Whitechapel / Mark Of The Blade

Mark of the Blade

Whitechapel is an American deathcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee. The band is named after the Whitechapel district in East London, England, referencing the series of murders committed by Jack the Ripper. The group comprises vocalist Phil Bozeman, guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder, bassist Gabe Crisp, and drummer Ben Harclerode. Founded in 2006 by Bozeman and Savage, the band has released six studio albums, eleven music videos and are currently signed to Metal Blade Records.

The Analysis—-

The Void—-Not a band to pull out of the collection for a casual listen on a Sunday afternoon, Whitechapel brings intensity and brutality to everything it produces. The band is TIGHT! You are pummeled by the drums…the walls of guitars and the vocal that threatens to pierce your brain at every angle. Just incredible….every song is a journey.

Mark Of The Blade—-The band as a whole, has progressed in sound and style since the onset of their career. The music…although still brutal and smashing in force is more accessible than previous releases. The pure pummel of sound has progressed to a more organized chaos that is more pleasant. The vocals are clearer….still not sure how he can sing like this song after song. This track has an almost catchy melody/chorus that unbelievably tends to stick in your brain. I like this track a lot.

Elitist One—-Kicking off with a nice melodic bass line, the drums are front and center on this track and again, you notice the melody line running underneath the layer of noise. The vocal is so intense it shakes my very core as the song progresses. The guitars soar…with a nice sound further back in the mix. The musical breaks give the song more body…..allowing you to catch your breath here and there. The most accessible Whitechapel to date.

Bring Me Home—-In a somewhat shocking turn of events, this acoustic beginning of the song is in such sharp contrast to what you have been subjected to you wonder if this is the same band. Bozeman shocks you with a clean and melodic vocal that is superb….and then…..enter mayhem. This is a fantastic track…..a very pleasant surprise…offering a more alternative sounding track that shows the talent and scope of the band. Just fantastic!

Tremors—-Returning to a more familiar sound, you notice on this track that the vocal seems very upfront and the growls a bit clearer. You can actually catch some of the venom that is spit….while the drums pummel your brain and very core. The double tracked vocal gives the song a full sound….this is really a pretty great release.The breaks in the aggression are fantastic…..showing the sheer talent of the band.

A Killing Industry—-Coming out of a fog with a chainsaw guitar delivery and drums from hell, the beginning of this track sounds very chaotic and unorganized. The vocals come at you at a blistering speed…..and the manipulations of the voice reminds me of Static X. The thing that is undeniable is the melody though….this is just out mayhem…there is a structure underneath everything going on.

Tormented—-Yet another surprise introduction to this track…sounding more organized and structured. The bass line is so strong…the drums more staccato than all out pounding your head in the cement.The vocal sounds a bit subdued even…..but the aggression is still intact. The lyrics are intense….leading me to believe this is a rather personal song. Really great.There is a bit of lyrical torment to this track…..making it quite relate able. During the bridge the guitars soar……wow!!!

Brotherhood—-And here…..another surprise. A beautiful acoustic guitar intro on a Spanish sounding guitar makes room for drums from hell to break the peace and quiet as the pummel continues. The guitars literally soar…this is fantastic. The song has nice ebbs and flows in the delivery….taking you on a journey all of its own. This is fantastic….a great track that shows the versatility and talent of the band….if you needed reminding. A fantastic instrumental interlude.

Dwell In The Shadows—-The silence and beauty of the previous track is smashed to bits as the band gets back to business as usual. The vocal comes at you brutally fast and filled with an anger that shakes your core. The nice thing, again, is the melody that runs through the entire thing…sucking you in and allowing the song to find a place in your brain for awhile. That is the magic of a great band.

Venomous—-A great guitar intro that sends you spiraling with the sound, quiets a bit to allow for the vocal. the drums……delivered at a blistering speed in the forefront of the song spurns Bozeman to sing even faster and faster. This is incredible….100% aggression and power….the best way to obliterate pent up aggression and anger…..this helps to remove me from my dark places.

Decennium—-Coming out of a dark fog, this begins much like every other track…the surprise is coming….the song makes way for clean vocals and a damn melodic chorus that makes you shake your head in awe. This is a fantastic release…I hope the band continues to experiment and grow in this new direction. This is incredible…..I love it!

**** out of 5

Serpentine Dominion / Serpentine Dominion

Serpentine Dominion

Serpentine Dominion is an American death metal supergroup consisting of Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, Cannibal Corpse vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and former The Black Dahlia Murder drummer Shannon Lucas. They released their debut album on October 28, 2016.

The Analysis—-

Intro—-This intro is a surprise…a nice gentle acoustic guitar greets your ears and you are puzzled…like….what the f^%k……the sound is gentle and melodic…..until 50 seconds into the track…then you wake the hell up! The melody is still there….but the intensity and the speed almost masks it. No vocals….just incredible fast and brutally beautiful music. Melding right into…..

The Vengeance In Me—-The familiar vocal smacks you right upside the head like a steam engine. The music and the vocal is much more accessible than Cannibal…..you can actually catch what George is saying….but that does not make it any less brutal and genuine. There is an actual chorus that is accompanied by the entire band…this is accessible brutality…..fuckin’ brilliant.

Vanquished Unto Thee—-The music seems a bit deeper on this track…the guitar squeals are incredible and the opening growl from George is from the depths of hell. At times Fischer sings at a higher tone rather than screams and there are some brilliant, brilliant, brilliant clean vocals on the chorus. The song soars at times with a fantastic guitar lead….but manages to sound brutal as hell thanks to the vocal from George and the pummeling bass line.

Divide, Conquer, Burn & Destroy—-Brutal right out of the gate, the vocal seems even deeper than ever imagined at the onset. The lines come at you fast and surprisingly understandable. The overlays from George are superb….deep and powerful overlay-ed with his higher range. They give the song more depth…the music is incredible….the drums much more present on this song as are the lead guitars. This release is a triumph.

Sovereign Hate —-The music comes at you beautifully constructed from the darkness….slowed down and with undeniable melody. The drums seem to build and build and you can feel goosebumps all over as the song gets bigger and bigger. The break allows the brutal bass line and the vocal to enter. The lyrics are fantastic…..with overlay-ed vocals again and the words coming at you blistering fast. The breaks in the song add variance and allow you to really appreciate all of this talent. The clean vocal on the chorus is just fantastic! This is a must have. Think Fear Factory!

On The Brink Of Devastation—-A full on assault and return to vocal and musical brutality, this begins the minute you hit play. There are outstanding drums on this track as well…..with the vocals really the star of this show. This is just magnificent….more added clean vocals keep this band and release fresh and from suffering from monotony. This is superb.

Jagged Cross Legions—-Drums and bass……drums and bass…..make for an intense freakin’ adventure. When you add in the evil growls….screams and belly gut from George and this is a standout track. The clean vocal is again present on the chorus giving the song a melody that makes it really accessible. This is fantastic.

Prelude—-Light with another gentle guitar intro that mirrors the beginning of the release, this shows so much diversity in the band. The fact they all got together is just amazing. This is damn beautiful guitar work…with a slight hum that runs through the underbelly of the song…giving it a mystical feel. I’m just amazed….one of the best things this year.

This Endless War—-Ending this release…..after just 26 minutes, this track, right from the onset, has an epic feel. The guitars are brighter and the drums layed to the back of the mix for the first 25 seconds or so…..the vocal enters and puts your brain in a different place. The vocal is brutal…..sounding evil and manic. The clean vocal on the chorus in such sharp contrast with George bellowing in over them. There is nice speaker play on this track….the song moves from headphone to headphone. Just extraordinary!

***** out of 5

 

Carnifex / Slow Death

Slow Death

Carnifex is an American deathcore band from San Diego, California. Formed in 2005, they are currently signed to Nuclear Blast after having been signed to Victory Records and have released six full-length albums and one EP. The name of the band is derived from the Latin: carnifex, meaning “butcher” or sometimes “executioner”.

The band’s sixth studio album Slow Death was released on August 5, 2016. To support the new album, Carnifex joined Cannibal Corpse on the 10th annual Summer Slaughter Tour in North America as well as Knotfest/Ozzfest. Also two music videos were released on YouTube to promote the album, the first being “Drown me in Blood” and the second being “Slow Death”.

The Analysis—-

Dark Heart Ceremony—-Slow…..and creeping through your headphones, there is a nice sense of foreboding to this release. Piano heavy and mysterious at the onset, the slow build is almost maddening. Once the vocal enters with a brutal yell, the music is set loose. The drums are just incredible…although many of the other instruments sound a bit muddled and pushed together. The double vocal style actually allows you to catch some lyrics here and there. At the mid point of the track, the guitars do emerge with a nice clarity.

Slow Death—-Opening with an immediate urgency, you have no time to catch your breath from the previous track. There are nice tempo changes and some varied vocals on here…you never get bored from a monotony of sound. The sound is a bit dense…..a little to dark in the production, but there is an underlying catchiness to this song.I like this band….can’t believe I’m just stumbling upon  them. The tempo break in the middle of the song…with the clear and awesome guitar playing is fantastic.

Drown Me In Blood—-With a bit of respite, this moody intro does not last. The vocal smacks you in the face with a slight industrial edge. The guitars are very present on this track and the ‘clean; vocals are incredible. The hammer like drums drive the song and keep it interesting. This is not as brutal as Cannibal or some other bands…but this is driven and practiced. Really fantastic.This will play live really well.

Pale Ghost—-The very few seconds of the intro to this track carry a huge industrial sound, but the guitars pick up the pace and the song becomes a barrage of speed and noise. The vocal is nice…I like that you can actually understand what they are saying…missing in many bands of this genre. The middle break of the track allows the guitar to soar and stand out….giving you many moods and less of a constant barrage of sound. Well constructed.

Black Candles Burning—-Returning to full throttle speed on this track, there is a really nice melody that runs through the bottom layer of this song. This is not a thrown together release….this band has 6 releases under it’s belt, and you can tell. The breaks and tempo changes keep everything interesting…but it is constructed rather than being recorded mayhem. A really great band.

Six Feet Closer To Hell—-There are definitive keyboards on this release….but they are used to only bolster the sound and the mood of the songs. There is again, a prevalent melody running through this track…it allows your head to move along with the slight groove to the song. the chorus is huge and the crowds will love this live. Nothing disappointing about this album.

Neurotoxic—-The sound and pace of this track is relentless…..pounding you in the skull with a huge sound and constant noise. The vocals are huge….and underneath of it all a slight orchestrated keyboard that gives the track an urgency and incredible darkness. The trade off of vocals in this band work very well…the higher tones of the screams and the deep guttural lines play off of each other so well. This is just phenomenal.And in the middle of it all a soaring guitar solo that brings everything together.

Life Fades To A Funeral—-The above track magically fades into this track….a heavy piano intro that gives off an ominous and sad feel. This was really a surprise for me…this track has a beautiful edge to it with standout guitars and a nice serene feel. This really caught me by surprise….very pleasant and unexpected. Fantastic!

Countess Of The Crescent Moon—-Not resting on its laurels for too long, this track returns to a full throttle sound that is fast….brutal and features incredible drums. The vocals are delivered together…giving the song a very large feel. This is incredibly diverse and melodic….with a true sense of brutality thrown in to keep everything dark. Just incredible.

Servants To The Horde—-Ending this release…..way to soon for me, this track delivers much as the rest of the album. Melody….brutality…but incredible listen-ability. The ‘chorus’ is damn near catchy and allows you to really embrace the song. The low hum of the keyboards make the song very large….the breaks keep everything interesting…but in place and well constructed. Definitely a band I need to investigate further!

****1/2 out of 5

 

3 Inches Of Blood/Long Live Heavy Metal

Long Live Heavy Metal

3 Inches of Blood is a Canadian heavy metal band formed in 1999 in Victoria, British Columbia, last consisting of Cam Pipes, Justin Hagberg, Shane Clark, and Ash Pearson, none of whom were original members of the band. They are marked by strong influences from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement.

On June 2, 2015, the band announced it would disband following one final show to take place on November 7 at the Commodore Ballroom in their hometown.

The Analysis—-

Metal Woman—-Trademark and familiar sounds begin this final release from 3 Inches Of Blood. If nothing else, they have been very consistent and true to there original sound. The bass line and the drums are stellar on this track….then the voice enters the fray. There are few people that can scream like this man. The melody is incredible…a really nice start.

My Sword Will Not Sleep—-Bordering on a Thrash sound, this kicks off right from the start. The deeper dirtier vocal growl is nice…but the high screams are soon in place. Dealing even more with the Nordic obsession this band has, the song is pretty run of the mill. The guitar attack is stellar…but nothing really new here.

Leather Lord—-A deeper guitar sound at the onset, and then a monstrous growl. The scream returns and I wonder how the hell this guy can sing like this for extended periods of time. The song is powerful….even if just for the drum attack. The sound is pretty consistent…the vocal at times disappears into the barrage of music…but returns amid the growls to end the track.

Chief And The Blade—-A bit of a surprise at the onset of this track as we are treated to a slow acoustic guitar and what sounds like a flute!!! Really was not expecting that one…a very beautiful instrumental piece!!!

Dark Messenger—-Another surprising start to this track….but the gentleness does not stay in place as the barrage of music smacks your forehead. The voice returns…with some double tracking that makes it even larger. The music is nice and aggressive…but to be honest…that voice does become tiresome after a bit.

Look Out—-The fierce guitars open this track as usual…the voice soon follows. There is a nice underlying melody on this track that seems to plant itself in your brain. The sing a long chorus will play really well live. This is a stellar track…I really like this one.

4000 Torches—-With a nice bass intro this round, it adds a bit of diversity to a CD that already less than halfway through is lagging. The track is very very fast….not even sure how the vocal can stay up with the music. The entire band seems to join in on the vocal chorus…makes the song much larger….very nice.

Leave It On Ice—-Vocal right out of the gate…accompanied by a damn maniacal drum. This is old hat though…there is little new here. The music is acceptable…but the too consistent lyric content and the lack of musical showmanship becomes old. The vocalist is not always the star of the show!

Die For Gold [Upon The Burning Sea IV]—-This is nice…a galloping guitar adds to the song…actually giving it a different feel than we have become accustomed to. The mix and placement of the songs have worked…I’m not nearly as bored as I though I would be at this point…simply because the  producer has added some diversity in the song placement.

Storming Juno—-Guitars seem to attack me from all sides as this track begins. I am growing weary of the too consistent vocal…and then we suddenly have a deeper more sinister voice emerge. Kudos for that. This is more of the same…but I guess that is why the fans return to this band still. This is nothing like Fire Up The Blades….the band seems to be out of ideas.

Men Of Fortune—-Higher pitched guitars and a much better melody lead off this track…the sway of the music is nice. The vocal even seems to be a bit more sedate…the double tracking adding to the melody that lies underneath of it all. The sing song chorus gets you wrapped up in the song…this is pretty nice…when the whole band joins the chorus…it is rather grand!

One For The Ditch—-Closing out this release….from what I understand, the swan song for them this track is begun with a gentle acoustic guitar and plaintive drum beat that leaves you a bit melancholy regardless how you approach this band. The silence is in stark contrast to the rest of this release…..and lest you be disappointed, the track does pick up tempo as it goes along….but it delivers a remarkable melody and poise that almost makes me sad. Good Night guys!

*** out of 5

Cannibal Corpse/A Skeletal Domain

Cannibal Corpse is an American death metal band from Buffalo, New York. Formed in 1988, the band has released thirteen studio albums, two box sets, four video albums and one live album. The band has had little radio or television exposure throughout its career, although a cult following began to build after the release of the 1991 album Butchered at Birth, and 1992 album Tomb of the Mutilated. By 2003 they had achieved worldwide sales of one million copies for combined sales of all their albums,[1] including 558,929 in the United States, making them the all-time top-selling death metal band in the country.[2]

The members of Cannibal Corpse were originally inspired by thrash metal bands like Slayer and Kreator, as well as other death metal bands such as Morbid Angel, Autopsy and Death.[3] The band’s album art (most often by Vincent Locke) and lyrics, drawing heavily on horror fiction and horror films, are highly controversial. At different times, several countries have banned Cannibal Corpse from performing within their borders, or have banned the sale and display of original Cannibal Corpse album covers

The Analysis—-

High Velocity Impact—-I, like many ‘grindcore’ enthusiasts, waited with baited breath for this new release from the kings of the genre. At the very first notes…I knew I would not be disappointed. Of course…most of the lyrical content on these releases must be approached with a sense of humor…but the musical and vocal brutality is real as real can be. I personally love this band…this is just not noise…but has a general melody and tune that sticks in your head…and the way George can deliver his voice is unmatched…stellar beginning.

Sadistic Embodiment—-You know you are listening to CC when you hear the speed of the music, the unique squeal of the guitars and the VOICE. The content is neither here nor there…it is the energy…the brutality and the unrelenting bang of the drums and the bass guitar….perverse as it may sound…this shit makes me smile. I love this fuckin’ band.

Kill Or Become—-the lead off single from the release…if this band can have such a thing…is masterful. addictive and brutal. I have listened to this track 100 times or more and still cant catch all the lyrics…but the joy and recipe the band has met success with is all over this track. When George orders one to ‘fire up the chainsaw’….you are frightened. This is fantastic!!!

A Skeletal Domain—-The drums and doom sounding guitars that introduce this track are almost like a funeral march…the quiet and morose does not last. This is a track with a more sludge sound…but it is pure Cannibal. George has left his mark on this band and it could never be the same without him. There are some interesting backtrack vocals on this song which adds body to the sound…this is another one of those tracks I really like….it sounds really drudge at times…but sometimes travels 150 mph!

Heading Into Carnage—-Although sometimes the material from this band can seem almost repetitive, there are always new sounds being introduced to keep you interested. George delivers his trademark higher pitched yelps on this song…the first time on this release…and the guitar squeals are delivered like no other band can in this genre…they are the kings!

Murder Pact—-The musical intros never last long with this band before Corpsegrinder emerges and revels us with another tale of murderous bloody mayhem…..it gets repetitive…but the output from this band has slowed…so be sure to savor every bloody drop! The rhythm section emerges on this track to great effect……shake your fuckin’ head off….

Funeral Cremation—-The intro of the song is a bit surprising….more atmosphere than usual…but it is not long before mayhem ensues. This is still a bit different for me….until George lets loose. I love the way this guy can bellow….the bass line on this track is phenomenal and adds to the whole body of the song….the band alternates between speed and a slower Sabbath like drudge. This is another stellar track from this release….it will show up on some of the great songs this band has in its output…trust me. This is incredible…the layers of sound are phenomenal!

Icepick Lobotomy—-Kudos for the song title alone….then the song begins….the drums match the guitar romp perfectly. This seems like more of the same until you give the track repeated listens. This band…despite all of its controversies and disdain….really border on genius…this is why.

Vector Of Cruelty—-Beginning with a masterful marching bass line, the guitars devour that deep sound in a moments notice. The squeals appear a bit more on this track…and you can tell there are some backdrop vocals included in the studio. They only add to the fullness of the sound though…keeping the CD from becoming monotonous or the same sounding. The marching returns and lets you feel a range of emotion…this is a craft perfected! The rhythm section rules on this track.

Bloodstained Cement—-I like this track…but it seems almost like a throw away song that was put on to make the release longer. This track, for me, lacks ingenuity and passion. But it is not horrible…does that make sense?

Asphyxiate—-Delivering a horrible blood at the onset, this track has an unmistakable melody to it that this band is famous for. Make no mistake….Cannibal is not all about blood and gore…they are a unit and they can make damn addictive songs…they do this through melody and a rhythm section that is tighter than any band alive. The chorus…if you call it that…is almost addictive…go figure. I love this!

Hollowed Bodies—-Ending this long awaited release…..I hope we dont wait years again, the band delivers what it is best known for. BLOOD….MAYHEM….GORE and A VOICE FROM HELL…..can you really ask for more…I think not. There is such a distinct melody in some of these songs….if they are to stay in the underground…so be it…but more people would love them if somehow we could get more people to hear it…this is a stellar song…another favorite of mine…dont be gone to long friends!!!

**** out of 5