Saturday, September 8, 2012

THE CASKET "DEAD IS ALIVE" MCD 2012

The Casket
Dead Is Alive MCD 2012
Earblast Records

Sabah is still increasing their productivity in producing metal releases. I am proud to present you THE CASKET's "Dead Is Alive" MCD/EP, their first roar ever as a band. What THE CASKET had to offer was not an errant to what our local death metal scene is offering. The music is intense death metal, something that reminds me to latter Dismember albums, Disincarnate, and a little bit of Obituary would help. The tracks are no-time-wasted, a straight flush of heaviness. On the other hand, the guitar works sounded harsh and destroyed half of my positive perspective.

My overall evaluation is this 4-track MCD is an average release. Although the song arrangements and vocal works were quite good, the band need to find a real drummer to add heaviness and originality. It is possible to get a deal or going further for the band, but again, it will be much easier to remain developed and progressed.





http://www.facebook.com/pages/thedeadcasket

Friday, September 7, 2012

BACTERIA "END OF HOPE" MCD 2012

Bacteria
End Of Hope MCD 2012
Self-released

BACTERIA, better known as pre-SILENT DEATH, a notorious old death/thrash metal band existed over 20 years ago, just got their first and only release "End Of Hope" in MCD format. The self-released format often has its weaknesses. Sorry to turn you guys down, this MCD format doesn't come in what it supposed to be after nearly 23-24 years of existence. First off, it came in a slim-case version, which gave us a sign how minimalistic took place. Then, after eagerly waiting for this release (of course it was since day one that I saw they advertised this on facebook), I quickly grab the CD and play it in my stereo. The worse thing happened, it just didn't play.

Realizing it might be a damaged copy, I, in despair, keep the CD back and wait for the moment to complaint and get a new copy.

Tonight, I just gave it a try to play in my notebook. Using the holy "winamp", it still didn't play. Browsing through the explorer, I just realized that my copy came in windows media audio file, which made me launch Windows Media Player, open the file manually (to make sure it played it correct sequence) and there it is, I am sitting, listening to what BACTERIA has to offer.

First song, "Kebangkitan", played in a semi-thrash, more into dark heavy metal kind of riffs. Most of the times, the keyboard seems to cover the song making it darker. The song doesn't have any resemblance with any ordinary death metal, which I positioned in my mind in the first place when hearing this CD. For me, it is more a Rotting Christ/ Root/ Dark Reality of death metal. Dark, semi-fast with great solos. Seems to be a great starter for the whole package songs!

The second song came, "Unknown World", an acoustic, well-written song. Not really my cup of tea because the darkish vocal seems to destroy the beautiful melody. But if you are viewing (while listening this) as being in a dark woods, then Blind Guardian's "The Bard Song's" would be a great comparative. Once again, the construction of this song is quite beautiful and complex.

Track 3 kicked in with "Virus". A kind of new Maiden-style-starting-songs. Slow plucking, dark ambient with keyboards playing an important role for a minute or so. The next riff is a bit like progressive death metal. I would say that it reminds me a lot to DEATH's works in "The Sound of Perseverance". Yet I couldn't find much aggressiveness in this track although the vocal seems to really emphasizing on something. It hard to refer without it lyrics of course. Have I indicate that this song is quite progressive in nature? I really mean it! A really astonishing 7 minutes journey of pure darkness!

"Survivor" came as track 4, a fast tune at first and in certain points. Some riffs are reminding me to early thrash metal sounds such as Mortal Sin or Intruder, in minimum amount. Nice solos but not so much progressive as the previous track. The intriguing vocal brings me to the memory of Greek bands. Not much goodness I can find in this track.

Track 5, "Wali 9" started with keyboards for few seconds before guitars and vocals took place. It starts slow as a heavy metal tune should be. I would say that it has a bit of Manowar-ish/ Dark Tranquility/ Amon Amarth sound. The music is well-written, it's simple yet beautiful in terms of guitar solos and melody. A great song to listen.

This release closed with just another acoustic reprise of "Unknown World" (minus one).

Overall, I would say that musically, BACTERIA have what it takes to go further, given some proper label names, they will have their chance. But in the current Malaysian scene, I would say that it needs harder efforts in making the music came with higher expectation in quality packaging. I would definitely say this release worth the bucks for those who are not looking for brutality in death metal.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: ATOMIC DEATH/ BLOODSTONE "HELLISH NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION" SPLIT 2011

Atomicdeath/ Bloodstone 
Hellish Nuclear Destruction Split CD 2011 
Blood of War Records

Upon hearing this release for the first time, I'd simply say that this is brilliant! Atomicdeath is a thrash band from Malaysia while Bloodstone is in the same genre from Singapore. Blood Of War Records? Sorry I don't really know about the label. But this release is pure awesome!

Started with Atomicdeath, whom first release "Missile Massacre" in 2009 has paved their own way of thrashing with copying Destruction. Original sounds don't come in package but they managed to create heavy sounds. The most inspire song for me from Atomicdeath is "Kombat Six Six Six", nicely written, some heavy shit we are talking about here!

After 5 tracks from Atomicdeath, Bloodstone came in. Again, it's thrash metal but in different angle from what Atomicdeath offered. Bloodstone is darker, more into Venom/ Onslaught kind of thrash metal. The music are much more complex yet tuned just to fit what thrashers are looking for. The riffs also reminds me to US-thrash metal bands such as Metallica, Dark Angel, Forbidden or Faith or Fear.

This complete package is perfectly done: the cover artwork is not bad, printed, organized in quality manner. The sounds are acceptable, for those who emphasis high-end quality sound should avoid this. This release remarks the rise of eastern old school thrash metal.


 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: DAMOKIS "GRINDING MOTHER WH*RE" CD 2012

Damokis 
Grinding Mother Wh*re CD 2012 
Grundar Productions

Malaysian Damokis is not a new name. Started in the mid 90s, Damokis, for me, was just like a side project of a well-known friend, Bob Agigi, who was also in Demisor/ Castigate. It happened that my perception prove to be wrong. Damokis is Damokis, as a grindcore band despite being old enough in the scene to just release an album in 2012.


In Damokis, I was overwhelmed with the shadow of Demisor. Perhaps the collaboration between those two bands in term of sharing of band members gave me this conclusion. Musically, Damokis is Damokis and far from what Demisor is. The grindcore offered by Damokis is colored by different and variety of riffs. Sudden changes in tempo and speed made this release reminds me a lot to the influences of hardcore/punk, some Impetigo-alike and Indonesian death metal bands.


There are 17 tracks in this CD, no lyrics available, and what for? The package is good and professional. To conclude, not much that we can expect in terms of differentiation in Damokis as we can always hear the same sound in other grindcore bands. Maybe I've been longing for more Nasum-alike grindcore. No doubt Damokis has gained international recognition (through international touring, radio, etc) but this CD is not played frequently in my player.

The classic collage style
Good package comes in!

Thank you Mr. Malaysian Custom Department..

As a tax-payer, I, as a citizen of Malaysia, contribute to the nation's growth. Although the portion is small, yet it contributes to a tiny percent of the Malaysian Custom Department staffs' salaries (in fact all the government servants I think).

With all the pay increases yearly and bonuses the government servants had (included all those "duit Raya", which came from Government's funding, which means the contribution of all tax-payers) I am proud to have the Custom Department to serve professionally and ethically.

But after few years of buying goods from overseas, rarely I have complaining regarding the status or condition of the goods I have received. But this time it drives me nut to see the unprofessional, should I say unethical, behavior of handling materials, which was packed in bubbled envelope to ensure it safety.

 Looks like the bubbled-envelope doesn't help at all, or I guess, the misbehavior of those handling the materials was very unprofessional! The result: both CDs are unplayable, damaged, the cases are cracked.


Digibook seems find on the outside

And the back, oh so lovely

Cracked case 1
Cracked case 2
 

Cracked CD
Who should take responsibility for this?