Friday, June 30, 2017

Mason – Impervious

There must be some serious stimulants in the water in Australia because the thrash bands coming out of that country right now like to play FAST. The biggest name might be Harlott (currently signed to Metal Blade Records), but headbangers should not sleep on Mason, who can deliver just as vicious and as forceful of a thrashing. “Impervious” is the band’s second record, and comes on the heels of a Canadian tour supporting Annihilator. It’s easy to see why Mason caught the attention of the Canadian thrash gods because this record is an incredibly pure, focused release. Names like Incubus, Sadus, and Torture come to mind as groups that delivered a constant fist to the face of speed in a similar manner to Mason.

This isn’t to say that Mason only focuses on speed; in fact, they often break the music down a bit when kicking off a solo, only to later revert to their whiplash-inducing ways. By far the most potent example of the band’s brilliance is “Tears of Tragedy”. Not only is this the fastest song on the record, but it is also the catchiest. The rhythm playing on this track will destroy just about anyone’s picking hand. Accompanying the lightning quick riffs are spitfire vocals that unleash seemingly hundreds of words a minute. Mason’s vocalist is difficult to understand on this song; not because he uses any sort of more extreme singing style, but simply because he’s belting out words faster than the brain can comprehend (one can only wonder how he plays guitar and sings at the same time, but having seen it live, I can confirm he is able to do it).

Though one song stands tall above the others, there is still plenty of great songwriting on this record. Both “The Afterlife” and “Impervious” are major highlights. The former song has a huge mid-paced breakdown in the chorus, and closes with unbelievable harmonies that launch into a shredding solo. The latter track also uses melody effectively, but instead integrates it into the chorus. The opening riff to “Impervious” also gives some huge modern Exodus vibes, both with the guitar tone and the riffing itself. 

The best thing about Mason is that their eagerness for playing thrash really shines through. They don’t forget that thrash metal fans want to hear thrash metal; not death metal or black metal. Sure, there are a couple of blastbeats, but if you just want a band that plays fast and will make you bang your head insanely hard, Mason is the perfect choice. True to the subgenres’ roots, the band is able to incorporate Maiden/Priest influences into their music, while still spending the majority of the time thrashing. There might be some bands that are better songwriters than Mason, but few are as convincing in their playing as these Aussies! 

Be sure to check out and like Mason on Facebook!

"Tears of Tragedy"
"The Afterlife"

Final Rating
4.6/5 or 92%. 

Written by Scott

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tomb Mold – Primordial Malignity

Every year, there are always a handful of “hype” bands amongst the underground metal crowd. And while they often fall in subgenres that I enjoy but do not love, these bands usually end up being quite worthy of praise. One of the earlier examples for 2017 is Canadian death metal group Tomb Mold. “Primordial Malignity” is their debut album, and runs just over 30 minutes. For once, however, I’m not seeing the hype with this band. To their credit, they are authentic in achieving the sound they wanted to create. The riffs are bouncy, and remind one of Finnish old-school death metal groups. Switching between higher speed and sections and doomier passages with ease, Tomb Mold doesn’t restrict themselves to just blasting away. 

But despite the professional output, Tomb Mold just isn’t that good. The guitar tone is weak and lifeless, the songs are totally unmemorable and devoid of anything interesting, and the album isn’t as fast as I’d like. As a mindless death metal record, it gets the job done, but compared to the groups the band worships, Tomb Mold falls very short. “Primordial Malignity” feels like a very standard death metal album. There’s no unique edge, which wouldn’t normally be a problem, but the music already feels so lifeless that it makes the album a dull, repetitive experience. If the band had a wickedly sharp guitar tone, or even some adventurous bass lines, there would be more merit, but as it stands, Tomb Mold is just one of the crowd. People talk about retro thrash or modern traditional heavy metal as being stale and inoffensive, but at least some of those bands write decent songs. The reality is that those terms describe Tomb Mold far better than they describe White Wizzard.

All/none of it

Final Rating
3.2/5 or 64%. 

Written by Scott