Monday, October 3, 2016

Be'lakor's Stone's Reach Review

Being a crony of mine, art always haunts me whether it’s a sculpture or imagination and this time Perseus with the head of Medusa caused my cursor to click on Be'lakor's sophomore effort Stone's Reach. It was surely a good reflection of band's taste. At the first instance, the opening briefed me with something really inspired from Opeth followed by the lifting with heavy riff and the low end growls that gave me a similar vibe of Amon Amarth and Orphaned Land. Eventually, as the opening track proceeded further, I myself generated stimuli of having a progressive/melodic death/doom experience coming ahead. Although, it’s really easy to translate the tone with many similar acts like Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, Amon Amarth and last but not the least Insomnium, but I think, this is some sort of an amalgam of vast influences. I witnessed mixed elements of folk as well as atmospheric along with the overshadowed progressive melo-death. 
When there are lot of similar acts experimenting with the same genre, it is really hard to put something idiosyncratic but impressively, Be'lakor didn't let me put this down and proved to be a solid release. The songs have complex structures and time signatures as well as a balanced chord and lead-esque rhythms along with main leads. The tempo is not easily predictable nor the arrangement/sequence of riffs and have variations, From Scythe to Spectre can be taken as an example, Outlive the Hand has a unique starting that eventually changes to a different variation and so on. Those who are merely addicted to melo-death/progressive may have some Deja-vu experience as it sometimes feels that it might have the same kind of riffs or chord progression coming out frequently. The acoustics and keyboard played a pivotal role in creating the mood of the songs. Lyrically, it has surely a huge Pagan & Greek Mythology texture. Some songs have a deep cynicism’s influence that I observed and I think it is some sort of esoteric or abstruse to understand them to their actual intended meaning. The production/mixing of the album is credible, as of my previous experience, with the low-end growls, sometimes it feels like to have other instruments dominating more over the vocals but here, it is not that same case. Overall, this album may have some flaws but is inevitably a thumbs up from my side. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts (2016)

So, “The Fall of Hearts” is finally here. Since, the release of the two singles “Old Heart Falls” and “Serein”, I was anticipating this album so much. I’ve found one thing with Katatonia, from “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” they have never been deviated from their formula but this thing either makes the sound deja-vu or may be new-new. Here, I feel a new wave of Katatonia though there is no such uniqueness in this album but still Moilanen and Ojersson brought a good contribution. The key highlight that I have observed is about the guitar tone, the rhythms are not the chuggs nor much vicious but smooth and lead-esque. They never really focus much on the solos/leads but in this album the tone is marvelous. The little harmonies in the background are just toothsome, percussion and acoustic combinations are very fascinating, keyboard and effects work are also appreciable in this album and this is what giving each song a new atmosphere. All applause to Ojersson for the solos as well as to Nystrom for the rhythm part. As always, Renkse maintains a well-balanced vocal combination with all the vocal effects.

Tool, Porcupine Tree and Opeth influence truly have overshadowed in this album and the impact is prominent and reflects. Katatonia mean low spirits and yes, that’s true but to me, this album is the most “Progressive” among the Katatonia’s discography. This is not depressive rock at all. The lyrical themes are somewhat bleak and only “Decima” can be described as gloomy among other songs. The way this band had improvised their classics in “Sanctitude”, I expected there would be something big coming from them and now with this solid addition, it has been proved. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spectral Lore - Gnosis (EP/2015)

Lycinna is the belle of Gnosis and this was the reason of having my first introduction with Spectral Lore and I found this one as a good avant-garde-instrumental-ambient-atmospheric-post-black-metal "album". I might be biased in writing this review but honestly this is my cup of tea although, I shall maintain a balanced momentum here and won't over specified it. If you like atmospheric black metal/folk metal then this might become a good taste for you. 
Giving a conceptual instrumental album might be a tough thing but Ayloss did an inventive job in creating the atmosphere of this album. This is a 50 min EP which gives you chills for sure, only if you feel that atmosphere. Traditional Greek music influences the whole album and this is what allure me the most due to the similarity I felt with having an imagination of a nomad of the Northern coast of Pakistan playing a Bouzouki or Rubab in a cold frosty night. Gnosis have some of the most lead-esque rhythm guitar playing with a good use of Harmonic Minor and this is really good but overshadowed the whole album, there are the same oscillating rhythm patterns throughout this album but I think Ayloss wanted to have a connectivity, after all it depends upon the taste and nature of composition to balance the overall atmosphere of the album.

I want to link the third and the last instrumental in a comparative manner according to my understanding, Averroes (Ibne Rushd) was a philosopher and a polymath in Islamic history and considered as the one who spreads secular mindset, defended the rational reasoning and gave the actual meaning of Secularism back then which unfortunately still misunderstood as a synonym with Atheism which sounds ridiculous but this is what I personally observed. Aleppo is burning under the anti-Rushd mindset and that's why it is the epilogue of this album. Hence, "Averroes' Search" is actually for the revival of the forgotten "Aleppo".

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Ethereal : Agalloch's The Mantle (2002)

Agalloch are one of the few outfits who had managed to create their own distinctive tone and atmosphere. Haughm's creativity is not only reflected from the diverse use of instruments and effects but also from the lyrical theme that has created an ambience with meaning and concept. I have been the admirer of Agalloch for many years. I have listened many similar acts like them but the overall atmosphere, effects and multiple instruments use, Haughm's use of clean/raw vocals, concept behind each track and last but not the least the cold narcotic feeling I feel is just what I can't explain. Their music is not for mainstream, I can deliberately say.

I personally decided to review this album conceptually as there are many reviews revolving around talking generally about the overall music and comparison.
"The Mantle" brought another masterpiece from Agalloch, Death in June & Godspeed inspired guitar blend is the foreground of this LP. Their influence from the filmography is reflected from "The Hawthorne Passage"; the influence from a folklore is much more reflected from "...and the Great Cold Death of the Earth" and from the deer skull chants on "The Lodge" and Nietzsche is reflected from "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion"; the use of accordion, mandolin had brought a mellow tone in "A Desolation Song" and somewhat the sing-speak structure made this a little different from the other songs.
Well, I was reading their interviews and they said they were actually portraying some images and wanted to express those via this album and this is what they did. Each song is actually depicting its own story. Long passage of instruments mainly acoustics and leads are making a soothing and melancholy environment. 


Besides from the concept and other things, I had been remain curious about the use of effects that Haughm does and I got lucky to see his pedalboard on and he said in the interview that his effects always give birth to songs mainly like the Nova Delay is behind “Ghosts Of The Midwinter Fires” which you can listen in the intro. Delay is the main secret behind many of his composition that's why he has three units of delay (MoogerFooger Analog Delay, the Boss DD-6 and the TC Electronic Nova Delay). The noticeable use of flanger can be listened in the mid of "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion" and MXR Micro Flanger is behind it. A must read for any Agalloch admirer:

Their music varies from atmospheric black metal to post-metal and post-rock with progressive rock influence but they describe it simply as dark metal and yes they are dark and cold. A best companion on a frosty night with nocturnal silence everywhere. You just can't get enough of this album, I bet. 

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Most Horrible Way of Representing Beauty...

Uaral, the moment when I listened their sacred music I came to aware that life is more austere than death. The duo combined the real feelings, the real emotions and all the grief with their heart. This is soul touching music. In my opinion, unclassifiable. Uaral is love not lust. I seriously don't have words to describe the music. Something coming from the dark melancholy woods with swamps around the lake of tears and the mist around with a cold silence, nocturnal. The Chilean country-side and Uaral himself had inspired Aciago & Caudal so much that they inherited the mentor’s heritage in their veins and transformed in the form of their compositions.

"Sounds of Pain..." is the band's debut full-length. The lyrical theme mostly deals with sorrow, nature and experience of life with the use of classical Latin acoustic style guitar, flute and piano creates a mournful atmosphere. Much of the music in the album has a long passage of mixed instruments mainly acoustics and less vocals. The vocals are deep guttural growls creates a strong doom/death metal influence also Empyrium's Schwadorf style clean singing creates folk/atmospheric black metal environment. The songs also has laments, crying and all the bemoaning. I just lost in the chants, the whispering winds and the sound of rains. The sound varies with a non-linear song structure throughout the album.

This thing is a masterpiece. A perfect piece of depressive yet progressive music. Do read the interview of the duo on their un-official website. It sounds like souls are talking not humans. Bunch of thanks to the Iranian fans for making the website.
The epilogue is, listen this on a cold frosty night with full moon. You will be pleased. One of the best blend of doom/black/folk.

Visit: Uaral

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Monday, June 29, 2015

The best thing came after French Fries.....

The first interaction with Gojira was with "Love" and I was like WTF! Is this from the debut one? This thing is massive heavy. Progressive as well as technical death metal influence brought a brutal experimental package. The best thing is the non-linear composition of songs which is quite interesting, environmental friendly lyrical theme which is quite unusual yet impressive. The noticeable thing is the weird but heavy as fuck riffs but no solo at all so it is not the shredding enriched album (for those who thought some stuff similar to Necrophagist), technical drumming (Mario made his name big apart from being a painter), Bass is what many says the most under-dominant thing and has a usual effect parallel to support guitar and drums but here it is in the foreground. I hear less Joe's vocals and more chugg chugaga chugg! "Space Time". "Love" and "In the Forest" are the foreground images in this album. I feel an enormous nocturnal silence after listening these in headphones. "Lizard Skin" has gay style riffing but intro is good though. "Clone" is my favorite along with some other songs, simply a great opening track that overshadows the forthcoming tracks. "In the Forest" has a silence in between and after that a hidden track.

Overall, the album has an atmospheric thing rousing in between the compositions. Unique style, weird patterns and a blend of heavy alternate picking with pinch harmonics along with chugging like fuck along with kick-ass drumming and thick bass overcomes the cheesy growl/screamo. The beast thing comes after French Fries is Gojira.


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Sepultura's Arise (1991)

Well I think thrash is against all the masquerade behind the hypocrisy, the testical egoistic morons & not the very least against all odds. The 'old' Brazilian outfit with Cavalera bros. know this shit very well and they did transform all their expression with their critically acclaimed lyrics; incorporates mainly with anti-corruption,  anti-fascism and I think they had predicted many things coming to the future and what would be the outcome! I'll come to the point shortly about that. This album is my all-time personal favorite. I just couldn't get enough of it. One of baddest shit in the thrash. There are/were few bands who make their own peculiar sound or tone with crushing riffs, dexterous creative solos, tribal influenced drumming with fast gallops and blast beats, brutal dry savage vocals and lyrics that describes the 'inside' - that is Sepultura. You never omit them, listening is edict. 

Before going towards the album actually, I want to put some words about the band itself. Sepultura has quite a complex kind of genre history. Started as a death metal act had have lyrical themes dealt with Satanism i.e. Bestial Devastation (1985), Morbid Visions (1986), Schizophrenia (1987); followed by thrash metal elements with Beneath The Remains (1989), Arise (1991); then Chaos A.D (1993) brought a pre-bell to a disaster that came in the form of Roots (1996) because simply the band went nuts by changing towards nu metal and blah blah! Another unfortunate thing happened was the departure of the front man Mr. Max Cavalera, the man behind Sepultura. For me, Sepultura was dead the day he left the band and soon after his brother Igor did the same thing but because of the 'creativity differences' or whatever. Damn!

After listening Arise predecessor, I wasn't expecting Beneath the Remains part II but still the sound is something Deja-vu but an improved compositional skill along with lyrics explaining the anecdote of the sterile world. The album kicks off with 'Arise', a potent track describing the victims of the warfare like "Terrorist confrontation/Cities fall in ruin/Victims of war, seeking some salvation/Why must we die?”; strong vocals, Andreas' dive bomb, harmonics enriched solo is praisable. 'Dead Embryonic Cells' with 'Laboratory sickness/Infects humanity/No hope for cure/Die by technology' is another hit against the posers and dumbs ruining the humanity and yus what they said, happened and happening like Union Carbide incident, Chernobyl disaster and countless. Children 'born with pain/Suffer remains'. Here I hail 'Desperate Cry', powerful yet exposure of anger, nocturnal intro with rhythm that besiege heads, strong alternate picking and what we here is 'Desperate Cryyyyy'. Followed by 'Murder', 'Subtraction' and 'Altered State' with some traditional tribal elements that can contrast the cultural impact and some 'experimental' tone that you may feel. 'Under Siege (Regnum Irae)' is where I find that there is something lagging here with most of the usual rhythm patterns and less vocals but overall not that bad. 'Meaningless Movements' & 'Infected Voice' are the last two closing tracks. Many say that the album in whole have a usual pattern which they follow and so I completely disagree. Technically speaking, Igor has a vast range of gallop patterns blended with the tribal style, Max's rhythm stuff is broad each have a different pattern, Andreas' usage of scales like the minor, Locrian mode, harmonic minor etc. with chromatic notes and a very good right hand technique makes each solo lustful.

The epilogue is without Cavalera - there's no Sepultura. No offence!

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