Crushingly heavy, riotously unconventional and passionately demoniacal, Through the Cervix of Hawwah is the sound of devolution.
As it’s still unforeseen where Opeth are heading to next, Heritage stands out as an eccentric anomaly in their catalogue. But this doesn’t diminish the quality of the album one bit. Heritage is a fantastic album, although it’s not without its flaws. However, those flaws have nothing to do with Opeth’s decision to become preoccupied with prog. They are simply slight musical missteps, and who hasn’t stumbled when finding a new path?
Sympathetic Resonance might only contain six new tracks, but every one of them is superb. I know I’m not the first one to say this, but if you were contemplating investing in some progressive metal and you were reaching for the new Dream Theater release—stop right now. Arch/Matheos is infinitely more creative and a hell of a lot more satisfying. Who knows what will become of the band, but I sincerely hope that they record again because Sympathetic Resonance is an outstanding success on every level.
From the moment the ringing guitars kick in on the first track, “Coffin Varnish”, all the way through to the final noisescape of “Horse Thieves”, the band delights in kaleidoscopic twists and mind-expanding turns, plucking ideas and harnessing influences from across the musical spectrum.
White Wizzard have had a bumpy ride so far, with band members changing regularly, but I hope they can stick together from now on because if Flying Tigers is evidence of anything, it’s that the band are easily capable of producing infinitely more complex material while retaining that traditional 80s sheen that makes them so compelling in the first place.
For an album stacked with layers of instrumentation, nothing’s been overwhelmed. The aggressive and melodious parts marry up nicely, and the production isn’t overly busy, although a bit of thinness creeps in here and there. Kroda induces some genuinely mead-swilling moments that capture the feel of nature at its most capricious.
A drop of proto-electronica, a dash of Gorguts’ unpredictability, splashes of Florida’s meanest (to add some bite), a little Voivod eccentricity and a beaker of left-field nimble-fingered guitar athletics. Gigan’s mix of ideas sets them way ahead of the tech-metal pack, and although they are a state-of-the-art riffing launch pad into the celestial unknown, that disheveled mad-scientist inventiveness ensures there’s not a hint of any mechanized navel-gazing.
Towards the Megalith is crushingly heavy – like monolithic pillars being dropped on top of you. Firmly anchored in the OSDM realm, the album features a demoralizing mix of harsh, seriously downtuned, doom-laden dirges that crawl along on split knuckles.