Review

Video: Music Review 003 – Arx Atrata – Spiritus in Terra

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Here is a new video review for the excellent album Spiritus in Terra by England’s Arx Atrata. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.

Live Music Review: Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

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Amorphis with Swallow the Sun and Viathyn

When: March 31, 2017
Where: Starlite Room

For the first time in Edmonton’s metal history, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun have graced one of our stages, and for the not-enough time Viathyn have done so as well. For those that do not know the bands, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun are both Finnish bands while Viathyn come from Calgary. Amorphis are a melodic death/hard rock amalgamation that was born in the death and doom scene. Swallow the Sun are a doom band with melodic tendencies. Viathyn are a progressive power metal band that have essentially come out of retirement for only two shows, which were the Edmonton and Calgary dates for this Amorphis tour.

The night got a bit of an early start and I think I missed the first song and some of the second, or just part of the first song from Viathyn. It was great to finally see this band live, as they are a band I’ve known and enjoyed since their first album The Peregrine Way. It’s been a very long time since the release of that album (2010), and it’s follow-up Cynosure (2014), so I honestly could not tell you what songs they played because it’s been so long since I’ve listened to those albums; probably 2015 was the last time I listened to them.

The energy this quartet brings to a stage is palpable, which is why it’s sad that they are still essentially on hiatus. The quality of the songs themselves is incredible, with tons of shredding solos and amazing vocals. They are definitely for fans of Opeth, Leprous, newer Arcturus, and, well, Amorphis.

Swallow the Sun were my personal favourite for the night, before the show, and stayed that way after. What can I say, they are a doom band after all! The dynamics of this band are unreal, taking you from the deepest darkness to the brightest lights, and back down again, filling you with so many emotions. Musically, vocally, everything about this band is emotive and perfectly doom. If you’re a fan of Novembers Doom, Novembre, My Dying Bride, or October Tide, and you haven’t checked out Swallow the Sun, you should do so as soon as you can.

Amorphis, oh Amorphis. This was a band not born from the death/doom scene from the 90’s, but one of the bands that gave birth to it! And they were going to be playing, for the first time, in Edmonton. I was really excited. But I was also worried. They have, after all, gone less of a doom direction on their newest albums, going for a more straight forward melodic death sound like Dark Tranquillity or mid-era In Flames. How would this iconic Finnish band play in a city they’ve never been in before? They did indeed play songs from their newer melodic death focused albums, and played them fucking amazingly; “Sacrifice” being one such example. The thing that kind of jarred me was that they seem to have rearranged their old and classic material, which was played sparingly, into sounding more like their modern releases. This is exactly what I was worried would happen, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed. I was hoping Amorphis would play a mixture of their catalogue, but without having to homogenize their old material to fit with their new material. I will say that this is the only sour note in my opinion. The performance that Amorphis gave was beyond excellent, and the Starlite Room carried their sound perfectly. I stood in several locations during the set to take photos, and everywhere I moved the band was perfectly balanced, from front to back, and the band themselves were playing their asses off to make sure that this was a night to remember for everyone involved. Now if only my photos had turned out.

In all, March 31, 2017 was an excellent night, the first night of an excellent weekend for me.

Swallow the Sun

Posted by Crown of Viserys on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Video: Music Review 002 – Casket Huffer – Gospels of Scum

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Here is a new video review for the upcoming vinyl re-release of Gospels of Scum by Casket Huffer. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.

Music Review: Norselaw – Serpent in the Circling Sea

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Norselaw - Serpent in the Circling Sea

Genre: Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Fucking Metal
Label: Independent

Man, who would have thought that buying an album based entirely on pity would yield such positive results? Allow me to explain:

Norselaw himself apparently had a dispute with his then employer that ended with his (in my opinion, wrongful) termination. Having only recently lost my job due to similar but completely different circumstances, I decide to toss my fellow warrior a bone and bought one of his albums. He suggested Serpent in the Circling Sea as it would play to my tastes… how this metal marauder knew such a thing is still a mystery to me, but goddamn, was he ever right!

Serpent in the Circling Sea features a plethora of headbanging highlights from beginning to end. Norselaw’s mastery of the art of the shred, for one. Where on Earth did this guy learn to wield a guitar in such a manner? My guess is he transferred whatever skills he learned as an axe swinging viking from hundreds of years ago to his new modern day “axe”. Or at the very least, he’s The Doof Warrior from Mad Max… hmmm…

Up next on the docket, we have the vocals. Let’s get the clean vocals out of the way; they’re rough. Not bad by a long shot, but they could definitely use some refining. As for his bellowing, fuck man, if he shouted at me to, “Get out of the way,” in that tone, I’d be in the next state over before he could finish his command. Motherfucker is scary.

Have I mention lyrical content yet? Norselaw pulls his imagery from everyday political strife (“fat blue line guarded by swiiiiine!”), to Conan The Barbarian to H.P. fucking Lovecraft. And speaking of Lovecraft, “Fungi From Yuggoth” is one of the best tracks on the album, not only due to the ever-presence of the Old Ones, but because of Jamie Lannister’s energetic drumming. Guy lets his fucking hair down and says, “fuck your ability to ever hear anything ever again!” and proceeds to rupture the eardrums of anyone within range in a berserk barrage of percussive power!

If you walk away from this review and can only manage to remember one thing, make it this: Norselaw is law. These guys fucking rule!

Music Review: Netra – Ingrats

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Netra - Ingrats

Genre: Experimental Progressive Black Metal
Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records

It’s been four and a half, five years since Netra released Sørbyen, seven years since Mélancolie Urbaine, and in some ways nothing has changed. Netra is still one man, playing a strange mixture of black metal, trip-hop, ambient, and a few other things. In some ways everything has changed.

Nothing ever felt forced with the first two albums, but on Ingrats everything feels like it belongs together even more. The songwriting has improved, and not even drastically. It’s been given just enough of a boost that all aspects that make Netra such a unique band are given their times to shine. For example, the pure DSBM moments of “Everything’s Fine”; the 80’s goth and 90’s EDM of “Live With It”; the saxophone on “Don’t Keep Me Waiting”; the beautiful ambient keyboards layered over fast double-kicks on “Paris or Me”; the list goes on.

Therein lies the beauty of what Netra is for me. It’s the controlled chaos of depressive black metal reined in with the steadiness of trip-hop and EBM. It’s slow and dark, truly melancholic and morose. It’s like slashing your wrists in a 4/4 beat. And it leaves such beautiful wounds upon your heart. Ingrats is a real masterpiece of black metal, for fans of the genre that like to watch it progress and further itself while still being true to what makes it black metal.

Live Review: Necronomicon with Vesperia, Abiotic, and Tales of the Tomb

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Necronomicon - Okkultis in Canada Tour 2016

When: August 17, 2016
Where: Brixx

Oh man. It’s taken me awhile to get to type this up, but I really had to get these thoughts onto screen. This was a big night for me, a show that was more of a collection of bands that I really like in one room.

First up on the stage was a band that needs no introduction in Edmonton. One of the fastest rising bands this city has is Tales of the Tomb, a death metal band obsessed with serial killers. The Snowtown murders, Pickton and his farm, and 9/11 are just some of the topics that they tackle. This set was one of the best I’ve seen from them, and I’ve seen them a lot! Just this year alone I think I’ve seen them seven times or so. Not a band to miss in a live setting, and that’s agreed upon even by Rob from Necronomicon, who thanked Tales and said they were one of the best opening bands he’s had for the tour.

Second up was Miami, Florida’s Abiotic, who broke up shortly after this tour. This was my second time seeing them live, the first being with a different singer as they toured with Dying Fetus. This set was better than the last time, but there was some problems at the beginning of the set that caught my ear and almost made me dismiss them. The sound was just… quiet. There was nothing there. During the second song, however, the sound tech found where he wanted the band and everything went from somewhat flat to a wonderfully dynamic and fucking loud volume. Seriously excellent shredders on all instruments, but Travis Bartosek on vocals stole the show for me. If you’re one of those people who film with your cell phones though, I warn you: he’ll take it out of your hand and do some filming for you, giving you a phone video you won’t soon delete. It’s unfortunate that they split because I honestly could tell there was an amazing future ahead for this band if they did one more album. It’s the curse of being underrated and not quite getting the big push they should have gotten.

Third up was Vesperia, from Ontario. They all have a small-town attitude but hail from the big city of Toronto, so it’s always a treat to see these guys on a stage. Imagine Amon Amarth but from Canada, and you’re kind of in the right territory. Not so much a Viking metal sound, but a death metal with symphonic elements and a huge feel. They are truly an epic band to behold. The vocalist, Morgan Rider, has such an expressive voice with a large range. Sometimes they even get clean in the vocals, and this is where Vesperia shine for me. As I said, Morgan has a large range, and his cleans are the stuff legends are made of. It would never surprise me if they got picked up by Napalm or Nuclear Blast. In fact, it would surprise me if they didn’t. For those that might be thinking the name is familiar, it is probably because they won the Wacken Metal Battles in Canada, and played at Wacken as a result, winning the world-wide Battles.

Finally, the band that everyone came to see, the legendary Necronomicon took the stage. This is a band that has perplexed the death metal world since their Morbid Ritual demo in 1992. They sounded like Behemoth do now, back when Behemoth were still worshiping Norwegian black metal. Symphonic death metal, with black metal influences and overtones, this power trio is a true force to reckon with on a stage and on record. And since 1988, when Rob the Witch founded the band, they have been completely underrated because no one knew what the fuck they were watching and listening to. Yes, this is death metal. Yes, there’s pretty sounding and ominous keyboards in it. Yes, there’s songs with 100% black metal lyrics in them. No, this doesn’t really make sense, but fuck making sense, man! Sit back and enjoy just how huge these three dudes sound and look on a stage. Rob stole the stage from Brixx, he took it, he made it his and he owned it. Simply put, this band is one of Canada’s best, and we seem to take them for granted on our soil. The fans in the USA and Europe seem to understand them a little bit more, perhaps, because that is where their biggest successes are. But ultimately, they are just three dudes from Quebec making the noise they want to make. And goddamn they are good at it. If you missed out on this tour, you missed out big.

NOTE: This live review was originally published on September 15, 2016. Republished on March 23, 2017 after being reformatted for this version of the Crown of Viserys website.

Music Review: Food Metal – Food Metal

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Food Metal - Food Metal

Genre: Food Metal
Label: Independent

Alum, sodium, zinc, etc… I get plenty of metal in my food. Now if I can just manage to get some food in my metal… wait, what? Native Californian and sometimes New Zealander James Perry?! Why are you putting your guitar in the oven? Ohhhhhhh…

Food Metal apparently started off as an exercise in song writing and snowballed into a legitimate project (think Tim Lambesis’s Austrian Death Machine only with no celebrity impersonations and less attempted uxoricide). This self-titled offering is a savory selection of songs that blend hard rock, metal, gastronomy and humor together to make an album that’s not heavy on calories, but heavy where it counts.

Mr. Perry borrows from a multitude of subgenres before butchering them, marinating them in his own distinct style, broiling them and finally serving them up on Food Metal‘s sonic smorgasbord. “Fries” takes bit of a slower paced thrash approach (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”), while “Pass The Beets” finds James in more familiar territory (for me at least) with a slower, more melodic (almost poppy) tune. But, in terms of balls out headbanging, the cake surely goes to “Where the Hell is My Food”. James’s vocals, dirty rollin’ riffs and lines about being pissed off about shitty customer service fit perfectly together here.

My only complaint here is that I felt a bit like Oliver Twist towards the end. “Please Sir, may I have some more?” (Ok, not an apt comparison since James would gladly give an orphan all the metal he/she could handle and I’m a fully grown ragamuffin.) I guess I should ask him if he plans on serving seconds in our forthcoming interview?

Food Metal Site
Food Metal Facebook