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Now it's time for a much better Revolution band! That Gulch album was way too horrifically brutal for me to handle with all that generic grind-metalcore chugging, I've buried it under a grave deep enough to melt in the earth's core and never be heard again. Not really, but I was done with that sh*t after the first round. After that burial comes a greater more pleasant melodic/technical death/metalcore band with intense breakdowns, After the Burial!
You know how in France, they refer to sun-rain as "the devil beating his wife and marrying his daughter"? Well...the devil is Meshuggah, the wife is Cynic, and the daughter is Maya (Veil of Maya). Meshuggah beat up Cynic like "Chris Brown's Latest Hit" (yeah I know, that comparison is in poor taste) because of Cynic wanting to move to a less heavy, more rock-ish direction, then they divorced. Meshuggah eloped with Maya, married her, mated with her, and thus a child was born, After the Burial! Yeah, that seems like a complex and somewhat wrong story, but I can't think of any other description to sum this up.
"Berzerker" is a prime starter for the band's sound, especially in that berserk intro filled with tasteful technical shredding and heavy groove. The odd time changes are never forced and the Meshuggah-esque groove is played like it was meant to be played and not to show off. The ending breakdown has great vocal moments. Oh I almost forgot to tell you, I'm reviewing the remastered version with vocals by Anthony Notormaso, instead of the original vocalist Grant Luoma whom I guess people didn't like. "Drifts" is also a great song with another amazing end breakdown which is insane and occurs after switching out of the melodic part faster than you can even blink. "Cursing Akhenaten" is yet another killer highlight with a Middle Eastern-like riff as a running theme in contrast to the djent crunch.
The title track also has notable melodies all over the fretboard. A better melodic intro is performed in "Aspiration" filled with spacey emotion. A nice clean moment before it gets emphasized by the heavier riff contrast. The breakdown is never the typical deathcore breakdown. Melodies and time signatures are infused to make an otherwise dull moment more interesting. The chord changing and jazz-soloing also help spice up the Meshuggah chugging. There's some more off-beat guitar weirdness to come at the last minute of "The Fractal Effect" that would make you scratch your head, but I like it! Justin Lowe was a real djent guitar hero. RIP
The melodic guitar work in "Ometh" is a great way to mix up the extreme. And now we come to the great djent-core ending, "A Vicious Reforming of Features"! It might sound like a copy of Meshuggah, but there are a few unique variations. The high-hat really stands out in the incredible precise drumming which, by the way, is programmed, even in the remastered version. Also, the sound might be a bit scratchy, but it gives a cold feeling, like a more audibly distorted Necrophagist. A viciously awesome closer!
Overall, Rareform is fantastic!! Not only would Veil of Maya fans love this, but also Meshuggah fans. Besides all that djent, it has everything to expect from deathcore and metalcore; quick solos, searing melodies, and earth-quaking breakdowns. After the Burial is a band I would recommend to a lot of metalheads out there! RIP Justin Lowe
Favorites: Berzerker, Cursing Akhenaten, Aspiration, A Vicious Reforming of Features
As much as I love metalcore, I have a bit of an issue with its hardcore cousin and death metal's sibling in the Horde family, grindcore. I'm sure many of you Horde members know what grindcore, but basically the songs are mostly under two minutes long (often even shorter) and are filled with the noise of heavily distorted guitars, bass in max-overdrive, high-speed drums, and wide-range growls/screams. Some of those elements can be found quite a lot in this album's sound, especially since only two of its songs surpass the two-minute mark. See, I wanna go hardcore but not too much to the point where it's equivalent to extra-spicy habanero peppers.
The chaos begins with the title track which is definitely an absolutely killer grind-metalcore opener. "Cries of Pleasure, Heavenly Pain" is an OK song that can please me with heavenly heavy grind-metalcore pleasure. You're probably wondering, "Looks like you're praising some of the songs so far, what the h*ll are you complaining about?!" Well stay in your seats, because the chaos gets much spicier. "Self-Inflicted Mental Terror" is a song that fits well with the title. It sounds too much like it was written by a mentally ill terrorist. "Lie, Deny, Sanctify" is definitely something that can be taken seriously, only to cause a rioting revolution. Keep it away from the children!!
And definitely keep this next song out of children's reach, "F***ing Towards Salvation", not just because of the title but also it's so f***ing intense and "slanderous" that I'm pretty sure Tipper Gore would faint after hearing it. "All Fall Down the Well" is pretty much a death(grind)trap for the well Timmy is trapped in. "Shallow Reflective Pools of Guilt" is just too shallow. And finally, "Sin in My Heart" is a longer closing song that reminds of the earlier Converge in a nice way. I like that!
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress is a beyond intense grind-metalcore album that even I can't handle. This album is strange in the intensity of sound and also the cover artwork. Maybe it would be slightly better if all the songs were put together in a 16-minute suite. Either way, I'll just redirect this album to people who like both grindcore and non-melodic metalcore. They might enjoy this extra-spicy habanero hardcore chaos....
Favorites: "Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress", "Sin in My Heart"
Well, here we are, the album that started it all. The album that began a new revolution in music. A revolution, which without, this website would never exist... at least if you believe the mainstream. Paranoid is actually Black Sabbath's second record, also released in the same year as the self titled debut.
Fifty years ladies and gentlemen. It has been half a century since Ozzy Osbourne formed Black Sabbath and changed the landscape of rock music forever. And I have very little to add to the discussion about this record that has not been said countless times across countless websites like Metal Academy, RateYourMusic, and other critic sources. So allow me to add some very short, but much needed dissent in relation to this album: it is not as good as the self titled debut.
Oh it starts excellent: the opening track "War Pigs/Luke's Wall" has a great opening riff and the siren before the opening is the perfect, ominous opening that an album of this magnitude needs. The album has songs that are sacred among the metal community: "Paranoid", "Iron Man", and "Electric Funeral", although "Hand of Doom" is my personal favourite and the one song that gets slept on by far too many.
The production on this record is quite solid even for its time. Lots of bass presence and the distortion of the guitars gives it the crunch without compromising the lower end. The vocals are iconic at this point and Ozzy's vocal timbre is still heard attempting to be replicated to this day.
But here is where my major gripe takes place. Paranoid is too commercialized. Now I will admit that accessibility is not always a bad thing, but it is quite clear to anyone who listens to the first record that this group doesn't want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or some other music publication magazine; Long songs to go along with its doom like content. Paranoid meanwhile chooses shorter songs, more groovy tunes and clearly plays into a Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple vibe. For lack of a better term, this album falls by the wayside in comparison to the following bands that it influenced. S/T meanwhile was one of a kind.
I feel like Paranoid is remembered more fondly because of its singles rather than its influence. And I don't think that any of the singles on this record are bad; quite the contrary actually. But like with all styles of music, a root is not necessarily the prettiest thing to look at. It's not until you've watered it and let it grow that you witness your plants true beauty.
Phobos Monolith was Mare Cognitum's third full-length album and, for me, is the one that elevated him into the upper strata of atmospheric black metal artists. This is the album where his music first consistently assumed the epic atmosphere that the great exponents of the genre produce. The best of the genre expresses respect and awe for the natural universe, usually in sweeping musical vistas evoking mountains, forests and the white expanses of frozen tundra, but Mare Cognitum are one of the bands that have recently turned their gaze out beyond our world to the vast reaches of space, along with others like Darkspace or Mare Cognitum's sometime collaborators Aureole and Spectral Lore.
Of the four tracks on offer, three are over thirteen minutes long and, although the obvious focus on hypnotic repetition is there, there is also a variation in pacing throughout the tracks, that stops them from becoming boring and samey, transitioning from pummelling, yet gorgeously melodic wall-of-sound blasting to more ambient, dream-like sections. This melodic nature has drawn criticism from some black metal devotees, but is so expertly handled that there is no hint of sugar-coating or cheesiness diluting the frantic riffing. It may make the album more accessible however which, I guess, will always upset the trve kvltists. The vocals are raw, but distant, as if heard from the depths of space beneath the prevalent radiation of the galaxy, intoning the lyrics that concern themselves with galactic Life, it's passing and the ephemeral, ever-changing nature of the Cosmos. The production is also another area where the band have taken a big stride forward, the sound is huge and all-encompassing, yet is clear as a bell, allowing every note to be heard.
To coin a phrase, Phobos Monolith was a giant leap for Jacob Buczarski that catapulted him into the black metal major leagues, where he remains. A real tour-de-force of epic, melodic and powerful black metal that any fan of cosmic BM should lap up.
I've never liked Primus. I was probably a little too generous to this group when I reviewed their debut 1990 album, Frizzle Fry four months ago. I liked how the group was not going to take itself incredibly seriously and how the music found within was obtuse. But at the same time, it left me with very little to latch onto. Without any hooks or recurrent motifs, none of those songs held any weight for me.
So with their 1991 follow up, the band seemingly took many of their most experimental elements from the last album and turned them up to eleven (pun intended). The production certainly took a drastic step in the right direction from the last album, which did make this not a completely terrible experience listening to!
As I said, the sound of this album has certainly cleaned up since the last record. The guitars are very subdued and you would be hard pressed to find any legitimate power chord passages, or at the very least, find any that lasted more than eight bars. This allows for the bass to take center stage, and there is a lot of good stuff here. The riffs on the albums trilogy of good songs, "American Life", "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" and "Eleven" are delivered with crispness and precision. As for Les Claypool's vocals? They are far more deliberately alienating than on Frizzle Fry, which will turn some people off. But the alienation is apart of Primus' appeal, so I can't criticize it too heavily.
What I can criticize is the songwriting. I don't care how experimental you think you are, if you cannot come up with the hooks that stand out, these songs won't last very long. I already mentioned my personal favourite part of the record, and I can't deny that "Tommy The Cat" succeeds as well (mostly because it's just "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" 2), but beyond those songs, I can't remember a single thing here. The guitars contribute very little to the tunes; mostly just wanking around and couldn't be bothered to learn the proper keys before recording! As for the melodic motifs, they sound so basic have very little development throughout each songs runtime. It makes them very tiring, very fast. What's even worse is that the album ends with two songs, "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers" and "Fish On (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II)", that exceed five minutes, the latter almost reaching eight! These songs don't deserve their runtime's and just feel like extended jam sessions.
Overall this record frustrates me more than any other Primus album. I do like the evolution in the production and how it allows for the dissonance in the instrumentals to sound bearable. But the developments in the songwriting were atrocious and actively made me want to quit listening to the record after "Is It Luck?". Experimental and Math Rock do have their place in history and there are some groups that can pull off those sounds incredibly well, but Primus have never done it well and I can't for the life of me understand why. Maybe with time I realized that this cheese was moldy.