CD review: “Trapped In Chaos” by Dust Bolt

Dust Bolt expands its horizons on the band’s fourth album, Trapped In Chaos. There is greater depth to the songs, while the band retains its signature thrash sound.

Album opener “The Fourth” transitions between aggressive, blistering drums spliced with slower, grooving riffs. Frontman and guitarist Lenny Bruce’s vocals are a bit tepid, however it does not take away from the track.

“Dead Inside” the initial single commences with a crushing, plodding riffs and machine like drums, before speeding up after the first minute of the song. Guitarists Bruce and Flo Dehn play some colossal riffs while drummer Nico Rayman maintains a heavy groove with some impressive double bass.

A warped psychedelic riff opens “Rhythm To The Madness” before the band accelerates in to thrash mode. The track’s midsection slams like a caged animal before the tempo speeds up at the song’s conclusion. The tracks “Shed My Skin” and “Killing Time” are straight up thrash numbers with a pinch of hardcore that get the head banding. The latter has a couple of ripping guitar leads that reaffirm this band are not a one trick pony.

“Another Day In Hell” is the third single off Trapped and has a dark atmosphere punctuated with haunting clean guitars and a slow beat. This is certain to become a fan favorite and shows the band’s growth as songwriters. Album closer “Who I Am” ends things on an aggressive note with a sped up galloping riff that transitions to a slower bottom heavy groove that fades in to noise.

Trapped In Chaos is Dust Bolt’s experimental record, which will draw detractors because the band plays softer, slower tracks. There are some thrashing tracks on here, but the slower, acoustic parts provide depth the songs and a contrast to the faster songs. This is expected as the band does not want to release the same record over and again. However, there is the concern that Dust Bolt would all but abandon its thrash roots in favor of short, mainstream songs. Fortunately the band does not do that here. The vocals are a bit shaky and at times the band seems a little reluctant to move too far. However, this record may be the turning point for Dust Bolt as it melds its sound in to something more cohesive. Slayer did it with Seasons In The Abyss as it combined the best elements of South Of Heaven and Reign in Blood. It seems Dust Bolt wants to do the same thing.

Trapped In Chaos is a nice dose of thrash metal to ring in 2019. It is a mix of old and new that should satisfy most of the band’s fans. This is not the band’s Turbo album, but some fans may be let down by the softer tracks on the album. Still, bands progress and Dust Bolt want to add more panache to its music. This is good, or else the band would be trapped.

Check out the Dust Bolt’s official website for more information.

CD Review: “Oblivion” by Crematory

Crematory return with its 14th album, Oblivion, a steely slab of death metal, goth and industrial. “The Expectation” is a short orchestral piece that commences the album and concludes with a short poem that introduces the band. “Salvation” is noted for its rigid riffing and mechanic groove. The choir samples and majestic chorus contrast with the unyielding riffs making it a solid track. Things pick up on “Ghost Of The Past” with its melody and gothic keyboards. The driving nature of this track fits the haunting lyrics of one suffering from past demons. “Wrong Side” stands out with its blend of electronica and gothic metal. Front man Felix Stass’s vocals vary from harsh whispers to a guttural yet decipherable register during the chorus. Things take an interesting turn on “For All Of Us” which opens with a nu-metal riff before kicking into a fast tempo beat accompanied by stringed samples. The cookie cutter aggro main riff is out of place on this track, slightly weakening this song. Things improve on the grooving “Immortal” with its use of digital samples and crunchy riffs. The title track instantly assaults the ear drums with a slow heavy riff and dissonant keyboards that transitions towards a electronic rocker with a thumping bass. It is one of the best tracks on the album and guitarists Rolf Munkes and Tosse Basler showcase their versatility as players.

Oblivion is an accessible record with an ample supply of guitar riffs and guttural lite vocals. The riffing is a bit too aggro at times, which is a slight disappointment as Crematory can play solid melodic death metal. However, keyboardist Katrin Jullich does not overdo the samples and provides a beautiful classical landscape that complements the heavier side of the band. This record is what you introduce to someone that has graduated from lighter goth metal but not quite ready for At The Gates and Dismember. The production is great as each instrument is audible and the symphonic samples are never drowned out.

Crematory rage on after forming 27 years ago. Oblivion is another hit in the band’s discography that should satisfy fans of the band and garner some new ones. It has some good songs that will be staples at the band’s concerts and a few that should garner airplay. Oblivion’s album title is misleading as neither the album or the band will be forgotten.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s website:

Home

CD Review: ‘Akroasis’ by Obscura

Obscura’s fourth record, Akroasis, is a metal mindtrip. The long awaited follow up to the critically acclaimed Omnivium, is a progressive musical journey of death metal, jazz and classical. The seven minute long “Sermon of the Seven Suns” is a metallic roller coaster with numerous twists and turns. “The Monist” is a hermetic cut, with its arabesque baseline and grinding guitar riffs. The guitar lead forces its way through the musical collage like a space vessel escaping a black hole. There is so much going on that the listener is pulled in several directions, yet the song is cohesive. The title track is a musical tour de force due to its fast paced nature and virtuosity. The word “akroasis” is Greek and means “hearing or listening.” Well, listening to this track, one can hear the elation the German quartet derives from playing. The band showcases its thrash roots again on “Ten Sephiroth” with its pulsating drums and jazzy basslines. This is one of the more accessible tracks on the record, based on its straight-forward structure. The sludging “Ode to the Sun” recalls mid-period Morbid Angel with its lava riffs. Obscura is not riffing off Trey Azagthoth’s legendary band, but rather paying homage.

 

The musicianship is extremely strong on this record. This is not surprising as numerous talented musicans have played in Obscura. However, Akroasis has amazing songs not pieces of musical showmanship. The band plays well together and each member knows when to show off and when to relent. This mutual respect makes the record interesting because you do not know what the band will do next. Production wise, it is a bit tinny at times and I wish the production was meatier. However, it does not overshadow the stellar songwriting or musicianship on this album.

Well after five years, Obscura has not lost a single step. The band retains its spot as one of metal’s most technical acts and continues to set the bar. Akroasis is a challenging record, but an enjoyable one. Technical death metal bands will have to push a little harder when Obscura keeps releasing albums like this. This is a good thing as bands will continue to push the envelope in extreme music. Give this one a listen.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s website: https://www.realmofobscura.com/