Reviews - P
PEACE OR DIE RECORDS
The song "Moshpit Mafia" explains the following scene: "You hit the ground right before me/I saw the fear in your eyes/Stuck in the middle of insanity/Fist to the blindside/Caught in the hangtime". "Camp Pain" is also about the moshpit. When the lyrics are not enumerating the litany of tough, macho qualities of this metalcore/Pantera-inspired band, they are talking trash about everyone named "you". The vocals have a screaming-professional-wrestler quality to them. The chug rules the guitar sounds and the breakdown is master. If you like to listen to angry white men shouting about how tough and real they are, you'll probably enjoy this, if Pantera and Pro-Pain are important to you. This is not one of those kiddie hardcore bands, so don't expect nice, clean vocal parts, either. Angry white men who go around threatening to use violence to achieve their goals. I think they call that the government.
PARADISE LOST - PARADISE LOST
PARADISE LOST/DARK ELEMENT RECORDS
Just by the fact that this band in the past has made two albums that I enjoy very much--1991's "Gothic" and 1995's "Draconian Times", both excellent in their own way, I'm bound to be interested. There are 14 songs (54 minutes). I would say that the music from about the time of "Draconian" to "One Second" is here. The up-tempo, up-beat, heavier, somber songs, like "Let Me Drown," "Spirit," "Accept the Pain," "Forever After," "All You Leave Behind," "Grey," and "Close Your Eyes," have a pretty immediate appeal. I don't know that you have to like metal to like them, because they are relatively heavy, but not harsh on the ears at all. The music is pretty straight forward and catchy, the sound is great, nice and clean, lively. The guitars have a simplistic charm to them and the vocals of Nick Holmes sound full, in the mid-tone range with some upper mid-tone parts. Sometimes I think that Holmes has the voice that James Hetfield wishes for. The overall feeling is melancholic, good and up-tempo without sounding overly sweet (power metal) or cheesy (goth). I think I won't be the only one who appreciates the idea of not using sweet melodies to make a song memorable. This has dark groove running throughout it. The slower songs have lots of grey charm about them, like opener "Don't Belong" or "Shine." On the other hand, "Over the Madness" is a pretty doomy affair. Paradise Lost, as a musical entity, still has much to offer. They cannot please all their fans because the music over the years has changed a lot. The growling, like on the debut, and "Gothic," stopped a long time now, but if you don't treat music like some sort of orthodox religion with absolute rules, then you will find the group making worthwhile music. Still heavy and somber, memorable and not overly complex, the guys have lots of good ideas on this album.
PARAGON - REVENGE
Paragon is ridiculously heavy metal: you get the feeling these guys get up hung over because the night before they were drunk and listening to Manowar, Accept and Judas Priest. What's more, when they get up--after they get finished hugging the toilet--they put on "Rest and Wild" again and as soon as Udo screams, they grab another beer and begin drinking again. They are incorrigible, period. Paragon takes on the speed and near-thrash elements of Judas Priest, Accept and Manowar. The vocals on this thing are rough, like Iron Savior, Motorhead and Grave Digger. The lyrics are about how they are metal, have that metal-against-the-world attitude. No love songs, no keyboards, no lyrics about anything other than metal, death, etc. Is "macho, chest-beating heavy metal" a type of heavy metal? Don't expect singing. These vocals are actually not far removed from death metal. Expect basic, meat-and-potatoes songs in line with bands like Cage, as opposed to power metal. The one real slow song, "Empire of the Lost" doesn't work too well because it seems to go against what Paragon is. The cover Manowar's "The Gods Made Heavy Metal". Iron Savior's Piet Sielck produced this.
PATHOLOGY STENCH -"ACCION MUTANTE"
Judging by their name, I defianetly expected some kind of sick, goregrind stuff, NOT TRUE! This band surprised me not only with their sound but talent as well. Hailing from Slovakia this four piece dishes out some original Power/Death Metal. Filled with great guitar riffing and machine gun drumming right after a decent intro, they lay into you and don't let up for anything. These guys have style and great song structures, twisting from chainsaw speed guitars then dropping to some sick slow grinding with pummeling double bass. Defiantely check these guys out!! Rogue (Special thanks to Martin "Shindy" Brzobohaty of Shindy Productions in Slovakia for sending me this album, thanks a million dude!!)
PEGAZUS - "BREAKING THE CHAINS"
All fans of traditional power metal will enjoy this. This is, of course, metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Pegazus is from Australia, not exactly a Mecca for power metal. These ten songs (including the remake "A Little Time", originally done by Helloween) are all excellent examples of well played, catchy, real metal. I think Pegazus still has their "Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2" or their "Power Slave" ahead of them, and that's a hell of a thing to say! Yes, this is that good. Only if the production could have been better, and the lyrics were a bit childish, but oh well.
PENTACLE - "...RIDES THE MOONSTORM"
The early death metal feel of the vocals remind me of both Death Strike and early Morgoth. In addition, Obituary seems to crawl up here and there. But don't be misled; Pentacle stands fine on its own. The guitar sound is basic and to the point, with straight up early Celtic Frost type of simple rhythms. I hadn't heard any band do this stuff in a while. There are a lot of awful bands now claiming that they were raised on Possessed or Hellhammer, but have you noticed that they surely do not sound like it!? I'll go as far as to say that I find Pentacle a hell of a lot more enjoyable than some of that early Venom because the intentional proficiency found here is way more listenable than say "At War with Satan" type of sloppiness. Pentacle sound proficient, efficient, and catchy, all at once! How refreshing to hear a band actually incorporate the whole early 1980's death metal feel into its music, not just saying that they "grew up with Morbid Tales." Pentacle's sound has nothing in common with a lot of the garbage out there now called death metal. No cheese. No fancy guitar solos. This is classic death metal, except that it's from 1998 and the sound was made this way, not accidentally. If you have the early possessed, Celtic Frost, etc..., you will find that Pentacle fits perfectly with that "old time" early death metal.
PENTACLE - UNDER THE BLACK CROSS
IRON PEGASUS RECORDS
Pentacle's self-denominated "ancient death metal" is a celebration of the original death metal spirit: Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost/early Death/Obituary gruff, agonized and brutal growling of the best possible quality with plenty of those of Tom-G.-Warrior-signature "ugh!!" The guitars have a serious, crunching, heavy, dark, mid-paced grinding feel. Excellent! Also, the production / sound is not primitive; it's modern (in a good way!), not a basement recording. It's a very full-sounding, in-your-face album. This is highly, highly recommended for death metal people. All Pentacle releases are great and their "Rides the Moonstorm" is a true death metal masterpiece. Iron Pegasus Records is not a huge company, so you are better off contacting them directly. I tried to get this at two metal specialty stores. They did not have it and said that they probably will not get it.
So, I sent cash and received the cd quickly.
Iron Pegasus Records, P.O. Box 1462, 56804 Cochem, Mosel, Germany
Pentacle, Franse Hoef 17, 5531 PD Bladel, The Netherlands.
P.H.O.B.O.S. - TECTONICS
Tripped out, machine-like, robotic, industrial, cold slow-beat rhythmic patterns that do not add up to songs, but only add up into cloudy constructions of a polluted atmosphere. Those "drums" sound like a drum machine to me. This is industrial "music." The vocals are screamed and in the background you have the sounds of a construction site or a big factory at work. This is music for robots with rock-and-roll-all-night-and-party-everyday mentality, like the ones from Machine City in the Matrix movies. If you have heard Godflesh before, then you are initiated: think dissonant industrial with "evil witch" vocals. Today Is the Day, Neurosis, Godflesh, etc., all that weirdo un-music stuff is the closest family to this. In the meantime, those lazy robots better get to work, man! I'm tired of those bastards coming to our country to steal our high-paying jobs, like cleaning hotels, working in restaurants, or working in meat-packing plants.
PILEDRIVER -"METAL INQUISITION / STAY UGLY"
FULL MOON PRODUCTIONS
Gimme a C! Gimme an H! Gimme an E-E-S-E-Y! What does it spell? PILEDRIVER!! If you are "hankerin for a hunk o' cheese", then this CD should satisfy your most undying urges. I thought piledriver was a machine of some sort, but after listening to this CD, I am convinced that the definition of "piledriver" is "Hemorrhoid chauffeur". The vocalist sounds like he has hemorrhoids. Okay, I am just being nasty here, but come on! I am getting a bit tired of this current fascination with the "good old days" of metal (these albums were originally released in 84 and 86 respectively). Maybe I'm just too young to appreciate music that sounds like this, or maybe I'm just not hip enough. Whatever the reason, I do not like this CD one bit. If you want to listen to old metal, get something that really is worth a second wave of popularity, like Iron Maiden. Forget the two bit wannabes like this.
POLIDICKS - Mutenation
WOUNDED PAW RECORDS
Nasty, fast punk rock with angry gremlin witch vocals: good attitude, but the music is sloppy and loose angry garage rock. They need to rehearse more and get tighter, tighten up the drumming and guitar to make this more frantic and raging.
POSITIVELY NEGATIVE -"ABSOLUTELY"
RIFF RAFF RECORDS
Ummmm.... I don't like this band. They steal a bunch of riffs and shit from a bunch of old punk and metal bands and try to masquerade themselves as a punk/metal band or something (even though they are obviously a bunch of geeks). There is absolutely nothing original about this album, therefore there is no reason to waste any time or money on it. If you do, you are going to be sorry. Trust me. Go buy an old Exploited record instead. Shit, go buy a new Exploited record. Fuck this weak shit!
PRO-PAIN - "ACT OF GOD"
Pro-Pain just play, not much experiment. It's basic metal with no decorations. Simple, straight forward, heavy riffing, and a low-growling voice (though not really death metal style.) If AC/DC or the Ramones played heavy rock, this is what it would sound like. The songs aren't that bad. Somehow, though, I find it hard to think anyone would actually enjoy this, because it's just too basic.
PROJECT - FAILING FLESH - A BEAUTIFUL SICKNESS
Since this has ex-Voivod vocalist Eric Forrest, this is obviously going to get some interest going. Unfortunately, this sounds pretty unimpressive. It sounds like people that have been listening to death metal and thrash and want to combine many things into one. This, obviously, thrashes and grinds, here and there, but it does not sound genuine. It sounds too generic, too imitative. They cover Venom's "Warhead." I have no idea why they decided to cover one of Venom's most boring songs.This has no elements to make it stand out. It's thrashy, yes, it's heavy, yes, but so what? It's not great. It's pretty mediocre. Playing fast in and of itself is no virtue, neither is screaming. Check this out if you are an Eric Forrrest fan.
THE PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX: HATE, DOMINATE, CONGREGATE, ELIMINATE
I'll pick a song, any song so you get some idea: track #5 "Congregate". Opens with a bass-heavy short intro before Joann Enckell comes in with some clean, high singing and then Jörgen Sandström takes his part with some real guttural growling (yes, similar to Grave/Swedish death metal). The music is mid-paced, with the bass coming in upfront as much as the down tuned guitars. The music is memorable, but not too sweet. Of course, it's also dark and heavy. The number continues with multiple growling with Caligula from Dark Funeral on backing vocals. This part has that chaotic feel they must have wanted with all the vocals. Then, there is a brief pause/transition/mood change with some small sampling/electronica going on, before jumping back into the growling and heavy, pounding, stomping rhythm. This song so far has taken some five minutes and leaves the last two minutes to clean singing, similar to Lacuna Coil/pop music, which definitely contrasts with the growling. This part is, of course, more melodic. End of song. This is not as weird as one would think, but you do need to give it time because the album is some 70 minutes long. It's definitely not for the light-hearted or for those with a short attention span. The main word to describe this is: groove; a heavy, thick groove. The first few times I didn't care for this, now it's beginning to make sense, patience.
PROPHECY - "CONTAGION"
If you find yourself standing there with some cash in one hand, and Poland's Prophecy, buy it! First off, their drummer is pretty damn good. The vocals are kind of a raspy groan, with lots of reverb, anybody remember Believer? At times it reminds me of new Samael stuff, only faster, and not as ambient. The heavy shit is pretty bludgeoning, but pretty much straightforward technical death metal. As a whole, I'd give it a 5 or 6 out of a ten, besides, there are worse ways to spend your money!
PROTON BURST - S/T
This album starts out with the clanking machinery and inhuman vocals that will satisfy industrial fans of every ilk. The kool thing is, that they manage to keep up their industrious machinations while weaving in a bit of chunky metallic guitar and some very goth like vocals on some songs. And hey, it's never mind-numbing or boring! This is one of the better "crossover" bands in the industrial-metal-gothic realm (and what an enormous realm that is!) I like it, hell, go buy it and have a nuclear reaction, or whatever the fuck happens when your protons burst!
PROVOKE - "TRUTH"
Throw Down Music
Provoke's music is basic thrash-core. The potatoes are here, but where's the other stuff that goes with the plate? This is just too simple. The vocals are hardcore; tough-talking, macho-posturing, Pantera-type talking/singing. Not much here to see kids, so roll up your windows and keep going.
PSIONIC - 4-SONG PROMO
This group relies on techno sounds and industrial components to add their heavy, mid-tempo, chugging robot futuristic sounds. The vocals sound robotized and the music in general has a cyber goth dark rock mood to it. The music is more in line with dark techno, industrial, goth than metal. Imagine Fear Factory taking their industrial, techno elements in a heavier, chuggier, darker form and making songs in that vein.
PYREXIA: CRUELTY BEYOND SUBMISSION
This is a generic "death metal" band trying to sound brutal, but it's so mediocre; the horror lyrics, the cheesy song structures, etc. The strange thing is that they are not that heavy, not that fast, and not that brutal, it's intensely mediocre. I can't even find one song that I can qualify as "ok," much less "good".
PYURIA - CALLIPHOBIA VOMITORIA INTROITUS
CRASH MUSIC INC.
With a name like Calliphobia Vomitoria Introitus (These guys must have traveled a long way to get here from ancient Rome! Alas, Julius Caesar, they speak Latin, too! You, too, Brutus!), it has to be good, right? I don't know about all that, yo. Let's do the duck test! Does it look like gore metal duck? Yes, the cover is a typical dead person thing. Does it walk like a gore metal duck? Yes, the endless chugging, the blasting, the monotonous, repetitiveness makes this boring. Does it quack like a gore metal duck? Oh, boy, does it ever! The generic growling and screaming says so. I tell you, I was bored by the time the first song ended. The guitar "work" sounds like the guitar "player" puts his fingers anywhere on the fretboard where he can get the chugga-chugga sound and then repeats that sound over and over and over until it's about three minutes and then he tells his band, "Hey, guys, I just wrote another brutal, skullcrushing, maggot-eating, brutal, fast, violent, brutal song, man!!!" The rest of the band says: "Cool! Maybe we can tour with Mortician and Skinless and play in Illinois, the brutal gore capital of the world!!" Ah, yes, Illinois. So much gore, so little time. There's so much gore death there and I want to give it very little time.