Tag Archives: richreviewz

Rich Reviewz is taking a break…

I didn’t really want to ‘announce’ anything but since I’m getting requests for reviews, it’s only fair to let anyone who has recently submitted music for review or any requests know that I am giving this a break. Emphasise on break, because I’m not stopping this permanently, no way. Starting this blog, I was hoping to do some decent stuff and I was honestly surprised that I managed to have the opportunity to write for two other websites before the blog reached a six-month anniversary. I started taking a break from those sites too (again, I will be writing for them again) a while back and I have to put this personal review blog on hold as well.

It bums me out to do this, because I’m missing out on reviewing a lot of stuff I’d been highly anticipating (Danny Brown’s “Old”, Chelsea Wolfe’s “Pain Is Beauty”, Tim Hecker’s “Virgins” to name a few) and stuff I’ve really been digging (Deafheaven’s “Sunbather”, Ulcerate’s “Vermis”, Machinedrum’s “Vapor City” etc).

So why am I on a break? 2013 hasn’t been the best year – in fact, it’s been the worst for personal reasons. I have a lot of things to deal with and I just can’t spare the time and effort for this site. I’d only be forcing out rushed and unfair reviews of releases, and that’s not what Rich Reviewz is about. I want to do things properly. When I feel that everything is back to normal and I can pump out reviews comfortably like before, then I’ll be doing so and making up for everything I missed out.

I had also been hoping on starting interviews with bands a few months back, but it didn’t happen due to unforeseen problems on my part. I’m determined to get some interviews up on this site in the future.

That said, I have no idea when exactly the break will end. It could be within the next month, before the end of the year or into next year. I have no idea. I can promise end-of-the-year lists though. There will DEFINITELY be an Album Of The Year, EPs Of The Year and Songs Of The Year lists – I may even add splits. So far with new releases, I’ve listened to at least 67 albums, 10 EPs and 6 splits and we’ve still got a fair bit of time before people start posting their end-of-the-year lists. It’s going to be interesting after such a great year for music!

So if you want your music reviewed, I’m sorry to say that at this point in time, I can’t promise you anything. However, if you’re determined to have it put under the unforgiving inspection of this blog, then please keep with me and let me know when I start posting again. Hopefully it won’t be too long.

If you want to make sure you’re in the know of what’s happening with Rich Reviewz, then head over and join the Facebook page – I’ll post future updates on there.

Thank you for your patience.

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Tongue – “Who Fired The Workers Of Happiness Factory?” EP Review

Tongue – Who Fired The Workers Of Happiness Factory?
Genre: Rock/Stoner Rock

Label: Self-released

Tongue are a band from Serbia, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Bizic Vladimir (AKA. Ripkid), formerly lead guitarist of the unfortunately disbanded hardcore punk pushers Lets Grow, who put out a strong amount of LPs and splits from 2001 to 2010. However, Tongue sees Vladimir taking a turn to a slower, groove-orientated rock direction. Continue reading

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Gnaw Their Tongues – “Eschatological Scatology” Quick Review

Gnaw Their Tongues – Eschatological Scatology
Genre – Black Metal/Noise

Label: Self-released

Gnaw Their Tongues is the nightmarish brainchild of Dutch musician Maurice de Jong, who is known as much for his relentless output of releases per year as he is for his dark and challenging music. If you haven’t come across the project before, Gnaw Their Tongues pushes its listeners to the limits with noise and industrial influenced black metal, sometimes the former two styles fore-fronting  depending on the release. Continue reading

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Baroness – “Yellow & Green” Review

Baroness – Yellow & Green
Genre – Progressive Rock/Sludge

Label: Relapse

“Yellow & Green” is the third album by riff titans Baroness, the long awaited release since 2009’s sludge-conquering “Blue Record”, which brought a lot of attention to the band. Headed by guitarist and vocalist John Dyer Baizley, who is known for his art (for other bands as well as Baroness), the band has been known up to this point as a band that changes unashamedly, and “Yellow & Green” is no different. Continue reading

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Cattle Decapitation – “Monolith of Inhumanity” Quick Review

Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity
Genre: Grindcore/Brutal Death Metal

Label: Metal Blade

Cattle Decapitation are a technical four-piece from California, whose brutal and vivid music lives up to the name. Over the course of the band’s formation, the lyrical themes have consistently focused on man’s effects on wildlife and nature in a misanthropic light, often placing humans into the animal’s perspective to exemplify the negative results. They also focus on religion in the least complimentary way possible as well.

So, “Monolith Of Inhumanity” is their seventh album release, their fifth on the Metal Blade label, and this release is ridiculously heavy. Although the band is known for it’s extreme style and constantly changing between the face-scraping blastbeats, sweeps and riffs and the death metal breakdowns, this album is definitely a step towards a more hectic sound than the last album “The Harvest Floor”. The production is a lot better too, and makes the layers a lot more distinctive.

Dead Set On Suicide, the second track on the album, opens up with these blistering blastbeats before this short bass break which follows with the whole band jumping back in furiously. It’s also the first time we hear a new type of vocal from Travis Ryan that’s really manic and pained – you can’t help wonder just how he manages to cope with the constant changes. Then there are these insane double-kick breakdowns that just sounds like jackhammer sped up and being flicked on and off. Needless to say, this track is a personal highlight.

The following track, A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat, also uses the new type of vocal in the oddly catchy chorus, which consists of ” A living, breathing piece of defecating meat / Two-legged massacre expressing glands in heat”. You can’t help feel like you’re on trial and being accused of some unspeakable crime by a demon god – which is probably the intent.

Sixth track Projectile Ovulation opens up with an almost old-school death metal riff, and seems a lot more straight-forward than previous tracks yet still remains ridiculously heavy, especially during moments of Travis’s guttural growls and belches.

The Monolith has a creeping sensation, mainly consisting of a clean guitar with ambient ‘booms’ and crackles of fire – almost resonant of Nine Inch Nails’s instrumental Help Me I Am In Hell. This leads up to final track Kingdom Of Tyrants, which progresses through so many stages that it really does feel like an emotional climax at times when switching between fast and slow tempos, almost orchestral at times with the interplay between the vocals and instrumentation.

To put it simply: “Monolith Of Inhumanity” is a completely brutal and relentless album, focusing less on atmosphere and more on action. While this album is completely uninviting for anyone seeking melodic and beautiful textures, this is definitely for those who like their metal punishing, violent and unpredictable. A must for grind fans.

Favourite tracks: Dead Set On Suicide, A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat, Kingdom Of Tyrants.

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The Portrait – “Infinity” Quick Review

The Portrait – Infinity
Genre: Metalcore/Experimental

Label: Self-released

The Portrait are a refreshing downtempo four-piece metalcore band from New Mexico, and even then it’s pretty hard to describe the band as ‘metalcore’ alone, as there seems to be influences of a sparse range in their sound – especially ‘djent’, ambient and progressive metal. If you’re hoping for a The Devil Wears Prada sound-a-like, then you’re looking at the wrong band.

This 6-song EP runs along a concept of the relationship between the Royal Stars and the Earth. Earth discovers the Royal Stars, a collective entity above the planet that watch over it. Then Earth creates humanity while giving it conscience; a right reserved only for the Royal Stars – eventually the gift becomes clear and the stars are initially unhappy with Earth’s actions, and events unfold.

So, with this story in mind, you can expect philosophical lyrics involving Gods, scenes of apocalypse, denial and acceptance, etc. The EP is split into four parts with an instrumental intro and outro. The opening track Arches prepares you with this ground-shaking rumble with all these echoing sounds, before these deep, tremelo-picked guitars jump in and the rest of the band follows in this metalcore/’djent’ mixing sound.

This sound is pretty continuous for the whole theme, obviously with alterations. The second track Part I. Gaia starts with this really nice spacey high-end guitar riff while vocalist Matt West introduces himself with clear pronunciation despite the almost spit-like shouting, with slight reverb. The track also features guest vocalist John Luzietti, who speaks as the Earth, having this mean guttural shout which morphs into growls. It’s pretty intense.

The following tracks also feature different guest vocalists with their own styles, speaking as the stars or Earth, keeping the listener on their toes the whole time. Matt Sanchez on Part III. Taurus has this very emotional hardcore sound which is accompanied by sombre waves of low, ringing guitars. Polyrhythm riffs also come in and out of each song – Part IV. Leo opens with one that just sounds punishing and judgemental.

The problem with “Infinity” is that its story seems so deep, yet only explored so briefly, that it should be material for a full-length album and maybe explained in more detail. It can be difficult to distinguish different tracks too, instrumentally.

But “Infinity” is definitely worthwhile for anyone looking for something more thoughtful and experimental than most metalcore bands, and sounds like unimaginable mix of Brutality Will Prevail, Hopesfall and “Hollow Crown”-era Architects.

You can download the EP for free here: http://theportraitnm.bandcamp.com/

Favourite tracks: Part I. Gaia, Part III. Taurus.

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My “I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR 2012” (London) experience.

What can I say about a Friday and Saturday at I’ll Be Your Mirror? I saw Slayer play Reign In Blood in its entirety, saw Sleep play (never thought I would), met Steve Brooks of Torche/Floor and had a great time sightseeing. Continue reading

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White Suns – “SINEWS” Quick Review

White Suns – Sinews
Genre: Noise rock

Label: Load Records

White Suns are a three-piece noise rock demon from Brooklyn, and “Sinews” is their second album, although it is the first release while on noise-pushing label Load Records.

As an album of six songs and just falling short of the 35-minute mark, “Sinews” is noticeably short. However there is no real wavering moment. There is always a build up, always tension and always the sense of a looming moment where your ears might be pushed to the limits. This album is, in one word, intense.

Second track, Footprints Filled, from the very beginning sadistically abuses your ears, leaving you unsure whether you’re really meant to enjoy it. The guitars and drums play along with each other, intertwining and intensifying as the track progresses. The drums are especially brutal, they just hammer away with no remorse and no sign of slowing for the majority of the song.

Cenote is a track just full of unbearable despair, the instrumentals all fighting each other in a climb but constantly falling back down, eventually reaching a climax. The guitar rips, the vocals shred, the keyboards stomp and the drums punch until the song closes with each instrument almost collapsing from fatigue. The final track Oath also seems to  have the same build-up-and-fall approach.

Flesh Vault just features this thick feedback while strings sound like they’re being played at random with no real care, as a sombre poetic monologue is told, as if a cry for help in an empty wasteland: “I crawl through a century/kicking free of narcotic tendrils/the ways unmarked/but the map is in me”.

By the end, you just feel as if you’ve been exorcised, like ‘demons’ have been smashed or torn from your soul. The overall relentlessness of the band to challenge their listener is both impressive and scary. On the other hand, this sort of means that there is no real variety in their sound, just different approaches and settings. Probably not an album you’d suggest to a prog rock fan.

If you like bands along the lines of Drunkdriver, Sore Throat and maybe Homostupids, then you will probably enjoy some aspects of this. “Sinews” is definitely for those whole like music extra loud, noisy and primitive.

Favourite tracks: Footprints Filled, Cenote.

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High On Fire – “De Vermis Mysteriis” Review

High On Fire – “De Vermis Mysteriis”
Genre – Sludge/Stoner metal

Label: E1 Music

High On Fire is the sludge metal brainchild Matt Pike, of recently reformed doom giants Sleep, and this is their fifth studio album. The band came from the ashes of the unfortunate demise of Sleep in 1998, and has since been a more direct and aggressive way of music for Pike, almost a Motorhead equivalent in the doom/sludge genre. High On Fire is a band known for its fast-pace, and Pike’s signature guitar-shredding and snarling vocals. Continue reading

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Torche – “Harmonicraft” Quick Review

Torche – Harmonicraft
Genre: Sludge/Hard rock

Label: Volcom

“Harmonicraft” is the third album of the Florida-based quartet Torche, led by guitarist and vocalist Steve Brooks (of recently reunited Floor). This is also the second Torche album to be produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. The band is known for its catchy and almost ‘pop’ approach to the Sludge/Stoner rock genre, despite Brooks using an extremely low guitar tuning he named ‘Drop Z’.

So, Torche deliver yet another album that could only be described as a Riffosaurus Rex, and fits well with their discography so far. As soon as the album opens with Letting Go, the band drops into a no-nonsense, balls-out hard rock anthem. And when the track finishes, you’re not even given a chance to digest it as you’re thrown into the first single of the album Kicking, another song filled with massive riffs and hooks that would not go amiss in a stadium during the end of the world.

Again, not a chance is given for a last note to ring out, Walk It Off kicks in – a song that should be called ‘driving-through-the-desert-at-100mph-in-a-vintage-car’. Being one of the shortest on the album (clocking in at 1:26) it is also one of the more aggressive tracks, yet sounds like a metal party tune that encourages trashing rooms and shotgunning beers.

The following few tracks are pretty standard Torche tracks, which is far from a derogative statement in this band’s case. Kiss Me Dudely has a chorus that makes you want to punch your fist in the air, while Solitary takes a more morose and soothing mood, another song that wouldn’t go amiss during the last moments of mankind. The title track (Harmonicraft, an instrumental) has a more progressive rock feel, opening with a high-end riff that delves into the brooding lows, almost challenging you to air-guitar.

There is not much more that can be said for “Harmonicraft” that’s been previously mentioned. If there are gripes with the album, then it might not be the kind of album you would listen to if you were mourning the end of a relationship or need something to relax to. However, for rocking parties and cracking a few beers with your friends – then this is perfect. If there ever was a teacher to guide bands into making riffs that would tick both the “heavy” and “catchy” boxes without jeopardising one over the other, Steve Brooks would be your man.

Favourite tracks: Walk It Off, Kicking, Harmonicraft.

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