Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review : Pale Divine – Painted Windows Black

If you’ve ever read this blog before, there are probably two things you might have figured out: first, I love doom metal, the classic kind of doom, the one with big groovy riffs, melodies and competent singers. Second, I love Shadow Kingdom Records, which is almost a consequence of the first statement. But that love is not blind, it’s not just a sentimental thing or a “doctrine” of loving small underground labels. It’s simply based on the quality of the records the label puts out; and the unbelievable amount of bands they made me discover (remember this? This? Or this?).
And yet, when I recieved this new record by Pale Divine, I didn’t get too excited. The thing is, I never really was a big fan of the band, and I never really got into their previous album, “Cemetary Earth” that came out 5 years ago on I Hate Records. To me, that record was just too academic although very well composed and played.
And I’m going to be get straight to the point here; Painted Windows Black is much better than it’s predecessor. Pale Divine has evolved, definitely in the right direction, they sound more powerful and more diverse. In fact, Pale Divine is not just a classic doom band anymore, call it whatever you want, their music is somewhere in between Doom, Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock.
And that fact is immediately demonstrated when first track “Nocturne Dementia” strikes; this instrumental masterpiece is one hell of a way to start a record, and I don’t know many bands capable of hooking you up that way with an instrumental. Everything here is perfectly executed and balanced. You’ve got the riffs, the leads, the big heavy sound and some tremendous melodic parts. Man that melodic break at 3 minutes is just PURE EXSTASY!

Anyways, after such an opener, everything is much easier, Pale Divine display their fantastic skills, playing some awesome slow-paced and Melodic Metal. The songs are epic, each musician is technically perfect (the power-trio line-up probably has to do with the band’s intrinsic groove), and singer Greg Diener stands out with his powerful and melodic voice. This guy is probably one of the band’s most improved elements by the way.
My personal favorites here are “Angel Of Mercy”, “Shadow Soul”, and of course the killer opener “Nocturne Dementia”. In fact, this fantastic record only displays a few flaws that a friend of mine pointed out. The guy found the songs a little bit too long and he thought that the music lacked feeling… And I need to admit he’s somewhat right. Some songs are a bit too long and the record would have been even stronger with a few faster and shorter pure Heavy Metal songs (the record is also pretty lengthy itself: 70 minutes of pounding Doom Metal might discourage some people). And yes, the music lacks a bit of spontaneity; but that goes with the progressive edge, everything is so nicely composed here… Bottom line is Pale Divine just needs to let it go from time to time and throw in a headbanging Metal hymn that would be an instant hit.

"The Prophet", taken from Painted Windows Black

Theses little flaws considered, I’m not going to change my opinion about that fantastic record that I just love listening to, everyday, over and over again. It’s great to see Pale Divine evolve in such an exciting direction!
See now why I love Shadow Kingdom Records? And more from that label is coming up very soon…

Yath – 8/10

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Revolting’s Hymns Of Ghastly Horror Vs Deserted Fear’s My Empire. And the winner is….FDA Rekotz !

Here are 2 tremendous records I’ve wanted to tell you about for a while now. Better late than never right? Anyways ladies and gentlemen, if you like Death Metal in general, you might want to check these two bands out.

And if you like Death Metal, you probably know about Revolting already. Or at least you know who Rogga Johansson is. This is the man’s 5th or 6th Death Metal record this year. Seriously, I lost count. I bought the new The Grotesquery LP earlier, I know about a new Ribspreader album, another one from Those Who Bring The Torture, plus some other new projects the man is working on. Anyways, the guy is a Death Metal universe on his own, and most of the time you can recognize his music just by the insanely heavy sound of his guitar riffs, the massive groove he puts into them and his special guttural voice. 
And the million-dollar question is: what the hell should you get the new Revolting record specifically, when you already have dozens of Rogga’s album, and when you already know that you will NEVER manage to get them all anyway?

Well, the answer is simple: Revolting is pretty different from his usual stuff, it’s more melodic, and kind of mainstream in a way. The melodies stick, they make you feel like dancing and the headbanging is constant. I personally love the choruses, the quick solos and some songs just kick ass, like “The Black Queen” that strongly reminded me of Evocation, another Swedish band that I love (the melodic break in the middle of that song is AWESOME). 

One last thing about this cool record: it’s full of funny references, like that FANTASTIC instrumental called “The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be” (man that melody’s so sticky!); or that moment where Rogga screams “MOSH” in the beginning of “Kinderfeeder”. Although there’s not much to say really about this very nice record, I really enjoy listening to it, over and over, it’s like my “mainstream” moment every day.

"The Black Queen" - The awesome song I just told you about! 

Deserted Fear is a new Death Metal power trio from Germany. And honestly, with all the old-school Death Metal bands bursting from all over the world I wasn’t expecting much from another 90’s-nostalgic band. But somehow, My Empire, the band’s first album really impressed me. Don’t get me wrong though, this is pure, classic, unoriginal and by-the-book Death Metal, no more, no less. But shit, the energy and the power on this one are so huge! Listening to this record is a guaranteed moment of pure pleasure. It's all in the heavy riffs, the epic melodies, and Mahne’s crazy voice, like some sort of John Tardy (Obituary) meets Martin Von Drunen (Asphyx). 

Yep, everything's perfectly classic here, even the old-school typical black and white artwork. 

Of course, the moments where these kids bang you head like hell with hammering riffs are great, but what I enjoy the most are the epic songs on this one, more specifically the final pieces “My Empire” and “Bury Your Dead”. 

Here it is; the might "My Empire" song

Don’t ask me to pick a favorite here, these two FDA-Rekotz releases are both fantastic in their own way, they are very complementary and they basically sum-up everything I love about Death Metal (since I’m not into the very extreme and super-fast stuff). 
One pretty impressive thing to note is that after all these years, when everything’s been more or less said and done, some young and hungry bands still manage to compose and record such great Death Metal records!

These are 2 highly recommended albums by Yath