Chris Forbes’s Metal Reviews #9

TRIUMPH/Rock N Roll Machine (Revolver Films)

This is a movie on the rock n roll career of the rock band Triumph, which I was a major fan of back in the ’80s growing up. They got compared to Rush at times because they were a 3 pieces band like Rush and as Rush did they hailed from Canada. Triumph had a much more straightforward sound than Rush, weren’t as progressive as Rush and also had drummer Gil Moore sing as well as guitarist Rik Emmett. Their stage show was 2nd to none with tons of flashpots and rising drums and lights galore. Their debut release called “Rock n Roll Machine was just the start and the follow up “Just a Game” had tons of classics on it like “Lay it on the Line” and “Hold On” plus “American Girls” just won me over big time and the game you could play if you brought the vinyl was a neat trick as well. By the band’s 4th album “Allied Forces” they were headlining shows in from of 10,000 plus. By the 8th album, which was called ” The Sport of Kings”, which was too poppy to my ears and sure enough in the movie they were told by label execs they needed to “write a hit tune for the radio”, which a lot of bands did, think Heart, Aerosmith, Van Halen, etc. Years later even the band were saying things like that in interviews. Well, the reason for this incredible movie is that some hardcore Triumph fans wanted to visit Metalworks where Triumph had recorded some of their albums and had lots of old Triumph goodies lying around. Well, to make a long story short the band agreed and you’ll have to watch the movie to see the rest. Easily a 10 out of 10 movies.

TREADING ON DIVINE/Embrace The Dark (Self Released)

Just typical black metal with the fast picking music/riffing along with the screechy black metal vocals. I will say this at least the music doesn’t sound like it was recorded in some backwoods in the middle of the night. The music just sounds like any other black metal band out there with nothing different at all to separate themselves from the rest. If you are heavily into black metal then you might want to check these guys out.

ASTARIUM/Solar Despair (More Hate Productions)

I am not usually a fan of one-man bands and especially when I see they are black metal, but I always don’t judge a book by its cover so I gave this a spin. Wow is this a great release and for one, it is far from typical black metal. This has great use of keyboards/piano and synthesizers. Very mellow stuff on this with clear (not clean) vocals and also black metal vocals. This just sucked me as it was so cool and different and far from what I was expecting. I would not even call this black metal, to be honest. I don’t know what to call it ha ha. This leans on more of a keyboard mix and the whole black metal is the singing. Interesting release to say the least.

ABOMINOG/Manifesting Void (Lost Apparitions Productions)

This originally came out in 2008 and was a compilation of this band’s tunes and now Lost Apparition Productions has seen fit to re-release as the band is also back together. I was given this at a show I saw the band recently and they sounded great live. This is no-frills tuned down death metal with punishing death metal style vocals. Now this is way old stuff and the band back then didn’t sound like every other death metal band, which was good, and the singer has a good voice for singing in a death metal style. Very nice to see this label release this and the below release, which I’m reviewing next. Pure straight forward your face death metal period.

ILLYRIAN/Aegis (Self-Released)
Within 30 seconds I was sort of digging the Exodus thrash sounds and then the singing began. A horrible singer he is. He sounds like a bad version of Zetro from Exodus and then let’s throw in the generic death growls that a million other thrash bands are doing these days. Why they do it I’d love to know, but I guess I won’t. They must think it’s cool or they figure “heck Pantera did it and they sold lots of records”. The vocals I’m sorry made this a total unlistenable release and this band needs to go back to the drawing board ASAP.

EXISTENTIA/Calculating Failure (Self Released)

A crushing slab of wicked death metal is what is on this EP. Twirling riffs, skull pounding drums and great vocals easily one me over. This has solid tunes that are catchy and crushing at the same time. I like the guitar sound on this a lot and like I said the vocals are pure brutality as well. This band is off to a good start with this EP and I look forward to more stuff from this band.

PREDICTOR/…thus spoke death (Iron Bonehead / Knekelput Recordings)

Typical black metal with the pic riffing and screaming in the woods vocals. No thanks, I have been down this road a million times and trust me anyone with half a brain won’t want to go down this road either.

EYSENBREY/Die Schlacht Part II” (Self Released)

Now I am not the biggest black metal fan, but when it is done right I like it and I can appreciate it. This band is pretty cool and a big difference from the typical black metal band. The vocals, yes they are in the black metal vein, but they are decent on this. The music is tough to describe it is no doubt black metal, but with a twist. There are some sounds of early death metal in the mix as well. The drum sound I’m not a huge fan of and the death metal grunting, they should love that and stick with the black metal vocals. This I can say is different and will take a couple of spins to get into, but I think you’ll like it.

TEMPTER’S SACRAMENT/Temptation Steel Scourge (Invictus Productions)

4 tracks of blazing kick-ass death/black metal. I loved the razor-sharp riffs and wicked speed this band delivers along with the Mille/Schmier like vocals too. This stuff is catchy as hell and I love the speed and power on this as well. This band plays old school death/black metal the right way and I liked it dammit.

TORMENTOR/Crown Of Shame (Self Released)

5 tunes of speedy Exodus style thrash right down to the Zetro like vocals. Great guitar crunch on this and I love the speed and no nu-metal or Pantera crap. Lots of double bass drumming as well. This will get the heart pumping and the mosh pits going live I’m sure. This guitar crunch just owns me and the production allows everything to be heard clear as day too. Thrash metal is back baby.

MORBID MESSIAH/Disgorged in the Coffin (Chaos Records)

Remember back in the early ’90s when you would get death metal demos on cassette from bands? I do and this band reminds me of those days. Thick, chunky riffs from the pits of hell. A raw production, which adds and not subtracts. Real blasting fast parts and not this trigger shit I hear a lot of. Great death metal vocals as well and this is death metal played the way it should be and just crushes. This does not let up and is a delight to review I can tell you that. This just knocks you the fuck over and anything in its the path.

INCUBUS/Serpent Temptation (Remastered) (Brutal Records)

I remember this band from way back when and they had to change their name and released a couple of albums under the name Opprobrium. This debut, which is being re-released is a must-have if you have never the band and if you crave speedy thrash metal. This is like the debut album from Morbid Angel with the blast beats and guitar sounds. The singer however is not like David and he has more of a thrashy type of singer. Production I totally love it as the razor-sharp riffs will tear through you big time. This blows away all these death metal bands I assure you and is CLASSIC that must be heard if you have not heard it.

DECEASED/Thrash Times at Ridgemont High (Hells Headbangers)

OMG is this easily my favourite release of the year and it’s a thrash covers metal album ha ha. Not just any thrash cover tunes though. King and the boys go deep and pick out some of the best unknown and semi-known thrash bands. Whiplash start things off “I’ll Spit on Your Grave” and oh I was headbanging in seconds. I crushing version of this classic. One of my favourite bands Blessed Death is up and King handles those Larry screams just nicely. “Pray for Death” will have you moshing up in your living room or car dammit. 12 tunes on this and not a bad one in the bunch. Are you gonna go wrong with Razor, Cyclone, Voivod, Bulldozer, Sacrifice, Stone, Rigor Mortis and others? Are you kidding me? The great thing with this is, is that each song is given the Deceased style treatment as only King and the boys can. A MUST for anyone reading this

SACRIFICE/ Total Steel By (Dying Victims Productions)

This is a re-release on vinyl from this band that originally came out in 1985 right when thrash was coming out of its black hole. Just ripping thrash metal like Exodus inspired thrash that will tear you apart. This isn’t as aggressive as Exodus but as that Exodus style crunch. Now the vocals weren’t the strongest on here though. A tune here and there wasn’t the greatest as I wasn’t a fan of the mid-pace stuff as I wanted speed and fast, fast dammit. Overall though this is a damn fine release and is better than a lot of these modern thrash bands that just sound like Pantera and can’t write a good song to save their lives

PHENOCRYST/Explosions (Blood Harvest)

This isn’t bad, but as with a lot of bands, this just sounds like way too many other bands out there playing death metal. This is the problem with the death metal genre now. It’s not new and super exciting like it was back in the ’80s. This band play death metal the right way, mixing slow crushing parts with doses of speed and intensity. The vocals are solid death metal style I will also say. The production is good and thinks Immolation, Incantation, etc for who they sound like at times, which isn’t a bad thing I’ll say. You could do a lot worse. Check out the sample track below

DEATH ANGEL/The Bastard Tracks (Nuclear Blast)

I absolutely loved this band’s debut album, didn’t like the couple after that and their latest before this was solid, so I was anxious to hear this. A bit about this. This was recorded live during the pandemic and streamed live the following week and contains songs you would not normally hear during a band’s set. Well, I had not heard more than one or 2 of these tunes before and thankfully the band on this stick with the speedy thrashier stuff and not that “I’m Bored” shit from many moons ago. The Bay Area crunch rings loud and clear on this and singer Mark Osegueda sounds awesome on this. That guitar crunch just owns me big time and thank god for speed baby. Death Angel is back and this recording crushes.

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