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Heavy Metal Album Reviews: December 10, 2013

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The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases from Bat, Bloodgood, Caina, Derogatory, Dismal, Disfiguring The Goddess, I Shalt Become,  J.J. Hrubovcak, Lunar Explosion and Slaughterday,

The ratings are on a 5 star scale. 

Bat - 'Primitive Age' (Tankcrimes)

Bat - 'Primitive Age' (Tankcrimes)
Tankcrimes Records

Genre: Heavy/Speed Metal
Bat are a new band made up of vocalist/bassist Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste), guitarist Nick Poulos (ex-Cannabis Corpse) and drummer Felix Griffin (ex-D.R.I.). The EP Primitive Age is their debut release.

It's old school metal, raw and fast, but also extremely catchy. Waste's vocals are influenced by Lemmy and others of that era. The music draws from many different styles, including thrash, speed metal, punk and even '70s rock. The five songs fly by, and certainly whet the appetite for a proper album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Bloodgood - 'Dangerously Close' (Doolittle)

Bloodgood - 'Dangerously Close'
Doolittle Records

Genre: Heavy Metal
22 years after their last studio album, the Seattle Christian metal band Bloodgood return with Dangerously Close. The 2013 lineup includes original vocalist Les Carlsen and a few others from the band's golden age, along with Stryper guitarist Oz Fox.

If you liked Bloodgood back in the '80s, you should enjoy their comeback album. The songs are straightforward in their style and message, with crunchy guitars and big hooks. It's good to have one of the pioneers of the genre back after all these years.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Caina - 'Earth Inferno' (Church Of F--k)

Caina - 'Earth Inferno'
Church Of F--k Records

Genre: Black Metal
2013 has been a prolific year for Caina. The British one-man black metal project has already released a studio album and a live album, and now comes the EP Earth Inferno.

It's a compilation of previously unreleased material recorded between 2008 and 2011, along with a new track "The Last Lantern." More than just studio scraps, the songs are excellent. Much of the material is raw and feral, in the vein of the old school. Caina also injects parts that are majestic and mellower, and the song."Mancun" is ambient and drone-y. It makes for a diverse five songs.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Derogatory - 'Above All Else' (FDA Rekotz)

Derogatory - 'Above All Else'
FDA Rekotz Records

Genre: Death Metal
They formed in the 2010s and hail from California, but Derogatory would have been right at home in Florida during the rise of death metal in the early '90s. Their debut album Above All Else is obviously influenced by bands of that era.

The album is dense and bludgeoning, following a path that was blazed long ago. Although the style is not original, Derogatory throw in a few twists and turns and add some solos to the brutal riffage. Subtle variations in tempo and texture help add variety as well.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Disfiguring the Goddess - 'Deprive' (Decomp)

Disfiguring the Goddess - 'Deprive'
Decomp Records

Genre: Brutal Death Metal/Deathcore/Electronic
When he’s not hardstylin' and dubsteppin' as Big Chocolate, Cameron Argon is a one-man brutal death metal engine by the name of Disfiguring the Goddess. Embracing the DIY ethos, Argos does it all -- writes, records, produces, sings, plays all instruments -- with the exception of Toshihiro Igawa's cover art. After the success of his debut Sleeper, Argon is back with Deprive, another futuristic death metal meltdown.

Over the course of seven tracks, Argon's influences are heard in violent, spooky profusion. Amid the clanging and the crumbling are occasional ambient passages, many of which are of a decidedly Japanese flavor, making the atmosphere of Deprive sound like it would fit into the closing moments of Akira. Although short, and the mechanical nature works both for and against it, Deprive is another dazzling example of alien warfare.   

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Dismal - 'Giostra di Vapore' (Dreamcell11)

Dismal - 'Giostra di Vapore'
Dreamcell11

Genre: Gothic Metal/Rock
After a seven year absence, the Italian band Dismal return with their fourth album Giostra di Vapore. Their sound combines classical music with electronic elements. Sometimes they focus exclusively on the symphonic, like on the instrumental "Eden."

Other times, the electronica takes front and center, giving them a more modern sound. There are a few metal guitars, but they are few and far between. The female vocals vary from mellow alto to operatic soprano. The songs take a long time to get going, and although the compositions are intricate, they need more memorable moments and hooks.

Rating: 2.5
(Chad Bowar)

I Shalt Become - 'Louisiana Voodoo' (Saadi Saati)

I Shalt Become - 'Louisiana Voodoo'
Saadi Saati

Genre: Black Metal
The long-running USBM band I Shalt Become return with their latest album Louisiana Voodoo. After being a one-man band for the first several albums. mainman S. Holliman uses drummer A.J.S. for the second album in a row.

Louisiana Voodoo is a misleading title. The album isn't swampy and doomy, it's neo-classical. Symphonic arrangements blend with swirling black metal and guttural vocals buried deep in the mix. It's quite grandiose and cinematic, with the vocals and production adding some extremity.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

J.J. Hrubovcak - 'Death Metal Christmas' (Self)

J.J. Hrubovcak - 'Death Metal Christmas: Hellish Renditions Of Christmas Classics'

Genre: Death Metal
Hate Eternal bassist J.J. Hrubovcak teams up with his vocalist brother Mike from Monstrosity for the sinister Christmas album  Death Metal Christmas: Hellish Renditions Of Christmas Classics.

The EP uses the music of traditional Christmas classics like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "We Three Kings," but the lyrics are adapted to fit the death metal motif. There are also a couple of instrumentals, including a crushing rendition of "Greensleeves." The tracks are brutal and blast-beat laden, and filled with a darker kind of Christmas spirit. Warning: listening to death metal Christmas songs may put you on Santa's naughty list.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Lunar Explosion - 'Lunar Explosion' (Scarlet)

Lunar Explosion - 'Lunar Explosion'
Scarlet Records

Genre: Power Metal
The Italian band Lunar Explosion mix in progressive and neo-classical flavor along with power metal on their self-titled debut album.

The highlight of the album is the guitar work. There are excellent solos throughout and a lot of creativity. The vocals are very hit and miss. At their best they sound like Helloween, but there are some rough patches as well. The production is lackluster, which doesn't help matters.

Rating: 2.5
(Chad Bowar)

Slaughterday - ‘Nightmare Vortex’ (FDA Rekotz)

Slaughterday - ‘Nightmare Vortex’
FDA Rekotz Records

Genre: Death Metal
Swedish death metal by way of the old Sunlight Studios sound is the bread and butter of Slaughterday. They are from Germany, yet know their way around the style well enough. Heavy riffs with “that” guitar sound, an explosive percussion, growls, and a fascination with cosmic horror and the Old Ones complete the package for Nightmare Vortex.

A typical release in the genre, Slaughterday are certainly heavy enough to attract your interest, but Nightmare Vortex suffers somewhat from merely average songwriting. Still, there’s more than enough here to pique the interest of fans of the style
Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

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