Cloth – “Axis Mundi” (EP)

 Posted by on June 3, 2020 at 22:02  No Responses »
Jun 032020
 

Well not every day do I get an opportunity to review a black metal band, so it excites me when something like this gets presented to me and allows me to adjust my peripheral for a moment, and all I have is the cold hard facts to work with as presented to me.

So let’s get technical and historical for a moment. Christian black metal is often touted as unblack metal and its origins are largely a disputed one, but it’s safe to say both Australian’s Horde and Norway’s Antestor are the fathers of the genre. Obviously Unblack metal focuses on Christian themes and philosophies. A lot of this genre’s music has adopted unconventional song structures.

So here we got a band by the name of Cloth with their album, Axis Mundi off the label Nordic Mission Productions up under review. Cloth is a musical collective consisting of members of, Stronghold, DALIT and Aspiration. So these Black Metal rockers take you through a journey of the hopelessness of humankind we all feel. It confronts what has led us to where we are, and to what end we all are coming closer to – with a strong philosophical and allegorical backbone behind it all.

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DENS – “Taming Tongues”

 Posted by on May 31, 2020 at 19:12  No Responses »
May 312020
 

Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Dens have come out with their sophomore album, “Taming Tongues”.  The band found their mission in using music as a platform to creatively and honestly explore themes of faith, hope, redemption, and grace. In 2018 the band released their guitar-driven post-rock Facedown debut EP No Small Tempest and won the hearts of Facedown fans with their outstanding, catchy choruses.

Their new album comes to grips with the current state of shattered communication and subjective truths. “Taming Tongues” explores how words can be life-giving or destructive, and emotions can be the salt of life or the fuel that gets thrown on a fire. Something that should catch your attention is the song listing, when put together it becomes a well worded sentence, “Even Foolish Men Are Wise When They Learn To Keep Quiet”.

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Skillet – “Victorious”

 Posted by on May 17, 2020 at 09:24  No Responses »
May 172020
 

There is no doubt that Skillet has a great formula that seems to work for them in terms of reaching the masses and thus their significance in the rock world plays an important role from a Christian perspective. I am not the biggest fan of their music but I certainly respect what they have been able to achieve within the industry. I hated their debut album and in fact I only really started giving them the benefit of the doubt at around Comatose which was released in 2009, which by then I could tolerate them and today their latest releases are something I can get by on. Their success in the Christian charts has been continuous for the past two decades and their ability to stride successfully between the secular and Christian music world is noteworthy. Victorious is their tenth album and though sounding at times similar to their previous release Unleashed I think overall it is a little more polished. Also think a little more emotional attention was given to it. However in some ways for me it comes off as a continuation of the last release, like a part 2, or disc 2 of a larger album release. Like they had all these songs and divided it over two releases. Again that said there is allot of emotional investment that seeps through by the band on this one that though similar to Unleashed does give it some distance as the songs have a more personal engagement.

The stylistic approach of Skillet is a working formula, and I guess don’t mess with what works for you, and their melodic catchy songs have caught the hearts of thousands. The songs are generally pick me up’s with anthem driven lyrics and kids and adults alike can sing along with relative ease, which works well with their mission based statement they represent.

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May 122020
 

Parts of this review’s contents comes out of a conversation I had with Dale Thompson through Facebook messenger on the 5th of May 2020 where I put forward a couple of questions to him regarding the release. Therefore it’s a longer review than I would generally write for an album.

There are certain things in life I will admit that get me quite excited, one being the acquisition of new music; or the sound of an awesomely tuned American V8 muscle car. This excitement includes the opportunity to review another project of which Dale Thompson has been involved with. Therefore it will as no surprise to the reader that I am a huge fan of Dale’s vocals and regard him as one of metal music’s top vocalists, and certainly one of music’s more stylistically original vocalists in the industry. Also if you look beyond his contributions to Bride you will discover his not afraid to explore new ground in music. Sure those projects might not be everyone’s cup of coffee but nevertheless each project on their own deserves a level of respect and highlights the versatility and depth of Dale’s creativeness as a well rounded musician. So as I said I was a little fan giddy when receiving the latest project to pass through his hands, but however this does not mean this project gets off lightly at all. In fact it means I really dial in deep to give you the reader the most honest and down the line review I can because of my musical expectations of the man and the individuals that are involved alongside him on this project.

The new projects is called The Thomas Thompson Earth Project and the debut album from this talented group of musicians under review is entitled, ’Dreamland Lovecraft’. Since Garret Thomas is the music writer and composer, mixing engineer and mastering engineer on this project, and that Dale’s grandfather was Thomas Thompson, Dale felt it would be fitting to use Garret’s last name and his grandfather’s name in combination with Thompson.

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May 062020
 

Enzo Donnarumma truly knows how to set a mood. “Precariousness” has an uneasy feeling, and this sense of foreboding is ramped up to breaking point as the prelude transitions to “Nothingness (It’s Everyone’s Fate)”. The string arrangement and the percussion immediately propel me to the Middle East even as the ensemble cast sing of traveling from Africa, but the Glory Ensemble interrupt themselves by introducing a progressive rock run toward the middle of the song and suddenly I’m in a different world altogether. How mighty the guitar sounds when backed by a symphony orchestra! Against a choir singing “It’s everyone’s fate” there is a world
of clamouring voices and instruments and you realise very quickly that on the album, “In The Name of The World Spirit” there will be a lot to take in.

This album is the third in a trilogy by Enzo & The Glory Ensemble, and has certainly retained its fiery delivery. The band changes tack on “The Bronze Age”, where the sequenced elements suggest a hive of activity. A lilting acoustic guitar is introduced while the vocalisations of the choir stitch this peaceful interlude to the heavier part that follows. What keeps amazing me are the contrasts achieved in the music. “Try To Put In Pit The Fear” features Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land. The earlier uneasiness has made way for a feeling of celebration. I have found myself listening to increasingly heavier music since we’ve been in precautionary lockdown and while it has matched my somber mood it has left me dejected. A song like “Try To Put In Pit The Fear” is the remedy that blows the cobwebs of negativity away. “To Every Chest” is a beautiful duet and a little slower in pace. The combination of the male and female vocals is very effective, and there is ample room for heavenly guitar solos. The Glory Ensemble are very good at combining instruments that invoke the ancient world with those that fit more squarely in the present, like in “Just In My Heart The Blame”. There is the thumb piano but also a stringed instrument towards the middle of the track that picks up the melody and truly stands out
amongst the modern orchestration. I love the inclusion of the harp on “I’ll Add More” and if ever there were a musical intro suited to the opening scene of a film, it would be this one. It feels like a very personal song, beautifully sung by female voices.

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