NECRO SHOCK RADIO – May 6, 2017

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MAY 6, 2017

Finally, after taking two weeks off to deal with a massive sinus cold infection, Uncle NecRo is back to continue the weekly dispelling of the Brutal Music Therapy we all crave…

Featuring cuts from:

Music Review: ILLUMINANDI – Demos I & II

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ILLUMINANDI - Demo 1 ILLUMINANDI - Demo 2
ILLUMINANDI
Demos I / Demos II
Independent
2001 / 2002

Illuminandi is a Polish metal band. What kind of metal, it’s hard to say. You see, they have a style that mixes the European power metal style with classical violin and cello instruments throughout, resulting in a hybrid that works very well. Visions of Believer’s Dimensions done with a more power metal stance come to play.

Demo I / Demo II, in case you haven’t realized, is a CD comprised of their first two demos. The first demo is four songs long- “…I O Tym Drugim…”, “Nie Lekaj Sie”, “Kielch” and “Alleluja”. Translated to English, the titles are “…And About The Other…”, “Don’t Be Afraid”, “The Cup”, and “Hallelujah”, respectively. While the sound quality is definitely demo-quality (meaning, kind of low, which is usually expected for independent DIY releases), the music comes through nicely. The band sure does a nice job, playing tightly and mixing the metal and classical styles evenly. The vocals are generally clean sung, with both male and female singers (“Alleluja” is entirely female vocals, which sound great). The lyrics are all in Polish, but after reading the English translations I can assure you that they are quite Biblically based. On Demo II, the band has improved a lot, with better sound quality and more melody in their songs. The vocals have improved as well, and the entire band couldn’t be tighter. Well, they could, but it’s not an issue here. They’s tight, y’all. There’s only three songs here, though- “Kto Mnie Wyzwoli…?”, “The Light” and “…Wiec My…”. “The Light” is the only English song here; the other two are translated “Who Will Save Me…?” and “…So We…”, respectively. “The Light” involves a choir, which is a great addition. “…Wiec My…” is absolutely heavy, with double bass drumming and grunts with the clean vocals adding a death metal flavor to the song.

I would highly recommend anyone who’s a collector of Christian metal (or just metal, period) to look into Illuminandi.

Music Review: BELIEVER – Gabriel

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BELIEVER - Gabriel

BELIEVER
Gabriel
Metal Blade
2009

Over 15 years after releasing their last album, then disbanding leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of progressive thrash fans everywhere, the seemingly impossible, much more improbable happened: Believer regrouped, and recorded a new album. Understand, after all of those Believer-less years, it was like getting rain after a 15 year drought. And no, I don’t think I’m exaggerating a bit.

Now on the Metal Blade label (very fitting, methinks), Believer’s long-awaited Gabriel finds the band still in top form, retaining their signature sound with the progressing forward like they always did on each album. Heavy, mathematically technical riffs that’ll blow your mind, time changes, touches of experimental elements, and Kurt Bachman’s vocals that, while sounding a bit different after these years, still retains the unique snarl we know and love. For the most part, Gabriel is the worthy follow-up to 1993’s Dimensions we’ve been waiting for.

And by “for the most part”, I mean that the last four cuts on this album (“Nonsense Mediated Decay”, “Circus”, “Coordinates” and “Freedom”*) suddenly veer off into pure avant-garde territory. Not really metal, the only way I can describe these songs are weird and experimental. Usually I just skip them entirely, but their interesting curiosities. Overall, though, great technical and progressive thrash metal slab for the first nine tracks, then four tracks of skipable weirdness. Welcome back, Believer.

(* = the last three tracks appear as hidden tracks on the physical CD, it seems; I bought my copy as an MP3 download from Amazon, which lists the tracks as such – Uncle NecRo)

Music Review: ANTITHESIS – Dying For Life

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Metalcovers2003
ANTITHESIS
Dying For Life
Nightmare Records
2001

The only other time I heard Antithesis before was their cut on the Massive Frequency Overload compilation some years back, and I wasn’t that taken. So, you could probably understand my hesitation with listening to this full-length at first. Well, glad I did, otherwise I would have missed out on some great thrash-influenced progressive metal. There were many comparisons that popped into my mind while listening, the first of which was, of course, Tourniquet. But, I’ve got to say that Antithesis seems a bit more like Decision D than Tourniquet, in that there’s more classic power metal along with thrash and progressive metal going on here. The singer’s voice conjures up images of Rob Rock, which means that bands like early Angelica and Impellitteri, not to mention Iron Maiden come into play. The lyrics deal a lot with Christians living in the real world, making Dying For Life more of a life application study than evangelical. Bottom line: this is a great metal CD.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – “On The Cover”

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“On The Cover” Special!

…in this special Therapy Session, Uncle NecRo goes a bit batty and plays a bunch of covers by a bunch of bands! Wackiness doth ensue!

featuring: Crimson Thorn, Deliverance, DigHayZoose, Frost Like Ashes, Galactic Cowboys, Mordecai, One Bad Pig, Place Of Skulls, Step Cousin, Stryper, Tourniquet, and Ultimatum…

CLICK HERE to download

CLICK HERE to stream

Music Review: TOURNIQUET – Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance

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Tourniquet_-_Pathogenic_Ocular_Dissonance
TOURNIQUET
Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance
Intense Records
1992

This is my third time reviewing this album. Third time. The first time was for my self-published ‘zine STATIC back in 1993, before I started saving everything I wrote. Second time was ten years ago when I was staff writer for the Dead eZine. That went bye-bye, and while I could probably retrieve it from the Internet Archive site, I’m just going to let that stand as a snapshot of a time past in my pseudo journalistic endeavors.

No, that didn’t sound pretentious at all, there.

Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance, Tourniquet’s third studio album, stands as my favorite Tourniquet album overall. It’s a brilliant thrash album – heavy, progressive, multi-faceted and experimental without losing any edge whatsoever. The music is just mind-blowing, some very tight riffs and rhythms that are definitely not the usual thrash metal. Everyone on this album are some of the best players in the genre, and here they were at their peak.

Sadly, this is the last album with the classic Tourniquet lineup, as vocalist Guy Ritter and guitarist Eric Mendez both left the group at this time. Metal Blade released this to the mainstream market, with a bonus track taken from the Intense Live Series. In 2001, main man Ted Kirkpatrick re-released this with a remastered sound and new album artwork and bonus tracks. I’m told it sound phenomenal. I personally haven’t bought a copy of that one, so I can’t attest to that as of yet. Maybe one day I will acquire the remastered version, but for now (and my budget), I’m quite content with my original Intense Records version. Besides, the new cover artwork is just…well, sub-par to the original artwork, methinks. Regardless, Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance is thrash metal that still holds up nearly twenty years later, and I believe to be required listening.

Music Review: TOURNIQUET – Antiseptic Bloodbath

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tourniquet - antiseptic bloodbath
TOURNIQUET
Antiseptic Bloodbath
Pathogenic Records
2012

Tourniquet’s eighth full-length studio release of original songs (and no, I’m not counting Acoustic Archives or the best-of, despite having original studio cuts on them) was a long time coming in between their previous release – Where Moth And Rust Destroy – back in 2002.  Ten years, as a matter of fact. Not that the band was just kicking back and not doing anything individually, mind you.  Well, I know that main guy Ted Kirkpatrick kept busy with various projects, hobbies and also getting married sometime in between.  Or something.  But the point was, when it came time that another Tourniquet was itching to be made, Ted gathered the gang and went the totally independent route and funded the project that was to become Antiseptic Bloodbath through Kickstarter, and released through the band’s Pathogenic Records imprint.  So, being the first release that seems to have been entirely realized independent of any record label (their deal with Metal Blade having lapsed in the time between records, there) or outside interference beyond the various guest appearances, how does Antiseptic Bloodbath hold up?

Pretty well, I’m pleased to say.

Mind you, I am an admitted fan of the earlier days of Tourniquet, the first three albums hallowed classics in my personal collection.  Not to downplay the “Tediquet” era from 1994 on (and if you wanna be technical about things, you can argue that Ted Kirkpatrick was always the mastermind behind the band from the start), but while the metal was some of the better I’ve heard in either the Christian or mainstream markets, there’s just something that seems to be missing from even the last two Metal Blade releases that has kept me from completely enjoying them.  Mind you, that’s never stopped me from obtaining any new Tourniquet release as soon as I financially can, and there are some rather good moments on all the post- Classic Lineup era albums, if you wanna go there.

With Antiseptic Bloodbath, I really liked this release.  Matter of fact, I do think it is one of the best releases they’ve done since the two Metal Blade releases.  Antiseptic Bloodbath is, without a doubt, a Tourniquet album.  Very technical, very heavy, very well played and well produced, especially for a completely independent recording.  And if it’s one thing you can count the band on being, it’s being technically proficient while remaining heavy as anything out there.  The guitar riffs are great, the music gels beautifully, and the technical aspect of things is tight and makes things work without getting just weird and sloppy.  The guest appearances on some of the tracks also lend a more robust sound to things, and like in the previous Where Moth And Rust Destroy, former Megadeth guitarist and current Japanese transplant Marty Friedman lends his extraordinary guitar work on the track “The Maiden Who Slept In A Glass Coffin”.  Lyrically speaking, the band once again maintain their better-written-than-most style of allegorical imagery.  And in case you didn’t catch the not-so-subtle hint with the album cover artwork, there, they still don’t make things comfortable and fuzzy for you, there.  Matter of fact, the title track kind of maybe goes a bit of a reach by equating watering down the brutal sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross with animal cruelty.  Fortunately, Ted’s very vocal support of animal rights don’t overpower things like they could have, and in the end we have a really great quality release that proves that you don’t really need a record label to make a great metal album.  In other words, Antiseptic Bloodbath is a Tourniquet record.  And what a great thing that is.