Thursday, August 20, 2009

REVIEW: Chimaira

Artist: Chimaira
Album: The Infection
Release Date: April 21st, 2009
Genre(s): Metalcore

Okay so this is the new album from the Cleveland rockers Chimaira, and let me just say that it bores me to death.

Think of everything you liked in their previous couple albums and throw that out the window, there is no speed, no complex drumming, nothing in this album. If you enjoy slow riffs with slow drums in your metalcore then by all means listen to this, if not then stay the hell away.

Just when you think it's going to get fast, it doesn't. It's just bullshit, I feel like I wasted my life listening to this shit, kill me now. But I might as well finish the damn review.

Here is my opinion of every song on this album:

1. The Venom Inside - Too bad the venom didn't work :(.

2. Frozen in Time - This album is frozen in time because I had to pause it.

3. Coming Alive - Coming alive are you? More like dying a slow death, RIP.

4. Secrets of the Dead - There are no more secrets, you bored them to the fucking afterlife.

5. The Disappearing Sun - It disappeared right up your giant assholes, christ.

6. Impending Doom - This review after all the hate it will receive from anal assholes.

7. On Broken Glass - OH LOOK! THE BEGINNING HAS SPE- oh nevermind people, back to slow again. Oh right, a pun...ummm...I feel like driving broken glass through my ears after listening to this song.

8. Destroy and Dominate - This album destroys my mind and dominates my asshole in very painful and bad ways.

9. Try to Survive - What you'll be doing while listening to this.

10. The Heart of it All - It had been given a heart attack due to massive amounts of faggotry.

Hope you people enjoyed the review : D. Now it's time to forget this album with some booze, peace.

Track to Check: None, they all sound the same
Score: 1.2/10

Sunday, August 16, 2009

REVIEW: Warbringer

Artist: Warbringer

Album: Waking Into Nightmares

Release Date: May 19, 2009

Genre(s): Thrash, neo-thrash

THRASH!!! The year is 2009, and it's a very, very good year to be a thrasher. All your favorite thrash bands from the past are back to kick ass (this year, we're seeing new albums from Kreator, Slayer, and Megadeth), but that's not the reason you should be glad to be a thrasher right now. It's because, for once, there's a new wave of talented young rippers who are taking pride in playing music the way Satan wanted them to. There are countless neo-thrash bands on the scene today, and let's face it, not all of them are worth your time, but there are a bunch who have serious chops. Hands down, the most notable American neo-thrash band is Warbringer.

What makes Warbringer so special? A lot of things. Warbringer plays thrash, straight-up the way we remember it, the way we love it, with amazing proficiency and sincerity. Warbringer loves thrash, and if you love thrash, you'll love Warbringer, because thrash is their calling. Or maybe you love Warbringer because of their live dominance. If you frequent metal shows, I'm sure you've caught at least one of their performances (these guys tour CONSTANTLY), and I bet you had a killer time, too. These guys energize their songs and pump their crowd, adding up to some awesome freakin' pits. I know the reason I love Warbringer is because they're the most fan-friendly band I've ever met. If you go to one of their concerts, they'll be out in the lobby, hanging with fans; not merely polite greetings either, these dudes will have full conversations with fans. They're cool, funny, friendly, and all-around awesome people. It should be a crime to not love Warbinger; there's not a bad thing I can say about them.

As for their new album, Waking Into Nightmares owns, like holy crap, it's thrash to the core. I'm sure I don't have to bother explaining what thrash sounds like, so let me assure you guys, this is something you'll want to own if you're down with the thrash sound. The riffs sound amazing, the speed is wondrous to behold; it all sounds heavy and beautiful (by beautiful, I mean thrashy and violent!). New drummer Nic Ritter reaches a much greater height than his predecessor, busting out some fast and technical stuff that sounds just awesome. The bass adds a thick layer of infrasonic punishment (I've tried playing some of these songs on bass---they sound good!). And of course, the vocals are the greatest thing I can mention. John Kevill has an impetuous scream that sounds vehement beyond comparison. He shrieks out every song with as much force as he can muster, and really gives each song an extra push that makes them exceptional.

Warbringer knows all the right ingredients to make music sound good, and at no point does any of the music seem contrived. War Without End (2008) was a sick album, but Waking Into Nightmares takes things to a whole new level. Warbringer is a god among current metal bands, and this is a modern thrash-terpiece. Any thrashers out there who don't own this album yet are gonna take some punches in the pit!!!

Track to Check: "Senseless Life"
Rating: 9.0/10
-Psychotic Pulse

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review Grading Scale

I do things on a 1-10 scale because I feel like it's the best way to express the quality of an album accurately. The scale has range, yet is still easily understandable. However, for the sake of clarity, I will give a brief summary of my scoring system, as people's understanding of the 1-10 system may vary. Here's how I recommend albums:

9-10: Oh man, you MUST check out this cd.
7-8: Should LISTEN to this album, it's good.
4-6: You MIGHT want to listen based on your preferences.
1-3: Do NOT listen to this album.

Now, here's a detailed summary of what you can expect from each score.

10/10 - One of the best albums I've ever heard. Required listening for metalheads.

9/10 - This album is amazing, and a standout release this year. It's hard to get this score;albums that do are usually something special.

8/10 - Certainly very good, and you will probably not be disappointed what you hear if the album gets an 8.

7/10 - It's a good album, but not a great one. If an album gets a 7, glance at the review. If the album sounds interesting, you will enjoy it for sure, but it may not be for everyone.

6/10 - Above average. A recommendation on an album earning a 6 would be iffy. Diehard fans of the band should still get it. There may be something holding it back from being a good album.

5/10 - Average: not bad, not good. Albums like this can be uninteresting, contain a lot of filler, or are just not noteworthy. They may still be enjoyable, but don't expect a lot from an album that gets a 5.

4/10 - Below average. Here is an album that has flaws, something worth complaining about. If an album gets a 4, be cautious before listening; chances are, you won't be too impressed.

3/10 - A bad album. At this point, I don't think you should listen to the album at all. A cd that receives a 3 just isn't good.

2/10 - Terrible, just awful. There's no reason anyone should ever listen to any release that gets this score. Avoid at all costs.

1/10 - Hahahaha. Any album that "earns" a 1 is just laughably bad.

So there you have it. Hope this helps anyone who is confused about the graing system for my reviews.

TOUR: Vader + Decrepit Birth, more

Polish death metal legends Vader are fully prepared to unleash their torment on the North American continent in a tour billed as Monsters of Death. Starting early November, they'll be embarking on an intense 38-date trek across the United States and Canada, along with five other bands you can't miss. Offering their support are Decrepit Birth, a straightforward and exceedingly sharp Californian death metal band; Warbringer, one of neo-thrash's most well-known acts, due to their relentless touring; The Amenta, an industrial/experimental band from Australia; Augury, a progressive/death metal group that invokes elements of Cynic, Atheist, and The Faceless; and Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky, a newly formed death metal band that manages to kick a severe amount of ass, despite their mouthful of a name.

Tickets are a bargain at just $19 (or $14 each in a 4-pack). If you're not a Vader fan yet, you can get up to speed by checking out their superb compilation album XXV. Vader's new album Necropolis drops September 22. Everything these guys put out is pure gold, so it's not a risky purchase. Shows this essential don't come along very often; this one should have some sort of mandatory attendance policy for metalheads. The dates are here:

11/04/09 Sonar – Baltimore, MD
11/05/09 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
11/06/09 Webster Underground – Hartford, CT
11/07/09 The Blender Theater @ Gramercy – New York, NY
11/08/09 Fou Founes Electriques – Montreal, QC – Canada
11/09/09 Imperial de Quebec – Quebec City, QC – Canada
11/10/09 Mod Club – Toronto, ON – Canada
11/11/09 Penny Arcade – Rochester, NY
11/12/09 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
11/13/09 The Pearl Room – Mokena, IL
11/14/09 Rave – Milwaukee, WI
11/15/09 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
11/16/09 Royal Albert Arms – Winnipeg, MB – Canada
11/17/09 The Exchange – Regina, SK – Canada
11/18/09 The Underground – Calgary, AB – Canada
11/19/09 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB – Canada
11/20/09 Roll-A-Dome – Prince George, BC – Canada
11/21/09 Bourbon – Vancouver, BC – Canada
11/22/09 Sugar – Victoria, BC – Canada
11/23/09 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
11/24/09 Satyricon – Portland, OR
11/25/09 Regency Grand Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
11/27/09 Jumping Turtle – San Marcos, CA
11/28/09 Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA
11/29/09 The Key Club – Hollywood, CA
11/30/09 U.B’s – Mesa, AZ
12/01/09 The Rock – Tucson, AZ
12/02/09 Gator’s – Farmington, NM
12/03/09 Club Vegas – Salt Lake City, UT
12/04/09 Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
12/05/09 Marquee – Tulsa, OK
12/06/09 Scout Bar – San Antonio, TX
12/07/09 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
12/09/09 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
12/10/09 Peppermint Beach Club – Virginia Beach, VA
12/11/09 Volume 11 – Raleigh, NC
12/12/09 Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
12/13/09 The Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA

-Psychotic Pulse

REVIEW: Animals as Leaders

Artist: Animals as Leaders
Album: Animals as Leaders
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Genre(s): Instrumental, prog metal

From the moment I started listening to this album, I knew it was something special. I turned on my MP3 player and found myself in one of those great, rare cases in which the music is felt more than heard. The music flowed from my headphones to the rest of my body, slowly enfolding me. Thought-provoking and enrapturing, Animals as Leaders provokes emotion within oneself as only an instrumental band can do.

Lacking any vocals, the musicians (or musician, in this case) have to work hard in order to get the feeling across within their instrumentation. It's the downfall of many instrumental-prog bands, ones who can noodle on their guitar all day, but still not produce anything expressive. Not so with this band; listen to Animals as Leaders, shut out the rest of the world, and you will start seeing images, feeling things in yourself that you didn't know existed.

That's not to say Animals as Leaders isn't highly impressive technically, of course. Some of the guitarwork will blow your mind. The entire album was written and recorded by eight-string guitar virtuoso Tobin Abasi, which makes it all the more impressive, and effective as well. It works in the listener's favor having the ability to see one man's vision, making it more accessible, easier to grasp the message that Abasi is trying to convey wordlessly.

All the gears in this system work together, with no weak link. Guitar and bass flow smoothly, as do the drums and synthesizer. Abasi's gets a sound out of his guitar that's both jaw-dropping and breathtaking, sometimes simultaneously. There aren't really enough words to fully describe the dramatic effect of the music. This is one release that you absolutely have to experience.

I'd been planning on reviewing Animals as Leaders for a while, but I held off, for one simple reason. I wanted to see if this disc had staying power. At this point, I feel foolish for ever questioning that. Nothing sounds quite like AaL, and very few acts could ever hope to produce something quite this brilliant. This is most definitely the greatest instrumental piece you will hear this year.

Track to Check: "Tempting Time" (then the rest of the tracks if that gets you hooked)
Rating: 9.9/10
-Psychotic Pulse

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mayhem Fest Diary: Introduction

Mayhem Festival II is tomorrow. I'll be making the trip up to Comcast Theatre with seven of my bros, and it's sure to be a killer time. I still remember every moment of last year's festival; naturally, I'm expecting a lot from tomorrow's concert. I was lucky enough to catch the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival on its inaugural run last year, at Nassau Coliseum. When that night ended, I vowed with my friends that we would come back next year. Looking forward, we're pumped, and ready for more mayhem!

At Mayhem Fest, fans get the chance to see over a dozen excellent musical groups, walk around and check out merch booths, meet and greet all of their favorite bands, grab some second-rate food at premium prices, and sweat out a few pounds and get a neck tan in the over-90 degree heat. Think Warped Tour, but a lot more metal. It's not a bad comparison, considering both tours were masterminded by the same dude: Kevin Lyman. Out of all the touring festivals this year, though, Mayhem is the one you've gotta go to, trust me on that.

Who's playing? Glad you asked! This year features a vastly superior lineup, spread across more genres. The three-stage setup from last year is retained. The Jagermeister and Hot Topic stages are outside, next to each other, but neither has two bands playing simultaneously. This works in the favor of efficiency, as one band exits one stage, and another band is expected to start their set on the other stage within seconds. No wait time between bands? It's a concertgoer's dream come true! The Main stage still has breaks between sets, though, and is located in the stadium, to accommodate the masses of metalheads who will be gathering for the headliners.

The names attached to this tour command some serious attention: Marilyn Manson and Slayer. Crazy that they would unite for a co-headlining gig so soon, but definitely a package that appeals to a broad audience. For those who don't know, get familiar with the acts: Marilyn Manson is a shock-rock performer who plays industrial metal. Slayer is a famed thrash metal band who've been shredding since the 80s. Joining them on the Main stage are Killswitch Engage, an emo band full of metal posers, and Bullet for My Valentine, a metal band that blends old-school instruments with new-school vocals.

On the Jagermeister stage are: Trivium, All That Remains, and God Forbid, a trio of metalcore bands turned thrash, as well as a Jager opening band. Each stop on the tour features a different band, so fans of Mayhem nationwide will all have different Festival experiences. The Hot Topic stage features: Cannibal Corpse, 90s progenitors of brutal death metal; Behemoth, Polish blackened death metal titans, also the only foreign band on the tour; Job for a Cowboy, a popular deathcore act; The Black Dahlia Murder, a dynamic and talented band that incorporates a diverse range of death metal styles; and Whitechapel, a new deathcore band that is quickly making waves within their scene.

That's the gist of it. Come back in a few days, and you can read all about how it was, the bands' sets, any random weird stuff that happened, the whole deal. I have a damn good feeling about tomorrow!

Long live the mayhem!
-Psychotic Pulse

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

REVIEW: Suffocation + Obituary

Artist: Suffocation
Album: Blood Oath
Release Date: July 14, 2009

Artist: Obituary
Album: Darkest Day
Release Date: June 30, 2009

Genre(s): Death metal, brutal death

Two kickass old-school death metal bands, back with all-new albums. Two questions: do these bands still rip? And which album is more brutal?


If you want to talk brutal, that's the very best word you could use to describe Blood Oath. Holy crap, the vocals on this album own. Frank Mullen has a killer growl, and it's all natural. The drums are fast and lay the groundwork for some hard-hitting guitarwork. The force behind the riffs can be wondrous to behold at times. The solos, however, leave something to be desired. Thankfully, the band doesn't make that the focus of their music, so it can't be counted as too much of a flaw. It's straight-up, no-frills death metal. Easy to listen to, memorable, and very enjoyable.

There's not much to say about Blood Oath; it's well-done all-around. Production, instruments, songwriting: all are impressive. If you have any taste for death metal, buy this album, you'll love it. Anyone who went to Summer Slaughter this year heard Suffocation make an insufferably long speech about being a band for 20 years. For longtime Suffocation fans, this is the band's gift to you for sticking with them for so long. Congratulations to Suffocation, they have put out another death metal must-have, likely to go down as one of 2009's best.

Track to Check: "Provoking the Disturbed"
Rating: 8.5/10


Oh yeah, Obituary is kicking ass, as usual. Here, you'll find the same monstrous John Tardy vocals you fell in love with the first time you blasted "Don't Care" at home on your old stereo. The speed fluctuates between Obituary's trademark slow groove and speedy riffs. Either way it's punishing. The guitarwork isn't all rehashed, though. Ralph Santolla, the recent replacement for longtime member Allen West throws down some sick solos on top of the driving licks. It shakes things up without deviating too much from the Obituary formula. The band knows what works for them, and sticks with it throughout.

It's good to see that Obituary's not concerned with melody or technicality, for that is not what Obituary's about. Obituary's all about walking own the street, turning the headphones up to max volume, and smile snidely as the badass feeling comes over you. I'm a huge Obituary fan, and I can't resist the appeal of thirteen brutal new tracks from them. Obituary's been steadily on track since they reunited in 2003, but Darkest Day is their most focused post-reunion effort yet, and delivers all the goods that Obituary fans should expect.

Track to Check: "List of Dead"
Rating: an unbiased score would be 7.8, but based on my personal preference for Obituary, I'd give it an 8.8/10.

In conclusion:

Both albums offer little in the way of originality, but both serve to show us something more important: how each band has established themselves as masters of the death metal genre. Still going strong after 20 years, Obituary and Suffocation have provided us with more reasons to love them; both albums are essentials for death fans. Blood Oath is a more balanced and more accessible album for death metal fans of all sorts, while Darkest Day is geared more towards Obituary diehards, but guaranteed to give that group of metaheads an extreme thrill. Take your pick. The best choice for any true metalhead, of course, is to get both.

Choosing death again!
-Psychotic Pulse