Tuesday, November 15, 2011


With a mighty thunder and shout one of the most anticipated albums of 2011 is upon us, that would be Theocracy’s latest album entitled As the World Bleeds. Taking the seeds that were spread across the bands two previous albums As the World Bleeds is that previous work come to fruition.

The song writing is world class through out with fabulous arrangements that bring subtlety to the forefront. Opening with an 11 minute track (I Am) isn’t always advised but Theocracy pulls it off building to a crashing crescendo. Epic choruses which have become their trademark are arranged with precision and executed flawlessly.

What I love about Theocracy is that their arrangements are memorable and are a stark contrast to the extreme vocals heard in so many of today’s metal acts. Some reviewers have compared them to Dream Theater, but I find a comparison with Stratovarius is must more compelling.

Even though the musical territory on As the World Bleeds is similar to their previous release Mirror of Souls, the band just feels must more comfortable. Safe in their own skin as it were, one of the elements this time that was not apparent in the prior releases is the quality of the guitar solos. Many of the tracks benefit from a scorching solo that wouldn’t have appeared before. Let it made clear that the solos don’t occur at the expense of the songs, there isn’t a sense of ridiculous noodling.

Power house tracks like Nailed, The Master Story Teller and Altar to an Unknown God are all top drawer compositions which are indicative of the release as a whole. Lyrics, riffs, melodies, performances are world class and deserve the accolades they receive.

The production elements are of the highest caliber as the sound of the instruments and vocals are clearly defined. Listening to the lush composition The Gift of Music is an epic arrangement that sounds fabulous. The package of songwriting, arrangements and performance is in the upper eschelon.

Having said all this I simply don’t want to over hype this album. This is a top 10 album for this year, but having read some of the negative thoughts all I’m gonna say is if you don’t care European flavored Power Metal with touches of progressive whimsy, you might want to pass on this and grab Terraphobia’s latest (a great album in it’s own right!).

However if you want soaring melodies with clean vocals, great guitar work, epic choruses and powerful heavy metal make sure you grab As the World Bleeds. A big thumbs up!!

9 axes

Monday, November 14, 2011


Deuteronomium have delivered their most brutal album yet. Deathbed Poetry – Hope Against Hope is a solid slab of thrashy death metal. Carrying on the vein offered on their previous album From the Midst of the Battle, a more straight ahead full on death metal assault. From the bands own blog they indicated their desire to limit the over producing of their music, so we have a very clean powerful sound which sounds very ‘live.’

Youngside Records strikes again with another gem of music hailing from Finland.

The guitar sound here is rippingly brutal, which fits the overall pallet of natural sounds. You won’t find a highly compressed and compacted production, but one that allows all of the instruments to breathe and find their own place in the mix. Natural drums are a feature that you don’t come across these days. There are some extreme vocals on this album, but most of the vocals remind me of a Slayer like delivery, not Tom Araya tonality but simply the way Miika Partala delivers the lines.

Stand out tracks that demanded immediate attention was How Deep Must We Dig?, Gravebed, The Bells are Ringing, and Alive Immortal. Each one finds a niche musically and just pounds it out. That’s not to say the other compositions are weak, they’re not, but these standouts deliver the goods. Perhaps it’s because of the vibe of this album, with its live sound. Plenty of speed and aggression can be found in these tracks which is sure to get the plenty of mosh action started.

The lyrics are based upon the work of John Donne and English priest who has penned many great spiritual works from the late 1500’s. The material here was inspired by his book Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Quite a bit of depth can be plumbed from these metallic depths.

Deuteronomium has produced an energetic and strong album of thrashy death metal. Commercial considerations don’t exist here, just pure metal mayhem. Deathbed Poetry Hope Against Hope is a powerful album destined for the heavier parts of my playlist.

7 axes

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It was with great pleasure that I found the latest release by Michigan based Dagon in my mailbox. Playing self proclaimed ‘Punishing Nautical Metal’ these ferrymen of intense metal whimsy have again shown themselves worthy of a visit to Davey Jones locker.

The five song EP entitled Vindication is their first with new guitar player Matt ‘Hoop Jones’ Trzcinsk. He seems to have fit the bill and taken his appropriate place among the crew of this sailing Man ‘O War.

The tracks delivered here carry the Dagon trademarks, soaring guitar harmonies, brutal vocals at both ends of the spectrum, and drumming that feels like being trapped in swirling whirlpool. The Nameless kicks this EP off in fine fashion with a thematically inspired musical score that flows through several mood and tempo changes. You can feel the fog surrounding you as it closes in.

Blood of Ancients plays its musical ode to Iron Maiden from the very first, but drives a strong and powerful course through the crashing assault of musical waves. Where Captains Fear to Sail is the albums ‘single’ track that punishes from the first. Much like the demanding path of a ship in a typhoon, …Captains treads musically in a slowly building cacophony of powerful force.

Land of Phantoms screams like a battleship projectile on its way to a direct hit. Speed, power and melody that is sure to get the swabs into the pit! This EP closes with a 7 minute mini epic with The Tritons Daughter, another bit of musical chaos that starts much like a slow rising storm. It opens with a brilliant sunrise that slowly develops into a day of blowing rain and punishing wind which devolves into a red sky at night as the sun sets.

The production elements are again top drawer. Strong guitars, bombastic bass and punishing drums all provide a platform for the extreme vocal assault which is courtesy of Randy Ladiski and Jordan ‘Truck’ Batterbee. Claiming influences as broad as Iron Maiden to Cannibal Corpse this disc is the real deal.

Perhaps the one thing about this release which left me flat was the album artwork, or perhaps the color. After one of the best album covers ever in Terraphobic, Vindication leaves me scratching my head. It must also be pointed out that the inside liner notes and lyrics are extremely difficult to decipher due to the coloring and font size. What happened Bombworks?

Dagon has provided another excursion into the musical abyss of the darkened deep. The concept of the ocean is still as intriguing as ever, a bit of escapism that really delivers what it promises; Vindication!

8 axes