Music Review: Achren – The Forgotten King

A while back, you may recall I reviewed a live DVD from the Scottish band Achren (if you didn’t see it, shame on you but go read all about it HERE). Anyhow, their first CD has finally been released, which offers an excellent opportunity to bludgeon your skull to 10 tracks of Euro-metal goodness.

Achren’s self styled ‘Blood Metal’ is a decent blend of Death, Thrash and Black metal, with a lot of mid-tempo songs that while solidly constructed, offer unusual key changes rather than drudging along in endless repetition. Guitars can be multi-layered in parts but have a tendency to reinforce the melody, not going for individuality or complex harmonies. The rhythm section lays down pumping bass lines that chug along like a locomotive, accenting the driving, high intensity drum blasts. Scott Anderson’s vocals alternate between deep chested growls to rasping screams, but the words are still enunciated & understandable, not lost amidst the distortion.

Opening track ‘Impaled’ doesn’t have the strongest intro but is in fact one of the more outstanding pieces on the album once you get about 50 seconds into it (after the transition). Blood boiling rhythms pile on top of the listener like an invading horde with a no holds barred attack on the temporal lobe, crying out in fist-pumping anger. “The Way of the Twilight or the Aura of Flies” shows some definite Maiden influence but in my opinion really needs more of a wail in the guitar solo to take it over the top.

“Bastards on the Gallows and Bastards on the Rack” showcases the Gothenberg influences of the band, aptly delivering a stylish & melodic piece with both exceptional rhythm and some of the best fretwork on the album. “Fuck It Hard” is somewhat anomalous in lyrical content but is a quick, intense little number that probably translates well in a live environ. I also recommend the raucous “Fury Of The Northmen” with it’s hyperactive gallop & blistering guitar solo, the anthemic battle overtures of “Darkest Days” & “Wings Of War”, and the surprisingly haunting echoes of “Manuel’s Mile”.

I’ve compared Achren to Ohio’s own Skeletonwitch, and would still love to see those two bands tour together. But regardless, Achren has delivered an impressive freshman effort and I look forward to hearing what the greater exposure and touring experience brings to their sound. You can download the entire album on Amazon (while previewing a few tracks) or order yourself a hard copy at http://www.ceoldorchas.com/. Long live Blood Metal!

Locusta – S/T [Pragmatic Releases]

Seriously backlogged on CD & concert reviews so let’s play catch up, shall we? Tonight’s entry is from Locusta, an eponymous effort from this Death/Black metal outfit I reviewed as part of my Comfest post. They were incredibly tight live – was lucky enough to pick up their disk at the show (Thanks Dru!).

What lies beneath is a pretty impressive debut offering from ANY band – notwithstanding they’re local boys from Columbus, Ohio! In some ways Old-school in the vein of Morbid Angel, Benediction or Suffocation with a level of technical ability most bands only dream about. Melodic yet driving, powerfully executed without relying on heavy-handed repetition, Locusta paints aural nightmares with the skill of a Renaissance master.

Vocalist Brad Deerhake growls with succinct, deep echoes much like you find with Amon Amarth or Entombed – gurgling and murky when needed but most often sharply enunciated (& understandable). Dueling guitarists Dru Silver & Peter Hughes whip through intricate, precision crafted rhythms like a guitar instructional video – with one hell of a lesson plan! Squealing solos are interwoven with echoing, frenetic hooks that could shatter glass, only to lead away again into sinister hymns dripping with classical undertones. Joining them are the bass stylings of Scott Hyatt & intensely syncopated drum blasts of Geoff Gatts as they pummel the listener but avoid the “let’s play fucking fast just to be playing fucking fast” routine. By my count, Locusta is on their third drummer now (touring with Simon Tracy) & I honestly believe it’s because they wear the old ones out only to discard them in the woods somewhere. 🙂

While all of songs on this disc fall under the ‘Death Metal’ category, there is more diversity than one might expect if thinking of what is typical in the genre. Opening tune ‘War of Knaves’ is the brutal & fast type of intro piece that grabs your throat while simultaneously boiling the blood; ‘Mutiny’ has an excellent acoustic mid-section that fits like a glove but completely takes you off guard; ‘Dusk at the Mausoleum’ is a sludgier, doomier feeling instrumental that segues nicely into the instantly memorable ‘Into The Tomb’. ‘Vlad Tepes’ is another guitar-centric instrumental that will quite frankly, completely blow you away with it’s difficulty and adept delivery.

But if I have to pick ONE SONG that you should check out, I think it would be “Betrayed By The Sea”, which conjures necromantic imaginings in the mind a la Lovecraft with it’s haunting chord progressions & darkly brooding tones. Lucky for you, it’s on the band Myspace page HERE.

Do yourself a favor, my legions – go forth and listen. This is an amazing release & I truly look forward to what sonic monstrosities these gentlemen unleash next upon us!

Feast of Flesh For Free!

Blabbermouth.net – Say that post title 3 times real fast! Anyways, Bone Gnawer is offering it’s debut CD ‘Feast of Flesh’ available for streaming free. And there’s widgety goodness too – but edit the code on that bitch before you place it anywhere as it originally opens at 1000×650 (friggin’ HUGE)!

If you like Napalm Death or Benediction, then this might be your cup of tea. ‘Cannibal Cook-out’ is especially crushing, I might add. Check’em out below.


Free websiteWix.com

Chimaira Launch Website to Spread ‘The Infection’

SMN News – One of two awesome bands from Cleveland (the other being Mushroomhead), Chimaira have put up a new website at http://spread-the-infection.com to promote their upcoming release called. . . wait for it. . . wait for it. . . The Infection.

Cool name,  I  think.   Even if it does remind me of an ex-gf.

The site itself has some stencils, flyers, wallpapers and other goodies with a nifty logo (kinda in the vein of Biohazard – but what do you expect considering the CD title?).  If you go to http://www.chimaira.com first, you can also pick up a code to HEAR some of the new shit. So yeah, go there first.

Either way, support some quality Midwestern metal while we all await the release of the new disc in April.

Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway: “I Like Soft Rock”

Blabbermouth.net -Actually a link to another link, but I thought it was an interesting interview with Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway where he reveals, among other things, a love of Soft Rock.  Aw, cut him a break – he admits to loving ALL music (something that I claim as well). So as he might say – ‘bugger off’ if you don’t like it.

Met Mr. Greenway back when they were touring with Obituary a few years back.  Nice enough guy as was bassist Shane Embury (who sports some of the most unusual hair in all of rock).

Definitely not a show for people can’t handle extreme metal because let’s face it, they are pretty much the cat’s ass in the extreme stuff.

Here’s their video for ‘When All Is Said And Done’ off 2006’s ‘Smear Campaign’ disc

Cannibal Corpse Announce New Album Title, Tracklist

SMNnews.com – So the new Cannibal Corpse album will be called ‘Evisceration Plague’. What exactly does that mean? Who cares, it’ll be awesome. Check out the link for the whole article. The tracklist is reportedly as follows (with my own smartass comments in parentheses):

  1. Priests of Sodom (very Venom-like, don’t ya’ think?)
  2. Scalding Hail (Now THAT’s a Cannibal Corpse title)
  3. To Decompose
  4. A Cauldron of Hate
  5. Beheading and Burning (I’m sensing a witch theme here)
  6. Evidence in the Furnace
  7. Carnivorous Swarm (Should be a band name)
  8. Evisceration Plague
  9. Shatter Their Bones
  10. Carrion Sculpted Entity (Best name in the list, imho)
  11. Unnatural
  12. Skewered From Ear to Eye

Sounds like they haven’t drifted too far from their core subject matter, which is fine by me. They’re still on the list of ‘Awesome bands I’ve yet to see live’, so perhaps I can rectify that this time around.

Wykked Wytch Cover Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life”

Blabbermouth.net – Extreme metal act Wykked Wytch have released their own rendition of Evanescence’s huge hit “Bring Me to Life” on their Myspace page HERE.  You may recall this is the same female fronted sextet that covered the Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams” in a bludgeoning sonic assault far different than Marilyn Manson’s more popular version.

I have to say I thought their version of ‘Sweet Dreams’ was just ok, but I kinda like ‘Bring Me to Life’.  But be warned purists, while the basic spirit of the original song is maintained The Wytch have put their own spin on it (with blood drenched talons, no less).  Think Cradle of Filth or perhaps a more brooding Arch Enemy.  Singer Ipek is truly one wicked gal as she creates unbelievable screams & gutteral growls, all the while supported by symphonic orchestrations and blasting drum beats that’ll pump your heart for you (if not reaching into your chest cavity & removing it).

Check out the link above as these folks are creating quite a buzz.  And if you’re regionally close to me, you should know that the The Wytch will be playing the Indianapolis Metalfest II (Sept 26 – 27) alongside Kittie, Green Jelly, Dew-scented & semi-local boys done good SKELETONWITCH !!  I doubt I can make that show. . .but I’m scheming.  Always scheming. . . .

Slipknot Reveal New Masks

Slipknot1.com – Spinner.com exclusively unveiled the new ‘look’ for Slipknot’s forthcoming album ‘All Hope is Gone’, but I’m linking thru to the official Slipknot site in case Spinner takes the pics down. So you may have to dig a bit to find them on one of the two sites – start with Spinner.com.

My first impression is that at least half the band didn’t really want to change their image; for them, the ‘new’ masks look pretty much like the ‘old’ stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with them before, so this is a GOOD Thing. Of the guys who did make some major look changes, here’s my thoughts;

Sid (Turntables) – Looks like either a Borg or a Transformer. Can’t decide which.
Joey (Drums) – All that time with Satyricon must’ve worn off ’cause now he looks like an evil Jesus.
Shawn (Clown – Percussion) – I’d swear he’s on the cover of Sabbath’s “Never Say Die”. Kinda looks like Black Op Bozo now.
Corey (Vocals) – ok, I haven’t warmed up to his new look yet at all. Before, he was creepiness incarnate with the dread-like hair and the Texas Chainsaw mask. Now, he just reminds me of a tampon. Really, go look. He’s Tampax Man. Maybe I’ll like it more when the videos come out.

So there you have it. Not the revelation we were led to think it would be, but then – does hype EVER really live up?

Now if we could just get them to release the album sooner. . .

Job for a Cowboy

I’ve been out of pocket all weekend, either camping or drinkin’, so I just now had a chance to discuss the interview Blabbermouth.net posted (excerpts anyways) with Job for a Cowboy’s lead singer Jonny Davy. The best quote is in the headline – “If a girl came up to us, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves”.

Actually, the whole discussion is a pretty honest appraisel of the band itself and Death Metal in general by what seems to be a grounded member of the scene. If you’ve ever seen JfaC live, you know they kill, I mean KILL, on stage. Very brutal, very heavy – even for Death Metal. But according to Davy, it’s not a well paying situation (which I figured) and doesn’t get too many chicks (now THAT surprises me).

I always figured EVERY musician got his share of groupie goodness, just the level improves as you become more famous. Hell, when I was in college our house band ‘The Elves From Hell’ even got groupies – scary, infected toothless varmits but we had’em. You know it’s bad when you can be stumbling drunk and STILL not be tempted by them. Although our bassist Chuck may have taken the plunge, not sure.

But I digress – check out the link for the interview with one of Death Metal’s rising acts before fame & drugs ruin them (hope not).