Friday, May 16, 2014

Blastbeat Reviews: Conan, Aborted, Cynic

I've been super bad about updating this blog, and now that summer is in full swing I'm working two jobs and trying to balance making music with the blog while catching up on Game of Thrones. Hooray! For today's reviews we have three polar opposites: Conan and Aborted!

CONAN - BLOOD EAGLE

For those of you who don't know, Conan is a disgustingly heavy British doom band whose sole purpose is to sound like molten tar pouring out of your speakers. Blood Eagle is the trio's second full-length album, despite their relatively expansive number of other releases.

Blood Eagle comes across as much more well produced than there previous album Horseback Battlehammer, the first Conan release I've heard. Blood Eagle starts off with some standard slow as all hell riffage accompanied by vocals that sound like a barbarian standing atop a mighty mountain, screaming out to the frosty air, praying to Crom for revenge upon his enemies.

Conan actually mixes it up on this album a bit. The first song released, Foehammer is pretty fast, even for a normal band. But don't let that fool you, because Conan still manage to make it sound like the heaviest thing this side of ununseptium. For those of you who like chest-crushing doom, Blood Eagleis a must listen. Overall Score: 4/5


ABORTED - THE NECROTIC MANIFESTO

I reviewed Aborted's last record Global Flatline and while I enjoyed it and wasn't blown away by it, I was expecting much more from the Belgian deathgrinders on this release. The album was hyped as all fuck by all the mainstream metal media outlets, and unfortunately, I find it didn't quite deliver. It's Aborted. They play deathgrind. There's nothing but blast beats, mile-a-minute buzzsaw riffs, and de Caluw√©'s iconic vocals. The problem with The Necrotic Manifesto to me is that it runs for nearly an hour, without shifting gears. It's all gore all the time, and that shit gets tiring after about 25 minutes.

I do have to commend Aborted for their single "Coffin Upon Coffin" which sounds exactly like a B-side of Heartwork (you all know how much I love that album), and their bitchin' covers of Suffocation's "Funeral Inception", and Converge's "Concubine". Overall Score: 2.5/5


CYNIC - KINDLY BENT TO FREE US


Ah, Cynic. I love this band. I've fawned over everything they've released from Focus to Carbon-Based Anatomy, loved every change in sound they've made since the beginning, and after hearing the first single off of KBtFU, "The Lion's Roar", I was super pumped for this album. Kindly Bent to Free Us delivers. Cynic have fully evolved into a progressive rock band, banishing any and all growling or guttural vocals, and ditching (for the most part) Paul Masvidal's iconic vocoder. I for one love Paul's unedited voice, and it's great to hear it alongside plenty of proggy clean guitar riffs and some fuzzed out psychedelic sections. The musicianship is still top notch, as Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert team up with their old friend, bassist Sean Malone.

I definitely dig KBtFU almost as much as I dig Traced in Air. Kindly Bent to Free Us sounds much less spacey and airy than Traced did, but brings in more psychedelic and Eastern influences into the music, as well as incorporates samples now, which I think is cool. I haven't heard many (if any) prog rock albums that use sampling like grindcore or death metal albums do.

If you are one who disliked the changes Cynic made from Focus to Traced in Air, you're going to hate this album. If you've been liking the band's venture into progressive rock, then this album will be the progressive rock album of the year. Overall Score: 4.5/5


Also, as a PSA for the public: Fuck Vik Guitars. Don't use them. The founder and luthier of the company showed his true, ugly colours recently after Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert came out as gay to the public. Fuck homophobia. Fuck you Vik Kuletski.

That's all for now, folks!

-DG

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