Review published at Indy Metal Vault.
Formed in 1997, avantgarde metal outfit Dir En Grey are one of the most well-known and important Japanese metal bands. Their unique style, a mixture of death metal, progressive metal, hardcore and basically EVERYTHING ELSE, has been unparalleled and their musical output incredibly consistent.
Now, 21 years after their inception, Dir En Grey release their 10th full length album The Insulated World. Does it hold up to their critically acclaimed previous efforts? In my opinion, it absolutely does.
The album is incredibly coherent, given the amount of experimentation that went into it and the weird elements that it is comprised of. The band experiments with electronic elements a little more on this album, which works really well for me. The song “Keigaku No Yoku” is a great example of a fantastic symbiosis of metal and electronic elements with its doomy guitar riffs and heavy glitch sounds, while the drums on the brutal and technical second track “Devote My Life” are almost breakcore-esque. Every song on the record is its own beast, yet they all somehow fit together, like different pieces of a mosaic.
As on their previous albums, there are tons of groovy riffs, melodic choruses, as well as more atmospheric sections. The guitars are technical and heavy, the bass is fat and groovy, the drums hit harder than ever before and Kyo’s vocals are as crazily versatile and fascinating as always. This guy never ceases to amaze me with his chameleon voice that can switch from nightmarish and demonic to soothing and angelic in the fraction of a second. “Ningen Wo Kaburu” is a great example of the album’s sound in general and especially of Kyo’s vocal abilities with its harsh and aggressive verses and beautiful melodic chorus. If you want to get a sneak peak into the band’s sound, this is a good song to start with.
As a whole, The Insulated World is a great mixture of Dir En Grey’s heavier and their softer side, plus previously unheard elements, resulting in a balanced, yet exciting sound that is constantly surprising and captivating throughout the whole playing time of 50 minutes. Definitely one of the most unique and interesting albums of the year – and one of my personal favorites so far.
Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, Wesenwille is a two-man band that focuses on delivering black metal with a modern approach. Their self titled debut album was released via Redefining Darkness Records on April 27th.
On their first album, Wesenwille combine influences from depressive and atmospheric black metal with dissonant death metal elements, progressive song structures and an interesting lyrical concept that deals with the development of technology and its influence on human social interactions and values. The result is a dark and captivating record that is atmospheric and coherent, without ever getting boring or predictable.
Wesenwille find the perfect balance between heavy riffs and sections of pure dissonant aggression and more contamplative passages, as well as between technicality and atmosphere. The musical performances on this record are quite impressive. The technical guitar riffs, the groovy bass lines, as well as the ferocious drums and the versatile vocals are absolutely fantastic and perfectly blend together into a dark sonic whirlwind. The songwriting is as good as it gets, leaving enough space for impressive and exciting instrumental sections, as well as for atmospheric spoken word samples and more traditional song structures.
If I had to find bands to compare Wesenwille to, I would probably choose Wode and Drottnar, as well as modern-day Shining, but all these bands have their very own unique sonic identity, and so does Wesenwille. If you like your black metal progressive and atmospheric, you should definitely check out this album. You’re going to love it.
Please check out Wesenwille’s official facebook page, as well!
Five years have passed since the release of Impending Doom’s acclaimed fifth album Death Will Reign. Now, the deathcore quintett from California is back with another onslaught of brutality.
The Sin and Doom Vol. II offers 35 minutes of relentless war music. Heavy, dark and uncompromising, this record shows the band at their most brutal and leaves the listener no second to rest. That is both a good and a bad thing, as the band’s sound on this album is powerful and effective, but isn’t in any way surprising or innovative.
I’m missing a little variation in the vocal performance and the song structures. There’s a lot of great things about this album, though. Impending Doom stay true to the roots of the genre and offer old school riffs and an overall sound that is more “death” than “core”. There are some fantastic breakdowns and great riffs on this album, the technical drumming is simply fantastic and the vocals, while not very versatile, are more than solid.
If you like deathcore and/or brutal death metal, you will most definitely have a good time with this record.
The Sin and Doom Vol. II was released June 22nd via eOne Music and is available for streaming at Spotify.
Please check out Impending Doom’s official facebook page, as well!