Metal Blade

  • Aeon – Aeons Black (2012)

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    Delivering powerful doses of Swedish Death Metal, today we have Aeon and their fourth full-length release “Aeons Black”. In these days when we are plagued by shitty Deathcore bands and kinds trying to pull-off Technical Death Metal and failing miserably, it is quite refreshing to listen to sheer Death Metal brutality the Swedish way with meaty hooks and destructive riffs. The band sticking to their guns delivers quite an exquisite extreme experience, the way that Death Metal should be to begin with.

    Quickly throwing the first punch with “Still They Pray”, the band does a solid job in combining technical skills with catchiness. The instantaneous wall of sound created by the band can be comparable to what Zyklon and now The Wretched End are capable of outputting. The drumming is intense as hell and the riffing is totally crushing, making them a force to be reckoned with.

  • Downfall of Gaia – Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes (2012)

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    Jumping on the whole Cascadian/hipster Black Metal / Post-Black Metal movement, today we have Metal Blade and one of their latest signings Downfall of Gaia. The German band plays a very well-constructed Black Metal with lush atmospheric elements, but with a very traditional instrumental core. While the band is actually pretty good at what they do, they are still nowhere near as excellent as main competitors Wolves in the Throne Room, and even lesser known bands like Fell Voices, Woman is the Earth, etc.

    Opening with the atmospheric “[Vulnus]”, this album quickly delivers the traditional lush guitars of said style of music. The drumming and overall pace of things is very adequate and this song feels crushing, but at the same time filled with melody. The wall of sound created on the first track nicely blends into “Drowning By Wing Beats”, another song that starts with very emphasized drums that are quite good and slowly moves into faster and harsher territories. The vocals are quite fitting for the style, and sometimes it reminded us of the intense delivery of bands like Sun Worship (also from Germany).

  • Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)

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    As one of the most ridiculously epic Progressive releases of 2012, today we have Between the Buried and Me’s “The Parallax II: Future Sequence”. As one of the most unique and non-conforming bands in the American Metal scene, BTBM has been constantly changing over the years, but with this release they have reached the pinnacle of their career and produced and album that won’t easily be equaled, let alone surpassed.

    Mixing their own brand of Progressive Metal with some harsh elements, most of the core-crap is totally gone, the band delivers completely hypnotic tracks that will puzzle some, and amaze most. Opening with the Cynic-like “Goodbye to Everything”, the band starts hinting at a very sonically pleasing release with the instrumentation and excellent production values. This is immediately felt present with the Dream Theater-esque “Astral Body”. Borrowing from progressive greats like Yes, DT, Magus, etc., the band truly makes these influences their own and shapes them in their own weird ways to craft very intricate and engaging songs.

  • As I Lay Dying - Awakened (2012)

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    After being impressed (in a good way) by their previous release “The Powerless Rise”, As I Lay Dying returns with another cookie-cutter Metalcore release that might please the crowds of Mallcore kiddies, but not the Metal veterans. Having developed excellent songs for their previous album, it is kind of a bummer when a band waters down their music for the sake of record sales and pleasing crowds. As I Lay Dying has some musical chops, but in this release they just opt for the easy way out and deliver eleven tracks full of fluff that surely have a bunch of high-school kids cheering for them.

    While we have outgrown our hatred for Metalcore, we still hammer releases devoid of creativity and this is one of them. Since the opener “Cauterize” the band opts for a weird mixture of Scar Symmetry-meets-Soilwork approach that really sounds like the band is trying to be somebody else. The clean vocals are pretty ok, but the way they are used is already Scar Symmetry’s forte, and when you add breakdowns to the mix… it just makes us want to vomit.

  • Trioscapes – Separate Realities (2012)

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    In the category of musical porn, today we have Trioscapes and their ridiculously technical (and equally intoxicating) debut release “Separate Realities”. The band formed by Dan Briggs (of Between the Buried and Me), Walter Fancourt on tenor saxophone/flute, and Matt Lynch on drums, is out to conquer audiences with their intoxicating mixture of Prog Rock, Fussion, and Psychedelic Rock, all packed into a funky sexy package that will get you laid guaranteed.

    Open with the Yes-esque “Blast Off”, the trio delivers a pretty impressive dance between instruments since the first second. The percussions are outstanding and they are very precise to offset the sexy saxophone lines. The bass line is nothing short of extraordinary, making us wonder with is Dan playing with Between the Buried and Me, and not a better band ($$$).

  • Six Feet Under – Undead (2012)

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    With Cannibal Corpse returning this 2012 with an impressive release, ex-CC member Chris Barnes the folks at Six Feet Under fire back with the hyper groovy “Undead”. After the lukewarm “Death Rituals” back in 2008, it is nice to hear that Six Feet Under is still capable of delivering a solid album with plenty of meaty hooks and excellent chugging sections.

    Opening with the powerful “Frozen At the Moment of Death”, the riffing immediately stands out due to its timeless DM vibe. The drumming is pretty hectic and Chris Barnes vocals perfectly fit the bill. While the raw power he had in the past is not there anymore, he can still deliver excellent growls by DM standards. Aside from the meaty hooks presented in tracks like “Fromaldehyde”, “18 Days”, “Molest Dead”, and “Blood on My Hands”, the slow groovy vibe that SFU constructs around their songs is what makes them standout in the scene.

  • Job for a Cowboy – Demonocracy (2012)

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    The constantly morphing Job for a Cowboy (JFAC) have taken 4 years between full-length releases and with “Demonocracy” they keep getting closer and closer to the Technical Death Metal genre with this release. Many people give shit to this band from leaving the Deathcore category, but their slow transition has been quite interesting and something to admire since they are bringing with them plenty of fans that otherwise would never dabble with Tech DM bands.

    Opening with the commanding “Children of Deceit”, the band makes a huge statement with its brutal and technical approach. The drumming is furious, the riffing is very well crafted, and the bass guitar track is almost up to par to something that Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence, ex-Obscura) would come up with. The ups and downs in this song are very well crafted and don’t feel too Deathcore-ish to us.

  • Cannibal Corpse – Torture (2012)

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    Bouncing back from the lackluster “Evisceration Plague”, Cannibal Corpse returns with 40 minutes of pure Death Metal that will catapult them back on top of the genre. Pummeling through 12 tracks, the band will surely surprise you with their renewed energy and crushing songs that will have you head banging in minutes.

    Breaking the listener in with “Demented Aggression”, the guitar riffing is furious and well-paced, the drums are pretty solid and the growls/screams perfectly balanced. Immediately we noticed that the production is crystal clear and with a very balanced mix, everything clicks without anything being over powering. With “Sarcophagic Frenzy” the album speed pick up a bit more and the pounding bass guitar line begins to shine. The meaty hooks and chugging guitars make “Scourge of Iron” a very powerful song, nicely keeping the momentum going in this album.

  • Austrian Death Machine – Jingle All the Way (2011)

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    With a hefty dose of pounding guitars and Arnold Schwarzenegger ridicule, today we have Austrian Death Machine and their latest single “Jingle All the Way”. Featuring three songs of hilarious and very well crafted Metal, As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis is ready for another round of wackiness.

    Opening with “I’m not a Pervert”, the ‘band’ delivers high-octane guitar riffing with crushing vocals and some Arnold-like spoken sections. This song is very well crafted and pretty brutal indeed, it just makes it even better with the funny lyrics. Next on the agenda, the pounding “It’s Turbo time” delivers more devastating guitar riffs and a nice intensity.

  • Autumn – Cold Comfort (2011)

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    After dabbling into more ‘mainstream friendly’ lands with their previous release “Altitude”, Autumn returns to the darker side of things with the highly emotional “Cold Comfort”. In this new release the band delivers nine beautifully crafted melodies that nicely combine Progressive Rock elements with more traditional Rock influences under a very melancholic atmosphere that had us completely hooked into the album since the first track.

    The band’s vocalist Marjan Welman seems more integrated into the band’s sound and her sultry voice fits perfectly into the darker and more melancholic mood of this release than on the band’s previous ‘pop-goth’ release from 2009. Every song in “Cold Comfort” features a nice Progressive Rock/ Melancholic Rock blend of sounds, something like The Gathering with Anneke but in a less experimental way.

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