Last Rites’ Facebook Albums Of The Week: November 18th – November 24th

“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.

Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of November 18th — November 24th.

The week of Thanksgiving we’re serving up turkeys: this year’s lackluster records from from bands capable of much more.

Sunday, November 18th

Last Rites’ Turkey of the Day:

Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins (2018)

Two facts are indisputable: Primordial is a Very Good Band, and Exile Amongst the Ruins is a Very Bad Album. Maybe those facts seem difficult or painful to reconcile, but let’s face it: great bands release terrible albums. Old friends fall out of touch. Early loves lose luster. The erosion of time is indifferent and incessant. Hell, making triumphant sadness out of the tragedy of human transience has been one of Primordial’s primary themes for nearly a quarter-century, so perhaps coming to embody accidentally what they previously enacted dramatically is some sort of marvelous poetic resolution.

Thing is, it sure makes for a terrible heavy metal album.

For all the dramatic sweep that Averill’s vocals still bring to the picture, Exile Amongst the Ruins is the first album in Primordial’s entire career where that same drama and windswept vision is wholly lacking from the songs themselves. The instrumentation lacks any of the urgency that gave even the most formulaic songs on previous albums a sense of vitality. This is an overlong, undergood, and extraordinarily dull album that limps where it should gallop, trips where it should shuffle, and keeps going where it should gracefully bow out. [Dan Obstkrieg]

Monday, November 19th

Last Rites’ Turkey of the Day:

Vreid – Lifehunger (2018)

Lifehunger only furthers the impressions of an identity crisis, but in an overall less convincing manner than Sólverv. It’s both a bit of a retread and a step sideways, coming across as a combination of the sound which took them to heights on albums such as Kraft and Milorg with the rougher-edged material of Sólverv. But by not choosing one approach—and by further muddling things with a couple rather unfortunate diversions—it sounds a little haphazard. Make no mistake, there are moments on Lifehunger where Vreid sound positively ferocious, but as a whole album it feels disjointed, and is among the weaker records of their career, even if it isn’t outright poor.

Ultimately, it isn’t the stylistic semi-mishmash that holds Lifehunger back, but the lack of consistently top notch material. When Vreid has been at their best—which thankfully has been on the majority of their albums—they’ve delivered the goods no matter the particularly approach. Long time fans will still find some good Vreidnes here, but there’s unfortunately no denying that Lifehunger fits more into the aggressively mediocre minority of the band’s albums than the great majority. [Zach Duvall]

Tuesday, November 20th

Last Rites’ Turkey of the Day:

Summoning – With Doom We Come (2018)

While “Silvertine” is possible the album’s strongest track, it attains that distinction while sounding very much like an Old Mornings Dawn b-side. While nothing substantive has changed on With Doom We Come, there’s simply… less meat on the bones. Fewer of the melodies make a lasting impression once they’ve run their course. (By contrast, I typically find myself whistling the intro melody from Oath Bound’s “Bauglir” several times a week.) Additionally, Protector’s vocal style has become increasingly off-putting. On tracks like “Charcharoth” and “Night Fell Behind,” his pitched yell sounds almost like Rob Miller from Amebix, which works wonderfully for Amebix, but… not so much for Summoning. After the early success of “Silvertine,” the album’s quality drops fairly precipitously, and although it perks back up somewhat for the closing tandem of “Mirklands” and “With Doom I Come,” the overall impression is of an album that is very much the same. but with very much less of the same.

As with Tolkien’s, Summoning’s is surely a tale that grew in the telling, but it wouldn’t hurt them to recall that all their stories need the breath of inspiration to truly transcend the boring for the boring. For a band that usually prompts one’s mind to wander to Caradhras and Gorgoroth and Osgiliath, With Doom We Come is more likely to prompt one’s mind to wander to your grocery list or a new paint color for your mudroom or a different Summoning album. [Dan Obstkrieg]

Wednesday, November 21st

Last Rites’ Turkey of the Day:

Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest (2018)

So here’s the quick take if you want to spare yourself any extra time reading about an album you should neither be excited about, nor purchase: Behemoth, arguably for the first time in its entire career, phoned in what is essentially a Walmart version of Aosoth on training wheels, and slapped a silly name on it as a marketing tactic to lure in teenagers still angry at their parents for making them go to church.

You know those moments when the people in life whom you love and respect give you the whole, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” spiel? That is exactly the feeling fans are going to have after the letdown that is I Loved You at Your Darkest fully sinks in. While it’s true that not all of Behemoth’s 10 previous full-lengths have knocked listeners off their feet, most of them have played an essential role in taking Poland’s most popular black metal outfit to heights no other extreme band in the entirety of Eastern Europe has ever experienced. Most recently, the deservedly popular and now four-year-old album The Satanist re-captured plenty of older fans who saw it as an invigorating return to form after the stagnation of The Apostasy and Evangelion. The Satanist was packed to the brim with the same types of riffs that made the original Nergal/Baal era shine so brightly in the eyes of the underground, but with the energy and enthusiasm that Inferno brought to the table during the band’s most classic run of albums in the early aughties. [Konrad Kantor]

Thursday, November 22nd

Last Rites’ Turkey of the Day:

Pig Destroyer – Head Cage (2018)

Like Book Burner before it, Head Cage is still the work of a band filled with undeniable talent, but one that’s no longer playing to their strengths. Terrifyer certainly had groovy moments and thrashy moments, but they were balanced out by the grinding, and on Head Cage, the balance is off. Too many failed attempts at recreating a “Gravedancer” and too little following-that-up with a “Lost Cause,” and more damning than either, there’s simply too little fire beneath it all. It’s redolent of the mid-’90s when almost every thrash band shifted to a groovier sound and in the process almost uniformly created what history holds as their least interesting albums. In terms of the relative quality of its creators’ canon, Head Cage is more I Hear Black than Re-Load—and for that, at least, we can be thankful—but it’s still above only the uninteresting experiment of the Mass & Volume EP at the bottom of the Pig Destroyer pile. [Andrew Edmunds]

Friday, November 23rd

Enough with the “turkeys.” Let’s finish the week with some tasty leftovers: quick takes on 2018 releases we haven’t covered.

Leftover of the day:

Children Of The Reptile – The End (2018)

Children Of The Reptile play epic heavy metal, American style. While this instantly brings to mind bands such as Omen or Manowar, the quartet from North Carolina fall closer in line to acts like Slough Feg or Brocas Helm with their Thin Lizzy-esque twin guitars and seemingly limitless ability for fantasy storytelling in their songs. The End, the band’s second full-length released this past January, is a concept album rooted in endings—the ending of life, humanity, etc. While the subject matter may seem dark, the soaring melodies and up-tempos make for a fun and high-spirited journey from start to finish. The trading solos are fantastically unique to the guitarists, from Chris Millard’s technical shredding to Ozzie Darden’s soulful, more blues-influenced licks. Children Of The Reptile aren’t afraid to summon some more aggressive thrash riffing when the song calls for it. In fact, the head-whipping riff on “Cro-Magnon Combat” is just what is needed to kick in the afterburners for an extra punch. In fact, everything on The End is geared towards servicing the songs and the storytelling, including the subtle bits of flavor the rhythm section throw in to keep things spicy. Children Of The Reptile have created a vast sandbox for themselves from their musical, literary, and pop culture influences, and hopefully The End is still just the beginning. [Ryan Tysinger]

Saturday, November 24th

Leftover of the day:

Shadow’s Mortuary – Tulen valtakunta (2018)

Oh, look, we’re in Finland again! And guess what! More black metal! Maybe it’s the saunas or copious amounts of coffee, but there’s something about the Finns that almost guarantees a level of quality in their black metal. Take the debut full length from Shadow’s Mortuary, first released this past September. Utilizing the classic Finnish tones mixed with touches of almost folky rhythm on tracks like “Kylmään hautaan,” Shadow’s Mortuary aren’t necessarily bringing a whole lot of new to the table, but what they do, they do well. A large portion of the album plays to what is obviously their strength—locking into driving, mid-tempo paces powered by some impressively selective drum work. The kick tones are deep and you can almost feel the drum heads reverberating the speakers, appropriately spotlighted on tracks like “Blasts of A War Drum.” The song is surprisingly groovy for such an orthodox black metal outfit, and more surprised lurk around the corner. “Untentuoja” plays out like the black metal equivalent of a ballad: slower tempos with sky-reaching tremolo riffing and vocal cries of hate and despair reaching maximum levels. With Shadow’s Mortuary already comfortable letting their riffs breathe on mid-tempos, they really, really bring it home when things slow down for one of the strongest points on the record. While never really reaching doom territory, things are slow and powerful through “Melankolia,” with the band showing plenty of eptitude at keeping the music smoldering before picking back up the pace for the rest of the record before closing with a bang on “Labyrintti.” Whatever it is that Finland has going for its black metal, it’s infectious and even the newer, less established musicians are reaping the benefits.

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See you next week.

Posted by Last Rites

GENERALLY IMPRESSED WITH RIFFS

  1. Hit the nail on Summoning. I have been consistently disappointed post Oath Bound. WDWC was even more boring than the Old mornings dawn and I wonder why fans adored these turkeys. It is rare not to finish a summoning album for the first time and not have a bag of earworm melodies for days. The only instance this time was the Mirklands leitmotif for me. Stronghold – LMHSYF-Oathbound was the pinnacle of their classy run; at least for me. Summoning, at its best, is one of those rare bands that have the primordial force in their music to induce goosebumps everytime you listen to a piece. Here is hoping the next one does that!

    Reply

  2. Primordial’s Exile ATR is not a terrible album at all!
    Maybe is not a good Metal album…
    Being not a metal album!
    If one can cope with other genres as diverse as Alt. Rock, then is a satisfactory listen… If not stay in your metal stained compartment.. But shut the hell off.

    Reply

  3. Ooooweee! Shadow’s Mortuary is exactly what I needed right now.

    Reply

  4. I have to agree with most of these reviews, unfortunately. I love Primordial but this latest album left me cold. The Pig Destroyer album is based around too much groovy nonsense (is this “nu-grind”). But the Behemoth album is not quite the sellout you claim. Questionable album name, yes, but the songs rock. They take a lot of chances with this album and i can appreciate it (tho it ain’t their finest). I like this one, even tho it will indeed attract nonkvlt hipsters.

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