Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Suffocation Live!

Last night saw a very healthy turn out at the Underworld to witness a 5 band bill headlined by the New York death metal legends, Suffocation with support from Annotations of an Autopsy, Nervecell, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Burning The Masses.

It was my first time seeing the 'Suffos' and as I like to break my duck with bands and this bill was interesting enough for me to venture forth once again into the fiery depths of the Underworld.

First of all a Chicken Shish was called for in the kebab shop opposite then death fuckin' metal!

Burning The Masses came on. I know a little bit about this Cali deathcore mob. I am not a fan of deathcore at all but these guys are ok but still not my cuppa. Songs consist of widdle-roar-chug-scream-widdle-chug-roar and repeat till your blue in the face. The guitarists surely can play damn well but I'm not a fan and the sound didn't help them either.

Fleshgod Apocalypse came on finally after some technical problems with the monitors they finally launched into regular death metal. No deathcore in this band at all. Live they sound like Morbid Angel a lot. They have decent catchy riffs going on and got a real solid response from the crowd. I think I actually preferred them on record than live but once again the rather muddy sound didn't help matters. What was notable was a cover of At The Gates' Fear only 3 songs into the set which was a bit odd but was probably the best song they played. Solid but a little bit faceless.

Nervecell all the way from Dubai. These guy fucking nailed it and then some. Their sounds was much tighter and the way they play their riffs is very cool and tight with a thick groovy sound. The big front man thanked the crowd a lot and once again a great response. Their songs are damn catchy for a death metal band with plenty of cool riffs. They played a great cover of Bolt Thrower's Where Next to Conquer which is an awesome song in itself but the good thing was their own material did not disappoint next to that classic.

Annotations of an Autopsy - Uk's most brutal and heaviest death metal band. Lots of joviality and football banter from the gurning front man pre the gig starting as they readied themselves on stage. Lots of inner circle on stage banter then finally they played and what a set! Heavy grinding death metal with big chuggy riffs interspersed with speedier sections. Their earlier songs are more deathcore in nature and less to my taste but their new songs crush. The stage was overtaken by stage divers and mic grabbers at one point with everyone singing the final song and stage diving. The song Impale the Sun is just a massive highlight from these local boys. They played with huge smiles on their faces and as the front man said it was the best show they have ever played.

Suffocation - Finally it was time for the Suffos to hit the stage and lay waste. The sound was amazing for them from my vantage point I must admit. Not massively loud so that it crushed my ears but very crisp and good separation. I can't say I am a huge suffo fan at all and I wouldn't say I recognise even one song even but damn they played well. So tight and technical it's untrue and the sound made them even better. The wisecracking jester front man with more face pulls than you can shake a stick at, was hellishly fun to look at when doing his hand gestures in time to the music and his funny faces. As he introduced each song the packed Underworld went into spasms with outbursts of severe moshing and stage diving. There wasn't a wasted second in this set despite the bass player having a few technical problems which slowed the set down at one point. Derek the little dreadlocked guitarist was mental all night - like a whirling dervish spitting forth jagged tech riffs with great groove and style all whilst headbanging like a maniac with a big shit eating grin on his face. Finally at 11pm it was all over and the packed crowd was all Suffo-ed out. I am not a massive fan of Suffocation on record but live I was totally amazed. The songs just spring to life and the intensity with which they deliver these herculean, beastly tunes is not to be underestimated by any means. Now I know why Suffocation has the legendary tag!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Faves list for 2010 so far

A list of my favourite albums of the year so far.

Annotations Of An Autopsy - The Reign Of Darkness
Heavy death from the UK. They look deathcore and used to be deathcore but this album is plain killer. Heavy brutal and grindingly midpaced yet catchy to boot.

Arkaik - Reflections Within Dissonance
Top class technical death brutality.

Astral Doors - Requiem Of Time
Great stuff as usual. Some corking rock tunes with vocals from Vallhalla!

Dark Tranquillity - We Are The Void.
Some people are disappointed. Sounds like regular top quality DT to me with slightly more black metal or darker influence in places. Production also seems less clear or crisp and more atmospheric.

Dawn Of Demise - A Force Unstoppable
Clinical death metal with very precise production.

Dream Evil - In The Night
Just brilliant heavy metal fun!

Fear Factory - Mechanize
Possibly as good as Demanufacture for me.

Fozzy - Chasing The Grail
Love Rich Ward's chunky riffs. Took me a while to get into this but now I'm a fan.

Gamma Ray - To The Metal!
Some great pm tunes from the Rays as usual and some so so ones.

Heidevolk - Uit Oude Grond
Heavy authentic folk metal. Quite serious sounding rather than jolly. Something in this album just rocks.

Human Temple - Murder of Crows
Melodic rock lushness to the max. Lep this stuff all day and night.

Jack Slater - Extinction Aftermath
Yeah top class tech death from the band named after the Last Action Hero character!

Kalmah - 12 Gauge
Kalmah normally always delivers top class melodeath with keys and riffs galore. This is no exception.

Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of Orwarrior
Not a massive fan but this is always an epic and intriguing listen.

Overkill - Ironbound
I think the whole metal community is having one almighty jizzfest over this so who am I to argue. Cocks out!

Rage - Strings to a web
My fave disk so far this year. Purely amazed by the guitar riffs and solos from Viktor who is on smoking hot form on this release. Plus the catchiness of the tunes is immense from the veteran Krauts. Peavy uber alles!

Sarcolytic - Thee Arcane Progeny
Usual clinical brutal tech death. Good stuff.

Sinbreed - When Worlds Collide
New top class pm band with heavy production and great vocals. A really top notch debut!

Sunrise - Trust Your Soul
Ukranian Strato Arctica copy. Who can deny humming these tunes under your breath? (whaddya mean all of you!)

Sworn Amongst - Severance.
Very young heavy modern UK thrash. Great punchy riffs with thunderous raw production.

Versailles - Jubilee
You may hate them but the band is just amazingly talented musically speaking and very ambitious in their grandiose OTT arrangements, buzzard in all!

White Wizzard - Over The Top
Well if you're gonna copy a legend at least do it well and WW do it better than many!

Wig Wam - Non Stop Rock and Roll.
Norwegian glam rock popsters with another hokfilled bunch of tunes.

Winter's Verge - Tales of Tragedy. Cool heavy power metal from Cyprus. Produced by Lia from Mystic Prophecy so killer sound guaranteed. Singer is weak link but he's kinda acceptable/quirky and sometimes sounds like King Diamond.

Heavenly - Carpe Diem. More Queen inspired epic power metal from the French combo. Virus maybe a little better but Carpe Diem kicks loads of ass in it's own right. A very late 2009 release and too late to make that list so it goes in the 2010 list.

Well there's been more than these but these are the most notable ones for me.

Royal Hunt - X. I mean it's good and would be acceptable for most bands but this is RH (a killer band) and I expect catchier tunes with better melodies after the last album which was plain awesome. Maybe I need to work a bit harder with this one though.

JO's Pain - Festival. Again acceptable but I can't really get into any latter day Oliva disk. I'm more or less out after HOTMK barring a few songs here and there.

Eluveitie - Everything Remains As it Never Was.
Unexciting follow up to the great last album. That acoustic album slowed all the great momentum down IMO.

Charred Walls of the Damned - st.
First song is real good then it just gets boring after that. The production is also as clear as mud which is more than half the problem for me.

Top 5 as it stands
5. Versailles - Jubilee
4. Heavenly - Carpe Diem
3. Astral Doors - Requiem of Time
2. Dream Evil - In the Night
1. Rage - Strings to a Web

Forthcoming challengers are Wuthering Heights - SALT and Sabaton's new disk Coat of Arms which will make huge waves both. Kamelot's effort better be better than Ghost Opera. Scorpions - Sting in the Tail is hopefully as good as Humanity: Hour 1. Cathedral - The Guessing Game should get my head nodding. Let's see what Avantasia can deliver in their 2 albums. Masterplan - Time to be King with Jorn back on the mic promises great things and will surely deliver as you can't really go wrong when you have Jorn singing in your band. Axel Rudi Pell - The Crest is a no brainer guarantee of a good time if you like melodic rock/metal with awesome vocals. The big cheesefest Rhapsody of Fire comeback is building some momentum. Grand Magus - Hammer of the North promises majestic power doom from the title alone. On heavier realms the new Nevermore album should crush and Exodus' Exhibit B should get heads banging. Manowar's Hammer of the Gods will finally be released you cheesehounds! Finally The Final Frontier will be released and hopefully it's good and possibly a fitting end for the Irons!