500 Word Review: Primal Rite “Sensory Link To Pain”

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Recently I’ve gotten back into thrash metal by listening to both classic bands like Metallica and Slayer and newer bands like Skeletonwitch and Eternal Champion.  However, through listening to the new era of thrash metal, I was able to discover a recently formed band, Primal Rite, who combine influences from hardcore punk and thrash metal to embody a hard-hitting, completely abrasive thrash metal sound that is simply addicting.  Last month, the San Francisco based metal band released their latest EP, “Sensory Link To Pain”, which showcases the group’s stellar, most recent sound.

The EP begins with a sinister, ominous sound of guitar feedback slowly fading in, leaving the listener anxious and at the edge of their seat as to what is coming next. Suddenly, the whole band enters and a wailing, distorted guitar, pummeling drums, rattling bass, and of course aggressive, hatred filled vocals create the title track, “Sensory Link To Pain”. Sporadic section changes with heavy, yet intriguingly groovy riffs encompass the entire EP with only a few moments of chugging riffs at a slower tempo to give the listener some kind of breathing room in between the chaos filled parts heard throughout each track.

These slower tempo sections can easily become highlights of tracks, however, as the near breakdown heard on “Is It Me?” becomes the most memorable part of the entire track and is easily the catchiest riff you will hear in Primal Rite’s latest project. This hardcore influenced breakdown perfectly exemplifies Primal Rite’s raw, bone-snapping sound of hardcore influenced thrash metal. The project itself, which comes in at just under 8 minutes, leaves its audience feeling like they got hit by a train of pure hardcore and thrash metal, as the project ends just as abruptly as it began with the fast tempo, mosh pit inducing riffs on “Primal Discipline” transitioning directly into the same eerie guitar tone heard at the beginning of “Sensory Link To Pain” slowly fading out. This Primal Rite EP is in your face hardcore thrash metal done right and is full with non-stop, unrelenting heaviness from start to finish.

In summation, this is metal, simply put. Everything from the harsh vocals, to the phenomenal guitar riffing to the upbeat, old school thrash metal inspired drum beats purely encompasses what the new era of thrash metal is all about. The only gripe I have with this project is that it sounds a little too much like Power Trip, who happen to be the most prominent modern hardcore influenced thrash metal band, and my personal favorite thrash metal band as well. I’m sure over time Primal Rite will find their signature style and sound in this crossover subgenre of punk and thrash metal, but their latest material still resembles, and is inspired by, the Texas based act in a very prominent way. However, if you listen to older Counterparts material, you can hear how it is directly influenced by Misery Signals, so it’s not a huge concern to seem Primal Rite paying tribute to the sound of the act they most likely look up to, especially since sounding like Power Trip is far from being an insult. I give “Sensory Link To Pain” an 8.6/10 and highly suggest that you check this EP out by the soon to be household name, Primal Rite.

 

“Sensory Link To Pain”:

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Breaking News: Opprobrium’s Label Brutal Records Issues Cease and Desist Stating “Moth Into Flame” Ripped Off Opprobrium’s “Hunger For Power”

Oddly enough, only a few days after I posted my unboxing video in which the first record I received from my Relapse Records 10 LP grab bag was Opprobrium’s “Serpent Temptation”, Opprobrium’s label, Brutal Records, released a statement saying that they believe Metallica ripped off Opprobrium’s “Hunger For Power” in their song “Moth Into Flame”.  The label then went on to issue a cease and desist letter to both Metallica and their attorney.

According to Brutal Records, the similarities between “Moth Into Flame” and “Hunger For Power” are too close, and because of this the label believes that Metallica copied and “ripped off” the track featured on the 1988 death metal album, “Serpent Temptation”.  Brutal Records announced this cease and desist letter via their Twitter page and have since unrelentingly tweeted out statements about the alleged copyright.

Apparently, the person behind these tweets is actually related to the two brothers who were in Incubus (named changed to Opprobrium in 1999 due to the more widely known Incubus copyrighting their band name) as their uncle and godfather and claims to have produced “Serpent Temptation” and “owns the publisher and copyrights for the master recording”.  The link to the label’s recent tweets about the cease and desist letter and the official cease and desist statement towards Metallica and their legal team are attached below for you to scroll through and read.  Honestly, the tweets seem fairly deranged and lack enough credible proof to truly show Metallica’s guilt without reasonable doubt.  These were the only statements about the cease and desist letter from any parties involved until Opprobrium themselves commented on the news story days later…

 

Brutal Records’ Cease and Desist Statement to Metallica and their legal parties:

As you have not sought or requested permission/authorization to use, nor to make and/or distribute, sell, lend or lease my copyrighted work entitled Hunger for Power, you are hereby notified to CEASE AND DESIST any and all further unlawful acts of copyright infringement with regards to your actions and/or statements relating to this matter.

Failure to comply with this notice will confirm your complicity and leave me no other alternative but to proceed to file a civil action suit seeking monetary damages and compensation for court and attorney’s fees incurred as a direct result of your unlawful actions of copyright infringement. It is not my wish to seek legal recourse; however, I will vehemently do all that is necessary to protect my work, Hunger for Power, and interests. Please note that this letter will be the only warning I will provide.

THEREFORE, you are hereby requested to immediately CEASE AND DESIST any further acts of copyright infringement and within 10 business days return the signed written assurance below affirming that you will refrain from any further acts of copyright infringement.  (via Exclaim! Music)

 

On April 8th, two days after the story of Metallica’s alleged “ripping off” of death metal band Incubus’s track “Hunger For Power” broke, Incubus released a statement via Facebook about the cease and desist letter (this was through the Opprobrium Facebook account, since Opprobrium recently rereleased a rerecorded version of “Serpent Temptation” through Relapse Records).  Apparently, Opprobrium themselves never released the cease and desist letter, or even knew of its existence before the story broke.  Opprobrium then went on to say that they are fans and love the band and that they would never do anything of the sort to the thrash metal legends themselves.  What’s most shocking is their response to the individual at Brutal Records claiming he owns the rights to “Hunger For Power” and the rest of “Serpent Temptation”.  Opprobrium stated that this is not true at all and that the death metal band themselves holds all of the rights to their songs.  Their statement via Facebook is attached below.  Also, it appears that “Spit Out The Bone”, another Metallica track off their latest album, “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”, is also in question now of “ripping off” “Hunger For Power”.

This news story has been a combination of both fascinating and extremely odd, in my opinion.  The label, Brutal Records, refuses to let up on the accusations of Metallica’s alleged copyright, and Incubus (Opprobrium) continue to state that they do not approve of or want to issue this cease and desist towards Metallica.  The bay area thrash legends have yet to release a statement on the issue at hand.

Personally, I don’t hear the resemblance that Brutal Records is claiming.  Are both of the riffs heard in the sections at question, fast chugging riffs?  Yes, but they are in no way illegally similar, especially since they are written in two completely different metal sub genres.  I will say though this has brought significant attention to Opprobrium, who deserves more traffic as their album, “Serpent Temptation” is fantastic!  This recent attention however, made me initially question if this was just a publicity stunt, with the end goal of receiving more album sales of “Serpent Temptation”.  However, I quickly realized that Incubus’s release of “Serpent Temptation” has been out of print for decades now and the only copy of “Serpent Temptation” you can still buy today is the repress sold through Relapse Records, which features the new band name, Opprobrium.  If album sales were to increase from this possible publicity stunt it would benefit Opprobrium, but would not benefit Brutal Records, as Relapse Records would earn profits from the repress sales.  Although, if Brutal Records does repress “Serpent Temptation” in the near future I would easily draw the conclusion that this whole scenario was designed in order to profit off a classic death metal album.  For now, based on the little information given, it appears that someone with access to the Brutal Records Twitter page is attempting to acquire some royalties from Metallica that are not owed to them in any way.  Of course we will keep you updated as more information about this news story unfolds, so stay tuned!  Also, listen to “Hunger For Power”, “Spit Out The Bone”, and “Moth Into Flame” below and let us know if you think Metallica copied the death metal band Incubus or not.  Lastly, while you’re at it, check out the full albums for “Serpent Temptation” and “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”, as both of these albums are classics and should not be warped or diminished by this odd news story.

“Hunger For Power”:

“Moth Into Flame”:

“Spit Out The Bone”:

“Hardwired… To Self Destruct”:

“Serpent Temptation”:

Classic Album Review: FALLUJAH The Flesh Prevails

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I hadn’t listened to Fallujah before I heard “The Flesh Prevails”. I believed what I was told and anticipated a polished progressive metal album with a deep atmosphere. I knew my expectations had got the best of me from the first volley of machine gun double bass. After accepting that Fallujah was in fact a death metal band, I strapped in and started again. Even with my expectations out of the way, I found myself dissatisfied. While there isn’t anything terribly wrong with the album, there isn’t much to praise either.

“The Flesh Prevails” is by no means a poor album. It is a valiant attempt at the difficult task of combining atmosphere with sheer brutality, but fails to seamlessly unite the two themes. Instead, atmospheric trances are often interrupted by grisly vocals, and soaring guitar leads compete with the domineering rhythm guitar. Their use of contrasting elements is, at best, partially effective at lending gravity to critical moments. An overabundance of bends, reverb, pinch harmonics and sparkly tremolo is often their idea of ambience. This style works in small doses, but gets tiresome too. On the other hand, the pensive atmosphere gives the album a wonderful sense of organic flow. But at the same time, its unity is cause for giving songs lack of distinction from each other.

Fallujah was certainly successful in making their music powerful. Each component is complicated, or simply busy enough to contribute to the sense of onslaught. Alex Hoffmann’s vocal delivery, both punishing and gorgeous to behold, is the backbone of the album’s muscle. Even though I can only make out one out of every ten words heard, it does not detract from the vocals’ emotion.

The instruments donate to the cause as well, but fall victim to the botched production job. They have a noticeably sterile sound. The drum kit and bass guitar in particular feel very synthetic, reminiscent of crappy post-hardcore metal bands. Double bass is heard without end and is regularly just a source of noise. However, the band does make interesting use of it in moments such as the blazing drum fills in “Sapphire”. The other instruments receive their moments in the spotlight too. The guitar isn’t at its best in the solos or nonchalant shredding, but in its excellent regular lead lines, like those amid “The Night Reveals”. The bass has increasingly more involved parts as the album goes on, being featured in the beginning of “Levitation”, but it occasionally gets swamped by the other instruments. Despite any setbacks, the album is full of moments of true brutality that manage to hold an elegant air.

In the end, “The Flesh Prevails”, is restrained by the production effort. The guitars and drums are turned up to eleven and are both in competition with Hoffmann’s voice. The volume is taxing and distracting, but the down time we get from “Alone with You” and “Allure” helps some. The production really gave this album a flat tire. Perhaps with better mixing and mastering, Fallujah could have achieved a more persuasive atmosphere and a palatable drum kit. Perhaps it could have been great.

 

Score: 7.2/10

 

Album Review by Zach Norton, December 2016

“The Flesh Prevails”:

 

Breaking News: The Story So Far Release New Music Video For “Nerve”

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Today I’ve written a bunch of posts about extremely heavy metal bands, so in order to lighten things up, here is the latest music video to be released by the Bay Area based pop punk band, The Story So Far.  The Story So Far has been, and always will be, my favorite pop punk band, and their 2015 self-titled release is the latest installment to their monumental discography.  Yesterday, the group released another music video for a track off their latest album.  The music video was for the first single they released off “The Story So Far”, called “Nerve”, and is pretty much a collection of multiple shots from a show the band played and shows just how electric their performances can be.  I’m speculating that The Story So Far will have another release for their fans in 2017, but for now give “The Story So Far” and their older material a listen and check out the new music video for “Nerve” from the greatest pop punk band of all time!