REVIEW: The Lidocaine - Chicken Cage of HORROR

The Lidocaine - Chicken Cage of HORROR
Inverse Records

I don't honestly know too much of what to think about this band. The 90's styled Alt-Punk album title drew me in, the promise of progressive got me curious. So, I suppose the overall package did its job of making me listen. The contents... well I suppose you could call them akin to a Chicken Cage (or Coop) - in the sense that, despite not being wholly delicious at the moment, a little re-purposing might make them a deep fried dinner to remember.

Despite the strange title, this album doesn't hold too many comedic surprises. I'm sure they perhaps are in there somewhere, behind the strange folk-metal inspired vocals (think Turisas or Korpiklanni try and do Mr. Bungle), but I can't pick up on anything. I don't think these guys really get that singing somewhat goofy or Operatically to Metal isn't really comedy. However, aside from that I really found myself getting into the vocals despite the opening tracks being not so well done. Its almost as if the singer really began to find his way around the middle of the third track 'The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of...' and despite some rough mixing on said vocals - he really began to win me over.

The music, I couldn't believe it, is actually true to form Progressive Metal. Refreshingly, these guys actually knew what the genre was and did not tack it on for exposure. Songs progress from one form to another in a really great way. My favorite, especially, is the song 'Fabrication' which takes all sorts of different turns - from a strong old-school metal styled melodic verse, to a 90's alt-punk styled chant, to a layered chorus that lies somewhere in-between those two. There is no laziness when it comes to the Instrumental aspect of The Lidocaine.

As said, The Lidocaine is good; 'Chicken Cage of Horror' is good - really good. And the album grows on you fast. However, there are some hiccups - the mixing on the vocals is a little iffy but its not too bad as to detract from the experience. The comedic elements are either hit and miss or non-existent but that doesn't stop this from being an enjoyable album. If you are looking for something different, and you know I always am, I suggest you listen to 'Chicken Cage of Horror.'

REVIEW: VOD - ᑑᕐᖓᐃᑦ (Tuurngait)

VOD - ᑑᕐᖓᐃᑦ

As a reviewer and long-time fan of Metal, I have been feeling the very real wear of over-saturation when it comes to my favorite genre. If you didn't know (which unless you've been living under a rock I don't know how you haven't) the easier, cheaper, and more available gear and software for artists has lead to a unholy stream of bands popping up almost daily. I'm all for the little guy getting their sound out there, its great and I'm sure its a huge accomplishment - its what my blog is all about. However, the sad truth is that nobody really has the gull to do anything too ground breaking or new with what they have. The sheer amount of same-same bands I have to hear daily is equivalent to a endless supply of tonic water - bland; plain; unappealing. Thankfully, some people have some imagination left and we get genuinely interesting things like VOD's Tuurngait.

Interestingly enough, this whole project is done on bass (the guitar bits at least). This is something I can get behind as I used to play Bass and the sheer amount of 'you can't do shit with bass' mindsets is enough to turn away almost anyone from the instrument. Dave Tremblay, the mastermind behind Tuurngait, somehow surpassed the naysayers - the result is some unholy oddity as odd in execution as it is in presentation.

Firstly, I have to mention that the choice to implement a hefty amount of mysticism into this package only strengthens how much I enjoyed it. The choice to use foreign characters instead of universally known English titles helps elevate the general sameness even the most clever song titles have anymore. Seeing these strange characters and the artwork -a enormous eagle overshadowing a woman in the darkness- all really helped me warm up to the album. The reason I mention this is because, guys, sometimes good Artwork and Presentation really does matter.

The meat of the album, the music (obviously), is something a tad different as well. Instead of the Djent approach, which would have been so easy with a 6 string bass, Tuurngait is more of a progressive experimental affair. Of course, there is a hefty Drone influence but compared to most Drone I listen to the overall sound isn't akin to Drone. What you can expect is a lot of layered, extremely heavy, riffs coupled with ambient pauses and sometimes complete drop offs from heavy to quiet. VOD doesn't like to keep itself typical either. Any approach that seems somewhat familiar or typical is usually uprooted instantly by the inclusion of odd timing or seemingly off-tune riffs. This entire album seems to be a deliberate attempt to do something far outside the norm or known. Vocals, as well, seem to consist of long airy distorted bellows and howls, which would be haunting if not for the fact that they sort of exist behind the music.

All is not well with this album, however. As much praise as I'd like to give it - there are some flaws. Really, when you unravel the album after several listens - you realize the whole thing isn't too far out as to not be digestible. Its not like I'm asking the album to be so different as to be too much to the average person, its just that for all it does to be mysterious or different - its not too different then some of the odder tracks you'd hear back in the day. At times, it even feels as though I'm experiencing some of the rarer and more serious moments of Primus. That isn't too bad for me but it shows that the experimentation isn't really as far out as initially believed. Also, the vocals and lyrics are barely there and completely unneeded. I'm aware instrumental albums have a really difficult time standing out but the vocals really don't do much for me on this one; they don't do very much for the album at all.

Tuurngait, though a sizable and much needed difference in the genre still has its flaws. But, I can't deny that this is no doubt one of the better things to hit my inbox in some time. The Bass-only approach only makes everything more deep and unique. I couldn't imagine this album being done any other way but I can't help but feel that maybe there are some aspects that could be improved - if only slightly.

REVIEW: Sinners Moon - Atlantis

Sinners Moon - Atlantis
Inverse Records

There is no lack of Symphonic Metal. Thanks to the likes of Nightwish, Leaves Eyes, Within Temptation, Epica, and countless more, there is just about as many Symphonic Metal bands out there are as there is Pornography. Sadly, it takes a lot for any of them to gather the steam that any of the aforementioned bands have. So most rely on shameless copying or uninspired attempts at individuality (i.e. Epica's god-awful 'rough vocal' inclusions). So, as a rule I'm extra-tough when it comes to these bands. They have to really be something else for me to give them that final word.

Sinners Moon comes off as what you'd expect from a Symphonic band. I could never get away with saying they bring anything especially new to the genre - but almost every other band of this ilk is guilty of the same thing. They do, however, bring a really refreshing energy to the whole experience that I don't really feel with any other band happening right now. Everything has that young energetic edge that Annette Olzon did when she was part of Nightwish. Sadly, female vocalist Simona doesn't do too much outside of the norm - at times, it feels as if shes about to do some accentuation but she doesn't really do anything wholly unique. And this is a bit of a shame considering the early tracks have a lot of extreme metal influences going on. 'Growl' Vocalist Derick has such a great handle on his chosen style that its a shame to see his presence somewhat falter on so many tracks - we want more Derek!

Oddly, Atlantis gets a pretty spectacular track with Guest Vocalist Tonny Kakko of Sonata Arctica. This track 'My Servant' is honestly a huge draw point to this album. In fact, the two prior tracks 'Pray For The Child' and 'Falls Of The Neverland' had me thinking the album was gearing up for completion, as they were generally dull as dirt, until this one came along. Sadly, again, Derick is somewhat pushed to the background - despite the fact that he provides a great contrast to Tonny Kakko as compared to the female vocals, which at this point on the album were getting so grating to me I had to take a break.

Potential is abound on this release. Sinners Moon has all the pieces of a great album and band but they played it far too safe on this one. Hell, if Simona had done anything besides what was completely expected - and the band utilized their defining trait (aka Derick) then this would've been something to make a splash. I sense that this band needs to find their own unique direction. Until then, I'll be watching patently in anticipation for a monumental Sinners Moon release.