Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Metal Bounty Hunter: Volume 4

I'm back with 4 fresh bounties to deliver, there's two speed metal bands from Germany, one doom/stoner band from Finland and a progressive metal about cats from the US! None of those guys are robots...

Tailgater – Rehearsal Demo (2015) / 75%
Independant: Bandcamp

Raw pure german steel
There’s some things in rehearsal demos by heavy metal bands that you just can’t find in well produced albums, it’s primal, raw and you can’t hide your faults with the help of modern technologies and some studio magic. That’s what I liked in the two releases of Finland’s Legionnaire and that’s what I liked in the debut of Tailgater. The five songs are fast and fun affairs preaching the bibles of Priest and Maiden. Fast twin guitar melodies, high pitched & fist raising choruses and thunderous drums, it’s a super legit demo full of well placed nostalgia. Songs like "Messenger of Emptyness" possess this sense of epicness that's hard to achieve.

Sure, the live rehearsal feel won’t please everyone since its recording quality is lacking but Tailgater is a cool discovery and they’re a band with a lot of potential even though they’re obviously not reinventing the wheel nor trying to do so.

Tombstoned – II (2016) / 80%
Svart Records

Tony is reviewing Finn doom again
The sophomore full length from the Helsinki trio is quite interesting. Their doom/stoner blend is tighter than on their self titled effort and there’s some great influences thrown here as well. Outside of the obvious psychedelic background (just look at the artwork), there’s sort of a deathrock/goth influence, especially in Jussi’s clean, mournful powerful vocals. The way the vocals were recorded and their presence at the forefront of the production is perhaps the thing I liked the most about II, the lyrics are easily understandable and it’s a good way to differentiate yourself from the countless 
Electric Wizard wannabes who hide the fact they can’t sing for shit under a ton of unnecessary (or in their case, maybe it’s necessary) reverb. Don’t worry though, the bass is still thunderous and the guitar tone is savage enough to compete in the best league the genre has.

The album almost reminds me of Sister, the masterpiece of the now deceased In Solitude in its ability to mix its core sound (in this case doom) with estranged elements to create a potent and groovy formula. I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic with this album but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. It’s far from generic but still has enough familiar elements to please most fans of the genre(s).

The Cosmic Kitten Project – The Kitten Galaxy (2016)  / 73%
Independant: Bandcamp

Catnip flavoured progressive metal

I’m not sure if these guys are trolling or not but they actually wrote a four page story about space cats (or space kitten) and their “kittendom” or whatever, and it’s as infantile as doing a concept album about My Little Pony (check out Glacier Frost if you want to have some fun or cry). Anyway, even though it’s this peculiar element that lead me to review their first extended play, they’re not bad at all. I must say that I’m happy that they’re instrumental and that there’s no lyrics about space cats, I’m fine with Slough Feg’s Traveller as far as silly sci fi concept albums are concerned, thank you very much. John Petrucci and his dystopia concept album/musical comedy where “music is outlawed” and there’s a “chosen one” can go fuck himself.

Musically it’s fine, their progressive metal hits the spot without relying on djent modernism and masturbatory shredding. There’s a lot of keyboards and programming but the guitars are atmospheric and the riffing is decent. The compositions are well done and they offer a wide variety of moods and tempos throughout the three songs. Even if their concept is ridiculous, they’re good musicians who possess enough musical knowledge to craft intricate spacey prog metal numbers.

Septagon – Deadhead Syndicate (2016)  / 83%
Cruz del Sur Music

Efficient & clean speed

When I discovered that Markus Becker, the singer of Atlantean Kodex (one of my favorite current bands) also used his pipes in this band, I had to check it out. Compared to the classy epic doom/heavy metal of his other band, Septagon (awesome name) plays an awesome mix of speed metal, some power and heavy metal and sprinkles of thrash. His clean voice fits the distinctive style like a glove and he’s not overused, he’s such a great singer and he’s showcasing all his versatility with this record.

It’s technical with lots of expertly played guitar solos with a semi neoclassical vibe, it’s also intense as hell but knows when to slow things down and give us the time to catch our breath (listen to “Henchman of Darkness”). The songs are loaded with stuff, the four songs ranging to five to six minutes give us a lot of ideas to chew on.

Like many thrash bands, they took the social issue approach for their lyrics like the 1984 themed track “Unwanted Company”, they’re not too dissimilar from Anthrax (check out the last track “Secret Silver Panorama Machine” or Megadeth on that front.

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