Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Snack Series – Lays BLT

The Snack Series – Lay's BLT

Price: $2.99 Canadian for a 180 grams bag. Not too bad.

Packaging: Bright blue with a big BLT on the bag. I’m a bit disappointed by the fact it’s a smaller bag than their usual bigger ones but considering Lay's did some weird experiments in the past (during their contests, remember the cinnamon buns flavour? EWW!), it's understandable that they're not doing gigantic bags for their temporary or special releases.

Texture/look: Normal colour, same as the original Lay's brand but there's some black spots on the chips. Nothing quite special here.

Taste: It doesn't really taste like a BLT at all but this was to be expected with simulated flavors. The flavor at the forefront would be mayonnaise and then there's some slight bacon and tomato in the aftertaste but I had to eat the whole bag in 30 mins to find those. I'm a big mayonnaise fan (it's not an instrument, by the way) but those Lay's weren't really interesting. I'd say that they're a bit better than the Bacon Lay's though.

Spend your snack money on something else. They're not bad but they're uninteresting and uninspired.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Metal Bounty Hunter: Volume 11 /// 2017 DOOM SPECIAL

"Doom metal is dead", that's what Reverend Bizarre told us back in 2007 but more than ten years after the final album of the Finns, the genre is still alive and kicking. Thank god! Here's a bunch of demos or extended plays released this year. Canada, Germany, the US and even Israel are represented in this special volume. 

Palmistry – Demo (2017) / 80%

Magickal Doom from Poutineland

Full disclosure: I work with half of Palmistry as a gig promoter/booker in Montréal
and I also know his wife who's the second half. My relationship with them has nothing to do with my appreciation of their music. Doom metal is dead, anyway.

This new project from Montréal unleashed their first demo back in July and it's an insanely great first effort. Composed of a young couple, Palmistry plays super catchy trad doom with a penchant for epic moments and melodic leads. Obviously influenced by Candlemass, their music goes beyond worship and has this special touch.

The two songs are short (for doom, eh) affairs and considering it's a demo, it's really well produced. The guitar is crisp and just plain fun. The riffs are well composed, dynamic and has this quasi arabic vibe. It feels like crusader doom! The solos on "Capharnaüm" are subtle, soft and aren't unecessarily flashy. The vocals of the feminine side of the duo are solid. They sound like an occult incantation and they're pretty ballsy.

All in all, the Palmistry demo shows a lot of potential and talent and I'm stoked to be able to follow their development. It's great when the music made by friends is actually good and you don't have to force yourself to dig it!

Fvneral Fvkk ‎– The Lecherous Liturgies (2017) / 91%

Essential doom, epic as fvkkkkkk!

With members from known to almost known German bands such as Ophis, here comes Fvneral Fvkk and despite their silly name, they probably released the best doom demo/EP of 2017. Their style is midway through epic doom and traditional doom and they're already at the top of their game. I mean, we're talking of veteran musicians and not simply newcomers. The situation is similar to Dautha, the new Swedish band formed by members of Griftegård, Scar Symmetry or Wardenclyffe.
Those guys know what sound they're looking for and they have the experience and skills to create it.

Fvneral Fvkk comes from the tradition of tongue in cheek doom bands but even if their lyrics are blasphemous and somewhat fun, the riffs and compositions are serious. They do evolve in the modern doom sound as well, the Warning/Pallbearer sound is present but the Germans bring an added urgency and evilness to the formula. The production is crisp, the guitars heavy as fuck and the vocals sombre and dark. The songs are packed to the brim with desecrated doom and there's no wasted moments to be found here.

It's an essential release for any doom fans and I don't know how they'll be able to top it.

Make sure to get the digital version with the 3 tracks since the bonus song is also excellent.

Bridegeist – Waste of Kings (2017) / 75%

Fresh and tight sword & sorcery doom

The Wichita, Kansas quartet doesn't waste any time in establishing their identity. Their sound is huge, rough and immensely heavy. The dual guitars makes 'em quite fun and punishing and the harmonies are present underneath the heaviness. Just like Khemmis, they do like to mix sludgey influences to their heavy/doom and it's apparent in the use of semi harsh vocals used by Steven Turner.

Their metal is groovy, full of catchy manly riffs and while it's mostly extroverted metal, it's easy to enjoy. I mean, complex and "smart" metal is often shit and annoying. You get what you ask for here, solid steel for twenty minutes.

Residing in the same city as epic metal forefathers Manilla Road could had been an ordeal but Bridegeist delivers their own take on sword and sorcery by cranking the amps to the max and by being more aggressive than a pack of hungry hounds.

Lavaborne – Demo 2017 / 65%

Peculiar Midwest garage doom

With the technology we have today, demos are a bit of a dying art. It's totally possible to have a semi professional suburbian recording done in your mom's basement nowadays. Unfortunately, that's not the case for this demo. Ok, Lavaborne's production isn't that bad but I've heard better for doom demos. Chris Latta's (also in Spirit Division) vocals are decent but they're way too loud in the mix and it's hard to focus on anything else. His deep voice almost goes into spoken word territory at times and it adds a certain weird charm to the band. The drum machine is annoying as it often is in metal.

The songs are pretty good though, it's heavy/doom but it's peculiar and doesn't really sound like what we could expect of the genre. It has a wide array of influences ranging from grunge, hard rock to thrash. While I can't really say that I'll go back to the demo, I can say that it's interesting

P.S.: I have conflicting feelings about the artwork. It looks like a skateboard ad made in collaboration with a local nu-metal band. Sorry Chris!

Still Dead – Demo no. 1 (2017) / 67%

Still Dead are the first Israeli doom band I've came across that aren't Orphaned Land (who played doom for like twenty minutes anyway) and they're not bad at all! The raw production highlights the thick bass lines and the cavernous clean vocals well and for a debut release, it's quite professional.

The songs are moderately lengthy and offer a lot of repetitive riffs and atmosphere. It's a gloomy affair with Still Dead as you could expect from their moniker.

The thing is that the songwriting is mostly derivative and boring. They're not really fresh, exciting or super heavy to compensate for the lack of groundbreaking ideas (a direction many doom bands pick) but it's worth checking out if you want to hear true doom coming from an unusual location!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Church of Void – Church of Void (2017) / 83%

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

Church of Void from Finland has always been a pretty damn good band but they never really won me over until their contribution to the split album “Coalition of the Anathematized” released last year. In the company of their countrymen Cardinals Folly and the totally underrated Swedish trio Acolytes of Moros, their two songs (“Moonstone” re-appears here) convinced me that they were ready to fight for Finland’s traditional doom metal throne.

The quintet lead by Magus Corvus is surely inspired by the classics of the mid-paced doom style (see Pentagram, Count Raven or Saint Vitus) but they still manage to sound fresh and exciting by bringing some external elements to the fold. Judging by their chosen aesthetics, it’s not really a stretch to say that those guys dig goth rock (true goth rock, hey!) as it’s the main flavor found in their doom recipe. In a way, I’d compare it to “Sister”, the final offering of In Solitude but with a different core sound. God knows I really liked the swansong of the Swedes.

Compared to some of their contemporary trad doom compatriots, Church of Void attacks with two guitars and this really gives the band depth and might. It’s quite obvious in the ending of “Lovecraft” with its lush and subtle instrumentation. It’s also one of the strongest moments of this self titled effort since it goes somewhere else for an instant.

The compositions are often epic in scope but also totally restrained and pack a punch. There’s two songs near the eight minutes mark but they’re not a band willing to go all in like The Wandering Midget (the reigning kind of Finn trad doom, by the way) with extended Reverend Bizarre-esque tracks. That’s probably a good thing since it’s pretty damn hard to pull off if you’re not, well… Reverend Bizarre.

They’re not an “epic doom” band but they have some slight ties to that sound from time to time. I can hear remnants of The Gates of Slumber in the vocals and the galloping riffs (check out “Passing the Watchtower” and its intense riffing.) Corvus has a deep, powerful voice. He’s pretty expressive and totally has the romantic but misanthropic feel you need to have as a doom vocalist. 

I believe the strongest asset of Church of Void is their cunning simplicity masked by strong musicianship and a top notch atmosphere.
This apparent or alleged simplicity makes them a bit too safe but they do have their moments of complete ecstasy. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll never be the best doom band out of Finland but they’ll always have their place as a close advisor to the king as they’re basically faultless.

Church of Void on Facebook

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Snack Series - Doritos Sonic Sour Cream

Price: Doritos are getting pricier and pricier but there's no way I'm not gonna try their new flavours! The 250 grams bag was like $4.50

Packaging: The packaging is INTENSE. Bright guacamole green with some purple and a big ass bowl of sour cream and some red onions. It definitely attracts the eye... and the hand. Finally, a big plus for the totally bonkers name. Sonic sour cream? Gotta go fast, right?

Texture/look: It's the same as your usual Doritos flavor. Were you expecting something wildly different? The chips are as white as snow. Perfect if you're a cunt and you're listening to some NSBM while eating 'em!

Taste: Not too dissimilar from a ranch taste but it's absolutely better. There's this tangy sour cream flavor and it's persistent in a lovely way. I'm not too sure it tastes like sour cream but whatever! It's a bold taste and definitely another success for Doritos. I'll definitely buy again.


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Wandering Midget – From the Meadows of Opium Dreams (2012) / 93%

The contender to the Finnish trad doom throne

In light of the new split between The Wandering Midget and the Hands of Orlac, I’ve decided that it was time to finally review this grandiose album.

Let’s start with the obvious elephant in the room: One cannot talk about The Wandering Midget without mentioning the late Reverend Bizarre so I’ll get it out of my system in the first paragraph. Samuli Pesonen’s vocals share an uncanny similarity to the ones of Albert Witchfinder but they’re perhaps not as hyperbolic in their intonations. What you get is still highly evocative and theatrical quasi operatic vocals and it works wonderfully well with the musicality of the Finnish power trio.

The main strength of the LP resides in its extended compositions and how well they’re written. It sure is trendy to write long songs in doom but most bands can’t do it correctly (most of doom/stoner, per instance) but the Midget knows how to keep things interesting and succeed at changing the tempos without breaking their psychedelic atmosphere. From the Meadows… starts with “Prince of Fire”, a five minutes banger before unleashing three monsters of doom. From the epic twenty minutes of “Temples in the Sky” and its mournful first half to the groovy rifftastic fest of “She-Wolf”, it’s a monumental testament on how trad doom can be both fun and intricate.

The Midget relies on heavy riffs, melodic lead guitar lines and a solid and subtle rhythm duo. Pesonen (or Samuel Wormius) is the obvious star of the Opium Dreams with his guitar playing and his immense vocal performance but his companions delivered a captivating performance too. They’re able to transcend some of the conventions of the genre by inflicting some deep introspective moments in their songs. They’re the type of bands that can rock hard but also know when to slow down and just make their emotional baggage talk.

Pushing Cardinals Folly, Garden of Worm or Serpent Warning (Pesonen used to sing for ‘em) to the sidelines, The Wandering Midget are the definite contenders to the Throne of Finnish Doom Metal. This is a masterpiece.

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.