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I've got a lot of time for Dave Mustaine. He is a seriously cynical bastard and I see him as a bit of a kindred spirit in that respect. Forming Megadeth after inevitably getting kicked out of Metallica (can you seriously see Dave taking shit from Lars for long, because I can't), he went on to release three or four of my all-time favourite thrash albums. Although almost everyone cites Rust in Peace as the classic Megadeth album (and a damn fine one it is too), this and it's follow-up, So Far, So Good... have a lot more meaning for me, coming out as it did while I was navigating a divorce at the tender age of 24 and, feeding into my somewhat jaded view of life, Dave's sneering cynicism really chimed with me, particularly on Wake Up Dead and Peace Sells - "If there's a new way, I'll be the first in line, but it better work this time" - too fuckin' right, Dave!
Most of the rest of the tracks' lyrics are based around the prevalent pulp-horror themes of 1980s straight-to-video movies, although the lyrics are of secondary consideration to how neck-wrenching the thrashing is. It's not all-out war like Slayer and it's not as compositionally accomplished as Metallica at around the same time (Master of Puppets), but almost every track is a classic to my ears (except the inevitable cover and even that's one of their better ones) and I will never, ever tire of this record.
This is the second EP released by this Quebecois Stoner Doom trio and is my first exposure to the band. It's three tracks tell a tale of a wizard's flight through the cosmos to face and defeat the dragons of a desert world and his entrance into the spirit world following his death after defeating the great drakes. It kicks of with a great slab of groovy, fuzzed-up doom in Ascendant as the wizard departs on his cosmic journey and already I'm well into it. Twin Suns' ten minutes is a more plodding affair, leaning more heavily on the stoner aspect of the band's sound as derived from classic-era Sleep, Saint Vitus and Electric Wizard as the wizard's dragon-slaying saga unfolds. Closing track Prophecy is a real builder, rising to it's climax as the wizard meets a bong-smoking monk and then passes into the spirit world as foretold.
Proper stoner shit this one, reminds me a bit of Ogre as far as the stoner concept release goes and if that's your thing (as it is mine) you probably won't go wrong with this.
I don't have a problem with blackgaze as such, but sometimes it just seems that the fruit has fallen a little too far from the tree. The high level of production, clean sound and alternative rock influences of this album are a bridge too far for me, I think. I can't shake the feeling that this is meant for people who want something a bit "edgy" to put next to their Radiohead and Green Day albums. Hipster black metal may finally have become a trend and what was once a scene for extreme outsiders has gone the way of all things. I don't hate the music as such, it has some OK moments and is very competently done, but I'm greatly saddened that black metal is just another influence for Grammy-baiters to weave into their tepid compositions. Maybe I'm just being a miserable bastard, and I've never considered myself to be Mr. Kvlt, but this shit used to mean something to people.
Whilst dropping the overtly celtic influence of debut album Heimweh, this still reveals it, albeit more subtlely, in the songs' melodies (except for the last half of closing track Endless Night which feels like a blackened Hogmanay celebration). The production is a little muddy for a black metal release with a fair bit of echo on the vocals. The songs are well-written, however and I do like the drum sound but, for me, disappointingly, this is a step down from the debut, an album I'm a huge fan of.
This debut release from UK black metal outfit, Crom Dubh is a terrific example of celtic-influenced atmospheric black metal. I like old-school "true" black metal as much as anyone, but I also love the newer, less spiteful sounding, wave of pagan, nature-themed so-called "atmospheric" black metal of which this is a particularly fine example. The trap this genre sometimes falls into is of becoming all-atmosphere and no song, but this album does consist of actual songs, rather than merely musical "pieces".
In places the album is even in danger of becoming "catchy" and the bagpipe-evoking guitar sound reminded me bizarrely of 80's celtic rock band Big Country. Probably not an album for the black metal purists, but if your more open-minded about your BM then give it a try.. what have you got to lose?