Home / Music / Music Reviews: Acrassicauda, At Vance, Raise the Red Lantern, KMDFM, and Dyse

Music Reviews: Acrassicauda, At Vance, Raise the Red Lantern, KMDFM, and Dyse

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I try to keep up with metal and heavy rock internationally, but it was nice to get review material from an Iraqi band. Let it not be said I'm not open to metal from all lands.

Acrassicauda: Only the Dead See the End of War

Metal bands love writing about death and war. However, very few bands will be able to call on experiences of actual war to color their lyrical output. This lot, the subject of the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad, have seen enough to power the minds of scores of metal bands. And if you want to talk persecution and angst, they have seen their share of that too. They had to flee to the U.S. to pursue their preferred craft.

While only an EP, it’s a pretty tight affair. This is not surprising as it's produced by Testament/Alex Skolnick Trio man Alex Skolnick. There are various influences here from Megadeth on “Message from Baghdad” to something a bit more modern on “The Unknown”. Not one of these tracks disappoint despite their eclectic nature. It’s a release where the band is exploring their influences and finding their feet.

A compelling biography and some damn find metal really combine to quite an interesting package. With their next release, presumably a full one, they will have to emerge from their saga to play in the big leagues. On the strength of this release, they are certain to have a really good crack at it. Certainly a band to watch.

At Vance: Ride the Sky

This band are that European brand of metal that is highly polished, musically proficient, and terribly catchy. For proof, just listen to the soaring track “Last in Line.” It hits all the right triggers over the course of its length. Some might quibble about the pretentiousness of including an instrumental track called “Vivaldi” but that would be petty.

Rick Altzi has a Jeff Scott Soto quality about his voice and successfully avoids the pronunciation pratfalls you sometimes find with this sort of band. His voice is perfectly matched to the soaring guitar widdling of Olaf Lenk. In fact, the only criticism I could muster for this release is the rather pointless, if passable, cover of Bad Company’s “Wishing Well”. That said it could so easily be butchered and the band pull it off with aplomb. This lot don’t need to do covers any more so it’s a bit of waste.

If you like sophistication and quite a bit of melody in your power metal, than this band will work nicely. The mixture of AOR, power metal, and classical sensibilities works well. If you like the early days of Rising Force before Malmsteen went a bit off the boil, look no further. Over look the rather cheesy name and enjoy the music.

Raise the Red Lantern: s/t

These guys don’t do subtle that is for sure. They named their last album Thunderfuck and this release carries on that tradition. There isn't an over the top title like the first one, but they do let their music to the talking. They are made up of three guys who build custom speaker cabinets used by bands like Pelican and their ilk and anther who is part of the metal progressive jazz band Yakuza that has been amazing and confusing its listeners for years.

Similar to bands like Baroness and other purveyors of metal stoner doom, this is heavy stuff played with lots of attitude and angst. It's an amalgam of all the possible incarnations of doom metal from the modern to Black Sabbath and back again. You never know what is round the corner, but you are sure keen to get there.

Ultimately this sort of stuff is love or hate music. And you will probably not be sure how you feel depending on the day you listen. Deep, heavy riffing sludge that rewards the listener if you give a chance. Although it might be a bit of hype, this band does smack of one that you will be telling people you knew them once they hit the big time.

KMDFM: Kreig

Okay, it's hard to tell what the hell this release is or what genre it falls under. One track would work great at a roller disco, “Strut (Disco Ball Mix),” with its naturally 70s disco vibe tinged with nice guitar riffing. This is an in-house re-mix done by Andy Selway of the band. Next thing you know it's some uber-heaviness care of the nuts at Prong. Ivan de Prime of White Zombie shows up for a mix of “Never say Never”. This is also a track that is tackled by Komar Kommando whoever he is, needless to say they end up quite different. Oh yeah and “Rave” Oglivie also takes a crack at the track.

The duplication might annoy a few people, there are two versions of "Davai" as well, but when they differ this much, it really doesn’t matter much. I tend to find re-mix albums a cash-in by a band when they have no new material. With a band like KMDFM it's hard to see it that way. They certainly went all out to get a wide variety of people to have a go..

Then again KMDFM fans are a pretty odd lot, so they will probably love this no matter what. As you might expect, I prefer the heavier versions, but the skip button is perfect for when you don’t want to hear disco.

Dyse: Lieder sind Brueder der Revolution

Avant garde industrial tinged tomfoolery from Germany. Seeping from the same mind space as the oodles of odd bands that hail from that country. This is really kitchen sink type stuff with odd sounds, repetitive beats, and incomprehensible screaming vocals. The vocals are as intriguing as they are irritating to the untrained ear. If your friends are not into this sort of madness it would be a great way of getting rid of everyone before you want to go to bed. Sure to cause an instant hang-over to the drunken hordes.

Do I have any idea if this mess is any good? Not a bloody clue, I haven’t quite understood this sort of out-there avant-garde heavy music. This stuff makes Voivod and their ilk seem mainstream and approachable. They are touring the country so you can see this nutters in the flesh and be barraged by their wall of noise.

A load of complete bollocks or absolute genius? I have no clue and not even going to bother to try and figure it out. I am sure to do so is to miss the point of this entirely. The sound-track to your descent into madness is here, Cthulhu would be so proud.

Another eclectic collection of heavy rock for your listening pleasure. Off to DC again, so I will have plenty of travelling time to listen to review music. Stay heavy and check out live music where ever you can this week.

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About Marty Dodge

  • Gronk

    Ah, KMFDM … I’m friends with Aidan Hughes, who used to do (maybe still does) all their cover art and videos, it’s really good stuff … love a bit of that stomping Euro-industrial!! Check out one of Aidan’s videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4-bUYU3BH8