This week’s reviews include releases from Annihilator, Au Champ Des Morts, The Great Old Ones, The Murder Of My Sweet, Stephen Pearcy and Tenebrae In Perpetuum. The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Annihilator – Triple Threat (UDR)
In their three plus decades of existence, the Canadian band Annihilator have had a ton of lineup changes, with the one consistent member being guitarist Jeff Waters. After the exit of longtime singer Dave Padden a couple years ago, Waters resumed lead vocal duties for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The 3 disc set Triple Threat includes an acoustic album of songs from throughout their career, their 2016 performance at the Bang Your Head Festival and a DVD with the unplugged sessions, the concert and a documentary along with other bonus material. It’s a well rounded package with a tight live performance, an interesting collection of acoustic tracks and the video portion.
Au Champ Des Morts – Dans La Joie (Debemur Morti)
It’s an impressively diverse album, with melodic and atmospheric sections that are introspective and subdued. Those are contrasted by bombastic and grandiose parts along with periodic forays into extreme, dense black metal. The vocals utilize both melodic singing and impassioned screams. It’s an emotional and musical roller coaster of ebbs and flows, light and darkness that take the listener on a rewarding musical journey.
The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy (Season Of Mist)
Countless metal bands have been inspired by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft over the years. The French group The Great Old Ones once again delve deep into Lovecraftian lore on their third album EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy.
Complex compositions are steeped in atmospherics that augment the bludgeoning black metal. On tracks like “The Ritual,” icy and ominous guitars give way to a melancholy acoustic section before ramping back up. The 9 minute “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” is a tour de force. It’s a dramatic and cinematic album that does a good job translating Lovecraft’s themes to music and fully engages the listener.
The Murder Of My Sweet – Echoes Of The Aftermath (Frontiers)
When it comes to female-fronted gothic metal bands, Sweden’s The Murder Of My Sweet aren’t as high-profile as some of their contemporaries, but with each new release they continue to build their fan base.
Echoes Of The Aftermath is more focused and straightforward than their 2015 concept album Beth Out Of Hell, but the cinematic elements and atmospherics are still present. The songwriting is good, as they balance complex arrangements with hooks and catchy riffs. Angelica Rylin sings with a lot of color and expression, and while she isn’t an operatic soprano, still has plenty of range.
Stephen Pearcy – Smash (Frontiers)
Ratt has been in the headlines recently as members engage in legal battles over the band name and trademark. In the meantime, frontman Stephen Pearcy is releasing his first solo album since 2008.
While Smash has Ratt-influenced sleazy hard rock, Pearcy explores other styles as well. The shaky opener “I Know I’m Crazy” is generic modern rock, but he rights the ship with “Ten Miles Wide,” which showcases Pearcy’s attitude and trademark vocal style. The acoustic flavored “What Do Ya Think” has a bit of a twang and “Rain” features piano, while the catchy “Hit Me With A Bullet” is arena ready. There are plenty of blast from the past moments along with Pearcy stretching his musical boundaries.
Tenebrae In Perpetuum – La Genesi: 2001-2002 (Ordo MCM)
The Italian black metal band Tenebrae In Perpetuum released their final album in 2009 and disbanded the following year. Now fans can go all the way back to the band’s beginnings with the collection La Genesi: 2001-2002.
It collects their 2001 four song demo The Black Flame’s Age and the following year’s self-titled four track EP. Both the demo and EP are raw and feral with both icy coldness and fiery passion. “Tenebrae In Perpetuum” is the only song to appear on both releases, with the EP version the better of the two. Fans of the band’s studio albums who haven’t heard the music of their foundational era will find it a worthwhile listen.