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.

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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:

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

Witches Mark – Witching Metal Ritual

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album from Witches Mark titled Witching Metal Ritual, released via Heaven and Hell Records.

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Witching Metal Ritual is a rather deceiving album title. Having picked out this album to review upon first glance of the title, quite instinctively, given that I’m a person who bows at the altar of the FWOBM, I was slightly taken aback when I heard the actual sound of the band, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Glaring 80’s metal worship is an ordeal that can swing both ways and Witching Metal Ritual, released on Heaven and Hell Records, is a 40 minutes experience of murky heavy metal invoking the various sounds and ultimately amalgamating the plurality that characterised the heavy music of yore. Onto the obligatory band history, Witches Mark is an Austin-based band whose only release prior to this debut is an EP titled A Grim Apparition. These Texans boast a slew of guest appearances which are nothing short of impressive for a debut album, such as Ross Friedman (Manowar), Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys), Jack Starr (Virgin Steele / Burning Starr), and Martin Debourge (Damian Throne/Head Transfer Process) being among the contributors.

Starting with the opening track, it is rather clear that Witches Mark are not hell-bent on distinguishing themselves in terms of stylistic and genre divisions, and instead embark on a journey to rally legions of old school adherents to stand as one in unison. ‘Bringers of Heavy Metal’ is a fervid story-telling session of sentient beings descending upon earth and reducing all that exists on it into ash and rubble. The guitar work is standard speed-metal fare, with good measures of heaviness, courtesy of the muffled, explosive power chords, and catchy melody, with Robb Bockman’s vocal approach being somewhat reminiscent of a consonant Paul Baloff. ‘Salem’s Fire’ is a track that invokes the likes of Running Wild infused with a thrashier edge with some extremely catch lead work, while the vocals become more sinister and even mischievous in a sense as opposed to the easy route of chanted shouts and shrieks that many bands choose to adopt. ‘Swarm’ is nothing short of a charging and invigorating number with the vocals being the focus here, with Bockman adeptly infusing both a foreboding and anthemic mood. The next track, ‘Slaves to their Own Sin’ sees the band once again chartering the territory of exaggerated ominousness.

Stream the entire album now!

Onto the doomier side of the record, ‘We Die’ presents the band’s melodramatic and impassioned side, with excellent leads that alternate between vigor and melancholy alongside stirring vocals. ‘Cauldron Born’ is a more versatile track (and also among the lengthier ones) in terms of the tempo changes that it presents the listener, with some evocative and infectious guitar work. The title track is an immensely enjoyable listen – something you’ve subconsciously heard before – think a fusion between European power metal with a good dose of Texan griminess, and is also incredibly anthemic. The closing track, ‘Where None Can Follow’ is a bit stagnant at first but gets incredibly catchy after the initial build up. The track is also rather dynamic – the vocal delivery alternate between raspy shrieks and more impassioned, scratchy melodies; while the guitar work alternates between standard speed-metal fare a la tremolo and triplet rhythms atop velocity-driven drum work, which also facilitates a good number of tempo changes in turn effectively enrapturing listeners lest the listener feels any hint of monotony or musical lassitude.

Witches Mark’s genuine and cruddy blend of power, speed, thrash and hints of extreme metal is supported by solid musicianship and song writing skills, with special mention to the latter, given that bands of modernity are far too concerned with showcasing (some would say showing-off, even) their technical dexterity as opposed to creating enjoyable music. Fans of Risk, Iron Angel, Paradox, Running Wild and even Destruction are sure to find something in this excellently executed album. Is Witches Mark yet another addition to the retro-metal movement, and only contributing towards it becoming a full-fledged resurgence? It’s hard to say, but their sound is thoroughly enjoyable, if you aren’t too finicky an enthusiast and can see past the cheesy and grandiloquent posturing of this album which boasts numerous catchy moments, although I must say that these flagrant moments are by no means uncommon across the album, starting with the cover artwork itself!

 

Phil H. Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk through exits only

Mohammad Kabeer reviews the new album from Phil H.Anselmo & The Illegals titled Walk through exits only, released via Housecore Records / Season of Mist.

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TRACKLIST:
01. Music Media Is My Whore
02. Battalion Of Zero
03. Betrayed
04. Usurper Bastard’s Rant
05. Walk Through Exits Only
06. Bedroom Destroyer
07. Bedridden
08. Irrelevant Walls And Computer Screens

Phil Anselmo has always been a part of projects that were completely different  from Pantera, be it  Superjoint  Ritual which was straight up, sludge/hardcore  or Christ Inversion which  features Phil doing  some black metal vocals, and of course  the most  famous of  all these Down, which is just pure southern sludge. On this  album  however Phil tries to revive his glory days.

Philip Anselmo teams up with the Illegals who are Marzi Montazeri(guitars) Bennett Bartley(bass) and Jose Manuel Gonzales (drums).  Their sound  can be simply  described  as a more extreme, gritty form  of Pantera’s  modern  metal ,  the band uses  weird experimentations in the groove metal  genre which  can be seen in the song Battalion of  Zero,  along with  start/stop rhythms and a slight flirtation   with dissonance perfectly exemplified in Betrayed  and also  uses a very weird,  bizarre guitar in the Usurper Bastard’s Rant. Now although all of this sounds interesting on paper, it doesn’t really  work out for me, it has all the elements for a  great album, but where it falls short is the  songwriting. On most of the  album, the parts don’t  really mesh along with each other  and  as such seem like a very  cut/paste kind of a thing,. This is exemplified in the title track  in which  you have a very  fast guitar solo which  then later changes to chugs which just seems very awkward  as the guitar solo is on the melodic side  and the chugs are really hard and heavy, this can  also be said of the last track Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens which again just seems to ramble on directionless. All seemed  like a collage of different parts from different songs.

It’s a real shame that this album..well at least in my opinion anyway did not turn out to be what it was meant to be,  maybe die hard Pantera fans  will love this one, but it just didn’t do it for me.

P.S.: Nishanth(deckard cain)  said  some cheeky  things to me in my yearly list, well let me tell you that he is a closet Justin Bieber fan  and has all his cd’s underwear’s in fact he has a Justin Bieber Gag as well naughty naughty!