Tag Archives: Modern Metal

Parity – Ocean

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I recently saw a tweet that said “female-fronted is not a musical genre!” and I couldn’t agree more, which is why I generally avoid highlighting the gender of the vocalist, or other members, of a band in my reviews. Today will be an exception to that rule though, since today I’m writing about the newcomer band Parity, that brings a breath of fresh air into our local scene. Their debut EP Ocean is due to be released this Friday and I’ve had the chance to get in quite a few listens so far, so let’s go!

The reason why I’m deviating from my principles today, is because the Luxembourgish (metal) music scene is very male-dominated, and with the hiatus (or end?) of Rude Revelation there is definitely a lack of female singers that scream…which is why I was very delighted when I found out about the existence of Parity about a year ago and was eagerly awaiting their first output. Therefore, I will skip to what is usually in the second to last paragraph, which is the vocal part of the review.

I’ll make it short: there is without a doubt a new star on the horizon in the form of the quintet’s vocalist. She flawlessly switches between techniques and jumps from clean singing to screams in a matter of seconds, never skipping a beat. But what I dig the most about her performance is that her screams have this hint of despair and, dare I say, evil possession in them. Her cleans on the other hand also stand out to me because they are not super high-pitched or the nasal type. She is already at a very good level and I am confident in saying that she will keep evolving and expanding her voice even further.

However, even the strongest vocalist can only do so much for a record if the music behind is crap. Fret not though, since that is by far not the case with these four songs! It’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre but I would lean towards modern (death) metal with notes of djent and a hearty dose of groove metal. I hear all kinds of very different influences and elements that I, at times, wondered how the guys on the instruments managed to make this potpourri work out in the end. But suffice it to say that they did, so lay your head at ease.

The only negative point about Ocean is that it only lasts twenty minutes, because even after the, at least, twentieth listen I still hunger for more every time the last song ends. Nevertheless, I’d rather have a really solid and convincing first output by a band than overly long repetition of, basically, the same song over and over. So, I guess there is no real negative point about Parity‘s EP after all! So, if I managed to make you curious, please head over to the band’s Facebook page and check out their making of below. Also, if you want to witness them live, they are hosting a release show at Kulturfabrik this Friday!

Abstract Rapture – Earthcrush

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It’s time for another well-known Luxembourgish band: Abstract Rapture. These guys have been around for close to ten years and in 2011 they released the long-awaited follow-up to their 2008 album Democadencia. The rather fitting title they chose: Earthcrush. Please note that because of scheduling problems the release party for the album was only in early 2012, so to most people it’s still rather fresh.

The reason why the title is fitting can be noticed right after the intro: everything is even bigger, faster and most of all more aggressive than before. Instead of starting a bit on the groovy side like the opener of the predecessor, this first song just blows your face off right off the bat. This goes on for quite some time until the forth song where the clean vocals start appearing, but just in small doses unlike on the previous record.

In the guitar department you can definitely notice a more mature style of writing with more complex structures and cleaner execution. The same goes for the sound which, at least in my ears, sounds a bit stronger and more tight. The melodic department doesn’t come too short either, even though it seems to have been toned down a bit. This sadly contributes to the fact that the album has less easily recognizable riffs.

The drums are almost not worth talking about since they’re at their usual very high standard throughout the 11 songs…people who know who’s drumming know the reason for that. However, similar to the guitars the speed has gone up another level and you’re treated to tinnitus-inducing beats; but in the good way.

As I mentioned a bit earlier, the vocals are a lot more aggressive and feature less melodic singing than what returning listeners are used to. This is however not a bad thing since the vocalist has a very powerful and charismatic voice that will stay imprinted in your ears for a while after listening to these 40 minutes of music.

To wrap things up I can only say that, while I’m sure newcomers to the band will surely enjoy this record since it’s filled with cool songs, I think it’s too straight forward. The previous album was criticized for having a few too many melodious parts; Abstract took that critique to heart and went balls to the walls with this attempt…however I prefer their debut Dead End Entry since it’s the perfect mix of both elements in my ears. I’m looking forward to their next release and I recommend you check this one out in the meantime.

You can follow the band on their Facebook page and check out the live video below, which Bördi kindly allowed me to use.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrWetQjJyVU]

Slipknot – Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)

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In one of my previous reviews I said that I’d probably do another one like it, meaning that I’ll talk about the album and mix it with a bit of personal history. Since this is my tenth contribution I figured this would be a good time to do so. Which is why I’ve decided to review a record that awakened my musical hunger, which to this day luckily hasn’t been stilled, and made me really relate to it as well.

Even though I started listening a lot to bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Bloodhoung Gang around the age of thirteen, I was never really into metal since I just hadn’t found the right thing. Then at sixteen a classmate, who happens to write for El Gore as well, introduced me to bands like Megadeth, Exodus and the likes…the stepping stone for a large musical evolution had been laid. In 2004 however an online friend sent me a new song, Don’t Get Close, by Slipknot and I couldn’t stop listening to it (fyi: the song ended up becoming a b-side). Even though I had known the band before and actually enjoyed a song or two by them, I wasn’t really into them since my taste was still elsewhere. But now, for the first time in my life I was anxiously awaiting the release of an album: Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). It wasn’t until May 25th of that same year that I finally held it in my hands and listened to it non-stop. I’m not kidding when I say that by the way…I literally listened to the album at least five times a day over a period of almost nine months in a row.

Enough about me; let’s get down to business…well kind of. The 3rd album, ignoring Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat., by the nine masked Iowans was produced by Rick Rubin and recorded in his notorious Mansion in L.A.. I’m not sure whether it is due to the change of producer, from Ross Robinson to Rubin, or due to the various side projects the band had during their hiatus between Iowa and this album but the difference of the sound can already be noticed after the first note of the intro. Even though I thoroughly enjoy the two predecessor albums, Iowa and Slipknot, this one just finds the perfect mix between heaviness and melodic parts. The production has gone through a similar change and, at least to me, this is their best sounding album.

The fourteen songs pretty much cover every aspect of Slipknot‘s sound, that fans have grown to love, and introduce new touches such as the marching percussion on The Blister Exists and The Nameless. Then there’s two ballads that were a big surprise when the album first came out; especially to people who didn’t know about the singer’s other band Stone Sour who released a ballad as a single the previous year. The thing that strikes me the most is that every single song has at least one highlight that will make you remember it.

The vocals are, as is tradition with Corey Taylor, flawless and in some parts quite creepy but in a way that you just get sucked into the song’s atmosphere even quicker. The prime example for this is the song Vermilion, which is about a stalker that follows a girl around…or at least thinks he does. Just listen to it and you’ll see what I mean. The choruses on the album are, I’d say, among the best ones that Slipknot have ever written and you’ll be chanting them along faster than you can say the album’s title three times in a row. The lyrics are filled with metaphors and less common words which I tried to figure out for ages.

All in all, this is definitely my favorite Slipknot album for a couple of reasons: first of all because it’s the album that got all of it started for me. Secondly because it’s just so diverse and well-written, ranging from neck-breaking headbang parts to goose bump inducing passages. And last but not least because it put the band, who had been written off prior to this release, back on the map with a bang. It’s pretty safe to say that this record will remain in my top 3 albums of all time until the day I die. Go ahead and check out the song below, which actually won them an Emmy, and their Facebook page.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_09wFxoaeQ]