Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Origin, mostly has been the band that orients on technicalities and speed over other compositional facets, the strategy which has worked out well to establish themselves as one of the few technical death metal maestros that doesn’t suck while demonstrating one’s individual instrumentation proficiencies. But alongside, while conforming towards the technical dimensions, what bothered me a bit was the lack of musical variation that was almost non-significant between their previous records they did after the more straightforward self-titled. Their last release, “Antithesis” was a real remarkable one, perhaps one of the best death metal releases of the last decade, that it got me doubting if the band could ever cross that bar of magnificence again.

Well, it was before a couple of months that Origin had released the single, “Expulsion of Fury” in their Facebook page, the track that was about to be included in this album. That was when Morbid Angel had just released their substandard ninth studio album. I listened to “Expulsion…” and the first three seconds, I thought owned the entire “Illud Divinum Insanus”. The insane sweep arrives, makes way to the classic Origin riffing with dual vocals assault and Longstreth’s mad blasts. It wasn’t outside what everyone could expect out of the band and it was quite convincing enough to make me look forward to the album release.

Origin always seem to wow me through their limits-stretching technical precisions. And this time, they have done it with additional spices added on the regular. They never bothered to bring catchiness and memorable feeling in their songwriting, but this time, it’s here to be felt. The guitar work is balanced well with the amount of arpeggios, the trademark Origin technical riffing and frequent grind-inclined groovy offerings. Melodic instances have increased this time, sometimes advancing as a progressive form of the genre, much akin to Ulcerate from New Zealand, the band this album made me remember at times. Well, there are constituents that suggest the band is returning back to their demo or S/T era sound. Lots of primitive death metal chugs are presented which are there to remain in your head for a long time. All these elements have displayed the band’s broader horizons and thus reflecting a wider side to songwriting. I gladly hope they would continue experimenting with this sound in future releases as well.

The guitars don’t mind slowing down at times and then reviving the fury again, while the blasts and fills continuously design the flow. Really fast bass pedaling by John Longstreth, no wonder why he’s counted as one of the fastest death metal drummers on earth. More sensible and varied drumming than any of Origin’s previous records.

I was wondering how the vocals on this album would be, because James Lee was a monster, one of my favorites in death metal world, and his departure had obviously put me in question. But Paul Ryan and Mike Flores have done tremendous job behind the mic – the standard Origin growls with screams, which come dual, and that won’t make you feel the absence of James Lee at all, though I miss the big man. As furious as what the music demands them to be and they’ve even got variations, consisting deep Devourment-like gurgles at times. The bass guitar could have been mixed a bit louder than that. But the production is quite great, if not perfect.

Tracks like “Saliga” and “Consequence of Solution” run around seven minutes but still manage to maintain the consistency up in their flow and don’t make you feel that they are forced to have got themselves elongated. On the other hand, “Purgatory”, which is just a little longer than a minute is also capable of throwing the charm of its presence. And there are moments when they try to fuse middle-eastern melodies to the ongoing brutality, like in “Saliga”, 02:42 or “Consequence of Solution”, 04:22 and which I feel could have been neglected. I couldn’t help but get Nile feel at what these parts followed, if not at those moments (e.g. “Saliga”, 03:12 onwards or at its opener riff or in “Fornever”). “The Descent”, although a rare acoustic track by Origin, had made me feel that it would have been better if they had never attempted this anyway. A bit of a relief out of the continuous brutality but also, at the same time, pointless.

Thus, while this is one splendid album, there remain a bit of vacuum of judgmental void, at few of the points that I refrain to consider either good or bad. The overall sound is the typical Origin, mixed with Ulcerate, Pestilence and even Nile and Brain Drill. Hence this is just per what is to be expected from these technical beasts. The album presented newer sounds that are to be counted on from the band, and I hope that they release Entity‘s successor soon.

8.5/10

I had been excited to have my ears on this release since the time Vishal Rai (guitarist, Jugaa) announced his band is working on a split with New York based Nepali hardcore group Sangharsha. Well, I had been a fan of both these bands – Jugaa for their uncoventional hardcore sound, rawness, superheavy riffs, sick live shows and badassery of the members, and Sangharsha for their catchiness (esp. the demo), that had put me in serious consideration of giving hardcore a second chance (I didn’t have clearer picture of hardcore before that and which I connected to metalcore, more or less, which I always loved to bash).

The first half is Sangharsha’s. It opens with their cover of Integrity’s “Vocal Test”. Then comes their two crushing originals, “Insaniyaat” and “Ekata”. Well, the band doesn’t seem to get stuck with one particular style over and over their releases. This had already been presented through the giant turn of their sound from modern hardcore sounding demo to the more powerviolence/sludge/hardcore in their one-song EP in such a short span of time. And again, this time as well they have presented themselves a bit differently. More sludge/doom incorporations with the dirty distortions and heavier the tracks get. Hence they’re tending to move towards a sound they could call entirely their own. Slow to mid tempo most of the times, the riffs are quite enjoyable. But alongside, they did somewhat disappoint me because I was so enjoying their older approach to hardcore, i.e. of the demo, but killer tracks these are, nonethless.

The second half is Jugaa. I have always loved Jugaa’s sound – they tend to merge everything metal, punk, grind and hardcore, procreating a unique sound. I also loved them because of Ranav’s vocals, which were growls and not screams, the ones which every generic metalcore act in the scene employ nowadays. Through this album, Jugaa too have shifted their sound, i.e. to a darker direction. While elements of doom, grindcore and sludge could also be observed, the typical Jugaa vibe is well observed through Vishal Rai’s vile riffs, which have always been nothing less than super-heavy. This time around, Ranav utilizes more of his high-pitched screams instead of his trademark growls found in his previous works with Jugaa, Cruentus or Maya. The riffs, as said never fail to impress – the groovy segments, the neat breakdowns and all. But the best part comes in the opener of “Vultures Will Feed”, which sets me feel like slamming a face everytime it plays. “Come the Winter” is said to have some connection with “Game of Thrones” but fuck… I don’t know what it’s all about, so I rest the case. The record ends with Jugaa’s cover of “Birth is Pain”, originally by Ringworm.

The production is what sets it a notch down to me, as I love the sound of everything these bands did before this. But anyway, balls-bursting hardcore/sludge will sum it up, the best to come out of our putrid land (and Amerika) as of late. HxCx!

8.5/10

[The split is up for free download. Click here to download]

Well, comebacks usually upset when there’s a whole lot of time enough for musicians to catch up different tastes and questioning the musical direction of their past. Even big names like Terrorizer and Cynic fell in this category, and we’ve got no smaller name than those here. Atheist, awaken to do some newer stuff after more than a decade with two new members and everybody had obvious doubts on this one. Could they be same after seventeen fucking long years – the time long enough you could replace your former band-mate with your newborn son?

Well, my affiliation with Atheist goes back to “Unquestionable Presence”, which was the first album of theirs I genuinely loved. Although “Piece of Time” had reached me first, it couldn’t click me well. It was UP that described the typical Atheist sound to me and I could regenerate the love for Piece… as well. The third album “Elements” couldn’t do much with me though. When you listen to enough good music from your favorite band, the expectations are obvious to rise and the other generic ones too seem to be lacking the punch, and same was the case. “Elements” was alright, but wasn’t as significant as the former two ‘masterpieces’.

Alright. The thing is – you just cannot judge an Atheist album on just few listens. When I had put my ears on this one for the first time, I was confused, disappointed but expectant, all at the same time. A little more listens and it was still growing on me.

Musically, the band appears to have leaned less towards the thrashy edge this time. It’s more technical death metal here, still retaining the typical Atheist fragrance. It’s cool that it still sounds like Atheist even after seventeen long years, and that’s an achievement in itself, considering the awful doubts that everyone (at least most of us) had when we first learned about the band recording their newer stuff. To speak, “Jupiter” sounds like a progressive technical death metal band (let’s say Gorod) giving tribute to Atheist.

So besides everything else, let me point out few of my discomforts here:

Firstly, one of the hugest objections is the bass being not free, which isn’t off the trail of guitars as it was before. Bass is there, yes it’s audible, but is just to follow the guitars. It’s a blasphemy in Atheist’s case if you ask me.

Secondly, there is zero to little chill-out jazzy portions, which could be found in their previous albums (which I really adore/d). Surely, Atheist were the first band to fuse extreme metal with jazz, and the decision to omit them might be cool, but it’s just me; not that it is hindering the songs’ eminence through it.

Thirdly, the lead guitars – whenever I listen to “Unquestionable Presence” and the solos are put on, I go [bow them]. But now, they’re not so remarkable at all. They’re decent, nowhere close to their past stuffs. I could also sense some riffs/solos filled here and there just to invoke their early-years’-sound, which I think are already lame.

Fourthly, the production is a bit oozy besides all, and the best sound output tends to be the drums. This instrument could be the finest and most satisfying in here, possessing some awesome variations and all… typically Atheist.

Fifthly, the vocals. Well, the band wasn’t pleasing me ‘vocally’ at all through any of their preceding records anyway, but let’s put it this way – Kelly’s shrieks here, I think, are the best to offer after their debut (I know many will disagree). So I’m not pushed away a bit by his throat performance here.

All in all, Atheist now sound more like many of other bands trying to follow their path of being a death(/thrash) band like Negativa, Gory Blister, Quo Vadis, etc. This is no way close to their first two records, but this doesn’t imply in anyway that it’s a weak album. “Jupiter” is still ‘decent’ in my book, but I would recommend to begin with “Unquestionable Presence” or “Piece of Time” if you already dig thrash metal.

7.5/10