This week’s reviews include releases from Beasto Blanco, Fetid Zombie, Leprous, Mortualia, Pestilence and Scorched. The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Beasto Blanco – Beasto Blanco (Rat Pak)
Genre: Hard Rock
Beasto Blanco was started a few years ago by Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric. He handles the vocal and guitar duties on the band’s self-titled second album.
The music has modern production, but an old school attitude and vibe. The songs are straightforward and melodic. Garric’s voice has a rough, Rob Zombie style that provides some edge. Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico is a background vocalist in the band, and steps front and center for the Cooper cover “Feed My Frankenstein.”
Fetid Zombie – Epicedia (Transcending Obscurity)
Genre: Death Metal
Fetid Zombie are Mark Riddick (Grave Wax, Moonrot) and a session drummer. They are extremely prolific, having released eight splits and three full-lengths since 2013. Epicedia is their sixth full-length overall.
There are only four songs on the album, each one at least eight minutes long. In addition to standard, skull-crushing death metal, there are progressive sections, mellow parts and numerous solos along with Riddick’s distinctive vocals. The constant ebbs and flows keep things interesting on this diverse album.
Leprous – Live At Rockefeller Music Hall (Inside Out)
Genre: Progressive Metal
With four albums under their belt, this is a good time for the Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous to release their first live album. Recorded in their hometown of Oslo earlier this year, Live At Rockefeller Music Hall is available on DVD, DVD+2CD, 2CD, 3LP and digital download.
Eight of the 14 songs are from last year’s The Congregation album, with the rest from throughout their career. There are guest appearances, including Ihsahn (they used to be his touring backing band). Leprous deliver an outstanding performance, able to pull off the complex arrangements with frontman Einar Solberg delivering dynamic and emotional vocals.
Mortualia – Wild, Wild Misery (Moribund)
Genre: Black Metal
Mortualia is the solo project of the very busy Shatraug, who is in numerous bands including Horna and Sargeist. Wild, Wild Misery is his third release under the Mortualia name, and the first in six years.
The album title and cover are good indications of what lies within: cold and somber black metal full of sadness and melancholy. Even though the vibe is depressive, not all the songs move at a plodding tempo. There are some faster tracks that are a good change of pace. The production is straightforward, with the vocals fairly deep in the mix. The album is the perfect companion on a cold, dreary winter’s day.
Pestilence – Presence Of The Pest (Vic)
Genre: Death Metal
Dutch destroyers Pestilence dig deep into their archives for their latest release. Presence Of The Pest is a live album recorded back in 1992 at the Dynamo Open Air festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Pestilence were touring in support of 1991’s Testimony Of The Ancients, with about half the setlist made up of songs from that album. The release has been remastered, so it doesn’t sound quite as raw, and the album also includes seven songs recorded from another tour Pestilence also did in 1992.
Scorched – Echoes Of Dismemberment (Unspeakable Axe)
Genre: Death Metal
After a demo and a couple of splits, the Delaware band Scorched emerge with their debut full-length Echoes Of Dismemberment.
After a cinematic intro, the death metal begins with groovy riffs, pinch harmonics and the usual death metal topics of horror and gore. Songs like “Craving Human Remnants” are dense and oppressive, while tracks such as “Dealings Of A Gruesome Kind” and “Rot In Confinement” are mid-tempo and more ominous. A couple of brief, creepy instrumentals provide atmosphere before the devastation begins anew.