Tag Archives: 2011 metal releases and reviews

music review : A Vow of Vengeance (2011) – Cult of the Fox

album : A Vow of Vengeance

artist : Cult of the Fox

genre : Heavy Metal

year : 2011

Oh, look what we have here! The purest form of metal being offered sans any kind of filth. Avoiding complications in their music, Swedish group Cult of the Fox have released the first chapter of their musical career after being around for almost eleven years. It goes by the name A Vow of Vengeance – a very promising mixture of nine of the finest songs they might have written.

While the band is trying to get hold of an assortment of heavy metal ideas together, they drop less along the way and they are also not forcing anything. Neither on the listener nor on themselves. The female guitarist Erika Wallberg squeezes out as much as she can from her instrument, and Magnus Hultman sings on the microphone like he was born with one. Thunderous bass lines by Peter Svensson force drummer Daniel Fritze to live up to the expectations. Second guitarist Per Persson adds the much needed flavor thereby completing the metal organization named Cult of the Fox.

All the tracks on A Vow of Vengeance are my favorites, but Spirit of the Hunter confirms the bond we listeners are building with the band. It could be partially because of the term ‘spirit’ being a part of the song’s name, but seriously, after you are done jerking off over this review go hear the song. A huge portion of my job will be complete after you’ve played Spirit of the Hunter.

The album A Vow of Vengeance might not take you by storm but if you hear it closely without anyone trying to chew your brain you’ll realize the polished heaviness in their music. You might want to play the record at least a few times before passing any comment. For me they appear learned and they are here to brighten our lives. I just hope they return with a follow-up release pretty soon.

Rating : 3.5/5

album review : Kairos (2011) – Sepultura

album : Kairos

artist : Sepultura

genre : Thrash Metal/Groove/Hardcore

year : 2011

If you thought coffee and cocoa are the chief exports from Brazil then think again. For as long as I remember it is thrash from Brazil that has dominated the world thrash scene. That’s when I talk about thrash with class of course. We have prostitutes in every nook and corner of the world but we all have read where the classy ones are available, haven’t we? Shhh…

This is Sepultura‘s twelfth studio album, and Kairos is what we all wanted to hear in an year where there have been so less thrash releases. If we deduct the bonus tracks then Kairos has fifteen tracks on it. While it played I did not even realize that so many tracks actually got over. This, friends, is a sign that Kairos doesn’t just protect the genre but adds extra caps to that glorious speedy nature of thrash music with ample amount of groove in it.

Sepultura got acclimatized to thrash metal in the initial days of their formation announcing their stay here for a pretty fucking long time. Man, did they keep their word or what. They still have so much of fresh material with them and the attitude to materialize the same. Kairos has a force and determination in it that it pins you down while hearing it for the first time. They walk the thin line between thrash and hardcore. Something which can be defined as ‘thrashcore’, and the vocals justify the term. I speak for Kairos, Dialog, Mask and No One Will Stand. Also, be ready for loads of solos that are going to please you.

Mid-song experiments where the band is trying to play with the song’s tempo happens a lot on Kairos. Most actively on Relentless, Just One Fix, Born Strong and Structure Violence (Azzes). Out of the four tracks that go the names 2011, 1433, 5772 and 4648 respectively, only 4648 is a full-length track. The rest three are just there as thirty-second fillers so that you get a grip of what is going on the album. What particularly is a drawback here is the fact that I did not want to play this album the fourth time. Strange, but I’m not one to force an album down my earlobes. I enjoyed it while I played it but that’s about it.

Except for drummer Jean Dolabella (who is 33 years old) the rest of the band members have entered the quadragenarian stage of their lives, and I must say they have made this entry with grace. It would be a treat to watch Sepultura play songs from Kairos live in a concert as the songs are constructed for live audiences. How I want them to return back to India for the second time loaded with songs from Kairos. It’s time Sepultura hogs the limelight once again in 2011 as I am getting to give a heartily positive opinion about Kairos. The band isn’t hitting their musical menopause anytime soon.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Macabre Eternal (2011) – Autopsy

album : Macabre Eternal

artist : Autopsy

genre : Death Metal

year : 2011

I have been wanting to visit old school because that is where all the fun is. The out rightly in-your-face music that is not only cool to listen to but also dirty brings out the best in you. The old school management has had American players Autopsy contributing to the rulebook since 1987, but only until 1995 when they decided to hang up. We saw a release directly in 2010 with their Ep The Tomb Within. Although the songs on the Ep did not give me an erection I had a feeling the band has some other plans. So yes, I felt right.

Autopsy‘s fifth full-length Macabre Eternal is here, with the quality of death metal you expect from them. Being one of those bands who speak less and play more (both in terms of quality and quantity), Autopsy has once again proved that they are the band to trust when it comes to performing unclean metal post-mortems. Their first full-length since 1995, Macabre Eternal easily sticks to you in terms of it’s appeal. Even after sixteen years.

Extremely minimal weathering in the way Autopsy plays, or rather in the way they sound. Still I’d have voted for their old sound as it had a soul in itself. Neither their hands nor their instruments have rusted, which pretty much is out there on all their tracks. Chris Reifert is still carrying his signature vocals that makes him identifiable. The tunes are raw, drumming is sorted as well. So they go beyond just providing satisfaction on their new record.

Long live, Autopsy.

Rating :4/5

album review : The Mirror of Deliverance (2011) – A Dream of Poe

album : The Mirror of Deliverance

artist : A Dream of Poe

genre : Gothic/Doom Metal

year : 2011

More like a one-man band, A Dream of Poe is totally dedicated to American author/poet Edgar Allan Poe. Now this man has some real die-hard fans and I’ve had the opportunity to know a few of them. When these fans talk about Poe’s mind they just don’t stop. The Mirror of Deliverance is the band’s debut full-length after a bout of demos and a live album.

So, the person who transformed his love for Poe into music making it all come alive is Miguel Santos along with several session musicians who have assisted him in seeing this through. The songs on The Mirror of Deliverance branch out into gothic music lapping up everything with a doom coating. Not really something that everyone into metal would grab to hear but the music will clutch those of you who dig gothic doom.

Looking at their music closely (which would require a lot of your attention and time) you will notice that there is this passionate melancholy running around throughtout the forty five minutes of The Mirror of Deliverance. The first song off this album is Neophyte which has minor riffing, minor keyboards with more vocals which is, like I said, is more like a narration of lyrics. Occassional solos in the middle of songs help you understand the broad maturity in songwriting. The last minute solo was a must, if you ask me.

Slowening up is the next song Os Vultos. This song is a tent of sadness and there is no way out of here. Less random, more real guitaring shakes you up on Os Vultos. Enjoy camping. What I was expecting to happen comes now on Lady of Shalott. Female moaning in a setup like this is like chocolate sauce over anything. Growls come in too aiding the band to off-load the gothic beings in them. Liber XLIX is my favorite from the album because it amazingly opens up to a chunk of slow riffing piling up all that A Dream of Poe would want to showcase.

There is a diversion on The Lost King of the Lyre, with guitar-cruising initially but towards the end of it the song narrows down to be what we have learnt about the band till now. Yes, you will feel that music is taking the same direction here but there is some beauty involved, give it a little thought and you will be sorted. The Lost King of the Lyre has the most touching one a half minutes on The Mirror of Deliverance. Last track is Chrysopoeia (longest at eleven and a half minutes) has haunting background vocals which’ll remain with you afterwards too.

A Dream of Poe is not a band for each metalhead out there, take time with them to know what effect they want to have on you. The Mirror of Deliverance might get soporific if you are impatient, but if you are the opposite then it will prove to be a fruitful episode.

Rating : 3.5/5

album review : Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare (2011) – Nargaroth

album : Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare

artist : Nargaroth

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

Nargaroth aka. Kanwulf does things in his own fucking way and does it right. A name that was synonymous to raw black metal is now also a force to reckon with when it comes to creating ambient soundscapes that denote despondency. This sure has to do with Nargaroth (for newcomers, this is a one-man band) attaining enlightenment for having proved himself to be an able black metal musician. Be it the motley of emotions he displayed on Herbstleyd (in 1998) and Prosatanica Shooting Angels (in 2004), the cult rawness of Black Metal Ist Krieg (in 2001) or the somber version of the four seasons on Jahreszeiten (in 2009) it has all been rewarding.

Now in 2011, Nargaroth comes up with this new record Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare which again is not on the lines of his raw finesse. With repeated releases obeying to walk along the same way as Kanwulf‘s new musical directions we are more than happy to tag along. This seventh record cannot be said to be the German’s best or worst work because there isn’t a correlation between his albums. He now is taking the depressive side of life more seriously than ever and let me tell you that he discharges a lot of bleakness on Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare.

Opener Odin’s Weeping for Jördh is an almost seven minutes instrumental piece that is mighty melancholic. It’s second part at over two minutes as well as A Whisper Underneath The Bark Of Old Trees at ten and a half minutes are no different, both communicate similar sentiments. Rest of the tracks namely, An Indifferent Cold in the Womb of Eve, Diving Among The Daughters of the Sea and Spectral Visions Of Mental Warfare, carry a tempting celestial darkness, like how you’d feel if you’re amongst stars in the universe and it’s dark. Wow!

The screeches/narrations work in the background and allow the instruments to take the lead on each track. March Of The Tyrants and Journey Through My Cosmic Cells (The Negation Of God) are fucking trippy tracks. The former is electronica, Nargaroth plays electronica black metal.

Nargaroth‘s journey has been unique and I can forsee him having a good time telling his grand children about the evolution of his band. Take a dip in Nargaroth‘s new offering Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare. You might not bleed black but you’ll be surrounded by a similar looking colour. Hug Nargaroth once you are sure you have experienced what I said.

Rating : 4/5

album review : March of the Norse (2011) – Demonaz

album : March of the Norse

artist : Demonaz

genre : Epic/Black Metal

year : 2011

Once Immortal, forever Immortal.

One of the founding members of a legendary black metal band Immortal, Demonaz Doom Occulta (he wasn’t Demonaz by birth, he was Harald), decides to make similar kind of songs with lyrical influences also not too original but calls the band by his own name. Immortal co-founder Abbath also joins hands and together they form Demonaz. Maybe because they think the world has had enough of Immortal or maybe because we did not enjoy All Shall Fall much. Truth remains that we have always sat through Immortal‘s albums with alert ears even though Abbath could rarely manage his vocals to not sound like Quorthon (Bathory).

Expanding that thought a little more there was another band named I that was formed in 2005 with an almost similar line-up, just that Demonaz only contributed lyrics to their album. Ok, enough of confusion. The crux is all of this began with Immortal in 1990. So, Demonaz and Abbath re-return with battles and mountains keeping their obsession with the north intact.

It had to be a Northern Hymn introducing project Demonaz to us. March of the Norse, as an album, is practically the same story and I am referring to both the bands – Immortal and I – although I find more traces of the latter one more here. I don’t like trying too hard when it comes to my music but here even that did not provide the results that I had set out to obtain. Track after track the only discrete feature is Demonaz‘s screeches and he sings clean pretty well at required places. There are vocals by Abbath too on the record. I’ll remember this album for A Son of the Sword, Under the Great Fires and Legends of Fire and Ice.

Although classified as epic black metal, there ain’t exactly anything epic about this music neither is it as black as you’d expect it to be. Let’s just settle with metal. This is metal like any other metal out there. It might sell because it has Demonaz‘s name but once the listeners have heard it (maybe twice) they’ll return to playing the albums by Immortal, I and then Demonaz. In that same order.

Rating : 2.5/5

album review : Surtur Rising (2011) – Amon Amarth

album : Surtur Rising

artist : Amon Amarth

genre : Viking Melodic Death Metal

year : 2011

Ranting continuously about Norse mythology at the top of their abilities is Swedish band Amon Amarth. They have released not a few but seven successful Viking themed albums, and have protected their hammers more with melody than their enormous selves.

Getting used to reproducing true stuff, Amon Amarth also hold the distinction of having a sound that can be found only on their albums. But that is exactly what is now going some what against these Swedes. Hardly are there any tracks which I feel I have not heard before on one of their albums. The band is now shooting an arrow and we, the fans, know where it is going to land up.

Surtur Rising (their eighth) has eleven tracks, which like I said aren’t exciting enough. Amon Amarth climbed up the ramp with everything fixed in mind and are now walking the straight road which ain’t horrible but it can easily deviate me from listening to another similar band that might be doing things differently. For the first since the album blasts it is at track number four where I start developing a rapport. Same, same , same and bang comes an elegant melody on Slaves of Fear.

War of the Gods, The Last Stand Of Frej, Slaves of Fear and For Victory or Death are the only tracks you would care about unless you haven’t been exposed to Amon Amarth music. If you haven’t been then Surtur Rising will take you in it’s stride. Had this been one of their earlier albums then I’d have gotten into a bout of apple polishing. The Porcupine Tree cover is better than the original, or so I’d like to believe. No, but seriously it sounds kickass here with a metal touch.

After a few more albums if the band keeps sounding this way then it will become difficult for everyone to pick up one album to suit their mood. And it will be then that you will blame the band even though they have produced such good viking melo-death albums to speak on their behalf.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Blunt Force Trauma (2011) – Cavalera Conspiracy

album : Blunt Force Trauma

artist : Cavalera Conspiracy

genre : Groove/Thrash Metal

year : 2011

Find yourselves in the kingdom of groove with Cavalera Conspiracy‘s latest album Blunt Force Trauma. With their debut album Inflikted that released in 2008 they stamped you enough to take notice and remember them. But the Cavalera brothers hadn’t done anything significantly different then but this time around they have gotten into the intricacies a little more.

The standard compact disc has eleven tracks. Starts off with Warlord where Max Cavalera and Marc Rizzo combine together the sweat required to create thrashy groove. Max screams and shouts in a way that makes his brother Igor Cavalera peel the skin of the drums. Johnny Chow reduces the load on Igor with his bass guitar work that goes along with the kit. Tracks Torture, Lynch Mob, Thrasher along with the first track Warlord are closely monotonous. Igor is caught playing the same beats on almost each track till now. I Speak Hate has an offbeat intro but then with the flow it leaves a similar sounding taste.

Post Target there is a severe boost in the band’s enthusiasm on the cd. Suddenly all instruments have a rebirth with more riffing. It takes a Genghis Khan to help you rotate your head. More groove bestowed upon us here. Burn Waco and Rasputin seem toned down but the title track is a fucking hit. The special edition stocks three more which are Psychosomatic, Jihad Joe and a cover of Black Sabbath’s Electric Funeral. The bonus tracks lengthen the whole album, listen to them only if you have time on you.

Cavalera Conspiracy is definitely going uphill with their new album. Expecting the band to climb more over the metal mountain would come naturally after listening to Blunt Force Trauma.

Rating : 3/5

album review : Omnivium (2011) – Obscura

album : Omnivium

artist : Obscura

genre : Progressive/Technical Death Metal

year : 2011

Battling every melo-death release this year to make it to the top are German metallers Obscura. The undying spirit to leave behind technically melodic bands can be seen on their third full-length Omnivium.

Obscura is a strong band as Retribution and Cosmogenesis are their babies and the songs on those clearly showed how stable they were with the genre they intended to record. Multiplying their interest a little more on Omnivium we are showered with nine severely progressive tracks that hugs the technical aspects and lays down a red carpet for melody. The clean parts steal away the attention in between songs but not that we cannot like them because it is all leading somewhere. The growls are more mature allowing the guitarists to belt out solos in a bid to provide wholesome entertainment for their fans.

Placing brutality, progressiveness on one side and melody, technicality on another, the weighing machine seems to have been well balanced with the load falling a bit on the latter side. They have taken everything to more complex levels. Ample amount of space is given to each instrument on Omnivium letting the drummer to drive you insane, and the bass to hit you in the face.

After being exposed to a lot of melodic death metal albums this year, Omnivium is my recommendation as one of the best albums this genre has produced for 2011. Omnivium isn’t a dry album by any means, your heart will thank you for playing this one. Try it!

Rating : 4/5

album review : Relentless Reckless Forever (2011) – Children of Bodom

album : Relentless Reckless Forever

band : Children of Bodom

genre : Melodic Death/Power Metal

year : 2011

This is one band that went higher and higher with a few of their earlier releases and suddenly made everyone feel that the peak has been reached. And before we knew it we saw that the band has decided to ‘experiment’ with their sound and fuck things up. Had the discography been only till Hate Crew Deathroll then Children of Bodom wouldn’t have been so forgettable today. Well, almost. Honestly, after the compilation album full of covers was released I had moved on with all things Bodom. Before any assumptions are made I absolutely admire the Bodom from 1997-2003 and I still haven’t gotten over Something Wild.

Now before they are written off Children of Bodom had to come up with an album that wouldn’t make it difficult for them to take a dip in the evil lake. Relentless Reckless Forever is boring but it ain’t terrible. There is a clear demise of old-Bodom and these releases are just the remains of what once was one of the most adored melodic death metal band.

The album title and the artwork is a big turn off but nevertheless we hardly have good cover art nowadays. At places the synth sounds forced. This is bad considering it was the same instrument that lifted Bodom higher giving them a sound of their own. The opening track will own you. Along with that we have Shovel Knockout, Roundtrip to Hell and Back, Ugly, Cry of the Nihilist and Was It Worth It? which are not only tolerable but likeable to. The neverending keyboard-guitar solos are spotted at places restoring the band’s pride.

The title track is dragged and so is the last track Northpole Throwdown which is more of dance-floor material than metal. Like their albums, Alexi Laiho – the vocalist had stopped impressing me long back. Everything on Relentless Reckless Forever is average but we have gotten used to accepting average things coming out of this Finnish band.

Rating : 2.5/5

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