Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (#1)

First off, as the number indicates, this is the first time I've done this style of post. Also as numbering an activity at all indicates, I intend to make it a recurring feature. May or may no happen, but that's the plan.

So what is this? Simply put it will be a post with micro-reviews/first impressions for three new
albums I've listened to once but don't want to review in full form. I'll pick one good album, one bad album, and one wildcard. These can be in any style and may or may not be related to one another; it depends on what I've been listening to at the time. The one habit I will try to follow, though, is to pick albums for the bad category that are by reasonably well-established bands, since there's not much point in warning people away from music they'd never have heard of if I hadn't brought it up in the first place.

Well, that's about it. So without further ado, here we go.

The Good: Diocletian - Gesundrian
I gave this a whirl after reading a review of it on The Autistic Metalhead. Diocletian are either bestial blackened death metal or war metal, depending which way you want to nitpick it. I don't listen to much material from within that arena, but if I did I'd want it to sound like Diocletian: punishing, driving, tightly composed, well-produced, and performed with absolute ferocity. Definitely worth your time if you have any interest whatsoever in brilliantly executed, viscerally intense metal.

The Bad: Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare
Probably the most infamous metal band in the world, black metal titans Mayhem returned earlier this week with their first new album in seven years. Hellhammer and Necrobutcher are back, with Attila Csihar on vocals. Teloch is a newcomer on guitar, but the rest are veterans of the band's nebulous lineup. Full disclosure: I've never liked Mayhem. This record didn't change that. The production sounded thin and weak rather than primitive or cold. The riffs were redundant and forgettable. The vocals, while energetic, got on my nerves. The entire album felt like one long, painfully unengaging song.

The Ugly: Mekong Delta - In a Mirror Darkly
I've been trying to decide for a few days now how I feel about this album, and I still have no idea. There were moments where these prog thrashers had me right in the palm of their hands, but then there were moments when I found myself wondering why I was listening to this crap. I'd say this is an uneven record with lots of potential and some great pieces, but somehow that feels inadequate to describe my listening experience. Some people will probably really enjoy this, so it may be worth checking out for fans of the style. Personally, I'm still on the fence.

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