Borknagar / Winter Thrice

Winter Thrice

Borknagar is a progressive black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1995 by Øystein Garnes Brun. The band’s style combines black metal and folk metal with progressive and melodic elements. Borknagar’s lyrics often deal with philosophypaganismnature, and the cosmos.

Winter Thrice is the tenth studio album by the Norwegian band Borknagar.

The Analysis—-

The Rhymes Of The Mountain—-Epic in sound right from the onset, the vocal that emerges is amazing. The edge of the vocal is rough, but accessible enough to allow even the casual listener to become intrigued. The drums here are amazing. The vocal play…between the pleasant clean snaps and then the surprise guttural rants keeps me really interested. This is fantastic.

Winter Thrice—-I really love moody music….I mean you can almost feel the coldness as this track begins. I love the drums as usual…the vocal here reminds me of the clean vocals from Dimmu Borgir…..so high and clear. The guitars come and go….sharp blasts and then an almost acoustic sound as the song progresses. This is epic…. the song is huge…I can’t imagine this live! As usual the song takes a turn for the dark as the Death Metal quell enters midstream…..really nice.

Cold Runs The River—-Much more aggressive right from the onset, I love this song. The vocal is brutal…seeming to be driven to madder limits by the relentless drums. The clean vocal does emerge…but the star of the show on this track is the aggressive nature of the music. The instrumentation is so thick…it just seems to swell and swell…this is literally fantastic. My favorite track on this release.

Panorama—-Returning to a more orchestral intro, the epic swells of music are magnificent. I really don’t care for the opening vocals here…it all seems mechanical and uninspired. It is the music that makes this song so incredible. The keyboards are incredible…and the drums always steal the show with this band. This song really does get better as the song progresses.

When Chaos Calls—-A gentle keyboard opens up this track before pure musical mayhem ensues. The clean vocal has a nice demented delivery to it…the drums…so fuckin fast I have whiplash. This is moody in it’s own way…but the band begins to suffer from the ‘sameness syndrome’ after a bit on this release. Thank God for the Death Metal elements that emerge here and there to keep everything a little more interesting. Sometimes this bands music just sounds like on long continuous song.

Erodent—-At this point in the release,and I don’t want to sound hyper-critical, this just sounds all the same to me. The music is very very, to much, consistent. I wish I could get an entire track with just the eerie, maniacal death rattle vocal. The clean vocal rarely has any musical differentials…everything seems to be in the same note. I would like a soaring scream here and there.

Noctilucent—-Slow and measured from the very first note, this is an even track. The music is fairly sedate and reminds me of a very peaceful, cold dark night. The sounds from the keyboards are incredible..it’s amazing what you can produce with a good machine. This is nice. The vocal finally enters….delivering much the same as we have had thus far…nothing new…this would have been a great instrumental track…in my opinion.

Terminus—-YES…..brutal and aggressive right from the first note…this is what I needed from this band. The dirty vocal [if you will] is extraordinary and driving. Much to soon everything is interrupted by a slower pace and the clean vocal…but the mayhem returns. I am very thankful for the variance in the sound of the song. You never quite know what to expect…I like this a lot.

Bonus Track:

Dominate Winds—-Really offering very little new, you can definitely say this band is very consistent in sound. This track sounds like the first…third and 8th. The variance is so minimal…it leaves me empty. I need a little differential to keep my attention. this release for me…was a disappointment.

**3/4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

Cannibal Corpse / Red Before Black

 

Red Before Black [Explicit]

Cannibal Corpse is an American death metal band from Buffalo, New York. Formed in December 1988, the band has released thirteen studio albums, two box sets, four video albums, and two live albums. 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. As of 2015, they achieved worldwide sales of two million units for combined sales of all their albums, making them the top-selling death metal band of all time.

Bassist Alex Webster came up with the name Cannibal Corpse. They have had several lineup changes since their inception, with bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz as the only constant members. The members of Cannibal Corpse were originally inspired by thrash metal bands like Slayer and Kreator and other death metal bands such as Morbid Angel and Death. 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, such as Germany and Russia, have banned Cannibal Corpse from performing within their borders, or have banned the sale and display of original Cannibal Corpse album covers.

The Analysis—-

Only One Will Die—-There is never any guess work involved with the emergence of a new CC release. You can expect consistency and general mayhem…this is no exception. Although the grotesque lyrics seldom differ, the band remains as tight and practiced as ever. George delivers a blistering vocal that leaves me breathless…this is both consistent and incredible. The double tracked vocals at the end of the track are incredible….the break neck guitar delivery leaves you exhausted!

Red Before Black—-The intro of this song delivers a surprising melody line that is catchy as hell and remains underneath the noise for the entire song. One of the best CC songs in years, this is catchy almost and irresistible to my ears. I never tire of this band….brutal and accessible.

Code Of The Slashers—-Deeper in tone and almost plodding at the onset, this creates a whole mood all of its own from the first note. George delivers a belly growl that is slow paced and demented in tone. The entire track has an eerie and bloody feel to it…even when the track picks up speed at the second bar, the song still keeps it’s structure. This is really a bunch of talented guys…any one who thinks playing this type of music is easy is mistaken.

Shedding My Human Skin—-Again…a slower intro opens the track. The guitars are in perfect unison with each other…giving the song that classic heavy metal swing of the guitars back and forth with each other. George belies age and times with his consistent and incredible ability to growl from the depths of hell and then toss in a demented shriek here and there. This is actually catchy…the chorus is a proper thing here and you can actually make out some words!

Remaimed—-Intense and deep in tone, the vocal comes out of the dark in a slow growl that seems to grow with intensity as the drums egg him to keep up the pace. The song has actual movements…the pace slows to a crawl…then rips itself wide apart again in a fierce gallop. Just incredible….not disappointed one iota.

Firestorm Vengeance—-A perfectly blended shitstorm of noise and electric perfection with a healthy dose of demented Corpsegrinder. This is very reminiscent of Evisceration Plague….I can almost here the track playing over it….but it stands on it’s own very well. This is fantastic.

Heads Shoveled Off—-Kicking into full gear from the very first note, this leaves you no time to catch your breath. The music is so tight and well delivered….the vocal seems to glide right over the mayhem that is going on everywhere in the track. The drums are stellar…as always with this band….this is perfect to me.

Corpus Delecti—-Dense and layered with some nice breaks at a moments notice…how can you play so fast and brake solid and then magically pick back up again…this is a well honed science the band delivers. The classic CC guitar squeals are here…and the ever present drum onslaught is masterful.

Scavenger Consuming Death—–The lead off ‘single’ to this release, the sound of the song is unique to the other things on the album…although consistent with the sound of the band, I find this a little ‘cleaner’ and filled with soaring lead guitar interludes. The vocal is a bit lighter….the melody line underneath of it all irresistible. Midway through the song, the bass line that kicks in is just phenomenal.

In The Midst Of Ruin—-Classic CC guitar squeals ride throughout this track…bringing to mind classic tracks from the past. George burps and growls his way through the song…the bass line leading the song over blackened hills and hell fire storms of hate and gross imagery. This is everything I could possible ask for!

Destroyed Without A Trace—-With an almost funky little bass line underneath of the track, the mayhem is still firmly intact throughout the song. One of the weaker tracks on this release, it is the ‘chorus’ that saves it from trash.

Hideous Ichor—-Deep and intense dark music introduces the final track on the release. Delivered with finesse and practice, the classic onslaught follows with much as you would expect. This is well constructed…the back drop bass line almost becomes a curtain of noise behind the song. This is a fantastic track….I’m ready for more.

****out of 5

 

 

Suffocation / ….Of The Dark Light

...Of the Dark Light

Suffocation is an American technical death metal band that was formed in 1988 in CentereachLong IslandNew York, United States. The band comprises vocalist Frank Mullen, lead guitarist Terrance Hobbs, bassist Derek Boyer, rhythm guitarist Charlie Errigo, and drummer Eric Morotti. Suffocation rose to prominence of death metal and created a blueprint for the genre for the 1990s with their 1991 debut album Effigy of the Forgotten, and have released seven studio albums since formation. The band’s raw death metal style uses growled vocals with a downtuned guitar sound, fast and complex guitar riffs and drumming, open chord notes, breakdowns, and a sophisticated sense of songwriting.

…Of the Dark Light is the eighth studio album by American death metal band Suffocation, released on June 9, 2017, via Nuclear Blast. It is the first album to feature guitarist Charlie Errigo and drummer Eric Morotti.

The Analysis—-

Clarity Through Deprivation—-You have zero chance to prepare yourself for this release….the minute you press play it begins. I have to admit, this is much more accessible than I expected it to be. The instrumentation is superb….the technical aspects are fantastic. The deep sound of the music matches the vocal really well. I love this!

The Warmth Within The Dark—-Its amazing…..every song on this release just starts in a millisecond notice. The vocals are much more melodic ad accessible than you would expect. I though I would experience a Cannibal Corpse style band….but the finesse of this band is far advanced…the song structure is sound and really well delivered. I really like this.

Your Last Breaths—-With a great series of Death growls at the onset. This track is off and running. Much faster and chaotic than the earlier tracks, the song does move through remarkable shifts in the music…but always manages to come back to the sound it began with. The guitars are way down tuned…..delivering that heaviness….but the song is so well constructed…..you can’t possibly stop listening.

Return To The Abyss—-Actually a slight bit of an introduction lol. The aggressive nature of this track is amped up quite a bit from the previous tracks. This is full of driving music…the guitars seem to have a bit more clarity….the drums are maniacal. This is everything I could ask for and more.

The Violation—-The magnificently constructed mayhem continues in the same vein as previous tracks…..but it never seems to get monotonous or boring. There are some really nice chord shifts on this track…..moving from clarity to darkness. This is so well constructed……

…..Of The Dark Light—-This seems higher tuned and delivered with a ferocious playing style that makes me smile down deep. There are some remarkable breaks in the music…..reminding you how practiced this band must be to play in this style. There are points where the guitars literally soar….just incredible!!!!

Some Things Should Be Left Alone—-Again. a bit higher tuned and moving along as fast as the speed of sound. The track never loses intensity despite everything that is going on….when the vocal takes a break…it seems as if the music fills in and speaks for him. This is so well delivered…I really need to investigate this band more.

Caught Between Two Worlds—-Much brighter in sound than when this all began, this is not mainstream by any means….but still really accessible for those in the community looking for something they can really sink their teeth into. This is technical at it’s very best.

Epitaph Of The Credulous—-Ending the release. no more aggressive than the onset, the deeper guitars return and leave you bleeding from your eardrums. This is a fantastic journey that is delivered by musicians that are very very very good at what they do……this has never disappointed me…..at any moment. Remarkable!!!

***** out of 5

 

Dimmu Borgir & The Norwegian Radio Orchestra & Choir / Forces Of The Northern Night

Forces of the Northern Night

Dimmu Borgir (/ˌdɪm ˈbɔːrɡɪər/ or Norwegian: [dɪmmʏ bɔɾgiɾ] or Norwegian pronunciation: [dɪmmʏ bɔʁgiʁ]) is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The band has been through numerous lineup changes over the years; guitarist Silenoz and vocalist Shagrath are the only original members who still remain with guitarist Galder being a longstanding member.

The Analysis—-

Xibir [Orchestra Only]—-If you are a fan of Dimmu, or even slightly acquainted, this recording seems only natural in the grand scheme of things. What an experience it must be as an Orchestra member to play with such a dark and epic band. This track is lush and full of orchestrated moods and energy. Combining the choir of voices with the overblown music comes together to create something damn magical.

Born Treacherous—-The opening strains of the band are greeted by a huge swell of excitement. The music played by the band is bolstered and made so much larger by the Orchestra. Shagrath and his growl seems to wrap itself around the magnificent strings. This only makes the band seem even larger. I love this recording. When the choir joins in on the chorus it is an incredible journey in itself.

Gateways—-With a huge swell full of strings and those magnificent drums and bass line. this song becomes literally huge. Like an epic journey through guttural vocals accompanied by a beautifully landscaped Orchestra, the dichotomy is incredible. Shaw makes an appearance here….I never cared for her very much.  She nor a full choir can even come close to the incredible vocal style from ICS Vortex…..a huge mistake for the band to lose him.

Dimmu Borgir  [Orchestra Only]—-Serving as almost an introduction to the proper song, the choir soars with a huge anthem style delivery that just sounds beautiful. The swells of voices, strings and movements are like a huge movie come to life. Magnificent.

Dimmu Borgir—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks from the band as of late, this is delivered with a huge and intense grandiosity. As Shagrath takes his proper place at the microphone and urges the crowd toward mania, the Orchestra and choir keep pace with the venom remarkably well. This is even better than the original version of the song. I am enthralled and in love. The swells and huge string delivery with the backing choir all come together to create a perfect magnificent storm.

Chess With The Abyss—-This seems a bit more straight forward in delivery…the orchestration is there…but not overly pronounced. The vocal here is the powerful force….along with the lead guitar that is blistering fast. The choir does an incredible job with the backing vocal, but Shagrath is the star here…sounding driven and demonic.

Ritualist—-With sound effects and an almost gentle acoustic intro, the sound falls away to invite the mayhem to the center stage. The vocal from Shagrath just seems so comfortable with all the members of the choir and orchestra. This is an amazing endeavor and recording.

A Jewel Traced Through Coal—-Delivering an incredibly huge sound, the energy of the recording threatens my ears and speakers. The strings swell to an almost bursting apex. The vocal from Shagrath always front and center and never drowned by the band or all the other musicians on stage. The choir adds a back swell that makes the song so huge. Just incredible.

Eradication Instincts Defined [Orchestra Only]—-Jaunty and overblown, this is delivered with a lot of flourish and grand choir overtones. I like it….but I can take or leave this…it all has a same like quality to it.

Vredesbyrd—-Stepping out of the depths of hell with a vocal that that belies and grandiosity, this track is pure and simple classic Dimmu. You almost miss the overblown backdrop of the orchestra simply because the vocal is so aggressive. This is fantastic….the crowd seems literally out of their minds…and the participation in fantastic. A stand out track…I have not heard this song in a long time.

Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse—-Perhaps the most well known track from the band, I love the backdrop of the swells of music, but the choir can not even come close to replacing the soaring vocal of former member Vortex. This is a bit of a disappointment for me…..I just miss that classic clean vocal line.

The Serpentine Offering—-Perhaps my favorite track from In Sorte Diaboli, the orchestration here makes the sound and the energy seem even larger than could be imagined. The orchestration was always here on this song from the original…but here it becomes even larger. What surprises me is how Shagrath never loses the power of his vocal despite all that is going on. Just remarkable.

Fear And Wonder [Orchestra Only]—-Overblown and moody, this serves as a slight transition I suppose….but to me….it would be a lot to sit through…..

Kings Of The Carnival Creation—-Jetting into the back catalog for another fan favorite track, Shagrath sounds just as evil as he ever did….despite the delivery of the song. The buildup is maddening before the band truly kicks in….and for me, the song loses some of its venom in his setting. I like it….but I will take the original any day…..

Puritania—-Huge and incredible drums introduce this track…the distortion on the vocal adds to the credibility of the band. The sharp and quick bursts of music takes me back to the days when the Black Metal sound of Dimmu was more pure if you will. This is delivered with a nice energy…it is easy to remember the old days.

Mourning Place—-True in sound and delivered with just the right attitude and tone of venom this is just magnificent. I love the snarl that Shagrath delivers….backed by the higher tones of the choir…..it all comes together to create an incredible sound and energy.

Perfection Or Vanity [Orchestra Only]—-Ending what must have been a very long evening, this is delivered with the same beauty and intricacy as the opening track. This is certainly a journey all of it’s own. Now….it’s time for Dimmu to return to what they do best…….recording….please?

**** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 2013 Metal Album Of The Year—-Gorguts / Colored Sands

 

Colored Sands

Gorguts is a Canadian technical death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, formed in 1989. The band has been through many personnel changes since its inception, and its only constant member has been guitarist and vocalist Luc Lemay, who remains the primary creative force in the band. To date they have released five full-length albums and one EP. Their most recent release is the EP Pleiades’ Dust, released on May 13, 2016, which consists of a single 33-minute song about the House of Wisdom that once stood in Baghdad. Their latest full-length album Colored Sands was released in 2013 and was nominated for a Juno Award. Musically the band is known for its complex, musically dense form of technical death metal, and has become “one of the most advanced, experimental, and challenging groups in the entire genre.

Colored Sands is the fifth full-length album by technical death metal band Gorguts. It is Gorguts’ first studio album since 2001’s From Wisdom to Hate. The album features the band’s first recordings with guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston, and the band’s only recordings with drummer John Longstreth. It is a concept album based on Tibet. The album was released digitally on August 6, 2013, and the release of the CD and vinyl versions on September 3, 2013.

The Analysis—-

Le Toit Du Monde—-Powerful and driving right from the very first chord, the band delivers a different type of Death Metal than you might expect. I find the sound of the band pretty experimental…but still technically sound in the genre. The vocal is so distorted it is hard to catch a single vowel…but the music is huge and powerful…..propelling you onward and then crashing you down with a slight pleasant interlude. remarkable.

An Ocean Of Wisdom—-Little in the way of introduction, the band manages to create a literal wall of sound that wraps around your head and threatens to snap your neck. The power and the venom that is produced is just incredible. I wish the vocal was a bit more moved to he front…it seems like the drums have the spotlight….but never the less…this is huge in sound…great with tempo changes and delivered with pure brilliance.

Forgotten Arrows—-Brilliant right from the onset…clear and bright high hats on the drums….soaring guitars and an actual melody you can sink your teeth into. the vocal is as usual it seems, pushed to the very back of the mix….but musically…this track is stellar. It has a huge epic feel without the typical orchestration and string effects…..brilliant.

Colored Sands—-An actual introduction ushers in this track…..clear guitars and the lack of heavy drums form the melody line of the song that raises it’s head throughout. The song takes a bit to get going…sounding plodding and Sabbath inspired…..this track is epic…..I find no fault here…this is brilliance.

The Battle Of Chamdo—-With a marching upbeat almost orchestrated intro to the song, you wonder immediately where this is all going to go. The instrumentation is fantastic…I love the jaunty feel of the song as it progresses….the swirls of strings…the melody that sounds like a classic movie soundtrack…..this is incredible…where did all this come from?

Enemies Of Compassion—-With a full and proper return to the brutality of the band, this tracks kicks you in the fuckin face from the first chord. The rhythm section of the band is incredible…the drums and the bass line are epic. There is so much sound here….my head wants to explode….instead I just sit back and smile.

Ember’s Voice—-Continuing in an almost identical vein, this sounds like a brilliant extension of the song that was previous with added breaks. The vocal enters with possibly the most violent and aggressive moment of the release so far. I literally want to jump up and punch something…I get such energy from the music. This makes me really feel…..I love this record!!!

Absconders—-Again powerful but with a nice structure to the melody line that runs underneath all of the mayhem. This is epic in sound….the wall of noise that is created just brings a huge smile to my face…the sharp bursts of guitars….the muted disgusting vocals add to the dirtiness of it all. This is so deep and dank…but somehow so bright and fantastic. The purest form of healthy aggression.

Reduced To Silence—-I almost hate to hear this release end…but of course you can listen again and again and again. This is explosive yet pleasant…giving a nice mix of everything of the album thus far but a nice slight tempo change to bring everything to a close. When the entire band really kicks in…so do your teeth….jaw and facial bones. This is fantastic!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2011 Metal Album Of The Year—-Septicflesh / The Great Mass

The Great Mass

Septicflesh (formerly known as Septic Flesh) are a Greek death metal band from Athens, founded in 1990.

The Great Mass is the eighth studio album by Greek death metal band Septicflesh. It was recorded between July–September 2010 in Devasoundz (Greece) and The Abyss (Sweden) and produced by Peter Tägtgren. The orchestration was written by Christos Antoniou and recorded by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon release, the album received critical acclaim.

The Analysis—-

The Vampire From Nazareth—-If you really enjoy the grandiosity of Symphonic Death Metal, the opening strains of this are right up your alley. This has a lot of ‘classical’ elements, but once the band and the vocal kicks in, you know this is not pretty. Brutal…full of blasting beats and incredibly dark vocals all riding over a huge grand orchestration makes for a stellar kick off.

A Great Mass Of Death—-Coming out from a fog, the music rears and smacks you right in the head as this track begins. This is huge,,,with epic strings in the background…all the while wrapped in a short circuited electric blanket that shocks your senses with the contrast of violence and beauty. Every track is a journey! The variance in the vocal…including a female back drop singer keeps things interesting and epic.

Pyramid God—-Very listener friendly right from the onset, the under lying melody line is addictive and pleasant. The vocal enters and sounds like a perverted Rammstein. The power of the instrumentation is fantastic….I love how the original melody line never leaves the song…you can always hear it playing underneath the mayhem that intermittently occurs. This is epic!

Five-Pointed Star—-You can tell…..as the intro to the song enters that this is gonna be incredible. I wish I cold catch some more of the lyrics…but that is a slight complaint to the love that I have for this record. The intensity is never underwhelmed by the slight grand sounds that play underneath the instruments. This is aggressive yet remarkably accessible to even a casual fan. A landmark recording.

Oceans Of Grey—-Almost wispy and beautiful at the onset the strings give way to the death knell and the blast of the instruments. The drums beat you upside the head…and the slight breaks in the music allow you to realize the orchestration remains through out. The song has ‘movements’ taking you here and there….female vocal interludes…but always brings you back to the power and the aggression.

The Undead Keep Dreaming—-Little in the way of orchestration at the onset, this track is a bit different than most of the tracks heard thus far. The vocal is odd…going from a groveling whisper to an accessible mantra the song leaves me a bit underwhelmed. I like the power chords of the track though….there is so much swirling around your head. This is nice…not my favorite…but by no means a waste of space.

Rising—-at the onset, this has brighter tones to the music. The lead guitars seem to move much faster and gives a melody line that is easy to follow and become addicted to. The intermittent clean vocal seems to make it even more accessible. This is a stellar track….I like the play between different styles all rolled together in one nice package. Fantastic!!!

Apocalypse—-Chaotic at the beginning…but suddenly falling away to give room to a rather nice pleasant and epic introduction to the track. The power…the huge symphonic elements are so addictive and pleasant…you can’t get the melodies out of your brain. This is incredibly well constructed music….giving you so many different elements in each song…a really talented bunch of musicians.

Mad Architect—-Sharp bursts of piano and swirls of strings introduce the song….making it all seem like a movie soundtrack. The vocal enters accompanied by a marching bass line that turns this into a battlefield scene in my brain. This is huge….magnificently built and really well delivered.

Theriantropy—-I really hate to hear this all come to an end….but you can always push replay!!! The clean vocal that introduces the track just sets us up for the onslaught that is beautifully constructed and delivered. This could have all sounded like one repetitive song…but the band constructed such a well put together release…every track is epic and it’s own adventure. A fantastic listen!

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 2003 Metal Album Of The Year—-Children Of Bodom / Hate Crew Deathroll

Hate Crew Deathroll

Children of Bodom is a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the group currently consists of Alexi Laiho (vocals, lead guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), Jaska Raatikainen (drums) and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar). In total they have released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD.

The band’s third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and since then, all seven of the band’s studio albums have acquired the same status. In Finland, Children of Bodom has released three consecutive albums that debuted at number one on Finnish album charts, and has also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.

The band has incorporated many different musical styles, leading critics and fans to label their work as melodic death metal,”extreme power metal“, thrash metalsymphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal. They are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold there alone.

Hate Crew Deathroll is the fourth album by the Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, released in 2003 under the Century Media label. The album is the final one to feature guitarist Alexander Kuoppala. It was successful both in Europe and the USA, which is demonstrated by the appearance of the “Needled 24/7” music video on MTV2‘s Headbangers Ball. “Needled 24/7” also featured on the heavy metal documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and the 2012 horror comedy video game Lollipop Chainsaw.

The Analysis—-

Needled 24/7—-Huge and blistering from the very first note, the sway back and forth of the guitar is incredible. The Speed of the onslaught makes me smile inwardly……I needed to hear this today…..the melody line that runs underneath the chaos shows a well constructed song. The vocal is not as extreme as on later releases…but the power and the brutality are in full effect. This is a huge track…loaded with the best of everything.

Sixpounder—-Walls of bass smack you right upside the head as this all begins. There is the vocal I was speaking of….brutal and literally seeping with a venom that makes your ears bleed. The aggression is huge….the bass that drives the song is incredible….but there is that magic melody line that gives everything a structure. This is extreme…in a most fantastic way!

Chokehold [Cocked N’ Loaded]—-With a nice build up to the mayhem, the song has a galloping feel that makes me feel right at home. The vocal comes at you hard…spitting right in your face with a nice mix of clean and guttural voices. This is fantastic….the entire band adds to the chorus….making it larger than life and giving it much more body. Extreme…….and fantastic!

Bodom Beach Terror—-Nice drums and sharp blast of guitars welcome you into the pit as this song takes you on a journey that travels 1000 miles an hour. Never losing the brutal feel of the music nor the structure of the melody line, the talent was written on the wall even now. This is fantastic….the chorus is built for crowd interaction….and I can feel my enthusiasm rise with every blast.

Angels Don’t Kill—-The intro is scary and sounds like a horror movie come to life…..just brilliant. The deep and dank plodding feel of the music makes the track huge. The vocal has a clarity that surprises me…..the slight guitar squeals a promise of things the band would deliver with later releases. This is a fantastic track….full of a foreboding and darkness….but still menacing and intense.

Triple Corpse Hammerblow—-That scream sets the song off to a blistering pace that is fueled by an anger and venom you can’t quite figure out. There are huge blasts…..almost orchestrated and built for audience participation. This is a favorite track of mine…I love the quasi orchestra feel fueled by keyboards…it gives it a huge feel….and the drums……my God….they are blistering.

You’re Better Off Dead—-Deeper in tone and filled with a slight bit of an angrier tone, this is none the less…extreme. The band…sounding so tight…..keeps pace with the vocal rather than vice versa. The lead guitars soar above your head and the entire band joins in on the chorus….built for an audience to lose it’s mind to. This is incredible…powerful….dark and aggressive.

Lil Bloodred Ridin Hood—-With a huge drum intro, we are soon off and running with the pack once again. the bass line and the drums are matched perfectly…while the vocal seems to swim right over all of the aggression with an added layer. This is just too good to be true….have not listened to this in a long time…too long.

Hate Crew Deathroll—-Ending the proper release with the same energy and venom that it began with, you can now pick yourself off the floor and clean up. This was just a promise of the grandiosity to come from the band….but if you need a starter kit…..pick this one!

***** out of 5