Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Snack Series - Doritos Mojo Citron & Doritos Heatwave

Doritos Dinamita mojo citron - 4/5

Another of those special Doritos experimental flavors. Compared to the others, this one isn't spicy. There's a little tangy but the dominant flavor is lime. The corn flour taste is predominant too and it's enjoyable.

I really appreciate the circular shape of the chip. It's easy to put in your mouth (in a phallic kind of way) and it makes the experience more complete. The crispiness of the chip is also a big plus.

Doritos are making some really avant garde tortillas right now and it's a resounding success. I really hope they do bigger bags of this series

Doritos heatwave - 3/5

In one of my earlier snack reviews, I proclaimed that the Doritos Chili & Lime were their spiciest ever but damn, the new Heatwave flavor is the new champion. 

There's something weird about 'em as they're not as crispy as their other tortilla chips.They're somewhat more granular and fragile. It's not something detrimental though

The taste is at first really BBQish but then turns into an explosion of heat! The spiciness stays vibrant for a while too.I'll be honest, I'll admit that they were a bit too much for me. Still, They're good! Try them now as they're only available for a limited time.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Possessed Steel – Possessed Steel (2014) / 80%


The Toronto band is about to release their new record so let’s go back to their debut EP before they do, shall we? The quartet plays honest and powerful epic heavy metal. They’re in between bands like Cauldron, Phantom, Axxion and Cromlech if we’re talking about the trad metal scene found in the Ontario metropolis. They have the doomy and uber epicness of Cromlech and the speed and charisma of their other brethren.

After a short classical piano introduction, we’re served four songs about mythology (Greek, Nordic & Roman) and fantasy. Rest assured, it’s done in a manly Manowar-esque kind of way and not in a wimpy LARP/Rhapsody way. Sullivan’s vocal delivery is clean and somewhat powerful but can spit some venom when it’s necessary, he’s pretty decent even if Possessed Steel isn’t the kind of band with legendary vocal acrobatics. I’ve learned to like barely adequate singers in heavy metal (see Angel Sword or Scalare) as they give the bands a charming and welcoming feel. Nonetheless, Possessed Steel’s vocal identity is a bit above average as far as I’m concerned.

At times, they remind me of a tighter and to the point Atlantean Kodex as they’re classy but still true to the roots of what makes heavy metal a compelling genre. I guess that’s the sound you try to get when you worship both Manilla Road and Omen? Three of the songs are around the six minute mark and they’re packed with metal nutriments. They do need to work on some aspects of their compositions to make them a bit more cohesive (judging by the first track from their new one, they did it) but I enjoyed the EP a lot.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Dwoom – Pale Mare Demo MMXVII (2017) / 85%

Swedish Rules Divine - Part 2

I always preferred the Finnish doom scene but the mighty Sweden always delivers the good. I’m not exactly crazy about their current crop of traditional doom (see Below or Anguish) but their stoner scene is pretty healthy with bands like Monolord (constant touring helps!) or Vokonis. Dwoom from Northern Sweden not only has the best name around but they got a renewed epic doom sound and their debut demo is a slab of insanely great pure hot iron.

The main feat of Dwoom is that they play doom metal with HM2 pedals. I’m not a gear expert or musician but I can easily recognize this sound and it did wonders for this band. It’s basically like Hooded Menace but without the horror inspired death metal of the Finnish band. The quartet injects an almost illegal dose of steroids to the epic doom sound of Candlemass and it’s a shame the demo is only seventeen minutes, give me more!!!

Gustav Lund has nothing to envy to both Johan Längquist or Messiah. The dude can sing! He has this operatic approach common to epic doom but he’s sometimes a bit rougher. There’s some rare harsh vocals too but it’s mostly a clean affair.

The subtle organ notes too and this gives a tenebrous feel to the crushing doom played by Dwoom. Their atmosphere is spot-on too, it’s groovy, entrancing and will make your neck move. The three songs are tight, mid-paced numbers with strong guitars and catchy vocal lines. Simply put, Dwoom are above-average and this demo is highly promising.

Ceremonial Bloodbath – Command Sacrifice (2017) / 82%

Sliced open by a rusty ceremonial dagger

The new quartet from Vancouver formed by members of Ahna, Haggatha and Mudlark plays unadulterated, intense death metal. The quasi-raw demo contains five tracks and most of them are over the five minutes mark. The track named after the band (I always like those) is eight minutes long and it’s a total banger full of evil riffs.

Their best skill is their ability to switch from slow to fast in an instant and keep the songs insanely heavy and cohesive. They play their death metal with some black and doom influences and while it fits the current scene of occult death metal cultists (see Dark Descent, Iron Bonehead etc), their compositions are fresh and exciting. No need for overblown originality when you have riffs this good anyway.

The natural production works well for their archaic and ancient sound. We’re served Slayer/Deicide-esque soloing (see the aptly named “Hordes of Demons Feeding”) and cavernous, unhinged vocals. It’s primitive and deadly. Their riffs are bouncy and dangerously chaotic. They constantly stab you in the gut with a rusty but really sharp ceremonial dagger.

I’m hoping that they will not polish their sound too much for their future releases, it’s totally adequate for their sound. It’s perfect to sacrifice human lives to whoever you think should rule the world. Command Sacrifice is one of the best demos of the year and if you like your extreme metal dirty and bloody, check them out.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Emblem – Emblem (2017) / 88%

Newfoundland's soldiers of steel

Heavy metal from Newfoundland, eh? Yes, sir and it's awesome. The debut self titled album sounds like if the maritime province is still an English territory and never entered the Canadian confederation in 1949. Their sound is basically beefed up NWOBHM and they deserve all your attention.

The main element they have that most other current heavy metal bands lack is the intricacy and attention to details of their compositions. Their songs (such as "Encased In Stone") are often long, detailed and filled to the brim with riffs and solos. What's enjoyable is that they're able to push the genre to this level without distilling it with outside influences such as progressive, thrash or doom. It's pure pummeling heavy metal from start to finish with interesting, super metal lyrics (fantasy, horror, medieval) and above average soloing from the pair of guitarists composed of Knee and Cooper.

You know a band is good at their craft when it's hard to pinpoint their influences. This means that they took their time to assimilate enough metal and create something worthwhile and not derivative. I mean, sure, you’ll hear Iron Maiden here since there’s the same love for intense and soulful soloing on Emblem but overall, this is devoid of pure particular worship towards anyone.

While the riffs are solid and all the songs are good, vocalist (and bassist) Harry Clarke is my clear highlight of this record. He reminds me of Blaze Bayley a little, not really because their voices are similar but because they’re both manly, powerful and evocative singers. I think he allows Emblem to sit at the grownups’ table, that’s just how good he is. He shines on “The Mountain Trail” where the best vocal lines on the album can be found.

With that said, the album can feel a bit bloated with those long numbers (not as bloated as modern Maiden though!) and it’s a bit samey. While I like the rich foundations of those songs, some editing could had made the album even better. A long epic song could had been enjoyable too as I'm sure they have the balls and the required skills to pull it off.

With their epic, memorable compositions without any fluff or gimmicks, Emblem should establish themselves as the best heavy metal band in Canada. Incredible debut.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tractor Pulling – Ghost Hungerland (2007) / 88%

NWOFHM #11 - Pulled Pork Fuckery

The intent of Jussi Lehtisalo with this New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal scene he gave birth to was to create an artificial and totally insane metal scene in his native city of Pori. Tractor Pulling just like Krypt Axeripper, Pharaoh Overlord, Arkhamin Kirjasto, Motorspandex, Aktor or Steel Mammoth (all reviewed by yours truly) bring his heavy metal vision to life in a completely batshit insane way.

Tractor Pulling is mostly comparable to Krypt Axeripper (also released in 2007) as they have similar eccentric heavy riffs and almost has the same vocal delivery. Jussi’s voice here is rougher around the edges and it’s also reflected within the compositions. The two compositions of this single are doomier and heavier overall. They’re also a bit more longer than those on Mechanical Witch. You’ll have to check both “projects” and compare them with each-others.

The guitars are raw, almost rooted in thrash/speed metal, the drums is fast but kept simple and the guitar leads have this quasi melodic surf rock quality to them. This is traditional metal played by someone who distanced himself from any of the obvious, popular influences or staples of the genre. It takes a really talented mad genius to make this alien kind of metal while keeping things oddly familiar at the same time. Be ready.

Citadelle – Citadelle (2016) / 85%

Defend the citadel!

France had one of the best heavy metal scenes in the world during the 80s with bands like Sortilège, ADX, High Power or Vulcain and Citadelle from the Occitanie region worships this sound. A wise decision, if I may say so. This is their debut release, a great demo.

With one of the members of Weird Light (the best doom band to ever exist in France) at the forefront of the band, Citadelle were only destined to greatness. France is of course a country with a long and famous (sometimes infamous) history so it makes sense for the band to use it as their background. This demo is based mostly on the Crusades (as illustrated by the artwork) and it’s more than adequate theme!

After a short introduction, we’re served four portions of high octane heavy metal in French with melodic clean vocals and I’ve been told that they’re an acquired taste by non-francophone people but I personally had no issues with them. I guess it helps when you understand the lyrics… Max is a bit rougher on “Hérétiques” but his delivery is fun and fits the music like a glove.

« Les flammes de l’enfer brûlent au fond de mes yeux! »

They rely on effective, to the point songwriting with bouncy classic metal riffs and the inclusion of well placed solos works well within the songs. They’re not a super technical or complex band, relying more on strong traditional melodies. There’s also some slight folk influences (in a Skyclad kind of way, of course) found in the combination of riffs and vocals. The last track ends with monastic or religious chanting to add a Catholic feel to the tape release.

If you’re a fan of French heavy metal, you’ll definitely enjoy Citadelle. The production is solid, the riffs are pretty fantastic and the theme is spot-on. They’re currently working on their debut album and I have high expectations for it.