New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: August 27, 2013
aThe ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Blackfield – ‘IV’ (KScope)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Combining beautiful acoustic passages, luscious melodies and straightforward rock is what makes Blackfield unique. On their latest record IV, Aviv Geffen has taken the driver’s seat and composed the majority of the material. Legendary producer Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) is still involved with the band, but his contribution is more from the production side.
The orchestration is stunning and adds a lot of emotion to the songwriting. I hear a hint of an influence of The Beatles, especially on the catchy “Springtime.” Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh makes a guest appearance on “XRay” and continues to prove that he has one of the best voices in music. This is the strongest track on the record as Cavanagh shines. IV is a mellow affair that sinks into your subconscious and overtakes your brain pattern, as it gets better with each listen.
Diesto – ‘For Water Or Blood’ (Eolian)
Genre: Stoner/Doom Metal
The Portland band Diesto have been around for a while plying their downtuned trade, with For Water Or Blood being their fifth full-length. It follows down the same hazy path as their previous albums.
Diesto alternate between upbeat stoner metal and slow, crushing doom. No matter what the pace, the riffs are always catchy and melodic. The vocals add contrast with their gruffness. The songs are fairly lengthy, with “Sirens” clocking in at over 8 minutes. But even when playing extended instrumental breaks, Diesto always play with a purpose. They aren’t one of the more high-profile bands in the genre, and if you haven’t explored their material in the past, now is a good time to start.
End Of Green – ‘The Painstream’ (Napalm)
Gothic Metal/Hard Rock
Over their 20 plus year career, the German band End Of Green’s sound has evolved from doom metal to a more rock-oriented sound. Their latest album The Painstream combines elements of metal with gothic and alternative rock. They keep the mood depressive but the tempo quick on goth n’ roll tracks like “Hangman’s Joke.”
Other songs are very melodic and accessible. The vocals are very diverse, ranging from a Peter Steel type baritone to a swaggering mid-range rock style delivery. It’s a groovy and catchy album with a downbeat atmosphere, but rays of light shine through every once in a while. They are most effective when they increase the intensity and blend metal and rock instead of going down the mainstream path.
Exitus – ‘Statutum Est Hominibus Mori’ (Svart)
Genre: Doom/Thrash Metal
Svart Records dug deep in the vaults for this one. Exitus were a Finnish band who only released one demo back in 1990. Statutum Est Hominibus Mori has been remastered and reissued. Only a couple hundred copies were issued originally, so very few people heard this when it was first released.
Soundwise, it’s raw doom metal played at a fast, thrashy tempo. The thrash disappears from time to time as it slows down into pure doom. There are extended instrumental breaks punctuated by sing-song thrash style vocals. It’s a decent album, and while no means essential, fans of early doom/thrash may be interested in revisiting this obscure album.