Posts Tagged ‘Self Released’

FS Projekt is a one man fantasy metal project from Moscow, Russia and he has kindly sent me a number of his EPs and singles to review. A revolving door of musicians assist Efes in realising his ideas and vision, and by following the discography through, it is interesting to see how the project evolves over time and over each release.

His first release, ‘The Birth of a Magus’ is a simplistic yet enthralling slab of power metal with some memorable choruses and nice riffing. You can feel a definitive influence from the likes of Gamma Ray or Helloween, which gradually evolves throughout his current discography. Early on there is a tendency to rely upon a more simple framework of early German power metal, and it later builds towards a more grandiose vision. The single ‘Za Khladny Gory…’ sees that build, adding more keyboard layers into the sound.

‘The Elven March’ is where the fantasy elements start to really build, and FS Projekt begins to progress towards a more Rhapsody style execution. Uber melodic, with a massive sense of scale and huge hooks are the order of the day, while the over-the-top feeling that some symphonic power metal can be is beginning to show. ‘The Harpy’ EP is where the true potential of FS Projekt becomes apparent. Balancing the desires to fully release the symphonics with a galloping sense of melody and traditional heavy metal aesthetics, you begin to realise the potential.

The discography can be found on Bandcamp, and I recommend ‘Crimson Sails’ from ‘The Harpy, ‘Fingolfin’ from their debut and the newest single, ‘Thy Creed’ as the best songs to check out. But if you’re into this kind of thing, you won’t be disappointed with any of it!

https://fsprojekt.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fsprojekt.music/

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The new record from Californian ‘space sludge’ band Archons is another trip into the unknown, powered by riff and wrought from psychedelica as much as doom. It was self released by the band in October of 2017, and if you enjoy a rumbling, doomy record full of hooks then ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is probably for you.

The burning, smoky groove of opener ‘Galaxians’ mixes the thick riffing of the likes of Kyuss or Crowbar but adds a little bit of White Zombie weirdness to it. Gruff vocals couple with the swaggering groove, and yet something otherworldly is in there as well. Strange bleepy samples appear, while the driving ‘Black Lotus’ interjects a little Baroness into the mix. ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is a record full of muscular riffing, throaty roars and psychedelic atmospheres; it is difficult not to enjoy the grinding warp of ‘Red Shift Demon’ or the grimy ‘Kid Nitro’ when each chunky riff slaps you across the face.

Not an easy genre to differentiate yourself in, but the spacey sludge effects of Archons helps. Their riffs are derivative but still great, and each track is at least recognisably different from the previous. Unfortunately there are a lot of bands peddling this kind of primal rage filled stoner doom/sludge and it’s going to be difficult for Archons to stand out. ‘Lord of Light and Thunder’ should not be missed though, as it is a fun album with plenty of great moments, particularly the monstrous ‘Mysterians’.

https://archons1.bandcamp.com/album/lords-of-light-and-thunder

https://www.facebook.com/archonsdemandcontrol/

Grethor - Damnatio Memoriae

I reviewed Grethor’s ‘Cloaked in Decay’ EP a couple of years ago, and found that to be a scintillating and unusual approach to extremity. So when given the opportunity to tackle their new record, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’, it was something I could not miss out on. Due out at the end of January 2018, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a step toward further acclaim for this north Virginian monster.

While marking their debut full length, Grethor have been around for almost a decade, and in that time they have honed their craft and experimented to find their sound. That sound is leaning more towards the melodies to dying planets, as opener ‘The Imminent Unknown’ will attest. Like a warped mixture of ‘Covenant’ era Morbid Angel and the mind bending guitar patterns of Gorguts, Grethor pull you in spasmodic directions. ‘The God of Eugenics’ gallops into the abyss, riddled with blastbeats and infectiously bleak melody. The grinding pressure of ‘Tongue of Argent’ begins to break apart, allowing for the development of breathing space in amongst the heaviness. The most rewarding part of this album is the discovery of new hidden nuances with each listen. The gloomy opening to the churning ‘Weaponized Madness’ is probably going to be underrated, as is the spiralling bombardment of ‘Manic Nostalgia’.

The varied patterns of carnage and obtuse melodic directions keeps ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ constantly surprising and interesting. This is a record designed to confound, to expand then obliterate consciousness. Obtuse, impossible to grasp on a first listen and desperately heavy, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a challenge for both mind and body. But, unpick each convoluted thread and you’ll find a record that is both technically stunning and emotionally draining. Not often you get both in equal measure.

https://www.facebook.com/grethorofficial/

https://grethor.bandcamp.com/album/damnatio-memoriae

 

Abhordium - Omega Prayer

Finnish blackened death metallers Abhordium have released their sophomore record, ‘Omega Prayer’, follow up to their 2011 debut  ‘When Depravity Incarnates’, and it is another dark and devastating tour de force through twisting and winding death metal, coating in black metal atmospherics.

Opener ‘The Chronology of Decadence’ is a thunderous, churning beast of a track; featuring a Belphegor-esque intensity and a roaring, pitiless vocal performance that doubles the power of the blastbeat riddled riffing. This is an album of strength, of rumbling density and savage ferocity. Each song brings this directly to you with little fanfare or distraction. The brutal vastness of ‘Asebeia’, the focused ‘From the Depths I Slithered’ or the cold horrors of ‘Perpetual Desertification’ each assault your ears with surgical riffing and a nasty, black metal throatiness that really suits these tales of woe, death and hatred. Many blackened death metal bands either get lost within the overly technical aspects of the death, or the esoteric atmospherics of the black and become somewhat aimless. Not Abhordium.

‘Omega Prayer’ is a refreshingly simple yet all enveloping album. Brutality smashes you into the ground, destroying your earthly shell while the bleak, hopeless black melodies pick at your rotting corpse like crows. Graceful yet carrion. Beautiful yet ugly. Abhordium wield genres like threads, weaving maniacal tapestries of violence and hatred, but each song is a masterwork. Get this record, immediately.

https://abhordium.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Abhordium

http://abhordium.com/

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American sludge doom lords DeathCrawl have lumbered from the fetid misery of Cleveland, Ohio (full disclosure: I’ve never been to Cleveland, and I’m sure it is a lovely city but if these guys are anything to go by it sounds like a post apocalyptic wasteland) to deliver us their third full length, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’. The band are self releasing it and it is out now!

The crumbling, nihilistic belch of noise that opens the brutal ‘False Oracle’ is somewhat typical how this record is going to go. Sludge is this amazing genre where true aural fucking hatred and disgust is personified perfectly. Death metal doesn’t manage it as well, neither does black. If gangrenous wounds could play music, it would sound like this. ‘Universally Diminished’ is a monstrous, lurching beast with that ugly, bluesy groove that most sludge bands slide under the radar. Another thing about sludge; it can be almost primally catchy in parts. The swaying, Mastodonian ‘Corrupted Earth’ is a standout for me.

DeathCrawl may stick mostly to the sludge/doom blueprint, but their work is visceral, intense and enveloping. An album that you can put on anytime and be sucked into, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’ is a more than acceptable level of awesome.

https://deathcrawl.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deathcrawl/

Moonlight Prophecy - Vanquished

A multinational group, Moonlight Prophecy is the evolution of founder guitarist Lawrence Wallace’s instrumental shred project ‘Lawrence’s Creation’, and now their debut record ‘Vanquished’ is out with ten tracks of thrashy power metal full of classical guitar licks and progressive riffing.

The first band that springs to mind as an influence is Nevermore, particularly on the first real track ‘Escape the Ruins’, and that seems particularly pertinent due to Warrel Dane’s passing this past week. The riffing throughout is solid, winding and intricate while never losing itself in self indulgence. The soloing is top notch, and the songs are pretty hooky, even when the instrumental moments return. ‘Vanquished’ is a solid power metal record that is a bit chunkier and a bit more progressive than most. Each track is easily digestable, and most make you wanna just go air guitar crazy.

Musically you can’t really fault the execution of these songs, but there’s a sprinkle of magic missing. I feel bad saying that, because Moonlight Prophecy hit it out of the park in the likes of the chugging ‘Eternal Oblivion’ and the fret pyrotechnics of ‘Witch Hunt’, but I’m looking forward to where the band go from here rather than eager for a repeat listen. There’s no doubt that the potential exists here, it is whether Moonlight Prophecy can grasp it.

https://www.facebook.com/Lawrencescreation1/

http://moonlightprophecy.weebly.com/

https://moonlightprophecy.bandcamp.com/

Sludgy Arizona band Horse Head have already disbanded by the time you hear their final release ‘Terminal’, and it feels like I’m getting to know them too late. Their follow up to the well received ‘Missionary’ will appeal to fans of EyeHateGod and Rwake, but Horse Head aren’t mere clones. In fact, they could’ve been something incredibly special.

Opener ‘Inferno’ builds with rumbling bass and a cold, clean guitar riff then strong doom guitar crashes behind a nihilistic shriek. While lacking much of the squalling feedback of EHG, Horse Head definitely capture a more sun scorched take on sludgey nihilism. It is dry, suffocating heat with almost brutal takes on Kyuss riffs, rather than your murky swampy eastern sludge. ‘Throne of Lies’ is a stomping, Godfleshian nightmare where southern fried riffs take on a ritualistic, nightmarish edge. They remind me of fellow Arizonians Godhunter, especially in the deathly, sludgecore crush of closer ‘Price We Paid’

Horse Head have left quite the epitaph in ‘Terminal’. Sludgey, fire scorched riffs burn brilliantly under throat shredding screams and a dangerous sense of groove. It seems quite the shame that they have gone, but we have this to remember them by.

https://www.facebook.com/horseheadphx/

https://horseheadphx.bandcamp.com/