Lingua Franca by Matias Melim
Ok, we are even later than last month with this pack of reviews so let’s hurry up before the boss man notices the delay. As last time, we mixed 2 metal bands and 2 rock bands: Dies Ater and Horn, and Golden Grass and Piledriver, respectively.
Dies Ater – Reign of Tempest
This time, we’ll start with a very odd case – the review of an album from a band that is no longer active.
Dies Ater is a now defunct band (since 2014) that still manages to reach from beyond the grave through this year’s release of their full discography on digital platforms and also new physical formats. I’ll do my best to convince you all to give a try to at least to their first album released in 1999 that goes by the name “Reign of Tempest”, but also encourage giving a listen to their other works.
Reign of Tempest is a black metal album that establishes itself through a dryer style of sound. The first point that stands out from the start is the wraith-like vocals that begin to set up an evil atmosphere to which the other instruments complement. However, they do this through an unexpected way because the instrumentals don’t really contribute on making this a darker album (at least not on all of the cases). Rather, they end up creating a feeling of hope and greatness that expresses itself through well-thought out combinations that waver between speed, mixed with a sense of ascension, and calmness, most noticeably with the aid of some acoustic guitar moments and other elements, such as the female vocals in the last track . By combining these two halves of this work, the evil vocals and the righteous instrumentals, Dies Ater manage to provide a complex experience that is filled with plenty of symbolic mysticism (one of the central themes of the band, apparently) that is sure to surprise at least those that usually paint black metal in one color.
PS: since we’re already on the subject, the former drummer of Dies Ater is now heading his own project with some support of the ex-vocalist of the band, and it goes by the name of Cromlech, so to those interested in deepening the roots with the surroundings of this band, you know what to do. (8/10)
Horn – 20 Jahre
Hailing from Germany, Horn is a black metal project – one of those that tend to avoid being captured by a single genre label – that started its musical journey in 2002. With these many years of career probably there hasn’t ever been a better time to give it a listen than now, since two compilations of Horn’s best works have just released. Today we’ll be reviewing 20 Jahre, only.
This compilation album includes 5 tracks from the 1st, 2nd and 4th album along the first and last songs of the album which I didn’t find in previous releases, so I guess they’re both new releases.
Now, as I said, Horn is denominated as a black metal band however with the addition of “pagan” to the title. What does this mean? Well, I think it’s there to represent the overall folkloric atmosphere to the sound of the project. This isn’t the standard dark and evil black metal that is common on every metal cycle we know of; it’s more of what I call of “woods metal”. It’s a form of music that while maintaining its metallic core, burrows a lot from more “paganistic” image and elements such as the use of chants and the dreaded “grandpas guitars”. In general, it display’s a more atmospheric sound, in the sense that every element ends up meshing together, in opposition other works where each element behaves more independently.
Overall, this is a very concise and precise album – probably due to it being a one-man project – that manages to do achieve what it sets out to do: to create pagan music inside the walls of metal, without trying too hard; that is, it manages to adopt a very specific style however in an equally very discreet way.
Also, at some point in this review I forgot if I was reviewing the album or the overall project, but I guess it kind of works both ways. (8/10)
Golden Grass – Life is Much Stranger
To switch it up a bit, now we’re going for Golden Grass. Opposite to the other two bands, Golden Grass is a band that develops its sound in the rock genre having, since 2014, released seven albums. Seems pretty prolific to me.
The latest release of this band goes by the name of “Life is Much Stranger” and provides a very relaxed approach to rock music. With a total of seven tracks, this album is a blend of country and psychedelic rock that provides an easy listening atmosphere that might not be for the ears of everyone – a thing that happens because of the overall style of music and not anything else. I’ll explain: what happens is that Life is Much Stranger goes for such a level of approachability that it ends up being a work without any edge or memorable moments; all because it aims to be just “chilling” music. I can perfectly imagine this album being played on music bars with the objective of setting atmosphere, but aside from that and maybe a live performance on more informal open-air venues, I don’t see a much broader audience.
Does this mean I think it’s a bad album? NO. In fact, everything is in accordance to the style of the band and I believe it achieves exactly what Golden Grass intended. Once again, this is just one man’s opinion that probably just doesn’t “get it”. To sum up, it’s a good album with a very care free approach to music that isn’t my style of music. (7/10)
Piledriver – Live In Europe – The Rockwall Tour
In regards to Piledriver, instead of reviewing just one album as it’s usual in this space, we’re going to comment on a live album that actually is a three-in-one deal.
“Live in Europe – The Rockwall Tour” is a live release that includes a performance in Germany, another in the UK and to finalize one in the Netherlands each one having between 10 to 12 songs, where each set was almost completely different from the others – which is a very important detail to point out in regards to the effort given by the band.
This was the first time I heard of Piledriver and I think I had a good introduction to them. With almost three decades of experience under their belt, Piledriver started as a band influenced by the likes of AC/DC, Deep Purple, UFO, Van Halen and Status Quo, the last being the most relevant of all. As such, one can already figure out their style of music. Throughout these three strong performances, Piledriver display their classical rock with utter magnificence. Their music is full of “chantable” moments, catchy rhythms and a certain attitude that is not so common nowadays which, of course, starts to play with that nostalgia we all feel from past times. Now, the three albums might seem like a bit too much at first glance (at least to me they were when I got handed the review), however Piledriver turn the tables by skill alone. Why that is? Because, in one word, their music is infectious and compensates any strain that might come from such an arduous endeavor through high quality music. (9/10)
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