All That Remains – Madness (Metalcore)

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One of the biggest acts within metalcore All That Remains have been a band that saw a lot of success in the early 00’s. Especially with their change of sound going from melodic death metal to metalcore on their third release The Fall of Ideals which featured some of the most known songs ever created in metalcore, Six and This Calling. I was 18 at the time and The Fall of Ideals is probably one of my most played albums of all time. All That Remains have been in a decline for a few years in my opinion but it’s still with a lot of hope I decided to review Madness, the bands eight release.

The first song Safe House I’d listened to before as a single and I still find it being a weird song which I can never really get into. Even with it’s flirting to their older more heavy sound. Madness however I think is a well written song with an All That Remains feel to it, granted more later ATR than early ATR but still a fine song which is an highlight on the album. Overall Madness got a new vibe to it and it takes me quite a few listens to get passed the new sound. It’s definitely softer than their past releases but I knew that Phil Labonte had stated in interviews this album would challenge the listener. The song-writing is a real highlight on this album and goes over a lot of things that’s happening in world today. However other than that I never really got into the Madness. Apart from the albums title track there isn’t any song I feel like I want to go back to again.

Not even good song-writing could save this album. I am left with an average album that only makes me wondering where it all went wrong. Madness is in my opinion All That Remains worst album to date. Too soft, mainstream and I am still hoping for a great album from ATR to follow 2008’s Overcome. I need some attitude, passion and heaviness. This might just be the nail in the coffin for me when it comes to All That Remains.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/allthatremains
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ATRhq
Label: Eleven Seven Music
For fans of: Trivium and Killswitch Engage
Favorite song: Madness
Score: 2/5

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Eluveitie – Evocation II – Pantheon (Folk Metal)

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Folk metal giants Eluveitie have always been a favorite of mine. They may have some ups and downs during their career (who doesn’t?) but overall it is one of the best folk metal acts out there. A big core of the band left to form Cellar Darling so I was a bit skeptical on how the sequel to Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion would turn out. With Evocation II – Pantheon the band have decided to change their style, going way closer to folk than never before and almost on the verge of not really being metal anymore. Personally I love this move. I can listen to their instrumental plays all day long and not get bored. It’s so well executed and makes me feel good. The Celtic folk melodies warms the soul. With the lineup changes I think this was the perfect time to make this change of sound as well.

Does this album contain classics like The Call of the Mountains, Inis Mona, A Rose for Epona or Helvetios? No it doesn’t but instead you get an album that on the whole is a wonderful folk metal experience that I am sure you will listen to time and time again. This isn’t an album where you just pick a song from it for your playlist (granted Lvgvs and Epona could be those). It’s an album you listen to all the 18 tracks at once and take it all in. As I said before I like the direction Eluveitie have taken and this just feels so right. This might just be the folk metal album of the year, at the very least it will be up there in the running for it when I look back at 2017 (I do guess Ensiferum will take that title to be honest). It might not be what you wanted from Eluveitie but give it some time and listen to this with a different mindset than before and I am sure you can come to enjoy it like I did.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eluveitie
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eluveitie
Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
For fans of: Ensiferum and Korpiklaani
Favorite song: Epona
Score: 4/5

Thy Art is Murder – Dear Desolation (Deathcore)

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Even as a fan of deathcore I’ve always had a weird relationship with Thy Art is Murder. While everyone seems to praise their early albums (especially Hate) I always had a soft spot for Holy War. With Dear Desolation and the singles that’s been out it was clear the band was moving in a new direction. More towards death metal than deathcore. Is this something that will fit Thy Art is Murder or will it be a big disappointment?

The truth is I initially did find the album rather lacking something. It took me a few playthroughs to really get to enjoy this album but once I did I found Dear Desolation being a good album. Thy Art is Murder isn’t the first, nor the last, deathcore band to change direction to evolve beyond the somewhat harsh label deathcore has. Whitechapel and Suicide Silence have both done this recently (with mixed results) but Thy Art is Murder is actually the first band I think does this well. CJ McMahon’s growls makes perfect use here for both styles so the transition works wonderful. The songwriting is still spot on, which is something I think have made Thy Art is Murder stick out from most deathcore bands from the very start. Whereas I think some songs are a bit weak tracks like Puppet Master and Slaves Beyond Death shows that this is the right direction for the band that they can keep on improving with the next release. It’s not as good as their past two releases but this change of wind is good for them in the end and I am certain the follow-up to Dear Desolation will be spectacular once they take this sound even further.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thyartismurder
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thyartismurder
Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
For fans of: Whitechapel and Carnifex
Favorite song: Puppet Master
Score: 3/5

Mordenial – The Plague (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Formed in early 2000 the band has had quite the shaky start and it wasn’t until 2015 Mordenial released their debut album Where the Angels Fall. Since then the road has been clear though and The Plague is coming out just two years after the debut with the same line-up. The band has strong ties to one of my favorite old school death metal acts Paganizer as two out of three members are also active with them. With that said Mordenial does not play traditional old school death metal but instead they play a more melodic metal side fused with death and trash. Having more in common with In Flames and At the Gates than Paganizer.

The Plague is a riff friendly album. If you’re a fan of catchy solos and riffs you are sure to get your fill here. With lyrics dealing with the concept of a plague and how people justify terrible acts by pretending to be chosen by a God or Gods they touch on a subject that is very real even today. The opener The Plague doesn’t leave me breathless so to say but I get a few nods in here and there, whereas Daylight is Gone is starting to get me more into the album. It’s not until the fifth track No Empathy I really dig this though. With the slower melodic songs Save You All and especially All Has Vanished following up nicely. However the album never manages to grab my full attention. Sure there are some sweet riffs and solos here and there but it’s not enough for me to appreciate the 44 minutes Mordenial offers. Slow start, a better ending but in the end not what I had hoped for.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mordenial-524164104262270
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: In Flames and At the Gates
Favorite song: All Has Vanished
Score: 2/5

Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi (Technical Death Metal)

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Here comes another release from a band that shouldn’t need any introduction. Decrepit Birth, formed 2001, are definitely considered one of the best techdeath bands in existence with their last two albums Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity being masterpieces. It’s been seven long years since Polarity came out so Axis Mundi is a long awaited album for many metalheads out there. So how does Axis Mundi hold their ground against the rest of the bands discography?

I’ll say this straight away, Polarity remains my favorite album from Decrepit Birth but Axis Mundi is a damn close second. They do differ quite a bit in sound and approach of style so that being said Axis Mundi is another beast all together. Again a top class release to add to their already great discography either way. They are still a force to be reckoned with after all these years. Whereas I had some problem with Origin not being brutal enough Decrepit Birth still is. The riffs, the solos, vocals, drumming and production, Decrepit Birth nails it all yet again with Axis Mundi. Be it Spirit Guide, Hieroglyphic, Transcendental Paradox, Mirror of Humanity or Epigenetic Triplicity you will have a freaking good time. The instrumental track Embryogenesis and Orion are also personal favorites of mine. I mean hell as you already see that’s more than half the album right there being instant techdeath classics of mine. That’s how good this album is. I just can’t grasp how many times I started to headbang as there was a sweet tempo-change with killer riffs or solo going on for days in my mind as I air-guitar away on my seat. The change from being more towards the progressive death metal side on Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity to mixing it up with adding the more brutal sides they had on …And Time Begins is what makes this yet another masterpiece from them. Which means it doesn’t matter which album you like the most from Decrepit Birth, they have something for everyone in here!

For me this is the best technical death metal album released so far this year. Axis Mundi will be one of the albums every band will want to beat and I am not sure anyone can. Decrepit Birth made a wonderful return with Axis Mundi and I hope we don’t have to wait seven years for another album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/decrepitbirth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/decrepitbirth
Label: Nuclear Blast and Agonia Records
For fans of: Origin and Necrophagist
Favorite song: Epigenetic Triplicity
Score: 5/5

Dig Me No Grave – Immemorial Curse (Death Metal)

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Up for some Russian old school death metal anyone? Dig Me No Grave provides exactly that, and more, as their sophomore album Immemorial Curse is Lovecraft death metal at a high level. Formed in 2010 the band waited until 2014 to release their debut Cosmic Cult, which received good ratings from the critics. Immemorial Curse gives you more of the same concept that worked for them in the first place and it’s just as good.

Starting with an intro that tells the horror of the curse Dig Me No Grave blasts off with Ritual Slaughter. Catchy riffs and a lot of groovy from start to finish with some great solos to top it off, Dig Me No Grave got it all for you. As I’ve said before I am a big fan of death metal and Lovecraft, it’s simply a mix that goes very well together. The album is a bit of a mixed bag for me though. All in all it’s a good listen but it lacks consistency for it to reach the even higher scores as some tracks doesn’t feel quite as strong to me as they could have. In many ways this reminds me of a band I reviewed last year, Grond. Both from Russia, plays death metal and creates music about Lovecraft lore. Must be something in the water over there right?

Immemorial Curse is a great follow-up and Dig Me No Grave is sure to make old school death metal fans happy. It isn’t something I haven’t heard before quite a lot recently and it has it’s dark spots but it’s a solid album nevertheless.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/digmenograveband
Label: Satanath Records / Sevared Records / Wings of Destruction
For fans of: Grond and Monstrosity
Favorite song: Edge of Eternity
Score: 3/5