On The Fall of Troy

I know The Fall of Troy doesn’t necessarily count as metal but they’re definitely one of my top three favorite bands and I need to talk about why they don’t exist anymore and what you could have done to stop it.

I feel so bad for Thomas Erak, Frank Ene and Andrew Forsman. They were so stoked on the new album, so of course they wanted to play new songs and all you haters did was bitch about how much you wanted to hear songs from the self-titled album. THEY WROTE THOSE SONGS TEN YEARS AGO. They’re probably tired of playing them every night for ten years. You fucking In the Unlikely Event haters are why TFoT broke up. Sure, it’s fine that you didn’t like it, but you wouldn’t SHUT THE FUCK UP about how much you hated it and therefore Andrew got depressed and did mad drugs and the band broke up. Fuck you.

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Dodecahedron – Dodecahedron

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Dodecahedron doesn’t fall into a lot of the typical tropes of black metal. Though they’re labeled black metal, they have a lot of death metal sounds to them. Sure, there’s the harsh dissonance, blastbeats, fast high-end guitars and high pitch vocals, but there are showcase bits where the drummer especially shows off his stuff in a death metal fashion. There are also some jammy parts where all the members let loose. I suppose this would be where the “progressive” black metal label comes in. But even if the more progressive approach isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty of chaos to be heard in Dodecahedron’s self-titled record. If you’re willing to try something new with black metal while still having some familiar elements to keep you warm, check out Dodecahedron.

 

On a side note, I’ve seen this record get lots of praise, which it definitely deserves, but I want to point out that had this album come out of the West, some critics would probably be singing a different song about it. Too often black metal bands that sound like this get labeled with the “hipster black metal” tag and it’s only because they’re Western. Dodecahedron are from the Netherlands and those words haven’t even been dropped, yet they have a similar style to “hipster” bands in the West.

Clearing a couple things up.

I’m not gonna go on some “journalistic integrity” rant here but I wanted to clear up a few things so that I can preserve a little bit of an image of decency. 

I don’t assign scores to my reviews. I respect those that do but I just don’t believe my reviews necessarily need one. My reviews are pretty short so I don’t really feel the need to provide an at-a-glance look at what I think. The review really speaks for itself.

That said, I don’t really post too many negative reviews on here. That’s not a some shill for labels sending me promos or anything, it’s just my personal tastes. I tend to like all kinds of music and there are very, very few bands I don’t like, especially within the metal genre. So, if you think that I only write nice reviews because labels send me records, that’s not the case. I just like everything, really. 🙂

Eternal Gray – Your Gods, My Enemies

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I figured the time would come when technical death metal bands would start embracing some of the finer elements of deathcore, and Eternal Gray does it well. Hailing from Israel, this is Eternal Gray’s second album and it has been seven years in the making, due to lineup changes. What I find most interesting about this band is their technical guitar work and their ability to meld tech death, deathcore, and progressive metal together without it sounding forced. The guitars have a, dare I say, djent tone to them, and there are breakdowns. Normally I don’t care too much about breakdowns but the ones in these nine songs actually fit in pretty well with the song and have some good technical rhythms. Don’t let the deathcore influences fool you, though. This is still a true death metal record with absolutely killer guitars and blastbeats. Great riffs, awesome drums, and a solid groove throughout. My only real complaint is vocalist Oren Balbus. His vocals are solid but could use some variation every now and then. Check this one out, for sure.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual

Folks, this is the big one. For years, The Black Dahlia Murder have unfortunately been lumped in with a bunch of generic deathcore bands. I’m not quite clear as to what exactly caused that to happen, maybe it was the time they became popular, their sense of humor, or the crowd they attracted, but they’re largely written off by metalheads as just another Hot Topic metal band. This is definitely not the case. The Black Dahlia Murder are here to rip your ass apart and they’ll be doing it for a long time to come.

The boys from Michigan decided to make the most evil sounding album they could, and they delivered. Ritual is great in that it retains the traditional Black Dahlia Murder sound we’ve heard since Nocturnal but they try a few new things. Trevor Strnad’s vocals are they best they’ve ever been. Trevor typically sits high in the mix among the squeals of the guitars, but he is excellent at low, gutteral growls that really bring character to his voice and make it interesting, a characteristic a lot of metal bands could use. The guitar riffs are the standard Black Dahlia fare here, with alternating patterns and brutal rhythms. Drummer Shannon Lucas (formerly of All that Remains) excels at blast beats but also plays with numbers with his kick patterns and cymbal work.

The real standouts here are the solos and the lyrics. The soloing was excellent on their previous album, Deflorate, which added a new lead guitarist, Ryan Knight. Knight absolutely shreds on Ritual. The solos are more than your typical Slayer-style soloing. They have feeling. Sure, they’re technical, but it’s clear that Knight put a lot of thought into the solos instead of just sweeping his way along the frets to make a good lead. He really shines on “Moonlight Equlibrium”.

Trevor Strnad’s lyrics are more brutal and blasphemic than they’ve ever been. Nothing is sacred to Strnad and he likes it that way. They don’t seem to have the typical vibe of lyrics that are shocking just to be shocking. It’s as if all of the songs are in a very specific world and he’s giving you 12 different windows into that world.

If you don’t like modern death metal that much and yearn for the classic stuff, check out Ritual. There’s enough melody to introduce some newbies and plenty of brutality to keep the veterans headbanging.

Horrendous – The Chills

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Vocalist and guitarist Damian Herring’s voice kicks in with full force on the first track of Horrendous’s debut The Chills, and you know it’s on. His voice sounds like a man screaming on his deathbed, with a distinctive rasp and power. The guitars have a solid, thick tone, especially during the slower moments on the album. The solos have a classic death metal feel to them, which is a blessing in these times of overwankery in metal. The drums complement the music well, by not being too complex that the chaos of the rest of the music falls into incoherence. 

I really dig the black metal influences on a primarily death metal album, and I wish more bands pulled it off as effortlessly as Horrendous seem to. My only wish is that there were more slow parts on the album, as these are the moments where Horrendous seem to really shine. If you like death metal, especially classic death metal, check out Horrendous, you won’t be disappointed. Buy their album here.

FULL SERIES REVIEW: The Ring

This time I’ve got two and a half reviews for one of my favorite series of horror movies, The Ring. These movies are remakes of the Japanese films, Ringu, which in turn are film adaptations of the Japanese novel series, Ring, Loop, Spiral, and Birthday. The American ones are my personal favorites.

THE RING

This movie starts out with an eerie scene where a teenage girl tells her friend about how they watched a “cursed” videotape and that the myth surrounding the tape is that after you watch it you get a phone call. The phone call says “seven days” and after seven days you die. The teenage girl ends up being killed and family member Rachel goes to the funeral. Rachel hears about the tape and decides to investigate it. She ends up watching the tape and her young son does too. She discovers that the tape exists because of a horrifying young girl named Samara who was killed by her adoptive mother in a well.

When I was nine years old I saw this movie and I had to take the TV out of my room for a month. I won’t spoil what exactly happens with televisions, but by this point you should know a bit about it. This movie is full of symbolism and I absolutely love it. Still gives me the chills which is rare in movies.

RINGS

Rings is a short film that bridges the gap between The Ring and The Ring Two. It follows the story of a teenage boy who becomes entwined in this community that watches the tape and sees how long they can survive without passing the tape off to someone else (which negates the death effect). He documents his findings on a video camera and begins to hallucinate. He becomes desperate to let someone else see it but when he needs his friends they don’t help him. It eventually leads up to a few minutes before The Ring Two.

This one is really good for me too. It’s about 15 minutes long but it has in my opinion the creepiest moment of the entire series which plays like a fever nightmare.

THE RING TWO

The Ring Two follows Rachel again who has moved after the events of the first movie. She lives in a small little New England town. The story shows her struggling against Samara, who, after a murder in the area has found where Rachel is and is now trying to possess the soul of her son. This one takes a more dark turn as Rachel meets Samara’s real mother and discovers the history of her birth and the evil that is in her. I personally find this more frightening than the first, especially in the creepy symbolism department. A common symbol is water, as it gives both life and death and these are both prominent in the story.

Overall this series is great if you are willing to be scared. Just go in with a nice, open mind and look for symbols and things like that and you won’t be disappointed.