Album Review: Earth Diver by Cormorant


a2140768649_2When take a gander at some of the reasons some of my favorite bands have remained my favorite bands over the course of decades one reason always seems to take the forefront.  The ability to grow and evolve, not afraid to make dramatic changes, while remaining true to a core sound or style that initial made me a super-fan in the first place.  These kind of bands give me something to look forward from release to release as I know I am going to get lots of new alleyways and avenues to explore.  They keep their career fresh and I get a variety of albums to listen to (unlike just more or less needing a single album that sums up the bands catalog) all with different experiences contained within.

Enter Cormorant.  A couple of years ago when they released their sophomore album Dwellings my ears picked up on the unique blend of blackened prog rock tinged with hints of classic metal and instantly became a super-fan of the Bay Area band.  As par for the course, since I liked their current record so much I ponied up the cash for the back catalog expecting more of the same that was on Dwellings.  To my delight, their debut album Metazoa was a much different beast than the record I was spinning ad nauseam, yet was still very much a Cormorant affair.  They just needed a third record to prove they were the real deal and not just a fluke and they were pretty much guaranteed a spot in my coveted Realm of Upper Echelon Bands.  I was very much hoping this would happen.  Then tragedy struck; Arthur Von Nagal, the bands front man, lyricist, vocalist, bassist, and major songwriter contribute made the decision to leave the band to pursue in a career of video game development (FYI, that really freaking awesome Walking Dead game that won all them awards, he was on that team.  Go play games made by TellTale, their all great!).

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Roundtable Review: Sonus Mortis – Propaganda Dream Sequence


00_DigipakPhotosLabel:  Unsigned

Release Date:  1 Mar 2014

Songs:   11

Length:  63 Minutes

Genre:  Doom/Symphonic/Atmospheric

Studio Albums:   This is their Debut

Location:  Dublin, Ireland

WarpRider – Unsigned?  What shame!  I like the more melodic approach to this death/doom/atmospheric metal 1-piece act.  Often, these individual subgenres can be extreme, but under the right circumstances, together can be beautiful deathly hallowed music.  Sonus Mortis (the one guy); hit the nail with the hammer.  3.8 

Atleastimhousebroken – Neat-O album (horrible album art though.  Drop me a line, I’ll MS Paint you a masterpiece next time ;) ).  Went in expecting a Fleshgod Apocolypse/Septic Flesh rip off, left thinking that this album is near equal both those bands best albums.  While songs can meander here and there, the songwriting and performance is superb and packs a heavy punch when called for.  The vocals deserve special mention as they have that gut-rumbling quality I look for in my growly guy vocals. 4.0

Irmelinis – It was surprising to find out that this is a one-person-project. It’s pretty impressive considering this is an album packed with high quality songs and superb songwriting, in the same vein as Therion, Septic Flesh and at times even reminiscent of Devin Townsend. Recommended! 3.5

ChristopherMammal – This solo project by Kevin Byrne delivers the best blackened death-type music I’ve heard in a while. I’m sure my endorphin count went up to “Level: Bliss” while this album was playing. The overall impact is a smooth deluge of sound. But listen to the individual instrumental components – there’s an ocean of frigging good variation and skill, washing over you in swirls and drawing you in like a maelstrom. The same goes for the vocals, which span deep gutturals, higher-pitched growling, clean singing and gruff narration in an Irish accent. And all that from just one guy… fantastic job, Mister Byrne. 4.5

A Metal State of Mind Score – 4 out of 5 

Video of the Week: Reality Grey – Define Redemption


Reality Grey, an Italian melodic death metal outfit, released their second full-length album this week. It’s called Define Redemption. Judging by the title track, it’s an album well worth exploring. The band describes it thus: “A mix of technical death metal, fast blasting drums, catchy melodies and light speed guitar solos.”

The band previously released an album in 2006 and an EP in 2008. In the six years since then they have been building a following outside Italy. This album has the potential to expand their audience globally. They’re a class act.

The current line-up is Alex (bass), Albo (guitar), Claudio (drums), Tommy (vocals) and Anto (guitar).

 

Roundtable Review: Slaveatgod – The Skyline Fission


cover artLabel:  No Regrets Records

Release Date:  31 Mar 2014

Songs:   8

Length:  33 Minutes

Genre:  Progressive/Djent

Studio Albums:   This is their second full-length album

Location:  Athens, Greece Read the rest of this entry

Song of the Week: The Seer – Abhorrence


This song is the from debut full-length album, Prologue, by a brain-blasting Australian prog death metal band from New South Wales. They released an EP with the same title in 2011. The four members of The Seer – Ryan Huthnance (vocals and guitar), Allan Swaffield (bass), Mark Van Tongeren (drums) and Daniel McInnes (guitar) – have put together a fine selection of highly melodious songs here.

No faffing around. Australians don’t usually go for that, they get down to the business at hand the way their cricket team does most of the time. If you know cricket… er, metal… no, dammit, cricket… this song will either clean bowl you or hit you for six.

 

Album review: The Deadstation – Episode 01: Like Peering into the Deepest Ocean Abyss (EP)


DeadstationCoverLocation: USA

Genre: Progressive metal

Release date: 3 April 2014

Label: Self-released

Recommended to: Fans of many prog metal and crossover prog rock bands including those named in this review

The Deadstation spells its name in upper-case letters. I don’t. My keyboard is allergic to Caps Lock. The sound card, the headphones and my ears, however, are anything but allergic to The Deadstation. I experienced two immediate reactions after playing their one and only release. The first was: “Where are they hiding the rest of their albums?” The second: “Why aren’t there more?”

A digital version of the EP was released two years ago. The physical recording, which includes an additional song, runs to 34 minutes of grand music.

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What’s Cookin’ In The Inbox: 16 Apr 2014 Post #4


832mailboxIt’s been a little while since the last batch of music samples has been posted for your listening pleasure.   Now that I have had a nice break in career activities I found time to sift through a bunch of emails.  Below is an assortment of things that might interest you.  My goal, as it is most of the time, is to bring you bands that cross a broad spectrum of genres for your sampling enjoyment.  As always we give thanks to those that reach out to us.  Thank you for thinking of us.  Enjoy this edition of What’s Cookin’ in the Inbox.

Band:  Vie Jester

From:  Los Angeles, CA

Social Media:  facebook 

Other:  Website 

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Book Review: Bioshock: Rapture


BioshockWhen I first got wind of a tie-in novel, Bioshock:  Rapture, for the awesome videogame Bioshock (2007) I was eager to get my hands on it.  Author John Shirley, who is well-known in the sci-fi world, delivers the prequel to the crazy-ass, head-scratching, and often funny videogame.  I just didn’t know it came out back in 2012. Oh well, it’s never too late to read something you never knew existed.  Personally, I am glad this wasn’t just a novel version of the game itself though I would have read it anyway.  But, to see his interpretation of how the underwater city of Rapture got to be so fucked up…made sense and it helped me better understand the game and want to play it again.  If you are a gamer then you are probably well aware there are so many questions often left unanswered in the gaming world.

The story begins at the conception of Rapture…in the mind of Andrew Ryan who rose from poverty with the utopian idea of an underwater city where people were “free” to do as they wish without government restrictions or sanctions.  Ryan feared the firebombs of World War II were surely to explode over the rest of the world in just a matter of time.  His solution was to gather the best of the best and hide away in an underwater paradise as the world destroys itself.  Yeah, how could anything possibly go wrong? Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: The Golden Grass – The Golden Grass


GOLDEN GRASSLabel:  Svart

Release Date:  N/A

Songs:   5

Length:  37 Minutes

Genre:  Psychedelic Boogie

Studio Albums:   N/A

Location:  N/A Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s Merry Memories: Warhorse – Vulture Blood


Warhorse was a short-lived British band, releasing only two albums in 1970 and 1972 respectively. They started with talent aplenty but couldn’t hang on to it. Their keyboardist, the legendary Rick Wakeman, dropped out shortly before the first album, Warhorse, was due to go into studio production.

Neither Warhorse nor the follow-up, Red Sea, did well on the UK album charts. The band faded away into nothing by 1974. To me that was a great pity because they did some good, solid rock. It seems that even way back then, I was good at liking bnds that not enough other people did.