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Mnemic- Mnemesis

Mnemic - MnemesisMnemic has always been a favorite band of mine. The band plays what they call “future fusion metal” which can often be described as something you would hear in Fear Factory’s Demanufacture album. Mix that with their Meshuggah-influenced sound, and it’s a thing of beauty for your listening pleasure.

Mnemic’s first two albums, Mechanical Spin Phenomena and The Audio Injected Soul are, in my opinion, Danish metal masterpieces. Nothing bad with either album. After the second album and the departure of lead vocalist Michael Bogballe, the remaining albums have been good, but have lacked that certain something, that power you had come to expect. On Mnemesis however, front man Guillaume Bideau does his best work. He belts out amazing choruses that you want to sing along to every step of the way.

Mnemic plays the whole groove metal genre better than most, and for that reason you really just want to do that for the most part when you listen – groove. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head to the simple sounding yet very intricate guitar work of Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and Victor Ray Salomonsen. Drummer Brian Larson and bassist Simone Bertozzi round out the band, and play tight as well, making this the best lineup and album since The Audio Injected Soul.

As good as Mnemesis is, it’s far from the best album put out by Mnemic. I think that with Mechanical Spin and Audio Injected Soul, the band might’ve put out two albums that were the best the band can do. Maybe it really was Michael Bogballe that held the band together with his amazing voice? Not really sure. One thing is for sure though: even if Mnemesis isn’t their best album ever, it’s still really really good. Good enough to put Mnemic back in the hunt as one of the better Danish metal bands in recent memory.

Mass Murder Phenomena – Necrotrophic

Mass Murder Phenomena - Necrotrophic CD cover

Belched out of the same pit that spawned such blackened metal as God Dethroned comes Cleveland’s Mass Murder Phenomena, with five brutal tracks on Necrotrophic.

“Belligerent (By Your Hands)” is an apt title for the opening track, which starts off the disc like a punch to the face. No intros or grand orchestral movements for these great, this is straight-forward aggression laid out through screeching vocals, blistering riffs and an almost painful low end.

“Unholy Rapture” slows things down and is a slow and steady, doom-drenched track that bleeds into the Slayer-esque “Descent”. Both are awesome in their grim, brooding atmosphere and show a lot of maturity from a band that has only been together since 2010.

“Pile the Dead” picks up the pace before slamming its way into “The White Light” – both of which are more straight-up thrash.

At the end of the day, these guys are probably thrash, but that just seems dismissive. Hell yeah, they channel the likes of Slayer and Testament at times, but there’s more going on here. Like a parasite, Mass Murder Phenomena feeds off the best of the thrash, death and black metal and gives forth something all their own, something Necrotrophic.

-Late

Necrotrophic

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 4.0 stars
****

Love and Death- Chemicals EP

LandDLove And Death is the band brought together by former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. The band recently debuted their first offering, Chemicals EP. For what it is, it’s not bad. On the surface, you have only five songs, two of which are remixes of the first and third tracks on the EP, respectively.

The first track, “Paralyzed”, sounds like a really good Korn song, back when the band was actually fun to listen to, minus Jon Davis on vocals. The whole creepy vibe, the pounding wall of guitar thrown at you, a real nice tune overall.

The second track is where it gets interesting. Love And Death cover Devo’s “Whip It”, and it’s different if nothing else. If you had never heard the original version of the song, you would not know that this is a cover of it. Slower, moody to start, loud, screaming and powerful the rest of the way. I actually liked it somewhat, but can see where Devo fans and others may disagree with me. It’s a love it or hate it song for sure.

“Chemicals”, the third song, has that same Korn vibe all through it. At times, you swear you hear Jon Davis from Korn in his vintage low voiced, nearly whispering singing happening. Again, it sounds like a really good Korn song.

In the end, Chemicals isn’t bad, but it lacks any type of originality. It’s hard to pinpoint. I want to give Welch credit, but if you leave a band as big as Korn was, wouldn’t you try to make something that doesn’t sound EXACTLY like your old band? Whatever, it’s his band, not mine, so I guess he can do whatever he wants. Two songs that sound just like your old band, and a cover that purists will cringe at wouldn’t have been my first choice at offering the world music from my new band.

Matt White

Burn Blue Sky – Celebrate The Decline

Burn Blue Sky - Celebrate The Decline CD cover

The first thing you’re going to think of when listening to Burn Blue Sky’s Celebrate the Decline is the band Clutch. While tracks like “Cigarettes and Friends Long Dead” certainly won’t do much to dissuade you of that thought, it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s more going on here than just a Clutch ripoff band.

The disc opens with “Neo Cortez”, a brooding beast – heavy on the low end that calls to mind the glory days of Black Sabbath – before kicking into the nitro-laced groove of “All Fade Away”, which rings with more of an updated Monster Magnet vibe. The rest of the disc plays with the bounds of that blues rock sound. “The City Streets” slows things down with the standout “Burning Blue” and borderline power ballad “(Life in) Quarantine” following suit.

Despite the heavy, thick blues sound that dominates the disc, “Heathen” may be the strongest track, standing by itself, equally poignant, pissed-off and pummeling.

Although their influences are unmistakable and there’s no denying that there are some derivative tracks, Burn Blue Sky does enough with the sounds to make each one uniquely their own, just as each track stands as uniquely ITS own, making this whole disc something to really be celebrated.

-Late

Celebrate The Decline

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 4.0 stars
****

The Darker Shore – The Mechaphysik

The Darker Shore - The Mechaphysik CD cover

The Darker Shore break onto the scene with their debut CD, The Mechaphysik, a nine track journey through the many faces of this Cleveland quartet and their music. There are some missteps along the way, but it’s hard to fault somebody for the occasional awkward transition or out of place lull or breakdown here or there when they set their sights so high.

“The Darker Shore” is more than just a titular track for the band – it does a great job of setting up the disc by letting the listener know exactly what The Darker Shore has in store for them. At times gothic and brooding and at others fast-paced and thrashy, the track is a strange mix of A Perfect Circle, Dillinger Escape Plan and classic Black Sabbath. This is a track that needs to be savored over and over again.

“Divider” is straighter and plays with more of an 80s metal vibe. It also shows that the guys are willing to write songs with a point, painting a fairly bleak view of society and those of us who make it what it is. “EGR” is thrashier, but then changes things up by pouring on a heavy low end that levels things out and makes the whole track brood. “Wee Wah” is a similar mix of light and dark, opening with a chilling electronic symphony before launching into a mostly straight rocker. Along the way, this is a track that sometimes gets bogged down in its own hubris – it tries to do too much.

They pick up the pace with “My Mechanical Brain”, which develops a groove vibe that remains understated through the bulk of the disc, but always seems to lurk in the shadows.

“Dirt Harvest” builds on the band’s penchant for heavy bass riffs and is a sludgy, heavy-handed beast of a track. While the heavy, low end approach pervades the entire disc, it’s most noticeable here and on tracks like “Ne Plus Ultra?” and the haunting “Dragging A Body”. “Dark House” is downright dreary and fits in here as well, but somewhat comes up a bit flat. A chilling, quasi-psychedelic number that is equal parts Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, it always seems that something is about to happen as the track trudges along. As moody as it is, it could be a great lead-in to something even bigger and better.

On the whole, these guys live up to their name, there is a definite darkness to this album. The guys in The Darker Shore enjoy what they do, but they take it damn seriously and with this disc, they demand that same respect. So journey alongside The Mechaphysik over the horizon and to the darker shore.

-Late

The Mechaphysik

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 4.0 stars
****

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