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”:

Vinyl and Cassette News: Periphery Repress Debut Album On Vinyl

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Sumerian Records quietly repressed one of the most influential albums in their extensive catalog recently.  In case you missed it, this week is “Sumerian Vinyl Week” and many of their records for sale on their merchandise site are for sale at prices 40% off the original retail price.  Along with this, the metal label also repressed some of their most notable releases, that are not for sale, but are in promotion of the vinyl week.  These represses include Animals As Leaders’ “The Madness of Many”, which sold out fairly fast, Erra’s “Drift”, which was also previously sold out, Asking Alexandria’s “The Black”, and the Faceless’ “Planetary Duality” and “Akeldama”, which were repressed on silver colored vinyl limited to 100 copies.  The repress that was the most significant, however, was Periphery’s first self titled album.  “Periphery” was repressed on two variants, one on Red/White Haze out of 500 copies and one on Clear with Blue and White Splatter, also out of 500 copies.  To add to this, the instrumental version of “Periphery” was pressed for the first time on an opaque blue vinyl variant and the amount of copies pressed is currently unknown.

Before this repress, only 150 copies of the album were ever released on vinyl.  In 2011, the metal band sold 3 different variants of the album (Blue, White, and Blue/White mix) each limited to 50 copies that could only be bought from the band’s merch table while they were on tour.  Since the 1st pressing was released, the demand for the vinyl copies drastically increased, causing the value of these records to skyrocket up to $200+ for a copy in many cases.  It was insanely hard to find any collectors willing to sell their copy, nonetheless for an affordable price.

Now 150 copies have skyrocketed to 1,150 copies worldwide and I for one am completely outraged at Sumerian Records.  Being an avid collector of vinyl, cassettes, and other physical formats, I believe that some albums should never be repressed.  In many cases, especially in the extreme music scene, some albums themselves become extremely rare and in high demand from many record collectors globally.  This results in vinyl records that become highly sought after collectors items, even branded as “holy grails” for these respective collections.  Personally, I was shocked when I finally got my hands on a copy of the Blue variant of “Periphery”.  It instantly became my favorite and most valuable individual record in my possession and I was extremely proud and stunned to have it in my collection.  Now, a sense of defeat and disappointment has been overwhelmingly encompassing everything I think about since seeing the infamous repressing.  Not only does this repress drastically decrease the value of the 1st pressing, as the total supply of “Periphery” vinyl copies practically increased 10 fold this week, but the rarity and significance of owning this record has now greatly diminished.  Before, it was impressive to say you have the first Periphery full length record in your vinyl collection, but now everyone who is somewhat familiar with the material will have a copy in their possession, and soon record stores will be filled with a copious amount of the release.

Being a record collector means that sometimes the record you love or need to have is insanely hard to come by.  It might be years before you get your hands on a copy, or you might never get it at all, but that is part of the entire experience in collecting vinyl.  Represses for legendary presses like ‘Periphery” are perfect examples of how greed and utter stupidity from labels and even bands themselves can ruin the vinyl collecting community.  If Sumerian, or whoever had the genius idea of repressing “Periphery”, wanted to make money off the release through represses while keeping the collectable aspect of the 1st press in tact, they would’ve combined “Periphery” and the instrumental version of “Periphery” (which is something I’m actually glad they finally pressed) into one 4xLP package, which would’ve made the item a unique product that would have a higher retail value than the items separately.  They would be guaranteed to sell out both the instrumental and regular versions of the album on vinyl, instead of having one version sell faster like how “Periphery” is selling faster on its own as we speak, and in the process they would be creating a new collective item in the Periphery discography that would not hurt the value and significance of the rare 1st pressing of “Periphery”.  But instead, Sumerian, Periphery themselves, or whoever is responsible simply was ignorant, blind, and unfazed by the impact this repress might have on the vinyl collecting community and decided to produce a ridiculous 1,000 copies.  What irks me the most is that there are a handful of great Sumerian releases that have never seen a single vinyl pressing, yet “Periphery” just received a completely undeserving, unnecessary 2nd pressing.  Betraying the Martyrs’ “Breathe in Life”, Veil of Maya’s “The Common Man’s Collapse” and “Eclipse”, After the Burial’s “Rareform” and “In Dreams”, Structures’ “Divided By” and “Life Through A Window”, every full length album by Upon a Burning Body besides “Straight From the Barrio”, Dayshell’s self titled debut album, Erra’s “Moments in Clarity EP”, and even Periphery’s “Icarus EP” have been release through Sumerian Records and have never been pressed on vinyl, and could sell better than “Periphery”, yet “Periphery”, a record that should’ve NEVER been repressed, received a 1,000 copy 2nd pressing.

It’s literally impossible to express how ashamed, disappointed, and above all outraged I am at Sumerian Records about this recent repress.  I probably sound very pretentious and even elitist at this point, but like I mentioned before, some records truly should not be repressed due to their rare and collectable nature.  The process of searching for and finally buying a copy of the record you truly want to add to your collection is what record collecting is all about.  You may have to wait years and pay a fairly large amount for these records, but that is what the hobby is truly about.  Pressing literally thousands of copies of a previously hard to come by record panders to those who do not wish to truly emerge themselves in the record collecting community, and as a result produces a scapegoat for these vinyl consumers to buy a record they want without having to actually go through the long, and sometimes challenging, process of collecting a rare item you truly want.  After seeing this repress I’m now very concerned that The Devil Wears Prada’s “With Roots Above and Branches Below” and August Burns Red’s “Thrill Seeker” will also receive unnecessary and truly greedy represses and further hurt the vinyl collecting community.  Maybe I am overreacting about the situation, but 1,000 new copies released of such a previously rare and important item like “Periphery” vinyl is where I draw the line.

Regardless of my anger and frustration about the whole situation, I have included the links to where to buy copies of the represses.  If you absolutely have to buy a copy of “Periphery”, at least buy it off of the band’s store themselves instead of further supporting the ignorant culprits behind the repress at Sumerian Records, assuming it was their idea and intentions to go through with the repress, as they are in control of vinyl sales and distribution of their releases.  I’m actually very interested in hearing what other vinyl collectors have to say about this!  Do you think repressing “Periphery” is as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be, or am I simply overreacting to news about plastic discs?  Leave a comment below and see what other vinyl and cassette news we’ve covered hear at Erik’s Album Reviews lately!

Periphery’s store:

http://store.periphery.net

 

Sumerian Records’ store:

Vinyl Records

 

500 Word Review: Enterprise Earth “Embodiment”

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For the last 3 years I’ve been big fan of Enterprise Earth, which is the band that Dan Watson went on to found and front after leaving Infant Annihilator in 2014. I discovered the group’s debut EP “23” months after it’s release and instantly loved the entire project. Personally, at the time I thought that Enterprise Earth would be one of the bands that encompasses the future of deathcore, and if their songwriting and stellar musicianship could stay constant or even improve, they would easily become one of the best artists in the genre’s brief history.

Upon first listening to the band’s debut full length album, “Patient 0”, I found the project to be very disappointing initially. The uniqueness of “23” that made me truly enjoy the EP itself seemed to be omitted from “Patient 0”, and as a result, it took multiple listens to truly hear the distinction between tracks. However, after revisiting the album months later, I enjoyed the record a lot more than I did after hearing it soon after it’s release. “Patient 0’s” aggressive and more technical composition definitely separated itself, in a good way, from the rest of the noise heard in the modern deathcore scene, but it was still much harder to distinguish differences between tracks on the album itself compared to “23”, where each track is unique and instantly recognizable. Regardless, it was clear that Enterprise Earth was releasing material on a whole other tier than any of the other new deathcore band to emerge in the last few years, so upon seeing the announcement of “Embodiment’s” 2017 release, I was very excited to hear what Enterprise Earth would put out next.

For starters, the artwork instantly caught my full attention. With a space themed album artwork, it appeared as if Enterprise Earth was at least returning to the themes heard on “23”, which was a great sign to initially see upon album announcement. In fact, after hearing the first single, “Mortem Incarnatum”, it became more evident that this sophomore album may be very similar to the iconic debut EP.

After listening to the entire sophomore full length record in its entirety, I can confirm that this is without a doubt yet another superb Enterprise Earth release. Pummeling, complex riffs and unrelenting, face smashing breakdowns give any listener chills while making it nearly impossible to not headbang during these bone-crushing moments, especially during tracks like “Temptress”. This album is full of hard hitting, fast, and aggressive sections that are masterfully performed by the Spokane based deathcore act themselves, exemplifying why this band is a role model for the rest of the newly formed deathcore groups globally. Eerie, and at some moments, ambient leads and intricate, chugging riffs are frequently heard, which were featured on both “23” and “Patient 0” and show the references to older material and song structure that help maintain Enterprise Earth’s signature sound. Dan Watson’s vocals sound amazing, but I actually prefer how they were recorded and mixed on “Patient 0” far more and believe that how his vocal performance is mixed on “Embodiment” actually really hurts the release itself. His genre trailblazing vocal performance and technique should be at the forefront of each track, and mixing it to a quieter, less prominent volume, like what is heard on “Embodiment”, truly takes away from the Enterprise Earth sound.

“Father of Abortion” brings back the excellent use of guitar and overall production effects that I loved on “23”, especially “Masquerade of Angels”.  Don’t be confused by the handful of complaints, “Patient 0” was fantastic, but it lacked the distinct, memorable sections that every song on “23” had, resulting in a debut album where many songs seem to blend together. “Embodiment”, interestingly enough, actually sounds like the natural succession to “23”, showing a return to form from Enterprise Earth and making “Patient 0” seem almost out of place as if it were an experimental project or a diversion from the classic Enterprise Earth sound.  Essentially it almost seems like the influence from “23” skips over “Patient 0” and finds itself embedded in “Embodiment”.  It’s nearly impossible currently to determine which full length record is the best album by Enterprise Earth, as each one has unique features and qualities that I truly admire, but it definitely is interesting to have another Enterprise Earth release that features an expanded sound and overall composition of the classic EP, “23”.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that I still really enjoy “Patient 0”, and actually, at times I enjoy riffs and even tracks heard on the debut full length, like “Shallow Breath”, more than “Embodiment”, but hearing the natural succession to “23” is a great feeling and results in yet another sensational Enterprise Earth release. “Embodiment” keeps your attention on the material focused and unwavering from start to finish, resulting in a truly enjoyable full length record. I have very few complaints about this record, as it represents everything I hoped to see in a new Enterprise Earth release. Overall, I give “Embodiment” a 9.0/10, and have attached the full stream of the album below for you to listen to! The release is not only one of the best deathcore albums of this year, which is saying something as a plethora of phenomenal deathcore albums have already surfaced before 2017’s halfway point, but it should also earn a spot on our Albums of the Year list come late December. Definitely give this album, and later releases, from Enterprise Earth a listen and stay tuned for more metal content due out very soon!  Also check back in soon as I will be posting reviews for both “Patient 0” and the EP, “23”!

 

“Embodiment”:

500 Word Review: West Berlin “104”

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The latest release from West Berlin is their single “104”, which is featured on their recently released split with Bottomfed. This is the third release in their discography following their debut EP, “The Northern Misery” and single “Age”. Personally, I’m a huge fan of “The Northern Misery” and honestly believe this group has a bright future ahead of them in the melodic hardcore scene, and “104” is simply put a continuation of their excellence.

“104” greatly resembles the sound heard on “The Northern Misery”. Their signature guitar sound and chugging riffs accompanied by unique harsh vocals and occasional lead guitar melodies have helped distinguish West Berlin from the rest of the noise in the hardcore scene. Also, I personally am glad to see the Syracuse based punk band continue in the direct exemplified in “The Northern Misery” compared to what was heard on their previous single, “Age”, which in my opinion is fairly sub-par and does not showcase West Berlin’s fantastic songwriting that they’re known for. “104” starts off with a melodic, almost melancholy guitar intro that helps bring in the rest of the instruments and members to the track. My initial thought after hearing the first verse is that it is beautifully written, and could easily find its way onto the phenomenal “The Northern Misery” EP, however I believe that track could sound even better at a faster tempo. The song itself is extremely melodic, but at some points in the first verse I personally think the track is dragging and slightly sluggish. However, this is only a minor critique and does not take away from the superb first half of this song. The chorus, on the other hand, is absolutely addictive. It shows hints of influence from Counterparts, yet has enough signature sound to be easily recognized as West Berlin. Even the pinched harmonics before the second chorus help create a well-written melodic hardcore chorus that is extremely memorable. Finally, the two breakdown-esque bridges heard after each chorus are without a doubt superb. Resembling riffs heard on “Hell Is Black” from “The Northern Misery”, these two chugging riffs add a near beatdown element that I absolutely love about West Berlin’s music. These melodic, mosh-pit inducing, skull-crushing riffs are something that any hardcore fan will love and is something that West Berlin has mastered to say the least.

In conclusion, “104” is yet another fantastic song by the up and coming melodic hardcore band, West Berlin. If you live anywhere in the Northeastern part of the US you need to see these guys live at a show. If the Syracuse act can continue to release projects like “104” and “The Northern Misery” then I can’t imagine why this band won’t become a household name in the next few years. I give “104” an 8.5/10 and if you haven’t yet, go check out the single attached below! Of course, let us know what you think of the track and stay tuned for more reviews and content due out this week.

“104”:

Track of the Day Tuesday: LORNA SHORE Godmaker

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This week the “Track of the Day Tuesday” is by a heavier, New Jersey based deathcore band called Lorna Shore.  Lorna Shore is actually a group that I discovered in 2013 after their drummer actively posted on the site, Vinylcollective.com.  Being a huge vinyl collector myself, I was able to talk to him through the forums and messaging function on the site about his band, who was fairly unknown at the time, Lorna Shore.  In 2013, I rarely listened to anything heavier than you’re basic deathcore bands like Chelsea Grin, Suicide Silence, and As Blood Runs Black, so the “Maleficium” EP was too heavy for me to enjoy when I first heard it.  However, after listening to their sophomore album, “Flesh Coffin”, which was recently released (by the way a review for “Flesh Coffin” is in the works), I realized how amazing this young deathcore band is and decided to revisit older works, especially the “Maleficium” EP.  After listening to these tracks for the first time in years, I was shocked to hear how amazing the project truly is, more specifically the successful single, “Godmaker”.  It is because of this that I have decided to name “Godmaker”, the best song on the 2013 “Maleficium” EP in my opinion, the “Track of the Day Tuesday”.

“Godmaker” is an eerie track that starts off with different sounds and effects that could easily be heard in the most suspenseful horror movie.  After the near minute intro, the track then brings in the full band as the guitars hit three melodic minor chords before going into a fast paced deathcore riff.  Throughout the track, multiple tempo changes, transitions between breakdowns and mind-numbing riffs, and astonishing blast beats accompanied by an impressively chilling vocal performance are heard, which help make “Godmaker” so memorable.  However, the most remarkable aspect isn’t any of the features previously mentioned.  In fact, it is the atonal guitar lead heard over the breakdown at (3:48?) in the track.  Not only does this lead guitar part make this breakdown even more brutal, but it adds a horrific (in a very good way), gothic influenced mood and sound to the already heinous track.  The atonal lead part, which you can listen to below, has made “Godmaker” not only one of my favorite tracks off “Maleficium”, but one of my favorite Lorna Shore songs in their discography, while also further proving my theory that melody, whether its tonal, atonal, or influenced and categorized differently, can help improve the song structure of even the most brutally heavy deathcore tracks, resulting in a more memorable project.

The music video for “Godmaker” is attached below.  Of course, I highly suggest you check out the “Track of the Day Tuesday” for both this week and previous weeks.  Also, if you are a Lorna Shore fan, stay tuned as I will be doing reviews for “Flesh Coffin” and possibly “Psalms”.  Lastly, let us know what you think should be next week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday” and stay tuned for more reviews and content to be released later this week!

Breaking News: New Nine Inch Nails EP Out This Friday

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This Friday, iconic industrial rock titans, Nine Inch Nails, will be releasing a brand new EP.  The upcoming EP, titled “Not the Actual Events”, will be released on their website (http://www.nin.com) on December 23rd and is the group’s first release since 2014.  The new material will also be the first project to feature the group’s newest member, Atticus Ross.  The duo of Ross and Reznor have worked on numerous successful scores in recent years, like “Gone Girl”, “Before the Flood”, and “Juno” to name a few, so their collaboration on new NIN materials will be very interesting to hear!

Unfortunately a single for the upcoming project has yet to be released.  With the project recently being announced, it is very unlikely we will hear any previews before the EP’s release date Friday.  However, a review of the project will definitely be posted once the EP is out!  Visit the site regularly to see more updates about the new Nine Inch Nails EP along with all other music news and content!

500 Word Review: Dwellings “Foreverest” – Single

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On November 25th, Modesto, California based post hardcore band, Dwellings, released the follow up to their debut single “Lemonade” with the release of their latest single, “Foreverest”.  For those of you who have been following the page you will know how excited I am to hear new material from this group.  Their debut single was nothing short of phenomenal, and based off that performance alone, I honestly believe that this group is the future of the post hardcore sub genre.  That being said, I was extremely excited to hear new material from this group because I’m still curious to see how their sound will develop throughout this debut EP.  This new single, “Foreverest”, definitely varies significantly from their debut release, “Lemonade”, however there are still consistent themes heard on both tracks that give listeners and fans of the group a sense of what this up and coming band will sound like!

As stated earlier, there are multiple clear differences that you can hear between the tracks “Lemonade” and “Foreverest”.  For starters, “Foreverest” is somehow even more melodic than the anthemic track, “Lemonade”.  To be clear, this is not a negative quality, but it is still a surprising feature, especially when considering how harmonious multiple sections and choruses were on “Lemonade”.  The guitar work is simply graceful and does a great job with complimenting the superb songwriting and vocal performance heard on “Foreverest”. However, the most significant and enjoyable difference between the two tracks is how the overall sound of the track ,”Foreverest”, is more unique to Dwellings.  As much as I love “Lemonade”, there were multiple instances where the track sounded a lot like previous Dance Gavin Dance releases.  “Foreverest”, on the other hand, sounds more unique to Dwellings and their specific style of songwriting, and in the process, shows off their own personal take on post hardcore.  The influences from DGD and other well known post hardcore bands can still be heard, but Dwellings’ personal and recognizable sound is without a doubt the most prominent aspect heard, and in return gives their fans a better idea to how their sound will develop and become even more unique with future releases.  “Foreverest” will probably be the most melodic and slowest song heard on the upcoming EP and it gives the project a good range from higher energy,  in your face songs to slower and even more emotional tracks.

However Dwellings, like most other major California based post hardcore acts, still show some examples of similarities to Dance Gavin Dance in this new track.  These similarities are not a bad thing, or show lack of creativity, but demonstrate how they are able to take this modern style of post hardcore and transform and mold it into their own unique sound.  The first similarity a listener familiar with DGD will hear when listening to “Foreverest” is that this song is heavily influenced by Dance Gavin Dance’s third full length studio album, “Happiness”.  “Lemonade” featured elements from both “Happiness” and “Acceptance Speech” (the fifth studio album by the Sacramento based band), but “Foreverest” appears to just draw influence from “Happiness” alone. This is not a surprise to me since they have already shown signs of writing in a similar style to “Happiness”, and Dwellings’ bassist, Anthony Pacheco, has even stated that this DGD record is his favorite to date.  That being said, it now seems obvious why “Happiness” and “Foreverest” might sound somewhat similar.  “Happiness” is one of, it not my absolute favorite, DGD record as well, so Dwellings’ use of mixing in elements from this legendary record is something that I definitely approve of.  These elements, which include everything from the sincere, emotion filled lyrics to to the slow, yet melodic song structure can be directly compared and sound similar to songs like “Happiness” off the album of the same name, but can also strengthen their own songwriting by combing their favorite moments from “Happiness” and their own personal songwriting sound.  However, it is important to note that all of Dwellings’ material has been recorded by Josh Benton, who used to play guitar for Dance Gavin Dance and now records some of their releases like “Tree City Sessions”, and has been mastered by Kris Crummett, who recorded most of DGD’s full length records and other releases by notable California based post hardcore groups.  Because of this, some of aspects of Dwellings’ material might be similar to DGD solely because their production process is almost identical to Dance Gavin Dance’s.  Regardless of where they take influence from, Dwellings is making some serious progress at becoming the next legendary post hardcore group.

In conclusion, this is another solid track from soon-to-be household name, post hardcore group, Dwellings.  My anticipation for this debut EP continues to grow with every single released and I simply cannot wait to see what they put out next.  I give their second single, “Foreverest”, and 8.9/10.  The release date for the EP, “Lavender Town”, hasn’t been posted yet by the band, but when it does the staff at Erik’s Album Reviews will be the first ones to share it with you!  Check out the review for their debut single, “Lemonade”, below and give the latest single, “Foreverest”, a listen and let us know what you think!

“Lemonade” Review:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/album-reivew-dwellings-lemonade-single/

“Foreverest”: