Today we have the Metal Blade re-release of legendary Helstar’s albums: “A Distant Thunder”, “Nosferatu” and “Twas the Night of a Helish X-Mas” is a boxed set that also includes the DVD of “Twas the Night of a Helish X-Mas”. For those of you that don’t know Helstar is a Power/Speed Metal band from the USA that released some epic albums back in the 80’s before disappearing for a while.
All these three releases featured in the “Rising From The Gave” boxed set feature remastered versions of “A Distant Thunder” and “Nosferatu” and indeed these two great albums sound better than ever. We did not receive the 3rd and live CD for review, so we can’t really say much about this part of the boxed set.
Hailing from Ireland, Primordial is one of our top 50 bands from all times and “Spirit The Earth Aflame” is one of our all-time favorite albums. When we heard that Metal Blade was releasing this timeless classic we got psyched about the possibility of some great bonus material on this version of the album (we currently have 2 other versions).
If you know who Primordial is, you probably worship this album as much as any other fan of the band and can skip till the next paragraph of this review. If you don’t know who the band is, then we must tell you that this band was one of the first to successfully combine Celtic/Folk influences with aggressive Black Metal elements, giving them a very dark and powerful sound that was unheard off back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.
Over the last few years we have noticed that the metal scene in the United States is finally deviating from the ‘commercially safe’ crap and it’s finally producing some kick ass bands like Allegaeon that makes you double check to see if they are indeed from the US. Hailing from Colorado, Allegaeon comes to take the US Melodic Death Metal crown in a heart beat.
Some people might say that there are still some fashion-core remains in this band’s music, and at some points they have some Black Dahlia Murder influences, but we see the bigger picture: a band trying to sound different than most American bands these days. Notice we say different and not original, since bands in Europe have been doing proper Melodic/Technical Death Metal for years and nobody seems to consider this a feat anymore.
There are a few things that make us think WTF, recently the movie “The Human Centipede” and Comparative Anatomy’s “Mammalia” have produced some of those epic reactions. Well, today we have another one of these priceless reactions with The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza’s new album “Danaza III”. We have heard the band before and their previous bizarre albums, but we quite didn’t expect this one either.
Moving into a very brutal territory, this American trio has managed to release one of the most dissonantly brilliant albums of 2010. The band takes many ideas from movies and just about any other random shit (like Tony Danza) and merges them together in a chaotic fashion to make a brutal yet highly original release.
Today we have yet another old-school Trash Metal band. Fatal Embrace has been around for over 17 years and for some reason has only managed to release 4 albums in their long career. Signed now to Metal Blade records, we image that they are trying to capitalize on the current Trash Metal revival.
The influences presented on “The Empires of Inhumanity” are too many to count, but we can tell you that the band sounds like Kreator, Slayer, Dark Angel, and Sodom. Sounds impressive on paper right?, well… the band has it’s moments but they show no originality or evolution whatsoever. On “The Empires of Inhumanity” we get 11 tracks (plus 1 cover) of well executed old-school Trash that will surely get all the fans of the genre jumping on their seats, but gets old very quickly.
While we are not huge fans of Crust releases, we find Early Graves “Goner” to contain all the right elements to be a standard release to this genre. We usually trash most bands the genre because their lack of inspiration behind a very uninspired genre (at least for us), however, Early Graves does a pretty solid job in creating 10 crusty songs that have the right amount of quality elements to them.
The band balances Grindcore, Hardcore, Crust and some Death Metal elements in their well crafted sound that is both crushing and well paced. Some Crust bands bore us to death because of the extreme punk influences (most notably on drums), but Early Graves has managed to avoid this by varying their drumming influences and recurring to the punk-ish elements only when needed.
“There is a turd in the punch bowl, I repeat there is a turd in the punch bowl.” Is exactly the first thing we thought when listening to “The Extra Dimensional Wound”. After a mostly decentstack of albums we have reviewed in the last few weeks we had to get a turd of an album. Playing harsh Black Metal in the way of Bathory, Venom, etc. Lightning Swords of Death has failed to capture the feeling and inspiration behind these legendary bands.
With a wide variety of uninspired riffs, an overly loud bass guitar line, and sub-par vocal “The Extra Dimensional Wound” will create and actual wound in your ears from listening to this release. We are not always completely negative, and we can say that the drumming in this album is probably the best thing going for it, besides the song titles and the super cool band name.
With all the shit-core bands out these days we are very skeptical about reviewing anything that comes with the Metalcore and Deathcore tags. We usually trash most of these bands because of their lack of creativity and musical maturity, using a bunch of random riffs before the ‘traditional’ breakdown is not a formula for success (some might differ with this opinion).
When we first started listening to Whitechapel’s 3rd album “A New Era of Corruption”, the first thing that came to our minds was: “Oh shit, another Black Dahlia Murder clone”. However, after the first few songs we actually discovered that Whitechapel is much more than a ‘straight forward’ Deathcore band. Their sound over the years (yes, we had check them out since their first releases) has changed from an uninspired copy-cat Deathcore, into their own brutal combination of Death Metal with some modern core-ish influences.
Hailing from Sweden we have today yet another Death Metal band that wants to be ‘brutal’ and technical at the same time. Aeon is not a very (or at all) original band, but what they do, they do perfectly. With a very groovy sound, the band reminds us of the likes of Jungle Rot, Six Feet Under, etc.
Combining chugging riffs and meaty hooks, the band does a great job in creating a very brutal DM backdrop, with the addition of some brilliant solos and bestial drumming (courtesy of Nils Fjellstrom, from Dark Funeral) the band creates very solid tracks that will have people moshing in no time. While Aeon is an extremely formulaic band, they do have good song writing chops to keep you entertained for over 40 minutes.
With a particular beef with the sun (read their bio) and a very interesting overall concept behind the band, we get today Istapp and their blend of Black Metal with Viking/Folk Metal elements. The band’s first full-length release “Blekinge” set to be release on June 8th on Metal Blade records is one of the most complete Black Metal albums of 2010.
Hailing from Sweden, a place where pretty much every band seems to have the skills to craft great music, it’s hard to find young and promising talent such as Istapp. The band’s music is very straight forward and aggressive, but has mystical clean passages that create unparalleled atmospheres fully enriching the listening experience.