The Heavy Metal Review

Archive for February 2013

Quick Review: Suffocation ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ + Coffee = WOOOOO!

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suffocation-pinnacle-of-bedlam

If someone told me Suffocation was going to release one of its best albums (if not my new personal favorite) in the year 2013 that could give the death metal classics a run for their money… I’d probably roll my eyes and say, “Yeah, right.” Well be prepared to do a spit-take if you are drinking a beverage when starting up Pinnacle of Bedlam – because this statement is 100% musically accurate (unlike the bogus claims that Human Centipede was 100% medically accurate).

I happened to be fresh off a strong cup of coffee when I first put on the new album and the combination of the caffeine mixed with the blast beats of Dave Culross and throaty death growls of Frank Mullen on “Cycles of Suffering” fired all the synapses in my brain at once into a euphoric burst of energy. No the lyrics aren’t euphoric themselves of course, it’s just that the technicality of this release as a whole is insane.

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Written by Eric

February 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

Advance Review: Shai Hulud ‘Reach Beyond the Sun’ is thinking-man’s hardcore

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ReachBeyondtheSun

While Shai Hulud is a hardcore band at heart, it keeps things exciting by combining a mix of thrash and progressive metal to create one of the more compelling sounds in the modern scene. On Reach Beyond The Sunthe group’s fourth studio album – the tracks flow into one another to create a concept album feel, without being one in the traditional sense. The record is best experienced as a whole, but the songs also work individually due to each track’s sheer energy and shout-along choruses.

Album opener “The Mean Spirits, Breathing” starts out with vocalist Chad Gilbert yelling – Welcome to the new age/Where wealth is weighed in spirit/And only dead men beam – and the music never really slows down across the LP’s roughly 35-minute run-time. At first listen the songs tend to blend together to the point where it can be hard to discern where each track stops and starts, but on repeat listens you will find each track contains subtle differences to keep things fresh and make Reach Beyond The Sun stand out as a more complex hardcore record.

The dual-attack of “I, Saturnine” and “Reach Beyond the Sun” provides the best example of the style mentioned in the previous paragraph. The first song is essentially a build-up to the album’s title-track ending with a slight variation on the song’s upbeat guitar melody which jumps back in throughout the song. The combination of upbeat and dissonant chords are what really drive this record and play off the lyrical concepts of misanthropy and depression to hope and more positive emotion. Reach Beyond the Sun is equal parts optimistic and foreboding which combine to create Shai Hulud’s now signature sound.

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Written by Eric

February 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Album Review: Coheed and Cambria continues its expansive prog-rock journey on ‘The Afterman: Descension’

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coheed-afterman-descension

Coheed and Cambria‘s previous effort, The Afterman: Ascension was my favorite “non-metal” release of 2012 alongside Rush’s Clockwork Angels – the latter album representing the best old school band still in the game and the former release representing what the genre still has to offer in modern times. This inevitably meant expectations for The Afterman: Descension ran high for this music critic and other long-time fans.

Where Ascension delivered in terms of providing an epic multi-part prog odyssey on the album’s four “Key Entity” tracks, Coheed and Cambria focus more on individual catchy songs on Descension which still feel connected due to what first-time listeners will translate as other-wordly radio transmissions between tracks that really add to the concept-album vibe.

While there is only one Key Entity entry on Descension – “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant” – it is the defining moment in the musical suite right alongside Ascension’s excellent opener “Domino the Destitute.” And it arguably has a better build-up with the excellent “Pretelethal” intro prior. Fans will waste no time playing the whole series of songs front-to-back, which is what adds to the fun on a two-part release like this.

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Written by Eric

February 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Quick Review: Zombified ‘Carnage Slaughter And Death’

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Zombified - Carnage Slaughter and Death

Death metal has come a long ways since early innovators Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Deicide hit the scene. The genre has since branched out into various sub-genres and styles, becoming more technical, or reversely, even more melodic and accessible in recent years. Despite this, plenty of metal fans will tell you there is nothing better than putting on an old death metal record and moshing around like crazy – which is where the musicians in Zombified clearly found the inspiration for their sound on Carnage Slaughter And Death.

While it feels a bit outdated and familiar at times, the group’s sophomore effort is a strong nod to the ’80s and early ’90s era of death metal. “Carnage Slaughter And Death” kicks off the album with plenty of blast beats and intense growling vocals. “Pull the Trigger” is the album’s current single, which features a mix of nice groovy riffs intermixed with your stereotypical death influence combined with a sort of loose punk-rock vibe.

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Written by Eric

February 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm