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
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Music Review: Norselaw – Serpent in the Circling Sea

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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!

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

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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.

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Music Review: Abjection Ritual – Futility Rites

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Genre: Dark Ambient, Nightmare Fuel
Label: Malignant Records

Do you want to have an awful night? If so, listen to Abjection Ritual’sFutility Rites‘ while you’re alone. My night went from me being bored beyond belief to the point of going, “Man, it’s been so long since I wrote a review, I should dust off the ol’ ‘In’ pile and see who I owe muchas disculpas to,” to jumping at every sound in the apartment that, before listening to ‘Futility Rites‘, I could identify as the refrigerator, the cat, the other cat and the stupid pipe that rattles under the floor whenever someone in our apartment row flushes their toilet…

After having my optimism obliterated, my self-esteem shish-kababed and my dreams dashed on the sonic rocks laid out by Abjection Ritual (three tracks in, which has got to be some kind of spirit breaking speed record), the malnourished nihilist side of me began to dig for scraps. It was hungry. It wanted more ‘Futility Rites‘. It had to dig past a unpleasant layer or two before it could feast, however.

It’s mostly just the vocals. They were great at shaking me up a bit when I first encountered them (my notes read “Raw. Fucking. Hatred.”), but they began to wear on me as the album progressed. I enjoyed the occasional soundbite from the odd televangelist (and the heart attack from “Objects of Wrath”) as well as the tonal respite that came with “Cum Immersion”, probably the least threatening, though still unnerving track offered.

If I haven’t made this clear yet, allow me to be blunt; this album is the very definition of intensity. To listen is to jump head first into the deep end of the derelict, dark ambient/death ambient pool. But in the end, if you have the emotional and mental fortitude, the “Entropic Embrace” of “Futility Rites” will welcome you into the “Tabernacle of Teeth and Tongues”…

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News: Warfather to Release The Grey Eminence through Greyhaze Records in September

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Warfather has announced a September 16 release date on Greyhaze Records for sophomore album The Grey Eminence. Featuring Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel fame, Warfather‘s highly anticipated follow-up to debut album Orchestrating the Apocalypse was produced by death metal icon and studio wizard Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel).

The collaboration marks the first time Tucker and Rutan have worked together since Morbid Angel‘s Gateways to Annihilation. Tucker had this to say about the results:

“I am extremely excited for the release of The Grey Eminence. I feel that this album is one of the best things that I have ever been a part of! Erik Rutan did an amazing job on the production and the songs speak for themselves!”

Erik Rutan added:

“Recording with Steve and the guys on the new Warfather album has been fantastic! It has been a blast to be working on this monster album in the studio once again with my great friend and former band mate. The songs are heavy as hell and just outright awesome. We have some great tones and performances.”

Warfather - The Grey Eminence

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News: Necronomicon Announce Okkultis in Canada Tour with Abiotic and Vesperia

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Canadian blackened death masters Necronomicon have announced their first headlining Canadian tour in support of their newest album Advent of the Human God, a tour that will continue down into the USA as support for the mighty Marduk. Read the Crown of Viserys review of Advent of the Human God here.

The Okkultis in Canada tour will take Necronomicon across the country, dragging Abiotic and Vesperia along the blackened way. A few days later Necronomicon will join Marduk, Rotting Christ, and Carach Angren in Florida to crisscross the USA with select Canadian dates for Marduk‘s Frontschwein tour in September.

Necronomicon - Okkultis in Canada Tour 2016

The Okkultis in Canada Tour 2016:
8/4 – Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
8/5 – St. Catherines, ON @ Detour Music Hall
8/6 – Windsor, ON @ Windsor Beer Exchange
8/7 – London, ON @ Call The Office
8/9 – Sudbury, ON @ The Asylum
8/12 – Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks
8/13 – Brandon, MA @ North Hill Inn
8/14 – Winnipeg, MA @ The Park Theatre
8/15 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
8/16 – Lethbridge, AB @ Inferno Nightclub
8/17 – Edmonton, AB @ Filthy’s
8/18 – Kelowna, BC @ Muninn’s Post
8/20 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
8/21 – Prince George, BC @ Generator Cabaret
8/22 – Calgary, AB @ Distortion
8/23 – Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brian’s Event Centre
8/26 – Timmins, ON @ The Working Class
8/27 – Oshawa, ON @ The Atria

Marduk - Frontschwein Tour 2016

The Frontschwein Tour 2016:
09/02 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
09/03 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
09/04 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
09/05 – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
09/06 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
09/07 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
09/08 – Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
09/09 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
09/10 – Columbus, OH @ Al Rosa Villa
09/11 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
09/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
09/13 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
09/14 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre
09/16 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
09/17 – Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
09/18 – Portland, OR @ Bossanova Ballroom
09/19 – Oakland, CA @ Metro Opera House
09/20 – Las Vegas, NV @ LVCS
09/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater
09/22 – Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
09/23 – El Paso, TX @ Mesa Music Hall
09/24 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
09/25 – Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog Bar

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Music Review: Cloak – Self-Titled EP

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Genre: Progressive Doom
Label: Boris Records

Coming from Atlanta, Georgia, Cloak is a four-piece band with a very short list of output. One self-titled demo was released in 2015 after a very secretive writing and recording process, which led to some well-received shows. This self-titled EP is only their second release. The recording began on Halloween 2015 at Rising Tide Studios, and will be available through Boris Records on June 20.

As the self-titled demo is not on Bandcamp, I cannot compare the EP to it. So I’ll try to just wing it with these two tracks. The first song, “In the Darkness, the Path”, a driving opening riff that strongly reminds me of Moonspell sets the tone, with vocals that carry it further forward to soon join in. The bass is strongly mixed in, the drums pounding, and guitar solos pull you through the mire of mixed influences. It’s got a seriously grooving rhythm that bangs the head and pounds the fists on tables. I can guarantee this song is going to be a massive live hit, getting the whole crowd involved.

The second song, “The Hunger”, is a slower groove, a deeper pit of depressing doomy gothic metal. Still very much in the Moonspell tradition, bringing the newer sounds of their Alpha Noire/Omega White album with parts of Wolfheart and Irreligous, while dropping in some Tiamat and less industrialized Crematory.

When listing the genre above, I should probably have put gothic metal instead of progressive doom, but the reality is that despite the EP being full of gothic metal influence, it is still a very doomy EP, a very old school doom in the vein of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, that kind of doom. And to put it as Gothic Doom, one’s first thought would probably go towards bands like Draconian, who I can’t hear even slightly in this EP. The ultimate reality is, however, that Cloak have done what they intended to do: to release music that skirts around description, to have it’s sound be somewhat indescribable. Hopefully they release a second EP or full length soon, because I doubt these two tracks are going to satisfy fans for long. I’m already waiting with baited breath, and this isn’t even technically out yet.

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