Album Reviews



FALSE WITNESS: In The Company Of Snakes Album Review +Album Stream/”Out Of Ruin” Video Stream

Northern Utah, a world full of natures wonderful splendor. Pristine lakes, looming snow blanketed mountains, and jutting rock formations, but also home to False Witness. False Witness is an absolute Heavy Metal barrage. Groovy, and melodic, with chuggy head bang inducing riffage, diverse vocals and emotionally charged lyrics displayed neat and tight by 4 members, 3 of which apparently throw their vocals in the ring. With a home base in Logan, Utah the members of this cunning machine are Mckae Nielsen – guitar/vocals, Tyler Thurston – guitar/ vocals, Connor Werling – drums/ vocals, Ryan Hall – bass. The way False Witness employs a slew of different styles vocally and musically is truly a work of musical master craftsmanship that had me hooked from beginning to end, quite a few times… In fact, I found myself personally lost in the album so many times that it’s taken me a number of weeks to get this review written, let’s hope the guys can forgive my lack of due diligence and trade it for the heartwarming knowledge that I became so enraptured by this absolute monstrosity of an album that I just couldn’t stop beating my fists on my desk or banging my head long enough to write a coherent thought. Now that I’ve made associations and glossed up your eye balls, let’s jump into my thoughts on False Witness “In The Company Of Snakes”. Be sure to check out the music video for ‘Out Of Ruin‘ or the album in its entirety with the links provided afterwards!

In The Company Of Snakes” starts with one of the strongest album openers I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in recent years, a groovy yet aggressive ode to some poor soul who apparently needs to be reminded that pissing off a talented artist isn’t the greatest idea, because now everyone knows what a callous jackass you are through some harsh words and stabs at some pretty specific character flaws, but at the same time it’s catchy so now strangers are singing about you and I think that’s one of life’s greatest joys. ‘Out Of Ruin‘ starts with an obligatory “oh!” and swinging into instantaneous head swinger of a riff False Witness wastes no time at all letting the listener know they’re in for one hell of a ride as the assaulting first verse transcends into the chorus with the surprisingly, and expertly executed angelic vocals of McKae Nielsen. The second verse is full of that same emotion and agressive demeanor as the last but falls into a neat little segment of “chugs and doodles” as I like to call them (you know exactly what I mean) into an epic solo that captures the entire emotion and narrative of the track. The instrumental segments of this track are extremely well written, and as stated before, the track is brimming with raw emotion and accentuated with skilled musicianship, and triple vocals throughout its entirety. Let’s be honest with ourselves, vocalists playing guitar is always great. Guitarists also adding their vocals to the mix makes things even better, but when you take all of that and add a drummer to the mix things get really good in the best way possible. ‘Out Of Ruin‘ also sports it’s very own music video that you can find a little bit later on when you make it to the end of this review.

Eating Dirt‘ hits me in such a way I find it hard to put it into words. I would go as far to say this is probably my personal favorite track on the album. I cant get over how it just has a feel so reminiscent of the music I listened to in my high school days back in the early 2000’s. I definitely would not say its like any band or song in particular, but more that its just like so many of the great bands from back then rolled into one, almost like if they had a time machine and went back to that era of music they would fit absolutely seamlessly. Not overly complex, or fast, but not dull or meandering, but a nice mid tempo jam with a little fast picking, some power chords, deep chest shaking vocals, and well placed transitions that just keep your head bouncing involuntarily until you travel into deeper waters, but as you should know traveling to the deeper regions doesn’t come without its troubles. ‘Black Masts‘ is powerful and deep on multiple levels. Starting with some double bass and cymbal crashes into an aggressive first verse the complimenting vocals of drummer Conner Werling through the verses and McKae Nielsen’s gutturals in the chorus mixed with melodic guitars, cannoning drums and metaphoric lyrical content give this track immense depth in both sound and content.

Charging in with an immense stature and slow daunting drive is the albums title track ‘In The Company Of Snakes‘. The power of groove keeps plugging away through this album and I just cant get enough. Once again I find myself with my eyes closed and my head down soaking in every ounce of music that I can while the verse and chorus keep me marching along with droning and drawn riffs like a looming army of the damned on the road to conquering the world of the living. I find this track to be a perfect example of how deadly simplicity can be. Simple doesn’t mean bad, they’ve successfully figured out how to grab your interest and keep it there by employing undeniably powerful tones and raw anger, its like a beast of its own, beckoning you to come closer so it can eat you alive through intimidation alone. Demise is already implied and all you’re going to do by running is prolong the suffering. ‘Vulturous‘ and ‘Truth Dies With A Severed Tongue‘ both keep that same cruel cunning going as with the rest of the album. Unrelenting barrages of heavy riffs, blazing drum segments and trembling bass set effective backdrops for the consistently earth shaking vocals and literarily delicious lyrical prowess I have come to expect from False Witness thus far. The surprising dashes of clean vocals and technical guitar ability blended with moments of ambient dissonance in ‘Beneath The Skin‘ left me a little dumbstruck and in wonder of what other little surprises the rest of the album would have in store.

State Of Decay‘ brings the groove back, or did the groove ever even go away? The answer is simple, it didn’t ever leave, I just figured you would grow weary of me sounding like a teenager from the 1960’s. Easy to digest, never a dull moment, and even a few brief tempo changes make this another absolute banger of track that leads into the most drastic change in feel I’ve experienced on this journey. “Cosmic Maw” starts with a cleanish guitar tone and angry vocals before evolving into an almost cinematic affair. An accenting choir, and spoken word dictation compliment an orchestral composition in the background to create an atmospheric and imaginative wonderland as we descend into the closing track ‘Glass Eyes (Forever in Formaldehyde)‘. Again employing dramatic orchestral composition and a begrudging, zombie like drone this track uses powerful guitars and drums with an epic background complimenting emotional vocals once again placing the listener in an entirely new world. At some point throughout the album I found myself almost unable to explain the experience in any other terms than how the music made me feel, the album just keeps evolving, becoming simple, but more complex. The more I listened the more connected I became, the music became more than just music but an extension of my consciousness itself, unable to separate my own inner monologue from what was being projected into my ears. This album will go on the list as one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and I hope you take the time to give it a listen. False Witness In The Company Of Snakes” is out now, head over to their Facebook page below and buy the album, head on over to YouTube and check out the official video for ‘Out Of Ruin‘ with the link provided, or find it wherever you stream music!

https://youtu.be/MZ8do–dxMg

https://linktr.ee/falsewitnessofficial?fbclid=IwAR2A1bU5aT5wQLV6ZL_vgmgqqJQTkpIRDpovVUM5yZ4AyJ1z-OwhZNS_1R8

Album Review: ‘S/T’ – ABDUCTED

‘Self titled’ – ABDUCTED

What is up boys and girls and everyone on the gender spectrum? I hope the fall is treating you good. But if not, let me take care of that. And I shall do that today by throwing your way some bone crushing and ear shattering death metal from up north, Fairbanks, Alaska. Today, we bring to you the debut, full length record by ABDUCTED. There is some real deep connection with the icy cold north and death metal, isn’t it? Be it Swedish death metal, melodic death metal from Finland or the notorious first wave of black metal from Norway, an offshoot born out of death metal itself. No matter where they all fall on the wide array of the dissonant side of metal, they are exclusively special to itself and can kick abundant posers off the deck any day. And that is exactly what ABDUCTED successfully does on their debut offering, that is, mercilessly annihilate your petty ear drums. Let’s not beat around the bush and dissect this wonderful album.

Right off the hook, the band throws at you a massive, heavy and head-banging breakdown riff. Something in the range of slow tempo, that is perfect for building up the adrenaline as a prelude to the next songs. It is an absolute banger, it gets your feet stomping, and neck swaying in unison. Although, groovy, chugging or breakdowns get flak sometimes, they do get your head banging. I would say ABDUCTED perfectly nails the kick-off to this album. It sets the mood for a perfect incoming onslaught.

Second song titled, ‘Aberration‘ makes no excuses, no time for bull shitting around, and it just goes ‘BAM’! It’s like a charged up bull unleashed from its barn satiating its soaring adrenaline levels. You can immediately hear those double bass kicks going in hard, complimented by the hard crashing cymbals and not to mention the savory and grinding riff. Apart from the band’s vocalist doing a tremendous job on this one, we have our own homeboy Tyler Byrum laying down some sick, thick and morbid growls featuring as the first guest vocalist on the album. And he has done a great job filling that guest vocals spot, I think he has melded his vocals pretty well into the song. At about 2:54, everything just comes to a standstill for a second, and you know there’s something wicked the band had been brewing up for this next groove fest. And oh boy, what a juicy riff! You know I have a penchant for them grooves, the huge chuggs and breakdowns. And its not even halfway into the second song and ABDUCTED throws in my favorite gnarly, nasty and filthiest riff on the album. Drop tuned earth shattering guitars, that crash cymbal, coupled with the double bass and hard snare, each woven perfectly into each other, with the perfect timing results in a mouth watering section, that I would call my favourite in the album. The track then progresses into a frenzy fiesta and then fades into this another fist pumping breakdown.

There’s one really good trait that this album holds is that it is a very well balanced concoction of groove along the modern metal lines, some fierce and fast paced riffing as seen in songs like ‘Kerrigan‘, ‘Deadite‘ and ‘The Twin Princes‘ to name a few. A few guitar solos are also thrown in songs like ‘Indoctrination‘. The riff transitions in the album are also very well curated, they are swift, crisp and they all fit into the song perfectly, without any part in the song left out feeling like it doesn’t belong in the puzzle. And that, is what makes this album interesting. I believe more often that not, what modern/deathcore/djent bands end up doing is fail to meticulously cook the perfect broth. It is either too much of riff based chugs, or too much of just palm muted djent, or just enough of groove, and that’s what makes me yawn by the end of the album. Art in whatever form, I feel, should be well balanced, just like a diet. Like, I don’t wanna feed my ears 40 minutes of palm muted riffs, you know what I am saying.

ABDUCTED features some very thick growls, spawned directly from the crypts of hell. And as stated before, the vocalist manages to balance it out. Its not always the thick and dense growls but also the high pitched borderline screeching as well. Major props to second guest on vocals featured in ‘The Twin Princes‘, as he manages to not sway so much in vocal range and depth of his growls in the album from the band’s vocalist, so as to feel that the song doesn’t belong in the album. I must add that the vocals in the album fit perfectly in terms of the depth and heaviness when it comes to complimenting the riffing. I believe this is something very important in death metal. If your vocals sound like you’re just into puberty but your guitars are monstrous, then I might as well go ahead and just say that is pretty much bollocks.

The drumming in the album has been intense as well. The meandering nature of the drums from groove, to machine gun double bass to the cymbal work have been immaculate. The snare sound is just absolute favorite for my ears and to my liking. It’s crisp and hits hard. All in all, the band manages to tweak every aspect of their sound in this album to perfection. The guitars, vocals, drums and bass all match each other in terms of how much they compliment each other. Each ingredient has been perfectly engineered in the desired ratio to produce this beast of a debut record.

Stream the album down below. And if you like them enough, support them by giving yourself some really cool death metal on their bandcamp page and merch store.

Review: YALDABAOTH ‘That Which Whets the Saccharine Palate’ [Album Stream]

Alaska, The Last Frontier. Home to savage elements and captivating landscapes, but also home to a bleak Black Metal Underground, and by underground I mean you basically need to venture out into the tundra with a shovel to find some of these bands. Thankfully Alaska is also the place I call home so I’m here to shed some light on an otherwise dark and unseen niche. Continue reading

Review: BURY TOMORROW – Cannibal [Album Stream]

Bury Tomorrow‘s 2018 album ‘Black Flame’ was phenomenal. It was the band’s third consecutive UK Top 40 album.  The band hail from the UK and are comprised of Dani Winter-Bates on vocals, Jason Cameron on vocals/rhythm guitar, Kristan Dawson on lead guitar, backing vocals, Davyd Winter-Bates on bass and Adam Jackson on drums.

They are a fearsome mix of brutal Death Metal with a huge mixer of melodic vignettes.  They are very technical, but never forget that hooks need to be applied also.

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Review: DELANEY – A Small Remaining Quantity of Something [Album Stream]

Delaney is a four-piece pop rock/alternative rock band hailing from southern NH. They were my choice for the last NH State of the Art and I have continued to follow their fortunes closely since then.

Their music is a cathedral of the caustic, combined with the sweet dew of self-awareness. Consisting of members Matt (lead vocals/guitar/piano), Kurt (drums), Andy (bass/backing vocals) and Derek (guitar), Delaney draws much of their influences from early 2000’s rock/emo bands such as The Dangerous Summer, Jack’s Mannequin and Jimmy Eat World.

The band spent their first year and a half building a following across NH and MA until releasing their debut EP ‘Kites Without String’ in May of 2018. Since then, the band have continued to play across the northern New England area and is scheduled to release their second E.P. ‘A Small Remaining Quantity of Something’ on June 26, 2020.

This release is a cathartic release from the current turmoil in the world.  It chases away the blues with its insistent drive to uplift with crunchy guitars and lush keyboards.  The opener “The Ghost of Better Times” is a positive call to bring back normality to the world.  The drum sound is full and direct and Matt’s vocals are strong and melodic.  Yes, this is no Death Metal fare, but it rocks and uplifts in a potent mix.

Busy Hands” has chiming guitar and a laid back vibe that ushers in the long summer nights.  You can imagine a warm evening playing this song on your porch and looking at the glistening stars.  It is a song about reflection and soul searching, which is something I can identify with.

Thief” swims in on a lead piano and guitar mix.  The background vocals on this lend themselves to serious grooving.  The guitars hit with emo intent and the song documents personal struggles.  The guitar solo on this song is subtle, but strong.

The E.P. continues the high quality with the dampened chords of “Disease – Deliverance.”  This song seems so poignant at the moment, celebrating lives that have passed.  The cloud of COVID-19 seems to haunt the lines.  Of course, I am not sure it does mean this, but it seems to refer to this pandemic.

Broken” is the main rocker on the release, with its urgent fuzz guitar and faster tempo.  It is a shot of adrenaline and a great song.  The chorus is killer and the vocals again deliver with the energy of the tune.

The release is rounded out by the single “Do You Want To Be Afraid” which is catchy and full of emotion.  “Can’t seem to shake these inhibitions” – you and me brother!  Completely sold on this composition, with its heart-held exposition.

What can I say?  Legendary stuff from a band who just seem to get better and better!  Check them out as soon as possible!

 

 

Review: SPACE CADAVER – ‘Void Moon’ [Album Stream]

This New Orleans band are fantastic cinematic metal with a sludgy panoramic sound that blasts and bewilders in equal measure.  Lead by the ever thoughtful John Baleine (guitars/vox), ‘Void Moon’ is their second release, following their self-titled debut.

There are four songs completing with release and they are weighty tomes for these dark times. “Beginning of the End” is an eight minute opener which reaches many different valleys and plains with its doom focused arrangements.

The release takes off into further spheres with the beautiful lush instrumental “Another Family“. It creeps in and swells with wonderful arrangements. This is a real tearjerker as you can imagine it being the soundtrack to a modern day Western.

Void Moon” casts a sci-fi vision and stalks from the speakers after the quiet entry. The middle section is a spoken word part about religion, which then moves into a fusion of static.

Evil of Man” finishes the record with deliberate dissonance and a brutal bookend about a plague being unleashed – very topical for these troubled times. “Killer of spirit, killer of spirit!  Lies the memory of the life never known!” Not easy listening, but a headfirst dive into the horror of the present.  The song is hypnotic and starts to unnerve with its extreme soundscape.  There is never an easy ask for real art and this song is art in action.

Space Cadaver are a band unafraid to experiment and make you unsettled by their beauty and brute force. Don’t enter without a safety hat of wonder!  They are a band that take your preconceived ideas and make them turn on their head.  They have a sound that is hard to define, but they don’t make music for the masses and are focused on their art alone.  A refreshing change of pace from the norm.

 

Review: BURY TOMORROW – ‘Cannibal’ [Official Music Videos]

As if ‘Black Flame’ wasn’t already enough Bury Tomorrow has decided to take it to the next level. Besides creating top notch music they have a very specific goal this time, to get people talking about mental health and to remove the stigma once and for all! So with that in mind let’s dive right into ‘Cannibal’!

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ERIC SARTANA – Dark Days [Album Stream]

Montana’s premier Doom musical maverick Eric Sartana has produced a new E.P. which rattles the windows of your soul with ‘Dark Days’.  This three track collection continues his fine work with Throne of Malediction and the path of independently produced excellence.

Eric has a unique vision rested somewhere between Doom and Thrash. He walks the lonely highway of non-commercial excellence where the depression and oppression of everyday life stalks each of us.  His vision is to make music with real substance and thoughtfulness.  He is an auteur and a rationalist in these days of reactive nihilism.

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Review: POLARIS – ‘The Death Of Me’ [Official Music Videos]

Polaris is back and ready to unleash their second album called ‘The Death Of Me’ via Sharptone Records tomorrow and it is straight fire! Releasing an album as good or even better than ‘The Mortal Coil’ seemed impossible but they have done it with ease and I am here to prove it!

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Review: TOMBS – ‘Monarchy Of Shadows’ [Tracks Streaming]

New York experimental black metal band Tombs grabbed my attention two years ago when I got their sophomore album ‘Path Of Totality’ in a Relapse Records blind bag deal. Tombs formed in 2007 with founding member and frontman Mike Hill. My expectations are high for ‘Monarchy Of Shadows’ as it follows their great 2017 record ‘The Grand Annihilation.’ On top of their last record they have the weight of ‘Path Of Totality’ on their shoulders, which won Decibel Magazine’s 2011 Album of the Year award. Consisting of Mike Hill, Justin Spaeth, Drew Murphy, and Matt Medieiros, Tombs rip their way into a new decade with some of their best songs in their entire discography on this EP ‘Monarchy Of Shadows’ which releases on February 28, 2020 via Seasons Of The Mist. Continue reading