Beyond Creation – Algorythm (Progressive Death Metal)

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When one of your favorite bands release a new album you know the hype is real. It’s a double edge sword though because when you’re that hyped and have the bar set so high as Beyond Creation the backlash if the album doesn’t live up to the high expectations will hurt a lot. I can calm you all down already by saying it lives up to the hype.

It starts off with an epic intro that could easily be in a sci-fi movie as it moves into the Entre suffrage et mirage. A good opening that ends with a great solo, so we are off to a good start but it didn’t have those transitions I want in Beyond Creation. Surface’s Echoes I think is a bit out-of-place with its intro but around one minute in I recognize the core Beyond Creation sound and it becomes a better track than the previous. I’ve always felt that for Beyond Creation to get the most out of track they need to be 6-7 minutes long, which this one is and it makes the band being able to change the tempo and sound a lot during a song, letting it unfold as its meant to. It’s one of the bands strong-points to me, how a song can feel so complete and have all these different elements to it which some bands need a whole album to do. They show a lot of this on Surface’s Echoes, even though I can’t get the first minute of the song the rest is gold. Finally with Ethereal Kingdom you get the whole experience, an intro that sets the tone nicely leading into a beautiful solo and it feels more complete. It also transition really nicely into Algorythm which together with The Inversion are my favorite songs on the album. They showcase what Beyond Creation is all about in a good way. One may say Algorythm lacks a standout track like Earthborn Revolution or Coexistence which in some ways is true but I feel with time Algorythm will be one of their most memorable tracks. It grows on me with each listen.

Algorythm as a whole is a more progressive experience than their earlier albums, for the good and bad that brings. There are some moments that’s a bit slow to me due to this change but at the same time I don’t mind this at all as a whole. It’s definitely a bit different though but with the core Beyond Creation sound of course. They haven’t gone and switched completely but you should be ready that this is a bit of a change in style from The Aura and Earthborn Evolution. All in all Algorythm won’t be my first choice of album when I look back at Beyond Creation’s discography in the future but it’s yet another solid album from a band that set the bar insanely high on the debut. Their skill is showing throughout in both songwriting and instrumental excellence. While it’s not perfect (I think Earthborn Revolution is a perfect album mind you) it’s a well executed album that’s a must have for prog/tech-death fans all around. Beyond Creation doesn’t let you down.

Written by J.B.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Obscura and Augury
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Algorythm
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Hadal Maw – Charlatan (Technical Death Metal)

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Hadal Maw was a new name to me, I honestly only first heard of them when I saw they were going on an Australian tour with one of my favorite bands Archspire and Psycroptic. Hadal Maw was created in 2010, hailing from Australia, released their debut album Senium in 2014 and has since been met with acclaim from fans and critics alike. Making it rather annoying for me personally that the band had gone completely under my radar for all these years. The name Hadal Maw originates from Hades actually. As Hadal Maw is the name derived from the Hadal zone, a delineation for the deepest trenches in the ocean (taken from metal archives). The latest release Olm, only a year old, was just as their debut met with only positives so with that in mind I was really hyped to review their third offering Charlatan prior its release.

After having had some great time with their past two albums to get ready for Charlatan I quickly realized how Hadal Maw does not simply stick to one sound, they have a core sound sure but they evolve with each album. Pushing their own boundaries and I admire that. Hadal Maw are a technical death metal band to the core but the influences are many. Even within the techdeath realm it can differ from Meshuggah, Beyond Creation to Gojira. Not only that though, Hadal Maw got a darkness in their music that goes beyond techdeath and more into the blackened death or black spheres. This is where Charlatan comes in. Charlatan is by far the darkest album Hadal Maw has done to date, getting closer to the mighty Behemoth than ever before. Hadal Maw does follow in the same path as Olm paved for them (which is very different from their debut) but as I said this is even darker, more atmospheric.

I see this album in many ways as Gojira and Meshuggah  have a meeting with Behemoth in the sense Hadal Maw’s technical death riffs and vocals draws some parallels to Gojira and Meshuggah while the atmospheric and dark feeling that clouds Charlatan is more of the Behemoth style of things. It’s a good match and whereas I thought Senium was more standard techdeath both Olm and Charlatan stands out with a more unique style. Charlatan is a great next chapter for Hadal Maw, a fitting successor to Olm where you can see the band elevate their sound yet again. The album has been a real grower to me. At first I thought it was a bit too slow for my taste in techdeath but after awhile I get sucked into the atmospheric side of it and the album as a whole is a pleasant experience that differs from your common Beyond Creation or Necrophagist clones (which I to be fair like a quite fair share of too haha).

This is an album you might not grasp of fully enjoy at your first visit but give it time and you will come to love it. Charlatan is also one of those albums where it is hard to pick just one track from as the album is meant to be experienced as a whole in my opinion. Whereas I’ve missed Hadal Maw in the past I now welcome them into my metal life as a sweet fresh new techdeath breeze in this hot Swedish weather. One can only wonder if Hadal Maw can go even deeper in that ocean to create more fine offerings to the metal world.

Label: EVP Recordings
For fans of: Behemoth and Gojira
Release date: August 3rd, 2018
Favorite song: Charlatan I The Grand Serpent
Score: 4/5

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?

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The bands and albums featured are:

Sadistik Forest – Mordbid Majesties
At The Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself
Amorphis – Queen of Time
Nekrokraft – Servants
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
LIK – Carnage
Gluttony – Cult of the Unborn
Totalselfhatred – Solitude
Svederna – Svedjeland
Svavelvinter – Mörkrets Tid
Avslut – Deceptis
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
Raven Throne – I miortvym snicca zolak
Skinless – Savagery
Unflesh – Savior
Demonical – Chaos Manifesto
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Begat The Nephilim – I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy
Kataklysm – Meditations
Ingested – The Level Above Human
Organectomy – Domain of the Wretched (went off the Unique Leader Records release)
Arkona – Khram
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
Augury – Illusive Golden Age
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation
Chelsea Grin – Eternal Nightmare

Augury – Illusive Golden Age (Technical/Progressive Death Metal)

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As I stated in my review of Where Owls Know My Name by Rivers of Nihil one of my favorite tech-death bands is Beyond Creation, a band many sees as the forefront of progressive technical death metal. Before that band even existed we had Augury though, a band I have to say I personally haven’t listened to simply because I didn’t even know they existed. The band formed in 2002 and released their debut album Concealed in 2004 (a year before Beyond Creation were formed) with the follow-up Fragmentary Evidence coming out in 2009. Both are said to be milestones within the genre to many but since then the band has been quiet, until now.

The album opens up with the title track Illusive Golden Age and instantly I draw a lot of connections to Beyond Creation and Obscura. Which is a good thing and after hearing their older albums right before writing this review I realize Augury’s sound has stayed the same since the debut. The transitions between solos and change of pace is definitely something Augury has learned to master and throughout the album you get hit with one sweet solo after another. There is one big thing that bothers me with Augury though, the clean singing. I wish they stayed to growling all together as to me it fits a lot better to the music. Which is also a big reason why I for example like The Living Vault a lot better than Illusive Golden Age, because there they stay away from the clean singing and it just sounds hell of a lot better.

Seeing as I just reviewed Rivers of Nihil it was impossible not to have the two albums compete a bit against each other. Fact is the two bands have completely different takes on metal as Rivers of Nihils latest album brings so many influences into their music and in some ways break barriers on how tech-death should sound today. Whereas Augury does what Augury does best, a class progressive death metal album which is basically just as good as their past albums and a statement to the newer kids on the block that they are back in action. The main difference is Augury was one of the bands that were ahead of their time back when they first started and a lot of bands have them to thank for what is the core of prog-death today. It’s expected for them after such a long break to come back and give their fans what they crave for. Me being a new listener to the band I’ve learned something new about the whole prog-death scene with not just having found a great album but a whole discography to keep with me at all times.

In conclusion Illusive Golden Age is a wicked album that showcase everything Augury stands for which will surely bring back old fans and add new ones to their ranks. It’s a rebirth from a band that was once ahead of its time and is now in sync with modern prog-death that might as a matter of fact be to their advantage. My favorite tracks include The Living Vault together with the two most hard hitting, brutal tracks on the album Mater Dolorosa and Parrallel Biospheres.

Label: The Artisan Era
For fans of: Obscura and Beyond Creation
Release date: March 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Mater Dolorosa
Score: 4/5

Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name (Technical Death Metal)

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Let me start with saying that Rivers of Nihil is as a matter of fact one of my favorite techdeath bands and have been for years now. Together with bands like Beyond Creation, Archspire, Decrepit Birth, and Spawn of Possession it’s a band I always go to when I have the urge for some technical and progressive metal. There’s always been a feeling that Rivers of Nihil has never unlocked their full potential though and in some ways lacked in their own sound and identity. That being said I had really high hopes for Where Owls Know My Name as the singles I’d heard before were really something completely different from their older music which seemed to have sparked something brand new.

For those unfamiliar with Rivers of Nihil the band was formed in 2009, hailing from USA, has two EPs and two full-length albums released prior to Where Owls Know My Name. Their albums are focused on the different seasons, with the past two albums “Whereas the Conscious Seed of Light” and “Monarchy” were about Spring and Summer. Where Owls Know My Name obviously continue walking on this road with the focus here being on Autumn. The music have always had a lot of emphasis on creating an atmospheric feeling to it more than your common techdeath band which makes the band stick out in my eyes but also means, for some, Rivers of Nihil is a band you get or you don’t. Some even going as far as saying this isn’t technical death metal. Each to their own I guess, I don’t really care if they are labeled atmospheric techdeath, prog, jazz or whatever personally I think Rivers of Nihil are doing a superb job creating music that has a lot of emotion to it with sweet melodies and brings harmony, no matter what label you put on it.

Where Owls Know My Name takes their song-writing to a whole other level. Rivers of Nihil have really captured the atmosphere of Autumn with this one, especially with the great use of keyboards, trumpets, cellos and saxophones that makes this album a whole other beast than their previous releases. It’s really impressive and I get a new feeling each time I take the album for a spin. It is an album I do feel you need to be in a certain mood to listen to though in order to fully grasp and understand it though, seeing it is quite different and the influences are many. They’ve left most of their core sound behind and this album has gone even further into the atmospheric sound than ever before, even having a jazz feel to it. Breaking their own boundaries. That to me is a much welcoming move but I can see it perhaps leaving a few fans shaken up by it. Rivers of Nihil have only evolved though and grown even better in my eyes. Where Owls Know My Name is one of the best albums released this year that gets even better with each listen. This is what technical death metal is all about to me, full of emotions through instruments, breaking barriers, creating an atmosphere you could only dream of. Just listen to The Silent Life, A Home, Where Owls Know My Name or the instrumental track Terrestria III: Wither and you’ll see. It might not be for everyone but for me it’s close to a five, the bands best album to date, and I can’t wait to hear what Rivers of Nihil do next after having ascended into a new being.

Label: Metal Blade Records
For fans of: Decrepit Birth and Fallujah
Release date: March 16th, 2018
Favorite song: The Silent Life
Score: 4.5/5

Neck of the Woods – The Passenger (Progressive Death Metal/Metalcore)

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Sometimes Spotify really does give me great weekly lists with some new bands and albums I’ve never heard before. This time they pointed me in the direction to Neck of the Woods, a Canadian band which plays a progressive death
metal/metalcore type of music. Think of Misery Signals or August Burns Red doing a co-op project with Dillinger Escape Plan and you’re kinda there. The Passenger is the bands sophomore release and from hearing the opening track Bottom Feeder before I knew I was in for something great.

The progressive elements really does push this albums to great heights. I never get bored and there are so many good riffs and breakdowns on The Passenger it’s almost silly. I haven’t really enjoyed metalcore releases these past years since the genre doesn’t give me anything to enjoy anymore. However once in awhile a band like Neck of the Woods comes along and mixes different elements creating something fresh and new. They got slow paced starts like on Bottom Feeder which eventually turns and produces some metalcore goodness. Nailbiter on the other hand is pedal to the metal from the get go with furious riffs and becomes a favorite of mine, really giving me those August Burns Red vibes. White Coats bass solo is sweet but other than that the song doesn’t quite capture me like Bottom Feeder and Nailbiter did, good song but a bit too slow for me. Open Water is a beautiful passage leading into You’ll Always Look the Same to Me. Initially I found the song a bit too metalcore, less progressive, for my taste but halfway into it they change the pace and I really like it. Making use of the elements I find them sticking out from the rest.

Face of the Villain, oh wow, the start on that features everything I am liking with Neck of the Woods. The bass, the drums, guitar and vocals. Everything is synced well, pushing their sound to new levels and this is the way I want them to sound. Together with Bottom Feeder and Nailbiter it’s definitely the song I will remember from this album. Drift crates another well written intermission until Foothills kicks in. Starts as one of the heavier tracks on the album but eventually slows down and becomes very progressive-sounding like Vattnet. Not a personal favorite of mine but I like that they did a song like this going more all in progressive. The song to end the album, Before I Rest, features another slow progressive start then eventually turn into the August Burns Red-like metalcore sound just to turn it back around. A good ending and one of the better songs on The Passenger.

I have to say I enjoyed my listen of The Passenger. It had its up and downs giving and taking from a wide range of genres but when Neck of the Woods are on form jelling those elements together into one I find them being one of the most interesting bands to follow.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg/neckofthewoodsmetal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NOTWmetal
Label: Basick Records
For fans of: August Burns Red and Dillinger Escape Plan
Favorite song: Face of the Villain
Score: 3.5/5

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door (Progressive Death/Black Metal)

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Are you ready for a sci-fi concept album? Follow the rogue travler Eryos and how he discovered an artifact that would change his place in cosmos forever. This one hour long journey will leave you wanting more of Eryos and his adventures. Rapheumets Well were formed in 2008, North Carolina USA, after changing name from Blue Man’s God (created 2002). Having had a very wide range of influences on their albums, experimenting in classical, ambience and metal music this band stands out. Enders Door is the bands third release after having told other stories within this multi-verse on Dimensions and The Exile.

One thing is certain when you listen to Rapheumets Well, it’s epic. Much like you find Dimmu Borgir’s symphonic black metal massive and sometimes overwhelms you with their orchestral music Rapheumets Well does the same. Differences are many though. The progressive elements and clean vocals (both female and male) makes you think about The Faceless more than Dimmu Borgir. There is also a lot of death metal influences in the music, still very symphonic, which bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse are known for. The whole sci-fi take on all this is awesome and at times I think on movies such as Tron or Ghost in the Shell while listening to Enders Door. The different directions the songs take is also what makes Enders Door sick out from the rest. It feels like a movie in musical form, and it’s freaking epic!

I can recommend Rapheumets Well to anyone who is out for something a little bit different. It’s a great concept album with various of influences covering a wide range of genres. I would also love to see this band live, from what I’ve read they seem to make it like a play when performing their music. I can imagine it being a great experience in the veins of what Fleshgod Apocalypse or Carach Angren does.

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door is out May 26th through Test Your Metal Records.

Also with this review I will leave you guys for two weeks. Traveling to Tokyo tomorrow and I will not be reviewing any new albums while there. Hopefully I will get the chance to catch a concert on some of the local bands there though!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Rapheumetswell
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rapheumetswell
For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and The Faceless
Favorite song: Lechery Brought the Darkness