Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Musical Machinations

Here is what I've been listening to off late - my playlists sample blues/rock/heavy metal/thrash/black/death/house/progressive house/progressive trance genres including the myriad sub-genre microcosms throughout the spectrum. 

Hard Rock/Blues Rock (officially "Proto Rock")

Black Metal
     Ravencult - Temples of Torment
        Mid paced, brooding rhythms; very catchy. Not at all new but I love this style of black metal.
     Svarttjern - Ultimatum Necrophilia

        Blast beats, hellfire and brimstone. The vocals are terror inducing turbocharged reciprocating saws. Frost bitten Norwegian black metal that Natte Frost endorsed "True Norwegian black metal - Anti human, anti life"! 
     Outre - Tranquility

Heavy Metal
    Noctum - Final Sacrifice
        Sweden has become, to me, a hot bed of resurrected retro genres as well as creating new ones. Noctum is a very NWOBH influenced platter with bluesy occult doom rock thrown in for good measure. The 80s occult imagery imagery plays a big role in this album's essence and it gets a lot of support from the music, vocals as well as orchestration. It is a little cheesy at times but I really enjoyed this album!

Progressive Metal
    Soen - Tellurian

    Soen - Cognitive
        Absolutely incredible! Opeth influences are prominent and the music is beautiful. Cognitive, their first album, has Tool influences as well. Influences aside, Soen is incredibly beautiful music.

Speed Metal
    Enforcer - Death By Fire
        Old school 80s speed metal - pummelling energy, face melting solos and vocals that kill!

Black Death Metal
    Sterbhaus - New Level Of Malevolence

        Thrashy, blackened version Children of Bodom with Death influences.
    Burial Hordes - Incendium

Technical Death Metal
     Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite

        Very technical riffs and solos BUT extremely melodic! Vocals are two tone - raspy and death. Songs are phenomenal.

Folk Black (Pagan Black Metal)
        Fantastic orchestration; haunting melodies; early era Children of Bodom style thrash-y extreme folk influenced metal. The song construction and pacing makes it very compelling to listen to.
    Defect Designer - Wax
        From Russia with love. Complex death metal but very catchy.

Power Metal
    Pyramaze - Disciples Of The Sun
        This blew me away! Melodic, beautiful heavy metal with just the right touch of power elements. Killer vocals.
    Parallel Minds - Headlong Disaster

        French power metal with "extreme" influences - rather liked the upgrade in intensity from a traditional melodic, synth-keys based power metal. 

Progressive Death Metal
    Steorrah - II: Thin White Paint

        Opeth influenced proggy doomy death. Dan Swanö, famed audio engineer/producer, ensures a warm, brooding, organic heavy sound. Drum work is exceptional.
    Gruesome - Savage Land
        "Death" worship band, (mostly) the same band that toured as "Death to All". Don't be turned off by this being a tribute. Gruesome is a very competent album in its own right, just really close to "Leprosy" era Death.

Progressive Trance
    Illegal Substances - Tradition
        Trance, I find, is way too self derivative with songs having little to no repeat value at all. Not sure how to quantify what "progressive" does to it but the progression is definitely different. Additional layers of non-traditional instrumentation keeps it interesting and shifts focus continuously between the layers of a complex yet accessible soundscape.

    Hank Mobley - The Birth of Hard Bop
        Jazz is too complex and technical for me to write a good review. I primarily listen to Jazz for emotions - nuances, dynamism and play between musicians. Hank Mobley is one of the best and though this particular album isn't rated high due to "musician miscues", I couldn't make out any. However, I really enjoyed this album.

    Tempel - The Moon Lit Our Path

        Complex, layered instrumental sludge that in an amazing way, does not bore or derive from itself. Gets my "Surprise left hook" award!

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