Sorry for the radio silence – Monkey Defies Gravity has just become a dad again and there’s been little time for music or blogging betwixt the changing of the nappies and taming of bellowing babes in arms.
So at the risk of becoming somewhat stale in the format of my posts: behold, yet another bite-size round-up of what’s been piped into my lugholes lately. This time – Autopsy, The King Blues and Assaulter.
I thought I would hate this.
I am largely ambivalent towards death metal.
I love vintage Slayer and am quite partial to early Celtic Frost and Blessed Are The Sick but that’s about yer lot. Everything else just leaves me colder than a witch’s tit.
Anyway, a confluence of events spurred me on to some overdue checkage.
- Increasingly frequent citations of Autopsy as one of the seminal extreme metal bands
- The recent 20-year anniversary of Mental Funeral
- Imminence of new material after aeons of silence
Expecting nothing, I was rewarded with a fantastic album. Don’t you just love it when that happens?
Maybe it’s the Slayer-esque atonal leads and the not-quite-death-metal vocals. Maybe it’s the changes of pace from a pummel to a doomy trundle.
Much as I love a good pummel, a doomy trundle is always welcome.
Just like Reign in Blood, it has fantastic atmosphere that’s missing from so much bog-standard modern death metal.
Only 20 years late on this one. That’s me, finger on the pulse of new heavy music.
This one is totally random. Having walked past a poster for this on the London tube for weeks, it was on the front page of Spotify today.
Why not, thought I, let’s fire it up.
I’m stoked I did.
It’s not heavy – quite the opposite.
There’s a real lightness of touch to this blend of ska, pop-punk, hip-hop, grime, folk, pop, agit-prop politics that even has the odd dash of dubstep and drum n bass.
Like the Cat Empire before them, they handle the transitions between so many styles with ease.
Once I got over the grimey vocal style , initially a little too reminiscent of Plan B and Lethal Bizzle for these ears, it really grew on me.
There’s hints of classic Streets material in the story-telling, crossed with the anti-establishment politics (and sometimes the instrumentation) of the Levellers. They have a great sense of humour too – check Sex Education for proof.
Yes, it’s a bit NME but hey, it’s fun.
Assaulter – Boundless
I’m not the first to spot this by any means but there’s some classic metal touches to this blackened thrash album, think vintage Metallica, Maiden, Priest. I got quite excited.
Indeed the Asssaulter sound is built on traditional palm-muted thrash riffs that chug along contentedly some mid-paced, some fairly speedy.
Lead lines vary between simple but melodic and orthodox widdly.
The drums are solid if unspectacular with tidy fills and rolls.
Yet the overall effect is a little anonymous. The blackened vocals don’t help and add little to the sound.
Was it alright? Sure. Will I listen to it again? Meh.
Best track: 8 minute epic closer The Great Subterfuge, as it has long instrumental passages without that wheezy rasping crapping all over the bed.