Back in 2011, I downloaded the Century Media sampler they released. It featured some really awesome songs and I promised myself I would check out the featured bands’ respective albums at some point. Arch Enemy was one of them but I was already a huge fan of them way before then. So this week, I listened to the others that I liked.
Iwrestledabearonce – Ruining it for Everybody (2/5)
This band has elements of prog and industrial but they’re mostly nu metal. I was a bit into nu metal in my early years of metalheadom, mostly Otep and stuff. But after discovering Arch Enemy and the extreme underground, nu metal faded into nothing and I dropped it faster than you can say “poser”. The song that was featured on the CM sampler was “Next Visible Delicious”. I rather liked the way they shift between fast and slow beats as per the prog element, and also liked that the lead vocalist shifts between shrieks so brutal they leave you with bloody ears, and such beautiful clean vocals enough to put Mariah Carey to shame. But when I listened to their record this week, I found their songs to be far too repetitive and they all sound alike. At some point, it just became boring and quite annoying. I stopped listening to the record before it ended because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ll just stick with the one song I liked – the one mentioned above – the rest will be deleted.
Winds of Plague – Against the World (4.5/5)
The song featured on the CM sampler is “Refined in the Fire”. I figured if the rest of their album is just as good as this song, it’s gotta be one bitchin album. It is and it is! Their style is death metal, with a melodic twist here and there. Definitely the style that I love best. Brutal, powerful and so deliciously profane, it makes my metal taste buds ache. The lyrics are so fucking awesome, they made me growl along the chant-worthy parts in the damn office! I couldn’t help it. And any band that can accomplish that is bitchin indeed. There were only two songs that didn’t completely melt my face: “Only Song We’re Allowed to Play in Church Venues” and “California”. The former is an instrumental piece so not as exciting as the ones accompanied by guttural growls. The latter is pretty bad. The vocals are more hip-hoppish than anything, and the lyrical content reflects that as well, talking about the West Coast and “hands up in the air” and all that crap. Rap metal is absolutely atrocious music and Winds of Plague can do much better than that. “California” is a totally unnecessary song. But otherwise, this album is total brutal ownage par excellence.
Earth Crisis – Neutralize the Threat (1/5)
I tried to find this record online, downloading, streaming, even YouTube, but found only some of the songs, not all of them. Frankly, the rest don’t really interest me. What I heard was enough to conclude that this is a band that I can listen to for a very limited amount of time before I decide “OK, enough”. That’s usually what happens with all hardcore bands I listen to. At some point, it becomes redundant. The vocals never change to a point where they start to sound monotonous. There is no melodic element, which makes the monotony even more pronounced, there is no climax, no denouement, no intro. It just starts nowhere and ends suddenly. So the one song I can listen to before saying “OK enough” is “Total War” – the one I got from the sampler. That’s good enough. The rest is just a big huge pile of blahhh.
Warbringer – Worlds Torn Asunder (4/5)
This record would be better named Eardrums Torn Asunder. But not in a bad way at all because it’s really fucking good. The music is pure unabated and unapologetic thrash. The musicians are surprisingly talented (surprisingly because I’ve never heard of them before, which makes them totally underrated). The phenomenal guitar riffs and solos accompanied by the machine-gun drum blasts make for songs that are powerful enough to turn you into a rag-doll and toss you around the room as good thrash is supposed to do. The lyrical content is incredibly empowering, revolutionary, violent and inspiring. The only thing that bugs me a little is the singer’s voice. He’s more of a screamer than a growler, and it can get a little annoying after a while. But Warbringer also has the added element of background vocals and varying beats within the songs, explosions and surprising twists, which make up for it. Super awesome record!
Krisiun – The Great Execution (4/5)
Solid death metal. Shredding riffs. Mind-blowing solos. The vocalist growls to absolute perfection. And no drummer can drum that way unless he is fucking possessed by some speed demon of sorts. The songs and lyrical content is also powerful. Songs about revolution, war, taking back control, all the good empowering stuff there is. The only thing that I didn’t like was that most of the songs were a little too long. The songs range between 5 and 8:30 minutes. The 5-minute songs are acceptable. But as the song gets longer, my attention span gets shorter, and I get a bit restless. Also, they have a song in Spanish that sounds more like black metal than death metal, and it features both growls and shrieks that can get rather irritating. But besides that, the record is phenomenal. I can’t get enough of headbanging to all the songs.
Vallenfyre – A Fragile King (3/5)
Today, I listened to this record on my way to work. I wasn’t completely blown away but I wasn’t completely bored either. I just found it to be an ok record. I think that it’s one of those albums that you have to listen to a few times before deciding if you like it or not. Some of their songs start off with a slow-tempo riff that sort of reminds me of Black Sabbath’s song “Black Sabbath” – an early stage of doom metal. But the tempo changes to a faster one in most of their songs, so the variety is refreshing. The singer’s vocals are deep and guttural as well, and it’s pretty damn good. But there is a certain badass spark that I find is… well, not really lacking but rather hard to find. The spark that is immediate and obvious in the previous records I heard by Krisiun, Winds of Plague, Kataklysm, and of course the spark that my favorite bands flaunt and flail around like a sword until it becomes a blaze – Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Mercyful Fate, Death, Arafel, etc. What I really like about Vallenfyre, that is so unlike Krisiun for example, is that their songs are mercifully short, mostly between 2 and 4 minutes. I’ll give it a few more listens and then decide.
Peace, love and can anyone find me an Arafel torrent??