2016

Music Review: Food Metal – Food Metal

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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

Music Review: Shark Infested Daughters – These Tides, Our Tombs

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Genre: Metalcore
Label: Independent

Shark Infested Daughters is a local abnormality making waves in their hometown of Calgary, Alberta. They are one of the few local bands who manage to garner as many rabid haters as devoted fans. When expressing dislike for the band, people rarely make mention if it’s the music they dislike, or if they think the members are pricks; the subjectivity of music is ignored, it’s just straight up, fuck that band.

I assume these people haven’t listened to SID since they released Reflections of the Dead (EP) in 2013, which is a unfortunate mess of unrefined vocals, misplaced guitar solos and heavy does of egregious synth abuse. SID has definitely come a long way in 3 years. Their latest release, These Tides, Our Tombs shows a far more mature sound with a multi-dimensional feel where most metalcore tends to fall flat and become monotonous. One of the most appreciated enhancements is less dramatic use of keyboards and the clean vocals taking a far more prominent role, providing a soothing break from the chaotic harsh vocals. Sticking with the typical metalcore format, the riffs are fast and heavy with more aggression and less emotion than previous releases. We are given an album that shows dedication to improvement, complete with creative, progressive riffs, intricate melodies and a cohesion not typically found in the ‘core’ genres.

Keeping in mind that this is metalcore, the album is pretty close to flawless, managing to seamlessly blend perspicacious lyrics on top of a formidable metal sound, compiled together with expert production. This is an album that has the originally to break down genre walls and create a truly diverse and dedicated fan base. A revised sound that maintains the positive elements of past releases that veteran fans know and love, compounded with enough creativity to attract a plethora of new listeners. It’s rare to find such a definitive offering from an unsigned local band, that I’d consider a shining example of everything that can go right with underground original music. If haters are a sign of success, then SID deserves them. If they have improved this much in 3 years, I’m personally very interested in seeing what washes up on shore in the next 3.

Favorite track – Hitokiri

Shark Infested Daughters embarks on a western Canadian tour starting Nov 3. You can find music and merch over on Bandcamp.

Music Review: Insomnium – Winter’s Gate

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Genre: Melodic Death
Label: Century Media

Never to be a band that rushes releases, we have seen a new album from Insomnium every couple years, with each release surpassing the former in ingenuity, most recently Shadows of the Dying Sun in 2014. This was an absolute masterpiece and instantly became my favorite album of the year, and my quintessential melodic death metal album. To follow a piece of art like that is not a small undertaking, and many bands falter after producing several albums. Following an album I considered to be perfect, I was hesitant to see if Insomnium would be able to keep going with the creativity and maintain the standard they had set. Enter Winter’s Gate, the 7th full length from the Finnish quartet, an innovate concept album that pushes the band in to a format completely new to them.

It’s not uncommon for bands to try different formats to grow their fan base but the rate of failure is depressingly high. An inability to  effectively deviate from the proven formula alienate many bands from their long time fans. Refreshingly, that’s not the case for this album, with its tale of ‘a group of Vikings setting out to find a fabled island west of Ireland, despite the treacherous winter drawing near’. Even with the new layout it remains very reminiscent of previous Insomnium albums, from speeding riffs to the gritty comforting cleans that explode into powerful dominating harsh vocals that manage to remain articulate.

As Insomnium does expertly, you get to the part where the speed and ferocity make you want to bang your head and scream along, and then the switch is flipped and a wave of calm eases you into a slower spoken bit. A slow, generous serenade, like the sun rising and hitting the morning dew, a melodic chorus paired with acoustic strumming that paint a serene picture of the utopia that the Vikings seek, gradually speeding up, thrusting you back into the characteristic death metal intensity. This album is seductive, plain and simple. From the intro to the outro, it is 40 minutes of cheek flushing, skin tingling, orgasmic beauty. Few melodic death bands manage to glide so effortlessly between  the gentle caress of the ballad and the fervent rush of thunderous drums and incredible guitar solos that just the right length, they never seem to end too soon or go on to become a hindrance. Over the course of 34 minutes you are taken on a roller coaster of emotions, following the group of Vikings on their epic sojourn. Your heart rate increases to match the drumming, an intense climax ensues during the finale of the story, after which the pacifying sounds of rain, acoustic guitars and piano lulls you to in a calm, but you’re still shivering and shaking from the euphoria. You could say I liked it.

Music Review: Shadecrown – Agonia

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Genre: Melancholic Melodic Death Metal
Label: Inverse Records

Churning out the largest number of metal bands per capita means lots of potential pouring out of Finland these days, including Shadecrown’s Agonia. They are off to a great start with this album, even though some of the elements don’t jive the best with each other. The contrast between the vocals is stark, with the growls tending to sound a little on the forced side and grating at times. When there is a break from vocals, like the beginning of “Eremohbia”, and the spotlight is only on the musicianship and the writing, you can see where Shadecrown really excels. It’s nothing complicated, nothing that breaks the mold of traditional melodic death, but it’s well done and well thought out. They have furthered subgenrefied themselves, by adding ‘melancholic’ and justly so, feeling of gloom is definitely present throughout each of the 10 songs. The sporadic use of clean vocals adds a nice touch without going overboard, although the auditory break from the raw vocals is appreciated. The main downfall is that Shadecrown lacks a bit in consistency, some songs are a great example of melodic death such as “The Ruins of Me”; a heavy, powerful track where the vocals aren’t too strained and there is a wicked guitar solo to round it out. Some of the songs, including “Walk Through Hell” and “Silent Hours” have more of a hard rock feel, bordering on thrash with a huge Iced Earth influence. While not to say it’s awful or poorly executed, I just don’t particularly like it. I thoroughly enjoy the piano and acoustic bits, especially on “Led Astray” but the vocals are too inconsistent in pattern and rhythm.

This a fairly strong debut album, I will give it that. Shadecrown has some refining to do and need to perfect their individual sound a bit more, but they are definitely on the right track.

Favorite Track: “Led Astray”

News: Eye of Horus Unveil New Album Art and Title, Announce CD Release Party

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Edmonton’s death metal legion Eye of Horus have been working on a new EP, and they are ready to unleash it upon the world. Entitled Obsidian, the EP features for new songs and will be ensconced in beautiful artwork by Frederico Musetti, who did their last album’s artwork as well as art for Unbirth, the Everzone game, and more.

According to Facebook, the tracklisting for Obsidian is as follows:

1) The Nithing
2) Unsolemn
3) A Tome Writ In Blood
4) Death Flourished In A Withered Grove

The EP will be officially released on December 3, 2016 with a CD release party at Mercury Room, Edmonton. Presented by Crown of Viserys, the show will bring Edmonton’s Storm Horizon and Skepsis together with Calgary’s Exit Strategy, and of course Eye of Horus, to bring the walls of the Mercury Room down.

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Crown of Viserys on Patreon

News: Crown of Viserys Premiers Blasphemer’s “You Are Nothing” Music Video

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I’m extremely proud to say that Crown of Viserys is premiering the new music video from Italy’s Blasphemer. The song comes from the album Ritual Theophagy, out October 14 from Comatose Music.

The whole album is in this vein. This is such dirty, gross, disgusting death metal. It’s like running with a gun in your hand with no safety on and your finger is on the trigger. And the gun is pointed at your face. There are honestly times where I begin to tire with new releases in death metal, but Blasphemer are making me realize what it is I love about the genre. And this isn’t the first time an Italian band has rejuvenated my love of death metal.

So sit back with a beer, and enjoy Blasphemer‘s new video.

News: Bestir Release Lyric Video for “The Bewildered Herd”

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One of Edmonton’s newest grind bands is Bestir, and very quickly they are making their name known. Consisting of members of Death Toll Rising, The Dead Cold, and others, Bestir are a “doom infused grind”, and after checking out some of their material, I’d say that’s a rather accurate representation. Check out their track “The Bewildered Herd” below and tell me what you think in the comments, and see them live in Edmonton on August 19th at Mercury Room and in Calgary on August 20th at Overtime, both shows supporting Idolatry.

Crown of Viserys on Patreon