Postcards From Natalie Zed, Set #10

Hey Hellbound Readers, welcome to the second edition of  Postcards From Natalie Zed for 2011. We met Natalie just about a year ago now when she won our big year end contest, taking home more than 50 CDs, records, posters and t-shirts. In a surprise move, Natalie then asked us if she could review her winnings for us. How could we say no?

Well, Natalie is all done with her original batch but has decided to keep on doing her postcard sized reviews for us. So, without further adieu, here is part nine of her ongoing series which we like to call “Postcards From Natalie Zed”. This set includes reviews of MITOCHONDRION, GRAF ORLOCK, THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL and more.

Ektomorf – Redemption (AFM)
I have an extremely sensitive palate. Sometimes, nothing pleases me more than challenging myself with food, and savouring the subtle layering of flavours in, say, gorgonzola gnocchi with porcini mushrooms in a veal stock and red wine reduction. Sometimes, I can only be sated by a fucking cheeseburger. Redemption is not complex or subtle. Is is a ground Sepultura and Slipknot sandwich with some Soulfly melted on top. And in the right mood, it’s blunt simplicity is an incredibly satisfying meal for my ears.

Vilipend – Live in Ajax
Listen to this record. Do it. It’s free. Download this series of controlled explosions here:

Graf Orlock – Doombox EP (Vitriol Recordings)
If Graf Orlock was a person instead of a band, he’d have a crooked, shit-eating grin and dirty fingernails. His laugh would be harsh, his sense of humour acerbic and unforgiving. He’d know too much about film to make going to the movies any joy, and would trump your knowledge with just about any pop culture reference. He’d be the sort of guy who makes you feel a little stupider than you are, and always a little off-balance. An argument would be like trying to punch out a garbage disposal. Were Graf Orlock a person, I would be devastatingly smitten.

The Meads of Asphodel – The Murder of Jesus the Jew (Candlelight USA)
Take some black metal. Not typical black metal either, but something already a little weird – a bit psychedelic and experimental, an little bent. Now, feed it through a carnival calliope the way you would force meat through a grinder. Add the bright shavings of a brass section and piss some punk down it’s throat. Force-feed it the plaintive wail of a sitar and salt heavily with hard rock. Pour the liquid from a raver’s glowsticks into its eyesockets and torment it with dulcet female vocals. Then, piss it off.

Mitochondrion – Parasignosis (Profound Lore)
Deeply unsettling. This album reminds me most of Portal‘s terrifying Swarth, but with more groove and organization, less discord. This album has terrible plans. It menaces and smothers, never backing down but also never boring, always backing the listener into some new corner. I don’t headbang; I rock back and forth to comfort myself.

Elvenking – Red Silent Tides (AFM)
I have a profound weakness for power metal and folk metal, and so I am predisposed to like this album. Elvenking, however, have a few extra things going for them that make Red Silent Tides a delight for my earholes. They shake things up with the instrumentation, playing very traditional folk passages on keyboard and electric guitar rather than violin and acoustic (though there’s plenty of that too), red hot distortion cutting through the wispy melodies. Also, Damnagoras’ voice is lovely, operatic in range but with some real darkness in his lower register that gives me the shivers. This album provides an equaling compelling soundtrack to my weekend D&D sessions as it does a snowy walk through post-apocalyptic Toronto.

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