Samstag, 19. August 2017

rings of saturn - ultu ulla

the long awaited fourth full length of rings of saturn is finally upon us. it was three years in the making and it was worth the wait. i am familiar with the band for not too long now. since the beginning of this year to be more exact. nevertheless i awaited the record eagerly because their back catalogue is superb. "embryonic anomaly" was a more than solid debut, "dingir" a better follow-up and "lugal ki en" a matured tech-death album that matched up with the big bands of the genre like whitechapel, obscura or decrepit birth.
"ultu ulla" (the sumerian cuneiform of "time immemorial") definitely topped "lugal ki en" in my humble opinion. who thinks rings of saturn is just some alien freak band with stolen riffs and some random breakdowns should take a closer listen to their albums, especially to this one. "ultu ulla" is packed with hooks, melodies and ideas. the song-writing on this album is a few levels better than on the preceding stuff. listen to the opening track "servant to this sentience" and the instrumental "the macrocosm" and convince yourself.
the u.s. offshoot of nuclear blast did quite a few colour versions for this release. the visually more appealing ones were an electric blue with splatter and a green and yellow merge with splatter variant but those were exclusive to either band webshop or tour merch and thus out of the question for me. nuclear blast germany had a few copies of the mint green version in their store and so i opted for one of those copies. again the artwork looks real spaced out and is so rich in detail. great job by mark cooper. next to an opaque yellow version my green copy is part of the most limited edition out of 300 copies. nuclear blast. 2017.

Dienstag, 15. August 2017

decrepit birth - axis mundi

decrepit birth is another discovery in my ever expanding tech death band cosmos. i was browsing through the nuclear blast online store, which i do regularly not to miss any new vinyl, and came across the band's new output "axis mundi". the name sounded familiar and the cover looked ace. enough reasons for me to check them out. as soon as i listened to "epigenetic triplicty" i was sold on them.
decrepit birth was founded in 2001 and members changed quite frequently since then with vocalist bill robinson and guitarist matt sotelo being the constant ones. they released their first two albums via unique leader records and their third on nuclear blast. the latter, "polarity", was already unleashed seven years ago. quite a long time between two records but "axis mundi" was worth the wait.
the band plays, quelle suprise, technical death metal with an odd feeling for melodies. with a few spoken words here and there and the use of keyboards those melodic parts have a real dark touch to them. the rest is sheer technical diversity. i read a few fan comments complaining about decrepit birth being too much metal mainstream now but i cannot hear anything slightly mainstream here. of course they have evolved but this is the way things go. lovely clear blue with yellow splatter vinyl out of 500 copies. nuclear blast 2017.

Sonntag, 13. August 2017

elder - live at roadburn 2013

three weeks ago two of my best friends and me were on a trip to hamburg to catch one of our favourite bands live. elder is the name and i was pretty excited to see them. i missed them last year and therefore i was almost hysteric when i learned about the concert in hamburg a few months ago. on a little side note i also wanted to snag a little piece of u.s. vinyl of the new record "reflections of a floating world". the gig was on a monday and the day started out with constant heavy raining.
the highway to hamburg was blocked because of a construction site and so we thought to get to the city via ordinary roads. those were inaccessible as well because of another construction site. so we drove to wedel, a small town near hamburg with access to public transport. halfway in hamburg we had to get out of the train because of yet another construction site. so we took a rail replacement bus, hopped into another train and finally arrived after two and half hours. usually the trip takes an hour.
we missed one of the two supporting bands but that wasn't too much of an issue. when elder started their set, the small venue with a capacity of maybe 200-300 people was on fire. great set list with mainly new songs and a great atmosphere between crowd and band. the only tiny downer was that the band didn't carry any u.s. vinyl but the european edition instead, which i already own. in hindsight that seems very plausible. on such a small d.y.i. euro tour the band only took the most important merch with them. the european label delivered the vinyl. next to a shirt and a patch i still bought some elder vinyl.
they released a live record from the 2013 edition of roadburn festival in the netherlands. recently burning world records re-pressed this record on opaque red and green vinyl and i actually wanted to pick up a copy before but never came around to it. so this was the chance. after a little chat with some band members at their merch table after the concert, i took my stuff and was delighted to find the green vinyl inside the gatefold. an all around great gig with good friends. what more can a guy ask for? the record itself is a mix of mainly songs from their "dead roots stirring" album and one from their self-titled debut. solid performance with nice artwork. burning world records/roadburn records. 2013/2017.

Freitag, 11. August 2017

arch enemy - war eternal

not long ago i couldn't care less for arch enemy. i knew stuff of them vaguely but what i heard always confirmed that they were an ok band which isn't worth further efforts. that changed last year when i witnessed their live shows at reload festival and above all at wacken festival 2016. their set was a blast with great stage show, loads of pyrotechnics and the band in splendid shape. this lead to my purchase of the live vinyl release of this event, called "as the stages burn". then i heard of the announcement of a coming record this autumn.
a flame was lit and i wanted to check what the recent stuff with new vocalist alissa white-gluz sounded like. after a few bits i was pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed it. so i pre-ordered the up-coming record "will to power" in the box-set edition. after that was done i searched discogs for the first record the band recorded with white-gluz. "eternal war" was released through century media in 2014. the label released a variety of colour vinyl back then and i thought it wouldn't be too hard to get one for a reasonable price.
i was shocked at the asking prices over at discogs. in case discogs is to be believed, the most limited gold vinyl version was once sold for one hundred euros... seriously? i mean, the record is pretty good but i don't see why it is so special that someone feels it is worth one hundred bucks and another one feels it is acceptable to unload one hundred bucks. anyway, even the silver version i have is now offered for round about sixty euros and at that point i didn't believe in owning a copy all too soon.
the next common source for second hand vinyl is ebay and just like the gods knew that i was chasing a copy, someone wanted to let go of his silver vinyl edition of "war eternal". the starting bid was twenty bucks and i wanted to bid in the last seconds. i did so an in the end i was the only one placing a bid. reasonable price if you ask me. musically this a fistful of melodic death metal right where it hurts. michael amott and the guys deliver the goods and alissa white-gluz impresses with an energetic performance. check out the album and hear for yourself. i am now really excited for the new record. 300 copies on silver vinyl. centuria media. 2014.

Mittwoch, 9. August 2017

summoner - phoenix

after i bought the latest summoner record "beyond the realm of light", i felt the urge to search what else might be available of this boston based stoner four-piece. they have three full lengths under their belt with "phoenix" from 2012 being the first and "atlantian" from 2013 being the second album. all have been released on magnetic eye records on multiple lovely looking vinyl colour-ways across three pressings each.
it speaks for itself that all of the coloured copies of those re-pressings are sold out, except a few copies from the latest re-press of "phoenix" from overseas (all that is heavy). in such cases i see what second hand markets has to offer. ebay and discogs are the main sources and while the bay didn't have any options, discogs saved my day. a seller from latvia came to my rescue with a very nice looking copy of the third press from 2015.
the album itself lacks a bit of the progressive feel that "beyond the realm of light" comes around the corner with. still "phoenix" is a very solid stoner metal album which doesn't have to hide behind the band's subsequent records. the presentation is more than solid. the artwork by alyssa maucere is stunning. the colour pattern chosen for this third press copy is almost as stunning. awesome cream and red split with grey splatter. a beauty. magnetic eye records. 2012/2015.

Montag, 7. August 2017

the acacia strain - gravebloom

sorry for the little lack of posts the last week but i was occupied with getting a ticket for this year's wacken festival and attending it eventually. but more of this at the given time. now back to daily business: the acacia strain's eigth full length called "gravebloom". the band is around since 2001 in one form or another. this means 2017 marks their fifteen year anniversary and a roughly average of one album every two years. remarkable if you ask me.
over the years the acacia strain witnessed multiple line-up changes with vocalist vincent bennett being the only steady member since its founding. somehow they managed to maintain their trademark sound. hefty death metal combined with nyc hardcore groove and arhythmic breakdowns. beginning with "wormwood" in 2010 they started to become more complex with a strong doom touch. "death is the only mortal" two years later was too much of a good thing for me. in 2014 and with another line-up change "coma witch" was a splendid return to form and combining the new doom elements with the crushing fierceness of "continent" from 2008.
now "gravebloom" worked with the same approach which made "coma witch" so good to me. the only difference is that "gravebloom" is simply better. this bad boy is so heavy, fast, intense, slow, dark, depressing, dissonant, angry, crushing - an abyssal trip through the dark centre of man. wow, i cannot praise this scorcher enough. you have to listen to this album in whole to live through all the ups and downs, the highs and lows "gravebloom" has on offer. a masterpiece in my eyes.
this is the third acacia strain album being released via rise records. they use to manufacture a high amount of vinyl copies for their releases. thankfully rise records presses some fancy colour-ways even for the least limited pressing which was available via german distros. i bought my copy from jpc.de. it comes on black inside clear with grey splatter vinyl. looks lovely. the artwork shows a common thread throughout the covers since "wormwood". again justin kamerer of angryblue was responsible for the great art. 3.000 copies made of my version. rise records. 2017.