The fact I am doing columns in rapid succession gives a good clue to the glut of music I am currently enjoying. The summer rush of product is in full flow and here are some choice bits.
Lacrimas Profundere: The Grandiose Nowhere
If you are into lush goth in the mode of HIM, then this lot will just be up your alley. “No Matter Where You Shoot Me Down”, the final track, puts a cheery on top of this quite impressive release. It's no wonder the release is a smorgasbord of goth goodness with touches of Depeche Mode, The Sister of Mercy, The 69 Eyes and even the Fields of the Nephelim (or their various offshoots).
Rather than merely the navel-gazing moody music of some of the modern goth releases, this is much richer in aural pleasantries. Yes, its heart-wrenching stuff, but the music never broods too much to make it dull or boorish. This band produce music fit for any vampish TV show, the end credits specifically when you actually pay attention to the tune. This is perfect for the end of the night or the next morning when you need to gracefully move into the day.
Goth music tends to leave me cold if not done right. There is no such problem with this release. It has all the qualities that makes good goth so much of a pleasure to listen to. HIM have a band nipping at their heels for the goth rock crown.
Solution .45: For Aeons Past
This is modern sounding death metal that tilts towards heavy goth. Then again, you are just as apt to find progressive metal touches popping up as well. Even the deathly vocals never manage to be that annoying or intrusive. The band wonderfully combine clean vocals with heaviness. Readers of this column realize that I generally am not fond of so-called “modern” metal.
“Into the Shadow” is one of those songs that takes the band out of the morass of their genre. It's soaring vocals and epic sound-scape encompasses a whole myriad of touches from progressive metal, to goth through just damn good heavy rock. It could easily be a single that would attract non-genre fans to the band. It’s a really pleasant surprise just before the end of the release. The title track works rather well too.
Who knew that a combination of Scar Symmetry and Miseration could produce something quite this good. The band have clearly aimed their sights high, and plan to produce some damn good metal, call whatever you want. Yet another example of whatever they put in the water in Sweden. If it's heavy rock, Swedes can do it well.
Big Ball: Hotter than Hell
Would it surprise anyone to know these guys basically do a fine line in AC/DC? In fact, they come awful close to being clones despite the album name coming from a Kiss album. “Free Fire Zone” is a b-side material off any AC/DC album in the past 20 years. No doubt this band have been encouraged by the success of Airbourne worldwide. Does the world really need another AC/DC sound alike band?
“Hell Whores and High Hells” rather soundly sums up their complete devotion to AC/DC right down to the Angusy guitar solo. You have to think they would do far better as an AC/DC tribute act that releasing “original” material. The trouble is none of it actually sounds the slightest bit original at all. What's curious is while they got the sound down, they really haven’t managed to get the raise your fist and cheer vibe of AC/DC. There is nothing that really grabs you by the balls as a good AC/DC song should.
These guys can play, but it might be a good thing if they tried to branch out and find their own sound. Until they do, they are just clones of a band that is still going strong and doing it right.
Darklight Corporation: s/t
This bunch of unknown New Zealanders are trying to make it into the U.S. scene after making the rounds in their home country. Members have done time in London as well taking in all the sights and sounds of the London music scene. Rest assured they have nothing to do with Crowded House, but would fit well in the U.K. electronic scene. What they peddle is a dark sort of pop metal with lashings of electronica. You have heard it before, but that does not limit the appeal.
Think Depeche Mode with a bit of some heavy industrial sound for good measure, if a bit heavier than both. Throw in a touch of Fear Factory and other industrial giants to get a general idea of where this lot is headed musically. To their credit, while there are hints of what has come before, it's quite original stuff. They have their own well-honed sound that is appealing.
“Lockdown” would have appeal for the pop industrial crowd. “Propaganda” has a touch of Killing Joke and their ilk about it. There is enough melody here that the industrial clubs will find their punters able and willing to dance to this release. Not exactly ground-breaking, but not exactly bad either.
Heidevolk: Ult Oude Grond
While some online have been less than kind to this album, I quite enjoyed it. Other than one other album which I am putting off for review until next week, this was the release I most liked to listen to this week. It has all that pagan metal feel to it, the songs move along rather nicely and are rather catchy whether or not you understand their native tongue. It’s a tad dirgey at times, no better illustrated by “Gelders Lied”, but that does not lessen its appeal.
Of course, it’s a more fun when they hit their jaunty stride and you want to pick up a beer to sing along. “Nehalennia” is one such track where you can easily find yourself singing the chorus even if you have no clue what they hell they are on about. I got the bloody thing stuck in my head for hours after the track was over. That is when these sort of non-English albums really hit their mark, if they can get you to learn the chorus without knowing what it means they have done well. They are from the Netherlands and are interested in the history of Gelderland.
While this bunch are not as appealing as say the latest Tyr release, they do what they do well. If you are thinking of expanding your non-English speaking pagan metal collection you would do far worse than pick this release up.
Well that is your latest batch of heavy rock goodness. As always stay heavy and safe.