New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: October 1, 2013
Ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Abyssous – ‘Smouldering’ (Iron Bonehead)
Iron Bonehead Productions
Genre: Death Metal
The geniuses at Iron Bonehead Productions have another vicious slab of down n’ dirty vinyl for you in the form of …Smouldering, the first full-length from Germany’s Abyssous. Mostly just a re-release of a demo with a few additional tracks and new artwork, …Smouldering is a smoldering pile of old school blackened death metal obviously influenced by very early Sodom and Kreator.
Lots of murky riffs, a galloping tempo, muted growls, and an analog production characterize Abyssous’ approach. Typical and rather basic, the songwriting greatly varies in quality; but, it will appeal to those with a penchant for the old school.
Argus – ‘Beyond the Martyrs’ (Cruz del Sur)
Cruz del Sur Music
Genre: Doom/Power Metal
Ah, Argus. Not the hundred-eyed giant of Greek mythology mind you, but the epic doom band from Pittsburgh. Doesn’t sound quite so fantastic, but rest assured, their album Beyond the Martyrs is.
Upping the power metal element from 2011’s Boldly Strides the Doomed,Argus have crafted a rollicking and triumphant album full of galloping riffs charging into battle, uplifting solos and Butch Balich’s powerful and operatic vocals. Think Big Business’s Jarred Warren singing in the style of Dio. Beyond the Martyrs is a mighty mix of doom and power appealing to a wide range of fans from doomsters through to Maiden-heads.
Atlantean Kodex – ‘The White Goddess (A Grammar Of Poetic Myth)’ (Cruz Del Sur)
Cruz del Sur Music
Genre: Epic Power Metal
While Bavarian epic metal band Atlantean Kodex have always favored writing records about swords and sorcery, legendary quests and great tales from folklore, they have gone even deeper into the underbelly of the pagan mythos with their second full-length. The White Goddess (A Grammar of Poetic Myth) explores the darker aspects of pagan rites and rituals.
While they still draw upon Viking metal to define the core of their sound,The White Goddess is heavier and more lush, with more doom metal elements and a smokier, grittier feel that serves the record well. It is also a more varied and dynamic record, striking the right balance between cinematic, sweeping vistas and emotional intimacy. While it runs almost an hour, not a minute of the record is wasted or strained, and Atlantean Kodex have wrought a fine piece of musical drama that has proven itself deserving of the epic metal label.
Black Moth – ‘The Killing Jar’ (New Heavy Sounds)
New Heavy Sounds
Genre: Stoner Rock
British stoner rock band Black Moth combine thick smoky guitar tones with a rollicking noise rock sensibility on their latest record The Killing Jar. There’s a great tension and contrast between the instrumentation, which is heavy on the low end and soaked in filth and fuzz, and Harriet Bevan’s clear, vampy vocals. Her performance has a clear sweetness and cheek that cuts through the buzzing guitars and thick, luscious drum rolls.
The production is spot on as well, courtesy of Jim Sclavunos (The Cramps, Grinderman), with just enough dirt, dynamic range and teasing, sleazy charm. With deep, seductive grooves and the occasional neck-breaking tempo change to keep things interesting, The Killing Jar is one of those records that will surprise you with how delicious and infectious it is.
Bloody Hammers – ‘Spiritual Relics’ (Soulseller)
Genre: Stoner Metal
If you’re expecting the kind of music that would invoke a picture of bloody hammers (i.e. death metal), best keep looking. While Spiritual Relics has all the impact of a hammer, it hits the mark, not your bleeding thumb. The figurative nail being hammered out is largely comprised of heavy, fuzzed-out guitars and clean, proclamatory vocals accented with just the right amount of moog/synths, lending a dark aura.
A doom atmosphere pervades and at times a goth sensibility peeks around the shadowy corners of their crunchy stoner riffs. It’s a rocking good time; accessible and infections. Bloody Hammers may remind you of bands like Monster Magnet.