Monthly Archives: October 2013

SMOTHERED | THE INEVITABLE END [SWEDISH DEATH METAL] REVIEW BY LUKE HAYHURST

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Nothing sends a shiver down the spine than the promise of some old school Swedish death metal does it?

Stockholm based Smothered would like to think so as they fuse their death metal sound with elements of thrash and black metal. As you may have gathered from the eye catching artwork for the bands debut album (Released through Soulseller Records) entitled “The Inevitable End”, the bands focus and inspiration is drawn heavily from the well of Lovecraft, although they also like to dwell on more current issues such as death, war and murders!

in keeping with the bands passion for Lovecraft the opening sequence of “The Ritual” begins with the chanting of “Chthulu Fhtagn” from the Necromonicon and more accurately “The Call of Cthulu”. From there the band move into “Dead But Dreaming” and their instantly catchy, fast flowing and overly old school sounding blend of death metal takes a full grasp on its audience with some technical prowess in the form of mind warping guitar solos thrown in for good measure. As well as these elements, the bands excellent use of dark melodies created by slower guitar play and woven into the undercurrent of the song is both atmospheric and brooding. The same can also be said for “Sovereign” whose battering style is again tempered by this more thought provoking under-layer of melody and song craft!

“Re-Animated” however feels more bludgeoning in it’s slower moments but at full pace has an element of flowing death/thrash influence about it, again very catchy whilst “No One Left To Kill” opens rather bizarrely with an audio clip from the wicked witch of the west from the wizard of oz. Yet for me track of the album has to be the intense riffs, the rolling blackened harmonies and the methodical touches of “The Crawling Chaos”… simply sublime in its darkness!

“Phlegethon” is another Lovecraft influenced track and again demonstrates the bands technical prowess as well as their ability to make death metal sound both brutal and atmospheric whilst “Madness Take Me” reverts back to a more guttural slamming style of death metal. Sadly the album begins to wind down with penultimate track “Green River Anthem” which loses none of the bands quality or intensity before rounding things off with “The Inevitable End”… bombs falling air raid sirens wailing… ah does it get any better?

[9/10]

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THE PRIVATEER | MONOLITH [GERMAN FOLK/PIRATE METAL] REVIEW BY LUKE HAYHURST

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German pirate folk metallers The Privateer have returned in all their glory for their second album “Monolith” released through Trollzorn and the follow up to 2011’s “Facing The Tempest“.

A peaceful start of acoustic guitars and violin marks the opening to “Setting Forth” before more power metal style riffs and melodies come into play. From this short intro the band kick things into gear with the mixed tempo harmonies of “A Sequel From A Distant Visit” which combines harsh guttural vocals with cleaner more folk like sing-along moments and more intricate violin play weaving its  way through the sturdier guitar tones. Keeping the flowing theme tempered with bouts of thrashing heaviness vibe going is the instrumental interlude of “What We Took Home” which leads neatly into the bass heavy intro of “Track Down & Avenge” which increases the bands technical prowess on the album, somewhat to the detriment of it’s feel. Having said that it has some amazing grinding guitar solos, taken from a more black metal influence and mixed with more impressive violin play as well as some intense atmospheric undertones climbing high and enclosing the listener, shutting out all external sounds.

A more folk like meandering of acoustic quality greets you as “Ember Sea” continues things, tempered by more prominent bass play and harmonic orchestral tones before the bands bread and butter of flowing guitars and mournful violin take centre stage with rough more black metal style vocals coming through, mixed as always with the cleaner more folk style. Album track “Monolith” has a more intense style of play, the impact of the violin combining with the guitar play wonderfully although the odd moment of cleaner vocals sounds a little off key.

From “Stortebeker” onward the album doesn’t really throw anything new into the mix but stays consistent and with a high quality of musicianship, musical flow and song craft throughout. I like that you can have a pirate themed folk metal band without turning it into a circus as some bands have done. The Privateer once more prove that they have their sails set in the right direction!

[8/10]

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