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Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Ethmebb - La Quête Du Saint Grind

When selecting this album to review I had no idea what to expect and to be honest I’m still not sure how to best describe this. I’ll give it a serious try though. Ethmebb apparently was founded as Ethmeb, a grindcore band from Tournan-en-Brie, Île-de-France, Paris back in 2006. Its members are Rémi Molette, vocals, guitar and samples, Victor Tunidjah, guitars and choirs, François Santenoff, bass and choirs and Damien Baissile on drums. In 2012, for reasons unknown, Ethmeb was renamed Ethmebb and their musical focus shifted from grindcore to epic death-power-progressive metal. Moreover they prefer the term ‘Epileptic Power Death Progressive Black Doom for children’ themselves, which does not really makes things any clearer.

Anyway, this resulted in the release of an EP called ‘Lost My Grind’ back in 2013 on which Ethmebb’s intentions become clear. Four years later they release their full-length called ‘La Quête Du Saint Grind’, which is supposed to mean something along the lines of ‘The Quest For The Holy Grind’. Judging by the title it’s a concept album, with a somewhat confusing and very much peculiar story brought to us by a bard called Bard the Bard. It’s about a warrior called Tathor who, with the aid of his emerald sword and the power of the dragon flame, tries to maintain the peace in Enchanted Land, which is threatened to be disturbed by a dark shadow from the dark tower of the abyss. Talking about a cheesy story line... However, Tathor doesn’t give a shit about that, all he cares for is finding his grind back that has been stolen from him. He needs his grind back to get laid again (yes, really…), so finding it back becomes his only priority. This marks the start of the quest for the holy Grind as well as the start of the eponymous album. Of course our hero will meet a host of weird characters, so buckle up and prepare, you have been warned.

As unlikely as their personal description of their musical style sounds, it is spot on nevertheless, save the ‘for children’, which I still haven’t quite figured out yet. Each of the aforementioned genres is represented at a given point, be it sometimes only seconds at a time. Even though they initially seem to be used at random, upon closer listening you’ll find that that is definitely not true. This abundant use of many short intervals of various types of music inevitably makes the structure of the songs incredibly complex, which in turn poses the risk of losing yourself in total chaos within them, especially when you add so many different samples as Ethmebb does. The fact that this is not the case on ‘La Quête…’ leads me to believe that a lot of thought has been put into the structure of the songs.. Overall it all sounds remarkably coherent although things go a bit overboard at times causing a bit of restlessness in the sound.

The album starts rather peaceful, with the initially soothing but later more bombastic ‘Tathor, l’Echalote de ses Morts’, a more or less typical power metal intro anthem complete with choirs. This depicts the initial peace Enchanted Land enjoys, which is soon to be disturbed when the grind gets lost, effectively caught in music in ‘Lost My Grind’. A catchy, decent power metal song in itself, but decent is not what Ethmebb pursues, so you’ll encounter a few surprises here, although they are relatively few and far between… for now. The first and most influential being the vocals which, very much unlike power metal, are grinds with at times an insane sounding black metal edge. More weird are the braying donkey and a dance sample that appears to have been borrowed from Dutch dance outfit 2Unlimited.

From there on, by lack of a better description, things get increasingly different. The in the power metal genre characteristic speed and bombastic sound form the base of every song, but the addition of a torrent of soundscapes, breaks, loops, twists and turns fills every song with surprises and gives every song an identity of its own. Every time you think you might get a grasp on Ethmebb’s music there’s a new surprise around the corner which throws you off track again. There is no doubt Ethmebb’s members are excellent musicians, being able to execute this kind of music the way they present us on ‘La Quête …’ is no small feat. I’m assuming here, but I strongly get the impression that fun is what comes first for these guys, which helps in creating their peculiar type of music. They don’t care about genre or unwritten laws about what to play within them, they simply play what they like or whatever comes to mind at any given moment and whenever they see fit. That does not mean their music is slapped together using a multitude of randomly played samples, riffs and vocal lines. I’m truly convinced every single detail has deliberately added in that particular part of the track because of the fact nothing sounds out of place.

If you’re in for a truckload of surprises within the music, this one is for you. There’s so many to be discovered in every single song it’s impracticable to describe it all, let alone fathom it. The only way to find out whatever surprises are lurking in the shadows of the complex compositions is to give the album a couple of spins yourself. There really is no other option in my opinion and to be honest, it’s not exactly a punishment to do so. The only minor point of criticism, as I mentioned before, is that the samples, twists and turns might or maybe should be cut back a little bit to avoid chaos. This however, does not influence the fun and joy of experiencing this all that much.

Written by Henric van Essen

Ethmebb Facebook

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Havok - Conformicide

Trying to lead the charge for the genre, Colorado thrashers Havok have been at the forefront of the revivalist scene since their formation a decade ago as they set out to carry the ideals and intensity of their forefathers to the current trend of thrashers. With the addition of new bassist Nick Schendzielos to replace Mike Leon, the group springs forth it’s fourth full-length effort March 10, 2017 on new-label Century Media Records.

Much like their previous efforts, this one tends to dwell incredibly heavily in the realm of worshipping the old-school classics of the genre with a more modern touch. That means efforts like “F.P.C.,” “Hang ‘Em High” and “Dogmaniacal” utilize the riffing here in a direct touch on the original forms of the genre, from the raucous high-energy affairs that bring along the tight, rapid paces they follow through, and with the blistering rhythms carried along quite nicely. With these in fine array throughout here already, the album’s penchant for slowing down into a crushing mid-tempo style of “Intention to Deceive,” “Ingsoc” and “Peace is in Pieces” brings about a nice variety to really balance out the furious and intense blasters throughout here, and with the album as a whole carrying on between these distinct styles as it ranges from the furious, massive thrashers to the spindly, mid-range grooves there’s a nice degree of separation and distinction to the tracks that can be found here. That said, the album generally doesn’t come off as intense or sharp as it could when it’s not focused on the rousing thrash-work featured and staying more on those mid-tempo efforts here as they’re simply dry, mechanical and meandering far more than they really should be. It could be due to these making the album feeling more stretched out than it really should, but whenever the album isn’t bringing the speed and ferocity the song dips as a whole whether it’s the whole track or just a snippet. That is somewhat disappointing but considering the fact that it’s vicious far more often than not it’s not terribly crippling as is expected.

While it’s not as vicious and hard-hitting as expected due to the rather disappointing nature of it’s less ferocious material, the fact that the majority of the album tends to remain nicely on point in regards to its rather frantic energies makes this a solid choice for all revivalist thrash fanatics or fans of the previous work in general. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Havok Official Website
Havok Facebook
Havok Twitter

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Obscure Infinity - Dawn Of Winter

German oldschool death metallers Obscure Infinity re-release their 2010 debut album “Dawn of Winter” exactly as it is via their new record label, FDA. The album will be available as of 24th of March, let’s have a go at it already!

The album kicks off with a short, very atmospheric intro where the “Summoning of the Ancient Ones” happens. The second track is “Sacrificial Ritual”, which is a rather oldschool death metal song with deep growls, a lot of speed and killer riffs. Very brutal! It only slows down towards the end, where the whole atmosphere changes to somewhat more melodic tunes. “Morbid Ways of God” is even more brutal – the influence of the old Florida death metal bands can clearly be perceived here. Great track! We can then catch our breaths with the short instrumental, atmospheric interlude “Foreshadowing of a Coming Storm”, before the next block of three songs come around. Those are all very much alike, classic oldschool death metal songs, but unfortunately missing the variation that made the first two so great. The album then comes to its end after another soft-tune instrumental interlude. The title track and “Wreak Havoc - A Blackened Mind” are again quite alike the middle part, while the final song, “Transmitting Life To Darkness” is again influenced by Scandinavian Death metal and therefore more diverse.

In conclusion: “Dawn of Winter” is a predominantely oldschool death metal album, but also has some influences from thrash and Scandinavian death. The album gets a bit too repetitive over its 11 tracks, and lacks a good sound - as it is a re-issue, this could have been improved to strengthen the record’s quality. Overall though it’s a good album and worth listening to for fans of (oldschool) death metal. 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Obscure Infinity Official Website
Obscure Infinity Facebook

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review: Skálmöld - Vögguvísur Yggdrasils

Skálmöld is a Folk Metal band from Iceland, which has been around since 2009. With three albums under their belt and their fourth one, “Vögguvísur Yggdrasils”, released in September last year, the six guys became one of the best-known metal acts of Iceland. Let’s listen to their latest release!

The band states on its Facebook page that it wants to honor their Viking ancestry. All lyrics revolve around the Norse mythology, which is also the case here: we take a tour around the nine realms, which are connected by the tree of life, Yggdrasil. And, just like the realms, no one song is alike another. First we go to “Muspell”, were we enter with an upbeat death / Folk combo song, marked by the growls of singer Björgvin Sigurðsson and a more melodic part in the middle with choir elements, which then persist until the end of the song. Next stop is “Niflheimur”, were we enter with a Viking metal passage à la Amon Amarth. The song is rather slow paced and marked by clear vocals this time. The whole song is very melodic and nicely in contrast with the first track. “Nidavellir” is a clear Folk metal song, which sounds alike e.g. Ensiferum. More humppa, more upbeat melodies and happy choirs in the background. Very rhythmic and guaranteed to let you bang your head to it! “Midgardur” starts off slow with some doom-like atmosphere, but then picks up speed and becomes more of a Folk song, but less humppa than “Nidavellir”. “Utgardur” is a mid-tempo track with less variation than the others, but is still great to listen to because of the rhythmic songwriting. “Alfheimur” is a very slow one which stays an instrumental for a big part of the song, marked by happy melodies. The city of the gods, “Asgardur”, is in contrast again more upbeat and folksy at the beginning, but also has pressing passages with speedy drumming in the middle and at the end. One of my favorites! “Helheimur” is influenced by black metal elements and a very speedy and pressing song. The album then ends in “Vanaheimur”, a very bombastic song with growls and high-pitched screams at the beginning, which then give way to a melodic instrumental middle part, before we close off with folksy chants. All in one song – so great!

In conclusion: the tour through the nine realms connected by Yggdrasil is a successful one. Each song stands out on its own, but they all still connect very well with each other. I can’t wait to hear what the guys will come up next, but meanwhile it’s a pure joy to listen to this very versatile record, so go ahead and do so as well! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Skálmöld Official Website
Skálmöld Facebook
Skálmöld Twitter

Friday, March 17, 2017

Interview: Eight Sins

In November last year French metallers Eight Sins released their latest album called Serpents. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with them, you can read it below.

Hey, how are you doing?

Hi, we’re fine and you!

Eight Sins, why did you choose for this name?

Believe me or not but there is truly a sin number Eight. It’s called the « vain glory », this one is
about the search for glory in each little thing you do (like the number of blue thumbs on your last
selfie). This one serve all the other and lead to them. Humans can be so evil that it must exist an
eighth sin.

It’s also a cool name that sounds great for us and people can think about it.

You play hardcore with thrash metal influences. How is the metal/hardcore scene in France?

We live in a city with a real metal and rock scene, we are proud to be a part of it.
In our country, there is a ton of very good bands who dreamt about spreading their sound in good
scene condition or maybe in the Hellfest, but there is only few places to play and there is a real
lack of rehearsing structure. Of course, there are few places who accept violent music, maybe
people who have fun is an awful show...

You started in 2006, released your debut album in 2008 and last year you already released your
fourth release, Serpents, what are the differences between Eight Sins then and Eight Sins now?

I think we have accepted our Thrash influences, each of us grown listening to thrash and metal.
At the very beginning, we were a part of the Lyon hardcore scene, so we played something close to
Hardcore, but our friends never stopped to tell us that we were too metal! So I think it's just a
return to our musical roots, we now play something which sounds like us: fast and loud. It’s also
the first album with our amazing drummer Jambon who plays so well thrash music.

About the cover of Serpents, what is the story behind it?

Our singer Loxi designed it, he is a talented tattoo artist and a crazy drawer.
In this picture, you can see a politician with a goat head, speaking to mass media microphones.
This is the way we see politics and power, only serpents who tried to corrupt everything they
touched. We think they have no honor, no humanity, no values… a nice bunch of pieces of shit.

Your music is very powerful with a lot of energy in it, what does an Eight Sins concert look like?

It's based on sweat, violence and smile. We really love to play on stage and we think the crowd can
feel it. We always give all our rage and energy, even if there are 10 or 1000 people. We hope
everyone have good time coming to see us. We do it with passion, not for money or glory or
something else, just for fun, friendship and party.

How do you prepare for your shows?

Haha good question, we get naked and make love with our instruments... no it’s a joke. We try to
see the band who played before us to feel the crowd then we go to the lodge and practice some
warm up training lead by Arno our guitarist. It’s pretty funny for the promoters to see us jumping
everywhere. Then we drink a shot and we go on stage!

About your shows in the history of Eight Sins, what is the most memorable moment you want to share?

We remember about a very cool moment during one of our tours: we played in Bolzano (Italy) in a
parking with young hardcore kids and we must take care to the police because it was an illegal
show. After the show we crossed the police on street, they checked our id for thirty minutes and
finally decided to escort us to the hostel with their lights.

Can we expect some tourdates in support of Serpents?

For sure! We are currently preparing a tour this fall so let us know if you want to see Eight Sins in
your town!

Any other future plans for Eight Sins?

We begin to write next album, listening to Slayer. It will be fast, loud and metal!
And off course more Beers and Moshpit.

Thanks for the interview. Is there something you want to share with our readers?

Thanks to you. Go on bandcamp and grab our last album Serpents, it will gives you a ten hour
erection… or not...

Eight Sins Bandcamp
Eight Sins Facebook
Eight Sins Twitter

Review: Noctem - Haeresis

Fast double bass is a thing most commonly associated with death metal, and this band is really playing on this card, and for the sake of double bass drums, it is great and over the top.

The album hits you with a barrage of double bass from the start, and it is relentless for the first couple of songs, with blazing fast double bass, blast beats and bomb blasts. With razor sounding guitars, monster bass and shrieking vocals. The album offers all of what you want as a death metal fan, the album literally has it all. And also the recording quality is a monster, as there is not one part of the album that sounds badly mixed or that a certain instrument is shredding your ears with the volume.

The only problem I had with the album and the songs are some of the acoustic and dissonant guitar parts, that do come off as a bit un-hearable and hard to understand what is going on, while at the same time those parts give this album its own personality in the death metal scene.

All in all, the album is great and I do recommend it wholeheartedly to all death metal fans from both ends of the spectrum. I give this album a 9/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Noctem Official Website
Noctem Facebook
Noctem Twitter

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review (+ track premiere!): Occulta Veritas - The Inner Wail

Fans of Noise Trail Immersion might know him as one of the guitarists for that band, Daniele Vergine. Daniele now has his own one-man-band, it’s called Occulta Veritas. Whether you are a fan of Noise Trail Immersion or not, it doesn’t matter. This is something you have to check out! Soon, on March 24th, his first full-length The Inner Wail will be released.

The music on The Inner Wail is fully instrumental, but I guarantee you, vocals won’t be missed. Musically you get a combination of post and math metal which has influences of black metal and hardcore in it. It also has a very progressive feeling overall. Warn your neighbors (or not), put your speakers on a high volume, sit back, close your eyes and let the music do its work. It really is some amazing, heavy, technical music, and it also has some parts to give your ears a bit of rest. Most of the time on The Inner Wail there are a lot of different things to hear, but it won’t be messy. Instead it is perfectly combined and it makes sure it’s difficult for your mind to get distracted from the music. Sometimes it almost sounds like a controlled chaos, and I mean chaos in a good way.

Overall, The Inner Wail by Occulta Veritas is a really awesome release. It’s like a rollercoaster, and a hell of a good one! Daniele Vergine did a great job creating this and I am already looking forward to the next release from Occulta Veritas.

Of course, The Inner Wail isn’t released yet, but we can imagine that you already want to listen to it. Guess what? You have to wait a little longer to listen all of it, but we can give you a sneak peek, because we are stoked to give you an premiere of the track Nonsense, Oblivion. Check it below!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Occulta Veritas Facebook