Exhumed- Necrocracy

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There is something to be said about a band that still kills it after almost 25 years at it.  Californian death/grind aficionados recently unleashed their sixth full length album to date, on August 6, 2013, and they have brought with them more aggression than ever on this release.  Thrashy, technical, and adrenaline filled are just a few words that come to mind upon listening to “Necrocracy”.  This LP will pump you up, plain and simple.

Listeners are hooked within the first few seconds of the album, as it immediately breaks into a groove filled, thrashy riff on the track “Coins Upon Eyes”.  The brutality doesn’t end here however.  Throughout the album, Exhumed exhibits fun filled, death/thrash excellence.  These are the kind of songs that both incite a circle pit and get guitar nerds talking.  The solos we find here are clean, melodic and technical.  The choruses are anthemic and catchy and the riffs are creative and groove-filled.

The LP flows well, each track melding into the next, but remains exciting throughout, never sounding repetitive.  Clean, acoustic breaks, found on tracks like Dysmorphic, break this album up nicely.  Overall, Exhumed has managed to write an album filled with tracks that stick with you quite easily.  Tracks like “The Rotting”, bring me back to the moment I first heard the greatness that is death metal, with the classic down tuned guitars, appropriate blast bleats and melodic and passionate solos.

Exhumed has not only written an incredibly memorable album, they’ve outdone themselves a bit by including five bonus tracks at the end of the LP.  The bonus tracks don’t disappoint either.  From “The Beginning After The End” to “Go For The Throat”, these tracks rip hard as fuck.  Necrocracy is simply the must have album of this year.  Go out and fucking buy it!  For now though, join me in the circle pit with Exhumed.  Happy Listening.  Hails!

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New Necrophobic Single- Splendour Nigri Solis

384788 Legendary Swedish black/death metal outfit, Necrophobic have announced the release date of their long awaited new album, entitled Womb of Lilithu. The album is due for release on October 25, 2013.  The band has been streaming the second track from the album entitled, “Splendour Nigri Solis”.

It appears Necrophobic is moving in a different direction with Womb of Lilithu, based on the sound of the new track. Let down is an understatement, when one compares Splendour Nigri Solis to tracks on the last LP, “Death To All”. The aggression is all but gone, the riffs are simplistic and boring and the overall feel of the track is all too common. Could this be the end an era for Necrophobic? Could they be going the way of Dissection with the release of Reinkaos? Let’s hope not. Obviously, I haven’t had the chance to listen to the full album yet, as it hasn’t been released, but from experience, I know that many times the first track to stream is not the best on the album.

All too many bands have gone black and roll as of late (Watain, Satyricon etc.), watering down their grotesque and threatening sound in hopes of appealing to the “metalcore” and Gothenburg club. Frankly I’m getting a little tired of it. Only four years ago, Necrophobic released Death To All, a sick and aggressive display of expert musicianship. When will labels learn that fans don’t need another “Black Album” from their favorite bands?

That said the track is not utterly awful. There is a decent solo and an interesting break, complete with eerie chanting. When compared to prior releases, such as Death To All and Hrimthursum, however, it withers, like dying fruit. Listen for yourself.  Happy Listening.  Hails!

Seplophile

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It’s always refreshing to hear a new band that sounds as though they’ve been at it for years. Hailing from the cold, Appalachian landscapes of Buffalo, New York, tech death outfit “Seplophile” is birthing a sound that is a throwback to the sounds of great 90’s death metal with a melodic edge and musicianship of the highest standards. Seplophile released their debut album, “Mesonoxian” on February 14, 2013, and the album rips harder than about 95% of the new releases this year. The band cultivates spellbinding melodies and amalgamates them with a sort of controlled dissonance that creates a sound capable of cracking open the sky.

With tasteful blast beating, well timed, melodic solos and brutal screams, Mesonoxian is an existential joyride for the senses. The album prefaces itself with an eerie instrumental entitled “Exhale All Life” and kicks you in the teeth without warning on the first full track, “Animos: Identity Crisis”. The first few tracks are classic death metal at its finest, albeit a little predictable, but not unforgivably so. The album really begins to take off around the sixth track entitled “Philosophiae Naturalis – The Portents of Ash-Shaytan I. Omen of the Adversary”, which is the instrumental prequel to a three part, nihilistic sermon of sound. At this point in the album, the listener is truly drawn in by Seplophile’s captivating melodies.

Even beyond the three part celebration of death, the album continues to hold one’s interest. Doom laden track “Fields of Stone” puts you in a bit of a trance with its emotional undertones and slow, clean riffing. Mesonoxian goes out with a bang with the title track, which is a shining example of technical ecstasy, still riddled with grit. Any breakdown found on this album is appropriate to the song, and never there for its own sake. Though the band is clearly intelligent, they escape pretentiousness with their stripped down attitude.  No overusing of keyboards, no samples, no frills, just pure unadulterated death metal.  Mesonoxian is breath of fresh air for the jaded metal-head of yesteryear.  You can purchase the Mp3 version of this album on Amazon and the hard copy of the CD directly from their label, “Butchered Records“. For now though, join me in the throes of nihilistic glory with Seplophile.  This is the seventh track off of the new LP, “Under Sifting Sands. Happy Listening.  Hails!

Fuck The Facts- An Interview With Mathieu Vilandré

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It can be difficult to find interesting or even listenable “grindcore”, these days amongst the hordes of noisy copycats littering an already overdone genre. Yet the Canadian quintet, Fuck The Facts have managed to spice things up within their sound, adding a refreshing feel to the genre, by infusing punk and hardcore elements into their sound, without going overboard and sounding cheesy or simplistic. Fuck The Facts has written an impressive body of work over the last 14 years, consisting of eight full length albums and innumerable EP’s, demos, splits and promos. The band’s latest release is entitled “AMER” and is the only EP written entirely in French. I personally like when bands write material in their native tongue. It adds an air of elitism to the music.

The EP slowly builds up, beginning with an intoxicating drumbeat and captivating guitar lick, then proceeds to punch the listener in the face. Intensity is the first word that come to mind when listening to AMER. Mel Mongeon’s vocals are the impetus behind the band’s ardent ferocity. Fuck The Facts has had a female vocalist since 2002 and has not once succumb to the gimmickry that can so easily bring. Mel is simply the best “wo-man” for the job. AMER is shining example of this. Her vocals tear your face off, while Mathieu’s drums crack your ribs. Even the “core” elements on this EP are never annoying, only appropriate. Think crossover, not “metalcore”. AMER flows very nicely and is a 20 minute ferocious assault on the listener. The tracks are short (most of them under three minutes) in typical grindcore/punk fashion. Those of you with ADD will be more than pleased with this release. As someone who wouldn’t normally listen to this genre of music, I can tell you it’s very well done. It is easy to see that Fuck The Facts is hardworking and has honed their sound over the years. Underworld spoke with the band’s drummer Mathieu Vilandre (better known as Vil) about the band, the new EP, touring, and their plans for the future. Here’s what he had to say.

Underworld: Tell the readers a little bit about Fuck The Facts.

Vil: We’re a 5 piece metal band based out of Ottawa, Canada and we’ve been going at it since 2001.

Underworld: Who are your biggest influences as a musician?

Vil: I always enjoyed classic composers like Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Chopin and Mozart. Then I got into progressive metal which was kind of an extension of those composers within the metal world; bands like Symphony X and Yngwie Malmsteen and his “neo-classicalism”. Then I realized I couldn’t really play music properly, so I settled for grindcore. Bands like Cryptopsy, Dying Fetus, Dahmer, Mesrine and Nasum, are what really got me into this shit.

Underworld: How has having a female vocalist impacted the band?

Vil: We get that question a lot. Within the band, it doesn’t change anything. It makes people talk a lot, that’s for sure, and Mel sometimes has to deal with creepy dudes. I would hope that it inspires other female artists to go ahead with their passion and give it all they’ve got.

Underworld: How have lineup changes affected the band?

Vil: It obviously made things a bit more complicated for us but at the same time it forced me and Topon to really focus on the music and our creative process. I’m glad we haven’t had to deal with this shit in years but it kind of helped make Disgorge Mexico what it is since we were only a 3 piece at the time. Thankfully we found Marc and Johnny about 5 years ago and it’s the most solid lineup we’ve ever had. When you have to spend weeks in a van with a bunch of assholes, you at least want some nice ones.

Underworld: In what ways do you think AMER differs from prior releases?

Vil: It’s our first release entirely in French and our first 10”. Everyone in the band really participated. Topon, Marc, Johnny and I all wrote songs for it and Mel took care of the lyrics. I also think it’s a pretty easy EP to listen to and that it flows particularly well. It’s a nice prelude to the new album.

Underworld: You guys were just on tour, what country do you enjoy playing most, Canada or USA?

Vil: I think we all have our preferences but the whole idea is that we like to be somewhere else sharing our music, wherever that may be. We’re from Canada so obviously the vibe here is different, we’ve known most of the people we work with for years. Usually the USA tended to be harder for us but our last tour went great and we had crazy fun. We really just want to play anywhere and meet awesome people.

Underworld: Any crazy tour stories?

Vil: Of course, but I always have a hard time remembering all that shit which makes sense since crazy tour stories pretty much always happen when you’re shitfaced. I’m the worst in the band for this, I never remember anything or it’s all inside jokes and “you had to be there”. I’m pretty much like C3PO, not much of a story teller. We just played in a squat in Spain that had no bathrooms in the venue, people were pissing and shitting outside. Then we noticed there was a river of piss and shit coming from the only toilet in the building on the 2nd floor, I’ve never smelled something so potent. Liters and liters of human shit under the Spanish sun. Tapas anyone?

Underworld: What is the next step for the band?

Vil: We have some regional shows coming up at the end of August in Ontario and then we’ll hit eastern Canada and Newfoundland for the first time. At the same time, we’ll work on finishing the new album, all the music is recorded and we are now focusing on the vocals and the extra shit. We are also completing another recording for two potential splits.

It looks like Fuck The Facts will be keeping very busy and we can expect more from them in the near future. Keep up with them on Facebook and check out the new EP on Bandcamp. Happy Listening. Hails!

Macabre- 20th Anniversary of Sinister Slaughter Mini Tour

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It has been twenty years since the legendary grindcore/murder metal, Chicago outfit, Macabre released their famed album, Sinister Slaughter, and the band decided to embark on a celebratory mini tour in its honor. Even though Macabre only played four shows on their tour, they still played Cleveland. They always play Cleveland. I am very lucky to live in a city so sublimely metal, a city where dark, graffiti ridden clubs mark every street corner and black clad drunkards and musicians are the daytime norm.

It was a “Sinister Sunday” indeed, when Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious invaded “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll”, for a very special, exclusive performance with local bands, Merciless Reign, Benighten Empire and Punching Moses. The crowd prepared for an evening of drinking, debauchery and mayhem.

The first band to hit the stage was Merciless Reign. I didn’t really know what to expect from this new Death/Thrash act. These guys were friends of mine, however, so I stood center stage, awaiting my first listen. What a surprise! What stood out about this band, was the sheer power emanating in their sound. Merciless Reign has a sound that requires none of the fancy, technical frills that have become so popular nowadays, with the influx of tech death on the rise. No sir, Merciless Reign has a presence and an intensity that will tear your fucking face off and they deliver this ambiance with simple, aggressive, thrash-y riffs, a bit of blackened repetition, blistering leads and paralyzing blast beats. Tracks like 17 Years of Hatred (Unleashed) are an epic and driving force to be reckoned with when played live. The energy that Merciless Reign achieves in their live performances is not quite met in their studio recordings, however. That is not to say that their demo is no good. It is very well done. But Merciless Reign bludgeons the hell out of a crowd live. I think this is because of the intensity that their drummer, Chris Krucker, packs into his live performances. He’s a wild man up there. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band, both live and in the studio.

The next band up was Cleveland’s own Benighten Empire. Formed from the ashes of local deathcore outfit Evisceration and early Benighten Empire, which was formerly a Viking metal band, the current sound of the band is interesting, for lack of a better word. With the look of a deathcore band, the stage antics of a flashy, black metal band, the belligerent audience interactions of a thrash metal band, and a mix of everything from “core”, to the clean chanting of Viking metal, to the epic onslaught of black metal in their sound, Benighten Empire is utterly confused. I really wasn’t exactly sure what they were trying to accomplish onstage. It wasn’t as though they played badly, I simply wasn’t sure what they were playing or what they were doing with those upside crosses. It looked more like Justin Beiber participating in a black mass than Mayhem. Confusing, indeed. My friends and I have dubbed the band “Vikingcore”. However, Benighten Empire is not innovative enough to coin a new genre, their sound is simply immature. Given a few years, this band may hone their sound. They are still relatively new, forming only five years ago in 2008. Until then, I’d say, pass on this band.

Next up was hardcore punk act, Punching Moses. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this band other than that they felt a little out of place up there. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when hardcore bands open for metal bands. Stick to your genre and go play at the Spitfire. The Foundry is for metal. Not only that, but their sound quality onstage wasn’t great and the feel of the band was very common. There was really nothing special going on onstage with Punching Moses. If you’re going to call yourself punk rock, be punk rock and spit on the fucking audience or something. Upon further research, I found this band was voted “Most Un-listenable” by The Cleveland Scene. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this band un-listenable, boring is a better way to describe them. Listen for yourself.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived. Macabre was set to hit the stage. Being perfectionists, Macabre took quite some time to set up. They were well worth the wait, however. Macabre certainly did celebrate Sinister Slaughter, playing songs they haven’t played in years, like Ted Bundy song, Mary Bell, Montreal Massacre and Night Stalker. As usual, vocalist Corporate Death prefaced each song with an eerie description of a serial killer’s horrific antics and exuded a larger than life stage presence. The sound quality was great and the songs were played to grindcore perfection. The audience was pumped, singing along to the songs and moshing like crazy. And even though Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious may have a larger than life presence onstage, they are incredibly down to earth guys off stage, interacting with fans, signing occasional autographs and watching the opening bands play. My high expectations of the evening were more than met, when Macabre finally hit the stage. If you missed them this time around, never fear. Macabre will be playing again in December for the Holiday of Horrors show with Cardiac Arrest, Witchbanger and Elbow Deep. Catch them in Chicago at Reggie’s Rock Club on 12/26/2013. Happy Listening. Hails!