REVIEW: INGURGITATING OBLIVION - Continuum of Absence

More often then not, I turn to WILLOWTIP when I want something new. This Pennsylvanian label often describes their releases as 'forward thinking metal' and often that's an accurate portrayal of the bands they sign. Your always bound to get something Death Metal or Grind-based but all of their bands seem to do something very out-of-the-norm (i.e. GIGAN, BARING TEETH, etc). INGURGITATING OBLIVION seems to sort of follow this rule with 'Continuum of Absence' but with some rather fatal flaws I can't seem to overlook.

The band has no problem laying out extremely heavy riffs, as expected. This is, no doubt, a top quality band with the expected exceptional playing that comes of a WILLOWTIP band - especially by the bassist, Christian Pfeil, who seems to always push through the mix with some truly memorable and unique bass-lines. In this respect, everything is tight and well done - nicely assembled as you'd expect. However, the flaws present themselves when you realize that 'Continuum of Absence' is a whopping 50 minutes long. 

This album opens with a 10 minute Death Metal barrage, which simply becomes far too boring and repetitive by its end. Following this track with a 4 and a half minute song isn't too bad but the second track sounds like a extension of the first - creating a very drawn out and tired experience right off the bat. As the album continues, this trend persists. Songs are just too long and don't contain enough substance or experimentation to warrant 6-8-10 minute Death Metal epics. I just ended up wanting everything to end as fast as possible.


Though there is potential here and some good moments, I don't honestly feel like this group knew what they were going for. There seems to be a aim for Progressive Metal aesthetics but instead your just getting standard Modern Death Metal on repeat.



REVIEW: HIGH FIGHTER - The Goat Ritual (On Echoes And Dust)




Thank you and Happy Holidays from Direnotes!

Direnotes would like to thank you all who read for a great year! This little home blog project is still just a wee-baby but its grown so much thanks to the support and patience of so many great musicians, labels, and PR thirsty to give themselves some exposure and me something nice to listen to! It might not seem much but to me, it means a lot.

Hopefully this coming year will have a lot in store for both me and the readers as Direnotes is going to be heading in a few new directions - maybe even providing video reviews for physical releases! 

I hope you and your families are all having a fantastic time - but it here or Hungary (ha)!

REVIEW: ENTRENCH - Violent Procreation

Holy crap, ENTRENCHED really is pissed! 'Violent Procreation' carries with it the subtlety of a thrashing and clawing animal caught in a trap. Violating listeners years with insane levels of thrash akin to none I've really heard before. Its not Power Violence or anything like that, ENTRENCH simply encapsulates the power and forward intensity that Thrash Metal is supposed to be.

Now, I'm sure that other bands have hit the nail in the past twenty odd years - I'm sure there are countless that I've not even heard yet. However, ENTRENCH calls back to the older, more raw, aspect of Thrash with 'Violent Procreation'. I've been stuck with Death-core and Metal-core bands labeling themselves as 'Thrash' for way too long - often raising my hopes before finally laying on the disappointment. 'Violent Procreation' picked me up from that, simultaneously knocking me unconscious at the same time.

Oddly, this band consists (or consisted) of the old 3-man principal - keeping everything creatively tight and simple. Thank god, Joel E. Sundin has consistent bass skills to keep up with the overwhelming powerhouse that is Fredrik Pellbrink... The man delivers all of the guitar and vocal intensity single-handedly. Sadly, the drummer Victor Holmstrom appears to have passed away - no doubt that has been a great loss for ENTRENCH.

Great Thrash. Period.


REVIEW: DEVIN TOWNSEND - Z2

To get it way out of the way: Yes, I am a fan of Devin Townsend. My favorite album was 'Ki', I didn't like the original 'Ziltoid' and 'Epicloud' was balls - also, I don't really see why Strapping Young Lad should return in any complicity. Also, Casualties of Cool was amazing. Anyhow, somehow I've been blessed with a copy of Devin Townsend's most ambitious album in the history of... ever.

While, yes, the first section of Z2 'Sky Blue' acts as a sort of loose tie into the rest of the album, with some vaguely existential and somewhat meaningless connections - it is extremely clear that 'Dark Matters' is where Townsend's heart resided. Not to say that the first half is bad by any means, it just feels somewhat unimportant compared to the rest of the album. I, personally, did not enjoy much of Ziltoid The Omniscient and the whole album was very scattered to me but 'Dark Matters' plays off much like a old radio broadcast paired with some fresh and somewhat daring steps in metal. Cheesy effects are scattered throughout everywhere, hamming up the album more then even the over-the-top dialogue does. There are actually multiple characters and sections where Ziltoid takes part in the songs, becoming a active entity within the story-line rather then fancy dressing - which means you don't have to look up what exactly the story of this album is, you can actually listen and know what is going on.  This is all paired with a increasingly heavy and pulse-pounding progression into orchestral-infused industrial tracks - I especially love when a whole album, rather then a single song, progresses.

What you got here is genuinely worth the hype; genuinely worth hearing and listening to. That being said, you also got something incredibly simplistic in comparison to albums like 'Deconstruction' but in the best way possible. Its almost as if maybe Devin Townsend's touring with Gojira brought him a little more down to earth with song writing because there is a lot done with little on Z2.

Now, sadly, as I mentioned before - 'Sky Blue' isn't bad by any means but its simply not as fun. It opens with 'Rejoice' - which is at best a good song but not great and sort of just wanders from there. To be perfectly honest, it feels as if Anneke van Giersbergen has been way too much a part of Devin Townsend's music for too long. At no discredit to her, she is talented, however I've heard her as part of many other albums and bands - her style and contributions have rarely varied. But, really, she has been making many songs sound very same-y from Devin Townsend for way too long and is a good deal why I felt that Epicloud was sort of Epiclousy.

Dark Matters is where the best is on this double album but I'm sure many will enjoy Sky Blue - just not as much as those who'll enjoy Dark Matters. Now, I see that Devin Townsend is going on a break and I wish him all the best - even if there are no more albums.

REVIEW: SLUP - Dramatorgie

I almost fell for it - SLUP almost had me for a loop. You see, this is Goregrind and its supposed to be a muddy, choppy, and completely offensive exploitative ride. The vast majority of people are supposed to hate this; they are supposed to be in disgust of the imagery (see: SLUP - Dramatorgie album art for example), the sound, the lyrical content. The fans and players of this genre live for your dissatisfaction. So, my response to SLUP is an astounding: meh.

There have been bands like this for a long time now, they spew some offensive lines here and there and rattle the convictions of youth and adult alike. However, this band sadly is completely ineffectual due to the fact that these individuals speak in Czech - and I'm sure they rocked the boats of Bohema quite a bit but for English speakers, the most important aspect of Goregrind has been stunted.

So, what we are all left with is the rather plain downtrodden bones of goregrind - the shock is all gone and I'm left hearing things I've heard a million times over. Its the same old riffs and hooks that grind, goregrind, pornogrind, etc use constantly; same old and tired guitar tones; same drums - and, my god, the mixing on the vocals is so wrong that it sounds as if someone is just singing over some instrumental track they found for free.

Unless you are Czech or speak the tongue, you are not going to like this. That is, even if you like Goregrind because all the shock of this rock won't be present for you.


REVIEW: Publicist UK - Demo

I don't judge demos by their overall quality, more for their potential - not that there is anything overtly wrong with PUBLICIST UK's Demo. What is here is most definitely interesting, it encapsulates the despair, disdain, and restlessness that its members seem to be feeling towards the world. The extremely passive-aggressive use of monotone vocals really thrusts the listener into some otherworldly expanse - almost always you find yourself pulled into some lonely and despairing state of being. That, is most definitely what I'd call 'potential'.

However, there are a few hiccups - nothing major. I do love the song 'Never Gone To School' for its overall strangeness and 'Slow Dancing To The Bitter Earth' has some extremely bizarre lyrical content. But, the songs sometimes take a very long time to build up to a cohesive blend. Its almost as if the songs intentionally come off as a bit sloppy at first only to fake out the listener in some fantastic musical climax. Both tracks are like this, coming off very shoe-gaze like. Each starts sort of down-to-earth and aspiring but then completely pummels your ears with endings that I'm absolutely in love with.

There isn't too much I can go on about with only two tracks to work with but for what little there is, I find myself falling for it. PUBLICIST UK is odd, to say the least, but endearing. I'm hoping I hear a full album soon.

Sorry guys, no bandcamp for this one!


In This Moment And Maria Brink Actually Bothered Listening To Fan Backlash!

I posted a article months back about how sex doesn't always work as well as intended in marketing and there was a pretty strong emphasis on Maria Brink's decline from a relatively attractive woman, albeit unconventionally, to some sort of idiotic goth porn-star image - which completely robbed her music of its credibility to me. However, as I'm one for chances, I've been keeping a ear out for Maria Brink and IN THIS MOMENT's progression to whatever the hell they are going for. As usual, I expect the worst when it comes to bands aiming for mainstream success, but color me surprised when IN THIS MOMENT actually bothered to make a substantial and sensible change in direction.

Though their music now hops this strange line between the GENITORTURERS, ROB ZOMBIE, and LIMP BIZKUT - IN THIS MOMENT actually bothered. Gone now is the horrifyingly idiotic abuse-me image, which Maria Brink tried desperately to back up in countless interviews and a certain infamous magazine cover, and now comes a era of what I could actually consider a empowering image (kinda). See, now ol' Brinky has her clothes on - they are tight and all but shes going for scary attractive. This, to me, is way different then the muck we all usually see and I applaud her for also having extremely original outfit design - none of that Hot Topic or Vampire Freaks crap here. And, though, I'm not exactly drooling over the woman or anything, shes showing some direction towards building a fan-base that can be attractive without feeling as if they need to be promiscuous or something - or clueless.

So, I really don't like the new music or anything but I do like the fact that the band let Maria put on some pants or a dress again. Its nice.

REVIEW: Dreamgrave - Presentiment

Admittedly, I've been waiting for something like DREAMGRAVE for quite sometime. Its the sort of music that exists on some ethereal balance, not quite one definable sound but a perfect storm of many ideas and snippets - unrestrained if you will by too many generic-ties. I'd like to say bands like FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE fall within the lines of this rare sub-type but I can honestly say that, nah, DREAMGRAVE is the real deal here.

Of course, DREAMGRAVE is heavy as hell - Dömötör Gyimesi and Mária Molnár know their stuff and they add their vocal talents here and there quite well. And, at a superficial level you could say that the vocal overtones strongly reflect a Melodic Death-metal demeanor. However, beneath that is a plethora of schizophrenic variety ranging from choirs and organs to flutes and wild cutting riffs that I love the hell out of. János Mayer, the keyboardist, so perfectly provides a plethora of emotional interludes. Every song reflects a stunning emotional and stylistic cavalcade - not to mention its the sort of thing everyone has been wanting from the progressive scene for quite sometime. 

This literally blows the hokey-pokey nonsense of DEVIN TOWNSEND and even OPETH right through the roof - providing a more serious experimental progressive tone. Its a thinking-mans metal, for people who are looking for something beyond the second-hand PANTERA's, SLIPKNOT's, and LAMB OF GOD's that are shoved down our throats these days. 

One downside? The cover-art looks way too much like FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE's 'Labyrinth'.


REVIEW: OLDE - I

If you've heard anything about OLDE, its no doubt good. The band has already made a significant impact with 'I' and no doubt its roll has just begun, especially with the first full length being titled 'I' (obviously). So, if I sound like I'm singing the same old tune as other publications - I probably am. However, if you haven't had the chance to hear what their all about then I implore: read the following review.

OLDE is something of a phenomenon. You've sort of heard similar projects before - like MASTODON, RED FANG, or maybe even NEUROSIS - but OLDE has a harder edge about it, almost like it was a less experimental LUMBAR album. And, whereas the aforementioned bands somewhat struggled with their musical identities overtime - OLDE simply does not. Sure, the bluesy doom-laden stoner riffs are all there - though with a little more technicality then usual; vocalist Doug McLarty's pipes are gruff enough to make one think the bear on the albums cover is no doubt some representation of his vocal style; and enough BLACK SABBATH inspiration is present that it beats you over the head repeatedly - but, OLDE works. 'I' captures the essence of all modern Doom and Stoner bands and encapsulates it into the album which should forever define the genres from hereon out.

Hypaethral Records, you need not worry - there is no preconceptions of OLDE being 'some new-school, svengali-created trend-jumpers' in my mind nor should there be in anyone's minds. My god, buy this album.