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Agma (UK)

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Heathen Machine
Heathen Machine
Price: £10.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitous powerhouse.,, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heathen Machine (Audio CD)
British prog/powerhouse "Balance of power" release they're fifth, and (to date), final album during 2003; and it is an extremely good one. "Heathen Machine" is pretty much an imprint of heavy "old" Queensryche on steroids, in both musical structure and vocal aspects of newcomer vocalist 'John K'; who is a dangerously close version to the glory days of fallen star Geoff Tate. The absence of frontman 'Lance King' on this CD is unfortunately endemic to what happens when a key member of a band departs and things subsequently come to a grinding halt.

What a shame becouse this is probably the band's most all-rounded and enjoyable CD set. The songwriting is simply much better than "Perfect balance" and the songs infinitely more memorable. Technically the band's kit sounds more convincing and superior than older days; in particular, Pete Southern's acute guitar sound, where plenty of tasty guitar harmonics are thrown in all over the place. The production is excellent and well-balanced also, which only adds to the qualities reflected on this apparant swansong.

There's raft multitudes of real iconic moments on this CD from the thrilling "Heathen Machine", to the insanely memorable "I wish you were here" and the closure of "Necessary evil". Even if midway things slow down in pace a little, this is very much a towering album of ambition and an excellent addition to any power/prog metal collection. 4.25/5.

Tomb Coven
Tomb Coven
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £27.54

4.0 out of 5 stars On Halloween night!.,, 3 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Tomb Coven (Audio CD)
"Skeletal spectre" are an unusual horror/death metal hybrid from Sweden who are fronted by an all female cast. The package on "Tomb coven" is a fairly satisfying one; crunchy slippery guitars propel this toxic mixture of horryifying and scary metal forward. The production is exceedingly raw and would sound like something from a Candlemass album., the bass is sloped on an ultra heavy format and the drums fairly flat. Anyway, technically and sonically this album is sharp and 'ready to go' so no complaints there.

In essence, this is all-rounded in a very scandinavian fashion as we have come to expect. Within is a blend of omnious melodic passages and wicked riffs on virtually every song; each one tinged with a howling and distant vocal plus the occasional ghoul sound effects. Certainly quite experimental and yes it continuously pulsates with the horror feel that I mentioned earlier - throughout. I found the experience listening to Tomb Coven a little mysterious at first but it is different and does warrant a thorough listen!.

This is ultimately a very crushing debut release:- key songs are "The decapitress, Amulet of impurity, Burial Ground and the title track - Tomb coven".

Price: £15.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Statatory salutes.,, 2 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: XXV (Audio CD)
"XXV" is the seminal follow up album to "The sentinel", and overall it's a good one. This is a plathora of modern prog rock with an abundance of songwriting twists and turns. The big hitter is the 'seven and a half minute' opener "Falling down", but it's when "Crash and burn" gets going that the album really gets into full gear. Newcomer "Paul mackie" is an abvious new suiter in the epic futuristic sounds that pulsate through these assortments and he really does a commendable job.

The technical skills and neo prog tendancies are well distributed across this 14 track assortment and there is ample variety too, with each song ranging from the 'space-stirring' "Something in the deep" to the riff-fest of "Sacrifice". The production is also delicate and well handled with a touch of transparency. Overall, this took a couple of listens to sink in at first, but in the end it is obvious that this was a well rounded album that transverses a cross-section of the qualities we all know and love.

Tales From The Morgue
Tales From The Morgue

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flithy grinding mayhem., 1 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Tales From The Morgue (Audio CD)
"Tales from the morgue" was the first proper full-length to be released by Entrails since they're original formation all the way back in 1991. Aside from incompleted work that they tracked during the 1990's and a extended hiatus of sort:- the inspiration of nearly 20 years of time and ideas ultimately culminated to this debut LP, and what a cracker it is; this is a near perfect distillation of classic Entombed and the melodic sub-components of Dismember; or in other words, dirty sunlight Swedish death metal with tons of grit.

The sound, as you would expect, is a ridiculously distorted and compressed assortment of grinding mayhem. The guitarwork gives an enriching buzz behind a heaving wall of drumming and ultra heavy bass. The songs themselves project a well balanced measure of heavy extremity, memorable interludes and creepy melodic moments. The grating heaviness mostly dominates the picture and leaves little breathing space to recover from the constant bulldozing of the guitars.

This is a honorable introduction to the hallowed depths of filthy rotten - Swedish death metal, and to date:- remains they're most immaculate piece of work. Whilst not quite an' undisputed classic, this is likely the best patronage of obscene metal I have heard this side of 2000.

A shedding of skin
A shedding of skin

5.0 out of 5 stars A trip in the way-back machine.,, 31 Oct. 2014
This review is from: A shedding of skin (Audio CD)
In 1991, german death thrashers Protector released "A shedding of skin"; and despite they're recent reformation and new album last year, this album is still they're best record to date., This is a darkness tingled and manic thrash death metal album with some amazing tortuous vocals from Olly Wiebel, and a razor sharp precision of the technical qualities we all know and love.

This album remains my favourite CD in this sub-genre, and so it's much a shame that it is so badly out of print. That said, there are some wonderful cuts from this album:- speedy and compelling riffage are spattered over the mayhem within "Mortuary nightmare, Face fear and Thy will be done". "Retribution in darkness" is my personal star of the show and demonstrates the level of intensity in the songwriting.

Topped off by some unbeatable artwork:- This is a masterpiece of all things fast and a rare gem of extreme supremity.

Dawn of Possession
Dawn of Possession

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angels and demons.,, 28 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Dawn of Possession (Audio CD)
In 1991 Immolation released they're storming debut "Dawn of possession" and I have been lucky enough, (more than two decades later), to acquire myself an iconic digipak reissue of the classic album. This is an adverturous and insane journey into the unknown. Far removed from the usual and typical thinking within the extremities of death metal, "Dawn of possession" serves up a blend of pulverizing death metal with a heavy focus on songwriting.

Within this package, there is ten death metal songs head to toe of wierd dissonant riffs, double pedal drumming and guitar harmonics a-plenty. Technically this is extremely well exectuted, and this is further confirmed by the vocal delivery of longtime frontman Ross Dolan. Robert Vigna, (The only other surviving band member on guitars) does an absolutely stellar job also.,

This debut is yet another classic example of precision, from a golden era of extremity as we all know. Immolation did stand out from a sea of like-minded bands during this era, and did continue to experience a well-standardised notority in later years, after further persistence in great albums emerging. "Dawn of possession" is another good introduction to classic death metal and it comes with a terrific and unforgettable artwork scene.

At War With Reality
At War With Reality
Price: £7.83

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reality is good and I like it!.,, 27 Oct. 2014
This review is from: At War With Reality (Audio CD)
The very first thing I noticed about picking up my copy of "At war with reality" this morning, was a sticker with "The greatest swedish death metal band ever reclaims their rightful throne". Bold it certainly is yes, and certainly to no understatement; this is one fantastic album of a band that has been away for way way too long. Note, that it has been nearly two whole decades worth of real time, and this exceptional successor to "Slaughter of the soul" makes a just' welcome appearance to the realms of melodic death metal.

With the slightly dilute and slushy "Siren charms" from In flames earlier this year, Dark tranquillity's rather lackluster "Construct" last year, and an ongoing quietness from Dimension zero, this was a much needed uplift in my confidence of ongoing quality in the sub genre. As far as melodic death metal goes, this is an absolute and immediate classic:- there is a-plenty of oxidizing and memorable guitar lines, acute nuances, heavy- compelling riffs and a real trademark sense of urgency.

Despite the melodicness, the darkness is swept around the atmosphere to create a truly endelible and savage listening experience. This is clearly a band on terrific form, and one that is willing to make a big and commanding statement. This entire album is a masterpiece and I am sure the vast majority of listeners would agree with me. My deluxe cd version is a lavish and quality digibook, that includes a small - At the gates patch, two bonus songs (Language of the dead, The skin of a fire), and a comprehensive booklet inside.

A melodic death metal must have,.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2014 9:10 AM GMT

Inked In Blood
Inked In Blood
Price: £12.76

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Static imprints.,, 27 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Inked In Blood (Audio CD)
Over five long years have prevailed since Obituary's last studio recording "Darkest day", and now we have "Inked in blood" on the airwaves. Controversial it may have looked to some, crowdfunded by the fans and then put straight out on relapse; but that is that. What we will certainly be keen to find out is how good it is; and it is then that my feelings start to turn lukewarm with skepticism. From this point of view, it is simply another album of the same dry, redundant and pedestrian sound with no frills.

Since they're post 2004 reunion, we have had three albums of roughly average quality. "Darkest day", easily the best set of those. This to me certainly looks like a slip:- straight back into cruise control mode of "Frozen in time", and to some extent "Executioners return" as well. This is an album of zero creativity, zero progression, zero inspiration; and a tried and tried to death formula; that has each time, been widely seen as unsatisfactory in living up to the intensity and darkness of they're first four CD's. Even on the mindless borefest of 1997's Back from the dead" an experimental groove sound was played about with.

This is absolutely not a return to form by any means, I am really disappointed with the lack of ambition on this outing and the static nature of Obituary's straight-down-the-line feel with the songwriting., It is not a bad album on face value, but I think many of us quite rightly asked for much more. So I think this one probably cracks a good 6/7 out of 10 at best. Some of Obituary's long time fans may welcome this with open arms, but many may also start to tire from the constant regurgitation. Key songs:- would likely be the riff of "Visions in my head" and the title track "Inked in blood".

The Deluxe edition is a digipak with no loose booklet, two bonus songs (Intoxicated & Bloodsoaked), and a novelty sticker of the gory artwork.., Overall, Inked in blood didn't do it for me.,
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2014 8:22 AM GMT

From Wisdom to Hate
From Wisdom to Hate

5.0 out of 5 stars From great to stratospheric!.,, 26 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: From Wisdom to Hate (Audio CD)
"From wisdom to hate" is Gorguts fourth studio album and the only one to feature drummer 'Steve Macdonald'. This album is a rather impressive consortium of all of Gorguts's previous material embroiled on to one utterly mind-bending and brutal death metal album. The same technical aspects the band heavilly leaned on with "Obscura" are back with the unusual riffs, blast beats and wield rhythms fully showcased. Overall, not quite as memorable as "Obscura" was, but additionally, Luc lemay's vocals and guitar work is equally impressive as we all might expect.

I was suitably impressed with Gorguts's terrific return last year with "Coloured sands". After Steve Macdonald's death in 2002 it eventually led to the closure of Gorguts in 2005, and concurrently forced them of the circuit for a number of years. Admittedly, it was an album I never expected to ever see and I guess it reminds all of us death heads about the grandeur' of albums like these. "From wisdom to hate" features a variety of fast and slow paced material as well as a epic diversity in the songwriting; it's as good a place to start or finish in they're discography, as any of they're albums.

The Middle Of Nowhere
The Middle Of Nowhere
Offered by GMFT
Price: £13.55

4.0 out of 5 stars In a loop or the middle of nowhere?,., 22 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Middle Of Nowhere (Audio CD)
Frenetic and interesting melodies punctuate the heart of Orbital's fifth album Middle of nowhere:- The compositions are slightly progressive and extended in length as per usual but the quality of songwriting and transitions admittedly does not reach the lofty standards of the first four albums. That said, a raft variety of electronic runs create an abundance of atmosphere; and on that note it has to be one of the greatest aspects from the album.

There are still plenty of very memorable tunes from the album including the real stars of the show here:- "Spare parts express, Know where to run and Style". There are some songs however that don't quite cut it:- the second half of "Nothing's left" is a disappointment in comparison to the inspired first half of the song and it seems to get stuck in a rut and doesn't actually go anywhere. "I don't know you people" deserves a mention as one of the more adventurous songs present on the album and it is indeed, moderately satisfying.

Ultimately a step down from Orbital 1 & 2, Snivilisation and In sides; better though than the uneven follow up album:- The Altogether.

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