Archive for the ‘Anger Management’ Category

Anger Management: Cursed Earth — Enslaved By The Insignificant

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Cursed Earth spent 2015 laying waste to venues, house parties and ears across Australia via a sonic scorched earth policy. Playing a load of gigs, with a refreshing amount of diverse genre lineups, the groups powerful hardcore meets Swedish HM2 buzzsaw Death Metal turned heads and dropped jaws. Like if Crossed Out or Infest started jamming on Entombed’s gear, super intense but not afraid to riff out with some headbanging riffs.

New flexi ‘Enslaved By The Insignificant’ was introduced by a simply effective (and addictive) browser game. ‘Ensnaked’ (still playable at allowed some with the muscle memory of the Nokia era an early listen to the new tracks. This kind of simple marketing is genius and makes me wonder why more bands don’t try this more often, sometimes making an effort larger than a youtube clip goes a long way.

The two new tracks (Degenerate, Enslaved) sound excellent and heavy. A powerful and clear production makes Enslaved really shine, some off putting dissonant riffage puts this one at the top of my ‘would like to hear live’ list.

The download contains 9 older tracks, the remastered ‘Vae Mortis’ ep from 2104 and tracks from the split with Burning Season. This is a buzzsaw to the face and a can’t miss live band. Essential listening.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: Venomous Concept — Kick Me Silly; VC3

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The first blast for 2016 comes in the form of grindpunk supergroup Venomous Concept and their third LP Kick Me Silly; VC3. Twenty short, sharp bursts paying homage to old hardcore punk, but being that the band is made up of two parts Napalm Death and two parts Brutal Truth you know this has some weight behind it.

Shuffling longtime Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury to guitar and adding John Cooke (live session player with Napalm Death and Anaal Nathrakh) on second guitar has thickened out the sound and made room for the occasional squealing lightning speed solo.

At times the riffs and power make the songs basically sound like Kevin Sharp singing for Napalm Death. The grind of ‘Busy With Your Dead’ and the ten second ‘Johnny Cheeseburger’ speeding by. The aptly titled ‘Anthem’ is pretty catchy straight-up hardcore; the album’s twenty tracks occasionally blend in together. The album’s longest song ‘Forever War’ (clocking in at a marathon 3:17!) is a slightly more atmospheric number, that musically reminds me of the Dead Kennedys.

There are plenty of bands playing this style, but when it’s done with such passion and venom, you can’t help but enjoy it. They also just released a pretty rad cover ‘Suffragette City’ in tribute to David Bowie.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: Abbath — Count the Dead

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

The trend of bands splitting, fracturing, fighting over naming rights and eventually forming a new project continues into 2016. Entombed, Gorgoroth, Venom and way too many more. Now Immortal join that group. On the plus side, occasionally these splits produce more motivated, energised performances from both sides of the split with something to prove.

While not the first offshoot of Immortal (the ‘I’ project rocked out with one album in 2006 and guitarist/lyricist Demonaz released a solo album in 2011) Abbath is/was arguably the main corpse-painted face and voice of Immortal, with his croaky rasp, multi-instrumental talents and surprisingly funny stage demeanor. So while the split is unfortunate, Abbath has moved on and fired the first shot with a two-track 7?.

‘Count The Dead’ opens with some fairly catchy black’n’roll that was seeping into the last few Immortal albums. At the two minute mark they shift gears and head in a faster direction, pounding drums and a widdly guitar solo round out the song. A catchy tune with awesome production that leaves me wanting to hear the self-titled album due for release at the end of January.

The B-side is a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Riding On The Wind’. It’s a pretty fun, slightly silly cover that sounds way more like Motörhead than Judas Priest, but that is right up Abbath’s alley as he has played in Motörhead tribute band Bombers since 1996.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Critical Mass’ Top 10 Albums of 2015

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

The Critical Mass crew share their top picks from the year in metal.

It has been an interesting year for metal. We’ve had releases from veteran bands (Iron Maiden, Slayer, Motorhead), releases from upper tier/mainstream bands (Fear Factory, Lamb Of God, Amorphis) releases from more underground bands and several ‘follow up’ albums from bands with something to prove.

Until very recently, there hasn’t been any single release that resulted in a chorus of praise and/or ridicule as had happened in previous years. The new Slayer album came and went, the general consensus being that it sounded like Slayer, but was dull at best. The new High On Fire album impressed many with its no nonsense Matt Pike rollercoaster. The new Deafheaven album silenced critics of the Sunbather era by ratcheting up the heaviness, but some were disappointed that they did not continue further down the post/shoegaze path. Liturgy turned ears and heads with their wonderfully bizarre The Ark Work, but it seems as though the uniqueness of that album didn’t cause as many people to get as upset as they had been in the past. Perhaps people are getting older? Maybe people are sick of being addicted to outrage?

Then right at the end of the year two albums dropped (or are about to at the time of writing) that have gotten a lot of people very excited: Sunn O)))‘s Kannon and Baroness’ Purple. The new Baroness being the followup to the very successful double album Yellow & Green and their first recording since the devastating bus accident in 2012. I’ve heard snippets of both, and both sound incredible, however for roster and time commitments my list was finalised during the first week in December. So those albums will be honourable mentions. Also some more obvious albums such as the new High On Fire and VHOL are absent; I know both are great, but I haven’t heard them as much as the others on this list. I’ve also made a note to listen to the new Tribulation album soon.

There was also a lot of good synth/horror/score music coming out that weirdly goes well with a lot of metalheads. Goblin Rebirth, Zombi etc put out some great mood music in 2015. Ultimately there are many albums that won’t make the list, a lot of good stuff in the ‘to listen to’ pile, but these are the albums that made an impact with me.

Honourable mentions:
Enslaved — In Times
Iron Maiden — The Book Of Souls
Silent Knight — Conquer & Command
Cattle Decapitation — The Anthropocene Extinction
Napalm Death — Apex Predator/Easy Meat
Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving — Yield To Despair

10. Raven — Extermination
This album shouldn’t be on my list. The 40-year-strong NWOBHM veterans made an album full of big, dumb, sing-songy, verse-chorus-verse metal/rock that belongs in a bad 80s action movie. But you know what, sometimes I LOVE big dumb metal.

9. Between the Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic
I’ve never really been an BTBAM fan, and couldn’t really name much of their back catalogue, but the bands seventh album blends heavy, technical prog with some catchy synths, choruses and some damn good songs.

8. Deafheaven — New Bermuda
Alternately silencing critics and isolating fans of the more post/shoegazey Sunbather sound in one fell swoop, Deafheaven ratcheted up the heaviness on New Burmuda.

7. Ghost — Meliora
Meliora impresses after 2013’s slightly lacklustre Infestissumam. A cocktail of occult rock, ABBA-style song arrangements and some Queen-esque vocal harmonies (!) makes for a great third album.

6. Gama Bomb — Untouchable Glory
Gama Bomb cement themselves as one of the strongest thrash bands around — this absolutely smokes Slayer’s new one by a country mile.

5. Bloodlust — Cultus Diaboli
Blackened thrash from two veterans of the Perth metal scene. The catchiness of Venom mixed with the epicness and force of Bathory.

4. Ur Draugr– With Hunger Undying
The second release this year from the band sees them produce the kind of backwards riffing and power of early Morbid Angel mixed with some feral black metal and beyond. Stunning.

3. Horrendous — Anareta
Old school howling death metal that twists and turns in ways that follow the path of Chuck Schuldiners vision. Worth going out of your way to hear.

2. Drowning Horse — Sheltering Sky
Dark and heavy, low and slow. Elements of Neurosis and Earth abundant. By just tweaking their sound a touch they stand head and shoulders above any and all pretenders playing heavy doom.

1. Sigh — Graveward
The veteran black metal band (once signed to Euronymous’ DLS label) have expanded their sound, exclusively playing ‘Cinematic Horror Metal’. Harsh vocals, swirling synths, saxophone, crazy solos and much more. Listen to this album on headphones — LOUD.

Deryk from Critical Mass had these as his top 10:

Hate Eternal — Infernus
Enslaved — In Times
Torche — Restarter
Nightwish — Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Fear Factory — Genexus
With The Dead– With The Dead
High On Fire – Luminiferous
Elder — Lore
Ghost — Meliora
Intronaut — The Direction of Last Things

Scott Williams is still working on his, but included albums from the likes of: Enslaved, Locrian, Steve Moore, Blind Guardian, Ghost and Baroness.

Thanks to all our listeners and supporters! See you in 2016!

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: End of Year Round-up

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.


It’s been a rough couple of years for Evil Elvis himself, Glenn Danzig. He’s been the brunt of many a joke or meme and various ongoing legal dramas surrounding The Misfits. But underneath it all there is always the music, 2010’s Deth Red Sabaoth wasn’t too bad and Tommy Victor (Prong) is riffing and harmonic pinching like it’s going out of style, so it was with great interest that we listened to his latest effort of cover songs Skeletons.

With a list of bands covered including ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, The Troggs and yes, Elvis Presley, Skeletons seemed like it would be a good time if nothing else. Sadly it is hindered by a lousy production job: a lot of the tracks sound like the product of a first take in the studio, a sub-par demo recording at best. I get that the early Misfits albums were rough and maybe the style they were deliberately going for was Garage Days–era Metallica, but it really is a poor effort.

Black Sabbath’s ‘N.I.B’ is woefully flat (not that Ozzy has ever been a vocalist known for his range) – its a damn shame. The one shining light is the Elvis cover ‘Let Yourself Go’. Danzig NAILS it. Get the Elvis cover, skip the rest.


There is something endearing about Swedish death metal veterans Grave – Ola Lindgren and clan have been churning out old-style death metal since 1988. Despite having a large discography and some killer tracks (e.g. ‘Souless’, ‘Into The Grave’) they never achieved the success that many of their contemporaries did (e.g. Dismember, Entombed or Unleashed).

Grave were never really going to outblast a band such as Nile, or be super technical and dissonant like Gorguts, but they have stood the course (aside from a brief flirtation with a slightly more accessible style with 1996’s Hating Life, which for lack of a better description was a death metal version of Helmet) and turned the Boss HM-2 pedals all the way up for that buzzsaw guitar tone. They also have some interesting song titles that have really been at odds with the sounds and made me enjoy them more (‘Lovesong’, ‘In Love’, ‘I Need You’).

Out Of Respect For The Dead offers little in the way of surprises or new sounds. Everything is bordering on being in the red and that Swedish death metal tone is loud and clear – possibly the best-produced album they’ve done. That said, Grave offer some great songs here, with tracks such as ‘Deified’, ‘Mass Grave Mass’ and ‘Plain Pine Box’ all getting the head banging. Grave seem content here, in ‘Mass Grave Mass’ Ola sings “Can’t Believe I’m Still Alive”. The world is better for Grave still being Grave.


Writing album reviews and presenting radio is great fun. Inevitably though, lots of worthy albums slip through the cracks due to time and lack of knowledge, sometimes though you find great stuff unexpectedly. I found out about American death metallers Horrendous through the sheer amount of support and praise they were getting, topping several best of 2015 lists as early as November. So, curiosity piqued, I checked out the band’s third album Anareta, knowing only that the band played something of an old school brand of death metal.

Although definitely inspired by the old school Anareta is so much more, taking many twists and turns. The vocals are a bellowed howl that remind me a bit of a cross between Atheist’s Kelly Shaefer and Chuck Schuldiner. The songs twist and turn in a way that would make ‘Evil Chuck’ proud. There are some epic moments on here that are indebted to the likes of Gojira and even some post-metal bands (check the closing five minutes of ‘Acolytes’). Phenomenal stuff. Worth your time and the hype.


A new five-piece band blasting out of Gothenburg, but eschewing the more common Gothenburg-style melodic death metal of In Flames and At The Gates (among others) for an older pre-thrash style of metal. Night Viper play old style heavy metal that mixes a bit of Judas Priest, a dash of Iron Maiden and some Megadeth-style soloing with just a touch of doom heaviness (guitarist Tom Sutton having played with Japanese doomsters Church Of Misery for a spell).

Vocalist Sofie-Lee Johansson has a style that mixes a bit of Joan Jett and Joey Belladonna with Paul Di’anno but is all her own, a unique voice that stays low and doesn’t try to reach the falsetto highs that dominate the genre. There’s some great stuff here, especially the faster tracks such as ‘The Hammer’ and ‘Faces In The Mirror’. Like ALL the good bands they have a song named after themselves (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Voivod, The Devil Rides Out etc).


I haven’t listened to this release that much, but it’s still found its way into my top ten for 2015 (more on that in the coming weeks). That’s how good Ur Draugr are. The band’s follow-up to the The Wretched Ascetic EP, released in January, was apparently plagued by a major hard drive crash that resulted in the loss of a lot of material. The wait was certainly worth it though as With Hunger Undying is an amazing album.

A mix of dark black metal and death metal, the band have created some epic songs here that invoke Enslaved, Gojira and many more upper tier bands. Riffs weave in and out hypnotically (check the dizzying rollercoaster ride that is ‘Augur Incarnate (Distended Crown)’). Some phenomenal drumming from ‘drum machine for hire’ Dan Grainger and some pleasingly complex bass from Drew Griffiths make this all the more enjoyable.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: Gama Bomb

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Irish thrash maniacs Gama Bomb return with their fifth album, Untouchable Glory, following on from 2013’s excellent The Terror Tapes, Untouchable Glory. The band bulldoze through twelve tracks of glorious thrash metal, never losing a step, oozing with enthusiasm and joy.

Whilst some of their contemporaries in the new wave of thrash (led by Municipal Waste) seem to have fallen by the wayside ortaken a break (Bonded By Blood and Municipal Waste haven’t released anything since 2012, Havok and Fueled By Fire haven’t had a release since 2013), Gama Bomb keep on doing what they do best: rising to the top.

Untouchable Glory takes the sound from The Terror Tapes and adds a few slight tweaks here and there. Vocalist Philly Byrne’s unique vocal style is in fine form, a dash of Blitz/Overkill mixed with a splash of Paul Baloff and, oddly, I’m also reminded of Ludichrist/Scatterbrain vocalist Tommy Christ. But it’s more as if Scattebrain worshiped Nuclear Assault instead of Van Halen.

The album has some excellent shredding guitar leads and drummer Paul Caffrey puts in a phenomenal performance, with tracks such as “Tuck Your T-Shirt In” and “Ride The Night” really shining through.

Those bemoaning a lack of variety are clearly not paying attention as there’s a wealthof sounds here. Some songs such as the aforementioned “Tuck..” and “She Thing“‘ ratchet up the speed in a Nuclear Assault/S.O.D style whilst “My Evil Eye“and “Ride The Night” are a bit slower/catchier and could both easily be used as singles.

The band clearly are having a blast and have sense of humour about them, but musically they are no joke. Gama Bomb aren’t about to go Metallica ’96. Pick up Untouchable Glory and wreck your neck!

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: Silent Knight

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

This writer can never understand the knock that some people have on the more melodic/power metal genre, that its cheesy and cliche. Every genre of music is cheesy and full of clichés, from the most brutal death metal to gangster rap.

Done well, power metal can be invigorating and uplifting to listen to. Bands like Hammerfall and Dragonforce got big for a reason: they had the chops (especially the maniacs in Dragonforce), and while they had a sense of humour about them, they were all seriously talented and made some great music that didn’t take the audience for granted. (Having a track in an extremely popular game like Guitar Hero also didn’t hurt.)

Yet it must be said that for power metal to be not just good but great, all members of the band must be firing on all cylinders. If one piece doesn’t deliver, the whole band suffers.

Perth’s Silent Knight have created an excellent batch of songs on their second album, Conquer & Command, that has all members firing at full capacity. New vocalist Jesse Onur Oz slots in perfectly and delivers quite the performance, the band backing him up with harmonies from time to time. Tours in Indonesia and Australia-wide with Helloween have really forced the band to step up their game and it shows with some fantastic twin guitar shredding on tracks such as “The Strike Of The Sword” and “The Ravens Return”.

All the tracks here are pretty great and they thankfully don’t try to pull any kind of power balladry. The guys are firmly on the metal side of things here. The production is pretty good and every instrument is loud and clear, however there are a few times when the guitars occasionally sound a touch sterile. It seems like a few tracks might have been recorded in a different session, but it doesn’t take too much away from the album in the end.

The album ends with the one-two punch of ‘Power Metal Supreme’ (a track that is a love letter to the genre and a ripping cover of ‘The Final Countdown’. Great stuff from a genre that gets zero coverage in Australia.

Command & Conquer is available now.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: Shanghai

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

It’s taken five years for Shanghai to meticulously arrange and record their magnum opus, The Ultraviolent. Blending the best moments from 2009’s Esoterica (which had some good moments but perhaps wore its influences on its sleeve a tad too earnestly) with their chops learned from 2010’s excellent cinematic-and-TV theme covers EP, The Battle For Mount Analogue, the nine-headed beast has delivered an album as ambitious as it is epic.

The band’s self-styled ‘film-rock-mutant-metal-jumpcut-cabaret’ juxtaposes cinematic pieces, furious surf guitar, beach pop/60s mod, death metal and much more. Imagine, if you will, Trey Spruance conducting a big band interpretation of a Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies James Bond score.

The whole album is constructed like a good film with a three act structure. But like a Jodorowski or Tarantino film, it takes a different path to get there. There are some excellent cinematic tracks here like “The Mercy Killings” and “A Murder Of Crows” that bridge the more conventional tracks together. The album is anchored in the middle by the first single, “Caveat Emptor”, and it’s still a highlight.

It’s not all crazy jumpcuts all around though. “Sundowner” sounds like an alternate universe Bond theme. Second single “Buffed Silver Is Shiny” is the ending credits/feel good music with vocals sounding a bit Weird Al. However halfway through the track builds to an epic space rock opera, the kind of thing that Devin Townsend would be proud of.

“Menage A Trois’” is a highlight that almost, almost collapses on its own sword. Halfway through it builds to an amazing horn/opera crescendo, only to be interrupted by an excellent death metal section (Luis Rojas can shred with the best of them when he lets loose), which is then abruptly discarded for a ‘cha-cha/doo-wop’ section that seems a tad unnecessary. It’s short enough however that it doesn’t take away too much from the track.

For the adventurous there is a lot too enjoy here. The production is top notch (self-produced and recorded) and special mention must go to some excellent drumming. They are an excellent live band too and I bet these tracks will be great in the live setting.

The Ultraviolet is out now.

Anger Mangement: Witchsorrow

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Before this review I’d just like to acknowledge the tragic passing of Pete Dunstan, aka The Black Captain). I used to listen to Pete broadcast during the mid ‘90s. I’d tape the show, get woken up by the tape finishing, turn it over and record again. Pete put me onto a lot of amazing music. He was a compelling broadcaster, his writing was top notch and you can check out his archives here at LIN. Above all, he was truly nice guy that made time for everyone. Please take the time to read the really nice tribute to Pete by Matthew Tomich.

Taking a magnifying glass to any genre of music and subsequently falling down a rabbit hole is fascinating. Genres within genres and subgenres really negate any foolish argument of, “I don’t like genre A/B/C because it all sounds the same.” One of the more fascinating styles of music to do this with is doom metal.

While the mantra of doom metal is generally low and slow, there are a plethora of different styles and sounds under the doom umbrella. Who could have predicted that when Black Sabbath tuned down in 1968 that doom would have mushroomed into what we have today? Like something a bit more psych? There’s a tonne of bands for you. Prefer something more epic? Plenty there too. Funeral doom for winter? Done. Doom is way more popular now than it ever has been. Bands that couldn’t get arrested 5 years ago (Yob, Electric Wizard etc) are putting out incredible albums and the live shows are a hot ticket to get.

The UK’s Witchsorrow play a brand of doom on their third album, No Light, Only Fire, that has a capital M for “METAL”. Following on from 2012’s full length, God Curse Us, and the awesomely titled/why didn’t I think of that EP, De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas, this new record sees the band speeding up a touch and embracing the sounds of bands such as Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre, Trouble, Cathedral and even a touch of Hellhammer.

The production is great, everything coming through loud and clear, the band giving the producer the direction of: “Hellhammer. ‘80s aggression. No posing.” The opening (almost) title track reminds me a touch of High On Fire. There are still plenty of longer songs here with riffs aplenty. “Made Of The Void” and “Negative Utopia” are top notch but the real highlight is the awesome stomp of “The Gallows” and its awesome middle-weird, slightly black metal tremolo riff.

Guitarist/vocalist Nick “Necroskull” Ruskell puts in a great performance, even showing a nod to older folk/acid groups with a small acoustic ditty, but bassist Emily Witch and drummer David Wilbrahammer are right there in step with pounding drums and gnarly bass. The album ends with a re-recorded version of “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas” to show everyone that they can still go as low and slow as anyone.

No Light, Only Fire is an excellent album chock full of great doom metal songs. Great stuff.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Anger Management: DrAlienSmith

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Al Smith deserves some kind of reward for services given to underground music. Since the early 90s he’s toiled away with Bergerk Studios (originally Death Rooster), working with a heap of bands and artists. With an ear for punk, metal and the left of centre, Al has recorded/mixed and engineered bands diverse as the scuzzy punk of Rupture, legendary black/celtic metallers Samain, doom overlords Drowning Horse, The Devil Rides Out, Claim The Throne, Extortion and Bamodi. But far from an elitist, he’s also lent his talents to more indie artists such as Abbe May, The Leap Year and Andrew Ewing.

In between his recording and mixing work, Al has always dabbled in bands and projects. Swapmeat was a delightfully weird and catchy combo that evolved from some home demos to playing, and I quote, “hard-edged guitar-driven groove rock type tunes sprinkled liberally with our influences of industrial metal and cheese rock.” Al has also collaborated with Cat Hope on the dual bass/drone/noise outfit Lux Mammoth, James Smith on the soundscapey Smidirin, and hugely underrated guitarist Steve Matzkov on the dark post-rock of Matzal. He also ran an awesome short run label Sound Gallery which focused on some of the aforementioned artists.

Al’s first solo release came last year under as DrAlienSmith. Under Songs was an excellent mix of Jesu-styled guitars and dark, industrial soundscapes. Phosphorus takes these elements further with five excellent tracks. “Clover” opens the album sounding like you are walking through a haunted house: a ghostly piano plays from an upstairs room while a Godflesh and Four Tet mix CD skips over the P.A.. Second track “Phosphorus” gives a dark industrial chug but an unexpected highlight comes in the form of third track “Something Sun” with its lush guitar layering it is an uplifting soundscape with just a hint of darkness.

As you would expect, the production on this is outstanding. Everything coming through loud and clear and the songs never outlive their welcome. Worth tracking down in every way.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.