Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands

Oh look, Hate Eternal has a new album on the way. Sweet, let’s see how long it takes before I run out of adjectives to describe brutal Death Metal. On Upon Desolate Sands (Season of Mist) I think I made it to ‘Portal of Myriad’ only to realize I was running on fumes. I’m not sure what kind of pact Erik Rutan struck up with Cthulu, but it’s given him access to enough pulverizing song ideas to power seven long-players and produce countless Death Metal standouts. Continue reading

Howling Sycamore- Howling Sycamore

In contemporary terms when we think of Progressive Metal, often the first thought (and arguably nowadays the most prevalent style) is of the overtly technical, calculated and near mechanical sounding; that or the likes of Opeth with their marriage of extremity and growled vocals with progressive rock’s expansive structures and complex arrangements. Beforehand, years ago, progressive metal was arguably spearheaded by a vastly different type of beast; the likes of Queensryche with their thoughtful yet anthemic nature and armed with towering, often falsetto vocalists. Howling Sycamore certainly remembers this time well, as their self-titled début (Prosthetic) shows a love and influence from such time period as much as it marries with more modern stylings; creating a sound which in today’s progressive metal climate, actually stands out effectively. Continue reading

Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire

Alkaloid-The-Malkuth-Grimoire

In recent times there seems to have been a near endless influx of overtly technical, progressive metal bands, all seemingly trying to prove more complex than the next and in too often the case at the expensive of actual, memorable songs. New outfit Alkaloid do have a few aces up their sleeves however; namely Christian Muenzner and Hannes Grossman, formerly of tech masters Obscura. Joining them is a cast of huge pedigree containing members of the likes of Aborted, Noneuclid and Dark Fortress.

Debut album The Malkuth Grimoire (Apostasy) certainly proves a bold statement of intent, proving insanely complex throughout as it constantly veers through death metal, more melodic passages and even a Between The Buried & Me sense of jazz progression at times, ever changing throughout. ‘Cthulhu’ proves one of the albums more straightforward offerings with a mostly traditional death/doom metal foundation with layers of futuristic keys and notes on top. As technically impressive as it all is, it does require your full attention and several listens to begin to fully grasp and take it all in, and with its huge duration that in itself can be a tricky undertaking.

It may not be a ground breaking album in and of itself, as many its components and influences are easy to trace, many of which coming from its own alumni. That being said, it is all pulled off with precision and culminates in a promising debut, with enough skill involved to become a true heavyweight in the progressive Metal genre. Far from the most catchy or accessible, and its running time comes close to the ridiculous, but regardless, a very strong and very cohesive effort from an all star cast with a huge pedigree.

 

7.0/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL