Album Review – +MROME+ / Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell (2016)

If you’re eagerly looking for truly independent music in the world of Heavy Metal, this idiosyncratic Polish project will satisfy your craving with their fresh and unorthodox experimentations.

Rating5

mrome_ncotrohThe last review of the year is the epitome of independent metal, something we at The Headbanging Moose truly love to support, being absolutely raw, anti-mainstream, not interested in promoting band members and not interested in touring at all. Founded in the now far, far away year of 1995 by a group of teenage friends in the city of Andrychów, located in Southern Poland,  Death/Black Metal project +MROME+ was reborn in 2009 after almost a decade of silence, finally releasing as a duo now in 2016 the idiosyncratic album Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell.

+MROME+ produce their music in their own primitive studio in complete isolation from the local scene, with their only principle being that every new recording is a new start for the band, a new stage, keeping things as different and interesting as possible, and they do that by not labeling their music nor sticking to a predetermined formula. If you take a listen at their collection of demos from 1997 to 1999 baptized as The Basement Sophisma, you’ll see how versatile +MROME+ are, ranging from devilish extreme music to unique cover version for non-metal classics such as Faith No More’s “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”, and in Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell the band continues with their heavy experimentations, always pushing their creative boundaries further and further.

When the opening track Colors begins, you’ll be facing a crossover of Death, Sludge and Progressive Metal, with its bass lines rumbling in your face, while Key V transpires aggressiveness through his harsh vocals and P provides the right amount of heaviness and intricacy behind his drums. Then +MROME+ turn up the heat and blast a dark and vile Death Metal composition titled Crush the Moon, sounding amazingly underground and powerful. It has an old school punch thanks to its catchy chorus and melodious, angry guitars, being in my opinion one of the best songs of the whole album. And in Migration Cult we have a great fusion of Death Metal and Rock N’ Roll, with its flammable Thrash Metal riffs complementing Key V’s deranged representation of the song’s wicked lyrics (“Marching far south from Eden / There is still something what push us on / Missing primal fixations / Will we abandon the code / The Holy Fuck”).

How the Gods Kill is an awesome tribute to one of the most eccentric musicians of all time, the one and only Danzig, keeping up with the obscurity of the original version with the low-tuned and menacing sound of bass guitar paving the path for an explosion of evil Heavy Metal. Following that superb cover song, Trust brings forward more of the band’s uproarious Death Metal with Key V and P delivering straightforward heavy music to our ears in a compelling way, whereas Generation Anthem is heavy and distorted music from the pits of Hell. Furthermore, the duo seems to love those menacing mid-tempo songs, firing blazing riffs and fierce beats nonstop. But just when you think the band is going to stick to some sort of formula they fire Piss & Laugh, showcasing a somber rhythm inspired by Dark Metal with the Blackened Doom guitars and the deep gnarls by Key V enhancing its damned atmosphere. At this point of the album, you’ll realize that calling +MROME+ just as Death or Black Metal is an understatement of their musical range and capabilities.

mromeOnce again bursting poetry and madness through the lyrics (“Monstrous iron worms / Feeding on fire / And flash / Choke the ground / March against the dawn / East from nest of crow / Days of hunger / Lions hunt”), Locust Follows Word presents a berserk intro followed by more thunderous bass lines and a grumpy attitude, with all additional elements in the background helping in strengthening the musicality considerably. The second to last blast of underground metal by this interesting project, titled Magister Figurae Morte, will kick you in the face with its pounding drums and energetic riffs in this solid display of ruthless metal from darkness, before The Arsonist closes the album majestically, with Key V impersonating the arsonist himself by setting fire to the musicality with his growls and riffs. In addition, P accelerates his beats to a traditional Black Metal style, generating a high-end feast of hellish music with a climatic ending.

+MROME+ do not have a Facebook page, a Twitter account or any other type of social media. As previously mentioned, it’s all about their music and the concept behind it, which means all things +MROME+ are summarized to their BandCamp page in the form of heavy music, with Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell being their newest sonic experiment, but not their ultimate one at all. Fans of truly underground metal will hear more about +MROME+ in a not-so-distant future for sure, as they’re already recording Roi-de-Rats, their next full-length opus. Well, I’m already eager to see what Key V, P and the band’s original bassist (who has just rejoined the project after all these years) will offer from their arsenal of extreme and primeval music.

Best moments of the album: Crush the Moon, How the Gods Kill and The Arsonist.

Worst moments of the album: Generation Anthem.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Colors 4:03
2. Crush the Moon 4:33
3. Migration Cult 3:31
4. How the Gods Kill (Danzig cover) 5:46
5. Trust 4:09
6. Generation Anthem 3:45
7. Piss & Laugh 4:24
8. Locust Follows Word 3:48
9. Magister Figurae Morte 4:32
10. The Arsonist 6:18

Band members
Key V – vocals, guitars
P – drums

Album Review – Faith No More / Sol Invictus (2015)

It might have taken 18 long years for Mr. Mike Patton and his demented squad to release a new album, but the result is so good it was definitely worth the wait.

Rating4

FNM_frontAt long last, after 18 fuckin’ excruciating years, the demented squad composed by the gentlemen Mike Patton, Jon Hudson, Billy Gould, Roddy Bottum and Mike Bordin, “usually” known as American Alternative Metal/Rock band Faith No More, is back with another freakish experiment entitled Sol Invictus (Latin for “Unconquered Sun”), the seventh studio album in their revolutionary career. Without Faith No More there wouldn’t be Alternative Metal, Funk Metal, Nu Metal, Grunge, contemporary Hard Rock, and so on. And if you think what I’m saying is bullshit, how about what Corey Taylor, frontman of the biggest Alternative Metal group in the world, Slipknot, said after seeing Mike Patton and his crew performing the all-time classic “Epic” at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards? “I was mesmerized by that. I never felt a moment like that until that moment. It completely turned me around.”, stated the iconic #8.

Perhaps the greatest question in everyone’s minds, after knowing the band was officially getting out of their state of “creative hibernation”, was that if they were going to be capable of releasing something as amazing as their previous albums, especially the masterpieces The Real Thing (1989), Angel Dust (1992) and King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime (1995). Well, although Sol Invictus doesn’t have any “A Small Victory”, “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” or “Digging the Grave” among its songs, it’s still a well-set album with lots of thrilling moments, showcasing a band that doesn’t seem to have been on hiatus (not including their sporadic live performances and tours along all those 18 years) since their previous release, the also spectacular Album of the Year, from 1997.

The title-track, Sol Invictus, is just as weird as the album artwork, which means it’s perfect for opening their live performances. It’s short and melancholic, just like they’ve mastered doing through the years, and we all have to agree that with that piano intro and those whispering vocals you know somehow it’s Faith No More even if you’ve never heard anything about the band in your entire life. The same can be said about the awesome Superhero, a very melodic and alternative tune with interesting keyboard notes by Roddy Bottum, where after only two seconds you know it’s pure Faith No More. I guess there’s no need to mention how incredible Mr. Patton’s crazy screams and vocals are, but it’s valid to mention that the lyrics beautifully follow that vocal craziness (“Like an American drug / Makes a mean cock grow / …kill a priest / Makes a superman of glass”).

The next track, Sunny Side Up, sounds a lot like many songs from Album of the Year, with a stylish blend of Jazz, Blues, Rock N’ Roll and everything else. In other words, fans of the band will enjoy it for sure, while others will probably ask themselves “what the fuck is this?” Even if you don’t understand that song really well, you’ll relish Separation Anxiety and its stronger Rock N’ Roll vein. Mike Patton once again steals the show with his wicked voice and proves why he’s among the best and most versatile singers in the world. The only setback in this exciting tune is the drumming: I was expecting more from Mike Bordin, despite him doing a relatively decent job throughout the whole song.

FNMThe dark intro in Cone of Shame corroborates they really enjoy sounding bizarre, with its last part getting a lot more vibrant and intense, while Rise of the Fall offers the listener some elements from Reggae music and more audible guitar lines, as well as more rhythmic beats. Moreover, the crazy screams by Mike Patton end up adding a lot of electricity to a song that’s below average for a band like Faith No More. Following the lowest point of the album we have Black Friday, a song purely inspired by 80’s classic rock music which despite its lack of creativity has a good blend of semi-acoustic parts and heavier riffs and screams.

And just when you think Faith No More cannot get weirder, they come up with the stupendous Motherfucker, another perfect choice for opening their live concerts, where the focus is obviously on Mike Patton’s vocal lines and the song’s eerie lyrics (“Get the motherfucker on the phone, the phone…”), also including the best guitar solo of the entire album. Not only that, I doubt you won’t be singing this song everywhere, even at work with your boss by your side. Unless you don’t know shit about the band, you probably know how much they love songs with Portuguese or Spanish names (and sometimes lyrics), but unfortunately the boring Matador doesn’t get close at all to the marvelous classic “Caralho Voador”, for example. It’s just an average song with nothing new or outstanding, except for the strong bass lines by Billy Gould. And sounding like a B-side from King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime, From the Dead gives a melancholic ending to Sol Invictus with the band’s trademark. It’s a good listen if you’re at home or in your car, but definitely not recommended for their live performances.

I wish there were a few more guitar solos by Jon Hudson and some faster beats by Mike Bordin in this or that song, as Sol Invictus sounds too calm for me in many of its moments, but at least we can loosen up knowing Faith No More are not “dinosaurs”. They are a more-than-alive group that still got it in them, and from now on (well, they’ve been doing this already) there are even more outstanding tunes in their lunatic arsenal to be masterfully played during their live concerts all around the world. And we’re all very thankful to the unparalleled Mr. Patton and his fellow mates for that, even if it took so many years for them to return.

Best moments of the album: Superhero, Separation Anxiety and Motherfucker.

Worst moments of the album: Rise of the Fall and Matador.

Released in 2015 Reclamation Records

Track listing
1. Sol Invictus 2:37
2. Superhero 5:15
3. Sunny Side Up 2:59
4. Separation Anxiety 3:44
5. Cone of Shame 4:40
6. Rise of the Fall 4:09
7. Black Friday 3:19
8. Motherfucker 3:33
9. Matador 6:08
10. From the Dead 3:06

Band members
Mike Patton – vocals
Jon Hudson – guitar
Billy Gould – bass guitar
Roddy Bottum – keyboards, vocals
Mike Bordin – drums