Monday, May 28, 2012

High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis

There is an unbelievable amount of records issued every single day, all over the world; and if you take 10 to 15 minutes every morning to read some webzines or blogs, you’ll notice most of them are “good”, “awesome”, “revolutionary”, “interesting”. At the end of the day, if you have a “wish list”, the thing would be huge, because you’d be adding like 15 new records every week.
Who cares anyway, since people seem to be downloading the music, not buying it, and when it comes to downloading, you can get 15 new records every day if you want!
And that’s when the trouble starts, at least in my opinion: you listen to each record once or twice before switching to the next one. There is no pleasure whatsoever in that, just super fast consumption, which is EVERYTHING Metal bands used to denounce in their lyrics; remember?

Anyways, in that sick system, some bands seem to keep it the old way, totally focused on writing quality songs, the type of music that will stand the test of time, and the California-based power-trio High On Fire definitely are one of these high quality bands.
De Vermis Mysteriis (“Mysteries Of the Worm” in Latin), their new record, is one gem I’ve had for a while now, and one record I’ve been listening to a lot these past months.

High On Fire seems so brutal and "in your face" at first sight, but only to show unbelievable musical sophistication underneath. Look at the concept: some story from H.P. Lovecraft’s Chtulu Mythos about the Christ’s mysterious twin brother. The brother dies at birth to give his life to The Christ and becomes a time traveler. De Vermis Mysteriis is a sort of concept narrating the adventures of that twin.

Musically speaking, same story: the power of Kurt Ballou’s production (member of Converge but also becoming a very highly appreciated producer) and Matt Pike’s caveman voice shouldn’t obscure the fact that these guys are geniuses. Every song is so perfectly balanced, filled with epic melodies, fantastic riffs and UNBELIEAVABLE rhythms. Really, the rhythm section here needs to be highlighted, as I’ve never heard anything like that: so instinctive and yet very technical. “Bloody Knuckles”, “Fertile Green” and “De Vermis Mysteriis” are all about Kensel’s drumming.

Of course, the other thing that needs to be highlighted is Matt Pike’s fantastic performance. His singing just keeps on getting better, more melodic and more diverse. The song “King Of Days” is the perfect illustration of his unbelievable progress and of the infinite possibilities for this band to grow even stronger. And I’m not even going to mention this guy’s guitar technique, as in my opinion he’s one of the best guitarists out there, probably playing the heaviest and most powerful riffs in the world. The “Madness Of an Architect” main riff alone should easily convince you of that fact.

Last superpower High On Fire obviously possesses: the chemistry between the musicians, something really specific to power-trios, established upon years of common live shows. And that naturally gives them, as I just mentioned, lots of possibilities. De Vermis Mysteriis is such a diverse record; it’s 100% Heavy, it’s Metal Music at it’s best, it's so epic and complete, it has the heavy riffs, the melodies and the traditional instrumental song “Samsara” lead by Matz’s wild bass.

"Fertile Green" alone should make you run out and go grab this record. 

Everyone knew High On Fire was a fantastic band, but these guys keep on getting better, and this new record is clearly their best to date. It’s naturally one of 2012’s best releases and probably my favorite this year.
And please, do think about all the records you read about being “awesome”, “fantastic” or I-don’t’-know-what-other-cool-stuff: they stand NO chance at all next to this masterpiece. It’s time to review your standards my friends, because High On Fire have just set a brand-new scale of awesomeness!

Yath - this is a clear 10/10 ! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ufomammut – ORO – Opus Primum - I love to get sucked into the Black Hole!

Music is only about energy traffic between the performer and the listener, nothing else. That energy is supposed to transport feelings and emotions.
Most of the time, the performer decides which energy to transmit and how to do it. When you’re listening to a record at home (or anywhere else except on stage) you just receive that energy; it’s a one-way traffic. But some exceptional bands like Ufomammut somehow manage to create two-way emotions traffic, even when you’re listening to their music on CD or vinyl. In fact, it might also be a one-way traffic, only this time around; these guys TAKE your energy and crush it, just as if you were sucked into the ultimate abyss of the Black Hole itself. You can’t do anything about it; they set the rules and you let it go.
And the comparison with outer-space is obviously very opportune as Ufomammut are a psychedelic band overall, even if here and there you can underline some pretty heavy traditional doom elements to bring you back to Earth.
Opus Primum is the first part of a double album initiated by Ufomammut. Once again, the artwork is amazing, which is not surprising coz’ as you probably know, Ufomammut are part of the Malleus Art Collective.  

Artwork is fantastic, and the special LP edition includes a bonus DVD. VERY cool packaging. 

This new record is a blast; Poia (guitars, syncs), Urlo (bass, FX, synths) and Vita (drums) know how to play with your nerves and they master the art of energy traffic I just told you about. Most of the time they suck your energy, all you have to do is sit back and feel it leaving your body, and then suddenly, they'll throw one killer SUPER heavy riff, like on track 2 “Aureum”. 
The thing just fills you back with energy, so it can empty it back a moment later, particularly when the very psychedelic and freaky melody from the opening track comes back and then degenerates into -one more- heavy and deadly riff.


It’s really tough to describe this band's music, as you really need to feel the thing to understand it. What I can tell you however is the way I feel when I listen to it: 
  •         First, I wanna press replay.    
  •         Second, I wanna go out and buy these guy’s entire discography!

Ufomammut is often labeled as a psychedelic/sludge band. I’d say they are above all a Psychedelic band with a slice of doom, making it a unique energy-devouring entity, the kind of Black Hole you desperately want to be sucked into and resurrected; only to be doomed back into again.   

Yath LOVES this one! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Desultor's Masters Of Hate - Murder Metal??!!

Over the past couple of years, Abyss Records have become one of Metal’s best underground suppliers of new bands. You know, the kind of label that will make you discover  unknown and interesting acts, no matter how much time you spend on reading underground 'zines. And as people seem to be fighting globalization, one must admit that in this particular case, it’s a blessing. What a pleasure to discover a new Stockholm-based band on an American label!

May seem like a detail, but this fine logo immediately made me want to hear that band. 

And obviously the pleasure is even more intense as Desultor are a very promising band. There are 2 guys presented as “permanent” band members here: Markus Joha handles guitars and vocals and Michael Ibrahim takes care of the drums. They describe their music as “Murder Metal”. Could someone please tell them that this label is already used by Macabre – the US funny -but not so good- Death Metal band??!!
Anyways, forget about the damn labels, since describing Desultor’s Metal is one nasty challenge. I often like to look around the web and read reviews for records I listen to; especially when a band is that difficult to characterize, I like to read about other reviewers opinions. 
In their case, Desultor are mostly described as prog’ or technical Death/Thrash Metal. Why not? The thing is, although they seem to be a pretty technical band, their songs are very catchy and built on a very “classic” extreme metal scheme. The best way to describe them is probably to mention 2 other bands: Nevermore and Into Eternity. From Nevermore, take the vocals; as they really remind me of Warrel Dane's style. There’s this intensity and the constant melancholy in the clear singing, and even though Markus doesn’t have Warrel Dane’s untouchable talent, he does a really great job transmitting dark emotions. They big “chunky” riffs also reminded me of Nevermore but the Extreme Metal (meaning very fast riffing and drums) mixed with the melodic singing; has to be credited to Into Eternity, one of the first bands, if not the very first one, to use clean and high-pitched vocals on insane blast-beats. 

However, make no mistake, this very young band has it’s own personality, and definitely displays a huge ambition and talent. There influences may seem obvious, but they really don’t sound like any of the bands cited above.

Masters Of Hate is a brilliant first record from a band that sure is going to shine in the near future. I’m not sure you understood what the music REALLY sounds like, which is a good thing, because it shows how original Desultor are. The best way to discover these guys and to fall for their charm is to click on this link and to listen to some songs online.

Cool cover that perfectly illustrates the music on the album

One last thing I need to mention: there seems to be a concept on Masters Of Hate, something complex and that nicely suits the cover artwork and the band’s image. Some of you guys probably already know how much I LOVE bands that kind of define their own universe or world to explore.

This is clearly the best song on the record & the easiest way to convince you that this band is brilliant.