Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Album Review: Sorrows Path - "The Rough Path of Nihilism"

It's not often I get to review some doom metal here on Needs More Noise Gate, and now that I get to, I'm excited because I've always been a fan of the classic '70s doom sounds of Black Sabbath, Pentagram and the like. Over recent years, doom has expanded and included drone, stoner, and gothic metal/ rock stylings (among other genres). While I'm a big fan of stoner doom (a la Electric motherfucking Wizard) and I enjoy a bit of drone doom here and there (a la Sunn O)))), I've never really taken to any other of the sub-genres. I've got an open invitation for any bands to change my mind, and so far none have. Enter Sorrows Path.


Sorrows Path hails from Greece, and they've been around for almost twenty years now (November 2013 would mark their anniversary). They've toured and gigged around for many, many years and they released their first full length in 2006 entitled Ressurection. Their newest album, The Rough Path of Nihilism is their latest offering from 2010, and they have plans to release another album sometime this year.

These dudes play a style of doom that I'm pretty unfamiliar with. To me it sounds like a mash-up of classic '70s inspired doom and small bouts of Dream Theater progginess. Think Pentagram riffs, James LaBrie vocals, odd time signatures, and over-the-top theatrics. It's charismatic, but still sullen and dark, which makes for an interesting combination that I don't think I've ever really heard before. I'm still on the fence about how I feel about their sound as a whole, because while there are definitely some great moments on The Rough Path, I find a lot of it eye-rollingly cheesy.

This isn't cheesy in the sense that Cannibal Corpse lyrics almost mock themselves in how crude they are, but cheesy in the sense that Sorrows Path sounds like they're trying too hard to be dark in the same way a 12 year old Slipknot fan acts and thinks that he's the toughest shit in the world. I apologize to Sorrows Path and their fans. No band should ever be compared to pre-teen nu metal fans. That's just plain mean and I'm sorry, but I digress. Underwhelming lyrics and bombastic vocal performances like something out of DragonForce or Sabaton really drive home a really heavy goth feeling for me, and it's one that I'm not terribly impressed with.

The music is, for the most part, pretty enjoyable on The Rough Path. They've nailed a solid modern doom sound with the heavy and mid-to-slow paced riffs and beats, tossing in some twisty curveballs your way in the form of unexpected proggy riffs and the occasional set of strings or synth. While the use of strings are nothing new in metal, they add to the sound nicely when they're used behind the band, but they only further the cheese when they're brought to the foreground.

The vocals, as I said, are very bombastic. They soar above everything else whenever they come into the mix, which isn't a bad thing in itself. Vocalist Angelos' tone makes him sound like he should be fronting a power metal or NWoBHM band rather than a doom one. Unfortunately, whenever he goes to hit his high notes, he either really sounds like he's stuggling and his vocals lose their oomph, or he just fails to hit them entirely. The verses of the album opener "All Love is Lost" are almost painful for me to get through, and there are a few other cringeworthy moments on the album as well. Angelos hits his low and mid pitches notes perfectly, but it's just those tricky upper register ones that I find he has trouble with.

On a Playlist With: The darker Dream Theater material, Lacuna Coil

Overall Score

2.5

The Rough Path of Nihilism has it's flaws. It indulges in itself a little too often and there are some rough patches with some of the vocal work, but in the end, it's not an awful album. I can see any fan of gothic music or anyone who even takes to more theatrical side of power metal finding a lot of enjoyment out of Sorrows Path, but unfortunately I'm not one of those people. Essentially, I wouldn't rush to see these guys play live, but I probably wouldn't turn their music off if it came on the radio.

The Rough Path of Nihilism is out on Rock It Up Records. If you're interested, you can check out Sorrows Path on Facebook, MySpace, or their personal website.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Album Review: Yattai - "Fast Music Means Love"

A couple weeks ago I reviewed Yattai's discography spanning compilation 50 Love Hymns for Grindheads, and I absolutely loved itYattai has got a new LP coming out early spring of this year called Fast Music Means Love. Let's dive straight into this bitch.


I'm not going to introduce the band again, because you can just click that link in the last paragraph and read the little blurb I made about them before I reviewed their compilation.

It's funny that, considering this is the band's first full length album (to my knowledge, at least) I wasn't concerned that the quality of their material would have deteriorated or that they would have thrown a complete curve ball at me. After powering through the 50 song compilation which consisted of around 7 years worth of material, I knew Yattai were really comfortable and consistent with their sound. Fast Music keeps along with the blasting chaos that we've come to know and love from these Angoulême based grinders.

Musically, Fast Music is just that: fast music. There are blast beats galore, million-mile-an-hour guitar riffs, and songs as short as 11 seconds on this album. The musicianship is as awesome as it ever has been with these guys, and they've managed to up the amount of catchy riffs and memorable passages without sacrificing their ear-crushing brutality. Unlike most grind bands that throw in catchier bits into their music, Yattai can make both the slower (I use that term loosely) and the cripplingly fast parts as memorable as all hell.

The production on Fast Music is much better than that on any of the releases featured on 50 Love Hymns. Everything sounds much clearer and more defined, but still has a raw edge to it. This album still has a claustrophobic, live sound much like their older material, with everything sounding like Yattai are grinding away right in front of you. That live element is something I really loved about their older material, and I'm really glad they were able to preserve it for this LP.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Fuck the Faxe, Fast and Furious 3 (Angoulême Thrashcore), Everything but Friendship

On a Playlist With: Wormrot, Assück, Faxe

Overall Score

4.5

Yattai have done it again. Top notch grindcore for any fan of the genre. Fast Music Means Love is a complete overload of grinding blasts, ear wrenching vocals, and nauseating guitar riffs. Call me what you'd like, but I think Fast Music Means Love is going to be one of 2013's best grind albums.

Fast Music Means Love is going to come out on Douchebags Records, Underground Pollution Records, and like, a zillion other different labels. It's going to be a 1-sided LP with graffiti on the non-grooved side. Yeah, it's going to be bomb as fuck. Yattai has a Bandcamp page with some of their splits as well as this full length, and you can check out their Facebook page here.

That's all for now, folks! Keep on grinding in the free world.

-DG

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rad Alert: Code Orange Kids

Rad Alert is where I share something that I think is pretty rad with all y'all. For those who remember my That's Pretty Rad, Bro column that never got past its first couple posts, it's pretty much the same thing with a shorter title. Yay!

Many of you know Converge. I mean, even readers who aren't familiar with them know All We Love We Leave Behind was my favorite album of 2012. Jacob Bannon of Converge started a record label many moons ago called Deathwish Inc., which is where he gets to host a wide range of awesome hardcore bands. One of these awesome hardcore bands is none other than Code Orange Kids who released their debut Love is Love // Return to Dust last year. I know, I know, Code Orange Kids are sooooooo 2012, but whatever. I think they're fuckin' rad, ergo, they deserve a spot on Rad Alert.


Check 'em out on Farcebook and at Deathwish.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Album Review: Chapel of Disease - "Summoning Black Gods"

We all love death metal. That's a fact. If you don't like death metal, I understand where you're coming from, but you're wrong and I hate you. These past couple years have been fantastic for us death metal enthusiasts, with bands that push the modern sound even further, and bands that do nothing but play Death/ Asphyx/ Morgoth worshipping old school death metal. We hold the '80s and '90s bands we've come to love close to our hearts and it's a damn shame they're not around anymore (Death), or that they're just fucking with their fans by releasing complete atrocities (I'm looking at you, Morbid Angel). Fortunately for us though, we've got a new generation of bands that are bursting forth from the grave to deliver rotten, putrid death metal to our ears, and wouldn't you know it: Chapel of Disease is one of those bands.


Chapel of Disease is a German death metal band formed only back in 2008. It took a while for them to get things rolling, but they managed to pump out their original demo tapes and their first full length Summoning Black Gods in 2012 while signing to FDA Rekotz in between. Chapel of Disease is a band that focuses on what made late '80s death metal so freaking awesome. Catchy riffs, wailing, throaty vocals, and high tempo songs with soul-crushingly slow and doomy bridges. Here, the band is more focused on writing evil sounding, hook-laden songs rather than trying to be the heaviest or most brutal band on the planet.

The guitar riffs sound primal and thrashy, with tons of tremolo picked riffs and crushing power chords ripping their way across your speakers. Guitarists Laurent and Cedric's twin riffing attack uses thick tones, heavy distortion, and lots of chromaticism. It's like Death's Leprosy and Possessed's Seven Churches made sweet, sweet decrepit love and nine months later, out popped Summoning Black Gods. The solos are totally late '80s era inspired too, where small melodic passages are tossed in with chaotic thrash metal shredding to create some seriously addicting stuff. While neither Laurent nor Cedric are this new generation's Chuck Schuldiner (the man is a fuckin' legend), they can still bust out some fretburning, face-melting guitar work when they need to.

Laurent's vocals are probably the biggest throwback to OSDM on this album. Yeah, drummer David can double kick the shit out of his kit and d-beat with the best of them, just like the good old days, but Laurent captures the pre-90s death metal rasp perfectly. Most new-era OSDM vocalists go for Frank Mullen (Suffocation) or Chris Barnes (ex-Cannibal Corpse) style guttural lows, so it's really exciting to not only hear someone deliver these often-neglected mid-to-high pitched growls, but to hear them do it so well.

Production also (as expected) keeps in style with the old school feel of the band and album. Think a cleaner version of Spiritual Healing. Things are still raw and wild, but you can hear all the instruments perfectly, and there is no ear piercing treble or muddy bass to be found anywhere in the mix.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Summoning Black Gods, Exili's Heritage, The Loved Dead

On a Playlist With: Your uncle's old underground death metal tapes from 1988.

Overall Score

4.0

Chapel of Disease is a horrible, filthy monster of a death metal band that looks back to the genre's roots. Summoning Black Gods sounds like it came straight out of 1987, right alongside Severed Survival, Master, and the like. If you've any space in your cold, black, unforgiving heart for another death metal band, make it Chapel of Disease.

You can pick up Summoning Black Gods from FDA Rekotz and Give Praise Records, and you can check out the band's Bookface page here.

That's all for now, folks! Trample the weak, hurdle the dead.

-DG

Album Review: Vengeance - "2011 Demo"

Remember my review of the Faxe/ Grunt Grunt split? Yeah I know, it was so long ago. Well, Bert, the guitarist of Grunt Grunt contacted me about his other band Vengeance, which he plays bass in. They released a twelve track demo back in 2011, and as much as I wasn`t a fan of Grunt Grunt, I'm really glad he introduced me to his other band.


Vengeance plays a style of powerviolence similar to bands like Despise You or Water Torture. Quick, devastating songs that sound like 80s hardcore on steroids, more focused on delivering moshpit levels of chaotic energy than on clean production, technicality, or variety. Vengeance is moshing music for moshing people, and it doesn't give a shit whether you like it or not.

What jumps out at you first from this demo is the use of three (!) vocalists. Two dedicated vocalists, Marie and Thomas belt out most of the throat shredding vocals, and drummer Tibo jumps in too whenever he can. Honestly, I'm not sure which voice belongs to Thomas and which one to Tibo, but both dudes a responsible for some dirty as fuck screams. Marie is also an awesome vocalist here, because since every woman in a hardcore band and their mothers are trying to be the new Kat Katz nowadays, we don't get many female vocalists you just yell their fucking hearts out. We get women busting out guttural squeals and old school death metal growls, and that's what's making them sound like everyone else. It's really refreshing to hear Marie bring some powerful female punk vocals into the mix.

The songs switch between fast and really fuckin' fast, with tons of blast beats, d-beats, and thrash beats pushing them along to the sweet riffing. Vengeance aren't reinventing or innovating hardcore/ powerviolence riffage here, but they strike a great balance between over the top chaos and headbangable grooves which adds up to a wicked 10 minutes. Yeah, this demo is only 10 minutes long with 12 songs crammed on to it, but these guys and gal have managed to keep things consistently interesting and entertaining for its entire running time.

One last thing I need to say is that I'm actually really impressed with the production work. Considering it's just a demo, everything sounds thick as fuck, evenly mixed and pretty damn clear. I don't know how or where they recorded this demo, but it sounds awesome.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Vengeance, In Front of the Wall, Kill Yourself and Die

On a Playlist With: Water Torture, Despise You, (new) Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Overall Score

4.0

Vengeance's 2011 demo is the aural equivalent of being beat over the face with a bag full of bricks. It's some high-caliber powerviolence for any fan of hardcore, grindcore, or punching holes in the walls. I'm definitely going to try and keep my eye on them in case they drop any splits or EPs anytime soon.

You can check out Vengeance on their Bandcamp and download their demo for free.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Friday, January 25, 2013

Split Review: Faxe/ Grunt Grunt - "Hate Us or Die/ Merguezbollah"

I've never done a split review here on NMNG, and what better time to start than now? For those of you who don't know, a split is just an album or EP where more than one band plays. Usually, each band takes roughly the same amount of time on the split, so a two way split would see each band playing half of the total album's duration. For the purpose of reviewing, I'll be taking a look at each section individually, similar to the double reviews I've done in the past.

Faxe - Hate Us or Die



Faxe is a Paris based six-piece (!) crust/ grind band that are all about drinking, fucking around, more drinking, moshing, and not giving a fuck. They've got 6 songs in just under 7 minutes on Hate Us or Die with speeds and styles ranging between molassesy sludge and punch-holes-in-the-wall grind.

Guitars and bass a raw and punchy, with crusty and hardcore riffs pounding at your head non-stop on this side of the split. The riffs are nothing new, but they're simple, catchy, and get they job done. There are a couple moments, like in the bass bridge of "Bliss" and the small solo of "Cripple Fight" that just scream classic hardcore punk, too. The vocals are probably my favorite part of the whole band, with vocalists Mathieu and Wladmir switching off between a blend of crust with old school hardcore vocals and classic raspy grind shrieks and screams.

The guys in Faxe don't take themselves too seriously and have a ton of fun with their music. Song titled "Streching Your Anus With A Can Between Friends Doesn't Make You Gay Pt. 2" and "Guitar Players Suck" crop up, a six second track, reminiscent of Napalm Death's "You Suffer" shows up immediately after the former, and I completely lose it every time for the sample used at the beginning of "Cripple Fight".




Congratulations, Faxe. You win.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Bliss, Guitar Players Suck, Cripple Fight

Overall Score

4.0

Hate Us or Die is the soundtrack to you and your punk buddies slamming back Jager and whisky all night. Faxe have shined a much-needed easygoing light on crust punk and have made some damn good music to boot.
Grunt Grunt - Merguezbollah


Grunt Grunt are a more straightforward grind band from Angouleme, similar to their grindmates Yattai. Much like Faxe, you can tell these guys don't take themselves too seriously, which much like Faxe, helps make Merguezbollah as entertaining as it is.

The music is great: 10 grinding songs in under 7 minutes, with blast beats and some pretty sweet riffs, but there are a couple moments of vocal jackassery that make me cringe every time I listen to them. The low vocals a sick as fuck, being as heavy as the guttural death metal band. The high pitched wails though, I can barely stand. The two styles are mixed relatively evenly across Merguezbollah, and even though I do love the music and the low vocals, it's just the higher pitched screaming that kind of kills it for me. They sound forced and unkempt, with the vocalist more intent on making a harsh noise than a good vocal tone. Maybe you'll love this guy's vocals, I don't know. All I know is he reminds me of Jim Carey circa 1994.


Bomb-Ass Tracks: Uhh, I'm not sure, they're all untitled and have no defined order.

Overall Score

2.0

I hate to give Grunt Grunt a low score, but those vocals just distract me too much from the music to enjoy it all properly. I'd be okay with maybe a couple tracks like this on a 20 or 30 track full length grind album, but with every single one of the 10 tracks on Merguezbollah having these vocals, I'd be lying if I told you I'd be coming back to this side of the split often.

You guys can check out Faxe on are their different social media platforms here: Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Bandcamp. I've been informed that Grunt Grunt don't have any pages, so you'll just have to fly to Angouleme to go catch 'em live yourself.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bandcamp Chronicles: Vol. 1

Bandcamp is an awesome site. It lets artists host their music to stream for free, and lets them sell (or give away) digital copies of their music as well as physical CDs, vinyl, or other merch. Bandcamp is stupid easy to use (even I use it), and keeps the musician's focus where it should be: on the music. Anyways, I'm not here to slobber over Bandcamp itself, but over some awesome artists I've found on Bandcamp. I'll try to briefly introduce the artists and then get straight to shutting the fuck up so you can check out their pages and let their music do the talking.

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GRINDCORE KARAOKE

Well, this actually isn't a band, but a record label run by none other than Agoraphobic Nosebleed's J. Randall. It's a label for tons of grindcore, harsh noise and powerviolence, but there are a couple unexpected releases hosted on it including Moose Children and the ever controversial Death Grips. There's a whole shit ton of stuff here, you can easily spend hours upon hours looking through different bands and albums.

The best part? Every single one of the releases on Grindcore Karaoke are free. Check it out here. Don't forget to click their logo at the top to check out even more titles!

BLACK MASK

This is some awesome rap, emceed by Maulskull. The beats are unique, the lyrics are great, and Maulskull has unbelievable flow. There are some sketch tracks on the album, similar to old school rap groups like Wu-Tang Clan, but unlike the older stuff, I find these sketches absolutely hilarious.

The album Us and Them is free on Bandcamp, or you can pick up two CDs for $10.

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Check out these mofos and let me know what you think! If you find any other sweet Bandcamp artists, don't hesitate to let me know!

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Track: "Despite All My Rage, I Am Still Just Nicholas Cage"



Don't do drugs, kids.

-DG

EP Review: Haut&Court - "La Vie"

Alright! That's enough of the soft stuff; let's get back to good old face-rippingly heavy shit! I'm gonna cut right to the chase here: I have some wicked crust punk for you guys today. Haut&Court.


Haut&Court (here on in referred to as H&C) are a young crust band from Strasbourg, France. By "young" I mean young. They're only a matter of months old, having formed sometime in June of 2012. Even then, they've been together for around only around six months, and they've already got an EP under their belts.

H&C are a bit more involved than your standard crust/ hardcore band. They fuse in mathcore-esque odd time signatures and dissonace into their music like nobody's business, all without making things too inaccessible or unlistenable. Instead of that, the math elements add a nice, fresh character to the bands traditional crust punk sound.

Musically, things are as crushing and brutal, as is expected. Thick, heavily distorted guitars blare out with riffs whose notes collide and bleed into each other as well as quick technical passages that really catch you by surprise. The riffs are generally simple but memorable; the classic "caveman" style of playing popularized by S.O.D.'s Scott Ian. There is actually no bassist in H&C, which is absolutely mindblowing, because their guitarist, Bernard has dialed in an absolutely killer tone. It's thick and rich enough that it covers up all the sonic space that most guitarists leave open for their bassists to fill, without making the guitar sound like a bunch of wet farts. I have no idea what amps and pedals that he uses, but holy shit is he using them right.

The drumming is something I find a lot of enjoyment out of on La Vie. Drummer Ravind keeps things chugging along between mid paced madness and high octane fury. He can turn on a dime, starting and stopping for those couple jerky riffs that pop up here and there. He can shred with the best of them too, cranking out breakneck blasts and wicked double bass across the album, as well as the ever popular D-beat, a drum beat guilty of causing worldwide moshalepsy.

The vocals are really something interesting for me. While most bands that play hardcore or some offshoot/ subgenre of hardcore usually change up the music but keep the traditional hardcore vocals, Arnaud sounds like he's got a hybrid voice between Jacob Bannon of Converge's lowest growls and a late '80s death metal  vocalist. It's a really punishing combo that makes for some absolutely awesome vocals.

Production is as expected on an album this crusty. Everything is warm, thick, and rough around the edges. The guitars and drums sound massive, as do the vocals, which is really impressive on Arnaud's part, because I can't hear any layering or multi-tracking to his vocal lines.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Let it Burst, Colision, Wasted Time for Wasted Minds

On a Playlist With: Gaza, Barlow, Converge's heaviest material

Overall Score

4.0

In Haut&Court's incredibly small time together, they've managed to make a brutal, skull-crushing EP. La Vie beats the shit out of your ears with it's filthy crust punk attitude and keeps you on your toes with it's little bouts of mathcore chaos.

Visit Haut&Court on Bandcamp, Facebook, and Twitter.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Album Review: Corner Organs: Off - "Song & Wine"

Many of you know that I dig my dreamy shoegaze/ psychedelic music as much as I dig all the screaming and blast beating and noise of all that crazy metal shit I listen to. As some of you also may have noticed from the recent increase of independent or small-label bands being reviewed here, I'm also a big fan of the DIY scene. If there's any non-metal type of music that really fits in perfectly with the DIY attitude, it's neo-psychedelia.


Corner Organs: Off, herein called just Corner Organs, is a DIY psychedelic project founded by The Wides' guitarist Adam LeDrew back in 2005. Apparently there's like, a bajillion other members according to their Facebook page, but I'm assuming they're all artists who have contributed various sounds on all three of Corner Organ's releases which have been mainly driven by LeDrew's creative prowess.

Predominantly, Corner Organs is a rock band. Guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals are really the only instruments used on Song & Wine, and with the guitars ranging between a beautiful chorus laden, reverb-y rhythm tones to nice, saturated, overdriven lead tones. There are guitar leads that take on the obvious role of soloing over the rest of the track, but there are also many leads that are hidden beneath the many layers of music. Most of the psychedelic sounds don't come from unconventional equipment or instruments, but rather, a mastery of guitar effects and processing. Things can get trippy and completely engulfing to the point where you realize you've just been sitting down and staring at your computer screen for half an hour just listening to this album when you should have been reviewing it.

The opening track "All There Is" is a hazy, slow track, with what sounds like an ever so slightly out of tune guitar playing simple finger picked riffs and chords while vocals float off in the distance beneath a layer of distortion and organs. Things pick up right after with the bluesy and upbeat "Mini-Wall", which features some    Southern-fried slide guitar riffs and train beats which would make Jack White proud. Seriously though, "Mini-Wall" sounds like it could be an unreleased track from De Stijl. Another bluesy White-esque song is "Blood in the Road". I just can't get enough of that main riff. Again, things change up to the more melancholic "The Crown" with reversed something and sombre piano in the intro. From there, things go more straightforward with a rock track, then to a jangle-y instrumental track and another softer track called "Lonelytrip". And the album isn't even over after that.

All these changes are what really entertain me across Song & Wine's almost 40 minute run time. LeDrew and company keep things varied; they make each song distinct with its own character and personality. From happy to sad, to introspective, this is one of those albums that works perfectly for listening to while just hanging with a friend or loved one. You don't have to say anything to each other. You can just lay there and let everything wash over you. Try it sometime, and you'll thank me.

What really ties everything together and makes this the great bluesy-psychedelic album that it is, is the production. All of Song & Wine was recorded by LeDrew on a 4-track tape recorder. Yeah. Talk about DIY. But the tape adds so much character to all of the recordings. From the occasional crackle and pop to that faint buzzing noise, right up to when you hear LeDrew turn off the actual tapedeck at the end of "Lonelytrip". All this in addition to the overall warm tones the tape brings makes for an absolutely immersing experience from start to finish.

If there's anything I'd have to criticize Song & Wine with, it's be the production. "What? David, you silly fuck! You said you loved the warm analogue/ home record-y tape feel of the album. Now you're saying you don't like it? Get your shit together, man!" Well, let me explain myself. I do love the warm analogue/ home record-y tape feel of the album. I don't like how some of the tracks with loud, twangy guitar come out of my speakers with so much treble that it blows my ears off. Luckily, that only happens on "Lifeworth". I'd also like to hear some vocals where I can pick out the words. Dreamy/ distorted/ distant vocals are great, don't get me wrong, it's just that I'd like to see some variation next time around. Those are about the only complaints I have for Song & Wine.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Mini-Wall, Good as Gone, Lonelytrip, Booze Angel

On a Playlist With: My Bloody Valentine, Alcest, John 3:16

Overall Score

4.0

Song & Wine is a beautiful album. It's timid and shy when it wants to be, and can rock out when it needs to. Corner Organs: Off is a DIY band that has the attitude down pat, using their home-brew style to craft some awesome psychedelic rock. As far as LeDrew is concerned, I enjoy his work here much more than with The Wides, but I feel like if he didn't get all his punk rocking out with them, he wouldn't be able to make such an awesome solo/ collab project.

Corner Organs: Off is on Facebook and Bandcamp. You might possibly catch them jamming out around Halifax, Nova Scotia, sometime. Who knows?

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Album Review: Corsair - "Corsair"

Over the past couple weeks, I've death metalled and grindcored myself out. Between reviewing a bunch of brutal bands and slowly piecing together a compilation album (more on that later!), as well as recording a bunch of death metal/ grindcore myself, I've had just about enough of blast beats and growling vocals. I've been cooling down with some Andrew Jackson Jihad, My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Corner Organs: Off. I am just starting to miss good ol' rock and metal, though. Coming in with the perfect timing between soft and heavy to save my ears is Corsair!


Corsair are a really new group, having formed only five years ago in 2008. They call Charlottesville, Virginia home, but one member comes from as far as Australia to help channel their extraterrestrial rock fury. Corsair is a progressive rock band that not only fuses awesome '80s NWOBHM sounds with their proggy wonkiness, but keep away from mind-numbingly technical playing. Their songs are catchy as hell, headbangable as fuck, and perfectly composed, every time.

Guitar harmonies are in abundance on this album, and they're always just beautifully phrased. I've got to say the guitar work here is as expressive, if not, more expressive than most vocalists. Nothing is ever too distorted or overdriven, and everything has this warm, friendly, and inviting tone. Most of the verse riffs aren't anything too special while there's singing but every time the band breaks into mad instrumental jam mode, whether as an intro, bridge, outro, or just because, I just can't wipe my stupid grin off of my face. The leads are straight up addicting and each one is distinct, with their thick and saturated tone reminding one of the Baroness of yesteryear. Again, nothing is overly technical, but the guitarists definitely aren't afraid to show off their chops. 10 years from now, Corsair will be the album that will inspires kids to pick up a guitar and learn to play.

I'm not sure how many vocalists are in Corsair, but I do know there are at least two: a man and a woman. Majority of the vocals are male, bringing in an '80s feel, soaring over top of the mix with fierce determination.  Sometimes, I even hear a little of Rush's Geddy Lee come out in the vocalist (albeit at a much lower octave than Geddy). None of the high notes sound forced or out of key, but you can tell there's a distinct grit to his highest notes where he just hits them. I'll be honest, I absolutely love that vocal tone. It really reminds me of vocalists like Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, whose voices carry more power than a locomotive. The female vocalist brings more airy and psychedelic vocals to the table, floating underneath everything, sort of haunting around the album here and there. She's got a beautiful voice. It's a shame you don't hear it more on the album.

In addition to progging it up, Corsair has it's shoegazy and psychedelic moments. Most memorable is in the closing track "The Desert", where things can get real dreamy and spacey. When things pick up, also like in "The Desert" but in many, many other places on the album, they groove beautifully. You can't help but bang your head when the thick riffs, thumping bass, and pounding drums kick in. Corsair handles the balance between fragility and heaviness like true experts.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Agathyrsi, Falconer, Mach, The Desert

On a Playlist With: (new) Baroness, Dawnbringer, 3

Overall Score

5.0

Yup. My first 5 out of 5. Corsair have made one of the, if not, the, album of the year. The fact that it's out so early in the year is almost unfair for everyone else For those of you who know how much I love Mastodon's Crack the Skye, I love Corsair almost as much. For those of you who don't know how much I love Crack the Skye, it's my favorite album. Ever. This is an album for anyone who loves music. Period. Great music, great vocals, excellent production, awesome lyrics, perfect length. In short, it's a flawless album.

Corsair comes out January 21st, 2013 on Shadow Kingdom RecordsCorsair have an incredibly hard to find Facebook page here. They also have an official webpage and a Bandcamp page.

That's all for now, folks! To victory, we ride!

-DG

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rad Alert: Napalm Raid

Rad Alert is where I share something that I think is pretty rad with all y'all. For those who remember my That's Pretty Rad, Bro column that never got past its first couple posts, it's pretty much the same thing with a shorter title. Yay!

This time on Rad Alert: A wicked Halifax crust punk band called Napalm Raid!


Yeah. You're welcome, everyone.

Napalm Raid have a Blogspot, Facebook, and you can pick up their full length LP Mindless Nation on Rust and Machine.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Monday, January 14, 2013

Album Review: Death Audio - "Death Audio"

I was a fifteen year old kid, just like everyone else. Just like every other fifteen year old kid who liked heavy music in the 2000's, I loved my metalcore. As the years progressed, I ended up growing out of it because of overexposure. There was just so fucking much of it. I don't know how my brain wired itself after that, but I always cringed a bit every time I heard metalcore from then on in. I went pretty much six solid years keeping my toes out of the metalcore ocean (if you count not paying attention to As I Lay Dying at Heavy T.O. 2011) and now, here I go, getting a submission to review a metalcore band.

Well... it's been six years. Surely I must've moved on past my dislike of metalcore by now, right?


The answer is yes and no. There are certain parts of metalcore's being that I've learned to forgive over the years, but some of the bits that irked me six years ago still rub me the wrong way when I hear them now.

Before I get into that, I should introduce the band that's being brought up to the chopping block. Death Audio is a Melbourne, AUS based band that've been pretty new to the scene (they formed in 2007), but they've been making waves in their 5 year and running career. They've shared the stage with bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, Soilwork, and Unearth. Late last year they dropped their first self-titled full length on Fire at Will Records.

I've opened up to the classic metalcore formula of a screaming/growling vocalist going through the verses with a singer belting out almost all of the melodic and catchy choruses (except for when the dirty vocalist comes in for the hard-as-a-motherfucker songs). After I fell from metalcore grace, I found the clean vocalist to be one of the most annoying parts of the music. They all sounded whiny and fake, their voices snapped into key with the use of autotune (see: Phil Labonte) and studio magic. Fortunately for guitarist/ clean vocalist Phil (Gee, not Labonte), his vocals come out clear and powerful, and if there is any autotune, it's not obvious. There are a couple high notes here and there that sound like they got just a little too much help from the studio. For the most part, though, Gee's vocals have balls; a certain grit to them. He can tone it down for some more soothing deliveries, like the chorus of "This Moment", which gives a nice change of pace to the rest of the albums aggression.

The one thing I still can't stand about metalcore bands that focus a lot on melodic guitar playing, is that for some reason, no matter how hard they try, they always pump out a carbon copy of Slaughter of the Soul. I know harmonized riffs and melodic lead guitar shows up in many metal genres, but somehow metalcore guitarists only have a repetoir of At the Gates riffs. It's enough of a thing that sometimes I actually think some of the riffs are lifted straight from the 1995 melodeath classic. Death Audio do break away from this melodeath syndrome with some pretty involved and interesting lead lines/ riffs as well as the use of acoustic guitar during the bridges of some bridges or choruses here and there. The acoustic guitar sometimes sounds a bit cheesy sometimes, but it never sounds out of place or forced. Something I liked was the use of strings in the songs "Obstructions" and "The Escape". I'm sure they were synthesized, but if they weren't kudos to whoever did them. The ending of "Obstructions" is easily my favorite part of the entire album. It blends the beauty and fragility of the strings with the aggression of the guitars and drums into something truly awesome. Ambivalence at it's finest.

Production is awesome, to be expected from a 2012 metalcore release. Things are nice and clean cut, nice and heavy and thick as a brick. Everything is mixed perfectly, the drums don't sound triggered to shit, and everything holds a nice warm tone throughout the album. I usually like rawer production, but hey, this fits the music perfectly, so I can't complain.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Fallen Souls, Obstructions, This Moment

On a Playlist With: As I Lay Dying, Trivium, (old) Scar Symmetry

Overall Score

2.5

So six years later: does metalcore win me back over? Or do I hate it more than ever? The answer is: meh. While Death Audio has it's highs, and very few lows, it didn't really leave a lasting impression on me. Metalcore is still metalcore, I just don't hate its guts nowadays. I'm certain fans of the metalcore sound will find tons of enjoyment from this album, but ultimately Death Audio doesn't seem like the kind of band that I'll be rushing back to listen to.

Death Audio has their own band website and you can check 'em out on Facebook here.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Album Review: Yattai - "Fifty Love Hymns for Grindheads"

More grind! More grind! More grind! Again, we've got a band that harken back to the old days of Assück, Brutal Truth, and early Napalm Death where maniacal speed and crusty and filthy depravity came first. Considering grindcore is dominantly from the US and the UK, it's exciting to hear of a band from France that  can rumble with the best of them.


Yattai come from the Angoulême region of France, a commune known for it's rich history and forts, as well as it's comic festival. It seems like one of the most unlikely places to find a proper old school grind band, but alas, here they are, and here they are to stay. Fifty Love Hymns is set to be released later this year, and is a compilation of Yattai's complete discography from 2004 to 2011. This includes their early demos, a whole slew of splits and split EPs, and a bunch of unreleased tracks as well.

These four dudes got together with the sole intention of grinding, and not only do they grind hard, but you can tell they have a blast doing it, too. The recordings all translate their intense live energy perfectly. I don't know how they've done it (especially over the many previous releases that make up this album), but everything sounds like you're right in the thick of the pit, thrashing away two feet in front of the band in some dark, dingy hole-in-the-wall bar. Yattai seem like the kind of band I really need to see live sometime.

There's honestly not too much to say about Fifty Love Hymns for Grindheads. It's a grind album for grind fans. It's literally right there in the title. If you like breakneck speeds and heavy as fuck music, there's no fucking around here: you'll love this. Singapore's Wormrot is another band that is really comparable to Yattai, with both bands' vocalists sounding pretty similar in tone, but Yattai's vocalist deserves commendation for his ridiculously low guttural vocals. They're on par with John motherfucking Gallagher of Dying Fetus. Yeah. They're absolutely awesome.

There are some pretty cool and original riffs that crop up on Fifty Love Hymns, showing a wide range of influences from doom, to crust punk, to old school DIY powerviolence. It's nice to see a grind band that really shows it's hardcore and punk influences, because too many bands are focusing on the metal, but hardcore and powerviolence is where grindcore really all started all those years ago.

The only critiques I have of Fifty Love Hymns don't really hold any weight, because they're properties that come with this album being a discography-spanning compilation. Firstly, I found that listening to it all in one go is absolutely exhausting. It clocks in at over an hour in length, which is anywhere from 2 to 4 times the usual grind album's length. If you listen to it two (or three) of the compiled releases at a time, it's a much more manageable and enjoyable experience. But the point of this album is to contain this massive amount of material all in one package rather than to behave like a studio album. Secondly, the production across the entire album changes from release to release, but obviously that's because a song from 2004 wouldn't sound like a song from 2011, even if it was written and recorded by the same people.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: 1 2 3 4, Evil Daniel Style, Hachis

On a Playlist With: Assück, Wormrot, Brutal Truth

Overall Score

4.0

Yattai are grinders have been going strong and I can only assume will continue to go on strong. With Fifty Love Hymns for Grindheads chronicling the almost 10 years they've been around, their over the top energy and love for the genre are what really show you what underground grindcore is all about.

Fifty Love Hymns for Grindheads is going to be coming out on Inhuman Homicide Records, Obskure Sombre Records, and Teriak Records with a tentative release date set in late spring of this year. Yattai has a Bandcamp page with some of their splits as well as a full length, and you can check out their Facebook page here.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Album Review: Nolentia - "May the Hand..."

So, first off, May the Hand... isn't actually the title to this album. I cut out most of the title because the actual title is May the Hand that Holds the Match that will Set this World on Fire be Blessed Above All. Second off, it's been far too long since I've last reviewed a grindcore album. I'm really happy to have some more crushing grind to show you guys again.


Nolentia is a sludgy, noisy, grind/ powerviolence band straight from what sounds like the darkest depths of a homicidal maniac's mind. Now, sludge and grind have been blended together before and there have been some pretty sweet albums as a result of mixing filth with more filth. Nolentia don't break this trend in the slightest. May the Hand is a grimy, disgusting record that grabs you right from the get go and doesn't let go until it's beaten the complete shit out of you.

I'd describe Nolentia to be a blend between the off-the-wall chaos of Brutal Truth and the more hardcore-y dual vocal grind attack of Napalm Death. Vocalists Raf and Ghis belt out some high shrieks akin to Mitch Harris of Napalm, and some truly ferocious growls that sound like a more raw, more evil Barney Greenway. I'm really glad the two dudes both trade vocal duties within the album as well as share speaker time with awesome results. When Raf and Ghis bust out the simultaneous vocal attack, it sounds like an orc army charging down a battlefield. I'm glad that both of them contribute to the vocals because if the album consisted only of one or the other, it would get pretty boring pretty fast.

I have to applaud drummer Vince for his awesome skin pounding skills. Not only does he grind like a motherfucker across most of the album with mach speed blast beats, but they're actually in time with the rest of the music, which is something I absolutely love in my grindcore. Vince isn't just a grind machine though. He can bust out a solid groove when he needs to when things take a turn for the slower on May the Hand.

Raf and Ghis are also the bassist and guitarist of Nolentia respectively. I have to hand it to them, there are a couple really sweet riffs here. A lot of the really chaotic grinding bits have some pretty standard issue riffs, but things like harmonics in "All About" and the heavy as fuck sludgefest titled "The Second Principle" really shine through as memorable spots on the album. I really dig their sludgy bits, and I honestly think that they're what make the album stand out as much as it does. I wouldn't say May the Hand would be a bad album without the sludgy bits thrown in, but I'd think it would easily get lost among the other fifty million Brutal Truth worship bands. I can't argue that good grindcore isn't good grindcore, it's just in a market too saturated by average-to-good bands.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Too Far Gone, Encoded, The Second Principle

On a Playlist With: Brutal Truth, Hivesmasher, Pig Destroyer

Overall Score

3.5

Nolentia have put together a really enjoyable grind/ sludge album. It's quirky enough to have decent replay value, but not enough for it to stay on permanent rotation on my iPod. It's a tried and true mix balls to the walls grind and tar-like sludge that takes on it's own disgusting and disturbing form. Like I said, good grindcore is good grindcore, and Nolentia have definitely made good grindcore.

May the Hand that Holds the Match that will Set this Wold on Fire be Blessed Above All (fuck yeah, got it right in one try!) comes out February 4th in France, March 4th in the UK, and March 12th in North America on Kaotoxin Records.

That's all for now, folks! It's almost 3AM now, and I'm going the fuck to bed.

-DG

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Album Review: Ulcer - "Grant Us Death"

Sweden. 1990. HM-2 distortion pedals are all the rage. Entombed just released Left Hand Path. It's a brutal, crushing album filled with bonesaw riffs, D-beats, and inhuman howls.

Wait.

No.

Fuck.

I mixed that up. Let me try again.

Poland. 2013. HM-2 distortion pedals have been long-forgot until the the recent resurgence of Entombedcore and Dismember-worship bands. Ulcer is about to release Grant Us Death. It's a brutal, crushing album filled with bonesaw riffs, D-beats, and inhuman howls.

That sounds about right this time.


If you couldn't tell by my spiel up there, Ulcer is a Polish death metal band that drop the most sickening type of death metal out there: '90's Swedish death metal. Morbid melodies, grave-turning aggression, and non-stop moshing is name of the game here with Grant Us Death. Ulcer know exactly what they're aiming for and achieve just that. I'm going to give a disclaimer, I really like this genre and these kinds of bands, so I am a little somewhat pretty much totally biased.

Everything goes as expected on Grant Us Death. There are no twists. There are no turns. No parts that make me stop and go say ...holy fuck... how did... I... what just happened? All throughout Grant Us Death's 42 running time, there's nothing but straight the fuck up death metal. No bullshit and no questions asked. The guitars have that perfect Sunlight Studios tone that everyone's beloved Entombed, Dismember, and Bloodbath all have. Perfectly nauseating and beefed up with thick as fuck distortion. The riffs are not only as melodic as back in '91, but they seem to have a certain amount of originality to them as well. It's nice to hear considering every other Entombed or Dismember-worship band pretty much just plays a mash-up of Left Hand Path and Like an Ever Flowing Stream.

It's beautiful (and I use that in the loosest sense of the term) to hear the vocals here. If there's a way to do old school Swede-death, D (that's the only name I could get from their Facebook page) has it down pat. He sounds raw, vicious, and ready to tear my throat out with his bare hands. There are certain bits on the album that D really sells. His bloodcurdling howls near the end of "Thanatoeuphoria" his giant loogie hock at the end of "Godcremation" are both little moments that you can't help but smile at.

Overall production is also totally brutal here too. Like I've already said, there are those famous Entombed and Dismember style guitars, but the drumming, bass, and vocals are also kept pretty rough around the edges. Things are definitely clearer than those '90s albums, but things are just raw enough to bring all that nostalgia surging back.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Devilspeed, Godcremation, My Lord Has Horns

On a Playlist With: Sorry, I can't find their names. I must have dropped them earlier.


Alright, fine. Dismember and Entombed.

Overall Score

4.0

Ulcer smash your brains out with Grant Us Death, plain and simple. It's 90's Swede-death done right. Evil never sounded so good.

Grant Us Death comes out February 19th, 2013 on Pulverized Records. You can check out Ulcer's Mybook or FaceSpace pages.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Album Review: Cystic Dysentery - "Culture of Death"

I like death metal. Old school death metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, I like a lot of the shit out there. If there are two styles of death metal I don't usually enjoy, they are technical death metal and brutal death metal. For the readers who don't know what technical or brutal death metal are, don't worry, I'll give you an incredibly brief crash course. Technical death metal is death metal played at a million miles an hour, with a focus on the complexity of the riffs/ drum patterns/ solos/ song structures. In other words, you need to be technically proficient to play it. Brutal death metal on the other hand, sometimes called or compared to slam death metal sacrifices the extreme technicality for sheer unrelenting heaviness. Here is where you find your most downtuned guitars and most gurgled, incomprehensible vocals. Not to say brutal death isn't technical, it's just that technical death metal is on a whole other level of complexity. You can usually judge how brutal a band will be by the illegibility of their logo and how technical they'll be by the amount of sci-fi shit they can pack into their album covers. Alright, lesson over, let's get on with the review.


Cystic Dysentery is a brutal (see logo) death metal band with a technical flare (see alien-like humanoid on cover) from the death metal state of the USA, Florida. They've pumped out their debut album Culture of Death on Deathgasm Records. The technicality really only shines through with the drumming, coming from the wickedly fast double kicks and the occasional face-melting solo.

The band actually blends the two styles together really well. When they want to go warp speed, they can, with buzzaw guitar riffs that fly across the fretboard, and when they want to bring gargantuan pit slams, they can turn on a dime and dish out slow, heavy, and thick as fuck riffs that make you want to stomp your feet in the pit and make wiggerish arm movements while wearing an oversized basketball jersey and a snapback. The riffs themselves aren't anything we haven't heard before from the likes of Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, and Aborted, but hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it? I enjoy the solos that crop up on the album, because even though they tend to exist only to show off the guitarist's mad skills, there are some sweet moments. The song "Born of Fire" has two solos in it, and the second/ outro solo is definitely the most memorable part of the entire album for me. While not also showcasing the guitarist's talent, there's something inherently rock 'n' roll about it which just gets me. From the long repeated bent notes to the dive bombs to the inharmonic noodling, I can only imaging the guitarist having a complete ball while playing it.

I'm not to crazy about the vocals on Culture of Death; they tend to follow traditional brutal death metal fashion. Crazy low growls that make Satan shit his pants and pig squeals so pig squealy I feel like I'm visiting a farm. There isn't much variation on the album as far as vocal range is concerned, and again, the vocals aren't anything that pop out at me.

The biggest problem I have with this album is the triggering on the drummer's kick pedals. I understand you need triggers to be able to hear the insanely fast drumming here, but I know that some bands have mixed both the triggered sound and a non-triggered sound together so that the bass drums sound nice and heavy while still maintaining the clarity. The kicks on Culture of Death don't sound too bad when they're played in the slower passages, but when the drummer really lets loose is when I find the clicky sounds of the triggers too distracting to properly enjoy the rest of the music.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Dead Priest, Born of Fire

On a Playlist With: Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, Aborted

Overall Score

2.5

Cystic Dysentery's Culture of Death is a brutal death metal album for brutal death metal fans. If you like the style, then I'm certain you'll love this album. If you aren't the hugest fan like I am, this album won't suddenly turn you into the worlds biggest Devourment fan. I have to give credit where credit is due, so I can say this is good shit, it's just that ultimately, it wasn't memorable enough of a listen for me.

Culture of Death can be picked up from Deathgasm Records and you can check out the rad bros of Cystic Dysentery on Facebook as well.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Monday, January 7, 2013

EP Review: Frosthelm - "The Northwinds Rend Flesh"

Two reviews in one day? Two reviews in one day. Bitches ain't got reviewing swag that I got. Word. Alright. I promise to never do that again. Let's just get on with the review. Frosthelm. The Northwinds Rend Flesh.


Frosthelm is a thrash metal band that tosses in a healthy dose of black metal fury into the mix. Their strain of eviscerating metal comes from the most dark, grim, and dreadful places on Earth: Minot, North Dakota.

More like North Dakvlta. Amirite?
All joking aside, Frosthelm kick out the fucking jams across their 11 minute, 4 song EP. The Northwinds is a feast of razor sharp riffs, bone grinding drums and terrifying vocal gymnastics. The guitar work is a sweet blend of traditional thrash riffage and melodic riffing similar to classic viking themed bands like Ensiferum or older Wintersun. The barrage of memorable riffs never let up, and the solos are pretty facemelting to boot. When layered up like on the intro of opening track, the the guitars and drums build up a massive blizzard-like feeling traditional to modern black metal before everything erupts into a giant avalanche of snow, ice, and +5 Greatswords of Frost. This torrent continues to bury you under it's unrelenting fury for the next 10 minutes and only lets up once the EP is over. Even then, you're stuck wondering what the fuck happened to you, and why you're covered in snow even though you've been indoors all day.

The vocals are just something else as well. The vocal range shown on this album is huge. I mean, it's all growled and shrieked vocals, but still, on The Northwinds we've got gut wrenching, guttural lows and ear piercing highs going on here. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the really, really high shrieks, but they're really fucking impressive nonetheless. They're raspy ans throaty, just like they should be, but still hold a lot of power behind them that not many other vocalists can achieve.

If there's anything I could offer as criticism or as something I'd like to see on the new album, it'd be that I'd like some folky elements. Frosthelm have mastered their style of blackened thrash metal, and I'd love to see them follow in Wintersun's steps and add some wicked huge orchestral arrangements to some of their new tracks. I'd also like to see some longer songs next time around, just to vary things up a little bit.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: It's eleven minutes long. Just listen to all of it, asshole. It's worth it, trust me.

On a Playlist With: Blackguard, Wintersun

Overall Score

4.5

Frosthelm have hit a home run with their The Northwinds Rend Flesh EP. It's a monster of a release and I really want to see what they'll be up to in the future. Frosthelm is for any fans of black metal, melodic death metal, or thrash metal.

You can "like" Frosthelm on Facebook here, and order the EP at their BigCartel page. It's only five bucks right now. Do yourself an favor and just get it, man.

That's all for now, folks! Swag.

-DG

Album Review: Aetherium Mors - "Drenched in Victorious Blood"

Here on Needs More Noise Gate, we've looked at and reviewed a lot of heavy bands. Thing is, it's not too often that we get to review a band that's not only heavy, but fully captures of evil and demonic traits of yore. The age old and family friendly subjects of Satan-worship and dismantling world religions have been replaced by an obsession with bloodsplattering gore or dystopian sci-fi themes. Don't get me wrong, I love those themes in metal, but I mean, if you're going to skin and dismember someone and then impale their head on a spike in your front lawn, why not do it for the glory of the Horned God? It only makes sense. For those of you who need a little extra convincing, Aetherium Mors have prepared a little exercise in evil for you in the form of their new album, Drenched in Victorious Blood.


Aetherium Mors is a UK-based blackened death metal duo who put a more melodic spin on traditional blackened death. For anyone who is unclear on what blackened death metal is, it's a style of extreme metal that blends the heavy and brutal sound of death metal with the cold, bitter hatred of black metal. The cool spin that Aetherium Mors puts on the traditional formula is that they tend more to old, mid-90s Gothenburg style melodic death metal, a la In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and At the Gates. Mostly fast paced destruction with mid paced bridges and breakdowns, harmonized and melody laden riffs galore, and wicked, fretburning solos. Mixing the already powerful melodic death metal with the blasphemous and frostbitten tendencies of black metal make for a truly terrifying package.

So first, the guitars. Oh man, those guitars. Guitarist (and drummer!) Dan Couch makes At the GatesSlaughter of the Soul sound like the B-sides of this album. The riffs are heavy as balls, pounding your head in one note at a time, but also capture that awe inspiring and empowering feeling that makes a good melodeath riff work. I find the true Gothenburg riffs crop up mostly on the later half of the album, where the first half mostly has more traditional black metal and blackened death metal riffs. I'd be lying if I said I preferred black metal to melodic death metal with respect to the guitars, and while the riffs at the beginning of the album are definitely good, I can't help but love the riffs that turn up later on. That's just me, though. If you are a fan of traditional blackened death metal and black metal riffs, the first three songs offer fresh and original riffs that I guarantee you'll enjoy.

The drums which as I said were also handled by Dan Couch are great as well. He can keep a great thrash beat for the melodeath bits and can both blast and double kick into oblivion and back but I find the drums, while done really well, just don't stand out enough for me to really love them. They do the job, there are some sweet fills, and that's about it. That being said, whoever handled the production of the drums is a champion. The drums sound absolutely awesome. The kicks are massive, but are completely clear in the mix.  When Couch decides to go full speed with his feet, it just caves your head in. I love it.

The vocals on Victorious Blood are delivered by Kane Nelson, who I find much like the drumming, good, but not overwhelmingly great. The growls are nice and thick, but stay mostly in the mid range without too many dynamics throughout the album. Nelson does do the occasional low guttural growl, and they sound downright demonic. I really wish I heard more of those across the album. That being said, Nelson delivers enjoyable vocals nonetheless.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Luciferian March, Kingdom of Shadows, Annihilating Fire

On a Playlist With: Goatwhore, At the Gates, Hypocrisy

Overall Score

3.5

Aetherium Mors have made an absolute riff-fest of an album with Drenched in Victorious Blood. Everything else on the album is pretty standard issue, but the guitarwork on this album is just too good to pass up.

You can check out Aetherium Mors on Bandcamp and on the Facespace.

That's all for now, folks! Smoke meth and hail Satan.

-DG

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Album Review: Crypt Keeper - "In the Dark of Night"

We've got more alternative hardcore coming your way! Today we're looking at one of the 2012 releases by Crypt Keeper: In the Dark of Night.


Crypt Keeper is a west coast hardcore band hailing from Oakland, California. They play a sort of twisted version of the Converge formula, mixing in thrash, classic rock and metal, as well as a bunch of other stuff. The band rips through their songs tight and fast, delivering high energy, mosh friendly devastation.

Like I said, In the Dark of Night sort of gives off Converge-y vibes to me. It comes mostly from the Jacob Bannon-style wailed vocals, and Kurt Ballou-esque twisty and turny riffs that sneak and snake around the fretboard. The songs also float around the two and a half minute mark or less except for the awesomely titled closing track, "On Halloween I Did Some Drugs" which clocks in at around five and a half minutes. This puts the entire album at just over 18 minutes, which unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) leaves me wanting more.

From the pounding and hammering outro of the closing track to the grind speeds of "Luci Underground in Diamonds" and "Hung Over", In the Dark of the Night is chalked full of enough variety to keep even the most sporadic listener entertained. A favorite genre-bend of mine on the album is the flawless incorporation of '50s surf rock in the song Blood on the Beach". I find a lot of this enjoyment comes from the awesome guitar riffs, as well as how well the bass and guitar tracks compliment each other. For example, on the song "Nightmares", when  the fat as balls bass groove and rip roaring classic rock/ thrash/ country fried guitar solo kick in together, man, it just puts a hugs-ass grin across my face.

Production is pretty solid on this album, too. Everything is mixed and mastered well; the bass thumps, the guitars growl, the drums pound, and the vocals... uhh... vocal. I really like the guitar and bass tones on the album, because even though everything sounds nice and thick, it's still razor sharp so those awesome, long, winding riffs don't end up sound like my rancid farts after a Taco Bell run.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Luci Underground in Diamonds, Blood on the Beach, Nightmares

On a Playlist With: Converge, Barlow, Hivesmasher

Overall Score

4.0

Crypt Keeper melt faces, bust guts, and tear new assholes with In the Dark of Night. It's a fun and energetic hardcore record with a fresh take on an old genre. If you don't like it, well, you know what they say: If you grow out of hardcore, you never really liked it in the first place.

You can stalk Crypt Keeper on Facebook and check 'em out on Bandcamp.

That's all for now, folks! Good luck to all those starting school back up tomorrow!

-DG

Saturday, January 5, 2013

EP Review: White Blush - "White Blush"

First review of 2013! Woo! Let's kick the year off with something nice.


White Blush is the solo dreampop/ shoegaze project from LA based singer/ music producer Carol Rhyu. Her debut self-titled EP came out in November of last year, and it definitely follows the aural footsteps of artists like Grimes and Laurel Halo. Loads of reverby, spacey vocals, droning synth, and tons of atmosphere.

White Blush leans more to the darker side (as most other releases in this style do), keeping a sort of eerie tone throughout its six tracks. Carol's voice for the most part stays pretty soft, with large sweeping aaaaahhhhhs and oooooooooohhhs taking up most of the space. It sounds vulnerable, haunting and ethereal, which when matched with the harder beats and electronics of tracks like "True Luv" and "Jolene" makes for a beautiful contrast. Things change up vocally in the middle of the EP with the track "Wait", where even though the vocals are much more powerfully delivered, they still hold a fragile air to them. Paired with some male vocals courtesy of Eric Acosta, "Wait" hits levels of tear-jerking that not many other dreampop songs can reach.

Even though the longest song on the EP, "808 Myst" is an instrumental track, I feel like the vocals are the main focus of the record. "808 Myst" sounds like it could be a track off of some Halloween themed movie. Maybe if The Nightmare Before Christmas had an electronic remix to its soundtrack, it'd sound like this song. That being said, the instrumentation on White Blush is nothing to scoff at. Relatively simple in composition, the tracks that need to drive the song do indeed push that song forwards and in the the more minimalist tracks like "Wait" let the vocals grab the reigns and lead the song along. Again, the nice contrasts between soft tracks and intense vocals or vice versa are really what White Blush is all about to me. It's music meant to engulf and envelop. Something to let you just sit and think introspectively.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: True Luv, Jolene, 808 Myst

On a Playlist With: Grimes, Laurel Halo, Sleep Party People

Overall Score

3.5

White Blush's self-titled debut is a dreampop album for fans of dreampop, shoegaze, experimental or alternative electronic music or anything similar. If you aren't a fan of the style, I'm sure White Blush will have its moments for you, but I don't think it will transform you into a fan. Other than that, there's really not too much else to say about the EP. It's dark, dreamy, and completely engulfing. A great first release by White Blush. I'll definitely keep my eye out for anything else she decides to release in the future.

You can check out White Blush on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gupta's 2013 Update!

Well howdy everybody! Happy new year! It's been forever, and finally, we're back from our winter hiatus. I hope you're all full of holiday food and drink and have had a rip-roaring good time these past few weeks. Now it's time for a little look into the next year for Needs More Noise Gate, and we've got some sweet shizz planned for you guys over the next twelve months. Take a look:

More Music Reviews: Duh.

More Non-Music Reviews: Maybe movies, books, comics, or games? You let us know what you're interested in, and we'll see what we can do!

Videos: We've got a YouTube account! Depending on how much time we've got to produce content for and maintain our YouTube account, you can expect video reviews, vlogs, and both music and non-music related discussions. Hopefully. Subscribe and find out what'll happen!

Tweets: I've made myself a Twitter account. Yeah. I know. I need to go wash off the shame. I'll mostly be tweeting about blog related stuff; anything that's too small or insignificant to make a post about. Follow and get the most amount of useless information and procrastination that you can out of this blog!

Guest Columns/ Posts: Over the past year, I've been able to make contact with some awesome people in various music scenes. Awesome people who have some awesome (and perhaps not-so-awesome) experiences and stories that they could share. Maybe this will flop, maybe it won't. I won't know until I try.

Interviews: So you read one of our reviews and find a cool band or artist that you dig, but you want to find out more about them. Maybe we'll be able to provide you with that info.

So, as you can see, we've got a whole smack of stuff planned for 2013, and it'll be tough to balance everything else (stupid life, getting in the way of me rambling about music on the internet) and keep things moving forward on the blog front. Fear not readers, for we will prevail!

Lastly, I would just like to thank everyone who has ever read a post, written a post, submitted music to us, recommended music to us, commented, liked us on Facebook, written us an email, threatened to sue us, murder us, or paid us off for good reviews made absolutely 100% excellent music. You guys are seriously all awesome. None of this blog's success (as small as it is) could have happened without you.

I love you guys. Call me sometime.

That's all for now, folks! Let's make 2013 the most based year ever.


-DG