METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: GOJIRA RETURNS WITH “MAGMA”

METAL FOR YOUR GYMEAR: GOJIRA “MAGMA”

Gojira creates another unique record with a less-is-more approach to it’s riffs. Is that a good thing though?

Through the years, the French metal messiah known as Gojira has taken the heavy world by storm, plugging it’s melodic nature through huge, crushing and simplistic hooks that have blended doom drenched production (From Mars to Sirrus) into complex progressive metal labyrinths (The Way of the Flesh). They’ve grown their fan base to a fever pitch since their last release (L’Savage) and after countless tours and word-of-mouth from fans proclaiming their live shows are second to none, they had to end up at a new road. “Magma” is now that road.

After the death of their mother the Duplanteir brothers Joe and Mario used the emotion as fuel to, instead of creating anthems, creating a giant 43-minute symphony of atmospheric vibe and pulsating feelings. This is something Gojira has always been able to do better than most. On the previously mentioned records, though filled with anthems, they all had a general purpose. On “Magma” it feels as if creating memorable songs wasn’t so much the objective as it was to create a living, breathing thing. From the opener, “Shooting Star” the canvas is set to be smeared with dark and light grays of sound, in a fit of desperation to make sense of their own emotions. From there, there are several classic Gojira hooks on tracks like “Stranded” and “Silvera” that will leave you singing along at live shows for years to come.

But this also is something I’m having trouble with on this record. As a whole, it’s beautiful, but for the most part, the band has attempted to have riffs of one open or chugged note all too often. And with his, the complexity of the album, at least for us, takes place. They have stripped down the thing we love most about the band and almost, nearly, over simplified the song writing for the full album’s sake. Progression through reduction, if you will. Songs from the past like “From the Sky” or “Oroborus” are memorable simply because the few riffs in the song are so full of hook they catch fish upon listening to them. Aside from the aforementioned tracks “Stranded” and “Silvera” without listening to the record I cannot recall many parts of the album from memory, even after 20 listens.

So with this, drive the point home that Gojira has made a complete ALBUM. And as a cover to cover it’s one gorgeous story. But unfortunately there aren’t many parts of the plot that stick out on their own. That being said, we love it, as we do with anything they release. But we do hope in future releases they can combine the catchy riff oriented tracks we love AND the full concept of an album a bit more.

METAL FOR YOUR GYMEAR: NAILS “YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US”

You’re going to see a lot of reviews on this album in the next few weeks. So what I’m about to type isn’t going to be a landmark statement.

“You Will Never Be One of Us”, barring a metal miracle, is the album of the year.

Yeah we know what you’re about to say. “But Devin Townsend! But Gojira!” Yes, we get it. Those are two of our absolute favorites. But what Nails have done is not only upped their own game since “Abandon All Life” but created a beatdown that makes “Reign In Blood” it’s bitch. This is a BOLD remark, yes, but in 2016 and in modern metal, bands go for an extreme amount of compression, length of track or drop-tuning in hopes to make something heavier than the last. Nails flips this process off and by their natural habit, created a masterpiece.

In 21 minutes. (So if they don’t need a lot of time to do it, we don’t need to give you a long review!)

They only needed 17 minutes on their last album to wipe out costal seaboards. On “You Will Never Be One Of Us” they use 21 minutes to kill you in front of your spouse and wipe the corners of their mouth with your shirt. Blast beats, breakdowns, skank tempos and violent throat work in perfect harmony with each other. Powerful, hardcore disbeat punk and metal, a blissful marriage of analog saturation and ass-kicking live sounding production imaginable. And even as I listen to this for a 3rd time in an hour, I’ll probably go for listen #4 right afterwards.

Nails have created a type of heavy music that the equivilent of cocaine. A quick blast of a fix that leaves you needing more immediately. And you feel downright awful if you don’t get more. Purchase it as soon as you can.

Metal For Your Gym Ear: Gina and The Eastern Block

It’s not often we get blown away from live acts anymore on first listen. We’ve been around the ‘block’ and seen a million shows in our lifetime and you’d think it would happen more often. But sadly, many modern bands don’t put a lot of thought into their live shows anymore. They think just plugging in and playing will do the trick. But one of the fun things about seeing bands play live is when they make themselves anonymous or larger than life. A bit of mystery with a dash of untouchable. And although the following group is not metal through and through, they were so good in their brief set opening for 16 Volt in Seattle (who was as always great live themselves), I couldn’t ignore it. So here you go.

Gina and the Eastern Block are going to rule the fucking world.

I said it. I mean it. And I know this was said by countless glam bands in the late 80’s and early 90’s (…talking to you Bulletboys!) but the sound that GATEB bring to a live setting cannot be denied, even by this guy here, who is all about the death and the doom of metal as fuck as can be. But since I’m a mega-nerd of great live shows with dancers, lasers, lights and explosions….fucking give us QUITE A THING in a live setting and you win us over. It’s why bands like Rammstein, though not our favorite, are worth every penny because they are on that upper tier of “Wutang Unfuckable”.

On disc, the sound of Gina can be described as dabbling in various sub-genres, giving the listener a sample of the diversity they can offer. Ranging from a bit of Revolting Cocks twang rock(Sippin on a 40oz) to balls out electro-punk (Start A Riot) to sex-drenched Dub style (Bootsy Wally), Gina and the Eastern Block has a sound that will continue to evolve, and still leave room for everything that gives it their signature mark already. Marc Jordan, their drummer and producer, has a clever ear for a ‘to-the-point’ construction of tracks and doesn’t destroy the listeners ears with a million industrial layers of unnecessary bullshit. The Eastern Block is effective with a less-is-more approach so the tracks retain their energy and purpose.

But let’s get to the fact of the matter: it is in a LIVE setting where Gina and the Eastern Block rock the motherfuckin’ cock. From the start of their intro where the Eastern Block geared up, what appeared to be a drunk girl in black ready to do burlesque grinding on the front barrier of El Corozon, was actually Gina herself, drawing attention from every motherfucking set of eyes in the room. So by the time she crawled up on the stage and the band dropped into a way heavier version of “We Are The Streets Of The City” the room was fully engaged with Gina’s complete command of the audience. Ranging vocally from Sofia Toufa to Pink to Voodoo U-era Lords of Acid, Gina does an incredible balancing act between dominant rock diva front woman to the human equivilant of a giant Viagra pill, keeping the room hard for the whole set. The Eastern Block simply sits back and pounds and strums with every unit of energy possible while Gina crawls and grinds around with zero fucks to hand out. It’s everything I miss about live shows. Sex, Drug References and Rock’n’Fuckin-Roll. An heir of danger, confidence and foreplay to a point that would make any prude in the audience blush. Gina gets right in your silly little face, gets you wet and refuses to apologize for it.

Simply put, in the wide spectrum of sounds Gina and the Eastern Block create, they mostly give a much needed kick in the nuts to the electro-rock genre. If they continue to get in front of as many eyes as possible, mark my words, they will be EVERYWHERE in a years time. Much like her sexual rage on the stage, Gina and the Eastern Block cannot be ignored.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: HATEBREED “THE CONCRETE CONFESSIONAL”

Shit is opening up now like a wound. There are a lot of metal and heavy music releases we’re excited about for the year going forward. Which is crazy considering we’ve heard a lot of sick tunes already in 2016. So When we say “oh this might be album of the year” it’s something we might have to eat our words on later. But we’ll just get this out of the way now that “The Concrete Confessional” from Hatebreed will be in that top ten list.

Now it’s not automatic just because the Hatebreed boys released a disc that we’ll say that. It has to be stellar otherwise we’ll make that face like we just sucked on a lemon. But thankfully, and maybe unnoticed by some, they’ve stuck with their based East Coast formula since blowing up on the scene AND managed to slowly either let some pure thrash metal influence seep into their sound (such as on the track “A.D.”) or they’ve reverted to make the original hardcore stylings sound modern and fresh. It works and it’s always solid, or fucking solid. We have the sliding scale of “solid”.

And whether or not they slip in the obvious Slayer riff influence, and it’s been going on for a while so that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, it doesn’t do anything to sway their base message of self empowerment and improvement to create a better world for yourself and the people around you. Jasta and company, more or less, beat the shit out of the listener in hopes that it toughens them up to face any adversary heading their way. Hatebreed brings the energy, drops a filthy breakdown and waves the “PMA” flag for all to see. They’ve even stockpiled hefty political messages in some of the tracks for good measure. Sure, their sound is often panned by metal hipsters saying their too big to relate to the common kid (which is bullshit) but you can even be an older hardcore kid like myself at heart and know you’ll always get a punchy mix, to-the-point hardcore inspired tracks and a message that gives you enough confidence to face bad traffic, a shit boss, shady friends or the store being out of your favorite flavor of ice cream. Daily struggles and such, ya know? Hatebreed returns with our favorite record of theirs since The Rise Of Brutality. 22 years and Hatebreed is still in the prime of their career. Buy this and crank this.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: THE WRETCHED END GOES BACK TO THE BLACK METAL FOREST

If you were to ask us “name your favorite modern guitar players” we would have quite a list of people we have been influenced by and enjoy the most. Devin Townsend of course tops our list (probably forever) but one of the names that is in our top 5 is Samoth, famed axe murderer from Emperor and the mighty Zyklon. Pretty much anything he’s done with the major projects listed above is high on our best ever list, especially the work on “World ov Worms” with Zyklon as it served as a great launching pad towards separating himself from the black metal genius of Emperor. So when The Wretched End became a project, teaming with Cosmo from the SCUM project, we had a feeling it would be something good.

Three albums into it, The Wretched End is still serving as a quality creative outlet for Samoth, even if it has taken a bit to get the latest album, In These Woods From These Mountains, released. But all good things come to those who wait. In the 4 years since their last, TWE have taken their sweet ass time constructing an album that unlike their previous two, tap into the Nordic Black Metal influence unheard of from Samoth since his Emperor days. Sure, Zyklon and The Wretched End have shown a bit of that traditional ‘burnin’ down the church’ black as fuck flair, but from the first few minutes of the outstanding “Dead Icons” you’re submerged back into a familiar sound which will not only surprise the listener (unless they read this, then the surprise is now ruined I suppose) but fill your heart with that warm & cuddly fury from the days of old, when you’d put on “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” and freak the fuck out at it’s breakneck speed and evil symphonic sorcery. And this album has a metric fuck ton of this. Where Inroads and Ominous were death and thrash as possible, In These Woods From These Mountains is Samoth and Cosmo rolling with what felt best during the process and it comes across not as a “well too many fanboys wanted a new old Emperor sounding record so here you go” compromise, but a legit down-to-their-core beast of an album with Samoth ruling the 6 strings with the style that has brought him fame: fast, furious, evil black metal chord progressions with a dash of thrash and oven baked at 666 degrees.

And while we should wish to take this album on our next hiking adventure (it’s got a name that at first makes you think it’s an adventure novel for mountain climbers…but we get what it really is talking about) it would just scare the shit out of us in a darkened woodland area. In These Woods From These Mountains is an avalanche of all things Samoth, and should not be ignored as a vital release in 2016 from one of metal’s best guitarist and songwriters.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: THE 2016 DUAL THREAT OF ABORTED

I guess we need to do this because quite frankly, we’re a metal blog that loves all things fitness. And whenever the Belgium “Waffling Your Face With A Bat” band Aborted releases something, we typically get giddy. Giddy as a pig in shit.

And this time, it’s more like a pig in shit that realizes they just won the lottery.

Retrogore; boasts one of the best throwback style album covers since the 80’s. Why they did this? We’re only going to guess because they love their craft but don’t take life 100% serious. So instantly, if you’re into the comical gore side of metal, that should make you a fan.


Told ya they are silly

Hit play and you’re blindsided, however, with a box of razors being dumped on your head from 100 feet up. Aborted manages to improve on every level from their previous stellar releases (if that was even possible), from songwriting to production as they keep their well known “Precision Death Gore” sound intact. Occasionally dousing the listener with gasoline marked “slam” or shoving a timely breakdown into your mouth, for the most part it’s non-stop double bass drum-struction being dry humped by some of the best metal riffs you’ve heard since “Arise” and vocalist Sven de Caluwé is so on target you’d think he’d be wearing tan slacks and restocking socks. From “Bit by Bit” to the title track Retrogore, he allows his dual-threat viciousness to weave in and out of the constant barrage of death metal punches and kicks to the gut, as you’d expect. He’s easily one of the most under appreciated vocalists in the game today.

Earlier this year they released their 20th anniversary EP “Termination Redux” and essentially proclaimed “this is our year motherfucker!” and the band could be right. Not many bands can release two near flawless releases in such a close amount of time. But Aborted are professionals, masters at their craft. At this point they’d have to go completely full retard to miss their mark with anything they do. And Retrogore should, will, and could end up on many a top ten or top five to end the year. For us, it’s a ‘you bet your ass’ lock to be on ours. Lift heavy shit to it, thrash your neighbors car to it, make sweet love to you and your two girlfriends to it. It’s an all-purpose blitz of heavy music that’s as creative and deadly as they come.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: HUMANITY’S LAST BREATH “DETESTOR EP”

There are very few projects right now that make me lose my mind with an unrestrained orgasm of “oh my god” upon hearing new tracks of the band. So let it be known when I hear anything Humanity’s Last Breath releases, this is usual the reaction.

Pick something up. Throw it. Scream. Collapse and laugh an insane laugh of pleasure.

“Detestor” is only an EP, a short play of 5 full tracks of brand new fury. But the amount of talent Buster Odeholm contains is more than 95% of the whole djentcore (or whatever) sub-genre has as a collective. It’s one guy doing this destruction. As in the same way Devin Townsend can create a one man army of wall to wall positive progressive metal by his lonesome, Odeholm manages to write symphonies of the most crushing, diverse and uneasy beatdown tunes imaginable. Or possible.

As with the last self-titled release, Buster doesn’t fuck around from the start. He sets the seed of creepiness down, pours battery acid on it, and it turns into it’s own uncontrollable monster hell bent on eviscerating anything in it’s path. “Detestor” is a fucking nightmare of punishing drops and switches, in which no light or happiness can go within several miles of it without risking death. “Detestor” is so good it’s nauseating to the point of making you sicker than hearing Donald Trump’s speeches. The EP is so heavy that bros constantly try to dead lift it, only to fail miserably in front of the gym babe they’re trying to impress….Because it weighs a incomprehensible metric fuck-ton of concrete. If you look up “heavy music” in the dictionary, this EP would come up behind you and crush your skull with a bat and leave you to bleed out on the pages. If “Detestor” was an MMA fighter, it would mount you and pound your face in, even after the ref calls it, to the point of getting disqualified for not stopping the violence. If you want to keep kids from ever going into the basement, tell them this EP lives down there and it will disembowel you if you go down there.

I think that sums up how we feel about the new Humanity’s Last Breath EP. This looks to be an incredible year for heavy music. In our book, this is the top release so far. And it will take a stroke of genius to dethrone it.

GET IT HERE NOW

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: GADGET RETURNS TO DESTROY US

Sweden knows a few things about the word “heavy”. Countless bands have spawned from the Nordic Northern country known for many things, including (or at least according to ignorant Americans) where a bunch of free-wheeling Socialists have ruined their country and their bringing their brand of “make you go broke” to the states. While this is horribly untrue (just ask anyone with half a brain) what is true is Sweden is a place where quality, groundbreaking metal and crust/core has been produced for decades. Chances are you have a Swedish group in your all-time top ten, or your favorite band is influenced by one of them.

So if you’re totally green to Swedish heavy toonage, then you need to know because Meshuggah is Swedish. Nasum is Swedish. Disfear, Skitsystem, Wolfpack, Martyrdod and Birdflesh are all Swedish. And four dudes who make up a legendary grindcore band known as Gadget are Swedish.

So geography lesson aside, Gadget has been in grindcore exile for 10 years. But much to the delight of grindcore consumers worldwide, they have returned. And brought a nasty bastard of a record with them. “The Great Destroyer” is like being thrown onto a NASCAR track and getting hit by every car. Non-stop, ridiculous punches of blastbeat after blastbeat and violent screams of tormented streams of consciousness, Gadget seems as if they slow roasted this album the last ten years. It’s flawless in it’s delivery and quite possibly one of the tightest grindcore albums put to tape, ever. The production is quite simply put, a beast, as the genre has never sounded so brutal yet crisp and clean in every way. It’s destructive enough to satisfy any traditional fan of the sound, but mixed loud and pristine as if they had it analyzed by a team of the finest sound engineers in the world. But don’t let that last line fool you. The album, in all of it’s 17 tracks, challenge the greats like Napalm Death (who’s Barney Greenway does a guest spot on “Violent Hours) and Nasum in sheer intensity and viciousness.

The record is done in less than half an hour and during that time gives you zero breathing room, like being trapped under a stampede of Walmart shoppers on Christmas morning. Which is all you could ask for from a grindcore disc. Thankfully, Gadget gives you that and so much more on “The Great Destroyer”. The breakdown on “Dedication” is enough to earn this record an early spot on our 2016 top ten list. The return of Gadget is a potent as can be. Thank you Sweden for yet another amazing band.

MUSIC FOR YOUR GYM EAR : PURGE “CONJURE THE DEAD”

Beatdown or Deathcore or Down Tempo or whatever. Give it a name. It’s slow. It’s brutal. It makes you wanna punch shit. Sometimes it’s complex (The Voynich Code). Sometimes it’s deep and haunting (Black Tongue). Sometimes it’s hammy (90% of the bands). Really when you get down to it, metal is silly. 4 or 5 grown ups yelling into mics and spitting on people and shit. But I guess that’s why we love it right? RIGHT! So when you examine the endless crops of Deathcore Beatdown groups you have to figure what really makes them stand apart from each other?

That’s up to each listener to decide. We at Metal Made Fitness tend to have a weird sliding scale of awesomeness. And a newer band like Purge fits into the bracket of “fuck yeah” amazingly well. Their latest EP release, Conjure The Dead, really doesn’t slice any new bread in their respective genre. It’s more about “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” with the big, nasty, slow, angry, down tuned sickness with the bands we dig in Deathcore. And if they can add GOOD dynamics to the tracks and hit you with some shit that’s out of nowhere from time to time, then we can’t complain.

But on all accounts, Purge have a ton of potential in the studio honing their sound on future releases. They took their time to make sure the vocals don’t have the occasional crack in the voice you hear on lower budget efforts. All instrumentation is straight up punishing. Clear, tight, beefy as shit and a much welcome swing of the crowbar to the ears, over and over. And over.

And over.

This works for us because if we can lift heavy shit or do Kettlebells to a new band, we usually give them the thumbs up (thus why Black Tongue never leaves our gym iPod). Purge is exactly that. A band with a lot of upside in a genre often spitting out the same thing from the CoreCore factory until it’s blue in it’s collective face. For our money, Conjure the Dead was a good purchase that makes us excited for what this band can do more of down the road.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: TEXTURES “PHENOTYPE”

Textures is a band that has really never strayed too far from the platform in which they began. Their debut, Polars, had a very youthful ‘djent’ like feel with some post-hardcore production in spots but the progressive attack was dominant in most songs, so you knew what you were getting into. After that, on the following albums, even while getting melodic, and more refined, the progressive metal stylings really were the glue of the sound. And if you’re a fan you know they really have hit their stride in the last two releases, Silhouettes and Dualism.

Phenotype completely blows those albums off the map.

And it takes a lot for me to say that because there are some outstanding tracks on both, and as full records, both are excellent experiences from start to finish. But Textures officially is dialed in, locked on target and prepared to own this genre now. Whatever you want to call aggressive progressive metal now, it’s theirs for the taking.

This isn’t to say you can’t identify with their influences at times. When they get heavy, you hear a little Meshuggah, or when they get epic you hear a bit of Devin Townsend, but then again, those two influence basically everyone anyways. It’s more a matter who has the sound that’s their own without being ripoffs. Texture is, without a doubt, their own band.

“Oceans Collide” opens with an outstanding energy that never really lets up through the whole album but it’s the second track, “New Horizons” that lets you know who’s in charge. In the course of about 90 seconds, the band goes from one of their trademark floating melodic phrases into a blazing assault of pit heavy mid tempo metal and then into one of the greatest fast picking guitar parts I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like the song sums up the group in that short of amount of time. But what makes this album a signal of the band completely evolving into something nearly untouchable is what they’ve done to improve on all levels.

Dualism was a great record in that they paced themselves. It also had a very raw, almost strained vocal mix that at times sounded too on top of the mix. Phenotype has none of that. The mix is HUGE. And the vocals sit way better into the mix during the melodic parts but the compression on the screams is reminiscent of “City”- era Strapping Young Lad. The guitar mix is smoother, less crunchy and more blistering while Stef Broks drum work has to put him into the top 5 in metal at this point. As shown on “Meander” which is a quick drum beatdown that’s heavily effected for some cool audio candy.

By the time “Zman” and “Timeless” roll up to finish the 43 minute album off you’re still trying to catch your breath. But both finish the album with a soaring vibe that makes you want to hit the replay button almost instantly.

So in short, if you know this band, you’ll probably already own this by the time you read this. If you don’t and you call yourself a fan of ultra-talented musicianship, metal, and creativity, you owe it to yourself to download or buy this as soon as possible. If this doesn’t finish in my top spot for the year it will only be because someone named Meshuggah or Devin puts an album out in 2016. Otherwise, its Textures by a mile. The first great album of 2016.

BUY IT HERE