Infernal Angels – Ars Goetia
Label: My Kingdom Music
Italy’s Infernal Angels are no strangers to the underground black metal scene. Formded in 2002, they have created some truly dark and brutal black metal, with a little dose of death metal added for good measure. Armed with a fresh line-up, founding vocalist Xes is set to release Ars Goetia, the fourth full-length LP for Infernal Angels overall, and the third on My Kingdom Music.
Opening track “AMDUSIAS: The Sound Of Hell” starts things off rather ominously, with some John Carpenter-esque synthesizers, and washes of ambient noise and electronic fuzz. This same mood is kept over the course of the rest of the record, which mixes moody atmospherics with raw, old-school sounding black metal similar to early Dark Funeral. The electronics and synthesizers are used very minimally, more as a means to add layers of sound than anything else; make no mistake, despite the presence of synthesizers, Infernal Angels are not a symphonic band. The intro to “PAIMON: The Secret Of Mind” is the only other moment on Ars Goetia that has a synthesizer-heavy section, but that quickly gives way to heavy, death metal-infused black metal, and feature guest vocals from Snarl of Black Faith.
There are melodic guitar bits mixed into each track that give the music a little more depth than your average “buzzsaw guitar attack” that can be heard on countless underground releases. There is a thick, noticeable bass guitar tone that provides a satisfyingly heavy low end, which, again, is something you don’t always get on a black metal release. With the use of synthesizers and melodic guitar bits, Infernal Angels distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack by adding a little mood to the maelstrom. The production is somewhat hazy, (intentionally so), giving the music an unearthly quality that will definitely appeal to black metal fans that like a little more atmosphere. If you’re a fan of Dark Funeral and Mgla, this record provides the perfect middle ground between those two sounds.
Fall of Carthage – The Longed-For Reckoning
Label: MDD Records
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if you stuck Breaking Benjamin, Machine Head, Chimera, and Phil Anselmo into a blender, and then made an album out of the results? Well, it would probably sound something like The Longed-For Reckoning, the latest release by Fall of Carthage.
Thrashy, groove-oriented riffs dominate The Longed-For Reckoning, which doesn’t quite fit neatly into any particular category, though groove metal seems to be the closest candidate. With vocals that range from angered screaming that channel Phil Anselmo and Max Cavalera simultaneously, to yarling (think post-grunge Shinedown/Seether type singing vocals), vocalist Sascha proves himself to be pretty comfortable in front of the microphone. There various electronic elements added to the tracks, giving them a modern twist, occasionally even giving the music a rhythmic, rap-influenced tone (check out the track “Whodini Peckawood” to hear what I’m talking about). “For The Soul To Save,” in particular, is a pretty all-encompassing track, with a little bit of everything you can hear on the album, packed into one song.
The production on The Longed-For Reckoning is major-label quality, with a super clean, sleek sound that emphasizes the vocals and the guitars. Fall of Carthage are good at what they do, but this album would benefit from just a little bit more focus, and maybe three or four less tracks. The mixture of thrash, groove, and hip hop isn’t bad, but there seems to be a feeling of wanting to not stick to one particular genre, so the album winds up sounding somewhat diluted. While I admire a band that wants to stretch out of their comfort zone, sometimes playing it a little safe is the best bet. I also feel that this album sounds like it’s about 10-15 years late to the party, particularly when trying to mix rap and metal (more in the way Korn did it, than Limp Bizkit). Had this come out in 2002, Fall of Carthage would have absolutely been kings of the scene. Still, there’s an honesty in their tone, and the riffs are pretty damn killer most of the time, so I can’t complain too much. If you like Five Finger Death Punch, The Cavalera Conspiracy, or Machine Head, give The Longed-For Reckoning a spin.