Mini Album Reviews: Symbolic, Subscale, Fear Theories, Oceanus

symbolic scarvest frontcover-bigBand:  Symbolic

Album:  Scarvest

Record Label:  Twin Peaks Records

Release Date:  30 August 2013

Nationality:  Germany

Style:  Technical / Brutal / Death Metal

Death metal comes in pretty much four forms; groovy, brutal, melodic, and lastly technical.  Some bands do a good job of lacing together more than one of those aforementioned styles.  The lines could be drawn even wider, but for the sake of this review Symbolic is one of those bands that encompasses a little bit of everything.  Their complexities and rhythm stood out the most.  From the beginning track, Everlasting, I was impressed with their ability to be lace brutality with tight riffing and inject melody in between, but not the kind of melody that takes the song in a different direction.  Some songs are harsher than others, but they all seem to find a moment where guitar solos take over and a more rhythmic cadence sets the tone – The Greed, for example.  Another thing I found interesting was the song length.  With the exception of one rather short song, Mysery, the rest “average” 5-6 minutes.  The length of the songs accompanied with the varying tempo changes gives the songs additional depth.  The fact that Symbolic doesn’t adhere to one particular style of death metal opens the door for them to explore the spectrum of harshness; for which they leave no stone unturned.

downloadBand:  Subscale

Album:  The Last Submission

Record Label:  Greenger Records

Release Date:  13 Mar 2013

Nationality:  Croatia

Style:  Melodic / Metalcore / Djenty / Death Metal

One of the first things I noticed about Subscale is the fact that they have seven band members which includes three guitars, samples, drums, vocals, and bass.  It must be a crowded tour bus.  However, take all those elements and bring them together and what I hear are numerous styles of metal molded into a rather brutal, melodic, and technical concoction that works.  The vocals are both clean and guttural with the cleans coming in mostly just during the choruses.  The sampling is prominent in every song, yet doesn’t feel overused.  The particular sampling style fits the overall atmosphere of the album.  Despite a lot going on with each song, everything falls into place.  Every instrument has its place and at one point or another has the spotlight.  Nothing is underutilized.  Overall, the album is relentless from beginning to end.  Interception sets up the album well and from that point it doesn’t really let up for the duration – 47 minutes. There are some melodic touches here and there such as on Pull The Threads (Extraction), Verdict, and Realization, but mostly…it’s in-your-face!  The Last Submission is the debut album for Subscale.  They also have a previous EP titled Fictional Constructs.

FEAR THEORIES - So It Begins CD EP cover artBand: Fear Theories

EP:  So It Begins

Record Label:  Self-Released

Release Date:  3 May 2013

Nationality:  Norway

Style:  Sludgy / Classic Hard Rock / Slightly Hardcore / Pirate-Inspired

When one is in search for music to hold up a glass to and take a swig of your preferred beverage, you can add Fear Theories to that list.  They have a classic feel that is hard for me to place, but I get that drinking pirate ship vibe – very appropriate for the bar.  So It Begins is spiked with strong, traditional hard rock over the duration of the five songs; sorry no ballads.  Their listed influences:  Metallica, Judas Priest, (especially) Kvelertak, and Black Label Society to name a few probably explain Fear Theories’ output better than I can articulate.  All of those influences melded into a refined sound make for a strong 23 minute EP.  The five tracks are loaded with classic style cool riffs, rhythmic drumming, and a put-your-arm-around-your-buddy inspiration that keeps you hooked until the end.  The vocals have a gritty edge that reminds me of James Hetfield during the Kill ‘Em All sessions.

coverBand:  Oceanus

Album:  Sirens

Record Label:  Hawk Moon Records

Release Date:  30 Sept 2013

Nationality:  United Kingdom

Style:  Atmospheric / Ambient / Moody / Melodic / Enchanting / Post-Rock

Darkness, light, loss, exuberance, death, beauty, stillness, calm, and energy sum up what you are going to feel when you take a listen to Oceanus’s album Sirens.  It’s mostly ambient and does have some vocals, but the proof is in the instrumentation which covers the course of about 40 minutes.  Opening the album is the three-part Sirens aptly titled Part I, II, and III.  Part I is smooth and really sets a mood.  Based on this song, you could expect the entire album to sound this way, but Part II kicks it up a notch with a more upbeat segment.  It’s a good progressive post-rock song with some vocalization, but not in the form of lyrics until close to the end.  Part III further introduces a more technical feel and slightly more upbeat, edgy feel.  The rest of the songs follow suit combining many elements that will certainly keep you interested to hear what tempo direction the band is going to take.  Nothing is too moody, too slow, or too fast.  Oceanus used just the right mix to give each song its own special characteristics.  My favorite so far is Ora.  Check out the album teaser.  It’s a good representation.

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About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on September 20, 2013, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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