Home > Music > Capsule Reviews IV: 2013

Capsule Reviews IV: 2013

Every year has its charms, every month at Invisible Blog has 5 posts (because inertia), and every now and then, I take a look at what I was listening to a few years back and see if it still holds up.

Univers Zero – Uzed (1984):  It probably wasn’t Univers Zero’s parley into overtly progressive rock flavored music, but it’s a marked shift from the straight up neoclassical horror music of Heresie. It is certainly more accessible to the casual listener, but unlike some bands that simplify their sound, Univers Zero retains their songwriting chops in the process. No contest on this one.

Sinister – Cross The Styx (1992): Loud and chunky to the point of being painful to listen to. If you can handle the mastering, though, you’ll find a quality death metal recording with densely packed songs and a mastery of metal rhythm. And this from a debut! The Netherlands should be pleased. Yet again no contest here.

Mithras – Behind the Shadows Lie Madness (2007): Having listened to this album’s bastard children a lot recently (2016’s On Strange Loops and Blessed Be My Brothers by Sarpanitum, which shares a couple members nowadays) has enhanced my appreciation for this one. At times clunky, this one still earns some spins because I’m a sucker for melodic guitar work in an otherwise straightfoward chunk of death metal.

Nightfall – Macabre Sunsets (1993): Honestly? As far as I’m concerned these days, Nightfall sucks. I’m not much for straight up negativity on this blog, but Nightfall had trouble writing coherent songs even in their glory days. Athenian Echoes streamlined things a bit, but still has too much filler and randomenss for my tastes.

Infester – To The Depths … In Degradation (1994): Still filthy, still worthy of further study. When I want an especially twisted and serpentine work of death metal from this era, I usually reach for Timeghoul, but Infester’s take on the genre is full of songwriting surprises that may give it an Incantation-tier shelf life. Just don’t let the political extremists catch you listening to this. They will alternately defenestrate and recruit you, and having to cater to both sides at the same time will be very bad for your social life.

Aborym – Kali Yuga Bizarre (1999): While 2013’s Dirty gave it stiff competition and still kind of does, the Aborym lineup that wrote and performed the debut was formed of more coherent songwriters. The industrial influence here isn’t quite as prominent, but it’s still a neat flavor to have in what is otherwise a more standard black metal album, and even if my opinions change over time this will still be a strong point in the band’s discography.

Strapping Young Lad – City (1997): I’ll be honest – this album is kind of dumb at points. That’s a positive, oddly enough, as City takes the standard mid-90s groovy nu-metal formula, performs it at an intensity exceeding a good chunk of death metal, and injects enough humor and nuance into the formula that I can forgive any flaws it has. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the works of Devin Townsend.

Moonblood – Blut und Krieg (1996): Moonblood is okay. If they polished up their style and increased their song density, they’d be a great band. As far as I know, though, they never did and soon disappeared into nothingness. The problem with merely being okay is that in this day and age, someone out there is going to be more talented and/or diligent than you, rendering your efforts pointless. Moonblood does have obscurity on their side, sort of, but I can’t help but think that by mentioning their existence I am robbing them of their merit…

Celtic Frost – Monotheist (2006): I don’t want to go as far as to say Monotheist has less soul than classic era Celtic Frost. That might be an honor better reserved for Triptykon, which is basically Monotheist in band form with less inspiration. Things subtly work better on Monotheist – it might be that it struck me when I was more impressionable, but it does come off as a more coherent work for whatever reason.

Yellow Magic Orchestra – Solid State Survivor (1980): Here’s another recording that, as far as I’m concerned, holds up excellently after almost 40 years. It even beats a lot of other accomplished electronic pop music recordings from the era on the aesthetic front. A real drumkit could do a heck of a lot for you back in the day.

Hopefully, the 2017 version of Invisible Blog is an improvement over the 2013 one, which I still think holds up better than my formative days as a blogger. The goal, after all, is to always improve. If you want, you can take a look at my 2012 capsule reviews here.

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