Short Reviews | August 18th, 2022

SHORT REVIEWS Our final set of August 2022 releases finds us ahead of ourselves, largely spanning the final two weeks of the month and picking up on what I’d consider largely accessible records from bigger, well-established labels. I’ve done my best to showcase the most interesting works I come across while still presenting some decent variety here, but it boils down to what sticks or is worth writing about. If you find something you dig in the lot of ’em, go tell the band on social media and support them with a purchase. The arts require your support and/or own contributions. If you’d like your music reviewed send promos to:

TITLE:A Thirst for Summer Rain
RELEASE DATE:August 26th, 2022

In most ways it seems Östersund, Sweden-based musician Nachtzeit has had enough of the blackest, greying shadows as he presents what I believe is the eighth full-length from his (arguably) most popular project Lustre. Though ‘A Thirst for Summer Rain‘ is as sentimental and introspective as ever and the signature lull of his synth driven slow-anthemic melodies hasn’t suffered any distort there is some need to push things along felt, a low-pressure rethink and revival of the inspiration for the project held within its less confined spaciousness. Visual aesthetics aside the music here is particularly glowing and deeply layered (at high volume) thanks to this being the first recording from the band to have hit a professional studio, interestingly enough landing in Buster Odeholm‘s (Vildhjarta, Humanity’s Last Breath) Odeholm Audio for the full rig and render. Though this gives the music an intense boost, a richness which appears to reverberate up and through the floor when the guitar army begins to swell, the melodies herein are kept cinematic and quite simple in their slow, deliberate use of droning repetition.

So, for longtime fans seeking relief the signature ardency of Lustre is yet fully engaged here. In a way this all still appears frozen in time to me, a point of distillation for atmospheric black metal’s obsession with nostalgia and depressive catharsis which’d seemed to have made the whole online black metal scenery at large too nauseous to continue in the middle of the previous decade. The difference with this project is a matter perspective, I get the sense that the aura generated is more for the artist than it is for the public and I appreciate the window into the intimacy of ideas which arise from a certain nighttime stillness. If the way forward is the same general modus with some aesthetic phasing and a more professional product well, that all makes good sense. Four ~8 minute pieces which meditate in place, foaming up with a familiar sound and nigh obsessively stated melodies, makes for an altogether pleasant and immersive listen. It is an increasingly rare mood for me, one which I’d been satisfied with around 2015 or so.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Heavy Rocks
LABEL(S):Relapse Records
RELEASE DATE:August 12th, 2022

The third in a series of same-named retro heavy rock albums from Japanese experimental metal trio Boris explores completely different realms than the fuzzy stoner rocking 2002 album of the same name and the 2011 doomed and grunged-out record of the same name. This time around the noisier, bombastic side of their hard rock taste aims for the avant-rock anthem and the outta left field electro-trip, eh, nearly as often as it resorts to shocks of L7-heated and metalpunk grizzled distortion (“My Name is Blank”, “Ruins”) to keep things pushing along. It is their most varied bump on the log when we consider each of the three albums under this title and easily the most energetic beyond the opening moments of the 2002 original. I suppose the difference this time around is that ‘Heavy Rocks‘ finally feels less like an imitation-style mélange of old hard rock ideas mumbled out for fun and instead just sounds like Boris making weirdo rock suitably set alongside the rest of their discography. The only thing that dragged the score down a bit for my taste was the outtake feeling of “(not) Last Song” and the annoying intrusion of “Ghostly Imagination”, both of which had me largely marooned on Side A for the majority of my return listens.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Hema Ignis Necros
LABEL(S):Iron Bonehead
RELEASE DATE:August 12th, 2022

This latest 12″ mLP from French blackened death metal band Ritualization continues down their steadfast path of incendiary, ominous brutality as they lean into the (early) Incantation-esque side of their sound on a couple of these somewhat longer ~7-10 minute pieces. Otherwise of course fans of Angelcorpse and Centurian will once again feel at home within the precision surge of their riffcraft, especially as “The Crown of Moloch” presents the central cataclysm on the full listen. The big deal this time around is perhaps the addition of vocalist/bassist Daethorn whom is best known for his feature in Merrimack, his style fits incredibly well for both death and black metal applications and adds quite a bit to the more atmospheric side of this bands otherwise brutal aggression. Pretty straight forward release otherwise, great variety between the three pieces and an apex ‘old school’ black/death metal showing overall.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

LABEL(S):Transcending Obscurity Records
RELEASE DATE:August 19th, 2022

Beyond their heavier-than-thou high fidelity approach to fuzz clobbered sludge influenced death/doom metal Morbid Evils were quickly noticed beyond formation thanks to Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound being the main fellow behind the whole gig. The line-up has changed with each release, this being the third full-length by my recollection, yet their sound has been pretty consistently soaked with distortion, unmercifully heavy and slow as a general rule. Get get a bit more of the droning death metal side of things on ‘Supernaturals‘ though the faster paced movements within each of the four ~9-10 minute pieces feel wooden and uneventful upon repeated listens. Though I figure most people interested in death-infused sludge heaviness will skate over to Conan‘s latest when this releases (on the same day) but I do think this record offers a lot of similar appeal, and perhaps a far more laid back and sullen vibe. A solid record worth checking out, even if none of it really hooked me.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Hit to the Gore
LABEL(S):Awakening Records
RELEASE DATE:August 26th, 2022

Bloody Redemption are a thrash influenced ‘old school’ death metal quartet from Slovakia who’ve taken obsessive interest in the late 80’s/early 90’s school of carnage for this second full-length album. This one starts out feeling a bit like Death‘s ‘Scream Bloody Gore‘ if it were interpreted by late 80’s horror thrashers like Rigor Mortis and Blood Feast but, of course leaning towards the more percussive, groove-heavy European death metal side of things as the album presses on, think of post-’93 Master to start, since there is a sort of hard rock edge to a few riffs (“Ancient Knowledge”) that’ll seem goofy at first but they add some memorable flavor to a record with a lot of ideas rippling under the surface. Only real criticism from me with regards to this one is that the logo doesn’t do the band justice and distracts from the brilliant cover art. All in all I think these guys are onto something cool here, it doesn’t read as too nostalgic but remains backwards-thinking when it comes to upholding the old standards of thrashing heavy metal. I’d found the full listen somewhat addictive and easy to slap on repeat.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Necrotic Lust
LABEL(S):Hammerheart Records
RELEASE DATE:August 26th, 2022

Much as the guest appearance from Jeff Walker on one track (“Ground Into Ash and Coal”), a cool logo, and an especially fine cover art piece from Julian Mora do good work to sell interest for this second record from Swedish death metal project Consumption they’ve once again hit us with a pretty slapdash, under-served imitation of mid-to-late 90’s Carcass. It is a shame this thing is largely tuneless outside of its aped, or, at least uber nostalgic style because I’d been pretty geared up for this one in terms of seeing potential beyond their first record. Ah well, the full listen seems to do everything it can to distract from general lack of ideas — The use of old movie clips to introduce several pieces isn’t the major culprit, a bit of boring kitsch at this point though, but the real issue is the void of developed and directive melodic interest. This can perhaps be explained away as an attempt to resemble ‘Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious‘ without, you know the flood of riffs, the proper shredding, and huge breaks into catchy-ass gear but it definitely hits more like cruise ship ‘Swansong‘. To be fair they’ve reserved one of the best pieces on the record for Walker, whom tears through it albeit with a few interruptions, this only highlights just how average their whole deal ends up being. I’m all for bands chipping away at this style either way, though I think the apex interaction it’ll serve most folks is a nod of recognition and “Huh, cool, sounds like thing.” and sure, in most respects that is good enough fun.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

TITLE:Mal De Vivre
LABEL(S):Svart Records
RELEASE DATE:August 26th, 2022

Though the major pull of Red Rot upon introduction is bolstered by its line-up featuring the late Ephel Duath‘s main songwriter Davide Tiso and former vocalist Luciano Lorusso this should only indicate the sophistication of the arrangements and performances rather than denote exactly what style their debut full-length festers within. Intending a destructive, almost villainous work the quartet, which features members of Botanist and Dawn of Ouroboros otherwise, present ‘Mal de Vivre‘ as a haunting journey of psychosis-inducing progressive death metal, gothic metal, and chaotic hardcore interrupted muse. Most of the 17 pieces which span this ~38 minute record naturally float their major idea within 1-2 minutes, bearing an energized and unhinged energy which only occasionally lands upon a creeped-out moment worthy of a three and a half minute tirade. This rifled-out barrage of short pieces ends up playing well to the depth of repeatability available to the listening experience while tinging it with an unfocused, hardcorish aspect which will quickly drive away the traditional progressive metal fandom. It is a bit heavier than anything Ephel Duath did, which I appreciate as a fan of their ‘The Painters Palette‘ era and nearby but I’d definitely found myself a bit lost in the experience more than once and in an unpleasant sort of way that’d never fully resolved. If the sourness of the mouth and sandpapering of the mind is the desired effect, well, brilliant enough then. A curious and challenging record I’d recommend to folks who live for that sort of thing, especially of the discordant uncalm of chaotic hardcore is still your jam.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:The Endless
LABEL(S):Profound Lore Records
RELEASE DATE:August 26th, 2022

I’d first heard Denver, Colorado-based progressive post-metal group Dreadnought back in 2015 solely because they’d been trending on Bandcamp and to this day the only recording of theirs that has resonated with me in full was ‘Bridging Realms‘, including the intensely colorful gatefold I’d eventually grabbed. That fusion-minded progressive rock meets extreme metal moment of excess was exactly the level of detail and rhythmic interest I tend to go for, in that realm at least. It turned out to be more of a transitional record for the group who’d quickly crested upon two considerably changing waves with their next two full-lengths, ‘Emergence‘ (2019) being the one to finally begin winding down their more aggressive side in order to give bolder feature to the increasingly skillful, or at least unique timbre of vocalist Kelly Schilling. Just as was the case with the last album I can excuse myself from enjoyment of ‘The Endless‘, it just isn’t my thing in terms of continuous listening, while also appreciating the fine level of detail applied to the whole of the production (artwork, sound design, songcraft, themes, etc.) and the maximalist prog experience which is nestled beneath the clean post-metallic poignant modernity of their gig. Kind of a ‘would see ’em live, prob won’t get the album‘ deal on my end, loved the organ on “Liminal Veil”, though.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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