Already in June? Time flies when you have good time… And just when I mentioned in my last foreword that it’s so easy to find bands and albums for these The Chosen Three articles, I found it a bit difficult to fill this July’s trio. Well, the truth is that I haven’t purchased so many (good?) albums lately but invested in sausages, beer, malts etc. Metal is life but you have to eat and drink too sometimes, right?
SUMMONING: Old Mornings Dawn (Napalm Records 2013)
Usually when speaking of Summoning people are using words like “epic” and “symphonic”. But the band’s tools to achieve these words aren’t the most common ones. While other bands use orchestrations, synth layers over synth layers and classical spices, the duo Protector-Silenius trusts on echoes, field recordings and distant voices. Their style is majestic but same time harsh, more concrete than just imaginary hymns taken from a songbook of a fantasy world.
This element is present in their latest full-length too. Protector’s guitarwork is in a more visible and more important role, creating a web of ice storms and howling winds. And there are real riffs among the buzzing waves of noise, as The White Tower proves. Also the slow but pulsating rhythms are something that is unique in Summoning: already the real opener Flammifer uses almost oriental drum patterns to make its way through this wavy song.
To throw harsh critique, you could say that when Summoning tries to be really epic and symphonic (by using orchestrations etc.) they tend to be a bit plastic but in Old Mornings Dawn’s case these moments are few. This album is a monumental piece of ageless music, combining their latest albums’ nuances to an enjoyable amalgam.
And to not forget the most important thing: you can read a good Summoning interview from the latest Kaleidoscope.
The White Tower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMQyeise1Ic
THE VEIN: Scouring the Wreckage of Time (Shadow Kingdom Records 2013)
I think Shadow Kingdom tried too much when marketing this as a unique “double EP” – actually this is just their debut demo Born into Grey Domains (re-recorded?) and a bunch of new songs. But these little tricks don’t take away the fact that this Danish band is a living time machine to the glory days of the nineties’ death/doom metal! Sounding miserable, heavy, dramatic and totally riff-oriented, The Vein proves that being nostalgic and almost cheesy isn’t always a bad thing.
So you get tons of good riffs, epic lead melodies, occasional synths and growls beyond the grave. Nothing totally unique (well hey, if we are talking about nostalgia how to be unique) but The Vein’s compositions are sharp and somehow they manage to make even crappy riffs sound good – actually the best part of this album is The Poisoned Chalice’s main riff which is very crappy!
Only blames go to a few aimless moments which don’t get you anywhere – maybe this is the cost of this “double EP” character or mixing old and new material together. Anyhow, if you have lived your puberty being miserable while listening to My Dying Bride, Pyogenesis etc. here is a chance to live those pretty moments again.
The Poisoned Chalice: http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/track/the-poisoned-chalice
The year 2012 was a battle between two Swedish bands, at least for me. In one corner there was Witchcraft, a veteran heavy rock band which had existed from 2000 and released good albums like brilliant The Alchemist in 2007. In the second corner there was Graveyard waiting, a seven year old “newcomer” who blasted its way to the fame with Hisingen Blues (2011), a perfectly hazy but still solid rock album. In 2012 Witchcraft released Legend, and Graveyard released Lights Out, and where the rookie could keep their haziness and good boogie, Witchcraft tried to be something else (=modern) and failed quite miserably. Okay, the production was the biggest flaw but it was enough: it distanced me from the songs themselves.
But lo! Things change: I witnessed Witchcraft in Provinssirock festival in June, and there was an intense and rocking band on stage. The new songs worked perfectly, and although it’s a bit obvious and shallow to compare Witchcraft to Black Sabbath, the band showed that they have same kind of variation and wit in their compositions as those legends from Birmingham. The songs worked, the band was in fire, and the main composer Magnus Perlander showed great stylistic wideness in his vocals (although you can say a word or two about his spastic/hysterical/agonized stage moves…).
I was sold, blown away, impressed. And when I got back from the festival, I listened to Legend again and I found the songs. Okay, all of ten songs aren’t perfect but there are enough hits to make this album a good one.
So this last place in this article goes to Witchcraft. Hell yeah!
Witchcraft in Provinssirock 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbyqoLcs2ko