Vulcain – Vinyle

Formed in 1981, French Hard Rock trio Vulcain found a new lease of life and reformed in 2009 after over a decade away. Their new album Vinyle (Season of Mist) comes five years after their comeback album V8 and very much continues where they left off, namely the coarse and slightly punky brand of Hard Rock and Metal that caused critics to dub them “the French Motorhead” – no doubt helped by Daniel Puzio’s gruff vocals. Continue reading

Kontinuum – No Need to Reason

Formed 2010 in Reykjavik, Kontinuum set out to release hypnotic and spiritual musical noise, and over the course of the last two albums, they’ve largely succeeded. However with third album No Need to Reason (Season of Mist) they’ve set out to tone down the noise part and have come back with a much more refined sound. From the first album Earth Blood Magic (Candlelight) and an upbeat and eclectic mix of post-rock and dreamwave influences to the more epic sounding, Sólstafir worship of Kyrr (Candlelight) they’ve clearly been a band not afraid to experiment with their sound. Continue reading

River Black – River Black

Formed after the demise of Burnt By The Sun, River Black release their eponymously titled debut on Season of Mist with a line up featuring Mike Olender, John Adubato and Dave Witte of Burnt By The Sun, and joined by Brett Bamberger of Revocation. Continue reading

Crippled Black Phoenix – New Dark Ages

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British Post-rocker Crippled Black Phoenix return with their Pink Floyd worshipping EP New Dark Ages on Season of Mist.

At nearly six minutes the opener ‘Spider Island’ is mere runt compared to the lengthy remaining tracks, however, It’s shortness does make it the most immediate and accessible track. Opening up with a guitar tone which immediately put me in mind of Host by Paradise Lost. Coming quickly after are low lamentful vocals delivered at a slow pace which remind me a lot of Alice in Chains.

Title track ‘New Dark Age’ sounds exactly like what you’d expect if Dave Gilmour had been jamming with Mono. The track itself builds almost continually with a notable spacey feel mixing with the doom. With the occasional breakdown relieving the pressure, the songwriting is simply stunning here: giving the listener the feeling of a spacey soundscape, before finally building to a crushing crescendo.

The two-part cover of ‘Echoes’ is initially a fairly faithful note for note cover, The main difference being it’s slower feel and tone more reminiscent of The Division Bell-era Pink Floyd than Meddle, and the inclusion of some interview tracks with Pink Floyd themselves. The cover itself is excellent but by the extended breakdown towards the end where it almost entirely dissolves into discordant nothingness and becomes borderline annoying at times. It must be said that the title track handled it better.

Part 2 of Echoes CBP Build it back up there’s a feeling of death and rebirth evident in the shift between the two parts. More evident is the introduction of newer elements of their own before the track inexplicably becomes a cover of ‘Childhood’s End’

Despite the delightful Pink Floyd Cover(s), it’s The title track ‘Dark New Age’ which stands out as far more interesting.

9.0/10

RICHARD PRICE

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Benighted – Brutalive The Sick

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While musical communities seem to vehemently deny that image has any impact on how they feel about certain bands, it’s almost impossible not judge which new album or a band is worth the time based on this very thing. Which brings us to Benighted. Their artwork and logo have hardly been an attempt to distinguish themselves from the hundreds of mediocre brutal death metal bands that churn out song after song, finishing with an album that better serves more as a spot the difference exercise than an enjoyably diverse entity. However, while their image is busy with clichés, their music stands as an entirely different beast.

That’s not to say they are smashing through the bounds of everything that makes death/grind what it is, but where Benighted shine is taking numerous well established elements and ramming them together into small timespans. Marking their 15th anniversary of this speed-induced musical decathlon race, the band has returned with their latest offering, live album Brutalive the Sick (Seasons of Mist) taken from their performance at the French Sylak Open Air in summer 2014.

Love or hate live albums, it is clear a lot of work has been put into this. Despite numerous line-up changes over the years on the bass, and most recently drums, this band are evidently boasting solid form as their tight performance shows little difference from recorded work. Particularly impressive is Julien Truchan’s vocals, backed up by Pierre Amoux. From gutturals to pig squeals, each style is executed with exceptional timing and ease, tying perfectly into frantic music racing along behind.

With the exception of the album title and the cries from the crowd between songs, you’d be forgiven for missing the fact this is recorded live. While it could be argued that Brutalive the Sick does not capture the true experience with their polished sound, there is a noticeable change in the production, an energy that is lacking on the studio works. While I can’t say it is different enough to justify existing fans rushing out and buying a copy, it does show that even after 15 years of releases Benighted are still working hard to earn their place in any extreme metal fans collection.

 

9.0/10

Benighted on Facebook

 

CAITLIN SMITH

Misery Index – Live In Munich

miseryindexlivecdWith Live In Munich, Misery Index have bestowed upon us little more than the opportunity to recreate the Misery Index gig experience in our very own homes. So, after setting up an ersatz venue in the biggest room in your house and inviting a bunch of predominantly male death metal maniacs to your place, you can press play and proceed to smash the shit out of your much-loved abode. That is, of course, unless you happen to find yourself standing behind the guy that’s taller than everyone else. Nope? Just me then… Continue reading