Review: Faust – … boje i note…

Faust – … boje i note… (RnR Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

A short history lesson for the start. Northernmost part of Serbia, called Vojvodina, used to be a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of the Great War, and the collapse of the empire itself. Even though the Habsburgs inhabited the region with Serbian refugees fleeing from the Ottomans, the region itself remained populated by a whole lot of different nationalities, even to this day. So, the demographic situation in Vojvodina is still very much heterogeneous. As we are mostly interested in music, let me just explain how does this affect our favorite pass-time. Serbia is a fairly centralized country, so it takes a whole lot of effort for a band residing outside Belgrade or Novi Sad to get some recognition. Seeing how Faust is a band from a city of Subotica, at the border between Serbia and Hungary, they had a difficult job getting the necessary support from their domestic scene. Add to that the fact that their members are of Hungarian descent and you get a band that is neither Serbian, nor Hungarian. As such, Faust fails to have a “legendary” status that most of the bands who are close to entering the fourth decade of existence mostly achieve. A pity for sure, but that fact will surely not stop the music, and music is exactly where Faust is at their home ground.

When I mentioned the band’s age you have surely guessed they cannot be dealing with any kind of modern sound. And you have guessed right. Faust is a pure-blooded Hard Rock band. They have their Heavy Metal moments, but when you take an overview, you cannot but think of Deep Purple or Rainbow. Just listen to that vocal. Mister Tibor Cindric is a singer who could have easily filled the shoes for Dio, for instance. His deep voice might as well have an operatic upbringing. Excellent work! The lyrics, covering your basic genre topics, are also his work, and though they are not exactly high-class poetry, they get the job done. Plus, they are written in three languages, Serbian, Hungarian and English. As for the musical background, it is neatly packed, which is to be expected from a highly experienced group of musicians with serious skills in handling their instruments. Faust’s songs are mostly driven by genre specific hard riffing and keyboard melodies, while the rhythm section holds the tempos firmly in place with just occasional bravado to showcase that the guys are not serving just as a ‘spine’. On the other hand, the drummer Attile Toth is responsible for composing the entire album, so he deserves way more credit than just thumping on the drum set.

One of the most important factors with such music has always been ‘the hit song’. “… boje i note…” has a couple of those for sure. Memorable choruses will definitely help Faust’s live performances. The typical arrangements still hold the Hard Rock values established back in the ‘70s and create a feeling that, while all too familiar, still fits with such songs. The production is probably the one thing that places this album among those recorded in this century. Luckily, Faust did not fall for the traps brought by the modern polishing equipment, so the record still carries enough soul on it.

Now, this album will probably not get Faust the recognition they deserve. ‘The oldest of schools’ approach is certainly not the most popular nowadays. However, Faust did create a very good record which should appeal to most of the fans of the mentioned bands and such music in general. And there are plenty of those people. Just try and look beyond your local cover bands and sneak a peek outside your home town. Nor only Faust, there are a lot of hidden gems waiting to become your new heroes.

https://www.facebook.com/faustrockband/

faust

Review: BegUsToStop – Overdose Reality

BegUsToStop – Overdose Reality (Meat 5000 Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

Nowadays, when I get a Grindcore record, I get a headache before I even put it on. More and more it seems to me like the good old days of Napalm Death or Repulsion are long gone and all that is left is that nonsense bordering on pure noise. You know, the thing with a crossed note attached to the layout. Where have all the riffs gone?

And just look at this band’s name! I will admit it, I judged the book by its cover. Well, not the cover per se, because the cover of this album doesn’t have any of the mentioned stuff on it. Furthermore, the cover is very nicely done to correlate with the overall theme of the lyrics. More on that later. Still, it looked a bit suspicious to me. Nevertheless, I gave it a chance and guess what? I found the missing riffing!

BegUsToStop is a young Serbian band, with just one demo release before this debut full length. However, they are comprised of some experienced musicians, especially when it comes to extreme Metal. I have revealed their general path in the introduction, but there is something more to their sound. Their Grindcore is somewhat ‘leaning’ towards pure brutal Death Metal. The songs are short and to the point, with occasional excerpts from movies and different speeches. With lyrics turned towards current social trends and failing humanity it all resembles Napalm Death. And then there is more still. While the tracks are mostly based on high speed rhythms, BUTS (not quite grammatically correct, but funny anyway) do know how to mix things a bit with slowdowns, at which point they remind me of classical sluggish atmosphere, patented by Obituary and the likes. Though short, clocking in at average two and a half minutes, the tracks on “Overdose Reality” tend to be versatile enough. Be it in the guitar or rhythm department, BegUsToStop (my ‘Shift’ key is wearing out with all this upper case lettering) offers a wealth of arrangements.

Now, this quartet doesn’t bring anything new to the table. They are a bit short on their own ideas. This might be forgiven considering the genre that doesn’t leave much room for experimentation. I would like to hear more riffs that could sound like they haven’t been played before. There are some moments where they really shine out, but there could surely be even more. Also, the lyrics can certainly be better prepared, as they sound a bit too simplistic. At least the ones in English. The three Serbian written lyrics are flawless. On the other hand, the ideas behind them definitely hold the water. I will let he titles speak for themselves: “Rivotril Nation”, “Massacre of the Cloned Starlets”, “Human Head Catering”, “Clyster Clear”… You get what I mean. One other thing is that I find the faster parts all become a bit of blur, where you can easily lose the guitar track you were following.

As this album is quite powerful and energetic (as a Grindcore record needs to be) I am willing to place these flaws as minor ones. I still enjoyed “Overdose Reality” very much. There really is not that much to complain about. It is all very decently done, guitars, drums, bass, vocals, production and the mentioned artwork. A strong release, definitely. It did give me a headache in the end. Seems like I’m getting too old to headbang for more than 30 minutes.

https://www.facebook.com/Meat5000Records2001/

BegUsToStop

Review: Sulgogar – Cannibal-Toon

Sulgogar – Cannibal-Toon (Machine Man Records)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green

I think it’s fair to say that listening to this album is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. From the orgy of cartoon feasting in the noisy 1950s (or earlier) cartoon intro to the incessant all out blasting and breakneck vocals, subtlety isn’t really the order of the day here, bar the very nice intro piece, Ninos Muriendo and the rockier tones of the lead track/single, En el Olvido

Most of the time, Venezuela’s Sulgogar blast out a full on racket, that probably dwells somewhere between Death and Thrash, but they do it with a Punk heart and a disregard for the listeners hearing.

Production wise, there are a few niggles and a few rough spots, sometimes the vocals need beefing up and sometimes the music can be a bit raw in places, but in terms of passion and energy, this is pretty much faultless.

I suppose it’s the musical equivalent of plug and play computer software. It’s not over complicated and it does the job immediately without any frills… and in this case the no frills offering keeps my foot tapping and my head banging.

The average track lasts about 2 minutes a pop, so just hit the play button and get blasted via 8 short tracks and a couple of dodgy cartoons related pieces and don’t forget to dust yourself off afterwards, because the beating you’ll receive will definitely leave you feeling a little dirty…

https://www.facebook.com/sulgogar/
https://www.facebook.com/machinemanrecords/

https://sulgogar.bandcamp.com/album/cannibal-toon

Sulgogar CANNIBAL-TOON Coverart

Review: Era Of Ephemeris – Among The Stars

EoE - Among The Stars

Era Of Ephemeris – Among The Stars (Self Release)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green

Back in the late 90s, mainly because I went to the Dynamo Festival three years in a row, I discovered the likes of Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Trail of Tears… female fronted Metal was a new experience for me, and I was immediately hooked… I went on to discover the likes of Theatre of Tragedy, Epica and Stream of Passion… and then, well, every band started to sound the same, the market was oversaturated and I gave up on it…

And to be honest, I’ve not really listened to the Symphonic/Gothic side of things, probably for a good decade, bar whatever I’ve played on my radio shows. So when this album was sent to me by guitarist Urban Granbacke (Unfolded, ex. Gates of Ishtar, ex, The Duskfall), I didn’t think I was going to be the one to review it.

But, after just one listen, I was impressed enough to want to cover it myself.

Now, no wheels are being re-invented here. The opening number (ignoring the intro), if I’m being very honest/critical, isn’t the most inspired opening… it’s a bit slow and measured. The lead guitars are very tastefully done, the rhythm section has a nice clout to it. The vocals are impeccable, but the song doesn’t really set the world alight.

And then, the switch is flicked at the start of Another Side Of The Same World, like dark clouds parting to reveal the sun, and the magic of what Era Of Ephemeris are about, is revealed.

era2

I’ve no idea how you classify this these days, as I’ve been out of the loop for at least a decade, but it’s leaning towards the Gothic/Doom side of things, with the welcome addition of some growled male vocals, to counteract the dulcet tones of Rossana Cavallotto, who genuinely has a beautiful voice.

From then on, it’s like being acquainted with a long lost friend. This sits very comfortably with me. It glides along on a very even keel and is very easy on the ear.

I feel that the sound may change slightly, the longer the band are together. Right now, they are slap bang in the middle of the doomier Gothic side of things and the more commercial side. Because Rossana has such a pure voice, I feel they may head in the latter direction, but personally, I think such an unspoilt voice over the top of something a little dirtier and miserable, might just work a treat.

So, a very accomplished debut, and I look forward to seeing how they develop their sound going forward

To hear Another Side Of The Same World check out the latest Toxik Metal show
the song starts at around the 27 minute mark

https://www.facebook.com/eraofephemeris/

Review: Crisalide – Dark Inside

Crisalide – Dark Inside (Minotauro Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

Is it too much to ask for a decent track listing on the back of an otherwise brilliantly designed digipack CD? Or perhaps a full set of lyrics in the booklet? It took me a while to figure out where the album actually begins and it the fact that there are only a couple of lines of lyrics inside didn’t help at all. On the other hand, the ever-terrible Italian version of English language remains hidden from plain sight. Nicely drawn artwork including a comic book depiction of band members saves the day. Thematically placed to fit the post-apocalyptic concept of the record, it fits like a glove.

Crisalide is an Italian quintet that just turned 25 years old, but their discography is terribly short for such an old band. “Dark Inside” is their debut full length album. Talk about waiting a long time! Having seen them live recently, I must say the energy is still there. These guys certainly know how to put on a good show!

Now, there is no easy way to describe the style they are performing. The merchandise stand where I traded for this CD claimed it to be Thrash Metal. The vocalist, with whom I traded, mentioned the influences of Sepultura and Soulfly. True, all of that is present on this record. There are more than enough of those tribal sounding drums that bear resemblance to the later era in the creation of the mentioned Brazilians. Vocals could invoke Max Cavalera, plus some groovy guitar parts play along to the tune of the legendary mid ‘90s albums. Also, faster parts might fit nicely to the Thrash Metal canons. Not quite as old school as the more closed-minded fans would like, but I can still hear some later Slayer or Testament in there. I would like to add some Swedish Death Metal melodies which are surely present, though never so much to take over. Combining all that, the Italians produced a highly energetic record.

As a quarter of a century old band presenting the debut album, one might expect a certain level of experience. And Crisalide comes through with flying colors. Nicely arranged, catchy enough with just a bit of personal touch not to feel like a simple copycat. The album itself is well-performed, by obviously skilful musicians. Guitar solos, various drum patterns, bass pounding to support it all… Everything comes together nicely.

Now, the fact that Crisalide is missing their own “Chaos A.D.” or “Roots Bloody Roots” kind of mega hit might just be the missing link here. Still, “Dark Inside” is far from a bad record. It is a pretty good one. Much ahead of what the mentioned Sepultura or Soulfly are releasing nowadays. The genre itself is far from its peak of popularity which probably means the Italians will not go too far with their effort, but I believe this CD is worth a shot. If nothing else, for the sake of nostalgia. As for me, according to the latest studies of climate changes the humanity will end in about a decade and a half, so guys, pick up the pace a bit and let’s make the second one before we experience firsthand what you wrote in the lyrics here.

https://www.facebook.com/crisalide.official/

crisalide