Reviews for May 7th, 2013

Atrocity – Okkult

Atrocity is a…well, they were…yeah, but then they became…only now they are…well, let’s just say nailing down a particular style for Atrocity is like hitting a moving target. “Okkult” is the German band’s twelfth album, and this time around I suppose you might call this symphonic death metal. The band started out in death metal, moved on to a gothic/industrial sound, then more-gothic-less-industrial, and now they seem to be coming back ‘round to death metal. One thing that’s for certain, you can’t say these guys don’t evolve their sound.

I am going to avoid comparing “Okkult” with other albums from the band’s prolific past and focus simply on what they have going on right now. As this is the band’s twelfth album, I am not surprised that both the production and songwriting sound polished and seasoned.

The songs on “Okkult” are fairly epic in scale and execution, though perhaps not quite so grandiose as a Dimmu Borgir album. On a Dimmu album the sound is so massive it sounds like a demon host taking up instruments; Atrocity, while at times grand in scale, still maintains a close-up in-your-face element in their sound. This helps make the symphonic areas really pop when they come along.

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised about how good “Okkult” sounds; I’ve enjoyed Atrocity’s music for years. Rather I am pleased to find that the band still creates good music while managing to remain relevant even twelve albums into their career. A lot of bands, if they even make it to their twelfth album, are just spinning their wheels and collecting a paycheck. Kudos to Atrocity for always evolving.

Check out the video for the track “Pandæmonium.”

Romero – Take the Potion

Romero is a hard rock/stoner metal band from Madison, Wisconsin and “Take the Potion” is the band’s full-length debut. They also have a 2010 EP by the same name and a pair of singles.

I am, as I state endlessly, a big fan of doom metal, and while Romero is not exactly doom metal (though there are moments that seem to cross over), stoner and doom often hold hands and make friendly, so I’m usually pretty open to anything that even sets one foot into doom territory. I feel like there’s a bit o’ sludge going on here as well.

I like what Romero has going on with “Take the Potion.” There are sonic peaks and valleys that range from relatively quiet to thunderously loud. The instrumental work is of a quality that any long instrumental breaks bring an interesting life of their own, rather than leaving my mind to start wandering until the vocals come back. The vocals tend to range between a sort-of clean and a bark, both of which sound good and work great with the music.

I am really glad these guys contacted me. I was very surprised and happy by how much I enjoyed “Take the Potion.” I highly recommend giving these guys a listen. And Romero make it real easy, because they posted the whole album as one track on YouTube…at least I hope it was the band. I got that impression from the poster’s name. Anyway, check it out below.

In the Silence – A Fair Dream Gone Mad

In the Silence is a progressive metal band from Sacramento, California and “A Fair Dream Gone Mad” is their first album. I feel like this album is one of those unfortunates that have been kicked around the calendar a few times due to scheduling mishaps on my end, so my apologies if this took a while to get posted.

As I mentioned yesterday with Surgeon, progressive metal is not often my cup of tea. That’s because there are so many shredders out there looking to be the next Dream Theater that musicianship often trumps songwriting, and honestly I get bored real easy. I’m happy to say that, like Surgeon, In the Silence doesn’t fall into that category of progressive bands that bore me. On the contrary, I rather enjoy what they’ve got going on. To my ears, this is more like Opeth’s “Damnation” meets any number of Katatonia albums. It has a progressive nature, but is also…like…super…chill. Yet it remains heavy enough to earn its metal badge too.

The production is very clean, atmospheric and ethereal sounding, also like a Katatonia album. Listening to this album makes me want to throw up a hammock in the back yard, put on some headphones and reflect upon life. That sounds peaceful, which I could certainly use after the last few months.

Check these guys out. Here is the track “Ever Closer.”

Entropia – Vesper

Entropia is a post-metal/black/sludge band from Poland and “Vesper” is their full-length debut.

The first thing I noticed when I popped in “Vesper” was the sound quality is pretty fucking awful. I could barely hear the music and had to turn the volume almost all the way up to hear what was going on. That’s never a fun way to start a listening experience.

Once I found a comfortable listening level, the music was actually pretty cool. I’ve never been a fan of Neurosis and like-minded bands, but in this case the post-metal combined with shoegaze makes for an interesting listen. The harsh vocals…they are ok I suppose, but given the shimmering wall of music, I think the vocals would be better served if they stood out from the mix a little more. As it is I tend to sort of ignore the vocals to focus on the intricacies of the music. The vocals are like an afterthought.

I’m certain that there are those who will eat this album up and sing its praises, and I can agree with those people up to a point. Musically this is a very cool album. But with the poor production and throw-away vocals, I’m not completely sold on the album.

Check out the track “Gauss.”

Magister Templi – Lucifer Leviathan Logos

Magister Templi – Lucifer Leviathan Logos.jpg

Magister Templi is a heavy/doom metal band from Norway and “Lucifer Leviathan Logos” is the band’s full-length debut.

When I saw the band name and album title I was all set to spin up what I expected would be some raw and evil black metal. Wrong! Well, half-wrong anyway. The lyrical content is definitely occult-themed, but black metal this is not. The music on “Lucifer Leviathan Logos” is a pretty even mixture of 80s Mercyful Fate style metal and doom metal.

The production sounds slightly muddy, but for the most part I am content with the sound quality. One of my biggest complaints about vocals tends to be that the vocals get buried in the mix and can’t be heard well. In the case of Magister Templi, I feel like the vocals could actually come down a little. Maybe a little less reverb on them as well.

First impressions aside, I like what these guys are doing. There is sort of an old-school Ghost sound, but it is more heavy than Ghost. Ghost goes uber-melodic on the vocals which makes it slightly creepy when they talk about Satan. Magister Templi would never be confused with Ghost, but the lyrical topics and musical time period they conjure seem to be similar. Magister Templi’s vocalist, Abraxas d’Ruckus, sings clean and melodic, but sounds more like a cross between pre-Messiah Candlemass and Deathmaster from Doomsword.

For a first album this is pretty cool. I like doomy sound and the cool riffs. I’d like to hear at least a slightly improved sound quality on the second album, but the thing to take away from this is that I want to hear a second album.

Here is the track “Master of the Temple.”