Reviews for July 11th, 2012

Chaosweaver – Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger

Chaosweaver hail from Finland and “Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger” is their second album of self-described Cinematic Extreme Metal. These guys are new to me, so I had no idea what to expect. Looking at the cover I thought maybe they were thrash metal, but after listening to the album I think their description is appropriate.

The production is a lot cleaner than I expected (all these “expectations” based purely on visuals like the cover and song titles) but makes complete sense in relation to the cinematic elements. Think of Dimmu Borgir if they were less symphonic and more cinematic. Though to be perfectly honest, this often works as symphonic too. The vocals are all harsh in one way or another, but the type of harsh gets varied, resulting in vocals that do not get monotonous or boring. The drums are really punchy and the guitars have a nice thick chunk. The sound quality on this album is superb.

I am quite impressed with “Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger.” Not a lot of bands can pull off an album that exhibits such quality in all aspects of the product, but Chaosweaver seem to prove they have what it takes to be among the elite. Check out the video for “Maelstrom of Black Light.”

Livarkahil – Wrath of God

Parisian death metal band Livarkahil have two full albums previously, and “Wrath of God” is their current five song EP. This is not death metal in a brutal or Swedish melodic sense, this runs in the same circles as Samoth’s The Wretched End, where the music is certainly death metal, but it has an atmospheric quality reminiscent of black metal. Atmospheric death metal perhaps?

The overall paunchiness of the mix is lessened by the atmospheric quality I just mentioned, but on the whole this is still a very nice sounding EP. The music tends to stick to fast and heavy and the vocals are all harsh in the mid to high range with occasional guttural growls. The songs on “Wrath of God” do not strike me as particularly original or compelling (what is these days) but they did impress me enough that I feel I can recommend checking these guys out. Here is the title track, “Wrath of God.”

Ereb Altor – Gastrike

Ereb Altor are not the band I was thinking they were when I started listening to “Gastrike.” For some reason I have them mixed up with a power metal band whose name I now am unable to remember (because of course I thought it was Ereb Altor.) It drives me crazy when I cannot recall or lookup a particular band, but short of looking through every album in my collection I will just have to wait for it to come to me. Anyway, Ereb Altor are not actually power metal, they are in fact a Viking Doom metal band (more Viking than doom) that features two members from the brilliant Swedish doom band Isole. “Gastrike” is the third album from Ereb Altor.

I am not exactly sure what makes this Viking metal, the songs do not seem particularly Viking-themed, I guess it must be a stylistic thing. The music on “Gastrike” sounds rather like a black metal /death metal mix to me. Whatever you want to call it, it sounds pretty good to me. The production is both good and at the same time slightly raw. I wish the vocals were a little higher in the mix sometimes, but this is still very listenable. Maybe what makes this Viking is the ghostly, haunting, clean wailing vocal that permeates the songs.

Between the two, I prefer Isole, but Ereb Altor is pretty cool too. Check out the track “Dispellation.”

Humangled – Odd Ethics

Now here is one that gave me exactly what I was expecting. Humangled is an Italian death metal band and “Odd Ethics” four song EP that follows up their 2010 full length debut. With a name like Humangled I was expecting death metal, possibly brutal, and that is just what it turned out to be.

I have noticed an interesting discrepancy lately between the sound quality of the albums I receive for review, and the tracks I pick out on YouTube. I will listen to an album that I have received and think that the sound quality is pretty bad, and then, using the same headphones, I will check out a YouTube track to include. More often than not the sound quality on the YouTube track is superior to the music I have received from the band or label. WTF? This is interesting to me because I will write up how bad the production sounds, and then turn around and post a YouTube clip that actually sounds pretty good.

Such is the case here with Humangled. The sound quality on the EP I received was really not that great, but the video I am posting below, while not perfect, sounds a lot better. Sound quality issues aside, the four songs on “Odd Ethics” are fairly run of the mill death metal, but I liked some of the riffing. And the deep harsh vocals are not too bad either. Check out the track “Needles of the Blind” to hear for yourself.