Thursday, November 25, 2010

Withered - Dualitas

Before I get in to the review, I just have to say that I am over the fucking moon excited to see Withered on Friday. I'd be stoked enough if was just them and some locals but they're playing with Skeletonwitch AND Landmine Marathon! I will barely be able to walk/talk/breathe by the time that show is over.
Anyway, I'll be reviewing the show so check back sometime next week to see how much self-destruction I caused.
Now, it's been a while since I've heard Memento Mori or Folie Circulaire but I get a different feeling from Dualitas. It could just be my horrible memory, but it seems more spacious than previous releases. While the oppressive parts are just as oppressive, they are interspersed with more, shall we say, reflective passages. After I actually shell out money to buy a physical copy of this (vinyl?) on Friday I may be able to confirm my theory that the theme of this album is duality. Not in a split-personality sense or "good and evil exist in all of us" way, but more of a two sides to every story idea. For example, some parts are loud and fast and powerful and make me think of war and destruction and all the adrenaline and hot blood that goes with that. That will then fall into a slower, more pensive sounding passage which brings to mind the other side of war. The loss and the sadness. But as I think about it more, the mournful side could be the reflection of the "victors" (no one wins in war). The part where the triumphant survey the destruction they have wrought and think, "What have we done?" "What have we become?" Every time I've listened to Dualitas I can't help but think about the two emotions that rise in my heart, triumph and sorrow. The driving black metal aspect conjuring images of militaristic conquest and victory and the slower, doomier aspect revealing the bloody aftermath and an overwhelming sense of loss. "Interlude" is one of the saddest sounding pieces of music I have ever heard while other parts of the record would flay the skin from your bones and laugh with terrible glee.
Withered have really outdone themselves in creating such an enjoyable yet emotionally draining album. Powerful, cerebral music with a soul.

Howl - Full of Hell

Quite often, a great album will conjure images in your mind regardless of lyrical content. Full of Hell does that very, very well. The following is what my mind sees.
The band are actually Cyclopean giants. They are performing the album in a natural amphitheater/cave opening at the top of a flaming mountain range.  This provides the soundtrack to an army of beasts laying waste to civilization below.
Now that may not sound like Harvard stuff but I have a feeling if I got my hands on a lyric sheet, there would be some upper-level intelligence going on. (somewhat unrelated but, RIP Buried Inside) See, to the best of my knowledge the members of Howl are vegan. And not to stereotype, but I don't know any meathead vegetarians.(See what I did there?)
Adjective time: thick, huge, warm, deep, resonant, frightening, destructive, desolate and as the Cyclopes' last notes echo across the mountains, mournful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yes, I'm alive.

I realized I haven't posted in over a month. But we just moved so that is keeping me really busy. Plus, we were without internet (!!) for a while too. But you don't want to hear about me, you want to hear about metal!

Kylesa - Spiral Shadow: I have only heard it once (so far) but that is all it took to know it kicks ass. Kylesa's previous offering, Static Tensions, took top spot on my Best of 2009 list so my expectations were high. The two are different enough that it's really not fair to compare them. Spiral Shadow sounds like a more mature album. It has a more spacious sound that Kylesa was moving towards with Tensions but instead of a small step, they took a giant leap. The album breathes more and allows Laura and Phillip to sing more rather than scream all the time. It also feels like a very deep album so I'll have to spin this many more times before I can give it the proper treatment. But one thing is for sure, Kylesa continue to push themselves in order to not release the same album over and over.

Salome - Terminal: I'm not even done this yet but, fuck me. Heavy fucking shit motherfucker. Bowel evacuatingly heavy. While wearing earbuds. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!