Album Review – Profane And The Sacred / Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming (2015)

The first chapter in the career of this British Stoner Metal band is more than promising: it’s a lesson in heavy and gripping music.

Rating3

p&s_08After listening to Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming, the debut studio album by British Stoner Rock/Metal band Profane And The Sacred, there was only one question that came across my mind: how not to bang my head while enjoying a cold beer to the music triggered by those guys? Seriously, they’re not kidding when they describe their sound as “hard heavy gigantic grooves”, and they will certainly make you feel all that energy flowing through your ears directly into your body and soul with this album.

Formed in 2010 and based in London, UK, Profane And The Sacred were capable of combining the best you can find in bands such as Down, Crowbar, Black Sabbath, Karma to Burn and many other distinguished Rock N’ Roll groups in a compelling and robust way. As you will notice, all songs surpass the 5-minute barrier, but that doesn’t mean they’re too progressive, tedious or anything like that. Quite the contrary, each and every song has tons of interesting elements to offer the listener, strengthened by huge doses of professionalism and feeling, and therefore keeping you hooked on Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming from start to finish.

In the opening track, Bench, we are already able to experience a puissant Stoner Rock atmosphere brought forth by the dark riffs by lead singer/guitarist Luke Alleeson and guitarist Rick Spooner, with highlights to the beautiful guitar solos at the end of the song. However, do not go too crazy with this excellent tune and save some of your energy for what’s about to come: Bleed That Stone is not only a lot more metallic than its predecessor (thanks in part to the intense beats by drummer Kieran Smith), with its last minute or so sounding like a “tribute” to Down and Crowbar so good it is, but also Luke’s voice fits the musicality flawlessly while bassist Rob Taylor smashes his four-string weapon, making the song even tougher and more enjoyable.

Photo 06-10-2014 19 18 51Moreover, if there’s one thing this band knows how to do is filling every single second of their music with solidity and depth. For instance, You Know adventures into even more Crowbar-ish lines, with Luke declaiming the song’s “cute” lyrics while the other band members keep kickin’ ass with their more-than-ruthless Sludge Metal; whereas Weather The Storm focuses on 100% old school Stoner Rock, with kudos to Rob for his melodic and soulful bass solo. An even higher level of dynamism is found in the amazing From The Top, the first single of the album, which is basically what all of us want to hear in Stoner Metal: badass drumming and low-tuned riffs accompanied by realistic and introspective lyrics.

Then we have All For None, which showcases another great performance by Rob and Kieran and some interesting shifts from faster beats to a much slower and sludgier rhythm (and vice-versa) without sounding mechanic or disconnected at all, followed by another good tune entitled Just A Little, where Luke complements the song’s vile riffs, breaks and variations with his unique vocal lines. Finally, one of the best tracks of the entire album, Words, which flirts with more traditional Heavy Metal, is so extraordinary I bet you’ll start air mimicking either the riffs, drums or at least start singing the lyrics with them. It’s a spectacular Rock N’ Roll/Stoner Metal anthem, with the fine tuning of both guitars being beyond splendid. There’s also a smooth instrumental track to close the album, A New Leaf, which invites you to close your eyes and relax to the sound of its acoustic guitars, as simple as that.

You can find more information about Profane And The Sacred on their official Facebook page, YouTube and Instagram, as well as purchase their music on Amazon, iTunes and Cargo Records. Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming is an invaluable lesson in Stoner Metal, so to speak, and I cannot wait for more of their gripping music in a near future (maybe a “chapter 2” album) to make my beer even more delightful.

Best moments of the album: Bleed That Stone, From The Top and Words.

Worst moments of the album: A New Leaf.

Released in 2015 Cargo Records

Track listing
1. Bench 8:13
2. Bleed That Stone 5:42
3. You Know 7:24
4. Weather The Storm 7:25
5. From The Top 5:01
6. All For None 5:39
7. Just A Little 6:57
8. Words 7:24
9. A New Leaf 5:31

Band members
Luke Alleeson – vocals, guitars
Rick Spooner – guitars
Rob Taylor – bass guitar
Kieran Smith – drums

 

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Album Review – Phobiatic / Fragments Of Flagrancy (2014)

Get ready for a technical and blustering sonic havoc by this terrific Death Metal band from Germany.

Rating4

COVERThere’s only one word that comes to my mind after listening to Fragments Of Flagrancy, the second full-length album by German Technical Death Metal band Phobiatic, and it’s DEVASTATION. That’s what this awesome band from Essen, Germany, offers us with their new album: a violent sonic war full of complex riffs and devastating drums, perfect for fans of the atrocious music by old school icons such as Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus and Suffocation, with an extra dose of modernity that intensifies their musicality even more.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference from their first album, disregarding of course the fact that all band members are a lot more mature and experienced now, is the change in vocals from the deeper guttural by Christian Markwald to the more technical and sharper voice by Sebastian Meisen. This change reminds me a lot of what happened to the music by American Death Metal masters Cannibal Corpse when Chris Barnes was replaced by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, which in my humble opinion was indeed a very positive change for the band.

It seems that Phobiatic wanted to send a message to all listeners as soon as the opening track starts, the raging Bugging Operation, telling everyone something like “this is what we do, and if you don’t like it just fuck off”. It’s a devilishly technical and violent song, similar to what Brazilian Death Metal monsters Krisiun do and highly recommended for all lovers of extreme brutality, or in other words, not for the faint of heart. In Downward Spiral they were able to accelerate things even more, with an outstanding chorus and drummer Kai Bracht showing no mercy for his drum set, while Ripped To Shreds showcases an impressive synchronicity between guitars and drums, with the demonic and boisterous vocals by Sebastian Meisen perfectly fitting all that music havoc. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure bassist Michael Stifft is a huge fan of Cannibal Corpse’s one and only Alex Webster due to the complexity of the bass lines throughout this song.

Then this nonstop Death Metal machine brings us House In Cleveland, which despite being slower than the previous tracks is as heavy as it can be, with focus on deeper guttural vocals, and the superb A Genius Of Manipulation, where the complexity in its very technical and fast drumming and guitar lines is truly above average. Not only that, the violence found in its chorus is another highlight of this extreme metal composition, contributing to elevating it to the status of best song of the whole album. The following tracks, R.A.T.T. and Suitable Method, sound totally inspired by the music of Deicide and Krisiun and remind you that you need to be in really good shape to keep up with their speed and brutality, especially the latter where we have another awesome performance by drummer Kai Bracht, with all music variations making the song even more complex and disturbing. I’m sure you’ll love the last part of this song, it is an amazing lesson in Death Metal.

phobiatic-photo3But before you can raise your white flag amidst all the rage and violence bred by Phobiatic, the band still has time to deliver us some more awesomeness in form of Death Metal: in Abnormal Dilation, vocalist Sebastian Meisen adds some desperate high-pitched screams to his vocal range, while Like Pigs In The Dirt goes straight to the point with its old school approach (and don’t forget to pay attention to the “beautiful” message in the lyrics). And lastly, we have Metropolis (Of The Dead), a more obscure track with a melancholic intro that suddenly turns into another pure Death Metal tune, with highlights to the excellent job done by guitarist Robert Nowak.

You can find Fragments Of Flagrancy on sale here, and I’m sure it will soon be available in other places such as iTunes and some physical stores. Let’s help this amazing brutal band spread their infernal music all over the world and torment our souls for many years to come. After all, that’s what traditional Death Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: Downward Spiral, A Genius Of Manipulation and Suitable Method.

Worst moments of the album: House In Cleveland and Metropolis (Of The Dead).

Released in 2014 Unundeux/Cargo Records

Track listing
1. Bugging Operation 2:50
2. Downward Spiral 2:41
3. Ripped To Shreds 2:53
4. House In Cleveland 4:41
5. A Genius Of Manipulation 3:38
6. R.A.T.T. 2:42
7. Suitable Method 4:22
8. Abnormal Dilation 2:20
9. Like Pigs In The Dirt 1:45
10. Metropolis (Of The Dead) 5:40

Band members
Sebastian Meisen – vocals
Robert Nowak – guitars
Michael Stifft – bass
Kai Bracht – drums