The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Columnus Metallicus

A Metal Albums Column: Heavier Than An Osmium Elephant
Toby Cook , January 18th, 2010 13:20

Toby Cook casts a frosted and baleful eye over new releases from Lostprophets, Throats, Coalesce, Orphaned Land (pic below) and more

And so it is that we find ourselves (finally) on the other side of the festive season. A season, for me, spent in the desolate wastelands of East Anglia, surgically attached to the sofa, having Thorntons chocolate pumped intravenously into my system while such festive televisual abortions as Ant And Dec's derisible Christmas Takeaway were beamed directly onto my retinas. All this was only alleviated by the sound of David Attenborough telling me that there are too many people in the world and that we are running out of food; Africa is starving, soon I will be too, and apparently it's all mine and America's fault.

Thank fuck, then, that we start the New Year with mountains of snow, pure white snow, covering all multitude of sins. Yes, here's to a new year; lo, a new decade, sub-arctic weather conditions and metal — lots and lots of metal.

Coalesce OX (EP) Relapse

And fuck me, what better way to start the New Year than with a new Coalesce EP!? If conflict and contempt for your fellow band members really does inspire creation, then this - the companion piece to last years spleen rupturing _Ox_ - should be... well, actually it should be shit. It isn't, but given the fact that by their standards they must be on some sort of hippy love-in, beings as they've managed not to break up for the 27th time, it should be. Still angry, still violently acerbic yet more than ever now tempered with more relaxed and musically diverse moments. The slow, punishing 'To My Ruin' and 'Absent In Death' may well be some of the heaviest songs they've ever committed to tape whilst the brooding, atmospheric acoustic led (yes that's right, acoustic) interludes never once feel out of place or contrived.

Lostprophets The Betrayed Visible Noise

As is so often the case, we move form the sublime to the ridiculous, in fact It's difficult not to just point and laugh at the Lostprophets (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! That's better). Having ridden the Nu-metal band wagon out of the Welsh valleys back in 2000, simply by virtue of the fact that they shopped at Topshop and had a male model for a front man, it has to be said that very little has changed. Sure they can write a pretty catchy pop tune, and if I was a 14 year old middle class boy, pissed off because the only girl in my class with breasts won't touch my penis behind the bike sheds, I'd listen to this too. But with lyrics like “Destroyer, destroyer - religion is the new employer” ('Dstryr and Dstryr')... you've got to be joking!

Throats Throats Holy Roar

What do you call something that's not quite hardcore punk, and not quite grindcore either, but is as savage as Electroconvulsive therapy on a bead of broken glass and hand grenades? Why you call it, or more accurately, call them, Throats. If the cover art doesn't give it away that this is loud, very loud - the sort of loud that makes Krakatoa sound like a pensioner spitting their false teeth out - then it'll take you all of five seconds of 'Wake' to realise it. If you don't by this, then this month you officially fail at metal (yes, yes, I know.... unless you're Joey De Maio. Except that you're not, are you).

Black Breath Razor To Oblivion Southern Lord

If I've said it once, I've said it 666 times... It's not a difficult equation: Massive fucking riffs equals massive fucking results, and don't Black Breath just know it. At a blink-and-you'll-miss-it duration of less than 15 minutes Razor To Oblivion mainly serves as a taster for their debut full length, due later this year. But, everything that's awesome about metal, punk, hardcore and D-beat is right here in these four tracks.

Impetuous Ritual Relentless Execution Of Ceremonial Excrescence Profound Lore

You know that bit in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn (the best movie ever made) where Kahn puts those weird maggoty, slug-y, mind control things into the ears of Chekov and Terrell? (what do you mean no?) Well Aussie mind-fuckers Impetuous Ritual are pretty much as close to the sound you'd hear as those things gnaw through your brain and the back of your eyes as you'd want to get - The kind of never ending black metal horror that you never want to end. Closer 'Dirge' pretty much says it all.

Obliteration Nekropsalms Fysisk Format

Less is more they say. Obviously they weren't talking about Norway's Obliteration, as with Nekropsalms less is most definitely less. This is stripped down death metal at its finest; so stripped down in fact that it honestly sounds like it was recorded in a down-stairs toilet for a fiver. Despite that, and the overwhelming sense of chaos throughout, what really stands out is their ability to alternate between slow, sludge dirge, and breakneck speed that makes you want to bung a load of cheap amphetamines up your back-side and bang your head against the cistern of said downstairs loo.

The Resurrection Sorrow Hour Of The Wolf Midnight Dreams Productions

Although both their name and the name of this LP seem to be the result of using Google's 'Random metal band and album name generator', don't let it you put you off. Hour Of The Wolf is, primarily, old-school stoner rock executed perfectly - 'Souls Of The Soulless' and 'Supernatural Suffocation' especially are reminiscent of early High On Fire, yet never feel like blatant rip-offs - and, on occasion, this is oddly reminiscent of Dirt era Alice In Chains. No, wait... Come back!

Orphaned Land The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR Century Media

"So, like, two of them are Jewish, two of them are Muslim, one's a chick and the other is, erm, Jesus? Yeah? And they play, like, Middle Eastern-hued prog-metal, right?” Exactly - although that may be over simplifying things somewhat. Leaving aside any mention of the obvious religious sub-texts (The group hail from Israel), this is at its core progressive metal, made exactly how progressive metal should be. For starters it's a concept LP split into three parts and for seconds all manner of native instruments are includes in long, meandering tracks that bring the run time to nearly 80 minutes. If only they would let the female vocals come out more, as they are simply stunning.

DJ Baron Extremely Sorry OST Volcom

Ok, ok, OK! So this is mainly a pretty piss poor collection of metal augmented, hip-hop-ish nonsense. But it's got Dave Lombardo and Lemmy on it and let's be honest that alone makes it worthy of inclusion in this column, doesn't it? Anyway, elsewhere there's Warren G and Snoop Dogg and, erm, I don't know.... Look, it's all pretty terrible, but did I mention that Lemmy's on it?

Worm Ouroboros Worm Ouroboros Profound Lore

You know those nights when you've had way too much cocaine and you think that smoking a large amount of Marijuana is somehow going to bring you down and stop you twitching, but it doesn't, it just sends you further into your own head and it all goes a bit Being John Malkovich? Well next time that happens to you, put this on. Beautiful, serene post rock that somehow manages to be neither morose nor uplifting; Jessica way's hushed, echoing vocals will, I guarantee, take you to a more relaxed place - and you'll need them to, 'cause you're going to be awake for the next three days.