Mailbox Mop-up – March 2014

Welcome to the first installment of Mailbox Mop-up, a monthly review dump of physical media sent to us that we didn’t get around to in our standard updates. Short, opinionated and to-the-point, consider what follows to be a quick fix on what lurks below. Enjoy! -Jim

sacr_impalSacrilegious Impalement – III Lux Infera

Crisp Finnish black metal, reminiscent of Azaghal in terms of tight drumming, phlegm-ridden vokills and some eyebrow-raising guitar choices (check the blues-laden soloing on opening track ‘Angel Graves’, and the effects-heavy, non-distorted lines of ‘For Sins of the Pigs’). The riffs sound large, and are tweaked with quick up-strokes that would make Dagon proud. Most of the attack on this album rages like a blizzard beast, but in ‘Down For Grim Lord’, an epic open-chorded/double-bass drum section carries the listener beneath a well-phrased, tremolo-picked lead guitar, leaving one with the feeling of battle-weariness. Released nearly a year ago, this one slipped through the cracks, but will get plenty of spins from me now that it’s on the radar. Woodcut Records

blackmagicmountBlack Magic Mountain Goat (demo)

Farm-filthy thrash/death that defies the overt melodicism of its more famous Gothenburg brethren, Black Magic Mountain Goat’s gifts you with sounds old and pleasing, perfect for this London porter I’m consuming whilst writing this. First song ‘Drink Blood’ delivers a bit of the Swedeath sounds, but filtered through a dryer with the door hatefully slammed closed, thus becoming a fine segue for what is to come. For second song ‘Sirens of Hell’ bleeds the blood of Venom, but with an unexpected downpicked verse and a quick (but killer) harmonic solo backed with a godly, plodding bass line. Third and final track ‘Bastard Magic’ builds and then blasts you into submission, leaving you wanting more with a doomy stomp.  Self-released

conquestofsteelConquest of Steel – Of Fire & Steel

A polished album of pure heavy metal with a twinge of power metal, great guitar solos with dual-harmonies like the UK gods they share location and sound with, solid bass and drums, and great pitch singing required by metal of this style. Nothing groundbreaking, just solid NWOBHM with sharp production techniques. Lyrically, you know what to expect with song titles like these: ‘Metal All the Time’, ‘Here comes the Metal’, etc. I’d like a little more personal character, but if this is meant to be homage, it’s done well. No Face Records

desolatorDesolator – Unearthly Monument

Dismember-ish death metal viewed through an American-style/shiny thrash lens, with a Corpsegrinder fan on the mike. Drums sound somewhat thin for this style, but are played well. In fact, a better studio experience overall, hopefully resulting in a thicker total tonality would help put Desolator where they want to be – a Swedish band embracing their homeland’s famed OSDM aesthetic. What would help most, however, is ditching the aforementioned U.S. thrash riffs altogether, as they don’t gel in a favorable way with the band’s overall style. Not bad, just not great. Hellthrasher Productions

dyingofthelightDying of the Light – Monolithium

Neurosis/Godflesh worship with a twist – the ‘clean’ vocals remind me of Cathedral’s Lee Dorrian (specifically from the Forest of Equilibrium album). The harsher vocals have a bit of a hardcore twinge for a nice contrast. I could do without the phased instruments/flanged vocal here and there, as those studio effects bring me back to some less enjoyable moments in the ’90s. In some moments, the drums are mixed lower than both the guitars and vocals – this I feel is an odd choice for industrial-influenced heavy music that for me, succeeds best if vocals aren’t up front. Content-wise, their discourse on “the superficial, self-centered nature of modern life” doesn’t interest me at all, but if modern takes on the previously-mentioned bands interest you, click below. Self-released

darkportraitDark Portrait – Fiend Incarnate

Not much to say here; Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth, ‘popular’ black metal worship. Good musicianship, but feels bombastic, derivative, and scrubbed to a sheen that’s nigh-Billboard appropriate. Not my thing at all, and if you’re a regular reader, probably not yours either. Regardless, link below. Beowolf Productions

Thanks for reading, Worm Guardians!

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~ by cliftonium on March 12, 2014.

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