Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grab The Wheel And Make This Life Yours

August Burns Red is a Christian Metalcore band out of Pennsylvania who play a metal akin to As I Lay Dying, Misery Signals and Between The Buried And Me. They are sickeningly brutal while retaining a strong sense of melody.

It boggles me that metalcore often gets shunned by the metal community when in fact metalcore essentially blends the extreme styles of metal (death, black and thrash) with the aggression of hardcore as well as the melodic sensibilities of traditional heavy metal. It doesn't make any sense.

Anywho on with my review. It had been a while since I spun my August Burns Red albums and I had forgotten how brutal and heavy they were. At times they broke into death metal and black metal within the same song.

"Thrill Seeker" the bands full length debut is a slab of brutal melodies, heavy yet moving. The album begins with "Your Little Suburbia Is In Ruins" which is blistering assault, fast and disturbing with moments of head-banging crunch.

"The Reflective Property" takes the speed and adds more melody while "Consumer" blasts brutality around the melodic parts.

"Too Late For Roses" is moving yet dark with a sickly heavy outro. "Barbarians" speeds things up again retaining a strong melodic sense and "A Wish Full Of Dreams" adds to that with some crushing riffs.

"Endorphins" has a bleaker sound staying heavy and using gang chorus's. "Speech Impediment" leans more on the hook and is a moving heavy piece. The last few songs really bring home this album and are the stand outs in my opinion.

"A Shot Below The Belt" is dark and heavy song with some classic metal riffing and some good chunk and melodies. "Eve Of The End" is a heavy instrumental with hooky riffs and an eerie groove.

My favourite song, however, is the album closer "The Seventh Trumpet". This is an epic track beginning slower and rhythmic whose dark atmospheric riffing builds without variant into a cacophony of bleakly uplifting melody. A triumphant tune.

I have a lot of albums and there are times when I'll let gems such as these guys fly under my radar for a while only to be surprised as I cycle through my collection. Up next is August Burns Red sophomore release " Messengers".

Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Broken Flesh We Hide

Mindrage were a Christian Metalcore band out of Little Rock, Arkansas who released one album and an EP split with Nailed Promise. "Sown In Weakness, Raised In Power" is a solid heavy album, but Mindrage's biggest claim is probably guitarist and vocalist John LeCompt who went on to work with Evanescense until 2007.

Let it be known that John LeCompt also worked with Rocky Gray, performing live with Soul Embraced. Rocky was also a member of Evanescence until 2007.

Anywho, back to Mindrage. The band plays a a style of Metalcore much like Living Sacrifice with similarities to Nailed Promise. The latter giving Mindrage more of a groove then Living Sacrifice. As a big fan of Living Sacrifice, I took to this album pretty quickly.

"Sown In Weakness, Raised In Power" is heavy, dark with memorable hooks and solid riffs. The album starts off with "Not Alone" which sets the basis with thick heavy guitars and melodic undertones.

"Voice Of Disgust" comes out a little faster and touches lightly on thrash as does the album closer "Sown In Weakness. The thrash elements are minimal here despite the Living Sacrifice influence who incorporated more.

"Destructive Patterns", "Lying Breed" and "Ashes" are all heavy and aggressive in approach. "Passover" is crunchy with a heavier groove sound. "Born Blind" and "Asphyxiate" are more mid-paced crusher. "Raised In Power" splits the album as a groove heavy instrumental that's almost acoustic and carries an eeriness in the riff patterns.

"Child" is the strongest resemblence to Living Sacrifice (Reborn/Hammering Process era) to the point that I thought it might be a cover. Great song mind you and one of the darker tunes. As much as I enjoy "Raised In Power's" melodic instrumental, "Passover" is my favourite track here because I feel it blends the bands influences nicely.

Mindrage have released a strong album and if you don't mind the strong resemblances one can truly enjoy this release. I do. My complaints lie mostly on the lack of a lot of variation and solos (something that Living Sacrifice does quite well).
All the same Mindrage's lone effort (sans EP) is very well done if not completely original.

Up next, I will take a look at August Burns Red.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Hate The Devil, The Devil Hates Me

Travail is a Texas Nu-metal band with strong Christian leanings. They play a groove oriented style of metal-core (or groove-core) akin to secular bands Korn and less rappy Limp Bizkit. It's solid down-tuned metal with some crushing riffs and soothing funky rhythms.

Travail are often categorized in the rap-core genre and though some of the mellow parts reflect some hip-hop rhythms (akin to Anthrax' joint effort with Public Enemy) the vocals never rapped, but stick to a pained growl or style like Korn's Jonathan Davis or even Mike Patton to a lesser extent and not as chaotically versatile.

Travail only released a couple albums of which I only own one. "Beautiful Loneliness" is essentially a re-recording of their self-tilted album with a few extra songs. I managed to secure a copy of "Beautiful Loneliness" from my favourite source for hard hitting Christian music, Blastbeats.

I got hooked on Travail years ago when I downloaded a few tracks and spent ages trying to get an album (I still want to get their split album with Luti-Kriss). Anywho, "Beautiful Loneliness" opens with one of my favourite tracks "And So I was Thinking" which is versatile vocally and musically switching between grooving rhythms, crushing riffs and a metaphorical philosophising.

"Devastated" and "Darkness" are similar in style with groove-oriented rhythms and heavy riffs. The vocals mix well between almost spoken and spitting growls. "Lies" adds a reflective feel to the quieter bits while not loosing any brutality.

"Weakling", "Dead", "Beaten" and "When I Fall" are all fairly standard in their approach as metal-core songs and are straight forward and heavy, leaning toward Living Sacrifice and Gryp in style. Competent songs, but not necessarily memorable.

"A Song For A Friend" keeps the groove, but adds more tempo variety giving the song an aggressive approach all the while staying funky. "Judge Me" 's bone-crushing riffs are almost thrashy at times without sounding out of place amongst the metal-core. The album closer "Return" is a little speedier and a bit more chaotic and nice heavy breakdown with the closest thing to rappy vocals and at that only minimally.

"Her" and "Opposition" are slow groove-oriented songs that are darkly smooth and mildly hypnotic. Very catchy adding milder breaks to a pretty heavy album. There is also a hidden track which is a crushing rendition of "I Hate The Devil, The Devil Hates Me" which was one of their more popular tunes live.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable album with a number of great songs. Travail had a nice style and blended metal with groove rhythms with expert ability. I would have liked to see where this band could have taken this style.

Coming up next week, metal-core band Mindrage.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Included in my order for EversincevE's "Fire Finds Beauty In Ashes" off the bands website was a sweet ball cap as well as a CDR copy of their "As Pride Falls" ep from 2005. I don't know if this was ever officially released (by that I mean independently or by label).

Either way, I thought I'd include a little review of it as well. "As Pride Falls" sees the band add a more progressive sound via keyboards which gives them a sound closer to The Death Campaign as well as a stronger metalcore style.

In my opinion, that's not a bad thing, but it is different then their first full length which I found to be more metal then core. "As Pride Falls" begins with "Atrocity" which is melodic with heavier use of keyboards that softens the brutal edge, but adds atmosphere.

"Theory Of The Godless" takes that melodic edge a little further and adds some groove. This is my favourite track of the new songs mostly due to its catchiness and moving bridge/outro. "Instrument Of Vengeance" starts of with an eerie church organ intro giving this song a darker edge. This song is heavier with a melodic black/death metal feel and is most like "Fire Finds Beauty ..." album.

"From These Gallows" is keyboard heavy and continues the black/death metal sound adding a metalcore groove and some of the only soloing on this outing.

The ep also includes 2 re-recordings of songs from "Fire Finds Beauty ..." . The first is "Tangled Web Of Misery" which gets a darker atmosphere with the added keyboards, but I find it sacrifices the brutal edge of the original. The other song is "See Through Soul" which sees the addition of keyboards and some fancier guitar work.

I honestly prefer the originals and overall wasn't hyped on the atmospheric sound brought with keyboards. Not a bad effort, but "fire Finds Beauty In Ashes" had a great balance of melody and brutality that you don't get to often.

Not sure what I'll be reviewing next, so come on back and be surprised!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I Will Take My Hand And Wipe Your Tears Away

First off. For all my faithful readers, if you haven't noticed, I've been backdating my entries. I apologize for this weeks delay. I do like the backdating feature! It keeps things organized.

Anywho, this weeks entry is on the Florida based Metalcore band EversincevE. EversincevE are a thought-provoking Christian metal band who I feel are highly under-rated. They play a metalcore style similar to Mindrage and Travail, but with stronger metal leanings.

"Fire Finds Beauty In Ashes" is a brutal album with sweeping melodies mixing death metal-like growls and clean vocals layered over crushing riffs. EversincevE kick the album off with "Tangled Web Of Misery" a mid-paced cruncher with bursts of speed and brutal vocals. "See Through Soul" is similar though more pummelling and "Then Fell Faith" takes the crushing riffs and adds a bleak darkness to it.

"Childless" is almost death metal in intensity and sickeningly brutal without sacrificing melody. "Hole Inside" is death metal like with a Travail-ish groove to it. Some great rhythms and heavy breakdowns.

"Old Dead Skin" is a melodic metalcore tune with some heavy brutal bits and a strong sense of melody. "Undone" is a slower piece with dark, bleak undertones.

The album also includes a couple acoustic interludes with "At The End" providing a breather with a calming passage before the next brutal assault. And the album closer "Kaia Vuggesang" whose sweet melodies are accompanied by fire sounds. A wonderfully moving tune. Fire with Beauty? A nice outro.

My first exposure to EversincevE was their cover of "O Holy Night" on the Brutal Christmas album. Their cover was beautifully brutal and I had to track down their album(s).

More on that when I take a look at their "As Pride Falls" EP coming up next.