inspire is commendable, as I am holding the inlay and reading the lyrics while the song is being performed by the band on the disc. Up and down all through, and the band could have altered the way Inspire ends. Very abrupt. An epic eight minute song Preliminary Stages of the Master Plan, it sounds like another one of the songs from the same album at places. Sluggish at other times, the band would want to spend more time writing longer tracks.

Dreamer should make it to every kind of compilation album that will come out going forward. This song is the safest nest where every dreamer can lay their eggs. Be it the lyrics, the weather inside the track, the gushing out of a person’s mental state, and the music of course. While Dreamer and Visionary mean one and the same thing, there are subtleties that only a music enthusiast can spot after hearing the two tracks on Resurfaces.

Completing Resurfaces told me that progression is so evidently a key ingredient in the band’s songwriting. The complications can be heard on all their tracks and Goddess Gagged unites all progressive routes on the tracks Modern Machines, Sink or Swim and Visionary. Especially Visionary is co-operative, with a switch between clean and harsh vocals. The last one and a half minutes make the most impact, I bet.

Resurfaces was awaited for the right reasons. It’s a record that encapsulates so many things that revolve around your existence. Hence, it’s a flow. Produced by Zorran Mendonsa, the album has a sound that only helps the songs shine and as a listener I’m satisfied. And Siddharth, you take the listener on a trip with your vocals, man.

By buying Resurfaces you are not helping the band, but yourself, to know your capabilities, to dream, to achieve, to inspire and to emerge out of the shell of asinine notions. Yes, Resurfaces is metal, but no, it is not just for metal lovers. That’s an assurance. And hey, they’ve dropped a hint about their next release here, which hopefully would be their master plan.

Rating : 4/5

Use protection the next time you have sex, else the album won’t be delivered to you. Order it from here. The album, I mean.

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album review : Kosmonument (2011) – Oranssi Pazuzu

album : Kosmonument

artist : Oranssi Pazuzu

genre : Psychedelic Black Metal

year : 2011

While it might put a lot of you to sleep, true black metal enthusiasts should drop everything you are doing and check out this psychedelic black metal act Oranssi Pazuzu. Songs by this Finnish band are like the wings of a trippy looking bird which are being flapped just to get you high. Kosmonument is not the first album I’ve heard in this genre but some of the rest have sounded so terrible that it seemed like some handicapped brains have worked together.

The band says they make music that invites all the arsonists and smokers to hold hands – Now this is something that they should not have said because it is uncool and very poserish. Oranssi Pazuzu‘s second album Kosmonument clocks at over an hour. It’s a must listen for those recovering from a bad trip. Don’t switch off the lights completely while hearing the album, have a dim setup if you can, that’s when Kosmonument will work as sweet poison.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Th1rt3en (2011) – Megadeth

album : Th1rt3en

artist : Megadeth

genre : Speed/Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal/Rock

year : 2011

Bang opens the new album by Megadeth, the only other band that deserves to be a part of the big four at the moment alongside Anthrax, with Sudden Death having instant solos that you’ve not heard before. The album name Th1rt3en might not come across as metal, but the daring front-man Dave Mustaine, who owns one of the coldest stares in the  scene, returns with my pick for one of this year’s best heavy/thrash album.

All the thirteen tracks on Th1rt3en are going to make you pop your ears out and place it besides the speakers that are lucky enough to blast Megadeth‘s latest. If you don’t like Mustaine‘s vocals then you need to get a life before you play this one because you have to deal with a lot of it on Th1rt3en. Nobody can sing like him and he is the nobody here! Mustaine‘s voice hasn’t withered one bit, you posers. Not one bit.

Songs where Megadeth is doing things the old way are Public Enemy No. 1, We The People, Black Swan and Deadly Nightshade. Did you complain about no thrash? Oh wait, then you have to hear Whose Life (Is It Anyways?), Never Dead and Fast Lane. In fact Never Dead is fucking speed/thrash in your ugly face. There is nothing out and out thrashy on this record, except some parts here and there, but that’s what is the beauty of mixing heavy and thrash metal.

The best song on the album and quite possibly one of the most kickass metal song of the year is New World Order. Both guitarists are out on a riffing spree and they won’t stop even if you beg them to.

Millennium Of The Blind is like the next edition of A Tout le Monde, with lesser soul in it. Does Megadeth leave any subject untouched or what! Check out the track Guns, Drugs & Money, especially the lyrics.

13, the title track and the last and thirteenth song on the album is, in a nutshell, a teaser for their next record. Watch out for the subtle signals the band gives with the pace and the whole approach towards the song. It’s like they’re saying, ‘You need more new material by Megadeth, wait for our next full-length‘. We’re waiting Dave. Eagerly.

Where your expectations of solos on a heavy metal album ends, that’s where songs on Th1rt3en begin. Dave and co. have sky rocketed in terms of songwriting, controlled compositions, instrument utilization and raping their contemporaries by doing only what is required and doing it the right way. This has been my observation not only on this record but since several of their previous ones.

Off their last few releases, I thought both United Abominations as well as Endgame had mind-blowing content with respect to quality, genre and phase of the band’s career. I give Th1rt3en a rating of 4.5 on 5 which means that I would be playing the album for the remaining part of the year. Cheers Dave, cheers Megadeth! Thank you for these roses on our grave, we are humbled.

Rating : 4.5/5

Last seven 2011 albums reviewed on the blog : Cradle of Filth’s Evermore Darkly | Insomnium’s One For Sorrow | Iced Earth’s Dystopia | Thulcandra’s Under a Frozen Sun | Textures’s Dualism | Evil’s Five Serpent’s Teeth | Mastodon’s The Hunter

album review : One For Sorrow (2011) – Insomnium

album : One For Sorrow

artist : Insomnium

genre : Melodic Death Metal

year : 2011

Yes, they did make you feel like you’ve lost everything in life. They did make you sense their pain even at times when you were happy, all because you decided to play their songs. They did make darkness look more dark than you’d expect it to be. Somebody had to make you go through all of this and in the melodic death genre it was Insomnium. And, they had set out to do just that which implies success kissed their feet with a whole lot of mourning.

But this Finnish band, with a stronghold in the department that matches the unpleasant description I provided, has come to a point where it seems they have robbed you of all the cheerfulness they could. Now, on their fifth full-length One For Sorrow they are taking their skills of playing the instruments to a better level without providing much variety in their sound.

One For Sorrow takes off in a very promising manner with Inertia, where in desolation is touched upon. They’ve kept the album opener simplistically strong. Once you hit track number two Through The Shadows old-Insomnium memories begin to creep in. And this record shouldn’t have sounded like that. Not always. The pattern continues and the only thing one can do now is try to find a song that is better than the other because they all are from the same old-Insomnium tree. A tree which has had stronger branches in the past.

So, going by the above logic Song of The Blackest Bird, Unsung, Regain the Fire and One For Sorrow are more melodic, more death and more metal than the rest. In fact Unsung and the title track manage to transfer you to some place Insomnium has in mind. I just can’t stop playing Decoherence, as it is something else altogether. It is a song that stands on it’s own feet. Decoherence is melodic metal, with no death in it.

Insomnium has always been spraying melancholy all over us, and even though I hate to say this about one of the bands that I love listening to every once in a while, this time over with One For Sorrow they sound a bit stagnated. No doubt all songs on the record are good but they haven’t experimented or composed anything that we did not expect them to. But I will always have a thing for this band for being one of the very few acts that have rightly understood my favorite emotion.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Dystopia (2011) – Iced Earth

album : Dystopia

artist : Iced Earth

genre : Power/Thrash Metal

year : 2011

Power metal juggernauts Iced Earth have just dropped something more powerful than what had destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To simplify things for people with low IQ, Dystopia, the band’s tenth record is nothing short of power metal magic that can even breathe life into a corpse if played at the right volume.

Screw your intros, and Dystopia anyways does not have one. So if you cannot proceed ahead without an intro then put your finger into your butt-hole and sit tight. Rest of us are about to experience something more than what we know about this American act. Album opener is the self-titled track, clearing the dust through some drums and guitars to begin with and then races ahead with blazing speed. But not before a hell lot of meaningful melody is rendered to the songs.

They thrash it big along with their high voltage genre on Boiling Point, Equilibrium and Days of Rage. Not every band can compose an Anthem, and just when you think we aren’t going to slow down here, the second track itself is a reminder of which out and out genre oriented band we’re listening to. Extensive twin guitar work back-to-back on Anguish of Youth, V and Dark City. The solos on Dark City and Equilibrium will reinforce your belief in love.

Towards the end there is End of Innocence, which acts like a harness for the album. It is exactly opposite of what was being announced by Iced Earth till now, with no thrash spots. Unhurried, yet peacefully carved, it has been included so there is no reason for a critic like me to say anything the band doesn’t want to hear.

Bonus tracks are included maybe because they do not fit in the flow of an album or to reduce the actual track list but Soylent Green and Iron Will belong here. Off the two, Soylent Green is still a less strong track but Iron Will covers it up. Time for a song that is more advanced, more self-satisfied and more metal than the rest. It’s time for Tragedy and Triumph, a song that is over seven and a half minutes long, imbibes everything the instruments have to offer and is a big reason why Dystopia is going to be kept in mind.

With no comparisons to anyone, Stu Block‘s place cannot be taken on Dystopia. The man is out to conquer all he can, and that includes old-Iced Earth fans as well. What he does particularly on Boiling Point and Equilibrium can tear the cobwebs in your ear. Be careful. He has a range higher than what you hear on this album, and on Dystopia he is supported well by vocalist Jon Schaffer (also handles guitar and keyboard duties) who along with guitarist Troy Seele are seen engaging in some serious power metal ritual that will leave you spellbound. Drum duties by Brent Smedley and bass guitarist Freddie Vidales had to match up and horns up to them as well.

Hear the new Iced Earth album a little more closely and you’ll find yourself exhaling so much of authentic music. This can’t be a mere coincidence, and even if it is, the coincidence is called Dystopia.

Rating : 4.5/5

album review : Under a Frozen Sun (2011) – Thulcandra

album : Under a Frozen Sun

artist : Thulcandra

genre : Black/Death Metal

year : 2011

I love my Dissection, and I miss them for everything they composed. If you think Reinkaos wasn’t good enough, well then fuck you! If Jon Nödtveidt were alive today he would have taught everyone how much of a difference an esteemed black/death metal band can do to the metal world. He is resting in peace now, and it seems like before he shot himself he passed on the bag containing Dissection‘s secrets to these three gentlemen from Germany. They called themselves Thulcandra, did a whole lot of research on everything that is Dissection and set out to make Dissection part II. Now I ain’t mocking them or anything because it takes balls to do what they are doing and this has also largely got to with Dissection‘s absence today.

Thulcandra is a three-piece band from Germany who were formed in the year 2003, and did not release anything until 2010 when they released their debut Fallen Angel’s Dominion. They made it very clear that they are here to speak Dissection‘s language and I say that with confidence as they even had a cover of The Somberlain on their debut. Immediately the next year, in 2011 they have their second album out that’s titled Under a Frozen Sun. This is where Thulcandra are ready to break free of all that I have said (which was all good, by the way) about them till now.

Eight originals and one cover track. Instead of going track-by-track I’ll give it to you in brief as to what the entire album is all about. There is a rush of darkness on the tracks and here we are looking at an enhanced and updated edition of their previous release. The songs measure both black and death genres just so we have world peace and the term for it is balance.

Fans of black/death genre are with me when I say we do not get to hear such stuff where justice is completely done and at the same time those dark solos that are only adding to the final rating. This is what defines blackened death metal for me. No one cares about your definition anyways.

On Under a Frozen Sun, the German black/death outfit carry only a shadow of Dissection and show their middle finger on the rest of the parts. By all means they are one band that I am going to ardently follow over the years unless one of them decides to commit suicide. From where I am can see, it seems like the plan has worked for Thulcandra. They got it right, and it’s all about getting right, whether you do it this way or that way.

Rating : 4/5

album review : Vortex of Death (2011) – Hat

album : Vortex of Death

artist : Hat

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

Pretty much in the same league as the other bearable black metal bands at the moment, Hat from Norway is still a band I would pay attention to. On Vortex of Death they do not sound forced, and that in itself adds to the anti-life idea they are promoting here. They too hate Christ, so what’s exclusive about them is the name itself. Hat means hate in Norwegian. So I could just take a hat with thorns inside it and go to someone who deserves to wear it and say ‘Hey! this hat is for you‘.

The only reason that would bring me back to what Hat is playing on this record is the constant riffing that is going on in the background on almost all their songs because that is essential, it glorifies my favorite genre. The on-going fast paced beats and raw vocals just adapt themselves to everything that the album is providing to our ears. Al though I’ve heard stuff like this countless times before, Hat has still managed to surprise me with Vortex of Death. I’m impressed.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Dualism (2011) – Textures

album : Dualism

artist : Textures

genre : Progressive / Death / Thrash Metal

year : 2011

Needless to say Textures have lived up to their name. Literally. The tryst between multiple genres and several soundscapes, rollicking display of progressive prowess and the next level of technicality makes Dualism difficult to handle. A leap bigger than the most experienced frog could take, the band’s work has made it an interesting act to watch out for. What else does someone who lives, breathes, eats and farts music need? There could be nothing better than the wait for a new album by a good band. And, the wait for Dualism has come to an end.

There are eleven tracks on Dualism, timed well and recorded with utmost care just so the painting of intricate music pleases us. The album opener Arms Of The Sea brings in huge quantities of dynamic music without losing the tightness. Black Horses Stampede and Sanguine Draws The Oath pluck that which has not been done but needs to be done parts from the band’s musical coffer.

There are some songs that deserve the ‘perfect’ status, because other than believing the royal nature of the these songs we listeners do not have an option. Reaching Home, being one of them, just narrows down my imagination, loading my brain with memories and a perfect scene is created in my mind which is in sync with the song’s mood. Then there is a Consonant Hemispheres holding together the universe with it’s brisk melody and infectious atmosphere.

Midway there is an instrumental named Burning The Midnight Oil. The praises flow by itself for this one as well. This one just isn’t ordinary, it is a kind of instrumental science in action. A lot is happening on the instrumental and it might take a few spins to just love the song completely. Track ten Foreclosure is a dimple on Dualism’s cheek, enhancing it’s beauty.

Singularity, Minor Earth Major Skies, Stoic Resignation are amongst the most enlighteningly energetic tracks that are part progressive part thrashy and part death. Sketches From A Motionless Statue is tricky, elegant and is a perfect end to Dualism as it would send you back to the first track so you can run through the album again.

Every song written by Textures carries the tag of uniqueness and it becomes very apparent that if a compilation of hot progressive bands is to be made they’d feature among the best ones. Dualism is the band’s best work, and I cannot think as to how Textures are going to better themselves after this. Solid release!

Rating : 4.5/5

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