Obliveon - Carnivore Motormouth
More band woes, more delays, no international touring . . . yet Obliveon keep moving forward,
creating well-crafted albums that touch on a number of metal areas. Most notable change this time
is the increased level of groove, something accomplished despite the overt and bubbly space and
techno feel, something akin to Fear Factory before the fall, more organic, recorded with sparkle
by guitarist and ascendant recording engineer Pierre Remillard, who did Anvil's Speed Of Sound.
The riffs are massive like old Machine Head (see Such A Quiet River and Polarity) and neo-metal
ideas are plentiful, leaning more toward the measured technology of Sevendust than Korn-isms,
Obliveon finding a way to assemble logical songs that remain organic at the core, Bruno Bernier's
vocals sounding like a cross between non-extreme death metal, Sepultura's Derrick Green and on
occasion, Tom Araya. Call me wimp, but fave would be Fatal Induction, which mixes in fine
Voivodian fashion progressive beats and cloudbusting melodies come chorus time.
Gardenian - Soulburner
Second record out for Sweden's Gardenian is a less death-like affair (yeah!), adding all sorts of
accessible melody, strident grooves and little Maiden runs, a direct derivative I'm sure of the
success of bands like Arch Enemy, The Haunted, Katatonia, God Dethroned and a half dozen
cleaned-up high profile black metal acts. The result is a pure and malevolent metal that kills
pussy power metal dead, despite the band's posies and daisies moniker! Ex-Artch vocalist Erik Hawk
cameos on more than half the album, Gardenian adding one more of many fleeting accessible
surprises, mixing up the velocities and prog flourishes smartly, while pasting the listener to the
wall with harsh, midrangey production values and slightly death-like vocals much of the time. A
nice apocalyptic flare to the thing.
Samael - Eternal
Pretty much a techno band at this point, Samael have evolved from black metal, through a pleasing
and epic mainstream metal sound, to this strange hybrid before you now. Samael's evil past and
their earnest artistry is assurance that Eternal doesn't full-on suck. Vocals are still somewhat
deathy, guitars churn through most every track, and the record is uncompromisingly dark and
gothic. But there are a lot of keyboard, computer tricks and (gah?!) disco beats, Samael finding a
somewhat novel tribal drum sound that pulses each somber Rammstein-ish soul-smudge. Come to think
of it, for a metal band (and a Swiss one at that), they are actually quite adept at this marriage
between metal and wafer technology, sucking the listener capably and confidently into their vortex
of foreboding emotion, pacing their numerous ideas wisely throughout, top-spinning the thing with
an enigmatic space theme. Still an epic band, Samael are no doubt going to lose a bunch of fans
for doing this, even if the wide format urge to greatness still burns within their vision.
Jetboy - Make Some More Noise
Broken Teeth - Broken Teeth
While I'm glad records like this Jetboy thing happen, it's more about completism than anything.
And you have to really be a hair band fan to care. Make Some More Noise is a hodgepodge of demos,
discarded songs, and shopping tracks spanning five years of failure from '87 to '92. And it's all
quite bland, justifying the failure, Jetboy being one of the pieces of roadkill that snuffed this
genre. The overall sound is like Great White crossed with Poison, a pale and sickly party metal
shackled in fake blues. Too many signings, too little talent. On the other hand, Broken Teeth is
the real deal, old hair guys coming back full of piss and vinegar, in this case Jason McMaster and
Paul Lidel from the under-rated Dangerous Toys doing their best High Voltage, measured intensity,
measured minimalism, like true scholars of the old school, great vocals, wiseacre lyrics, all in
all a reminder of the happy juice we all chugged with Jackyl. www.perrisrecords.com.
Rating 4, 8