Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Razormaze - Annihilatia

1. Something Like A War
2. The Slowest Death
3. Worshipping the Void
4. Sink Below
5. Demagogue
6. Electric Deception
7. Terminal Escape
8. Without Words

Band Members:
Alex Citrone - Guitar, Vocals
Sam Nevin - Bass, Vocals
Joe Gettler - Guitar
Nick Lazzaro - Drums

This album was actually released a while back but I'm late to the reviewing party so here we go!

Thrash metal is making a comeback; that's a fact. Whether you're one of those people who think it's a tired and dated genre (fuck you) or you're like me who can't get enough of the shit, you can't deny that there are gems among the new wave of thrash metal that stand above the rest in terms of unique and impressive musicianship and songwriting. Bands like Havok, Lich King, and Revocation come to mind quickly to most, but for me there's one band that has a special place in my heart, and that's Boston's thrash heroes Razormaze.

The long awaited Annihilatia is finally out and it's amazing! Released on Slaney Records it's a lot heavier than their previous releases. Razormaze brings a lot more complexity to their songwriting this go around, and it definitely shows in both song structure and riffs.The production has been kicked up, the riffs are more plentiful and more intricate, the lyrics are deeper then before, and the vocals have more of a Chuck Billy feel to them instead of the almost cheesy vocals from True Speed of Steel (although I must say, I'm a big fan of cheese.) This album is also the first to feature new guitarist Joe Gettler, who, in scientific terms, fucking brings it. The solos are phenomenal and the guitar tone used for them is perfect.

My favorite song on the album is, without a doubt, Terminal Escape. From the bouncy intro riff to the circle pit inducing verses and gang vocal inspiring choruses. I mean, lets be real, its thrash metal, describing it won't do it justice, it'll just make it seem like every other thrash band, but if you hear it for yourself you'll feel differently. Buy this album and become another slave to the maze! (I don't give a fuck about how cheesy that sounds.)

Buy the album HERE
Follow the band on FACEBOOK

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mandroid Echostar - Citadels

Track Listing:
1. A Death Marked Dream
2. Ancient Arrows
3. Haunted Vows
4. To the Wolves
5. The Sleeper
6. Ethereal Dawn
7. Citadels

Band Members:
Stephen Richards - Guitar
Sam Pattison - Guitar
Michael Ciccia - Vocals
James Krul - Guitar, Vocals
Matt H-K - Drums
Adam Richards - Bass

Here's a release that I've been waiting for for about a year now! Mandroid Echostar blew me away with their self titled release, playing a catchy progressive metal that took the vocals and clever songwriting of Coheed And Cambria (don't judge) and the progressive prowess of Protest the Hero, finding an beautiful grey area between the two. Citadels is no exception, although I think it pushes more into the Protest the Hero side of the spectrum this go around. The music is catchy, melodic, and technical with impressive, sometimes straight soulful vocals.

Starting off with track 1, A Death Marked Dream, we're greeted with an acoustic intro, complete with harmonizing vocals. It's very beautifully done and the melody is gorgeous. All in all it's pretty standard for a prog release, but it's still a great track on its own.

The second track starts off similarly with a clean riff and hi-hat, building up to… a fucking power metal epic! This song sounds like a video game soundtrack and I love it! Twin harmonizing guitar solos, sweeping and noodling all over the place before the vocals come in and you're dropped right into Mandroid Echostar's fantastic progressive formula. The verse sports technical riffs bouncing around behind a unique vocal rhythm. The song stays pretty upbeat throughout and is a perfect opening song for any album.

This album does a very good job of being diverse without being completely all over the place, which I've always considered the mark of an on point prog band. Each song is different and brings a new flavor to the album while still sounding like the band. Check it out for yourself when the album comes on on Nov. 21st!

Buy the album HERE
Follow the band on FACEBOOK

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Optic - Iris In

1. Hemlock
2. Blind Apathy
3. Falling From the Sky
4. Breathe New Life
5. Moment of Impact
6. Withhold The Sun
7. Drown the Earth
8. Etched in Grey

Band Members:
Steve Christopher - Guitars, Vocals
Scott Genovese - Drums, Percussion
Mike Intrieri - Bass
Kenny Mahoney - Lead Vocals
Ryan Patane - Keyboards/Synths, Vocals

After waiting and waiting and waiting, Long Island NY's prog geniuses Optic finally give us their full length album Iris In, and it is every bit as impressive as expected. The songs are drenched in Dream Theater influence, which is NOT a bad thing, especially when it comes to the vocals. The musical prowess displayed on this album is nothing short of phenomenal. This is not the sound of a freshman release of an unsigned prog band.

The album opens with a short instrumental in "Hemlock," however, the song can stand on its own (albeit a bit shorter than the rest of the album) as a good song instead of just an introduction to the album. From "Hemlock" we get thrown into "Blind Apathy," which has a drive that sends me back to my early days of metal listening to Dream Theater and Blind Guardian. Clean vocals are something that I've come to miss in metal these days, and Optic does it so well. The vocals range from power/prog clean singing (FAR better than that of LaBrie I might add) to melodic death metal growls. One awesome things bout the harsh vocals is that they never seem forced and always compliment the music that's being played.

After a wonderful riff/solo filled track, we get the first epic clocking in at 10:45 with "Falling From the Sky." One of the things I've found that I love about this band is how prominent the keyboard is throughout the album. Ryan Patane doesn't sit in the back layering the songs with obnoxious synth noises, but rather is at the forefront of the band laying down solos as impressive as any guitarist. It's just something that you don't see a lot of in metal these days. Then, just as expected, the song takes a turn for the fast as it picks up speed and the harsh vocals kick in. These guys layer clean and harsh vocals very well, something that I've found most bands do poorly, sounding like a symphonic pile of generic boredom. And then we come to the first bass solo of the album, and yes it's good. The solo sections on this album feel important, at times feeling like riffs to the song more so than wanking for the sake of wanking. The keyboards never compete with the guitars as they seem to switch places and take turns in the spotlight of the song.

For those of you who haven't already been blown away by the Drown the Earth EP, both tracks are on the album and have been punched up in production a bit. One of these tracks includes the 13:19 epic Drown the Earth which is what drew me to this band in the first place. Withhold the Sun was also released early as a teaser for the album, so you've already heard that as well, right?

I'm not going to sit here and break down every song on the album for you, you can do that yourself by buying the album on bandcamp.

Buy the album HERE
Follow the band on FACEBOOK