Burn the Army – The Tide to Sink the Summit
Location: Indianapolis, US
When Isis emerged from the underground metal scene in the 90’s, they brought with them a new, highly experimental, approach to song-structure in metal. Elements of progressive rock, hardcore, jazz, and post-rock all fused into a new and exciting sound, dubbed “post-metal.” Isis have inspired a multitude of bands, and are continually cited as an influence by new and emerging bands, despite splitting up over 4 years ago.
Burn The Army play a form of post-metal that is very reminiscent of Isis’ approach to structure. The Tide To Sink The Summit quickly makes an impact, and will have post-metal fans foaming at the mouth. There are moments of colossal heaviness, as well as moments of serene beauty, and plenty of dynamic changes in time signatures and tones. Vocals alternate between guttural hardcore yells and emotionally riveting clean singing, which pair perfectly with the music. I’m often reminded of Panopticon-era Isis, but there are also elements of other genres that you don’t hear, even on an Isis record. “Sea,” for instance, has a lot of math-metal moments, with jagged guitars and jazzy time signatures that remind me of the early material by Botch; “And” sticks to a quieter guitar tone, similar to Mogwai, though the bass work at the beginning manages to still give an air of aggression, with its pulsing off-time rhythm and overdriven tone.
The shifts from light to dark tones are done with laser-precision, and left my jaw on the floor when I realized that The Tide To Sink The Summit is Burn The Army’s first release. The chemistry between band members, the absolutely fantastic production, all of it sounds like a band that has had years and years developing their sound. Just listen to the change from melodic hardcore, to chaotic math metal, and then super stoner-sounding sludge riffing on the final track, “End.” In less capable hands, it could have come off as really disjointed, and would probably fall apart, but Burn The Army are obviously master craftsmen. This will be a band to look out for, and I expect to hear great things from them in the very near future.
Wömit Angel – Holy Goatse
Label: Inverse Records
Finland has produced some of the most popular bands in black metal, such as Impaled Nazarene, Behexen, and Beherit. The sound has often been some of the rawest and most abrasive of the second wave of black metal, and has also proven to be some of the most controversial, thanks in part to Satanic Warmaster.
Holy Goatse is the second full-length album from young Finnish black metal outfit, Womit Angel, and they certainly like to stick to the simple, raw approach their fellow countrymen often prefer. Songs are fairly short, with only the opening track, “Serpens Cauda,” breaking the four minute mark. Although vocally Womit Angel stick to the high-pitched screams found in most of the genre, musically they are a slightly different animal. The drummer alternates between blast beats and d-beats that sound more like something from a crust punk band than a black metal group. The guitars have a punky feel to them as well, and with occasional leads thrown in, have an almost 80’s metal approach. “Nekorfilian Kutsu” is a great example of this, and comes off sounding almost like a black metal Motorhead track, though much less subtle in the lyrical department.
Womit Angel’s lyrics are a mixture of sadistic sexual debauchery and super satanic, anti-religious themes; everything is so over the top that it almost feels tongue in cheek. The music is certainly heavy at times (“Summoning The Spirits Of Agony” is a fairly straight-forward black metal tune) but the punk influences and the insanely offensive lyrics lighten the blow a bit. Womit Angel manage to give off an almost (dare I say it) “fun” vibe, and I don’t think are meant to be taken too seriously, sort of like Carpathian Forest. Still, if it’s all meant to be deadly serious, then Womit Angel may just be a little too much to take.
The production is pretty much on par with a modern punk rock record, with a heavy drum and guitar presence in the mix. The vocals are mixed pretty well, with dueling overdubbed attacks that range from high-pitched howling to guttural death growls, similar to Ceremonial Castings. Holy Goatse is a pretty respectable black metal record, and with its 80’s metal/punk influences, I’d go as far as to say that it stands out from the rest of the pack.
ANCKORA- ??????? (Extreme)
Label: Irond Records
As a rule I have very little tolerance for industrial acts, particularly since they seem to be made up of people who just felt electronic music was “too mainstream”, so they decided to get some “cyberlocks” and irritate their parents.
Despite looking the part of a Hot-Topic industrial band, however, Anckora offered a lot more than that. Taking cues from the likes of Rammstein and Megaherz (as it’s evident in the opening “Midnight”, which reminds me a lot of what Sehnsucht was all about) this Russian band delivers a heavy industrial music of the likes the genre really needs. As a genre that has been saturated for a long time with nothing but “dance”-centric acts who owe more to Steve Jobs than to any musical talent, the combination that Anckora put forward, bringing some elements of death metal (singer Katrin Antares can do some growling that would make her countrywoman Masha Arkhipova proud) to the mix is truly a breath of fresh air.
In addition to being performed completely in Russian, Extreme also shares other commonalities with other Slavic acts, such as the annoying trend of inserting fast-spoken pieces in the songs (“BreakAway” is a prime example of this). While this seems to be a regional thing (Arkona, Dark Princess and Welicoruss are guilty of the same thing) I really detest it, since I feel it breaks the whole rhythm of the song. While it doesn’t take away too much from the album, nor does it negate the quality of the other tracks, it’s distracting enough to warrant a mention.
Although the production could have been better (such an electronic-oriented genre will always benefit from a clean processing), and the songs aren’t all that memorable (there’s a certain video game soundtrack vibe to the album), Extreme is an interesting proposal that definitely deserves some attention. If they could just drop the angsty teen look…
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!