Thursday, November 16, 2017

Slave One "An Abstract and Metaphysical Approach To Deceit" Review


        Someone suggested we check out Slave One's newest EP "An Abstract and Metaphysical Approach to Deceit", so we did as we were told and decided to look it up. This is a 4 track EP (3 if you buy it digital, you're missing out on a Dimmu Borgir cover) of Technical, Progressive and Melodic Death Metal that I'm excited to delve into, so let's take a look and see what Slave One has to offer.

        The EP opens strong with "Tunguska" mixing together elements from Progressive, Technical and Melodic Death metal to kick everything off on the right foot. For a good chunk of the EP, I was getting Black Crown Initiate meets Beyond Creation vibes, between the blissful and punishing tones of the instrumentals and the jazz/blues inspired solos the album kicks off perfectly and "Tunguska" alone would be enough to sell me on how good these guys are, but it doesn't end there and Death Metal isn't for one hit wonders.

        "Through Illuminated Void and Meditative Resonance" continues the onslaught with a bit more technicality. The guitars specifically seem more welcome to do their thing and the whole release starts to feel a lot more like something Beyond Creation would drop. The instrumentals are emotional and as stated before, jazz infused. When the song quiets and lets the guitar do its thing, which is quite often in this track, it doesn't sound like the band is doing a solo for the sake of doing a solo, you can hear the blood, sweat and tears put into this EP.


        Slave One knocked it out of the park with "An Abstract and Metaphysical Approach to Deceit" and for any of you die hard Beyond Creation fans waiting ever so patiently for the follow up to 2014s "Earthborn Evolution" this album should help you hold off at least through the holiday season. Absolutely killer Technical and Progressive Death Metal!



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Live Report: Cattle Decapitation, Revocation, Full of Hell and Artificial Brain "Inhuman Beings" Tour at The Opera House

        The Opera House is a venue that Metal fans in Toronto visit a lot, so many shows happen here, for good reason as it's an outstanding venue with great staff. It's Halloween night and Toronto is full of spooky people, but tonight Cattle Decapitation bring their "Inhuman Beings" tour through the city with Revocation, Full of Hell and Artificial Brain to show the Death Metaller's in the area how it's done.

Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
        Like we said, it's Halloween and bands and fans alike are taking advantage of it. Artificial Brain opened up the show and I was stoked to finally see these guys live, their last album "Infrared Horizon" is a Death Metal monster you need to check out, and the band will be playing a handful of songs from both their albums tonight. Paulo Paguntalan took over vocals for the band tonight dressed up as a lovely lady donning a night pink dress and fluttering around stage flirting with the boys at the barricade. His vocals matched the band very well, makes sense why they picked him to fill in tonight, with the only real noticeable difference being his higher growls weren't as well annunciated as Will Smith's but nevertheless the band killed tonight. songs like "Anchored to the Inlayed Arc" and "Worm Harvester" were intense live, and right off the bat the crowd was ready to go with heads banging and the pit spanning a good chunk of the venues floor. After only 5 songs though, the band were done and left for the night, only to be seen again in the crowd all night enjoying the rest of the bands.

Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole


Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole




Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
        Full of Hell hit the stage next with their blend of Experimental and Grindcore, the band were all wearing dippers showing off their legs tonight. Full of Hell didn't exactly stick out to me, the music had a lot of samples going on and while I understand the idea of Grindcore is to be fast and intense, the joke of "showed up 20 minutes late to a Grindcore concert, missed the first 3 bands" seemed inherently true. The band even pulled Paulo back on stage for a cover of Napalm Death's world record song "You Suffer" near the end of their show. I can't deny the band has fans, a ton of people were pushing their way through the crowd and into the pit and the pit pretty much hit full size during Full of Hell's set, but personally the band did nothing for me.


Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole


Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole




Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
        Luckily, Revocation had the exact opposite effect on me and the band put on an outstanding show. Opening with the 80s Spider-Man Theme playing over the PA Spider-Man aka Dave Davidson entered the stand to introduce the rest of the Avengers before the band stated. Enter stage right Spider-Man, Spider-Man and Spider-Man who made up the entirety of Revocation. After about 5 minutes of joking around, the band broke into "Teratogenesis" and "Communion", the first single from their newest album "Great Is Our Sin", eventually the show was broken up with the Spider-Man Theme coming back and the band's stage hand entering to give Dave a different guitar dressed as a spider. After some joking about Spider-Man, not spider, man, the band continued their set and hit the song most fans were excited to hear, "Empire of the Obscene" the title track from the bands first album. Again later, the theme song came back and enter the band's stage hand as Spider-Woman, who decided afterwards to crowdsurf all the way from the stage to the back of the venue. With "Dismantle the Dictator" came the end of Revocation's set and a huge pit, a lot of crowd surfers and more spider jokes, but it was time fore the band to call it a night, and Spider-Mans exited stage right.
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole

Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole




Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole
        Last but not least of the Halloween festivities, our headliner and Death Metal masters, Cattle Decapitation. This is the second time I've managed to make it out to catch these guys and a far larger venue than last time (for all you Toronto locals, last time I saw them was the upstairs of Sneaky Dee's). If I had to guess this will be the bands last outing for their album "The Anthropocene Extinction" which the band played the majority of. Kicking off with fan favourite's "The Carbon Stampede" and "Dead Set On Suicide" the band hit the stage fast, each member outside of Travis Ryan dressed as another animal, Travis Ryan was dressed as the bands mascot, a goat headed creature draped in cloth very similar to the Grim Reaper, which only makes sense. For anyone unaware, the band have a habit of displaying the horrific nature of slaughter houses and animal life on farms being bred for slaughter and depicting humans in the same conditions. None is more obvious than when the band broke into "Not Suitable for Life" which was preceded by "The Burdon of Seven Billion" being played over the PA. The crowd was wild, the pit ate most of the floor and for anyone wanting to avoid it, you would have had to hide at the very far back of the venue, fans were showing the band what they had. Probably my favourite track off the new record and the first single "Manufactured Extinct" came near the end of the set and one thing interesting is the fact that the band has clean vocals in the song where you will see all the fans singing along. Before long though, after a chant for the band to reclaim the stage and "Your Disposal" was presented as our encore, the band called it a night and seeing everyone outside, while no one wanted to see it end, everyone was pleased with the set.




Photo Credit: Samantha Carcasole

Friday, November 10, 2017

Arisen From Nothing "Broken" Review


        Easily relatable to Lamb of God with a more Metalcore influence, Arisen From Nothing have broken out into the scene with "Broken" (unintentional pun, not going back on it now). This EP is 5 songs long and in such an accessible world, its hard to stay relevant or really even hit the point where you matter, so let's delve in and see how Arisen From Nothing demand your attention and whether or not they deserve it.


        "Chaos" and "American Patriot" kick this release off, "Chaos" is a pretty straight forward song. The build of thd song itself is nothing outside of the ordinary with verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, ect., the thing I like about this song would actually stem more from a live perspective, the song is interesting and would open a live show well, getting a crowd rowdy and interested with the song ending with a chant of "chaos" that would very easily get fans included and get and audience riled up. "American Patriot" reminds me more of a Gwar song in the way the verse sounds, for anyone familiar with the band, especially Oderus-era it has a very bouncy sound, with a different syllable said with each note played out from the guitar.


        The structure of the album, gets more and more intense as you go, spanning more from a standard built Metal/Metalcore song to a Crossover Thrash sound, "Better Off Dead" puts instrumentals more in the spotlight for the first time on the album with a pretty brief, but quick and fun guitar solo. Where as "Falling From Grace" is entirely structured around the instrumentals and the vocals seem more like a second thought that happened to sound good. The song actually reminds me a lot of Disturbed, the vocal style is very close to David Draiman's and which the instrumentals aren't technical, they demand attention and take the forefront for the entirety of the album.


        Arisen From Nothing's new release "Broken" is an album most Metalcore fans can get into and if you're a fan of Disturbed, I'd highly recommend it. I see this as an essential introduction to Metal, much along the lines of Disturbed, Lamb of God and Linkin Park. So if Metal is something new to you, or you're sitting there listening to Avenged Sevenfold or Asking Alexandria, you have no reason not to check this out, if you're more along the lines of "is there blastbeats?" or looking for the next Cannibal Corpse or Emperor, you're in the wrong spot, go check a different review to find something new there.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Astaroth Incarnate "Omnipotence - The Infinate Darkness" Review



        Astaroth Incarnate (formerly known as just Astaroth) have made a huge splash in the Greater Toronto Area's Extreme Metal scene over the past couple years, but 2017 marks a huge milestone for the band. With the release of "Omnipotence - The Infinite Darkness", which is Astaroth Incarnate's first debut EP, we see the extent of the band's musical ability and it pretty well sets the groundwork for what the band will become.

        The album kicks off with an intro track "Obscurity" and a song I was excited to hear properly recorded after hearing the bands original demo, "Curse of the Black Plague". "Curse of the Black Plague" is all you should need to sell you on this release, the main reason the song is such a big deal is the fact that it touches on everything the band excels at. The intro and main verse riff is melodic and aggressive, the chorus riff is exactly what you would expect from a Black Metal band being crushingly heavy, but the real killer is the "breakdown", for lack of a better word. The riff mixed with the vocals here are devastating, the pacing is perfect for headbanging and once it speeds up, I know from experience that the pit opens and the center becomes an image of Hell itself.
        "Re-creation" and "Unfleshed" are the two other main songs I'd like to discuss today, the main thing with these songs is they're the pinnacle of Canadian Black Metal. Anyone who's big into the Metal scene knows that there's distinct sounds based on location. take for example the Gothenburg Death Metal sound that Dark Tranquillity and In Flames helped to forge, Melodic Death Metal bands from Gothenburg have roughly the same sound. Astaroth Incarnate are forging the Canadian Black Metal tone alongside a few other bands, the tone is icy, as typical as that sounds, but is much more comparable to Finnish Black Metal than Norwegian or Swedish. The music takes on a much more Melodic tone generally and that's where the real draw of Astaroth Incarnates "Omnipotence - The Infinite Darkness" is.

        I can't do anything but praise this band, from the original demo they released as Astaroth to "Omnipotence - The Infinite Darkness" as Astaroth Incarnate, this is the biggest jump in maturity I've ever seen in a band and the quality of music skyrocketed. From this point forward Astaroth Incarnate will strive to become the biggest and best Extreme Metal band from the great white north, keep an eye out for these guys, they're on route to be the Emperor for the new generation! Pick up a copy of the new album through CND Records and check out the insanity for yourself.



Thursday, October 26, 2017

Live Report: Soulfly, Cannabis Corpse, Noisem and Lody Kong at The Opera House




        The Opera House in Toronto, probably the best venue for Metal shows in the city capping out just short of 1000 attendees is seeing a huge show for the Metal community. Soulfly performing Nailbomb's "Point Blank" front to back for the first time, bringing along weed-fueled Cannabis Corpse, Death Metallers Noisem and Lody Kong.

        The night kicked off quick with Lody Kong featuring Max Cavalera's sons Zyon and Igor Cavalera. Not being sure what to expect going into this, it was a nice surprise to hear these kids bringing Sludge/Thrash to the masses. For anyone who's listened to this bands studio stuff, I highly suggest you get out and see these guys live because the studio doesn't do the band the service they deserve. Songs like "Chillin', Killin'" and "Monkeys Always Look" have a whole different level of power to them when the band is on stage and if you couldn't guess being the sons of Max Cavalera, Zyon and Igor as well as guitarist Travis Stone all look so natural on stage at this point, it won't be long till we see this guys as main support to some big tours and some headlining tours as well.

        Next up was Noisem, I've seen these guys twice previously in 2013 and 2014 and both times I was entirely unimpressed. While you knew the band was newer to the scene, the music sounded way to sloppy live, I could listen to the studio stuff a bit, but dreaded seeing them live the second time around. Hearing that the and was opening this show, I was ready to show up late and skip their set, but this involved skipping Lody Kong and then this review also wouldn't be happening. Now here's the kicker, somewhere between the last time I saw Noisem and this time, they recruited Ben Anft to take over vocals and bass and this absolutely was a selling point to me. The band now have a much more Death Metal tone, where before they came of as a Grindcore band, they put down their feet and cemented themselves in the music and it shows how much more the band has matured, the music was insanely tight and easily the most impressed I've been with the band ever. Anyone in the same boat as myself, who had seen them previously and was appalled, go see them, this is a whole new Noisem, a Noisem that needs to be heard.

        Cannabis Corpse hit the stage fast and hard and I mean this literally because after the second song drummer Josh Hall broke the skin on his snare drum and needed to borrow the snare from Soulfly. At this point everyone in Metal knows Phil "LandPhil" Hall of Iron Reagan/Cannabis Corpse/Municipal Waste, so as LandPhil entered the stage the crowd went wild and was as ready as ever to rock. Supporting their new release "Left Hand Pass" this was the reason a lot of people attended the show tonight, it's been too long since Cannabis Corpse were in Toronto. Playing old favourites like "Blunted At Birth" and "Fucked with Northern Lights" as well as a couple off the new album, the crowd was in awe of Cannabis Corpse, outside of one guy dressed like a priest who responded to LandPhil yelling "Hail Satan" with "fuck Satan and fuck you" even though he was jamming out with the rest of us. The pit was going hard and luckily for the fans, Cannabis Corpse had a good length setlist to appease everyone, at least until they come back.

        No one wanted to see Cannabis Corpse close their set, but everyone was stoked to see Soulfly, even if it was performing Nailbomb instead of Soulfly. Seeing the Cavalera's back on stage with their father, Max, was awesome. The only thing that I never noticed about "Point Blank" before was just how many samples there were, samples and the vocals originally done by Alex Newport were handled by Igor Calavera, big sections of a lot of songs were purely sampled which was a little weird to see everyone standing around, the cool part about having Igor handing a large chunk of vocals was getting to see Max move around the stage as a guitarist instead of being stuck in one spot like he normally would be handing full vocal duties. The best thing about this album being played in full is how diverse it is, everything from Hard Rock to Thrash Metal to some Sludge Metal and the pit followed every note religiously. It's hard to say anything bad about the show, going in knowing I was gonna hear "Point Blank" front to back, outside of how many samples there were it was a great experience. I did hear one common thing from people leaving the venue though, the show ended pretty abruptly, if you don't know the album very well, you may not have known when we were at the last track and then everyone bowed and kinda left the stage, no "this is our last song" or anything like that and no encore. A lot of people were hoping even though the album was over the band would come back out and bust out a couple Soulfly songs or something and honestly I agree, it was weird being a Soulfly fan and this being my first time seeing Soulfly and I can't even say I've seen a Soulfly song live. I get it might take away from the experience of the album, but even just busting out a track like "We Sold Our Souls To Metal" from the band's latest album "Archangel" to close out would have made a lot of fans happy.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Live Report: Dark Tranquillity, Warbringer and Striker at The Mod Club in Toronto



        Tonight was a night of aggression at The Mod Club in Toronto, from Thrash Metal to Death Metal we saw Dark Tranquillity bring their "Atoma" world tour through presumably one last time before heading back into the studio for the bands next album. With them came two newer bands, California based Thrash Metal band Warbringer and Canada's own Striker, who both have released an album in 2017 and want to get out and show some or all of it off to fans new and old.


        Tonight was the first time I had seen the venue take advantage of the screens they have, so for Striker, who opened the show, instead of having a backdrop they had their name on the screen behind them. This was the only band I had seen previously, having seen them play with Annihilator and Razor in 2016. The band are out tonight to show off their new, self-titled album as well as a couple old songs. The older fans were obvious as Striker have a sort of Power Metal vibe mixed in with their Thrash base, the choruses are much more catchy than normal, songs like "Former Glory", "Born to Lose" and "Phoenix Lights" had all the older fans singing along while the new fans watch in awe and headbang along. The real highlight of the set was, as an opening band, getting an entire venue to sing along with "Fight for your Life" playing a game of back and forth with the band singing "Fight for your life" to be answered with "fight for your freedom".


        With the crowd ready from Striker, it was time for Warbringer to bring "Woe to the Vanquished" to the masses (you thought I was gonna say "bring war", didn't you?). Warbringer played the new album, in its entirety, on this tour and it was an incredible experience as the album has so much diverse and intense sections to it. Opening with "Silhouettes", the audience was ready to go as this is one of the more standard Thrash songs on the album, its incredibly fast paced full of wicked riffs. The big song I was looking forward to hearing was "Shellfire", it's an incredibly written song that I couldn't help but praise in my review of the album back when it came out. The intensity of the music following the blast of shellfire was probably one of my favourite things about their performance, hair was everywhere and the solo following sounds just as emotional and intense as it does on record. Then you have slower songs like "Spectral Asylum" that are more lyrics based and everyone just stares. Warbringer had complete and total control over the audience, and once they finished their 11:11 epic "When the Guns Fell Silent" the band brought out "Total War" and the pit went into high gear. A full and intense set from Warbringer and we still haven't even hit the headliner.


        Dark Tranquillity took full advantage of the screens the venue had, showing off videos that followed the songs and the band wasted no time once they hit the stage. I'll be honest, I didn't know much Dark Tranquillity before this, but I was enthralled by their brand of Melodic Death Metal. The band kicked off with "Force of Hand" which seemed to integrate what the band had to offer, power, melody and a symphonic element and of course, guitar solos. Not everything goes off without a hitch though as vocalist Mikael Stanne backed into the drum riser and had a bit of a tumble, nearly taking out the keyboard with him, luckily he was not hurt and it turned into a bit of a joke for the rest of the night. Not knowing much from Dark Tranquillity wasn't an issue in the slightest and the one big song I wanted to hear was pretty close to the beginning of the set luckily, when the band whipped out "The Treason Wall" the pit officially opened and everything got intense, the floor was full of energy from people jumping and singing along to the intensity of the pit, everyone was having a blast. The height of the pit was during "Final Resistance" an I made the unfortunate mistake of trying to move through the pit when this song started and since I was already there, may as well enjoy it right? The next morning was pretty rough. At no point that night did the energy die and when the band went into their final song "Misery's Crown" all the diehard fans showed themselves, singing along and jumping to the beat. While I'm sure the majority of the audience knew Dark Tranquillity, I can tell you they made a fan out of me and if you're a Melodic Death Metal fan, if you've enjoyed an In Flames or Amon Amarth concert, this is a band you absolutely must check out live.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ontario Death Fest 2017: Blastomycosis


        Halfway through Saturday night, Brutal Death starts to kick in, what now? Blastomycosis are ready to hit the stage. This is a band I had actually seen previously, taking elements from Grindcore, Death Metal and Thrash Metal to create whatever you wanna class this band as, generally I would say Brutal Death Metal, but its a little hard to classify.

        Blastomycosis I have actually seen in the past, years ago though so my memory of it is pretty vague as the night had about 7 other bands on it as well. What I do remember is about 75-100 people being there and majority of them wanting to be part of the mosh pit. Going back and checking out "Covered in Flies and Afterbirth", an album I picked up about a year ago at this point, it's clicking how wicked these guys are, as brutal as their song titled are. "Battery Acid Ballcuzzi" is the standout track on the album, being the top of the top for incorporating all the elements that makes the band stand out in to one song. The song is far thrashier than anything else on the album and is probably the main one you should be listening to, to really understand Blastomycosis.

        If you need to understand the musicianship of these guys, look no further than the more Tech Death meets Thrash song "Claw Hammer Hysterectomy" which is like a toned down/more Thrash Metal inspired version of an Origin song. You can also look for more headbang worthy, less "look how fast I can play" songs like "Rape Shark" which is just fun to say because no one expects a Rape Shark.

        Blastomycosis will be bound to blow minds on Saturday night, don't tire yourself out too quick boys and girls because the pit will keep moving tonight, so grab some drinks, stay hydrated and don't forget to tip your bartenders because Ontario Death Fest is gonna be hot and heavy!