I had to sift through some great music this first full week of a brand, spanking New Year (hate me, it’s okay), especially indie label releases. There is so much good metal out there across the world, and the top acts are a small percentage of what’s on offer. I’m very excited about 2015 and, yes, we are busy counting up the votes of the Battle of the Bands. You can expect to see that post the last week of this month.
SUPERTANKER songs from the ashes (Klonosphere Records)
Heavy, sludgy and southern-sounding as a chicken biscuit, your mind will be blown when I tell you SUPERTANKER —wait for it— is from France! “Temple of Sin” will tie you up right out of the gate. This track gallops like a Kentucky Derby hopeful while the groove of the whole album rubs me just right. Even the slow song is great – short and simple, the best kind next to none. This is metal meant to put you in a kick-ass mood.
VOICES London (Candlelight Records)
Listen to London with your heart. You have no head. Feel each sound as it scrapes, smacks, punches and thuds against the center of you. These sounds describe a pre-apocalyptic world that is as horrifying as anything you might find in the Book of Revelations or a Lovecraft tale. Crazy thing is, that world is ours in a little slice called London or Detroit or Pyongyang. This album is fucking brilliant in how it creates an emotional landscape with sound, but be forewarned that VOICES’ latest release will cause a cognitive dissonance that you must overcome to fully appreciate the offering. “Fuck Trance” is the track that knit the album together for me.
BLODHEMN H7 (Indie Recordings)
I’m not going to go into black metal hyperbole using words like ravenous and blasphemous, but H7 is a damn good album. It is creepy, classically structured, and demonstrates an appropriate application of black metal devices. It is an acquired taste but if you like atmosphere without sacrificing that gritty, relentless wall of metal sound, BLODHEMN may have your ticket. “Slettet Av Tid” and “Andenes Ansikt” are featured below.
CHAOS DESCENT When Life Leads Us To Death (Independent)
This album has a classic death metal foundation with surprisingly progressive elements. “The Revelation” is actually an introductory instrumental that sets the theme of the entire album without being pretentious (see my rant in the previous post – seems I’m ALWAYS proven wrong when I voice an opinion but I prefer it that way). The progressive elements give an epic depth to the tracks without detracting from the death metal brutality. The mastering is thin in some places such as on “Reek of Pigs” where the sound fades in and out. I’m not sure if this was intentional but it’s something to note. The band is from Iran and the Persian influence is noticeable without being cliché. Of note is “The Game” for the Persian melodies followed directly by “Faces” which is a rousing death metal anthem.
You can hear the full album on SoundCloud.
FLEHMEN Venus (independent)
I would have put this album in the circular bin based on the first song, “Mutha.” The track did nothing to inspire me, instrumental as it was, and with an album title like Venus and women’s names as the tracks, I was expecting so much more. Fortunately, “Dorothy” strode into the sound box wearing a mask that looked like a TOOL knock-off but turned it into a strip tease. “Pamela,” “Bonnie,” “Nancy,” and “Ophelia” followed, each with “her” own interesting personality. Venus appears to be a collection of odes to women of various names. FLEHMEN’s variety of metal could fall into the experimental category with a healthy serving of hardcore. As an added treat, the vocalist’s voice reminds me of Kirk Windstein from CROWBAR.
INHARMONIC Flesh Inferno (Independent)
I absolutely love the heavy guitar in this Finnish death metal offering. I especially enjoy the timing of the percussion with the guitar and with the vocals. The way everything blends creates surges of cochlear satisfaction that spark my neurons: chaotic yet cohesive. The title track starts the brutality with prejudice and the remaining tracks do not quit. An intro or two might tease you into thinking INHARMONIC relented, but don’t be fooled. This is a Flesh Inferno and INHARMONIC is aptly named.
SOULNERVE The Dying Light (Independent)
When I think of Metalcore, the title track of this album is a classic example. This isn’t whiny, my-girlfriend-left-me Metalcore. The lyrical content, we swallow deception/with catatonic digestion/in a hollow world full of empty shells/where no one ever succeeds and misery sells, is definitely a mature vein of bitching. There is hardcore (hence the core) and also heavy metal with a melodic bent. The clean vocals aren’t overdone. Throughout the album, impressive guitar solos a la thrash can be found (check out “My Demise”). There’s even a lovely instrumental in “Lost.”
TACIT FURY A Social Berserker (Independent)
TACIT FURY filled their entire album with great guitar riffs. I listen to music while I write and I had to stop typing to appreciate the seamless integration of the riffs into just about every song. “Mind Crushing Power Dominance” is heavy as fuck and the video is plain disturbing. Do you trust your eyes? “Chronology Bleached” also had a memorable riff but what makes a song truly good is how the other parts fit around that hook. TACIT FURY knows how to pay homage to the almighty guitar.
I.O. Kirkwood is METAL DESCENT’s Senior Live Music Editor. You can read her personal blog HERE.