Music Review


[Album Review] TESTAMENT – “Dark Roots of Earth”

When we talk about thrash metal bands from 80’s, the “Big Four” are the first to come into everyone’s mind. I have no doubt about the stakes of Slayer and Megadeth in Big Four. I love them and I don’t fucking care about anyone’s opinion. Talking about Metallica, their first 4 albums were great (though I hear them quite seldomly). But after that, they were not as good anymore. But I respect Metallica a lot and I don’t have any problem in placing them into the Big Four. But when it comes to Anthrax, it’s difficult to say, you might call me a big con, but Anthrax is nothing great in the Big Four. I mean, unlike the other three bands, I don’t find Anthrax music amusing. But there are few other thrash metal bands which born in 80’s and are nothing less than the Big Four. Survived the 90’s and still continue to release albums that can tear the hair, the beautiful losers: Exodus, Testament and Overkill.

Testament, the American thrash metal band formed in 1983 by guitarist Eric Peterson, the only constant member of the band. And since early 90’s, Testament faced numerous changes in their line-up. Finally in 2008, after being in a dark hole for 9 years, they released their 9th studio album, solid and reassuring, “The Formation of Damnation“, with a line up carrying two of their original band members, who left the band in early 90’s, Alex Skolnick(guitar) and Greg Christian(bass). Later, it was named as fourth best album of the year 2008.

Well, I am not here to arouse the Big Four or The Formation of Damnation. I am here to talk about Testament’s latest albumDark Roots of Earth. The only change in line-up this time is over drums. Since Paul Bostaph had some serious injury, Gene Hoglan filled in as a drummer. When I saw its album cover for the first time, I was dumbfounded. The album cover is totally satisfactory. 10 of 10 for sure.

From the beginning, it pulls the hair with a pretty good force. Rise Up is not genius, but it is fast, catchy, and cut to the scene with its big chorus, “When I say rise up , you say war “, may have a lot of success in the mosh-pit. The title track shows clearly how the group is so comfortable in their thrash, and particularly reassuring. Chuck Billy still has a great voice and Gene Hoglan provides a beast behind the drums.

But this is an aperitif, as the group presses the accelerator with the following title, Native Blood. This track is breathtakingly horny, fat in fat, heavy and has melodic passages between the sudden accelerations. With the brutal course, True American Hate, Ultra-fast, pulling the death into pure killing. Undoubtedly, these two are the best tracks of the album!  A Day in the Death and especially Man Kills Mankind, has interesting and effective refrains.

Afterwards, of course, there are the titles of fillings, but lacks a bit of juice, especially towards the end of the album. With too long Throne of Thorns, that tapes for seven minutes, really, nowhere near to Native Blood or True American Hate. I am not saying it’s disgusting. But the group is capable of much better.

Plus the bonus with the CD / DVD gives us four more titles, Dragon Attack (QUEEN cover), Animal Magnetism (SCORPIONS cover) and Powerslave( IRON MAIDEN cover), and an extended version of the already too long Throne of Thorns .

The album is darling but not inventive. Definitely not the Trash of the year. In short, Dark Roots of Earth, endorses the approach taken by their previous albums, a good vintage Testament, good thrash, melody, the correct dose of beatings and solos pretty well knitted. A little on autopilot anyway, but reassuring and comfortable.

4/5

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhVtI7CeG2M%5D


Shits which came out this year and has shown NO MERCY

First I thought of making a list of best albums of 2012 so far. There is hell lotta shits came out in this year, some of which stuck in my mind for weeks. But then I came to realize that I am quite reluctant in making lists. So I decided, I will post those 2012 albums which I have been listening recently. Because I don’t wanna get killed by someone whose favorite album is not in the list. To make things clear, this is not any kinda “top albums so far” or something. This list may turn out to be a little different if you ask me tomorrow. 😛

And yea, this is not in any particular order. I made this list pretty quickly, wrote whichever album came first in my mind. So, here we go. Holy fuck! That “so” rhymed with “go”. I am a fucking poet. 😀

Okay, sorry for that 😛 . Here,

1.  IHSAHN – EREMITA – [Progressive Metal]

Former Emperor frontman, Ihsahn, a genius musician, crafted his solo album titled “Eremita”. Groovy riffs, Emperor-era blasts with keyboards, Jorgen Munkeby’s saxophone adding layer of brilliance and beautiful chorus melodies. This is scary, heavy, beautiful and ugly, making this weird shit worth listening.

2. STILLBORN MESSENGERS – SIGHTLESS – [Djent Metal/Hardcore]

Stillborn messengers is a french Hardcore, Metalcore, Djent metal act. They released their first EP this year. Sightless has astonishing guitar riffs, heavy drums, amazing and intense vocals, heavy, brutal and beautiful at the same time.

3. MESHUGGAH – KOLOSS – [Progressive/Tech Metal]

Here, GO! -> Meshuggah – The Metallica of Present Time.

4.  AHAB – THE GIANT – [Nautical Doom Metal]

Ahab is a nautical doom metal band from Germany.  It is difficult to find a band as dark, as slow, as strong, as brutal and as ridiculously heavy as Ahab.  If the link is not dead yet, listen full album here.

5. THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH – THERE’S NO LEAVING NOW – [FOLK]

Apart from other albums, this one’s no metal. Here GO! – > I Don’t Wanna Go Heaven, coz I Am Graced Already – THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH

6.  TESTAMENT – DARK ROOTS OF EARTH – [Thrash Metal]

Testament! Enough said.

7.  GOJIRA – L’ENFANT  SAUVAGE – [Technical Death/Thrash/Groove/Progressive Metal]

Here, GO! -> Any GOJIRA album is a good GOJIRA album

8. PERIPHERY – PERIPHERY II – THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL –  [Progressive/Groove/Djent Metal]

American Metal band Periphery, popular with their Djent sound, released their second album last month. Periphery II is a lot heavier and catchier than their first release. Many would say “vocalist sounds gay”, “their sound’s no heavy” and blah blah blah.! But, I love Periphery  and I love Periphery and I love Periphery and I think you’ll like them too.

SHITS I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR [Upcoming Releases]:

                 SWANS – THE SEER           KATATONIA – DEAD END KINGS        SYLOSIS – MONOLITH


What good you can get from a lousy night? Well, i got EXIVIOUS. :D

Yesterday night, i had nothing to do. So i went on google and after a while, cogitating with my mind, i finally wrote “interesting music websites”. Then i clicked on this link: Top 10 Ways to Discover New Music.Yea some of the links wont work. Then i explored every music-recommendation website posted in that column. Most of the sites use last.fm API and looked almost the same. So i went on reading comments. There i found www.musicroamer.com. This one is also last.fm integrated site but kinda fancy looking. I mean its graphically-build recommendation cloud is pretty handsome. They asked me to write an artist name to begin with. So like every other site i tried before, i wrote “Blotted Science”. A good-looking recommendation cloud popped out. Among those, i had already heard of  Spastic Ink, Ron Jarzombek, Gorod and Behold the Arctopus. So i clicked on Exivious and then went on its last.fm page. The page says “Exivious isn’t an over the top math metal band and certainly isn’t a loungy jazz combo either. But expect everything in between!”. I was curious to discover what is in between? So i played Ripple of a Tear on youtube. And my plans of having a good night sleep were devastatingly doomed. I kept on listening the whole album all night long. Good experimental jazz-fusion metal music and awesome guitar works. Guitarist and front man Tymon Kruidenier, also the member of renowned metal act “Cynic”, has done a good job in translating highly technical riffs onto jazzier template. It is one the most amusing technical jazz fusion i have ever heard. These guys know how to play and this album rightfully exhale their class and skill. Go listen to Exivious. I highly recommend it.


Any GOJIRA album is a good GOJIRA album

Well its Gojira’s new album. Yea, GOJIRA’s NEW ALBUM. Okay enough said. Show’s over. Go home. Wait wait! Let’s talk about this new album. Its almost autumn and if you are here with me then I suppose you are in a desperate need of a good metal album. Aren’t you? Hang with me for 2 more minutes and you will get your martini.

Usually I don’t find French metal bands appealing. But when I heard Gojira for the first time, I was balled over. I still remember the day when I heard Gojira’s “global warming” from the album “From Mars To Sirius”. That killed me. That starting guitar riff. God, I was floored. If you haven’t heard this track yet, stop whatever you are doing, listen global warming, then come back. It was “From Mars to Sirius” in 2005 and “The Way of All Flesh” in 2008 which made Gojira to come into metal picture. And since then, Gojira has consistently received praise from both critics and fans and now that they are getting global recognition, getting what they deserve, makes me feel more happy.

After a long tour of three years for their chaotic album “The Way of All Flesh,” Gojira returns with a great new album, as intense as its predecessor, their debut album on Roadrunner Records, titled ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’. “When you become a musician, you don’t have a boss telling you what to do so you have to be very responsible,” said Joe Duplantier, singer/guitarist/songwriter of Gojira, exuviating a little light on the title and its meaning. “With freedom comes responsibility, so I’m asking myself, ‘What is freedom? What does it mean to me?’ ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ reflects on that. There’s no answer though. There’s just life and questions.” Lyrically, this is what the album is all about.

Vocally, Gojira hasn’t lost anything. Joe is a bit more melodic this time. And emotions in his voice are still the same. Some say he has a robotic kind of voice but I feel his singing became a little better. A bit more human this time. Personally, I always like joe’s voice and it perfectly fits into their sound.

The first single of the album, the title track ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ was released on this 27th April. In this, Joe describes his relation with society, indulging power with emotions. I heard it the day it was released. Mario Duplantier’s drums at the start. They knocked me out. I mean they will immediately hit you. Because they are for real. Mario is a much underrated artist but he is a great drummer in the metal world. Then on 4th june they released their  2nd single of the album, titled ‘liquid fire’. Catchy guitar riffs. Lyrically awesome: “The second I was born I found a shelter deep in my own. I ventured further out on the edge of the glacier. This is how we talk to the world”. Finally, album released on 26th of June. Here is the track by track album brushup:

Explosia. Bloody Explosion! Awesome track to start off an album. A pretty long track for your vein prolusion. Total chaos.

Axe. Starts with astounding guitar riffs. “I’ve been a victim to the blade against myself. Bloodletting all of my soul”. “All ghosts dwelling in, inside, in the heart I see them all, release their shadow”. Basically ‘Axing’ your suck-up life.

The Wild Healer. This, in the middle of the album, very much different than other tracks, inducing repetitive guitar riff, with some flirting in between, creates a full atmosphere of the track.

Planned Obsolescence. Very thrashy at start. But in the middle of the track somewhere, becomes completely different from what it had begun with, open and screamy at the same time.

Mouth of Kala. Describing river of time, which goes so fast, changing over and over, terrorizing youth and humanity. The music is awesome too, rightfully portraying the terror.

Gift Of Guilt. Guilt is filled with every aspect of the society. Either you can die with shame or sorrow or cause devastation with your power. Musically, it’s the proper ‘Gojira’ version of The Wild Healer.

Pain is a Master. Plainly, it has Pain, Life, Survival. Slow intro, which apparently goes heavy afterwards. Manifestly experimental music throughout.

Born in Winter. Nice, calm, post-rock type music with toppings of Joe’s melodic voice [Yea there is ‘Gojira’ in between but just for a while 😉 ].

The Fall. Well, to keep it simple, the album started with a chaos and ends with chaos with some romancing in between :D.

Overall, the album is a masterwork. I expected much from this album and it has over-lived up to my expectations. It is rare to find an album so drove, yet so darling. I hope your martini tasted good! 😉

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV8z3H-9Dy0&w=300&h=200%5D


I Don’t Wanna Go Heaven, coz I Am Graced Already – THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH

With the debut recorded in various living rooms, making a minimalist music with roots in an ancient tradition by the name The Tallest Man On Earth, Kristian Matsson, the young Swedish songwriter, hidden behind his sorcery spirits, puts his guitar on and gets off the magneto. Once asked why he chose such a big name, he said, “It’s great to have a huge name for one of these “small” music.” Well, I tell you, you won’t win listening his “small” music, but will remain a little double-locked in his log cabin.

He has a very uncanny voice, as if his throat is curled a bit at the end, and when you hear it for the first time you will probably not like it (I know I didn’t) but take my word for it and let the music grow on you for a day or two. Once that happens, the same songs will sound like the best you have ever heard, makes you shudder at the thought of impatience to hear the album in its entirety. Because sometimes when you listen to some good music, you don’t really care what’s going around.

Three albums in the space of six years is a brisk pace for an artist. However, what separates the grain wheat of Kristian Matsson from the rest of the melodic chaff is his consistently high quality of all the guitar pluckings and his sandpaper voice, in a direct line from folk virtuoso, Dylan, sounds more polished than ever.

His third album, There’s No Leaving Now, is mostly recorded at home over a stint of 5 months. There are some small refinements in this new album. With the addition of woodwinds, drums, and additional fingerpicked guitars to the mix, giving his songs a fuller sound, making it even more difficult for the listener to defend himself. There’s No Leaving Now is an adventure close to home, the sound of someone exploring a nature trail in his own backyard. Every song has a different gait, still picturesque. Lyrically, the album is a chef-d’oeuvre. To cherry-pick 3-4 songs is the hardest part. Still, my personal favorites are: “To Just Grow Away”, “Revelation Blues”, “1904”, “Bright Lanterns”, “There’s No Leaving Now” and “Little Brother”[6 out of 10. Almost the entirety :P. In this album, every track is a gem].  “Little Brother” was the first song I heard. “Why are you drinking again little brother. When your ramblings the hard part of loving you. You say the creek and the fogs wanna drown you. But there are deeper wells where we’re going to”, was enough for me to fall in love with this tallest man :P.

Excerpt from the cosmos of Matsson, There’s No Leaving Now is a beautiful gift to us, proves that his songwriting has not aged a bit and is still as gently touching.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36f-tN9F264&w=350&h=220%5D


Meshuggah – The Metallica of Present Time

When knowledgeable people begin to talk about progressive/tech-metal, Meshuggah is always one of the first bands to be spoken of. Meshuggah unequivocally needs no introduction. Spanning their 22 year career, inventors of “djent”, inspiration of almost every djent metal band out there, this Swedish band is doing something more diverse, making all these wannabe Meshuggah bands obsolete.

Djent (silly word for “sounds like Meshuggah”) is one of the most dominant sounds in metal today (at least for me :P), and it’s a sound Meshuggah pretty much created. After releasing ObZen in 2008, they have been quite low whistle. Now they have returned to their rightful throne with 10 new tracks in their latest studio album titled “Koloss”, blended with poly-metric jazz fusion and death metal aggression. If you love djent sound and if your veins were animated when you listened to “ObZen”, it is so impossible NOT to listen Koloss.

A little more than a month ago Meshuggah were happy enough to release the tracks “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion” and “Don’t Look Down” to the world as a sneak peek preview of what Koloss is gonna be like. These two tracks with nerve thrashing riffs and with Tomas Haake’s lyrics over it is the perfect combination for the fans and enough to build fury and hunger for the full length album release. The album opens with “I am Colossus”, sheer anxiety, exhausted, but unstoppable. “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance” and “The Hurt That Finds You First” are the fast ones, absolutely vicious. And then come the gems of Koloss – “Marrow” and “Demiurge”. When I heard them, I was like, yeah this is it. This is Messuggah. This is some serious shit. This is heaven. This is kick-my-ass-every-damn-time-I-hear-them. 😀

I don’t know if Koloss is the “best” album Meshuggah has ever made, but it’s by far the damn craziest, and is surely an early contender for the best album of 2012. A kid today, hear the songs “Morrow” or “Demiurge” or “Do Not Look Down” or “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion” and might think, “ohh, this sounds like ..[a djenty band].,” but someday day he will realise this is a trillion times better, especially after they’ve had the album stuck in their head for weeks.

Koloss” was one of my most anticipated albums of 2012, and after digging through every nook and cranny I could find, I was absolutely justified in feeling that way. In short, Koloss is everything it needs to be — a treat for fans like me and a bible for the bands just getting into the genre. Okay now enough said, Meshuggah lovers will seek out for Koloss, and to those who don’t, the “Koloss” will come seeking..

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBmCaRP_oDk&w=320&h=220%5D