Thrash metal

The Clan Destined – In The Big Ending

57929The Clan Destined is a band and a collective that released its debut In the Big Ending… in 2004 as a demo and 2006 officially. The band is most known for its frontman Martin Walkyier (ex-Skyclad, ex-Sabbat). However, the line-up that recorded In the Big Ending… has a considerable amount of metal experience from Iscariah (ex-Immortal), Andy Sneap (Hell, Sabbat, well-renowned studio technician), James Murphy (Ex-Death, ex-Obituary, ex-Testament), Les Smith (ex-Anathema, ex-Cradle of Filth) + female vocals by Grim Rita.

The Clan “Destined”, split up before the official release of In The Big Ending in 2006. An irony not even a master lyricist like Martin Walkyier could plan. Apparently most of the music was written by Iscariah, and it is far from the folk metal of Skyclad. It traverses somewhere in heavy metal / thrash metal / groove metal terrains. The tracks are packed with memorable riffs, melodies and good background keyboard work, occasionally fiddling a lead melody.

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I cannot tell if Mr. Walkyier and Jacqui Taylor are roleplaying, commencing on a pagan ritual or just having a really weird drug-trip

Lyrically it is closest to Skyclad’s first album Wayward Sons of the Mother Earth (1991), which features very well written tree-hugging, earth-saving, western-life-critizing lyrics. The thunderous starter Swinging Like Judas is thematically straight out of the said album. With a lovely The Wicker Man (1973) sound clip in the beginning!

In the Big Ending has a strong pagan aspect, sometimes it even feels like forced conversion (I Am Because We Are!) which is exactly what Martin Walkyier is so often singing against (Swinging Like Judas + multiple Skyclad songs).

After the turmoil of the band, Walkyier’s lyrics on I Am Because We Are! praising the collective become unintentionally funny. It’s a lucky break that the track also includes the line “Soon we’ll be gone – The Earth keeps on turning.” 

The lyrics are still interesting and mostly of good quality. Walkyier’s trademark puns and clever wordplay are present but the general style is more straightforward than in his previous records. For a Skycladaholic like me, it’s still quite irresistible. Among with the good stuff, Walkyier does turn to a bit of a pagan preacher which is not much of my liking anymore (10 years ago I was sold!).

Nearly every track has a lot of infectious groove and catchiness, I Am Because We Are! probably the most so, if you are not annoyed by the preaching lyrics. Musically and lyrically the best track must be the epic More Than War. I would go so far to say it nears a masterpiece. The video track A Beautiful Start To The End Of The World is a very merited melodic track that would have deserved radio airplay which I’m sure it never got.

T.C. Lethbridge (Julian Cope cover) informs the world about this influental and controversial author, archaeologist, parapsychologist and explorer. The track itself is a compact and catchy rock track with memorable melodies. Some proper “library beer rock” really!

Have you even heard of T.C. Lethbridge?
Have you seen his books in any mall?
You’d be enthralled at his methodology,
While ‘scholars’ sit indoors going; “Ha ha ha ha ha!”.

I went so far to try to get hold of one of his 16 books, but none of the half dozen bookstore keepers I asked had never heard of him! Figures.

Even though I’m not planning in joining a pagan community any time soon (never say never!) when I first heard this album at a foolish ~21 year age old I wanted to shout out: It’s time let’s rhyme – United Pagan Massive. Come together or forever remain impassive.” That’s the power of good rock n’ roll!

Rating:
9/10
(Skyclad fanboy)
8/10
(Regular dude)

P.S. In the Big Ending… has had multiple reissues, 2004 a demo, 2006 the first “official” release by Lime Records. 2008 re-release by Lime records, still the only releases Lime has ever put out. 2015 Hammerheart Records re-re-released it as an LP, cd and 12″ MiniAlbum.

In the Big Ending… does have truly memorable thoughts. Perhaps the most important being:
“No one too can convince another who does not wish to believe what he is told. Only the doubter loses by his incredulity.”
– T.C. Lethbridge

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Music Quickies – Paradox, Deathspell Omega, Wilderun, Barren Earth

Paradox – Pangea (2016)

573798These old thrash raptors are on the chase (2nd track Raptor, Jurassic Park)! In their manhunt (5th track Manhunt, Rambo) for the second best thrash album of 2016 with Blaakyum’s Line of Fear. Which one comes 2nd then?  I really cannot say but both are really positive surprises.

However, 6th track Cheat & Pretend is an offshot, and by 9th and 10th tracks, Alien Godz (Prometheus) and El Muerte, the biggest joy is gone. 59 minutes is too much for a thrash album, these three tracks could have easily been left out. The younger cosmic-rogues, Vektor still hold the cataclysm force (1st track Apophis, Stargate).

Solid album nevertheless, I had no idea speed metal heritage could still sound fresh!


Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones (2016)
deathspellomegaarvosteludeathspell-omega-the-synarchy-of-molten-bones-e1475279012978Quote is from their last.fm wall. Free form jazz is a pretty good explanation why I have a hard time appreciating some of Deathspell Omega’s latest efforts. I feel they do hit right notes but I much prefer when they actually try to compose a song instead of section1->section2->section3->section4->section5->section6->section7->section8->section9->section10->section11->section12->section13…

Over random sections there’s vocals that do not really correlate with the music except in a sense that they are quite crazy too. On the other hand, how could you vocalize over this? I guess it’s as good an effort as any.

On Paracletus there were songs that had a more approachable structure and hooks. Quite a few of those hooks were memorable and the album is a solid entity. But Drought and Synarcy are just a mess.

Deathspell Omega is definitely experimental which is why I’d hope that they would realize not to run the damn clean guitar sound above everything on all of these three records. Perhaps Synarchy needs more time to fruition. 4 listens within a month merely crosses my irritation threshold.


Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of The Earth (2015)

492322Simply the best album to come out in 2015, I have yet to find it’s equal from 2016 either.

Try it if you do not hate any of the following:
metal
symphonic
folk (dibbly-dabbly beerfolk excluded)
clean vocals
guitars
cinematic music



Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers (2015)
onlonelytowersp19com8m781mjt11t431p1i4to4m4The title track On Lonely Towers is the centerpiece of Barren Earth’s 2015 album and welcomes them back into form after the disappointingly tame The Devil’s Resolve (2012).

On Lonely Towers is somewhere between their first album Curse of the Red River (2010) and The Devil’s Resolve on heaviness scale. It’s not a deathdoom-donkey or blastbeat-beaver but occasionally uses both of these tricks to its advantage. Unlike some sections of The Devil’s Resolve it does not sound like Opeth’s Heritage. Unlike some sections of the Curse of the Red not a Swallow The Sun copy either.

Especially welcoming is the great vocal performance by the Faroe Island native Jón Aldará (Hamfero). That is not to say the previous vocalist Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun) didn’t do a good job on previous albums, but the more powerful voice of Aldará is a really welcome change.

On Lonely Towers, is a true gem of a track and none other ecplises it. The crooked and deliciously sung Shapeless Derelict and Chaos, The Songs Within, are also A class progressive metal. Frozen Processions and Howl are good examples of melodies and progressive twists that make some people deem Barren Earth “Amopeth”.

Blaakyum – Line of Fear – Lebanon

595424Too many bands from the more exotic metal countries try to sound like their western counterparts. While it is interesting to find a random band from Asia that sounds like it could be a mediocre German thrash metal band, it doesn’t add much to the experience besides novelty value. Luckily Blaakyum is not a mediocre thrash metal band.

The fragile and flammable situation in the Middle East throws a lot of fuel into the fire of Blaakyum. When the first track Crossing is a killer and merges musically and thematically seamlessly into the next, Line of Fear, one can’t help but wanting to brofist whoever decided upon this. Blaakyum’s political thrash metal really gets more kick from local detail.

Bassem Deaibess is a very proficient vocalist who both adds deeper growls and falsettos to his raspy shouting. In the title track Line of Fear he even channels Warrel Dane for a while and in Destined to Rise shortly sounds like Martin Valkyier (talking about novelty details)!

Musically, Middle East is present but not that distinctly, mostly the album is a great sounding straight out thrash record. Nearly every track has minor unusual twists though. Usually its the traditional clickety tabla percussions (also known as derbukke) or atmospheric melodic guitar lines in slower sections with one occurrence of Arabic. Bass-lines are above average, occasionally standing out in the mix. Refreshing feats that add necessary originality that most thrash bands lack.

Blaakyum has soulfulness and a bunch of killer songs like the powerful attitude-rich Crossing and the hard-hitting Baal-Adon that suddenly starts to embrace the whole Middle Eastern aspect with magical guitar solo that closes out the track. The emotional and catchy chorus and rhythmics of Freedom Denied sheds more value to the 2nd side of the album.

Line of Fear is rightfully short at 39 minutes, because everything under 40 minutes is a short album, right? With thrash metal under 40 minutes is usually ideal, unfortunately though Blaakyum does idle a bit. Namely, the longest track Destined to Rise, Religion of Peace and the ending track I am Who I am do not rise over mediocreness. It does not disturb the entity but leaves Line of Fear hanging short of masterclass with exactly 23 minutes of really high-quality thrash.

It is quite unbelievable to note that Line of Fear is an individually released record. It should be only a matter of time before some big metal label picks them up. Blaakyum is surely one of the most potential Asian bands out there to appeal to big metal masses.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great bands in Middle East, but I think it’s only a matter of time before one of them rises to public knowledge, and most of the great bands are too weird, original or raw (excluding Myrath). Blaakyum has originality but also immediate catchiness. Line of Fear might well be their “The Link” (if you excuse my Gojira analogy) and the next album, the “From Mars to Sirius”Oh, my, I’m ranting and future predicting again, feel free to ignore my excitement :).

Remember that till the end,
no matter what life we choose, we end the same

8-/10
http://blaakyum.blogspot.com 

Music quickies – Vektor, Current 93, Katatonia, Devin Townsend Project, Behemoth

vektor-terminal_redux Vektor – Terminal Redux (2016)
Vektor’s hyped 2016 release is astronomically progressive metal. Vektor was the best modern thrash metal band for years, it is about time for them to get recognition. For an album that sates me midway, it is astoningly good but it would be more enjoyable shorter. It’s really not a better album than their previous efforts but still ridiculously good and full of everything tasty.
9/10
Listen: Mountains Above The Sun + Ultimate Artificer

0Current 93 Calling For Vanished Faces Calling for Vanished Faces (I: Funeral Music for
Us All) and (II: Love, Sleep And Dreams) (1999)

David Tibet’s overtheateritical aesthetics drove this Sol Invictus fanboy mad for half a decade. “Maybe, I might finally appreciate something of theirs?” I thought. I: Funeral Music for Us All starts as an oddities collection I cannot recommend less but picks up on Coal Black Smith, staggers to its most annoying pieces and picks up decently at Hourglass (For Diana) soon to turn into 1 hour 30 minutes of pure neofolk bliss. Probably my favourite release on which I completely skip 1/3 of it.
I 7/10
II 10-/10
Listen: The whole second side, except the 4 ending tracks, is blissful.

570160Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts (2016)
Some outerworldly charm with heartbreaking atmosphere. Drags time to time yet still wrenches heartstrings every minute. Passer‘s descending scale should be obnoxious yet it is genuinely alluring. How on earth did they make it work.
Listen: Decima & Residual for angsting in a dark room, Passer for prog.
Grade upcoming

 

devintownsendprojecttranscendencecdDevin Townsend Project – Transcendence (2016)
Middle aged Devin is zen and re uses his components but those lures still amount some catch. Not bad, but I may have heard too much “c-grade progressive metal” (quoting their own making of documentary) to fully appreciate this kind of polished sound anymore. Danger lurks somewhere else. Here’s hoping the next album goes permanently Higher.

The second album is simply too much as can be noticed from the lack of recognition it has gotten. The (demo) titles are a very Devin Townsendish joke, the stuff is nearly as polised as the first. Love the commercial suicide though, it could have well been released it as a lone piece.
Listen: Higher
7ish/10

395440Behemoth – The Satanist (2014)
If you can think of a more epic way to start a track than in the title track of The Satanist please let me know. The track does not carry the weight of its beginning but the album does. The wall-of-sound production, mildly reminiscent of Emperor, gives it weight unlike many releases.

Incorporating a massive and satisfying finale that only runs through the last minute of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel requires so much finesse. O Father O Satan O Sun! towers above the rest of the release with another finale, this time based on a monster riff and oration like an esoteric sermon. Here’s hoping The Satanist won’t be the last of Behemoth like Nergal hinted in the past.
Listen: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel & O Father O Satan O Sun!
Grade upcoming

Night In Gales – Necrodynamicg

In 2001 when Necrodynamic was released, Modern Melodeath was on a really big ascension with names like Soilwork and In Flames leading the pack. Night In Gales previous effort Nailwork was released in 2000 and while being a bit of an oddity, still had most of that 2000s’ melodeath touch.

Criminally underrated stands Night In Gales Necrodynamic. It is often referred with a shrug as the weakest effort of a mediocre melodeath band. While it may be true that Night In Gales never were better than a mediocre melodeath band, they did succeed in composing memorable songs and good album entities. In Necrodynamic Night In Gales is probably as far from melodeath as they’ve ever been. Ironically lyrically they are almost only about death. The songs usually encompass a sort of thrash metal-edged drive with nicely raw and muddy sounds; far away from the typical “modern melodeath sound”, but still melodic and heavy.

The most unusual thing about Night in Gales has always been the compound words in their lyrics. In earlier albums their guitar work was at times also very odd and while not always perfect, still original. Like guitar work the lyrics turned less experimental with time, but still have a pinch of old. How about:

Down for more of those nothings
Neonecrononsense and unlight
Saw a skeleton eatin’ its gravestone
But I keep these words inside

The songs have plenty of groove and while the lyrics aren’t filled with oddcompoundworks anymore; they are still pretty fun.

I really got into Necrodynamic nearly 10 years ago and the song trinity Deathmouth Daisies, Song Of Something and Right From The Morgue is still as fun and rocking as they used to be. There are a lot of albums which I then thought as masterpieces but find hardship in appreciating now. Necrodynamic is still fresh. An album which I’ve always enjoyed and never mixed it up as being a masterpiece.

It is the sort of album you may have heard about; but didn’t know how good it is. Hell, rest of Night in Gales albums were re-released in 2008, but not Necrodynamic. While it may be because of copyright reasons, it still does criminal injustice to the album. I think it was just the wrong time for a modern melodeath band to release an album which was not modern at all.

83/100