Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Metallica - "Beyond Magnetic"

I'm reviewing this EP, because quite frankly, I really dig it and I fucking want to. I know Metallica dont NEED me to tell people that I like their disk, it's gonna sell millions no matter what. But this band are heroes of mine, yes even now, I'll let you take a minute to soak that in. I firmly stand behind Metallica and have since I was a kid and first discovered them via MTV with the "One" video. Sure, they've dropped a couple bombs. the "LULU" album just may be the worst thing I've ever heard. Reload has some good tunes but for me felt very thrown together or phoned-in if you will. St. Anger, when you listen to the riffs, I mean really listen, you can see the album had potential and really isnt the heaping pile of shit everyone slags it as. That album was the result of pulling everyone out of their respective roles and forcing them to do things they cant do, Kirk and Lars belong playing leads and drums, not writing lyrics. That leads me to Death Magnetic. Not only was that album a sort of return to form, but as I see it, was the ultime middle finger and a "Shut the fuck up" to all the "Old School" fans who called them sell outs and wanted thrashier songs back in the mix, because after all "Metallica died with Cliff Burton". I swear to the metal gods if I hear someone say that shit one more time, I'm gonna break their stupid jaw with a hammer. Cue 2012 and we are presented with "Beyond Magnetic" 4 tunes that didnt make it, or were for lack of a better term, "left over" from the Death Magnetic recording sessions. But make no mistake, this EP isnt to Death Magnetic what Reload was to Load. These are 4 kick ass tunes that were just too long and didnt fit the ebb and flow of the tracks that make Death Magnetic the album that it is. The 7 minute "Hate Train" kicks off this EP, and right away you know the Metallica guys aren't pulling a fast one here. Straight up metal riffery with the tight militant vibe executed on the classic "...And Justice" album, with the Death Magnetic sound and aura. The chorus drops down and get very melodic and somber in the vein of The Unforgiven. This song alone proves why James Hetfield NEEDS to be the lyricist of this band, his choice of words and vocal phrasing here and on the other 3 tracks of this EP are completely on the money. Drink your haterade all you want, call them polished, call them over-rated, what you CANT call Metallica is sloppy and soft. Great production here from Rick Rubin really catches the band's tight grooving, stacatto riffs and greasy, fierce uptempo passages. The percussive riffing in "Just a Bullet Away" with it's descending bits and constant changes really helps Lars' drumming shine here more than he's shown he's capable of in quite a while. "Hell And Back" is a bit slower and darker, the listener gets a big time "Black Album" vibe here with it's epic verse and chorus reminiscent in feeling to Wherever I May Roam, with a bit more modern feel and a punchier guitar attack. This tune is my personal fave of the 4, I find it sticks to the ribs a bit more than the other 3 and I tend to replay this one while spinning this disk. Metallica are far from re-inventing the wheel here, but what they are doing is stringing together some really, really cool rifs and writing catchy songs. Most importantly, to me it sounds like Metallica are having fun playing these songs, while the shortest track on Beyond Magnetic is 6:57, you never get bored, it sounds fresh and it sounds like the guys are having a ball playing these songs. "Rebel Of Babylon" closes this EP out and here the guys really let the speed fly on the verse riff and punky chorus. Having grown up with drugs plaguing my family members, I can relate to songs about the ills of heroin usage, so the lyrics on this one especially hit home for me. All in all this disk is pretty fuckin awesome, especially if you loved Death Magnetic as much as I and were disappointed by that LULU abortion and need something to tide you over until the next Metallica full length. At over 29 minutes, your definitely getting more than your $5 worth for the Beyond Magnetic EP. Some will read this and call me a Metallica fanboy, and just dismiss this EP without even giving a single second of playing time, but the true Metallica fans who have stood by the band through thick and thin, should know that their favorite band is indeed alive and well. Get this, or dont, I dont fuckin care, just dont call them soft, or complete garbage, or dead without at least listening to this first, having and open mind and not expecting "Master Of Puppets 2.0", more like "Death Magnetic 1.5".

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Necroptic Engorgement

 True old school death metal bands spawned from the Hudson Valley in NY are far and few between, especially when the band consists of younger dudes who wont call you a poser for not being first in line at the record store when Death released their "Scream Bloody Gore" album. Necroptic Engorgement obviously know what old school death metal is and how to play it correctly without crossing the line into "Deathcore" or "Tech-Death" like most up and coming death metal bands are guilty of. Their 5 song EP absolutely crushes from beginning to end. Fast, catchy, technical, but not flashy in the vein of early Cannibal Corpse is the base in which Necroptic build from as evidenced in tunes like "Homicidal Sativa" and "Lower Berth". But, dont be mistaken, these guys are far from Cannibal clones, there is a ton of originality in these tunes as well as impeccable musicianship. "Machete Dismemberment" delivers musical punishment equally as deadly as it's song title, with tight grooves and eerie descending guitar runs that will be stuck in your head once they drill their way in. "Necroptic Engorgement" calls to mind vintage Deicide with it's hyperspeed riffing, intense blast beats and contrast of high and low vocals. Frantic riffing, odd timings and neck snapping pace make this track one of my favorite on the disk. "Revelations" is one of this disks more chaotic songs, timing changes and skull pounding grooves that take you by surprise, Necroptic Engorgement are good for keeping you expecting the unexpected. Overall this is an extremely well executed debut effort, by a band that will surely gain a strong fan base of old school and new school death metal purists who are tired of the same old thing. You can find Necroptic Engorgement on FB to keep uo with what they have in store for us next. Grab a t-shirt and a copy of this awesome 5 song disk from them and do yourself a favor and grab a ticket to see them on Tainted Entertainment's showcases on March 2nd in Albany with Dying Fetus and Job For A Cowboy, and on April 10th at the Loft in Poughkeepsie with Kittie! Necroptic Engorgement also have tickets for sale for their show on March 8th at Dingbatz in NJ with Hate Eternal.


 While Lucertola are a relatively new band, it's members are far from newbies to the scene. Frontman Josh Christian and guitarist Tad Leger have logged endless stage and studio hours together in the seminal and highly influential Westchester,NY thrash band Toxik. Tad has also been lending his drum prowess to the classic doom outfit Blood Farmers as of late. Lucertola skinsman Ben Policello is also my metal brother and fellow bandmate in Left In Ruins. The 3 song promo disk currently available from Lucertola, is chock full of slow, heavy horror driven doom metal with a true and pure old school vibe. "Burning Breathing" immediately calls to mind classic St. Vitus with it's epic intro and punchy verse and chorus riffs. The crawling bridge in this tune, reminds this reviewer of "Draconian Times"-era Paradise Lost. Part of what makes Lucertola stand out from the doom metal pack, is the vocal stylings of Josh Christian. His phrasing has an undertone that calls to mind vintage Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies, mixed with a soulful, power metal influence reminiscent of Evergrey's Tom Englund. "God's Bloody Acre" unleashes more sludgy riffs, with a very brooding, almost unsettling vibe. The changes push and pull the mood of the song back and forth like you wont find in many doom metal bands songs. Flavors of early Tool shine through as well as classic Black Sabbath, and the bridge with it's southern flavored slide guitar solo get the Down fan in me pumped! "Sentient" is Lucertola's "Mellow song". Not quite what you'd consider a ballad, more like this bands version of the Sabbath classic "Planet Caravan" or Down's "Jail". The gentle guitar lines and silky vocal harmonies make you want to put your feet up and float away, just escape into the music. I think I can speak for most of us reading this when I say I've felt like "I want to feel the sun, no longer over me" as the lyrics strike a deep nerve in the outro to this melancholy opus. If this is what Lucertola are serving up in their 3 song promo, then I'm salivating in wait to hear what they are going to turn out in their full length offering. More recording and hopefully more shows are what this band have in store for us, so go find Lucertola on Facebook, click that "Like" button and inquire on how to get a copy of this awesome disk. Keep your ears open, I have a feeling Lucertola are going to shake the foundation of the doom underground sooner than later! You can hear Lucertola on The Shroud, every Monday night from 9pm to 12am EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com.