Archive for Metal

Ghost – Meliora

Posted in Classic Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Prog, Psychedelic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Badass and Grim

Ghost-Meliora

If you’re not familiar with the nameless ghouls by now, Ghost are an act who’s members perform in complete anonymity with the exception of their anti-papal frontman Papa Emeritus. Drawing musical inspiration from the diverse strands of rock and metal’s history and delivering the result through enigmatic and theatrical stage performances:

To put my cards firmly on the table: I’ve always found Ghost a difficult act to get on-board with. A synthesis of Classic Rock, Doom and Satanism looks on paper like something I couldn’t help but love, but I always found exposure to the reality wanting and overly cheesy. With the exception of “Elizabeth” and “Secular Haze” the first two albums amounted to so much “meh”. So with low expectations I hit play, and to my surprise was completely blown away by the following 42 minutes of perfectly executed rock heaven.

The album opens with “Spirit”, queue classic horror choir and theremin, before the guitars drop in and we’re away. In a lot of ways “Spirit” is a microcosm of the album as a whole, moving seamlessly between its psychedelic, proggy, and hard rock elements. We’re treated to a synchronised solo in the best of the classic rock tradition and firmly within Thin Lizzy territory.

“From the Pinnacle To the Pit” lays down the filthiest bass riff before the rest of the crew join in, with much more emphasis on the heavy metal hue of Ghost’s music. The songs middle eight demonstrates the band’s seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of catchy vocal hooks.

“Cirice” is the point where I went from surprised interest to hero worship. The verse is heavy as hell, the chorus is solid gold 80’s rock , and the solo is going to melt your face and pull your heart-strings at the same time.

After the transition of “Spoksonat”, “He Is” opens like a something from the Amelie soundtrack, before morphing into a hymn to Satan. A frankly beautiful hymn to Satan; had it been composed by Simon and Garfunkel. The chorus rings out: “He is, he’s the shining and the light without whom I cannot see; he is insurrection, he is spite, he’s the force that made me be.” These are irresistible vocal harmonies, and feels like flower-power just got svart-dyed. Again, slamming guitar solos that wouldn’t be out of place from Gary Moore.

Of all the tracks on the album “Mummy Dust” is the only one where I found my old objections rise again, with the title and chorus a little over-baked for my taste. That said, I’m a miserable bastard and don’t understand fun, so I’m sure most of you won’t be able to gobble down enough “mummy dust” if you know what I mean…on reflection maybe that was an instruction for it’s successful enjoyment rather than a title track.

“Krieg”

“Majesty” chugs away like a Sabbath or Maiden track, but you can tell we’re building to something here, and sure enough we hit a chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on Headspace’s “Anonymous”. This is all progressive melody and uplifting guitar/organ duty.

“Devil Church” is a lengthier abridging track continuing into prog territory, very much in the vein of Focus or Rush. After this the album opens out into “Absolution”, all brooding vocals until the 3 min point when Ghost awaken the synth-lords of old, descending from on-high riding stellar space arpeggiation.

“Deus In Absentia”, the album’s closing track, is a suitable anthem to close with which I’m sure will become a staple of Ghost’s live show and a favourite sing along for the crowd.

This is the perfect execution of what Ghost seems to have been striving towards since their inception, bringing together the best elements of the root genres they draw from and presenting a synthesis which is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Meliora is a hugely positive step change in the quality of Ghost’s song writing, and it’s hard to find anything to fault with this superb album.

I can’t believe I’m about to do this:

Deej

9/10

9/10

Istapp – Frostbiten

Posted in Black Metal with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2015 by Badass and Grim

Istapp-Frostbitten

Are you feeling a little toasty after 3 months of Ra’s searing attention (or just uncomfortably sweaty following a similar period of muggy cloud-cover if you’re in the UK)? Worried about your supply of tundra-based shredding due to the increasingly acrimonious fallout from Abbath’s departure from Immortal? Then worry no longer, Istapp’s “Frostbiten” should more than tide you over.

Istapp have been active since 2005, based in Sweden, with a 5 year gap since the release of 2010’s “Blekinge”. They are also endowed with the frankly brilliant “Encyclopaedia Metallum” thematic heading of “Winter, anti-light, anti-sun, absolute zero”; so get back in your box hateful sky orb! Having been a fan of “Blekinge” I was keen to hear what lay in store with this second full length offering from the frost lords.

Although lyrically it is easy to reach for the Immortal comparison, Istapp are much closer to the duel guitar harmony wielding style and heavily rhythmic vocals of Taake, although notably more jaunty due to the folk influence. Title track “Frostbiten” combines all those aspects that most appeal about Istapp, swaggering out of the gate before dropping into the blast beat driven verse which compounds it’s intensity before soaring into the ancestral chant of the chorus, juxtaposed against the continuing rage of vocalist Isar.

Equally brutal is “Må det aldrig töa” proceeding moodily to the 50sec mark before a grim torrent pours forth, I hope you brought your thermals, because this shit is going sub-zero. What’s that in the distance? a helpful swede shouting from the opposite mountain, too late, the blizzard has resumed and pulled him down into a gaping chasm of whirling sterility below. Find your own way home.

Many of the tracks tend to swing between bass-blasting hail and upbeat folk riffing before inevitably both give way to more of those heroic tundra power-stance inducing guitar melodies at which Istapp so excel. It’s like eating spoonfuls of frosting [pun intended], you know there are more complex and balanced diets out there, but its so god damn tasty.

In this vein “Vinterland”, “Primim Frigidum” and “Vit Makt” should have you strolling manfully around on a hallucinatory tundra quest, while confused passers-by look on at the guy pulling exaggerated grimaces on his way down the Morrison’s freezer aisle, before being escorted out for smiting the discount stand with some frozen cod.

While there isn’t much variation across Frostbiten, Istapp do not overplay their hand, and by keeping the total record length at a well paced 36 minutes deliver a collection of hard hitting and well executed ice-storms. I feel cooler already, roll on the Fimblevinter.

Stay Frosty

Deej

7/10

20130404-193933.jpg

Obtruncation: Abode of the Departed Souls

Posted in Death Metal with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by Badass and Grim
10805777_887312767969249_8835953727584598122_n

So for my first adventure into the B&G abyss we have the Holland based band Obtruncation with their offering ‘Abode of the Departed Souls’. Sounds like a cheery one then! So with a name that sounds like you’ve just detached yourself from your gentleman sausage, Obtruncation are the Death Metal flavour of kool-aid.

Time for a little history lesson about the band. Obtruncation was formed in 1989 in the Rotterdam area in Holland. Within no time they established a reputation among the fastest & most brutal bands of the underground death metal-scene. Early 1991, Lawrence Payne (Phlebotomized) joined OBTRUNCATION and added one of the most intense growling vocals ever heard. In 1999 the 12 track Obtruncation debut full length was released on a small Dutch underground label.

Right enough fannying about, let’s fire up the jukebox and see what devastation this baby can cause. Press play and boom, straight in. Hits you harder than your wife in that domestic abuse case. Well this is certainly Death Metal. Thick scooped down tuned guitars, bass that rumbles the very bowels of the earth, and enough blast beats to give war veterans shell shock all over again. The vocals have that Cannibal Corpse mix of low bowel curdling growls and higher screams like you’ve just stubbed your toe. The style reminds me of a mix of early Morbid Angel, Deicide and Death. Classic 90’s ferocity, and it works.

Forgiveness is not a word these fellas comprehend. Relentlessly punishing you with each song harder than the last time time you visited your favourite sex dungeon. The second half of the album is where it really grabs me. The songs open up a little more to include more groove which gives you something to attach to before it is dragged away. The contrast in changes in these latter song give them a greater sense of individuality, whilst the constant barrage and pace of the first few tracks makes them somewhat interchangeable.

Two stand out tracks for me are Slitting 16 and Callous Concept. Slitting 16 has a drudgy groove to the start which rears it’s ugly head throughout the rest of song to give you lifeline between barrages of blast beats and quick guitar lines. Callous Concept has the most memorable riffs of the album, with more melodic Death-esque single note lines.

Performance wise the band is as tight as a nun’s chuff and cohesive. You do get the occasional instance where the musicians fall ever so slightly behind the beat. The key part to take from that last sentence is that you can hear musicians. The record has the sound of people actually playing on it instead of some clinical cut and paste job. And hey, this shit is hard to play, so if at the end of each track I can envisage the band prolapsing through exhaustion then all the better for it.

The solos are exceptionally well played and sit as a nice embellishment to the rest of the track instead of being over indulgent fret wankery. These seem natural to the songs instead of being shoe horned in to defend the guitarists lack of manhood.

The production of Abode of the Departed Souls is definitely not big budget. More of a small or project studio, but hey times are tight. Whilst this is easily apparent in the mix, it does not distract from the songs themselves and it gives it that raw, aggressive, underground edge which actual suits the music style.

In an poor attempt at a conclusion to accredit my writing skills, I would have to say Obtruncation have overall produced a good, solid second album with Abode of the Departed Souls. Tight, cohesive and relentless. A fine example of the more visceral side of 90’s Death Metal. Whilst not genre defying, or jumping out and grabbing my attention as much as some modern bands, it does sit well among it’s peers of a higher stature. If I woke up hungover on a Christmas morn with this in my stocking would I be displeased? No. With every listen I pick out some new nuance so it’s definitely worth multiple listens. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go out and sample it for yourselves. Make your own opinions. You’re a grown up now, just don’t make a mess.

GrimFandango

Rating – 7.5/10

20130407-215319.jpg

B and G Podcast – Episode 5

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast, Classic Metal, Death Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Murderdeth

B and G Podcast – Episode 5

Greetings from Grim Towers!

This week features, Spreading the Disease by Anthrax and Into The Dark by Ancient Ascendant. Thanks also to this episodes guest Chris Kenny of Incinery.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter. Other social networks are available, links can be found below!

Cheers

Murderdeth

Photo on 01-02-2014 at 19.34

iTunes – Badass & Grimness Podcast
Twitter – @BadassnGrimness
Facebook – Badass & Grimness Reviews
Email – BandGReviews@icloud.com

B and G Podcast – Viking Special

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast, Black Metal, Blackened Death Metal, Cake, Death Metal, Folk Metal, Heavy Metal, Pagan Metal, Prog, Viking Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Murderdeth

B and G Podcast – Viking Special

From the Havamal –
Ale
Has too often
Been praised by poets.
The longer you drink
The less sense
Your mind makes of things.

That pretty much sums up the following.

It’s been a long, long time coming but here it is in its full, glorious 90 minutes….

“The Badass and Grimness Podcast, Viking Special.”

Featuring: Bathory, Amon Amarth, History Channel’s “Vikings”, Tyr, Wardruna and three progressively drunken idiots!

Not Featuring: Unleashed, Windir, Burzum, Arkenham and many others.

Thanks to JMG for joining us on this one. You can find him on twitter @jmgcreative.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter. Other social networks are available, links can be found below!

Cheers

Murderdeth

Photo on 29-06-2013 at 22.07 #3

iTunes – Badass & Grimness Podcast
Twitter – @BadassnGrimness
Facebook – Badass & Grimness Reviews
Email – BandGReviews@icloud.com

B and G Podcast – Episode 4

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast, Heavy Metal, Interview, News, Prog, Viking Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Murderdeth

B and G Podcast – Episode 4

“Howdy Dicktits!” (Rumple Judas Clungeberry, 2013).

This week features, Get Dead or Die Trying by The Rotted and I Am Anonymous by Headspace as well as the triumphant return of the unsavoury entity we call Rumple.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter. Other social networks are available, links can be found below!

Cheers

Murderdeth

IMG_1578

iTunes – Badass & Grimness Podcast
Twitter – @BadassnGrimness
Facebook – Badass & Grimness Reviews
Email – BandGReviews@icloud.com

B and G Podcast – Episode 3

Posted in Badass and Grimness Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2013 by Murderdeth

B and G Podcast – Episode 3

Greetings to you all. Here’s you fill for this month so deal with it!

Featuring… Iron Monkey by Iron Monkey and In the Chapel Of The Black Hand by The Wounded Kings and Rumple’s appearance leaves much to be desired.

Please remember to subscribe on iTunes and follow on Twitter. Other social networks are available, links can be found below!

Cheers

Murderdeth

asdfghjk

iTunes – Badass & Grimness Podcast
Twitter – @BadassnGrimness
Facebook – Badass & Grimness Reviews
Email – BandGReviews@icloud.com