Archive for February, 2010

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Choice Pickings (or the resurrection of Rediscovered)

February 27, 2010

So those of  you who read Headbang may recall a monthly piece I used to do way back titled ‘Rediscovered’ the point of it being a chance for me to wax lyrical about an album that I love/ had a big effect on me/ is just worth checking out. Having finished the latest batch of album reviews and finding that my desire to write something was still present I figured I’d have a crack at rediscovering… Rediscovered. But that name belongs to another time, I’m not quite settled on what to call this one but ‘Choice Pickings’ seemed like a good filler. So ladies and gentlemen… here it is;

Fear Factory – Digimortal

It goes without saying that one of the biggest comebacks of 2009/10 was that of Fear Factory with Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell settling their differences and coming together again to play some of the heaviest music heard. FF aren’t heavy in the Cannibal Corpse sense, but there’s an intensity to music, and particularly the rhythm section that isn’t so brutal as much as it’s just purely intense. Now one arguably one of the band’s finest albums, Archetype, was recorded by a Dino-less line-up and I’m not trying to undermine that by any stretch of the mark but for me Digimortal remains the essential Fear Factory album.

A large chunk of my reasoning for this is the fact that it was the first of their albums that I heard and from the moment that ‘What Will Become?’ kicked in I was sold, by the time the album reached the superb (but often disliked) ‘Back The Fuck Up’ there was no turning back on my part. It’s difficult to fully relate the feeling this album gave me without sounding retarded and pretentious.  Quite simply, it blew me away, and along with my hearing went an pre-conceptions of the meaning of the words ‘heavy metal’. The band are often described as ‘industrial’ or ‘industrial metal’ and for once, the genre could come something close to actually describing the sound of the band. The clinical precision with which they play is unbelievable. At times they sound literally mechanical, but not mechanical in the dull, wooden sense. The music is played with such intensity that it sounds inhuman, an interesting note considering the lyrical themes of this record.

Fear Factory were in many ways the band that moved me from thinking Killswitch and opened my eyes to so much more. The album features what is quite possibly the definitive (or most overplayed) song by this band, I mean ‘Linchpin’ of course. The fact that it became of the band’s most popular tracks to this day says a lot about this album, in many ways it was the point when Fear Factory climbed to the top of the mountain after 12 years of making music, not realising that it was just months before they would split.

The album has been criticised as a move away from the band’s more extreme metal roots and they were even accused of ‘cashing in’ on the popularity of nu-metal. This reaction characterises one of our most frequent thorns here at RC, that is, the refusal by so many music fans in general (not just metal fans although they are particularly bad) as demanding something new and original from their favourite acts, only to hate it upon release and generally argue that ‘the older stuff is better’.

Well there you go, without me being too overly technical or self-indulgent I’ve hopefully encouraged you to perhaps revisit (or check out for the first time) an album which whilst it often sparks argument and may not be the band’s finest hour is certainly significant.

I’m always open to suggestions so let me know here on the site (or email me mrbogle@reversecurrent.com) with any recommendations for albums you think are worth revisiting. Not that I’ll listen.

Mr Bogle

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Caught in a Bad Romance

February 25, 2010

Ok so before you think; ‘what the fuck is he doing referencing Lady GaGa’ you’ll (hopefully) see there is a point. Firstly I’m addicted to her music, be it bad or good I am. Hence why I felt the lyrical reference was appropriate for a site that seems to be gaining a rep as a niche metal hovel for a few guys with nothing better to than bitch about stuff they don’t like and risk becoming the very thing we set out not to be.

Well consider this as me attempting to redress the balance somewhat, now to quote Eyelicker’s response to my piece More Drum n’ Bass than Double Bass Drum; ‘brah, pretty much any sub cultural cross section is more fun to chill with than metal’. Which is certainly true. What I’m maybe trying to do then, is set more of a trend (at least for myself) of making wider-ranging pieces more common place and not something ‘special’.

But I digress, as I said at the beginning I’m caught in my own bad romance with what I guess you’d call ‘commercial’ music. I’m not trying to be ironic here, I’m just telling it how it is yo? (Oh shit… I’m beginning to talk like them). I guess where I’m going with is trying to first off widen your musical profile of me and secondly to encourage you to admit any bad romances of your own.

Now I realise you may think I’m just being a pretentious twat who’s trying to seem edgy and ‘alt’ by being so damn open minded that I end up imploding and being sucked into an infinite reality of my own self-obsession. That may be the case but whilst I’m still me I’m going to make the most of it.

Go figure.

Mr Bogle

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The Rest In Pieces…

February 25, 2010

After a long conversation with IronEagle last night I’ve decided to revamp (and slim down) my reviews of the majority of albums. As to be quite honest they get dull to write (and I’m sure) dull to read. From now on any rants will be directed away from Reverse Current and onto Exit Ghost which has undergone something of a facelift itself recently. So from now on instead of spending the best part of 500 words explaining my thoughts on an album you’ll get about 4 or 5 sentences and a score. On average about 3 albums per post but hopefully this will leave me with time to be more ‘creative’.

Demonica – Demonstrous

Label: Massacre

When a band boasts former members of Forbidden and Mercyful Fate (you know, those two bands that influenced Metallica but were no where near as big). You can pretty much place bets on what you going to get, that is straight forward thrash metal. A few years back there was talk of the ‘thrash revival’ it never actually went away, it’s just that the mainstream metal media stopped paying any attention to thrash to focus on Limp Bizkit and Disturbed. I have something of an old time affection for thrash, its hugely enjoyable and is perhaps the least pretentious of all metal styles. As such songs like ‘Ghost Hunt’ just make me want to get down and mosh like its… um…2006 (cause that’s when I was real into thrash like).

7/10

Voices Of Destiny – From The Ashes

Label: Massacre

What continually amazes me is that genres that are largely ignored by the mainstream media and considered ‘dead’ still produce an endless stream of new bands. I realise there are exceptions to this rule but you see my point. I never really got the whole Goth/ Symphonic thing myself, but it seems to have a habit of surviving regardless of what the rest of the world is doing. I do however have a great deal of respect for Voices Of Destiny for producing what is actually a very accomplished debut record even if it lacks any originality or longevity. At the end of the day, there will remain a dedicated fan base of make-up wearing teenagers who will love this. Nothing special, but not terrible.

5/10

Mortemia – Misere Mortem


Label: Napalm

Despite everything that I said above about my disdain for ‘Gothic Metal’ I rather enjoyed listening to both that album and to this one. I wouldn’t out of choice but it’s not as though I’m having to tie my hands down to prevent myself from ripping my ears off the side of my head. Yes it generic, yes it’s unoriginal but to be quite honest, it’s actually comforting to know that some people still feel that they can compose the music they love without a care in the world. I admit I haven’t said much about the music itself, but there’s not much point if I’m honest as it’s unlikely to have any real bearing on whether or not you’ll like this. This album will appeal to fans of all things symphonic and generally ‘epic’.  Middle of the road, gothic metal.

5/10

Anima – Enter The Killzone

Label: Metal Blade

Deathcore has become the latest genre that it’s cool to hate. With the success of band’s such as Whitechapel and All Shall Perish the haters got going. Anima are certainly very tightly knit as musicians and play with a high degree of precision and technical prowess that is undeniable. But what their peers have over them is the extra edge, be it the stronger death metal influence or the minute (but nonetheless noticeable) greater technical ability. In that way Anima are certainly good, but along with 95% of other metal artists they lack the ability to really stand out in the crowd. As brutal as the next and just as heavy Anima are certainly worth a listen but I’d still take Whitechapel any day.

6/10

So there you go, four albums, one post. Work for you or not? Let me know what you think. I realise that I may have seemed to be having a dig at certainly 3 out of the 4 and that I risk coming across as simply moaning for the sake of it. What I’ve tried to do is give you different angle to what you’d get on the majority of other reviews, all criticism is subjective so why not be open about it?

Mr Bogle

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One hell of a live performance

February 24, 2010

When I sat down to watch last weeks Brit Awards I did so without any sense of irony or reluctance. I may not dig all the artists that appear on there, I may even rip them in casual conversation but the fact remains anyone that receives a Brit fully deserves it (and after all Iron Maiden won best live act last year didn’t they). The giant of a man that is Peter Kay compare’d proceedings and added a suitable degree to humour to what is just an exercise in name calling and speeches mixed with some live music.

I was indifferent to the large majority of the acts (although Lady GaGa’s dedication to Alexander McQueen was certainly touching) and the evenings highlight though came from the genius that is (as Mr Kay referred to him) Jason Zed and Alicia Keys. I’ve been a long time fan of Jay-Z and The Blueprint 3 was one of my top albums of last year. The song, ‘Empire State Of Mind’ is a prime example of the man’s writing talent with lyrics that ring true with a sense of elation and to more esoteric amongst us leaves something of a bitter taste in the mouth. But that’s for another day.

What I’m trying  to get at here is just how good the live performance of the song was. Alicia Keys is quite possibly one of the finest singers currently around and the video still gives me goosebumps. It’s difficult to pinpoint what it is about the show that gives it that extra edge but it’s undeniably there. Well that’s enough from me, I’ve included said video below as it seemed rather contrite to tell you how good it is and then make you go all the way to YouTube to find it.

Mr Bogle

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Van Canto – Tribe of Force

February 24, 2010

Label: Napalm

I thought that it couldn’t get much weirder than Arsis who certainly bite off more than they can chew when it comes to odd musical combinations. However it seems I was wrong, Van Canto just swallow down the whole damn dish plate and all. A mean, Apocalyptica were certainly novel when they first appeared and although they thoroughly kicked arse at last year’s Bloodstock they still seem somewhat contrite.  But at least they play instruments that vaguely resemble those of other bands, Van Canto do away with guitars and bass in exchange for their erm… voices.

Yes you did read that right, this is A Cappella Metal. As daft as it may sound it’s true. The bitter irony of this farce being, that it’s actually quite good… in a way. It’s probably more of an admiration for the technical ability than a true appreciation of the music itself. It’s difficult to know what to say about Tribe… because at least with other artists there is something more to use as a basis for comparison. Whereas with Van Canto, there’s none.

I can’t help but have respect for the balls these guys must have to take on such a noteworthy(?) challenge and do something which is so obscure that the idea of it just sounds laughable. Well there we go such is the way of Europe. The worst thing about this album is actually the pathetic guitar sound (a guitar plays solos on a few songs), whilst it could be really strong and effective it falls flat on its face. It doesn’t take long for the novelty if this album to wear off either, by the time you reach the mind-bending cover of ‘Master Of Puppets’ you either want to smash your speakers or go jump off a bridge.

The surreality of this album almost makes Eraserhead seem like a mainstream film. Quite simply this is existentialist metal, free from any fears of peer disapproval and seemingly carefree you have to admire it’s boldness. Despite this being their third album (anyone else heard the other two?) unfortunately for Van Canto, it remains just a novelty. Something to show your friends on YouTube or to laugh at when you’re so wrecked that you find that you just couldn’t care less.

6/10 (Confused by that score? So am I… but it feels unjust to give them anything lower, after all they’ve  got bigger lungs than Howard Jones and know how to use them)

Mr Bogle

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Catamenia – Cavalcade

February 23, 2010

Label: Massacre

As regular RC readers will know, my music taste swings like a constant pendulum from the commercial to the obscure and occasionally picks up something vaguely ‘normal’ in between. When Calvacade began I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, with the lack of press release and a somewhat obscure (or should that be dull?) album cover I nonchalantly hit play…

Well there wasn’t much of a surprise in-store, it’s very bog-standard modern heavy metal. That is, far too much like Children of Bodom for me to take them seriously. There are clearly heavier influences and the band are clearly proficient at their instruments. I have to admit that I did actually quite enjoy this album, for about 25 minutes before I got bored with what felt like a bad mash-up of cutting room floor pieces that had been glued back together.

Whether it’s just that I don’t particularly enjoy this style any more or if it really is that bad I can’t tell. This album certainly has merit, and plenty of it. But the flaws are so blindingly obvious that they often overshadow the decent aspects. The music is mind-numbingly repetitive and at one point I had to make sure that I had hit ‘Repeat Track’ by accident ( I hadn’t).

After the positive start to my listening of this record I had hoped for that to continue, alas not. I will no doubt receive some comment or email detailing how I’m; ‘a complete cock who can’t review for shit’ and how ‘this album is like sooooo amazing’ yes I know… your 15, you think everyone hates you, I didn’t, but I do now. Suck it.

So there we go, a short nostalgia trip on my part but overall a largely forgettable album. Buy it if like it, don’t if you hate it.

5/10

Mr Bogle

A quick search on YouTube and I came across this live video, can’t say it did the band any favours…

The ‘two singer’ set-up with one singer and one screamer just feels… well… pointless.

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Aeternam – Disciples Of The Unseen

February 23, 2010

Label: Metal Blade

With a suitably cheesy album title and some less than intriguing track names, I approached this with something between trepidation and dread. How refreshing it was then, to find that whilst it certainly isn’t a ‘great’ album it’s still very good. The band’s influences are clear, Behemoth, Nile, Septic Flesh etc etc. Aeternam haven’t yet reached the heights of their heroes but that’s no surprise, after all the aforementioned bands are all certainly masters of their art.

Disciples of the Unseen is a perfectly passable death metal album. ‘Goddesss of Masr’ for example is predictable, formulaic and traditional (but NOT sub-standard). The ‘death metal fused with other styles’ is nothing new but could’ve been done really badly. What a relief then, that Aeternam have done it in a perfectly serviceable way without being too ambitious but also with just sucking… I don’t know what you think of when ‘Canadian Metal’ is mentioned but I for one draw a full blank, Aeternam could well change this, a  solid record and a sign of much potential.

This album won’t cross any lines or challenge any conceptions, and, whilst that could be deemed a shortcoming it doesn’t demean from the quality of the writing or the band’s musical ability. This album is ideal for the more casual death metal listener (such as myself). It may even satisfy the requirements of some ‘fans’ (I prefer the word dicks) who class themselves as ‘true’ (or conceited). I have but one thing to say to them. Go cut yourself you self-centred prick.

7/10

Mr Bogle