Melana Chasmata: Triptykon

Rating: 100%

Melana_Chasmata.jpgTriptykon’s second album was released in 2014. It’s a perfect example of Extreme Metal that blends everything from Death Metal, Black Metal to Doom Metal with some Gothic Metal influences thrown in. The end result are songs that are well written out with an amazing and original sound.

The musicianship us top notch and tight. You have former Celtic Frost and Hellhammer guitarist & Vocalist Thomas Gabriel Fischer. He has proven that he still can write quality music and lyrics. This album is well thought out. His vocals are both harsh at times, and clear the next. I do like his more spoken vocals on many of the songs. Guitarst V. Santura, just like Tom knows how to create great riffs. There is plenty of great guitar work throughout this entire album. The leads are so atmospheric.  Bassist Vanja Šlajh is such a great bass player and backing vocalist. Her voice compliments Tom’s work. Her bass lines with providing that drive and tempo is outstanding. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite Heavy Metal bassists. Drummer Norman Lonhard is also a great. 

So musically, you have a strong and well shaped solid record. The vocals are very strong and distinctive. The instrumentation as I already covered is outstanding. It’s well balanced, rich, and compelling. For the artists themselves, they are imaginative, skillful, and creative. 

Tracks:

1. “Tree of Suffocating Souls” 7:56
2. “Boleskine House” 7:12
3. “Altar of Deceit” 7:32
4. “Breathing” 5:50
5. “Aurorae” 6:17
6. “Demon Pact” 6:07
7. “In the Sleep of Death” 8:10
8. “Black Snow” 12:25
9. “Waiting” 5:55

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Cold Lake: Celtic Frost

Rating: 60%

CelticFrost_ColdLakeSo 1988, amidst the Glam/Hair/Pop Metal scene, you have the early Black Metal act Celtic Frost releasing a Glam Metal album as their fourth record…or did they? To say, that this album is not a fan favorite which because of that, this album is no longer in print or reissued. This raises some questions. Was it because of the abrupt change in musical style? Was it too experimental? What if the band transitioned more slowly into a new musical direction? And is this REALLY a Glam/Hair Metal album or was it labeled to reach more of the masses who loved Glam’s style?

So, who is the band on this record? Well, you have lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Gabriel Warrior. You also have guitarist Oliver Amberg, bassist Curt Victor Bryant, and drummer Stephen Priestly. So, yes, you have a totally different line up as compared to previous albums. This means newer song writers and newer ideas.

The musicianship is extremely tight among the instrumentation. The vocals, not so much. It almost feels as if Tom Warrior is outside of his comfort zone. So, the vocals are a bit weak and not as growly as in the past. As far as the guitar work. You have some huge guitar riffs that are gritty and crunchy. These riffs are not, and I repeat not what you hear in Glam Metal, but rather traditional Heavy Metal. You also have some great lead work. This is something new to Celtic Frost. The leads are more complex as past records. They actually sound pretty good.  The only song that has a bit of Glam influence is “Cherry Orchards”. This song is a duet with Michelle Villanueva.

So maybe this album takes the best of those Heavy Metal influences of the mid 1980’s and incorporates that into the musical structure. If so, then you have a good decent argument that this is more of a traditional Heavy Metal album vs. a Glam Metal album. The change of musical direction happened very quick. This might be the main reason why many fans hated this album. It’s like Danzig when he went from Danzig4 to Danzig5. The change happened fast. With that change, comes a lot of  experimentation to this album. The songs aren’t as dark and the style of early Black Metal is gone. Would this be a good album if the changes came at a slower pace? Maybe so. The sound itself is a bit more clean and not as raw. So, you tell me! Is this a Glam Metal album in which the record company forced that label onto this band or is this a more traditional style of Heavy Metal? Other than that, I can not say this is a good album nor a bad album. It’s just an album that doesn’t receive a completely failing grade.

Track listing:

Human (Intro) 1:06
Seduce Me Tonight 3:18
Petty Obsession 3:17
(Once) They Were Eagles 3:39
Cherry Orchards 4:19
Juices Like Wine 4:17
Little Velvet 3:40
Blood On Kisses 3:29
Downtown Hanoi 4:15
Dance Sleazy 3:32
Roses Without Thorns 3:26

Pork Soda: Primus

Rating: 95%

Porksodacover.jpgIn 1993, Primus released “Pork Soda.” This was the album that introduced me to the band when I heard 98 Rock play “Mr. Krinkle.” I remember hearing that song and thinking what the hell was that. I never heard any band sound or sing like that before.

This album does push the sounds and styles to the limit. It’s funky, progressive, bluegrassy in some spots and it’s weird. But, it works and sounds awesome. The musicianship is killer and the song structures, although weird, are written great.

The talents of Les Claypool on bass and vocals, combined with the guitar work of Larry LaLonde, and the drummer Tim Alexander is what makes Primus such a great band. If you’re into weird offbeats, scales and such, this album is a good one. The bass is the main instrumentation you’ll notice and Claypool’s style blends many influences together when he plays. The guitar work of LaLonde is just as balanced when it comes to style. These two instruments seem to go off in many different directions, but yet, it sounds really good. Alexander’s drumming is what holds everything in place.

With that being said, this is a very dark album. Themes deal with murder, suicide, and alienation. But, yet, with all of the darkness and strange song structures, this album was the one that brought Primus into the mainstream.

Track listing:

1. “Pork Chop’s Little Ditty” 0:21
2. “My Name Is Mud” 4:48
3. “Welcome to This World” 3:40
4. “Bob” 4:40
5. “DMV” 4:58
6. “The Ol’ Diamondback Sturgeon (Fisherman’s Chronicles, Part 3)” 4:39
7. “Nature Boy” 5:35
8. “Wounded Knee” 2:25
9. “Pork Soda” 2:20
10. “The Pressman” 5:11
11. “Mr. Krinkle” 5:27
12. “The Air Is Getting Slippery” 2:31
13. “Hamburger Train” 8:11
14. “Pork Chop’s Little Ditty” 1:03
15. “Hail Santa” 1:51

Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People: Primus

Rating: 90%

cd-animals-lgIn 2003, Primus returned after a few year layover with the EP, “Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People.” This also included the classic Primus line up. You have the one and only Les Claypool on vocals and various bass guitars, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander. This EP contains those quirky lyrics, silly vocals, amazing musicianship, and great song structures that only Primus can write and perform.

The musicianship is what gives Primus that big beefy sound. Les Claypool, vocals aside, is am amazing bass player. His weird scales makes the bass more of an extension of his personality. His style of funk that mixes slapping, tapping, and strumming on the bass is a classic trademark and all of that bass goodness is clearly heard on this EP.  All the members of Primus are such great song writers.

Then you have guitarist Larry LaLonde who play right along side with the bass talent. His style of noises, riffs, leads and fills makes Primus’s sound even better. Only Primus can create this weirdness of sounds and song structures and make it work. Not to many bands out there can accomplish what Primus has done.

Keeping up with the bass an guitars is drummer Tim Alexander. His style of weird tempos, time signatures and off beats brings Primus’s sound together. Tim is one hell of a good drummer in order to keep pace with Les Claypool.

I love every track on this EP. The opening bass lines to “The Carpenter and the Dainty Bride.” It’s weird and then you have the guitar that comes fading in. It’s very psychedelic.  “Mary the Ice Cube” the highlight on this album. I love the bass lines of this song. It’s mellow and complex. I love the lyrics as to how the relationship with an ice cube is similar to that of a woman. I love the weird song structure “The Last Superpower aka Rapscallion.”

Track listing:

1. “The Carpenter and the Dainty Bride” 6:35
2. “Pilcher’s Squad” 1:54
3. “Mary the Ice Cube” 4:37
4. “The Last Superpower aka Rapscallion” 7:16
5. “My Friend Fats” 7:55

Blackacidevil: Danzig 5

Rating: 90%

Danzig5.jpg

The 1996 release.

So in 1996, you see Glenn Danzig with a totally new outlook on music. With no members left of the classic Danzig lineup, what should Glenn Danzig do? Well…experiment musically and seek new styles. After all, after the release of Danzig II in 1990, Glenn stated that he would never put out the same album twice. He kept to his word. The end result was the 1996 release of Danzig 5 with”Blackacidevil.”

So, is this is Blues record? No! This record sounds nothing like Danzig’s previous records. In fact, this record stands alone when it comes to even trying to put a genre to it. Is it Experimental? Yes it is. Is it Industrial Metal, Avant-Garde or Electronic Metal? Yes! Is it Hardcore? Yes! So what is it? Well, it all of the above.

Musically, this record is heavy, doomy, and aggressive. This is most likely, by far one of the heaviest Danzig records out there. Lyrically, the themes are very dark and sex driven. It contains everything that Glenn Danzig is known for. And…sadly, many people never gave this record the chance that it deserved.  Hell, even my wife loved this record.

The song structures are complex in nature with it’s heavily drench Techno and Electronic sounds complied with influences of Noise Rock. So with regards to the song structures, where do I even begin? For starters at it’s core, this is Heavy Metal. Added in with it, you have a lot of electronic rhythms. Many of the songs are upbeat in tempo. There is melody here, even though many will not feel it. There’s the Techno side of this record as well. Then you have the Doom Rock influences with the slowed tempos and heavily distorted sounds. Added to it, the Industrial Metal influences. This record could easily stand along side Rob Zombie or Nine Inch Nails. It even has traces of some Sludge Metal in it.

Musicianship, I think is pretty damn good. Glenn vocal’s really stand out from track to track. Although, many do not care for the electronically distorted sound of his voice on several tracks. Is he using his higher range style like before? Yes, and no! But, his no distorted vocals are what makes this record great. He is what gives the music the darkness that only he can do. “Ashes” is traditional Glenn Danzig from his vocal style to the music.  Glenn also plays keyboards, bass and guitar on this record. Joey Castillo’s drum work is amazing, on the reissue “Bleed Angel” is a great example. Thrown into the mix is the programmer and keyboardist Joseph Bishara.

danzig5_emond

The 2000 reissue edition

Additional Personnel:

Jerry Cantrell – Guitars (“See All You Were”, “Come to Silver”, & “Hand of Doom”)
Mark Chaussee – Guitars (“Sacrifice”, “Serpentia”)
Josh Lazie – Bass (“Sacrifice”)

Track Listing: 1996 original version
“7th House” – 3:48
“Blackacidevil” – 4:25
“See All You Were” – 5:03
“Sacrifice” – 4:29
“Hint of Her Blood” – 5:03
“Serpentia” – 6:41
“Come to Silver” – 4:01
“Hand of Doom: version” – 2:53
“Power of Darkness” – 3:19
“Ashes” – 5:28

Track Listing: 2000 reissue version
“7th House” – 3:48
“Blackacidevil” – 4:24
“See All You Were” – 5:02
“Sacrifice” – 4:28
“Hint of Her Blood” – 5:02
“Deeper” – 4:15
“Serpentia” – 6:40
“Come to Silver” – 4:00
“Hand of Doom: version” – 2:52
“Bleedangel” – 4:13
“Power of Darkness” – 3:19
“Ashes” – 5:31
“Don’t Be Afraid” – 4:25

One Wing: The Chariot

The_Chariot_-_One_Wing.jpgRating: 80%

“One Wing” is the final album released by the Mathcore Experimental Metal band The Chariot. This album featured Josh Scogin on vocals, Brandon Henderson on lead guitar and bass, Stephen Harrison on rhythm guitar and bass, and David Kennedy on drums.

For those who don’t know what Mathcore is, it’s a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore, that makes use of unusual time signatures in it’s song structure.  It also uses more of a screaming style vocal work. Mathcore is also associated with Grindcore, which takes it’s influences from from thrash metal, death metal, hardcore punk and noise rock.

This album is all over the place. But, it does have structure to it. It is also has some melody to it, which we’ll discuss. “Your” features a church like atmosphere with the vocal work of Angela Plake and organ. “First” starts out with hardcore sound to it, but, then, it goes into a western theme outro, that makes you think of a Clint Eastwood movie.  It also features a trumpet as if you’re waiting for the final gun fight to play out.

The album itself sounds good. It does have plenty of unusual time signatures and weird tempos. the piano that one hears here and there on the record is a good touch that breaks up the hardcore portion of the music. There are also some good riffs on this album and the dropped down tuning makes the music sound even harder. The two second Hawaiian bit that introduces you to the song “And” is a nice touch. It also has some positive messages behind it, as Chariot is also known as a Christiancore. For their last album together as a band, this is a pretty good effort to say goodbye, but, then again, I’m sure they’ll emerge again. Most bands usually do.

Track listing:

1. “Forget” 2:20
2. “Not” 2:54
3. “Your”  1:08
4. “First” 3:43
5. “Love.” 3:23
6. “Speak”  2:11
7. “In” 2:13
8. “Tongues” 4:25
9. “And” 2:34
10. “Cheek.” 5:48