Album of the Day: Sepultura – Machine Messiah

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Label: Nuclear Blast

I confess, somewhere along the line, I lost my faith in later-day Sepultura. I have soft spots for Against and Nation, but from Roorback onwards, nothing had grabbed me. It’s not that they’re not the same band as Max-era Sepultura – they might as well be different entities completely now – and I’m longing for the old days. It’s just that the albums weren’t that, well, good. So, imagine my surprise when Machine Messiah didn’t so much change that streak as it did grab me, shake me around, and realise just how great their prog/thrash/groove combination can be. Their best album since Chaos A.D? As far as I’m concerned, yes.

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Album of the Day: Dismember – Like an Everflowing Stream

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Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Like an Everflowing Stream is an absolute classic of Swedish death metal (and death metal as a whole). The debut album by Dismember may have found some notoriety at the time of release for falling foul of the UK’s Obscene Publications Act (before winning their case in court), but its reputation endures not because of supposedly shocking song titles, but because it represents one of the pinnacles of death metal. Between this and Left Hand Path it’s a tough call as to which album is better; that album may have the better individual songs, but Like an Everflowing Stream is much more consistent.

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Album of the Day: Kreator – Gods of Violence

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Label: Nuclear Blast

When Gods of Violence was first released, I absolutely loved it. The latest album by German thrash legends Kreator was a real rush of energy, with high-tempo songs and a glossy production that made the album sound vibrant, yet far from tame. Some of my initial enthusiasm has worn off in the meantime, but it’s still an undeniably solid album, and features a few songs that, whilst different from Kreator of old, feel hugely important, and underlined the anti-prejudice, inclusive nature of the band.

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Album of the Day: Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli

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Label: Nuclear Blast Records

I can’t help but think that Dimmu Borgir have become the Jean-Claude Van Damme of symphonic black metal. For those who care for the kind of thing they do, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found in their respective careers; but also a few duff moments, too. In Sorte Diaboli probably best demonstrates (and succeeds at) this idea of black metal as big budget, no-brains entertainment; the black metal version of Timecop or Universal Soldier, completely unoriginal, and unloved by critics, but – for those who are in to that sort of thing – a solid slice of entertainment.  Continue reading

Album of the Day: Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

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Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Released almost exactly a year to the day after debut For the Fallen, the second album from UK death metal veterans Memoriam is now upon us, and The Silent Vigil is even more impressive than its predecessor. Whilst For the Fallen showcased a commendable mix of old-school crust and classic UKDM, The Silent Vigil feels much more refined – and no less furious or passionate. The songs (and album as a whole) flow better, with shifts in tempo and style feeling more natural, and the band firing on all cylinders. This is especially notable in the lyrics – it’s delightful to hear such a big band record such explicitly anti-fascist, anti-war, and anti-racist songs.

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Album of the Day: Brujeria – Viva Presidente Trump!

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Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Of all the protest songs written over the past few years, I can think of few that are as righteous, and as enjoyable, as Viva Presidente Trump! by Brujeria. The Mexican drug-lord image of the band is perfectly aligned with the theme of the song – “[Trump] wants war? / And so do I!” – and helps with the song’s sense of humour, especially with the way it uses the opening sample of a Trump campaign speech. But more than that, Viva Presidente Trump! is simply an ass-kicker of a death-grind song, with one hell of a central, bass-driven riff.

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Album of the Day: Venom Inc – Ave Satanas

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Label: Nuclear Blast

Consisting of Venom’s Prime Evil line-up, the pedigree of Venom Inc. should be beyond dispute – after all, two-thirds of this line-up are responsible for such classics as Welcome To Hell and a little album called Black Metal. And yet, the release of Avé initially felt under-whelming, due in large part to initial single ‘Avé Satanas’ being over eight minutes long and, well, kinda underwhelming with its mid-tempo stomp. Yet look past this song, and Avé features some really strong songs, that capture a beastly hell-raising spirit, full of a love of metal and blasphemy.

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