Category Archives: International Bands
For ears like mine who would love the mere thought of sludgy rusty guitars and modern day tech-metal song structuring – Sectioned is here. The music is not just a refreshing turn to the constantly saturating, trend following bands that have been coming out lately but also a very good example as to how the right kind of music should have the right kind of production. Sectioned is one of the many bands that have come from Europe (Scotland precisely) which have truly revolutionized the way we look at music making, structuring and groove. UK is one particular country (along with Sweden ofcourse) – that has been churning out band after band with really top-notch music making skills . With Chimp Spanner,Tesseract and many more , Sectioned is another uniquely sounding and yet pleasurably heavy band that has emerged in the recent years. The have recently released a 3-track EP called ‘Monotone’ which , according to me, is a very ironic name for their sound. The 3 track EP spells madness. The sound is unique in itself but distinctively has influences from Between Buried and Me, Sikth,Isis and a overall spread of Post-Rock feel (God Is An Astronaut , Explosions In The Sky) . The track ‘Dog’s Blood’ is a perfect example of the bands capability (and my personal favorite) to hold to the groove and yet induce heavy madness from start to finish. The tracks ‘Monotone’ and ‘Rot’ are punishingly heavy and have the signature rusty/sludgy guitar tone which works perfectly with the bands sound. Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge’s influences are most heard in these two tracks. The production value is perfect. Most of the bands spend months trying to figure out how to make it ‘awesome’ when the trick according to me lies in the fact that production should be ‘supportive’ of the sound and not overriding it. The bouncy transitions and post-rockish feel is tightly captured by Pedram Valiani who has deliciously produced the album. Talking about the band – formed in since 2009 , the band emerged as a fully touring ,5 piece outfit after the release of their first EP ‘Wake Up,Its Starting’ in September 2011. The band played with some really marinated bands in the scene like Textures,Aliases and Ocean Collective.
In conclusion, the year 2011 to the beginning of 2012 seemed a very eventful one for the metal fraternity and most of the unique music ive heard – is free and unsigned . Same applies to Sectioned and I am sure that record labels should definitely be signing bands like these and not rip-offs and trend-followers.
You can hear their tracks on their bandcamp page – Sectioned
Like their Facebook page –Sectioned
Chimp Spanner never lets you down – be it the musically diverse and rebellious ‘At The Dream’s Edge ‘ or the latest offering ‘All Roads Lead Here’. As a listener, i always wanted and imagined music breaking the barriers of genre – how bands would one day come up with music that is just impossible to classify into a particular genre. Something that music lovers could just absorb , and find something new to savor with every listen,relate to their own taste.
With bands like Animals As Leaders and Chimp Spanner making music which isn’t just musically advanced and brilliant , but also spans an array of sounds and musical elements.Paul Ortiz a.k.a Chimp Spanner does exactly this with the latest release.While recent bands who are cashing on the ‘Djent’ scene go haywire with the ‘low tuned’ guitar sound – Chimp Spanner sticks to standard tuning , incorporates ‘Djent’ and yet does full justice to other elements which are used in the songs , all at ease.In terms of production value – its priceless.
The album starts off with ‘Dark Age Of Technology’ which travels to your ear from a distance (Literally!) and comprises of Paul’s guitar wizardy backed by some amazing bass grooves. To be honest the first track sounded like an Animals As Leaders track and got me thinking of how the rest of the EP would sound like .But to my surprise , it proved to be amazing.’Engrams’ is an relaxing interlude that follows and builds up for the ‘Mobius series( Parts I, II and III).Mobius – which mathematically means a 3D rectangular strip which starts from one point and ends at the same point.
Why the need for the above statement? The sheer brilliance of the 3 track series lies in the fact that Paul creates a musical ‘Mobius’. The series is aptly ( and intelligently) titled ‘Mobius’ – where Mobius Pt I builds up the tempo with a constant and looped shred-fest. Mobius Pt II is where the same sound builds up into a beast and has some really insane time-signature swings.The track culminates into a mellow ambient sound and the Mobius Pt III combines best of both. Notable is how Paul manages to keep the riffs looped in the same tempo and yet travels through each track ,varying the ambience and heaviness effortlessly.I would go far by saying this but musically it does rival Tesseract’s ‘Concealing Fate’ series.Paul leaves the best for the last – the closing track ‘Cloud City’ is by far the most ‘musically delicious’ track my ears have bit on. The tones ,the riffs the song structure is worth million praises. It is a cocktail of jazzy atmospherics and Paul’s unique style.
Though it is an EP , ‘All Roads Lead Here’ does have the presence of a full length record. It encompasses such variety in so little time which is also something not every artist/band can do.
For the fans of Chimp Spanner – this is an album which takes you into a completely different mystical and orgasmic world and does not sound anything like Chimp’s prior works.
For the new ‘Chimps’ – finding bands from a similar genre and then listening to each is mostly the strategy all of us follow ,but if you wish to hear something that is practically ‘beyond genre’ and fits every mood of yours into one tight album effortlessly, then – ‘All Roads Lead Here’.
Rating – 8.5/10
Alcest’s music can be defined as ‘spiritual’ and ‘straight from the heart’. Right from the first track to the last , the music seamlessly flows through channels of gently built emotions and takes you into a journey of your own life. The serene ambient moments remind you of your happy place and hard hitting transitions get you in terms with your own dark side.Bands like Alcest are one of the few who dare to represent their own feelings through musical instruments without any self-imposed rigidity of genre or fan-base.
If you hear the opening track ‘Autre Temps’ , the guitar infused ambience is naturally created. You realize that the band does not force themselves to fit into a genre or push to achieve a sound. This attribute is probably their biggest strength apart from their musical genius. Every song is a testimony to how these guys connect with you on a personal level without even taking any effort to do so.
Tracks like ‘La Ou Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles’ and ‘Les Voyages De L’Ame ‘ are benchmarks when it comes to Post-Black Metal. The piercing yet calm vocals grip tight with the blast beats of the drums and give you an experience which is impossible to put into words.Progressive fans will love the ‘Les Voyages De L’Ame’ which showcases brilliant progressive song writing and ethereal moments.’Beings of Light’ has the quintessential Black Metal machine-gun drums laced brilliantly with distant growls .The foreclosing track ‘Havens’ is a dark passage to the finale ‘Summers Glory’ , which culminates in a high pitched vocal extravaganza and you just refuse to accept the end of the album.
On a personal note (though i don’t usually get personal in reviews) – Alcests latest offering came out when i was experiencing a rebellious but liberating phase in my life and the album was just the companion i needed. The album pulls you in on a roller coaster ride to all human emotions and grips you to the seat. One of the few albums i heard which actually shuts you off from a buzzing world around you only to take you to another celestial place altogether .
Conclusively ,striking artwork , top-notch production value and start of the year release makes this album easily one of the most loved albums of this year. So also the entire album is in french. Im not french nor do i understand the language but i could call the album my own and fit in all the emotions i myself experienced while listening to it and so can you.
Rating – 9.5 /10
I discovered this band while browsing through the many children-bands who Meshuggah fathered. Keeping a mindset that this would be yet another band trying to get itself to “forcefully lower the tone” and chug-chug djent-djent.
Within the first few minutes of the album I was amazed at the sheer grip of this band. Though the production seems a little on the downside the band manages to rip your brain at certain places.
Most bands,new or mature, always struggle to find “that sound” but If this band is going to stick to THIS sound its definitely going to go places.
Being the debut LP – it is a very good effort.
The songwriting is similar to Textures which has alternating growls and gorgeous clean patches but thing that made me sit up and give it a listen was the guitarwork.
Superb riffs which scale extreme speed and drop down to 2-3 instant pedel-shifting change of tones.
Electronic sounds which lace the album are very much a good thing because no matter what people call them (fake sounds etc) they always add a feel and groove to the whole arrangement.
Songs like ‘Formulaic Transition’ which is a instrumental number have the most smooth yet tight transitions between the various moods the song has to offer.
The tracks are nicely placed between thunderous ‘Idle Hands’ and ‘Vultaggio’ followed by the instantly catchy ‘Formulaic Transition’ ,closing the album with ‘Niacin’ and ‘Fallout’
Artwork – Very very unique and sends out a much deeper message than the obvious ‘Friend for a foe’ – showing a drowining hand which pleads for help.
With the range of bands touching the Djent/Prog-djent genre its difficult even on the bands to give something unique.
FFAF have done it pretty well with choruses which last long enough to tingle you and breakdowns short enough to leave you hungry for more.
Rating – 8/10
Probably the only torch-bearers of the “new wave of American Heavy Metal” ,Lamb Of God(LOG) have managed to create a new passage with this new release.
Despite the feel being similar to Wrath,the song writing is much heavier and relies more on melodic choruses and more “old-school” guitar magic.LOG also goes more “Thrashy” with this release and has some brilliant orchestral backgrounds for few of the songs which make it a complete new-yet-old eargasm.USP if you ask ? – Randy’s bone shattering vocals.
With him the album sounds their heaviest work till date (excluding Burn The Priest)
The album kicks off with a painful but heavy intro and proceeds straight into a “in-your-face”kinda track – DESOLATION.
GHOST WALKING (superb acoustic riff) and GUILTY are for hardcore LOG fans, nothing unique musically but quite the punch from their previous albums.
For the people like me ( tastes gone haywire because of recent tech metal bands) – the REAL album starts after THE UNDERTOW.
Superb song structuring and mean drum-fills by Chris Adler pace up the album to infinity.
LOG have pepped up their feel by being more thrashy as well as groovy- which makes them even more tasty!
THE NUMBER SIX, INSURRECTION and TERMINALLY UNIQUE are tracks which tell you the calibre of the band,technically.
Guitars swing ridiculously and pedel-presses are bad-ass, specially in INSURRECTION.
TO THE END marks the perfect foreclosure with aggressive but groovy and flowing choruses.
The closing track KING ME is what is the highlight and probably the most versatile track in the album. Comprising of the aforementioned orchestral arrangements and female backing vocals , it literally dilates your pupils.
Randy Blythe (Vocalist) is one member who stands out in this album.
Delivering his most melodic choruses and rage-driven growls at the same time.
The surprise element is the small patch of a song which has his clean vocals!
I wont be more of a spoilt-sport and leave the anxiety to work its magic when you hear every song.
A great start to the new year – this album definitly is going to gather more lambs to slaughter before their metal gods!
RATING : 9/10
Apart from their mouthwatering cuisine and romantic hotspots , the french have yet again offered us – Uneven Structure.
They came out with their EP in 2009 – time when the Djent scene was picking up pace – and it wasnt untill a year later that their efforts got the credit(globally) it deserved. These guys have been on my ipod for almost a year now and their musical brilliance still baffles me.
Two words to describe this album – Heavily Ambient
Right from the first track “Awaken” to the aptly named “Finale” you are made to bow down before this pagan-god themed album. The echoing screams and the crystal clear vocals blend in effortlessly into each track.
The beauty of Februus is that even when the songs reach their climax in terms of heaviness – the atmosphere created is nothing short of serene.
“Frost” – my pick from the album- has its atmospheric passages which make you feel you are actually coming in terms to something that is beyond words and celestial . The influence of Tesseract is quite audible but the dark ambient passages which throw a bright light of maximum “djenty twang” is something that is signature Uneven Structure.
With the saturation of bands trying to go over-board with Djent guitar tone – Uneven structure preserves their progression from their EP and add up brilliant atmospherics and insane drum rudiments to their debut LP.
Fans of ANY sub-genre of metal can seamlessly fit into their style of music as it caters to ears that crave for melody as well as musical complexity and brutality.
This album is a sure winner in the slew of releases of the similar genre (as of yet – we still have Vildhjarta to surprise us) and marks the beginning of a band which knows exactly HOW to harness the power of Djent .
…and the whole album!
Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
Love them,hate them – they will be going with evil grins to their bank accounts.
3 albums old and these guys have made a mark and probably a new genre in the metal scene. Touted as “Modern Metallers” , their approach focuses on mainstream melody packed with realist lyrics and quintessential metal elements
“American Capitalist” is a perfect gift to a oven-fresh metalhead friend of yours . It is nothing new – musically. But it packs the punch in terms of melody and catchy songwriting and has the essential “RAWRRR” element to it. The songs are easy to pick in the first listen itself and you might find yourself humming them unknowingly.
Their first release “Way of the fist” lacked the mainstream sound that they were trying to find (i think) . But after their 2nd album “War is the answer” they finally found what they actually wanted to make.
Songs like “Under and Over it” and “Coming Down” are good getaway if you have saturated your head with complex bands like Meshuggah or Opeth and will leave you pleasantly surprised with their heaviness yet catchy outline.
“The Pride” could be America’s national anthem in these difficult times since the lyrics and song production seem government funded – superimposing the goodness of America.
When you have commercial success in just two releases bands tend to either crack in pressure or come out with “just another album”. FFDP did manage to up the ante a little bit but doesn’t give fans a reason to look forward to their next release. The brutality combined with chunky melodic patches in “Way of the fist” or the brilliant war-ballad “Far From Home” in their 2nd album “War is the answer” would make fans revisit their prior work rather than give this one a second listen. Although the vocals are the BEST part of this band . Every album they just get getting better and better – probably the only reason why i go back to their previous work and could pass comfortably through this one.
1.Under and over it