Friday, November 22, 2013

Blastbeat Reviews: Protest the Hero, Exivious, Snakes Get Bad Press

Time to rapid fire off some quick reviews. My to-listen list for this year's records is on the order of dozens, so there might be a fair few of these quick reviews before the year is up. Up on the chopping block today are prog-metalcore dudes Protest the Hero, Exivious, a jazz-fusion metal(?) supergroup featuring members and ex-members of Cynic, Textures, Dodecahedron, and Pestilence, and Aussie underground spastic hardcore group Snakes Get Bad Press. Let's get the ball rolling!


I've never being a huge Protest the Hero fan (even feeling lukewarm about one of their most highly praised albums, Fortress), but everyone and their mothers has been telling me to get my ass in gear and check out Volition, their newest album. I put it off long enough, but when I finally got around to listening to it, man, I wish I had checked it out sooner.

Volition is an absolute banger of an album, dishing out massive songs in the usual spastic and super-technical vein we're used to, but focusing more on making the songs catchy as hell than just wowing people with how well they can sweep pick in 27/16 time. The songs are all real fast, and super high energy, making this album feel more like a super proggy pop album than a metal record. After a year of pissed off grindcore and doomy sludgy metal, it's nice to have a record that's so much fun to listen to. Score: 4.5/5


I love Cynic, and in 2009 when I discovered ex-guitarist and ex-bassist Tymon and Robin's jazz-metal-fusion project called Exivious, I was pumped. Their self-titled debut was absolutely awesome, and I'm super happy to see they were able to crowdfund their second album to completion.

Liminal is like Exivious 2.0. The album is even more diverse, flows more beautifully, and sounds crystal clear. The boys build amazing soundscapes and textures (get it?) with their music as usual, with some great solos from all instruments, written or improvised. There are some bits on this record that are total surprises, keeping Liminal from being too much like Exivious, but honestly, I listen to so little of this jazz fusiony stuff that even more of the same is fine by me. This is an album made by musicians for musicians, but I wouldn't be surprised if just about anybody picked this up and enjoyed it. Score: 4/5


I've barely been exposed to the Australian hardcore scene. Other than bands like Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, Jackals, and these dudes, there isn't much else I've heard hailing from down under. Snakes Get Bad Press follow their Aussie brethren by taking things in the spastic/ mathcore direction, working dissonance, shifting time signatures, and odd song structures into their music like nobody's business.

Obvious comparisons that come to mind are bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot, but I hear a bit of Converge in the music, and just a touch of Pig Destroyer in the vocals.

Residues came out on Art As Catharsis Records on September 20th, and can be streamed over on the label's Bandcamp page. Check Snakes out on Facebook, too! Score: 4/5

That's all for now, folks!


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