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Music Reviews: Set Your Goals, Evile, Inglorious Incarnation, Bloodbound, Covered Call

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Plenty of stuff to keep me busy via digital download and a few physical discs (how passé’) to play in the car when I am driving around. A real mix this week for the most part good.

CD reviews

Set Your Goals: This Will be the Death of Us

This is the dreaded pop-punk that makes many a reviewer, even a punk fan, sigh with anticipation. So often it’s a bunch of wet behind the ears types who’ve heard a few Sex Pistols albums, inspiring them to copy Blink 182 and their ilk. The “safe” end of punk that attracts teenagers trying to be edgy, but not too scary. For those who think the Jonas Brothers are lame.

That is not to say this release is bad or anything that egregious. Its just not exactly anything really special. I understand from many sources that this lot are great live. Doing gigs like Reading and Leeds Live Festivals certainly won’t hurt their profile. They claim to be trying to tap into that Motorhead-esque metal-punk. Can’t hear it to be honest, except maybe a short riff here and there..

Its tight and slick, but not sure it will excite anyone over the age of 16 or someone with no real knowledge of punk. If they were aiming for music that sort of washes over and leaves no impression then they have succeeded. This is the type of stuff that won’t drive you out of pub or club, but that is about it.

Evile: Infected Nation

This lot have a serious old-school Metallica fixation that comes through their tunes like some seeping evil. This is pre-Black album at its finest. Part of the new wave of traditional thrash, these guys take their thrash seriously. Its quite infectious stuff that does put a smile on even the most cynical older thrash fan. Straight ahead old school thrash, the type that was peddled by the big four (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer) and their imitators to such success.

While the playing is crisp and precise, this is not really of the Testament variety of uber-clever thrash. Its catchy raucous sing along thrash metal. Its so good because it doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. Its such a relief to have a band not trying to do something too clever before they are ready. Just check out the title track if you don’t believe me. It’s a great album and one that will probably be on quite a few best of the year lists come late this year.

This bunch have the potential to rival bands like Trivium for the new breed thrash metal stakes. And while this album has the ability to attract at the first listen, its not just pleasurable filler that gets old quick. I predict people will listening to this one for quite a while.

Inglorious Incarnation: Of Winter Born

Despite the frankly ponderous name (and not be confused with Inglorious Basterds the movie obviously) these guys do a particular line of thrash death metal. Highly technical, with touches of Testament at times, death metal vocals, but not grunt and groan shouting. This is certainly the more “approachable” end of the cluttered field. I find myself warming to this lot over a few listens, whereas with some of their ilk it just never really takes hold.

“Deeds of Long Gone” prove that the band know when to throw in the kitchen sink and they know when to just drive ahead full bore. Blast beat drumming that you can actually hear in the mix is another highlight. The band have done a good job at raising they level of their release.

Fans of intelligent death metal should take to this lot like a fly to dung. They have everything you need from this sort of band, with none of the dross that you don’t. While it might not break any new ground or be the best of its type, this is a damn good album by any standards.

Bloodbound: Tabula Rasa

I suspect the band, when naming this album, didn’t realize they might remind some of the rather lame PC game of a few years ago. I can report that this is a far better release to have this name. Its great straight ahead science fiction tinged power metal done with all the precise playing and writing you expect from the genre. “Sweet Dreams of Madness” opens the album with some tongue-twisting lyrics that would trip up even the best of vocalists. It involves the word “restlessness” and must be heard. The song brings to mind Lovecraft with its mention of cyclonia, madness and dreams.

The title track oozes class and quality as well. This album is good all round and will be enjoyed by those who enjoy that particular brand of power metal that never wanders into the morass that can be progressive metal (much though I enjoy that version of metal).

There is also a touch of the creepy and dark, on songs like the above mentioned “Sweet Dreams of Madness.” They do a great power ballad that never creeps into naff called “Night Touches You” that brings back memories of Queensryche at their finest. This is a quality track that really shines amongst its peers. All around it’s a decent release that I rather enjoyed.

Covered Call: Money Never Sleeps

Named after a particular method of playing the stock and equities markets, this release could not be better timed. From the name of the band to the tracks on here, there is a clear emphasis on the current global economic slowdown. Now this is not some death metal dirge fest, punk anarchist call or introspective Flyodian inspired epic. This is just some damn good stuff, with a catchy approach to the subject.

The rest of the album may have tunes that are pretty serious, but damn if they ain’t good fun to listen to.. “Shine” is great with the harmony to start off. This lot rather remind me a bit of some of the best of scandi-rock. Not quite the Europe type of pop-rock, but damn close to that sort of feeling. This probably would have been huge in the 80s, if given the right airing. Vocals are great and really drag you in.

They even manage a good ballad that doesn’t come across too sappy or cheesy. Just a voice and piano at first. Beauty at its most simplistic. Overall an enjoyable release from a great band.

From pop-punk to hard rock with some thrash in the hard middle. Not a bad collection this week. As always check out live music when you can and stay safe.

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