The pile is down to its nadir after this lot. Because of the dirth of review material in my "review file", I have revisited something I had put to one side and found it to me far better than at first listen. Granted it is possible that another entry into this week's column so lowered the barrier as to make it more acceptable.
This lot are unsigned and consider themselves to be hard rock/experimental whatever that means. To me its thrashy metal with a lead singer who likes his indie more than he does his metal. The only problem with this release, which shows a deal of promise, is the fact that it's at least three tracks too long with the final track leaving an unfortunate bad taste to end things. However there is decent stuff on here including "Earth." Worth seeking out if you like yer rough and tenuous rock music. With a bit of honing their skills and a clearer focus they could be onto something rather good; there is certainly talent lurking therein.
This is one of those that I was damn near going to just completely ignore and not write a review for…yes its that atrocious. Think a really badly done attempt at Pink Floyd by two blokes consisting of most programming and someone who really can't sing, who is the one who sings most of the tracks. This CD is so bad its painful to listen to all the way through. Ironically one of the longest tracks on here is their best in the form of "90,000" and its not sung by the lead singer. A complete and utter waste of a CD.
California Transit Authority: Full Circle
Once in a dog's age comes along something that truly enthrals me. This is one such disc, featuring the original drummer of Chicago, formerly know as the Chicago Transit Authority, now relocated to California and reinvigorated. Saraphine was ejected from Chicago in the early '90s for lots of reasons and dropped out of music completely. This is his return and a return to old territory, his former bands early past.
He has collected some impressive players including the guitar talent that is Marc Bonilla and re-recorded a bunch of Chicago classics like "25 or 6 to 4" and "I'm a Man." Lead vocals are provided by Tower of Power mainman Larry Braggs. Not so much a rehash as a reinvention, but one that works retaining all the catchiness and updating it all. This CD is a great pleasure to listen to and that is about all that matters.
Wolfpack Unleashed: Anthems Unleashed
You might think that Austrians might not work so well doing thrash, as they are wont to be too precise and calculating even in their music. However, this is a great dosh of old school thrash that harkens back to the era of Bay Area trash but doesn't completely ape it. Cleverly the band have made an effort to avoid being a "crap version of Slayer" even employing a lead singer in the form of Gunther Wirth, who can actually sing. All I can say is would that all of the neo-thrash be this good. These Austrians have what it takes to be in the A list of neo-thrash.
Enthroned: Tetra Karcisst
Black as f*** and twice as nasty, Belgium's Enthroned are one of the legends of black metal, while still retaining their cult status. This is heavy dark and twisted stuff; but unlike some of the extreme metal of late its so well played and concocted its hard to ignore. Soaring soundscapes capped with heavy aggression pervade this release. Ten tracks of utter blackness that shows you just how good the genre can be when done properly. Best track…more like all of it. Sit back, turn down the lights and enjoy the blackness that is Enthroned. Guaranteed to keep away 100% of evangelists from your front door. You will be hard pressed to find a better black metal album this year.
Well on that cold, dark and evil note that is your lot for this week. Remember to stay safe and catch live music as often as you can, where ever you can.