Thursday, July 22, 2010

KLANK - NUMB....Reborn

San Jose powerhouse Klank has offered up a new release of high quality
industrial/groove metal. Reminiscent of Rob Zombie, Dope and Marilyn Manson; Klank have really delivered the goods on NUMB….Reborn.

This being my first experience with the band I was immediately impressed with the quality of the songs. Comparing it right off with Dope or Zombie, the feel is there, the groove and heaviness as well. Cyberpunk with a large guitar assault that delivers on so many levels forces me to move the volume knob up on my car stereo in conjunction with the bass control.

Electrifying melodies on 'Penetrate,' 'The Rules,' 'Don’t Count me Out' and 'Bleed Me Dry' just hang around; only once you listen again can you sense the depth, the Full Monte as it were. Metal has such a way of adapting itself to many hybrid genres and this is one of the hybrids I latch onto the most. The crushingly heavy guitar moves things into overdrive where headbangers and pogoers can simply move to the mantra.

Lyrically Klank holds nothing back. Doubt, fear, joy, rejection and intimidation are all elements of the life followers of the Way experience. The emotional well is deep and honest, which is a sharp contrast to many albums from a Christian point of view where everything comes up roses.

The freshness and honesty displayed here is a kindling that can spark a flame or forest fire. Diving into the track entitled 'Blind'; all the cards are laid out on the table. Honesty drive and fury, their vast well of spiritual engagement is deep and courageous.

Down inside
My soul it bleeds
And cries out for the one's just like you
With no relief I wish that I could just touch you and make you complete
The only way to get back up on your own
Two feet
Forget who you were
Find out what you'll be

With a desire to engage their fellow brothers and sisters is something not amiss here. There is a genuine heart of compassion that doesn’t claim to have the reasons why, but perhaps showing fellow travelers that there is One who is able to carry us along. At the same time Klank is honest about the disappointments on the road less traveled.

Solid production and arrangements unleash a lion that has suffered, but has not quit. I would be amiss if I failed to mention the special guests who also contributed to this album, Jim Chaffin (The Crucified & Fasedown), Mike Phillips (Deliverance & Fasedown) and Larry Farkas (Vengeance Rising & Die Happy)

Fans of modern metal, this album has got to be on your list on purchases this summer. Don’t be afraid, obtain NUMB....Reborn and allow the work within to begin. This release is currently only available as a digital download, if sales warrant it the band has said they will then put it out on CD. One of the better releases this year, play it loudly.

8 axes


Technically savvy and meticulously infused metal lifts Deus Invictus to the top of the current crop of metal discs. Extremely intricate with some monumental musical passages, Staged in Waiting is the real deal. Bombworks Records have found a gem.

Strong elements of Jazz Fusion, Progressive, and Death Metal, coupled by subtle musical passages, a large supply of melody is allowed to manifest itself. Deus Invictus have created something unique to these ears. Perhaps others have attempted something similar yet this feels fresh and unencumbered, music from the soul that seems to know no bounds.

Drummer Jeff Carter formerly of The Chariot has assembled a band with an extremely divergent sound. Jeff has stated that some of influences extend to Prog rockers Yes and Scandinavian act Amorphis. It should be pointed out that those acts might be a starting point but Deus Invictus puts the petal to the floor in many instances and enlarges the pallet of Staged in Waiting offers.

From the complex arrangements of 'Alas, the Anvil' to the varied moments of 'Chords of Orion,' I’m still mystified. It’s a wonder of a clean and death metal vocals, passages of jazz, progressive sensibilities interspersed with a profound sense of melody. I’ve heard certain elements used by other artists and done well. What we have here is an unparalleled example of those elements woven together and executed with perfection. Believers Gabriel album explored many of these same musical ideas and themes, however as good an album as Gabriel was, something was still missing.

Staged in Waiting may not be for everyone but if you want to expand your musical diet this album will do that. With a highly versed acumen of influences and ability Staged in Waiting is fearless in its approach and tireless in its attack.

One of the best aspects of this release is the production which allows the music to breathe and grow. The tones are strong and punchy without bleeding into each other. Excellent guitar tones are matched with a bass and drum sound that act as the cement which hold it together.

With a precision, which is only matched by its maturity, Staged in Waiting is a metal album that demands a listen and proves its worth by the quality of the art within, lyrically and musically. Detractors stay away!

9 axes


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Hguols have given us another album of Symphonic Black Metal. As in their first release everything is performed on a midi sample keyboard. This fact in and of itself should provide for a unique listening experience.

Celestial Powers Have Intervened to True Supremacy is the appropriate title to the collection of bombast and elements of the Victorian. One thing that is apparent to me is that the way the samples are used involves more subtlety and depth which provide higher quality to one’s listening experience.

The song writing here is also a bit more mature as well. Sure there are elements that move like a freight train on fire, but interspersed are these elements of quiet and forlorn waiting, like waiting on a train station in Transylvania on a fog filled evening at midnight.

With varied tempos and subtlety Hguols is continuing to show maturity in songwriting and arranging. When tempos are constantly moving beyond light speed much can be missed and invariably things start to blend into one. That has not been the case here.

I’ve enjoyed the Victorian pipe organ sound that appears from time to time. Vincent Price would’ve been proud; the shroud it adds to the compositions where it was used provides that sense of doom and darkness. The pallet of sounds which appears here is haunting and has developed a sense of foreboding.

As with their first release the midi type sound takes a moment to adjust to, but with the higher quality sounds at their disposal Hguols delivers another tapestry of the macabre which might be the perfect soundtrack for those dark summer nights as you drive along the backwoods of your favorite cemetery. Celestial Powers Intervened True Supremacy is readily available from their website.

7 axes.


Nightmare Records has delivered a unique piece of art to the masses. Soul Creeper is the title of the debut album by Phonomik. This quartet offers to us a mirror of human insight delving into psychology and human observation, at the same time blending a modern metal vibe with classic rock melody and harmony.

Nothing here explicitly tells the listener what it is that they’re about to undertake. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a nice album of metallic rock tunes; that shortsighted approach just won’t work here. I suppose if your approach to music is pure sex, drugs, and rock n roll you’ll avoid this disc, fine it’s your loss. However if you like a ‘thinking mans band’ do yourself a favor and check this out.

According to the press materials:

“Soul Creepers take exit point back to when Jesus hung on the cross but this history is about the thieves who hung beside Jesus and cried "if you are the Son of God SO get us down from here. Then Jesus died sped up to heaven but our dear friend of thieves joined the slip stream and was caught in the nothingness. Now he is a Soul Creeper who has to live by others souls, and is sentenced to a total of eternity. Refers to the ancient beast, that dwell deep inside the human soul or the whispers that take us to dark places.”

Lyrically there is much that is not explicit but is open for interpretation and that element of unknown adds to the mystery. Yet I do wonder why the band felt that adding several ‘f’ bombs in the first song was necessary. No profanity exists elsewhere; perhaps it was used for emotional impact.

Musically Phonomik is an amalgam of Disturbed style riffing with classic rock sensibility, courtesy of Kenneth (lead guitar) and Shane (vocals and guitar). The vocal performance by Shane is top notch with a unique vocal sound. He sings for the majority of the album and when he shifts his style he opts for a more rhythmic rapid fire delivery. Michael (bass) and Kruger (drums) provide a solid backbone for the melodic tapestry going on above.

“Caveman,” “Massacre,” and “Die Alone” are just a few of the highlights on Soul Creeper. I found for myself that when I received a lyric booklet I was able to follow along and get more drawn into the story/theme presented. Myself I have often enjoyed this type of production because it does demand more from the listener, yet with 9 of the 10 songs clocking in fewer than four and half minutes even the casual listener should find this collection accessible.

The production is of world class quality with the instruments and vocals achieving balance with each other. There is breathing room but it still attacks with determination and drive.

Soul Creeper is not just a collection of the usual suspects, but something a bit different that should find itself in most collections of those of discriminating taste of hard edged rock n roll. Phonomik has given us a superior album to digest and ponder, check this out for yourself

8 axes