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:

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CD Review: ‘I Worship Chaos’ by Children of Bodom

Children of Bodom are a four-piece for the first time in its 20-plus year career. Roope Latvala left the band this past May before the recording of I Worship Chaos. Well, the absence of a second guitarist has not hindered the band’s aggression. “I Hurt” kicks the album off in hard hitting fashion. The stomping guitar riffs and pulsating drums drive this track and remove any doubts that the band is “soft” now. “My Bodom (I Am The Only One)” combines elements of thrash and 80s sleaze rock. The band seamlessly shifts from Motley Crue to Slayer and back without a hint of awkwardness. Keyboardist, Janne Wirman, stands out on this track with some nice leads, while Laiho throws out a sick solo. The Gothic inspired “Morrigan” is atmospheric with a strong mid-tempo beat. Again Laiho’s masterful guitar work keeps the song interesting and unpredictable. There is a dreamlike feeling on this track with the eerie keyboard and frigid guitar passages. “Prayer for the Afflicted” is a somber dirge with weeping guitar and depressed keys. Fans of the band’s faster material will find solace in “Horns” and the complex “Suicide Bomber.”

I Worship Chaos successfully melds Bodom’s influences for easy consumption. The band’s death metal, thrash, classical, gothic and sleaze metal roots are out for the world to see. Alex Laiho and the guys do not force it, thus the album is never contrived. Bodom’s greatest strength is its ability to balance recklessness with musical dexterity. The band knows when to swing for the fences and when to relent. Production wise the album is top notch. Mikko Karmilla mixed and co-produced the band’s previous record Halo of Blood, and does a great job on this one. The recording process must have gone smoothly because Bodom have never sounded better.

I Worship Chaos should win over Bodom fans not fond of the band’s past few releases. The record has a good number of thrashers to tide them over, and a few cuts that could garner airplay. Here is hoping the band continues to worship chaos with reckless devotion.

Check out the band’s website for news and tour dates: http://cobhc.com/site/