Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Album Review: Flight "Self-Titled"

    Turn on that warm vintage amp and start cranking out the riffs of epic metal triumph. Once you here the first song on Flight’s self-titled debut release, you feel as though you are stepping back in time to the seventies metal years where bands like Black Sabbath, early Judas Priest, Pentagram, Captain Beyond and a whole bunch of other groups were making some killer recordings.

    Based out of Norway, these musicians really know how to simply rock. They have a sweet twin guitar attack that is very noticeable on each track. I mean, the guitar parts are thoughtfully incorporated for maximum epic musical landscapes. The bass player and drummer create these jamming rhythms that make the listener feel as though they are soaring over a sea of harmonious ripping classic metal. Also, the singer’s voice really fits in well with the instrumental compositions. The bands lyrics are another area where listeners will be impressed by how the band is able to create this spiritual classic hard rocking world that deviates from the usual themes of which the metal world has become accustomed to these days.

    The opening track, “Flight,” is a splendid introduction to the band and takes listeners away with its hard hitting guitar chords and melodic vocals. Flight's balance of heavy riffs and fluid rhythms creates this portal that opens the mind and allows listeners to fall into this world of rocking wonder. “Lion’s Den,” was another track from the album that I enjoyed. The piece begins with a soft acoustic chord strumming progression and then develops into a catchy distorted riff presentation. As I said before, the bass player and drummer work great together and their tight sound definitely caught my ear during this song.

    Track number four, “Don’t Lose It,” throws listeners back in time to the late seventies and early eighties by incorporating some smashing harmonic lead guitar licks. The overall sound is similar to that of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal period, so fans of early Iron Maiden and Saxon will be in for a treat. “Nightrider,” an instrumental piece was by far my favorite track on the album. Galloping riffs and rapid drum parts construct this fantastic instrumental tale. I have not heard too many solid classic sounding metal instrumentals in the last couple years from new bands, so hearing Flight’s ability to create wonder without words was in my opinion the album’s highest selling point. “Memories Sharp,” “Escape” and “Devil Woman” were the final three tracks on the album and all sound strong until the last note.

    I think Flight put together a great debut release worth checking out if you want to hear a young band transporting the classic metal sound to the modern day. Why not revisit the past by trying to achieve a killer classic sound? If people are still fans of all those classic metal and hard rock bands, then they might be able to recognize the potential of a young band following in the footsteps of the old guard by creating their original pieces to turn up on the vinyl turn table. It shall be interesting and exciting to see how Flight continues to develop their sound in the future, but for now just enjoy this album's cruise control set classic metal vibe.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Album Review: 4 Doors to Death

    No matter which door you open on this four way split, you shall be unlocking some brutal sounding death metal. “4 Doors to Death,” features four great up and coming acts from the death metal community. With songs by Cemetery Filth, Ectovoid, Sabbatory and Trench Rot, there is reason to believe that this extreme sounding split can open up portals to realms of unholy ancient terror.

    To begin, one must give credit to Unspeakable Axe Records for bringing these four bands together. The amount of extreme music making talent that can be heard throughout the album is highly impressive. All the bands compliment each other by having a very similar old school death metal worshipping sound, but one can tell where each band tries to carve their own brutal cyclopean legacy of unforgiving brutality.

    The first band on the split, Cemetery Filth, brings forth a crushing style of death metal. Their three songs dig deep into the old school death metal roots and unearths some sinister cuts of extreme music. The Tennessee based band’s first song, “Consumption of Volition,” conveys a very raw sound that reminds me of early Morbid Angel and Pestilence. I especially liked how the drums were recorded which gives the track a solid bone breaking rhythm. Song number two, “Dagonian Dialect... The Obelisk,” is the one piece of music on this album that really shines through the dark musical abysses. With its Lovecraft themed lyrics and its bombastic sounding riffs, the track is pure death metal genius. The vocalist during the song really stands out and his haunting death growl delivery throughout the track has me hooked. For their last song on the split, “Cosmic Wraiths,” the group pounds out more heavy instrumental structures of morbid expression and lyrical tales of unspeakable evil.

    Next up on the split is, Ectovoid, who are from Birmingham, Alabama. These southern death metal dudes explore a whole range of diverse extreme musical compositions while still maintaining a straight forward no nonsense approach. Their first song “Ash Primordial,” begins with a burst of blast beat rhythms and corpse cutting riffs. There is no telling where the band will go musically and they change tempo at times to achieve this slow death doom sound that is massively loud. The next song from them, “Possessed by Ancient Dread,” reeks of gruesome old school death metal remains. I am really impressed by the vocal delivery and the sheer power of their overall riffs.

    Third up on the split is, Sabbatory, who come from Winnipeg, Canada. Now this is a band who knows how to deliver exceptional death metal music. Hell, you play me a Sabbatory song and I might think it was recorded back in the late eighties or early nineties. The band’s extreme music making passion and drive to create vicious pieces of music can easily be heard on their two tracks, “Ascension to My Holy Tomb” and “Primordial.” That guitar sound during “Ascension to My Holy Tomb” is aggressive and unforgiving just like the singer’s vocals. “Primordial” is another exceptionally brutal track and features a brilliant guitar solo of note shredding madness. 

    The final band on the split, Trench Rot, is a sinister sounding necronomicon worshipping legion of musicians from Philadelphia, PA. After reviewing their debut release, “Necronomic Warfare,” I have been a fan of these guys and their Evil Dead and battle themed death metal music. The three tracks they summon forth on this split are nothing short of skull crushing malevolence. “Hell Pilot’s Call,” is a hellish musical bombardment with a crushing riff section that is accompanied by the sounds of air raid sirens. Track number two, “Powerful Kandarian Steel,” contains some awesome lyrics that can be used to summon evil forces from the book bound in flesh. Finishing up the split the band does an impressive cover of Death’s, "Evil Dead.” To sum up Trench Rot’s three songs as Ash from Army of Darkness would say, “Hail to the king, baby!”

    “4 Doors to Death,” might very well be called, “4 Doors to High Quality Death Metal.” Getting these acts together for this spilt is an extreme alliance that needs to be heard if you are wanting to hear what newer bands are doing with the old school death metal formula. Make sure to get a copy when it is released January 22, 2016...or be haunted by the spirits of the Evil Dead for all eternity!

Cemetery Filth Facebook Page:
Ectovoid Facebook Page:
Sabbatory Facebook Page:
Trench Rot Facebook Page:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Concert Review: Infernus Tour 2015 with Hate Eternal and Others at the Phoenix Theater

Hate Eternal

    Friday November 13 at the Phoenix Theater happened to be the perfect day for an all around behemoth of a metal show. Arriving early to the Phoenix Theater, there were already plenty of people lining up for the show and looking eager to get inside. This was a truly solid line-up featuring Hate Eternal as the headliner along with supporting acts Misery Index, Beyond Creation, Rivers of Nihil, Aenimus and Aberration. Anyone who went literally received their money’s worth in brutality and ear bursting riffs. Hell, my ears are still ringing...

    Beginning the show on the side stage of the Phoenix was Sonoma County’s own, Aberration. One could tell the members in the band looked thrilled to be opening this awesome show. Once on stage, they pounded away at some wicked tracks and maintained a fierce edge the entire set. However, the other members could not compete with singer James Owen, who poured out almost every ounce of energy he had during the set. He was running around trying to the get the crowd moving while maintaining a strong vocal delivery. Although their set was not exactly long, I think the band was able to start the night off right and feed the early concert attendees’ a good old helping of melodic death metal.

    After the Aberration’s set I decided to quickly go and get something to eat since I was extremely hungry. Luckily their was a Chinese restaurant a street over and I was able to order my food to go, so I would not miss the next band’s set. Upon returning to the Phoenix I came just in time for Rivers of Nihil’s first song. Finding a suitable place to eat, the top of a skateboard ramp on the side of the venue with a perfect view of the main stage, I was able to enjoy my food while Rivers of Nihil offered sounds of technical death metal brilliance. The band’s musicianship was extremely impressive and the compositions were crushing. The double riff assault from Brody Uttley and Jon Topore was in full effect the entire set. Bassist Adam Biggs was head banging constantly and drummer Alan Balamut was locked in behind the kit. Singer Jake Dieffenbach sounded great too as he growled his way through songs from the new album, “Monarchy,” which I made sure to buy before the night was over.

    Rivers of Nihil finished their set to a thunderous applause from the audience and then concert goers huddled around the side stage for the third act, Aenimus. Another Sonoma County act, Aenimus tore through a set of technical slamming pieces. The band had a very modern metal/deathcore sound that is very popular I have noticed these days. Although I am not a particular fan of this style of metal, I will say that I respected the musicianship and passion the guys showed up on stage. Just like their fellow local act Aberration, Aenimus did a great job representing the Sonoma County Metal community.

    When talking to a few people at the show about who they were interested in seeing, it seemed that the night’s fourth act, Beyond Creation, was a reoccurring answer. The technical progressive death metal musicians from Qu├ębec, Canada have been making a name for themselves as a band with unbelievable talent. Sure enough I witnessed that first hand when they began tearing away at their first song. The entire group played with amazing precision and sounded as though they were playing thousands of notes per second. I mean, the guitar tapping dual parts to the complex scale runs were out of this world. Lock me in a room for one-hundred years I do not think I would even come close to the skill level of Beyond the Creation’s two guitar players. Arguably one the most impressive technical live sets I have seen. The crowd was seriously losing their shit after each song!

Beyond Creation

    While still trying to figure out how Beyond the Creation could be so damn musically insane, the fifth act Misery Index began setting up. The death metal dudes from Baltimore have been around since the early 2000s and continue to put out releases that receive fair praise. I thought they played a decent set and their drummer sounded really good behind his kit of double bass drum destruction. Also, the pit was getting more intense and that seemed to be accomplished by the band’s very straightforward hard hitting style of riffs. My only critique would be that the singer kept referring to the crowd as, “San Francisco.” Now, this can be an honest mistake since San Francisco is not too far from Petaluma, but I still felt like he should have known exactly where he was playing. Bit of a Spinal Tap moment one could say. 

    The final act of the night was Hate Eternal who were definitely an act I was anticipating on seeing along with a decent amount of other people at the Phoenix. Erik Rutan after leaving Morbid Angel formed Hate Eternal, and in my opinion is keeping the old school technical extreme metal formula going strong with each new release. Also, Erik’s other two band members are also very accomplished musicians with Hannes Grossmann on drums and J.J Hrubovcak on bass. Once they tore into the opening song, all hell broke loose on the venue floor. People were head banging furiously at the front of the stage and the mosh pit was an all out metal maniac zone. Hate Eternal did an awesome job balancing old songs with new songs in their set list to which fans seemed pleased no matter what. During the set Erik even dedicated a song to those who had lost their lives in the Paris, France terrorist attacks which happened the day of the concert. Overall, Hate Eternal was one of the most solid sounding live acts I have seen. The way that they conducted themselves on stage as players is something young metal bands should take note of if they want achieve a truly brutal and accomplished sound.

    What more can I say about this concert? ...If you were in the Sonoma County and did not show up you really dropped the ball. Each of the six bands did not disappoint and the crowd was always demonstrating why metal fans are the most passionate music fans. From the young fans, to the old fans, and to the fans who walked around eating Chinese food, the metal community came out in full support at the Phoenix Theater. Hopefully there will continue to be more concerts like this one to come!

Rivers of Nihil

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Terror Shark "Last Men Standing"

    Taking a bite out of society with their aggressive brand of crossover thrash, Terror Shark is ready to bring the extreme party to a bloody beach near you. Coming from Montpellier, France, the band cranks up the volume and throws down those intense circle pit forming pieces of music on their first full-length album, “Last Men Standing.”

    Each of the eight songs on this album maintains a consistent crossover sound. Kicking the album off with a mean sounding intro is “Jump For Me.” The band does not hesitate to jump right into a quick verse section that one would expect people to be moshing around to on the venue floor. Track number two, “There Will be Blood,” features some passionate musical expression and makes an impact by containing bold unapologetic lyrical statements. The third track, “Idiot,” has your usual gang vocals while keeping down a fast driving main rhythm. Midway through the song the band slows down the tempo and creates this dark crushing riff and drum section. “Empty,” perfectly continues the vulgar punk thrash assault by adding more high energy instrumental compositions.

    The songs on this album are rather short, so if you do not pay might not realize that the album is almost halfway over! “Never Trust!,” and “Die Fucker Die!!!,” seemed to blend since both were full of lyrical rage and wicked riffs. “Anything at All,” was one of the most explosive songs on the album and reminded me of classic D.R.I. or Final Conflict. The final track, “SSS then FFF,” offers up some of my favorite riffs on the album, but lyrically I felt like the only words I could make out were the curse words. Would have preferred some more lyrical variety there. Now, I am not expecting Rush type lyrics, however, at least above The Mentors level.

    Overall, Terror Shark plays a style of crossover that I extremely enjoy and think plenty of metal fans across the world do too. The band sounds solid the whole way through on this album. Also, really impressed by the recording quality, which I don’t hear too often from young crossover bands. Having a decent recording sound helped me forget that there are about a million other groups who also play this style of music. So, next time you are on the beaches of out for Terror Shark! A punk thrash great white attack of music that can take off half your body...or consume you whole!

Terror Shark Facebook Page: