Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DEADSOIL - The Venom Divine

The Venom Divine
Lifeforce Records

Simply put, Deadsoil's latest slab of vehement metalcore, 'The Venom Divine' will leave battered, bruised and thoroughly pummeled as this upstart band from the Deutschland offer up ten savage tracks of hard hitting metalcore action. 'Helvete' sets a caliginous tone for this dark, brooding record which moves along like a steamroller, each track gaining further forcefulness as the album thrashes along. When these guys play live, it has to be nothing but a massive mosh pit as the riffs contained herein would entice even the most timid of headbangers to throw a few elbows around.

Boris Pracht and Jens Basten make for a formidable guitar team, overpowering you with thick, chunky strikes and a tightness that proves Deadsoil are a very well rehearsed ensemble. Everything is very tight and compressed on this well produced platter. This makes for a precision attack when Deadsoil really let loose with a bludgeoning rhythm such as on the driving song 'The Promise'.

The vibe of the material is completely aggro and singer Friedrich Weber really knows how to tear into the microphone like a wounded beast. 'Enemies Will Suffer' he provides the listener with a classic sounding hardcore blast while on 'Demon's Hands', Weber removes a bit of the gruff nature from his vocalizations, instead opting for a more tuneful, traditional performance that shows his well rounded vocal influences and emphasizes the diverse nature of the band's songwriting.

Deadsoil keeps things as metal as hell despite their varied dynamics, always delivering their songs with a powerful, forceful nature that is upfront and weighty. Drummer Christian Bass provides a major thunder behind the drum kit, lashing out with intense bass pounding and tight, punchy fills. He locks in tightly with bassist Stefan Eutebach on 'Despise The Logic', providing a monstrous, booming beat that is atypical of a solid metal and hardcore hybrid. This ten-ton backdrop offers an extraordinary canvas upon which Weber lays down his vocal venom and the axe couplet fashion sharp, tearing licks bent on complete sonic annihilation.

Undoubtedly one of the predominant German deathcore exports, on 'The Venom Divine', Deadsoil proves to be in no way a band encapsulated by trends and fashion, but a dominating force in the metal world set to destroy American audiences with their high-impact, gargantuan riffage and rhythms.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Acacia Strain - The Dead Walk

The Acacia Strain
The Dead Walk
Prosthetic Records

There’s no denying that “The Dead Walk” contains some damn heavy material. Welcome to detuned city as this Massachusetts machine delivers the mass with confidence and conviction. Although it takes a couple of listens to this entire record to sort out some of the sludge, songs such as rumbling, low-toned “As If Set Afire” and the Meshuggah-like “Burnface” establish a pattern of diversity that’s more than convincing. Full-on assaults crop up in the music of The Acacia Strain equally as often as staggered breakdowns morph into an entirely new breed of metal altogether. “4 X 4” makes for a vengeful match to ignite alcohol-fueled mosh pits, with a buzzing guitar drone offsetting the syrupy yet sharpened rhythm.

No one can possibly say that The Acacia Strain isn’t skull-crushingly heavy enough for their metal tastes. These tracks simply thump. It’s safe to say that The Acacia Strain will never be blown off a stage playing music that bears this type of monstrous bulk. At times, the group’s structures can be a touch anti-climatic, as on the disjointed “Whoa! Shut It Down!” Even if this cut contains the tag line “Everyone Will Suffer” from the spine of the O-card packaging, the band sounds a bit uninspired here. When considering that such moments are few and far between on the album, such lapses are easily forgivable. Meanwhile the anguish of “Pity” and abstract, serpentious title track stimulate enough excitement in their godly forcefulness that negatives find themselves to be, in fact – negated.

A slew of guest vocalists join the band including the omnipresent Phil Labonte, but one of the most dynamic appearances in comparison to the band’s molasses-drenched style is that of Mike DC on “See You Next Tuesday,” a grinding, 1st gear cut that belies hardcore influences more than perhaps any other track on the record. When The Acacia Strain is at their best, as on cuts such as “Demolishor” and “Angry Mob Justice,” you’ll find drawn-out sonic beatings that intend to cripple, not kill, punish, not pulverize, but as Dimebag-style licks creep their way into the latter, it’s obvious that albums such as Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” still do much to inspire the musicians of today. With an overall sound that’s akin to a wet knife, oozing you razor-sharp, The Acacia Strain prove that they can marry angular muck with ultra-heavy tones without becoming redundant and that’s a trait that bands such as Meshuggah haven’t displayed for years. From boisterous, thundering skull-punching, bombast to some of the heaviest riffs this side of a super-sized wrecking ball, “The Dead Walk” is a record that delivers the maximum dosage of deafening, dominating, slow-core tech-sludge for your dollar.