The Glorious Rebellion – Euphoric
Location: Orlando, Florida
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Following up on their 7” from a couple of years ago, The Glorious Rebellion are now putting out this six-track, ~20-minute album, Euphoric, to (presumably) remind people that they do stuff besides live shows. First track “It’s a Sucker’s Game, Kid” has a vague resemblance to the output of Godflesh shortly before that band’s first dissolution, with grinding guitar rhythms, pasted-in feedback, and electronically distorted grunts of dissatisfaction. “Emmett Brown Has Never Met a Scott That Wasn’t Great” (timely and clever!), follows in similar fashion, though with the vocal effects turned down and more cock-rocky guitar riffs.
It doesn’t resemble either the sludge or noise rock labels claimed by the press release so much as it does some blending of modern hard rock, the sort of country rock that predicates its appeal on advertising how big its balls are, and a main-stream industrial rock band from the ’90s, inheriting some of the weakest traits possible from that lineage. Dull lyrics (yeah, “Just close your eyes and put me down!” is a line interesting enough to bear repeating four times in a row, especially when it’s in a nu-country growl/drawl), uninspired riffs, and plodding drum-work amounts to something that seems to almost be laughing at anyone who would pay for it, let alone listen to it repeatedly.
That said, the production work is generally decent, the instrument channels are kept distinct, the instances of sonic muddiness seem intentional, and there’s maybe a full minute’s worth of moments in which the guitar-work aims for something more than just filling time. Overall, though, it’s tedious; worse yet, if they are aiming for some sort of ironic shittiness, they’re not bringing enough character to the effort to draw in more of a crowd than the adolescents for whom it’s a novel experience. Whether straight-faced or mocking, it pretty much sucks. An instrumental version could be OK, though.
Atlantis Chronicles – Barton’s Odyssey
Location: Paris, France
Label: Apathia Records
I’m a sucker for storytelling in my music, whether it’s Nile sharing ancient Egyptian texts, Bal-Sagoth spinning H.P. Lovecraft inspired yarns, or Blind Guardian penning tales of dragons and Middle-Earth. It could all be written off as a gimmick, however, if the music isn’t very good. In the case of Paris’s Atlantis Chronicles, you get some great storytelling, AND some pretty impressive technical death metal/metalcore, similar in sound to The Faceless.
Barton’s Odyssey, the latest release from Atlantis Chronicles, tells the story of a man named Otis Barton, who travels into the depths of the ocean. This tale is told through the lyrics, as well as non-musical interludes with a voice actor playing Barton reading excerpts from his diary. This story, coupled with the fantastic cover art by Par Olofsson (who has done work for Immortal, The Faceless, and Aborted) already captured my interest, but what about the music? Well, I can safely say that Atlantis Chronicles are just as entertaining musically as they are lyrically. The guitar-work is the real standout here, with sweep-picking galore, and plenty of time changes throughout each track. What I really enjoy here, though, is that despite the extremely technical nature of the music, it doesn’t feel like Atlantis Chronicles are showing off. The sweeps add an almost symphonic tone to the music (reminiscent of Fleshgod Apocalypse) that make everything sound larger than life, which compliments the story greatly. “Upwelling – Part 1” and “Upwelling – Part 2” really stand out, with melodic singing mixed in, guitar effects that sound like they were recorded underwater, and some fast, furious death metal riffs.
The production on Barton’s Odyssey is pristine, allowing for each instrument and the vocals to all shine brightly in the production. The use of keyboards when Otis is reading from his diary gives the album an even more aquatic vibe. Atlantis Chronicles have crafted a pretty harrowing tale with this record, and have backed it up with some pretty solid musical chops. If you like tech-death in the vein of The Faceless, or like epic-sounding storytelling metal similar to Bal-Sagoth, give these guys a listen.
The Mountain Man – Bloodlust EP
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
You can’t always judge an album by its cover, unless you see corpsepaint, inverted crucifixes, and spikes, in which case your assumptions are probably justified. The cover for Bloodlust EP by Vancouver’s The Mountain Man, however, looks like it could be the cover for some stoner/sludge metal band. This really couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as the music on this EP has very little in common with that scene.
The title track, “Bloodlust,” took me by complete surprise; instead of blues-based, slower than molasses stoner riffs, fierce The Black Dahlia Murder-esque metalcore came blasting out of my speakers. There are hints of melodic death metal (similar to At The Gates) in the riffs, but The Mountain Man also likes to throw in some pretty savage breakdowns, as can be heard on “Open Graves.” “Backhand Of God” and “Ghost” are a little closer to what I was expecting, particularly “Backhand Of God,” which has some truly Black Sabbath-worthy riffs, and moves at a glacial pace.
Bloodlust EP is a harsh sounding record, with a somewhat raw production. The slower moments could have used a little cleaning up in the mixing and mastering, since the lo-fi sound lightens the blow of the heavy riffs just a bit. Overall, though, The Mountain Man have put together a pretty enjoyable record, with some truly brutal moments. If you like The Black Dahlia Murder, but wish they had a little bit of a murkier tone, check Bloodlust EP by The Mountain Man.