Monday, 28 October 2013

Written In Torment - Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes

Glorious North Productions 2013
1.Earth Decimated 2.Eternities of Suffering Endured 3.Beast of the Depths
4.Descent into Total Madness 5.O' Fortuna 6.Grief
7.Solitude 8.Behold the Trinity Maimed and Rotten 9.A Pig Hung in Golgotha
10.Necessary Evil
The UK seems to have an abundance on one man extreme metal bands, especially black metal ones and Written In Torment sit quietly in amongst them all, relatively unknown to many. Opener ‘Earth Decimated’ is a varied affair, mixing tempos well from standard black metal machine gun blasting through to slower more morbid passages. What is refreshing to hear is an actual drum kit, as opposed to clinical and over-produced electronic drums. It’s the use of 'actual' drums which probably sets this band apart from many of the other one man bands in the UK, the fact that Leviathan, the man behind the band, is a competent drummer and his skills behind the kit are being put to good use. ‘Eternities Of Suffering Endured’ is an extremely catchy song, the harsh yet melodic guitars really stand out here, being fast tremolo picked with an almost folk element to them, only very slightly however. The majority of the song is played at a fast pace, however, the pace it dropped to allow the haunting and chilling atmospheres being created to really stand out. Keyboards are used sparingly, but when added give the song an extremely unique sound. The song ends in very epic fashion, being almost ballad like as the melodic lead guitars close proceedings. ‘Beast Of The Depths’ is slightly different in delivery, mainly due the drop in pace but to be honest, when the pace is dropped to an absolute minimum and the melodic guitars once again take over, its unbelievably atmospheric and really begins to stir up emotions. ‘Descent Into Total Madness’ blasts open in complete comparison to the ending of the previous track. Furious drums accompany some frantic, harsh yet melodic guitars in typically brutal black metal fashion. However, another aspect to W.I.T that sets him apart from numerous other black metal bands is the use of guitar solos, Leviathan isn’t afraid to use them in extremely melodic fashion and quite frequently which is different, but in a positive way.
‘O’Fortuna’ delves even deeper into the catchy and atmospheric themes heard in earlier tracks, bordering on epic, this is as good as the band has sounded so far. Again, paces are mixed but the song actually works better when the pace is slow and mournful, especially when the morose cleanly sung vocal passages are added. Hate-filled sorrow probably best describes the atmosphere being created. Comparisons were quite hard to draw so far, but as the aptly titled ‘Grief’ opens up, then bands such as Vinterland instantly sprang to mind, mixed with Sacramentum maybe and when such comparisons are mentioned, you know you’re onto a winner. Leviathan does like to end in songs in epic and atmospheric fashion and here is another song which does just that. Instrumental tracks don’t do much to excite me, I’m always left feeling that vocals would have enhanced whatever is on offer and it’s no different with ‘Solitude’ which musically is superb and is absolutely screaming out to have some harsh black metal vocals bellowed out over it. A shame because it’s such a potent track, delivered with absolute conviction and malice but minus the vocal delivery. ‘Behold The Trinity Maimed And Rotten’ sees normal service being resumed. One point to note is the vocal delivery, not the harsh high pitched screams as you might expect but more a growled style used. Quite unusual for the style of music, but they work well and don’t sound at all out of place.  Musically the song jumps from faster blast beat sections to the slower mournful passages and then back to the faster sections which all adds variety and makes for another interesting track. ‘A Pig Hung In Golgotha’ has a real sense of urgency to it, giving off an almost frantic feel when the faster sections blast in. Fans of early Impaled Nazarene would probably really enjoy this track and the same could be said for the opening few riffs of final track ‘Necessary Evil’ which gives off an altogether different feel and sound to everything heard previously. This of course isn’t a bad thing because again, the sense of urgency and frantic nature to the music is openly on display again and makes for a suitably great finish to the album. Leviathan and Written In Torment have a lot to offer on this album and there is a lot to take in when listening to it. The mix of the harsher black metal and slower morose passages makes for an extremely varied and enjoyable listen. He’s quite obviously a very talented individual more than capable of writing and performing some fantastic atmospheric black metal as demonstrated throughout every song on this album and should you be looking to listen to something a bit different from the black metal norm, then Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes offers just that and comes well recommended.
8 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Friday, 11 October 2013

Party Cannon - Partied In Half

Autopsy Records 2013
1.Duct Taped To A Flag Pole 2.Tyrone, You Put That Sugar Down
3.High Five Ghost
Scottish ‘Party Slammers’ Party Cannon could well be conceived to be somewhat of a joke, from the ‘balloon looking’ logo alone, not to mention the song titles. They are far from that though, it’s about having fun whilst playing some seriously brutal death/grind/ slam. Opener ‘Duct Taped To A Flag Pole’ belches forth in a torrent of nasty blast beats and monstrous riffing that is mixed with some truly coma inducing slam elements. There’s a great mix of vocals on offer, snarled rasping screams accompany some ultra-guttural, sub-human death growls, reminiscent to a lot of gore-grind currently out there. The production is perfect for the style of music, being bass heavy as fuck with all the individual elements mixed just right and working well together to produce an absolute monster. ‘Tyrone, You Put That Sugar Down’ is another beastly track, rabid blast beats and frenzied guitar work mixed to maximum effect and when interspersed with those pummelling slams again makes for another brilliantly tight song. The band do sound extremely potent and devastating when they up the pace and allow the blast beats to really let rip, pinch harmonics crawling all over the place. Again, the vocals are a real highlight, varied and extremely well delivered.
Closing this short three track e.p. is ‘High Five Ghost’ which continues the theme heard in the two previous songs. Frenzied probably best describes the sound when the band are playing a full throttle and what really makes the band stand out is when they deliver these faster ‘frenzied’ sections then plunge right into the heavy as hell slams, it absolutely destroys and then mix in some ultra-fast gravity blast laden sections and you know you’re going to be completely ‘spasticated’ (as the intro suggests) not only by this song, but by the entire e.p. Having witnessed the band live I can affirm the fact that Party Cannon are indeed (as these three songs testify) intense as fuck and yes, they really do enjoy playing their music which shows in both the live arena and recorded format. This is a massively great introduction to the band for those that haven’t been initiated into the party and shows the band off perfectly for what they are – an intense and utterly devastating death grind band (with a hint of Gore-Grind to really add impact) that are writing some original sounding songs and playing them with ease. Some out there may have chosen to give these guys a miss by judging the band by their logo, or their sense of humour. That would be a fatal mistake as Party Cannon are yet another band from the UK that have produced a massively impressive, albeit somewhat short, e.p. that stands them head and shoulders above most of the bands out there in a similar genre. The impact the music has is instant and you ignore it at your peril! Join the party and slam, you will not be disappointed, ‘Partied In Half’ comes very highly recommended.
8.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nihilism Incarnate - Deconstruct The Aeons

Abyssus Records 2013
1.Eat Shit And Die 2.Dark Matter 3.The Lords Prey(er)
4.Butcher Bludgeons Bloodbath
The first aspect that grabs your attention as opening track “Eat Shit And Die” opens up is the heavy as fuck production, steamrolling out of the speakers with a massive death metal punch (courtesy of a James Murphy mastering). Describing themselves as Progressive Death Metal, there is a slight progressive influence to be heard, but overall this first track is a quite straight forward heavy death metal affair, the pace being held back at slow to mid-paced. Vocally it’s as you would expect, crushing and guttural death metal growls, not too dissimilar to an early Ill-Disposed type delivery. ‘Dark Matter’ follows on in comparable fashion with similar paces being adopted once more. What differs with this second track is that the band does take on an altogether different approach, the ‘progressive’ element more evident throughout, the guitars leading the technical and at times melodic assault. The song breaks several times into acoustic guitar lead passages which only enhance the progressive theme.
‘The Lords Prey(er) see’s the band experimenting with pace, injecting some faster sections into the mix which are short, sharp forays into something new and sit well in amongst the slower more technical passages. As the song builds it begins to take on a really epic sound and ends on an extremely atmospheric high. Closing this e.p. is ‘Butcher Bludgeons Bloodbath’ and again, it follows on in similar fashion to the previous track, flirting with faster paces, but only very briefly, which is a shame as the songs would definitely benefit from adding varying paces as opposed to being rooted firmly in the slow to mid-paced which is probably why all four songs ultimately lack that killer punch (and reading the list of influences the band cite, it is filled with groups that use speed to add to the extremity, whereas NI don’t, which baffles slightly). However, Nihilism Incarnate’s  ability and musicianship is unquestionable; the technical guitar work is flawless and extremely well composed and delivered and is accompanied by some solid drum work. Technical death metal with a progressive edge, this debut four track e.p. showcases a band that are more than capable of handling their instruments and writing well-constructed and well executed death metal songs. The lack of (mixing) pace is a slight niggling point, but this shouldn’t detract from effort the band has put into this release and it is well worth checking out!
7 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here