Archive for entombed

Review: Cruz

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2017 by Magadh

Cruz, Culto Abismal, Sentient Ruin Laboratories

cruz1The dregs of this shit week were enlivened by the receipt of this awesome disk. What we have here is eight helpings of extremely tasty death metal riffage. It’s mostly middling in tempo (right about the speed and gruffness of Corpse’s classic “Black Dawn) and I have to say I like that. Blast beats are cool and all, and they really seemed like something novel to me when I heard Napalm Death do them in the 1980s, but they’re really not my favorite part of death metal.

These Barcelona thrashers have a pretty good formula: crushing, straightforward death metal with galloping beats and utterly tortured vocals. There are a lot of bands to which they might be compared. They sort of remind me of a kind of grimier sounding version of Entombed, although they generally don’t get up to the speeds that Swedes moved at. But that’s just fine. Cruz have an idea of what they want to do and the execute their plan with panache and aggression.

cruz2This disc has been on repeat in my car for the best part of a week now, and every time I listen to it I pick up some nuance or vibe that I hadn’t caught before. The thing that differentiates them from a lot of bands that don’t roll at super high speeds is that their riffs are complex and compelling. They’re not content to just chug along on damped bar chords. Not to harp on the Entombed thing, but their riffs sort of put me in mind of a more aggressive version of Clandestine.

The sound of this record is absolutely perfect: dark and dismal, but clear enough to let the music shine through. Culto Abismal was recorded and mixed by Javi Félez (bassist in Graveyard who are only marginally less awesome). It was mastered by none other than Brad Boatright, who pretty much turns everything he touches into dark, thrashy gold, and this is no exception. Boatright brings a certain bleak aesthetic to everything he does, and Culto Abismal is a perfect example of this. It is a dark, swirling mass of sound rolling forward with the momentum of a freight train.

Yeah, just to sum up, this is the best thing I’ve heard since the last Martyrdöd album came out, and but for the awesomeness of that record it would be the best release that I heard from 2016. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to crank this up again and keep on rocking until the apocalypse descends.

Review: Black Breath

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on May 23, 2012 by Magadh

Black Breath Sentenced to Life Southern Lord

I have moved around a lot since the year 2000, and I have two major regrets. The first is that I left Portland, Oregon several months before From Ashes Rise moved there. As it was, I never managed to see them, which rankles. The other regret that I have is moving out of Seattle, for a lot of reasons really, but most prominently because I managed to leave town right before Black Breath came on the scene. Sure, they’d been around since 2005 (I left town in 2008) but who really pays attention to what’s going on in Bellingham? Well, not me at any rate.

Since their first EP Razor to Oblivion 2008, Black Breath have gone from strength to strength. Their approach has been consistent and pretty straight forward: up tempo deathmetal along lines similar to early Entombed. True, Black Breath never quite gets the really ripping guitar sounds of Left Hand Path era Entombed, but one would be hard pressed to name anyone who does. This is not to say that Black Breath can be numbered among the legions of Entombed imitators. They create a style that is all their own, both musically and lyrically. The riff structure their songs bespeaks the influence of the metal tinged hardcore and crust of the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in its West Coast incarnations. There is a lot to like here from a pure, headbanging perspective. Chugging guitars thrash along over thudding double bass and the vocals have a tortured quality without descending into incomprehensible guttural gurgling.

Sentenced to Life is the band’s third release with Southern Lord. When the Captain and I first discussed it, his comment was “more Slayer, less Entombed.” He definitely has a point here. Listeners will notice this right from the off. The opening grind on “Feast of the Damned” recalls Hell Awaits, although it is more compact and doesn’t quite descend to the same dark depths. The similarities continue when the song kicks into gear. Once again, this is a matter of positively taking up influences rather than slavish imitation. As the disc continues, the familiar crust influences come to the fore again. It doesn’t seem like there is quite as much single string riffing on Sentenced to Life as on previous releases, although it is by no means absent. The heavier reliance on chordal riffing adds weight to the songs. What certainly has not changed from previous efforts is Neil McAdams’s vocal style, which is still desperate, angry, and vicious.

In this correspondent’s humble opinion, the world needs more Slayer loving hair farmers and these guys fill that bill to a tee. For fans of blistering thrash this disc will be meat and drink.

Magadh