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Columnus Metallicus

Columnus Metallicus - Metal Up Your Ass In September
Toby Cook , September 10th, 2009 08:56

Summer’s nearly over, not that Toby Cook would have noticed – metalheads don’t care for sunlight, don’t you know. So, here’s what’s been scaring his neighbours this month.

Cut him: he bleeds metal. In return for him making us lots of cups of tea, did we actually pay young intern Toby Cook some money? NO! BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T FUCKING GOT ANY! We gave him this heavy metal column instead . . . who needs to eat when they've got Black Boned Angel? All hail Columnus Metallicus!

Dysrhythmia Psychic Maps
Relapse

Outside of my house, there is a wall – it separates my front garden from the pavement - and for some reason a number of the local vagrants, vagabonds and brain-injured cider-swillers are drawn to it. I can’t seem to get rid of them. Or couldn’t - until New York’s Dysrhythmia came along. Opening a window, blasting Psychic Maps out of it, I watch as the amassed congregation of undesirables drop, one by one, to the floor, drooling and convulsing as their Stella-addled brains struggle to cope with the multiple trajectories of prog-jazz-metal forced upon them. Yet Psychic Maps is much more than mere tramp repellent - refreshingly, Dysrhythmia have crafted something that actually requires attention and effort on the part of the listener; technically proficient, and at times remarkably subtle - truly engrossing stuff.

Black Anvil Time Insults The Mind
Relapse

Massive fucking riffs equal massive fucking results. It’s not a complex equation, yet a propensity to over-complicate things has been rife in black metal of late. Black Anvil, then, are something of an anomaly. Riff after riff after black-as-fuck riff, with a cover of Celtic Frost's ‘Dethroned Emperor’ thrown in to boot. Claw . . . double claw.

3 Inches Of Blood Here Waits Thy Doom
Century Media

They’re Canadian and they’re singlehandedly responsible for the great Canadian denim famine at the start of the 00s - but don’t let that put you off. Thrash riffs, Rob Halford-esque NWOBHM caterwauls and shredding, lots of shredding - it’s all there. Vocalist and sole surviving founder member Jamie Hooper may have flown the coup, but Cram Pipes’ shrieking and the fact that the whole thing is tighter than Meatloaf's Y-fronts will have you fist pumping around your living room in a studded leather cod-piece before you know it. No? Just me then.

Black Boned Angel Verdun
Riot Season

Wellington, New Zealand. Known for its picturesque natural harbour, coarse costal winds and flowing green hillsides dotted with colourful, colonial style, weatherboard housing. Not, then, very much like one of the most horrific episodes of war in human history - the Battle of Verdun. Not that this seems to bother Black Boned Angel. The words 'horrific' and 'grisly' barely do justice to levels of doom/drone capable of turning all who experience it into hapless agoraphobics, sat in corners, scratching out their ears, cursing the day they even heard the words "Black Boned Angel’s Verdun".

Burnt By The Sun Heart Of Darkness
Relapse

If conflict really does promote creation, then the hardcore sub-genre should be one of the most constantly innovative and expressive out there - but it isn’t. That said, earlier this year Coalesce returned - from, what, their 20th break-up or something? - and hit us with their finest album to-date: Ox. And now, hot on their heels, comes Burnt By The Sun’s much awaited return, Heart Of Darkness. Upon a promise to permanently disband in its wake, if this is to be the New Jersey quintet's final LP, then what a way to go out! Six years since the truly jarring experience of The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good and none of the intensity has been lost; this is still angrier than a sack of Jihadist wasps - but now the rage is more precise; tempered with mammoth, soaring guitar work.

Evile Infected Nations
Earache

A friend of mine once described Evile’s debut LP, Enter The Grave, as the best thing that Testament have ever done. A tad harsh, but you could see what he was driving at. The recent thrash revival has thrown up, basically, two types of band: those who stay true to their roots (and make a reasonable go of it by essentially constantly rehashing ...And Justice For All), and those that refuse to be simply the sum of their influences. Evile, then, fall firmly into the latter camp. Granted, Matt Drake spends a lot of time doing his best James Hetfield impression and nods to Exodus and early Sepultura are rampant - but who cares, this is thrash metal after all, right? The riffs are solid, guitar wankery is kept to a minimum and the whole thing drives with an intensity that would put many of their contemporaries to shame.

Astra The Weirding
Rise Above

“Piss off - this isn’t metal, its got fucking flutes in it for fuck’s sake! You’ve taken one too many blast beats to the head mate!” OK, fair point. No, this isn’t metal - it’s Hawkwind, it’s Pink Floyd, it’s King Crimson’s Mellotron, it’s Rick Fucking Wakeman and yes, it’s got fucking flutes in it! It should sound terrible, the ideas and themes are nowhere near original and barring the pristine production values, Astra’s sound is indeed, rather dated. Yet there is something freakishly wonderful about The Weirdning — if you like psychedelic drugs, you’ll love this.

Alice In Chains Black Gives Way To Blue
Virgin

Actually, kids, say no to drugs. Especially heroin, because — apparently — it causes you to eventually release barely listenable dirges like this. New vocalist William DuVall is not without talent, but his recruitment seems to be the result of a thought process no more laborious than: “Well, he pretty much sounds like Layne Staley, but he looks nothing like him . . . he’s in!” Elsewhere, when not excreting acoustic-led MOR plods, Jerry Cantrell seems to have merely regurgitated riffs that were previously lurking in the Dirt cast-off pile and set about enlisting the services of Elton John (yes, that’s right, Elton ‘Oh, and I’ve brought my piano with me’ John) for one of the most contrived and pointless album closers ever in ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’. Truly woeful.

Alice In Chains with Elton John

Bloody Panda Summon
Profound Lore

Japanese visual artist ups-sticks from Osaka to New York, buys expensive recording equipment and aims to form a band despite having no musical knowledge, or the ability to play an instrument. Promptly forms band, who set about playing Black Sabbath slowed down style doom/drone whilst wearing executioner’s hoods and ‘singing’ in a garbled mix of Japanese and English. Sound pretentious? Well it should, because it is. But that’s a good thing, especially when the results of said pretention are as rewarding as Summon. Just under one hour of, well, Black Sabbath slowed down, augmented with bloodcurdling, banshee-ite howls, bowel plundering low-end and maudlin strains of Hammond organ.

Municipal Waste Massive Aggressive
Earache

You know those nights where it gets to about 9:30, it’s too early to head out just yet, but you’ve already polished of a six pack of Heineken and some of your flatmate's leftover red wine — and all that’s left to do is to put on your Nike hi-tops, your sleeveless denim jacket and make the long and arduous journey to the 24hr hour mart for a few cans of Crest super strength? Well right here is the sound track for that journey. Not quite the party album that its predecessor, The Art Of Partying, was, Massive Aggressive finds ‘The Waste’ in a more serious mode (if a mode that leads to songs such as ‘Horny For Blood’ can be called serious) and at under 30 minutes the firmly old school, east coast style thrash will get you safely back from the shops and firmly in the mood to put Anthrax’s Among The Living on . . . on repeat!

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