Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Foreshadowing - Seven Heads, Ten Horns (2016)

This is a band that I have totally missed out on, and if the new record "Seven Heads, Ten Horns" would have had such high praise from other people, I probably would have missed this one completely. Gothic metal in general is one of my blinder spots among the metal sub-genres, but I have discovered several bands in this genre lately, like Moonspell, Tiamat, Sirenia, and Paradise Lost. All of them has showed me that this genre is more than black emo darkness, that there can also be sort of a tragic beauty to this music, which is really fascinating.

The Foreshadowing originates from Italy and was formed in 1999 by guitarists Andrea Chiodetti and Alessandro Pace, and  keyboardist Francesco Sosto, but it was not until 2006 the band became complete, with the addition of the vocalist Marco Benevento, bassist Davide Pesola, and drummer Jonah Padella. Italy has its fair share of great metal bands, like Lacuna Coil, (Luca Turilli's) Rhapsody (of Fire), and Fleshgod Apocalypse, so of course, I hoped that The Foreshadowing would be able to hold the same standard.

"Seven Heads, Ten Horns" is the band's 4th full length album, and the initial expression I get from it is that it is massive, not that it is long or anything like that, but it is the grand sound that makes this album almost larger than life, and maybe even larger than death. The band does a great job in mixing the light and the dark in their music, a yin and yang formation that creates a harmony like no other. Comparing to other bands out there, I would say that Katatonia and Paradise Lost (without the harsh vocals) are the best description of the sound of this album.

What impress me the most with the band's execution is Marco and his vocals. Italy has a bad reputation of pronunciation problems and lack luster singers, but Marco nails everything that is thrown at him. His emotions are truly showing through, giving that extra edge that this album crave for. I would also like to compliment the band's newest acquisition, the drummer Giuseppe Orlando. His drum work is excellent, very progressive and exciting, and even if it does not take the center stage, my ears constantly soar away to those beats and rolls. A+ to whoever recruited him.

The song quality is high and even too, but it works as an disadvantage to the band, making it hard to separate the songs from each other. The only song that truly stands out is the final song "Nimrod", and it only stands out because it is a lot longer than the other songs (14 minutes, over 7 minutes longer than the second longest song). This is of course not a problem when you listen to the album in its entirety, but I am a guy who likes individual quality as well, so I would have loved to see one or two songs to really stand out and deliver. Still, this is only a matter of personal taste, so if you are more of the full album listener, congratulations.

There is no doubt that this album deserves all the praise that it has gotten, it is a dark, but beautiful album that has a lot of cool elements to it. The Foreshadowing really knows how to set the mood and create an experience that is truly magical. This is a well thought out album that captures its listener into a trance that is hard to break away from. A spectacular release that should not be missed.

Songs worthy of recognition: Lost Soldiers, Two Horizons, Martyrdom, Nimrod

Rating: 8/10 Ishtars

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990)

The year was 1990, and even if we were heading into a decade were almost all of the famous 80's metal bands dropped a lot of balls, the veterans in Judas Priest were already feeling the pressure. A lot of younger, hotter band had caught up and passed them, while the Brits had stalled with the double sandwich "Turbo" and "Ram It Down". But suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, the Priest rose again with a album that was harder, faster, stronger, and fiercer than anything the band has ever presented us with before. A album that once again showed the greatness of the band. A album called "Painkiller".

This is what I instantly think of when Judas Priest is mentioned, a band that wields the double guitars like they were on fire, and a Metal God that screams his lungs out. The band performs at such a high level that it is safe to wonder if they are Germany engineered machines. But what about the new drummer Scott Travis? He does an impressive job as well, and he wastes no time in showing it, kicking off the album with a slamming drum solo in the title track. About a super hero saving the world from complete destruction, "Painkiller" is probably the best opener you could ever think of with its killer riffs and solos, its loud drum work, and most importantly, a Rob Halford that pulls off the most evil, insane, and the most metal vocals man has ever heard. It is an insane song that gets your blood boiling and fist pumping, a kick off like none other.

So with such an awesome start, you would think that the album would be starting to slip after that, but somehow, it does not. The band spits out killer song after killer song with the frequency of a machine gun, and the ammo seems to be never ending. Let us analyze this in chronological order, "Hell Patrol" follows up the title track in straight forward fashion, a simple, but effective tune with awesome riffing. Then Halford raises his pitch again in "All Guns Blazing", a extremely powerful song that blasts the drums far into the stratosphere. "Leather Rebel" comes shortly after, the absolute catchiest song in the album (and that is saying a lot), and it also acts as a anthem to the band members and their leather style.

While the standard is still extremely high even after that, the three following songs ("Metal Meltdown", "Night Crawler", and "Between The Hammer & The Anvil") does act as sort of a breather for the listener. While being stellar songs and possible highlights if they had been in any other Priest album, it is easy to forget about them when the album is over because its brethren are even bigger, badder, and stronger, especially the song that follows this trio.

"A Touch of Evil" is a different song in this album. Instead of dazzling us with speed or killer riffs, Halford lures us in to a dark dungeon with his menacing vocals, and he is accompanied with synthesizers that are from Satan himself. I could almost describe the song as a ballad, but it is more of a psychological horror show, including a terrific chorus, and a solo that gives you the biggest of chills. I am on the edge of my seat all of the 5 minutes and 44 seconds, and I love every second of it. You simply cannot resist "A Touch of Evil".

That itself would have been a great closer to "Painkiller", but "One Shot At Glory" gets that job (together with the small intro "Battle Hymn"), and it does it with the honor. It is another speedy, riff filled monster, but this one has a chorus that gets you pumped up and makes your vocal chords move on their own, making sure that you end the album on the most positive of notes. And to top it all off, we also have a long and versatile solo that could go on forever. What... an... ending!

Judas Priest has released a lot of great albums over the years, but "Painkiller" outclasses them all. This album delivers a power that would make the Juggernaut jealous, and while the album has a clear sound that goes through all of its run time, it still presents a great versatility. However, what makes "Painkiller" so mindblowingly awesome (besides that kick ass album cover) is one simple thing, it packs 10 killer songs, having no dips or fillers in sight. It is pure awesomeness from start to finish. It's faster than a bullet, it's full of anger, it louder than an atom bomb, and it answer to our pleas. It is the "Painkiller".

Songs worthy of recognition: A Touch of Evil, Painkiller, Hell Patrol, All Guns Blazing, Leather Rebel, One Shot At Glory

Rating: 10/10 Battle Hymns

Monday, April 25, 2016

Only For The Week: Part 12

All of the songs on this segment is gathered in a Spotify playlist, you can find it here

The Classic: Slayer - Raining Blood

All of those who know the bare existence of thrash metal knows about this song. It was not only the song that gave Slayer their breakthrough, and is the main highlight on the all time classic "Reign In Blood", but this is the song that took metal to the next level, inspiring all of the extreme sub genres for years to come. The stormy and mystic intro sets a good mood to the song, then King and Hannemann enters with some standard riffing, only to go full on bat shit crazy with one of the most evil guitar parts you'll ever hear. Araya takes over from there, with his highlight of course being him screaming the title. Finally, a insane solo taken from the 7th circle of hell, and you got yourself a killer tune.

The Newcomer: Dynazty - The Human Paradox

Yeah, it is classified as glam metal, but this is no Poison or Whitesnake or whatever, Dynazty takes those over grown hairdos and gives it a nice, glistening coat of metal to it. "The Human Paradox" is modern, powerful, and is boasted up with some kick ass performances from the guitarists Rob Love Magnusson and Mike Lavér, and the singer Nils Molin. So do not judge this book by its cover, go all in and find out just how good these guys really are.

The Personal Favourite: Almah - Living And Drifting

Edu Falaschi might mostly be known for his time in Angra, but he has created some great stuff in his new project Almah, a power metal band that also blends in some more modern metal into its music. "Living And Drifting" is fairly straight forward, a cool main riff, a epic and catchy chorus, and a killer solo to complete the puzzle. This song is almost childishly simple, but still so god damn good. Make also sure to check out the rest of the album "Motion", a fantastic effort from an underrated band.

Stay Metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Surgical Meth Machine - S/T (2016)

My relationship with Al Jourgensen is... kind of a odd one. His work in Ministry is extremely uneven, ranging from amazing, head banging industrial metal, to pure nonsense, and the last two albums the band did after their comeback ("Relapse" and "From Beer To Eternity") made it obvious that Al should probably just go into rehab and calm down. Did he do that? Obviously not, since he is presenting us with a new project that produces methamphetamine with surgical precision. I am not saying that I am surprised over this, but it feels like a disappointment that he disbands Ministry to create Ministry 2.0.

This self titled album is Al Jourgensen to the bone, it is fast, heavy, industrial, and absolute bonkers. It is 35 minutes of complete insanity, and 5 minutes of the exact opposite in the ending track "I'm Invisible". At first, it is really hard to take it all in because you are busy trying to comprehend it all, understanding what is really going on, and unfortunately, once you do get the hang of it all, it still makes very little sense. To me, it seems like Al was more focused on being high than creating actual music.

Throughout this album, Al is complaining about whiners on Facebook, the problems of being rich, and how he is allergic to tap water. It does give me a good laugh or two when hearing these lyrics, but that is really all. I remember Ministry as a force by nature that points out all the corruption and wrongs of this world, Surgical Meth Machine just whines and cries here and there. And it does not get any better on "Unlistenable", a song that has the perfect title, because it literally is unlistenable, having no structure at all and focuses more on calling bands like Iron Maiden, Lamb of God and Ministry (!?) pussies.

Not surprisingly, it is the songs that are closest to the glory days of Ministry that works the best on "Surgical Meth Machine". "Tragic Alert" has a crazy beat to it, and a simple sing along part that should make everyone scream execution in no time, and the following song "I Want More" contains a speed that is insane, and the riff work here are not to bad either. But these two (and the calm "I'm Invisible") are the only good songs in this album, the rest are pure gibberish.

To put this simply, Surgical Meth Machine deliver what it is promised, because when you are listening to this band's self titled debut album, it literally feels like you are on drugs. I am glad that this album is only 40 minutes long, because it is hard enough to last through it as it is. Most of the album is just cut outs from various speeches, movies, or Al Jourgensen speaking. The actual music part is a hit and miss, but mostly miss. If you like Ministry, you might want to give this a try, but beware, this is more of 10's Ministry than it is 00's Ministry.

Songs worthy of recognition: Tragic Alert, I Want More

Rating: 4/10 Smash And Grabs

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Judas Priest - Ram It Down (1988)

If the "Twin Turbos" project would have come to fruition, "Ram It Down" would have been the heavier side of it, being the pure polar opposite of its predecessor "Turbo". This album sees the band going back to the sound before the weird, glam metal experiment, but does not reach all the way. It is fairly obvious to see that "Turbo" and "Ram It Down" are like two brothers that may have different interests, but they are clearly related to each other.

The music here is heavy, but it is not at the same level at all like "Screaming For Vengeance" or "Defenders of The Faith", And even if Downing and Tipton spits out riff after riff, it just does not feel the same, like they are playing it safe. Thankfully, Halford shows up with another stellar performance, screaming with all his might to give this album a stronger punch to it. Sadly, this was the last album that Dave Holland appeared in, and because of health issues, he did not even complete his work on this record, forcing the band to use a drum machine in some parts, something that drags the overall sound down a little.

The album does start off strong with Rob Halford kick (or rather scream) starting the title track, which is a classic speed metal song from the band. No surprises here, just clean heavy metal. Speaking of heavy metal, that is the name of the following song. While the song itself is more controlled and feels like a brother to "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", it does start of with some furious shredding that makes me think "Did Eddie Van Halen make a guest appearance right there?". It is a good 1-2-punch to get your rock engine running, that's for sure.

After that, the music does lose some momentum, but we do still have a couple of cool songs to go before we reach the end of the album. "Blood Red Skies" is a nice power ballad where Halford displays tons of emotion, "Hard As Iron" is pure shredding goodness (even with that semi-awkward chorus), and "I'm A Rocker" is a nice little anthem that fits the band well. However, I do not understand why the band included a cover of the Chuck Berry song "Johnny B. Goode" (besides the fact that it was part of the soundtrack to the 1988 movie "Johnny Be Good"). It is a silly cover that feels really misplaced in this album. And after a love and romance heavy album such as "Turbo", they keep coming back to that subject with the songs "Love Zone" and "Love You To Death", making me think that if the "Twin Turbos" project would have been a reality, the two albums would not have been all to different from each other.

I am seriously confused over "Ram It Down". I am both loving the album, but also loathing it. It is a good, diverse album indeed, but maybe it is too diverse for its own good. I really do not know, and to be honest, I do not care. In the end though, it is the upsides that weigh over in its favour, and makes the album an overall decent experience. Some bits here and there are awesome and shows that "Turbo" was a one time thing, and those bits who did not show it still have some grain of brilliance that makes you endure it all. "Ram It Down" is far from the best Judas Priest record to come out, and it certainly will not blow you away, but it has its fair share of good moments that one should acknowledge.

Songs worthy of recognition: Blood Red Skies, Ram It Down, Hard As Iron

Rating: 7/10 Rockers

Monday, April 18, 2016

Only For The Week: Part 11

Because of lack of things to say to make this starting blurb really interesting, this might be the last time I will even write something before presenting the songs. It may change some time later in this series, or maybe I will just write some small stuff over the previous week, I really do not know yet, we just have to wait and see.

With that said, it has been a crazy week for music. Axl Rose joining AC/DC, Record Store Day, and another super group saw the light of day. Let us hope that this coming week becomes a little calmer. Anyway, enjoy!

All of the songs on this segment is gathered in a Spotify playlist, you can find it here

The Classic: Gary Moore - Out In The Fields

There are few musicians that have had such a long and glorious career as the Northern Irishman Gary Moore. With over 4 decades of music behind him, he left the Earth life 2011 and left a big hole in the metal world behind him. His legacy is massive and impressive, but it is the song "Out In The Fields" that not only serves as the highlight, but also the perfect statement to what the man could do with his guitar. That solo is one of the coolest and most iconic ones that I can remember, despite it being so short in the studio version. However, it is still that hair rising chorus that makes this song so incredible. Rest in peace Gary, we truly miss you.

The Newcomer: Otep - No Color

She might be most famous for her über angry songs, but "No Color" is a different song from Otep Shamaya and her band, and it works just as well. A mysterious song with a cool groove and a smooth chorus that sneaks into your little brain with ease. While it still ends on a weird note, it is still a nice highlight to an overall diverse album, an album that you all should give a try.

Check out my review of the album this song is from, "Generation Doom"

sorry, no video for this song :(

The Personal Favourite: Ronald Jenkees - Guitar Sound

Can you create a great guitar instrumental without using a guitar? Ronald Jenkees tried, and he succeeded big time. "Guitar Sound" is one of the most emotional and versatile instrumentals I have ever heard, capturing the listener with these intriguing melodies and passages that are both technical and beautiful. It is like Ronald is just making it all up as he goes along, yet still, it all feels so smooth. And just when all is starting to settle down, Ronald brings out a really fast and technical part that may take away some of the typical guitar sounds, but is instead showing an illusion of pure shredding. An awesome twist to one of the coolest instrumentals out there

Stay Metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Otep - Generation Doom (2016)

A minute into "Generation Doom", and Otep Shamaya is already screaming "I don't give a fuck" straight into my ears, which frankly does not surprise me one bit. You see, her self named band Otep is all about anarchy, anger, and a "don't give a fuck" attitude, and it is a style that is highly debated in the metal community, is she the voice of the revolution or just some crazy bitch screaming her lungs out? Personally, I think Otep is a interesting, and rather unique band that, when they hit the right notes, can make some great aggressive metal, just a shame it rarely lasts throughout an album.

The only thing that surprises me with this record is that it exists at all, because Otep straight up retired after the release of "Hydra" in 2013, claiming that she was frustrated and no longer felt inspired to make anymore music (mostly thanks to labels trying to interfere too much). Now she has made a Rolling Stones, and returned with a huge knuckle sandwich in "Generation Doom".

Usually, Otep albums are extremely uneven, containing several different songs and styles (including dark whispers that barely classifies as music), but "Generation Doom" is a lot more cohesive than what I expected it to be. The album holds well together with its aggressive half industrial, half nu-metal sound, and Otep delivers a passionate performance. You can really feel that her blood is on the boiling point. And the music is not too shabby either, being either heavy, groovy, or just madness personified, it often works out really well.

My personal favourite is probably "No Color", a mystical song with a really cool chorus that sticks to your mind and is easy to enjoy. It might have a worthless ending (like several other songs in this album), but I am impressed that the band could create a great song without screaming. Even "In Cold Blood" is a slower song that shows Otep's versatility, a soft song that feels just right for the band. Otherwise it is the faster and heavier songs that steals the show, like the cybernetic "Feeding Frenzy", the well armored "Lords of War", and the Lacuna Coil sounding "Down".

And in the middle of all this aggression and anger we have a song called "Royals", and you guessed it, it is a cover of the song with the same name by Randy Marsh Lorde. The screaming in the chorus might be a little forced, but the band really succeeded in making this song their own, and it sounds really good, making this luxurious song into a anarchistic rally.

Unfortunately, there are a couple songs that drags the album down a notch. "Lie" is boring as hell, "God Is A Gun" has a really weird flow to it, and then we have "Equal Rights, Equal Lefts", a more hip hop spoken word song that may be a big part of Otep's personality, but this song just breaks down the flow of the album in the wrong way. Also, there is a line in this song I cannot comprehend. "He called me a dyke/I called him an ambulance". What the hell is that supposed to mean? Are those really insults? "Oh, so I am a vehicle that helps sick people getting to the hospital? That's... something?". She can write some great lyrics from time to time, but this is just dumb.

I think the hate for Otep will still be there, but it is a hate that I think fuels Otep to come back with twice the strength, at least that is what she has done with "Generation Doom". This album is the most even one, and it might also be the strongest album she has presented us with. She is still far from perfect, and the music will continue to be controversial, but this is a strong comeback, and an even stronger statement that they are here to stay, and continue to be pissed off.

Songs worthy of recognition: No Color, Feeding Frenzy, Lords of War

Rating: 7,5/10 Lies

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Judas Priest - Turbo (1986)

What the hell? That is the initial reaction both I and, I assume, a lot of other fans of the band got when listening to "Turbo" for the first time. After releasing two amazing albums in "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders of The Faith", they return with... this. I know that the Priest is known for its sound diversity and that they can further develop their sound, but this is just flat out weird.

So what is it that makes "Turbo" such a stand out? For starters, this was the first Judas Priest album to include guitar synthezisers, which directly is a sign of how the music scene was like in the mid-80's. But it is not only that, the songs in here are more straight forward, more chorus driven, almost poppy, one reason for that could be that the band initially wanted to make a double album (named "Twin Turbos"), but that was scrapped and the more accessible songs ended up in this album, while the others were either reworked for the upcoming album "Ram It Down", or was released as bonus material in any of the remastered albums, almost 20 years later.

However, the main reason to why this album sounds weird is in the lyrical department. Judas Priest is mostly known for three things, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and overall dark themes, but "Turbo" was almost exclusively about love and romance. Just... why? That alone makes me wanna brand this album as straight out pop, not that metal band can't sing about it, but because they should leave that shit to boy bands and *insert young girl in her 20's that everyone will forget when she turns 40*.

Fortunately, the band fits in some humour in it all to lighten things up (another thing that is not typical of the band, but I'll let that one slide). "Parental Guidance" is one of the songs that do this, because it was solely created as a counter reaction for "Eat Me Alive" being one of the "Filthy Fifteen" that the PMRC published. The song itself is not one of the stronger ones in this record, but it is still a nice addition. I also get some shits and giggles out of the opener "Turbo Lover", not only because of its ridiculous and catchy chorus, but because of the subject matter. I mean, I suppose the song is about cars, but if it was about a real human being, would you really want a Turbo Lover then? Do not know about you guys, but I want a lover who is sensual, hot, and want to go on all night with me, not someone who is done in two red seconds.

Enough of my sexual fantasies, the band is doing their business as usual, but the sound just does not seem right. It does not sound like a Judas Priest album, it is more like a KISS album, except one song that sounds like Rush. It is more or less classic 80's rock that is played in "Turbo", no shredding, barely any Metal God screams, not much heaviness at all. The only thing that tells me that this is a Judas Priest record is the aggressive attitude, and it is just that that makes this 80's glam rock experiment go from a bland album to an okay album. After all, the songs are still there, rocking out pretty good. I just know that bands like Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, and Ratt would kill for songs like "Reckless", "Locked In", and "Hot For Love"

Ultimately, "Turbo" is best described as a fun record... in small doses. This record is fun, catchy, but I seriously cannot believe that the band labeled here is Judas Priest. It is a little funny that Judas Priest out glams almost all of the glam bands out there, but was there even a reason to why they had to do this record? They did not need to be more accessible to the public since they were already famous around that time, nor were they in some identity crisis. In the end though, it is a okay album that just feels way out of place. The odd one out of the Judas Priest discography.

Songs worthy of recognition: Turbo Lover, Locked In, Hot For Love

Rating: 6/10 Wild Nights

Monday, April 11, 2016

Only For The Week: Part 10

Happy 10 week anniversary! The time really does fly by when you are having fun, and working on creating an amazing setlist. We are certainly getting somewhere, with today's additions, we are now up to a total of thirty songs. I expect this listto grow a lot larger in time, but I will let it take its time, and continue to add three new songs every Monday for at least the rest of this year. Okay, enough babbling, let us get to this week's three songs. Enjoy!

All of the songs on this segment is gathered in a Spotify playlist, you can find it here

The Classic: Strapping Young Lad - Detox

It is about time I added some Hevy Devy material into this play list. "City" in itself is a big steam roller, crushing everything and everyone in its path, but it is "Detox" that gives the album that extra sharp edge. First off, we have that intoxicating gallop riff, a riff that is more metal than metal, and that is accompanied with some really loud drums, and a Devin that is, to put it simply, out of his fucking mind. This song also has dimension, containing a really epic (sorta) chorus, some cool and complex riffing, and a tempo change that is not only surprising, but also a small hint to what Devin could do outside the SYL box. It is a drug, and I do not want the buzz it is giving me to go over.

Check out my review of the album that this song is from, "City"

The Newcomer: Ihsahn - Mass Darkness

We all know Ihsahn as the singer of the legendary, but now disbanded, black metal band Emperor, but in his solo project, he takes on a hell of a lot more genres, everything from progressive, speed, experimental, and even ambient metal. "Mass Darkness" reminds me of fellow countrymen Enslaved, with its riff driven force that has some northern wilderness smell to it. It is some intoxicating stuff, and Ihsahn himself delivers a picture as clear as HD. Oh, and a nice guest appearance from the Trivium singer Matt Heafy as well.

The Personal Favourite: Forbidden - Forsaken At The Gates

To really celebrate the 10 week anniversary of OFTW, I am adding the song that named this very blog. You might wonder why I named it Forsaken At The Gates, and there are two main reasons. 1. It sounded kind of cool for a metal blog, and 2. it is hard as crap to name a blog and a domain name that is not already named through Blogspot, so I had to go with a name that is not so direct. Still, I think it turned out nicely.

Anyway, the song is thrash to the bone. It is fast, menacing, and contains a Russ Anderson that delivers one of the most insane vocal performances I have ever heard. This band overall is very underrated and has not gotten the recognition they so deserve, this song alone is a good solid proof of that. Without a doubt, the best thrash song from the 21st century.

Stay metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lillasyster - 4 (2016)

So, can anybody guess how many albums Lillasyster (Swedish for little sister) have released during their career? Anybody? You there in the corner. You are correct, they have released 4 albums, and it is more obvious than ever that they do not seem to give any fuck about album titles what so ever. Or maybe they have just become lazy in old days, because Lillasyster has gradually fallen down in the popularity hierarchy here in Sweden, mostly because they are not releasing new music in a frequent pace (and playing the same live set for 3 years straight).

My initial judgment of the sound of "4" was that this trend is going to continue, because this album is strikingly... weak. I know Lillasyster as a heavy band that may not take themselves (or anyone else) seriously, so they just blabber on with a comedic spark in their eyes. The guys are great entertainers for sure, but they seem to be running out of musical ideas, because the heavy sound is heavily muted. However, after a few listens, I started to enjoy it more and more, however I do feel like the production is not as dynamic as it should have been.

The groove is what drives the band forward, and there is some of it here, but not nearly enough. At least the album starts off on a positive note on "Ej Till Dig" (not to you), with some groovy riffs, cool drums, and some typical Martin Westerstrand singing (sort of like half spoken word, half gibberish). We also have "Tussilago" (coltsfoot) that could just as well be a Korn song, with its groovy, but psychedelic riffs and its epic chorus. It is also a very fitting song for this time, since it is about Spring and all its glory.

One thing that has not changed too much since the last album is the lyrics. As per usual, Lillasyster delivers humorous lyrics that are either a straight up punch to the face or just pure satire. I especially like "Städer I Brand" (cities on fire) that criticize how we handle the ongoing refugee crisis. We also have the more easy subjects, like drinking in "Skål" (cheers), or pure hate in "Vi Kommer Alltid Hata Dina Barn" (we will always hate your kids). So even if the band has toned down their heavy attitude in the musical department, they show once again that they are a force to be reckon with when it comes to the lyrics.

Frankly, the one thing that I am most relieved over about "4" is that it does not contain any covers of female sung pop songs, which is a thing the band has mostly become famous for after the covers of Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Katy Perry's "Roar" (good covers, but the attention for them has gone too far). They still get some air time with their original stuff here in Sweden with "Krossat Glas" (shattered glass), but personally, I think this is one of the weaker tracks of the album, mostly because it just feels like normal soft radio rock, and nothing else.

"4" is ultimately a grower, which is extremely surprising since a typical Lillasyster album usually sits instantly to one. One could say that the band has matured over the 4 year span that has gone since "3", but the lyrics says otherwise, and I am glad it does, because it just would not be a Lillasyster album with quirky lyrics. I still feel like the musical parts of the album are a little lack luster, but it does work to some degree. It will certainly be interesting to see what these guys have in store for us when they release "5".

Songs worthy of recognition: Tussilago, Skål, Städer I Brand

Rating: 6,5/10 Trappramlare

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Algorithm - Brute Force (2016)

Even though the metal world has endless amounts of sub genres that has been developed over several decades, it seems like there is no stop to the evolution of metal. The next step might just be here, and it is named The Algorithm, a French duo consisting of Rémi Gallego and Max Michel that mixes electronic music with some djent influences.

The band has previously released 2 other albums, but on "Brute Force", they take on a heavier approach, letting the guitar being more involved in the music, and also adding heavier drum works. Judging by the name of the album, this was not a surprising move, but it is certainly one that is welcome, because it is always a risk to add something that is far from metal into metal. Sure, the electronica parts are still the biggest factor in the music, but now it feels like a perfect fusion of the elements instead of just layering in the guitars and drums afterward.

The whole sound of the album is very futuristic, like if someone had to describe The Matrix or Tron, only using sound. The electronica leads the charge with its captivating melodies and an overall dystopian feeling. I am absolutely not bothered with the electronica at all, but when it takes too much room and tries to force in even more, it can come out as some obnoxious dub step, but fortunately, that happens very rarely in "Brute Force". It often comes in with finesse instead, adding to the music instead of shoving its way to the front.

"Brute Force" has one clear strength, and that is its consistency. All the songs in here hold a good, fairly high standard while also staying within the same type of sound, making this album a very dense, cohesive force. However, this is also the album's greatest weakness. Since every song is within the same range, and the fact that this is a fully instrumental album, it does take some time and thinking to separate the songs apart from each other. I would have loved if the guys could have had some more diversity in this, like adding a really slow and a really heavy song, just to break this thing up. So the consistency is ultimately like a two edged sword in this album.

As an entity, "Brute Force" works really well. The power these guys produces are enough to run the toughest of processors without any lag. It is an interesting album from an interesting band, but to get the next level, I want to see some more diversity in the music. Good quality can only take you so far. Nonetheless, "Brute Force" is one of the most unique releases of this year, and whether you are along for the ride on the electronic parts or not, I still recommend that you at least give this well calculated album a chance. The evolution continues to places unknown.

Songs worthy of recognition: pointers, brute force, userspace

Rating: 7/10 deadlocks

Monday, April 4, 2016

Only For The Week: Part 9

Another eventful week is behind us. GnR has finally kicked off their reunion tour, and April Fools had us living more suspiciously than usual. Thankfully, I did not get fooled by anything or anyone (well, except for the new Babymetal record), which means I can be here to deliver another installment of Only For The Week. Enjoy!

All of the songs on this segment is gathered in a Spotify playlist, you can find it here

The Classic: Accept - Fast As A Shark

I think my father explained this song the best. "When this came out, it was the fastest, hardest, and the most adrenaline pumped song that the world have ever heard of". Released in 1982, as part of "Restless And Wild", "Fast As A Shark" starts off with some kind of German folk music, only to abruptly end into a fierce, fast, and heavy attack that takes every first time listeners by surprise. This track is the true definition of speed metal, with its fast pounding drums and ravaging riffs. Oh, and let us not forget mr. Udo Dirkschnieder and his patented vocal style, giving this song another row of razor sharp shark teeth. It is extremely fast and heavy, even by today's standard.

The Newcomer: The Algorithm - pointers

Metal has a lot of faces, and one of the newer developed ones are the French duo The Algorithm, who mixes electronic sounds with djent influences. "pointers" comes out from their latest album "Brute Force", and it instantly shows that this weird mix can actually work out. The band creates this sort of futuristic emotion that is really intriguing, and after some keyboard typing, it blasts off into a crazy blast beat, just to wind down again. It is a fantastic instrumental output, with one of the coolest videos I have seen in some time. The beauty of technology is heavier than I first thought.

Check out my review of the album this song is from, "Brute Force"

The Personal Favourite: The Project Hate MCMXCIX - Descend Into The Eternal Pits of Possession

This band has in late become more of a debate than a force in recent years, but there is no denying that The Project Hate MCMXCIX is one of the most unique progressive death metal groups out there. This band is famous for creating really long songs that takes you to hell and back in some of the most insane ways possible. My first experience with this band was in Rock Band when the song "Descend Into The Eternal Pits of Possession" was released on RBN, and what a experience it was. Never have I heard a band mix such heavy riffs and vocals with beautiful female vocals and epic arrangements, and also holding a great and consistent quality throughout 10 minutes of play time. I instantly knew this band was something special, and I have been a fan of the band since.

Since there is no great video of this song, here it is with a Rock Band 3 produced music video :)

Stay metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Babymetal - Metal Resistance (2016)

Japan is a weird ass country, and I really love them for being it. It is a land with crazy game shows, huge sumo wrestlers, stead fast traditions, and passionate people. Japan knows how to entertain and deliver weird ass stuff, which at last has reached into the metal world. From this wonderful land comes Babymetal, whom blasted into the scene in 2010, and consists of three little girls called Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal, plus a backing band. 4 years later, they released their self titled debut, a album that gave them their big international breakthrough as well. A crazy project that seems to have no end in sight to how big it can become.

This weird mix of J-pop and blast beats is certainly unique, I'll give you that, but it is also about as mind fucking as following a anime series. In one side, we have this backing band that literally slays everything in its path. These guys can play almost everything, from Dream Theater and Korn, to Scar Symmetry and Fleshgod Apocalypse, the band delivers a range that is extremely impressive. But on the other side, we have three girls who sings like they are still in pre-school (even if they do sing good). It takes a while to get used to it, but it will still feel awkward. And if you happen to see this band live, you will also witness a choreographed dance routine. Hopefully they throw in some headbanging here and there.

I previously mentioned the backing band's extreme range, and that range is heavily displayed in this album. Every song in here is its own creation, none being like the other. The albums opens up in pure DragonForce style in "Road of Resistance" (mostly because the two guitarists from the band, Herman Li and Sam Totman, helps out on the track), with insane speed, crazy solos, and a classic oh-oh-o-oh part. Besides from power metal, we also have industrial ("Awadama Fever"), death ("Sis.Anger"), atmospheric ("From Dusk Till Dawn"), progressive ("Tales of Destinies"), and even folk metal (Meta Taro). While it is cool that they can be like a musical chameleon, it ultimately feels like they do not have a own sound, they just copy other stuff. The album is extremely divided, making it really hard to get a sense of cohesion.

This means that it is crucial that this album must have kick ass songs, and it is here the girls are used to the band's advantage. This trio of charming little girls sings in a way that makes the hooks sweeter than sugar, and stickier than gum. Just take the lead single "Karate" for example, we have this stupid "se-ya se-se-se-seya" section that is extremely catchy in an equally annoying way. Fortunately, it has a chorus that is catchy in a better way, not forcing itself into your skull. It is those sugar sweet parts that makes me hate this band, because it just does not fit in with the rest of the stuff. I still think the girls use their voices in the best way possible in most parts, but I would love it if they completely got rid of those sections.

We also have two pure ballads in this album, the first one being "No Rain, No Rainbow", which sounds like it could have come straight from a Disney film (I was about to write Mulan, but remembered that it takes place in China). Since I am not 8 years old, I did not care for this song at all. The other one is "The One", and that is the only song in the entire record that is fully sung in English. Okay that the pronunciation is slightly off, but it is not bad, and the song itself works as a epic closer of the album, playing in almost classic Dream Theater style. However, this is when I notice the lyrics for the first time (since I know very little Japanese), and it is straight up about love, and all that cheesy shit. This makes me wonder what the rest of the songs are about, but frankly, I do not wanna know, ignorance is bliss here.

I love when an album has diversity, but this is pure overkill. Babymetal goes from one genre to another to search for an identity, but cannot seem to find it. "Metal Resistance" is an okay album with a couple of good songs (none as good as last album's highlight, "Megitsune", though), but it stands clear that this is more of an experiment than a full fledged band. For god's sake, the girls have even admitted that they have never even heard of metal before getting thrown into this monster, it is all for the show and for the shock value. This is basically Slipknot, only with three little girls fronting instead of Corey Taylor, and it certainly has a place in this world, and that place is called Japan. It is crazy, ridiculous, mind boggling, and (at times) fun. All I can really say is Domo Arigato for the show, but I would rather take something less cutesy, thank you very much.

Songs worthy of recognition: From Dusk Till Dawn, Road of Resistance, Yava!

Rating: 6/10 Awadama Fevers