Musical Digest: Them County Bastardz, Moonlyght, Outrage AD, Longhouse, Quartered, Meet the Mailman, Karmatik, Alphakill
Released on February 24, 2015, Sick Daze is Them County Bastardz new EP. The 27-minutes long CD contains six songs of average length, and one interlude. Coming from Southern Ontario’s Essex County, I can hear a distant familiarity with the excellent stoner-doom band The Georgian Skull, which brought us their excellent brand of dirty stoner metal before disbanding a few years ago. As their name and cover picture suggests, Them County Bastardz plays a redneck backcountry’s brand of commercial metal, which voluntarily ignores any new or extreme trends and fashions, and celebrates American groove metal of the early 2000′s. I hear heavy influences of Rob Zombie, Pantera, Godsmack, Black Label Society, and many similar influences on Sick Daze, but what Them County Bastardz lacks considerably in originality, they have it in efficiency. As Sick Daze suggests, Them County Bastardz are bringing their crate of beer to the party, and if you feel someone’s at the wrong party house, you’re probably not into metal. Sick Daze might not be an EP I will revisit very often, but it should be perfect for a few hot summer weeks.
Moonlyght is back! After a few years hiatus, the excellent Quebec City melodic metal entity recently announced the third chapter in the bands’ discography, Return to Desolation, and unveiled the cover artwork. Featuring Seb Robitaille and Luc Gaulin from the acclaimed black metal entity Sorcier des Glaces, Moonlyght features a mix of death growl and clean vocals, and a general folk-pagan background concept. Return to Desolation is planned to be released on July 7 via Blast Head Records. Track list as follow:
1 – Return to Desolation
2 – Human Remembrance
3 – Dwelling in Earth’s Shadow
4 – A Distant Illusion of Freedom
5 – Universal Pain
6 – The Sweet Poisoned Light
7 – (To a) Ghastly Future
8 – Révélations from the Other Side
9 – Blowing Winds
Back from the grave after nearly 20 years of silence, Eastern Ontario’s old school thrash-death metal band Outrage AD just released their latest tape, New Blood, coincidentally on Easter day. Featuring mostly re-recorded material from the early 1990′s, the 8-track album nonetheless represents Outrage’s first full length, and the band’s first professional production. Handled by Topon Das at Apartment 2 Recordings (Fuck the Facts, Alaskan, Insurrection), New Blood captures the old school thrash metal spirit of the late 80′s-early 90′s remarkably. Think of Testament’s first album The Legacy, mixed with early Celtic Frost, with an overall Mortification vibe. Released via the band on cassette only, you won’t mistake it for a revival thrash metal act!
Longhouse is a relatively new band that I had the pleasure to see live a few weeks ago. The three-piece hails from Ottawa, one of Canada’s most important magnetic poles for everything sludge-oriented: we just have to think about Buried Inside, Alaskan, Biipiigwan, Norilsk, Collider, Goetia, etc. Longhouse has only released demos up to now, but these recordings are very convincing, and a promise of the potential this band has: raspy vocals reminding me of Thou, heavy grooves à-la-Kylesa and early Rwake, hard hitting drums, and a few atmospheric post-metal passages. Longhouse’s very addictive music comes across brilliantly despite a relatively modest sound quality. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
What happens when you mix the heaviness of Deftones, the catchiness of Darkest Hour and the rage of screamo bands like Alexisonfire? Quartered has the answer for you. As displayed on the “Violent Love” lyrics video track above, the Vancouver quartet handles fury and precision with great ease. Enhanced by a powerful and professional production, their third album Eyes and Ears is meant to catch the attention of fans of the genre and gain musicians’ respect. Skills and experience are two important components on display here, and I would guess that the band’s frequent tours across Canada and Philippines has contributed significantly to the band’s DNA. One of the most interesting modern screamo/progressive discoveries of 2014.
On a different note, we also found the time to sit in front of YouTube and listen to the Meet the Mailman album (this one is unfortunately harder to get your hands on than a tape). This Quebec City band, which we don’t have a lot of info on, plays an eclectic mix of thrash metal, punk rock, with a few heavy-power metal twists. The production is surprisingly as clean as a Raised Fist album, which separates them from crust metal. Their EP Knock Knock Dead Blood Scream’n Gore was apparently launched quietly (aside from the band’s entourage), but it came to our ears as an interesting take on a genre very popular at the moment. Meet the Mailman are less technical than their Quebec or Canadian peers, but this simplistic punk edge could definitely be one of their best weapons if they keep it sharp and aggressively straightforward. There are a good number of predictable riffs and cheesy guitar solos, but the overall attack of the songs makes it enjoyable from start to finish. Last but not least, kudos to Alexandre Goulet for anoher stellar piece of art.
This music video for the song “After War” is taken from Karmatik’s album Humani-T, released in 2013. Karmatik is a melodic metal band from Quebec City with death metal vocals. The production is relatively good, and the style reminds me of a slower and more melodic Mortör, or Castigare, or as a distant cousin of Amon Amarth. The dual vocals are very interesting, and reminds me of Heaven Shall Burn. If you like this track, you will love the whole album, as it is surprisingly varied, and goes from heavy American grooves to Swedish melodic guitar parts with great ease. The bands uses themes of war, and the lyrics in both French and English are mostly about the inner conflict of a soldier. My favourite tracks are “Deuxième Vie” and “Enfant Soldat”.
Here is “The Age of the Debt Slaves”, off the album Unmitigated Disaster from Winnipeg’s Alphakill. This album was released in 2012 and we would normally not have said anything about it three years later, but it happens to be an old school thrash metal revival album that is very cool to listen to just for the drum sound. Very mechanical, and unrelenting, it provides this direct, efficient, in-your-face edge to the album. If thrash metal is to remain one of the flagship styles in Canada, Alphakill knows exactly how it’s made. Throw in some buzz-saw guitars, a mid-range classic thrash metal vocals, a good bag of catchy grooves and a nuclear post-apocalyptic cover artwork, and you get a killer album.
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