Postcards From Natalie Zed, Part 5

Hellbound readers, we’re sure that by now you are all familiar with our Natalie Zed, right? Natalie was our big grand prize winner way 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, after a really, really long layoff (sorry NZ!), here is Natalie’s fifth installment (reviews #41 – 48 for those keeping stats at home) in what Hellbound likes to refer to as “Postcards From Natalie Zed”…

Imperium Dekadenz – Procella Vadens (Season of Mist 2010)
This might be a strange thing to say, but this strikes me as an album with courage. Procella Vadens is not afraid of tenderness; is is as willing to warm as it is to blister. This album has an elemental quality, as changeable and varied as water – a trickle of sweat, a ruthless downpour, choppy whitecaps, or a long clear drink. Whatever the manifestation, it is deep.

Testament – The Formation Of Damnation (Nuclear Blast 2008)

Voivod – Infini (Sonic Unyon 2009)
I had been looking forward to the VOIVOD/KREATOR show that happened in Toronto for weeks. Infini has had a place of honour in my ipod since it was released. It is not perfect, or pretty, or even very strong. But it is a monument, and in its weakness and imperfection, it doesn’t its job perfectly. Infini gives just enough to make the listener fully feel the absence behind it.

Augury – Fragmentary Evidence (Goodfellow 2009)
This might be my troublesome vagina talking, but I just can’t get into most death metal. Since I’m always on the verge of having my Woman License revoked, I am inclined to indulge my lady-bits in this small way. AUGURY, however, is a notable exception to the aforementioned “most.” Fragmentary Evidence is as complex as it is brutal, somehow both unrelenting and merciful in its intensity. I am aquiver. I hope this album likes me. I hope it calls.

Kataklysm – Prevail (Nuclear Blast 2008)
What, more death metal I like? Dammit, I am so going to be put back on Girl Probation for this. But Prevail is harsh and technical and deadly, and so razor-sharp I feel myself being neatly fileted each time I listen to it. It also has crunch and crackle, like gravel and tinfoil on the teeth.

Lamb of God – New American Gospel (Prosthetic Records 2000)
I am going to have to stop talking about my uterus eventually, but I am incapable of listening to “Letter To The Unborn” without feeling like my chest is filling up with wet concrete.

Porcupine Tree – The Incident (Roadrunner Records 2009)
This is a difficult album to review, as I already have a significant relationship with it. I can’t untie this compound knot of associations. I can’t listen to The Incident without getting a little bit lost in coffee, and autumn, and the blue glow of a laptop in an otherwise completely dark room, and waking up without knowing precisely where I am.

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