Six To Rage 'n' Thrash By
Band: Arch Enemy
Band: Cadaver, Inc
Band: Lock Up
Band: Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy is one of those Swedish super-bands that seem to get better and better with each subsequent release. After Burning Bridges (their last album) we learned that they had lost their vocalist Johan Liva. Would the band be able to survive without him? Even more doubt crept into fans' minds when they learned that they chose a female to replace him!!!
The wait is over and the verdict is in: Wages of Sin is a winner! Not only that, Angela Gossow (their new vocalist) is MORE EXTREME than Johan Liva. I always thought Liva was their one weak spot. His vocals were rather bland, like someone imitating a death metal vocalist and doing a bad job at it. Gossow hits the mark perfectly though, sounding somewhat like an extreme black-metal vocalist the likes of Nocturno Culto from Dark Throne.
Musically this album is a bit slower than its predecessors, but all the addictive riffs and Yngwie-inspired leads are still in tact. The opening track "Enemy Within" will easily suck you into listening to the entire album. All in all there's only a couple fast songs on this ("Dead Bury Their Dead" and "The First Deadly Sin"), and although I love fast metal this album's sufficiently well-crafted that it's able to hold my interest all the way through. This is probably their best work to date. But then again I say that about every new Arch album. :-)
Band: Cadaver, Inc
Do you crave speed and aggression? Cadaver, Inc delivers on both fronts. The second you press the PLAY button you're hit with a barrage of noise and it doesn't let up until the CD is over. Earache made their mark producing grind/noise bands like Carcass, Napalm Death, and now the venomous Cadaver, Inc. The band has gained notoriety because their website is a very realistic-looking hoax of a company that specializes in cleaning up murder scenes and disposing of bodies.
PR antics aside, this album is actually produced rather well and has a surprisingly high degree of musicianship. Most grind albums are plagued by muddy production and sloppy guitar work. The vocals are standard grind fare though, like listening to a guy screaming through a cheap transistor radio. Nothing wrong with that. Not as if the lyrics matter, but a cursory review of the booklet will be enough to tell you that they're Carcass-inspired. I'd rather listen to this than the early Carcass albums simply because the production allows me to hear more.
This album is not for everybody, and although I always say "the faster the better", I still have to be in the mood to listen to this type of music. Buy this album. And keep a neck brace around just in case.
It has taken them over a decade to do it, but they have finally come out with an official Death concert video. Filmed at the Whiskey in LA during the band's final tour in 1998 and hastily rushed to production in 2001 (one wonders if they ever even planned to release a Death video), they tacked the second title Death & Raw onto this release probably because they were not satisfied with the sound and picture quality.
I will begin by saying the sound and picture quality really is not that bad, but this was obviously not professionally filmed and probably cost pennies to make. The video quality is like a very good home movie (remember The Blair Witch Project?) and the sound was taken straight from the soundboard. Nothing was edited or re-recorded in the studio. The sound is acceptable, but it's not as good as it could have been had they planned on actually doing this instead of just releasing stuff they had laying around. That being said, it is still a very energetic performance and worth picking up if you love Death.
The song selection is satisfactory. You really can not go wrong with any Death. Their last three albums are well represented here, but Death doesn't play much old stuff in this show. I would have liked to see a few more Leprosy and Scream Bloody Gore songs. I was at this tour and I thought I remembered them playing a couple more oldies, but at this show Chuck states that they were running out of time and had to cut a few out. Uh, ok. It is still a great disc though, and it's the only one out there so you have to buy it anyway.
Kreator is back. This is personally one of the most exciting releases of 2001 for me, being that Kreator is probably my favorite metal band and considering the pre-release buzz surrounding this release. I did not buy the last Kreator album (Endorama) because the word was that it sounded like the new Megadeth. The same band that unleashed the mighty Pleasure to Kill now being compared to Risk-era Megadeth?? That was enough to scare me away from Endorama. A year passes and Kreator records Violent Revolution with the intention of recapturing the speed metal crown.
Kreator has succeeded in making the comeback at which so many lesser bands have failed. This may not exactly compare to Kreator's older albums in terms of speed and aggression, but it's close enough to satisfy me. Most of the album is mid-paced with a fast song thrown in here and there. Overall I'd say this is even better than the other two big German thrash bands' new releases (Destruction and Sodom). The entire album is quality. The packaging, however, is not. I do not know how the US jewel-case version is, but the imported "limited edition digipack" and vinyl suck. The artwork is minimal, there's no lyrics or liner notes included, no pictures, it doesn't even tell you who's in the band for chrissakes. I know it's really Kreator though because they have a distinct sound and I'll leave it at that. Tasty cuts include: "Reconquering the Throne," "The Patriarch," "Replicas of Life."
Band: Lock Up
Lock Up started as a temporary super-band mixing members of Hypocrisy, Dimmu Borgir, and Napalm Death. Recorded in two days on a shoestring budget, they set out to record the most brutal, old-school inspired death metal they could conceive of. What results is a 29-minute opus of intoxicating speed and brutality. When I first got this I played it over and over and over at dangerously high volumes but through headphones so as not to wake the neighbors and destroy any windows. My eardrums never forgave me, but it was worth the trip. You may have chronic tinitus after listening to this, but you will thank me.
Although this was thought to be just a one-album deal, word has it Thomas Lindberg of At The Gates fame has taken over vocal duties (for Peter Tagtgren, who was unable to remain in the band probably because of his commitment to Hypocrisy and his recording studio in Sweden) and the band is prepared to record a new album! I am thankful we have this disc, but you won't hear me complaining about a new one. Lindberg's vocal stylings are much different than Peter's, however, so the old-school edge may be lost on the new one. We will have to wait and see. Until then, pick up this raging slab of wax and blow your eardrums to shreds.
I only listen to a select few black metal bands, but I love these guys. This is what black metal should sound like. No keyboard, the vocals are not cheesy, and the music doesn't even attempt to be melodic. Sure, they throw you the occasional melodic song intro (I do not know why), but believe me that is not what this band's about. Essentially every song is high velocity. It does slow down in parts of a couple songs, but only just long enough to keep the disc interesting.
The production is pretty raw, but I gave the "sound" rating here a 90 because it fits so well with the music.
I got the chance to see these guys at a bar in Clifton, NJ a couple days ago. They are now a three-piece (they had four members), but that doesn't take anything away from them. They may or may not achieve the success or the image of some of the more famous black metal bands (Immortal, Emperor, etc), but this is a quality album that shouldn't be overlooked by anyone who enjoys brutal, uncompromising black metal. Too many black metal bands are hung up on recording "beautiful, dark, gothic, insert lame Goth cliché here" type music. That is why most black metal does not appeal to me. Summon are not hooked on clichés, their music is brutal and relentless. Do yourself a favor and give these guys a listen.