Crime Records

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nausea - Condemned To The System Review
            Grindcore veterans Nausea (not to be confused with the seminal NYC crust band of the same name) prove themselves to still be going strong in the twenty first century with their second full LP release, Condemned To The System. Their discography isn’t actually as sparse as that statement made it seem, because since their formation in 1987 they’ve released a slew of splits, demos, and compilations along with their debut album. None of which managed to put them on the map much, it seems, because it was pretty hard to dredge up even this amount of information. As their premier release in the new and wonderful world of interwebs, however, this record could be the one that redefines the very meaning of “old guys who can rock out” and takes the metal world by storm.
            Or not. While it is hard to find any real flaws in this dense thirty minutes and fifty six seconds of pure, old school grind, it’s also hard to find any innovation. While the occasional doomy riff or lick of southern hardcore serves to make the experience less bland, it definitely doesn’t pique much interest. Fans of grind won’t find anything to complain about, however, from Freedom of Religion’s slow, heavy beginning to Absence of War’s blazing, angry ending. Condemned To The System will definitely solidify what fans they already have, and draw in any hardcore grindcore fans that haven’t heard of them yet (seriously, if you consider yourself a fan of grindcore in the style of early Napalm Death give this a spin). And if you’re worried about all that death that seems to sneak into the grindcore these days, (not that Aborted doesn’t rock my fucking face off, of course) have no fear. Nothing but good-old hardcore-punk derived madness to be found here.
The themes of the album are obviously political, from the album artwork to the song names to the angry grunting. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what each song is about, and there’s no real need to read the lyric sheets or do any pesky analyzing. These guys are pissed. At the government. And the businesses. Fuck the system. Rarg. You get the idea.
The production quality leaves absolutely nothing to be desired, mixing the drums and guitars well, while the vocals remain at a steady middle-of-the mix, not too in-your-face, not too distant volume. The overall sound does tend to get a bit muddled and sludgy at times, but that’s more so the style of music being played than the production. The guitars remain solid throughout without falling prey to my biggest grindcore pet-peeve of all, using the lowest drop-whatever tuning possible to come off as heavy and br00tal. The guitars are heavy because the RIFFS are heavy, and that’s the way good grindcore should be (not that I don’t appreciate some good-ol distortion, mind you). The bass guitar remains important without being weirdly at the head of the mix, or doing the all-the-other-instruments-stop-playing-randomly-but-the-bass-because-he’s-feeling-left-out thing. The drums are classic grind through-and-through with just enough variation to not feel boring, which is ideal for a classic grindcore record like this. They do seem a tiny bit stale after a while, but what’s a drummer to do when the guitars are doing the same types of stuff all the time? The vocals are good but remain pretty static throughout, not really deviating from the punkily rushed death grunt lows and the sickly-dying-dude highs at any point. They’re actually pretty understandable sometimes, too, which is always nice for a metal song, adding a whole new dynamic to the listening experience.
            For someone who enjoys grind but doesn’t worship the ground it walks on, this album gets a bit tedious, especially the intros. For the first half of the album almost every song starts with slow, crunching guitars then deviates into crushing grind riffs and blast beats. The pacing is decent overall, with some cool little gems thrown in in the middle and end. Just as things were getting boring, Hate & Deception brings in a decent guitar solo that got me interested in where things were going again, which says a lot coming from someone who doesn’t like guitar solos that much. The very next track, Corporation Pull-In, laid another little surprise on me, gang-vocals. Which did seem little odd for this record, but it actually sounded really well-placed and definitely kept me interested. They were definitely the most brutal gang-vocals I’ve ever heard, too, sounding like an entire room of death metal screamers screaming at once, as opposed to just some random, talentless guys yelling. So I suppose I take back what I said about this record not doing anything innovative (if you could call that innovation). Fuck the World brings another good, almost disgusting sounding solo, perhaps a bit too close to the other solo, but that's just coming from someone who isn't overly fond of solos. Falsely Accused is a bit of a step back, perhaps the most generic and lackluster song on the record, but not necessarily bad. In Condemn Big Business there’s not so much a solo as a wailing little imp in the background, which is good for me, maybe not so good for solo aficionados (if that’s even a thing). The penultimate track, And We Suffer, brings some down-right sludge to the table, providing the slowest and one of the heaviest songs on the album, as well as the most interesting drumming. While I did enjoy the track a lot, it was a bit too off the grindy path for me, which is only a problem because the rest of the album was so straightforward. The ending track, Absence of War, would have been a lot better if I hadn’t heard several very similar riffs already on the same record. That said, it’s still one of the best tracks on the album, managing to be interesting and dynamic without straying even one inch from the grind. It’s got the best intro part of the entire album, as well as the best vocal performance.
           To wrap it up, this is good ol grindcore, nothing more, nothing less. Definitely nothing less.

Favorite tracks: Corporation Pull-In, Condemn Big Business, And We Suffer, Absence of War
Least-favorite track: Falsely Accused

Personal Enjoyment Rating: 6.5/10
Objective Rating: 8/10


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Benedictum - Obey cd review

Band: Benedictum
Album: Obey
Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: December 2013

Benedictum hail from San Diego, CA. They're one band that is a staple in my collection, as they reminds me of alot of great 80's rock and metal bands like Accept, Manowar among other heavy hitters. Oddly enough they covered Accept's "Balls To The Wall" as well which is pretty killer. Benedictum have have 3 other albums under their belt and those are Dominion, Season of Tragedy and Uncreation all of which are heavy hitting albums. And they all hit a sweet spot with me of all the music I grew up with most of those style bands mainly.

Their singer Veronica Freeman has an extremely powerful voice, and it fits great with the music. Going by her bio page on their official site, it shows her influences being Ronnie James Dio, Tina Turner among others. Comparing her vocals to others can't really be done fairly as she blows most other vocalists out of the water. But a close comparison would be Joey DeMaio from Manowar and maybe Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden for vocal ranges.

The rest of the band's influences are just as impressive. Such as Peter Wells on guitar, he has some impressive influences.. Randy Rhodes and John Sykes being just two of them according to his bio. The bassist Aric mentions, Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, etc.. As for the drummer Rikard mentioning King Diamond/Mercyful Fate with their talented drummers all that needs to be said. Anyways the cd is about 10 minutes shy of an hour, and every track is good, can't really pick a favorite out of them. The guitars, bass and drums all stand out clearly and they certainly don't over power the vocals at all. Nor do the vocals over power them.

If you like powerful clean vocals, and classic sounding heavy metal then this is for you. Oldtime rock fans will most likely love this band to say the least. Newer fans of metal you should listen to bands like this preferably over whatever is "hot for metal at Hot Topic".

Anyways I give this disc 9 out of 10, could of been a full hour and I'd be a happy camper. It remains at a consistent speed/tempo throughout and never a dull moment.

Tracklist goes as follows:

01. Dream Of The Banshee
02. Fractured
03. Obey
04. Fighting For My Life
05. Scream
06. Evil That We Do
07. Crossing Over
08. Cry
09. Thornz
10. Die To Love You
11. Apex Nation
12. Retrograde

Youtube Video:

Band Contact:

Official Website:
Frontiers Records:

Caliban - Ghost Empire Review

Band: Caliban
Album: Ghost Empire
Label: Century Media
Genre: Metal
Country: Germany
Release Date: January 2014

From reading their CM bio it shows that this is their 5th cd since 2007, and their newest since 2012.

Haven't listened to this band too much, as most of the newer bands on Century Media are more mainstream than most. Now on this advanced version if you will. Caliban seems to be heading that way in my honest opinion. They may not not be to some.. Feel free to blast me if you want, but this is my opinion. At times the music kind of remind me of Denmark's Mnemic back when Michael Bøgballe was Mnemic's original singer. But that's where those similarities end. Also sometimes it kind of hints towards Pantera at the Far Beyond Driven era occasionally too from what my ears pick up.

Anyways, the heaviness of the music is what I'm focusing on mostly. As it's top notch in the guitars/bass and drums. Some technical parts to it ala Fear Factory on occasion gives it an added dimension. They have some catchy riffs, and beats which I enjoy. The mellow/slow parts of the music seem a bit out of place in my opinion, but with any band they're always changing styles, directions, etc. This would of been a perfect release in my book if it stayed at heavy/brutal spectrum to say the least. Musically they sound as tight as any band I tend to listen to, as musicianship is what's key for any band. If you don't have that in a band, might as well give up at the starting gates. Gang choruses seem to be a bit over used, they have their place but really in every song and every couple of verses? I could pass on that.

Track list goes as follows:

01 - King
02 - Chaos - Creation
03 - Wolves And Rats
04 - nebeL
05 - I Am Ghost
06 - Devil's Night
07 - yOUR Song
08 - Cries And Whispers
09 - Good Man
10 - I Am Rebellion
11 - Who We Are
12 - My Vertigo

For newer fans getting into metal and such sure this is perfect for the Hot Topic crowd as I'm sure this is what's blasted in the stores at the malls. But these

I myself would give this a 6 out of 10, as I read elsewhere which I agree with, they're trying to think outside the box, but it's not that far from the box though.

Youtube Video:

Band Contact:

Other links can be found here on the CM Bio page:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Legion Of The Damned - Ravenous Plague review

Band: Legion Of The Damned
Album title: Ravenous Plague
Label: Napalm Records
Genre : Thrash 
Country: Netherlands
Release date: 3rd Jan 2014

Dutch thrashers Legion Of The Damned return with their latest offering, "Ravenous Plague" and it is quite the revelation. The band have definitely upped their game on this record. If you find yourself yearning for the halcyon days of Thrash and have yet to discover this band, this might just be the album you are looking for.

After the obligatory intro track, the first proper song on the album "Howling For Armageddon" comes tearing in at a breakneck speed and doesn't let up for the 4:15 duration. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. The musicianship is tight and the songs well constructed, if predictable and a little dated. On first listen the sound sits somewhere between Slayer and Arise-era Sepultura, but with its potent blend of Thrash riffs and hints of Black Metal atmospherics "Ravenous Plague" is a more interesting prospect than it might initially seem. The more you listen to this beast of a record, the more hidden depth you will discover. 

Whereas it is unlikely to challenge you as a listener and is lacking in real originality, it makes up for this with speed and sheer ferocity. "Ravenous..." is yet another decent, if not great, release from LOTD and where it probably won't change your world and it is unlikely to make anybody's end if year list, it is an enjoyable, if vintage sounding, Thrash record. From the opening moment to the very last second, this is a whirlwind ride of high-speed riffs and howling, technically proficient solos. It doesn't let up for a moment and with a total playing time of just 45:01 it never has time to overstay its welcome.

Overall: 7/10


The Apocalyptic Surge
Howling For Armageddon
Black Baron
Mountain Wolves Under A Crescent Moon
Ravenous Abominations
Doom Priest
Summon All Hate
Morbid Death
Bury Me In A Nameless Grave
Armalite Assassin
Strike Of The Apocalypse

Official Website:

Skindred - Kill The Power review

Band: Skindred
Album title: Kill The Power
Label: DoubleCross Records
Genre : ....
Country: Wales
Release date: 27th Jan 2014

First off, this isn't the belter I was expecting. No, in fact it is way beyond my wildest expectations. I genuinely thought that Skindred had reached their creative zenith with previous release "Union Black" and it is a true delight to be proved wrong. Skindred deliver the goods here with all of the swagger of a band completely confident in their ability to write great songs and safe in the knowledge that they are not bound by such trivialities as genres. If "Union Black" was the band's breakthrough album, then this should be the one that propels them to the very top of festival line-ups in the UK and across Europe. Whether it does or not, remains to be seen.

Skindred are, without a doubt, one of the most interesting, fresh, exciting and innovative bands that Britain has to offer today. The songs are almost offensively catchy and set up camp in your brain instantly and refuse to leave. They prove, yet again, that they are absolute masters of their craft. This is easily the band's most accomplished album to date and the effortless genre-hopping takes yet more one step forward, making each and every song feel the musical equivalent of acute schizophrenia (I imagine). If you've ever played the game DJ Hero, then you might have an idea of what to expect as you would be forgiven for thinking that you're listening to a 'mash-up' compilation rather than an album recorded by just one band. With styles ranging from Metal, Reggae and early 90's Techno to Ragga, Northern soul, old-school Hip-Hop and even that most modern of trends, dubstep, it is abundantly clear that Skindred have no interest in limiting themselves as artists.

All of the aforementioned genres are blended seamlessly and with apparent ease to create the masterpiece that is the finished product. Electronic beats and scratching sit comfortably alongside 8-bit computer bleeps and the smooth Reggae vocals sound completely at ease with crushing Metal riffs. That they can pull all of this off while managing to never sound contrived or forced, is absolutely astonishing and is one of the things that makes this band unique. As if this all of this wasn't enough on its own (what more do you want?), the lyrics walk a line between politics, social commentary and personal empowerment. I defy you to listen to the entire album without it putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Such is the power of music - and music just doesn't come with much more energy, positivity and passion than this.

Overall: 9/10


Kill The Power
Ruling Force
Playing With The Devil
Worlds On Fire
The Kids Are Right Now
We Live
Open Eyed
Dollars And Dimes
Proceed With Caution
More Fire

Official website:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Arceye - At First Light review

Band: Arceye
Album title: At First Light
Label: Hostile Media
Genre: Groove / Thrash / Melodic Death Metal
Country: UK
Release date: 5th Aug 2013

The second full-length release from UK Melodic Death Thrashers, Arceye, sets the tone from the very first bars of opener and title track "At First Light" - easing you in with a melodic instrumental passage which then leads to some powerhouse drums, a neck-breaking riff and a stunning guitar solo, reminiscent of the mighty Judas Priest. This really is a masterclass in modern metal and the musicianship on display here is, quite frankly, staggering - from the instrumental "Sirius" complete with acoustic guitars and beautiful strings to the Pantera-esque groove of "The Storm" and the early-90's Sepultura style Thrash attack of "I Silently Wait", there isn't a weak moment to be found.

Musically, an initial, obvious point of comparison would be Lamb of God, but there is a lot more diversity on offer here as the album encompasses a wide spectrum of styles - from occasional Black Metal atmospherics and Thrash riffing to crushing Death Metal, Trad Metal melodies and Groove Metal, er, grooves. The sharp, clear mix, courtesy of Scott Atkins (Cradle Of Filth, Amon Amarth and more) only helps to further emphasise the band's strengths. In short, as a metal fan, you need to hear this album. It is a near-perfect example of what the genre has to offer in 2013. With its effortless balance of heaviness and melody, this album deserves a place in your record collection and I suggest you make a space in your "A" section for it right now.

Why this band aren't better known is a bit if a mystery to me, although I suspect that the lack of attention paid to the band by the UK media and the sheer number of great bands from all over the world vying for the attention of a finite number of fans, certainly both pay their part.

To paraphrase the Spice Girls "...'Light' up your life!" Ahem.

Overall: 8.5/10


At First Light
The Storm
The Longest Drive
I Silently Wait
Brother Disarmed
Prey Forgiveness
Damage Done
The Thirst

Official Website:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon review

Band: Iced Earth
Album title: Plagues Of Babylon
Label: Century Media
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 6th Jan 2014

Plagues Of Babylon is the new album from veteran metallers, Iced Earth and it is the second to feature current vocalist, Stuart "Stu" Block following the departure (yet again) of previous singer Matt Barlow, and it has to be said that the man is an absolute revelation. His confidence has grown in leaps and bounds since his first appearance with the band and this confidence, along with his awe-inspiring set of pipes, banishes all but the most stubborn thoughts of his predecessor. This time around, however, there have been yet more line-up changes and this album sees the band breaking in a new rhythm section, which only seems to have ramped up the energy level of the already revitalised metal giants even more.  Mainstay – and chief song writer -  Jon Schaffer is on fine form and has clearly been creatively inspired by this injection of new blood (and youth) into the veins of his baby.

This is all fine and dandy, but I’m sure the question on your mind is “but is it any good?”  Well, I am very pleased to say that “Plagues…” finds the band continuing the blistering return to form that began 3 years ago with the release of “Dystopia”. This is the sound of a reinvigorated Iced Earth, scaling the heights that many thought they were incapable of reaching again, and I’d even go as far as to say that this is a career-defining record for the band. They really have never sounded better. The riffs are razor-sharp and delivered with precision and the vocals ebb and flow along with the perfectly-paced, beautifully crafted songs. If you are familiar with Iced Earth, you will know what to expect, but if you're not, musically this is classic Trad Heavy Metal, influenced by the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Queenrsyche and their ilk, but with a harder, modern edge.

“Plagues…” has everything you could want from Iced Earth or from any modern metal album. All in all, this is a classy, solid and intelligent metal concept album in the vein of such classics as Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son…”, Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” and Nevermore’s “Dreaming Neon Black” and I don’t think there is any higher praise than that.

Overall: 9.5/10


Plagues Of Babylon
The Culling
Among The Living Dead
The End?
If I Could See You
Spirit of The Times

Official Website:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Crimson Blue - Innocence Review

Band: Crimson Blue
Album: Innocence
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Nu Art Metal
Country: Russia
Release Date: December 2011

Crimson Blue hail from Russia they're a good sounding band, although not as heavy as what this reviewer typically listens to. But they'll be going on my list of favorites. If you go to the Jamendo link below they have 3 releases available, this one Innocence (11 tracks), Iceland (5 tracks) and Road to Oblivion (Single - 2 tracks). Anyways the band classifies themselves as Nu Art Metal. It is experimental and sort of avant garde so it might not be for most average listeners.

Listening to the vocals I hear various styles from Evanescence, Kimberly Goss' band Synergy among a couple of others I've heard in the past. It suits the band in my opinion. The music itself is solid between guitars, bass and drums. Also the singer is the keyboardist as well. I'll also add that the way most of the tracks sound, haven't heard anything similiar as of yet honestly so that is a bonus.

The cd clocks in just under 55 minutes for 11 songs, some have ballad parts, others are constant crunchy guitars and kicking bass. The bass sometimes tend to remind me of Primus at times, and Overkill at other times, as it stands outs quite a bit in my opinion and makes it unique sounding. I like the drums on this too, obviously it's not all blast beats, etc unlike others bands I listen to.

I'd certainly recommend this band to others that like different styles of music, and unique sounding bands. I give this 7 out of 10 stars, like I said it's a great cd, but just slightly too mellow, but not so much so that I wouldn't have it in my pile of constantly listened to cds.

Go check them out, support them and enjoy the music.


01 Iceland
02 L.M.A.
03 Clouds
04 Flax
05 Ave Sensorium
06 Nagual
07 Forest (Atonement)
08 H. U. Lab Experiment I - The 6th Sense
09 September
10 Haesitaio
11 Innocence

Youtube Video: 

Band Contact:

Website:  (web browsers will sadly give you a malware warning when you go to that link. So I'd check them out on the other links preferably)