I know, I know. It has been a long time since the last time we made one of these.
I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the problems have been solved and that Metal Blast will once again dedicate space and time to releases that would otherwise go unnoticed. We are certain that there are a lot of bands out there just waiting to catch a break, and we just hope that we’ll be able to help them achieve that goal.
Welcome back and enjoy!
[section label=”Lord of Giant – Dust Demon/Woman”]
Lord of Giant – Dust Demon/Woman
Label: H42 Records
Germany has always been a hotbed for metal and hard rock, producing some of the most esteemed and influential acts in heavy metal history, such as Scorpions and Kreator. One genre that hasn’t seen a whole lot of action from Germany, however, is stoner metal/stoner rock; Mönchengladbach’s very own Lord Of Giant hope to change that with their new 7” single, “Dust Demon/Woman.”
The two tracks presented here have a very strong 70s psychedelic/hard rock vibe, without feeling too gimmicky, a feat that is achieved by an excellent modern production sense. These songs deserve to be blasted at top volume, smoke pouring from the speakers, adding to the haze that usually accompanies listening sessions of this kind of music. “Dust Demon,” on side A, is a little more classic rock feeling, with a healthy dose of your basic stoner rock a la Kyuss or Clutch, and plods along at a medium pace, before going into overdrive in the last minute with a mammoth riff. Side B, however, is a slower and murkier affair, with a riff that easily could have been written by Matt Pike when he and his bandmates in Sleep were writing their classic album, Holy Mountain. The vocals took me by surprise, and, admittedly, are a bit of an acquired taste; the best I can describe them is a mixture of Nick Cave and Neil Fallon of Clutch, a bit more baritone than I’m used to hearing in this genre. The drums have a swing to them that makes you bob your head automatically, which is a sign that the drummer is doing his job; the bass guitar is nice and fuzzy, and does a great job of giving the riffs a solid low-end foundation to march on.
“Dust Demon/Woman” has certainly caught my attention, and while there isn’t any reinvention of the wheel going on here, the material is strong enough to make me want to delve into Lord Of Giant’s back catalogue. Lord Of Giant is being lauded as “the new hope for the German 70s rock/stoner scene,” and I say rightly so, and certainly look forward to hearing more from them.
[section label=”Dim Aura – The Negation of Existence”]
Dim Aura – The Negation of Existence
From the first barrage of reverberated toms and crushing hammer of scooped guitars, The Negation Of Existence instantly calls back to old-school black metal classics such as Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Israel black metallers Dim Aura follow up to their 2010 EP R.U.S.T. with a new full-length that serves as a decadent celebration of all things dark, depressive and of course, black.
Unlike many contemporary metal artists who aim to cram life back into black metal by pushing it into unknown territory, Dim Aura take all of their most celebrated and infamous elements and cranks them up to eleven. They make no bones about their traditionalist attitude, which is a fresh change amidst the neverending tides of blackgaze, blackened punk and other experiments in the current black metal scene.
In spite of the above, the band’s upbringing alongside old punk records particularly shines through in the songwriting, creating some impressive genre fusion. The tradeoffs between hardcore d-beat and frenetic snare blasts in the fantastic drumming really shows the band’s influences in a more subtle way than an overt genre clash. The punk influences also expose themselves through vocalist H’s performance: distinctly black metal, but reeking of Guy Piciotto in its almost goofy delivery, sounding more fitting for a Charles Bronson record. Although it’s hard to hate the vocals, the clash between the unmoving wall of instruments and the staccato, rhythmic vocal delivery feels somewhat ungraceful (even if grace is the last thing they aim for, with the record filled with depraved riffs, corrupt drumming and an insane vocalist tying it all together).
If you’ve ever wanted to hear what Nails would have sounded like if they were around in the nineties, this one’s for you.
[section label=”Heid – Voces de la Tierra Dormida”]
Heid – Voces de la Tierra Dormida
Whenever I think of Spain and metal, my mind immediately goes to Mägo de Oz, the bizarre band from Madrid that mixes some folk elements with heavy metal sound and aesthetics. Although I was never a fan, in spite of which I still subjected myself to one of their excruciating concerts, I could certainly recognize the potential of their recipe. What I never imagined is that I’d see the same elements used in a Spanish black metal band, let alone that it would work. And yet, that’s exactly what Heid accomplished.
With a sound that is at times reminiscent of the likes of Finntroll and Moonsorrow, Heid have put together an EP that truly highlights their ability and potential, not only as musicians, but also as storytellers. Made up of 5 songs, and clocking just under 30 minutes, Voces de la Tierra Dormida takes the listener on a journey through Spanish history and mythology, immersed in the raw power of their music.
It is really refreshing to see an Iberian band that does not aim to sound like somebody else, but rather is willing to find their own sound. When aiming at extreme metal, particularly of the black metal variety, it is easy to be intimidated by the zeal with which some want to “protect” its integrity (in this case, Norway circa 1992); the fact that Heid were decided to depart from the norm, mix some of the Norwegian growling and riffing with bagpipes and flutes, and tell a story that does not involve Satanism or demonology is a ballsy move. Believe me, they make it work.
Although Spain might be underrepresented in the metal arena, it is not because of a lack of talented musicians. Haid have made that abundantly clear.
[section label=”Storm Cry – Beginning Of Darkness”]
The debut EP from Italy’s Storm Cry does exactly what any indie released EP should do: whet the listener’s appetite for more without giving too much away. The band establishes a certain quality threshold that, while showcasing serviceable licks and a proper grasp of their genre’s conventions, leaves room for the band to breathe and grow into themselves.
While there is nothing here that stands out as particularly new (this ground has been largely conquered by Soilwork and other Swedish melo-death troupes), Beginning of Darkness is nevertheless an enjoyable spin. It showcases some solid work from vocalist Roberto Bindi and a good sense of dynamics from the rest of the band that will definitely serve them well as they move on toward bigger things.
The cover art and overall digital presentation is nothing to sneer at either. Storm Cry present themselves very professionally on all fronts and are definitely setting their sights high. Melo-death fans, keep your eyes peeled for these guys in the coming months.
– Matt Miller[section label=”Ravage Rose – Cool is Everything”]
Rating: Avril Lavigne fans will love it.
The reasons why I’m taking the time to review this “hard pop” single, Cool is Everything, are twofold. On the one hand, if Ravage Rose themselves, or their inept PR, won’t even take the time to look at the kind of music we cover and still send me their demo, they should have to deal with this. On the other, they give me a good opportunity to bitch and moan about what they represent.
As a metal fan, there are a number of things that piss me off about the current state of music and society in general. My grievances go beyond merely being old and pretentious, refusing to accept new things. They actually have to do with the cheapening and commodification of what once was the rebellion that existed in heavy metal. Ravage Rose, a “hard pop” band from Trondheim, Norway, are prime examples of what I’m talking about.
Sporting studded leather jackets, skulls, an inverted cross top, tattoos, long hair and a Flying V guitar, Ravage Rose are the kind of band that was made to play the “party” scene in a coming-of-age movie. Exuding socially accepted rebellion, they produce a non-threatening sound that is just hard enough to allow moronic teenagers to feel like they’re sticking it up to authority, while still reassuring their parents that their child is a complying idiot.
I don’t give fuck about the music made by Ravage Rose. If they play pop, r&b or jazz, and make money off of it, more power to them; that’s the magic of the free market. My problem is seeing that they are a symptom of a society in which we have come to accept rebellion as a fashion statement: Let mommy take you to the mall to get your ears pierced, your hair dyed, and your inverted crosses. Be unique by being like everyone else, oppose the system by being one of its cogs. Live your life knowing that your passage through it amounted to being no more than a sheep on the way to the slaughter.
Well, that does it for now!
It has been a long time, but it’s great to be back in business. We would like to thank all of the bands who submitted their material for review. We were fortunate to get some good releases this week, so I think you should definitely check them out (except… that one).
If you have a release that you’d like to have reviewed, do not hesitate to contacts us!