Reviews for January 30th, 2013

Gormathon – Land of the Lost/Celestial Warrior/Lens of the Guardian

Gormathon is a Swedish melodic death metal band and “Lens of the Guardian” is their 2010 debut album. I am also including the single “Land of the Lost” and the three-song EP “Celestial Warrior”, both of which were released in 2012.

So why am I grouping all three of these together in one review? About a week ago I was skimming iTunes for new bands when I came across Gormathon and their single “Land of the Lost.” I gave it a listen and was immediately impressed by how the band combines heavy grooves, harsh vocals and not-quite-as-harsh vocals that are catchy as hell. So one moment I am banging my head and feeling all grim, and the next I am throwing back my head and singing along to infectious choruses that would make a folk metal band nod in approval. This is some fucking bad-ass music!

It just came to me who the singer sounds like sometimes when he hits the higher notes: he takes on this David Wayne tone from Metal Church’s second album, “The Dark.” It has this “Watch the Children Pray” scratchy-yet-catchy sound. Very nice.

I hate singles, because if I like the song I am left wanting more when there is nothing more to have. I am a metal glutton; I like to consume whole albums of music. So I immediately cast about looking for more Gormathon. Next up was the EP “Celestial Warrior.” Awesome. Buy. Download. More please. Ok, now we are talking. A full 10-song album, “Lens of the Guardian.” Buy. Download. Rejoice.

If you are counting, that means I now have fourteen Gormathon songs in my collection. Now I am happy. All three of these releases sound incredible; it blows my mind that “Lens of the Guardian” has been out for over two years and I have never heard a peep about the band. So much amazing metal flies under the radar and never gets heard by the majority of metal listeners that I nearly weep for the injustice of it. I try my best to make people around the world aware of all this great music, but I am just one man with a very limited audience.

I hope that the single and EP are harbingers of a new full release in 2013. Please, please, please check out the video below for “Land of the Lost.” And because I love these guys so much I am also including the video for “Skyrider” from “Lens of the Guardian.” This band really deserves some attention. And check out the hair and beard on singer Tony Sunnhag, I am so jealous. He looks like a young Saruman (as played by Christopher Lee) from Lord of the Rings.

Gloria Morti – Lateral Constraint

Gloria Morti is a Finnish death metal band and “Lateral Constraint” is their fourth album.

The band members of Gloria Morti look like they just stepped out of a particularly gruesome first person shooter game. Their music takes a similarly brutal-yet-technical approach. “Lateral Constraint” sounds like the perfect soundtrack for eliminating enemies/aliens/monsters with extreme prejudice. These songs are fast, surgically precise and technical, and ultra-brutal and concussive. They are like Drano for dungeons, just pour in one bottle of Gloria Morti and everything in its path will be scoured away.

I am seriously impressed by how well the production quality manages to hold all this chaos together in a package that does not spin off into unlistenable noise. The sound is so good that all the parts whizzing by at warp speed don’t trip over each other, and as such you can make out most of what is going on, which in this case is the annihilation of all ear-drums within the sector.

“Lateral Constraint” isn’t out until next week, but you can get a taste of the chaos to come by listening below to the track “Sleep, Kill, Regress, Follow.”

Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery

Necrowretch is a French death metal band and “Putrid Death Sorcery” is their first full-length album.

I hear death metal bands all the time, and many of them have a really poor production sound, whether by design or due to budgetary restraints. So I was a little surprised to find that Necrowretch is being released by Century Media. I mean, the production on “Putrid Death Sorcery” isn’t that bad, but I’ve come to expect a certain level of quality from CM because of all the metal heavy-hitters that they handle. This definitely has a rawer sound than I am used to from them.

The production isn’t really too terrible, though, it just has a little extra atmosphere that muddies up the sound. This isn’t really any worse than an old Dissection album though, so it will suffice.

The music is pretty fast and the harsh almost screeching vocals bring a frantic intensity to the mix. While there are many death metal albums that have a cleaner production sound, not all of those have the songwriting kick-in-the-teeth that Necrowretch displays on this debut. The constant riffing combined with the perilous break-neck speeds is enough to win me over.

Check out the track “Ripping Souls of Sinner.”

Zombified – Carnage Slaughter and Death

Zombified is a death metal/grindcore band from Sweden and “Carnage Slaughter and Death” is their second album.

Carnage, slaughter and death, these are a few of my favorite things…

If you listened to Necrowretch and thought to yourself that it just wasn’t intense enough for you, perhaps Zombified will be more to your taste. Singer Roberth Karlsson has worked in differing capacities for a number of other bands, including Scar Symmetry, Edge of Sanity and Pan.Thy.Monium. Guitarist Patrik Halvarsson has been around the block a few times as well, and has worked in both Paganizer and Ribspreader with the ubiquitous Rogga Johansson.

Zombified brings the impressive one-two punch of incredibly heavy songs and a thick and punishing production sound. Not only are the songs heavy as fuck, but the low-end sound will gut-punch you and take your lunch money. If you even think of telling one of the lunch ladies about this transgression it will hunt you down after school and kick the shit out of you.

“Carnage Slaughter and Death” is a definite sleeper death metal hit. I went into this album expecting cookie cutter death metal that would barely hold my attention and came out of it with multiple lacerations and a deep need for therapy. These guys are definitely worth checking out. Here is the album’s title track.