Indie Recordings

Release Date:15 January 2016

With 15 years of experience and a clenched fist, El Caco’s (Spanish: thief) latest album simply titled ’7’. The band, which has remained a trio since their beginning in 1998, has released almost a full shelf of records, with exponentially more successful results each time. They’ve got well over 70 songs on their repertoire, but restless as they are, another full album comes along.

About ’7’ the group can confidently share that ’this is a record that will take you through an eclectic landscape and draw out a hunger in you never felt before’ - a statement that matches the albums constating and crisp aesthetics.

On '7', El Caco has whipped a creamy cream of both rock & roll, grunge, and stoner rock in a manner worthy of the El Caco’s only. As the band name states, they consistently steal from a good mix of the rock’s essential elements and molds them together to a conglomerate of hyper-sleazy riffs, cowbells (shovels actually), distorted bass and a voice with an outstanding animus. However, behind all the heavy riffs and stringent drumlines there is a certain contemplation. Because of the extremely dry nature of the mix, all the musical elements become extremely transparent - alas, the album is a glass cannon. This strongly contributes to making Gjesti’s baritone-riffs and Wallumrød’s mathematically tight drums contrast and enhance Osa’s expressive voice.

The recording was done in Bergen, more specifically in Earshot Studios mixed by Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved). They did the recordings with live accompaniment to give it an extra authentic vibe, ’everything to make the mix closer to a live performance’, the band states. The album consists of 8 songs, whereas their first instrumental song ever is included. Some of the songs on ’7’ are super heavy rock ’n roll, some lean more towards even heavier material, all of them really well thought through and played by exceptional musicians.



Sacred Reich - Live at Wacken

Golden Core Records 2012

Form in the 80's. Release a few albums. Break up in the 90's. Reunite ten years (or more) later. Sounds like a familiar formula, eh? Metal doesn't shy away from the reunion bug; in fact, it embraces it just as much as other forms of music. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that if the likes of Max-era Sepultura or Kiske-era Helloween were to reform, tickets would be going like hot cakes. People love nostalgia, even if it's for a third-tier thrash band like Phoenix's Sacred Reich, who haven't released in a new album in over 15 years, but are able to enjoy the fruits of the European festival circuit.

Their Live at Wacken CD/DVD set chronicles their 2007 return to European shores, this, after reuniting the same year. The band's reformation was hardly ballyhooed, ranking several tiers below the recent re-groupings of fellow 80's/90's thrash mavens Anacrusis and Believer. In earnest, Sacred Reich simply doesn't have the back catalog or worthy "classic" album to substantiate any real fuss, with only their Surf Nicaragua EP serving as their sole standout moment. Therefore, it's probably with little fanfare that Live at Wacken will come and go; it's another one of those unnecessary live outings released to keep a veteran band in the public's eye.

Twelve songs comprise the set, including a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" which naturally, elicits the loudest crowd response. The band's groove-thrash sound is simply average at best, with singer/bassist Phil Rind remaining the lone selling point amidst lackluster riffs and arrangements. Sure, "Administrative Decisions" is mildly fun, but the sub-thrash of "State of Emergency" and "Death Squad" are proof of a band that entered the 80's thrash gauntlet a little too late.

Hard to imagine a strong market for this, and given the band's unwillingness to enter the studio to record a new album, Live at Wacken paints Sacred Reich as a tired and old band, only looking to capitalize upon the marginal success they achieved. They're probably better than that, but you wouldn't know it via this route...

David E. Gehlke


Cradle of Filth - The Manticore and Other Horrors

Nuclear Blast 2012

Like clockwork, Dani and his merrymen keep on churning albums out, doubling the productivity of long-time rivals Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, and Satryricon. However, productivity doesn’t always translate into lead dog, for the sort of ramp-up/build-up/excitement that used to predicate a Cradle of Filth album isn’t quite there for their tenth release, The Manticore and Other Horrors. And it’s not like their shtick or anything has gone sour…perhaps people aren’t as warm to COF as they used to be.

Like 2010’s workmanlike Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa, The Manticore and Other Horrors has a similar extreme metal flourish, pushing the orchestrations to the back, making the guitar tandem of Paul Allender and James McIlroy the point of focus. Allender, who has steered the band since 2000, once again pulls from his bottomless bag of riffs, most of which are of the down-and-dirty variety, specifically “Manticore,” which also pulls in some Middle Eastern instrumentation. Lead single “Frost on Her Pillow” is perhaps the top riff tour-de-force of the album’s 11 cuts, with a fleshed-out melodic riff interval in the chorus that hones in on the band’s late 90’s work.

The only noticeable mutation belongs to the aforementioned Dani Filth, who with every album, sheds more layers off his once-derided/once-lauded banshee shriek. Filth, like Allender in the riff department, is never at a loss for words, something that has long given their music a claustrophobic feeling, but when it’s time to play the verbal spitfire game, there are few better than the pint-sized singer. He’s in top form on “Huge Onyx Wings Beyond Despair,” which is one of the few songs here that calls for vintage COF treatment; the bulk of the album, however, sees Filth transform into a more decipherable vocal acrobat.

The Manticore and Other Horrors’ sideways punk edge and utter lack of finesse runs in stark contrast to COF’s halcyon black metal/Goth experimentation. Therefore, it strikes one as odd that as more extreme the band has become, the less threatening they are to the BM status quo. The resounding sentiment here is that Cradle of Filth hasn’t done any sort of conforming; it’s more like their adversaries have found other punching bags, while the Brits soldier on, isolated in the impenetrable world they’ve created.

David E. Gehlke


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