Misery Signals – Absent Light

Misery Signals released their 4th full length Absent Light independently.

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TRACKLIST:
01. A Glimmer of Hope
02. Luminary
03. Reborn (An Execution)
04. Carrier
05. Shadows and Depth
06. Lost Relics
07. Two Solitudes
08. Departure
09. The Shallows
10. Ursa Minor
11. Everything Will Rust

The crowd funding campaign.. A phenomenon which seem to have caught on like wildfire in the music realm.  For all you laymen, certain sites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter lend artists the option of funding their albums through their fans (who are to offer donations with no limit bar). Fans are then offered some cool add-ons/perks with their purchase of the finished album. This means this can only work out for bands with an established fanbase. Bands tend to toe this line when faced with either of these issues.

1. Completely fed up with their labels’ callous attitude/creative control over the album, and want to dissociate.

2. Bands express the need to go DIY so they gain full control over everything, from production to touring to sales. The profits can be put into good use.

It’s  been great so far. Fans have been paying up rich dividends, in fact drawing an amount of money almost double their actual requirement. With everything going this good one cannot but help but bring a bit of skepticism into the picture. Even if that means, doubting a band that you’ve been quite an ardent fan of. The band in question here is none other than Misery Signals.

After a gap of 5 painstaking years Misery Signals have returned with hopes of creating a few ripples in that almost axiomatic pool of stagnancy –which is Metalcore. Clearly their debut ‘Of Malice and the Magnum Heart’ and ‘Controller’ both left lasting impressions on the scene. Spawning in the process a slew of run of the mill clones (only pretentiously so). The Misery Signals sound has thus been a hallmark within the confines of the genre, something scores of bands have tried to capture and instead found themselves, toppling over each other. So yes, we have several thousand ears yearning for a taste of what was to come.

Well let’s just say, it is hard for bands to build on an already cemented past.  Absent Light sees Misery Signals being themselves, which yes, adds an air of authenticity, but in the end finds itself falling short. What the band has always excelled on was in creating a seemingly undeniable and enviable combination of technicality, melody and lyricism hitherto unsurpassed in metalcore. A fine balance, in fact too fine, as even the slightest of dilutions or inadvertent doses of any one of these, can tip the scale towards the ever so common trapping of “missing something”. With Absent Light the band immerses itself in a tad too much of technicality and the songwriting sort of takes a blow. Each song has great moments, instantly reminiscent of the almost hallowed heights the band had previously traversed. Yet these very songs suffer from passages that fall terribly flat, several mechanical riffage devoid of any life runs rife throughout the album. In the end each song sounds fractured at several points. It disengages the listener as much as it engages hi m. I’ve been through this album several times now and it still hasn’t clicked. The ‘Grower’ card just seems to fail here.

That said, there are a couple of songs such as Luminary, Shadows and Depths, Ursa Minor that still ekes out in to your system despite all attempts of protest. But what takes the cake is the closer Everything will Rust which sees the band stepping outside the rather tepid spectrum they seem to relish in. One might as well call it post-hardcorish. With a stellar guest vocals provided by the vocalist from the funk band Bad Rabbits and your typical Karl’s still undiminished-in-intensity roars over it. A much cathartic 4 minutes I must say.

Much like ‘Mirrors’ (their sophomore effort) this is probably a temporary dip in quality. Very likely to be the case of a band searching for that elusive perfect mix, once again. Although not a bad record by any means, all it does is leave you optimistic for their next release.

Stream the entire album here:

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Anagnorisis – Beyond All Light

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album from Anagnorisis self-release titled Beyond All Light.

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Tracklisting

1. Eulerian Path (7:38)

2. This Cursed Blood (5:53)

3. Death Mimics Life (9:31)

4. Abyss (6:36)

5. Bountiful Goddess Life (7:36)

6. Forever Night (9:16)

The etymological origins of bands is not something a casual listener often delves into, but with a name as unique as Anagnorisis, one cannot help but satiate the inquisitiveness that one is immediately afflicted by when stumbling upon the obscure. Anagnorisis (ἀναγνώρισις) describes that moment in a play or other non rhythmic work of literature when a key character makes a critical discovery of sorts, or reaches a point of realization pertaining to something imperative to the individual’s existence, and may have several implications on the same person’s continuance. The Aristotelian school of thought on the concept of tragedy alludes the term as a protagonist’s sudden awareness of an absolute situation, often in relation to an antagonist in the very same storyline, serving as a manoeuvre that serves to shift the tale in a redolent direction. Let’s ignore the usual clichés that one generally expresses when dealing with bands from locations that are incongruent with their stylistic preference – art is art and at the end of the day should ideally appeal to people from all walks of life, so geographic location and ethnic ties are rather trivial apropos artistic appeal. I merely mention this in light of the fact that an extreme metal band based out of Kentucky, Louisville evidently comes as a surprise to many, but the very point of such music is to achieve that little piece of transcendence.

The band has been christened a ‘modern’ black metal act with a smattering of death metal elements that  are apparent in their sonic canvas, but such labels really only serve to feed the listener’s preconceptions as opposed to serving as effective and moreover, helpful labels o the music. The album’s opener, ‘Eulerian Path’ blends the audile theatrics of grandeur and foreboding atmospherics amidst velocity-driven tremolo picking and blast beats with tastefully placed, slower, more rhythm-driven segments which add to the dynamic of the track. ‘This Cursed Blood’ is a straightforward black metal number in the vein of Thorns, and is for the most part centred around vociferous aggression with polyrhythms galore that evoke a certain enjoyable familiarity for the seasoned black metal fan. Segments featuring spiralling leads and cabalistic leads certainly hint at faint references to the death metal side of things. The intense sampled section in the middle of the song featuring only vocals effectively juxtaposes itself with the more chaotic segments of the song, although the turn the vocals took towards the end could’ve well been avoided. ‘Death Mimics Life’ lumbers in comparison and is a more composed composition, engrossing one with bountiful tempo changes. Readily discernible, almost traditional metal-driven leads make their appearance in the thick of a barrage of dexterously executed double-bass chops.

Stream the entire album here:

The other half of the album opens with ‘Abyss’, which could be thought of as an interlude of sorts that dabbles with an almost apocalyptic atmosphere. Unconventionality has been the ethos that the genre has stood by since its inception and thus this number has no apparent song structure, which is precisely why it manages to be a uniquely elegiac and somber dirge. The mournful howls atop tastefully restrained and cultivated instrumentation make this the stand out track on the album. ‘Bountiful Goddess Life’ invokes the likes of early Emperor and perhaps even Enslaved, exquisitely executed with appropriate doses of symphonic dramatism that adroitly evades the descending of the composition into a cheese-fest. The acoustic segment of this song is excellent and elicits an introspective mood, and also serves as a build up towards comparatively subdued, more mid-tempo, funereal segments that close the song. The closer of the latter half of the album, ‘Forever Night’ is a testament to the versatility of the band – a melancholic introduction that descends into a polyrhythm-driven bombardment of almost anthemic riffs, which is met by refined symphonic sections along the way on this epic sonic journey, with the percussive diversity serving as the backbone for this ambitious composition.

The vocals are satisfactorily strident and showcase moments that add to the atmospheric nature of the tracks amidst the blizzard of riffs and relentless percussion. The versatility of the guitar work should not go unappreciated, and presents moments of sheer illumination, solely due to excellently selected rhythms that compliment the symphonic sensibilities of the composition in a magnificent manner, as does the percussive congruence with the aforementioned elements. The keyboard work introduces a refined element to the walls of sound presented by the band, and are brought to the fore during fitting moments, especially on the second half of the album. This is by no means a conventional symphonic extreme metal album, and the elements that could mistakenly be deemed such are more subtle in nature, and serve to orchestrate the various elements of the band’s creative canvas. Lastly, the production is somewhat fuzzy but reinforces the monolithic and epic nature of this musical endeavour, and thankfully, is not aurally abhorrent.

Despite the rather clichéd album name, that is, dare I say, a shoddy attempt at summing up this bleak and misanthropic effort, the music is extremely solid and very effectively lives up to its lofty name, but the degree of memorability this album presents might be subject to the listener’s stylistic preferences and orientations. I’d certainly suggest this release for enthusiasts who enjoy Anaal Nathrakh, Wolves in the Throne Room, Judas Iscariot or even Liturgy (this album did have vaguely post-rock references, might I add) and Septic Flesh. I highly doubt, however, that ‘Beyond All Light’ at the very least, will fail to impression even the most casual listener.

Mumakil – Flies Will Starve

Mohammad Kabeer reviews the new album from Mumakil titled Flies Will Starve, released via Relapse Records.

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Tracklist:
01 – Death From Below
02 – Dawn Of Slugs
03 – War Therapist
04 – Fucktards Parade
05 – Built Of Lies
06 – Shit Reminders
07 – Designed To Fail
08 – Get Exorcised
09 – Fresh Meat For The Grinder
10 – Repudiate
11 – Army Of Freaks
12 – Hailing Regression
13 – Cockroaches
14 – Wrong Turn
15 – Let The World Burn
16 – Piss Off (Part 2)
17 – Waste By Definition
18 – Unfair For Whom
19 – Bring Them To Ruin
20 – Begging For The Obvious
21 – Redline
22 – Blind Disciples
23 – Betrayer
24 – Behind The Mask

Mumakil are actually mythical creatures, from the ever so constantly cited Lord of the  Rings trilogy. Gigantic  elephant like creatures to be precise, and with that in mind you’d probably think Mumakil to be a folk or power metal  band,  but things are not always as they seem now are  they?

Mumakil are a four piece from Geneva, Switzerland consisting of the extremely talented Kevin Foley on drums who has also played with other renowned bands like Sepultura, Benighted and Nervecell. Then we have Jeje on Guitars, Thomas on bass and  Benjamin Droz on vocals. The style of music that these guys play pretty much falls within the periphery of deathgrind, although their sound is very reminiscent of modern deathgrind bands like Plague Widow or Murder Construct, they are still sound close to the roots of the genre. Mumakil have all the elements that a really sick, brutal deathgrind band should have. Blazing fast hyperblast beats (probably some of the fastest I have heard) that take the speed of the genre to the next level, thick, juicy guitar riffs that have that death metal punch that bring a smile to my face, and some pretty intense growls as well.

But then what really brings this band down (well for me at least) is the songwriting or the excess of it, I like my grind really tight , really fast and to move swiftly  from one part of the song to the next without any kind of warning , without smooth  transitions and that’s just something that thrills me every time I listen to it. It’s like an awesome roller coaster ride  that I want to get on again and again, and I am able to find this in most of the subgenres including the two bands I have mentioned above. With their latest “Flies will starve” Mumakil  have got the first two things laid down pretty well but it’s the third thing that’s  the problem,   everything just seems so calculated, so intricate  so well planned  that  much of the chaos  which  I look for in the genre seems lost.  It just feels as if there is just too much emphasis on structure, on deciding what will come next and that simply shoots down the raw emotion that can be associated with this style. Although there are the tracks Fucktards Parade and Repudiate that do manage to create that feeling but they are too few to count. In fact this band is so mechanically precise they make Noisear sound like Anal cunt.

Alas Mumakil this time does not prove to be the gigantic elephant it was meant to be, but I do hope they return next time with an album that will blast my face off .

Stream the entire album right here:

A MidYear Reflection: Deckard Cain’s Maladies of the Ear

A stooping back, coughed up blood, feet that grate and yet death eludes me. A great evil works beneath the surface, ceaselessly, to guarantee me life, sustaining it. I reckon it is that good for nothing, hellhole dweller, Diablo, once again. While the rest of humanity holds vitality dear to their heart, I deny it with vehemence unparalleled. I seek death in the deepest corners of this planet for in eternal silence I might finally rid of my physical burdens. But for now, senility is a curse, while immortality thrust upon you at senility, remains a bane of unfathomable proportions.

What keeps me alive in this howling doldrum, is companionship. My fellow magi, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy(list) and Mohmmad Kabeer(list), of our Ancient Horadrim Order, have once again unraveled scrolls of a nature, hitherto undiscovered. Their great and exotic findings within made for a sumptuous feast of music. And now I present a scroll, hidden away in a SATCHEL deep in Tristam’s boondocks.

Feel free to judge my character, and maybe piss on it…But in the end i humbly request you to…

STAY AWHILE AND LISTEN…

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IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

1. Omnium Gatherum – Beyond

Omnium Gatherum has always been hinting at their best, but was never fully realized. They showered us with a massive amount of proof with New World Shadows but then again, after finding their sound in Redshift, personally it seemed like it was deprived of some key ingredient. With “Beyond” the band truly realizes themselves carving out one fine slab of melancholic melodic death metal.

 

2. The Flight of Sleipnir – Saga

Having not heard anything previously from the band this came to as a pleasant surprise, the effect of which only grew with time. Each song draws from the usually complimentary genres such as blackened folk and doom. Although a bit like Agalloch they do put in a few good old stoner doom riffs in there as well. The production and instrumentation are murky enough to keep it raw. A truly sublimely emotive vocal delivery as accompaniment as well.

 

3. Cortez – Phoebus

With knowledge regarding Noise Rock/Hardcore amounting to naught, I never really knew what to expect from Cortez. In due time i was floored by the furious mix of unadulterated hardcore, alternating between spastic and grandiose, making for great emotive segments. And it all lines up pretty nicely with the production, as against a plethora of bands that have been trying for eons to get this mix that these guys seems to have perfected.

 

4. Man the Machetes – Idiokrati

Having liked Kvelertak’s debut and then going on to get slightly disappointed with their sophomore effort, I was looking elsewhere for quenching my thirst for fun filled punk. I never had to look farther than into the very same record label. Man the Machetes take the more punkish hardcore segments found in Kvelertak, add in a more fun “go get it!” spin to it and make a whole album out of it. Fun extreme.

 

5. ASG – Blood Drive

Laid back alternative stoner rock. A better yet crude way of putting it might be to call them a mix of Black Sabbath-esque stoner riffs bathed in Torche’s sense of melody. Coupled with one of the best vocal performances all year and a production that leaves no deep yearning for clarity, gives this great replayability.

 

6. Katalepsy – Autopsychosis

There’s been a rush of brutal death metal this year from the stalwarts Defeated Sanity, Devourment and Wormed. But this little known Russian band steals the cake. Technicality and heaviness squashed down into a more palpable form. Together with some of the finest grooves laid down in the genre, Autopsychosis brings an insane amount of catchiness to the table.

 

7. Crown – Psychurgy

Exploring the aural alternatives of the word “Crushing”. This French duo take the atmosphere heavy, post- sludge to greater heights. There is ample industrial experimentation on work here as well which makes it all the more interesting.

 

8. Deafheaven – Sunbather

Hipsters black metal… as your average ludicrous kvltist might put it. Do not be fooled my friends, for this is truly a piece of beautiful music, extricating black metal from its inherent conservativeness and spreading it with truly ingenious sense of melody. The lyrics are deeply introspective and further accentuates the music at hand.

 

9. Beastwars – Blood Becomes Fire

Law abiding citizens of planet “Obey the Riff”, are  Beastwars. Having been enamored by their debut just the last year, Blood Becomes Fire makes swift escape from the jaws of the sophomore slum abyss. Imagine if High on Fire attempted  a return to being Sleep and maybe added a dash of melody more than usual.

 

10. Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle

Named after one of the most powerful warriors in the epic fantasy novel series “The Book of Malazan”( which i coincidentally took to reading earlier this year) makes this album and band all the more special. Imagine the Tolkien worshipers in the band Summoning, changing their lyrical influence and accordingly the music as well. Epic folky black metal. Do not look here for an instrumental wank off, rather come here for atmosphere.

 

Other Notable Mentions

1. Benea Reach – Possession

With their innate knack to pen down some of the catchiest riffs with a great ear for melody , they ride far from the madding crowd of djent fanatics. If one can see past their cringe worthy lyricism, then this will go down as one of the better modern metal albums off late.

2. The Fall of Every Second – Amends

Imagine Insomnium being further slowed down and choosing to tread over a more doomier path.

3. Hate – Solarflesh

Clearly a case of the band outdoing and outmaneuvering their influences (Behemoth in this case). Makes for a much better listen than any of Behemoth’s albums.

4. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Regarde Les Homme Tomber

Probably the best debut all year. Might as well call it sludgy/post-metal/black metal/doom. There are so many genres at play here, yet it all seem as a single entity.

5. Universe217 – Harm

Some of the best vocal performances in a long time, thoroughly haunting and captivating. The doomy instrumentation fine packages the sublime vocal performance.

6. Moth – Endlessly in Motion

Strapping Young Lad-ish and at times Decapitated-ish. Catchy nonetheless.

7. Scale the Summit – The Migration

Once again a case of top notch instrumental wizardry at par with stellar songwriting.

8. Krownn – Hyborian Age

Conan, gives all hideous monsters a rest, smokes a reefer and tries a hand at composing music. “Hmm… Not that bad… Good infact.. Real Good.”

9. Vuyvr – Heiskalt

The best release from the already impressive Throatruiner records roster. Scathing and unrelenting black metal, unfolding and bathing in its most primeval form.

10. Shade Empire – Omega Arcane

Septic Flesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse have a new rival in the making. Although being their 4th full length, this is a strong release which will establish their relevance in the symphonic death metal milieu.

Lord Dying – Summon the Faithless

Mohammad Kabeer reviews the debut album from Lord Dying titled Summon the Faithless, released via Relapse Records.

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1. In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment (5:10)
2. Summoning the Faithless (4:43)
3. Greed Is Your Horse (4:41)
4. Descend into External (4:53)
5. Dreams of Mercy (4:58)
6. Perverse Osmosis (4:03)
7. Water Under a Burning Bridge (4:52)
8. What Is Not…Is (6:33)

Relapse Records have played a huge role in supporting the contemporary sludge metal scene. All of the great bands that today’s generation associates sludge with have been a part of this roster. Baroness, Kylesa, Mastodon and of course the band which partly sowed the seeds of this genre, Neurosis, comes to mind. Another band, which has now joined these names, is Lord Dying.

Lord Dying is a four piece from Portland Oregon, and their music can be best described as simple straightforward sludge metal and that’s pretty much it really. These guys take the best from what’s already been done and apply it to a much more simpler, a somewhat more mid tempo format. There are tracks here that do flirt with other genres such as Greed is your Horse, which sounds like a cross between something Portal would do and traditional doom, and Perverse Osmosis, the starting of which is very powerviolence-ish , but  mostly  the band stays directly under the shadow of sludge.

However that being said, they do stay firmly attached to their roots. For this album  has everything a good sludge metal, should  have ,  really dirty heavy guitar riffs, a very detailed yet heavy drum sound,  and  changing dynamics  between  massive guitar chugs and a more overdriven hard rock style, which makes this a fun album. Although not revolutionary by any means, this will definitely stay in my playlist for those times when I want to hear something a bit off kilter than the usual grind routine. I wouldn’t really recommend this to people who are new to sludge but avid sludge fans should definitely lap this up.

Stream the entire album below