BEHEMOTH - THE SATANIST
After punching his leukemia in the dick, Nergal regrouped with his blaspheming bandmates Inferno and Orion to craft one hell of a "reunion album", Yeah, yeah, I know, Behemoth never actually broke up, but whatever, I don't care.
The Satanist is Behemoth reconstructed out of all the great parts of their different musical eras. It isn't the outrageous speed-for-speed's-sake Behemoth of Evangelion or Demigod, but it isn't the mediocre (read: pretty shitty) black metal Behemoth of yore. This is a blend of technical horsepower, bleak and dark atmosphere, and most importantly, competent songwriting. Nergal and the boys stepped back on the wankery, stepped up their black metal soundscaping, and made sure that every note, beat, word, and fill on this album was exactly where it was supposed to go, and nowhere else. This Behemoth has some restraint, and I like it. Score: 3.5/5
GRIDLINK - LONGHENA
Gridlink have quickly shot up through the ranks of my favorite grindcore bands, notably for their hyper-speed playing, outrageous technical chops, and consistent quality of musical output, even if everything they've ever recorded fits into less than an hour's worth of time (Hey, it worked for Minor Threat).
Longhena sets the bar to an impossibly high level for any band that plays this strain of grindcore. Chang's banshee vocals, Matsubara's rhythm playing that somehow fits under the category of "shred guitar" (not to mention his actual lead playing), Fajardo's accompanying drumming, the string sections, the interlude track, holy shit people, everything fits so nicely together that I honestly cannot find a weak point to this album. It even comes with a set of "karaoke versions" of the tracks for those of you who hate Jon Chang.
This album should be the soundtrack to the hardest video game bosses ever (I'm looking at you, Sephiroth from Kingdom Hearts), because once this shit gets going, you notice how sweaty you've become even though you haven't budged an inch, and that whatever you were previously doing, you're now doing with the intensity and ferocity of a New Jersey guido grinding on an orange chick with bolted on tits. Score: 5/5
MEASURE X UP - DEMO 2014
You guys remember MEASURE X UP from my last Blastbeat Review, don't you? This Halifax straightedge hardcore band's appropriately titled Demo 2014 is more of the same of last year's equally appropriately titled Demo 2013. These dudes dish out hardcore the way it's supposed to be, a la Minor Threat and Youth of Today. I find that in this new demo, everything's been beefed up. Production is heavier, the vocals seem more powerful, and everything sounds crushing and purposeful. Every d-beat hits you right in the face and every word hangs out in your head, even well after the demo's less than 7 minute run time. This is just as good as their last demo, and I'm pumped to hear anything else these guys churn out in the future. Listen to it here and download it for free! Score: 4/5