Friday, July 28, 2006

Shelfcore Quest 2006: Step 7 [23] (repost)

More album review snippets reposted. This is why I wasn't crazy about reposting this stuff originally; it gets boring for me to do these reposts, even if the content is still interesting to people who haven't seen it before.


Sentenced - North From Here Journey to Pojohla [5/7]
"Though this sounds nothing like Sentenced does over the largest part of their career, and little like the Gothenburg scene that Tenkula kind of takes credit for inspiring in the liner notes, it is still interesting music, desperately weird blackened death metal that, in truth, sounds like very little else."

Sentenced - Shadows of the Past [4/7]
"Everything about the disc is average, unexceptional, conventional, and while it's easy to see why people might like this, it's next to impossible to define why they'd like to hear this from Sentenced rather than the thousand and one other bands also playing this style in the early '90s...."

Ihsahn - The Adversary [5/7]
"....this record is, with a few exceptions, a new Emperor record minus everyone else in the band. It's strong support for how thoroughly Emperor was Ihsahn's band, especially in their later years, but the raw truth is that we heard all these songs already on IX Equilibrium and Prometheus..., from which the sound is really not separable."

Sigh - Gallows Gallery [6/7]
"No, that's not a mistake. You are really hearing that. Yes, Sigh did actually turn around and make an internally consistent, non-Brechtian record for the first time since Infidel Art."

Lair of the Minotaur - The Ultimate Destroyer [6/7]
"The Clutch and Neurosis influences are strong, but this is also strong material on its own that should cross over into the wider scene as well."

Municipal Waste - Hazardous Mutation [5/7]
"....theres a lot of coolness on the riffs and leads that make you wish the songs stuck around longer rather than blasting, killing, and leaving within two minutes (nothing longer than 3 on the record). This kicks ass and is probably essential if you don't own any DRI or DOA, but this band likely has at least another record or two in them, and there's a good chance that they'll turn out even better."

Trigger Effect - Trigger Effect [4/7]
"On this record, we have an interesting but somewhat sad case of a band with ideas that outrun their actual skills. This self-titled demo platter at times reaches for what Nevermore was doing at the same time, but there's never the technical punch needed to push through and really carry the material."

In Flames - Clayman [5/7]
"This record got blasted for getting simple, and truth told it's not as complex as Whoracle or Colony, but it's still a good record regardless, and if it's accessible, it's also still In Flames, so that any trend kids who get into the band through this will also have a fairly good idea of what they're getting themselves into."

Manowar - The Triumph of Steel [5/7]
"....the record is okay, but it's a Manowar record, and while it's not one of the worse, it's not one of the better either. Non-fans can leave this be."

Dissection - The Past Is Alive [4/7]
"Noisy and in places poorly recorded, this collection of pre-Somberlain material is not essential for general fans, as it only shows in brief places and patches the genius and power that made the band's first two studio records so special and revolutionary."

Defiled - Divination [5/7]
"Noise-influenced death is an acquired taste, but Defiled does it pretty well on this one... This record is more chaotic and oddly composed than anything Sigh's done to this point, and firmly inaccessible to anyone not already in this cult."

Living Impaired - Blossom And Decay [4/7]
"This is not really brutal death metal, but good, deep, contemplative, and aggressive all the same. It fades fast after listening to the record, and while this is probably a major factor in why they never made it out of the Maine underground, it's regrettable, because there is still some good music on this one."

Hypocrisy - Into The Abyss [6/7]
"It's not as formulaic as The Arrival, but it never rises above being just a strong record; Hypocrisy certainly won't mind having it in their catalog, but they do have much better works than this."

Swallow The Sun - The Morning Never Came [5/7]
"The music here is a slow, doom-driven, stone-heavy variant of death metal that owes a lot to Daylight Diesand of course Daylight Dies' own antecedent influences in Katatonia, Opeth, and My Dying Bride."

Cruachan - Pagan [5/7]
"This is a heavier and more metal release than I had expected it to be, or generally expected from Cruachan, though they're by no means as explosive or as dark as Primordial, let alone Ogre, among Irish bands. .... If you take Cruachan for who they are, and don't expect them to blow holes in the walls with metallic power, this is a decent folk/black release...."

Abigail - Welcome All Hell Fuckers [4/7]
"While the blackened thrash on this EP is decent, a fair bit of it could be better, and the live tracks at least could be better recorded. It's not black metal enough to be necro, and on the studio material, Abigail seems a little too taken with their national origins...."

Manowar - Fighting The World [5/7]
"It's a little short, and it is still a Manowar disc, essentially replacable by anything else they've recorded, but the production is remarkably clear and clean, allowing every note to come through.... It's a solid record if you can stand the cheese, but despite its highlight tracks it's not nearly essential as Kings of Metal."

Immortal - Battles In The North [6/7]
"While Immortal made their mark by easing off on the blastbeating and adding more space into their sound, this record is blastbeats all the way down, as it were, and is a tremendous achievement of technical black metal. Of course, this makes it totally inaccessible to anyone not willing to listen to 35 minutes of virtually nonstop blasting. ....seldom has this style been done so purely, with such absolute coldness and violence...."

Ensiferum - Dragonheads [5/7]
"What I'd heard from this band, nearly all live, made a much stronger impression, .... where this record comes off as a mix of Children of Bodom and Elvenking, maybe with a few hints of Einherjer's power metal period. These are all bands I like, and the resulting music is pretty nice, but people....will probably want to think twice about ordering it from Europe."

Shadows Fall - Somber Eyes To The Sky [4/7]
"....a pretty good disc, with only a few really negative moments, but at this point its appeal beyond people who are already fans of Shadows Fall is going to be pretty limited."

Thrones - [Sperm Whale] [6/7]
"The Thrones are (odd plural for a one-man band) better live, but this record, on headphones at sufficient volumes, will do for a reasonable recreation of the experience. This is not a thrash-em-up record, or a thrash-em-up band, but those interested in electronic music played with thoroughly metal punch and integrity will find little better...."

Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic [6/7]
"This remains an acquired taste for a fairly cult audience, but more people are more likely to be able to get into this one than their other works. This is only peripherally black metal, and there is an argument to be made that it is only peripherally metal at all, but it's still fairly kickass music...."

Tourniquet - Where Moth and Rust Destroy [6/7]
"....there is a reason that I own a Tourniquet record, but nothing from, say, Mortification or Narnia. The music is strong and strongly composed thrash, and even if the lyrics get preachy or Luke's vocals bend towards hardcore, this doesn't compromise the quality of the material."

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