Reviews for October 1st, 2012

Satan’s Wrath – Galloping Blasphemy

Satan’s Wrath is the new band featuring Tas Danazoglou, formerly of Electric Wizard. “Galloping Blasphemy is the band’s first album and it sounds just a wee bit different than Electric Wizard. Where Electric Wizard is a decidedly low-fi (read as horrendously produced) stoner doom metal, Satan’s Wrath is a better produced blackened thrash. Up to this point in time I have not been able to stomach Electric Wizard because all their albums sound like they were recorded up the Lucifer’s backside, but Satan’s Wrath has a sound I enjoy. It is also worth noting that the other member of Satan’s Wrath, guitar player Stamos K, was once a member of killer Greek metal band, Scar of the Sun.

The songs on “Galloping Blasphemy” have an evil thrashy sound and harsh-ish vocals that are more croaked than screamed. I get a strong Venom vibe from these songs, only with slightly better vocals. The production is not full-on clean and shiny spectacular, but it is quite clear sounding without any filler noise to muddy it up, and I very much like that about these songs. I enjoy the guitar tone and playing quite a bit; this tends to get overlooked with metal this “evil” and you end up a wall of noise where one cannot make out the notes from the rest of the slush. I have to give them kudos and say great job in regards to making this a listenable album.

I hope Tas sticks with this project. I will take Satan’s Wrath over Electric Wizard any day of the week. Check out the track “Between Belial and Satan.”

Recently Vacated Graves: True Zombie Metal –Antietam 1862/ Consumed by Death

Recently Vacated Graves: True Zombie Metal, as you may have noticed by their name, like zombies. No, they really like zombies. RVG:TZM are from my neck of the woods, the Washington, D.C. area, and they have just released two new EPs of thrashy death metal.

The first EP is called “Antietam 1862” and is a concept recording that recounts America’s bloodiest battle, only this time the fallen rise up again with a craving for human flesh. Having just finished reading Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” book, I found it interesting to get yet another perspective on this famous Civil War battle.

Musically these songs have all the deliciously technical aspects of intricate thrash metal, while the vocals are balanced on the edge of thrash and death. The vocals are harsh, but not in a deeper death metal sort of way; these have a mid-to high range which sound great over top of the music. They cut right through the mix and give the songs a dangerous edge.

The second EP is called “Consumed by Death”, and this is where the bands love of zombies truly shines through. Realizing that to truly embody the slogan “true zombie metal” they would need to take on the vocal styling of the ravenous undead, RVG:TZM opted for lyric-less songs which simply feature the haunted screams of the undead. I have complained in the past about bands whose vocals are so bad you cannot get words from what they do (Pathology), but I have to chuckle at the genius of intentionally not using words in order to replicate the sound of zombies. Fucking brilliant I say. Even the song titles are meaningless: “Chaaggh”, “Muughgh”, “Vlaagkk” and “Fghnnhn” round out the EP. This might get a little old on a full album, but as an EP this is perfect.

Taking both of these EPs together I am very happy. On “Consumed by Death” I can get my fix of metal and zombie screams. If I am feeling a little more traditional (by which I mean using a living human language) then I can head over to “Antietam 1862.” Serious and novelty all in one place, you gotta love it. Here is a taste of both EPs. First is “The Sunken Road” from “Antietam 1862” and then there is “Vlaagkk” from “Consumed by Death.” Enjoy.

Hell:On – Age of Oblivion

Hell:On are a Ukrainian death/thrash metal band and “Age of Oblivion” is their third album. Originally named Hellion the band changed their name to avoid confusion with other bands that have used the name.

I tend to have low expectations for bands I have never heard of before, but right away I could tell this was going to be pretty good. The sound quality of the album sounds very bright and professional, which is generally a good way to get me interested and keep me listening. The musicianship is very tight and their thrash has a very modern feel to it. The thrash is strong with this one. (In case you missed it that was an uber-nerdy Star Wars/Metal crossover joke that just laid there and died. But really, it is some good thrash.)

The vocals are a somewhat harsh barked style that works pretty well with the music. Given the almost militaristic precision of the music, the vocals fit right in like the drill sergeant from hell. One other item of note is that Jeff Waters of Annihilator guests on the track, “My Doll.”

I was pleasantly surprised by “Age of Oblivion.” I will without question listen to these guys again. This is good stuff. Check out the video for the track “Let it Feed.”

Hollow Haze – Poison in Black

Hollow Haze is an Italian metal band and “Poison in Black” is their fourth album. Encyclopaedia Metallum lists them as progressive metal, but I do not feel that covers the range of their sound. This album definitely has elements of power metal and symphonic as well.

Well, the production sounds great, so throw that concern out the window. The music sounds very full; the heavy is represented with a nice low-end, while still sounding crisp and clear. The musicians are shredders and the vocals are clean and powerful.

Yeah, but tell us about the songwriting, George! Easy, killer, I am getting there. The songs are extremely melodic and catchy thanks to the vocals, but grounded in the harder side by some tasty metal chops. I frequently get an epic, majestic vibe from the songs, but without any of the cheese that sometimes accompanies the style. These songs are very entertaining and I am loving this album.

I have been telling friends and family that we need to pick up and head over to Italy to film a documentary on the Italian metal scene, because Italy has so many killer metal bands, but I never hear about their “scene” like you do with other geographic regions (for example Scandinavia.) Maybe I should do a Kickstarter project to fund it and get it rolling.

Anyway, yeah, “Poison in Black” is a cool album. You should check these guys out. Here is their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Headless Cross.” Oh, did I not mention that the last track is a Sabbath cover? Yeah, that is how they roll.