Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blastbeat Reviews: Clutch, Nails, Wandersword

School sucks. Since I don't have much time to write full reviews consistently, I'm going to run a series of posts called Blastbeat Reviews, which is going to be a bunch of really quick reviews of albums I was planning on reviewing but never got the time to, all together in one post. Since a majority of my in depth reviews are lesser known/ obscure/ hipster bands, I'll include some more mainstream stuff in here, too.

Clutch - Earth Rocker

Clutch, for those of you  who don't know, is one of the best bands on the planet. It doesn't matter if you're into brutal, bone crushing deathcore, whimpy-ass indie hipster shit, or swagalicious gangster rap, you like Clutch. If you think "Gee willikers David, I don't like Clutch!" You clearly haven't listened to enough Clutch loud enough, yet. This four-piece lays out the best groove laden rock I've ever heard, and their classic albums like Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/ Exodus get near-daily plays from me.

I think Earth Rocker is a step up from their previous effort, Strange Cousins from the West, and shows the band laying out those danceable grooves and riffs all over the place. You can't listen to songs like "Crucial Velocity", "The Wolfman Kindly Requests", or the title track, "Earth Rocker" without shaking your hips, bobbing your head, and tapping your feet. Earth Rocker allows you to adjust your pants so that you may dance the good time dance, and send the onlookers and innoccent bystanders into a trance. Score: 4.5/5

Nails - Abandon All Life

Man, oh man. Nails. Fucking Nails. Abandon All Life is the 2013 follow up to 2010's Unsilent Death, which I thought was flippin' amaze-balls. Abandon showcases even more pissed off grindy, powerviolence-y hardcore than before, causing a massive outbreak of fist sized wall-holes across the nation.

Kurt Ballou of Converge has used his production wizardry to make Nails sound even heavier than before, which I thought wasn't even possible. The drums and guitars are freaking huge on this record. I have to be honest and say that I prefer the vocals on Unsilent compared to Abandon because while Todd Jones still sounds like a maniac on the brink of causing a mass homicide, his voice just gets lost a bit in the giant wall of sound pouring out of your speakers. Overall, it's still a great album that will destroy necks everywhere.

Wandersword - Waiting for War

Wandersword is a Russian melodic death metal band with a viking/ folky  theme. Taking cues from bands like Equilibrium, old Wintersun, and Ensiferum, Wandersword bust out some catchy and energetic tunes on Waiting for War. The musicianship is really tight and the songwriting is pretty solid to boot for the band's debut release.These guys really remind me of local folk metallers Unbowed, but with a slightly less atmospheric sound. Wandersword plays a more straightforward style of metal based more firmly in old Scandinavian melodic death metal.

I've got to pick on the vocals a little bit, though. The harsh vocals don't vary enough for my tastes, and sound a little too thin to me as well. They're deep growling vocals, but I feel like the vocalist doesn't show any dynamics, so they wear out their welcome before the album finishes running its course. Other than that, I think Waiting for War is a solid, lean release from these guys. I hope to see where Wandersword go from here.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

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