Reviews - N
Red necks and trucks, whisky and beer, bars and fights, and sleaze and mud are what these rock hicks bring to your town. Oh, hillbilly-rock-good-for-nothing-shit-for-brains is what this is, boy. This band should please fans of Foghat, Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. With songs like "Lazy White Boy" and "Meaner than My Mama", you know this has got to be stupid-happy pig-in-mud southern-style rock. Metal fans need to steer clear of this. Well, except for maybe fans of Black Label Society. This group has the right attitude for this kind of stupid, stupid fun music. This ain't meant to be heard when you be sober and at home. It's for bars where the customers are named Earl, Bubba, Mo, etc. Goes well with Nascar, barbecues, fry chicken, greasy fries, beer, "My Name Is Earl", "The Dukes of Hazzard", hunting, swamps, alligators, beavers, possum sandwiches, mud pies, living room snakes, "The Water Boy", "Joe Dirt", Jeff Foxworthy, grits, molasses, ZZ Top, Texas, Louisiana, rodeos and Tennessee. Call your girlfriend Norma Jean Widdletack and tell her that you have been saved.
NECRODEMON: ALLEGIANCE TO THE END
This is supposed to be black metal from the sounds of it, but the production is not good at all, so you can't hear much. It sounds like with a better sound some of these ideas might work. As it stands, this adds up to a wasted recording because the roughness of it does not add up to atmosphere, but it does add up to an ok demo.
NEGATOR - OLD BLACK
This album begins with "Science of Nihil" which has some real, traditional, true blue black metal riffing, really tight, blasting drumming and the traditional vocals, that like all traditional black metal vocals, fundamentally means old Bathory. This is a really good beginning. "Free Bird" begins and it's obvious that the first song was no accident. Song number two features those spiral riffs weaving in and out. The third song, "Der Infanterist" is cool, too. Alright, well, we got a winner here. From then on, this just gets more interesting. "Interludium", a nice, quick, cold melodic mini-song leads off into "Katharsis", another solid number, which has this cool beat in the middle that is infectious. Funny thing, this is as "grim" as "grim" gets, but it's very memorable without being melodic, always a good thing. "Vernunft 1.0" begins with an odd bass line, before heading into some blast and stop, and blast-and-repeat pattern that makes this song another interesting number. This is followed by "In the Unholy Halls of Eternal Frost" (They play black metal, huh?), another cool, spiral and blast attack of a number. Again, this is not a monotonous song because it seems to change rhythm in the blink of an eye and it has another of those weird, catchy, odd guitar riffs placed in the middle that give the song a twist. Before you know it, it's on to "Renegation", the flagship on this album. It's got a whole lot of speed, as well as time changes. The song is characterized by blasting speed mediated by quick but effective moments of quieter moments. Considering that the song is eleven minutes long, this is a very good strategy. The whole album is some 38 minutes long. I also liked the fact that this is not garage black metal at all. The sound is basic, but tight and sharp. They do not list a website, so go to www.magickrecords.com
NEVERMORE - "THE POLITICS OF ECSTACY"
This release is great. Great I tell ya! This is the stuff metal fans have been waiting for. Buy this now! Let me go to the music. I'm not going to go deep into the history of the band, except to say that NEVERMORE comes from the ashes of SANCTUARY and NEVERMORE carries on and expands the course of SANCTUARY, but are heavier and more musical than SANCTUARY. Warrell Dane is a real singer! Few people can actually sing, not just bark with aggression, but Warrell can. O.K., this is just the vocalist, so let me enlighten you on how you can play heavy and not just beat your guitar. The riffs are heavy, just as heavy as thrash, death, whatever, but the guitar work shows that this band can play. The guitar solos are really good as well. In addition, this is no 2 min. garbage noise, the songs are very complex. This is a serious metal band for serious metal fans. Fans of WATCHTOWER, ATHEIST, MEKONG DELTA, old FATES WARNING, and of course SANCTUARY, should enjoy this. Be warned: There is no way that one could understand this with just one listen. Buy it, unless you like "funny, experimental, grunge, or techno-rock" stuff.
NEW EDEN: STAGNANT PROGRESSION
P & P RECORDS
I never understood the reason Steel Prophet singer Rick Mythiasin was kicked out of the band: his singing. Apparently, Steel Prophet did not want high vocals.
Luckily, Rick continues to make music, like he has now with the hard-working, persistent progressive thrashers New Eden. I hope the band and he keep working together because this third full-length certainly sounds interesting, if you like traditional metal singing and clear, crisp thrash. Intelligently constructed structures and songs written by a bunch of guys who sound like they have no clue about trends and fashions.
Rick's singing sounds as good as when he was in Steel Prophet. It is the music that's different because the two guitarists, Horacio Colmenares and Tim Thomas, write true pieces that sound deceptively straightforward. It is to their credit that they manage to make it sound catchy; with plenty of guitar solos, too. The lyrics are introspective, on the literary side, e.g., "stagnant progression". Some critics will complain that this is music for musicians. Hey, if you want simpler music, there's always Hatebreed.
NIGHT IN GALES - "THUNDERBEAST"
This is such an excellent album that I hardly know what to say about it! As soon as I put this on, I fell under a dark spell woven by black screeching vocals, fast thrashing riffs, and the utter perfection that is Night In Gales. When I came to, I realized I had just lived through one of the koolest metal albums ever. It is bound to surpass that which you expect. If you do not have this CD, go get it now. It's mandatory! You can thank me later...
NIGHTRAGE - DESCENT INTO CHAOS
CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS
Tomas Lindberg and Marios Iliopoulos return to prove that the debut "Sweet Vengeance" was no accident. Once again, the band (and they are a real band now) sounds very good. From the blastbeat opener "Being Nothing" to "Frozen," with it's clean-vocals parts, to "Solus", an instrumental number, Nightrage is coming along just fine. They mix thrash with death metal with heavy metal and sound pretty electrifying and melodic, without sounding happy and poppy. I hope Tomas stays with this band because this is a group that has a musical future. Everything is right here and there are no weak moments. Definitely a good follow-up to the debut. The novelty of the debut is not as strong here, but that's expected. The substance is still very good. My only complaint is the stupid "metal" artwork: the same old suicide/murder stuff. Ah, well, nobody is perfect. Just stop trying to "shock" people, guys. The five o'clock news already takes care of that.
NILE - "AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA"
You know, I've been strongly encouraged lately with the emergence of some of the younger bands these days. Granted, a lot of them suck beyond suck, like some of that worthless crap like "noise". Then again, thankfully, most of the new crop of the music I have heard lately expand on groundwork laid out by bands that were once the ultimate figureheads in their unique vision, namely some of the Florida regulars. Sadly, most of them have altered their sound in one way or another, and although some of the die-hard fans like them since they might seem essentially the same, some more of the radical changes, like vocalists, change a band's sound too much so that they are pale comparisons. Now I haven't heard any at all of the new Morbid Angel material, so I can't fairly state my opinion on them. I do know that I will have a hard time adjusting to the absence of one David V., who is probably my favorite death metal vocalist on an admittedly short list. Then I heard Nile's new release. Never let it be said that a band cannot be able to be brutal and paint sounds capes of epic grandeur and ancient glory at the same time. The first thing that came to my mind was a sound similar to Morbid A., although to be honest, Nile is a band unto itself, and even comparing them to such an awesome band, might not even fully do them justice. They draw influences from ancient Egyptian and Sumerian cultures in their music, flawlessly blending thousands of years old musical styles with more modern smashingly brutal death metal. These guys are so good at what they do, you don't even have to close your eyes to envision endless seas of blowing sand dunes and clashing armies spilling each other's blood in the name of the gods. You can just picture the red water of life soaking into the ever-shifting substance of the deserts, covering the bodies of the mortally slain. I never thought that I would hear the ultimate detah metal band come from South Carolina, yet it has come to pass. I could go into depth more about how they successfully merge blast beats and punishing riffs with ancient culture and music, but I'd really rather just go and listen to this album again. The torch has been passed to a new Pharaoh, all kneel and praise Ra!
NOCTURNAL RITES -"TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION"
CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS
Behold the power, the glory, the vastness, the mighty, the heavy metal gods, behold Nocturnal Rites! Everything is here! The type of voice you find in Judas P., Iron M., Viper, Heavens G., etc... This is so good, that it will force you to sing along. (Um..no, it won't.) This follows the greatness of Ronnie J. Dio, Tony M., Rob H., Mike Coles, and it follows in great tradition. Better singing is hard to find. Every song is powerful, catchy, inspiring, and so contagious. The riffing rocks! Fast and furious all the way. The power of this band is undeniable. They will, and I mean it, will give anyone a run for their hard-earned cash. You will be a believer after listening to this release. Nocturnal R. is a living example of what levels of wonderfulness and real music can be found. No, metal is not dead. Surrender to Nocturnal Rites now!
NOVEMBERS DOOM- "THE KNOWING"
Definately music for sad times, Novembers Doom captures you with its emotional music. Its by far not the heaviest thing out there, buts its very slow, doom laden tempo really churns out the drearier side of the best Doom/Death bands around. Its vocal style pivets from Death Metal style to where he actually sings cleanly and speaks sometimes throughout. Song standouts to me are: "Awaken", "Silent Tomorrow", "Last God" and "Shadows of Light". Definately something I enjoyed even though its much more mellow than I am used to. Great stuff guys.