Sept 22, 2017 Music Releases (Part One)
"Deep Calleth Upon Deep" By Satyricon
Genre: Black N' Roll
Satyricon have been called "The AC/DC of black metal" for their consistent sound and relatively simple compositions. That nickname is sure to stick with their latest album Deep Calleth Upon Deep. While frontman Satyr tries to incorporate some different elements such as horns and more choir vocals on some of the tracks the feel is largely the same as much of the band's other recent work. This isn't a bad thing as Satyr's riffs sound as tasty as ever and Frost's drumming is plenty dynamic enough to keep every track sounding unique and interesting. Some highlights include "To Your Brethren In The Dark" which is slower paced and darkly haunting and "Blood Cracks Open The Ground" which is a more driving and direct track with some catchy guitar leads. The title track stands as the album favorite with its dynamic composition and legitimately catchy chorus that is interwoven with a ghostly backing vocal. As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Satyricon is a shining example of this ethos' success as the band's music stays engaging despite little change in style over the years.
"Forged By Fortitude" By Sons Of Texas
Genre: Groove Metal/Alternative Metal/Southern Metal
A metal band from Texas calling themselves Sons Of Texas. I was able to predict the Pantera influence off the name alone. Even before I heard frontman Mark Morales doing his best Phil Anselmo.impression on opening track "Buy In To Sell Out". There's a lot more to this band however than an appreciation for the groove metal legends of their home state. The band is able to meld in melodic hooks into their Lone Star grooves with much less cheese than many of their groove metal contemporaries. All while never losing the bite in their music that they pride themselves on. Tracks like "Feed The Need" and "Down In The Trenches" will have you banging your head as well as singing along to their anthemic hooks. Even their more ballad-leaning tracks like "Beneath The Riverbed" and "Turnin' The Page" feel more heartfelt and authentic than most. There's a lot of fun to be had on Forged By Fortitude. The band has a chemistry between its members that would surprise you with them being a fairly new ensemble. Texas being the prideful state that it is has another musical export to be proud of with this these guys. With their balancing act between aggressive metal and radio ready accessibility it may not be long before Sons Of Texas becomes a household name.
"Thrice Woven" By Wolves In The Throne Room
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
American black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room return to a more traditional sound on their latest effort Thrice Woven after their pure ambient record Celestite. Continuing their practice of stuffing long compositions into single songs, Thrice Woven is made of only five tracks despite being 42 minutes long. This makes the record more of a full album listening experience with each song having many diverse movements each. Within each epic song there's the band's tried and true mastery of atmospherics that have synth and acoustic guitar taking turns with more conventional black metal blast beats and raspy wails. A strong example of this is in the second track "The Old Ones Are With Us" that use wall-of-sound synth over conventional metal instrumentation before going into a melodic, folk-like section complete with clean vocals and acoustic guitar. Overall the record's epicness feels like the soundtrack to a film while also being one of WITTR's most aggressive efforts as of recent. It's a densely layered experience that will take multiple listens to peel back all the details. Thankfully Thrice Woven is plenty engaging enough to bring listeners back time and time again.
"Sleeping Lions" By Otherwise
Genre: Hard Rock/Alternative Metal
Otherwise doesn't seem to want to change things up much so far in their career as the music found on Sleeping Lions is pretty interchangeable with any of their previous efforts they've released. The band's commercial mixture of hard rock and heavy metal, while competently performed, is hardly groundbreaking or unique. That said there's fun to be had in Otherwise's anthemic choruses on tracks like "Angry Heart" and "Nothing To Me". The radio-aimed studio polish will sound all too familiar to most listeners. But rock fans that aren't looking for too deep of a musical experience may still find something to enjoy on Sleeping Lions.
"Cold Dark Place" By Mastodon
Genre: Progressive Rock
Only six months after releasing their well-received number one album Emperor Of Sand Mastodon has now released a four track EP titled Cold Dark Place. Aren't we lucky? Three of the tracks were recorded during the Once More Round The Sun sessions while "Toe To Toes" was recorded during the Emperor Of Sand sessions. Supposedly this EP was originally meant as a solo record for lead guitarist Brent Hinds. Knowing that I knew Cold Dark Place would likely have a very different vibe from Mastodon's usual work. The EP is Mastodon's most melodic release to date having none of the usual metal fury the band is known for. The songs also seem more stripped back in structure and musical layers than a usual Mastodon release furthering the record's accessibility.
The EP is very cohesive and refreshing as the band seem to joyously explore vocal harmonies and melody without being beholden to keeping the songs within the metal realm like their full length releases. Opening track "North Side Star" employs a slow build up before going into a more groovy section with soft vocal harmonies. "Blue Walsh" has a more dreamlike vibe with atmospheric guitar leads and drummer Brann Dailor taking the lead on most of the vocals throughout the song. There is a more aggressive section near the song's end however with Troy Sanders leading vocally and adds a bit of diversity to the track. The closing title track is largely acoustic, haunting and moody with an emotive vocal performance from Brent Hinds. It's the most different from the other tracks and revels in its stripped down nature.
Overall Cold Dark Place shows a different side of Mastodon that further explores their sonic capabilities and ventures their sound into new waters. All the while maintaining the high quality the group is known for. If you've been on board with the more melodic material of Mastodon's three most recent records then you'll love this EP.