Album Reviews
Well, the title of this page pretty much says it all, dunnit? If you're not familiar with the concept of album reviews, basically, a person takes an "Album", by a "Band", listens to it and then writes down their opinion about it. Get it? Good.

All members of the DMHC mailing list get to post their reviews about pretty much any album here, so if you're a member, get posting, and if you're not, subscribe already!
Incredibly huge shitload of reviews from Jenn, Vol. 1
Incredibly huge shitload of reviews from Jenn, Vol. 2


Deicide - "In Torment In Hell"

Ok, so Glen, (I burn inverted crosses into my forehead) Benton and his legion are back. Well, nothing's changed. I like Deicide quite a bit, but this album is really nothing new. If you're one of the faithful, die hard Deicide fans that LIVE for Glen Benton, twisted as that may seem, you'll want to buy this cd. The death grunt vocals are really pretty good, and the album thrashes alot, but again, it's nothing that they haven't done a few times over.

One thing is for certain, "In Torment In Hell" is fucking Death Metal! Cookie cutter? Fine. I'll take it over the "MTV metal" ANY day. You won't see a video from this album on MTV.

Overall, if you like fast Death Metal, this cd is worth it. Plus it was recorded AND mixed in four days. Not a bad effort in that case, eh?

Me? I love it. 'Nuff said.

The List Drunk And Defender Of All That Which Sucks

http://www.deicide.com

Ron


Slayer - "God Hates Us All"

The first thing that attracted me to this album, apart from the fact that it was Slayer, was the censored artwork. What is revealed when you remove the white and gold generic cover, is a bloody bible with a few punctures and the Slayer logo carved into it over the cross.

As for the album. I have been reborn through Slayer with this release. I, along with quite a few other longtime fans, feared that Tom and the boys had caught the "Linkin Park Virus", thus losing their former godlike status by "selling out" to the industry standards for MTV "metal". They do still use the occasional hardcore breakdown, but "God Hates Us All" leans more towards the Slayer of "Seasons In The Abyss" and "Divine Intervention".

Check this cd out. It CAN'T disappoint you...unless you like the "Linkin Park Virus" bands and hoped Slayer would join their ranks. If so, skip "God Hates Us All" and go buy Creed or something.

http://www.slayer.net

Ron


Biohazard "Uncivilization"

So Biohazard fell off, huh? Pfft. Get the fuck outta here. They're back and aggressive as ever, with some pretty cool guests. "Unified" features Roger from Agnostic Front. Peter Steele sings on "Cross The Line". Other guests include Jamie Hatebreed, Sen Dog, (Cypress Hill and Biohazard...YES!), Phil Anselmo, Slipknot and a few others.

But make no mistake about it. "Uncivilization" is a fucking Biohazard record through and through. It would be a mistake to judge this album by "Sellout", which I know some people have already done. "H.F.F.K." and "Domination" (they did a Morbid Angel cover? -Mike) are fucking HEAVY! "Fuck off and die motherfuckers, this is our revolution."

With the exception of "Mata Leao", this is the best Biohazard album to come out since "Urban Discipline".

All the "nu-metal" bands better make way. Biohazard from Brooklyn New York is IN YOUR FACE, MOTHERFUCKERS!

DFL

http://www.biohazard.com

Ron


Cathedral - "Endtyme"

Earache

The new Cathedral album...Thank GOD!

I have to admit that I hadn't heard these guys until I saw the "Ride" video on Headbanger's Ball way back when. Then "Midnight Mountain" of course. I was hooked.

"Endtyme" is yet another Black Sabbath drenched materpiece. Cathedral can do no wrong in my opinion. The album goes from super slow sludge to funky Black Sabbath grooves perfectly. The songs fit together so well that album becomes one big beautiful piece of music that's over before you know it. "Astral Queen" is almost good enough to be "Planet Caravan II". The last track, "Templars Arise! (The Return)" is a 14 minute piece that reminds me of early Pink Floyd, believe it or not. They use piano dischord and chants just right to make it sound like a heavier "Pompeii". Well, to me anyway. "Melancholy Emperor" has a pretty cool intro that uses an acoustic bass.

"Endtyme" is a must own for even the casual Cathedral fan.

Visit the coven,

http://www.geocities.com/~witchblaster/

Ron


Slipknot - "Iowa"

Roadrunner Records

A lot of people, myself included, believe that nothing good could possibly come out of this "nu-metal" scene that's taking over the "youth" of today. But every genre can and does produce a great artist, like that style of music or not, (hey, look at Johnny Cash for Christ's sake!)

Slipknot have proven to me that they don't belong in the "nu-metal" genre with all the clones. Ok, so the masks and suits are silly, (there's only one GWAR), and I do get a little tired of the "teen angst" lyrics, but they do threaten to scare the religious community by using satan and 666 in some lyrics. Uh oh, what if that song becomes a single? Will they censor that? Hmmm.

"The Heretic Anthem" actually has the drummer playing the double bass solo breakdown in Slayer's "Angel Of Death". "Left Behind" reminds me of some old punk song done heavier.

Overall, "Iowa" is great competition for the "chart" bands, while appealing to the fans of heavier, "underground" metal at the same time.

But why does it take nine guys?

Links:

http://www.slipknot1.com
http://www.slipknot2.com
http://www.slipknot.tv
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com


Ron


System of a Down - "Toxicity"

American Recordings

Wow! This album is HEAVY! It offers a great listen to just about everyone. There are elements of fast thrash, growling death metal vocals, and Dead Kennedys style punk, as well as acoustic "radio friendly" passages and tiny tinges of pop. Not to mention political lyrics that remind me of Rage Against The Machine along with DK. The first song, "Prison Song" sounds like Jello Biafra could have written it. "Bounce" is a great thrashing punk song about a pogo stick. Lots of people wanting to play, "but just one pogo stick".

This album is all kinds of in your face. The guitar sound is huge. Excellent performances all around.

System Of A Down should really turn some heads with "Toxicity". Go buy it, you can get a bonus cd-rom with extras.

http://www.systemofadown.com

Ron


Rollins Band - "Nice"

Sanctuary Records 2.13.61

"Nice" is Henry's second album since hooking up with the Mother Superior boys. Those guys are a great band. The last track, "Let That Devil Out" really shows what they can do.

The artwork includes Henry, the "aging punk rock icon" disco posing in leather pants, a naked chick and lots of money.

Songs like "Up For It" and "I Want So Much More" have R&B/soul vocals and horns. In "One Shot", the first track, Henry uses the lyric "hot animal", and "Hello" reminds me of the album, "Hot Animal Machine". Other songs have a "Hard Volume" feel, with Jim, Marcus and Jason tearing it up. Jason also plays sax. "We walk alone shows off Jim Wilson's slide guitar, and he REALLY rocks on "Let That Devil Out", which is a great bluesy rocker, with all the guys, including Hank, jamming and having a great time.

Overall, "Nice" is an incredible follow up to the awesome "Get Some Go Again".

Check out all things Rollins and more at

http://www.two1361.com

Ron


Lamb Of God - "New American Gospel"

Prosthetic/Metal Blade 2000

This is the debut album for Richmond Virgina's Lamb Of God, formerly known as Burn The Priest. Not having heard them then, I can't compare the two. What I CAN do is tell you how amazing "New American Gospel" is. The production is wonderful. Every instrument is clear and blends together perfectly. The vocals are awesome. Not a really deep growl, but still brutal. They use a lot of slow, heavy as hell mosh parts that will crush your head if played too loud. But when they speed it up, DUCK! At times, Lamb Of God reminds me of Testament's "Demonic" album. Others have mentioned a Meshuggah sound, but when it comes right down to it, "New American Gospel" is a really great album that most death metal fans as well as thrash metal fans should enjoy. And although it is an incredible album all the way through, of course there are bound to be favorites. Some of mine are, "Black Label", "In The Absence Of The Sacred", "Pariah" and "Confessional".

I'll post my review of the show opening for GWAR next time.

Until then, you can check out Lamb Of God at

http://www.lamb-of-god.com
http://www.mp3.com/lambofgod

Ron


Dee Snider - "Never Let the Bastards Wear You Down"

I really wanted to like this album. I listen to Dee Snider Radio every morning on Radio 104 (from 6:00 to 10:00 am eastern) in CT and love it, mostly because it's a toned down version of Howard Stern who's too over the top for my tastes. Right now Dee Snider Radio is only in CT but they're working on syndication and it will be huge without a doubt. Anyway, so he releases this album and Mike says he put on an awesome show at Wacken this year... so I decide "What the hell, it'll be cheesy but I like that stuff." So I bought it. Stuck it in the player. Instantly knew something was wrong here. The first song, "Hard Core," is about Lemmy from Motorhead, and it's pretty weak. I especially didn't like the chorus, but I said "Ah, the rest will be better." Turns out "Hard Core" is the best song on the whole album. Most of it is completely banal 80's rock - admittedly it was all stuff he wrote in the 80s but never recorded. You'd think he'd spice it up a little, but no... it just sucks. The ultimate low comes when he does this horrid rockabilly song and follows it with an Elvis-esque song of equal worth. Just awful. Also, on the 4th or 5th track, he goes off key for a second. It's bad. So while I really like his morning show and think he's an awesome personality, this album is best avoided at all costs.

DEE SNIDER RADIO:
http://www.broadcast.com/radio/rock/wmrq/ and
http://www.radio104.com/

Charlie


Morbid Angel - "Gateways to Annihilation"
Earache

After the abysmal "Domination" album and being forced to fire Dave Vincent on account of him having turned into a racist prick, Trey Azagtoth had to completely take the creative reins into his hands for the previous Morbid Angel album "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh". The result was an album that pretty much lined up all the band's classic trademarks with lyrics based entirely on Trey's admittedly insane, but also astoundingly coherent religious views. Basically, it looked like the band's style had been defined once and for all, and now the whole world is expecting the new album to be in the same vein.

But of course Morbid Angel do the exact opposite of that. Behind the skull-adorned cover of their latest effort "Gateways to Annihilation", we find what is easily their most inaccessible and experimental album to date. Most of the songs are unusually slow, there are practically no electro instrumental tracks, and all of the lyrics except "Secured Limitations" are from new frontman Steve Tucker, so there's no sumerian mumbo-jumbo either.

While the previous album opened up with three highspeed neckbreakers, this time my favorite Tampa madmen throw three songs ranging from slow to, uh, even slower at us right at the beginning of the album. Moving from the relatively catchy and groove oriented "Summonig Redemption" via the break-infested "Summoning Redemption", they make their way to the entirely Steve Tucker-written, superslow "He Who Sleeps", easily one of the weirdest songs Morbid Angel have ever recorded. Being their usual "we're not about the kill-riffs" selves, by the way, they presented this song as a sample of their new album at this year's Wacken Open Air, which resulted in a few thousand blank stares and open mouths, including mine...

Their old fans properly shocked with this opening trio, they do put the proverbial pedal to the metal on some of the following songs, though - track # 4, "To the Victor, the Spoils" is ripe with blast beats, and "Opening of the Gates" isn't exactly nice and easy either. The latter seems a little longwinded around the middle part, by the way, but I'm reasonably certain that the guitar leads are missing on the advance tape, so this'll probably be a classic endless guitar solo part. The final track, "God of the Forsaken", is another highspeed song, written by Erik Rutan, who was actively involved in the recording of this album again. I'd wager that the numerous melodic guitar leads are his doing as well. However, "God of the Forsaken" seems a tad out of place on this album for my tastes - it's pretty much a 100% Hate Eternal song down to the vocal lines, really.

All of the songs are full of the usual insane riffs - actually, some of the guitar parts seem weird even for Morbid Angel's standards. There's more guitar harmonies and crazy tempo changes than ever, and the abundant slow and mid paced parts allow Pete Sandoval to show that he can do more than just endless double bass and blast beats for a change. The only thing I could've done without is the boring track "I", which uses a variation of the basic riff from "Nothing But Fear" off of "Domination", which already pops up in "Summoning Redemption" and "Opening of the Gates" on this album. The song pretty much only consists of variations of this one riff, which makes it pretty dull, plus it seems kinda like, ahem, Morbid Angel's version of "Enter Sandman", frankly.

Be warned, I'm reasonably certain you will be turned off by this album the first time you listen to it - you'll probably wish there was more fast stuff, and you'll find a lot of the songs impossible to get into at first. But give it a couple of spins, and I promise, it will turn out to be a killer album chock full of great groove riffs and all the things that have always made Morbid Angel what they are - unique guitar work, incredible drumming, unrelenting heaviness despite all the experiments, and now that Steve Tucker's in the band, great catchy vocal lines as well.

Mike


Spine Shank - "The Height of Callousness"

I have never heard Strictly Diesel, the bands debut, so I'm approaching this one with virgin ears...

Asthmatic
This band sound sort of like a neo-metal version of misery loves co, with a bit of Fear Factory, SYL and ministry thrown in (they still have their own sound though). This track is a lovely little frantic piece which sets up the album nicely. The singer puts more effects on his voice than Burton C. Bell's Android, but god damn it sounds good. Most importantly when using his "heavy" voices, unlike other bands of this type (say Static X), he genuinely sounds pissed off. More please!

The Height of Callousness
Bouncing straight off the speed of the previous track (this band don't seem to believe too much in build up) we get the tittle track, another fast heavy and unrelenting track. My only problem with it is during the chorus the singer screams out "fuck integrity" which immediately brings to mind comparisons to slipknot. Apart from that minor complaint this song rocks. That's 2 great songs out of 2 so far, what was that other album I was reviewing 5 minutes ago?

Synthetic
Refusing to halt the pace comes my Favourite track off this little gem. Sure it's a little formulaic, but who cares! Containing a very catchy yet still intelligent chorus this song is over way to soon. I'll defiantly be asking for this one at any metal clubs I go too.

New Disease
This track is apparently the first single. Its a little slower and less heavy than the previous 3 tracks (and thus more radio friendly.) A great song, but none the less one of the weaker ones IMHO. Don't judge the entire album on the strength of this song alone.

(Can't Be) Fixed
Turning the heaviness up a notch from "New Disease" this is a very Misery Loves Co sounding track. Very Yummy.

Cyanide 2600
This track is the heaviest on the album, it's also the most industrial sounding - the guitars hardly make their presence known. This tracks acts as bit of an album divider, sort of like the way new breed does on Demanufacture. Some parts of it are 'Dancy" but most of it is very chaotic. Overall a brilliant track.

Play God
This track is (a little) slower than the rest on the album. I can see what the band tried to do on this track but the don't quite pull it off with the success they do with the rest of the songs. Still a good track.

Malnutrition
Another pounding heavy track, this has got some weird effects in the bridge which takes the place of a guitar solo. Pretty good.

Seamless
This is another kick ass song, the chorus has a great hook making this the 'anthem' track of the album.

Negative Space.
This short little number (at 2:39) is rather weird in that it's hook (especially the chorus) is sort-of a bit poppy. I'd pick this one as being one of the future singles. Probably one of my favs on the album, it should have been featured earlier on the album though (at around track 4 or 5.) Oh well.

Transparent
This is quite a good song, my only beef with it is it's not much of a 'closer' to the album. I would have preferred the final track be something a little different to what is found on the rest of the album. Can't have everything I guess.

Overall if you like stuff like Fear Factory (demanufacture) Misery Loves co and other bands in the metal / industrialish genre, I highly recommend this album. If there is any justice in this world this album should propel Spine Shank to the levels of fame shared by label mates Coal Chamber, Machinehead etc.

Frank


Soulfly - "Primitive"

Being a rather large Sepultura fan I, like many others, ran out at got Soulfly S/T when it came out. It was one of my biggest CD buying mistakes of my life. I, personally, found the experience as entertaining as watching Ricky Martin strip (yes, I do realise I am setting myself up for a million gay jokes there!) Sloppy song writing, muddy production, lack of inspiration and special guests that didn't enhance the music in anyway and were just there so fans of those 'artists' will go and buy this album as well lead to what was one of the biggest jokes of 1998 (IMHO.) Its no understatement to say I wasn't holding my breath for the new one...

Back to the Primitive
The first thing that struck me was the production is a little clearer, less muddy, which seems to make a BIG difference. The second thing that struck me is that Max suffers from Danni Filth syndrome, Also known as the "I can only sing about the same thing over and over again." Someone get this guy a thesaurus please! The song goes through the Soulfly motions and is probably about as good as anything found on ST.

Pain
This song has Chino from Deaftones and Grandy from who knows where (not me.) I don't see what the point of putting these guys on this song was. Max could have sung it all and it wouldn't have made a huge difference. I hate special guests on proper albums, and Soulfly uses them in abundance. What's the point? When I buy an album I want to hear the band in action, not that band and friends. The bridge of this song is very cool, the rest is very forgettable.

Bring it
Typical Soulfly song, with a typical Soulfly tittle. Nothing you haven't heard before.

JumpDaFuckUp
Another Special guest (Corey from Slipknot) song, I hate it just for its unimaginative and stupid title. Da? I'm pretty sure max was using 'the' back in his Sepultura days, before sounding uneducated was hip. Anyway the song sounds just like you think it will, with Corey doing his 'soft voice' in the verses then the big "everyone jump up and down in the mosh pit" pre chorus and chorus. Actually it's not too bad a track. Still a stupid title though...

Mulambo
More typical Soulfly. To be fair though this, like all other typical Soulfly tracks found on this album, seem to be of a higher quality than on the last album. More thought and care was taken, and it shows.

Son Song
This one features Sean Lennon, and is one of the few tracks I'm not going to bitch about special guests. This is because Sean Lenon is from a different background (ie non-metal) so what he brings to the music is something different than what Soulfly could achieve on their own (unlike pain.) I really like this song, it has a sort of heavy stoner rock feel to it.

Boom
See Mulambo. Not too bad.

Terrorist
This one features Tom from Slayer, and as much as I hate special guests on albums, it is pretty cool hearing these two giants of metal singing together. The ending is deliciously fast and reminiscent of Sepultra. Another good song - heck there may be hope for this album yet...

The Prophet
This song is nice and compact, and seems to be faster and a little more complex then most of their other material. Ranks as one of the best songs I have heard from this band.

Soulfly II
Similar to Soulfly I but a little more experimental sounding. I probably like this one better, which is something considering Soulfly was one of the only tracks I liked on ST. Cool music to chill out too.

In Memory Of...
This has a bunch of rappers, who I am sure are famous though I have no idea what group they are from. Unlike Durst on the last album though these guys can actually rap (they sound like Wu-tang). Not bad but nothing we haven't really heard before.

Flyhigh
YES!!!! Now THIS is a special guest I have no problem at all with. Cool little Soulfly track with a big gospel sounding chorus thanks to Asha Rabouin. I have no idea who she is, but she really makes her presence known without compromising the rest of the band. The result is the best song this outfit have created hands down.

Overall another album relying too much on special guest means Soulfly have not earned any additional respect from me, but I must admit Soulfly have released a pretty good album (someone please check if Terrorist-X has just dropped dead.) Overall if you liked ST (and god knows there were allot of you!) run out and get this one, otherwise hear a friends copy before you buy. It is a much better album, but I don't know if the band have evolved quite enough to reform all of the Soulfly haters out there.

Frank


Nyctophobic - "Insects"
Morbid Records


I don't want to bash this album. Really I don't. Because Nyctophobic are exactly the kind of band that I think this world needs more of. Formed in 1992 in Germany, these guys have put out piles of 7" split albums (with Agathocles, among others), CD's and tapes, more or less ignored by the mainstream Metal press and obviously not giving half a shit. They play exactly the kind of music they want to play, not thinking about popularity or current trends for even a second. Bands like this deserve respect.

And actually, "Insects" starts out promising. They've got the crunchy Grindcore guitar sound, without letting it get too muddy, the noisy cymbal sound, without letting the drums lose power, and the vocals are way, way, way old school, like something off of a Discharge album, none of the usual DM grunts mixed in. And the first songs are really convincing, intelligently arranged with nice breaks, a clean performance, but by no means sounding toothless. This could've been a really good Grindcore album. Alas, Nyctophobic are severly lacking in the creativity department. More or less all of their riffs are swiped from either Napalm Death or Terrorizer - if they want to sound fast and noisy, they steal something from the older ND albums, if they want to sound slow and chunky, something from their newer albums, toss in a few "World Downfall" riffs here and there, and that's pretty much the shape and size of Nyctophobic's creative territory. Also, many of their songs sound far too similar and are too longwinded, and frankly, after about a third of the album, boredom rears its ugly head.

Too rare are the sparks of inspiration, for example when Nyctophobic slap together slow parts off the later Napalm Death albums with old school grind riffs in the vein of Terrorizer, as heard in "Swallow/Spit It Out", or when they dive even deeper into the old school pond and come back up with a HC riff from the first Agnostic Front album, as in the testosterone-laden "X". Me, I like them best when they keep their songs short and to the point, like "Walls of Seclusion" - two riffs, fifty seconds, ka-boom, that's it. Unfortunately, songs like this are pretty much the exception, most of the album consists of overly drawn out songs with the same three swiped riffs over and over again.

I know what you're thinking now - Grindcore has to be this way, and besides, you can't expect anything earthshatteringly new and original in this genre anyway, so shut your fucking face, smartass, this is a tightly played album with an excellent production stinking of integrity from start to finish. But see, I don't agree with that. Brutal Truth showed the world that it is still possible even in the most extreme areas of music to come up with fresh and original ideas, without taking away one iota of the heaviness and extremity. But Nyctophobic are more like the Manowar of Grindcore, lining up the whole list of clichés straight out of the book, complete with movie intros, a hidden track (a truly excellent cover version of "Paranoid", by the way, but still no reason to artificially blow the album up to almost an hour), slap together riffs you've heard a thousand times before and make a point of not leaving the confines of their genre for a second, especially not to cross over into Metal. Now this last thing is somewhat refreshing in a time where there doesn't seem to be a clear line between Death Metal and Grindcore anymore, but come on, that's just not enough. All the way at the end, just before the 20-minute break before the hidden track, there's another gem to be found in the form of a Trip Hop Remix of one of their songs, which I have to admit sounds interesting (though the electronic elements are, ahem, pretty obviously swiped from the Prodigy...), but that's just not enough to keep me interested.

I'm willing to bet that Nyctophobic don't give a rat's ass if anyone likes this album, and definitely not if I do, and you know what, that's a good thing. I encourage all the Grindcore addicts out there to give this album a chance, for despite all the bickering, and I want to state this one more time, clearly - make no mistake, this is NOT a bad album. You can tell these guys do what they do because it's what they want to do from start to finish, all of the songs pack a pretty mean punch, and the production is actually pretty friggin' awesome. If you can never get enough of those old Terrorizer riffs, you can't go wrong with "Insects". God knows there are legions of worse Grind bands out there. It's just not for me, is all.

Mike


Hypnosia "Extreme Hatred"
Hammerheart


This whole retro trend in Metal has long become ridiculous. So when I got this CD, looked at the cover (skullfaced, spiked monster with an axe) and the title of this, Hypnosia's first full-length album, I heaved a deep sigh. If there's one thing I've had more than enough of, it's wannabe "Old School" Thrash albums with their fake 80's productions, and that's exactly what this CD looks like. Thankfully, Hypnosia have absolutely nothing in common with any of that crap. These here Swedes have been around since 1995 and put out two demo tapes and a mini album before "Extreme Hatred", so you better believe they're not a bunch of trendy fakes - they were already doing this when 99% of today's "True" Metal bands were still chasing after some other trend.

Once you get past the shockingly Black Metal-ish vocals, it's pretty obvious that for Hypnosia, "Old School" isn't an excuse for badly swiped riffs and a lousy production. The album sounds crisp and chunky, actually, the drum sound is almost too clean. None of that artificial lo-fi shit here. And despite the outside appearance of the album, the basic ingredients of Hypnosia's style aren't really that trendy either - actually, they play this mix of Death and Thrash Metal that wasn't even all that popular back in the early 90's when Death Metal was the biggest thing since gas powered chainsaws. A lot of their stuff sounds like such criminally underrated bands as Demolition Hammer or Merciless, some riffs are faintly reminiscent of Possessed or Dark Angel. Not exactly a hip mix.

However, their songs don't really need these comparisons to stand out, for Hypnosia have an astounding knack for interesting tempo changes and cool breaks far from the intellectual wasteland of verse/chorus repetition. The best example of this would be the unpredictably structured "Comatose", which, despite all the breaks, is actually one of the catchiest songs on the album, thanks to its great vocal lines ("CuhmuhtAAAAAAWS! CuhmuhTAAAAAAWS!", hargh, hargh). If you're just gonna check out one song, though, listen to "Hang 'Em High". This one gives you everything that's great about Hypnosia in one minute and fifty seconds. Even though it's the shortest song on the album, it's chock full of breaks, without ever sounding inaccessible or contrived - early 90's Death Metal has taught Hypnosia that it's perfectly possible to write catchy songs without falling back on verses and choruses.

The rest of the songs is somewhere between "Hang 'Em High" and the 5 minutes long closing track "Traumatic Suffering", with the band making quite a point of not ever letting the album get boring. Particularly drummer Mike Sjönstrand keeps pushing himself to the limit of his impressive abilities to prevent the album from becoming the monotonous hammering that some Death/Thrash bands produce. Track number 7, "Gates of Cirith Ungol" is an instrumental strongly reminiscent of M******ca's glory days (yes, that's a swear word now) and does a lot to add variety to the album.

The only thing that bugs me is the overall structuring of the album. Apparently, Hypnosia wanted to show the world how fast they can play right at the beginning, which seems to be why the album starts with three fast songs all out of the exact same mold. Shame, really, because after track 4, "Operation Clean-Sweep", a grade-A neck breaker of "Darkness Descends" format, by the way, you'd be hard pressed to point out two songs that sound alike. No other song has the cool Demolition Hammer-type tempo change "Act of Lunacy" has, no other song is as midtempo-oriented as "My Belief", and so on.

Of course this album is hardly gonna earn Hypnosia an originality award, and, as is usually the case in this particular genre, there are certain riffs that pop up in almost every song, but that doesn't take away from the fact that "Extreme Hatred" is, first and foremost, a big ol' pile of great riffs, spiced up from start to finish with catchy vocals, interesting breaks and unpredictable tempo changes. These guys are obviously having a blast doing this, and I'm having a blast listening to it. Buy this thing!

Check out Hypnosia's website at:
http://www.drink.to/hypnosia

Mike


King Diamond House Of God
Metal Blade 2000

King Diamond All vocals, keyboards
Andy La Rocque Guitars, keyboards
Glen Drover Guitars
John Hebert Drums
David Harbour Bass Guitar

Let me start the review of this album this way: As much as I love Danzig, I love King and Mercyful Fate just as much, and possibly more. I know this album has been out for a week or two, but Mike's procrastination has apparently rubbed off (It's infectious, baby! - Mike). That being said, I will get the brutal honesty out of the way first.

Andy La Rocque. That name has always meant "kick your teeth in, in your face, keep up with Yngwie while still being melodic as hell guitar playing." I'm afraid Andy has lost a bit of his edge. Don't get me wrong, he's still doing amazing melodies and harmony work, but his straight soloing is a bit lacking, (even if what he does still blow me out of the water as a guitarist.) From a guitar work point of view, Glen Drover steals the show. He's a bit like an Andy La Rocque from the mid '80s, but has a cleaner pick attack.

The story: I couldn't give it all away now could I??? I will quote "Upon The Cross" (the intro) as a teaser and leave it at that.

"Upon the cross he did not die, they tourtured him, but he survived. Smuggled across the open sea, to Southern France, tranquility. There he married Magdalene, and founded another dynasty. A church was built upon a hill, to serve all of the gods at will."

The first part of the album is a rather dark love story,(lyrically, not necessarily musically), but it quickly turns into the evil horror that it had to be.

House Of God is a great album. The artwork is beautiful blasphemy, King's vocals seem to have gotten stronger, and the band is very tight. Personally, I don't think this album is as heavy as "Voodoo", and certainly not up to par with "Conspiracy", (which really doesn't mean a whole lot, that's King's greatest album and will probably never be topped). It's more the speed of a '90s Mercyful Fate album. But I do like House Of God more than "The Spider's Lullaby" and "The Graveyard". The only downside for me would be that Andy has slowed down a bit,(he's been a god for 15 years) but I know you can't play like that forever, so it really doesn't bother me too much. Plus when you have a shredder like Glen Drover to handle the fireworks, you're all set.

Overall, I would say that if you're a King Diamond fan, you won't be disappointed. Buy it. If you don't know King's music, you could probably dig this. But if you're one of those people who hate him with a passion and are irritated all to hell by his vocals...WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING READING THIS ANYWAY????

I give House Of God by King Diamond 4 out of 5 devil horns. THROW 'EM UP!

Your List Drunk and Defender of All That Which Sucks


Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child
Eviliv9/E-Magine Music 1999


Being the resident Danzig fanatic as Mike put it, (and I don't shrug the title), it seems fitting that I review this album. However, I should have done it months ago, but procrastination rules, you guys know how it is.

First of all, I'd like to admit that as much as I love Glenn, I HATE his new band. Thank god he writes all the music. We all wish that John, Eerie and Chuck were still the band, but that will probably never happen. We must adapt. This album is worth it.

This album, while not going all the way back to old school Danzig, is much closer to that style than Danzig 5, or Blackacidevil, (which seems to be Glenn's "Cold Lake"). I do like the whole Satan's Child album, but there are moments when I lust for the days of old when Glenn didn't use "alternative rock" vocal treatments. I've said to my friends that this album is the best Danzig since "How The Gods Kill", and I stick by that even now.

The first track, "Five Finger Crawl", is one of my favorites. I'm not sure if that's based on the fact that I had the MP3 months before the album was released or not though. It is a great song. Others that really stand out for me are "Lilin", (which I must admit had to grow on me), "Unspeakable", "Cult Without A Name", "Satan's Child" and "Thirteen". Like I said, I do like the entire album, and I would discourage ANYONE from not buying it based on the overall reaction to Danzig 5. However, these songs are the ones that really grab me. "East Indian Devil (Kali's Song)" had serious potential to be an old school Danzig song, but was linked terribly to Danzig 5 by the techno sounding bass. Not to say that this is a bad song though. I realize that there are other "freaks" out there like myself who really like Blackacidevil. Even if our numbers are limited.

Well, I guess that's about it. Overall, I'd say buy this one, and listen to it more than once. I really don't think you'll be disappointed. The credits say "GD is endorsed by nobody" for christ's sake!

Check Danzig out at:

http://www.danzig-verotik.com/

Your beloved List Drunk, and crazed Danzig Fanatic


Dying Fetus - "Killing on Adrenaline"
Morbid/SPV

This album came out some time ago, but I just bought it recently and I still think it's wasting a word or two over. For the very simple reason that Dying Fetus kick ass and if you're into Death Metal and haven't heard them, you need to fix that double quick.

If you're into REAL Death Metal and none of that In Flames-type crap, that is. Dying Fetus are 100% NY-groove Death Metal, mighty fast and technical, but yet with great moshable parts and a seemingly inconceivable number of kill-riffs that'll rip your head off and shove it back up your ass. The twin vocals of John and Jason further add to the great dynamic of their music. It just makes you want to get up and kill someone.

On the downside, most of the lyrics are pointless and rather unenlightened political rants, and they have a tendency to just always repeat the first 40 seconds of every song at the end, as if that was necessary to make them "real" songs or "catchier" - they're catchy enough, guys, knock it off. The repetition is probably supposed to make the material even more moshable, but a lot of the songs are relatively long as it is, and it therefore seems unnecessary to me.

These minor gripes aside, "Killing on Adrenaline" is great, heavy, catchy Death Metal album with a killer production. And any album with a song called "Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog" on it is a must-have anyway.

Mike


The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Calculating Infinity"
Relapse

It's really hard to write a review about something like this, but "Calculating Infinity" is just so good that I think at least I should try. The Dillinger Escape Plan is one of the bands that cater to the 0.00001 percent of the human race that can appreciate bands like Mr. Bungle, Gorguts or Atheist. Absolutely, positively insane stuff. These guys are so skilled, it makes your head spin. I don't think I've ever heard better Jazz parts from any of these "total crossover" bands, and they pull off everything else with an ease and intensity that simply blows me away. Their style is basically a mix of Hard/Grindcore and Jazz, with the occasional, but very rare Metal riff. Extreme transitions from calm Jazz parts to intense grindcore eruptions dominate their song structures, making their material about as dynamic and intense as music is ever gonna get. Beyond that, it's extremely hard to describe - it really has to be heard to be believed.

The one thing that bugs me is the way you can always tell what band they're trying to sound like at any given point in their songs - usually either Meshuggah, Squarepusher, Cynic or Mr. Bungle. Now of course no one has ever put a Meshuggah riff next to a Squarepusher part in a song ("43% Burnt"), but the two individual parts are still not too original. Of course this is a minor weakness, and with their creativity and obvious musical skill, I'm sure DEP will attain an even better fusion of their various influences and become more original. This is, after all, their first full lenght LP, and as such, an incredible achievement.

The world needs more bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan.

Mike


Rebaelliun - "Burn the Promised Land"
Hammerheart

"This is the band that will the ass of the Death Metal scene!"

"Just so awesome blowing!!!"

Some random quotes from the info I got with this CD. They sum up my feelings about it quite nicely, and if it wasn't for the fact that this album has gotten rave reviews all over the place, there wouldn't really be any need for me to write this review.

Sigh. Alright then. Rebaelliun are a new DM band from Brazil that got their deal with the Dutch label Hammerheart after a show they played in Belgium. It seems the type of stuff Krisiun play is all the rage with the DM underground in Brazil at the moment - Rebaelliun sound a lot like Krisiun. Just like their predecessors, they write songs consisting of 90% blast beats and cookie-cutter DM riffs. Truly terrible crap. The unimaginative riffing is testimony to an utter absence of creativity so overwhelming, I had to listen to Spock's Beard for five hours straight after suffering the 30-something minutes of stupidity that are "Burn the Promised Land" just to restore some semblance of sanity in my mind. There isn't a single original idea on this whole album, all, and I mean ALL as in EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE, of the riffs are so blatantly basic it makes me want to scream. It makes me wonder why bands like Cryptopsy even try. It makes me wonder if everything Suffocation have done for the genre was in vain. Because this band is getting better reviews in the big magazines than Cryptopsy and Suffocation ever did or will.

The drummer can't play to save his worthless life. The blasts are pretty fast, but usually completely out of time and sometimes not even in the same rhythm as the riffs (as in the final track, "Triumph of the Unholy Ones"), the double bass is practically inaudible. But I guess it's just tough luck for Rebaelliun that they're on a small label and can't afford to cheat on the drums like other bands of their breed. The guitars sound way too muddy, the bass guitar is entirely inaudible. The keys on the weak "we have nowhere to go with this riff, so let's just play it over and over again and call it an instrumental" "Flagellation of Christ" sound like they were played on a Fisher Price toy.

This is complete and utter shit. I urge every Death Metal fan with half a brain on this planet to boycot Rebaelliun and all similar bands. Death Metal is not just about being fast and evil. If this trend persists, the DM scene will once again be the laughing stock of the entire thinking world - and this time with good reason. This upheaval of stupidity must be nipped in the bud!

Mike


Joe Satriani - "Engines Of Creation"
Epic

Joe Satriani: guitars, keyboards, programming
Eric Caudieux: keyboards, bass, programming and editing

This is an incredible album with a unique sound that's quite different for Satch, while still being unmistakably Satriani. I heard a bit of an interview about this album, and Joe said that they originally recorded a "techno" sounding record, and when the record company heard it, they wished that they had "rock remixes" of that recording. Engines Of Creation is born.

For the first few albums beginning in 1986, Joe used a drum machine and generally only had one or two people helping him with the album. Then on the next several, he went for the bigger production sound of a live band, which also worked very well. Now he's back to one other person performing, and drum machines. The wonderful side to that is that technology has advanced so well since 1986, that this album, with only a couple of exceptions, doesn't really have the "typical drum machine" sound.

I've listened to this album four times since I got it yesterday, and I'm more impressed with each listen. Satch has been a major source of inspiration for my playing for the last 13 years, and he's still at it.

Devil's Slide, the first track, and Attack have the really heavy, almost but not quite beat bass sound eluded to earlier with the techno record. It reminds me in a way of Danzig's Blackacidevil. This is where most quit reading right? Don't. It doesn't sound at all like Danzig 5, just the heavy, fast drums remind me of it. The first single is Until We Say Goodbye, which is a ballad. It's pretty straightforward, with simple chord structures, and is not a thousand notes per second. That is not to say that it's not a good song. Simple chord structures can still be amazing if done properly, and Satch is a master at being amazing.

Some of the tracks in the middle of the album take on a spacey, almost ambient sound. Clouds Race Across The Sky is another slower song, and The Power Cosmic 2000-Part 1 and Part 2 are along the ambient lines. Part 2 has a sort of Prodigy feel to it, while still maintaining the Satriani guitar attack.

Overall, Engines Of Creation to me is the next logical step progressively for one of the most innovative guitarists today.

You can check Satch out at www.satriani.com.

Ron


Crowbar - "Equilibrium"
Spitfire Records

To me, Crowbar albums are Crowbar. Or at least used to be. I really think that Sammy Duet joining the band was about the best thing that could have happened to them. Otherwise, they'd have gone on to obscurity, putting out the same album every couple of years like AC/DC. That's not the case however. Their guitar style has been heavily redefined, and in a couple of places has a strong Acid Bath feel to it.

They also have seemed to develop a sense of humor. Like Brett and I were discussing, they covered Dream Weaver. They also do a hilarious In-a-goda-da-vida acappella. Or should I say using their voices as guitars, like Mr. Bungle did on Carry Stress In The Jaw. The vocals almost sound at one point like a slam on Danzig. The song is only 1:07 long, you just have to hear it to believe it.

The production on Equilibrium is great, everything is just where it should be. No ridiculously loud vocals, or anything else.

So far my favorite songs are I Feel The Burning Sun, Glass Full Of Liquid Pain and Command Of Myself, which has the Acid Bath guitar sound. They also have a depressing piano song called To Touch The Hand Of God. Slow piano chords, harmonized clean vocals, rain effects in the song, etc. It's a good song, it's just a bit long and drawn out to me. Five minutes of that is almost too much. So of course, Crowbar is still into the "hate yourself and everything around you" lyrics, but I suppose they wouldn't really be Crowbar without them. And they aren't quite as in your face about it on this one. They actually make you wonder if they were on drugs when they wrote them.

Equilibrium is one of Crowbar's strongest efforts in my opinion. Their older material seemed awfully one dimensional to me. I think they're a much better band over these last two albums. EVERYONE needs Equilibrium, and while you're at it, get Odd Fellow's Rest too.

Official Crowbar "Heavyweight Support Team" Fan Club
P.O. Box 840131
New Orleans LA
70184-0131 USA

Ron


Slaughter - "Strappado"

This album was released in 87, which as you'll remember was also the year Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" was released - a time when Death Metal was considered to be a short lived trend of the early years of the decade that was over and done with. Much like now, actually. Ahem. Despite the fact that it was released some years after the earliest classics of the genre, "Strappado" is counted among such albums as "To Mega Therion" and "Seven Churches". The blasphemous youngster might suspect it only achieved that status because it was always scarce and most people have never heard it.

Well, kids, you're wrong. Terribly wrong. I wasn't around at the time, but compared to all the early classics of the genre, this was probably the heaviest Metal album around in 87. Granted, Slaughter's creative achievement is not as huge as that of the early Celtic Frost or Possessed. 90% of "Strappado" consists of fairly typical Celtic Frost-type riffs, with the two singers tossing in the occasional Tom Warrior-esque "UH". These guys were huge Celtic Frost fans, and they had no intention of hiding that fact from anyone. What makes this album almost as important as the early classics is that it established what was later to become one of the most important elements of any DM band's self-definition: The guitar sound.

Some will remember the day Entombed crashed the international Death Metal scene with their album "Left Hand Path"; everyone was talking about their incredibly heavy "crunch" guitar sound. Countless other bands tried to emulate it in the years that followed. Well, guess where they got that guitar sound from. Now if you can imagine early Frost with that guitar sound and "Darkness Descends" vocals, you should get a pretty good idea of what Slaughter sounded like. And you should also be able to imagine the heaviness of this album must have been nothing short of mind blowing for the 87 Metalhead. In fact, even though many bands have gone far beyond what Slaughter did in the meantime, even though their songwriting was somewhat crude, this is still one of the heaviest albums ever made. And that alone should be reason enough for you to try and track it down.

Mike


Therion - "Crowning of Atlantis"

This is quite a departure from Symphony Masses. Where that album was soulfully intense and chaotic, this one is more gothic. Now before damnation at the word gothic, allow me to explain. They've taken a somewhat Paradise Lost/Candlemass approach on Crowning. More often than not, the vocals are performed by women singing opera, but don't let that discourage you either. The melodic mood of this album is its strength. Now there is the occasional Saxon type straight forward rock song, like Crazy Nights, (track 4). It was mentioned before on the DMHC list about Helloween being known for their choral arrangements, but while an overstatement in its own right, it pales in comparison to the arrangements on Crowing Of Atlantis. The chord structure is amazing, reminiscent of Fates Warning. The vocals are almost ALL done opera style, and at first I was disappointed, because of my experience with Symphony Masses. However, the second listen blew me away! This is not in any way, shape or form a death metal album, but it is absolutely one of the most powerful releases for me this year. I would compare this album to a Paradise Lost album if they collaborated with Mozart....well, ok, maybe Carl Orff. This release is on Nuclear Blast and you can check them out at www.nuclearblast-usa.com.

Ron


Darkane - "Rusted Angel"

It seems there is a new Death Metal wave on the rise in Sweden. After the unfortunate demise of more or less the entire Stockholm scene with Entombed turning into second-rate Monster Magnet and Unleashed putting out the same album with new song titles every five years, Göteborg pretty much took over the Swedish DM scene, doing away with the unique combination of unrelenting brutality and catchy melodies that Entombed and Dismember brought to the genre and replacing it with Goth-infested, overly simplistic versions of those Stockholm-style riffs and squeezing them into Punk Rock song structures.

Well, the Dark Age is finally over. After Arch Enemy already opened our eyes again to the possibilty of combining catchyness and melody with REAL Death Metal elements, followed by Armageddon, which is more or less an Arch Enemy side project, we are now treated to Darkane's debut album "Rusted Angel". The Arch Enemy connection, of course, is all too present with Peter Wildoer handling drums, and riffs and melodies are moderately reminscent of Arch Enemy, with the occasional Carcass riff popping up. And surely enough, the combination of Heartwork-type kill-riffs, 80's melodies and 90's brutality once again proves to be basically the best idea since sliced bread.
But Darkane are far more than a carbon copy. In fact, they're not even a Death Metal band. Singer Lawrence Mackrory exhibits a vocal range going from melodic to HC shout to Black Metal scream, Death Metal grunt and back, usually all in one song, which lends an amazing amount of variety and dynamic to the material that I can only compare to Testament's brilliant new album, "The Gathering". Add to that some Strapping Young Lad riffs (!!!), Peter Wildoer's usual not-of-this-earth drumming, a ton of fast Slayer beats and great guitar leads, a production that will make your speakers crumble into dust plus incredibly beautiful cover and booklet artwork, and you've got yourself what is without a doubt the most exciting debut album of 1999. Buy this!!

Mike


Section 8 - "9 Ways to Say I Love You"

This is the 2nd album by the Albany, New York based band. While Section 8's first album "Pain Is Truth" broke some serious ground in a then tough-guy dominated American hardcore scene, the real truth wasn't to hit until "9 Ways..."
Section 8 turned heads with their first album, a mixture of down-tuned Sabbathy guitar, breakdowns, and clean singing/heavy screaming. Though maybe not a classic, "Pain Is Truth" paved the way for "9 Ways...", an instant classic in my book. "9 Ways..." is much heavier than its predecessor, and all facets have strengthened. The music is catchier and more striking. The vocals, which really set this band apart, have improved much. The hardcore scene, which consists mostly of bands with talentless screamy-singers, has not seen someone this talented in a long time. Kasey Dorr, reminiscent of Keith Caputo with a touch of Peter Steele, gives this album alot of texture. At times he screams maniacally, others singing barely above a whisper. For instance, the juxtaposition between his schizophrenic voices comes to the fore in "Divinity of Loneliness," easily the most haunting track on this metallic hardcore CD.
One reason this CD is such a standout is that it can appeal to many audiences. Tough guys will like the hard breakdowns. Musicians will enjoy the not-overdone complexity and melody in the music. Death metal and Black Metal fans will appreciate the evil and dark elements which underlie the whole recording.
Unfortunately Section 8 broke up some time back. Kasey Dorr has moved on to Ill-Remembered, a post-corish band with members of Stigmata. But I got to see them live a bunch of times so na na na-na-na.

For info, mail: Section 8, 58 Grissom Drive, Clifton Park, NY, USA 12065

Charlie