Postcards From Natalie Zed, Part 3

Hellbound readers, we’re sure that by now you are all familiar with our Natalie Zed, right? Natalie was our big grand prize winner back in January, taking home more than 50 CDs + and shortly after she received her huge box ‘o CDs, Ms. Zed asked us over at Hellbound HQ if we’d be interested in running reviews of her winnings if she did postcard sized reviews of the albums. How could we say no?

So, without further adieu, here is Natalie’s third installment (reviews #21 – 30 for those keeping stats at home) in what Hellbound likes to refer to as “Postcards From Natalie Zed”…


Keep of Kalessin – Kolossus (Nuclear Blast 2008)

The sheer grinding force of Kolossus‘ sound evokes lightning-blasted rock, a well-orchestrated sonic avalanche. Even more than the sound, the vocals hooked me. Whether screams or growls, black or death, every word with still clarion-clear. The meaning of the lyrics, clearly audible and comprehensible, and the force of the voice delivering those lyrics was a killer combination. Thebon has the voice of a dragon.

Trinacria – Travel Now Journey Infinitely (Season of Mist 2008)

Alchemy, the medieval pseudo-science that blended magic and chemistry, attempted to combine various elements to create something new – to turn iron into gold. The Trinacria (or triskelion) is an alchemical symbol representing movement and multiplicity. Alchemy is a perfect metaphor for this combination of Enslaved and Fe-Mail, taking disparate elements to make something new. While the end result is not exactly gold, it is rough and ugly and noisy and definitely magical.

Birds of Prey – The Hellpreacher (Relapse Records 2009)

This album is ugly. Some stories can’t progress, some protagonists cannot triumph, and the primary voice of this album is a voice that does not really have a chance. From the first line of this concept album, there is no respite, no out. The lyrics were difficult for me – especially “Juvie.” There is no way to navigate out of this maze of horrors , and the destruction of the voice is inevitable. It left me wrung out and thankful that, for all the ugliness I have seen, I have come out relatively clean.

Bonafide – Something’s Dripping (Black Lodge 2009)

Something’s Dripping may be one of the most comforting albums I have listened to in a while. Right out of the gates I knew what to expect, and BONAFIDE delivered my expectations every time. Listening was like stepping into the most worn and comfortable jeans that I own. You know what? I have never gotten laid once because I was wearing my lazy Sunday jeans. I prefer to be surprised.

Beneath The Massacre – Dystopia (Prosthetic Records 2008)

Sometimes I wonder if I see things that aren’t there, if my background in literature makes me see the world through dork-tinted lenses. Sometimes there is no doubt in my mind that I am on to something (I’m looking at you, KEEP OF KALESSIN – I’ve read Ursula LaGuin’s Earthsea novels too), and sometimes I am less sure. Are BENEATH THE MASSACRE referring to T.S. Eliot with a song titled “The Wasteland?” Or Edgar Allen Poe with “Nevermore?” Whether the references are intentional or not, I am willing to draw the parallel here, if only because the brutality of Dystopia seems perfectly in line with the bleakness of modernism. Shit – I feel like giving myself a wedgie for this one.

Kittie – In The Black (E1 Music 2009)

I’m honestly not sure if I dig this or not. I certainly dig female-fronted metal, and Morgan Lander has some pipes. I also dig the packaging – this incarnation is KITTIE is sleek and slick and cool. Even their photography is great. And still. Something about In The Black leaves me hungry.

Job For A Cowboy – Ruination (Metal Blade 2009)

Alright, JOB FOR A COWBOY. I have some aggression to work out too; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. But sometimes you don’t have to go straight for the viscera. Sometimes you can just drink a bottle of wine and eat Oreos in the bathtub.

El Grupo Nuevo De Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Cryptomnesia (Rodriguez Lopez Productions 2009)

First, let me just say that I think THE MARS VOLTA is the shit. My lady parts were all a-quiver when I saw this particular album was included in my loot, and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. The sound is strange and alien, but never alienating. For all the experimentation and aural collage and raw noise, Cryptomnesia retains a plaintiveness and kept me rapt.

U. D. O. – Dominator (AFM 2009)

So, maybe it’s a little bit cold. Not bitterly cold, just a bit rainy and drizzly, so the city is chilled and asphalt-grey. You’ve been running ragged lately, too many deadlines, a bit underslept. Maybe you even go to the gym, and put in a good workout, so your body is tired as well as your mind. Then, and the end of this busy, cold, wet, just slightly shitty day, you come home to a warm apartment and find a rare steak and a bottomless glass of red wine waiting for you. Can you imagine a more satisfying meal, the perfect sensation of bloody meat between your teeth? That’s exactly how satisfying Dominator is.

The Gathering – The West Pole (Season of Mist/Psychonaut Records 2009)

Come on, ovaries.

Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.