Archive for February, 2010

Senmuth – Vdol’ Puti K Podnebesnoy 2004 – 88%

Posted in Heavy Metal Reviews on February 4, 2010 by misainzig

This album holds a special place for me. Of his entire enormous discography, this is the album I heard first. At first, I was put off by the light-hearted and catchy synths. I had never heard anything like it. After I got used to the style, it’s brilliance showed itself to me. Of course, I immediately tried to make a few comparisons to other similar (?) artists, if not simply to try and put this kind of odd music in perspective. Nothing came even close. I still can’t even figure out what genre this album would be, other than simply Senmuth. The man is beyond classification.

While his later sound is much different from his earlier sound found here, it’s still unmistakably Senmuth. This album flows along in a very dreamlike nature, with synths out the wazoo. Senmuth’s sense of melody on this album is seems rather sensitive at times. Srazhenie. Vechnost’. Spravedlivost’. has probably the most sensitive melody. It’s very uplifting, and Senmuth’s powerful vocals really can inspire at times. Each song has it’s distinct melodies. Yav’ Ili Son has one of the most magical melodies I’ve ever heard (I think it’s the chorus), before switching it up with some standard hard rock guitar. Along with the magic melodies, there are many slow passages throughout the album that really reaffirm this mysterious dream like state your ears are in as you listen.

Fragment (Chinese Theater) is a very atmospheric piece, as it features little real music. It’s got some small waterfall type of effect over it, with a very low chorus bellowing (pretty sure it’s a synth again, but it sounds quite real). It has a sample of some Chinese guy, who I’m assuming is an actor. After a while, it breaks into some “heavy” drums, then it switches between the different parts. Ho Chang Kung continues with more of these “heavy” drums. They’re basically extremely loud deep drum sounds with a heavy industrial effect over them. That, coupled with the comforting melodies, make for an extremely interesting song. Then out of nowhere, here comes Senmuth to deliver some chunky guitar riffage that follows the melody. The storm calms down once again. Then boom! Shift this baby into fucking overdrive! The riffage towards the end of this section is basically thrash!

Simply dreamy. I cannot stress that enough. This album is like a world full of candy in vibrant colors in my head as I sleep. Yet that only covers about 60% of the album.  The dark and heavier passages tend to bring the album down to Earth, while still keeping the atmosphere relatively intact. Tai- Chu closes the album with some familiar melodies from Yav’ Ili Son, and a few others from throughout the album. There are some new ones as well, which manage to be just as memorable and great as the rest.

For a Senmuth fan, this album shouldn’t disappoint. It’s got all of his off the wall elements, along with some probably not found on any other Senmuth album. This album is truly unique, and anyone who hears it is going to have their mood improved. Unless happy music pisses you off or something.

As I trip and stumble through my dreams…

Jackhammer – Chainsaw Love 1984 – 60%

Posted in Heavy Metal Reviews on February 4, 2010 by misainzig

After listening to the first demo, I had completely written these guys off as mindless amateurs who somehow turned out to be thrash legends. I wasn’t willing to dig in and try to discover how they made their transformational journey. The only reason I’ve chosen to listen to and review this demo is because I received a message of thanks for reviewing the first demo from members of Jackhammer themselves (I think, unless it was a hoax). Assuming it is from the actual dudes, it means quite a bit that they decided to thank me, even though I tore the demo to shreds. For their gratitude, I’ve decided to give these guys another shot. How did they fare this time?

Improvement all around! This sounds more like it, guys. Everything is better by a few bounds. Gone are Chris Ott’s amatuer vocals, and in are Tony Potaro’s amatuer vocals. While that bit of a switch up may not sound all that good, you honestly have to hear Chris’ vocal performance on the first demo to understand. Those vocals were the worst of the worst, and basically anyone would have been a huge improvement. Thankfully, Chris decided to simply focus on guitars here. Potaro’s vocals (much like everything about this album, really) are basically par for speed metal in 1984, sometimes recalling the wails of Neil Turbin. Tony’s vocals bring some much needed aggression to a sound that was basically the most non-aggressive sound on a metal demo.

What a fuzzy guitar tone. There’s something much more sincere and easier to digest about these riffs than on the first demo. The riffs here are generally faster than those found on Lethal Injection, and tend to grab your ears more often. The solos have also taken a turn for the better. Whereas all songs on the previous album (except Demon’s End) had horrible, worthless solos, every solo here seems to be up to the quality of Demon’s End. Still not very good, yet they get the job done overall.

Because of the fuzzy guitar tone, the simply intro to Witchchild sounds like a mix of Beyond the Realms of Death and some stinky little black metal band from the early 90s. I suppose this track could be considered Jackhammer’s attempt to write a more emotional, progressive, and lengthy track. It is here where the band actually scratches on the surface of being “good” songwriters, and not just another demo band. Leather Bitch is a fairly tame thrasher, but a thrasher nonetheless. The second half of this demo is significantly better than anything from Lethal Injection, and slightly better than the first couple of songs here.

Jackhammer have managed to redeem themselves in my eyes. While their first demo was truly painful to listen to at times, here they’ve managed to create something listenable, and rather competent. They’re still nowhere near a band fighting to the top of the pile, but at least their attack is a genuine attempt.

Oh, and the drums are on time for a change!