Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for August


SonC logoMany thanks again to our buddies at Sonic Cathedral for sharing their reviews of the last month. In case you haven’t seen one of these posts before, we do a digest of their reviews. They specialise in rock and metal with female vocalists.

Everyone who is or wants to be anyone in FF rock and metal must, must visit Sonic Cathedral. They have a website/online store and a Facebook page. I don’t know any music site that goes into more depth in its reviews.

 

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Album Review: Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen


a3878480350_10For how much metal delves into histories of their nations I’ve always been rather disappointed that the Native Americans are so poorly represented.  Sure, there are songs about the Native Americans and even bands that capture the atmosphere of the spiritual aspects of Native American culture, but until now nothing I’ve heard has been full on Native American; capturing the history, the nature, and the spiritualism.  Having a large part of my heritage being Native American (I’m of Seneca descent and grew up in NJ, a Lenni-Lenape region) I’ve always had interest in Native American culture, in particular the music.  Naturally there’s always been a desire to want to hear the traditional music and tales blended with my favorite form of music, heavy metal (obviously).  So you can imagine my glee when I saw that our very own Irmelnis had posted on her Facebook wall a link to an album preview for Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen, a full on Native American metal band.  Not only did they come from a label I’m really starting to come to admire quite a bit (Bindrune Records) who hosts some amazing artist like Panopticon and Falls of Rauros but also integrate Lenape and other Eastern Woodlands Native American history and lore into their music.  Damn straight I went right to the Metal State inbox to see if we had gotten a promo of the record.  And oh yes we did, and oh yes am I more than content and have bought the entire discography already.  Where has this band been my whole life? Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Melodic & symphonic death metal


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Trying to pick out the very best death metal of the year so far was a bitch of a job. Of the many deathy albums we’ve been invited (and sometimes we’ve asked) to review, there are dozens I like. Eventually I decided the fairest approach would be to divide those albums into three groups – melodic and symphonic death; prog and technical death; and assorted death. That still left a pile of death to listen to.

Not that I minded, of course. Listening to and writing about music has become my consuming pastime since I sort of retired when I turned 65. Even so, I shall use one of the M-words to describe the nature of the task in hand. It was… no, not Majestic. Massive, yes. Monumental… yeah, that’s good because it fits so much of the music on my death row.

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Album Review: Soulfly – Archangel


SoulflyArchangelMax Cavalera has to be one of the busiest guys in metal at the moment; balancing three bands.  Soulfly’s 10th album, Archangel, continues the barrage of thrash they have perfected over the years.  We Sold Our Souls to Metal opens the album in blistering speed and angst followed up by the bone-crushing Archangel.  Despite a revolving door of musicians entering and leaving the fold, Soulfly manages to maintain a staunch level of continuity.  There aren’t any real surprises with Archangel, but in terms of band progression, album #10 is a step forward for the band compared to Savages and Enslaved.  Overall, Max Cavalera shows no signs of slowing down and Soulfly’s Archangel is evidence of that.  For a ripping good time…purchase, hit play, and try not to break anything.  3.75 out of 5

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  14 Aug 2015

Songs:  13

Length:  46 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Soulfly (1998); Primitive (2000); 3 (2002); Prophecy (2004); Dark Ages (2005); Conquer (2008); Omen (2010); Enslaved (2012); Savages (2013).

Location:  US/Brazil

Previous Album Reviews:  Savages, Enslaved, and Chaos A.D.

Album Review: Bullet For My Valentine – Venom


bullet_for_my_valentine_venom_eae2207cc6After 2013’s Temper Temper I was a bit skeptical about a new Bullet For My Valentine album.  When initial reports spread that Venom was more reminiscent of earlier BFMV, I thought it was enough of an excuse to buy new music and give it a try.  In short, what I heard was accurate.  The new material is much less “pop” sounding than Temper Temper.  This can only be a good thing.  After numerous spins, I find the first half of the album is stronger than the latter.  As the album played on, my interest dwindled a little bit. However, tracks such as No Way Out, Army of Noise, and Broken really kick up the adrenaline.  Worthless is one of their anger-management-I-hate-you power ballads BMFV does well.  Overall, Venom is a solid BFMV album that should please long-time fans.  3.5 out of 5

Album:  Venom

Label: RCA Records

Release Date:  14 Aug 2015

Songs:  15

Length:  58 Minutes

Previous Albums:  The Poison (2005); Scream Aim Fire (2008); Fever (2010); Temper Temper (2013).

Location:  United Kingdom

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Core


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Two-thirds of the way through the year, I find that the four unreviewed ’core releases I’ve enjoyed the most were all issued in the opening months of 2015. There have been many other good ’core albums in our Inbox, but these are the ones that call to me most sweetly. Two of the four are EPs, not full albums, which goes to show yet again that quality matters much more than quantity in music.

As always, my picks are sub-genres of the melodious and experimental ilk. That doesn’t mean I’m soppy, it reveals that I’m half hippie.

The albums and EPs are listed alphabetically by name of the artist. Any rating of 4 or more on Metal State equates to “Geez, gotta have this!”

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Tales from Bandcamp: M by Myrkur


a2196000438_10Since I received the promo for the debut record from Myrkur I believe I have hit a record for the amount of times I have written and then deleted my review.  This is by far from saying that there is little to say about the album.  In fact, there are lots to say about this groundbreaking record.  I just didn’t want to fall into cliché over-emphasizing that the record is a one-Woman project nor under-emphasize a solid female voice in black metal.  I didn’t want to beat the dead horse of picking on the kvlt elitists I’ve seen saying not such nice things about any black metal that isn’t Mayhem or Burzum (and then pretty much becoming no better than the elitists themselves).  I also didn’t play into Myrkur’s image which forgoes sexuality but delivers some much-needed femininity because it kept turning into a diatribe for a more balanced female voice in metal and that would be better left as a separate rambling and not a review.  I wanted to say how much I love the shamanistic and ethereal nature of M but that kept becoming a love letter to the finer facets of modern black metal and over-emphasizing Garm from Ulver’s involvement in the creation of the record.  I wanted to quote one of my favorite The Big Lebowski lines, the one where Maude talks about ‘vagina’, but it just felt hammy.  I would have liked to touch upon some of the alien and almost Lovecraftian nature of the heavier moments but just wasn’t able to clearly get my point across.

There was a lot I have to say, but lack of an angle I could commit to and some writer’s block just made me say fuck it.  However, a record this good should not go unrecognized regardless of my difficulty in writing up a review nor did I want to spend so much time on something and not produce anything.  So I decided to just shoot some words from the hip and post it up as one of my ever-so-famous Tales From Bandcamp posts to let you readers out there an opportunity to discover this great entry into the pantheon of black metal.  Give it a listen, share it with your friends, toss some money at the artist, and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: A Tunnel to Eden by Alustrium


a1122127405_10Album: A Tunnel to Eden

Artist: Alustrium

Location: United States

Label: Self-Released

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Release Date: July 24th, 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 1 hour 13 minutes

Studio Albums: An Absence of Clarity (2011)

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