Archive for the 'Music Reviews' Category

19
Aug
16

Single Review: Metallica – Hardwired (2016)

metallica-hardwiredIs Metallica back? We won’t know until we hear the full album because the title-track of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is the band doing everything that made them great, but like Death Magnetic it does sound like they’re trying too hard to invoke the fire that was doused long ago.

Of course the ‘Tallica can write amazing songs; they have a whole bunch of them even in Load and Reload but surely we don’t expect a group of men who have already achieved everything they wanted and a lot more to have anything other than personal pain to make songs about. Hey, what kind of angst about what’s wrong with the world would you write about if you had a fucking big house with vintage cars and spent a lot of time in your swimming pool with fancy cigars and the finest alcohol and everything else money can buy?

I don’t grudge Metallica their success; I fucking love them more than anybody else I know, but I also recognize soulless music when I hear it. It’s not hard to tell when a band is pretending to be affected by or even concerned about problems that’ll never touch them. I catch Indian metal bands bullshitting all the time, and hell, even Slayer has written some laughable lyrics. Kerry King concerned about oil wars, really? Even Megadeth gets tiring with Dave Mustaine singing way too much about politics than he should, and he’s another dude who really needs to go vegan.

So what does Hardwired have? The riffing from Kill ‘Em All with the sound Metallica is now known for. They’ve pumped themselves up and Kirk Hammett has been made to play a solo that makes me wonder if it was Megadeth’s latest album that made these four want to see if their old fans would come back if they did this. The lyrics are terrible, as if they were written by James Hetfield’s clone in Mumbai who doesn’t deserve more of a mention than this. Read the lyrics and you’ll see them pissing on Fight Fire with Fire, perhaps trying to extinguish that as well.

I’ll take Low Man’s Lyric over Hardwired (and Lords of Summer – ha!) any day, but I look forward to the new album anyway; if nothing else it’ll make for a few more conversations about the Big 3 (Anthrax has no place in a discussion about great bands) over several glasses of whatever you drink.

Rating: 2.5/5

SEE: James Hetfield in Mumbai

Album Review: Burzum’s The Ways of Yore

 

 

 

06
Jul
14

Music Review: Burzum – The Ways Of Yore

Burzum_The_Ways_of_YoreTake it from a fanboy: Burzum‘s new album fucking sucks. Those four listens gave me a headache that still hasn’t left and the only nice thing to say about The Ways Of Yore is that it might be slightly less torturous than the Bollywood movie Humshakals. The difference between the two is easily guessable: the Hindi film will jar your senses and this ambient piece of shit will Shakti-Kapoornumb them, but not in a good way like alcohol does. Earlier this year Varg Vikernes was reading reviews of his music on the internet but was distracted and flattered by all those memes floating around and that put him in a happy mood. He sent the guitar flying out of the window and it landed on a cop who’d come to question Varg about his only interesting blog post, How to Make a Laxmi Bomb. Looking out of the window as if he could see the fucking future, the old boy realized rabbits are super cute and aren’t meant to be eaten, and brought out a dusty keyboard to compose an album that would end Anu Malik’s glittering career, and by god, he did it. With tunes lamer than AR Rahman’s AirTel ad and awful singing that would make Odin cancel his return, the bored bard did it. On the right is Shakti Kapoor at the album launch party, decked up for the occasion.

RATING: 1/5

 

17
Jun
14

Album Review: Whitechapel – Our Endless War (2014)

By HIMANSHU SINGH RATHOR

Our_Endless_War_WhitechapelWith the singles that came out prior to the album release, “Our Endless War” claimed to be the tightest and meticulously crafted album in Whitechapel‘s ten-year history. Given how much time the band put in, in terms of writing, getting a perfect tone, producing and mixing, one would expect an equivalent result, yeah? But, it’s too soon to reach that conclusion yet. First, let’s hear the album. A traditional start to the album, Rise is an inviting instrumental with a calm tone. One thing that makes itself clear after a couple of songs is that there is a drastic change in song-writing, which definitely benefits the album and makes it quite easy and refreshing for the listener. But nothing seems that appealing until Let Me Burn. Oh boy! This is what Whitechapel is capable of – a perfect slow start followed by sheer energy, chug-tech riffs at their best. 

What I had appreciated in their self-titled album though, failed to impress this time. Phil’s vocals seem so layered; moreover, stagnant and not what they are known for, although the catchy melodic riffs at the end of the songs make up for it. Not that one can’t get used to that, but it’s the vocals that primarily define Whitechapel‘s sound, especially the high (and yet guttural) singing which sounds so bad-ass and evil. I’ve been listening to Whitechapel for a nice six years, and l’ve always appreciated their lyrics. The song Worship the Digital Age is a prime WhitechapelBandexample of downright brutal song-writing, and it talks about the current state of our civilization and our fucked-up means of entertainment, and how we sold our souls to worship the digital age. Again, layered vocals with so much of mixing; Phil’s style and lyrical content has taken a huge turn over the last few years. I mean, at some point Phil’s just writing shit, senseless and asinine lyrics. It also makes him appear to be quite a douche (refer to Mono lyrics). I’m a big fan of his style and irresistible energy… but not on this album. For the amount of work done on this album and going by their words “working harder on perfecting every song than they ever had before”, it fails to convince their listeners. There’s nothing noteworthy apart from the couple of songs I mentioned, until the halfway mark. Black Out is another good song – powerful and moving.

I’m afraid that’s all I have to say about Our Endless War. There’s nothing great about the album except that Whitechapel‘s song-writing has improved a bit, and the use of three guitars is now even more justified. It’s not only about chugging riffs and hardcore music anymore – it’s about some good song-writing and making great use of the instruments. I’ve always thought of Whitechapel as a mind-blowing band and I look forward to more releases from them.

06
Feb
14

Sockweb – It’s Time To Get Bullies

By ASMO

Album: ‘It’s Time To Get Bullies’

Artist: Sockweb

From: Richmond, Indiana, USA

Label: Monolithic Records

Availability: Stream / Download for $1 from theironcouncil.bandcamp.com

It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones where a second feels like a lifetime, and every hour an eternity? The ones where you check the time every 20 minutes or so, waiting ever so patiently to slink off? You stuff your face with anything and everything, you check emails and chats and wait for people to strike up any interesting conversation? Yet, you remain bored. Bored out of your skull. And just when you’re contemplating the silly travails of life, you find that one stimulant that brings you back in to the real, productive world. And before you know it, you’re jumping up and down like the Energizer bunny.

Yes, this happened to me this week. What was that stimulant? Glad you asked.

Sockweb - 02 - Album ArtLadies and gentlemen, meet Sockweb. An American grindcore project that took the Internet by storm last year thanks to some brilliant ditties about pancakes, Scooby-Doo monsters, bullies, and werewolves. Seems a bit juvenile? Well, pop it in, and trust me, you won’t know what came and hit you.

One listen to the band’s new four track EP “It’s Time To Get Bullies” will leave you bedazzled, stumped, exhilarated, and happy. With a big stupid smile on your face! Lead vocalist Joanie ‘Bologna’ Young is just seven, yes, seven years old. She screams, sings, whispers, rants, growls and more throughout the four tracks, channeling her inner Kat Katz (Agarophobic Nosebleed, ex-Salome). It’s achingly cute, sugary sweet adorable, and at the same time, so, so, metal!

Joanie’s words are backed and bound together by osmium heavy, yet abrasive guitar work, a bass that booms all around, and absolutely wicked drums. All courtesy guitarist, composer, and well, father Adam ‘Blackula Young’, who also jumps in with growls of his own. You won’t need a lyrics booklet to understand the dialogue here. Instead, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement. Unless, of course, you are headbanging away to glory.

Critics will consider the band a gimmick. But the songs are anything but. It’s heart warming and genuine music that you can relate to. Superbly produced by Pig Destroyer mainman Scott Hull, the EP is what good art is. A genuine expression of self that’s easily understood, and appreciated by anyone who consumes it. This is what a quadruple-shot black coffee would be aurally. In one word, awesome.Sockweb - 01 - Band

 

 

20
Jan
14

SundogProject – Hex1/Visions

By

ASMO

Album: ‘HEX 1 / Visions’

Artist: SundogProject

From: New Delhi, India

Label: Independent

Availability: Stream / Download from  HYPERLINK “http://www.sundogproject.com” http://www.sundogproject.com

It takes guts to tag yourself “experimental”. The word implies that you can push boundaries and definitions, or else formulate and approach that’s an amalgamation of disparate styles, or simply, introduce new ingredients to tradition. The word against a band’s name lures in the curious mind. After all, who doesn’t like being challenged, and hence, discover new ideas? With ‘HEX1 / Visions’, the SundogProject delivers on that tag, and how. The debut album from the Delhi based supergroup-of-sorts spans six songs that are dark, doomy, gloomy, and moody. It’s a lush soundscape that you can’t really put a finger on. With elements of industrial, alternative and rock married to electronica, the songs, on first listen, will make you reminisce ‘Kid-A‘ era Radiohead, Tool, and industrial powerhouse Nine Inch Nails. But, the only reason you will recall those bands is because you will be at your wits end, trying to compartmentalize and make sense of this album.

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Most of the songs are built up on a hypnotizing progression that drones on and on. As elements are added in, layer by layer, you are greeted with a thunderous distorted bass, crunchy-yet-smooth guitars, and vocal lines that can range from whispers to screams. The first couple of tracks serve as a harsh introduction to a world that you are not familiar with. But, by the time ‘Venus’ and ‘Face/3’ swing in, it all comes together to make up an experience that’s intensely personal. One which you can immerse, and lose yourself in.

All in all, this is definitely a challenging album. One which will have you hit ‘repeat’ ever so often, just so that you can peel the layers and reach the core. And once you’re there, don’t bother if you ‘get it’ or not. You’ll appreciate it for the sonic adventure it will set your mind on.

About The Band

From: New Delhi, India

Initially a studio project started by Rahul Das (vocalist, Joint Family), the band today comprises guitarist Rahul Sainani and drummer Shardul Mehta [from Joint Family], bassist Anupam Roy [producer and guitarist, Narsil] and guitarist Viraj Mohan [Another Vertigo Rush].

ALBUM REVIEW: Monster MagnetLast Patrol

16
Jan
14

Monster Magnet – Last Patrol

By ASMO

Album: ‘Last Patrol’
Artist: Monster Magnet
From: New Jersey, USA
Label: Napalm Records
Availability: iTunes, Rs 130 (available October 21, 2013); Stream on SoundCloud.com

Meat and potatoes. Yellow daal and steamed rice. Aloo-Puri. Home cooked, comfort food. Simple, easy to digest, delicious, and most importantly, forever satisfying. It nourishes, delights, lifts your spirits, and stays with you.

indexYou can slot in Monster Magnet’s tenth album, ‘Last Patrol’ in the same category. Here, the sludge lords from New Jersey turn the clock back to give you a smattering of their past. A tasty collection of nine songs (eleven if you include the bonus tracks) that are more psychedelic, spacey and atmospheric than their last few releases.

Produced by frontman, Dave Wyndorf and rhythm guitarist Phil Caviano, ‘Last Patrol’ roughly follows the classic early 90’s Monster Magnet formula. A rather distinctive, slow start that casually builds up to an overwhelming wall of sound, infused with some excellent guitar solos and Wyndorf’s twangy-yet-manly vocals. ‘End Of Time’, ‘Bummer’ and ‘Last Patrol’ hypnotise you, and legally take you to higher states of being. The acoustic ‘Paradise’ harks back to the Magnet’s biggest hit ‘Dopes To Infinity’, while the Donovan cover is churned with all the doominess the band can muster up.

MonsterMagnet-BandBesides the songs, what ‘Last Patrol’ does exceedingly well is that it retains all the fuzzy, vintage sound that the band was known for. The record sounds and feels natural, as if the band jumped in together in their practice pad and hammered out everything using just analog recording devices. It has all the textures of an oil painting where you can see the brush-strokes, and none of the flat-lines of a digital painting, even though it may be pixel-perfect.

Those with a penchant for experimentation may not find anything new here. The band largely sticks to its comfort zone. But, that’s not a bad place to be in. Take it or leave it, you know just what to expect from Monster Magnet. ‘Last Patrol’ is a welcome addition to the discography, and a reminder of times when the future was bright, and lives weren’t that complicated. Like an old friend, or home-food that you reach out to when you’re down in the dumps and feeling blue, ‘Last Patrol’ will always keep you company when you are craving for something you know can’t go wrong.

MUSIC REVIEW: Black Sabbath‘s 13

 

08
Dec
13

Music Review: Hecate Enthroned – Virulent Rapture

hecatevirulentI first heard Hecate Enthroned years ago when I was starting out as a musician who was becoming increasingly attracted to the more extreme side of metal. The band was interesting back then, and Upon Promethean Shores (Unscriptured Waters), the album I gave those listens to, would at the most be a fun listen now. 2014 fast coming to an end, I couldn’t not listen to Hecate Enthroned‘s latest album and looked forward to the cheesiness and to seeing how this band from my early times had grown.

‘Thrones of Shadow’ begins with a typical symphonic Black Metal intro (this is never a complaint from me; ‘typical’ is just fine if done correctly), and to my utter disbelief George Fisher’s growls emanate from the speakers along with the opening riff which is out-and-out OSDM, and the song is then made to go Black Metal, synths and screams.

This is Hecate Enthroned wanting to stay Black Metal, but influences have strange ways of revealing themselves and the desire to do new things rarely remains hidden. The odd Thrash Metal riff here, and another OSDM riff there, but it’s largely the Corpsegrinder-style growling that’s out of place in this setting. Virulent Rapture is defiantly Black Metal for most part, though – agreeable because of its kosher approach to (cheesy) Black Metal – and it’s the Black Metal sections that delight.

Listen to the title track and you’ll mistake it for a Cannibal Corpse song. So here’s the problem: I love Cannibal Corpse, but I don’t want a Black Metal (or Death Metal) band to sound exactly like another band. It’s cool that Hecate Enthroned can do it (because of the vocalist), but this is the kind of blunder that robs a band of its true identity.

Virulent Rapture could have been a terribly enchanting album from Hecate Enthroned.

RATING: 2.5/5

Review: Deicide – In The Minds Of Evil

Download: In The Name Of Satan

Download: Snowless

Download: The Darkness Of Being

Download: Devil Worship

Concert: Black Metal Krieg 3




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