A Fragile King: Vallenfyre

Rating: 80%

R-3418834-1329668619.jpeg.jpgThis album was released in 2011 as Vallenfyre’s debut, as a super group. It consists of Paradise Lost’s lead guitarist on lead vocals and guitar, At the Gates’s drummer Adrian Erlandsson, and My Dying Bride’s guitarist Hamish Hamilton Glencross. It also features Scoot on bass and guitarist Mully.

I really like this album simply because it’s old school Death and Doom Metal. Yes, old school Death Metal drenched in Doom Metal. Not Melodic Death Metal! Plus it features three guitarist. My most recommended song on this album is “Cathedrals of Dread”. 

The instrumentation has this doomy feel that goes with it’s overall sound. The guitars have this crunchy sounding tone along with screaming leads. The guitars are toned down which help to achieve that sound. The vocals are gritty are well.

The song structures are what you would expect from this genre of music. Slowed and heavy with some faster tempos thrown in. It’s got some really nice riffs that are super tight. Those leads and fill ins are just screaming. The drumming is pretty good too.

Track listing:

All Will Suffer 4:09
Desecration 4:56
Ravenous Whore 3:02
Cathedrals Of Dread 3:52
As The World Collapses 3:13
A Thousand Martyrs 3:24
Seeds 4:45
Humanity Wept 2:18
My Black Siberia 3:49
The Divine Have Fled 3:41
The Grim Irony 4:39

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Graveyard Classics: Six Feet under

Rating: 30%

3665In 2000, Six Feet Under decided to have a little fun and release a covers album. Why not? Every other band decided to do it. The problem was, I don’t think it worked very well for this band. I mean, I have used Youtube to look up various things like, Judy Garland singing Death Metal as well as Louis Armstrong and thought it was hilarious.

Well, this album is along those lines. The songs are just not meant to be Death Metal. It would have been cool if they redid songs that could have crossed over, but they choose instead to do the more popular songs, Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix. It’s just not well thought out. So, looking at this album several years after I purchased it? It’s worth a giggle or two, but the fun soon wore off. 

Track listing:

1. Holocaust (Savatage cover) 04:39
2. T.N.T. (AC/DC cover) 03:29
3. Sweet Leaf (Black Sabbath cover) 05:22
4. Piranha (Exodus cover) 03:51
5. Son of a Bitch (Accept cover) 03:39 s
6. Stepping Stone (Paul Revere and the Raiders cover) 02:41
7. Confused (Angel Witch cover) 02:50
8. California über alles (Dead Kennedys cover)
9. Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple cover)
10. Blackout (Scorpions cover) 03:44
11. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix cover) 02:52
12. In League with Satan (Venom cover) 03:59

All The Witches Dance: Mortuary Drape

Rating: 80%

2000.jpgIn 1995, Death Metal became very black with this release by Mortuary Drape. Blacken Heavy Metal is a term I’ve heard from others to describe the music.

Musically, this album is pretty dark and gloomy. It’s almost as if the band took several lessons from the Doom Metal movement and combined it with a dash of Thrash Metal to make their signature Death Metal sound. The tempos are pretty fast with crunching riffs and lead guitars. I’m thinking along the lines of Six Feet Under’s mixed with some Venom style of music rather than Obituary or Death. This album has some pretty good drumming and the bass is out of this world. All in all, a good album!

Track listing:

My Soul
Primordial
Astral Bewitchment
Funeral Chant
Larve
Tregenda (Dance In Shroud)
13th Way
Intro (Chain)
Medium Mortem
Occult Abyss

Luck of the Corpse: Deceased

Rating: 80%

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Album cover taken from the movie Black Sabbath.

The debut record “Luck Of The Corpse” was released by Deceased in 1992. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Death Metal was increasing in popularity. What was not to like about? The changing tempos, slowed aggressive riffs, and yes, the death growls of the vocals. One more thing, the album covers were gruesome.  Lastly, Deceased is a local band to our area, hailing from Northern Virginia. This album itself was recorded at Oz Studios, Baltimore, MD.

So, who are these guys? Deceased is made up of guitarists Mark Adams & Doug Souther, bassist Les Snyder, and drummer & vocalist King Fowley. The band itself plays very tight. Each riff, beat, and solo is well thought out.  Lyrical themes, you guessed it, deals with horror, zombies, and death. Even though, many call this 1990’s Death Metal, many of these songs were written in the mid 1980’s when the genre was beginning to take off on the underground scene. 

Musically, each instrumentalist is clearly heard. Several of the songs feature screaming guitar solos, crunchy riffs, great bass lines, and excellent drumming. You can heard some elements of Thrash Metal as well as a dash of Progressive Metal. The music is brutal. The album does a great job with the combination of fast tempos and heavily slowed tempos. The vocals are gritty and harsh, but also clear.

Track listing:

“Fading Survival” – 2:59
“The Cemetery’s Full” – 3:03
“Experimenting with Failure” – 2:25
“Futuristic Doom” – 3:20
“Haunted Cerebellum” – 2:55
“Decrepit Coma” – 3:07
“Shrieks from the Hearse” – 3:24
“Psychedelic Warriors” – 5:15
“Feasting on Skulls” – 3:39
“Birth by Radiation” – 4:20
“Gutwrench” – 1:59

Shadow of the Deep: Unleased

Rating: 90%

Unleashed_Shadows_in_the_Deep_front.jpegIn 1992, this classic Death Metal album was released by the Unleashed. I love this band from the sound to the lyrical themes. It was said that these guys might be the first true Death Metal band that wrote lyrics about Norse mythology and to be considered as the front runners of Viking Metal.

Musically, this album isn’t as brutal sounding as it could be, if compared to the newer bands or Black Metal.  But, it’s one toned down heavy sounding album that packs a punch. I love the how Unleashed incorporated influences of Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal to their blend of Death Metal. Also, this album features an array of tempos that one minute their superfast to heavy slow the next. This album also has a bit of that melodic sound to it. It’s well balanced. Plenty of good bass lines, tempos, and riffs to leads. This is classic Death Metal at it’s best.

Track listing:

1. “The Final Silence” 2:54
2. “The Immortals” 4:23
3. “A Life Beyond” 4:49
4. “Shadows in the Deep” 5:02
5. “Countess Bathory” (Venom cover) 4:02
6. “Never Ending Hate” 2:32
7. “Onward into Countless Battles” 4:14
8. “Crush the Skull” 3:36
9. “Bloodbath” 4:09
10. “Land of Ice” 4:33

Conjure and Command: Toxic Holocaust

Rating: 80%

IConjure_and_commandn 2011, Toxic Holocaust released in what I would say is a Sodom style like Trash Metal album that isn’t too shabby. In fact, I think that this album is a solid release.

Joel Grind really throws out some very heavy riffs and leads. His raspy vocal style gives a bit of eeriness to the overall sound.  Phil Zeller has some decent bass lines, but the backbone really goes to Nick Bellmore on the skins.

Musically, it’s got a lot of energy and power. The song structures are very short, which is what classic Thrash Metal used to do. The entire album is less than 33 minutes long. Now, there’s isn’t anything new on this album that hasn’t already been done.  But, this a way to introduce classic and old school Thrash Metal to a new generation. Toxic Holocaust just steps up to the plate and updates this style of metal into their own, adding a dash of Speed Metal and Black Metal to the final product. That is what I really admired about this album when I first heard it.

Track listing:

No. Title Length
1. “Judgment Awaits You” 1:55
2. “Agony of the Damned” 3:59
3. “Bitch” 2:49
4. “Red Winter” 3:32
5. “Nowhere to Run” 3:46
6. “I Am Disease” 4:24
7. “In the Depths (Of Your Mind)” 2:43
8. “The Liars Are Burning” 2:54
9. “Revelations” 2:50
10. “Sound the Charge” 3:17

Obituary: Obituary

Rating:90%

Obituary_-_ObituaryFor over 30 years, the boys from FLA have been throwing death growls and heavy music. 2017 is no exception with the self-titled release. John Tardy still proves that his vocals are showing no signs of wearing down. His brother, Donald is still pounding those skins as he did back in 1989 when the first release “Slowly We Rot” came out. Trevor Peres still throws out these mighty and crunchy riffs. Pounding the bass is Terry Butler and throwing down on the lead guitar is Kenny Andrews.

Going off of their material from their last release “Inked In Blood”, Obituary proves that if the wheel isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. That is exactly what this album represents. Meaning the song structures are basically the same. Now, many newer fans to the band, hate the fact that Obituary’s style isn’t what it was now as to their earlier material. What do you expect?

Musically, this album is high energy from start to finish. With monstrous fast riffs, screaming leads & fills, hard pounding drumming and screaming vocals. This album is like a freight train running at full speed ahead.  “Sentence Day” is a great example of how powerful this band can be. This album does have a nice change of tempos, after full speed on the first two tracks, the album slows down by just letting off of the throttle with “A Lesson in Vengeance.” This song also features some really good bass lines that are clearly heard as well as a kick ass lead solo. “Straight to Hell” is a bit more complex and features all of these very weird off beats.

For their tenth album, yes, I will admit that this is the same album that has been released over and over again. I would rather have that, than nothing at all. Many bands that have been around for twenty-five plus years all have released the same album. I would diffidently recommend this to any one who is into classic Death Metal.

Track listing:

1. “Brave” 2:14
2. “Sentence Day” 2:49
3. “A Lesson in Vengeance” 3:07
4. “End It Now” 4:02
5. “Kneel Before Me” 3:04
6. “It Lives” 3:24
7. “Betrayed” 3:01
8. “Turned to Stone” 4:13
9. “Straight to Hell” 3:57
10. “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” 3:16

Bonus track:

1. No Hope