Electrified Porcupine’s New Music (CD & Vinyl) Showcase Vol. 13 -Sponsored by Mad Rush Media
AWW YEAH! Lucky 13! As I write this, this may be my last post before the Christmas/Holiday break – so I may not be posting for the next 5-6 days after this as I just want to enjoy family, friends, food, drink, and actually do some gaming to catch up.I can’t believe I’m already over ten editions of Treats of the Week, so I’d like to really call out and thank Dave at Mad Rush Media for everything he’s done for me this year and for the past six years. Merry Christmas to you and your family and anyone that helps with MRM!! Alright…here’s this edition’s music I’ve picked up lately!
Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (Blackened Records, 2016)
I’ll start this off by saying a) I liked Death Magnetic and b) My favourite album by Metallica is …And Justice for All. There. You can hate me now. As for this record, I just have the CD version currently that comes with three CDs – the main album, B-sides and covers, and a live CD. Without going into great detail, I really like the new album quite a bit and I find it diverse and an interesting listen, minus a few songs like “Am I Savage?” which I find cringe-worthy. I know Metallica fans will debate this one and there will also be those who say Metallica stopped being Metallica after …And Justice for All, but that’s no surprise to many metal fans.
Mesarthim – .- -… … . -. -.-. . (Avantgarde Music, 2016)
This is the second full album from Australia’s Mesarthim and the title is Morse code for “Absense.” I’ve gone on in other Treats of the Week features about how much I love this blackened synth metal and will continue to support this band. This release, though while solid, doesn’t have the same production that I really enjoyed from the past album and EPs. I find the drums to be way too low in the mix and the vocals just a bit too high. That’s just me and you may have a different opinion. The band JUST released (as of the time of writing this at the end of the third week of December) a 21 minute song entitled, “The Great Filter” and another called “Type III” (almost 19 minutes) on their Bandcamp page. I’m buying them and ripping them to a CD.
Korn – The Serenity of Suffering (Roadrunner Records, 2016)
I don’t care what the haters say – I like Korn and have since they came out. Have they made some pretty shitty albums? Yep. Have their good albums still had filler on them? Yep. Is this the best album Korn has made in at least ten years? Definitely. I actually think you could skip everything after Untouchables and go directly to this release. Then again, hardcore Korn fans (and I was back in the day), may not agree. All I can say is if you liked the first two Korn albums and Untouchables, then you’ll probably really like this one.
Obituary – Ten Thousand Ways to Die
(Gibtown Music/Relapse Records, 2016)
This is how you do an EP! Release two brand new studio songs with 11 live songs that expand across the band’s catalogue all at a low price of $10. The band sounds fantastic live, as I’ve always heard on CDs (and on DVD releases). I hope they do a vinyl pressing of this as I think the song selection and the performance are top notch.
Prophets of Rage – The Party’s Over (Caroline, 2016)
If you haven’t heard by now, three members of Rage Against the Machine (Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk) joined up with Chuck D of Public Enemy (and DJ Lord), as well as B-Real from Cypress Hill to form a “super group.”
I admit that it looks good in writing and I actually picked up the EP for like $6 or 8 bucks thinking “what the hell.” Unfortunately, it’s not very good. I found the two original tracks not do anything for me (although, “Prophets of Rage” is the better of the two) and the three live selections (covers of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name,” Public Enemy’s “Shut Em Down” and The Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” with Brooklyn changed to Cleveland” to be boring. I was expecting so much more from these guys and while I do see promise in the line-up, they have to come back with something stronger.
Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors (Ad Astra Enterprises, 2002)
I’ve been slowly going back and grabbing Acturus’ back catalogue after Arcturian (2015) blew me away a few years ago. I had La Masquerade Infernale (1997) in my collection but for some reason, the band got buried in my ever growing collection and I never went out of my way to experience new releases. Boy, was that stupid as I constantly have Arcturus on my playlist nowadays and I love hearing how fresh albums like this sound even though it’s 15 years old. If you haven’t heard them, do it!
Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder (Peaceville, 2016)
The infamous duo of Nocturno Culto (Ted) and Fenriz (Gylve) are back after three years after releasing their last album. This album doesn’t venture too much away from the darkened punk/crust/metal feel of their last few albums but I find the songs to be a lot stronger than The Underground Resistance (2013) and Circle the Wagons (2010). Ted does all the vocals on this one, and I like that as his delivery resonates with me more. Most of the songs being 5-6 minutes in length are also a plus. Reading many people’s thoughts on this album have them indicating this is their best album since Plaguewelder (2001) or Hate Them (2003), so there you go.
Testament – The Brotherhood of the Snake (Nuclear Blast, 2016)
Testament is a real funny band for me as when I listen to them, I really enjoy them. I’ve bought all their albums and most of them are good, but when it comes to grabbing a random band/CD to listen to, I usually don’t gravitate towards Testament – even their earlier releases. I do think this is one band that has definitely gotten better over time (with some hiccups here and there, but what band doesn’t have some?) After listening to this album, once again I think they’ve come out with another killer release. The songs are good and the solos, drum work and vocals are all top notch. Maybe I’ll make more of a solid effort to give this one (and their other albums) repeated listens over the holidays.
Khemmis – Hunted (20 Buck Spin, 2016)
I thank Decibel magazine for placing Khemmis on their top albums list last year as that’s how I discovered them. I like to read magazine’s (and online blog’s) top releases of the year as I find albums and bands I’ve missed and take a listen. Khemmis struck a chord (awful pun) with me as their doomy metal and clean vocals delivery won me over. This album I think is even better than Absolution (and that’s saying something because that album was really good) due to stronger songs/riffs and a real mix on clean and guttural vocals. Great production, too! Buy this one!
GosT – Non Paradisi – Deluxe 2 CD (Blood Music, 2016)
Blood Music has been knocking out amazing releases over the last few year. Yes, some are not my cup a tea, but I think the one-man run label has done wonders for exposing listeners to bands and artists. While I wasn’t a huge listener of the “Synth” genre, I always dug that kind of music in older 80s horror. With the success of Perturbator and his albums on the label, he’s expanded to some others in the genre. Enter GosT and his second release for the label (I snagged his first album, Behemoth, last year). It’s heavy without being metal, it’s brooding and entertaining. I love every tune on this album and if I knew it was going to be this awesome, I probably would have scored this on vinyl, too. Having more female vocals on this release also helps with the diversity.
This release comes in a hard-cover booklet with an alternative cover, additional (amazing) artwork and an additional EP you can’t get anywhere else. Fan-fucking-tastic stuff!
Vader – The Empire (Nuclear Blast, 2016)
There’s nothing like receiving a new Vader album in the mail as you know you probably won’t be disappointed. I know lots of purists hold onto Vader’s earlier days as their best, but I’m someone that seems to enjoy Vader more and more as they continue. You know that you’re not going to get too far away from some great death metal, but I really like the songwriting and structures on this album and the drum/drum-fills. I find that the drumming approach really adds to the diversity and feel of the songs instead of just 30 minutes of relentless blast beats. This is a really good album that I feel may be lost in the shuffle being released near the end of the year. The Iron Times EP that was release a few months before this didn’t prepare me for how much I would (and do) enjoy this album.
Enjoy the video that I filmed just over a month later about these releases with some new insight!