Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel (Album Review)

A couple of months back a good friend of mine introduced me to Ne Obliviscaris, and that’s when I hated said friend because simply no other band came even close to giving me the same “musical high” -or so to speak- that Ne Obliviscaris’ violin infused masterpieces gave me. Obviously I loved Portal Of I, it was what perfection sounds like. Now fast forward to last week when I finally got the band’s new album Citadel in my mailbox and I tore open the package like a fat kid would tear open the wrapper on a chocolate bar. I got my Citadel tshirt, my Citadel album, and my unwavering will to have my mind blown to pieces, put back together, and blown again ready.

I put the disc in my computer and started listening and my god was it good. However something seemed off, still does. I gave it a dozen more listens in my car on my way to and fro work, as well as on my way to client sites which happens way too often, also which gave me an opportunity to listen to the album more. I even forced my parents and sister to listen to the album when they inevitably had me give them a ride somewhere. Even with all the listens, something still doesn’t feel quiet right, I can’t put my finger on it really. Is it the way the tracks are organized within the album? That’s definitely part of it. Pyrrhic coming right after Painters Of Tempest – Part III didn’t give me enough time to recover from the elegance of the Painters Of Tempest trilogy, it just stormed in guns a blazing. That’s not to say Pyrrhic wasn’t good, it’s an absolutely stunning track, along with every single track on the album. For me at least the organization threw me off a little.

However everything I loved from Portal Of I is present in Citadel, and much grandeur at that too. The beautiful and at times haunting violin interludes are there, the insanely good bass chops that positively make me want to grab my bass and miserably fail at replicating the lines are still there, and within the tracks themselves, the blowing of my mind did occur, many times over.

Coming from Portal Of I, I expected something exactly similar, I didn’t want this formula to change, and sure enough Ne Obliviscaris know that, they know that they’re outstandingly good at what they do and they’ll keep doing it because there’s simply too much to explore in that medium. The only drawback to Citadel was the track organization. It just nudged the album’s flow for me a little.

Existentium – Decadent Desecration (Album review)

I have only listened to Existentium as Alhazred (their former name), and only to a song called Viral Fear which James Spaeth, their drummer, had me listen to when they first recorded, and I distinctly remember getting so hooked on this song that it eventually went into my everyday playlist. So when he told me that his band were making an album I was stoked, and rightfully so. Before I go any further, I can say up front that save for some very minor issues, this album takes the cake. The whole damned cake.



Next to a demo they released back in 2012, Decadent Desecration is Existentium’s first full length album that has just been released this month (March 2014).

Right from the get go, the album deceives you with an acoustic intro track that, at first listen, gave me the impression that this would be a progressive death metal album a la Opeth, or even a doom metal album. Make no mistake though, this album is pure, hard hitting death metal with a LOT of thrash metal influences, and I’m not sure if they intended this or not, but TONS of Hypocrisy influences, mainly in Chris’ voice, and in some of the riffs. Also Obscura influences. The best I can describe Decadent Desecration is that it is what happens when an orgy between Scale The Summit, Obscura, Hypocrisy, and Exodus happens. Lots of beards in there. Lots and lots of beards.

The album keeps up the pace throughout all the ten tracks, with one instrumental in between to keep things varied. Marrying outstanding bass work from Josh with James’ blast beats and everything complimented with Chris’ and David’s melodic work, departing the album at times from the raw brutality it is incorporating to a more melodic death tone, and at times more melodic than death, which manages to keep things interesting.

The mastering and all the audio work really is superb here, save for a few seconds in one of the tracks where the drums could’ve used a little more reverb instead of sounding flat, but again, that was for exactly three seconds in one of the songs that if you are not an audiophile, won’t even notice.

I can’t think of anything wrong with the album, it is a perfect example of how good experimentation can go. In this case I ended up feeding my ears melodies akin to Scale the Summit’s with growls like Hypocrisy’s and riffing between Exodus’ and Obscura’s. It’s the beautiful love child of all these bands with enough substance to stand out on its own.

While Existentium may be new, they definitely have the technicality and sound to make an impact in the death metal scene.

Decadent Desecration is available for digital download here and for physical discs and merch here.

Vesperia – An Olden Tale (Album Review)

I had honestly never heard of Vesperia until Morgan Rider sent me an email with their latest album, and boy am I glad he did. Considering my love for epic music in general, and death metal in particular, this album was a breath of fresh air.


An Olden Tale is Vesperia’s (surprisingly enough) second full length album, and I say surprisingly because I honestly thought these guys would have had a long line of albums to have expertly crafted something as epic as An Olden Tale.

The album greets you with an atmospheric intro that sets the mood going into the onslaught of folk music to follow with the tracks seamlessly going into the next keeping the same atmosphere throughout the entire album.

Vesperia proceed then to bombard you throughout the album with tight riffage and drumming, with guttural growls you are more likely to find in technical death metal bands rather than folk inclined bands, which contrary to what your first instincts may suggest, actually works really well with Vesperia’s music. Most of the clean vocals work and compliment the gutturals really nice, however in very few cases the clean vocals just didn’t sound right to my ears mainly in Home For A Rest. You’ll also find some harsh vocals and screams mixed in for good measure, which only further prove the vocalist’s versatile voice range.

Guitar work is splendid throughout the album, Frankie Caracci and Casey Elliott do a great job in moving this album from merely a folk metal album to more of a melodic death album as well, which only adds to the concoction of genres An Olden Tale can comfortably fit into. Notable guitar work can be heard in the album titled track, An Olden Tale, which also includes bearded men cheering with mugs of ale in their hands. Beer (Because beer.)

The drum work by Cory Hofing is equally splendid, offering just the right amount of blasts, jazzy transitions, and powerful beats that just make you want to go pick up a double headed ax and go slay yourself a dragon or two.

Nothing much to say about the bass in here, mostly the bass line follows the guitar line (which is impressive still) with the exception of the bass interlude in An Olden Tale. Morgan Rider does deliver nicely on his instrument.

Mixing folk, death, and black metal in a beautiful medley that will keep your ears entertained throughout the entire length of the album. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Amon Amarth, TYR, Korpiklaani, and Immortal (yep, Immortal), the album presents such weird elements all mixed in together creating an even weirder combination that mainly works great.

An easier way to think of Vesperia’s An Olden Tale is that it is the lovechild that resulted from Amon Amarth, Korpoklaani and Immortal having some sort of a threesome. Which is a lot more awesome than what I just said makes it seem.

You can purchase Vesperia’s An Olden Tale through here.

Alter Bridge – Fortress (Album review)

Well, they’ve done it again. They’ve made music so good that I had to get my ears checked, my jaw put back into place, and my pants washed. This year just got a million times more interesting now that Fortress, Alter Bridge’s new album, is finally out.


Let me try and describe to you how heavy this album is: This album is heavier than a ton of bricks… It’s heavier than the heaviest matter of the universe (not you, Gojira, you’re cool)… Heavier than the wrecking ball Miley Cyrus was swinging from butt naked in her shitty new video… Long story short, this album is heavy as fuck.

Now streaming on Metal Hammer’s SoundCloud account, Fortress is packed with 12 new, flawless tracks, and like I previously mentioned, it’s heavier than anything Alter Bridge has ever done before. I’m not going to do a detailed, track by track description because I want you guys to discover the album on your own, so I’m just going to give you a general overview of the whole thing.

It starts off with “Cry Of Achilles”, being one out of two “epic” tracks in there along with the title track “Fortress”, which happens to be song number 12. I’m saying that they’re epic because they’re the lengthiest and most technically and dynamically diverse tracks on the record. Between song number 1 and 12, the remaining ten songs are a cluster fuck of bad ass riffage, perfect guitar solos, drum beats and bass lines that would blow your head off, and what I’m pretty sure is the best vocal work I’ve listened to in quite a while.

Both Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy have contributed to the guitar solos on Fortress, and from what I’ve heard, I can say that Myles has pitched in a bit more than he has back in AB III, which is a good thing, because he’s capable of writing simple, beautiful solos that balance out Mark’s more aggressive approach to soloing.

Much like “Words Darker Than Their Wings” in AB III, Mark has switched places with Myles in “Waters Rising”, providing the main vocals for this brilliant piece. And if you’re familiar with Mark’s incredible vocal talents (listen to his solo album “All I Was” if you haven’t already), you’ll wish that he had more lead vocal input in Fortress, but hey, it’s better than nothing!

There’s some outstanding bass guitar work by Brian Marshall notably on “Peace Is Broken” and “Cry Of Achilles”, and Scott Phillips totally owned the drums on “Cry A River” and “Addicted To Pain”.

Personally, I think the heaviest songs on Fortress are “ Bleed It Dry”, “The Uninvited”, and “Farther Than The Sun”, while the more laid-back would be “Lover”, and “All Ends Well”.

Fortress is definitely the highlight of 2013, and it’s definitely gonna be played over and over in my car for a long time.

I would tell you what my favorite track is, but I haven’t even decided yet, so listen to the entire thing and you decide!

You can listen to the full album here courtesy of Metal Hammer.

(Review written by: Raymond William)

Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent (Album review)


Let’s just start this off by saying that I was (and still am) a big fan of Howard Jones’ vocal skills. I mean, the guy’s voice is fucking incredible. But sadly, due to health issues resulting from type 2 diabetes, Howard had to step down after 9 years of serving as Killswitch Engage’s awesome frontman.

Disarm The Descent is Killswitch Engage’s 6th studio album, following their second self-titled album back in 2009, featuring Jesse Leach, their original vocalist, as the new-old frontman for the band.

The main difference between this album and any other Killswitch Engage album (apart from the first two) is the vocals. Personally, it took me a good couple of listens for Jesse Leach’s voice to grow on me, but eventually I realized that it’s quite impressive, and fits the music perfectly. Leach has it all locked down; soaring screams, gritty-in your face-angry heavy metal singing, and beautiful clean passages that go hand in hand with the music. And if you’ve enjoyed all three styles of his singing, then you’ll definitely enjoy the immense layering work that’s been done, combining those styles to create depth and variety that make the songs even more impressive.

Tight, rhythmic riffage has been a staple of Killswitch Engage’s sound for years now, and the album delivers exactly that, and it’s quite evident on one of my favorite tracks ‘The Turning Point’. All of the rhythm work is accompanied by excellent drum beats (notably Justin Foley’s blast beats) and is perfected by Mike D’antonio’s heavy bass tone.

And for the hardcore Killswitch Engage fans out there: Yes, there are a lot of squeals and pinch harmonics in there to satisfy your auditory needs.

As for the quality, basically, there’s this massive wall of sound that would make your ears bleed gravy the second you listen to any of the songs.

The sound is rich and full, and the songs are packed with Killswitch Engage’s signature melodic, catchy choruses, and a few epic solos here and there just to spice things up.

The songs range from hard and heavy like ‘Slave To The Machine’ and ‘New Awakening’, to a more relaxed style like ‘Always’, so the album offers a nice mixture of feels, or to be more precise…

All dem feels.

As a whole, Disarm The Descent is an amazing album, I highly recommend it, and now that Jesse Leach is back in the game, there’s no telling where Killswitch Engage is going next. Pretty exciting shit, I must say.

I’ll leave you guys with another favorite of mine off the album, hope you enjoy it!

(Review written by: Raymond William)

Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu (Album Review) (Written by: Raymond William)

At one point in my life, I used to physically attack anybody who dared to say anything unpleasant about Metallica. But nowadays, and especially after listening to this “What the fuck?” of a collaboration with Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed, I’m not certain about my future as a devout Metallica fan.

Basically what happened is that these two love birds met at Metallica’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and performed together live. So, with a stroke of uhm… a stroke of uhm… Well it was probably an actual stroke, they decided to do an album together where Metallica would provide the music, and Lou Reed would provide the lyrics and the “singing”.

And after a very long period of anticipation, sniffing out news about that project, reading excerpts from the songs’ lyrics, and listening to 30 second previews, this is what they’ve come up with: 87 minutes and 4 seconds of continuous ear rape (not the good type), accompanied by face-palming and several suicide attempts.

I’m not gonna be a total ass on this album and say it’s completely awful, but I guess I had a problem with it whenever Lou Reed decided to open his mouth; Every time I spot a glimpse of hope in any of the songs, whether it’s in the form of a good riff or a cool music idea, it would soon get crushed into the ground by what seems to be a 90 year old man having an orgasm for the first time in his life. There’s hardly any actual singing done by Lou Reed, it’s mostly just talking in a weird way, and James would get in on the action every now and then for some brief sentences like “I am the table”. Yes, he actually said that… I am the fucking table.

The album is quite similar production wise to Death Magnetic, I think they’re still trying to capture that “garage band” feel with the not so good quality of the sound. Lou Reed’s voice is flying too much over the top to the point where you feel like 2 songs got accidentally mixed together.

As far as guitar solos go, the album is solo-free, which to some people is a good thing. But I think that even a crazy impromptu wah wah-powered Kirk Hammett solo would’ve stirred some shit up in any of the songs.

The songs range in duration from 4 minutes to a whopping 20 minutes, which is definitely a new thing for Metallica. But sadly, the longer the song got, the less interested I became in finding out what’s going to happen next.

The guys from Metallica have clearly stated that this is not a new studio album, but after listening to it, my excitement for an actual studio album has drastically decreased.

I think the time spent on making this album could have been used in making a decent follow up to Death Magnetic. But hey, they seem to love the fucking thing and they can’t stop yapping about how emotional and fucking epic it is to them, so who am I to judge?

It’ll take my ears some time to heal, and a really long time for my memory to digest and dump this abomination, and to try and remember Metallica for the awesome metal titans they once were, and wish that they never pull off dumb shit like that ever again.

But for now, James Hetfield, if you’re reading this, all I can say to you is this:

Papa Het, I am disappoint.

And now I’ll leave you with a song from Lulu, it’s called “Frustration”, Lou says some weird ass shit like “To be dry and sperm-less like a girl” and “I puke my guts out at your feet” so you’ll definitely get a kick out of it!

Review written by: Raymond William

Myrath – Tales of the Sands (Album Review)

Myrath is a Progressive metal band hailing from El Zahraa, Tunisia, who blend beautiful oriental melodies with colossal progressive metal riffs, creating music that is bound to make your ear yearn for more!

Myrath’s Tales of the Sands was preceded by two equally beautiful albums, Hope, and Desert Call, all of which share the same formula of Oriental/Progressive Metal fusion. Adding more to the epicness of the album, it was mixed by Frederik Nordstorm (Dimmu Borgir, In Flames) and mastered by Jens Bogren (Symphony X), and this outstanding staff did a stellar job on this album, the clarity, and quality of Tales of the Sands is nothing short of amazing.

If you’ve followed Myrath’s career in the past, you’d probably know how they also sing in Arabic in their songs, though this wasn’t prominent in Hope, and not as much in Desert Call, Tales of the Sands introduces more songs with Arabic lyrics, most notable of which being “Beyond The Stars”:

كونتي لحلامي جهار بهار
زينتي عمري وأيامي
خليكي معايا ليل ونهار
خليكي معايا ليل ونهار

That is just a sample of what you can expect, lyrics-wise from the album, I personally find the use of Arabic poetry along with their equally fitting English lyrics a mix that adds a lot to the album, making it unique to all the other Progressive Metal acts out there.

The band members are more than capable with their respective instruments, shown throughout the entire album, with not one riff similar to the other, and are all quite technical, especially the bassist with the small bass interludes present in most songs, most of which, all instruments are turned off with the bass blazing alone prepping you mentally for what will happen next, from personal experience, that was one of the very few “Eargasms” I’ve experienced, the solos are amazingly fitting to the music, and the drum work is very nice for the genre, and also with the oriental percussion present in almost all of the songs, you won’t feel like the drums should’ve been faster or anything.

One of the songs I really enjoyed in the album was Tales of the Sands, the way it starts, melodically, moving your body to the music, with the riffing behind the melody making it necessary that you should headbang! Also, Tales of the Sands is the first song in the album featuring Arabic lyrics, that are again, nothing short of spectacular.

The album concludes with Time to Grow, which starts off with the keyboards doing a bit of an electronic solo that progresses on to the rest of the song, with the rest of the instruments working equally perfectly, staying loyal to the original feel of the album, creating a mix that is enticing and captivating. Near the end of the song, during the guitar solo, the bass rips off into another solo while the keyboard is still working its magic until the song ends.

In my personal opinion, Tales of the Sands is one of the best Oriental Progressive Metal albums to grace 2011. Leave your thoughts of the album in the comment section, was there anything that disappointed you in the album? Did you wish they had done something else? or are you as satisfied with the album as I am?

Ouroboros – Glorification Of A Myth (Album Review)

The Australian metal scene has always been one not to spit out a shit load of metal bands, but one to give out only few, and that few is of premium quality, Ouroboros is no exception to this.

Ouroboros (Pronounced: Oh-ro-bo-rus) is a 5 piece Technical Death/Thrash metal band from Sydney, Australia. While not much is known about when the band actually got together, they started touring live in 2007 with releasing a -now sold out- EP titled “A Path To Extinction”. More can be read about the band on their official Facebook page.

The album initiates with “Black Hole Generator”, first thing I noticed was how crisp the guitar sounded, rarely ever a feat of Technical Death, or Thrash for that matter, but it gives the entire album a refreshing sound that’s not found anywhere else. Black Hole Generator starts off with showing how technical the album will get, the riffing on here is ungodly, and so is the bass work, though on most of the songs, the bassist seems to just follow the guitar line, however, in Edifice Of Tyranny, there’s a nice bass solo in there that compliments the rest of the song perfectly. Ouroboros also incorporated other musical styles in the album, apparent in Lashing Of The Flames where it concludes with a Flamenco-ish part that is haunting and beautiful altogether. Drum work on the album is amazing, shining mostly in Disembodied Mind, which also has a bit of an Egyptian feel to it in terms of melody, which brings me onto my next point, the guitar solos throughout the album are all melodic, fast, and beyond technical, and all compliment the feel of their respective songs completely, which isn’t the case with most bands nowadays, where if you’re just fast, you’re good, Ouroboros prove that they’re fast, good, and are capable of making music you won’t get bored of after a lot of listens.

The album is self produced by the band, which is surprising for the amazing quality it delivers. All in all, this is a very solid entry for Ouroboros, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see them getting bigger and bigger!

Ouroboros are:

Evgeny Linnik (Vocals)
Mikhail Okrugin (Guitar)
Chris Jones (Guitar)
Michael Conti (Bass & Backing Vocals)
David Horgan (Drums)

Go here for merch.

Opeth – Heritage (Album Review)

Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal act that managed to keep that alive and going, despite what you may have heard of their latest tenth studio album, Heritage.

The album starts off with the wonderful Heritage, an introduction fit to prepare you mentally for what you’ll be experiencing during the album, while the “Death” portion of the “Progressive Death Metal” is not very apparent, due to the lack of any of Mikael Åkerfeldt signature growling we all love, but the music itself has some Death metal elements, or at least those present in most of Opeth’s older work, such as in The Devil’s Orchard, the music is too grim to be, as others put it, progressive rock. Although it may seem that Opeth have taken a path akin to Porcupine Tree’s, which isn’t bad at all, since they managed to keep the Opeth feel within the entirety of the album, and Slither is a testament to that very claim.

Musically, the album delivers, and it delivers well, the bass work is nothing short of what you can expect from an Opeth album, Mendez’s Jazz-y licks are present throughout the album, but since the album is a bit “slower” then the usual Opeth stuff (minus Damnation) the bass, as well as the other instruments aren’t as fast (D’OH) as the older Opeth songs, though just as technical. Axenrot, for the second album he partakes with Opeth, delivers a stellar performance, the drums are well constructed throughout the album, highlighted mainly in Haxprocess, and Famine, the drum arrangements in these tracks are marvelous! As well as the percussion used in Famine, which delivers the album’s grim feeling perfectly. While it is saddening to know Per Wiberg has left Opeth, though he has done the keyboards for this album (minus the first track Heritage, which was done by Joakim Svalberg), he does a memorable, and amazing performance in this album, complimenting the feel of the album perfectly! Fredrik Åkesson, as he did in Watershed, still does in Heritage, I don’t know exactly who played the solos in Heritage, whether it was him or Åkerfeldt, but if it was in fact Fredrik, then he has certainly done a great job! Especially in The Devil’s Orchard and Folklore!

The album concludes with Marrow of the Earth, a wonderful piece that will sink deep in your hearts, reminiscent of Ending Credits, and further proves how Opeth have not lost their way, they have simply added a few modifications that have made the album as wonderful as it turned out to be.

Overall, this album can be considered (or at least that’s how it is to me) as a progressive/jazz attempt to make another Damnation, and by all means, Opeth have nailed it! I also found the absence of the growls rather refreshing (don’t get me wrong, Åkerfeldt’s are the most brutal growls I have heard, next to Decapitated’s ex-vocalist Sauron) but had he growled, it wouldn’t have fitted the feel of the album as did his clean voice.

Lastly, I leave you, my dear readers, with the song I enjoyed the most from the album.

Amogh Symphony – The Quantum Hack Code (Album review)

Remember those old video games, when they used to glitch, and you’d end up with bits and pieces of every level where you’re playing? Well, Amogh Symphony managed to do just that, with music, in a really, really outstanding way! Right from the heart of Mumbai, India, Vishal J. Singh took the progressive metal scene by storm, and added a shitload of other musical genres in there!

Brutality at its best

The very first track starts off with Chela Harper introducing you to the story behind which the album is based, it’s a bit reminiscent of The Matrix, in the sense that mankind has failed, according to some “Operation Uncertainty” referred to during the first track, and now the humans can’t handle the sun’s rays, and were preserved in dormitories, with their consciousness still intact, but this can not last for very long…

The music then takes you on a roller coaster of musical genres, a beautiful blend of Jazz, Progressive Death Metal, some Classical bits, and Dark Electro (think Tesla, meets Scale The Summit, meets Meshuggah, meets Decapitated!), music wise, this album is flawless (kind of wraps up the whole review right there!) the Guitar work is amazing, shows how Vishal is a really capable musician, and song writer, the Bass is nothing short of brutally infernal! Vishal does a mixture of jazz’s slap and pop, along with the many jazz-y transitions found all over the album, in every single track, and mixes brilliantly with the electronic bits, which are very apparent in Osiris 1, and Decoded: Karnosiris, which both mix the blood pumping dark electronic beats with the brutally smashing bass riffs played to compliment the music perfectly, and with the drums done by Jim Richman never failing behind, keeping up with Vishal’s ungodly riffing, be it in the jazz bits, flamenco, technical death, or even the electronic parts, Jim did manage to do a stellar job on this front! Vishal really does use every single genre he introduces in the album to his advantage, including some middle eastern bits, with usually weird transitions, sometimes even glitches, and I found those particularly engaging and addictive, when you suddenly hear the music lagging and a new genre comes in, you’re usually left jaw dropped from how amazing that transition was! Jim uses middle eastern percussion in there as well, along with some electronic music, mainly in Polymorphic Infection: Releasing Proteus.

X-Karna: Activated is probably the track I enjoyed the most, along with Osiris 1, and Decoded: Karnosiris, but the reason behind X-Karna was the amazing bass licks in there, ranging from jazz-y slap/pop to technical and fast, along with the keyboard part in the middle of the track where it gives you a glimpse of hope, that this new AI will aid humanity, slowly moving from just a keyboard piece, to a more of a blues-y transition, with some electronic music again complimenting the music perfectly, and then a Guitar solo goes in with what I can honestly say, starts off with the most beautiful bend, and progresses on to go to another middle eastern interlude ending the track… What also caught my attention, was during Dvorzhetskii’s Prophecy where the music was going, slow, yet enticing, and then all of a sudden, it glitches, and goes on to be like as if Vishal is taking us back with him to the start of the story, as if the first part is what happened at the end… The album concludes with The Collapse Of Q-Web and Osiris 1, a beautiful track that forsakes the death metal music, and embraces outstanding, yet depressing keyboards, and bass complimenting the feel of what the world has become, in Vishal Singh’s The Quantum Hack Code’s universe.