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

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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

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

Origin – Unparalleled Universe (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From the crazy White Ward jazz-post-black metal experience I go to something I feel right at home with. It’s time to review one of the technical brutal death metal greats, Origin. A band which has given us mortals some of the best brutal techdeath that’s ever existed since their formation in 1997. Since then the band has released one EP and Unparalleled Universe will be the seventh full-length release, something very few techdeath bands have even done actually. With heavy hitting albums like Antithesis and Omnipresent fresh in mind how does Unparalleled Universe stand next to them?

Have to be said Origin still got it, even seven albums and 20 years into their career. However I lack that Wrath of Vishnu, The Aftermath and All Things Dead feel to it. It’s a good album but next to a discography like Origins they almost slay themself. I always hate reviewing albums like this in all honesty. When a band has a really good discography should they get punished for releasing something not on the very very top? I mean if this was a debut or even a sophomore album I would say something along the lines of “omg this is one of the best bands that will tear the future apart!!!”. I don’t know, this is a freaking great album but knowing what Origin has done in the past I know I can expect more. A great album doesn’t cut it this year within brutal death metal, not with Dying Fetus, Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth and Suffocation getting releases out. Mithridatic, Dajjal, Burden of Prescience and Origins longest track as of yet Unequivocal are the highlights of this album and especially Unequivocal makes me go all headbang mode and presents Origin in top form. It’s a good album and any Origin fan should get it. As I said they still got the touch. However I know there is more brutality to be unleashed from them, some songs are just too soft for my liking to make this a real heavy hitter as an Origin album should be.

Unparalleled Universe is out now through Agonia Records in EU and Nuclear Blast in the US. With this review I am also bringing back the score scale, this time instead of a 1-10 scale it will be a 1-5 one. 5 being the highest grade and 1 the lowest.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Origin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OriginBand
Label: Agonia Records (EU) and Nuclear Blast (US)
For fans of: Nile and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Unequivocal
Score: 3.5/5