Genre: Food Metal
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?
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
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”