New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: November 6, 2013

Black Queen – ‘March of the Obsidian Triumvirate’ (Self)

Black Queen – ‘March of the Obsidian Triumvirate’

Genre: Death Metal
With an album name like March of the Obsidian Triumvirate, it’s no surprise that the first full-length record from San Francisco’s Black Queen is getting re-released, and once more, it’s being fittingly dispersed right around Halloween. Self-described as ‘witch metal,’ Black Queen’s death metal style bleeds Floridian ala Death or Atheist, and the band’s affinity for horror samples and evil tones makes this quite the All Saints Eve affair.

While the ambient finale, an ode to Lars von Trier’s terrific Antichrist, is a bit fruitless, the early ‘90s aesthetic mixed with the band’s ability to fashion some equally creepy and elaborate compositions makes March of the Obsidian Triumvirate a worthy spin. The keys by Brandon Fitzsimons and the guitar work by Pete Jay, in particular, are scary good.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Convulse – ‘Evil Prevails’ (Svart)

Convulse - ‘Evil Prevails’
Svart Records

Genre: Death Metal
Finland’s Convulse have achieved a semi-legendary status with a well regarded, old school death metal album in their debut, World Without God, originally released way back in 1991. Since then, Convulse have faltered in fits and starts, but seemed to be on the verge of a triumphant return with a great appearance at last year’s MDF.

Unfortunately, the return falls flat with Evil Prevails, a lifeless death metal album mostly loaded with clichés and not much else. The production is sterile with a decided lack of heaviness and weight, and one definitely gets the impression that the songwriting was mailed in. A few good songs do appear, enough to indicate that there may be some life left in Convulse, but Evil Prevails will be quickly forgotten.

Rating: 2.5
(Dave Schalek)

Czar – ‘No One is Alone If No One is Alive’ (Cracknation)

Czar – ‘No One is Alone If No One is Alive’

Genre: Progressive Sludge Metal
Even if its atmosphere is decidedly unfriendly, there’s still a whole lot to love about Czar’s sophomore effort No One is Alone If No One is Alive. Playing some type of bastardized progressive and industrial sludge metal in the vein of bands like A Storm of Light or Batillus, Czar’s latest is a heavy-handed dose of mood and stifling rhythm that enjoys wallowing in the shadows.

For a trio, this Chicago act has plenty of variety and sonic weight. At any given time one may hear bands like Mastodon, Amebix, or French madmen Trepalium, but only in semblance. Czar have a hugely atmospheric sound that constantly rewards itself by tackling pathways some may deem too murky. Temperamental and proud of it, No One is Alone If No One is Alive is one affectively glum backhand.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Dagoba – ‘Post Mortem Nihil Est’ (eOne)

Dagoba – 'Post Mortem Nihil Est'
eOne Music

Genre: Death Metal
French death industrialists Dagoba, featuring drum colossus Frankie Costanza, continue to evolve their sound after a mid-course correction on 2010’s Poseidon. Less cage-rattling, the album is tightly focused on the strengths of their musical presentation. New guitarist, Z Terzibachian, takes over from Dagoba’s original stringman, Izakar, and brings a fresh polish to tracks “The Realm Black” and “The Great Wonder.”

The sound now has more in common with Gojira than Fear Factory with melody shoving through the bleak groove instead of standing back from the chaotic frenzy that filled Dagoba’s former efforts. It’s a mature milestone for the band.

Rating: 3.5
(Todd Lyons)


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