Unjust - Thin Line Emotions
(Mascot Records www.unjust.com)
Well, I picked this up after reading the review in Org 62, which went something along the lines of "dribble dribble drool, best metal release of the year". So it has something to live up to. First track Filtered doesn't really do it, it's there, but I'm still here instead of peering through the hole that shouldíve been in the door from where I was blown away. Still, there's a well promising riff opening up the Face Down and it feels metal baby, oh yeah. There's definitely a hint of thrash in there, not so much in speed. but in the riffage, such as on Rust, which relives all those classic thrash riffs. And it's got a lovely wet guitar tone, none of this "let's see how low we can go and make it sound totally dry" that is doing the rounds.
Ooh oh, Dead Man and we've got a Mike Patton style vocal, nah, actually not Patton, well, an As The Worm Turns sort of FNM style to the whole thing vocal melody. Cool, I like that. Always guarranteed to prick the ears with interest. Which is better than with a needle, cos then they bleed. Searching Eyes sees the pace picked up a little, almost gets up to a bit of thrash, and thereís some soaring vocals that this time to bring Patton to mind and thereís some nice riffing and double bass drums in Sucker Punkt while Stained is the albums moody fucker tour de force.
Thereís probably more of the new metal thing here than the old style thrash, as has been suggested by others, though there are more changes of pace than many bands today try for. At least thatís my take on it. Good? Yeah. Best metal release of the year? Not for me, not yet. But it is growing, and by the time the yearís up, who knows? Certainly worth keeping your eyes open for a copy.
Available on Mascot Recordings
Flight of Fantasy - demo
Donít know much about this. It arrived along with a bunch of fliers and thatís pretty much it. What it is, is 5 tracks of instrumentals, which personally I think is a bit of mistake. Sure, you focus on the music, but itís always nice to have some kind of vocal to wail along to. The music itself is somewhat reminiscent of some of the 80s metal in places, some thrash paced drums, but itís a buzzsaw guitar rather than the finely refined sound that existed in those days. I also think itís a one man effort so deserves respect.
Thereís some bits to keep you interested, but where the mind wanders, thatís where you just need a vocal or a melody to try and throw you back on track. Plus I have no idea what titles such as Through The Eye Of A Stork In A Teacup or Dances At The Masque mean. It may well be personal as claimed on the flier, but without anything allowing you to have a peek in there, thereís no way it transfers to the listener. At least not this listener. Ok, but I need something reaching out to me to grab me and pull me aboard before I can get excited by it.
£3. Contact: F.O.F 292 Western Avenue, North Acton, London, W3 OPH.
Anathema - Judgement
Well, I was sent a 2 track sampler of this album, and I was so impressed, I went out and bought the company. Ok, that last part was a lie, and I apologise for using such a bad play on those really chessy ads. No, fuck it, I donít apologise. You gotta be able to laugh and smile occasionally. But anyway, yeah, the sampler was good, so I bought the album. Which as it turns out, appears to have been a very wise move on my behalf.
So, I donít really know their history too much, but as the mainstream press have been rightly falling over themselves about this album, Iím sure weíll all be able to read about it there on a number of occassions in the near future. What matters is now, and now they have produced an album which is beautiful. Of course, if you believe that music is about the punk, the whole punk and nothing but the punk, then you may struggle. Along with those believing that music must be heavy than the mighty Thorís hammer. Or that you have to jangle louder than the music itself due to your wallet chains. You may struggle. Cos this is a throwback, or maybe not a throwback, but an album that concentrates on music and the qualities of creating and playing it, as opposed to one trick and milking it to death. That means that itíll gather criticisms of pretentious. Thereís already been likenings to Pink Floyd, and that usually sends a cold shiver down my spine. Donít listen to it. It may actually be true, but donít let it sway you if thatís not your bag. Just be prepared to accept music that is sort of timeless. Opener Deep sets things off in fine fashion. A gently plucked (steady) acoustic opening that soon gives away to a restrained but confident swagger, reminiscent of Paradise Lost. Itís a moment that after about 2 listens embeds itself in your head. Itíll take some topping. But you soon realise that with this album, thereís a huge emphasis on classical structured songs. Forgotten Hopes, Destiny Is Dead, and the Metallica Sanitarium infused Make It Right bear this out. Then we reach what for me is the highlight of the album. One Last Goodbye. If youíve read any of the features on the band in the press recently, then youíll know itís a song for their deceased mother. That could potentially be a cloying sentimental piece of shite. But itís not. The lyrics and the music compliment each other, and if youíve been in the situation of loosing a loved one, then thereís a good chance it will hit you. It builds to a climax with a guitar solo, that although I donít like them too much, is just right. Itís melodic and you can remember it, which is what most solos donít have. It fits the song and it brings everything to a head perfectly. And though itís a song born out of heartbreak, and one that can relive those memories, itís inspiring. Because in itís own way, so can death. Because it reminds you of life and the importance of it to do what you have to. This is what the Cavannah brothers had to do, and they done it with pride and ability. After that, the album for me was going to loose some of itís momentum, and yeah, maybe eventually it does. Parisienne Moonlight is a piano led duet with a female vocalist. It surely ainít metal, but that doesnít matter. Itís something that within the context of the entire album works wonderfully well. And the title track is at last surging towards an upbeat climax, with a wonderful drum fill as it picks up the pace. And those three tracks in sequence are utterly absorbing.
After this the album begins to loose some of itís way for me. At least initially. Because thereís a lot more of the downbeat introspective material. Part of me is crying out for a little more variety from them, something to up the tempo again. But maybe for this album it just wouldnít work. Maybe it would just become the proverbial sore thum.
The problem with this album is that itís likely to turn me into a "youíve got to hear Anethema" loony. As if Iíve been championing them from day one. Which I havenít. This is my introduction to them. If youíve got an open mind, loved maybe some of the more classical rock music, arenít afraid of a little bit of introspection and progressiveness to your music, then do yourselves a favour and introduce yourself to the band as well. Because this is an album that demands your attention. Bugger. The "rock press" were right, and I have to agree with them for once.