Thulcandra – Fallen Angels Dominion
In what I am assuming is a roundabout way of calling their album “hell” Thulcandra pop on to the scene from a more underground area of black metal. I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this recording because I kept reading articles and seeing hype about it being the next phase of the black metal/melodic death metal movement. I listened to it a couple of times over and have a very conflicted opinion about the album. It’s good. It’s definitely very solid and it’s produced extremely well but I feel like there is a little something missing. Maybe it’s that it would be too little too late? I feel like if this album came out in the golden age of black metal it would be on constant rotation. As it stands it is just a really good black metal/melodic death metal album that combines many old school influences with a really popping production sound. I don’t think I’ve heard an extreme metal album that has sounded this crisp in forever. There are some really beautiful musical bits and some awesome instrumentals but I feel like some of the songs get a bit muddled and lost within themselves. “In Silence We Eternally Sleep” is actually a pretty touching instrumental toward the end of the album. The songs on the album are good but at the same time they seem like they are trying to take the best elements of great black metal bands (at times he sounds like Abbath Doom Occulta and other times kind of like Shagrath – but both of those things aren’t bad) and smash them into one cohesive unit. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I will give these guys a pass though because I feel like their next album is gonna be killer and they laid down the ground work with this one especially with the musical interludes peppered into it. This is what I wish OV Hell sounded like. Check it out actually – like I said it’s not a bad album and if you like black metal this is a great album to check out because it doesn’t cross over into the incoherent style of black/death that is popping up feverishly nowadays. I’m also left wondering if they picked up their name from the C.S. Lewis book Out Of The Silent Planet (Thulcandra ctually translates to “Silent Planet”) or did they just take the name from a 1990 Darkthrone EP? Either way the album is somewhat refreshing in it’s solidness kind of. You listen to it and go “Man, this is really good…but what’s missing?”
Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth
I have to be honest; as a metal fan I never really paid much attention to post Misfits solo Glenn Danzig material and that is including Samhain – the direct pre cursor to the Danzig we see before us today. I recently got into the solo stuff and was honestly blown away by the first few albums. They are dark and bluesy and full of that famous Danzig wail that has been made fun of on several internet occasions. Although the guy has a rep for being a maniac, I can get behind the music. His later work is decent but strays from that early sound. Deth Red Sabaoth is a return to that stripped down sound he has on the first few albums. The sound on this album is thick yet very simple. The tunes are really good and if you can understand what he’s saying on a few tracks they are ultimately pretty good sing along songs. The album is pretty good as a whole. It’s unconventional in its simplicity. It’s not a mind blowing album but it is an extremely solid one that can definitely hang with the earlier catalogue of Danzig. The thing I really dig about Deth Red is that he sounds pissed off and angry again. Even though he has been riding that train since the 70’s, it sounds fresh. It might also be because of the fact that there is very little digital enhancement to this record. It was very plug and play and actual old amps were used to give it that full fuzzy tone. The first half of the album is really strong but then it kind of tapers off and by the time you get passed track 7 you kind of stop paying attention a bit. The vocals on a few songs are WAY in front with the cool riffing kind of getting thrown away. I understand that these are DANZIG songs with the main concentration being the dude himself but don’t lose that guitar especially in a day and age where guitar playing on albums is so hackneyed that it’s gotten to the point of ridiculous. Personally, I think Danzig sings the way he does because it’s damn fun – you ever try those throaty screams – you’ll make yourself chuckle. This is actually a pretty good album to drive to also. This isn’t a metal album per-se even though the guy is regarded by many as a somewhat of a metal dude. It is dark and rockin’ which in my opinion counts for something. Regardless of how you feel about Danzig – his politics – his glass jaw (Northside Kings are Un-defeated) or his persona – the guy puts out a good album and this one deserves a listen.
Whoa! Continuing with my current theme of album reviews…
WARBEAST: Krush The Enemy
Holy Balls! Do you like thrash metal? Are you starting to get sick of the thrash revival? Same here! However, Warbeast kicks a serious amount of ass. I picked up this debut album from Housecore Records (Phil Anselmo’s burgeoning record label – The dudes got a good ear for music – he should -I mean he’s in about tres billion other bands.) and let me tell you; if you were looking for some really diesel powerful and rocking metal then this would be the album to buy. These Texans definitely know how to keep the faith alive and make a fun straight forward album The album starts out strong with title track Krush Your Enemy and you know that once the vocals kick in that you are listening to something special. It also ends very strong. You can have a nice sit down and listen to this album in its entirety and probably play it again from start to finish. The cacophony of sound is very brutal but doesn’t get bogged down by mediocre riffing or derivative guitar parts. Lyrically you have pounding vocals about straight up thrash fair but the way Bruce Corbitt (ex-Rigor Mortis) weaves words together will leave a smirk on your face. There is some amazing originality on this record that is so rare in the modern day of metal. (At times the guitar tone is reminiscent of Dimebag Darrell’s, but not a rip off or hackneyed attempt to sound like the man himself. – Maybe it’s just a Texas thing) It’s actually extremely well produced and has a nice thick crunchy sound that many metal albums are missing today. I found myself headbanging along to it this morning at the gym which should tell you something. This is big sounding metal dude. There is no room for sweetness on this album as it is a 10 mile run at top speed jumping over everything in its way. Hopefully these guys will be around for a while and do a couple shows in New York.