Mind Scans

Mind Scans Volume 5

 

So… The Mind Scans format seems to have been a success so far and I’ve really been enjoying reading the ones Chris has done. Well, here’s my second Mind Scan for you all to peruse. Hopefully you guys are checking out the bands in the Mind Scans as they do deserve your attention just as much as the guys that featured in our main reviews section. Crank out the beer, find a comfy spot and settle yourselves in for Mind Scans Volume 5…

 

 

1. IGNITION CODE – NEWTEK LIE     (toreact records)

NEWTEK LIE is the debut album from Italian Melodic Death Metal act IGNITION CODE, and if you are looking for something a little different this one may just be worth taking a little peek at. While Melodeath is clearly the backbone of the band’s sound, they also have a Progressive-ish Math Metal tinge going on here too. It’s an interesting album in that regard, but the Math Metal elements seem to take a little away from the songs from a structural point of view. Without a doubt though, these guys are very highly skilled musicians who seem to have hooked up with a producer that knows how to get the best sound for their style. In certain places these guys remind me a little of MNENIC, but with a slight sprinkling of metalcore mixed in. I would also have liked the vocals to have been a little more decipherable too, sure that Italian accent thing comes into play a little, but the occasional sections where the vocals are cleaner or easily understandable, it’s just the more aggressive vocal parts that are sort of stuck in between full-on death metal and the more legible sound usually associated with Melodic Death Metal. Overall though I’d say that NEWTEK LIE is a pretty decent start for a band that are least offering up something that is a bit of a variation on the norm, a bit more focus on song structure rather than intricate passages could have made this one a real pearler.      7/10

2. AMON – LIAR IN WAIT    (self-released)

Some may be familiar with the name AMON as the original name that DEICIDE went by in the early days before label pressure forced them to change their title. Well, in 2007, a few years after being booted from DEICIDE back in 2004, Eric and Brian Hoffman decided to go back and re-claim the band’s original title and start again. It’s taken a bloody long time for them to put anything to disc, but the wait was worth it on all accounts. LIAR IN WAIT has a very old-school Death Metal feel to it but brings the crushing intensity of a modern day monster production as well, making the album sound as heavy as you could ever want. There’s nothing here quite as good as classic DEICIDE albums like LEGION and ONCE UPON THE CROSS, but it’s more relevant than anything DEICIDE have released in the post-Hoffman years, and for that fact alone it’s worth checking out.          8/10

3. REVERENCE – WHEN DARKNESS CALLS   (razar ice records)

I know this album has already been reviewed in full-format by my site-mate Denys, but there’s no way I could let this one go past without at least saying something about it. Anyway if you have read Denys’ review of WHEN DARKNESS CALLS you’d know how much he enjoyed this album…and so did I. WHEN DARKNESS CALLS is one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve listened to this year with a great mixture of Power Metal, Trad Metal, NWOBHM and a slim, slim slather of a more modern and crunchy feel. Most of the time these so-called supergroups end up falling over themselves, but not this time around… REVERENCE are (hopefully) here to stay and the metal landscape in general feels a little better just by having them around….CHECK IT NOW!!!!     9/10

4. CHRONIC HATE – DAWN OF FURY    (toreact records)

DAWN OF FURY is an interesting album, and while I’m still not totally sold on what these guys are doing, there’s no denying that CHRONIC HATE know exactly how they want to sound….Angry and Ugly! This album isn’t for the light-hearted, and the style here is musically a mixture of Deathy Thrash Metal and the more extreme side of Brutal Death Metal. Think a cross between OBITUARY and CANNIBAL CORPSE with some NAPALM DEATH and BRUTAL TRUTH mixed in for good measure. It’s not the most original sound going around, but the pure Angry-ness that flows out of these songs is something that is worth hearing, or feeling rather. It’s hard to know how to really asses DAWN OF FURY, on one hand you have a bit of a generic sound that has been done many time before, but on the other hand you have an album that succeeds in being one of the most aggressive sounding pieces of music you’ll likely hear all year. Fans of CANNIBAL CORPSE and DEICIDE should get plenty out of it at least.             7/10

5. PSYCHOPARALYSIS – ESCALATION    (self-released)

ESCALATION is the third demo PSYCHOPARALYSIS have released and even though there are only three tracks on offer, the running time clocks in at over seventeen minutes, plenty of time to see what these guys are offering up I would say. These Finns play a really enjoyable style of death metal that steeps itself in the traditional, classic era of the style but with a superb modern day progressive edge. This isn’t your neatly polished modern day death metal though, this demo has some serious balls and a really dry and in your face production that brings back that uncomfortableness that made classic death metal feel so angry and scary. The occasional slow, melodic passages do a really good job here as they really keep you guessing, and every time the band bring back the full intensity it rips your skull open from the inside. In the promo material, the band themselves comment that others have compared their style to early Amorphis, and while I agree is a sonic sense, PSYCHOPARALYSIS are a much darker and more evil sounding band than their fellow Finns. But as far as atmosphere and general scope goes, yeah AMORPHIS is a decent comparison. Anybody that listens to Progressive Death Metal will love these guys, but that’s three demo’s now boys….please give us all a full-length release sooner rather than later!      9/10

6. SLIPPERY – FIRST BLOW   (self-released)

In case you couldn’t tell from the leather-clad ass close-up artwork, or the title of this album FIRST BLOW, SLIPPERY are an eighties inspired Hard Rock band.  While the band are a decidedly retro outfit they don’t cleanly fit into any one of the single sub-genres of the style.. They are a little bit Sleazy Rock, a little bit Glam Rock, a little bit Melodic Rock and a touch of AOR too. Being from Brazil, the vocalist’s accent is quite thick on this album which I can see as being a real make or break issue for a lot of people.  Fabiano Drudi sounds much better when taking a more Hard Rock approach like he does in title track THE FIRST BLOW where he has an almost melodic Brian Johnson thing going on in places, but the album falls short in the more AOR based sections like opening track FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS where a more delicate vocal approach is required. Musically the band have got a pretty good thing going on here and the riffs of the more rocky songs really do have that get off your ass and party all nite type of vibe to them. The lead breaks are pretty awesome too.  If these guys stayed more toward the harder edged material and left the AOR-type stuff for bands with better singers then I think they might really have something to work with here, until then it’s a little hard to recommend this album to the readers of a website based around melody and world-class vocals.      6/10

7. TOEHIDER – CHILDREN OF THE SUN PART 2      (self-released)

The criminally under-rated prog/art rock band from Melbourne, Australia, TOEHIDER have just released a free to download album of cover version of obscure TV cartoon theme songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Based around the massive talent and vision of primarily one man, this release is a true joy. Clocking in at just over fifteen minutes it’s more of an E.P than anything else, but if you remember obscure animations of old like AEIOU, THE RED AND THE BLUE, ROOBARB & CUSTARD and DR. SNUGGLES then you’ll enjoy the bombastic proggy versions of the main themes on offer here. A couple of more well-known animations like TRAPDOOR, DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH and DANGER MOUSE are also represented in great fashion too, but the true highlight of this collection is titled DUCKSUITE and cleverly combines the theme songs to COUNT DUCKULA, QUAQQUO, DARKWING DUCK and DUCKTALES into an operatic duck toon opus. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, and it’s bloody-well free, so if you have any keen feeling toward yesteryear’s animation giants give this one a listen for sure.       7/10

8. DRAUGR – DE FERRO ITALICO   (toreact records)

This album was originally self-released by the band back in 2011, but to celebrate their signing to upstart Italian metal label ToReact Records it has been re-released and is being actively re-promoted. I think this is a good idea really because DE FERRO ITALICO is a great album that certainly deserves a little more exposure. The band play Epic Folk Metal with Pagan and Black Metal influences and their second full-length release has a very cinematic and majestic feel to it from the word go. The production is great, the musicianship is stellar and the overall Folk-ish vibe really does a good job of setting up an atmosphere that fans of the genre will really love. The only thing that could have made the album more enjoyable for me personally would be if the lyrics were in English. In an interesting decision the band opted to compose and sing the lyrics in their native Italian tongue. They have mentioned in interviews that the decision was made because their native language game them a better change of explaining the intricacies of what is essentially a concept album.  As it is, I’m contempt to recommend this album to all fans of Folk based metal music, if the Vocals had of been sung in English, or even if there was an English translation included in the packaging then I would almost say that DE FERRO ITALICO is one of the best Epic Folk Metal albums I’ve heard in years.    8/10

9. NOTHGARD – WARHORNS OF MIDGAR   (black bards records)

Folk-Metal in general has seemed to stagnate rather badly over the last couple of years. Maybe it was a case of too many similar sounding bands trying to cater for a reasonably small market, but like in every other genre there comes a band every now and then that shakes things up a bit. WARHORNS OF MIDGARD is a little bit older now, but it’s started to catch on a fair bit lately. The band incorporate elements of Power Metal, and a small bit of Black Metal too, and their slightly unique sound helps them from falling into the pack. The vocals are constantly interesting and there is a great melodic sensibility here too. The only real complaint I have here is that the production has too much treble overall and the lower end is almost non-existent in places. If you are looking for a reason to rediscover Folk Metal, be sure to check out WARHORNS OF MIDGARD, it’s an interesting album that takes the best of the genre and covers it in a layer of melody that makes it more accessible than most of the bands plying this particular trade at the moment.      7/10

 

Well, there it is guys, I hope you all enjoyed this latest edition of Mind Scans and hopefully some of you may have discovered a release or two that you may have missed otherwise. If you found anything interesting here feel free to leave us a comment below…

A New Widget is featured below for snippets into these bands featured here on Mind Scans. Most of them are here, a few we could not add. Have fun!!!

 

 

This volume of MIND SCANS brought to you by ZeeZee (Senior Staff Writer)

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