Thursday, April 29, 2010

KRIG - NARCISSISTIC MECHANISM


Grinding their way out of South America are Brazilian grinders KRIG. With a blend of Death and Grindcore this quartet delivers a level of brutality that is rarely witnessed. Guttural growls, layers of crushing guitars and bombastic bass topped off with solid percussion, this is the proverbial 100 ton lead weight.

KRIG’s latest release is entitled Narcissistic Mechanism. This album is long on bombast and short on subtly. After opening with a rather progressive and melodic instrumental entitled ‘Folish Evildoers II,’ these merchants of metal push the pedal to 12 with ‘Dilacerated,’ ‘Mankind Dead Remains,’ ‘Not Being Hypocrite’ and several others. There are some elements of melody in ‘God is Alive’ and ‘End of Time’ but these compositions are more the exception than the rule.

The production values are quite good, as all the instruments are recorded well and mixed appropriately. Personally I could’ve used a little more bass guitar, but that is being nit picky. I must admit that this isn’t my favorite style of metal, but because of the production values I found this release to be extremely accessible. Please understand as I qualify this statement this is full on Grind/Death metal with elements of technical/Prog metal so don’t expect early Mortification. This release is more intense than that, perhaps more along the lines of I Built the Cross.

Mentioning the production values again, I can’t emphasize them enough, because of the quality I’m able to detect the direction and progressions that the music is going through. Since Daniel Corpse (vocalist) doesn’t screech/scream but uses the lower register to vocalize I just found that more pleasurable. Now someone will say ‘But Dagon uses that screaming style and you loved them!!’ well all I can say in my defense is that when you put out something the quality of Terraphobic it just pushes me to new limits.

I’ve also seen KRIG compared to Suffocation and Impending Doom. That might very well be the case but I will say this is one extreme disc that is done well. Fans of the genre will want pick this one up without delay. Narcissistic Mechanism is waiting for you.


8 AXES
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Saturday, April 24, 2010

DEUTERONOMIUM - STREET CORNER QUEEN/HERE TO STAY


Deuteronomium pushes the metal petal right down through the floor. They described their style of music as ‘death n roll’ and this album showcases it all. A double disc of ferocious intensity, heavy made to be played loud. We have Bullroser Records to thank for offering this slice of metal paradise to the metal public. A compilation of everything these guys have done prior to 2008’s latest album In the Midst of Battle.

If you already have their original releases you might not necessarily need to pick up this album. This is a complete collection of all things Deuteronomium, included is their debut album 1998s Street Corner Queen, their 1999 follow up Here to Stay also the 1997 Tribal Eagle EP. Elements of thrash metal, death metal, and 'death and roll' dot this collection so turn up the volume. The majority of songs are in the 2-3 minute range, which itself is very cool, short fast and to the point, maximum rock n roll.

If that wasn’t enough Deuteronomium re-recorded their song ‘Christ Addict’ for this special release. It’s different from the song 'Christ Addict' on Here to Stay. Both songs use the same lyrics, but musically this particular song is much more restrained, not death metal but strong power metal. There are some other re-recorded songs and b-sides made available here. In total 10 extra tracks are present and three of those were re-recorded from older versions.

Deuteronomium - Tribal Eagle (Live at Metbar Lenzburg) from MeSuAx on Vimeo.



This double disc album shines with strong songs with a lot of intensity and brutality. My favorite stuff is on Here to Stay. I almost think of Motorhead, now I realize ‘Head aren’t death metal at all, but the vibe still just hits me that way. I hadn’t heard these guys before, but when Bullroser sent this to me all I could do was play and replay the Here to Stay material. Just awesome, ‘death n roll’ indeed, it grooves and flies at top speed with a great instinct for hooks.

A big thumbs up for this re-release check ‘em out and enjoy some Finnish brutality.

8 axes
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Friday, April 23, 2010

JIMMY HOTZ - BEYOND THE CRYSTAL SEA reissue

From those who were around the ‘in the old days’ of Jesus music it seemed that the criticism was that the product was inferior. In some ways that might’ve been true. The production values couldn’t compare with the deep pockets of the major labels. So the sound of many early Christian rock albums just weren’t up to snuff.

That being the case even if the musicianship was up to the quality of their secular counterparts, chances were the production would obscure their talent in a wall of sonic mud. Well thanks to Matt at Retroactive he has started another new label, entitled Born Twice it will solely focus on reissuing classic Jesus rock from a bygone era.

Now for me to be honest I’d not heard of Jimmy Hotz before. Yet as I ravaged through my bible bookstore memories I did remember seeing this album before, about 26 years ago. It sat in the ‘demo’ section of my local Bible Bookstore, long out of print. At the time it wasn’t ‘heavy enough’ for me. Well with time comes refinement and greater appreciation, as I slipped an advanced copy into my CD player I truly felt transported Beyond the Crystal Sea.

If you’re a fan of Pink Floyd, Archangel, Yes perhaps Emerson Lake and Palmer than this album should be right up your alley. Beyond the Crystal Sea provides soaring melodies and ethereal moments of synthesizers and keyboards. However Jimmy provides a tasty and emotional lead guitar that he isn’t afraid to bring right on out into the open. His guitar romps are reminiscent of Phil Keaggy or Jeff Beck in style and execution.

I’ve heard Hotz vocals compared to early Peter Gabriel, when he fronted Genesis that might be a fair comparison. The music is of a more relaxed variety that has more in common with 1970 than 2010. Comparisons to Archangel shouldn’t really be attempted, Hotz plays electric progressive rock. Archangel has been more known for their acoustic prowess. It should be noted the Kemper Crabb, leader of Archangel, plays recorder on the instrumental track, ‘Alpine Magic.’

There are also two bonus tracks for nine songs total. ‘Long, Long Ago’ and ‘The Gates of Time’ are fantastic Floydian/Yes styled compositions that add a lot to the album. These additions provide a swirly dreamy musical tapestry that will have hitting repeat on your player more than once.

Yes the production is a bit dated yet it is a reminder that this album was made for love. It wasn’t produced for some type of top ten splash in any market. This album is a labor of love that continues to please those who are lucky enough to unearth it.

Beyond the Crystal Sea is not for everyone, but it is a reminder of the purity and honesty of what Jesus music was in 1979. An art form that hadn’t been completely watered down or corrupted by the selfishness of man. Enjoy this release and take a journey Beyond the Crystal Sea.

8 axes
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

UP FROM THE ASHES 3 - AUGUST 2010




The year was 1985, the Metal scene was alive and thriving, many magazines and fanzines were popping up to cover the latest and greatest in the metal scene. Magazines like Metal Edge and Spin would rise to the top of the rock and metal scenes in covering the hard rock and metal scene and excel at it for many years. But only one magazine would rise to the occasion of exclusively covering the Christian hard rock and metal scene. One magazine that 25 years later is still alive and thriving today, ‘in a print format’, which is a huge accomplishment, amidst the many ongoing changes in the ways we promote music to the world today!

Join us for one special weekend as we celebrate 25 years of Heaven’s Metal Magazine! Two days of heavenly metal from artists that have in the past, and still do today, grace the pages of Heaven’s Metal magazine! But wait, not only will we be celebrating 25 years of Heaven’s Metal magazine, we will also be celebrating several seminal anniversaries from some of the key artists that helped shape the magazine, many of which still continue to grace the pages of the magazine today!

Featuring performances from Deliverance celebrating the bands 25th Anniversary, Bloodgood celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their ‘Metal Missionaries’ EP, Once Dead celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Vengeance Rising’s ‘Once Dead’ album and a special reunion marking the 25th Anniversary of Stevie and the Saints!!!

Not enough for you? How about performances from New Mexico’s very own Ultimatum in their only California appearance! How about Indiana’s very own Grave Robber in their first and only Southern California appearance! Still want more? How about performances from Klank, fasedown, Stricken, Souljourners, Troglodyte Dawn, Fellguard and I built the Cross!

August 28th and 29th at the Vault in Temecula California, Limited tickets are available for this very special once in a life time event! Join us as we celebrate the Anniversaries of some of the most influential artists in the Christian Metal and Hard Rock Scene and one of the longest running print rock magazines in the industry, Heaven’s Metal!

For full details and ticket information visit http://www.tvsomata.com/thevault/ or www.roxxproductions.com

Also be sure and check out the Official UFTA3 My Space for up to the minute news and updates! http://www.myspace.com/ufta30810

Friday, April 9, 2010

ULF- ENTERTAINERS & SOLDIERS


Ulf Christiansson has been around Christian music longer than most. Being the front man for hard rock stalwarts Jerusalem the name of Ulf has been synonymous with some great driving rock n roll. The songs he’s written are some of the most classic in Jesus rock, 'Man of the World,' 'Dancing on the Head of Serpent,' 'Sodom,' 'Time'; the lineage is long.

Well Entertainers & Soldiers apparently was going to be a new Jerusalem album, but instead it became a solo release. Using just his first name ULF has released a solid rock album. One will immediately hear the influence of U2 on many of the tracks. Not always as obvious as on prior releases, but the specter of Bono and company still looms large.

Yet my favorite song doesn’t strike me as being U2 influenced, Kings & Spears has a great soothing chorus melody that reminds me of some of Phil Keaggys songs. It rocks but doesn’t shake the roof. “It’s Not Easy” opens the album in fine fashion, yet even tho the guitar is there it seems to go off into some pop explorations. ‘Rip my Heart Out,’ ‘Godspeed to You’ and ‘Die to Myself’ fall into a mix of rock with overly melodic choruses. There is a great mix of rock and well crafted pop sensibilities as well.

As strange as it is to say, there are many times that Ulf sounds like Phil Keaggy as far as vocal delivery. Smooth and melodious, is not always something that is associated with Ulf’s vocal style. Usually he brings a much harsher delivery but here his vocal really blends well with the material.

The production is clean, not over produced but it sounds right. Lyrically topics of self sacrifice, dying to self, Wisdom, and being the same on the inside as out are given the Ulf treatment. Always biblical, but done in a way that is tasteful and not clich├ęd.

Fans of Jerusalem should dig this release. It was originally released in 2003, but Retroactive took it on which will allow this album to see fresh light. Ulf has crafted a disc that is exceptional and memorable. He allows the songs to breathe and grow instead of just shoving them into some pre-made sleeve. Album oriented Rock it’s called, AOR, which moves the heart and soul with a message of perseverance and hope.

7 axes
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MORTIFICATION - ENVISION EVANGELINE


Mortification is a band that it seems that most people love or hate. It seems that those who aren’t that fond of the band these days are stuck in Death Metal gloom or so it seems. The rationale usually follows that the bands best material were their first three discs because ‘they were heavy and brutal’ and nothing else since then has been ‘up to snuff.’ In the other camp are those, like myself, who love HEAVY METAL and realize not every song must be 1000mph with guttural barking.

Those distinctions are important because as I come to listen and review Mortifications 1996 Envision Evangeline it must be noted that this IS NOT a death metal album. Quite simply this release brings the best heavy metal elements into one package. Power metal, Groove Metal and elements of Progressive and Thrash metal make this one superb piece of metal work.

Opening with the very Iron Maidenesqe and, in my opinion, early Rush like title song. ‘Envision Evangeline’ runs eighteen minutes with multiple movements. Reminiscent of a classic Maiden epic or early Rush prog adventures, this song tells the story of the Last Supper and Crucifixion, Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Intelligent lyric writing complements the strong metal atmospherics of the music. ‘Envision Evangeline’ is a powerful song that shares a powerful story.

Immediate standouts from the other seven songs are pretty obvious “Northern Storm” with its groove inspired riff is simply crushing. As a matter of fact I have to be careful not to get the pit going here as I listen (My wife hates that!). “Noah was a Knower” is another obvious bit of musical intensity that also contains some great lyric writing. Steve showing a rather dry bit of humor with the line “100 of real hard work/Noah sat down and had a Coffee!” Hits my funny bone every time.


“Peace in the Galaxy” brings another groove inspired riff that just rocks. Lincoln Bowen offers some rather tasty lead playing here. A solid tempo change breaks the groove then it breaks back down into a rather slower paced section with more Bowen guitar chops ala Maiden. “Jehovah Nissi” also brings a groove inspired riff which just screams. “Crusade for the King” and “Chapel of Hope” provide more solid metal support.

‘Buried into Obscurity’ is the only real barn burner here, pure grind, great riffs and solid playing. The Metal Mind reissue I’ve obtained also includes 4 live tracks and fantastic 16 page booklet with a rather lengthy talk of Mort’s past and a retrospective; however it doesn’t specify who wrote it. The live material I would guess was pulled from one of Mortifications DVD releases but that is only a guess as the notes don’t specify.

The Metal Mind reissues are on gold discs for better sound reproduction and are limited to 2000 pressed. Mine is number 645. All brothers of the metal fraternity should be picking this one up. However if you’re one of the haters who think every Mort album must be Scrolls part two just pass on this so we won’t have to hear your complaining. This album is a classic in its own right. Yes I did say classic. I love it.

10 axes
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket