April 2018

A Perfect Circle, Aura Noir, Caliban, Glorior Belli, Melvins, The Damned, Underøath, Winterfylleth -

April 2018

Artist: Underøath
Album: Erase Me
Label: Fearless Records
Release date: April 6th, 2018

I’ve always been thinking that the tag Christian in metalcore and hardcore music is an unnecessary stigma, if I may put it like it. From Norma Jean to Zao and so many other bands, this religious mark deals out no justice for a music which emphasizes a pretty energetic sound with diversified structures and expressive means, especially when even the lyrical themes involve many other aspects than plain Christian matters, therefore many can relate to the messages conveyed by these bands. That being said, one of the most notorious groups in this movement, Underøath goes further than any definition written in regards to this style. Eight years after the latest record “Ø (Disambiguation)”, Tampa-based metalcore “kids” will release their eighth studio album within a statement aiming to cancel any secessional spirit. Therefore, no Christian or non-Christians labels are required this time and the musicians are cool with that. With original drummer and singer Aaron Gillespie back in the line-up, Underøath brought the first single “On My Teeth”, which cannot be defined as their most complex piece to day, but it’s a pretty fair track, with a nail-biting introduction based mainly on synths, while the math-core dynamics along with some very fine melodic lines totally recommend this track and make the fans barely wait for the entire record to be revealed.

Artist: Caliban
Album: Elements
Label: Century Media
Release date: April 6th, 2018

It’s no surprise finding a couple of pretty big metalcore acts which borrow some pop tendencies and blend them into their very modern procedure. The latest Caliban discs proved that and the upcoming album entitled “Elements” sounds even more polished than what we knew till now. This pop resemblance fits very well the genre, it’s like filling some gaps. Otherwise, there’s a powerful explosion of styles within the new songs, which empower progressive compositions as well, keeping the break-downs on the up-and-up, adding more and more layers. Sometimes, these break-downs result in soapy moments, but there can be more than that. Just pay attention to the single “Before Later Becomes Never”, where post-rock structures lead to the technical side of the death core. Such approach was definitely required for a song involving CJ McMahon of Thy Art Is Murder, who is not the single guest on the 11th album of Caliban. “Elements” features Korn’s Head on the tenth track “Masquerade”, Matthi of Nasty on “Ich Blute Für Dich”, where Sebastian “Sushi” Biesler of Eskimo Callboy takes part as well. The above-mentioned single may show Caliban as the new Linking Park due to the sing-along vocal themes, an updated version of the iconic alternative group, but the creators of this new version are able to access a new horizon.

Artist: Winterfylleth
Album: The Hallowing Of Heirdom
Label: Candlelight Records
Release date: April 6th, 2018

The poetical inspiration has been obvious in Winterfylleth’s music given the pleasant black metal melancholy approached by this English group, and when they first introduced acoustic pieces in their creation, things have changed dramatically, and for the common good. The idea of making an entirely acoustic album seems brilliant for these worshipers of the Anglo-Saxon heritage. First time when the band revealed this peaceful side was once with a compilation set by Season of Mist, namely “One And All, Together, For Home”, which was released in 2014 and included many emotional takes expressed by bands such as Primordial, Kampfar, Drudkh or Ava Inferi. So, the sixth full-length by Winterfylleth comes entirely in an acoustic form, with monumental fragments resembling odes from the past centuries and all which is noble in the folklore of the Northwest Europe. “The Hallowing of Heirdom” is the perfect music for the loners who love wandering the woods and who jump out of their skins when it comes to historical poems. It works amazingly with the dream and the contemplation, as the band’s effort to create something without relying on its familiar tools and methods is definitely worthy of all the appreciation.

Artist: Glorior Belli
Album: The Apostates
Label: Season Of Mist
Release date: April 6th, 2018

By definition, “The Apostates” are those who leave the old dogmas behind and on the one hand, they can be seen as those who succeed in getting rid of some ideological enforcement, but on the other, they are traitors. It’s all about who speaks. Glorior Belli comes as a positive entity in our narrative. The French project led by Billy Bayou surpassed the constraints of the black metal genre and let the musical exploration unfold. Since the first record, the demo which came out in 2003, each two or three years, Glorior Belli unveils a new studio album, so 2018 makes no exception. “The Apostates” is the seventh full-length and the musical evolution is pretty bright. From the explosive stoner rock patterns on “Deserters of Eden”, the second track on this record, to the catchy instance of modern rock-n-roll on “Split Tongues Won't Atone”, Glorior Belli parades up and down and displays a vivid energy. Have no fear, the black metal sound and structures still appear as stringent marks throughout the new record. Basically, the latest Glorior Belli albums involve more black metal than any other conventional record of this genre released these days, and that’s because the music follows the genuine principle of this movement: the rebellion. There are a couple of fragments on the latest Glorior Belli, which may raise comparisons with the Kvelertak madness, except the punk rock essence, although the French act is as spectacular as a punk manifestation.

Artist: The Damned
Album: Evil Spirits
Label: Search & Destroy/Spinefarm Records
Release date: April 13th, 2018

Here we deal with an enormous revelation and perhaps, many of us find hard to believe that the legendary The Damned brings a new album, which is in fact the first in ten years! About 40 years since the debut of the English punk-rockers have passed and vocalist Dain Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible are still in this line-up, making fantastic music. They worked for this new one with David Bowie’s chief producer, Tony Visconti, who was also the bass player on the classic “The Man Who Sold the World”. This made Captain Sensible state that they did the upcoming album like in the very beginning of the band, they “deliberately recorded the album retro style,” and that’s amazing, it’s about that so-called lo-fi production typical of a forgotten age when pop music was working hand in hand with the rock realm. In the official press release covering the news about this new record, Vanian talked about an uplifting sense unfolding on “Evil Spirit” and one can feel this only by listening to the first single “Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow”, although the mystery and the enshrouding darkness lead the main action. Other new songs have been played during the band’s latest tour in England and this is how we got the proof that The Damned keeps on perfecting the “Strawberries” era with a more tempered overall rhythm, a beautiful equilibrium and natural inspiration.

Artist: Melvins
Album: Pinkus Abortion Technician
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Release date: April 20th, 2018

Melvins has been playing everything which they love and opens the mind to experimentation… Everything which is cool and spans the history of grunge, punk, sludge, folk, some would say, and many agree. As for the line-up, they have been playing with diversity all along. That series of vicious lullabies, for instance, “The Crybaby” from 2000, involved marvelous guests, from Mike Patton to Kevin Sharp, and other records like “The Bulls & the Bees”, “The Bride Screamed Murder” and “(A) Senile Animal” feature the work of two drummers. In this regard, go and watch the Melvins show at Hellfest, the 2011 edition, which is just one of the manifold examples, to enjoy one of craziest rhythmic intercourse. There were albums in the discography of Buzz Osborne & Co., where two guitar players laid down the compositions, and there were other records which featured more bass players on separate tracks, but none of them required two bassists writing and experimenting at the same time, like the upcoming “Pinkus Abortion Technician”, which brings together Jeff Pinkus and Steven McDonald dealing with the same instruments. The first single from the new chapter is a medley based the James Gang’s “Stop”, a folk-rock anthem approved by Jimi Hendrix, which was in fact authored by Mort Shuman, and Jerry Ragovoy, released in 1967 and soon covered by others, not only by these “werewolves on wheels” living under the name James Gang. The second part of this medley is Butthole Surfers’ “Moving to Florida”, an excellent choice in this context, bringing an interesting single piece converted through the Melvins sound and manner. This is not the single reference to classics on the newest Melvins record, and there we hear The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” updated, and another piece signed by Butthole Surfers’, given the presence of Jeff Pinkus, as a present-day member of this Texan band. The other song which got reinterpreted is “Graveyard” from “Locust abortion technician”, released in 1987, so here’s the reason for this pretty nice album title chosen by the Melvins.

Artist: A Perfect Circle
Album: Eat The Elephant
Label: BMG
Release date: April 20th, 2018

“Thirteenth Step” is widely regarded as the most iconic album of the super-group A Perfect Circle. It’s addictive, just like its story. The band’s renaissance in this day and age might change a bit the course of things and the new disc “Eat the Elephant” might be the biggest thing this group did so far. We don’t care how much the new music will sell as long we are able to feel the natural urge for creation displayed by this bunch of skilful musicians, while we listen to a couple of songs taken from the new album. Vocalist Keenan had this thing with the idea of guitarist Howerdel getting cryogenically frozen, perhaps 14 ago, after they finished “Emotive”, their third full-length. So Howerdel went through his resurrection now if we imagine that his solo activities took place in a parallel dimension. Therefore the difference between then and now brought the trigger for the new album’s making. It’s all about the same circle spinning emotional and psychological thrills in one of the mildest musical modes. We witness a lot of dreams in songs like “The Doomed”, where there’s also a dim horroresque section altered by uplifting beats and then we get some surprises with an unheard vocal manner during “Talk, talk”. However, what haunts the mind for the moment is the pretty slow “Disillusioned”, not only with that nice piano line, but with powerful words such as “time to put the silicon obsession down, take a look around, find a way in the silence.”

Artist: Aura Noir
Album: Aura Noire
Label: Indie Recordings
Release date: April 27th, 2018

What should an eponymous-like album stand for when it comes to this fascinating Norwegian trio? I guess we may sum all up with a simple phrase: the indestructible force. It might sound as a cliché given that people overuse this thing with the force, especially with that awkward mercantilism reflected in the “Star Wars” phenomena, but I can hardly see a higher force in extreme metal than Aura Noir. Each of their albums is huge and they have been carrying the torch across the realm of black metal and thrash and beyond. And now comes their newest record, an undisputed climax involving more heavy metal than ever, which amazes the listener’s brains with such special means of reviving a metal tradition in order to transform it into a totally different thing. “Aura Noire” brings a cave sound which simultaneously amazes our ears with its clarity. And so it’s the music, not only the aesthetics. Yes, one could point to some early Iron Maiden records when it comes to the rhythm, to other Venom chapters regarding the overall misery and to some thrashy Voivod when we think of the exquisite guitar themes, but Aura Noir works like a stand-alone monster. Even the links with Aggressor’s avant-garde endeavour within Virus can become pointless when our ears are confronted with the newest visions of Aura Noir. The riffing on tracks like “Demoniac Flow” drags one into an unbearable pit, the bass lines go totally insane, the drumming crushes all our bones, while Aggressor screams the hell out of the ugliness and gives illusion no chance. His vocals are more recurrent on this sixth album than on the previous ones, and the lyrics coming out of a seemingly strangled man’s mouth may be taken as a mockery dedicated to the poor minds. I dare to say that the new album relies on shocking structures and that Blasphemer, Apollyon and Aggressor, who don’t need any introduction, are to unleash a truly hypnotizing work.

The Fox

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