May 2014 Rapid Fires

Friday, 30th May 2014

Currently in the thick (and halfway point) of the year we are, and while summer festival season looms (count us out for this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest), the release schedule remains as imposing as ever. Fret not, for in addition to our normal deluge of reviews, the staff was able to bang out 15 shorter, but no-less-valuable reviews. The bands in question for May are as follows: 21Octayne, Anti Ritual, Die Choking, Gloom (pictured), Insense, Lions of the South, Mos Generator, Mutank, Neckbreak Nation, Norse, Retribution, Sabbatory, Sadhak, Tomb, and Zoldier Noiz. Read on…

21Octayne – Into the Open

21Octayne – Into the Open (AFM Records)
Four decently known hard rock/ metal musicians from Europe get together to forge a new melodic hard rock/metal band with 21Octayne. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody drummer Alex Landenburg is probably the most well-known of the quartet, as the others are involved in Axxis, The Joe Perry Project and Paul Gilbert’s band. As much as I hoped the 12-song Into the Open would be more like The Winery Dogs than Alter Bridge, outside of the intricate bass play for “Don’t Turn Away” and dirty anthem “Your Life” this is by the books American style modern hard rock- low brow, common fodder heard from thousands of bar acts. Such a shame too as talent is evident. – Matt Coe (21Octayne on Facebook)

Anti Ritual – Anti Ritual

Anti Ritual – Anti Ritual (Interdisciplinarian)
Sludgy hardcore with just a pinch of black metal sets the stage for Anti Ritual. Quick jabs of aggression run through six scathing tracks in the scant 15-minute tease. Most of the album pushes forward with exposed teeth and vitriol, but the final track, “A New Discourse on Enlightenment” brings the thick sludge with it, trading blistering speed for a churning cesspool of heaviness. A testament to pissed-off fury, the short EP time doesn’t seem enough and the riffing does stay manageable, with some tracks (“No Second Earth”) feeling far catchier than they have any right to be. Hopefully a full length isn’t too far behind, and they can maintain the level of intensity over a whole album. – Kyle McGinn (Anti Ritual on Bandcamp)


Die Choking – Die Choking (The Compound)
Tunes where you shouldn’t blink, and don’t really have to think…as is the case for Philadelphia fever punk/grinders Die Choking. Comprised of spare (and former) members of Cop Problem, Total Fucking Destruction, and Burden, the goal, obviously, with this trio is to get in, and get out as quickly as possible. Being that there’s only five jams that make up this self-titled effort, one is best advised not to head for snack-ville or a bathroom break – the album will be over in a jiff. However, don’t sleep on the ultra-extreme “Greed War” or “Reason Resist | Reason Reborn,” a song that doesn’t even hit the minute mark. Thank goodness this thing is so short – anything longer would be overkill. – David E. Gehlke (Die Choking official website)

Gloom – Gloom EP

Gloom – Gloom EP (self-released)
A peculiar mix of a great many things in a tiny package, this is likely a band to look out for in the years to come. Across its six tracks and meager 17 minutes, this EP is a stylistic tour-de-force in featuring bits of death, black, doom, and a myriad of shades in between. None of it is presented in a schizophrenic way, with the songs bouncing from mood to mood every few seconds, but rather the biggest variation occurring between the tracks individually, each representing a different take on some grand and hidden aesthetic. Belonging to many sources and none all at once, the pieces here, brief as they are, are surprisingly beefy, especially mid-point “Unrequited,” which holds some colossal bass-work. Among the most surprising releases I’ve come across this year, this is a band to watch and a release not to miss. – Matthew Bowling (Gloom on Facebook)

Insense - DeEvolution

Insense – De:Evolution (Mas-Kina)
A big ‘ole dip in quality in relation to the band’s 2012 Born in Beautiful Fire (perhaps best known for being produced by In Flames frontman Anders Friden), Sweden’s Insense have taken the Scandinavian quasi-Linkin Park plunge with De:Evolution. There’s really no workaround with the vocals of Tommy Hjelm, who takes it upon himself to warble in and out of key at will, with the backdrop of third-rate metalcore riffing. Throwaways include “Meandering” (which could be considered just that: Meandering), and “Radio,” which are unfortunately, the only two cuts with any sort of resonance. The rest is pretty forgettable and wayward, which again, is a bit of a downer considering where the band was coming from with Born in Beautiful Fire. – David E. Gehlke (Insense on Facebook)

Lions of the South – Chronicles of Aggression (

Lions of the South – Chronicles of Aggression (Self-Released)
Probably a bit too in the middle and modernly bland for any real impact, Florida’s Lions of the South purvey a competent brand of thrash on Chronicles of Aggression. The preponderance of force-fed rasp/thrash vocals, along with sub-technical riffs take the band as far as they can go, unfortunately. With a few spare dynamic moments in tow (the beginning of “Awakening” is pretty gnarly), the band drifts into no man’s land once the meat of the album hits, perhaps demonstrating there’s a lot of work left to be done for a band with somewhat of a cool name, but in dire of need of some new, fresh elements. – David E. Gehlke (Lions of the South on Facebook)

Mos Generator – Electric Mountain Majesty

Mos Generator – Electric Mountain Majesty (Listenable Records)
Just in time for summer, Port Orchard, Washington’s Mos Generator drops a burly bevy of hard rockin’ tunes that riff and rumble right in that sweet spot of Deliverance-era Corrosion of Conformity. The fifth release for these grizzled vets, formed in 2000, Electric Mountain Majesty boasts fat guitar play – in riff and solo – hard guitar rock for the bearded beer swiller and stoner alike. The trio play heavy and tight, straddling the edge of the hard / metal line, but more rooted in the rock side of things, which ain’t a bad thing. Fire up the BBQ and rock! – Daniel Keating (Mos Generator on Facebook)

Mutank-MECH Metal

Mutank – M.E.C.H. Metal (Self-Released)
The best thing about Montreal’s Mutank is that they have a song called “Mutank.” Why more bands don’t name a song after themselves continues to boggle the mind, but for a raucous, booze-addled group like these gents, it makes sense. Upholding many of the truisms that come with crossver-laden thrash (or “thrash-laden crossover?”), the band barrels through the eight songs that comprise of M.E.C.H. Metal with relative ease and sass. DR has been prone to throw barbs at bands of this style based on their recklessness and utter lack of charm, but ‘tis not the case here. How could one not get down with a cut like “Thrashback to the Future?” – David E. Gehlke (Mutank on Facebook)

Neckbreak Nation – Stroke of the Devil’s Hour

Neckbreak Nation – Stroke of the Devil’s Hour (Mighty Music)
With a cool name like Neckbreak Nation, there is a sense that the music should literally break necks right? With equal parts groove, metalcore, and melodic death, Stroke of the Devil’s Hour is more likely to dish out maybe a slight bruising, but it’s a stretch to say the music here will cause you to need a neck brace. Pretty comparable to Lamb of God, the only song that seems to make the needed impact is the admittedly crushing “Evolve to Six.” While it’s clear these guys can play, the biggest problem is how similar this sounds compared to the rest of the modern metal crowd. “Evolve to Six” has some charisma; if they can capitalize on this sound next time, they might be able to make a name for themselves. – Kyle McGinn (Neckbreak Nation on Facebook)

Norse – Pest

Norse – Pest (Self Released)
Is it strange that the band Norse is from Australia and doesn’t sound Viking at all? Norse play a rather eclectic form of progressive black/death metal with underlying industrial elements that’s far from pretty. The vocals are quite raspy and upfront in the mix, and the guitar tone just oozes filth. The result is hit or miss, with some of the more ‘brutal’ songs like “Disarmed. Toothless. Weak” and “Irradiator” having a sludgy potency while the droning numbers like “Aimless” and “True Insignificance” just meander and lose momentum. Though a bit more generic, they would gain some strength in focusing on the heavier aspects of the band and skipping the psychedelia next time. – Kyle McGinn (Norse on Facebook)

Retribution – Corpus Antichristi Y3K

Retribution – Corpus Antichristi Y3K (Pitch Black Records)
Do you like Dimmu Borgir? If you said yes, Retribution’s Corpus Antichristi Y3K should be right up your alley. Despite the goofy album title (Y2K was bad enough), the music here may not win any originality awards but the symphonic black metal is delivered with maximum devastation. There is also a female vocalist singing soprano throughout the tracks, which tosses some nods to the last Fleshgod Apocalypse album and gives the vocals some added spice. The symphonics are tough to ignore and tend to lead the guitars, but seem well composed and entertaining. Worth a listen or two if you enjoy the sound. – Kyle McGinn (Retribution on Facebook)

Sabbatory – Endless Asphyxiating Gloom

Sabbatory – Endless Asphyxiating Gloom (Unspeakable Axe Records)
More old-school death metal madness, with the usual references of Autopsy, Death, Repulsion, and yes, Asphyx. Sabbatory keep things short, sweet, and to the point with a 32-minute run time that keeps it from losing steam. The strongest element is the abundance of thick, dirty grooves, like on “Corrosive Decay” and all in all the guitar riffing is a tad more interesting than the majority of the retro-wannabes have been cranking out (read: they actually took the time to write them as opposed to copy/pasting Death/Autopsy riffs). Old-school metal fans take heed, this is probably one of the more interesting albums of late. – Kyle McGinn (Sabbatory on Facebook)


Sadhak – Sadhak (Shadow Kingdom Records)
Rightfully tagged as a “diamond in the rough” by the label, Shadow Kingdom Records, Norway’s Sadhak play a wholly enjoyable brand of melancholic true doom, not terribly far removed from the likes of Warning, and 40 Watt Sun. Two cuts here, although they’re suitably long, just like they need to be. The sorrowful and simplistic riff approach found on opener “On the Arrival of Man” is executed with the perfect amount of restrain and thought, allowing for the booming clean vocals of Andreas Hagan to have maximum effect. “The Perfection of Wisdom” operates in a similar manner – very few riffs, but each working their way into one’s conscious. Two songs isn’t enough – a full-length from these lads would be just what the doctor ordered. – David E. Gehlke (Sadhak on Bandcamp)

TOMB – PennhurstXesse

TOMB – Pennhurst/Xesse (Crucial Blast Records)
Sometimes you’re out in a field and you come across a ruined home and in that ruined home is a box of old tapes wrapped up in a dust and blood covered box. If that were a thing, really, it wouldn’t be too far off to picture that this very left-field noise ‘ritual’ release being the kind of thing you’d hear on those tapes. No real instrumentation to speak of, what instead rests here is a vacuous sea of synth (…well, maybe), and sounds from a thousand unidentifiable sources. Not noise in an ear-splitting, Merzbow kind of way, but in a structured, almost field recording kind of way. If you were recording the nightmares of the homeless. I’m rarely surprised by the kinds of weird things I wind up listening to thanks to this line of hobby and never is that more apparent than during the 24 minute abyssal crawl that is “Goetic Xaos.” Faint rays of light peak through from time to time, like near the end of “Within The Circle Of Bones” but it’s a short-lived experience. There are certainly worse ways you can spend an hour, so if you’ve got the will and a reason to get weird, by all means, Pennhurst/Xesse will lay out for you what decay sounds like. – Matthew Bowling (Crucial Blast Bandcamp)

Zoldier Noiz – Regression Process

Zoldier Noiz – Regression Process (Unspeakable Axe)
Semi-classic (though dirty) thrash by way of France, this album is a kind of pleasant surprise. Drawing from the same sort of old-world origins as Toxic Holocaust but with a higher degree of filth in place, Regression Process is a short and sweet indulgence. Songs are lean, dirty, frequently punk-flavored, and never overly technical or grandiose. There are riffs aplenty, solos fly in and out, and the drums are always somewhere between a d-beat bounce and the expected double bass steam-rolling. Harsh vocals aside, it’s difficult not to experience a lot of older thrash feels with this release, though largely lacking in the feeling of masturbatory replication that plagued the genre a few years ago. Instead, this is just a very solid, workman-like 29 minutes of semi-classic thrash. Get some. – Matthew Bowling (Zoldier Noiz on Bandcamp)


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