Mosh returns from the caretaking of his future hellspawn to supply us a double album review. Sorry kids, no beer this time, if he drinks one he will be too drunk to drive the Hellspawn Carrier to the hospital and we wouldn't want to delay the Apocalypse (he's a lightweight). - Hops
A Belated Birthday Metal Extravaganza of Covens and Asshole Eating Sewer Trolls!
*Due to lack of alcohol consumption out of considerations of pregnant spouse, two albums will be reviewed in lieu of a beer and an album.
So, I’ve been lamenting about not having anything to review for the past couple of months. With my son about to be born (just a few more weeks now), I’ve really not been able to focus on new releases much, and with a new work schedule (no more Israel, so sorry), I really have gotten behind on things. To compound matters, every time I check up on new releases, there is a litter of emo-, screamo-, death-, and whatever other -core you can name, in my face. It was disgusting and a little bit overwhelming, or underwhelming as the case may be. (Side note: Meshuggah’s Koloss was the last big release that Hops and I were stoked for. It was not quite the explosive album it was meant to be. Hops and I were too broken up about that disappointment to even write about it either way). But, there are two recent albums that I can talk about.
In This Moment-Blood
Okay, so the first album is--what? I happen to like In This Moment. I know they might not seem like it, but they have a sound that sets them apart from the rest of the cookies in the mold, and it makes me come back for more. Or at least they did. Blood is a release that I had been anticipating highly. I liked In This Moment’s first two albums, but I fucking loved A Star Crossed Wasteland. I mean, it took the ferocious (yet identifiably feminine) vocals of A Beautiful Tragedy and the awesome riffage and melody of The Dream. Seriously, the new album has to be awe--wait, what? No more driving riffs? No more breakneck speeds? What the--traces of dubstep? Ok, Maria Brink (and the other interchangeable band mates), what have you done? What a letdown. (Mosh’s note: If dubstep were a person, I’d punch his kitten and push his grandmother down a flight of stairs and then dare him to say something) This is a cookie cutter album: rhythmic, generic chugging riffs, almost no soloing (which isn’t a bad thing on its own, but this band soloed a lot on every previous album), and uninspired drumming. The only saving grace is that Maria’s vocals are still solid. But the rest of this album is quicksand--with a nasty asshole eating sewer troll waiting at the bottom.
*Standout (I use the term loosely) Track: Blood
So, that was a disappointment. Released the week of my birthday no less. Couple that with the fact that I had to wait an extra three weeks for it because I ordered it online, and I was pissed. However, as I was reflecting upon all of this, I realized that I had picked up one of the better new(ish) releases; from a new band; on my birthday, no less. So the award for under-the-radar-slap-you-indaface-awesome metal goes to Huntress.
Huntress is also a female fronted metal band out of California (hrm, themed article maybe?). Huntress, however, instead of sounding like regurgitated bloody stool like the above mentioned album, follow in the vein of Christian Mistress (again with the women?) and Ghost (okay, I’ve moved on) thematically: the songs are mainly occult oriented. Soundwise, Huntress is reminiscent of Mercyful Fate. This album is an all out assault. The riffs are heavy, the shredding will blister your fingers just from listening, the drumming is like an ancient tribal ritual (but coked up and played on fast forward) and the disjointed melodies help set up the dark atmosphere. There is a distinct technicality to the song structures that never leave the listener bored. Vocally, however, this album can take a little while to get used to. Vocalist Jill Janus has a solid range, but the grittiness of her voice, while lending an otherworldly pallor to the songs, can at first be jarring when she wails. However, much like King Diamond’s banshee-like falsetto was required to bring the coven to life, Janus’ screams complete this binding ritual. A welcome addition to King Diamond’s coven, indeed.
**Special thanks to my wife, Erin, for reminding me that even reviewing a craptastic (her words) album is still a review. That and for carrying my little headbanger for the past seven and a half months.