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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Different Seasons - Bleeding Summer (1996)

Genre: Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 1996

1. Steele Machine
2. Darkside
3. Behind You Sadness
4. Wind Of The Spite
5. Bleeding Summer
6. Red Evening Moon

Download at Mediafire
Metal Archives


Ever since discovering these guys long ago, I haven't been able to go more than a few days without giving this one a listen! I am very impressed, and the only criticism I have is the short length of this "album", clocking in at just under 19 minutes in 6 songs. Goddamnit I want more!

Starting off with an eerie, yet still somehow cheery synthesized intro, the stage is set for some melodic/symphonic doomy Death Metal, but not in the frilly, "frolic through the flowers" pansy metal. This is some dark, but wholly engaging stuff. Excellent use of female vocals is made, along with synthesized instruments like organs! The good part of the album (understatement, since it's all good) starts when the female vocals burst out of the doom and gloom with "Behind You Sadness", providing fantastic contrast, and melding exceptionally well with the atmospheric/symphonic air.

This album has it all, despite such short length. We've got a straight-up Doom/Death song in "Darkside", eerie ambient intro/outro, powerful tunes incorporating all the elements that Different Seasons employs in tracks 3 & 4, and to top it all off, a gorgeous ballad, the title track of this hidden gem.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gorguts, Portal, Krallice, and Bloody Panda Live at Great Scott (2010)

Thought I'd sidetrack a bit with the music posting for a little posting about music!

Last night, I went with a few friends to go see the above-mentioned bands live at the Great Scott bar in Boston, Massachusetts, and found it memorable and exhilarating enough to write about here. About 75 people were cramped into the bar, and I was really excited from the get-go, since this was one of the first times that I was interested in ALL of the bands playing a show. It was one hell of a night, and seeing Gorguts play their first show in 10 years was a real treat. I'll now go through the bands in the order they played, and maybe include a few shitty pictures I took with my phone.

These sludge/doomers from New York played the loudest of the four and were monumentally crushing. I was standing right up there in the front row and had to check my ears a few times for blood. ;D It was definitely an eye-opening experience to see a band who played this style of music. The guitar and bass were heavily in front of the mix, and every strum left my head throbbing and echoing. What I found to be most interesting were the two vocalists, both Asian, screaming their hearts out. Yoshiko Ohara did the main vocals and her shrieks were absolutely blood-curdling. Hell, when the show began, I thought I was hearing guitar feedback, when it was really just her. Gerry Mak, the other guy who does some of the growling and chanting really got into it as well and overall, the band presented a doom-and-gloom atmosphere; all the band members had their heads down, hair covering their faces, as they played their world-collapsing music.

Known for their over-the-top technicality and avant-garde style of black metal, the aforementioned really does not do well in a live setting. The band barely had time to acknowledge the crowd or even so much as look up, since they were furiously moving their fingers as fast as they would go. However, they did play some ridiculously fast songs that got the crowd going. I was actually really pumped to see these guys play, since they sounded so pristine and fun to listen to on their studio albums, but in the end, Krallice is a band that's better left to playing in the studio, off the stage. Not much else to say, except that they were the disappointment of the night. Still good, I mean, this entire show was fantastic, but not as good as the other acts.

By far my favorite of the night! The atmosphere these guys invoked was unlike anything else I've ever heard, and as if it wasn't dark enough in the venue as it was, Portal sucked all hope and strength from the room and channeled it into their music. Incredibly heavy and plodding, they sound even more brutal than in the studio. I tried to record a few clips on my phone, but the sound was so loud that it blew my microphone out and all I got was silence!

Okay, I know what you all are waiting for. Was the vocalist wearing that crazy fucking clock on his head? Sadly, no, but instead he was dressed in this sort of anti-pope black garb. His face was covered by a black burlap sack sort of thing, and he had what appeared to be a black, homemade pope headdress on, with gold and red lining the edges. His robe draped all around his body, and he wore these serial-killer gloves. This guy totally stole the show. He was so slow and deliberate in his movements, that it really felt like he was pure evil and I was being thrown into darkness.
The way he tilted his head to one side, held it there for a few seconds, then turned back was spine-tingling. Since he played no instrument, he could throw his hands up and do other ominous things like touching his fingertips together and staring at the ground. The guy was creepy as fuck and it was awesome. The rest of the band had their signature black sacks over their heads with black jackets and pants, and one guy has a freaking noose wrapped around his neck. Awesome.

The music! All of the above combined with their style of music made for an incredible experience. The audience was going absolutely nuts, and I thought the kid next to me was going to have a seizure from grabbing his head and throwing his hands up, in a claw-shape, shaking violently with the music. The breakdowns were fucking intense, and watching pope man move with each pulsating beat threw everybody into a frenzy. You had to be there.

The best band in terms of crowd interaction and overall enjoyability, and it was their first show in 10 years! I feel so privileged to be a part of Gorguts's reformation, and it was comforting to find that they hadn't lost their touch after all these years! This was actually Gorguts's first show in the Boston area in 20 years!

Frontman Luc Lemay, the only original Gorguts member was great to the crowd and expressed his happiness to be back at it after all these years. An incredibly nice guy; he gave away his guitar pick and even played a few more songs after their set was over due to popular demand. They played a lot of stuff from Obscura, but also touched upon their other three albums as well, so we got to hear a little of everything. They played for something like an hour and a half, and not once did I feel bored or antsy, and the crowd was pretty much the same way. Hell, this was when the moshing and crazy shit started happening! Portal was mind-blowing, but the audience had remained relatively tame compared to Gorguts. I'm pretty sure Gorguts purposely did breakdowns within breakdowns to encourage the mosh-pit, but I've no problem with that! The band was really into the music they were playing, head-banging along with the rest of us. At the end, this one completely smashed guy even went for a crowd surf! Twice!

As an added bonus, Gorguts played two NEW songs that they had been writing! It was a real treat to be some of the first to hear these songs played in full. The first was an instrumental, jokingly entitled "Number 3", since it was obviously unfinished, and had a very Obscura-esque feel to it! The second untitled song was more complete and had vocals as well as a long, interlude/breakdown sort of part in the middle. Mesmerizing, and even more like Obscura! So, for all of you out there who loved the direction Gorguts took before they broke up, you're in for a real treat!

And that was my night. I bought a Portal shirt with a scary spider climbing out the front, shook hands with Luc Lemay, and braved the 90 minute drive back home at 2 in the morning.

Cheers from this guy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Demented Rampage - Noise Gate on Above (1994)

Note: Artwork Unavailable

Genre: Death Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 1994

1. Intro
2. Evolved Mutations

Download at Mediafire
Metal Archives


Some of these guys would later go on to form the great Different Seasons (see next post), and play a style somewhat similar to them in the slightly symphonic way, using synths. However, the contrast is a bit ugly in this demo, because we're hit with a 2+ minute beautiful atmospheric, almost church-like intro, assuredly to be followed by majesty in grace in music form, but instead, we're hit hard with chunky, almost brutal DM with pounding blast beats and simplistic riffing with a dark, crunchy growl.

Then out of nowhere... the synths! Bizarre. Still very interesting to listen to, even if the main song is almost exceeded in length by its intro. Worth a look to see how Different Seasons developed their style.

NOTE: The entire demo is 11 tracks, but eludes me for now...