Considering how good we are at procrastinating you should really give us some credit for publishing this on schedule!
We have a lot to offer to you this week, including some downright terrible releases, as well as some truly great ones. Give these guys a chance… even Metallica started small.
Will The Thrill – Sorry to Disappoint Ya
Location: United States
Label: Independent Release
Website (remember those shitty Geocities sites from the 90’s? Well, he sure fucking loves them)
Press releases are funny. While their point is obviously to hype a band, sometimes they just go above and beyond. This is the case of the American band Will The Thrill:
“Will The Thrill ain’t nobody’s fool. And he knows you aren’t either. If you’re anything like him you’re sick of getting force-fed the same old crap on every radio station in every city. Music used to kick ass. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dokken, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Ratt, Scorpions… They got out there and burned every night, and they left nothing standing. And what now? Emo, Screamo, some garbage called Brutal Death-Core, what the hell are we supposed to do with that, listen to it?!
Wouldn’t you like to hear real singing, gutsy guitar-playing, and slamming drums all wrapped up in a well-written song? Don’t you deserve something for your money that doesn’t sound like a truckload of cats and trash cans getting dumped off the roof of a 10-story building?!
Well here you go. This is Will The Thrill and he’s serving up real rockin’ Metal that’ll give you a reason to live again.”
Despite these good wishes, and a clear effort to stand out from the crowd, Will The Thrill fail to impress. It’s not that the album doesn’t feature some decent material (like the opening “I Don’t Answer to You”) since some of the songs really make an effort to allow this sinking ship to remain afloat, but it’s just too little to make it work. In the end, there’s nothing remarkable here.
In an attempt to pay homage to their heroes, the band failed to produce a cohesive effort, and actually seem to be all over the place. Their title track, for example, seems like a high-school rendition of a Megadeth song, while “In Your Wildest Dreams” feels like a hair metal tune played by the same amateur cover band.
It doesn’t help that Will Aguilar’s voice just isn’t very good, especially when trying to tackle so many different styles (I’m sorry dude, but you can’t just try to be Dave Mustaine and David Lee Roth and pretend you’re good at both). While he isn’t a terrible singer, his skills seem to only be good enough for a low-budget wedding or a high school prom, but definitely not to support a record. Will’s blunders don’t stop at singing and playing guitar, as he decided to also do an awful job at producing this album, achieving terrible results in the process. The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” really seems applicable here.
Musically, these guys aren’t too bad, but there is a huge way to go if they want to make it. For starters, they need to practice, get a new singer and hire an actual producer.
Dead Dark Slide – I Am Dead
Label: Dead Game Records
It’s not often the case that I review an album thinking that the person behind it is mentally ill. And I don’t mean mentally ill as in “his mind works in such a strange and creative way“, but rather in a “I hope this guy doesn’t sit next to me on the bus” kind of way. Although I am a firm believer that we should not judge a book by its cover (if I did I would have never been able to enjoy Iron Maiden‘s Dance of Death, considering the horrendous cover art) Dead Dark Slide (DDS for short) really make it hard not to. I mean, look at the video that their singer made as a “commercial” for their music.
Now look at this video he made for his pop-rock side
Now, keeping in mind that this band has only 4 members, of all whom are male, check out the downright bizarre (and copyright infringing) images they decided to add to their promo pack.
What explains both of these stolen pictures? Why would Ryan Michalski (vocals) include photos portraying a band he is not in? Why does his video remind me of some of those super cheesy
WWF WWE threats between wrestlers? Why does he wear a mask, despite posting his videos on a Youtube channel under his own legal name, containing his pop-rock videos? Why does his website, his albums, and his promo pack contain nothing but stolen “goth” pictures?
The truth is that I don’t know. This man seems to be honestly crazy, and not in a cool way… unless you consider jerking off in the library “cool”.
As you might have expected, DDS’ music is not very good at all. Even when the songs manage not to be downright terrible, the album is so badly produced that it is just impossible to enjoy it. The whole thing sounds like they’re using a bucket as an amplifier, while singing through a microphone made up of plastic cups and string.
The songs are repetitive, the lyrics are “twisted” in the way a 13 year old furry goth might define himself as “edgy”, and it’s just so painful to listen to that white noise might have been more rewarding.
I guess I’m going to get stabbed now. 🙁
Lucifer’s Fall – Lucifer’s Fall
I consider myself to be a traditionalist when it comes to metal. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy my fair share of new bands, but I tend to go for the roots of whatever my current fixation is. When it comes to doom, for instance, while I love the newer sludgey/spacey strains, my favorite bands will always be Candlemass, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, and Reverend Bizarre.
Lucifer’s Fall are a traditional doom duo from South Australia, or “the depths of Hell,” depending on where you get your information from. Lucifer’s Fall is their debut full-length, and the traditional metal influences are immediately apparent; the title track begins with a high-pitched falsetto scream that would fit right in with any Mercyful Fate tune. Indeed, the influences are so upfront that it’s hard to not draw comparisons to other bands; while the band’s mission is to bring back the old sound, the way they go about it is a little problematic. “The Summoning” sounds like an unreleased Pentagram track, and “The Suffering Wizard” sounds like one of the early gothic efforts by My Dying Bride. I don’t expect anyone to reinvent the wheel here, but a little originality goes a long way towards separating the bands from the cover-bands; unfortunately, Lucifer’s Fall feel like they belong in the latter group.
That being said, the musicianship is pretty decent, especially considering there are only two members. The production sounds a bit better than your average home-demo; while not up to the squeaky clean standards of most modern production sounds, this is no basement recording either. All of the instruments are crystal clear, and there’s an ever-so-slight reverb on everything, which gives the music that old-school feel that Lucifer’s Fall are clearly going for. At times the bass and down-tuned guitar come out sounding absolutely titanic, particularly on the slower numbers, like “A Sinner’s Fate.” Deceiver, the vocalist, has a clean approach to singing that falls somewhere between the styles of Wino from Saint Vitus, and Aaron from My Dying Bride, which adds a sense of drama to the songs.
Lucifer’s Fall have done their homework, and play a sound that will certainly appeal to traditional doomsters, such as myself. I just wish they would have spent a little more time setting themselves apart from the rest of the pack; they still have a bit of work to do before they can really make a name for themselves. While the tunes are solid in execution, they are ultimately forgettable.
Nuklear Frost – Subjugation
Location: Minnesota, USA
Black metal was one of the first “extreme” genres of metal I got into, with Dark Medieval Times by Satyricon serving as my introduction. I was hooked immediately by the otherworldly quality of the music; there were medieval orchestral moments wedged between some of the rawest music I’d ever heard up to that point. The corpse paint, “necro” production, shrieked vocals and insanely fast drumming had a huge impact on me, and I’ve honestly never listened to metal the same way since that initial discovery.
Nuklear Frost are a black metal outfit from the great frozen northlands of… Minnesota! *cue dramatic music* Jokes aside though, they have released their debut, Subjugation, after 10 years of perfecting their craft. Thankfully, all that time has been well spent, as Subjugation has got to be one of the most exciting albums I’ve heard in the underground black metal scene in some time, especially from a U.S. band. Nuklear Frost play an intense, heavy, no frills brand of black metal that immediately plows its way through the sea of bullshit brought on by the invention of home recording software. “In The Name Of Nothing” is a fairly traditional sounding track, with a chord progression that sounds like many of the early Norwegian black metal bands, but with a slightly heavier tone. Most of the time, Nuklear Frost prefer to blast and thrash the listener to death, but there are some pretty haunting melodies as well, such as the super gloomy album opener, “Uranium Censer,” which moves at an almost doom metal pace.
The guitars and vocals are fast and vicious, but what really sets Nuklear Frost apart is the heavy bass guitar presence. My biggest complaint with black metal, particularly the more raw traditional sounding bands, is that there just isn’t enough bass; Nuklear Frost have addressed this issue, however, and for that, they have my undivided attention. The riffs are already strong, but add that rumbling bass underneath, and you have the recipe for some incredibly heavy black metal, in the vein of Craft and Tsjuder.
The production couldn’t have been handled better; every instrument is in your face, the vocals are menacing, and the listener will be leveled by the absolute brutality on Subjugation. Having a solid low-end is absolutely essential if you want to play heavy music, and Nuklear Frost have nailed it. Like the name suggests, Nuklear Frost’s music hits you like a weapon of mass destruction, and will leave you shivering in its wake.
Phobiatic – Fragments Of Flagrancy
Label: Unundeux Records
Technical death metal can be a tricky sound to tackle; on one hand there is the demand for extremely proficient musicianship, and on the other people still want something brutal that they can bang their heads to. Still, there have been many bands that have been able to achieve both of those demands, like Decapitated, Origin, and Deeds Of Flesh.
Phobiatic are a young German death metal band that aim to combine the modern technical side of death metal with the old-school side. Fragments Of Flagrancy is the band’s second full length record, and with it the bar is definitely set high for bands seeking to bring catchiness to the technical death metal arena. There are sweep-picked guitars, smooth bass lines that flow underneath the angular riffs, drums that help accent the ever-changing time signatures, and the standard death-growls. There are some insane time-changes, like the third track, “Ripped To Shreds”; you don’t really know where the song is going to head until you’re already a quarter of the way into it, but the execution is handled with surgical precision. “Downward Spiral” is a pretty frantic sounding track, with some fast-paced guitars that alternate between chugging and odd clashed notes; even when it slows down, “Downward Spiral” loses none of its intensity, and gives off a Nihility-era Decapitation vibe.
Not content in simply showing how good they are at their instruments, Phobiatic also have plenty of groovy moments that are definitely a nod to the old-school; “Abnormal Dilation” sounds like a tune by Formulas Fatal To The Flesh-era Morbid Angel, without necessarily sounding like a rip-off. “House In Cleveland” slows things down a bit, but is still a potent slab of groovy death metal brutality, giving the listener a break from the shrill tones of sweep-picking.
The production is up-to-par with just about any major label release you’d hear from similar bands. Really, with this kind of music it’s go big or go home when it comes to mixing and mastering, and Phobiatic have gotten a production that is topped only by their musical proficiency. It’s easy to get side-tracked by capturing the guitars, which are the real feature here, but the bass, drums, and vocals are all given an equal amount of the spotlight, creating a technical, but brutal, masterpiece of death metal. With an album of as high a caliber as Fragments Of Flagrancy, the majors would do best to pay attention to Phobiatic, as I’m confident they’re soon to be another buzz band.
Well, that’s it for now! Tune in next Wednesday to see what new demos we’ll have for you! In the meantime, drop us a line if you think there are any releases we should review!